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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1885

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1885.” You can view other years here.

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1885:    3 Jan.:  Rules set by High Council.

“[President Angus M. Cannon] also referred to some members of the Church who were selling liquor or renting houses where it was sold, and reminded Bishops under whose jurisdiction they resided that such things had been passed upon by the High Council, and with their attendant and relative evils ruled against and decided as not permissable by persons claiming to be Latter-day Saints.  He told the Bishops they were not justified in failing to take action against such persons; they should either do it or resign.”  (Minutes of Salt Lake Stake Priesthood Meeting, 3 Jan., 1885; DN 33(52):819, 14 Jan., 1885)

3 Jan.:  Use of Priesthood to root out evil.

“Counselor Joseph E. taylor asked if an extra effort could not be made by the Priesthood in this Stake to root out evil and further the ends of righteousness.  Not a spasmodic effort of two weeks or a month, but a continuous labor in that direction.  The organization of the Priesthood was perfect and was adequate to all needs and demands, and if the Priesthood was alive in doing its duty there would be no need of appealing, so far as Latter-day Saints were concerned, to the city or county authorities to put down the evils we complain of.  He advocated prayer meetings on week nights, for he knew of their good results.  The Teachers were not all doing their duty.  They should keep the Word of Wisdom, that they might grapple with evils and correct them in others.  God, we have been told, has nothing further to communicate until what has been given is lived up to.  Was there a power in Israel to purify our moral atmosphere?  Hes, there is, and may God help us to use it for that purpose.”  (Minutes of Salt Lake Stake Priesthood Meeting, 3 Jan., 1885; DN 33(52):819, 14 Jan., 1885)

7 Jan.:  Home Missionaries.

“The Home Missionaries of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion, who have labored long in this useful field, were liberated with the death of the year 1884.  Many of them have been in active service in this position for a number of years; others have more recently been called to officiate in this calling; all have worked faithfully and without any pecuniary reward.  They are entitled to the blessings and good wishes of the people to whom they have ministered.

A change was considered advisable for several reasons.  It is not wise to keep men continually in one position; home missionaries should not be required to stay too long in their onerous position, any more than foreign missionaries; a rest is good for the speakers and a change is good for the people; there are others in the Stake qualified to act in this capacity as well as those who have been engaged; it is wise to give all the Elders an opportunity to exercise themselves in the public ministry; a new set of speakers may arouse neew interest in the cause.  These and many other reasons that might be named have suggested the propriety of a change.

The general promptness and fidelity of the brethren whose names appeared on the old list are notable and gratifying.  in winter and in summer, at early morn and at dusky even, those brethren have responded to the calls upon their time and talents, and whether in the city wards or country settlements they have been ‘instant in season or out of season.’  Traveling by team or paying their own fares by railroad, they have faced storm and cold, or heat and dust, and dispensed the word of life freely.  Harmony has characterized their feelings and utterances, good will and brotherhood has abounded among them, as two and two they have filled their appointments and studied the public welfare rather than their own feelings.

Their labors, we are pleased to know, have been appreciated by the Bishops and the Saints generally.  Missionary Sundays–each alternate week in town and every other week in the country–have been anticipated as bringing extra interest.  Great good has certainly been accomplished, and the fruits of these diligent labors, though apparent in part, will only be fully realized in the great hereafter when ‘every man shall be rewarded according to his works.’

The new list contains the names of old and tried Elders, again called to active home service, and many younger men of limited experience in this direction.  We trust that they will prove as faithful and true, as prompt and active as the brethren retired.  It is expected that they will inform themselves regularly of their appointments and make it a duty and a pleasure to fill them without flinching or excuse; also to report themselves regularly at the meeting on the evening of the last Wednesday in every month.  We mention this simply by way of information; they will doubtless receive instruction and counsel as may be required from the Stake Presidency.

