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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1884

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1884.” You can view other years here.

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1884:    6 Jan.:  Excommunication notice.

“Excommunication.–To whom it may concern:  On January 6th, 1884, John T. Leonard was cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for seduction.

Jens Jensen, Bishop,

R. M. Humphrey, Clerk.

Salina, Sevier County, Utah,

January 7th, 1884.”

(Reprint of Report of 10 Jan.; DN 32(52):819, 16 Jan., 1884)

13 Jan.:  No proof that John the Baptist didn’t come.

“From the time that Joseph Smith first declared that he had had a vision of the Father and the Son–from that time to the present, I know that the world have never been able to prove that his testimony was false.  I know that they have never been able to prove that Moroni did not give to him the plates of gold, or that the translation called the Book of Mormon is false.  I know that they have never been able to prove that John the Baptist did not visit Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and confer upon them the Holy Priesthood, even the Aaronic Priesthood; neither have I ever heard that it has been proved that the Melchisedek Priesthood and Apostleship were not restored by Peter, James and John.”  (George Teasdale, 13 Jan., 1884; JD 25:13)

13 Jan.:  Joseph himself said P, J & J gave Apostleship.

“Joseph Smith declared that John the Baptist came and restored the Aaronic Priesthood, and also that Peter, James and John restored the Apostleship, and the keys and powers thereof.”  (George Teasdale, 13 Jan., 1884; JD 25:19)

21 Jan.:  1st time a Deacon’s quorum magnified its calling

“In the evening a priesthood meeting was held and largely attended.  The presidents of the several quorums gave very cheering reports of the faithfulness of the brethren of this stake.

Bishop William H. Warner reported that the deacons, mostly, had hauled about 50 loads of wood for the poor and our meeting house, and they made it a practice of turning out in quorums and chopping the wood up.  Apostle Wilford Woodruff said during his remarks at this meeting that this was the first time that he had ever heard that the deacon’s quorums had ever magnified their calling.  He also said that all those who had been ordained to the Priesthood were expected to magnify their callings or they would be condemned.”  (Juab Stake Conference minutes, 21 Jan., 1884; DN 33(2):27, 30 Jan., 1884)

30 Jan.:  Church Courts and civil courts.

“For a great many years it has been pretended by the virulent anti-‘Mormons’ who have stirred up trouble for Utah, that the abandonment of polygamy was all that was demanded of the ‘Mormon’ Church, and that if a ‘revelation’ could be obtained setting that practice aside, nothing would stand in the way of Utah’s admission into the Union and complete harmony between the ‘Mormons’ the Government and the country.  We have all along declared that this was only pretence; that the chief agitators of this question did not care a cent about polygamy; and that political chicanery was at the bottom of the whole movement on their part.  We have not attempted to deny that some very religious people joined in the cry against the ‘Mormons’ from a real abhorrence of polygamy as it appeared in their eyes, they having little or no understanding of the real condition of society in Utah.  But we have disputed the sincerity of those who have been the prime movers in the political crusade against this Territory, whenever they have used ‘polygamy’ as their watchword, because we knew that it was but a convenient pretext, the object in view being the subjugation of the people to a small and unprincipled minority.

The turn of affairs which has taken place since the Edmunds Act went into operation show that this view was correct.  The polygamy pretence is fast fading out of sight.  The disfranchisement of all who participate or have participated in plural marriage has helped the plotters not one whit.  They see that it will not figure in their present movement.  They feel the need of another plea, a different cry wherewith to arouse the country and appeal to Congress.  So they now claim that polygamy is not the great problem to be solved, it is the power of the ‘Mormon hierarchy’ over the people.  And it is alleged that this power has been established by territorial statutes; that our Legislature has given the Church extraordinary civil powers; and that therefore the Legislature elected by the people should be abolished and a Commission appointed by the national authorities set up in its stead.  To give color to this falsehood and folly, Governor Murray was inducted to say in his message:

I ask the repeal of chapter five (5) compiled laws laws of Utah, because unwarranted and dangerous powers are therein granted to a church corporation, because it is a ‘law respecting an establishment of a religion,’ because it vests ecclesiastical courts with authority which may only be exercised in the United States by the civil courts, and, if for no other reason, because Congress by express statute, approved July 1, 1862, disapproved of it, and yet the Legislature of Utah re-enacted it in the compiled laws of 1876.  A law of the Territory having been disapproved of by Congress should not be allowed to remain on your statute books.

The same ideas, amplified and extended, were conveyed in the Governor’s report to the Secretary of the Interior.  After ransacking all the laws ever passed by the Legislative Assembly, whether obsolete or now in force, the only statute that could be found which could, even by strained and false construction, be used in any way to support the proposition that in Utah the Church and State are united and that improper powers are granted by law to the ‘Mormon hierarchy,’ is the law misrepresented by Governor Murray.  That statute we have published in full, and we have also given the text of the repealing clause in the United States statute.  It will be seen by reference to the Compiled Laws of Utah, p. 232, that the statement of Governor Murray that ‘it vests ecclesiastical courts with authority which may only be exercised in the United States by the civil courts,’ is a positive untruth, and it was known by him to be false when he uttered it.

The Act in question was approved Feb. 8th, 1851, and simply incorporated the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that it might have a legal standing to transact its own business, sue and be sued, regulate its own worship, hold and convey property, and attend to all its own affairs as a corporate body.  The incorporation of that Church did not hinder or interfere with the incorporation of other churches, with similar powers.  It established no special religion.  And there are no prerogatives assumed for it in the law but those accorded to ‘all civil and religious communities.’  That Church does not attempt to exercise the authority which ‘in this country is vested only in the civil courts,’ and its incorporation confers no such power, for it is expressly stated that its power and authority extend only to the ‘control of said Church,’ not of any other body, and that they are ‘relative to fellowship according to church covenants.’

Now, we ask, what authority is vested in the civil courts of this country to ‘regulate worship,’ to establish laws for ‘the good order and government’ of any church, or to ‘punish or forgive offences relative to church fellowship?’  According to Governor Murray’s message as quoted above, these are the powers of civil courts, for these are the powers recognized–not bestowed–in the act which he wants repealed and which he claims is a law respecting an establishment of religion.  The regulations of the church for the punishment of offences reach only to the excommunication or expulsion of members who will not be governed by them.  There is no greater penalty.  The Church does not fine, imprison, inflict personal chastisement, or interfere in any way with the civil rights of its members, and the Act of Incorporation does not confer any power to do so.  The inference of Governor Murray would be childish and adsurd, if it were not malignant and specially intended to misrepresent the Church for the purpose of injuring the community.

It may be asked does not the Church by its courts prevent the adjudication of cases and the punishment of offences in the civil and criminal courts.  We answer, no; it does nothing to prevent this.  But it does take a course to render litigation needless.  It requires its members who disagree, or injure each other, first to seek reconciliation and satisfaction by mutual agreement.  When that cannot be done, Teachers are directed to visit the parties and endeavor to settle the grievance, pointing out what is right under the circumstances.  If this is not effectual, a trial may be had before the Bishoprick of the Ward where the accused resides, and judgment rendered as to what is right in the premises after full investigation.  If the result of that trial is not satisfactory, an appeal can be taken to the High Council of the Stake, consisting of Twelve High Priests, sustained as that Council by a vote of the members of the Stake, and presided over by the Presidency thereof, when the case can be heard de novo and the decision of the lower court reversed or confirmed.  But no penalties of a civil nature are pronounced or inflicted.  The right is pointed out, and if that is not followed the disobedient person may be disfellowshipped or excommunicated, and that is the extreme penalty of the ecclesiastical law.  If he has wronged his neighbor he can be required to make restitution, but if he will not, the only penalty is as we have described.  If the offence is one that comes under the criminal law, the rule of the Church is as thus laid down by revelation:

And if a man or woman shall steal, he or she shall be delivered up to the law of the land; and if he or she shall lie, he or she shall be delivered up to the law of the land.

