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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1880

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1880.” You can view other years here.

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1880:  3 Jan.:  Salt Lake Stake priesthood numbers.

“A Statistical Report of the Stake for the quarter ending November 30th, 1879.

Apostles, 7; Counselors to the Apostles, 1; Patriarchs, 7; Seventies, 1,077; High Priests, 463; Elders, 1,629; Priests, 138; Teachers, 181; Deacons, 694; Members, 10,512; total officers and members, 14,709; children under eight years, 5,601.  Total of souls, 20,320. . . . Number of quorums in the Stake: High Priests, 1; Elders, 16; Priests, 2; Teachers, 4; Deacons, 41.”  (Salt Lake Stake Conference Minutes, 3 Jan., 1880; DN 28(49):780, 7 Jan., 1880)

3 Jan.:  AP quorums need to be filled.

“[Joseph E. Taylor, counselor in Stake Presidency] H urged the importance of a more thorough organization of the quorums of the Lesser Priesthood.  As it is many of those holding the Melchisedec Priesthood were required to act in the offices of the Aaronic Priesthood.”  (Salt Lake Stake Conference Minutes, 3 Jan., 1880; DN 28(49):780, 7 Jan., 1880)

8 Jan.:  Teachers to receive and disburse Fast Offerings.

“A Bishops Meeting was held at the Council House, Salt Lake City, commencing at 6 o’clock p.m. . . .

[Counselor Robert T. Burton] recommended the appointment of a teacher in each ward to receive and disburse fast donations, whose duty should be to keep correct accounts of all they received and to whom disbursed, so that the bishops and the Priesthood of the Wards could examine the accounts at any time they wished.”  (JH 8 Jan., 1880)

22 Jan.:  Bishops used to determine what tithing should be

“[Bishops’ Meeting, SLC] He [Joseph E. Taylor] then continued the subject of tithing, from Bishop Hunter’s remarks.  In early days it was the custom for the bishop to sit as a judge of what a man’s tithing should be, now it was left more or less to the man himself.”  (Reprint of report of 23 Jan.; DN 28(49):824, 28 Jan., 1880)

1 Feb.:  Wasatch Stake priesthood numbers.

“A statistical report of the Stake for the half year ending December 31, 1879, was read, showing that in the Stake there were 44 Seventies, 94 High Priests, 190 Elders, 26 Priests, 32 Teachers, 43 Deacons, 1,283 members, 1,716 officers and members, 874 children under eight years of age, 2,590 total number of souls.”  (Wasatch Stake Conference Minutes, 1 Feb., 1880; DN 29(3):42, 18 Feb., 1880)

5 Feb.:  Every Bishop in the Church is a HP.

“[Bishop’s Meeting, SLC] [Edward Hunter] The bishops are called to labor in both priesthoods.  Every Bishop in this Church is a Melchisedek High Priest, chosen to act in the Aaronic Priesthood in the absence of the literal sons of Aaron, who are alone entitled, lineally, to officiate in that Priesthood.  It is for us to magnify our callings, wherever and whatever they may be, and we can become the sons of Moses and Aaron, the seed of Abraham, and the elect of God.”  (Reprint of report of 7 Feb.; DN 29(2):25, 11 Feb., 1880)

7 Feb.:  Bishops not to act as judge without counselors.

“[SL Stake Priesthood Meeting] Bishop A. C. Pyper arose to ask concerning the validity of the action of a bishop, sitting as a judge, when one of his counselors was absent, and whether the absent counselor’s place could not be temporarily filled.

President Cannon replied that he knew of no authority for such an action.  A high priest presided as bishop, only by virtue of having two counselors, and could not act as a judge without both his counselors.  If a counselor was absent and it was necessary to try cases in the bishop’s court, another counselor could be set apart from the High Priesthood, but the absent one would then cease to be a counselor, for two men could not hold the same office at the same time.  He further expressed it as his belief that the temporary filling of office referred to, was not in accordance with the law and order of the Church.”  (Reprint of report of 7 Feb.; DN 29(2):25, 11 Feb., 1880)

19 Feb.:  Duties of ordained Teachers.

“[Bishops’ Meeting, SLC] Bishop L. W. Hardy, the next speaker, addressed his remarks chiefly to the teachers, complimented their good attendance at the meeting, and urged them to continue coming.  He showed them what an important office they held in the church, as the instructors and guardians of the fold of Christ.  They were the levers by which the bishop worked in his ward, and were indispensable to him as assistants.  Their duty was to visit the Saints, teach them correct principles, comfort and cheer them, and ‘keep out iniquity’ from their midst.  It was a very good ward that contained no iniquity.  Some of the teachers merely stepped int a house, said ‘how do you do, good bye, God bless you’ and left, thinking they had done their duty.  There was a great deal more than this to do.  They should make their visits often and thorough, and keep acquainted with the general condition of their districts.  Especially shold they meet and welcome the new comers from abroad, and take pains to see them well cared for.”  (Reprint of report of 20 Feb.; DN 29(4):57, 25 Feb., 1880)

22 Feb.:  Teachers to intervene prior to excommunication.

“Bro. Weiss sent a note to Bro. Enz in meeting this afternoon [Sunday], asking to be cut off from the Church, on account of receiving so much persecution in his work; it was decided that the teachers should visit him before any action was taken. . . .

. . . after reaching home we were talking for a few minutes with Bro. Postel, who says that Bros. Bissants and Weiss, whom he visited, desire to retain their standing in the Church.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 22, 24 Feb., 1880)

1 Mar.:  Supposing the Bishop does wrong?

“Then, again, we have bishops.  We vote for them; and they hold a portion of the priesthood which renders their duties many times very unpleasant; that is naturally they would be unpleasant; but no duty ought to be unpleasant to the servants of God.  Now, supposing the bishop should do something that is wrong, what would be our duty?  It would be to go to him and say, ‘Bishop, I have reason to believe that things are thus and so, evidence having been presented to me, and it is of such a character that I am inclined to think that you have been taking a wrong course, and therefore I have come to talk to you, youself, about the matter.’  Who ought to do this?  Anybody.  What, would not his position deprive us of that right of approaching him?  No.  Supposing you had been injured by him, or something had occurred that caused you to to entertain feelings against him it would be much better to probe the thing to the bottom and have it straightened out than to foster it and allow it to corrode and interfere with your peace and happiness, because you have covenanted to sustain him; on the other hand, we cannot sustain anything that is unrighteous, impure or unholy.  We go to him and say, Bishop so and so, I have come to see you on unpleasant business–you may be polite about it or you may not–but people can always afford to be polite; I have learned thus and so; I hope I am misinformed, can you explain the matter to me?  If the matter could be explained to your satisfaction you would be glad of it; but whether it could be or not you would have the satisfaction of knowing that you had performed your duty.  If not, however, and the matter be of such a character as to call for an investigation, it would be proper that it be inquired into by the proper authorities.  Then you are free, and you have not violated any covenant.  If any covenants have been violated, it is he that is guilty, and it is for him to account for his acts to the Lord and his brethren; and if no wrong shall be found in him, there is no good man but what would be pleased to see such a man acquitted.  But while we seek equity and justice on the one hand, on the other we must not interfere with the rights of anybody; no matter who it is that indulges in iniquity, their iniquity will find them out soner or later.  And it is better for us instead of talking to this one and the other, if wrong exists, to go direct to the persons themselves and have it adjusted, then bring it up according to the rules laid down governing such matters.  Then the doer of the wrong is accountable for the wrong, not somebody else.  Then when he is dealt with by the Church, whether he be a teacher, priest, deacon, bishop or anybody else, you are free from all responsibility afterwards of sustaining that man.  And until the proper course has been taken with such a person, we should be very careful what course we pursue in relation to this kind of thing, so that we do not violate our covenants.”  (John Taylor, 1 Mar., 1880; JD 21:208-209)

21 Mar.:  Why Melchizedek (& MP) w/o father & mother.

“There was Melchisedec, for instance, who was called the King of Salem and the Prince of Peace, of whom Paul makes some curious remarks, among which was that Christ was a priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec.  If he was, then of course Melchisedec was a priest after the order of Christ.  And as Christ introduced the Gospel, so Melchisedec had the Gospel, and had and held and administered in the same priesthood that Jesus did.  And we read too, according to some men’s ideas, a very singular thing concerning him, that ‘he was without father and mother, and without beginning of days or end of years, and abideth a priest continually.’  He must be, indeed, a very singular man, to be without father and without mother and without descent, and yet that he should be a priest forever.  Well, how is it?  You generally understand it; but I will inform those who do not that the Apostle Paul referred to the priesthood that Melchisedec held, and that they had what was termed the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood in their day, that is, the day in which Saul lived; and that a man to be a priest had to be a literal descendant of Aaron and of the tribe of Levi; and he had to be able to prove his lineage, tracing his descent back to the time when this priesthood was given by Moses in the wilderness.  But the Melchisedec priesthood was different from that, it had nothing to do particularly with eitehr father or mother, it being without descent, and, therefore, people holding it were not altogether dependent upon their father or mother or descent for this authority; but that priesthood is an everlasting priesthood, administering in time and in eternity.  And this is what Paul referred to by way of contradistinction to the Aaronic priesthood which then existed.”  (John Taylor, 21 Mar., 1880; JD 21:244)

21 Mar.:  MP in ancient times was organized differently.

“Once in a while the light of the day star would dawn upon the people, foretelling some things in which they and their children were interested; and that was manifest through certain men among them who were peculiarly inspired by God.  But they did not have then a regularly ordained organization of the Melchisedec Priesthood as we have it.  If a man received these things in those days he received it from God.  A young man came to me to ask me some questions on this subject, and I will here mention one thing I told him.  These prophets had the Melchizedec Priesthood, but they did not have it in the regular organized form as we have it.  Hence when Elijah was about to be translated–for that spirit and power was yet with him; it had not left the earth after Enoch’s day, for many were translated besides him and his city–there were certain prophets scattered up and down among Israel, and as Elijah and Elisha were travelling together, Elijah said to Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee, for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel.  But Elisha said as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.  And they went on together.  And at Bethel the sons of the prophets at that place came forth unto Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to-day?  And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.  At this place Elijah wanted Elisha to tarry, saying that the Lord had sent him to a place called Jericho; but Elisha made the same answer.  Elijah at this place made the same request of his companion, saying the Lord had sent him on to Jordan; but Elisha would not be separated from his master.  And they went on to Jordan together; and when they came to that stream, Elijah took off his mantle, wrapped it together and smote the water which divided, so that they went over on dry ground.  And when they had passed over, Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him before he should be taken away.  Elisha, knowing that he had something to do and that he was about to be left alone, and that he might be the better prepared to perform the work before him, requested Elijah to let a double portion of his spirit rest upon him.  But could Elijah grant his request?  No, he could not.  What answer did Elijah make him?  He said, thou hast asked a hard thing; nevertheless, if thou seest me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not it shall not be so.  How did Elijah know that?  Because he knew that the Melchizedec Priesthood holds the keys of the mysteries and the revelations of God; and that if he could see him as he ascended, it would be an evidence to him that the Lord had granted his request, althoug he himself had not power to grant it, Elisha would then know that his prayer was heard.  Those other prophets, who knew that Elijah was to be translated, went and stood to view the event afar off; I do not suppose that they saw ahything of Elijah as he was being taken up into heaven.  But he was taken up, and Elisha saw the manner in which he went, and cried out, ‘My father! my father! the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof.’  And how did he see them?  God had conferred upon him that priesthood by which he was enabled to see them.  Elijah threw down his mantle as he ascended, which Elisha took up and started off alone, his ‘head’ having been translated.  But he had received the answer to his prayer; and approaching the banks of the Jordan, with the mantle that had been left him he smote the waters saying, ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’  And when he did to they parted as they had done at the command of Elijah, and Elisha passed over.  And God was with him, manifesting his power through him, as he had done through his predecessor.  I speak of it now for the information of ou elders, that they did not have then an organized Melchisedec Priesthood, but that if it was conferred upon individuals, they did not have the power to confer it upon others, unless through special command of the Lord.  And Elijah knew that if Elisha could see him when he was ascending, that his prayer would be answered.  Why?  Because the Melchizedec Priesthood holds the keys of the mysteries and the revelations of God.  [NOTE THAT NO HANDS-ON ORDINATION OF ELISHA IS APPARENT]

This is a principle on that point; and it may be of use to you elders, that you may comprehend the position, that they occupied.  That was associated in part with the Mosaic dispensation, but only in part.  But when Jesus came he introduced the Melchisedec priesthod in an organized form, and restored the Gospel.  But those men did not restore the Gospel.  But let me show you that are acquainted with the history of the Book of Mormon, they had a great many more revelations in regard to these things upon this continent than they had upon the continent of Asia.  And they had the Gospel and adminsitered in the ordinances and talked about the coming of Christ, still they administered in the laws of Moses until the coming of Christ; and yet at the same time they did have the Gospel and an organization of that Gospel in part and ordinances among them different from what they had on the other continent before Christ came.  You that are acquainted with the Book of Mormon will find these things in it; and if you have not found them, hunt them up, and you will find what I say in relation to this matter is true.”  (John Taylor, 21 Mar., 1880; JD 21: 248-249)

25 Mar.:  Rebaptism of A. H. Cannon while on mission.

“were talking for a while about rebaptism, and Bro. Enz told me that he was rebaptised a short time after coming on his mission; as I felt it my duty, and felt I must also be rebaptized before I could receive a full measure of God’s blessings, I requested the same at Bro. Enz’s hands . . . About 8 o’clock on this lovely moonlight evening, we went down on the banks of the Rhine, and after praying, Bro. Enz rebaptised and reconfirmed me a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; I will now try and live better than I have done in the past, and be the instrument in the Lord’s hands of doing much good; may my Heavenly [Father] help me so to do.  I have felt for some time that I should do this, and now it is done, a load seems to be taken from my shoulders.”  (Abraham H. Cannon Diary, 25 Mar., 1880)

4 Apr.:  Reproof for ordaining a dying boy.

“In the afternoon at the usual meeting hour I attended meeting and was called to the stand to preach.  Bros. Bromley and Kelsey spoke after me, the two counselors of the bishop and reproved somebody for ordaining a young man while [he] was dying, an Elder, without a vote of the branch.  The Book of Doctrine and Covenants says, ‘No one shall be ordained to any office, without a vote of the branch.'”  (Oliver B. Huntington journal, 4 Apr., 1880)

7 Apr.:  The priesthood must weed out iniquity.

“I heard the other day from one of our speakers that there were Elders, High Priests and Seventies who got drunk.  What are the Bishops doing?  What are the Presidents of Stakes doing?  Why do you not bring them up and cut them off from the Church–any such Elder, any such High Priest, or any such Seventy, or any of the Saints who may be found guilty of such thing?  For they are hypocrites, and want dealing with and severing from the Church.  Furthermore, I have heard of some Bishops who have been seeking to cover up the iniquities of men; I tell them, in the name of God, they will have to bear them themselves, and meet that judgment; and I tell you that any man who tampers with iniquity, he will have to bear that iniquity, and if any of you want to partake of the sins of men, or uphold them, you will have to bear them.  Do you hear it, you Bishops and you Presidents?  God will require it at your hands.  You are not placed in position to tamper with the principles of righteousness, nor to cover up the infamies and corruptions of men.  Now, do not say you did not know anything about it; I have given you fair warning, and I clear my skirts of your blood; and their infamies will cleave to you unless you attend to it.

God expects us to do right; he has given unto us the priesthood for that purpose, and he requires us to magnify it and honor it and carry it out.  And it is the place of those men, and the place of the teachers to see that there is no iniquity in the Church; and if they do not do their duty, it then becomes the duty of the Bishops to see to it; and if the Bishops do not see to it, it is the place of the Presidents of Stakes to see to it; and if they do not see to it, and it comes to our ears, it will then become our duty to see to it, and also to see to them who do not magnify their calling.”  (President John Taylor, 7 Apr., 1880; CR Apr., 1880, p. 78)

8 Apr.:  The priesthood must weed out iniquity.

“I tell you we are under a mighty responsibility to God, and I tell you we cannot afford, as Apostles, as Seventies, as Elders, and as High Priests, to sit still and know that sin reigns in our midst, and not rebuke it; we can not do it, and be justified before the Lord.  Another thing, if we as Apostles, bearing the holy priesthood, use that priesthood for any other purpose under heaven but to build up the Kingdom of God, if we do our power will fall like lightning from heaven.  A good many men have undertaken this–men high in the priesthood, even the Apostleship–to build themselves up upon the authority of the priesthood.  And where have they gone?  You may say amen to their power and authority.  They have lost their Bishopric and Apostleship.  Let us reflect on these things.  I say the same to myself.  I say the same to the Apostles, Seventies and High Priests.  You cannot use the priesthood for any other purpose under heaven but to build up the kingdom and do the will of God; and when you attempt to do otherwise your power will be taken from you.”  (Wilford Woodruff, 8 Apr., 1880; CR Apr., 1880, p. 83)

8 Apr.:  Those refusing Church courts can’t go to temple.

“Another thing.  The Lord has given unto us our various Courts–Bishops’ Courts, High Councils, etc., and it is expected that the Saints will adjust any matters of difficulty or dispute that may arise among them, before those courts, and that they do not go to law before the ungodly; and if any do so, I will promise them, in the name of the Lord God of Israel, that they will be destroyed by the ungodly.  Hear it, you Elders of Israel, and you Saints of latter days!  Let us seek in the first place among ourselves to execute judgment in righteousness, and then let every man and every woman submit to them.  That is God’s law, and any man that acts contrary to this law cannot go into the temples of the Lord to receive the ordinances of God’s house.  For if we cannot submit to the law of God on the one hand, we cannot receive the blessings through his ordinances, on the other hand.  Is that right?  {The congregation answered, Yes.}”  (President John Taylor, 8 Apr., 1880; CR Apr., 1880, p. 100)

8 Apr.:  High Priesthood = High Priest.

“I say God bless you, and God bless my brethren of the Twelve, and God bless my brethren of the Seventies, and God bless my brethren of the High Priesthood, and God bless the Presidents of Stakes and their Counselors, and God bless the Bishops and their Counselors, and the Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, our missionaries laboring in foreign lands, and all the Holy Priesthood, and God bless all the Saints.”  (President John Taylor, 8 Apr., 1880; CR Apr., 1880, p. 103)

8 Apr.:  Sunday Ward meetings in SLC discontinued.

“Ward Meetings Discontinued.–

Services will be held in the Salt Lake Assembly Hall on Sunday next, and after that in the Large Tabernacle on Sunday afternoons until further notice, at 2 p.m.

The various Ward meetings of this city, heretofore held on Sunday afternoon, will therefore be discontinued.

By request of the Presidency of the Stake.

William W. Taylor, Clerk.”

