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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1859

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1859.” You can view other years here.

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1859:  3 Jan.:  Minutes of Special European Council.

[Present:  Asa Calkin, President of the European Mission, and James D. Ross and William Budge, his Counsellors;

Charles Widerborg, President of the Scandinavian Mission;

Jabez Woodard, President of the Swiss and Italian Mission;

Mark Barnes, President of the French Mission;

The Presidents, Pastors, Conference Presidents, and Travelling Elders of the British, Welsh, and Irish Missions.]

“Again, with reference to calling men to the ministry:  If a Branch President recommends a man for the ministry, as I believe there is a space in your Monthly Report sheets for that purpose, let them be instructed to give that recommendation without speaking to the Council about it.  It is a practice in some Branches, if the President of the Branch wishes to call a man to office, that, before he speaks to the President of the Conference, he will mention it to the Council.  Ther is brother So-and-So–a pretty good fellow: I think he might have such an office.  He gets the Council to hold up their hands that he should be ordained, or at least recommends him, and the recommendation goes to the President of the Conference.  He does not approve of it, and word goes back to the Branch, and then things are not very pleasant.  With a little management on our part, all these feelings might be avoided.  Teach every Branch President to give the recommendation on his own responsibility, without speaking to his Council at all.  Let him so understand it.  The Pastor or the President of a Conference may call a man out independently of any recommendation; but when a recommendation is required, the Branch President is the proper person to give it, because he is in a position to know the men; but he should never bring such a thing before the Council until he has obtained the sanction of the Conference President.  That obtained, let the Council vote for him to be ordained at once.”  (James D. Ross, Counselor in the Presidency of the European Mission, 3 Jan., 1859; MS 21(8):130-131, 19 Feb., 1859)

“President CALKIN rose and said– . . .

Call the Priesthood of your Conferences together.  It is practised now in some places.  Let it become universal throughout the Mission.  Call them together from time to time as circumstances will allow and the good of the cause requires.  Try and get them in possession of the same spirit, power, and influence that you have felt here, and it will be felt by the Saints.  Instruct them in the principles of life and salvation, in their duties and callings as Elders–as men holding the Priesthood.  Regulate their appointments.  See that each has his duties assigned him and is thoroughly instructed in them.  Instruct and counsel them in their labours among the people, that they may go among them filled with the Spirit of the Lord and infuse its fire and life into them.  See that the right man is set in the right place.  If you have not got the right men for Presidents of Branches, remove them and appoint others; but do it in such a way as not to destroy the men.  Give them to understand that it is for the good of the cause–that the work of God is too far advanced to be impeded by any man’s standing in the way–that the car is under such headway that whoever stands before it will be crushed–that they must learn to place the kingdom of God first in all things, if they expect to remain in it and partake of her blessings.  Select the best men you can find for Presidents of Branches, and teach them their duties.  Instruct them that it is their duty and calling to preside–to set and keep the Branches in order–to see that the Gospel is preached, the Saints instructed in their duties, and the Priesthood kept at work, each in his proper sphere and at his appropriate calling.  Show them that it is their duty to direct all things and to select good, judicious, sensible men for Teachers–men who have got principle within them–men who can instruct the people and will be in reality what they profess to be–teachers of righteousness to the people,–men who, when they go forth among the Saints, may be able to instruct them, who will carry the Holy Spirit with them, who can feed the Saints, and administer comfort and blessing to them, who will find something to talk about besides their brethren, and sisters, and neighbours, who will have some principle of righteousness, some instruction, counsel, and consolation–something that will benefit them and have a tendency to elevate their minds and thoughts, and draw them from the trifling, frivolous things of the day, and give them a relish for something more holy, noble, and exalting, and that will have a tendency to exalt them in the scale of being.  Teach your Branch Presidents that it is their duty to select men of this kind to visit the Saints–to select also good, honest, faithful men to accompany these Teachers, to help to instruct the people, to collect moneys for their emigration, or the Penny Fund that has been spoken of to-day, and to teach the people the propriety and necessity of emigrating–the principle of emigration–of gathering together for the purpose of building up the kingdom of God.  When they have done that, then teach them how to economize their means–how to live so as to lay by a portion of their daily earnings or weekly wages for the express purpose of emigrating them from this land.  Teach them economy.  That will help them eventually to gather home to Zion.  It is the duty of the Branch Presidents also to select good men–men of wisdom–men who possess at least an ordinary share of good, sound, common sense,–men who are qualified and have the Spirit of God–men who understand principles and are gifted with ideas and language to express them, to preach the Gospel,–men who, when they rise to preach the Gospel, will not preach everything else but that,–men who will preach the Gospel, and in plainness, so as to catch the attention and convince the judgment of the honest seeker after truth,–men who, when they speak, will avoid everything like slang or bravado, or tearing to pieces other denominations, or anything that will create excitement or angry feelings unnecessarily.  Let them preach the Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel.  It is the duty of a Branch President to select men of wisdom from his Branch to instruct, counsel, and direct the Saints, and teach them to live their religion, be honest, faithful, and upright in all things, and show to the world, by their everyday lives, that it is not a mere empty sound, but the power of life and salvation,–men whose characters for righteousness will give weight to the counsels which they advance to the Saints–men who not only talk but live their religion.  Such men will be a benefit to the Branch and to the people, and will help to elevate them; and thus the Saints will soon live so that the real honest seekers after truth will follow after and gather around them to get the truth and the spirit which they possess and which make them so happy and so far above their neighbours.  If your Branch President will attend to all this, he will do his legitimate work–his duty.  If, in addition to all this, he can do a portion of the preaching, so much the better.  But suppose he cannot–suppose he does not possess the faculty for preaching at all, he may be one of the best Presidents notwithstanding.  If he understands his duties, he cah call out men who can preach.  Then the preaching will be done, and the governing and presiding will be done, and all will be right.  Teach your Branch Presidents, brethren, that they are not to be all in all in their Branches.  They are not required to do it all.  The best Branch Presidents do but little work themselves, comparatively speaking; that is, they do not go round and visit all the Saints, do all the preaching, and give all the counsel, and be all in all in the Branch, but they call out the talent in their Branches, and set the whole of it in operation, and thus accomplish many times more good than if they did it all themselves.  These remarks apply equally as much to Pastors and Presidents of Conferences.  The doctrine is correct, apply it where you will.  A reformation is needed in your morning and mid-day Sunday meetings.  In many places they have been and are now, many of them, converted into testimony meetings.  I think that it would be wisdom to change the character of these meetings entirely.  It has been said here two or three times that the talent in the Mission should be called out.  You cannot get a better opportunity for that than would be afforded by converting your morning and mid-day meetings into meetings for instructing the Saints.  Call out your young men–your boys.  Nobody but Saints are in those meetings: there are no strangers by; and if they make a small blunder occasionally, nobody will be hurt by it.  Your young men will have more confidence, until they get a little experience, to get up there than before a congregation of strangers, where, if they made a mistake, the consequence would be injurious to the cause.  Call them out and let them show themselves.  It is not long before the work will rest upon the shoulders of these young men.  The burden of this kingdom will rest in a few years on the boys who are now in the Church.  Call them out and give them an opportunity to show themselves.  Three or four short pithy speeches from these young men would give new life to these meetings, change the monotony, give variety and interest to them, and the result would be to call the Saints out to them.  There would be something to come for.  It would bring out this talent, and the brethren would show what they are and prove themselves.  There would be new life infused into the people, and the Holy Spirit would fill their hearts.  There is more life and real energy of spirit in one of these boys than in a score of ‘old fogies.’  All they want is an opportunity to bring it out.  A word now about the evening meetings.  Strangers attend these meetings, and they come for the purpose of hearing the Gospel.  Let them, when strngers are there, be devoted to preaching the Gospel.  The Saints will have been preached to enough during the former part of the day.  Let them alone and introduce the Gospel to the strangers.  Make the meetings interesting, and avoid everything like vain declamation and talking about things the Elders do not understand and have no business with here.  You need not confine yourselves all the time to faith, repentance, and baptism.  Preach the Gospel, however, and preach it in a way to convince the judgment.  You will never convert them by ranting and tearing and pulling others to pieces.  Such preaching did not convert us, and it will not others.  Let good, sound, common sense characterize these evening meetings.  Let men be called for this purpose who can preach the Gospel so as to interest the stranger, touch his understanding, set his judgment to work, and influence him to investigate the principles that are advanced.  Then you will get the honest in heart to seek after the truth.  Your testimony meetings also want reforming, most of them; and perhaps there are none but what might be improved.  These meetings, many of them, that I have visited, have become rather stereotyped affairs.  There are some three or four old men and women who have rung the same tale fifty-two times a year for the last eight or ten years–the same old story over and over again, until every man, woman, and child that ever goes to meeting knows just as well what they are going to say, when they begin, as they do themselves.  You will see the people all over the room drop their heads, and for shame dare not look up.  Is it not so, brethren?  Well, what is the consequence?  Sensible people are disgusted and the young people are ashamed: neither will take part in such testimony meetings, and these ‘old fogies’ have it all to themselves.  Just ask them to stop awhile.  When you see them get up, ask them to sit down.  Tell them that you know where they are, what they are, who they are, and all about it, just as well as themselves, and have known it for the last eight or ten years,–that you know where they were then, where they are now, and where they will be for the next ten or fifteen years to come.  They are very good in their way and are always in their places in meeting as regularly as the day comes.  The greatest difficulty with them is, they have no life, no soul, no spirit.  The spirit of the work has left them a long way back.  They do not advance with the Church: they do not increase.  They require no looking after: there is no necessity for that.  If you have occasion to look for them, you will find them any time in the next ten or twelve years exactly where they are now.  Just ask them to wait and give the young people and others an opportunity once in a while to express their feelings; and perhaps–it is barely possible–they may get some fire into their dreamy souls, and their testimony might be varied a sentence or two.  At all events, it will change the feature of these meetings: it will give new life to them and do good.  There should also be more prayer, short-spirited testimonies, and exhortations.  Make them times of life and joy, instead of the dull, dreamy, yawning things they are now.  They should be held on a week-night, as a general thing, and devoted to the brethren and sisters for bearing testimony; after which, if the Presdient has any instruction or counsel to give, let him do it briefly and spiritedly.  There is another kind of meetings we have in the Branches that it would not be amiss to say something about–I mean Council meetings.  But, in the first place, I want to say something about Counsellors.  A Counsellor is an individual called to assist a President in the discharge of those duties which he cannot personally attend to himself.  In the British Mission two are required to assist the President at Liverpool.  The Welsh Mission, as it is called, is too large for a Pastorate: one man could not attend to all the business and thoroughly visit all the Conferences.  It has always been considered and treated as a Mission, and is so considered yet.  The President of that Mission could not attend personally to all the duties that are required of him: it is too large.  He therefore requires two Counsellors.  The Scandinavian also and any other that is too extensive to be attended to by one man.  No other special Counsellors are required.  Pastors and Presidents of Conferences need none.  They would be detrimental.  If there are any such in the Mission, let them be done away with at once, if you please.  The Presidents of Conferences are the proper Counsellors to the Pastor: from their position, they come in naturally as his Counsellors.  The Travelling Elders and the Presidents of Branches are the legitimate and natural Counsellors to the Presidents of the Conferences, without any special appointment.  The Priesthood of a Branch are the natural Counsellors to the President of the Branch.  Now, then, I come to the duties of a Counsellor:  I gave you a little hint the other night.  It is not their privilege to attempt to dictate, direct, or control their President.  It is not even their privilege to volunteer their counsels.  It is his right to ask them for counsel, and it is theirs then to give it–to give all the assistance and information possible.  If he asks their opinion upon any particular measure, it is their duty to give their opinion with all the wisdom and talent that they possess or have in requisition.  After that is all done, they have no right to feel hurt should that counsel be rejected by the President.  The President alone is the responsible party.  It will never stand him in excuse, when he renders an account to his superior, provided the measure proves wrong, to say that he acted under the direction of a Counsellor.  It is the President, not the Counsellor, who is the responsible party for the measure–for the work.  It is the President who is called upon to give a report, not his Counsellors; so that the Counsellors should not feel hurt or injured–they should not ffel that they are slighted at all, if, upon mature reflection, the President should reject or not receive and act upon the counsel which they give–if he should deem it unwise or imprudent, and take another course.  If he errs in that matter, he is responsible, not the Counsellors.  A good and wise President–the right man in the right place–will call out and get all the information he can to assist him: he will receive every suggestion that is prudent and wise, and act upon it: he will know when to call for it and where to apply it.  If he is not the right man in the right place–if he has not the spirit of his calling, he is unfit to preside, and his President will soon find him out and remove him before any great harm is done, and will place a man in his position who is really qualified for it.  He will not remain long before it is discovered that he is the wrong man for that place.  So it is with the Branch Council meetings.  What is the duty of a Branch Council, when they meet together?  Is it to litigate with their President?  Is it to introduce matters and measures of their own?  Is it to attempt to instruct him in his duties relative to the management of the Branch?  No, it is not.  Their legitimate duty is to report themselves to him–to report their labours, so that he may have a perfect understanding of the situation of the Branch and of all the Saints in it.  They should give a faithful report of all their labours–of the standing and feelings of the people under their charge.  That is their duty when they come together, and then, if he (the Branch President) wants any help or counsel, to give such counsel as from the circumstances of the case and their knowledge of the affair is deemed wisdom, and then leave it to him to say whether that is correct or not, and not feel that they have a right to vote him down or to carry any measure independently of him.  It is not their prerogative.  The President of a Branch is just as much President and just as much responsible for his Branch as the President of a Conference is for his Conference; and it would be just as contrary to the principles and order of this kingdom for the Branch Council to vote against him, rule him down, or attempt to instruct or direct him, as it would be to attempt to exercise this power over the Conference President.  They should understand this.  It is just as much the right of the local Priesthood of a Conference to direct the President and control the affairs of the Conference as of the President of the Branch.  Indeed, that has literally been the case in this Mission.  Heretofore, Branch Presidents, with their Councils, in many instances, have had the entire control over almost everything.  The amount of money that was to be raised, the voting of it away or disposal of it, the ordaining of Elders, and calling them out in many instances, the cutting off of members from the Church, and everything pertaining to the Branch, and by far too many things pertaining to the Church,–all these things have been controlled by the Branch Councils.  More has been put upon them, or they have been permitted to assume more–much more authority and responsibility than were ever intended, or than legitimately belonged to them.  The power and responsibility in a great measure rested on the wrong individuals.  The consequence was that the whole movement was in the wrong direction, and confusion and disorder ensued.  Time has been when, if the Conference President wanted a little money, he had to run to the Branch President and beg for it.  If a Pastor wanted a shilling, he had to run to the Conference President for it.  If he saw fit to let him have it, all right; if not, he might help himself the best way he could.  Neither the Conference President nor the Pastor could exercise half the authority that the Branch Council could in these matters.  Brethren, you know that this was the case.  I know it has been so.  I have seen it.  It was all wrong.  Everything moved in the wrong direction.  Brethren, if there are any remains of it, let it be wiped out of existence at once.  Give the men to understand their positions in the kingdom of God.  Let them understand the order of that kingdom.  Let these Branch Presidents and Branch Councils understand their duties, and see that they do not infringe on the rights of others.  The doctrine that was introduced here this morning by brother Ross, with regard to cutting off members and ordaining men to the Priesthood, was good.  I could say amen to it all.  I could go a little farther in one thing than he did, and that is, I would not allow the Branch President to call men to the Priesthood or recommend them at all.  When the President of a Conference feels that he wants a Travelling Elder, it is his privilege to say so to his Pastor, and, with his counsel, make his selection.  But if there are Travelling Elders in the Conference and they understand their duties, they know all the men who are there.  Let them inquire of their Travelling Elders.  Let the Travelling Elder speak to the President of the Branch.  Let the President of the Branch leave the matter entirely alone until he is called upon.  He does not know whether it is necessary to call men out.  Neither is it his province to call men out and ordain them, till he has the sanction of the President of the Conference.  The Travelling Elders ought to know every man in his district, and whether there is a necessity to call any one to the Priesthood and who is most worthy, and be first consulted in the matter.