And it shall come to pass that if any persons among you shall kill, they shall be delivered up and dealth with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he hath no forgiveness, and it shall be proven according to the laws of the land.  (Doc. & Cov. sec. xiii.)

If parties desire to carry their case to a civil court they can do so, but they will not be held in good church fellowship, unless it be a case which can only be determined by such a court, to make it final and legal.  Disputes among church members that can be effectually settled by church influence are required to be so determined.  This limits litigation, and is not favorable to lawyers, but it does not interfere with or usurp the functions of the civil courts, any more than the good offices of a mutual friend when a misunderstanding arises between neighbors, can be construed into such interference.

Governor Murray asks for the repeal of the law of incorporation, and yet declares that Congress has repealed it.  If his statement was true his request would be unnecessary, for the law would be void without further action.  But he knows it is not true.  For in his report to the Secretary of the Interior he cites the Act of Congress aiming at the repeal of a very small part of the law.  And that attempts only to ‘annull all acts of law which establish, maintain, protect or countenance the practice of polygamy.’  It expressly, in terms, exempts the other parts of the law from the act of annulment and says the Act shall not be construed to affect them, but shall only apply to that portion which ‘countenances polygamy.’  Examination of the incorporation law will show that it does not refer in any way to polygamy; that it simply recognizes the authority of the Church to solemnize marriage, in common with all civil and religious communities.  But if this can be construed into any reference to polygamy, then the Act of Congress annuls it, and confirms all the rest of the law.

Governor Murray knows it was not repealed; he knows that the Act of Congress to which he refers virtually sustains the validity of the law which he cries out against, with the exception we have pointed out, and if he had the common sense of an ordinary well balanced mind he would see that his attack on our Legislature is nothing less than an attack upon Congress, which should have annulled the whole law if his description of it was true or rational.  But Congress understood that it was a law similar in its nature and intent to laws passed in nearly every State in the Union, incorporating religious bodies to do secular business, and that if this was a law ‘respecting an establishment of religion’ so were all the State laws of a similar character.  It is clear, then, that Congress did not annul the law.  It is equally clear that there is no need for the Legislature to repeal it.  And it can be shown further that Governor Murray’s assertion that the Legislature ‘re-enacted the law’ in 1876, after Congress had repealed it, is a double untruth.  The compilation of 1876 was not new legislation, but simply a collection of existing laws and this one could not be expunged, for Congress by its action concerning it, had effectually confirmed it as one of the statutes of this Territory.

The attempt by the Governor to put this matter and others in the message in a false light before the present Congress and the country, was only part of the plot by which he fully expected to gain the position of head of a Commission to grasp the reins of power and manipulate the affairs and finances of a rich Territory, with far greater opportunities for personal profit, than he found when he was transacting government business as Marshal of Kentucky.  It is a shameful effort and will form one among the many clods which will yet be piled upon his official coffin.”  (Editorial, “The Church Courts and the Civil Courts,” DN 33(2):27, 30 Jan., 1884)

1 Feb.:  Probationary period in AP/Acting Teachers.

“Apostle George Teasdale said he would be glad when the time would come that we would seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, when the people would be so anxious to receive the word of God that they would crowd the buildings at the time appointed for meeting.  He was in favor of persons who held the lesser Priesthood magnifying that calling before being called to take upon themselves the great responsibility of the higher.  The calling of a Teacher was a very important one, that required faith and inspiration to an eminent degree.  The object of the visits of Teachers was to teach and induce the Saints to practice righteousness, and the Teacher was supposed to act as the spiritual adviser of his district, seeing that all both old and young attended to their duties, and also to see that there was no want or suffering among their flock.  The fact of the members of the Higher Priesthood being called to act as Teachers indicated the importance of that calling.  While persons could not attend meeting through sickness or other sufficient reasons and the Teachers failed to visit and administer to them they would be held accountable for their ignorance.  And if they failed in this they were certainly not fit to act in the Higher Priesthood.”  (Salt Lake Stake Conference minutes, 1 Feb., 1884; DN 33(3):44, 6 Feb., 1884)

3 Feb.:  Need to ordain young men to AP.

“President Angus M. Cannon urged the people to avail themselves of their political privileges.  In view of the growth of the Stake it was necessary to organize three new wards.  He urged the necessity of calling the young to positions in the Lesser Priesthood, that they might be exercised in those callings and be prepared for the higher Priesthood, instead of waiting until they wanted to get married.”  (Salt Lake Stake Conference minutes, 3 Feb., 1884; DN 33(3):45, 6 Feb., 1884)

14 Feb.:  Rebaptism prior to endowments.

“My Son Asahel H Woodruff was reBaptized this morning and received his Endowments.  [Asahel had been ordained an Elder two weeks earlier, 1 Feb.]”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 14 Feb., 1884)

16 Feb.:  Boys should be ordained to AP.

“Apostle [F. M.] Lyman . . . advised the ordaining of the boys to the Lesser Priesthood, that they may receive a training previous to receiving the Higher Priesthood, and be prepared for the labors connected therewith.  He thought that the practice of ordaining boys and young men to the Holy Priesthood and turning them loose, was bad.  He believed, from the reports read, that the quorums of the Lesser Priesthood are fairly well organized in this Stake.  The Priests’ quorum should furnish candidates for the Elders’ and Seventies’ quorums.”  (Sanpete Stake Conference minutes, 16 Feb., 1884; DN 33(8):127, 12 Mar., 1884)

20 Feb.:  Board of hospital set apart by Priesthood.

“Now, then, as has been stated here, the Executive Board of this hospital were desirous to be set apart by the Priesthood that they might act under the blessing of God.”  (John Taylor, 20 Feb., 1884; JD 26:358)

24 Feb.:  Priesthood leaders to be guided by Holy Spirit.

“Every man who is called to preside as a Bishop in a ward is entitled to the Holy Spirit to guide him in his labors; so is every man who presides over a family, or in a quorum, or who is placed in a position to lead and instruct the people.  That is the reason that the Lord has given us such a host of ministers; for every man who holds the Priesthood is a minister of righteousness and is expected to administer in his calling in the midst of the people in the world, wherever he is located, at home or abroad.  We have thousands of such men.  Our settlements are full of them.  They are the men who build the houses and decorate them, and they do the business that is done in Zion among our people.  They are ministers of righteousness; and if the people will keep the commandments of God, His hand will be stretched out in their behalf, to save and protect them from harm.”  (Francis M. Lyman, 24 Feb., 1884; JD 25:65-66)

24 Feb.:  Boys to be given priesthood at 12 or 14 years.

“At the age of twelve or fourteen years they should be introduced into the lesser Priesthood, and thus learn something of the authority of the Lord.  They should be educated in the principles of the Gospel, and have faith established in their hearts.  This should be done by experienced people.  But they have been more or less neglected until we have hundreds to-day that are twenty years of age, that bear no Priesthood at all.  When they get to that age they become more or less set in their ways; they desire to be free; they don’t care to be hampered with religion or anything of that kind.  Now, my brethren and sisters, parents in Zion, Bishops, leading men in the Wards and Stakes, see to it that the young people receive proper instruction; see to it that they are not neglected as those of whom I have been speaking have been neglected in the past.  Let fathers and mother be anxious in regard to their sons and daughters.  Let those who are yet young be brought into the Mutual Improvement Associations and classes, that they may have the advantage of a religious training in the Church.”  (Francis M. Lyman, 24 Feb., 1884; JD 25:67)