The retiring Home Missionaries should not consider themselves laid upon the shelf.  We understand that this is not the intention.  Their services may be specially required, and they still retain all the authority and obligations of their Holy Priesthood.  They will find many openings for the exercise of their talents, and should be willing to use them for the glory of God and the benefit of their fellows in any sphere in which they may be desired to act.  There is no need to ‘rust out’ in this great latter-day work.

We extend our congratulations to the old Home Missionaries on the success which has attended their labors in the past, and to the new Home Missionaries on the opportunities now opening to them for doing good both to themselves and to others; for blessings imparted are blessings received.  And to all of them we wish honor and blessing, and a useful and joyful career through life, as well as cordial greetings on the opening of the new year.”  (Editorial, “The Old and New Home Missionaries,” DN 33(51):808, 7 Jan., 1885)

14 Jan.:  David Whitmer–Zenas Gurley interview.

“Q. Why was Joseph Smith called Barak Ale, and Sydney Rigdon, Baneeay [Baneemy]?

A. These names came through the ‘United order[‘] in the church.  Why they came I cannot tell.  I believe that Order, as also the mercantile and Kirtland Bank business, to have originated either with man or Devil, being no part of the Gospel of Christ, or of his church.

. . . .

Q. Do you repudiate the High Priests Quorum or that order, and can you give its origin and occasion of it in the Church?

A. Yes I do–as not an order in Christ.  It originated in the church because of desire to obtain greater power than what had been given–over anxiety with the leaders, leading to it.

Q. Were you present when Joseph Smith received the revelation commanding him and Oliver Cowdery to ordain each other to the Melchisedek Priesthood, if so, where was it and how?

A. No I was not–neither did I ever hear of such a thing as an angel ordaining them until I got into Ohio about the year 1834–or later.

Q. Can you tell why that Joseph and Oliver were ordained to the lesser Priesthood by the hand of an Angel but in receiving the Higher they ordained each other?

A. I moved Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to my fathers house in Fayette Seneca County New York, from Harmony, Penn. in the year 1829, on our way I conversed freely with them upon this great work they were bringing about, and Oliver stated to me in Josephs presence that they had baptized each other seeking by that to fulfill the command–And after our arrival at fathers sometime in June 1829. [should this be a comma?]  Joseph ordained Oliver Cowdery to be an Elder, and Oliver ordained Joseph to be an Elder in the church of Christ, and during that year Joseph both baptized and ordained me an elder in the Church of Christ.  Also, during this year the translation of the Book of Mormon was finished, And we preached preached, [sic] baptized and ordained some as Elders, and upon the Sixth day of April 1830, six Elders together with some fifty or sixty (as near as I recollect) of the members met together to effect an organization.

I never heard that an Angel had ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic priesthood until the year 1834 5 or 6–in Ohio.  My information from Joseph and Oliver upon this matter being as I have stated, and that they were commanded so to do by revealment through Joseph.  I do not believe that John the Baptist ever ordained Joseph and Oliver as stated and believed by some.  I regard that as an error, a misconception.

Q. How did it happen that a 1st Presidency was established in the Church, one of whom was to receive commands &c, the same as though they heard God speak, and where is the authority for this in the books?

A. I regard it as an assumption of power unauthorized by the books in the law of Christ.

Q. Was it understood in the beginning of the work that the Book of Mormon with the Bible was all that is necessary as a rule and guide to faith?  if so, why and by what right was the book of Doctrine and Covenants added?

A. The Book of Doctrine and Covenants was added to satisfy the desire of some of the members and elders.  The Bible and Book of Mormon was held to contain Gods law in its completeness, and we understood that they alone should be taught as doctrine, Revelations and visions would assist individuals but were not to be taught as doctrine in any case, such was Josephs teachings upon this point.

Q. If the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the Gospel with the New Testament and they constitute the Law to the Church, what need is there for a 1st President to receive revelations to govern the church?

A. There is no need for such officer, I hold that all difficulties, all differences of opinion as to doctrine should be settled by conferring one with the other.  United wisdom of many guided by the Law, being the safest rule.