The Travelling Elders are under the Presidents of Conferences, and they are or should be just as responsible for the Branches composing their districts as the President the Conference is for his Conference.  They are, in fact, the Presidents of the districts and of all those Presidents of Branches, and are just as much responsible for the condition of their districts as the President of the Conference is for the Conference.  Let this be understood.  I would like the brethren to understand their positions.  Let the duties of the President be defined by the Pastor to the Priesthood of the Conference, as he is the ruling authority in that district.  The President of a Conference is President over the various Travelling Elders.  The Travelling Elder is President over his district, and ought to know every man in it and when it is necessary to call any one to the Priesthood, and the Presidents of Branches have no right to jump over him, or go beyond him, or stand between him and the President of the Conference.  The President of a Conference has a right to do as he pleases–to go past the travelling Elders; but the Presidents of Branches have no right to pass the Travelling Elders, or to go to the President of the Conference with their grievances, until there is an appeal or some other legal step taken in the matter.  Brethren, understand your privileges, and teach the Saints to understand theirs and the local Priesthood to understand theirs, and everything will work like clockwork, will it not?  I should object to the President of a Branch or the Branch Council having anything to do with either calling out men or recommending them for the Priesthood, until called upon.  I should also object to their cutting anybody from the Church.  Instruct them not to do it.  Brother Ross presented that precisely as it should be.  I endorse his sentiments in that respect.  They can investigate, obtain an understanding of the case, and report to the President over them–the President of the district, if there is one.  It is his duty to report to the President of the Conference, and to be very careful not to hastily and unadvisedly condemn any one–to be patient and forbearing when there is no positively wilful iniquity.  Our business is to save, not destroy,–to nourish, cherish, and, so long as there is a spark of life remaining, to dig around them and try to preserve and save them.  The people are not naturally bad, but have much to contend with in their traditions, prejudices, and education, and the influences around them; and if they are weak and falter, it is our duty to encourage and strengthen them.  If they are not wilfully wicked and corrupt, bear with them as long as there is any ground to build upon.  In short, be fathers, not masters.  The President of the Conference should understand the case thoroughly before he acts in the matter.  It is his duty to do it.  I have known Presidents of Conferences to exercise a great deal of unlawful authority in that respect.  I have known a President of a Conference cut individuals off from the Church without any evidence whatever that they had erred, except the suggestions, surmisings, and jealousies of his own evil, suspicious, and unsanctified heart, and accuse individuals in good standing in the Church of crimes which they had never committed or desired to commit, and without investigation cut them off from the Church, and compel the brethren and sisters to raise their hands and sanction his unholy proceedings upon pain of being themselves excommunicated.  I have known even a Pastor so full of revelation, that, without any complaint–without any accusation–without any charge against the individual, in a moment of inspiration, as he called it, he has risen and cut off men who were at that very moment miles and miles away from him engaged in the duties of their calling as Elders in the Church–men who were entirely unconscious of having offended any one, and never had a though of doing wrong or injuring anybody.  Through a tyrannical, self-sufficient, and self-important spirit, such men have listened to the whisperings of an Evil Spirit–the inspiration of the Devil, and in their pride and vanity have ascribed the influence to the Spirit of the Lord, and acted accordingly.  Such men disregard the commandments and dishonour God and his Priesthood.  There is a day of reckoning between them and the individuals whom they thus unjustly wrong.  They must some day make atonement for the wrongs which they, in their foolish vanity and wicked pomposity and tyranny, have inflicted upon innocent brothers and sisters.  Brethren, be wise and cautious; and while you do not countenance iniquity in any shape, be careful that you do not unjustly condemn.  I am perfectly confident in my own mind that hundreds in this country have been unjustly cut off from the Church.  There have been large numbers cut off from a too rigid and tyrannical exercise of power on the subject of the Word of Wisdom, for instance.  At the time the Reformation was introduced into this country, the Word of Wisdom was talked of and preached pretty strongly.  I know many men who ran almost wild on the subject.  I have not the least doubt that many good honest souls in this Mission were unjustly cut off through running to the very extreme on the subject of the Word of Wisdom.  There are others that have been cut off unjustly on the subject of Tithing.  I have heard of instances where good, honest men, whose hearts were in this work and whose desires were to build up this kingdom, who, through lack of employment, got a little behindhand, had their families to support, and could not earn enough to do it–could not procure bread enough for them to eat; and because they did not tithe the little pittance they did earn, when they had not half enough to bread their families from day to day, they have been at once severed from the Church.  It is all wrong.  They are the very individuals who ought to have been lifted up, strengthened, and helped along by all means till the hard times had passed over.  Then, if they had been encouraged and strengthened, they would have paid their Tithing when they had anything to pay it out of.  Do not understand me to say that a man cannot pay a penny, if he onlyi earns tenpence.  He can do it–he can pay his penny: he should do it, if he only gets tenpence.  But if it takes twenty pence day by day to bread his family, and he only gets tenpence, it would be very hard to take the penny off him while he has only just half enough for bread.  Let him keep his penny and keep an exact account, and he will pay it when he gets the means.  Let him use it, if he has not enough to bread his family without it, and let him understand that he owes it to the Lord; and when the Lord blesses him with means to live, he will take of that means and pay it back to the Lord, and be an honest, good Saint all the time.  It is better to do that than to cut him off and lose him.  We are sent to save men.  But when we take the opposite course and destroy them, let us remember that there is a day of reckoning.  Brethren, be careful.  The Priesthood is an almighty power for good or evil to ourselves and those over whom we exercise it.  Be careful, then, how you use it.”  (Asa Calkin, President of the European Mission, 3 Jan., 1859, in “Minutes of a Special Council of the Authorities of the European Missions, Held at Farm Street Chapel, Birmingham, January 1st, 1859,” MS 21(9):135-140, 26 Feb., 1859)