8 Mar.:  Give young men AP.

“Brother Woodruff showed the benefits to young men of placing a portion of the Priesthood on them, the responsibility thus given furnishes them something to do and makes them more circumspect in word and action.  A person who magnifies the Lesser Priesthood may receive great manifestations of the power of God.  Had as wonderful manifestations himself when he was a Priest, as he has ever had since.”  (Davis Stake Conference minutes, 8 Mar., 1884; DN 33(10):159, 26 Mar., 1884)

16 Mar.:  Home missionaries.

“The regular conference was concluded by a fifty-five minutes discourse from President McAllister . . . Home missionaries to go in the name of the Lord, administer to the sick, visit among the people, speak to the young as well as to the old, and attend the Sabbath schools and other organizations.”  (St. George Stake Conference minutes, 16 Mar., 1884; DN 33(11):175, 2 Apr., 1884)

2 Apr.:  Rules on disfellowshipping.

“The regular monthly meeting of the Priesthood of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion was held at 11 a.m., the Presidency of the Stake, Angus M. Cannon, David O. Calder and Joseph E. Taylor presiding.  Present also on the stand, Apostle Brigham Young, Bishop John Sharp and others.  Roll called showed all the wards of the Stake represented by presiding authorities, excepting the Twelfth city ward and the East Mill Creek, South Jordan and Brighton Wards.

A resolution was presented which had been unanimously adopted by the High Council of the Stake, to the effect that Bishop’s Courts in withdrawing fellowship from members of their Wards, should disfellowship them from the Church, and not from the Ward only.  It was explained that in some cases where a person had been ‘disfellowshipped from the Ward,’ he took advantage of the limited verbal application and went to another Ward and partook of the Sacrament as a member of the Church, whereas he was virtually disfellowshipped by the decision of the Bishop’s court, from the Church, unless the High Council had reversed that decision.

It was further explained that in the case of a member being disfellowshipped by a Bishop’s court, who held the Melchisedec Priesthood, his case should be handed up for the action of the High Council, and even where he held only the Aaronic Priesthood, the right of appeal from the Bishop’s court was always open to those who felt themselves wronged by it.

The question was asked if it was necessary for a Bishop, after his court had disfellowshipped a person, to present that person’s name to the Ward congregation for them to sustain the Bishop’s decision in the matter.  President Cannon answered that it was not necessary to do this in order to make the decision valid, as the congregation had no power to reverse the Bishop’s action, which could only be done by a body of the Priesthood higher in authority; but that it was customary after action had been taken for the Bishop to publish the fact to his congregation.”  (Salt Lake Stake Priesthood Meeting minutes, 2 Apr., 1884; DN 33(11):169, 2 Apr., 1884)

5 Apr.:  Roster of Priesthood throughout the Church.

“The Statistical Report was then read and found as follows:  Grand Total 3 First Presidency, 10 Apostles, 68 Patriarchs 4,447 Seventies, 3,413 High Priests, 12,318 Elders, 1,636 Priests 1,792 Teachers, 5,022 Deacons, 67,774 Members, 96,383 Officers and Members, 41,490 Children under 8 years of age Total of Souls 137,873.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 5 Apr., 1884)

10 Apr.:  Minutes of last SLC Bishops’ meeting.

“The Bishops met in their regular semi-monthly meeting, at the Social Hall, last evening at seven o’clock, Presiding Bishop Wm. B. Preston, and Counselors presiding.  [Preston had been sustained as new Presiding Bishop in General Conference four days earlier.]  There were present also, of the Stake authorities, Presidents Angus M. Cannon and Jos. E. Taylor.  After the usual opening exercises, with prayer by Counselor L. W. Hardy, the Presiding Bishop requested him to address the meeting.

Bishop Hardy stated that it had been deemed wisdom to discontinue these meetings from to-night, and as this was the last one of a long series under the auspices of the General Bishopric, he felt like saying a few words to his brethren before him.  He referred to the changes that had taken place since the Bishops of the city used to meet in a little room, twelve feet by twelve, which used to stand near the Council House, and when each Bishop would take his turn in bringing tallow candles to light the house; whereas, they now had this commodious hall to meet in, with gas and all the modern improvements.  He said the records which had been kept of these meetings were among the most interesting in the Church.  The First Presidency and Apostles had often met with the Bishops, and the books contained many of their choice sayings.  The last meeting President Young ever attended in this life was the Bishops’ meeting, he having been taken sick that very night with his final illness.  The speaker had much enjoyed these gatherings and his long and intimate association with the late Presiding Bishop, and he was well satisfied with the appointment of Brother Preston as his successor.  He felt to thank the Bishops for their long and arduous labors, and the respect shown him by all, and on this the last occasion of their assembling together in this capacity, he felt to say with all his heart: ‘God bless the Bishops.’

Presiding Bishop Wm. B. Preston said he was glad to meet here with his brethren.  He had often heard of the Bishops’ meetings of Salt Lake City, and had attended them whenever he had opportunity, and had always heard them highly spoken of.  They had subserved the end for which they were instituted, but a more perfect organization of the Stakes of Zion now rendered them unnecessary.  President Taylor and the Authorities were willing for them to be discontinued and this met his mind also.  The business hitherto transacted in them properly belonged to the monthly Priesthood meetings, where full liberty was given the Bishops to bring up any business that needed attention in a general way.  In regard to his recent calling to preside over the Bishops, he felt that if he had had his own will he would not be here, but he did not know that he was any more entitled to his own will in such matters, than He who came not to do His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him, and therefore he felt satisfied with what had taken place; and while he did not wish to make any promises, he would say that he hoped always to be found standing in his lot and place, trying to do his duty.  He had sometimes felt, when contemplating the onerous duties of Bishop, in which he had had experience since 1857, that it was a thankless office.  Paul said, ‘He who desireth the office of a Bishop, desireth a good thing.’  The speaker said he sometimes felt like adding, ‘and a good deal of hard work.’  But God had always blessed him in trying to magnify his office, and in this was the secret of every Bishop’s success and the enjoyment of his calling.

He showed the necessity of keeping up with the times, as Bishop Hunter used to say, and with the changes and improvements which would come about continually in the growth of the Kingdom of God under the counsels of His servants in authority.  He cited an illustration often used by President George A. Smith, who compared the growth of this work to the growth of a stalk of corn.  ‘What is that?’ one might ask, as the tender blade shot up from the soil.  ‘That is a stalk of corn,’ would be the reply.  Some time would elapse and the single blade would have grown into a stalk with several large leaves hanging to it.  ‘What is that?’ the same person would ask.  ‘That is a stalk of corn.’  ‘Impossible!’ the querist would retort, ‘I know what a stalk of corn is, and this does not resemble it a particle.’  After a while the silk tassels would appear and the ears come forth, as the stalk continued to ripen, and unless the observer kept pace with the changes which growth and ripeness would bring, he would be completely left in the background, as was the case with those who failed to realize that the course of God’s kingdom is onward and its progress never-ending.

The Bishops should not assume too much labor themselves, and try to be Bishop, Priest, Teacher and Deacon all at once, but should divide the labor and give every man a chance to magnify his calling.  Every quorum should be complete and in active working order, not alone to lighten the labor, but to get young men into the harness early, that they might grow up in discipline, form steady habits and be useful.  It was not near so easy to break in a wild horse, five years old, as it was to take it when it was younger and more easily controlled.  The humble, faithful Deacon who magnified his office was more honored in the sight of God than the High Priest who did not honor his calling.

