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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1872

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1872.” You can view other years here.

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1872:    20 Jan.:  Woodruff’s compulsion to keep a journal.

“The School of the Prophets met.  Elder Orson Pratt spoke first referring to the time he first saw Joseph Smith in the same house where the first Branch of the Church was organized.  He wished that there could be a small plain history of Joseph Smith written by some one who had a good memory and thus could relate the circumstances as they were.  Said he had received a testimony there that gave him a knowledge that the work was of God; it was not through the administration of angels, or open vision, but through the Holy Ghost.  He made several other remarks.

Elder Wilford Woodruff then spoke.  He said there was one subject he wished to speak upon, and that was about writing and keeping a journal of the dealings of God with his people.  He had often thought that the quorum of the Twelve and others might consider him rather enthusiastic upon this subject, but when the Prophet Joseph organized the quorum of the Twelve, he commanded them to write and keep a journal or history of their lives, giving his reasons for such a command.  Elder Woodruff thought the Twelve Apostles and all the Elders of Israel who bear the Holy Priesthood should keep a journal of their official acts and the dealings of God with them.  Said he would be glad to read the acts of his forefathers, if they had never heard of a God.  But especially when men are called to stand at the head of a great dispensation like this, and to build up the kingdom of God on the earth to remain for ever, they, of all men on earth, ought to write and keep a broad and correct history of the rise and progress of that kingdom, of the revelations of Jesus Christ and his dealings with them as they travel along in their pilgrimage.  Said he had had the spirit upon him since he first entered this Church and from that time until now kept a daily journal.

Whenever he had heard Joseph Smith preach, teach or prophesy, he had always felt it was his duty to write it and his mind was never at ease until he had done so.  When he heard Joseph Smith teach and did not have pencil and paper, he would go home and write that whole sermon almost word for word and sentence for sentence as delivered.  But after he had written it, he could remember it no more.  That he was thus able to record what was said, he considered a gift of God to him; and the question had often arisen in his mind to know why these things were so and why this subject rested upon him more than upon other men.  And still another question had often arizen.  Why had the devil sought his life from the day he was born, until now, more than the lives of other men, for he said it seemed as though he had been a marked victim for the devil during the whole of his life.  There was only one answer he could get to this question and that is: the devil knew if he got into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he would write the history of the Church, and leave on record the doings, work and teachings of the Prophets and Apostles and Elders and Saints in the latter days; and that he would attend to the ordinances of the House of God for his father’s household and friends, both the living and the dead. . . .

He said that one reason why he had been moved upon to write in early days was that nearly all the Historian’s appointed in the early history of the Church apostatized and took the journals away with them; thus in a measure they were lost to the Church.  Said that he still kept a daily journal, but had not reported sermons much of late, as we now had scribes and reporters to record the sayings of the Prophets and Apostles for which he rejoiced and thanked God.”  (JH 20 Jan., 1872)

26 May:  Bishop’s meeting for all AP.

“If there is a Bishop’s meeting, let every Bishop, Priest, Teacher and Deacon attend, and no man among them say, ‘I must go and water my grain,’ ‘cut my hay,’ or ‘gather my harvest;’ but attend the meeting, sit until it is out and hear every word.”  (Brigham Young, 26 May, 1872; JD 15:35)

26 May:  Excommunication in Sacrament Meeting.

[Sunday Evening Meeting]  “Addresses were delivered by Elders Wm. Shires and J. W. Taylor, after which [was considered] the case of Julia Kimball, Jeannette Lawrence and Maggie Miles, who had signed a most infamous petition to the Congress of the United States, praying that Utah be not admitted as a State into the Union.  They had been visited by the Teachers.  Br. James Shelmerdine reported that himself and Br. Wm. Cowan had visited the parties named above, and had represented the result of such conduct, but all to no purpose, as they did not wish to belong to the Church.  Motioned by James Shelmerdine and seconded by Isaac Brockbank that they be cutt off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for apostacy and unbelief.  Carried unanimously.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 26 May, 1872)

30 May:  Teachers’ Court.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The cases of Elizabeth Beck, Mary Kirkam, Sarah Ann Daft and Mary Daft Alf, who had signed the Petition to Congress, opposing the popular wish of the whole people and virtually showing their enmity to the Kingdom of God.

The Teachers had labored with them but to no purpose.  They did not wish to remain connected with the Church.