15 Jan.:  Priesthood in Government.

“PRIESTHOOD IN GOVERNMENT.–In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  His Spirit moved upon nature, and she brought forth in her fruitfulness.  By his power the wandering chaos was organized and the shapeless masses formed into spheres; and at his word the rising light chased the darkness around.  Then the heaven, the earth, and the ocean teemed with countless varieties of organized life, and beings in the image of their Maker appeared.  And thus the Divine work goes on through all its phases and spheres, until worlds and systems are brought to a state of thorough government and willing obedience, so that the created follow where the Creator leads, and obey when he sends forth his word.  First comes the collection of the instruments and elements for the work designed, organization and the due formation answering to the ideal in the creative.  Mind follows, and then comes the government of the things created.  In the Divine economy and in the eternal order of progressive existence, government is the final stage of every sphere and leads into its higher one.  So also is it with the work of God among mankind.  In working out the scheme of redemption, in bringing to bear the operations of the Gospel and the establishment of that kingdom upon the earth which shall stand for ever, the same order obtains and the Eternal is seen to move in progressive rounds.  And when in each sphere things are brought under a thorough system of proper government, then the perfection of that sphere has come.

What was the spiritual state of the world when Joseph the Prophet came?  A chaos.  Darkness covered the minds of the people, and wandering shapeless sects conflicted.  And now, while in accordance with the revelation of Jesus to John, ‘Behold I make all things new,’ his Church of the last days–his new creation is growing among men, old things are passing away and becoming disorganized.  Thus it is literally true that society is fast returning to chaos, and thick spiritual darkness covers the earth.

Such is the state which the new dispensation finds, and such is the condition of mankind when the Gospel proclamation is heard, as the Elders bear its tidings from nation to nation, from city to city, and from village to village.  It is at this point where the mission of the Priesthood began in this generation; at this point the work of restitution commenced.  The new creation of Christ’s had to be formed and to grow and increase, while the Priesthood were the labourers and husbandmen in the vineyard of the Lord.  The Spirit moved upon the hearts of the people, and its light and power were manifested among the Saints, and the Dlers gathered Israel into various Church organizations.  Thus the work of God has grown, and thus its stanges of progress have been duly passed, until the Saints revolve in an advanced sphere of Church government.  It is to this stage that the European Mission has progressed and advanced, and it now becomes necessary that the Priesthood should take upon them that higher character.  In the early periods of the Mission, systematic and organized operations were not so absolutely essential as in its present period and position.  If the Elders were building up Branches and converting the honest in heart, nearly the whole of their duties and calling were filled.  They were in the same Church, with the same religion, and were working for the same great end; but, excepting with their immediate superiors, they were comparatively disconnected, and organized operations as we now have them were impossible.  Spiritually, the Saints were bound together in one bond–united in the bonds of the Everlasting Covenant.  Practically, however, their connection was but little more than with their separate Branches and Conferences, while the connection of the Saints and the Travelling Ministry in a general capacity with each other and with the Presidency of the Mission was scarcely more than semi-monthly through the Star, or half-yearly at a General Conference.  But we have now come to a period when those Branches which the first labourers built up are organized into Conferences, Pastorates, and Missions, in the character that we now understand, and the whole Mission operates when the signal is given at the same time upon the same point.  This has been from the growth of twenty-one years, and by successive labourers.

During the year now closed, nearly the whole of the Priesthood of the Mission have vigorously laboured to bring it under a thorough system of Church government.  The success attending those efforts we will leave, and hope that the progress of ’59 will be more satisfactory than that of ’58.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 21(3):45-46, 15 Jan., 1859)

27 Jan.:  Teachers’ Court/Acting Teachers.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The case of James Grundy and Wife was then called up.  The Brethern that had been to visit them gave in their report when it appeared that Br. & Sister Grundy had feelings against the Bishop, also did not believe in the movements of the Church for some time past.  They had been requested to attend this meeting and settle their difficulty but refused, and said they would rather it would remain.  After several of the Brethern spoke on the case and agreeing that they had an apostate spirit and had no regard for their standing in the Church it was voted that James Grundy & his wife be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for Apostacy & speaking against the authorities of the Church & of the ward.  Carried unanimously.  The Bishop then gave some instructions relative to the poor and the interests of the ward, also appointed J. D. T. McAllister to act as Teacher with E. P. Dusette also Solon Foster to act as Teacher in connexion with Thomas T. Chamberlain, after which they were voted in.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 27 Jan., 1859)

31 Jan.:  Sustaining of decision of Teachers’ Court.

[Sunday Evening Meeting]  “At the meeting of the ward the case of James Grundy and his wife was presented to the meeting for their sanction, if they considered the decision a just one, when the decision was sustained by a unanymous vote.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 31 Jan., 1859)

7 Feb.:  Excommunication in Sacrament Meeting.

[Sunday Evening Meeting]  “The Bishop said he was pleased with what had been spoke.  Said he had some business to present which was the case of Sister Haven.  Said that himself & Br. Woodward had made her a visit.  She said she had not belonged to our Church for nearly 4 years, that she believed in Gladen Bishop & his doctrines, & that we could not get her to deviate the least from it.  The Bishop said she was led astray by evil spirits and was teaching her false doctrines to others.  Said he had waited a long time thinking perhaps she would see her error, but as there was no prospect of it he motioned that she be cut off from the Church.  A vote was taken and carried unanymously.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 7 Feb., 1859)

9 Feb.:  70s Pres. to attend weekly general council.

“To the Seventies throughout the World!

You are hereby requested to make a report to the Presidents of your respective Quorums, stating your place of residence, standing, &c., signed by the Presidents of Mass Quorums, also by the Bishops of your several Wards or Settlements.  It is hoped that this timely notice will be duly heeded and attended to immediately.

By order of the Council of the Seventies, 

Joseph Young, President.

John B. Maiben, Clerk pro tem.

P.S.  It is wished, if practicable, that one or more of the Presidents of each Quorum would attend our weekly councils, held on each Saturday at 1 o’clock, p.m., at the Seventies’ Council Hall in this City.”

(DN 8(49):212, 9 Feb., 1859)

23 Feb.:  Every ruling man w/Holy Ghost is a prophet.

“Brother [Heber C.] Kimball said I consider evry ruling man in the Church that Has the Holy Ghost is a prophet seer & Revelator & he should have the spirit of that office.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 23 Feb., 1859)

23 Feb.:  You can make an Apostle, but not a Prophet.

“The Twelve met in the Prayer closet at the Historian’s office . . .

[Heber C. Kimball] The Twelve can ordain men to the Apostleship and give them all the power you have, and you have all that we have got, but you cannot make a prophet only the natural way, and a man cannot be a patriarch and not a prophet, for a man may have the Spirit of a prophet before he can bless and prophecy.”  (JH 23 Feb., 1859)

19 Mar.:  The binding and loosing power of the Priesthood.

“Of all power ever committed to mortals, this is the greatest.  Its effects are the most important and its results the most lasting.  In contemplating it, the mind peers into eternity, and heaven and earth seem linked together.  Blessed are they to whom such power is given!  Blessed are they also who receive their administrations!