Counselor R. T. Burton reminded the Bishops to send in their report of local receipts and disbursements, together with a statement of the amounts they needed  from the General office to make up the deficit for the support of their poor.  It was the design to let each Bishop henceforth have the disbursing of funds drawn from the General Office for the relief of the poor in his Ward, and take this labor off the Presiding Bishopric; therefore, a report of what would be needed, say in the next six months, as based upon the amount obtained from the General Office during the past year, was required of each Bishop, together with a brief report of Ward receipts and disbursements, such as in fast meetings and Relief Societies.

President A. M. Cannon felt to welcome Bishop Preston to the position he had been called to.  He had loved Bishop Edward Hunter as a father and he was glad that so good and able a man had been appointed to succeed him.  He testified that it was the Lord’s will; even before it was generally known who would be the presiding bishop, he had been impressed by the Spirit that Brother Preston was the man.  He dwelt uon the necessity of self-subjection, of honoring all men in their proper places, and of the creation of labor for the poor, of home manufatures, and union and faithfulness among God’s people in promoting Zion’s interests.  Many other good things, which limited space precludes, were said, and the meeting was adjourned sine die.  Benediction was pronounced by President Joseph E. Taylor.”  (Deseret Evening News 11 Apr., 1884, minutes of Bishops’ meeting of 10 Apr., 1884; reprinted in Contributor 6(12):442-444, Sep., 1885)

25 Apr.:  General quorums of High Priests and Elders?

“Prest Taylor expressed his views in regard to the further organization of the High Pr[i]ests & Elders Quorums – he has felt for some time the propriety of a Presidency of these quorums being organized for the church and body of Members of these quorums.”  (L. John Nuttall diary, 25 Apr.,1884)

3 May:  Excommunicants must be re-ordained.

“President Joseph W. Taylor said, in answer to a question (which he had submitted to President Woodruff), that where persons who held the Priesthood were cut off from the Church they must be ordained again in order to regain their former Priesthood.”  (Salt Lake Stake Conference minutes, 3 May, 1884; DN 33(16):259, 7 May, 1884)

3 May:  Train young in duties of the priesthood.

“Elder William W. taylor spoke of the great perfection in organization to which the Church was attaining, and the importance of training the young early in the duties of the Priesthood.”  (Salt Lake Stake Conference minutes, 3 May, 1884; DN 33(16):259, 7 May, 1884)

4 May:  AP quorums need to be filled.

“President Angus M. Cannon said it was important that all of the quorums of the Lesser Priesthood should be as fully organized as possible in each ward; when these quorums are full, selections should be made from them to be recommended for ordination as Elders.”  (Salt Lake Stake Conference minutes, 4 May, 1884; DN 33(16):259, 7 May, 1884)

19 May:  Questions regarding High Councils.

“Bp Wm B Preston asked the following questions – Can the Counselors to the President of a Stake preside in the High Council in the absence of the President – Pres Taylor – Yes!  Can the High Council hear & determine cases without the presence of the President and his Councilors?  Pres Taylor – Yes.  But they should not be in such a position, and you wont have any occasion to be in such a position – On a question from A M Cannon Prest Taylor said it would be right for the High Council to entertain and hear complaints against all members of the Church, even to the Twelve Apostles, but not against himself or his Councilors, or the Prest Bp  The Revelation says that the Bishop shall be tried before the First Presidency – this refers to the Presiding Bishop and those Bishop’s agents appointed for special labors by the First Presidency outside of an Organized Stake.”  (L. John Nuttall diary, 19 May, 1884)

25 May:  A church organized precisely upon ancient pattern

“Let any man read the revelations which Joseph received prior to the sixth of April, 1830.  Let him read the revelation that was given on that day concerning the organization of this Church, and if he can do so without being impressed that God is in this, then he must indeed be an extraordinary specimen of unbelief, and of hardness of heart.  A church organized precisely upon the pattern of the ancient church, with doctrines precisely similar, varying in no single particular from the doctrines of the ancient church, and these revealed in extraordinary plainness and power by an unlettered youth who had had no chance of education save that which the common schools of the country afforded.”  (George Q. Cannon, 25 May, 1884; JD 25:168-169)

1 Jun.:  Priest who attempted to confer Holy Ghost.

“A number of years ago, a person who held only the office of a Priest, which pertains unto the Aaronic Priesthood, was left in a field without the company of an Elder for a time.  Through ignorance, doubtless, he baptized and confirmed a number of persons.  All of those persons, I was told, who thus had had hands laid upon them, apostatized.  The Priest had authority to baptize them but not to confirm.  Consequently we can reason why the blessings was not bestowed.”  (John E. Carlisle, JI 19(11):166, 1 Jun., 1884)

8 Jun.:  Cowdery cut off for unchastity?

“[George Q. Cannon] Fathers should teach their sons the laws of life, and our daughters should be taught that their purity is of more value than their life.  The second Elder in this Church was cut off because he became unchaste, and half of the first Twelve were cut off for the same cause.”  (Davis Stake Conference minutes, 8 Jun., 1884; DN 33(23):367, 25 Jun., 1884)

11 Jun.:  2 witnesses for bishop’s court.

“[Joseph E. Taylor] The Bishops should be careful to conduct their Bishops’ Courts in proper form, having each point sustained by two witnesses and in the absence of the defendant the witnesses should be carefully questioned in his interests, that the record might justify the action taken.”  (Minutes of Salt Lake Stake Priesthood Meeting, 11 Jun., 1884; DN 33(21):329, 11 Jun., 1884)

15 Jun.:  Young boys should be ordained deacons.

“[Wilford Woodruff] wanted to see the Bishops ordain the young boys to the office of Deacon and then after they have proven themselves worthy of that office and have learned to magnify their callings acceptably to ordain them to the office of Teacher and Priest that they may be trained and brought up in the priesthood of God.”  (Bannock Stake Conference minutes, 15 Jun., 1884; DN 33(26):403, 16 Jul., 1884)

22 Jun.:  Duties of ordained Teachers.

“It, therefore, is a matter of great importance to us that we should be attentive to our duties; that every man in this Church who has a family should put his family into such a condition, as far as he can, that God will approve of them; that every Teacher in this Church whose duty it is to visit the houses of the Latter-day Saints and given them instructions concerning their duties, to see that there is no difficulty existing, no dissensions, no quarrelling–that these men should attend strictly to their duties; and that every officer in the Church in his place and station should be prompt and zealous in looking after the affairs of the Latter-day Saints; that no drunkenness is permitted, that no blasphemies are permitted, that no Sabbath breaking is permitted that no speaking evil and bearing false witness are permitted, that fornications and adulteries are not permitted, and that those who are guilty of any of these offenses are strictly dealt with, that there shall be no causes of this character existing among us as a people to bring forth the displeasure of our God.”  (George Q. Cannon, 22 Jun., 1884; JD 25:239)

28 Jun.:  Excommunication.

“Excommunication.–At a meeting of the High Council held last evening the following decision was sustained by unanimous vote of the High Council, viz:

That Walter C. Lyne be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for apostasy, and that this action be published in the DESERET NEWS.

William W. Taylor, Clerk of the High Council.”