(Reprint of report of 8 Apr.; DN 29(11):161, 14 Apr., 1880)

9 Apr.:  [1878] Rebaptism into United Order.

“What did we do when President Young was among us, urging these things upon us?  Did we not enter into covenant by re-baptism to be subject to the Priesthood in temporal as well as spiritual things, when we took upon ourselves the obligations of the United Order?”  (John Taylor, 9 Apr., 1878; DN 29(7):98, 17 Mar., 1880)

9 Apr.:  [1878] Role of Bishops.

“Now then, we come to the bishopric.  Ought the bishops to be consulted in regard to temporal things?  Yes, they ought.  And as an example, let me tell you that for the last year Bishop Hunter has associated with the Council of the Twelve whenever they have met to consider temporal matters.  And I may say we have been pleased to have his company, because it was his place to understand the position of temporal things that we may know his feelings, and counsel with him and he with us, that everything may be done according to the order and laws of God, that there may be perfect unanimity.  With this view he was placed as one of the counselors to the Trustee-in-Trust–because the Trustee-in-Trust thought it belonged to him to hold that position, and think so today.  But then, does he preside over the Melchisedec Priesthood?  No, he does not.  Who and what is he?  A high priest ordained and set apart to the bishopric.  By whom?  The Presidency.  Does he control the presidency?  No, he is set apart by them; as bishop he is an appendage to the higher priesthood, and does not control it.  No man controls it.  I remember a remark made on one occasion by Joseph Smith, in speaking with Bishop Partridge, who was then Bishop. He was a splendid good man, as Bishop Hunter is.  But he got some crooked ideas into his head; he thought he ought to manage some things irrespective of Joseph, which caused Joseph to speak rather sharply to him.  Joseph said, I wish you to understand that I am President of this Church, and I am your president, and I preside over you and all your affairs.  Is that correct doctrine?  Yes.  It was true then and it is true to-day.”  (John Taylor, 9 Apr., 1878; DN 29(7):98, 17 Mar., 1880)

14 Apr.:  Stake YMMIA Superintendent to be ordained HP.

“It will be well, at your earliest convenience, to requrest the assistance of the Presidency of the Stake, in which you reside, to aid you in completing your Stake Organization on the basis named in the instructions alluded to.  We are authorized, by the Council of the Apostles, to request the Presidency of the Stakes, and we do so now, to ordain, when necessary, to the office of High Priest, those whom they and the High Council may nominate as Superintendents, and who have been sustained by vote, as required in the instructions named.”  (Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, Moses Thatcher {YMMIA General Superintendency} to the Officers and Members of the YMMIA of Zion, 14 Apr., 1880; Contributor 1:192, May, 1880)

15 Apr.:  Relationship between Priesthood and YMMIA.

“A general meeting of those interested in Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Associations was held in the Assembly Hall, in this city, on the evening of the 6th inst.  After the opening exercises, President Taylor stated that the council of the Apostles had considered the propriety of organizing a general superintendency of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Associations in the Church, and defining their sphere, that there might be no conflict between these organizations and those of the priesthood.  With this object in view, a series of suggestions had been prepared to be read at this meeting.  He then had the following read:

1.–This institution must not interfere with the Priesthood, or any of its members; but each individual member must be subject to the Quorum of which he may be a member, and to the regularly organized authorities of the Stake with which he is associated.

2.–Every Stake organization to be under the authority of the Priesthood in that Stake, and to have for its superintendent a High Priest, selected by the President of the Stake and his counselors, sanctioned by the High Council of the Stake, and voted for and sustained by the Stake Conference, and the associations of the Stake.

3.–This Stake superintendent may call two or more persons to his assistance, who may or may not be High Priests; they shall be known as assistants or counselors, and shall be approved by the President of the Stake and his counselors, sanctioned by the High Council of the Stake, and sustained by the vote of the Stake Conference, and the associations  of the Stake.

4.–The Twelve may appoint a general superintendent from time to time, who may, when convenient, be one of their council, who shall have the general superintendence of the Stake organizations.

5.–The general superintendent may direct the action of all the Stake cuperintendents, and preside over all the officers of the associations, in all the Stakes; and may have two of the Twelve, when convenient, as counselors, and they may call upon such assistants, secretaries and other help as may be required.  The whole to be under the general superintendence of the Twelve, as the Presidency. . . .

It must be understood that these organizations are not formed as a separate or distinct Church organization, or body of Priesthood, but for the mutual improvement of the members and all connected therewith.

After the reading of the foregoing, President Taylor again addressed the assembly, explaining the reason for each suggestion, commending what had already been accomplished by the associations, and expressing bright hopes for their future.  He then nominated Elder Wilford Woodruff for general superintendent, and Elders Joseph F. Smith and Moses Thatcher for his counselors.  The names were voted upon and sustained unanimously.”  (JI 15(8):91, 15 Apr., 1880)

29 Apr.:  Select best men to be Teachers.

“A Bishops’ meeting was held at the Council House at 7 p.m. Bishop Edward Hunter presiding. . . . Bishops should watch over, know and control their wards, and select the best men for teachers.”  (JH 29 Apr., 1880)

3 May:  Excommunication notice.


Louisa Y. Ferguson, Vilate Y. Decker, Emeline A. Young, Dora Y. Dunford and Marinda Y. Conrad have been cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the Bishops’ courts of their respective Wards, and Elizabeth Y. Ellsworth by the High Council of Salt Lake Stake of Zion, which High Council also unanimously sustained the action of the Bishops’ Courts in the other cases.

The above action was taken for their joining together and making a complaint, entering and prosecuting the same in the Third Judicial District Court of Utah Territory, wherein they falsely charged their father’s Executors and the authorities of the Church with defrauding the heirs of our late President Brigham Young, out of one million dollars, and for causing the imprisonment in the Penitentiary of the Executors, and jeopardizing the liberty of President John Taylor, Trustee-in-Trust for the Church, and for refusing to make restitution.

James Ferguson (commonly known as Harris) was also excommunicated for encouraging and indorsing his wife in her course.

William W. Taylor,

Clerk of the High Council.”

(Reprint of report of 3 May; DN 29(14):217, 5 May, 1880)

9 May:  Duties of home missionaries.

“President [W. W.] Cluff said: The Apostles told us at our late General Conference, that every man and woman was expected to magnify their calling, and they are responsible for it.  We cannot throw off those responsibilities.  We have called 20 home missionaries, which is as great an honor to them as if they had been sent to Europe, or any other part of the world.  We want those Elders to meet, and be set apart, and magnify their calling; to lay before the people those principles that are given by the authorities of the Church; to observe the Sabath day, and refrain from drinking, smoking, swearing; and pay their tithing, and to do so in kindness and humility, and to leave the result with God.”  (Summit Stake Conference minutes, 9 May, 1880; DN 29(18):279, 2 Jun., 1880)

12 May:  Going to law with a brother.

“‘Dare any of you, having a matter against another, to go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?’  This question was asked of the Corinthians by the Apostle Paul.  He mentioned to their shame a great evil that existed among them:

But brother goeth to law with brother and that before the unbelievers.

This was forbidden to the former-day Saints, and is also forbidden to the Latter-day Saints.

In order to prevent the necessity of brother going to law against brother and sister against sister, the Lord, knowing the weaknesses of mankind and recognizing the need of established authorities among his people, for the settlement of disputes, organized tribunals, in the early days of this Church, to which all litigants within its fold might resort for justice and judgment.  Until these tribunals were formally established and recognized by the common consent of the Church, difficulties between members were required to be settled by the Elders.  The word of the Lord given in February, 1831, was:

And, if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her, between him or her and thee alone, and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled.  And, if he or shee confess not thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the Church, not to the members, but to the Elders.  And it shall be done in a meeting and that not before the world.

In August, of the same year, the calling of the Bishop was made known by revelation, and among other things it was explained that he was to be a Judge in Israel:

To judge his people by the testimony of the just and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the kingdom, which are given by the prophets of God.

On the 17th of February, 1834, the High Council of the Church was organized, consisting of twelve High Priests presided over by the President of the Church and his two counselors, and the powers and duties of such bodies, whether in the Stakes of Zion or abroad were made known in great plainness, being ‘appointed by revelation for the purpose of settling important difficulties that might arise in the Church which could not be settled by the Church or the Bishop’s council to the satisfaction of the parties.’  This is a Church court, of appellant as well as original jurisdiction, and a High Council is now organized in each Stake of Zion, presided over by the Presidency of the Stake.

Under these regulations, and with the opportunities afforded of obtaining redress, no member of the Church is justified in reason or by the law of God in resorting to litigation before the world, until the means provided in the Church have been exhausted.  The first step in case of a dispute is a personal explanation between the parties.  This failing, the teachers appointed for the locality in which the disputants reside, should be called on to assist in an equitable settlement.  This not meeting the exigencies of the case, a trial is next in order before the Bishop and his Counselors of the Ward in which the accused person lives.  Should this not give satisfaction, it can be appealed to the High Council of the Stake.  And if in the proceedings of that body anything improper can be pointed out, an application can be made to the Presidency of the Church, who can decide whether or not a new trial is necessary.

Thus justice can be had within the pales of the Church, without resort to worldly courts of law.  For the members of the Church tribunals are elected by the voice of the people and serve without fee.  No person in the Church, it matters not what his priesthood or position may be, is above the law of the Church or exempt from its tribunals.  Therefore, the humblest member as well as the highest dignitary has access to the Church courts in case of disagreement, no matter who may be the opposite party.

The history of the Church has proven that fairness, equity, righteousness and impartiality have usually governed in trials in these courts, and that when any other influences have been prevailed, the wrong has been eventually righted.  Technicalities, trickery, exclusion of evidence that in any way would throw light upon a case, badgering of witnesses, legal objections, special pleading, and all the obstacles that are thrown in the way of truth and justice in courts of law, are discarded in the courts of the Church, and the object in view is equity to all the parties.

Now in view of the word of God in ancient and modern times concerning going to law before the world, what should be done to those who violate these wholesome regulations?  The Lord has said:

And again, every person who belongs to the Church of Christ shall observe to keep all the commandments and covenants of the Church.

If members of the Church will not observe to keep its laws according to their own covenants and agreements, they should be severed from its communion.  This is the rule in all religious bodies.  When it is carried out in this Church, a cry of intolerance is raised, and those who are interested in promoting strife and increasing litigation, pretend to think that it is a terrible thing that people cannot be allowed their ‘day in court.’  This Church does not attempt to deprive any one of the luxury of the law, with its costs and consequences, to his heart’s content.  But a Latter-day Saint cannot engage in its strifes and heart-burnings with his brethren and be continued in fellowship.  If he wants the ways of the world, nobody will hinder his entire association with the world.  But, hear it O Israel, he or she that desires the communion of the Saints, must observe the laws and rules of the Church, or be cast out from the fold.  ‘Woe unto them, that are cut off from my Church,’ saith the Lord, ‘for the same are overcome of the world,’ and thenceforth will be ‘like salt that has lost its savor.'”  (Editorial, “Going to Law With a Brother,” DN 29(15):232, 12 May, 1880)

12 May:  Litigation and Excommunication.

“Several papers east and west have had something to say about the recent excommunication of certain individuals from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for going to law with their brethren contrary to the rules and covenants of the Church.  As is usual when discussing Mormon affairs, those journals display a lamentable ignorance of the subject and give utterance to very foolish remarks in relation to it.

The Sacramento Record-Union says: ‘This is a convenient method of disposing of troublesome persons, and we suppose that it is looked upon by orthodox Mormons as a complete and final refutation of their claims.’  That paper is in error on both points.  In the first place, this method of dealing with refractory members does not dispose of them as litigants, and has no bearing upon their legal rights or illegal actions.  It simply severs them from Church communion.  In the second place, ‘orthodox Mormons’ do not look upon it as either a refutation or an endorsement of claims of any kind; they view it simply as the proper enforcement of ecclesiastical law.

It is a rule of this Church that brother shall not go to law with brother before the world, just as it was a rule of the primitive Christian church.  And in the same manner that the early Church disposed of members who would not hearken to its voice, so does the latter–day Church.  There are ample means and provisions within the Church for the equitable settlement of all disputes between its members and courts to see justice done irrespective of wealth, position or authority; therefore those who disregard its rules and violate their covenants by a resort to worldly litigation, do so against reason and necessity as well as against a known regulation.

What is the course pursued in any religious organization when a member refuses either to subscribe to its discipline or make reparation for disobedience?  What is done with a refractory Mason or Odd Fellow in such a case?  Do not both religious and secular societies sever from their fellowship, such persons as rebel against their rules and refuse to reform or even make answer to charges preferred?  That is all that has been done in the cases referred to, and concerning which so much cheap sentiment and mock sympathy have been expressed by certain newspapers.

One would think, to read the nonsense that has been published about this matter, that persons excommunicated from this Church were deprived of the right to go to law altogether.  But a little reflection will show the folly of such an idea.  They are at perfect liberty, after being cut off the Church, to indulge in worldly litigation until they are satisfied; that is, if satisfaction can ever be gained by such means.  And they are at equal liberty to go to law while in the Church; no one will attempt to hinder them.  Only if they do so, they must choose between their standing in the Church and their standing in court.  If they love litigation, more than their Church membership, no one will try to prevent their free choice, they can act as they desire.

Churches and societies have rights as well as individuals.  Rules and regulations must be observed or there is no use in making them.  If people do not choose to accept those rules and regulations they need not join the church or society which has established them.  And if after they have become members they are not willing to continue under the recognized discipline, they can depart in peace from its communion, or the Church has a perfect right to disfellowship or excommunicate them.  This is what has been done in the cases under consideration, nothing more, and the comments of the press on the subject are merely expressive of the folly and lack of understanding of the persons who penned them.”  (Editorial, “Litigation and Excommunication,” DN 29(15):232, 12 May, 1880)

May:  Relationship between Priesthood and YMMIA.

“First.–This Institution [YMMIA] must not interfere with the priesthood of any of its members; but each individual member must be subject to the quorum of which he may be a member, and to the regularly organized authorities of the Stake with which he is associated.

Second.–Every Stake Organization to be under the authority of the Stake organization of the priesthood in that Stake, and to have for its Superintendent a High Priest selected by the President of the Stake and his Counselors, sanctioned by the High Council of the Stake, and voted for and sustained by the Stake Conference and Associations of the Stake.

Third.–This Stake Superintendent may call two or more persons to his assistance, who may or may not be High Priests.  They shall be known as assistants or counselors, and shall be approved by the President of the Stake and his Counselors, sanctioned by the High Council of the Stake, and sustained by the vote of the Stake Conference and Associations of the Stake.”  (John Taylor, in behalf of the Council of Apostles, May, 1880.  The Contributor 1:191[May, 1880])  

5 Jun.:  Recommend for priesthood ordination.

“[SL Priesthood Meeting] Bishop Edwin D. Wooley, expressed his satisfaction at the plan adopted in these meetings, of asking candidates for ordination as to their willingness to do their duty, magnify their offices, and bear a testimony before the assembly to that effect, previous to receiving a recommendation.”  (Reprint of report of 5 Jun.; DN 29(19):297, 9 Jun., 1880)

6 Jun.:  God himself works only through the priesthood.

“I have a few reflections upon my mind that I would like to lay before the Latter-day Saints, especially those who bear the holy priesthood.  Among the lessons which we are learning in our day and time is this one truth: that we all of us need the spirit of revelation in order that we may teach mankind of the things of God.  I do not believe myself there ever was a man lived in the flesh on the earth, in any day or age of the world, no matter what his position, calling, name, or age might be–I do not believe any man ever had the power to do the work of God, to build up his kingdom or to edify the souls of men, without inspiration and revelation; for the Lord has never called any man in any age of the world to do any of this kind of work, whether to preach the Gospel, to prophesy, or to declare the word of the Lord to the inhabitants of the earth, or to administer in any ordinance in any temple or in any tabernacle, without the holy priesthood.  There are no ordinances acceptable in the sight of God of any force after death or in the eternal worlds except those ordinances that are performed by men bearing the holy priesthood.  Our heavenly Father himself has officiated by this principle in the creation of all worlds, in the redemption of all worlds, and in all the work which he has performed; it has all been done by the power of the Godhead and the holy priesthood, which is without beginning of days or end of years.  This priesthood has power with the heavens.  It has association with the heavens.  The heavens are connected with this priesthood, let it rest upon the shoulders or head of any man, whether it be Jesus Christ, or those fishermen, or the ancient patriarchs or prophets or Joseph Smith, or any other man who is called of God as was Aaron, by revelation, and prophecy to bear record of the name of God in any age of the world.  Therefore, I occupy the same position myself.  I know I need the Spirit of God.  I know you do.  I know any man does who rises on this stand, and attempts to teach the people.  You give a man the inspiration of Almighty God and the eternal truths of heaven and he can instruct and edify the children of men upon the principles of life and salvation; without this he cannot do it.”  (Wilford Woodruff, 6 Jun., 1880; JD 21:121-122)

6 Jun.:  Apostleship and MP from Peter, James and John.

“He [Joseph Smith] received the Aaronic priesthood of John the Baptist, who was beheaded for the testimony of Jesus Christ.  He received the apostleship and Melchizedek Priesthood under the hands of Peter, James and John, who were also put to death for the word and testimony of Jesus Christ.”  (Wilford Woodruff, 6 Jun., 1880; JD 21:124-125)

4 Jul.:  Bishop to be the Father of the Ward.

“If we are called to the office of a bishop we should fulfill the duties pertaining to that office.  I know it has been considered a very hard office, and one to which a good deal of time has to be devoted.  Yet there are a great many bishops who don’t spend much time in it, while others are true to their calling.  A bishop’s calling is an important one.  He is called to be a father to the people of his ward.”  (Wilford Woodruff, 4 Jul., 1880; JD 21:281)

4 Jul.:  90% of Mormons have apostatized?

“There is hardly a tithe of the people who have been baptized in water for the remission of sins that have died in the faith.  In the United States there are tens of thousands of apostate Mormons.  Many a time in my reflections I have wished I could fully comprehend the responsibility I am under to God, and the responsibility every man is under who bears the priesthood in this generation.”  (Wilford Woodruff, 4 Jul., 1880; JD 21:282)

14 Jul.:  Priestly dictation in temporal affairs.

“Priestly dictation in civil affairs’ is a phrase that has been very frequently repeated on the platform and through the press, as an intended thrust against what is popularly known as ‘Mormonism.’  That a man recognized as a priest should have anything to say on political or other secular matters, is apparently horrifying to a certain class of minds.  But seeing that under our national system, all citizens are equal before the law, and a priest or other ecclesiast has just as many legal, social and political rights as a layman or an infidel, why should there be so much concern exhibited about priestly influence in civil things?  If an athiest or a society of non-religionists wields influence in civil affairs, it is considered all right so long as neither attempts to accomplish by force that which is only lawful by persuasion, argument or other rational and peaceful means.  Why, then, should not a religious teacher, or recognized minister of spiritual things, be permitted to use his influence in those civil affairs in which he is just as much interested as a citizen, as the disbeliever, or the church member?

Priestly influence, if lawfully exercised, is just as proper in all secular affairs, including politics, as commercial influence, judicial influence, gubernatorial influence, legal influence, employer’s influence, or the influence of any swaying, directing, guiding power or person.  If a priest uses any unlawful agency to compel a course of action, he is amenable to the law as a layman.  If an ecclesiast is possessed of judgment, experience, wisdom, or other qualification recognized by others as fitting him to give advice and direction in secular affairs, what is there in the institutions of our government, the law of the land or good common sense to forbid him from imparting that counsel and giving that direction, particularly when it is sought for and desired?

This hackneyed cry of ‘priestly dictation’ is, under the institutions of this republic, the gauziest kind of rubbish.  No priest can exercise any power over an unwilling devotee, as in some parts of the world, and should he attempt to do so, there is ample protection for his victim, both in public opinion and in the law.  If a priest tells voters how to cast their ballots at an election, he cannot compel obedience, and on the other hand he has just as much right to use lawful influence to induce his friends or followers to vote as he wishes, as any Federal officer, club president, political or trade boss, or other leader has or pretends to have.

To bring this right home where it is intended to apply, the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have equal right to manage a mercantile business, run a railroad, occupy an office of any kind whatever for which they may be chosen, get up a political ticket and try to have it elected, or do any other lawful act, with any person or combination of persons not endowed with religious authority or occupying sacerdotal position.  Those who would deprive them and other religious teachers of that right are the real traitors to the cause of American freedom.  For them should be the ‘scaffolds and coffins,’ if any, though we advocate no such means for the punishment of those ‘treasonable conspirators.’  They are the enemies of liberty who strive to ‘break down the Constitution,’ which guarantees the same civil rights to preachers and people.

Is not priestly influence, wielded in the fear of God and with wishes for the benefit of the race, as likely to be good–it is certainly as lawful–as the influence of political bummers, office seekers, smoke-dried and liquor-soaked adventurers, loafers, blasphemers and infidels?  Or to lift the matter nearer to a level, is not priestly influence in civil affairs as likely to promote peace, create union, secure order, establish righteousness and increase joy, as the influence of sordid though respectable secularists, whose souls are centred on the dollar or absorved in personal aims and private ambitions?

The Latter-day Saints choose generally to follow the advice and admonitions of their Church leaders in many of the civil affairs of life, in preference to the suggestions of persons who presume to find fault with their religion and at the same time to dictate their civil and social policy.  The latter are angry at their own failure and the former’s success, and raise the silly cry of ‘priestly dictation.’  These comparative strangers who know nothing of our motives, history or objects attemkpt to undermine the confidence of the people in the well-known, tried and proven leaders whose whole lives have been a sacrifice to principle, and whose entire energies have been devoted to the benefit of their fellow men.  The confidence reposed by the Saints in these veterans in our cause is represented as ‘bondage,’ as ‘shackles that bind a too-confiding people,’ and the prophecy is put forth clad in the garments of a threat, that Utah will never be permitted to become a State until that influence is thrown off and that confidence is broken.  So proclaims the Governor of the Territory on a day sacred to liberty.