This authority has been held by the Priesthood of God in all ages.  By it, God has been present with his people.  Unprepared for actual personal communication with the Deity, mortals have received his pardon, his rebukes, his promises and blessings through the authorized administrationsf of his proxies; and by the intelligence conveyed to them through these mediums of heaven, they have been able to prepare themselves to see his face and dwell with him in the everlasting brightness.

Until mankind are greatly altered from their present condition, they will never hold personal intercourse with the Almighty.  They will have to deal with men Divinely commissioned.  If they obtain the remission of their sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the knowledge of the road to the heavenly city, the passwords for the sentinels of eternity, the key to open the celestial gate, they will obtain these blessings from men–mortal men endowed with power from on high.

Perhaps some one will exclaim, ‘What! has a mortal man power to forgive sins?’  Yes.  This power is with the Priesthood of God, to be used under certain conditions, in the name of the Lord.  Those conditions are repentance and a covenant of future righteousness.  When the humble, penitent believer in Christ presents himself before a servant of the Most High, covenanting to keep the Divine commandments, God’s agent remits his sins, in the name of Jesus Christ, by the sacred ordinance of baptism.

When a Saint who, through temptation and weakness, has fallen into transgression, humbles himself, and with repentant spirit craves the forgiveness of God and the Church, the Priesthood of God point out his path of duty, show wherein restitution can be made, and their vote restoring him to fellowship and confidence is the voice of God to him proclaiming pardon for the past.

And is it in the power of man to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost?  There is power with God’s Priesthood to seal upon the heads of those who are purified from their sins that glorious Spirit of promise, which comes like a light from the realms of day to guide the sons of God through the midnight gloom which has curtained the world.  Aye, and what they seal on earth is sealed in heaven, and the constant whisperings of the Spirit’s voice is a testimony sure and unmistakeable that God honours and acknowledges the acts of his representatives!  

If the Priesthood hold power to confirm individuals and bind them as members of the Church, they also hold the power to loose them and cast them out, when their transgressions prove them no longer worthy of their position.

Sometimes we hear those who have been excommunicated, and who yet possess some faith in the work of God, exclaim–‘Ah, if the Church has cut me off, God has not cut me off.’  But let such reflect for a moment, and they must see that the binding and loosing power exist together–that one is as potent as the other–that God honours both equally, and that he has declared concerning his servants, not only that what they ‘bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,’ but that what they ‘loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’  Did they receive the remission of their sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost through the administrations of the Priesthood?  Yes–so they testified, while walking the road of life.  Then what further argument can they need to prove that God acknowledges the official acts of his delegates?

‘But suppose an individual is cut off wrongfully!’  Then there is the privilege of an appeal.  God has so organized his Church that justice shall be meted out to all, and the weakest Saint will in the end obtain equity therein, while the most exalted, if unrighteous, will be punished.

Some will contend that though the authorities of God’s Church can ordain a man to the Priesthood, they have not power to take it away.  They also seem to forget that the power that binds can also loose.  It would be just as reasonable to say that they possess power to baptise and confirm, but have not power to excommunicate.

Look at a man ordained to the Priesthood who magnifies his calling and possesses the confidence of his brethren: what an influence there is in his presence!  He cheers wherever he goes.  There is a gleam of sunshine around him; gladness beams in his face, and intelligence sparkles in his eyes: there is firmness in his voice, and goodwill and blessing in the grip of his hand.  But let him become slack in his duties and careless of his position, and let the servants of God deprive him of his Priesthood: how dull and lifeless he looks now!  He is dry as a chip, sapless and powerless.  The sunshine has departed from his brow, and all declare that ‘he is not the man that he used to be.’

If any doubt be entertained upon the principle, see Book of Doctrine and Covenants, where we read of a man being deprived of his authority and calling, and being placed to stand as a member in the Church, by the voice of God.

Thus reason, experience, and revelation combine to show that the binding and loosing power are co-existent.

But the fulness of this power cannot be comprehended or realized by the Saints abroad.  At home in Zion, in holy places, they will learn further of its operations.  There, in the administrations of sacred ordinances, they will receive eternal blessings–loosings that shall make them cleaner and purer–sealings that shall bind them more closely to each other and to their God.  There, links will be forged that will weld together, in a chain of everlasting union, the families of the righteous from the beginning to the end of time; and far into the eternities will it be continued, linking indissolubly together the past, the present, and the future.

Blessed be the name of God for the restoration of his holy Priesthood!  Without it, there could be no Church of Christ, no remissions, and no sealings.  ‘Mormonism’ would be as lifeless and dead as the cold, rotting carcasses of dissolving sects around it.  Destitute of it, the glorious Latter-day Work could not have commenced.  Deprived of it, the work accomplished would go for naught, darkness would again gather in thick folds, and the hosts of hell would hold a jubilee!  But the sealing and loosing power, brought back to the earth by ancient Prophets and Apostles, will never be taken away again.  Through it, redemption will come to the dead by the vicarious acts of the living, salvation will be brought to Israel and Judah, and the way be prepared for his coming who is a King and Priest for ever, and without whose name the ordinances of sealing and loosing would be valueless and without effect.”  (Charles W. Penrose, “The Binding and Loosing Power,” MS 21(12):181-182, 19 Mar., 1859)

20 Mar.:  What should the teachers do on their visits?


On Sunday, 20th inst., Elder John Taylor, of the Twelve, delivered a brief discourse, touching the duties of various offices in the church, particularly those of the Teachers.  He said that the common practice with the Teachers, in visiting the members, was to ask, ‘Do you remember your prayers?’  ‘Do you have fellowship for your brethren?’  ‘Do you sustain the Bishop and all the church authorities?’  ‘Do you cease from all evil?’–and there rest satisfied.  This, he said, was, so far, well enough; but they should not stop there.  They should ask the people whether they receive answers to their prayers, for, if they do not, their faith is vain.  When a person prays, he should ask for the thing that he needs; he shoulid not pray for anything he does not expect to receive; and when we pray we should ask in faith in the name of Jesus Christ, believing that we shall receive whatsoever we ask for.”  (DN 9(3):24, 23 Mar., 1859)

7 Apr.:  Benjamin Clapp cut off in General Conference.

“President Wells said: In presenting the names of the various Quorums this morning, the name of Benjamin L. Clapp was omitted.  He has been dropped from the Seventies, and it is now moved and seconded that he be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.–Carried.”

(General Conference Minutes, 7 Apr., 1859; DN 9(6):41, 13 Apr., 1859)

13 Apr.:  Cowdery’s account of priesthood restoration.


At a special conference at Council Bluffs, Iowa, held on the 21st day of October, in the year 1848, brother Oliver Cowdery, one of the three important witnesses to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and who had been absent from the Church, through disaffection, for a number of years, and had been engaged in the practice of law, was present and made the remarks here annexed.  Br. Orson Hyde presided at the said conference.  Br. Reuben Miller, now Bishop of Mill Creek Ward, was also present at the time and noted what he said and has furnished us what he believes to be a verbatim report of his remarks, which we take pleasure in laying before our readers:–

Friends and Brethren:–

My name is Cowdery, Oliver Cowdery.  In the early history of this Church I stood identified with her, and one in her councils.  True it is that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance; not because I was better than the rest of mankind was I called; but, to fulfill the purposes of God, he called me to a high and holy calling.

I wrote, with my own pen, the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith, as he translated it by the gift and power of God, by the means of the Urim and Thummim, or, as it is called by that book, ‘Holy interpreters.’  I beheld with my eyes, and handled with my hands, the gold plates from which it was transcribed.  I also saw with my eyes and handled with my hands the ‘holy interpreters.’  That book is true.  Sidney Rigdon did not write it; Mr. Spaulding did not write it.  I wrote it myself, as it fell from the lips of the Prophet.  It contains the everlasting gospel, and came forth to the children of men in fulfillment of the revelations of John, where he says he saw an angel come, with the everlasting gospel to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.  It contains principles of salvation; and if you, my hearers, will walk by its light and obey its precepts, you will be saved with an everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God on high.  Brother Hyde has just said that it is very important that we keep and walk in the true channel, in order to avoid the sand bars.  This is true.  The channel is here.  The Holy Priesthood is here.

I was present with Joseph when an holy angel from God came down from heaven and conferred on us, or restored, the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood, and said to us, at the same time, that it should remain upon the earth while the earth stands.

I was also present with Joseph when the higher or Melchisedek Priesthood was conferred by the holy angel from on high.  This Priesthood we then conferred on each other, by the will and commandment of God.  This Priesthood, as was then declared, is also to remain upon the earth until the last remnant of time. This holy Priesthood, or authority, we then conferred upon many, and is just as good and valid as though God had done it in person.

I laid my hands upon that man–yes, I laid my right hand upon his head–{pointing to brother Hyde} and I conferred upon him this Priesthood, and he holds that Priesthood now.  He was also called through me, by the prayer of faith, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the early part of November following, as br. Miller relates, br. Hyde called a High Council, in the Tabernacle, to consider the case of br. Cowdery, having been cut off by the voice of a High Council, it was thought that, if he was restored, he should be restored by the voice of a similar body.  Before this body br. Cowdery said:–

Brethren, for a number of years I have been separated from you.  I now desire to come back.  I wish to come humbly and to be one in your midst.  I seek to station; I only wish to be identified with you.  I am out of the Church.  I am not a member of the Church; but I wish to become a member of it.  I wish to come in at the door.  I know the door.  I have not come here to seek precedence.  I come humbly and throw myself upon the decisions of this body, knowing as I do, that its decisinos are right and should be obeyed.