(Reprint of report of 28 Jun.; DN 33(24):380, 2 Jul., 1884)

16 Jul.:  Bishops should ordain young boys to be deacons.

“In a sermon of H. J. Grant, (son of the late Jedediah Grant) now one of the Utah Mormon apostles, he instructs the Snake River Conference to ordain ‘young boys’ to the office of Deacon.  These are the words as published in the Deseret News, July 16th, past:  ‘He wanted to see the Bishops ordain the young boys to the office of Deacon.'”  (The Saints’ Advocate 7:485, Oct., 1884)

18 Jul.:  Right of Bishops over temporal matters.

“The Bishop has as good a right to counsel the members of his Ward in relation to the purchase of merchandize or machinery, where and when he can do so wisely, as he has to counsel them in regard to spiritual matters.  He has just as good a right to do the one as the other.  He is a father to the people of the Ward.  He is placed over the people for the purpose of leading them in the way of truth and righteousness, and it is his business to look after the temporal–if you chose to make any distinction between the temporal and spiritual–as well as the spiritual things.  And President Taylor has as much right to direct the people in temporal things as he has in spiritual things.  We ought to acknowledge that right, and ought to do it freely and cheerfully, because we should see that it is right.  We are under no compulsion to do so if we do not see that it is right; but at the same time it is a correct principle, and every Latter-day Saint ought to have intelligence enough to know that this is the best thing for him to do–to be united, to be one with his brethren.”  (Joseph F. Smith, 18 Jul., 1884; JD 25:250-251)

23 Jul.:  Casting of lots to determine assignments.

“Attended Council meeting at 2 o’clock at the historian’s office and at 6 P.M. at Bro. Eldredges where we divided the territory into three districts and cast lots to see which one each of W. W. Taylor, myself and S. B. Young should visit.  I got the southern part of the territory with Salt Lake and Utah Stakes, W. W. got the northern and western, and S. B. the eastern and south-eastern.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 23 Jul., 1884)

10 Aug.:  Limited powers of Aaronic Priesthood.

“A people can progress to a certain extent with the Aaronic Priesthood, but there is a limit to their progress.  There are bounds beyond which they cannot pass.  They cannot attain to the fullness of the glory of God the Eternal Father, without the presence of the Melchisedek Priesthood; for as I have read in your hearing, ‘This greater Priesthood administereth the Gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God; therefore in the ordinances thereof,’ {that is, in the ordinances of the higher or Melchisedek Priesthood} ‘the power of Godliness is manifest.’  This cannot be manifest without that higher Priesthood, without the power which accompanies it.  ‘And without the ordinances thereof,’ the revelation continues, ‘and the authority of the Priesthood, 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.’

Without this Priesthood, without its ordinances, without its powers, without its gifts, ‘no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.’  Therefore it is essential that, if a people should be exalted unto the presence of God, they should have this Melchisedek or greater Priesthood, and the ordinances thereof, by the means of which they are to be prepared, or they shall be prepared to enter into the presence of God the Father, and endure His presence.”  (George Q. Cannon, 10 Aug., 1884; JD 25:292)

17 Aug.:  Better training for young men urged.

“Apostle [Erastus] Snow said that a more systematic course of training for the young men of Israel is needed to qualify them to go forth into the world.  He said training should commence in the Sabbath School, be continued in the quorums of the lesser priesthood by the presidents thereof, who have learned their duties from the revelations God has given, and all the quorums should be required to report themselves either in the Satke Conferences or in the general priesthood meetings.”  (Sanpete Stake Conference minutes, 17 Aug., 1884; DN 33(33):515, 3 Sep., 1884)

Oct.:  Definition of Priesthood.

“Priesthood, as we understand the term, is a word signifying the power of God, the medium of His manifestations, and the authority by which He may be legally represented.  When used in a personal sense, it implies the body of individuals, or priests taken collectively, in whom that authority is vested.  It means, in other words, the right inherent in the Godhead to rule and govern all things in heaven and on earth.”  (Orson F. Whitney, “Aaronic Priesthood,” Contributor 6(1):1, Oct., 1884)

5 Oct.:  Washing one’s feet as testimony against others.

“But there is one ordinance that the Elders may have perhaps neglected–and I do not know but I have myself–and that is, that if we enter a house and the people thereof receive us, there our peace should abide.  This was the instruction of the Savior in His day; and if we enter a house and the people receive us not, then we should go away and return not again to that house, and wash our feet with pure water, as a testimony against them in the day of judgment, and thus bear witness unto the Lord that we have offered them salvation, that we have sought to preach to them the principles of eternal life, that we have offered to them the Gospel of peace and desired to administer unto them a blessing.  The same is applicable to a town, village or city that rejects you.  In this way you do your duty and leaven them in the hands of the Lord.  You are not called upon to contend with any body in public congregations, or to do anything that would stir up wrath and indignation.  The Savior simply told his disciples to wash their feet as a testimony against such people.  But the generous, charitable feeling of our Elders prompts them not to do a thing against anybody; they would rather pour out a blessing upon the whole people.  Consequently, it is a very rare thing that this ordinance is attended to by the Elders of this last dispensation–speaking from my own experience, and conversation had with the brethren.  But when it comes to this, that we are persecuted and our lives taken, it would seem as if this was a duty depending upon those Elders who are thrust out, and warned away from their fields of labor.  These things have happened of late, and it seems a duty devolving upon the Elders to do that which the law requires and leaven the responsibility of its reception or rejection with the people and their God.  We have no quarrel with anybody.  We simply preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth.  If they receive it, well and good; if they will not, then it is a matter between them and their God; but the Lord requires this duty at the hands of his servants.”  (Franklin D. Richards, 5 Oct., 1884; JD 26:1-2)

“In relation to the initiatory ordinances of the Gospel, the Elders go abroad and preach, people believe and are baptized, for the remission of sins and have hands laid upon them that they may secure the Holy Ghost, and through those ordinances the power of God is made manifest.  There is one ordinance, however, that has been generally neglected.  The Lord had commanded that when a house, town, county or other place is visited by the Elders and they are received their peace should be pronounced, and if they are rejected they should go privately, wash their feet and witness to their Father in Heaven that they have delivered their message and borne testimony concerning the Gospel.  It is not necessary that the Elders should enter into contentions with people opposed to them, neither should they expose themselves to destruction at the hands of the wicked, but do as the Lord has commanded in those things; not openly, however, for such a course would doubtless cause bitterness and hate to be increased toward them among the ungodly.”  [Note this in the context of the murder of Elders Berry and Gibbs.]  (Franklin D. Richards, 5 Oct., 1884; General Conference minutes, 5 Oct., 1884, DN 33(38):596, 8 Oct., 1884)

5 Oct.:  Bishops responsible for rooting out iniquity.

“Who shall enter the Temples which we are erecting to our Lord?  A time is here when a higher standard of purity is required from those who enter holy places.  The adulterers, whoremongers, blasphemers, dishonest men have need to tremble, for the blessings of God will be withdrawn from them, for the day is to come when the sinner in Zion will tremble and fear will come upon the hypocrite.  The sins of the unworthy among the people will be found upon the skirts of the Bishops and the Presidents of Stakes who do not clear iniquity out of their Wards or Stakes or who recommend them to the privilege of the Temple.  A higher law has been given regarding adultery, that those who have had their endowments and then commit themselves in this manner cannot be rebaptized into the Church.  Let this be known in all the congregations of the Saints that those who may feel tempted may consider that if they fall they do so at the price of their salvation.  This will not be a land of Zion to the adulterer, the hypocrite, the Sabbath-breaker, the man who does not pay his tithing.”  (George Q. Cannon, 5 Oct., 1884; General Conference minutes, 5 Oct., 1884, DN 33(38):597, 8 Oct., 1884)

8 Oct.:  Former adulterers must be cut off.

“A meeting of Presidents of Stakes, etc. was held in the afternoon.  There were present Presidents John Taylor, Cannon, Apostles W. Woodruff, L. Snow, E. Snow, F. D. Richards, B. Young, A. Carrington, M. Thatcher, F. M. Lyman, G. Teasdale, H. J. Grant, J. W. Taylor, Patriarch J. Smith, Pres. of Seventies Eldredge, Gates, Cannon, Young, Morgan, Presiding Bishops Preston, Burton & Cannon.  Stake Presidencies– . . .