Q. Was or was not the revelations of Joseph Smith considered purely personal or local at the time they were received?

A. Yes they were, and they were not to be published until Christ should come.  The Book of Mormon with the Bible being the whole law to the Church.”

(“Questions asked of David Whitmer at his home in Richmond Ray County Mo. Jan 14–1885.  relating to Book of Mormon, and the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS by Elder Z H. Gurley,” LDS Archives, Ms d 4681; xerox)

24 Jan.:  Excommunication.


Editor Deseret News:

At a meeting of the High Council of Davis Stake, held January 16th, 1885, William Allen was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for apostasy; and at a meeting of the Council held January 23d, Stephen Hales was excommunicated from the Church for the same cause.


Wm. R. Smith, President of the Council,

J. E. Robinson, Clerk.

Farmington, Jan. 24, 1885.”

(DN 34(2):29, 28 Jan., 1885)

7 Feb.:  Public confession voted down.

“Dr. J. M. Benedict, in accordance with a decision of the High Council, arose and addressed the assembled Priesthood.  He stated that he did not see wherein he had committed any unchristianlike conduct in marrying John W. Irons and Miss Lizzie Evans.  He, however, acknowledged his error in marrying them without the consent of the Presiding Priesthood of the 11th Ward or the presiding officers of the Stake or Church.  He claimed that he did not marry them in order to defeat the ends of justice.  Said the proceedings against him was persecution on the part of Brother Milando Pratt.

Elder Milando Pratt, referring and replying to the assertion that the Doctrine and Covenants condemned the members of the Church, if they knew of evils–small or stupendous–to exist and they did not endeavor to bring them to light.  Anyone that tried to screen any evils were considered accessories after the fact.

Dr. Benedict, not having fully complied with the decision of the High Council, a vote was taken to see if the action of the High Council should be sustained in what the requested from Dr. J. M. Benedict, and the vote was unanimous to sustain the High Council.

President Angus M. Cannon then asked the brethren who were present if they would accept the confession [of] Brother Benedict as given.

There were only two, out of the whole congregation, who voted in the affirmative.”  (Minutes of Salt Lake Stake Conference, 7 Feb.; DN 34(4):57, 11 Feb., 1885)

8 Feb.:  All voted for the Bishop but 2.

“We held a priesthood Meeting in the Evening to prepare the way for installing Isaiah Cox as Bishop and we had a stormy time in the midst of a great variety of spirits a great deal of division & but little union.  I told the people to poor out all they had against the Bishop & nearly all the Hous spoke & when they got through I Called a vote and all voted for the Bishop but 2.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 8 Feb., 1885)

10 Feb.:  1st Council meetings discontinued: polygamy.

“In the evening I was at Bro. Eldredge’s to our Council meeting, where I assisted in attending to the business of the Seventies.  It has been thought advisable to discontinue our Wednesday Council meetings until after this crusade against the authorities has somewhat abated.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 10 Feb., 1885)

18 Mar.:  Excommunication.

“Excommunicated.–The High Council of this the Salt Lake Stake of Zion, this day confirmed the action of the Bishop’s Court of the Third Ward, and cut John P. Meakin off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for apostasy.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto affixed the seal of the High Council, this 17th day of March, A.D. 1885.

James D. Stirling,

Clerk pro tem. of High Council.”

(Reprint of report of 18 Mar.; DN 34(10):145, 25 Mar., 1885)

1 Apr.:  Excommunication.


Tooele City, April 1, 1885.

This is to certify that Wm. Peasnall was this day, by action of the High Council of the Tooele Stake, cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for immoral conduct.

Hugh S. Gowans, President of Stake.”

(DN 34(12):188, 8 Apr., 1885)

6 Jun.:  No Bishop’s Courts to be held on Sundays.

“A resolution of the High Council was read discountenancing the practice of holding Bishop’s courts on the Sabbath day, which in a few instances was found to have been done.”  (Salt Lake Stake Priesthood Meeting minutes, 6 Jun., 1885; DN 34(21):329, 10 Jun., 1885)

Jun.:  Deacons in the New Testament.