Br. Geo. W. Harris, President of the Council, moved that br. Cowdery be received.

Considerable discussion took place in relatino to a certain letter which, it was alleged, br. Cowdery had written to David Whitmer.  Br. Cowdery again rose and said:–

If there be any person that has aught against me, let him declare it.  My coming back and humbly asking to become a member through the door, covers the whole ground.–I acknowledge this authority.

Br. Hyde moved that br. Oliver Cowdery be received into the Church by baptism, and that all old things be dropped and forgotten.

Seconded and carried unanimously.

We are informed by Elder Phineas W. Young, who was present at his death, that Oliver Cowdery died in Richmond, Missouri, at 4 o’clock p.m., March 3, 1849.  Elder Young says,

his last moments were spent in bearing testimony of the truth of the gospel revealed through Joseph Smith and the power of the Holy Priesthood which he had received through his administration.”

(DN 9(6):48, 13 Apr., 1859)

21 Apr.:  Ordaining of young men.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Bishop said he felt well with the report.  The people had lived through the winter, it had been hard to get wood, still we had got along and now was the time to put in our grain and try to lay buy some for the future, and if the widows cannot get their lots plowed for the Brethern to do it for them.  Wished to ordain some of the young Brethern & encouraged them to do good.  George Woodward said he agreed with the Bishops remarks and wished to see the boys do right and respect the Priesthood of God and it would be a blessing to them.  Brothers William Carmichael, Addison Everett, Solon Foster and J. D. T. MacAllister spoke encouraging to the young who was to be ordained.  The following persons was then ordained to the office of Deacons by Bishop & Counsel:  Charles Henry Alley, Alfred Misner, Thomas Caldwell, John J. Chamberlain, Charles Eugene Fletcher, Thomas Golightly.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 21 Apr., 1859)

18 Jun.:  A Branch President’s visit.

“Having the responsibility of presiding over the Branch of the Church in the town of A—–, I deem it wise to occasionally visit my members at their own dwellings, as time and opportunity permit, so that I may become better acquainted with them and their circumstances in life, and thus be better enabled to discharge my responsible duties, from time to time, in counselling and instructing them according to their peculiar necessities and requirements.  As they are severally visited at stated intervals by their district Teachers, who give in their reports at the weekly Councils, I am somewhat prepared and better enabled to arrange and time my own visits as circumstances require.”  (“A Branch President’s Visit,” MS 21(25):391, 18 Jun., 1859)

18 Jun.:  Hints to Presiding Elders and Preachers.

“HINTS TO PRESIDING ELDERS AND PREACHERS.–In a former number of the Star we made reference to our public meetings where strangers attend who do not understand the doctrines of the Church, but who are seeking after truth.  We referred to the manner in which many of those meetings were conducted, and partially promised the Elders to extend a helping hand by way of counsel, &c., to remove the objectionable features and bring about a thorough reformation in this particular.  In the Star, as well as from the stand, we have heretofore endeavoured to point out the errors and the reformation desired.  Some of our editorials of last year on this subject may be re-read with profit; and we particularly invite all the presiding, travelling, and preaching Elders to give the editorials in Numbers 4, 13, 42, 43, 47, and 48 of Vol. XX. a careful and prayerful reading.

We believe it is a custom with the medical faculty, when they have a stubborn case–an obstinate wound or sore, upon which their prescriptions and applications will not take effect, nor ordinary remedies reach–to scarify or open the wound afresh, laying bare the diseased part, so that the prescribed remedy may be able to take effect and a cure be accomplished.  We think that perhaps a similar process might be profitably introduced in this case–that, by showing up these meetings as they are too often conducted, it may prepare the Elders for remedying the evil and effecting a reformation.  We are not now speaking of those meetings that are exclusively attended by the Saints, or nearly so, but of those attended by strangers, who are dissatisfied with the religions of the day and are inquiring after truth,–who come to hear doctrine, to learn the faith of the Saints, and the grounds upon which it is predicated.

It is too often the case that these meetings are protracted to a tedious and unprofitable length, nearly as much time being consumed in opening as should be occupied in the whole meeting.  The President commences by reading from beginning to end some long hymn with eight lines to the verse, and the congregation singing it through to some doleful tune that requires a repetition of one-half of each verse to carry it through.  Then some good Elder is called upon to pray.  And such a prayer!  All over creation, from one end of the earth to the other and back, from the beginning of time into eternity and the eternal worlds, he roams, telling the Deity who he is, what he is, how great he is, what he has done, and what he is going to do hereafter, and making frequent and vain repetitions of his holy name, introducing it in almost every sentence, besides asking him for scores of things that he has no business with and knows nothing about, till the audience are completely wearied out, and unitedly desire in their hearts that he would stop, and whose most distinct feeling or recollection of the prayer, when over, is that their knees ache, and that their bodies and minds are exhausted.  Then follows another long hymn, precisely after the fashion of the first.  By this time the meeting should have almost been brought to a close.  The strangers are tired and begin to be doubtful whether they will obtain what they are seeking for.  Judging from what has passed, they have little or no confidence that anything to satisfy their cravings can come from such a source.  They are discouraged and about ready to take their departure.  The Elder, however, arises and begins to speak.  Hope again moves in their hearts, and they settle themselves to hear,–anxious, if possible, to get the information, the light, and knowledge they are seeking.  But, alas, too often it is the case that these souls that are hungering and thirsting after knowledge are doomed to a second disappointment.  The Elder begins his harangue by telling the congregation that he has nothing on his mind–that he does not know what he is going to say–that he is not prepared to give a discourse–that he has not studied any subject–that, in fact, he has not got much education, and that he is glad of it; but that if the Lord has anything for the people, he can communicate it through him just as well as if the case were otherwise.

We wish the Elders distinctly to understand that all this is highly irreverent and insulting to the Lord, and derogatory and dishonouring to the Priesthood.  It is imperatively the duty of every man holding the Priesthood to acquire information and knowledge by every possible means, and particularly to store his mind with principle and doctrine, with Scripture, both ancient and modern, and with reason and argument, that he may be able to deal it out to the honest inquirers as occasion may require and the Spirit dictate.

After his preface, the Elder starts off and hammers out an hour or an hour-and-a-half’s harangue, in which every other system of religion is attacked and demolished–of course throwing the priests, with all their learning and ability, completely into the shade!  Tithing, domestic economy, prophecy, emigration, the resurrection, handcarts, spiritual gifts, the Millennium, baptism, kingdoms, principalities and powers, glory, immortality, and eternal lives all used up, mixed up with a little joking here and there, and Murray’s grammar and the  the Queen’s English horribly mangled and torn to atoms, and in which the pronoun ‘I‘ figures most extensively,–the whole harangue being singularly devoid of everything like argument, sound sense, reason, or Scripture, and no more resembling the Gospel than Zadkiel’s Almanack or Bradshaw’s Railway Guide.  Rinally, he winds up his remarks in a style that shows he thinks no small thing of himself, and feels pretty well satisfied with ‘Number One’ generally.  He, however, informs the congregation that he ‘had not much to say,’ (a fact which they had long since discovered,) and that what he has said had been ‘without forethought or study,’ (a fact that appears sufficiently evident to the audience without any confirmation from the speaker,) and that therefore what he has said has been specially dictated by the Holy Ghost, (an assertion that obtains but little credence with the congregation,)–the truth of which we beg leave most distinctly and emphatically to deny.  The assertion is blasphemous and insulting to the Holy Spirit in the extreme.

Again:  There is no excuse in this day for any Elder who cannot read, write, spell, and discourse correctly.  There are brethren in every Conference, and almost or quite every Branch, who would willingly and freely bestow the time and attention necessary to instruct the brethren in these and other branches, if they will give them the opportunity.  We consider the Elder who has been any considerable length of time in the Church, and who has been blessed with health and strength, that cannot at least read, write, spell, and discourse correctly, a disgrace to himself, to the Church and cause of God, and as dishonouring his Priesthood.  Had we personally the ordaining and appointing of Elders to the ministry, we would not confer the Priesthood upon any man in this land that could not read, write, spell, and discourse correctly.

We do not wish to be understood as saying that the foregoing remarks apply in their full force to all the meetings or to all the Elders.  On the contrary, we are happy to say that they do not, and to some not at all.  But to many of them we are certain they do apply to the full extent, and to many others in part; and we specially design them for all such, and wish them to receive them as they are meant–for themselves particularly.  We wish every one whom the cap will fit in the least to kindly put it on and wear it.  It is designed for their especial benefit and to do them good, as well as to benefit the cause.  We could name some of the meetings and some of the Elders, did we deem it necessary; but, knowing that all are ready to receive counsel and to discharge every duty as soon as they understand what is required, we feel assured that these hints will be received in a proper spirit, and that the desired end will be accomplished.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 21(25):396-398, 18 Jun., 1859)

25 Jun.:  Calling of officers in Britain.

“It is not the duty or business of Branch Presidents to call men to the Priesthood or to recommend them at all, unless they are specially called upon so to do.  When the President of a Conference feels that there is a local necessity for calling any one to the Priesthood, it is his privilege and duty to communicate with his Pastor on the subject; and on obtaining his consent, to make his selection with the assistance of the Travelling Elder (who is presumed to, and, if he understands and attends to his duty, does know every man in his district,) and the President of the Branch with and under whom the new candidate will have to labour.”  (“Circular of General Instructions,” MS 21(26):416, 25 Jun., 1859)

3 Jul.:  If John Wesley had had the Priesthood.

“I never passed John Wesley’s church in London without stopping to look at it.  Was he a good man?  Yes; I suppose him to have been, by all accounts, as good as ever walked on this earth, according to his knowledge.  Has he obtained a rest?  Yes, and greater than ever entered his mind to expect; and so have thousands of others of the various religious denominations.  Why could he not build up the kingdom of God on the earth?  He had not the Priesthood; that was all the difficulty he laboured under.  Had the Priesthood been conferred upon him, he would have built up the kingdom of God in his day as it is now being built up.  He would have introduced the ordinances, powers, grades, and quorums of the Priesthood: but, not holding the Priesthood, he could not do it.  Did the Spirit of God rest upon him?  Yes, and does, more or less, at times, upon all people.”  (Brigham Young, 3 Jul., 1859; JD 7:5)

13 Jul.:  Only Mormonism has the Holy Priesthood.

“Mr [Horace] Greely asked Presidet Young what is the difference between your religion & Church from the Christian world?