Now we wish it to be distinctly understood, speaking for the masses of the ‘Mormon’ people, that we claim the right to choose our own political and religious leaders, and our counselors in social and commercial affairs, and if we please to seek for and follow the counsel of the priesthood in all secular things, as in spiritual things, we shall do so whether or not it pleases persons who wish to rule us nolens votens.  If we choose to have ‘priestly influence’ in politics or other civil affairs, we shall be guided by it whether this exercise of our rights as American citizens keeps us out of the Union of States or not.  Our Apostles and other Church leaders are the choice of the people as well as the appointed of the Lord, and all things in this Church, according to the revealtions and covenants and commandments, must bedone by ‘common consent.’  Vox populi harmonizes with vox Dei, and both are needful according to our Church constitution, which is as little understood by those anti-‘Mormon’ orators who have the impertinence to lecture us on the subject, as the mythology of Egypt or ancient Greece is comprehended by the unlettered peasant of either hemisphere.

Now what is proposed by the freedom-shriekers and opponents of priestly influence in civil affairs?  To deprive us of our rights under the Constitution so long as we, of our own free will and choice, listen to the counsel of our chosen advisers.  Think of it!  While those officious individuals talk about breaking shackles, they are forging them for our limbs and minds.  Our freedom must be such as they provide, our liberty such as they shall dictate.  We are free to be ruled by them but not to follow the lead of our chosen chiefs.  Why, these arrogant persons who are forced upon us under the anti-republican system of territorial vassalage, are the self-constituted censors who seek to ‘break down the Constitution’ and to violate one of its most glorious provisions!  For while that inspired instrument forbids no priest from exercising influence in civil affairs, it does most emphatically forbid the exercise of civil authority over religious affairs.  And they want to invade the sacred domain of the Church, and prevent church members from carrying out church policy when it enters into the walks of civil life.

But we care nought for their threats, we smile at their prognostications, we reflect their attempted dictation, and we see through their thin sophistry and disjointed logic.  And we now and here proclaim that as American citizens, although waiting for the full liberties which are unjustly withheld, we shall seek for and follow just as much ‘priestly dictation’ as seems good in our eyes, whether it relates to spiritual or civil affairs, and will contend for this religious liberty, while God gives us life, as well as for all the rights and privileges for ourselves and others guaranteed by the supreme law of the land.  And as the Lord lives and truth triumphs, we shall yet gain the victory.”  (Editorial, “Priestly Dictation,” DN 29(24):376, 14 Jul., 1880)

16 Jul.:  Rebaptism in Switzerland.

“About quarter to ten o’clock, as none of the brethren were here, I went down to the Aare River and rebaptized Sister Rosa Kunz, and then returned to the office where I confirmed her.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 16 Jul., 1880)

18 Jul.:  The Priesthood, its organization, etc.

“I am pleased this morning to have the opportunity of meeting with the Saints in this place.  If you will try to be still, I will endeavor to lay before you a few principles on the subject, concerning which your [Ogden Stake] President enquired of me a few days ago.  It seems that there have been, somewhere in this Stake, difficulties existing between the Bishop of a Ward and certain members of his Ward.  Failing to arrive at an amicable settlement, the parties appealed, against the Bishop, to the High Council.  President Peery sent a telegram desiring my answer to the question–‘Whether a High Council had authority to try a Bishop.’  I could have answered yes, and I could have answered no, to that question; but it was a matter that would require some explanation, and on which the brethren, in many instances, are not very well informed.  I knew it would be almost useless to give an answer of that kind, without making some little explanation thereto, because there are some things with which more than one truth is connected.

If you were to ask me whether I am dressed in woolen clothes or cotton, I could not give you an answer, in the simple words yes or no, because part of them are woolen, part of them cotton, and part of them linen; and I should need time to explain.  There are many questions pertaining to the Priesthood, which cannot be answered categorically without further explanation, and as this is a conference, I wish to make a few remarks concerning some of them; but I do not propose to enter into all the details of these matters; there would not be time, nor half time, nor a quarter time.  I simply propose to make a few remarks in regard to the question which was asked me by your President.

I will here read on this subject a passage which people take up sometimes, without understanding it, and, consequently, when they do so, they are apt to make quite a number of mistakes.  The passage to which I will refer you, is the 22nd verse of the 68th section, in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.  After reading it, you would think you had got the whole answer, but then you might not have it, although you might think you had.

And again, no Bishop or High Priest who shall be set apart for this ministry, shall be tried or condemned for any crime, save it be before the First Presidency of the Church.

Now, does not that look very plain?  It does, when apart from the context, and if we do not examine the other parts associated therewith.  I will further read some more pertaining to this matter, which will be found in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, page 249, section 68.

Ver. 14.  There remaineth hereafter in the due time of the Lord, other Bishops to be set apart unto the Church, to minister even according to the first;

15.  Wherefore they shall be High Priests who are worthy, and they shall be appointed by the First Presidency of the Melchisedek Priesthood, except they be literal descendants of Aaron;

16.  And if they be literal descendants of Aaron, they have a legal right to the Bishopric, if they are the first-born among the sons of Aaron;

17.  For the first-born holds the right of the Presidency over this Priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same.

Now, I desire to draw your attention to one thing very distinctly, that you may comprehend–‘For the first-born holds the right of presidency over this Priesthood.’  Over what Priesthood?  The Bishopric.  There is a Presidency in that Priesthood; and this first-born of the literal descendants of Aaron would have a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this Priesthood, except he be a literal descendant of Aaron, and the first-born among his sons.  Then, he would have a legal right to it.  I could tell you the reason why, but it would take too long a time; and these things will be spoken of hereafter more fully.  But I wish to speak of one or two leading principles pertaining to this subject; and as a High Priest of the Melchisedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, he may officiate in the office of Bishop, when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, and it is stated, ‘And they shall be set apart under the hands of the first Presidency of the Melchisedek Priesthood.’  To what authority?  To what power?  To what calling?  To what Bishopric?  To the Presiding Bishopric.  This is what is here referred to:

Ver. 20.  And a literal descendant of Aaron, also, must be designated by this Presidency, and found worthy, and anointed, and ordained under the hands of this Presidency, otherwise they are not legally authorized to officiate in their Priesthood;

21.  But by virtue of the decree concerning their right of the Priesthoood descending from father to son, they may claim their anointing, if at any time they can prove their lineage, or do ascertain it by revelation from the Lord under the hands of the above-named Presidency.

Without that the Presiding Bishop could not be set apart, because there is where the authority is placed.

22.  And again, no Bishop or High Priest who shall be set apart for this ministry, shall be tried or condemned for any crime, save it be before the First Presidency of the Church.

In regard to what ministry?  Why the Presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood.  That is what is here spoken of.

23.  And inasmuch as he is found guilty before this Presidency, by testimony which cannot be impeached, he shall be condemned;

24.  And if he repents he shall be forgiven, according to the covenants and commandments of the Church.

Now, then, I will read you something more on the same subject, which will be found in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, page 383, section 107.

Verse 1.  There are, in the Church, two Priesthoods, namely, the Melchisedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood.

2.  Why the first is called the Melchisedek Priesthood, is because Melchisedek was such a great High Priest.

3.  Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the order of the Son of God

4.  But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of His name, they, the Church, in ancient days, called that Priesthood after Melchisedek, or the Melchisedek Priesthood.

5.  All other authorities or offices in the Church are appendages to this Priesthood;

6.  But there are two divisions or grand heads–one is the Melchisedek Priesthood, and the other is the Aaronic, or Levitical Priesthood.

7.  The office of an Elder comes under the Priesthood of Melchisedek.

8.  The Melchisedek Priesthood holds the right of Presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the Church in all ages of the world to administer in spiritual things.

Now here is a principle developed that I wish to call your attention to, and that is, that it is the especial prerogative of the Melchisedek Priesthood, and has been ‘in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things,’ and to have the right of presidency in those things.

But then, here is another distinction that I wish to call your attention to, at the same time, which is found in the next verse:

9.  The Presidency of the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchisedek, have a right to ‘officiate in all the offices in the Church,’–spiritual or temporal.

But there is a difference between the general authority of the Melchisedek Priesthood and the one that is designated, which presides over them all: and that which presides over the whole has the right to administer in all things.  The Aaronic Priesthood is an appendage unto the Melchisedek Priesthood, and is under its direction.

I mention these things that you Bishops, and you Seventies, and you High Priests, and you Elders, and you High Councilors, and you Presidents of Stakes and Councilors, may comprehend the position of things, as here indicated; and, as was said formerly, I think it was by Paul, ‘that you may be able to rightly divide the word of truth, and give to every man his portion in due season.’  These principles are written here, and are very plain, if they are understood, but if not understood, then they are mysterious, and it is required of us to make ourselves acquainted with the principles inculcated and herein developed.  The things which I have mentioned are plain to the minds of all intelligent Latter-day Saints, who have studied the Doctrine and Covenants on these points.

Verse 10.  High Priests after the order of the Melchisedek Priesthood, have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the Presidency, in administering spiritual things; and also in the office of an Elder, Priest, (of the Levitical order,) Teacher, Deacon, and Member.

That is the reason why, as soon as they possess this Priesthood and right, if they are appointed to any particular office in the Church, they have a right to administer in that office.

I will now speak a little upon the High Priesthood.  This High Priesthood, we are told, has held the right of Presidency in all ages of the world.  But there is a difference between the general powers of the Priesthood, and the particular office and calling to which men are set apart; and you, when I tell you, will understand it very easily.  For instance the Presidency of the Priesthood, or the Presidency of the Church, are High Priests.  The Twelve are High Priests.  The Presidents of Stakes and their Counselors, the High Council of a Stake, and of all the Stakes, are High Priests.  The Bishops are ordained and set apart through the High Priesthood, and stand in the same capacity; and thus Bishops and their Counselors are High Priests.  Now, these things you all know.  There is nothing mysterious about them.

There is another question associated with this matter.  Because a man is a High Priest, is he an Apostle?  No.  Because a man is a High Priest, is he the President of a Stake, or the Counselor to the President of a Stake?  No.  Because he is a High Priest, is he a Bishop?  No, not by any means.  And so on, in all the various offices.  The High Priesthood holds the authority to administer in those ordinances, offices, and places, when they are appointed by the proper authorities, and at no other time; and while they are sustained also by the people.  Now these are the distinctions which I wish to draw, simply to classify them.  And when there is anything said about a High Priest, you say, ‘I am a High Priest, and if such a man has authority, I have it!’  You have if you have been appointed to it, or you have not if you have not.  You have it if you are appointed to fill the office, and are properly called and set apart to that ofice; but unless you are, you have not got that office, but still you are a High Priest; and ‘High Priests after the order of the Melchisedek Priesthood have a right to offiiciate in their own standing under the direction of the Presidency, in administering spiritual things;’ but they must be under that direction or Presidency.  Now here is where the question comes in.  Is it not plain when you look at it?  To me it is very distinct and pointed, and it is to you who are intelligent and have studied these things.  It is not because a man holds a certain class of Priesthood that he is to administer in all the offices of that Priesthood.  He administers in them only as he is called and set apart for that purpose.  Hence, as you are organized here, you have a Presidency.  They were presented here for you to vote upon, and after that they were set apart to administer in that office.  But supposing Brother Peery and his counselors had not been called and set apart, would they have a right to administer in the office of the Presidency?  No, they would not; and you can all see it when you reflect upon it.

Now, then, as we have read, a High Priest, after the order of the Melchisedek Priesthood, has the right to administer under the direction of the Presidency, in all spiritual things, and also in the office of an Elder, Priest, Teacher, Deacon, and member.  And in the following verses we read that:

11.  An Elder has the right to officiate in his stead when the High Priest is not present.

12.  The High Priest and Elder are to administer in spiritual things, agreeable to the covenants and commandments of the Church; and they have a right to officiate in all these offices of the Church when there are no higher authorities present.

13.  The second Priesthood is called the Priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed throughout all their generations.

14.  Why it is called the lesser Priesthood is because it is an appendage to the greater or the Melchisedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances.

15.  The Bishopric is the Presidency of this Priesthood, and holds the keys or authority of the same.

We read a little further:

16. ‘No man has a legal right to this office’–To hold the keys of this Priesthood–‘Except he be a literal descendant of Aaron.’

That is, he has no legal right; but in regard to certain conditions pertaining to this right, I do not propose to enter into an investigation this morning.

Verse 17.  But as a High Priest of the Melchisedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, he may officiate in the office of Bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart, and ordained unto this power by the hands of the Presidency of the Melchisedek Priesthood.

To what power?  To hold the keys of this Priesthood, and to preside over the Aaronic Priesthood.

Verse 18.  The power and authority of the higher or Melchisedek Priesthood is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the Church.

19.  To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven–to have the heavens opened unto them–to commune with the general assembly and Church of the first born, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.

20.  The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances the letter of the Gospel–the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments.

21.  Of necessity there are presidents, or presiding officers, growing out of, or appointed of or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two Priesthoods.

22.  Of the Melchisedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith and prayer of the Church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.

23.  The twelve traveling counselors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world; thus differing from other officers in the Church in the duties of their calling.

24.  And they form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three Presidents previously mentioned.

25.  The Seventy are also called to preach the Gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world; thus differing from other officers in the Church in the duties of their calling.

26.  And they form a quorum equal in authority to that of the twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named.

27.  And every decision made by either of these quorums, must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other.

28.  (A majority may form a quorum when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise.)

29.  Unless this is the case, their decisions are not entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three Presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchisedek, and were righteous and holy men.

30.  The decisions of these quorums, or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long-suffering, and in faith and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity.

31.  Because the promise is, if these things abound in them, they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord.

Again, we read in the same section, page 389:

Verse 60.  Verily, I say unto you, says the Lord of hosts; there must needs be presiding Elders to preside over those who are of the office of an Elder;

61.  And also Priests to preside over those who are of the office of a Priest;

62.  And also Teachers to preside over those who are of the office of a Teacher, in like manner, and also the Deacons;

63.  Wherefore, from Deacon to Teacher, and from Teacher to Priest, and from Priest to Elder, severally as they are appointed, according to the covenants and commandments of the Church.

64.  Then comes the High Priesthood, which is the greatest of all;

65.  Wherefore it must needs be that one be appointed of the High Priesthood to preside over the Priesthood, and he shall be called President of the High Priesthood of the Church;

66.  Or, in other words, the Presiding High Priest over the High Priesthood of the Church;

67.  From the same comes the administering of ordinances and blessings upon the Church, by the laying on of the hands;

68.  Wherefore the office of a Bishop is not equal unto it; for the office of a Bishop is in administering all temporal things;

69.  Nevertheless a Bishop must be chosen from the High Priesthood, unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron;

70.  For unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron, he cannot hold the keys of that Priesthood.

You see the keys of this Priesthood are specifically mentioned whenever the Presidency is mentioned; and whenever the rights of the literal descendants of Aaron are mentioned, it is to hold the keys of this Priesthood.

71.  Nevertheless, a High Priest that is after the order of Melchisedek, may be set apart unto the ministering of temporal things, having a knowledge of them by the spirit of truth.

72.  And also to be a judge in Israel, to do the business of the Church, to sit in judgement upon transgressors, upon testimony as it shall be laid before him according to the laws, by the assistance of his counselors whom he has chosen, or will choose, among the Elders of the Church.

73.  This is the duty of a Bishop who is not a literal descendant of Aaron, but has been ordained to the High Priesthood after the order of Melchisedek.

74.  Thus shall he be a judge, even a common judge among the inhabitants of Zion, or in a Stake of Zion, or in any branch of the Church where he shall be set apart unto this ministry, until the borders of Zion are enlarged, and it becomes necessary to have other Bishops or judges in Zion, or elsewhere.

75.  And inasmuch as there are other Bishops appointed, they shall act in the same office.

76.  But a literal descendant of Aaron has a legal right to the presidency of this Priesthood, to the keys of this ministry to act in the office of Bishop, independently, without Counselors, except in a case where a President of the High Priesthood after the order of Melchisedek is tried to sit as a judge in Israel.

77.  And the decision of either of these councils, agreeable to the commandments, which says:

78.  Again, verily, I say unto you the most important business of the Church, and the most difficult cases of the Church, inasmuch, as there is not satisfaction upon the decision of the Bishop or Judges, it shall be handed over and carried up unto the Council of the Church, before the Presidency of the High Priesthood.

79.  And the Presidency of the Council of the High Priesthood shall have power to call other High Priests, even twelve, to assist as Counselors; and thus the presidency of the High Priesthood and its Counselors shall have power to decide upon testimony according to the laws of the Church.

80.  And after this decision it shall be had in remembrance no more before the Lord; for this is the highest Council of the Church of God, and a final decision upon controversies in spiritual matters.

81.  There is not any person belonging to the Church who is exempt from this Council of the Church.

82.  And inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the Common Council of the Church, who shall be assisted by twelve Counselors of the High Priesthood.

83.  And their decision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him.

84.  Thus, none shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God, that all things may be done in order and in solemnity before Him, according to truth and righteousness.

I will read you a little more on this subject:  (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 124, page 431.)

Ver. 20.  And again, verily I say unto you, my servant George Miller is without guile; he may be trusted because of the integrity  of his heart, and for the love which he has to my testimony I, the Lord, love him;

21.  I therefore say unto you, I seal upon his head the office of a Bishopric, like unto my servant Edward Partridge, that he may receive the consecrations of mine house, that he may admininster blessings upon the heads of the poor of my people saith the Lord.  Let no man despise my servant George, for he shall honor me.

I would remark here that Edward Partridge was the first Bishop of the Church, and that he was apponted at an early day to go to the land of Zion, and to preside over the Bishopric in that district of country.  He was to purchase lands for the people that should gather there; he was to receive the consecrations of the people when they should present themselves to him; he was to divide up the inheritances for the people, and to sit as a common judge in Israel, and hence he held charge, not as the Bishops do here, over a particular Ward, but over the whole of that district of country in the land of Zion.  I would remark, again, that Bishop Whitney was chosen and set apart as a Bishop, to manage the affairs in Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio, and not only there, but to preside over all affairs associated with that Bishopric in all of that country, and occupied the position of a general Bishop, presiding over a large district of country, the same as Edward Partridge did in Zion.  But these are not what we call presiding Bishops.  In the same revelation that George Miller was called to occupy the place of Edward Partridge, and to hold the same kind of Bishopric that he held, we find that there was a Presiding Bishopric appointed.

141.  And again, I say unto you, I give unto you Vinson Knight, Samuel H. Smith, and Shadrach Roundy, if he will receive it, to preside over the Bishopric.

