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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1870

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1870.” You can view other years here.

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1870:  13 Jan.:  Only Adam’s priesthood posterity listed in bible

“One religious, blasphemous hypocrite, whiningly says The Lord only created one woman for Adam.  If he had read his bible he would have known that Cain after being banished from the presence of the Lord, fled to the land of Nod and there took a wife.  If Adam had only one wife where did the woman come from who became Cain’s wife?  Eternity will reveal the fact that Adam had many wives, but the bible only gives us the history of that line who held the Priesthood.”  (William Clayton to “Brother East,” 13 Jan., 1870; William Clayton Letterbook, Bancroft Library; microfilm)

23 Jan.:  Joseph said Peter, James and John came to him.

“Joseph Smith affirmed that Peter, James and John visited him and gave him authority to administer the holy ordinances of the Gospel, through which every honest-hearted man was promised the Holy Ghost, and a perfect knowledge of the doctrine.”  (Lorenzo Snow, 23 Jan., 1870; JD 13:290)

10 Mar.:  Teachers’ Court.

[Teachers Meeting]  “[This was Bishop Sheets’ first meeting following his return from his mission to the Eastern States.]  After the usual business, Br. McKinnon reported the case of Br. Bradfield.  Br. McFarlane and himself had visited Br. Bradfield, and said that he is very much disaffected having lost every desire to keep a standing in the Church.  Did not believe Brigham Young to be a Prophet, had never had a testimony to that effect.  Sister Bradfield felt the same way, said if there was any good in Mormonism, the Josephites had got it.  After laboring with them for some time, they were both cited to appear at this meeting, but they declined coming.  Br. A. McFarlane bore testimony to the statement of Br. McKinnon.

It was then moved by Br. A. McKinnon and seconded by Br. A. McFarlane that Charles and Maria Bradfield be cut off from the Church for apostasy and unbelief.  Carried unanimously.

The case of Br. Wm. Pitts was brought up.  He had lived in the ward six years and never attended a ward meeting, and had promised to be rebaptized, but afterward declined.  Had been labored with for years.  At a meeting of the Council on 15th Dec., 1869 he affirmed that he believed in the authority of Prest. Young as the Leader of the Church, and did not endorse the views and policy of the New Move, and wished to be in full fellowship with the Saints.

Br. D. P. Anderson had visited Br. Wm. Pitts as a Teacher, and he now says that [he] does not sustain Pres’t Young, does not believe in the use made of tithing, and that the Utah Central Rail Road was built out of the tithing.  Br. Pitts had been cited to attend the meeting but delined, as he had to attend a meeting of the New Movement.

Bp. Sheets and Cr. McAllister made some remarks upon the conduct of Br. Wm. Pitts.  Cr. McAllister moved that Br. Pitts be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for neglect of duty, apostasy and unbelief.  Seconded by Br. Brockbank and carried unanimously.

Br. Wm. Cowan reported having visited Br. Wm. Kirkam, who manifested a very unsatisfactory disposition.  Did not appear very rabid.  Would trade where he liked and ask no questions.  He would not pay any tithing, as he did not consider under any obligation to pay one tenth of his increase.  Cr. McAllister and Bp. Sheets made remarks relative to the course of Br. Kirkam.  He had never attended a meeting, or did anything for the Kingdom of God.  Several of the Teachers who had visited Br. Kirkam testified to his neglect of duties.

It was motioned by Cr. McAllister and seconded by Br. Brockbank that Wm. Kirkam be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, for neglect of duty and unbelief, and trading with our enemies.

Carried unanimously.

Br. Wm. Cowan said he had visited Br. Beck, and he manifested a very bad spirit, and always had done so whenever he had visited him.  He did not believe in Cooperation, did not care anything about religion, never had paid any tithing or donations, never attended meetings, worked on the Sabbath, and had forbid the Teachers coming to his house.  Said it was nobody’s business whether he was in good standing or not, nor where he came from, nor what his business was.  Several of the Teachers bore testimony to the correctness of the report.

Moved by Cr. McAllister and seconded by Br. J. Brockbank that Br. Beck be cutt off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for apostasy and neglect of duty.

Carried unanimously.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 10 Mar., 1870)

5 May:  Teachers’ Court.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The ward was reported in usual condition, with some exceptions.  Sr. Beck did not wish to be retained as a member of the Church.  Would prefer to go with her husband.  Br. James Keates felt about as he had done for some time.  Br. Wright was feeling a little better.

Bp. Sheets thought we had rather a hard report of the ward, and in reviewing our situation thought we needed to reform from our ways.  He was in favor of trimming up and causing men to show their colors.

Cr. McAllister expressed himself in much the same way.  Said we ought to act in wisdom and save men if possible, and live in such a manner that they cannot rebuke us with doing the same things we charge them with.

Bp. Sheets made a motion that Br. James Keates be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for apostacy, unbelief and neglect of duty.  Seconded by Andrew Case.

Carried unanimously.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 5 May, 1870)

6 May:  Concerning the Melchizedek Priesthood.

“Allow me to quote a little Scripture.  You know that there is a saying, by one of the Apostles, that Jesus was a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec; and speaking further of this Melchizedec, the Apostle says he was ‘without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of years.’  A very singular sort of man, was he not?  Did you ever see a man like that?  We are told that Jesus was a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.  Now, there never was a man without father or mother, but this refers to his Priesthood, that was without beginning of days or end of years, and Jesus had the same kind of Priesthood that Melchizedec had.