Bro. Crosby asked regarding those who had received their Endowments committed adultery 6 or 7 years ago, and it now comes to light what shall be done with them.  Pres. Taylor answered that they must be severed from the Church.  (See further remarks reported by J. Q. C.)”  (JH 8 Oct., 1884)

18 Oct.:  MP from Moses to Jesus.

“I will read a portion of the 7th chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews.

{The speaker read the whole of the 7th chapter.}

Proceeding he said:  This chapter that I have read in your hearing is the 7th chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews.  In this entire book of Hebrews, Paul reasons with the Jews, unto whom the epistle was addressed, to show them that Jesus, the Son of God, whom they had crucified, was a Priest after the order of Melchisedec, and that the Priesthood which had been taken away during the days of Moses in the wilderness, had been restored through Him.  The Jews entertained the idea that Priesthood necessarily came through the tribe of Levi, and that the power and the authority thereof–that is, to minister in all things pertaining to the Priesthood were confined to that tribe, and that no one had the right outside of that tribe to officiate in the ordinances pertaining to God and to mediation between God and the people or the people and God.  But Paul very clearly proved in his reasoning with them that there was a Priesthood higher than that which had been exercised by the descendants of Aaron.”  (George Q. Cannon, 18 Oct., 1884; JD 26:241)

18 Oct.:  Efficacy of priesthood ordinances thru eternity.

“That which is done in the name of the Holy Priesthood will stand and will be fulfilled both in the world and out of the world, both in time and in eternity.  Hence it is that when an Elder goes forth in the authority of the Holy Priesthood, and baptized a candidate who has repented of his sins, God confirms that ordinance; God remits the sins of that individual; God by bestowing His Holy Spirit witnesses unto that soul that his sins or her sins are remitted.  In like manner when an Elder lays his hands upon the head of a man or a woman who has been thus baptized and says unto that individual, ‘receive ye the Holy Ghost,’ God in heaven bound by the oath and the covenant that He has made, bound by all the conditions that pertain to the everlasting Priesthood, will cause the Holy Ghost to descend upon that soul, and he or she will be filled therewith.  He receives the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, and it stands on the earth and it stands in heaven recorded in favor of that soul if he continues to observe the conditions under which that baptism and confirmation are administered.  There is no human power that can deprive that individual of the fruits of that blessing which has been thus sealed upon him by authority of the Holy Priesthood.”  (George Q. Cannon, 18 Oct., 1884; JD 26:249)

16 Nov.:  Duties of Teachers.

“President Taylor reviewed the organization of the Priesthood, the duties of the various departments thereof, especially that of the Teachers, whose duties are of the greatest importance among the Saints.  He said the government of the Church of Christ is unlike anything on earth, it being a revelation from heaven.  No man knew anything about it until God revealed it.  Teachers in many instances do not comprehend their duties.  They should visit the people often in their homes, enter into their feelings, sympathize with them in their troubles, and when difficulties arise that they cannot manage, refer them to the Bishop, and from him to the President of the Stake, that all things may be adjusted in righteousness.  If the Teachers did their duty they would visit the speaker and family, President Petersen and his family, for we have rights in this respect as well as other members of the Church.”  (John Taylor, Sanpete Stake Conference minutes, 16 Nov., 1884; DN 33(46):734, 3 Dec., 1884)

16 Nov.:  Court of 1st Pres. & 12 High Priests.

“We have here our Bishop’s Courts, High Council’s as appellate courts; there is yet another court wherein cases can be heard; it is composed of twelve High Priests presided over by the First Presidency of the Church.  Any case being passed upon by that council shall be had in remembrance no more before the Lord.  Such a court has lately been held to hear a case that arose between the Salt Lake Stake and the Utah Stake, the High Council of either Stake not having jurisdiction, hence the necessity of another tribunal, that could hear and determine.  He [John Taylor] believed it to be the first time in the history of the Church that that council had been called.”  (John Taylor, Sanpete Stake Conference minutes, 16 Nov., 1884; DN 33(46):734, 3 Dec., 1884)

20 Nov.:  Listen to Priesthood more than civil authority.

“Now, regarding this accusation that is made concerning the Priesthood:  It is the most common charge that is made against us that we listen to the Priesthood, that we are more obedient to the Priesthood than we are to those who hold civil authority.  The question may be very properly asked: Have we not had good reason for this?  Should we not be most consummate fools if we did not listen to our friends instead of our enemies?”  (George Q. Cannon, 20 Nov., 1884; JD 26:8)

26 Nov.:  Authority to perform marriages.

“We print to-day the full text of an interview with Dr. J. M. Benedict as published in Sunday’s Salt Lake Tribune.  It purports to be occasioned by some remarks of the Deseret News in reference to the unsavory Irons-Fowler case.  We did not mention the Doctor’s name in our editorial remarks concerning the ‘marriage’ in which he officiated, as our object was not to assail him personally but to explain a principle, draw the line of limit to the authority of men holding the office of Elder in reference to marriage ceremonies, and oppose any step calculated to cover up the crime which had been committed.  Now, however, that the gentleman has appeared in person through the medium of the Tribune, we feel at liberty to mention him in further remarks upon this subject.

We did make the explanation that ‘marriages in the respective Wards are under the direction of the Bishop thereof,’ and that ‘no Elder has the right in an organized Stake to administer in that holy ordinance except by appointment.’  But we did not say that there was ‘some collusion on the part of Dr. Benedict,’ nor that he ‘made the marriage with the deliberate intent and purpose of covering up a crime.’  We intimated that the object and intent of the peculiar marriage was for that purpose, and this is not disputed.  Why did not the author of the girl’s shame marry her before the exposure of his guilt, if his only object was to give her the shield and support of his name and position?  When he found himself in danger of the penitentiary he was glad to get her under his legal control and personal influence, that the damaging effect of her personal testimony might be turned aside.  The proceedings in the Police Court when, after marriage, she repudiated her own affidavit made before marriage, demonstrates this beyond a doubt.

As to Dr. Benedict’s part in the transaction, we deprecated it on the ground that it was an improper exercise of the Priesthood which he held.  And the interview which we copy makes our position stronger on this point.  He admits that the girl’s mother, her natural and lawful protector, was opposed to such a union.  He knew that Irons had failed to obtain any one who would perform the ceremony.  He knew that the condition of the patient was not a fit one to undertake the responsibility of such a step.  He knew that there was a Bishop in the Ward authorized to perform marriages according to the order of the Church to which he belonged.  He knew that the whole arrangement was in the interest of persons accused of a heinous crime.  And yet in a hurried manner, near midnight, after he had ‘spirited’ the girl away from her mother, leaving the latter to be engaged by Dr. A. K. Smith who diverted her attention meanwhile, he officiated by the authority of the Holy Priesthood in a ceremony that no properly authorized servant of God would have performed under the circumstances.

His objects, his motives, his ‘collusion’ to which he refers, we are not calling in question.  He knows what they were.  The public have the right to draw their conclusions from the facts which he has admitted and allowed to be placed in print.  We are simply referring to his act that he has helped to make public.  It is open for public comment.  And we denounce it as wrong in principle and evil in effect.

Under ordinary circumstances there might not be any great harm in an Elder’s marrying a couple to whose union there was no valid objection.  And yet, as we have previously shown, that is a matter that is under established regulations.  It must be remembered that this marriage purports to be a Church marriage solemnized under the authority of the Holy Priesthood; not a secular ceremony performed by a civil officer.  Therefore it must be viewed in the light of Church rules and the spirit thereof.  And, under those rules and in the light of that spirit, it was wrong for an Elder to step over the authority of the Bishop of the Ward and administer an ordinance to which he was not appointed.