Now, I have briefly laid before you some ideas pertaining to these matters.  I will explain them a little further.  I will say that the Bishopric is a good deal like the High Priesthood in the position that it occupies.  There have been men who, under the Bishopric, have been appointed to fill various offices in the Church, and at different times.  I have told you, already, the nature of the office which Bishop Partridge held, the nature of the office which Bishop Whitney held; and then there were other men who did not hold the same kind of Bishopric that they did.  For instance, there was Bishop Alanson Ripley, whom many of you know, who lived back in Nauvoo; and other Bishops were appointed in some Stakes that were then organized.  And as it requires the direction of the Presidency of the Church to regulate these general Bishoprics, such as Brother Partridge held, and such as Brother Whitney held, and also being appointed by the Presidency, they have a right to be tried and have a hearing before them.  But that does not apply to all Bishops, or to all men who may be placed under different circumstances.  For instance, you have here in this Stake of Zion, quite a number of Bishops.  How far does their authority extend?  It extends to the boundary of each of their respective Bishoprics.  No further.  You all know that–over their Wards where they preside, and not over somebody else’s, unless they are appointed to it, which would be another thing.  But without some special appointment, they are simply appointed to preside over their several Wards, and no one else’s.  That is the extent of their authority in the Bishopric.  But a person holding a general Bishopric, the same as Bishop Whitney did, is different.  He had that appointed unto him by revelation, and under the direction of the Presidency of the Church; and the appointment that Bishop Partridge held–that was under the direction of the First Presidency of the Church; and these Bishops would have the right to be tried by the same power that appointed them and set them apart.  Still, how is it with other Bishops in Stakes; are they under the same direction?  To a certain extent all are under the direction of the First Presidency; but unless the First Presidency shall otherwise decide, there is authority held by the Presidency in those several Stakes, to try those Bishops who are under their jurisdiction in their Stakes and for the High Council, with the Presidency of the Stake presiding, to call them before them to have a hearing, and adjudicate those matters.  Thus the presidency of Stakes occupy the same position to their Stakes as Joseph Smith did to the Stake in Kirtland, the difference being in this, that Joseph Smith, while he presided over that Stake in a Stake capacity, presided also over all Stakes and Churches throughout the world, while the Presidents of Stakes only preside over their several Stakes, and their jurisdiction does not extend to any others.  But if the First Presidency should see it necessary to interfere, and say, in a case of that kind, that the case was of such a nature as to require another tribunal; they have a right to dictate, and manage those matters.   But if Presidents of Stakes and their Counselors and the Bishops fulfil their duties, and all act in harmony with the First Presidency, then everything goes on smoothly, and all men can be judged according to the principles laid down here in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

And there are some few things pertaining to these matters that I will now speak about; and as this is a conference, it is as good a time to talk about these doctrinal matters as we shall have.  There are a great many things mixed up with these subjects.  Siffice it, however, to say, that it requires the Presidency of the Church to seek after God in all of their administrations.  Then it behooves the Presidents of Stakes and their Counselors to be feeling after God, and after the First Presidency, and be in harmony with them, and to feel that there is union and harmony and the principles of peace and order prevailing everywhere.  And where these things are carried out on correct principles, there is harmony throughout all Israel.  If these things are departed from, then come disorders, difficulty and hard feeling.  Now we ought not to allow our feelings to have any place in these matters.  No man has a right to use his priesthood to carry on his own peculiar ideas, or to set himself up as a standard, with the exception of the First Presidency, and they have no right to do it unless God be with them, and sustain them, and they are upheld by the people.  And then it is for Presidents of Stakes to follow after their spirit, and carry that out just as they would follow after God, and seek for and obtain light and the spirit of revelation from Him, and thus be prepared to bless the High Priests, the Bishops, and all men under their charge.

What is the High Priesthood.  Why are you organized as a High Priesthood?  Read the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.  What does it say?  It says (Sec. 124, verse 134) ‘Which ordinances is instituted for the purpose of qualifying those who shall be appointed standing Presidents or servants over different Stakes scattered abroad.’  It is a kind of normal school, where they may be taught lessons in the Presidency, and be prepared to judge and act in the various places which they may be called to.  Do the Priesthood fulfil their calling?  No, they do not.  When the Stakes were being organized, we had to call upon Seventies and Elders, and all classes of men to hold positions which High Priests should have held.  But there are some who talk about being great big High Priests, who, when they should have been called upon to be Bishops, or Bishops’ Counselors, were found to be incompetent bnecause they had not prepared themselves to occupy these offices associated with their calling, and been dabbling with the world and had been led by its influence, instead of being wide awake and full of the life and power and revelations of God.  If they had magnified their Priesthood, then God would have been with them, and they would have been selected, until all those places would have been filled.  Then, how is it in regard to the Seventies?  Just the same.  According to your statistical report, which has been read, you have in this Stake 360 Seventies; and how many of them, if they were called to-day, are prepared to go to the nations of the earth to preach the Gospel?  You are not prepared to do it any more than the High Priests were prepared to magnify their calling.  The Twelve are commanded first to call upon the Seventies, but when they do so they frequently find they with one consent begin to make excuses.  I know it is so, if you do not.  Very well, what then?  As there are other appendages to the Melchisedek Priesthood, the Twelve are obliged to call upon the Elders, and High Priests, and others, to go and perform duties which should be performed by the Seventies, but which they neglect to do.  I speak of this, shall I say to your shame?  I do not like to use hard words, they do not do any good.  I would rather say five hundred pleasant things than one harsh one; but I want to state truths as they exist, so that you can comprehend.  Now, notwithstanding this being the case, the work of God cannot stand still.  The nations must be warned.  The word of God must go forth, or the Twelve would be held responsible, if these things were not done; and we have to keep doing it, doing it!

Now, as a sample of the excuses that men make who are called to go on missions, I will tell you what people tell me.  One man says, ‘I have been building a house, and have not got the roof on it.’  Another comes, and says, ‘I have just been entering some land, and I am afraid I shall be placed in difficulty, if I go; I pray you have me excused.’  And one man said he was so engaged in merchandising, and he was so much interested in the people’s welfare, that he was afraid they would suffer very materially in their temporal interests, if he ceased to keep store–that it would not be well to take him away.  Another has bought five yokes of oxen, and is proving them, and prays to be excused.  And another has married a wife and he cannot go.  I will tell you what I once had to say to President Joseph Young.  He had been calling upon a number of people to go forth on missions.  He being the presiding officer over the First Presidents of Seventies was the party for us to apply to; but in selecting missionaries they had employed a system of what might be properly called machine work, as you would go to work and pick out horses or cattle by their teeth.  They had selected them generally according to age, etc., without inquiring as to their qualifications, circumstances, etc.  Now, we want the spirit and power attending all of these matters, that we may find out the true position of things before we can call men.  After he had received a great number of names from the said presidents, there came in a perfect stream of excuses to me.  They wanted to be excused; and Joseph himself came to me and said, ‘how are you getting along with the Seventies?’  I said, ‘If you don’t hurry up and get the balance in, they will all be gone.  You had better hurry u;.’  Well, it is rather a lamentable story to tell.  Yet, while we hold this important Priesthood, it is a sorry way of treating it.

Now, it is for us to look after these things; and they are beginning to work up into a little order–to do a gread deal better; and men are beginning to realize the importance of their office and calling, and express a greater desire to magnify it; thus things are beginning to look a little brighter on that score, as the Twelve have been attending to these things.

Now, the idea is not that one or a dozen men have to bear off this kingdom.  For what is the Priesthood conferred upon you?  It is to follow the ‘devices and desires of your own hearts,’ as I used to hear them say in the Church of England when I was a boy?  Is it to do that?  I think not.  Or were we enlisted to God, for time and eternity?  I think we were; and we want to wake up to the responsibilities which devolve upon us, and honor our calling and magnify our Priesthood.  There are a great many more things which I could talk about in this connection, but this may suffice at present.

We have a variety of institutions.  We have the sisters’ societies.  I attended a meeting of one of these a short time before I came here, and set apart Sisters Eliza R. Snow, Zina D. Boung, and Elizabeth Ann Whitney.  We set some of these same sisters apart in Nauvoo, under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, about forty years ago; and they are doing a good work, and it is for them and their associates to continue to do right and pursue a proper and correct course.  We want the Relief Societies and the Young Mens’ Mutual Improvement Societies to take hold with a hearty good will.  I was pleased to hear the remarks which were made in relation to the course they are pursuing in trying to keep the Word of Wisdom.  Now, I am not very strenuous about urging any particular point, but that is a good thing for them to attend to.  We must try to live our religion.  We are on the eve of important events.  There are troublous times in advance of us and the world–such times as the world has not taken it into their hearts to conceive of.  And we need to be united and to operate together in all of our affairs.  Be united as one; and, ‘if you are not one you are not mine,’ saith the Lord.  Men who are influenced by Gentiles, and every corruption that prevails, are not fit to be the Saints of God.  You want to pay your tithing honestly and squarely, or you will find youself outside of the pale of the Church of the Living God.  We have to lay aside our covetousness and our pride, and our ideas which are wrong, and be united in our political affairs, in our temporal affairs, under the direction of the Holy Priesthood, and act as a mighty phalanx under God, in carrying out His purposes here upon the earth.  And all Israel ought to do the same.  And then we have our Co-operative Institutions, and other useful institutions among us.  Well, what shall we do?  Sustain them?  Yes; and fulfil our covenants with them as we expect them to fulfil their covenants with us; and let us be one and act together upon correct principles.  Whoever violate their contracts before God and the Priesthood have to be dealt with for that, no matter who they are, nor what position they occupy.  We have to act under the direction of the Almighty.  I know it is not popular to serve God, but God has called us to be one; and he expects us to be one and carry out his purposes, and be obedient to the laws of Heaven.

May God bless you, and lead you in the paths of life.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen.”  (John Taylor, 18 Jul., 1880; JD 22:193-204)

1 Aug.:  Why have priesthood except to receive revelation?

“Many have an idea that it is something very strange for men now-a-days to have revelation, and that nobody should have revelation excepting Brother Taylor.  Here, my brethren and sisters, you are upholding the quorum of the Twelve twice a year in General Conference, besides doing so at your quarterly conference, as prophets, seers and revelators, and you pray for them twice and day, and perhaps oftener, and should it be anything very strange if they should receive a revelation?  How strange, indeed!  There are in this Church some six thousand seventies, and four thousand high priests, and four thousand elders, who hold the Melchisedec priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God, besides many thousands of priests holding the Aaronic priesthood, and I would like to ask, if it was wrong to desire revelation?  What business have we with this priesthood, if we have not power to receive revelation?  What is the priesthood given for?  If we do not have revelation, it is because we do not live as we should live, because we do not magnify our priesthood as we ought to; if we did we would not be without revelation, none would be barren or unfruitful.  We have one man who holds the keys of the kingdom of God upon the earth, and it is his business to give the word of the Lord for the guidance of the Church.  But here we have apostles and men of God, holding the holy priesthood, acting in behalf of the Church in different parts of this Territory, and also in different parts of the earth; and we have men, say, acting as Church agents in Europe, part of whose business it is to charter ships for the transit across the ocean of tens of thousands of the people of God; is it the right of such men to have revelation from the Lord to guide them in their operations?  Yes, it is; and no man should undertake to act in positions affecting the interests of Zion, unless he lives so as to be guided and directed by revelations of God.  And every man who presides over a temple should live day by day in the revelations of Jesus Christ.  And every seventy, and every high priest, and every man bearing the holy priesthood should live in that way to get revelation to guide and direct him in his labors.  This idea that no man has any right to call upon God and receive revelation is wrong, and it has been wrong whenever it has existed in any age of the world.  As was said of old, when a complaint was made concerning certin of the elderws prophesying in the Camp of Israel, so say I:  ‘I would to God that all were prophets;’ because the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.”  (Wilford Woodruff, 1 Aug., 1880; JD 21:298)

8 Aug.:  Order and Duties of the Priesthood.

“We are to-day a kingdom of priests holding to a very great extent the holy priesthood; and it is essential that we submit ourselves to the laws of that priesthood and be governed by them in all of our actions.  The Seventies, for instance–that is, those who understand themselves–expect to be on hand at any time to go to all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.  That would be no more than their duty, which is in keeping with the command of God to them.  And as to whether they live in hot or cold countries is really a matter of very little importance to them, their calling being to preach the Gospel to every creature the world over.  Then the High Priests have certain duties to perform, and if they are in an organized condition, as the people of this Stake are, for instance, their duties are to prepare themselves for certain events that may transpire and to be learning to preside.  For the duties of the Melchisedek or High Priesthood have been in all ages of the world to preside.  So says the Doctrine and Covenants, extracts from which I may read to you.  But it is not because a man is a High Priest that he should necessarily preside until he is called to fulfil some of the duties and responsibilities devolving upon that Priesthood.  And it is the duty of a President of the High Priests to get the members of his quorum under him together and to instruct them as to the duties of the presidency, so that in the event of any being called, say, to occupy the office of one of the Twelve Apostles who are High Priests, they would be prepared to enter upon such duty; or that in case they should be called to preside over a Stake, they would be prepared to enter upon the duties of tht office; or if they should be called to be Counselors to the President of the Stake, they could act wisely and efficiently in that position; or if they should be called upon to be High Counselors, they would know how to act righteously and equitably in all cases, that they might be called upon to adjudicate.  And then if they should be called to be Bishops or Bishop’s Counselors, as the case may be, they should be prepared to occupy these or any other offices that they might be called to officiate in.  High Priests have those duties devolving upon them just as much as it devolves upon the Seventies to go to the nations to preach, and there is no such thing in the programme as sitting and ‘singing ourselves away to everlasting bliss,’ or, if we are called to fill an office we should not feel at liberty to neglect its responsibilities and sit down and do nothing.  The idea is that we are to magnify our office and calling, no matter what its duties may be.

Then, there are certain duties devolving upon the Bishops, and also upon the Presidents of Stakes.  And, then, the Twelve, wherever they may be located, have also their particular duties, and especially is this the case in the present organization of the Church [The First Presidency had not yet been reorganized.]; the Twelve occupying the position of the First Presidency.  I wish, for your information, to offer some few ideas on some of these leading points that you may understand something of the nature of the duties and responsibilities that devolve upon us to attend to.

It is not correct to suppose that the whole duty of carrying this kingdom devolves upon the Twelve or the First Presidency, as the case may be, or upon the Presidents of the Stakes, or upon the High Priests, or upon the Seventies, or upon the Bishops, or upon any other officer in the Church and Kingdom of God; that to the contrary, all of us have our several duties to perform.  And I may go farther in regard to the duties of men, and also in regard to those of women, all have their duties to perform before God.  The organization of this Church and Kingdom is for the express purpose of putting every man in his place, and it is then expected that every man in that place will magnify his office and calling.  For through the ordinances of the Gospel and the operations of the priesthood the blessings of God are manifested, and without the ordinances we cannot enjoy the fulness of these blessings among us, Latter-day Saints, nor could the Saints in any age of the world among any people that ever existed.

We are of the household of faith, the children of God. We are gathered together for the express purpose of being taught in the laws of life, so that we may comprehend the position that we occupy, and the duties and responsibilities which devolve upon us.  And as I have before stated, we are not here simply to carry out our own designs or to suit our own feelings or wishes, or to aggrandize ourselves.  Beyond this earth as it now is, beyond time, in the eternities that are to come we have a work to perform and we have to prepare in part for it while we are upon this earth; and God has called us together for this purpose.  The whole world is wallowing in iniquity, corruption, wickednes and evil; and it is for us, in the first place, to rid ourselves of everything of that kind, and to feel that we are the children of God, that He is our Father, and that we are under His law, and that we have to be subject to His commands; and that He has ordained and organized and set apart a Priesthood for this purpose.  And what is that Priesthood?  It is the rule and government of God; whether on the earth or in the heavens; and is the means by which God has operated in all the ages of the world.  There is an order in this, every man in his place, the First Presidency, or Twelve, as the case may be, in their place, the Presidents of Stakes in their places, the High Council in their places, the High Priesthood in their place, the Seventies in their place, the Elders in their place, the Presiding Bishop, with his Counselors, in his place, and the other Bishops in their place, and the Priests, Teachers and Deacons in their place, and every one feeling that they are the servants of the living God, and that they are clothed upon with the Holy Priesthood, and that they have a duty to perform in His kingdom–that they stand ready, at all times, to carry out anything that God may dictate through His regularly constituted authority in regard to themselves, their families, their neighborhoods wherein they live, or in the Church or the world, that their duty is to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, to gather the people, to build temples, and to accomplish anything and everything that God requires, and that when we have built temples it is our duty to administer in them, that we may be the children of God, saviors upon Mount Zion, and be the blessed of the Lord of Hosts and our offspring with us.  This is the position we occupy here upon the earth.

Now, I will read to you from the Doctrine and Covenants.  In speaking of the Priesthood we are told that, 

‘There remains hereafter, in the due time of the Lord, other Bishops to be set apart, in the Church, to minister evening according to the first.  Wherefore they shall be High Priests who are worthy, and they shall be appointed by the First Presidency of the Melchisedek Priesthood, except they be literal descendants of Aaron.  If they be the literal descendants of Aaron they have a legal right to the Bishopric, if they are the first-born among the sons of Aaron; for the first-born holds the right of the Presidency over this Priesthood and the keys and the authority of the same.

‘No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this Priesthood, except he is a literal descendant of Aaron.

‘But as a High Priest of the Melchisedek Priesthood has authority to oficiate in all the lesser officesk, he may officiate in the office of a Bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power by the hands of the Presidency of the Melchisedek Priesthood.

‘And a literal descendant of Aaron also must be designated by this Presidency and found worthy, and appointed and ordained under the hands of this Presidency; otherwise they are not legally authorized to officiate in their Priesthood.

‘But by virtue of the decree concerning their right to the Priesthood descending from father to son, they may claim their appointment if at any time they can prove their lineage or ascertain it by revelation from the Lord, under the hands of the above named Presidency.’

This is speaking more particularly in regard to the Bishops.  I have not time, to-day, to enter into many details pertaining to this; but will simply draw your attention to one point, which is this: If we had among us a literal descendant of Aaron, who was the firstborn, he would have a right to the keys, or presiding authority of the Bishopric.  But then he would have to be set apart and directed by the First Presidency, no matter what his or their claims might be, or how clear their proofs.  The same would have to be acknowledged by the First Presidency.  These claims of descent from Aaron would have to be acknowledged by the First Presidency, and, further, the claimant would have to be set apart to his Bishopric by them, the same as in the case of a High Priest of the Melchisedek Priesthood called to fill the same office.  Thus, in either case, as a literal descendant of Aaron, or as a High Priest, the right to officiate is held first by authority of the Priesthood, and by appointment and ordination as above stated.

And, then, here is another thing I desire briefly to mention.  A Bishop of this kind, holding the keys of this Priesthood, must be set apart by the First Presidency, and, should occasion arise, must also be tried by the First Presidency.  This, however, does not apply to all Bishops, for there are a variety of Bishops, as for instance Bishop Partridge, who presided over the Land of Zion, and whose duty was to purchase land and divide it among the people, as their inheritances, and to take charge of the temporal affairs of the Church, not only in Zion but throughout all the western country, and also to sit as a common judge in Israel, and to preside in the capacity of Bishop, not to act as President over a district of country that was then called Zion, but as a general Bishop.  George Miller was afterward appointed to the same Bishopric.  Newel K. Whitney was appointed also as a general Bishop, and presided over Kirtland and all the churches in the eastern country.  The calling of these men, you will perceive, was very different from that of a Bishop over one of the Wards of a Stake, for he can only preside over his own Ward; outside of that he has no jurisdiction.  While the calling of the former was general, that of the latter is local.  And there were Bishops’ agents appointed formerly.  There was Sidney Gilbert; he was a Bishop’s agent appointed to assist Bishop Partridge in his duties; and Bishop Whitney also had his assistants or agents to assist him in his administrations, the one presiding as Bishop over the affairs of the Church in the west, the other presiding over the affairs of the Church in the east.  But neither of them was presiding Bishop of the Church at that time.  But you will find that afterwards George Miller was appointed to the same Bishopric that Edward Partridge held; and that Vinson Knight was appointed to the Presidency over the Bishopric, with Samuel H Smith and Shadrach Roundy as his counselors.

I speak of these things to throw out some general ideas; and you will have to examine the Doctrine and Covenants for yourselves, and this will give to you the key how to arrive at the truth in relation to these principles.

Now, these general Bishops had to be appointed by the First Presidency; they had to be tried by the First Presidency as well as the Presiding Bishop, because they were general Bishops, and were appointed by the First Presidency.  But Stake Bishops stand in another capacity.  They have a presidency over them, and although it is proper for them (the Stake Presidency) to consult with the First Presidency of the Church, yet they preside over them, as well as over the affairs of their Stake.  There is one thing associated with this matter that I will mention here, which is this.  While you have a High Council in your Stake, and a presidency of your Stake, you also have Brother Charles C. Rich residing here, who is one of the First Council of the Church.  And if I were a President of this Stake I should always confer with him about any matters of importance pertaining to the interests of the Church in the Stake over which I presided.  Because the Twelve now hold the right of Presidency; and as he is one of the Twelve, it would be proper, and, indeed, I should consider it quite a privilege, if I was a president here, to apply to him for council in all matters pertaining to the interests of the Stake.