B. Y.  The difference between us is that we believe that No Church is the Church of God, who has not the Holy Priesthood.  We have the Priesthood & the sects of the day have not got it.  The Lord has delivered the Priesthood unto us & without the priesthood no man has authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 13 Jul., 1859)

20 Aug.:  Ordinances.

“Mankind are continually running into extremes.  They will attach either too much importance to a subject or none at all.  Particularly has this been the case in relation to the ordinances of the Gospel.

While some have placed their trust in ordinances, and have attributed to them mysterious virtues and fabulous powers, looking to them as the source instead of the channel or saving blessings, others have entirely rejected them, denied their necessity, and often ridiculed them, counting them foolish and powerless.  The wise man will jump neither to the one extreme nor to the other, but, seeking for Divine assistance, will endeavour to understand the designs of the Almighty in the institution of ordinances, and, by humble compliance with all his requirements, will obtain the blessings of each.

It is not my intention, in this short article, to introduce all the ordinances necessary for mankind to receive: indeed, that would be impossible, seeing that many of them can only be revealed and administered in holy places specially set apart for the purpose, while others are yet among the ‘hidden things’ and still numbered among the ‘secrets of God.’  But I will venture to offer a few remarks upon some of the simple things of the kingdom, trusting that they will not be devoid of interest and benefit.

That some ordinances are necessary for the salvation of mankind is evident, for God has instituted them and commanded them to be administered; and it would be charging Him who is all-wise with folly and trifling to say that they are not needed.  But while we believe in their necessity and expect to receive the blessings which are promised upon obedience to them, we must not forget the conditions which accompany them.

Ordinances alone have no saving virtue–no power to bless; but when properly administered and faithfully obeyed, every condition being observed, blessings of priceless worth flow through them from their Great Author.

The ordinance of baptism, if shorn of its conditions, would be nothing but a bath, and its effects would be no more than ‘the washing away of the filth of the flesh;’ but, when administered by one having authority from God to those who believe truly in Jesus Christ and repent humbly of their sins, it is the medium of communication from God to man of a boon so great that pen could not write its magnitude.  ‘The remission of sins!’  Who can comprehend the heaven-born joy that swells the heart of him who obtains that blessing–who can feel that freedom of the soul which seems to lift him from his earthly nature and rolls from his shoulders the burden of his transgressions?  None but those who have righteously obeyed the ordinance–none but those who have received its privileges.

The ordinance of the laying on of hands, divested of its preparatory conditions, is of itself a mere form, valueless and without effect.  But the Saint of God cleansed from his impurities, through faith, repentance, and baptism, by the laying on of the hands of God’s Priesthood, receives the Comforter–the Spirit of truth–the light of eternity.  The scales fall from his eyes, his mental blindness departs, and thankfulness overflows his soul as bright views of celestial things are presented to his eager gaze.  He can testify that ‘it is profitable to keep the ordinances of God.’

The ordinance of administration to the sick, without faith accompanying it, possesses no healing virtue; but the thousands of living witnesses who, through faith, the anointing with holy oil, and the laying on of hands, have been delivered from the agonies of pain and the grasp of the Destroyer, would, if all their voices could be heard, present such a mass of evidence to the astonished world, that surely sceptics would close their mouths, and those who declare that ‘It is all done away’ would for ever after hold their peace.

The ordinance of the sacrament, when received thoughtlessly and unworthily, conveys no blessing.  It is but eating and drinking; but when partaken of by the Saints who have prepared their hearts by self-examination, by determinations of improvement, and by forgiveness of personal injuries, then ‘the peace of God that passeth all understanding’ rests upon them and the cords of their unity are drawn tighter around them.  The bread then appears before them as a representation of his body, and the wine or water as a likeness of his blood, who said concerning the sacrament, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’  They are thus led to think with gratitude upon the work he performed for their redemption, and to look with joy for his coming laden with rewards for the faithful; and these reflections are incentives to righteousness.

So with the rest of the ordinances of God’s house.  They may appear simple; to the world they may be foolishness; improperly administered or received, they may be worse than useless; but when attended to according to the instructions of the Almighty, eternal blessings and privileges, that cannot otherwise be obtained, are the results which are certain to follow.  Through rejecting the ordinances of God, numbers will shut against themselves the door of the celestial kingdom; and, through perverting and changing them, many will entail upon themselves and upon those who follow them the just vengeance of an offended Deity.

Obedience to the ordinances of God is required of every soul than can understand them, and the voice of God in these last times to all the world is, ‘Turn, O ye children of men from the traditions of your fathers, repent of all your wickedness, and obey the ordinances of mine house; then will I smile upon you and bless you, and fill your souls with light and happiness.’  ‘Even from the days of your fathers, ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.  Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.’

The Lord shall come speedily, clothed in the mantle of his wrath, shooting forth the barbed arrows of his displeasure, shaking the universe with his indignation.  Upon the wicked shall his vengeance fall; the pride of the rebellious shall turn into trembling, and the might of the boaster shall fail before his majesty.  Who shall be able to abide the glory of his brow and stand in his presence unconsumed?  They alone who have hearkened to his voice, who have kept his commandments, and have been washed, and purified, and prepared thorugh his sacred ordinances.”  (Charles W. Penrose, “Ordinances,” MS 21(34):535-537, 20 Aug., 1859)

28 Aug.:  Peter, James and John.

“Peter, James, and John had also been sent as Apostles to restore the Apostleship to the earth; for no man held that power and authority; and in order that it might be restored, it was needful that an Apostle, holding the office, and authority, and the keys, should lay his hands upon an individual to restore these keys, and authority, and power to act in the Apostleship.  Peter, James, and John, therefore, restored to the earth the same authority and power that they themselves had.”  (Orson Pratt, 28 Aug., 1859; JD 7:78-79)

18 Sep.:  Blessings of the Lesser Priesthood.

“What are the blessings promised to the lesser Priesthood?  They are not only to hold authority and administer in the name of the Lord in temporal things, and administer in certain outward ordinances; but there are privileges that the lesser Priesthood enjoy far exceeding those temporal administrations.  They were to have the privilege of conversing with angels.  Did you ever reflect or realize how great a privilege this is?

Is it not a great privilege to go before the Lord and receive the ministration of angels, and instructions from their mouths with regard to what should be spoken to the people?  But very few of the lesser Priesthood who sit under the sound of my voice, or who are to be found upon the whole earth, have attained to this privilege.  If the lesser Priesthood have not attained to it, let us inquire concerning those that hold still higher authority, concerning the Elders, Seventies, High Priests, the Twelve, the various Bishops, and the various authorities and presiding Elders over different Branches and settlements.  Have then even attained to the blessings of the lesser Priesthood?  No.  With the exception of a very few individuals who may have come up to their privileges, who may have had the visions of eternity opened to them, and may have conversed with angels, and received instructions with regard to their callings and duties, and what they shall say to the people; but, with the exception of these few individuals, the others are away in the back grounds.  And when we come to speak of the higher privileges, beyond that of receiving the administration of angels, you can scarcely find a man in all the Latter-day Kingdom that has come up to them.  I have not.  I speak it to my shame, and I speak it, as brother Gates spoke concerning himself, with shame, that I have not attained to the privileges that pertain to the higher Priesthood.  What are these privileges?  They are plainly laid down in the word of God.  Those holding that Priesthood have the privilege not only of receiving the ministration of angels, but to have the heavens opened to them, and to behold the face of God.”  (Orson Pratt, 18 Sep., 1859; JD 7:309-310)

18 Sep.:  You have the keys & key-words of the Priesthood.

“You have the keys of the Priesthood; you have the key-words of the Priesthood here; you have the signs of the Priesthood here; you have all the ordinances of the Priesthood here which have been revealed; you have learned the rules and laws of the Priesthood; and why not, ye Elders of Israel–ye servants of the Most High God, rise up in the power of the Priesthood and magnify your callings throughout the settlements in this Territory?  Why give way to darkness, to debauchery, to low and degraded things, and mix with those who are calculated to fill you with the spirit of evil continually?”  (Orson Pratt, 18 Sep., 1859; JD 7:309-310)

7 Oct.:  What is the Priesthood?

“What else did the Lord do through Joseph Smith?  He restored the holy Priesthood.  And what is that?  It is the government of God, whether in the heavens or on the earth,–the principle and power by which he regulates, controls, dictates, and manages his affairs, his worlds, his kingdoms, his principalities, his powers, his intelligencies, and all things that are underneath him and above him, and with which he has to do.  He has restored that Priesthood, and a restoration of that Priesthood necessarily implies a restoration of his rule and power, and an organization of his kingdom and government on the earth.  This, therefore, is that kingdom, and is organized according to the revelations, wisdom, communications, or order of God: hence it has its First Presidency, its Prophets and Apostles, its Seventies and High Priests, its Bishops, Teachers, and Deacons, and every appendage that is necessary to completeness, and to promote the happiness and welfare of the human family, and for all purposes of government on this erath and in the heavens.  Or, in other words, this organization is a pattern of things in the heavens, and is the mediums or channels through which the blessings of God flow to his people on the earth, and through which intelligence is communicated concerning all subjects with which the Saints are concerned, whether they relate to this world or to the world which is to come.