“The names of the other Deacons ordained with Stephen were Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas.  The most notable of these, apparently, was Philip, who carried the Gospel into Samaria, converted and baptized* the Ethiopian eunuch, wrought miracles and brought many souls to a knowledge of the truth.

*[footnote] From the fact that Philip had authority to baptize, we may infer that he, and perhaps his associate Deacons, were either Priests acting as Deacons, or that he was made a Priest before starting on his mission to Samaria.  That he held no higher office is evident from the fact that the Apostles went from Jerusalem to bestow the Holy Ghost upon Philip’s converts, an act he could have himself performed had he been an Elder, the next office above that of Priest.”

(Orson F. Whitney, “The Aaronic Priesthood,” Contributor 6(9):323, Jun., 1885)

1 Aug.:  Bishops should compare notes.

“It was suggested that if Bishops of this Stake would invite one another to visit their wards and return such visits that these friendly interchanges would result in good all around, for we did not want anything that should tend to clannishness, and by comparing notes much valuable information could be gained, and much that is profitable in discipline, order, government, etc., learned.”  (Salt Lake Stake Priesthood Meeting minutes, 1 Aug., 1885; DN 34(28):457, 5 Aug., 1885)

Sep.:  Minor disputes to be mediated by Teachers.

“The Bishop and his counselors are High Priests after the order of Melchisedek, presiding as such, in a ward capacity, over all Church members in their wards, and as Bishops or judges having original, though not final jurisdiction, in the trial of all offenders against the laws of God, when members of their respective wards.  Minor offenses, disputes, evil speaking, etc., such as are not of a difficult nature, if not settled between the parties themselves, should be mediated and settled by the Teachers.  If the Teacher cannot reconcile them, he is required to report them, with any iniquity that he finds existing, to the Bishop’s court; the decisions of which are subject to appeal to the High Council of the Stake.”  (Orson F. Whitney, “The Aaronic Priesthood,” Contributor 6(12):447, Sep., 1885)

Sep.:  Concerning sacrificial offerings.

“A few words, before taking leave of the subject, upon the theme of sacrificial offerings, with which the Priest’s office, in ancient times, was so intimately connected.  The words of the angel, John the Baptist, as he laid his hands upon the heads of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood, were these:

Upon you, my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the Gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

Those who have supposed that the law of sacrifice was done away in Christ, and that after He, the great sacrifice, was offered up, all minor sacrifices typical of His atonement were abolished, have probably been at a loss to understand the significance of the angel’s words in relation to a future offering by the purified sons of Levi.  We will merely ask why a sacrifice cannot be the symbol of a past, as well as a future event, and be offered up in commemoration of the former as well as the latter with perfect propriety, and then refer the reader, for a fuller and better explanation, to the remarks of the Prophet Joseph Smith in relation to this matter, delivered at Nauvoo, Illinois, in October, 1840.  Said he:

. . . .

With the above able exposition from one who spake by divine authority and inspiration, we take final leave of the general subject of the Priesthood of Aaron, wishing the reader a better understanding of it, through further study and reflection, than our humble efforts have been able to impart.”  (Orson F. Whitney, “The Aaronic Priesthood,” Contributor 6(12):448-449, Sep., 1885)

15 Sep.:  Some races clearly the heirs of the priesthood.

“Upon all of these points the ancients were very particular.  The Latter-day Saints cannot be too particular, either, because upon correct marriages the happiness of posterity and their blessings here and hereafter, to a very great extent, depend.  There are some races who are clearly the hiers of the Priesthood.  They seem to be particularly favored of the Lord for reasons which we cannot fully understand at present.  But we see it illustrated in our Church.  There are families who appear to be natural Latter-day Saints.  The blood of Israel seems to be so strong within them that they are blessed in a peculiar manner.  The Lord has given them great faith, and they appear to be natural heirs to the priesthood.  How much better it is to intermarry with such families than to form alliances with Gentiles and unbelievers!”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 20(19):287, 15 Sep., 1885)