Now, I speak of this for your information, and by so doing you will avoid a great deal of trouble that you might otherwise fall into.  Because Brother Rich is not only an Apostle, but you, in connection with the other Stakes, have voted for him as one of the First Presidency [i.e., the Twelve, in the absence of a First Presidency at this time, ran the Church], and therefore he would be the proper person to counsel in any matters of that kind.  And, then, if there should be anything not exactly clear to him, it would be his privilege to apply to his quorum to obtain their mind in regard to it; and when this course is adopted everything moves on harmoniously.  Now, for instance, here is Brother Erastus Snow, he and Brother Brigham Young, under the counsel and direction of the First Presidency, will shortly take a mission into the southern portions of the Church, in Colorado and Arizona, and, perhaps, in New Mexico, to look after the interests of the community there.  Over the settlements throughout those regions of country there are Presidents, and these Presidents preside over Stakes where Stakes are organized.  Brother Snow informs me there are two Stakes.  He and Brother Brigham go clothed upon with the authority of the First Presidency to regulate, to set in order, and counsel in all matters pertaining to the interests of that people.  Wherever they may go, no matter who presides, we should expect them to regard their counsel, and to be governed by them in all of their acts.  Because the Twelve cannot go everywhere as a body, and the interests of the Church are being extended, and we are growing larger all the time; and Zion will continue to grow until the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, and that as a matter of course means that if this is the kingdom of God and the Priesthood is the representation of that kingdom, the proper authorities of the holy Priesthood, wherever they go to represent the Priesthood, must be respected in their position; and as these brethren represent the First Presidency where they are going, they must be respected and their counsels adhered to as such.

Now if that would be proper for Brother Snow and Brother Brigham, it would also be proper for Brother Rich, for they all hold the same authority; and we expect them to represent to us things as they are, that we may be enabled to counsel and direct–and they always do counsel with us, and are glad to get our counsel.  On the other hand, for instance, I am President of the Twelve Apostles, and by that means President of the Church at present.  Well, say that Brother Rich or any member of the Quorum of the Twelve comes along, having something to offer or lay before the Council, I would say, such a man is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I have a right to listen to his counsel or to whatever he has got to say, and at the same time pay due deference to it.  For I am glad to have the counsel of my brethren, and they are always pleased to receive mine.  That is the kind of feeling existing among us, and this same feeling should exist everywhere throughout the whole Church.  It is not for a member of the High Council to say, ‘I am one of the prominent men, and I am going to show you how things are done here; and furthermore, I have my own ideas about things, and am going to try to carry them out.’  It will not do for a president to say that; but it would be more in accordance with our calling for us to say, ‘O God, thou art our Father, and we are thy children.  We are engaged in thy service; wilt thou, O Lord, show unto us thy will, that we may do it?’  Not our own will; we do not want to do our will nor carry out our purposes, nor do anything for our personal aggrandizement, nor for that of our friends or anybody else; but to do that which is right and just and equitable before God and the holy angels and all honorable men.  And then when we have done that, we do not ask any odds of the turbulent or dissatisfied, who are crying, good Lord and good devil, not knowing whose hands they may fall into.  We do not care about their ideas; but we do care about having the smiles and approbation of our Heavenly Father and of all good men, so that when we get through and are called upon for an account of our stewardship, we may say, O God, we have done, so far as thou has given us ability, the work thou hast placed in our hands.  And then every member of the priesthood ought to feel just the same; not like some of our unruly horses when they get the bits in their mouths and run off, because they make a good deal of trouble for themselves and other people too.  We should ever seek to operate together and be one according to the laws of the Holy Priesthood.

I now want to show something about this Priesthood, and will again read: ‘As a High Priest of the Melchisedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, he may officiate in the office of Bishop where no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power by the hands of the presidency of the Melchisedek priesthood.’  There is where it comes in, and this applies primarily to the presiding Bishop; but I would say that it applies in a more extended view to High Priests who are ordained and set apart as Bishops, in the several Stakes of Zion, and who thus come under the supervision of those presidents of Stakes, and stand in the same relationship to them that the First Bishops did to the First Presidency of the Church.  The First Presidency at that time presided over the Stake in Kirtland, over the High Council, over the Bishops and over all the organizations of the Stake, and were really the presidents of that Stake.  But it will be seen that while they were presidents of the Stake and occupied the same position that presidents now do over the Stakes, they were at the same time presidents of the Church in all the world, whilst the authority of our present presidents of Stakes is confined to the limits of their several Stakes.  And thus there is perfect order in all these things in relation to these matters.

I again quote: ‘There are in the Church two Priesthoods, namely, the Melchisedek and Aaronic, including the the Levitical Priesthood.’  Now I will make a statement or two about this.  What is the Levitical Priesthood?  There were in the days of Moses a tribe of the children of Israel set apart to officiate in some of the lesser duties of the Aaronic Priesthood, and their office was called the Levitical Priesthood.  You High Priests, you Seventies and Bishops can examine these things from your Bible, and what the Bible does not tell you the Book of Covenants will, and you ought to be acquainted with this matter, it is your duty to investigate these things, to search in the records, to examine the revelations of God and make yourselves acquainted with principle, and laws, and governments, and all things calculated to promote the welfare of humanity.

‘The office of an Elder comes under the Priesthood of Melchisedek.  The Melchisedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the Church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things.’

‘Well,’ say you, ‘I thought that; that has been my idea, the Bishops should have all the temporal things to attend to.’  We will read a little further.  It is by taking up little odd texts that mistakes are often made and incorrect ideas conveyed.  We must take the whole thing to ascertain what is intended, and rightly divine the word of truth.

‘The Presidency of the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchisedek, have a right to officiate in all the offices in the Church.’

Now, will you show me an office, or calling, or duty, or responsibility, temporal or spiritual, that does not come under this statement?  From this I think this Presidency have something to do with the Bishops and temporal things as well as with the Melchisedek Priesthood and spiritual things, and with all things pertaining to the interests and welfare of Zion.  That is the way I understand these matters.  I could enter very elaborately into these questions, but I do not purpose to do so, there not being time.  But this is the position they occupy.

‘High Priests after the order of the Melchisedek Priesthood, have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the Presidency, in administering spiritual things; and also in the office of an Elder, Priest (of the Levitical order) Teacher, Deacon and member,’ etc.

This shows really, in as few words as the matter could be conveyed to your understanding, the way that God has appointed for the governing of those affairs in His Church and Kingdom, without entering elaborately into detail.

When we have a Stake organization, as you have here, the Presidency of the Stake presides over all Bishops, High Councils, and all authorities of the Stake.  The several Bishops preside over their respective wards and manage their affairs, under the direction of the Stake Presidency, who in their office and calling are responsible to the First Presidency of the Church.  The Bishops are also under the direction of presiding Bishop Hunter in all affairs connected with the temporal interests of the Church.  And Bishop Hunter is under the direction of the First Presidency, the Aaronic Priesthood being an appendage to the Melchisedek Priesthood.  It is however, the special duty of the Aaronic Priesthood to attend to temporal matters; but then the First Presidency presides over all Bishops, all Presidents, all authorities, and lastly God presides over all.

Now we are sometimes fond, that is, some of us are, of talking about our authority.  It is a thing I care very little about.  I tell you what I want to do if I can: I want to know the will of God so that I may do it; and I do not want to dictate or domineer or exercise arbitrary control.  Then again, all men ought to be under proper control to the Presidency and Priesthood presiding over them.  If I were a Bishop I should want to know what the President of my Stake desired, and I should confer with him; and if there was anything in which Bishop Hunter was interested, I should want to know his mind.

I will read a little further with regard to this subject of priesthood:

‘How long can rolling waters remain impure?  What power shall stay the heavens?  As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.  Behold there are many called, but few are chosen.  And why are they not chosen?  Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men.’

Now, I wish you to take particular notice of this, you Elders, you High Priests, you Seventies, and you Priests, Teachers and Deacons, and all men holding the Priesthood; ‘That they do not learn this one lesson–that the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principels of righteousness;’ and not upon any other principle.  And when anybody steps aside from that and acts upon a principle of unrighteousness, the result will be as is sstated in the context, namely: ‘That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control, or dominion, or compulsion, upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the Priesthood, or authority of that man.’  That is the result of wrongdoing; that is the reulst of perverting the authority that God has conferred upon us to our personal ends and to gratify our own ambition.  ‘Behold! ere he is aware, he is left unto himself to kick against the pricks, to persecute the Saints, and to fight against God.’  Can they thwart the purposes of God?  No.  They are as harmless as babies.  He that sits in the heavens laughs at them, and all men holding the Priesthood of the Son of God, care nothing about their fulminations and the efforts they make to hinder the progress of truth in the earth, for all they can do, we know, will be overruled for our own good.  They are going the downward road that leads to death, and by and by they will have their reward.  We would like to see it otherwise, but we cannot, that is one of the things they have to see to themselves; it belongs to us to be true to God and to our Priesthood, and all will be well with us.

Again, we quote, 

‘We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as son as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.  hence many are called, but few chosen.  No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the Priesthood only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness and meekness and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul, without hypocrisy, and without guile, reproving betimes with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy, that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.  Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God, and the doctrine of the Priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.  The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy sceptre an unchanging sceptre of righteousness and truth, and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee for ever and ever.’

What a beautiful state of things God presents to us!  Shall we try to live it? or shall we take our own way and pursue our own course?  These things are beautiful when we reflect upon them.  We all know they are true, and they are principles which recommend themselves to our hearts.  Let us try then and live them.

There are other orders of the Priesthood; we have Elders, and they have their duties to perform, which I do not propose to talk about now.  And we have our Priests, Teachers and Deacons, all of whom hold important positions, and all should seek to magnify their calling.  And what should they do?  I will tell you a circumstance that took place with me upwards of forty years ago.  I was living in Canada at the time, and was a traveling Elder.  I presided over a number of the churches in that district of country.  A difficulty existed in a branch of the church, and steps were taken to have the matter brought before me for settlement.  I thought very seriously about it, and thought it a very insignificant affair.  Because we ought to soar above such things, and walk on a higher plane, for we are the children of God and should be willing to suffer wrong rather than do wrong; to yield a good deal to our brethren for the sake of peace and quietness, and to secure and promote good feelings among the Saints.  At that time I did not have the experience I now have, and yet I do not know that I could do anything better than I did then.  Before going to the trial I bowed before the Lord, and sought wisdom from him to conduct the affair aright, for I had the welfare of the people at heart.  When we had assembled I opened the meeting with prayer, and then called upon a number of those present to pray; they did so, and the Spirit of God rested upon us.  I could perceive that a good feeling existed in the hearts of those who had come to present their grievances, and I told them to bring forward their case.  But they said they had not anything to bring forward.  The feelings and spirit they had been in possession of had left them, the Spirit of God had obliterated these feelings out of their hearts, and they knew it was right for them to forgive one another.

You Priests, Teachers and Deacons, seek unto the Lord, and he will bless you.  And you, my brethren, when the Teachers visit you, do not think that you are High Priests and that they are only Teachers hardly worthy of your attention.  They are your Teachers, and you should reverence them.  And if you expect to be honored in your calling, you must honor them in theirs.  When the Teachers come to visit met I am pleased to see them; and I call together the members of my family that may be in the house at the time, to hear what they have to say to us.  And I tell them to talk freely and plainly to us, to myself, my wives and children; in other words, to do their duty as Teachers, and then I will help them to carry out their instructions.  This is how I feel towards our Teachers.  The eye cannot say to the ear, we have no need of thee; neither the head to the feet, I have no need of thee, for if one of the members suffer all the other members suffer with it; and if one member rejoice, all the other members partake of the same feeling.  Consequently I feel in duty bound to attend to these things.

We have here our Relief Societies, and they have done a good work.  And people are desirous to know something of these organizations.  I was in Nauvoo at the time the Relief Society was organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and I was present on the occasion.  At a late meeting of the Society held in Salt Lake City I was present, and I read from a record called the Book of the Law of the Lord, the minutes of that meeting.  At that meeting the Prophet called Sister Emma to be an elect lady.  That means that she was called to a certain work; and that was in fulfilment of a certain revelation concerning her.  She was elected to preside over the Relief Society, and she was ordained to expound the Scriptures.  In compliance with Brother Joseph’s request I set her apart, and also ordained Sister Whitney, wife of Bishop Newel K. Whitney, and Sister Cleveland, wife of Judge Cleveland, to be her counselors.  Some of the sisters have thought that these sisters mentioned were, in this ordination, ordained to the priesthood.  And for the information of all interested in this subject I will say, it is not the calling of these sisters to hold the Priesthood, only in connection with their husbands, they being one with their husbands.  Sister Emma was elected to expound the Scriptures, and to preside over the Relief Society; then Sisters Whitney and Cleveland were ordained to the same office, and I think Sister Eliza R. Snow to be secretary.  A short time ago I attended a meeting in Salt Lake City, where Sister Snow and Sister Whitney were set apart.  I happened to be the only member of the Twelve in town at the time, the other members of the Quorum being unavoidably absent.  I went to this meeting and set apart Sister Whitney and Sister Snow who were two of those I set apart some forty years ago, in Nauvoo.  And after I had done so, the reminded me of the coincidence.  At this meeting, however, Sister Snow was set apart to preside over the Relief Societies in the land of Zion, and Sister Whitney her counselor, with Sister Zine D. Young, her other counselor.  I speak of this for the information of the Sisters, although I presume they may have read of it in their paper, the Exponent.”  (John Taylor, 8 Aug., 1880; JD 21:358-368)

8 Aug.:  The birthright in the Priesthood.

[Erastus Snow made these remarks following John Taylor’s discourse]

“While President Taylor was treating upon the order of the Priesthood, the history of which has been given in the Bible through Moses, and also in certain revelations given unto this Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith, he awakened a train of reflection that carried the mind back from the time of Moses to that of Abraham, Noah, Enoch and Adam.  Adam was the first man appointed of God as the ruler of the earth; to him it was said, thou shalt have dominion over the earth and over the things therein.  And as he began to multiply and replenish the earth, and as his children and their families increased in the land, there was a right of dominion given; it was called the birth-right, and it belongs to the first-born of the sons.  And this seems to have been an order existing in the heavens even before Adam.  For it is written of Jesus, the Lamb of God, that he was the first-born of many brethren.  Moreover, his rights of dominion as the first-born continued with him because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore was he anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows.  But notwithstanding his birthright, had he not loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and exercised his rights and his dominion in connection with the powers of heaven and the principles of righteousness, he would not have been chosen nor have received this anointing with the oil of gladness above his fellows.  But because he did exercise it rightly and pleased his Father, he was chosen, as was his right to have been, or, I will say, his privilege rather, because he honored his birthright, and, therefore, he was anointed above his fellows, and became the Chief Apostle, the High Priest of our profession, the Son, the mediator between us and the Father.

The same principle fell upon Adam’s children; and hence Cain, being the first-born of his father’s family, according to the Bible account, might have been the head of this Priesthood, under his father, holding the right by birth; but instead of exercising his birthright on the principles of righteousness, and in accord with the powers of heaven, he was befogged and understood not his true position; and his offering was not accepted.  But Abel, his younger brother, who was meek and lowly of heart, and who sought the inspiration of the Spirit, was led to bring as his offering the firstlings of his flock, which were a true representation of the Lamb of God; and besides, the offering was made in the true spirit of his ministry and priesthood, therefore it pleased the Father, and he accepted it.  Then when Cain found that his offering was not accepted, and his brother, Abel’s was accepted, Satan tempted him, and entered into him and led him into the way of all apostates,–he became possessed with the spirit of murder.  I mention it as the first apostacy of which we have record after the fall of man, through it Cain lost his privilege as first-born, and the blessing fell on one more worthy, and the rights of the priesthood passed to the next son of Adam, which according to Bible record was Seth, who magnified the Priesthood, honored his birth-right, and held the blessing of the Priesthood, which was sealed upon him by his father; and from him it descended upon the righteous of his posterity.

There are many instances, from that time forward, of which the scriptures speak of this birthright continuing among the descendants of Seth, until it came to Noah and his sons, of which sons Shem received the blessings pertaining to the priesthood.  Abraham came through Shem, and the Savior came through this lineage; and through this blessing of Noah upon Shem, the Priesthood continued through his seed; while the offspring of Ham inherited a curse, and it was because, as a revelation teaches, some of the blood of Cain became mingled with that of Ham’s family, and hence they inherited that curse.

Now we will pass by the places in the Bible which speak of this birthright until we come to Isaac, the son of Abraham, and to Jacob, the son of Isaac, who bought the birthright of his brother Esau.  From the story that is told of Rebekah helping her son Jacob to get the first blessing from his father Isaac, on purpose to secure the birthright from his brother Esau, many would be inclined to think that deceit, dishonesty and unrighteous means were employed to secure it, and they perhaps wonder why it should be so.  This was really not the case; it is only made to appear to in the eyes of those who do not understand the dealings of God with man, and the workings of the Holy Spirit to bring about His purposes.  There was neither unrighteousness in Rebekah nor in Jacob in this matter; but on the contrary, there was the wisdom of the Almighty, showing forth his providences in guiding them in such a manner as to bring about his purposes, in influencing Esau to transfer his birthright to Jacob, that He might ratify and confirm it upon the head of Jacob; knowing as He did that Jacob and his seed were, and would be, more deserving of the birthright, and would magnify it in its true spirit.  While Esau did not sense nor appreciate his condition and birthright; he did not respect it as he should have done, neither did he hearken to the counsels of his father and mother.  On the contrary, he went his own way with a stubborn will, and followed his own passions and inclinations and took to wife one of the daughters of the Cannaanites whom the Lord had not blessed; and he therefore rendered himself unacceptable to God and to his father and mother.  He gave himself to wild pursuits–to hunting, and to following the ways of the Canaanites, and displeased the Lord and his parents, and was not worthy of this right of seniority.  The Lord therefore saw fit to take it from him, and the mother was moved upon to help the younger son to bring about the purpose of the Lord, in securing to himself the blessing through the legitimate channel of the Priesthood.  And as you know, his father was induced to bless him and confirm this blessing upon him.

Now, whilst all these instances in Scripture recognize the right called the birthright, that has descended from the beginning, the same principle is exhibited in all those instances set forth in the revelation read by President Taylor–that none can hold these rights of the Priesthood except in connection with the powers of heaven, and cannot be exercised only on the principles of righteousness; and all who fail to exercise these rights on the principles of righteousness and in connection with the powers of heaven subject to its counsels and directions and laws, forfeit their birthright, and the right passes to another. 

We have another instance of this kind in Reuben, the eldest of the twelve sons of Jacob.  We find that the birthright passed from him.  He committed a transgression which offended the Lord and offended his father, and it was of such a character that it could not be passed over with impunity; and the birthright was taken from him and given to the sons of Joseph.  We find it explained in Chronicles, that because Reuben defiled his father’s bed, the birthright was taken from him and given to the sons of Joseph; and the Priesthood was reckoned after that lineage, though Judah prevailed above his brethren to this extent, that through him came the Chief Ruler of Israel, while unto Ephraim, the son of Joseph, was given the keys of the Priesthood–or those rights that apply to the birthright.  Of the two sons of Joseph–Ephraim and Manassah, the Lord said, Manassah shall be great, but Ephraim shall be greater than he; and he shall become a multitude in the earth.  And when the patriarch was blessing Joseph’s two sons, though he was blind, he was careful to cross his hands in blessing the boys.  Joseph observing what his father was doing, informed him that he was putting his right hand on the head of the younger boy, but the old man replied, I know it, my son.  The Spirit of the Lord prompted him to do as he did–to confer the greater blessing upon Ephraim, the younger brother.  It was for this reason that God spake through the mouth of Jeremiah concerning the gathering of Israel: ‘I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born.’  That is according to his purposes.  He acknowledged and re-confirmed this birthright upon Ephraim the younger of the two sons of Joseph, when he referred to the dispensation of the fullness of times and the ushering in of its great work–when the Lord should set his hand to gather His people, and be a father to Israel, even to Ephraim His firstborn.

Now, the Levitical Priesthood referred to was not a new Priesthood.  We do not understand it to be an order of the Priesthood instituted at the time Israel was in the wilderness of Sinai, but that it had been from the beginning a part of the Holy Priesthood, an appendage, or a subdivision, or branch of the same Priesthood.  The rights of this descended from father to son, among the first-born, unless the first-born failed to appreciate it and exercise it in righteousness.  In that event it passed to one of the others.