We are not left to grope any longer in the dark about what kind of government we are to have, for the Lord has revealed it; and if you do not yet know it, you will.  Do you want to know what is our Constitution, what our laws, and who are our lawgivers?  The Scriptures shall answer–‘The Lord is our king, the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, and he will rule over us.’  How?  Through the Priesthood.  Do you want to know what kind of courts, what kind of judge, and what kind of lawyers you ought to have?  Go and ask you High Council and Bishops.  They will instruct you in relation to your judiciary, and tell you who should judge matters, and regulate them, and put them in order.  Do you want to know what kind of morals you ought to be governed by?  You ought to be governed by the morals contained in these books.  Do you want to learn the duties of husband and wife, of parents and children?  The Gospel of Jesus Christ unfolds them, and the Priesthood are the true exponents of that Gospel; in fact, what we have here–the gaovernment of God restored again to the earth.  We have here a people who are not ashamed to acknowledge his law and his power, who are not ashamed to acknowledge his authority, nor afraid to submit to his laws.”  (John Taylor, 7 Oct., 1859; JD 7:323)

7 Oct.:  Peter, James and John.

“He called Apostles–Peter, James, John, and nine others, and committed unto them the keys of his salvation.  He says to them–‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father, in my name, he may give it you.’  Jesus Christ is the heir of the Father pertaining to this world, and we are his brethren.

Peter, James, and John committed the same keys to Joseph Smith in this last dispensation, and he committed them to his Twelve Apostles before his martyrdom, Brigham Young presiding over them, who is now our Prophet and leader, and holds the keys of the kingdom of God on the earth in the last days; and he will hold them for ever; and Joseph holds those keys in the spirit-world, and will continue to hold them,–President Young holding them in connection with him, and every other man in his order and standing in this Church holding them in connection with President Young.”  (Heber C. Kimball, 7 Oct., 1859; JD 7:328-329)

8 Oct.:  Appointment of young men to priesthood offices.

“It is a common adage, ‘Old men for counsel, and young men for war.’  Until men born in the Priesthood grown old therein in faithfulness, I would say, with comparatively few exceptions, ‘Young men for counsel, and young men for war.’  For knowledge and understanding, I would rather, as a general thing, select young men from eighteen years of age–the sons of men who have been in this Church from the beginning, than to select their fathers.  Their minds have been but little, if any, trammelled with erroneous traditions and teachings.  Let the yoke of the Gospel be put upon those young men brother Joseph referred to in his remarks, who have been sowing their wild oats for years, and they are generally better and more correct in the offices of the Priesthood than many of the gray-haired fathers.  They understand more about God, about Jesus Christ, and the government of God on the earth, than do many of the fathers and grandfathers.”  (Brigham Young, 8 Oct., 1859; JD 7:335-336)

8 Oct.:  Disfellowship the dishonest from their quorums.

“If you know a man to be guilty of pilfering, or any species of dishonesty, disfellowship that man in his Quorum, and let his Bishop cut him off from the Church.”  (Brigham Young, 8 Oct., 1859; JD 7:338)

23 Oct.:  Filling a vacancy in the Twelve.

“Historian’s office,

G.S.L. City, Oct. 23, 1859

4 P.M.  Meeting of the first presidency, Twelve and Presidency of Seventies.

Present–Presidents Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Daniel H. Wells.  Of the Twelve–Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, Geo. A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman, Ezra T. Benson, Chas. C. Rich, Erastus Snow and Franklin D. Richards.

Of the Seventies–Joseph Young, Henry Harriman, Albert P. Rockwood, Horace S. Eldridge and Levi W. Hancock.  Lorenzo D. Young and Robt. L. Campbell were also present.

Prayer–by Elder Levi W. Hancock.

Geo. A. Smith said Elder Wilford Woodruff was sick in bed.

Prest. Brigham Young said, ‘Brethern this council has been called for the purpose of selecting a man to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve and the vacancy in the first presidency of the Seventies.

Many expected this would have been done at our conference, and we might have presented names had we met previously.

Brother Robert will keep the minutes of the meeting.

The brethern can suggest names and the clerk will write them and read them to us, or they can write their suggestion on paper and hand them to the cler.

Levi W. Hancock expressed his thankfulness for the privilege of being in the midst of his brethern, bore testimony that he loved righteousness and hated iniquity and of the faithfulness and uprighteousness of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

Geo. A. Smith motioned that the First Presidency nominate the brethern to fill the vacancies, seconded by Orson Hyde.

Prest. Young–‘I would be happy to hear the suggestions of the brethern.  I suppose I could nominate as well as any of you, and make as good selsctions as any body else, I have suggested quite a number of men for these quorums.  I took Bro. Rockwood into the Quorum of Seventies as one of the first Presidency and also Brother Clapp, and if he had done his duty, went along faithfully, he would have been able to magnify his calling, and done well enough.  Any man who will be faithful will have intelligence enough to magnify his calling.’

Geo. A. Smith–‘We don’t expect that those who call men into office are responsible for their future conduct.  There are but few of the Twelve here whom I saw when receiving their charge at the time the Quorum was organized in Kirtland.  Jared Carter at that time objected to Bro. Brigham, said he was like an apple, half of which was sweet, the other half sour.’

Prest. Young–‘There is a motion before us which has been seconded, but I will hear the suggestions of the brethern if they wish to suggest.’

Erastus Snow–‘Very many good brethern may be suggested.’

Prest. Young–‘Bro. Kimball, don’t you wish to suggest?’

Prest. Kimball–‘I have heard several brethern suggested to fill the places.  I have talked with the Twelve and heard the names of Geo. Q. Cannon and John Van Cott suggested.’

Orson Pratt–‘I would like to know on what principle men are to be selected, whether we are to suggest men of experience, who have been tried and proven in many responsible positions or those who are young and have not been called to important trusts in the church or if any qualifications are needed.’

Prest. Young–I will answer your question, Bro. Pratt, to my own satisfaction.  If a man was suggested to me of good natural judgment, possessing no higher qualifications than faithfulness and humility enough to seek the Lord for all his knowledge and who would trust in him for his strength, I would prefer him to the learned and talented.

Orson Pratt–If the Lord should designate a boy 12 years old–he is the person we would all be willing to sustain, but if left to my own judgment to choose, I would select a man of experience who was tried in many places, faithful and diligent and a man of talent who could defend the Church in any position in which he might be placed.

Geo. A. Smith suggested Warren Snow of San Pete, he was well acquainted with Joseph, his life and history.

Prest. Young–Warren Snow is a good man and a talented man.

Erastus Snow said Benjamin F. Johnson was well acquainted with Joseph.

Orson Pratt–If office in the Priesthood is hereditary as we have instances of anciently, we might select Parley P. Pratt, Jr. to fill his father’s place.

Erastus Snow–The question arises are offices in the Priesthood hereditary like the patriarchal office.

Orson Hyde–I motion that the Presidency nominate and that we sustain their nomination.

Prest. Young–Brethern if you feel it would be just as right as not for me to nominate, I’ll do so–Unanimous vote.

Prest. Young–I nominate George Q. Cannon for one of the Twelve, and Jacob Gates for one of the Presidency of Seventies.  (‘Amen, amen,’ responded by several.)

If you all feel that it is right for George Q. Cannon to fill the vacancy in the Twelve, signify it by uplifted hands (unanimous vote).

If you all feel that it is right for Jacob Gates to fill the vacancy in the Seventies, signify it by the same sign (unanimous vote).

John Van Cott is an unexceptionable man.  I have no fault to find with him whatever.

George Q. knows what is right as well as any other man.  He is modest, but I don’t think he will let modesty smother his obligations to do his duty.

J. Taylor referred to his writing him a long communication when he went to the Islands with the brother Hiram Clark was their President and he did not like to disobey his President’s counsel but he did not believe in returning but considered it right to stay and give the natives a fair warning, for his faith was that good could be done.

Geo. A. Smith suggested the publication of the appointments.

Prest. Young thought it not wisdom at present.  Geo. Q. is known from St. Joseph to St. Louis and in the East in connection with our business and trading.

Horace S. Eldridge should have suggested Geo. Q. if it had been his privilege; he bore testimony that George loves righteousness and hates iniquity and is very zealous, but not enthusiastic.

Erastus Snow–Are there any suggestions to Brother George?

Prest. Young–Don’t know of anything only to stay till we tell him to come here.

Prest. Heber C. Kimball introduced the subject of counselors to Daniel Spencer, President of the Stake.

Prest. Young–He is none too good alone, but alone he can get along very well.   If we tie two to him he won’t be able to move.

Bro. Fullmer is a good man, but, like the majority of the Elders of Israel, who consider when they come home from their missions, they can lay their coats off; they don’t mean to lay down their religion, but they do it.

Geo. A. Smith inquired of Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich if they were going south. They said they intended going soon.

Prest. Young–Bro. Kimball:  Are your appointments for the brethern to help you to-morrow in the endowment house given out?

Prest. Kimball–Yes.

Benediction–By Orson Pratt.”  (HBY 1859-707; JH 23 Oct., 1859)

23 Oct.:  New SL Stake High Council.


It will be recollected at the late Semi-annual conference, the High Council for this Stake of Zion was disbanded.  Some of the members had removed to and were living in the country; many of them had survived an longtime and not a few had become quite old and superanuated; therefore, it was thought expedient to drop the whole quorum and at some other time organize an entire new council composed of vigorous active young men who could efficiently discharge the duties of High Counselors of the Church more in accordance with the principles of truth and life than some very old men can under existing circumstances in this age and dispensation.