6 Oct.:  Presidents and Bishops responsible for flocks.

“Upon Presidents of Stakes, Bishops and other leading officers great responsibility rests.  They are placed as shepherds over the flock of Christ.  If through any neglect of theirs the flock is injured or destroyed, the blood of those souls will be found upon their garments.  The Melchizedec and Aaronic Priesthoods confer great power and authority uon man; they lift man nearer to God and make him His representative.  But woe to the men who use their Priesthood for base purposes, and fail to use it for God’s glory and the salvation of His children.  Far better for them if they had never received it.

We have been commanded of the Lord to set our households in order.  Apostles, Presidents of Stakes and Bishops, have you done this with your own households?  Have you also seen that the Saints have done the same?  Have you impressed upon the people under your charge the absolute necessity of purity if they desire the blessing and protection of the Most High?”  (First Presidency Epistle, 6 Oct., 1885.  In Clark, Messages 3:39)

9 Nov.:  Blessed and anointed for burial.

“At 6 oclock I Called to see my wife Phebe who was vary low.  I laid my hands upon her head & Blessed her And anointed her for her burial and at 2 oclok she died.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 9 Nov., 1885)

12 Nov.:  Quorums, not auxil., to recommend missionaries.

“We may say while upon this subject that though we value the young men’s Mutual Improvement Associations and think the organizations capable of performing great good, we do not think it proper to apply to their Presidents to select names for missions.  This belongs properly to the Priesthood and its various quorums and should be attended to by those who preside over them.”  (First Presidency to Wilford Woodruff, Pres. of Twelve, 12 Nov., 1885.  In Clark, Messages 3:43)

18 Nov.:  Albert Carrington excommunication.


Charges having been preferred against Albert Carrington, a full and patient hearing was had before the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, when the following decision was unanimously adopted:

That Albert Carrington be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the crimes of lewd and lascivious conduct and adultery.

Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Moses Thatcher, Francis M. Lyman, John H. Smith, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor.

John W. Young, Counselor.”

(DN 34(44):696, 18 Nov., 1885)

“The announcement in last evening’s DESERET NEWS, from the Council of the Twelve Apostles, that one of their own number had been excommunicated for lewd and lascivious cohabitation and adultery, caused a profound sensation.  The whole community is startled.  Varied feelings are evoked by the tidings.  Amazement, sorrow and shame at the offense are mingled with gratification and approval at the penalty.  The sin is great, the punishment is proper.  That a man blest with so much intelligence and endowed with such high authority should demean himself so basely is cause for grief and mourning.  That the quorum to which he belonged had the honor, dignity and resolution to deal out justice to one of its own circle as strictly and righteously as to the junblest Church member, is reason for gratulation.  ‘Let justice be done though the heavens fall,’ is a good motto for every quorum and council of the Priesthood.

The news that an Apostle of the ‘Mormon’ Church has been found guilty of gross offenses will, no doubt, be sent abroad into all the world for our enemies to gloat over.  But before any satisfaction is taken in the scandal, let our would-be censors pause and reflect a little over the doings of their own clerical criminals, whose frailties have been discovered and whose misdeeds have been brought to light and published in the daily journals.  Then let them think of the sexual sins that have been winked at and endorsed, and of the pecadilloes that have been covered up for the sake of ‘society,’ and keep their lips closed before they utter a word against the ‘Moromns’ because of the sin of one Church dignitary.  Also let them ponder upon the fact that though no public scandal has brought this unfortunate case into prominence, it has been taken up upon its merits and dealt with on principles of righteousness and integrity, regardless of its public effect, while it might have been treated after the methods in vogue in fashionable churches, and smothered out of sight and sound and scent.