We see the same principle set forth when the Lord commanded Moses to take the tribe of Levi and set them apart to be Priests.  He told them the reason.  Now, said He, I have claimed the first-born of all the families of Israel as my own.  When I sent forth my angel to smite the first-born of the sons of Egypt, I caused mine angel to pass by the families of Israel, that he smite not their first-born.  In remembrance of this He instituted the ordinance called the Passover, to preserve in the minds of the Israelites, the occasion when the Lord passed over their first-born, while the first-born of the sons of Egypt He caused to be slain.  For this reason, He said, I have consecrated the first-born as mine own; and now, said He to Moses, I will take from the tribes of Israel the house of Levi, and you shall consecrate them to officiate, etc.  This principle has continued from the beginning.  We see it exemplified in the calling of the Lamb of God, who was the first born among many brethren, and was in all things obedient to his Father; who loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and was therefore chosen and anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows.  So in after years, those who in like manner exercised their birthright in connection with the powers of heaven, and on the principles of virtue, integtiry and righteousness had these rights confirmed upon him.  But in no case, when acting unrighteously, were they chosen to receive the confirmation of the ordinances of the Priesthood.  In the days of Eli, who permitted his sons, who were heirs of the Priesthood, to set bad examples and work iniquities in Israel, God held the father responsible for their course, and He destroyed both Eli and his sons, and raised up another in his place.

The article read in your hearing from the Doctrine and Covenants, shows most clearly that the rights and blessings and keys of this Priesthood can only be held and exercised in connection with the powers of heaven and on the principles of righteousness.  It is most beautiful to contemplate.  It is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”  (Erastus Snow, 8 Aug., 1880; JD 21:369-372)

22 Sep.:  Divine right in Church and State/INFALLIBILITY.

“An address to the ‘Liberal’ voters of Utah is being circulated in the Territory, some copies being sent to pronounced ‘Mormons’ as well as to anti-‘Mormons’ and persons ‘on the fence.’  It contains quite a number of statements and inferences calculated to mislead those who are not familiar with the facts in Utah history, and the objects and principles of the People’s Party and of the Church with which most of the members of that party are connected.

If we were to undertake to reply to all the misrepresentations to which the self-dubbed ‘Liberals’ resort, we might fill the columns of the NEWS, daily, with refutations, occasionally we notice some of the most glaring mis-statements, and may take up paragraphs of the Address with a view to letting daylight into them.

The document commences with an announcement of an attempt to reorganize the ‘Liberal Party’ and of a convention of delegates from different parts of the Territory yet to take place; then comes a recapitulation of the alleged aims of the party from its organization until four years ago, since which time it is admitted nothing practical has ben achieved; followed by an arraignment of the ‘dominant party’ and an appeal to ‘Liberal’ voters to organize and register, preparatory to the November election, when it is hoped that ‘a great step may be taken towards Americanizing Utah,’ with the hope that it may ‘become one of the States.’

One of the plain untruths set forth in this address is that the hierarchy of the ‘Mormon’ Church, against which it declares opposition, claims infallibility, and to govern the State as well as the Church by Divine right.  This falsehood is not new by any means; it has been repeated a great many times and will continue to be reiterated while there are uninformed people to deceive.

It should be observed here that the religious issue is made and raised by these pretended ‘Liberals.’  Opposition to a certain church is their chief motive.  It crops out in all their doings.  It manifests itself in all their speeches and publications.  Hatred of a religious system is the passion that moves them, and it is a religious issues that they embody in their pretended politics.  The People’s Party has no war against a sect nor any number of sects.  It seeks the unification and general action of all its members, for the purpose of maintaining the right of the majority to regulate local affairs, which is only self protection, seeing that the majority is entirely barred out of all those offices, and from any participation in the appointment of those officers usually called Federal.

The authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have never laid claim to infallibility.  They have never pretended to be anything but mortal men, liable to err, subject to the common infirmities of frail humanity.  They do claim to have received Divine authority to administer in the name of the Most High God.  And the people associated with them as brethren and sisters in the Church recognize that authority as valid and legitimate.  Does that make the men holding it infallible?  Certainly not.  Moses was a prophet of God and was divinely authorized to lead Israel from bondage.  Was he therefore infallible?  Not at all, but lost the right to enter the Promised Land through his folly.  A modern Moses, with similar gifts and authority, would, because of them, be no more infallible than the ancient Moses.  He would be simply a man with a mission and legitimate authority to perform his work in the name of the Deity.  Either Moses will be judged like any other mortal, according to his works, viewed by his light and opportunities.

None of the leaders of this Church pretend to infallibility.  Truth is infallible and comes from an infallible Being, but flows often through infallible channels or instruments.  In their government of the Church the presiding authorities do not rule solely on the principle of divine right.  The Church combines the theocratic and democratic principles.  It unites the voice of God and the voice of the people.  It takes Divine authority and popular assent to constitute a presiding officer in this Church.  The priesthood, or authority to act in the name of the Lord, is a divine gift.  The right to preside over the Church or any of its departments is within the province of the Church to acknowledge or reject.  The revelation from which the order of Church government is obtained says of the First Presidency:

Of the Melchisedek priesthood, three presiding high priests chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith and prayer of the Church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.

It is further explained, in relation to the Twelve Apostles, that ‘They form a quorum equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned.’

Another revelation declares that all things in the Church must be done ‘in order and by common consent.’  The agency of man is not trammeled, nor in any way interfered with.  If it is not exercised it is no fault of the system, nor of any one but the individuals who fail to act on it.  All the Church authorities are placed before the body of the Church twice a eyar, that they may be accepted or rejected in their several callings.  Some people imagine that because unanimity prevails in the voting there can be no freedom.  They foolishly think that liberty consists in opposition.  They are like Mezeray, the French historian, who used to put a black ball into the ballot box whenever a new member of the Academy was voted for, and gave as a reason for doing so, that he was determined to show that the elections were perfectly free.  It never seemed to dawn on his mind, any more than it does on theirs, that freedom can be just as much exercised in voting for as in voting against a candidate, in school or club, in church or state.  The theocratic despotism alleged to prevail in the ‘Mormon’ Church exists only in the brains of ‘Liberal’ inventors of fiction.

Still less do the ‘Mormon’ leaders claim to govern the State by Divine right.  They recognize as much as any one on earth that Utah is a part of the United States, subject to the laws of the national government and within the sphere of its political institutions.  It is the people who fill all the offices within the gift of the people.  The machinery of the State–or rather Territory, is separate and distinct from that of the Church.  No man occupies any office under the laws of the Territory simply because he is a church dignitary.  The modus operandi of electing officers is similar to that in other parts of the Union.  There is nothing to prevent any man or woman holding the right to vote, from balloting either for or against any candidate.  If the members of the People’s Party choose to unite they have the right to do so, just as much as to divide in the way that ‘Liberals’ so painfully desire.

‘But,’ it may be asked, ‘do not your Church leaders use an influence in elections?’  Supposing that they do; have they not as good a right to nominate, suggest, work for and vote for a candidate or ticket as any laymen, or as ministers of other denominations have?  So long as they do not use unlawful means they are just as much entitled to do this as though they were disciples of Tom Paine, or members of the ‘Liberal’ party, hungry and half-dead for an office.  And the masses of the people have just as much right, as citizens of this great republic, to listen to the advice of Apostles or Elders in whose judgment they have confidence, as to the men best qualified to hold certain offices, as they have to heed the appeals of ‘Liberal,’ wire-working, blaspheming, truth-ridiculing, disreputable politicians, eager to make worse tools of them than these falsifiers allege they are now to the priesthood.

We notice taht a Presbyterian priest of small calibre but much noise, by the name of McNiece, was a prominent agitator at the ‘Liberal’ caucus in this city.  Also that a libelling Episcopal clergyman called Rev. J. L. Gillogly, is the chairman of the ‘Liberal’ central committee at Ogden.  Now, if it is quite proper, and republican, and truly free for Presbyterian and Episcopal priests to take an active part in local politics,–a right which we do not deny them for a moment–why is it not equally right for a ‘Mormon’ Elder or President to do the same?  And if the political influence of the latter constitutes a proof of claim to divine right to govern the State, on the part of the ‘Mormon’ leaders, does not the attempt at political influence of the former, equally prove that the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches claim the same right?

The whole ‘Liberal’ assertion is founded on mingled ignorance and falsehood.  Those who put it forth are ignorant of our Church polity and false in regard to our local politics.  They will not take the trouble to understand the first, they have no weapon but misrepresentation with which to fight the last.  Therefore they fail every time and will continue to fail, while the Church they hate and the party they oppose will continue to grow and increase in power, influence and numbers, until each accomplishes the purpose for which it was organized and ordained.  Other points in the Address may be noticed hereafter.”  (Editorial, “Divine Right in Church and State,” DN 29(34):536, 22 Sep., 1880)

24 Sep.:  Excommunication notice.

“Excommunication.–The following action was taken by the High Council of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion in relation to William Harrison, late of the 9th Ward, Salt Lake City, but now a resident of Provo, at a session held Friday evening, Sept. 24th, 1880:

That William Harrison be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for unchristian-like conduct and apostacy, and that this action be published.

The above was carried by the unanimous vote of the Council.

William W. Taylor, Clerk.”

(Reprint of report of 25 Sep.; DN 29(35):552, 29 Sep., 1880)

8 Oct.:  Missionaries called from Elders quorums.

“Elder Franklin D. Richards spoke of the general interest that is felt by the Latter-day Saints, not only by the old but the middle aged, and even the young, in what is giong on among the nations abroad, and also in what is being transacted in our own Territory.  He referred with pleasure to the increased interest being taken throughout the European mission, made manifest by the many calls for more help by the President of the mission.  He also spoke of the difference in feeling that exists among the people of the Southern States since their affliction brought about by the civil war, and their willingness to receive the testimonies of our young men and boys whom we have sent among them as missionaries.  The Twelve, of late, had made many calls, not only from the Seventies’ Quorums, but also from the Elders’ quorums, to fill the urgent solicitations made upon them to tarry the gospel to those who have never yet had it preached to them; he felt satisfied there are many thousands throughout the Southern States, who have never heard the testimony of any of our Elders.  And we must continue our efforts until all the people have been faithfully warned.”  (General Conference Minutes, 8 Oct., 1880; DN 29(37):585, 13 Oct., 1880)

8 Oct.:  Orson Pratt discourse on Priesthood.

“I will commence by reading a promise that was given by our Lord in the month of May, 1833–a promise made to all of the Latter-day Saints, not to a few individuals, not to the members of the Church alone, but to every person in all the world.  This promise will be found in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants (page 328 new edition) as follows:

Verily, thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh their sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am, and that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; and that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

This is a great promise which the Lord has made to all of his people, male and female.  I esteem it to be one of the great characteristics of the Latter-day dispensation, one of the great and important promises made to the children of mortality, one that deeply concerns us all.  This promise, however, is made on certain conditions, some of which are here specified.  One of the conditions in regard to this matter will be found in a revelation given on the 22nd day of September, 1832, which reads:

And this greater Priesthood–speaking of the order of the Son of God–administereth the Gospel and holedth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom even the key of the knowledge of God; therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is made manifest; and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the Priersthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; for without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

This Moses plainly taught to the children of israel in the wilderness and sought diligently to sanctify them, that they might behold the face of God.  But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence, therefore the holy Priesthood was taken out of their midst and also Mosese holding that Priesthood, and the lesser Priesthood continued, even the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys in regard to outward ordinances and the keys of the ministration of angels and the law of carnal commandments which the Lord in His wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John.  I may not have repeated word for word in the language of the revelation, but I have given you at least the substance.  Before that time–the time when the higher Priesthood was taken from amongst the children of Israel–they enjoyed all the privileges of the Gospel in various dispensations from the days of Adam down until the days of Moses, namely, the privilege I have just read in your hearing of seeing the face of God.  In every dispensation?  Yes.  Standing in the presence of God in every dispensation in this temporal life?  Yes.  When was there ever a generation or a people from Adam to the days of moses when this principle was not exhibited provided that a dispensation of God was among them?  I do not know of any.  Were there any dispensations in which the higher Priesthood did not exist?  I do not know of any.  It is true the Lord in calling His servants in these early ages of the world had a particular order, but He did not always confine Himself to that particular order in regard to lineage.  The order that God ordained and established on the earth in the days of Adam was that the first born was entitled by right to the grand order of patriarchal government, including the High Priesthood after the order of the Son of God.  Adam was the first man in mortality in this probation that had this great and glorious and high and heavenly calling conferred upon him.  There is no dubiety in our minds in regard to this matter.  It is revealed, it is declared in the revelations that are printed to which you all have access, that Adam himself as the first man in mortality received not only the Gospel, but the Priesthood.  I do not know that I can repeat this revelation word for word, but I will state the substance of it.  The Spirit of the Lord was upon our father Adam, and conversed with him, made known unto him in great plainness the plan of salvation, taughthim concerning baptism in wter, told him the reason why he should be baptized in water, that it was a similitude, or in other words, something that was similar to our natural birth into the world; and after having explained to him the Gospel, saying that he and his children must be baptized in water and should receive the Holy Ghost which should bear record of the Father and the Son and should make manifest unto him the things of the kingdom of God, and the things necessary for him to understand in his probationary state in order to get back again into the kingdom of his Father in the heavens.  While the spirit of God was still upon him, Adam believing, he called upon the name of the Lord.  What was the effect of this?  The Spirit of the Lord took him–now I don’t want you to spiritualize this as the sectarians do–to a place where there was water, that Spirit placed him beneath the water, brought him forth out of the water, and thus Adam was baptized, the first baptism that pertains to mortal man here on the earth.  What next?  The everlasting Priesthood was given to him on that occasion, for the Spirit said unto him, ‘thou art after the order of Him that is without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to eternity.’  Wnat a great blessing to be permitted to enjoy that Priesthood that had no beginning, a Priesthood that was without father, without mother, a Priesthood that was from all eternity to all eternity.  Adam received this, entered into the order of it, and became a High Priest forever after the order of Him who is eternal, namely the Son of God.  Then after this the Lord gave many revelations, and he gave a pattern, as you can read here in this book, after which the people should write, and they commenced writing the things of God, they commenced writing their genealogies, they commenced writing concerning the Gospel and concerning the Priesthood.  They named their book which they wrote in those days the Book of Numbers–that is to number that which God had spoken, to number the genealogies, to number the Gospel as it was revealed, to number the prophecies as they were delivered, and this Book of Numbers was written by the inspiration of the Most High God.  In this Book of Numbers kept by the forefathers it was recorded that the first born among the descendants of Adam should have confererrd upon them the everlasting Priesthood, the patriarchal power to govern over their seed.  Here, then, is what might be termed a temporal order, a political government combined with a spiritual order revealed from heaven.  It was all one in those days.  The management and government of the children of God were dictated by revelation, by the Priesthood, by the patriarchal power, by the laws that were communicated from the heavens unto the children of men.

The next one that received this Priesthood of which we have any account was Abel.  Adam had a numerous family, how many this book does not tell us, but they were so numerous that they were scattered over the face of the land two and two.  Adam and Eve begat sons and daughters, and they united in marriage, two and two, and scattered abroad on the face of the land.  You all have the history in this book as to what took place in regard to two of these sons, Cain and Abel.

It seems that some of the others, according to the record given, were rebels.  A great many of them did not hearken unto the Lord, did not keep His commandments, and became quite wicked before the heavens.  The Lord, it would seem, conferred the Priesthood uopn Abel, and he offered a sacrifice that was acceptable before the Lord.  Cain undertook to imitate it in some measure by offering the fruits of the ground; but his heart being corrupt, not havin gfaith, it was not accepted of the Lord.  Cain felt angry about it, and his countenance fell, yet the Lord condescended to talk with him on the subject.  ‘Why art thou wroth,’ said the Lord, ‘and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.  And Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto My commandments I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire, and thou shalt rule over him,’ etc., according to the new translation.  Well, Cain did not repent, but hardened his heart, and finally built up a secret combination–that is, he gathered the posterity of Adam who were rebellious, and organized quite a large combination.  The object of the combination was to plunder, to steal, to obtain political power outside of the order that God had established, and Satan was the founder of it.  He gave them all the various plans pertaining to it and built up a combination that was wicked in the extreme.  Cain being one of the most wicked of all that combination, he was appointed the chief captain, the great Grand Master.  Do you want to know his name?  Grand Master Mahan.

After Abel was murdered Adam still had the High Priesthood.  It was the great governing power appointed by the Almighty.  The Priesthood was not taken from the earth.  It was still held by the first man of all, and when 130 years had passed away, a person by the name of Seth came on the stage of action; and he hearkened to the voice of the Lord, gave heed to the instructions of his father, Adam, and the Priesthood was conferred uopn him.  By and bye, a little over one hundred years after Seth obtained the Priesthood, Enos was born, and Enos hearkened to the words of God, and the Priesthood was conferred upon him, and after a few years he begat a son whom he called Cainan, the fourth generation from Adam.  At that time the people of God had become quite numerous.  They were scattered over the face of the land, and the wicked were among them, and so great was teh wickedness that prevailed among the descendants of Adam, that it was counseled by Enos that he and all the residue of the righteous should flee out of the land.  They fled out about 325 years after Adam was placed on the earth.  The land which they had occupied to that time was called the land of Shulon.  Where it was I do not know, it is not revealed.  I suppose Adam went with them, although it does not say so, it only says that ‘Enos and the residue of the people of God came out from the land, which was called Shulon, and dwelt in the land of promise.”  I mention some of these circumstances to show you the early history of the Priesthood, the early history of the dealings of God with the children of men, as revealed to us in this generation.  They seemed to maintain a foothold in this land to which they fled.  It might have been north of Jackson County for aught I know.  There seem to be some old ruins in Davis County in the State of Missouri, and no doubt there were altars built there.  We know from verbal revelation, not written, that Adam built an altar in that country and offered sacrifices thereon.  They maintained a foothold from 325 years after Adam came upon the stage of being down from generation to generation to the days of Enoch; for Cainan begat Mahalaleel; Mahalaleel begat Jared; and Jared begat Enoch, who was the seventh from Adam. Enoch being wrought upon by the Spirit of God, left the land of Cainan, where all the righteous were living, and went forth on a foreign mission, the same as many of our Elders now go forth.  He traveled eastward from the land of Cainan till he came to the borders of the sea.  What sea it was I do not know.  The Atlantic ocean flows between the great eastern continent and the western, but whether that ocean was there in the days of Adam I do not know.  There is one thing certain, however, that from the days of Adam down to the days of Peleg, the earth was not divided.  At any rate Enoch traveled eastward and he came to the sea shore, and the Lord appeared to him.  The Lord does not appear to people that do not have the Priesthood according to the revelation that I have already repeated.  I mean–do not misunderstand me–he does not appear to those who have not been administered through the order of the Priesthood, male and female, Enoch having been in the land of Cainan was administered unto and taught in the ways of God.  He had the privilege of seeing the face of God, and God revealed himself to him even after he started on his mission.  What did the Lord say to him?  ‘Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see.’  Enoch did as he was commanded, and his spiritual eyes were opened so that he could see those things which were not visible to the natural eyes of men.  One of the first visions given to him was to show him what God had created before the foundation of the world.  He saw the spirits of men that God had made before the world was made.  What a wonderful power was bestowed upon this man through that simple ordinance that he was commanded to attend to!  He saw the spirits of men as they existed before this world was formed; and it says he saw things that could not be seen by the natural eye.  And the Lord commanded him to lift up his voice in the east country near the sea shore to the nations who had forgotten God, and he did so.  He was quite a marvel to the people, for he spake with great power and fear came upon them and they durst not lay hands on him to destroy him.  ‘And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent keepers, Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the Seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us.’ . . . .