Moved by Cr. McAllister and seconded by George Triplett that Elizabeth Beck, Mary Kirkham, Sarah Ann Daft and Mary Daft Alf be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for apostacy and unbelief, and by their own request.  Carried.

Bp. Sheets made remarks about the condition of the ward, and thought the ward would be better off when the dead branches were cut off.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 30 May, 1872)

19 Jun.:  To ward Bishops and PRESIDENTS.

“To the Presidents and Bishops of the various Wards throughout the Territory:

Dear Brethren:–The time has arrived when the means is needed to emigrate the Poor from Europe, and up to this time of the present season, but little has been donated or placed in the hands of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company, in any way, that can be used to emigrate the old and faithful members of the Church, whom we feel it our bounden duty to aid in gathering home to Zion.

You are all therefore requested to make an exertion in their behalf, that whatever funds, the members of your wards are able to donate for this purpose, be called for and forwarded immediately to this office, and the brethren shall be blessed in so doing.

Brigham Young.” 

(DN 21(20):284, 19 Jun., 1872)

3 Aug.:  School of the Prophets dissolved.

“At the School of the Prophets, President Young gave the brethren a text to preach from ‘Be ye One.’  The speakers were Presidents Brigham Young, Geo. A. Smith, and Elders John Taylor and Geo. Q. Cannon.  President Brigham Young at the close of the School of the Prophets dissolved the same, no more to be held at present.”  (JH 3 Aug., 1872)

11 Aug.:  Definition of Priesthood.

“If anybody wants to know what the priesthood of the Son of God is, it is the law by which the worlds are, were, and will continue for ever and ever.  It is that system which brings worlds into existence and peoples them, gives them their days, weeks, months, years, their seasons and times and by which they are rolled up as a scroll, as it were, and go into a higher state of existence; and they who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ–the maker, framer, governor, dictator and controller of this earth–they who live according to his law and priesthood will be prepared to dwell on this earth when it is brought into the presence of the Father and the Son.”  (Brigham Young, 11 Aug., 1872; JD 15:127)

24 Aug.:  Other ordinances after this existence.

“We are in possession of all the ordinances that can be administered in the flesh; but there are other ordinances and administrations that must be administered beyond this world.  I know you would ask what they are.  I will mention one.  We have not, neither can we receive here, the ordinance and the keys of the resurrection.  They will be given to those who have passed off this stage of action and have received their bodies again, as many have already done and many more will.  They will be ordained, by those who hold the keys of the resurrection, to go forth and resurrect the Saints, just as we receive the ordinance of baptism, then the keys of authority to baptize others for the remission of their sins.  This is one of the ordinances we can not receive here, and there are many more.  We hold the authority to dispose of, alter and change the elements; but we have not received authority to organize native elements to even make a spear of grass grow.  We have no such ordinance here.  We organize according to men in the flesh.  By combining the elements and planting the seed, we cause vegetables, trees, grains, &c., to come forth.  We are organizing a kingdom here according to the pattern that the Lord has given for people in the flesh, but not for those who have received the resurrection, although it is a similitude.  Another item:  We have not the power in the flesh to create and bring forth or produce a spirit; but we have the power to produce a temporal body.  The germ of this, God has placed within us.  And when our spirits receive our bodies, and through our faithfulness we are worthy to be crowned, we will then receive authority to produce both spirit and body.  But these keys we cannot receive in the flesh.  Herein, brethren, you can perceive that we have not finished, and cannot finish our work, while we live here, no more than Jesus did while he was in the flesh.

We can not receive, while in the flesh, the keys to form and fashion kingdoms and to organize matter, for they are beyond our capacity and calling, beyond this world.  In the resurrection, men who have been faithful and diligent in all things in the flesh, have kept their first and second estate, and worthy to be crowned Gods, even the sons of God, will be ordained to organize matter.”  (Brigham Young, 24 Aug., 1872; JD 15:137)

5 Sep.:  Teachers’ Court.

[Teachers Meeting]  “Sister Anne Ninde had sent in a note requesting that her name be erased from the records of the Church, also stating that she did not believe the work was true.  Moved by Wm. Shires, and seconded by John Cartwright, that Sr. Annie Ninde be cut off from the Church for apostacy and unbelief, and according to her own request.  Carried unanimously.