It is popularly supposed that because the Latter-day Saints believe in plural marriage, they regard lightly the relations of the sexes.  This is one of the greatest among the many erronious ideas concerning us.  It should be understood that all sexual intercourse outside of the marriage relation is forbidden by the Church, and any violation of the rule is counted as a crime.  No person in the Church is exempted from the operations of this Church canon.  If anyone has entertained the notion that higher authority, or higher keys in the Priesthood, remove a man from any of the penalties of sin, he has been greatly mistaken.  The contrary is the truth.  The more a man knows and the greater power he has received for doing good, the deeper is his guilt and the broader are its consequences if he stoops from his exalted position to wallow in the mire of iniquity.  Where much is given, much will be required.

Chastity is one of the essential elements of ‘Mormonism.’  ‘The Lord delighteth in the chastity of women,’ so says the Book of Mormon.  ‘He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit but shall deny the faith and shall fear;’ so says the book of Doctrine and Covenants.  ‘When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin;’ so says the New Testament; and all these books are authority on principle to the Saints.  The Spirit of God is the very life of ‘Mormonism.’  Without that Spirit no member or officer of the Church can continue therein and ‘endure to the end.’  And it will not abide in him that is corrupt.  Lasciviousness and spirituality are discordant.  The Holy Ghost will not dwell in unclean tabernacles.  Chastity is required of men in this Church just as much as of women.  We hold to no such looseness as that allowed to young men in the world under the convenient excuse of ‘sowing their wild oats.’  A bride has just as much right to demand chastity in the bridegroom as he has to expect it in the bride.  These are the sentiments which true ‘Mormon’ parents breathe into the lives and morals of their children.  And as the experience of years increases, so it is expected that regard for chastity of conduct and of mind and of example will increase until impurity becomes a horror repulsive to the soul.

Priesthood and purity naturally go together.  That is to say, the power and influence that belong to the Priesthood and are its essence, will not flow in the channels of impurity.  ‘Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord,’ is a divine requirement in every dispensation.  And the command is founded uon the bed-rock of principle.  The fornicator and adulterer may hold the name and office of the Priesthood for a time, but its vital elements will not be with him, neither will he abound in its gifts.  He will not be able to feed the people with the bread of life, nor will the fire of the Lord burn upon the altar of his soul.  His words will lack the virile force that begets spiritual thought and desire, and his ministrations will be devoid of the power that should attend the servants of the living God.  He who wants to be a savior of men must carry within him the elements of salvation; and these do not go hand in hand with impurity.  A clean heart must throb in the bosom of the Priesthood, and clean hands must be its ministers.

Charity and mercy are not to be cast out from the courts of the Church nor from the souls of its members.  Compassion for the erring will always be felt by the righteous.  And all the circumstances of each case shoulid be weighed in dealing with transgressors.  While men and women are imperfect, sin and evil will be exhibited; and while Satan tempts, people will go astray.  It is the duty of the strong to help and have compassion for the weak.  But the law of God must be enforced.  No sentiment of sorrow for the sinful must be allowed to operate against the vindication of justice.  If sin is permitted to prevail unchecked in the Church, the anger of the Lord will be kindled against it.  And while iniquity abounds, not only will ‘the love of many wax cold,’ but the enemies of Zion will be permitted to bring chastisement upon her.  The inside of the platter must be cleansed.  Every quorum and council must be set in order, in the full sense of the word.  And every family must obey the word of the Lord given to this end, or the Lord will not fight the battles of Israel.

The law of the Lord in relation to these gross transgressions is just and merciful.  In the case of a member of the Church overtaken for the first time in a fault, forgiveness is enjoined on repentance.  ‘He that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive.  But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven but shall be cast out.’  (D&C 13:25-26)  This law, it should be understood, was given in 1831, in the early days of the Church, before those later covenants were revealed that imposed higher obligations uopn the experienced Saints.  It answers now in cases such as it was intended to cover.  Those who have not entered into the covenants of chastity belonging to the Lord’s Holy House, are to be judged by the lesser law.  But when men and women, having acquired experience in the Church and received the holy endowments of the Priesthood, have thus been placed upon higher ground, then come down into the pool of filthiness and dabble in the waters of pollution, they must be judged according to the light they have received and the law into which they have voluntarily entered, and thus receive the full penalty for their transgression.  The punishment for capital crime is the extreme sentence of the law.  Adultery is a deadly sin.  The Church penalty is excommunication.  Next to the shedding of innocent blood, adultery is placed in the Church catalogue of crime.  The exalted position of the criminal does not mitigate, but rather aggravates his guilt.  Individuals may mourn over the sin and weep over the penalty, but courts and councils must enforce the law in righteousness, no matter where it strikes or whose head shall fall.