Now, in regard to the Priesthood, let us not lose sight of this.  In this book there is a promise made in the days of old Father Adam, that this Priesthood that he gave unto Adam and Seth and Enos, and all those holy men should be on the earth again in the latter-days; the same Priesthood, not another one.  But after Enoch and his city were taken up into heaven, the Priesthood was not destroyed out of the earth.  Who held it, says one?  A man by the name of Methuselah, one of Enoch’s own children.  Why did not he receive a translation with the city?  How came Enoch’s son to be left behind?  Because of the promise which God had made to Enoch.  He told Enoch that through his son Methuselah his seed should be preserved on the earth, when all flesh should be swept away by the flood.  It was for this reason that Methuselah was left behind.  Was he a good man?  I have no doubt but what he was a very good man in many respects, but he had his failings and his faults like many other good men.  He took glory unto himself.  About what?  He understood by the promise of God that his seed should remain on the earth  until the end should come, and it was a little too much for him, it overcame him, and he boasted in his own strength, took glory unto himself; nevertheless not enough to destroy the promise made to him in regard to the eternal order of the Priesthood.

. . . .

Here is the Book of Mormon.  It is a history of a certain righteous branch that lived on the earth in the days of the Tower of Babel after the days of Noah, and rather before the time of Abraham.  Then somebody had the priesthood in this tower?  Yes.  Who was it?  A man whose name is not given in the Book of Mormon.  He is designated as the brother of a person whose name is Jared.  How do you know but what he may have been a righteous man and yet not have had the Priesthood?  I answer that without the Priesthood and the ordinances thereof the powers of godliness cannot be made manifest to man in the flesh.  Did the power of godliness accompany those that were led forth from the tower?  I think so.  In what way?  By a cloud in which the Lord came down and talked with the brother of Jared in various ways until the Lord condescended to take the vail from the eyes of the brother of Jared and he saw the finger of the Lord.  He prayed still further, and he saw the personage of the Lord, the spirit of Jesus, not his flesh and bones, but Jesus appeared unto him in his bodily organization and said, ‘I am he that was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people.’  This personage showed not only his finger and all the details of his spiritual person, but also his face.  Did the brother of Jared behold the face of this personage without being administered unto by that everlasting Priesthood and the ordinances thereof?  I think not.  This then shows another channel through which the Priesthood is handed down between the days of the flood and the days of the Patriarch Abraham; three different channels are here named.  How long the Priesthood that was conferred uopn the brother of Jared and perhaps upon other male members of the Jaredites is not revealed any further than we read that among the various generations of the Jaredites there were certain men to whom the Son of Righteousness did appear.  If He did, those to whom He appeared had the Priesthood, otherwise no man could see the face of God and live.

But now let us leave the Jaredites and come down to the days before Christ, say 600 years.  We find a man by the name of Lehi who was filled with the power of God.  Was the Priesthood given to him?  Why, he saw God upon his throne surrounded by an innumerable concourse of angels.  Is not this an indication that Lehi by the ordination of the higher Priesthood had been prepared to behold the face of God?  I think so.  Did He appear to have conferred that Priesthood upon any others?  Yes.  Nephi came upon the stage of action, and we read of his beholding the Son of God.  He saw Jesus.  He saw that He was born of a virgin, saw Him when He was a child, saw Him in His manhood going forth in his ministry among the inhabitants of Palestine, ministering in power and great glory in the land of His fathers.  He beheld the Redeemer, therefore he must have had the Priesthood or the ordinances thereof administered unto him.  By and bye Lehi passed away.  Then two of the brothers of Nephi, namely, Joseph and Jacob, also saw the Redeemer’s face as Nephi had seen Him and as Lehi also had seen Him, shewing clearly that the power of the Priesthood had been administered unto them, or else they never could have attained to this blessing.  By and bye we read further on in the Book of Mormon that a Temple was built and Nephi was authorized to consecrate Jacob and Joseph, two of his own brothers, to the Priesthood, not to the Aaronic but to the higher Priesthood that led men into the presence of God.  Read still further to the days of Alma and see what is there said about this Priesthood, this eternal Priesthood, the same as was conferred upon our father Adam.  The same Priesthood was continued down upon the Prophets Lehi and Nephi that lived a little while before the coming of Christ, by which prisons were made to shake and the power of God was clearly made manifest.  The Priesthood was also conferred upon the twelve disciples, not the Aaronic, but the higher Priesthood, who conferred it upon others from generation to generation, until the days of Mormon and Moroni.  That traces the Priesthood on this western continent.”  (Orson Pratt, 8 Oct., 1880; DN 31(9):130-131, 22 Mar., 1882)

10 Oct.:  Divine authority of the Holy Priesthood.

“He [Orson Pratt] then referred to the first vision of Joseph Smith when but a boy.  He saw two personages, the Father and the Son, and yet the sight did not consume him, although it is written that without the priesthood no man can see the face of God and live.  The reason why he was enabled to look upon the face of God and live was because he was chosen and ordained in the spirit world to the holy priesthood, and was selected to come forth in this age to usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times.  In due time however, on the 15th of May, 1829, John the Baptist came and conferred upon him the priesthood of Aaron, which gave him authority to preach the gospel and baptize for the remission of sins.  Subsequently, Peter, James and John ordained him to the Melchisedec priesthood, which gave him authority to still further carry on the work of God, and administer in the higher ordinances of the plan of redemption.  In a short time God revealed to him the necessity of a quorum of Twelve Apostles, after which the Quorum of Seventies was pointed out to him, and as the number of converts increased, God gradually made known to him one principle and authority after another as the necessity of the Church required.  God dealt with his servant Joseph just the same as a wise earthly parent does with his children, adapting his instructions according to their growth and capacity.”  (General Conference Minutes, 10 Oct., 1880; DN 29(37):588, 13 Oct., 1880)

“I have been asked by President Taylor to address the congregation this morning on a particular subject, in which we are all interested, namely, the divine authority of the Priesthood, divine callings, ordinances, etc.

We have in this Church several thousand male members who hold authority and power which they say is from heaven.  If it be from heaven, as we testify, and have testified ever since the rise of the Church, then the Lord our God has manifested His power, and in His mercy has once more bestowed authority upon the children of men to administer His holy ordinances, and to occupy the positions to which we have severally been called.  On the other hand, if the views of the world are correct–they do not consider us to have any authority–we are then on the same ground and platform with the rest of the religious world, there is no authority upon the earth.  One or the other is true.  

There never was a principle more clearly proven than that the inhabitants of the earth are destitute of all divine authority, among all religious denominations, whether Pagan, Mahometan or so-called Christian; the authority cannot be found throughout all the various denominations that have existed through the long period of time called the dark ages, until the Lord, in His mercy, has organized His Church again on the earth and bestowed that authority, and if He has not done it, as the world say He has not, there are no persons upon this whole earth that have any authority from the heavens; and therfore we are just as well off as the balance of them.

We are not indebted to man for the various authorities in this Church; this is our testimony.  Man did not commence this work, man is not the originator of this work, neither is he the origin of the authority by which we administer.  The Lord did not see proper to organize the authority of this Church all at once in all the various councils and authorities that, from time to time, have been ordained among this people; it was a gradual work.  Authority was bestowed before there was any Church.  First (not the authority of the Priesthood) but the authority to bring forth the plates of the Book of Mormon, and to translate them by the Urim and Thummim, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.  This was the first authority conferred upon the one whom the Lord chose to commence this great work.  The authority of the Priesthood was not conferred upon him at that time, but He revealed unto him concerning the everlasting Gospel contained in the ancient records kept by the Nephites, or Israelites, upon this great Western Continent.

Joseph Smith, when he translated these records by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, had not yet received any Priesthood, so far as his temporal existence was concerned.  But now, do not misunderstand me in regard to this position.  He did hold the Priesthood before he came here upon the earth.  I remarked that Joseph, so far as any ordination here in the flesh was concerned, held no Priesthood at the time that he brought forth the plates of the Book of Mormon and translated them; but he did hold the Priesthood, which was conferred upon him in the councils of eternity, before this world was formed.  You will find this recorded in a sermon delivered by the Prophet, Joseph, showing that not only he, but also all of the faithful that have received the Priesthood here in this life, were ordained before the foundation of the world.  Consequently, they had the ordination; that ordination was after the order of Him who is from all eternity to all eternity, an everlasting Priesthood, without father, without mother, without beginning, without end; having been handed down from all eternity.  That Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph Smith before he came here; he was among those that are spoken of in ‘The Pearl of Great Price,’ whom the ancient Prophets saw in heaven.  Moses saw them, and Abraham saw them, namely, the spirits that existed before the world was made; and they saw that among that vast number of spirits there were some choice ones, some that were noble in the sight of God, probably because of their integrity and steadfastness in upholding truth; among those noble ones were those whom the Lord chose before the foundation of the world to come forth upon the earth in their second estate, and to hold authority and power in the various dispensations, and to administer the plan of salvation to the human family.  Abraham was among that number.  The High Priests that lived from the days of Adam down to the flood were among that number, who were then chosen and then ordained, according to the fore-knowledge of God.  It is recorded in the Book of Alma regarding the Priesthood, that the ordinances of the Priesthood and the calling to the Priesthood were without beginning or end.  There may be a beginning to the person who is called, but that Priesthood existed before that person was called, and there was no beginning to the calling, no beginning to the ordinances of the Priesthood, no beginning to the Priesthood itself, being handed down from all eternity, being in existence in all of the worlds that were worthy of having the Priesthood and authority from God.  The reason for my making this observation is to clear up one point which may perhaps trouble the minds of some of the Latter-day Saints.

You have read in the revelation given on the 22d day of September, 1832, that without the Priesthood and the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is not manifested unto men in the flesh.  You have also read in that same revelation, that without the ordinances of that Priesthood and the power thereof to adminster to the children of men no man could see the face of God the Father and live.  When you read this plain saying your minds may have reverted back to the days when there was no Priesthood so far as ordination was concerned, on this earth, I mean the ordination that took place here.  You find a little boy, Joseph Smith, calling upon the name of the Lord, in the spring of the year 1820, before he was not yet fifteen years of age; and the result of his calling upon the name of the Lord was that a pillar of fire appeared in the heavens above him, and it continued to descend and grow brighter and brighter, until it reached the top of the trees that were growing around about where he was praying; and so great was the glory of this light that this lad, this youth, this boy, seemed to feel almost fearful lest the trees themselves would be consumed by it.  But it continued to descend until it rested upon this lad and immediately his mind was caught away from the surrounding objects, was swallowed up in a heavenly vision, in which he saw two glorious personages, one was the Father, the other was the Son.

‘No man without the Priesthood, can behold the face of the Father and live.’

Now, this has troubled the minds of some of the Latter-day Saints.  ‘How is it, (say they) that Joseph lived, after having seen the face of the Father, after having heard the words of His mouth, after the Father had said unto him, “He is my beloeve Son, hear ye him.”‘

If you had thought upon this other subject, namely, that Joseph had been already ordained before this world was made,–to what Priesthood?  To the Priesthood after the Order of an Endless Life, a Priesthood that is everlasting, a Priesthood handed down, that had no beginning, a Priesthood after the holiest Order of God, a Priesthood that was after the Order of His Only Begotten Son.  If you had only reflected that this same Priesthood had been conferred upon him in the in the councils of the holy ones before the world was made, and that he was ordained to come forth in this dispensation of the fulness of times to hold the keys of authority and power of that high and holy Priesthood,–that he was ordained to come forth and perform the work that God intended to accomplish in the latter times, then the mystery would have been cleared up to your minds.  He was not without the Priesthood in reality; but was a man chosen, a man ordained, a man appointed from before the foundation of this world, to come forth in the fulness of times to introduce the last dispensation among the children of men; to come in order to organize that kingdom, that was predicted by the ancient Prophets, that should stand for ever; to come to fulfil the great and glorious work of preparation for the coming of the Son of God to reign in righteousness upon the earth; he could see the face of God the Father and live.  But after having received this heavenly vision, after having brought forth the Book of Mormon, and translated it, (the Lord having prepared a way by which the book could be printed,) and having received the command of the Almighty to organize the Church, and having received the Priesthood re-confirmed upon him by Peter, James and John, and prior to that having received the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, on the 15th day of May, 1829,–having all these preparations here in the flesh as well as having been preordained to this mission, he was prepared to begin the work that should be everlasting, or in other words, the establishment of the kingdom of God that should never again be taken away from the earth.

The Apostleship being conferred–the Aaronic Priesthood having been previously conferred–all the powers of the Priesthood rested upon this man, and he had the right to the authority to administer, not only in the introductory principles of the Gospel of the Son of God, by which people might be born into the kingdom, but also had the authority and the power from the heavens to administer in all the sacred ordinances of this kingdom, at least so far as the building up of the Church was concerned, and of officiating in the various offices of the Priesthood.  After having conferred this authority and power, the Lord was prepared to give little by little, one portion or degree of Priesthood after another, until by and by, in accordance with the revelation given in June, 1829, He called twelve men to be Apostles, some three or four years after the revelation was given, when it was predicted that such should be the case.  What did we know about the callings and duties of this council of the Twelve?  Nothing, only as God revealed it through His servant Joseph.

After this Apostleship was given, some were faithful therein, others were not; some lost the authority of the Priesthood, others retained it, and the blessings of God were upon those that were faithful in their calling, while the curse of an offended God followed those who abused this sacred trust, and their Priesthood was taken from them and conferred upon others that were worthy of it.  The Lord also, about the same time that He called the Twelve Apostles, was prepared to call Seventies to minister under the direction of the Twelve; and many were ordained to this Apostleship, and they were men who had proven themselves faithful before the Lord: and others were perhaps ordained who had not been fully proven, and therefore the opportunity was afforded them, acting upon the agency they had in common with all men, of proving themselves before God.  Some of them were faithful, others were unfaithful; those that were unfaithful apostatized eventually and left the Church, while those that were faithful continued in their office and calling until many of them passed down to the tomb; and having magnified the good office and calling that had been conferred upon them, they will claim, in the eternal worlds the blessings appertaining to their several offices.

And what did we know about these Seventies and their particular calling?  Were there specified duties assigned to that body of men anciently, whose call by the Savior is recorded in the New Testament?  No, we were ignorant.  The Prophet himself, the Twelve and all that had been called, knew nothing in relation to the duties of these Seventies until the Lord revealed what they were, and at the same time He pointed out the duties of the Presidency of the Seventies, both the duties of the seven men constituting the Presidency of all the Seventies, and also those of the seven men that were to preside over each Council of the Seventies.  The Lord made manifest these things not all at once, but from time to time, as the people progressed and were counted worthy in His sight to receive further knowledge upon these things.  You may ask, why it was that the Lord did not give the whole pattern at once, why He did not unfold everything all in a moment?  It was because we were as little children then, and indeed I am of the opinion that many of us are little children still–and we could not bear all things at once; therefore He revealed unto us enough from time to time to set our minds reflecting; He revealed sufficient to cause us to be stirred up in our minds to pray unto Him; and when we prayed unto Him about any of the duties of the Priesthood, then He would reveal it.  But He would be sought unto by His people before He would reveal a fulness of knowledge upon these important subjects.  This seeking unto the Lord to obtain little by little, and precept by precept in the knowledge of the things of God, is just the way a wise parent would instruct his own sons.  Our parents would not tellus all about the various branches of education when we were two or three, or four years old; but they taught us as children, giving us line upon line until we could understand more fully those things that pertained to a good education.  So the Lord dealt with His people, as a wise, judicious, kind-hearted parent, imparting just according to the faith of the Latter-day Saints, and according to His own mind and will, and good pleasure.

By and by, after the Church was organized and there being no Bishops the Lord saw that it was necessary to introduce some kind of a plan in relation to the property of His people in the State of New York.  What did the Lord say to us under those circumstances, when we were not fully organized?  Said He to the Church in the State of New York, in the General Conference, through the mouth of His servant Joseph, in a revelation given on the 2d day January, 1831, He said, Let my Church in this land flee out from the State of New York; let them go westward to the land of Kirtland, and join my people in the State of Ohio; let them do this immediately, lest their enemies come upon them, etc.  The Lord understood what was in the hearts of the enemies of His people; He understood what they were doing in their secret councils, in their secret chambers to bring to pass the destruction of the Latter-day Saints that were in the States of New York and Pennsylvania.  How shall this work be done?  No Bishop to take charge of the properties.  The Lord said, Let certain men among you in the State of New York be appointed to take charge of the properties of my people, that which you cannot dispose of or sell in time to flee out; let them have charge of it to sell it in after times for the benefit of the Church.  Here, then, was a revelation appointing certain men without ordination, without the Bishopric, to handle properties, to do that which Bishops were afterwards required to perform.  Now, here is a lesson for us.  Because the Lord does one thing in the year 1831, and points out certain men according to the circumstances in which people are placed, that is no evidence that He will always continue the same order.  The Lord deals with the children of men according to circumstances, and afterwards varies from that plan according to His own good will and pleasure.  When these men had fulfilled their duties in relation to the properties of the Saints, and the Saints had gathered out from New York and Pennsylvania to the land of Kirtland, then it became necessary for a regular Bishop to be called and ordained, also his Counselors.  Did the Lord point out that these Bishops should be taken from the High Priesthood?  No.

‘And again, I have called my servant Edward Partridge, and give a commandment, that he should be appointed by the voice of the Church, and ordained a Bishop unto the Church.’  And with regard to choosing his Counselors, the Lord said they should be selected from the Elders of his Church.  Why did He say the Elders?  Because the High Priests at that time had not been ordained; that is, they had not been ordained under that name.  Although the Apostleship had been conferred upon Joseph and Oliver, even they were called Elders; the word High Priest was not known among them to be understood and comprehended until a long time after Bishops were called; and that is the reason why the Lord said to Bishop Partridge, ‘select from the Elders of my Church.’  ‘But,’ says one who has read the Doctrine and Covenants, ‘you will find in the revelation given on the 6th of April, 1830, something about Bishops, High Priests, etc.

(The speaker was here stopped that an important notice might be given out.)

I was saying that at the time that Bishops Partridge was called and ordained a Bishop, on the 4th of February, 1831, that at that time there were no High Priests, they were not known under that name, but were known under the name of the Apostleship, etc., and hence Elders were specified to be called as Counselors.  I was also saying that in the revelation given on the 6th day of April, 1830, there was nothing said about High Priests at the time the revelation was given; neither about Bishops.  But you will find two paragraphs in that revelation which mention them, which paragraphs were placed there several years after the revelation was given, which the Lord had a perfect right to do; and if it were necessary we might quote examples from Scripture to show that the Lord adds to any revelation when He sees proper, in order to make it more fully understood.  For instance, you recollect that Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah a lengthy revelation regarding the king of Israel and the house of Israel.  And that when the revelation was given to the king of Ksrael and after he ‘had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed.’  Did the Lord give it over again?  Yes, ‘and,’ says the Scripture, ‘there were added besides unto them many like words,’ not in the former revelation.  If the Lord took that method in the days of Jeremiah, was there anything inconsistent in the Prophet Joseph, in years afterwards, adding the words, ‘Bishops and High Priests,’ in order that the people might more fully understand?  My motive in mentioning these things is that the people may understand the ways of the Lord.  His ways are not as the ways of man, neither are His thoughts limited by our limited thoughts or conceptions.  But He does as He pleases. 

By and by the time came when the Lord saw proper to make manifest something in relation to the name and the authority and the power of this High Priesthood; showing us that it was after the order of His Only Begotten Son, that it holds the keys to power, etc., on the earth.

Well, after the first Bishop had been chosen, and two Elders selected by him to operate with him, his duties began to be more fully made manifest.  I shall not have time on this occasion to point out the various duties that were assigned to Bishop Edward Partridge, in the land of Zion, in Jackson County, Missouri, and other duties devolving upon him while he yet remained at Kirtland.  Perhaps it might be well enough, however, to just briefly touch upon his duties, that were more fully made manifest when he was required to go out from Kirtland about a day’s journey to the southeast, and organize the Colesville branch in the town of Thompson.  The Lord told him how to organize the people, and that there was a man in the Church whose name was Leman Copley, who had a large tract of land, and he covenanted before God that if the Colesville Branch would go upon his land, they might have their inheritances, etc., and that they might enter into the Order of God, as should be pointed out by the voice of the Prophet.  And when the Prophet Joseph went out to Thompson and undertook to organize the Branch according to this proise and covenant that was made, Bishop Partridge was there, and he had it pointed out to him how he should deal with that particular organization, that they should all be made equal, and should receive their stewardships, and should consecrate all of their property into the hands of the Bishop; and that was made a sample for all other churches throughout the Lord’s vineyard. You may judge whether we have kept it or not.  And his duties were also made manifest in the latter part of the summer of 1831.  And many of the first Elders were commanded to go west of Kirtland about one thousand miles; and the promise was that the land which the Lord intended to give to His people should be made known, and it should be told them where the city should be built.  In the months of July and August of that year, the Lord pointed out more fully the duties of Bishop Partridge in regard to dividing the land, that is, the land that had been purchased by the Church, dividing it out amont the various families of the Saints.  The first families, with the exception of some that had been baptized in that land, were faithful ones among the Colesville branch, one of the earliest organizations of the Church.  They were commanded to flee from the town of Thompson, because this rich man had broken his covenant.  They went up to Jackson County, and Bishop Partridge was commanded to divide off to them inheritances by the law of consecration.