Bp. Sheets said he was pleased to hear the reports, and that the feelings of the Saints were so good.  Said he wanted the Teachers to stir up the people to come to meeting & pay their tithing, and especially cash tithing.  Be kind to all and admonish in meekness and humility, and don’t let the poor suffer.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 5 Sep., 1872)

3 Nov.:  Contrary votes in sustaining leaders.

“The authorities were presented and unanimously sustained except 2 contrary votes.  This is the first instance of an opposite vote I have ever witnesed in St George in regards church officers.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 3 Nov., 1872)

3-10 Nov.:  Increased emphasis on Sunday Schools.

“Meetings in the Tabernacle were discontinued for the winter months by instructions from the First Presidency as follows:


The following notice was read in the Tabernacle yesterday:

President’s Office, Salt Lake City, November 3rd, 1872.

After to-day, and until further notice, Sabbath meetings at the Tabernacle will be discontinued.

The Bishops will continue to hold Sabbath schools in their respective wards at 10 a.m., and see that the children attend them.

In the afternoon, at 1 or 2 o’clock, they will hold meetings for instruction and partake of the sacrament, and in the evening they will hold their meetings, for prayer and instruction, as usual.

This will give a better opportunity for all who live at a distance from the Tabernacle to attend meetings during the winter, and the Home Missionaries and other Elders will attend those meetings from time to time to instruct the people, as they may be directed.

The 14th Ward Assembly Rooms will be prepared for seating strangers who may wish to attend our meetings.

Brigham Young,

Daniel H. Wells, of the First Presidency.”

(JH 3 Nov., 1872)

“The Deseret Evening News of this date published the following item:

The Monthly Meeting of Sunday School Superintendents and Teachers will be held at 7 o’clock this evening at the City Hall in this city.  These meetings increase in interest and should be punctually attended.  The Sunday Schools will doubtless receive increased attention from all classes in the various wards this winter under the new arrangement for meetings published yesterday by the First Presidency.  Sunday mornings will now be devoted exclusively to Sunday Schools.  These schools present a fine field for usefulness for all who have the salvation of souls at heart, and as there will be no other meetings to divide attention, we shall be disappointed if greater interest be not felt in them than every before.”

(JH 4 Nov., 1872)

“Increased effort to stimulate interest in Sunday School work was being made as evidenced by the following article in the Deseret Evening News of this date:

MONTHLY MEETING–The usual monthly meeting of the Superintendents and teachers of Sunday Schools was held at the City Hall last night commencing at 7 o’clock.  There was a fair attendance, though several of the ward schools were not represented, owing perhaps to the omission of the usual notice in the Tabernacle on Sunday.  The meeting was a very interesting one, many points connected with the proper method of conducting Sunday Schools being discussed.  It was suggested to the superintendents that, through the coming winter, they seek the aid of intelligent elders who have a faculty for imparting information in a pleasing and interesting style, to form classes of young persons of both sexes in the various wards, the main object being to instruct the pupils in the principles of their religion; other branches of useful education not to be neglected.  The superintendents and teachers of those schools not represented at the meeting last night will bear the above in mind, and also that Sabbath mornings during the winter will be devoted exclusively to school purposes, as usual.  Any elders who may feel so disposed, are invited to attend the Sunday School as teachers.  They can find ample field for the exercise of their talent in imparting knowledge to the pupils and in aiding to keep up the interest in the Sunday Schools, and all who can do so, should feel it their duty and should take pride and pleasure in doing anything in their power to sustain them and make them useful and interesting.”  

(JH 5 Nov., 1872)

“In compliance with instructions from the First Presidency, no meetings were held in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, but Sunday School was held in the several wards at 10 a.m. and public meetings at 1 or at 2 p.m. and at 6, or 7 p.m., in the Ward meeting houses.

The Deseret Evening News of Nov. 9th in commenting upon this new arrangement said:

There are many persons who will view the change with regret.  They have been in the habit for years of going regularly to the Tabernacle, and the thought of separating from the great body of worshippers, who have gone there, and confining themselves to their Ward meetings is not altogether pleasing, because it breaks into their habits.  But to the bulk of the people the change will be a convenient and an agreeable one.  It is a long distance to walk to the Tabernacle from some parts of the city on winter days.  Many persons, in consequence, cannot attend meetings there.  It is hoped that the attendance at the Ward meetings will now be more general.  Each Bishop should take pains to make his meetings interesting and attractive to his own people.  There are some persons who are fond of change, who may leave their own wards to go elsewhere to meeting, but they should not have as an excuse the fact that their own meetings are dry and destitute of that instruction which they desire and need.  One good effect which will probably follow the present arrangement will be the erection of better meeting houses in some of the wards.  They are greatly needed, and we hope to hear of steps being taken this winter to prepare for their erection next summer.”