The old adage so often repeated, ‘Old men for council and young men for war’ seems not applicable just now and ‘young men for council and young men for war’ will be in vogue for some time to come, but there are a few things which are sine quanau to the incumbency of responsible offices in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which all, and especially the young, will do well to remember.

On Sunday evening last, the selection having been previously made, William Eddington, James A. Little, Claudius V. Spencer, Samuel W. Richards, George Nebeker, John T. Caine, Joseph W. Young, Gilbert Clements, Edward Partridge, Franklin B. Woolley, Orson Pratt, Jr., and Joseph F. Smith–a better selection than which could not well have been made.”  (HBY 1859-707; JH 23 Oct., 1859)

Nov.:  They asked whom we desired for our bishop.

“For a few months Mendon was known as the North Settlement, but in a meeting held in November in the house of Charles Bird, apostles Orson Hyde and Ezra T. Benson organized the ward.  When it was asked ‘By what name shall this settlement be known?’ it was proposed that Elder Benson name it, then he said, ‘I will call it Mendon after the town in which I was born.’  When the apostles asked whom we desired for our bishops, Sister Charles Atkinson nominated Andrew Shumway, who was sustained.  At the same meeting I was chosen as music leader, a position from which I was never released.  The ecclesiastical organization was simpole in early times.  There was a bishop without counselors, and next to him in authority was the president of the teachers quorum.”  (History of Isaac Sorensen, UHQ 24:57, 1956)

3 Dec.:  “Typical” quarterly 70s conference.


Convened in the ‘Council house’ at Parowan, Saturday Dec. 3, at 2 o’clock p.m.

Opened with singing.  Prayer J. Hoffheins.

Moved and carried that S. H. Rogers, (President of the Mass Quorum in Parowan) preside over the conference.

Moved and carried that I. M. Coombs act as clerk.

There being but little business for the consideration on the action of the conference, the time was probably occupied by speaking.

Wm. Leana said he was glad he not got so far along as to be unwilling to settle whatever differences might arise from time to time between him and his brethren.  He wanted to try to do right and he would like to see his brethren do the same.  Felt satisfied with Parowan and would not exchange his possessions here for the same amount in France, Italy or any other country.

P. R. Wright compared our principles and our society with that of the gentile world.  Showed that the prophets could have meant no other land than that of America when he prophesied concerning the kingdom of God in the last days.  Said that the organization of the U. S. Government was a preparatory work for the introduction of the gospel; as it could not have been introduced in many of the European governments, on account of the religious intolerance that prevails among them.  The late wars in those countries have resulted in bringing about more freedom to the masses that they may be indeed free agents to themselves, either to receive or to reject the gospel when it shall be presented to them.

James Guyman wished to so live that he would merit a present as well as an eternal salvation: hoped to see the day when the constitution of the United States will be respected and its guaranteed blessings enjoyed by all who live under its broad folds.

J. M. Coombs compared the government of the U. S. to the frame work of an arch, and the arch itself to the kingdom of God.  Many wise men in the world acknowledge that while all other sects and parties, both religious and politic have the seed of their own destruction implanted in their very organization, that Mormonism incorporates nought but that which is enduring and eternal in its nature, that unlike every other ism, its destiny is ever onward, ever upward; and that it will never reach a point at which it will begin to recede.

Z. B. Decker said, that those who apostatize will have to come back again, and take up their work just where they leave it off.  We should not let the cares of the world blind us to our true interests.

J. Hoffheins said, that the arguments which had been adduced this afternoon, were sufficient to convince the whole world of the divine authenticity of Mormonism if it could only have its due weight on the minds of the people.  There are very few honest hearted wise men at the head of any of the nations; they have passed away and that is the reason why there is so much confusion.

Pres. R. P. Morris, of Cedar City, said that the more we are tried, the more we will advance in wisdom and intelligence.  We shoiuld meditate more on the principles of life, for it is by them we exist and by them we will endure.  The majority of the Seventies at Cedar feel well.  We have commenced trimming up the quorums and cutting off the dead branches, and as a consequence we feel better than for some time past.

Elijah Newman, H. P., expressed himself as being well pleased with the spirit of the meeting.

Adjourned till half-past 6 o’clock p.m.

6 o’clock p.m.

Meeting was called to order by President Rogers.  Singing and prayer by W. Littlefield.  Br. Littlefield said that he had been away from this place a long time, and was glad to get back once more.  Wished that he had remained here instead of going away.  He had not been prospered since he left, and he felt that the hand of the Lord had been against him.  We had better be in the gentile world, unless we intend to live the religion we possess.  He had concluded to settle down here again and hoped that his brethren would overlook his wanderings and faults and give him their prayers and faith.

J. McConnel, of Cedar, spoke of the various influences by which mankind are surrounded, and said, that evil spirits are ever trying to persuade us that we can do better somewhere else than where we are, and thus try to induce us to commence roving, and if we give way to them they will lead us down to hell.  The old adage that, ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss,’ is a true one.

Geo. Wood, of Cedar City, said, our social meetings are for our own individual good.  ‘The way of duty is the way of safety.’  The course that we take will show what the motive was that brought us here.  If we do not live the religion of Jesus Christ, all the riches that we can amass can never make us happy, but if we learn to acknowledge the hand of God in adversity we will not be apt to forget Him in adversity.

C. Y. Webb recommended that we always obey the counsels of the authorities of this church and said that a man who will stay where he is sent will be honored and prospered, while he who will rove about, is restless and unhappy and cannot have the confidence of any, for he does not stay in any place long enough to prove himself.

J. Eyre said he came to the mountains to learn more of the ways of the Lord and to earn an interest in His kingdom.

E. Dalton said, if we could always feel as well as we do to-night, we should never want to apostatize or to rove about through the world; believed that our Heavenly Father looks upon every man as being what he charishes most in his heart, and that is the way we ought to judge each other.

Jas. Guyman rejoiced that it was his privilege to live in an age of light.

Geo. Wood wished to make one more remark.  He was with br. Geo. A. Smith during his exploration of this country and heard him advise the pioneers of this place to take in a small farm, and that if they would cultivate it well, he knew it would yield more than a large farm half attended to.  He had proved the wisdom of br. Smith’s counsel.

L. Barton spoke to some length on the same subject.

J. West spoke of the jealousies which exist among the nations, and said, that while they make the loudest provessions of friendship they are secretly laying plans for each other’s overthrow.

H. D. Bayless said, that all the happiness we ever enjoy we will have to make for ourselves.

I. N. Coombs made a few remarks on the education and training of children.

Wm. Adams said, there is an influence prevailing, more or less, throughout the Territory persuading men to move from one place to another, and to dispose of the staff of life which the Lord has given them as a reward for their toil.  This he did not like to see.

Prest. S. H. Rogers said that it was our privilege to learn by observation, but if we will not, we must needs learn by sad experience.  We have been warned by those whom we acknowledge as our leaders to lay up grain to supply our wants during a time of famine, which is soon to commence on the earth; if we heed not this counsel we will have to dring the dregs of a bitter cup.  This counsel was first given by the First Presidency; it was afterwards given unto the Twelve to preach, and now, lately, the responsibility of preaching and practising it has been rolled on to the shoulders of the Seventies: let us bear it off manfully.  Spoke on the duty and calling of the Seventies and advised us to prepare to fill our mission as men of God.

Moved and carried that Z. B. Decker and E. Dalton act as teachers to this quorum during the coming quarter, and that Geo. Cory and J. V. Adams be sustained in the same capacity to the Mass Quorum at Cedar City.

Moved, seconded and carried that S. H. Rogers be sustained in his presidency of the Mass Quorum at Parowan, and that R. V. Morris be sustained in the same office at Cedar City.

Adjourned till 10 o’clock a.m. to-morrow.

Benediction by J. Hoffheins.

Sunday, 10 o’clock a.m.

Conference called to order by Pres. Rogers.  Singing by the choir; prayer by J. Hoffheins.  J. McConnel spoke on the subject of laying up of our grain.

Wm. Adams spoke on the same subject and said he was glad that we in this remote part of the Territory had no market to induce us to sell our produce.  He thought that a man who would dispose of the bread which God has given him for the support of his own life and that of his family ought to suffer for his foolishness.

Pres. Rogers moved that our conference be adjourned, to meet at Cedar City on the first Saturday and Sunday in March next; carried.

Moved and carried that the clerk send a copy of the minutes to Pres. Joseph Young, also a copy to the ‘Deseret News.’

Benediction by Pres. W. H. Dame.

Samuel Rogers, President.

Isaiah M. Coombs, Clerk.”

(DN 9(43):339, 28 Dec., 1859)

7 Dec.:  Elders quorum meetings twice a month.


The meetings of the Elders’ Quorum will be held hereafter on the first and third Saturdays of each month, at early candle light, in the 14th Ward school house.

John Nebeker, President.”

(DN 9(40):320, 7 Dec., 1859)

18 Dec.:  John Taylor talk on MP offices & duties.

“[18 Dec.]  Elder John Taylor spoke of the duties of Elders, High Priests, Seventies and Apostles in the Church; also of the duties and obligations of fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, and of what is required of all Saints.”  (DN 9(42):336, 21 Dec., 1859)

29 Dec.:  Young men promoted to 70s prematurely.

[Teachers Meeting]  “Br. George Woodward spok[e] against hypocracy and deceitfulness.  The Bishop said he approved of the remarks of Br. Woodward and that we must teach in plainness and clear our garments of the Blood of all men.  Spoke of young men joining the seventies before they had magnified the lesser Priesthood.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 29 Dec., 1859)