The example of the Council of the Apostles in dealing with one of its own quorum, is a pattern for Israel.  Judgment must begin at the house of God.  Iniquity must be purged out.  Transgressors must be dealt with.  Charity and compassion should be exercised towards the erring, and the railty of human nature, the weakness of the flesh, the temptations of the devil, may all be considered.  But mercy must not rob justice, neither must pity, kinship or long association hinder the enforcement of divine law.  If any man or woman in the new and everlasting covenant be with another man or woman so as to break the vow of chastity, the offense is adultery and the penalty is excommunication.  This is the extreme punishment of the Church.  The offender is then in the hands of the Lord to do with as seemeth good to Him.  ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’  Hear it O Israel!  ‘The Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance,’ and if we want His aid in this day of trial, we must purge out the evils in our own midst and place ourselves in such a condition that He can work in and with us according to His good pleasure.  Let the work of cleansing be carried on, and to the righteous decisions of the appointed authorities let all Israel say, Amen.”  (Editorial, “The Law of Chastity,” DN 34(44):696-697, 18 Nov., 1885)

1 Dec.:  Carrington:  Priesthood w/o purity not enough.

“Probably no event that has happened since the death of President Brigham Young has produced so profound a sensation among the Latter-day Saints as the excommunication from the Church of Elder Albert Carrington.  A man high in authority, evernable in years and long and intimately associated with the leaders in Zion, the news of his fall shocks every one who entertains respect for the Priesthood or who offers prayers for those who bear it.  Had it been the announcement of his death, the news would have produced sorrow for his loss, but it would have been heavenly joy compared with the feeling caused by the publication of his severance from the Church.  There are many events which may happen to men that are far worse than death.  We mourn for the dead; but if they died faithful to the truth, there is mingled with our grief an sweet satisfaction, a heavenly consolation, that the separation is but for a little while.  But what ray of hope can penetrate the sombre gloom of the abyss into which one falls, when cut off from the Church, who occupied so exalted a station as did Albert Carrington!

Perhaps it is not too much to say that no man in the Church has had better advantages in many respects for the time he has been a member than has Albert Carrington.  He was a college graduate, and he joined the Church at a time when men possessing such advantages were not so common as now.  He came here with the Pioneers, and his education enabled him to take a prominent part in public affairs.  President Young showed him great confidence, and their association was long and intimate.  He cannot, therefore, plead ignorance as an excuse for his wrong-doing.  The acts for which he has been dealth with were the deliberate violations on his part of principles and laws which he has heard taught by the lips of inspiration ever since he gathered with the Saints, and in direct conflict with every example which he has seen on the part of the leaders of Israel.

We do not think it necessary to dwell at any length in this article upon his case; but there are a few thoughts which it suggests.  The Church has been taught from the beginning that no amount of talent, no number of gifts, no eminence in the Priesthood were sufficient to save a man, or to keep him in the Church, without personal purity.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 20(23):360, 1 Dec., 1885)

“Referring to the case of Albert Carrington, it is surprising how many people there are who now express themselves as having had no confidence in him.  It seems that numbers of the Elders who have labored with him in Great Britain had their suspicions aroused concerning his conduct.  They felt that, if not guilty of adultery, he, at least, had been exceedingly unwise.  But there is a natural reverence which members of the Church entertain for a man holding so high a position as he did.  Men who had few, if any, doubts as to his criminality hesitated to express themselves, lest it should be thought that they were making false accusations.  Though morally certain themselves, they were not in possession of evidence to substantiate against him any charge of criminal conduct.  They, therefore, kept their views to themselves.