But the peculiar circumstances of this case rendered it doubly wrong.  It was not only irregular, it was nighly improper.  We consider it a prostitution of that Priesthood which is sacred and bestowed for holy purposes.  If it was right and no ulterior purpose was designed, why was the girl ‘spirited’ away from her mother by the Doctor, acting in the capacity of an Elder of the Church?  Why this haste?  Why this nocturnal arrangement and anxiety to urge it to an issue?  We do not think there is an Elder of experience and judgment, who on acquaintance with the facts as given by Dr. Benedict himself, will not condemn the transaction as disgraceful to the Priesthood of the Most High God.

We wish it to be distinctly understood that we have no personal controversy with Dr. Benedict.  But we have a strong interest in the principle involved in this case, and in the proper exercise of the functions of that Priesthood the authority of which is Divine.  And we desire to impress upon the minds of all who have been favored with that authority, that it cannot be lightly treated with impunity, and while it brings blessings and honor when used in the spirit of righteousness and solemnity, it will bring certain condemnation when prostituted to evil.”  (Editorial, “An Improper Use of the Holy Priesthood,” DN 33(45):712, 26 Nov., 1884)

30 Nov.:  An unusual Church court.

“I shall now refer to what is known as Utah Lake and Jordan river dam water question.  This is a subject that has troubled you a great deal and upon which there has been much awkwardness and unpleasant feeling.  It was adjusted some time ago, but the agreement, it appears, was not carried out: in consequence of which considerable trouble was likely to ensue.  President Angus M. Cannon showed me a letter in which it was sstated that a law-suit was commenced in regard to the affair, some of the parties, thereto being outside of the Church were not taking the right course, and they would have subjected themselves to be cut off the Church, because God has given us laws in relation to these matters whereby they can be properly regulated wisely and in accordance with His laws.  Brother Cannon (who is President of the Salt Lake Stake) came to me and wanted to know what to do.  He said he could not regulate these matters as his jurisdiction did not extend beyond Salt Lake Stake, nor could President Smoot because his jurisdiction did not go beyond Utah Stake.  Here was a dilemma.  What shall be done?  Could I show him a way out of the difficulty?  I told him I could; that a council had been provided through the Prophet Joseph Smith, for just such cases.  Some people don’t know anything about that, but yet that is a fact.  They did not know that it had ever been used before.  It is a council of twelve High Priests over which the First Presidency of the Church should preside to adjudicate upon difficult cases that might arise in the Church, and this should be the highest council in the Church, and from which there should be no appeal.  We called together this council and met here in this house [Provo Stake Meeting House], and the parties were heard–some outside of the Church and some inside.  Finally we got the matter adjusted, and I am informed that the decision is satisfactory to all parties.  The council was composed of the following brethren, viz.: Abraham O. Smoot, President of Utah Stake; Angus M. Cannon, President of Salt Lake Stake; Warren N. Dusenberry, Probate Judge of Utah County; Elias A. Smith, Probate Judge of Salt Lake County; Jonathan S. Page and A. D. Holdaway, Selectmen of Utah County; Ezekiel Holman and Jesse W. Fox, Jr., Selectmen of Salt Lake County; Presiding Bishop Wm. B. Preston; John T. Caine, Delegate to Congress from Utah; Bishops Thos. R. Cutler and John E. Booth.  After the first session of the council, in consequence of Hon. John T. Caine being required at Salt Lake City on official business, Elder L. John Nuttall was appointed a member of the council in place of Elder Caine.  Myself and Brother George Q. Cannon presided in all the meetings of the Council.  In selecting the council we selected men from the two counties who were conversant with county affairs, and both counties were equally represented.  But some people will say–How is it the High Council could not settle the question?  Because the High Council in Utah Stake has no jurisdiction over affairs in Salt Lake Stake, nor has the High Council of Salt Lake Stake any jurisdiction over affairs in Utah Stake, and the other council was formed just to meet such an emergency.  I speak of this for your information; and, as I have said, when the matter is thoroughly completed, it will prove to be satisfactory to all parties.”  (John Taylor, 30 Nov., 1884; JD 26:73-74)

8 Dec.:  Excommunication.

“Excommunicated.–A few days since we mentioned an alleged case of gross immorality in the Sixth Ward of this city, the action of the Church in relation to which had been deferred on account of the absence of Bishop Hickenlooper from the city.  He having returned, however, the investigation of the affair, under his direction, was completed.  The result is that, in accordance with the judgment of the Bishop’s Court of the Sixth Ward, Sarah Winter and Thomas G. Winter were, on Saturday last, excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”  (Reprint of report of 8 Dec.; DN 33(47):745, 10 Dec., 1884)

9 Dec.:  Rebaptism in settling old dispute.

“F D. Richards & myself had a Meeting with Bishop Rawlins & Nathan Tanner to settle an old difficulty of 10 years standing.  We advised Br Tanner to go and Be Baptized & renew his Covenants and He promised to do so.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 9 Dec., 1884)

10 Dec.:  Priesthood questions.

“We are in receipt of the following communication:

November 26th, 1884.

Editor Deseret News:

If a Counselor to a Bishop is away temporarily attending to his private affairs, and a case occurs that has to be tried immediately, and there is not time to get notice to the absent Counselor, can a High Priest be called in to act in the place of the absent Counselor, or can a High Priest be set apart to act in the place of either Counselor in case either are away at the time?  Also, is it necessary, in order to have a valid decision in a Bishop’s Court, for the Bishop and his two Counselors to be unanimous?  Please answer through the NEWS, and oblige,


In answer to the first question we say Yes; a High Priest may be called and appointed to act as temporary Counselor in a Bishop’s Court when necessity requires.

To the second question we reply, that it is not absolutely necessary to the validity of a Bishop’s decision that both his Counselors shall agree with it.  But unanimity is desirable in all the courts and quorums of the Church, as declared in Section cvii, p. 28, of the Doctrine and Covenants, as follows:

And every decision made by these quorums must be by the unanimous consent 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.

This has reference to the quorums of the First Presidency, Twelve Apostles and Seventy, but the spirit of it applies in some degree to all the councils and courts of the Church.  In order to obtain the blessings which flow from unity, of course they must be united, and the Spirit of the Gospel causes men to see eye to eye.

But the Bishop’s court is not a final tribunal, and the quotation given above, as will be seen from the context, does not directly apply to a Church court.  An appeal may be taken from a Bishop’s decision to the High Council of the Stake in which it was made.  But if the decision is not appealed from, although it was not sustained by both his Counselors or acting Counselors, it will stand and prevail.

Questions of this character in our opinion, should be asked and decided, in the various Stakes by the local authorities, and if satisfaction is not thus obtained, the matter in dispute can be taken up to the presiding authorities of the Church and thus all controversy may be settled.  We answer these questions now because of the special request to do so, but have to decline noticing many such interrogations, because in our view, they should be answered by the local authorities.”  (“Answers to Questions,” DN 33(47):743, 10 Dec., 1884)

13 Dec.:  Transferring wards without recommends.

“A M Cannon made remarks Concerning those who go from one ward to Another without Recommends.  In case of transgression who should try them?  He said the Bishop should Enquire of the Bishop whare [he] Came from Concerning his Standing.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 13 Dec., 1884)

13 Dec.:  Procedural questions.

“President A. M. Cannon read the following communication:

Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dec. 11th 1884.

To the Presidency of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion:

Dear Brethren–For the benefit of other Bishops and myself, I desire to lay before you a question involving the jurisdiction of ‘common judges in Israel,’ an answer to which, with any explanation you may give, I feel will be generally appreciated.