Now we talk about the everlasting Gospel, and we will go back to some of these dark ages referred to.  The Melchizedec Priesthood holds the mysteries of the revelations of God.  Wherever that Priesthood exists, there also exists a knowledge of the laws of God; and wherever the Gospel has existed, there has always been revelation; and where there has been no revelation, there never has been the true Gospel.  Let us go back to those times.  We find that the Gospel was preached unto Abraham, and that Melchizedec was the man to whom Abraham paid tithes, and that Melchizedec blessed him.  Paul tells us, ‘Verily the less is blessed of the better.’  Now Abraham had the Gospel, and Melchizedec had it, and the law was added because of transgression; and by and by, when Jesus came, He was a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec, and he restored the Gospel, and consequently revelations, the opening of the heavens and the manifestation of the power of God; and whenever the Gospel has existed, in any age of the world, these same manifestations have existed with it; and whenever these have not been upon the earth, there has been no Gospel.  The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes, for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.  In addition to Melchizedec, the Bible also mentions a man called Moses, and he had the Gospel, for Paul tells us ‘that he preached it to the children of Israel in the wilderness, but that it profited them nothing, not being mixed with faith.’  There was another man called Elijah, that we read of in the Bible.  He was one of those fanatics who believe in revelation, and he had the Gospel.  We come down to the time that Jesus was here on the earth; and on one occasion we read that he was on the mount with three of his disciples, Peter, James and John, and Jesus was transfigured before them.  And Peter said, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here, let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses and one for Elias.’  What?  Was Moses, that old fellow who led the children of Israel from Egypt, there?  That shows that he had the everlasting Gospel and Priesthood; and having got rid of the affairs of this world, he returned to minister to Jesus when he was on the earth.”  (John Taylor, 6 May, 1870; JD 13:231-232)

13 May:  Ordained w/o reference to officiator’s priesthood

“Elder Elias Smith was ordained and set apart as president of the High Priests quorum under the hands of Prests. Brigham Young, Geo. A. Smith and Daniel H. Wells, Pres. Young being mouth as follows:

Bro. Elias Smith, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we lay our hands upon your head to bless you and set you apart to preside over the High Priest’s Quorum in this city or in any other place where you shall be called to this office and calling and where duty shall demand it of you.

And we seal the blessings of this Office upon you to preside in the midst of your brethren; asking our Heavenly Father to give you great wisdom, knowledge and understanding–to add to the wisdom he has already given you; and give you the spirit of faith, and that it may grow and increase within you, and within the hearts of your brethren and those who now administer to you.  We pray thee, our Heavenly Father, that Thou wilt endow this Thy servant with every blessing and qualification, and with knowledge and power that he may magnify his high and holy calling.

We set you apart for this office.  All the blessings promised to you in the ordinances, your washings and anointings and every blessing that has been sealed upon you, we confirm the same; and ask our Heavenly Father to make you quick and powerful that you may be like a Father to your brethren, and a stay and assistance to them; and counsel them in wisdom and in holiness before the Lord.  We set you apart to this office and calling and to this power; and say to you that the light of the Holy Spirit shall be given you, and every blessing that you can desire in righteousness before the Lord, with great light and faith, that you may be a great counsellor in the House of the Lord, to your brethren and to the people, which blessings we seal upon you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Elders Geo. Q. Cannon, A. Milton Musser, Hosea Stout and Geo. Reynolds were present at the ordination, which took place in President Young’s Office.

Geo. F. Gibbs, Reporter.”

(JH 13 May, 1870)

5 Jun.:  Example of scattering of 70s quorums.

[At a meeting of the Seventies of the Southern Mission, 11 Senior Presidents were present, representing Quorums 2, 3, 5, 7, 12, 17, 22, 25, 29, 39, and 50.  27 Junior Presidents were present, representing Quorums 2, 4, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 37, 46, 61 and 62.  87 Members were present, representing Quorums 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, 37, 39, 46, 49, 50, 51, 60, 61, 62, 63; with 4 members “not placed.”]  (5 Jun., 1870, Minutes of Semi-Annual General Conference of the Southern Mission; Annals of the Southern Mission, Book B, pp. 66-69)

5 Jul.:  Ward Council to review judicial actions.

“Special Meeting of the Council of the Ward to review the action of the Council in disfellowshipping members from the Church during the absence of the Bishop from such meetings.  Bishop Sheets presiding.

Br. Archibald McKinnon presented the case of Br. Beck, who had expressed a desire to be no longer connected with the Church, as he did not believe in the principles.

Br. McMurrin presented the case of Br. Kirkham who also had no desire to be connected with the Church.  Had cited him to attend this meeting but he declined doing so.

Br. James Shelmerdine presented the case of Br. Pitts, who had no desire to retain a membership in the Church, had never been rebaptized, and felt to be satisfied with his own course of conduct.

The action of the previous Council in these cases was fully sustained.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 5 Jul., 1870)

11 Sep.:  Bishops to ferret out apostates.

“The weather is very fine and hot.  Crops are good, and the health of the people is improving.  The U. S. Judges are laboring hard to make us every possible difficulty.  The Bishops in this City have been trying to ferret out those who have apostatized and who lean to the side of the enemy.  I am told that there [are] 200 known apostates in the 14th Ward and five hundred in the 13th Ward.  In this respect, I consider the times are most serious, but perhaps the Lord is applying the sifting machine to purify the people preparatory to the redemption of Zion.”  (William Clayton to W. W. Cluff, 11 Sep., 1870; William Clayton Letterbook, Bancroft Library; microfilm)

8 Oct.:  No rebaptism for Mountain Meadows participants.

“The following is copied from the journal of Elder Wilford Woodruff, under this date:

Council of the Twelve.–The Twelve held a council at twelve o’clock, at President Brigham Young’s office.  The Presidency and all of the twelve, by unanimous vote excommunicated from the Church, Isaac Haight, John D. Lee and ___ Wood, for committing a great sin, and they were not to have the privilege of rejoining the Church in this life.”

(JH 8 Oct., 1870)