Here then was a Bishop whose duties were made known and specified, and which were very different in their nature in many respects from our Ward Bishops.  Can you not see the difference between these duties assigned to Edward Partridge, and the duties assigned to the several Ward Bishops of our Church?  So far as the Ward Bishops’ duties go, they coincide perfectly with the duties that were assigned to this general Bishop.  But there were a great many things required of him that are not required of Ward Bishops; quite different in their duties and in their callings.

In December, 1831, the Lord saw proper again to give another Bishop, his name was Newel K. Whitney.  Was he merely a Bishop of a Ward, whose jurisdiction was limited to a little spot of ground that might be termed a place for the residence of a Ward Bishop?  No; he was another general Bishop.  Bishop Partridge having general jurisdiction in Jackson County, and in the regions round about; while the duties of Newel K. Whitney extended to the State of Ohio and the States of Pennsylvania and New York, and throughout all the Eastern countries, wherever the Church of God was organized.

Here were two Bishops, then, one having jurisdiction in the West, a thousand miles from the other; the other having jurisdiction in the East.  Their duties were pointed out, but neither of them was a Presiding Bishop.  But what were they?  As was clearly shown by President Taylor at the Priesthood meeting on last evening, they were general Bishops.  By and by, after the Church of God was driven from the State of Missouri, it became necessary to have a Presiding Bishop; and the Lord gave a revelation, saying:

‘Let my servant Vinson Knight, and my servant Shadrack Roundy, and my servant Samuel H. Smith, be appointed as Presidents over the Bishopric of my Church.’

Here, then, is the first intimation that we have of a Presiding Bishop.  Neither Bishop Partridge nor Newel K. Whitney at that time was a presiding Bishop, but each one held distinct jurisdiction, presiding in a distinct locality, neither presiding over the other.  But when Vinson Knight, in years afterwards, was called, it was his duty to preside over all of the Bishops that were then appointed.  Was there any general Bishop after the death of Bishop Partridge?  Yes:

‘Let my servant, George Miller, receive the Bishopric which was conferred upon Edward Partridge, to receive the consecrations of my people,’ etc.

He was ordained to the same calling, and called to the same Bishopric; not to the Presiding Bishopric, but to the same Bishopric conferred upon Edward Partridge, to receive the consecrations of the Lord’s Church, to administer to the poor and needy, etc.  Here, then, were two distinct orders of Bishops, so far as their duties, jurisdiction and responsibilities were concerned, but as Bishops they held the same calling as others.  By and by, in the process of time, as the Church increased and multiplied upon the earth, it became necessary that there should be local Bishops; hence arose Bishops over this town and over that town, not general Bishops, but Ward Bishops, the same as you have throughout your respective Stakes.

Now the duties of these three distinct callings of those that are termed Bishops are very different, so far as their duties are concerned.  The jurisdiction of a Ward Bishop does not go beyond his Ward, unless he be particularly called to do so.  He must be selected, must be appointed, and must be sent to some other place in order to have jurisdiction outside of his Ward in the capacity of a Bishop.  The office of the Presiding Bishop still continues, but for some reason we have not at the present time, so far as I am aware, any traveling or general Bishop like Bishop Ed. Partridge, and like Bishop Newel K. Whitney, who afterwards did become Presiding Bishop.  A traveling Bishop in his jurisdiction would not be limited to a Ward; it would be his duty if so called and appointed to travel through the various Stakes of Zion to exhort the people to do their duty, to look after the temporal interests of the Church, to humble the rich and the proud and lift up the low and the meek of the earth.

There is another class of Bishops.  We find in every Stake of Zion what is termed a Bishop’s Agent.  Does he hold the Bishopric?  He should have that office conferred upon him.  Why?  Because it is duty to administer in temporal things.  Does his jurisdiction extend beyond that of a Ward Bishop?  It does.  Why?  By appointment, by selection, by being sent by the Presidency of the High Priesthood after the order of Melchisedek to administer in the special duties of his office in any or in all the Stakes of Zion, as the case may be according to the nature of his appointment, and by the authority of the Presiding Bishop.  There are a great many things to be taken into consideration when we strive to understand the Book of Covenants according to the revelations that are therein given.  Because God confined His servants to certain duties in the early rise of this Church, there is no proof or evidence that He will always work in the same channel.  He will enlarge the borders of this kingdom; He will stretch forth the curtains of Zion; He will lengthen her cords and strengthen her Stakes and will multiply them not only throughout this mountain Territory, but throughout the United States, this land of Joseph: and they will be called the Stakes of the great City of Zion.

Let me here take the liberty to say to this congregation that the City of Zion when it is built in Jackson County, will not be called a Stake.  We can find no mention in all the revelations that God has given, that the City of Zion is to be the Centre Stake of Zion; the Lord never called it a Stake in any revelation that has been given.  It is to be the head quarters, it is to be the place where the Son of Man will come and dwell, where He will have a Temple, in which Temple there will be a throne prepared where Jesus will dwell in the midst of His people; it will be the great central city, and the outward branches will be called Stakes wherever they shall be organized as such.

We cannot suppose, as I was saying, that when the Lord shall thus enlarge the borders of Zion and multiply her Stakes, that He will be obliged to confine Himself to those circumstances and that condition of things that existed when we were a little handful of people.  We are swelling out, we are becoming numerous upon the face of the land; and the day will come when Isaiah’s prophecy, as contained in the 60th chapter, will be literally fulfilled, that is, a little one shall not only become a thousand, but the small one a strong nation.  Are we then to be governed in all respects by those limited things that we were governed by in our childhood?  Will there be no change of circumstances?  Yes, as there is in the growth of grain, we have first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear, but these will all be in accordance with the development made by the progress of the kingdom as is explained in the blade, the ear and the full corn in the ear, and let me here prophecy on the strength of the revelations that were given through the Prophet Joseph, and through all the ancient Prophets, that the time will come when the Lord our God will so manifest His power that every soul upon the face of this great Western Continent that will not believe the Book of Mormon, that will not repent of his sins, that will not turn away from his iniquities, and that will not hearken to the voice of His Son, that it will be with such a one as Moses said, he shall be cut off from among the people.  Do you believe it?  It will be the case.  And when that day comes that the Lord shall cut off such people, when the day comes that he will fulfil the revelations of Isaiah, as well as many other revelations that have been given, Zion will have to go forth in her strength and power, and the inhabitants of the nations that are afar off will say, ‘Surely, Zion is the city of our God, for the Lord is there, and His glory is there, and the power and the might of His terror is there,’–terror to the wicked, terror to those who commit sin: and many people will say, ‘Come, let us be subject to her laws.’  That will be after the Lord has broken up the nations, after He has destroyed and wasted them away, so far as the wicked portions are concerned.  Those who are left will gladly acknowledge Zion, will acknowledge God and His people, and will acknowledge the laws that will be literally sent forth from Zion to the nations of the earth.  Must we then be limited in all respects as we were limited in the early rise of the Church?  No.  New circumstances require new power, new knowledge, new additions, new strength and new Quorums; not to do away with the old, but additional in their nature.  Men will hold authority and power to carry forth the laws of Zion to the remnants of this nation, and to foreign nations–ministers, or plenipotentiaries, if you please, to use a political term, will go forth to the nations of the earth with the laws of God.  Now, this is a prophecy of my own, but it is a prophecy according to that which is written, according to that which God gave to His ancient and His modern Prophets.

I find that I shall not be able to continue my remarks as they present themselves to my mind, for there are numerous branches pertaining to this subject of the Priesthood, besides that of the Bishopric, and blessings pertaining to the two Priesthoods, upon which it would be very pleasing to my mind to dwell, that is, if I had the time and the strength of body to do so.

I would say, however, that in regard to the organization of the First Presidency, it was done soon after the rise of the Church.  The Lord exhibited to us, by revelation, the order of things as it existed in former days, away back in the dispensation before the flood–the dispensation of the antediluvian Patriarchs and their order of government; and also the dispensation of the Patriarchs after the flood and their order of government, and which I dwelt upon some two or three days since.  I say taht in relation to these matters much might be said, and much might be said in regard to our privileges, the privileges of those holding these two Priesthoods.  And much might be said of the First Presidency, which quorum presides over all the Church of God; and much might be said in relation to the duties of the Twelve, not only as a traveling High Council, but in regard to the setting in order of the various offices in Zion.  We might talk a great deal about that.  We, as the Twelve, have been fulfilling both of these duties, traveling abroad and sending abroad, and also setting in order the councils of the Priesthood in the midst of Zion, as the revelation required of us.  In so doing, we have acted for a short time as a Presiding Council in the midst of the Church of God.  We did so upon the death of the Prophet Joseph.  The Spirit of God wrought upon his servants, that during our administration for some three or four years after the death of Brother Joseph, the First Presidency was not organized.  Did the Council of the Twelve forget it?  No; they all the time had their minds fixed upon the revelation which God had given showing that the Council of the First Presidency was the supreme Council and authority in the Church, and that the Twelve could not act in that supreme authority and power only as the First Presidency was made vacant.  This Quorum was re-organized some three or four years after the death of the Prophet, and it continued organized until the year 1877, and upon the death of President Young, who was the President in the First Presidency, it then fell again upon the Twelve as formerly, and they have continued some three years and upwards occupying that position.  Have they done right?  Yes; they have done as they were required to do during the time being.  And now, after having performed their duties, they still keep in mind the necessity of this First Quorum of all Quorums of the Church again being filled up, so that the revelations of God may be honored and we fulfil their requirements.  Hence, the Council of the Apostles has taken into consideration this subject, and the question in our minds was, Have we sufficiently, as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, magnified our office and calling, in setting in order the Church of the living God, in organizing the various Councils, or is there something lacking?  Every time we thought uopn the subject we saw that one Council, the most important of all, was still vacant.  Could we ignore it?  No.  We therefore considered the propriety of organizing it at the present Conference; and Brother John Taylor, by the voice of his brethren, the Twelve, being the person holding the legal right to the office, as the President of the Twelve Apostles, was selected to occupy the position of the President of the whole Church.  And he, according to the right and authority given to him, suggested his own Counselors.  They were sanctioned by the Twelve Apostles; hence, the First Presidency again, so far as the Council of the Twelve is concerned, has been re-organized.  We have fulfilled our duties, then, in relation to that revelation which says, it is given unto the Twelve Apostles to set in order all those offices that are named in that revelation, we, I say, have done it.  And we have laid the subject before the Priesthood of all the various us Quorums, as they were assembled in general council on last evening, and they with us have had the privilege of sanctioning this action, that that quorum be filled up and be complete.  It now remains with the body of the people to give their sanction, males and females, as well as the Priesthood.  And in order that this may be done according to the pattern which God has given through His servant Joseph, the Priesthood will be organized this afternoon in their respective Quorums, and this subject will be brought before them to be voted upon by each Quorum separately; and then the whole congregation will be called upon to sanction the same.

I would state that this change made a vacancy of three in the Quorum of the Apostles, and persons have been selected to fill this vacancy thus made; or, rather, two persons have been selected from among the High Priesthood to partially fill that vacancy in the Council of the Apostles.  The third one has not yet been chosen to completely fill the vacancy in the Apostles’ Quorum; we, however, may be prepared to act on that to-day, and we may not.

Having said so much, in a very scattered manner, in regard to the Priesthood, and the dealings of God with us from time to time, I would state to my brethren and sisters, to the Latter-day Saints, I rejoice that the time has again come when our Quorums in the Church of God will be completed as given in the Doctrine and Covenants.  I feel to rejoice in seeing this order carried out.  There never has been a time, from the commencement of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when the organization has been som complete as during the last two or three years.  I trust that His great purposes will be carried out and fulfilled, until Zion shall become, as it is written in the Book of Mormon, in the parable of the vineyard, shall become one body and its branches shall be equal.  Amen.”  (Orson Pratt, 10 Oct., 1880; JD 22:27-38)

10 Oct.:  Reorganization of the First Presidency.

“President John Taylor said it was gratifying to him to know that the organizations of the Church were now provided for.  The mind of the Twelve had been exercised on the question of the First Presidency, and what has been done to-day he believed was approbated by the Lord, as well as the people.  So far as his own feelings were concerned he could have wished to continue his connection with the Twelve, but as was clearly portrayed to us by Brother Pratt, God has an order in his kingdom, and it is our duty to observe it.  He therefore acquiesced in the change.  When everything was adjusted, it was nothing but right and proper for the Quorum of the First Presidency to be filled.  He did not aspire to that position, but he did deem it a high honor to be a member of the Church and Kingdom of God.  He had examined very carefully those principles in relation to the priesthood that were brought before the priesthood meeting, and every man should seek to become acquainted wit those principles, that they may become more thoroughly conversant with the duties and responsibilities of their several callings.”  (General Conference Minutes, 10 Oct., 1880; DN 29(37):588-589, 13 Oct., 1880)

“I will make a few remarks while the Sacrament is being administered.  It is gratifying to me to be able to state that now all the various organizations of the Church are provided for.  For some time the Twelve have been operating in the capacity of a First Presidency, and it ws very proper that they should have acted in that capacity.  As you heard Brother Pratt state this morning, in referring to this subject, this was the course adopted at the time when the Prophet Joseph Smith left us.  The Twelve then stepped forward into the position of the First Presidency, and operated for about three years in that capacity.  And when President Young left us it was thoguht proper that the same course should be pursued.  The Twelve, I believe, have in this respect magnified their calling and taken a course that is approved by the Lord, and I think also by the brethren, judging from the vote given here to-day. 

Had it not been our duty to have the Church organized fully and completely in all its departments, I should have much preferred to have continued with the brethren of the Twelve, speaking of it merely as a matter of personal feeling.  But there are questions arising in regard to these matters that are not for us to say how they shall be, or what course shall be pursued.  When God has given us an order and has appointed an organization in his Church, with the various quorums of Priesthood as presented to us by revelation through the Prophet Joseph Smith, I do not think that either the First Presidency, the Twelve, the High Priests, the Seventies, the Bishops, or anybody else, have a right to change or alter that plan which the Lord has introduced and established.  And as you heard Brother Pratt state this morning, one duty devolving upon the Twelve is to see that the churches are organized correctly.  And I think they are now thus organized throughout the land of Zion.  The Churches generally are organized with Presidents of Stakes and their Counselors, with High Councils, with Bishops and their Counselors, and with the Lesser Priesthood, according to the order that is given us.

Then we have the High Priests, Seventies and Elders occupying their places according to their Priesthood, position and standing in the Church.  And the First Presidency seemed to be the only quorum that was deficient.  And it is impossible for men acquainted with the order of the Holy Priesthood to ignore this quoeum, as it is one of the principal councils of the Church.  While the Twelve stand as a bulwark ready to protect, defend and maintain, to step forward and carry out the order of God’s Kingdom in times of necessity, such as above referred to, yet when everything is adjusted and matters assume their normal condition, then it is proper that the Quorum of the First Presidency, as well as all other quorums, should occupy the place assigned it by the Almighty.

These were the suggestions of the Spirit of the Lord to me.  I expressed my feelings to the Twelve, who coincided with me, and, indeed, several of them had had the same feelings as those with which I was actuated.  It is not with us, or ought not to be, a matter of place, position, or honor, although it is a great honor to be a servant of God; it is a great honor to hold the Priesthood of God; but while it is an honor to be God’s servants, holding His Priesthood, it is not honorable for any man or any set of men to seek for position in the Holy Priesthood.  Jesus said, Ye have not called me, but I have called you.  And as I said before, had I consulted my own personal feelings, I would have said, things are going on very pleasantly, smoothly and agreeably; and I have a number of good associates whom I respect and esteem, as my brethren, and I rejoice in their counsels.  Let things remain as they are.  But it is not for me to say, it is not for you to say, what we would individually prefer, but it is for us holding the Holy Priesthood; to see that all the organizations of that Priesthood are preserved intact, and that everything in the Church and kingdom of God is organized according to the plan which He has revealed; therefore we have taken the course which you have been called upon to sanction by your votes to-day.

I would further remark that I have examined very carefully for some time past some of those principles you heard read over in the Priesthood meeting, and which were referred to in part, by Brother Pratt, this morning.  And there are other principles associated with the Priesthood that we wish and hope to have thoroughly defined; so that every man will know his true position and the nature of the calling and responsibility and Priesthood with which he is endowed.  It is very proper and very important that we should comprehend these things; every man in his place, and every woman in her place; but I more particularly refer to the Holy Priesthood, that every man may feel and realize the duties and responsibilities which rest upon him. . . .

And now let me refer with pride to my brethren of the Twelve here, which I do by saying that while they as a quorum held the right by the vote of the people to act in the capacity of the First Presidency, yet when they found, as Brother Pratt expressed it this morning, that they had performed their work, they were willing to withdraw from that Presidency, and put it in the position that God had directed, and fall back into the place that they have always held, as the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I say it is with pride that I refer to this action and the feeling that prompted it.  I very much question whether you could find the same personal exhibition of disinterested motives and self-abnegation, and the like readiness to renounce place and position in deference to principle, among the same number of men in any other place.  They saw the necessity of this action; a motion was made in that Council; and the vote was unanimously adopted that the First Presidency be re-organized, and afterwards the brethren to fill this quorum, were selected.  The next step was to present the matter to the Church, and it was laid before the Priesthood at a meeting, when there were present a representation of all the important authorities of the Church in the different Stakes in Zion.  After having done that, lest some difficulty might exist some where, it was thought proper to pursue the course taken to-day–that each organization of the Priesthood, embracing all the quorums, should be seated in a quorum capacity by themselves, and separately have the opportunity of voting freely and fully without control of any kind, and of expressing their feelings, and finally, that the whole congregation should have the same opportunity.  This is emphatically the voice of God, and the voice of the people; and this is the order that the Lord has instituted in Zion, as it was in former times among Israel.  God gave his commandments; they were delivered by His Prophet to the people and submitted to them, and all Israel said, Amen.  You have all done this by your votes; which vote, so far as we can learn, has been without a dissenting voice either among the separate quorums, or in the vote of the combined quorums and people.  Now, continue to be united in everything as you are in this thing, and God will stand by you from this time henceforth and for ever.  And any man who opposes principles of this kind is an enemy of God, an enemy of the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth, an enemy to the people of God, and an enemy to the freedom and rights of man.  The Lord has selected a Priesthood that He might among all Israel make known His mind and will through them, and that they might be His representatives upon the earth.  And while He does this He does not wish men to be coerced or forced to do things contrary to their will.  But where the Spirit of God is, there is union, harmony and liberty, and where it is not there is strife, confusion and bondage.  Let us then seek to be one, honor our God, honor our religion, and keep the commandments of God, and seek to know His will, and then to do it.”  (John Taylor, 10 Oct., 1880; JD 22:38-41)

17 Oct.:  Roster of Priesthood throughout the Church.

“The Statistics of the Church was then read.  Members 65,826, Apostles 12, Patriarchs 52, Seventies 4,319, High Priests 3,277 Elders 11,509, Priests 1,710, Teachers 1,893 Deacons 3,567, Officers & Members 92,104 Children under 8 years of age 35,346, Total of Souls 127,451.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 17 Oct., 1880)

12 Dec.:  Excommunication during Sunday meeting.

“In the afternoon meeting Bros. Spring and Tuller Jr spoke and Sister Suter was excommunicated from the church for stealing and lying, and she would not repent.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 12 Dec., 1880)

24 Dec.:  Acting in the office of Deacon.

“At night I went around my beat, acting in the office of Deacon, looking up something for the Poor.  Got thro about 1/2 9 [9:30 P.M.?].  Felt well and paid for feeble efforts.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 24 Dec., 1880)