The question is this:  When a member of one Ward moves into another, taking no recommend with him, and therefore is not received as a member, and he commits some offense which renders him liable to be tried for his fellowship; which Bishop is entitled or obligated to sit upon his case–the Bishop of the Ward from which he came without a recommend, or the one over the Ward in which he lives but has never been received as a member?

Cases in point:  No. 1–A man moved from the 18th Ward without a recommend, and is not to-day acknowledged as a member of the Ward where he lives.  A charge has been brought against him and a trial is pending.  The Bishop of the Ward in which he lives disclaims responsibility and insists that the offender should be tried ;in the 18th Ward, where his record is and where the alleged offense was committed.

Case No. 2–A man moved into the 18th Ward, bringing no recommend and consequently was not received in due form, though calling himself a member of the Ward and building and settling there.  A charge was brought against him, he was tried, found guilty, disfellowshipped, and his case handed up to the High Council where the Bishop’s decision was affirmed.  The offense in this case was committed, it might be said, in both wards, but the Bishop of the 18th Ward, where the man had no record, was urged to take the matter up and did so, under the belief that he had jurisdiction over the offender residing in his ward, and that it was his duty–according to a rule said to have been laid down by President Young in his life-time–to take action in the premises.

What I would like to know is this: Was the Bishop of the 18th Ward right in case No. 2?  And if so, is the Bishop in case No. 1, who declines to act in a similar matter, right also?  What seems to be to be desirable, is a rule that will work both ways, and a proper and uniform understanding of it.

Very respectfully,

Your Brother in the Gospel,

Orson F. Whitney,

Bishop 18th Ward.

In reply to this President Cannon said that where a person’s record is, if he has never taken a note of standing from that ward, there he or she should be tried in case of transgression.  This had been the rule, with some exceptions; as in cases where the distance was too remote to remand them back to the Ward in which they had a record, in which event offenders had been tried in the ward where they happened to be residing.  Said he: ‘If you find individuals in your wards claiming to be Latter-day Saints, and they commit an offense, investigate it, communicate with the Bishop of the Ward they hail from, report the matter and ask that he take it up.  If I were a Bishop I would not try a man without first endeavoring to find out where his record lies.  Where no record can be found, a Bishop may take action and record it, as that an offender was excommunicated for such and such a cause, or whatever disposition was made of the case.  Where the record is held and no note of standing has been taken, there, as a general rule, is where action should be instituted.  Where distance intervenes between a man’s place of record and his place of residence, a Bishop has a perfect right to take action in ridding the Church of scandal, if he chooses to do so, but it would be advisable first to communicate with the Bishop or Stake President of the locality from where the offender has his record and report to them afterwards any action that may be taken in the case.

No Bishop can disclaim responsibility in the case of a Latter-day Saint, or one claiming a standing as such, living in his ward.  He should at least be interested in that person’s welfare, and not shun or shirk the matter; if he does not act himself he should report the case to the Bishop whose duty it is to take it up.  The speaker gave other good counsel to the Bishops, urging them to visit their wards often and seek and feel after the Saints, and become thoroughly acquainted with them and their true condition, acting as fathers and friends to the people.

Bishop Thomas Taylor, of the 14th Ward, answered the statement put forth in case No. 2 of Bishop Whitney’s letter, to the effect that the offender referred to, while never a received member of the 14th Ward, was about to be tried there as a member of the Church in transgression, but before the evidence could be collected, he moved into the 18th Ward.  He coincided with President Cannon’s views entirely.”  (Salt Lake Stake Conference minutes, 13 Dec., 1884; DN 33(48):764, 17 Dec., 1884)

17 Dec.:  The Law of the Church regarding sinners.

“To-day a case of excommunication from the Church, on account of a gross departure from the path of the Gospel as professed by the Latter-day Saints, is published.  [No record of it in this issue of the NEWS.]  The Church can have no fellowship with the workers of iniquity.  If it did it would be an evidence of a tendency to corruption.

The law of the Lord in relation to offenders has been give[n] that the purity of the body-religious may be maintained.  It is straightforward and clear, and should not be left as a dead letter upon the books of the law of God.  The various crimes are enumerated, and the law in relation to offences is that ‘he who sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out.  And there are besides those sins that can be repented of, some that cannot in this life be repaired in that way to an extent that will entitle the perpetrator to re-admission into the Church.

As has been strongly stated by President John Taylor and others of the authorities of late in the clearest and most unmistakeable terms, a great responsibility rests upon the duly authorized officers of the Church in relation to those who commit crimes against its requirements.  Unless they deal with them and administer the law in meekness, impartiality, and in the spirit thereof, the sin will in part, rest upon their shoulders.

Owing to the importance that every true Latter-day Saint attaches to a standing in the Church, there is a repugnance to taking any step that will jeopardize the fellowship of any of the members.  This sentiment, however, should not interfere with what God has expressed as His will concerning His people; feeling must always be subordinated to principle.

How comprehensive is the requirement–‘He who sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out.’  If this law were applied in its fullest scope, the complete purity of the community of Saints would be assured, for by such a process every unrepentant wrong-doer would find his place outside of the pale of the Church.

No longer ago than yesterday President George Q. Cannon spoke strongly on that subject, not only in the Tabernacle, but also during a highly instructive discourse delivered in the 18th Ward Chapel in the evening.  His remarks on the subject carried with them a peculiar force.  They are of great importance, and wer directed as pointedly to those officers of the Church whose duty it is to deal with offenders, as to those who are guilty of breaches of the law of the Lord.

The sentiments that have been expressed on this subject by the authorities of late are not uttered for the purpose of inciting a ‘revival,’ in the ordinary meaning of the term, in the matter of ridding the Church of members whose actions give the lie to their professions or of bringing them to repentance.  But we understand it to be their desire that there should be a steady, careful and proper application of the rules and laws of the Church, with a view to the maintenance of its purity.  It appears that the more flagrant cases of people constantly contravening the requirements of the Gospel should be dealt with, and action taken in accordance with facts as they may be elicited.  Where repentance is exhibited, mercy will step in, but where a hardened indifference to duty is manifested, the law is plain as to the course that should be taken.  Some people show a great deal of charity for persons who are hardened offenders, and desire their retention in the Church in any case, while intelligent sympathy is often withheld from innocent and unwary persons who are liable to be led astray by the evil example of the guilty parties.

To the law and the testimony.  Those, combined with the spirit of the Gospel, constitute an infallible guide in the administration of the internal affairs of the Church.”  (Editorial, “The Law of the Church,” DN 33(48):760, 17 Dec., 1884)

24 Dec.:  Failings of the Lesser Priesthood.

“The instructions given through the general and local authorities of the Church during the late Conference of the Salt Lake Stake were exceptionally good, being closely adapted to the circumstances of the people and the character of the times.

It was clearly shown that the frequent occurrence of infringements of the requirements of the Gospel and the existence of a certain degree of iniquity in the Church–as complained of in some of the reports–were largely due to a lack of the intelligent and assiduous exercise of the duties of the Lesser Priesthood–Priests and Teachers.  Some of the Bishops, it was held, do not seem to sense the fact sufficiently that it is one of their special obligations to see that those officers laboring under their direction perform faithfully the duties devolving upon them, the health and life of the church being largely dependent upon activity and fidelity in that department.  It was made exceedingly clear that the Bishops should maintain in their completeness all the necessary local organizations under their supervision and jurisdiction, seeing that every man is in his proper place, and seeking to use to the best advantage and to develop all the talent possessed by the people under their direction.  The Bishop who appears to imagine that he must fill every position and perform almost every duty himself is the least progressive of any, and he is the most useful who seeks to keep those under his supervision the most actively engaged in various avenues of usefulness.”  (Editorial, “The Late Conference,” DN 33(49):776, 24 Dec., 1884)