(JH 10 Nov., 1872)

14 Nov.:  No more important position in the Church.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Teachers reported the members of the ward in good standing. No particular fault with any.  Bp. Sheets would have been glad to have had a fuller report of the ward than the one presented.  He was sorry to see men who had been faithful many years in the Church neglecting their duties at this time.  There was no more important position in the Church than that of a good faithful Teacher, and those who are called to act should do so with the spirit and power of that calling or else resign and get out of the way.  Cr. McAllister realized that what the Bishop had said had been done in a kind fatherly way, and should be received by the brethren in the same spirit.  We should wake up and shoulder the responsibilities of the Kingdom.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 14 Nov., 1872)

23 Dec.:  Most of Teachers in city are High Priests.

“. . . between 3[00] and 400 teachers are employed in this city, most of whom hold the Melchisedec Priesthood, and yet act in the lesser priesthood.”  (George Goddard, Secretary to the Presiding Bishopric, in Salt Lake Stake, School of the Prophets, Minutes, 23 Dec., 1872; quoted in Hartley, “Ordained and Acting Teachers in the Lesser Priesthood, 1851-1883,” BYU Studies 16(3):390, Spring, 1976)

MP without father, without mother.

“Let us look at Melchisedek’s priesthood, for he was made like unto the son of God by it.  It did not come by father, it did not come by mother, it was neither born or begotten but confirmed on him according to the callings of God.  Paul says, Heb. vii 3, [‘]without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days or end of life; but made like unto the son of God, abideth a priest continually.’

In the new translation this is a little plainer still.  Heb. vii 3.  ‘For this Melchisedek was ordained a priest after the order of the son of God, which order was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.’  This testimony also removes an idea which many men have that the Melchisidean priesthood came by lineal descent among men. . . .

In the new translation we have a fuller account of Melchisedek and of his calling and ordination, commencing Gen. xiv, 25.  ‘And Melchisedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abram.  Now Melchisedek was a man of faith who wrought righteousness, and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.  And thus having been approved of God he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, it being after the order of the son of God; which order came not by man, or the will of man, neither by father or mother, neither by beginning of days or end of years, but of God.  And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will unto as many as believed on his name.  Moses was a high priest after this same order.  And although he was a lineal descendant of Abraham, yet his priesthood was not handed down from Abraham.  The bible makes mention of Moses father in law being the priest of Midian, and in the revelations of Jesus Christ we are told that Moses was ordained under his hand.  We have the ordinations from Moses back to Esaias who was cotemporary [sic] with Abram but he did not receive his priesthood either from being called through Abraham or Melchisedek.  For it is written that Esaias was blessed of Abraham but received the priesthood under the hand of God.”  (Stephen Post, “A Treatise on the Melchisedek Priesthood, and the Callings of God,” Council Bluffs, Iowa; 1872, pp. 4-5; xerox)

2 Priesthoods:  A seer and a spokesman.

“The Book of Mormon mentions two priesthoods for the work of the last days, a seer and a spokesman.  The seer was first called and has fallen [i.e., Joseph], but before his fall the Lord having made known that another should be appointed through ahim; not others, but another to be planted in his stead.  The Lord through him called and ordained Sidney Rigdon, the former spokesman, but now to hold the keys of the kingdom.  The Lord gave to this latter Revelator a Joseph for his first born, who has already fallen, following in the footsteps of his first born predecessors.”  (Stephen Post, “A Treatise on the Melchisedek Priesthood, and the Callings of God,” Council Bluffs, Iowa; 1872, p. 15; xerox)

Elders of the class of seventy elders.

“When the Lord had raised up a church in this, the nineteenth century, setting a priesthood therein according to his holy order, he gave us the order of that priesthood, which was to consist of presiding high priests, (and the first presiding high priest must be a prophet, seer and revelator) high priests, apostles, elders of the class of seventy elders, and elders.  The lesser or appendage of helps and governments, to assist the higher priesthoods, were bishops, priests, teachers and deacons.”  (Stephen Post, “A Treatise on the Melchisedek Priesthood, and the Callings of God,” Council Bluffs, Iowa; 1872, p. 18; xerox)