There is another class who have not had confidence in him because there was an absence of the Spirit in his public teachings.  They say now: ‘I always thought him very dry and derived no edification from his teachings.’  People whose lips have been sealed because of his prominence in the Priesthood now speak freely concerning the feelings they have entertained, and very many will feel that their discernment was not at fault, and will be strengthened and confirmed respecting the intimations of the Spirit to them.

Nothing is more certain than that the Latter-day Saints, as a people, have the gift of discernment.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to deceive a congregation of Latter-day Saints in their estimate of public teachers.  A man may, to all human appearance, be all right, and have an unquestioned standing in the Church and in the Priesthood; but if he be a hypocrite or be destitute of the Spirit of his calling, the people are quick to perceive it, and they form their opinion of him accordingly.  Those who have had long experience in the Church can look back and recall to mind how many instances of this kind their own experience suggests to them.  A notable instance of this character was the case of Sidney Ridgon, when he attempted to persuade the Church in Nauvoo to elect him as guardian for the Church.  There was an excellent opportunity then furnished to the people to decide between the voice of the true shepherd and that of the false shepherd.  Rigdon was a man noted for his eloquence, with a powerful command of language; but on that occasion his words fell with a dampening effect upon the congregation.  No sooner, however, did President Brigham Young arise to his feet and utter a few sentences than the voice of him whom God had chosen to lead His people was immediately recognized.  Every word he uttered confirmed the impression in the minds of those who had the Spirit of the Lord.  The few who did not acknowledge this were men who in their own feelings had apostatized, and from whom the Spirit of the Lord had withdrawn.  So it always has been from the beginning of the Church down to the present time.  So it will be from this time onward till Jesus comes.  Saints who live as they should do will always be able to detect the true from the false, the honest from the dishonest, the genuine man from the hypocrite, the man who possesses the spirit of his religion and the gifts of the Priesthood which he holds, and the man who is destitute thereof.  they may, as they have done in the case to which we refer, pay respect to the Priesthood which a man bears; but if he be unworthy, in their secret hearts they are conscious of it, and are able to detect the spuriousness of his professions.  This is a blessed gift which God has given to His people, and it should be prized and cultivated by those upon whom it is bestowed.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 20(23):365-366, 1 Dec., 1885)

1 Dec.:  Right of Priesthood vs. laws of the land.

“It should be clearly understood, by our own people at least, that we are not contending for any single principle, or the liberty to carry it out.  We are struggling to maintain civil and religious liberty in its broadest and most comprehensive sense.  There are many evils that must be eradicated besides intolerance in regard to the principle of patriarchal marriage.  If it were possible to concede this principle without apostatizing, there remains behind it, overshadowing it and enveloping it the still greater question as to the right of the Priesthood to counsel and to direct the people.  It is this that is hated by the enemies of the Church who understand our organization, more than anything else.  To use their own language, they do not care anything about polygamy, but they do want to destroy the rule of the Priesthood–the hierarchy, as they call it.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 20(23):364, 1 Dec., 1885)

5 Dec.:  Excommunication.


At a session of the High Council of Emery Stake, convened at Castle Dale, December 5th, Noah T. Guymon, Sen., was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the crime of lewd and lascivious conduct and adultery.

By order of the High Council.

O. J. Anderson, Clerk.”

(DN 34(48):764, 16 Dec., 1885)

15 Dec.:  Melchizedek priesthood among the Nephites.

“We will now turn to the peoples who were directed by the Lord to come to this continent of America.  There is but little said in the Book of Mormon concerning the Priesthood.  No doubt Jared and his brother and the Jaredite prophets who appeared at different times among that people as well as Mulek, who led a colony to this land held the Priesthood.  We would infer also that the Nephites had the Melchizedek Priesthood prior to the Savior’s advent among them, at least at one particular time.  The Book of Alma states that he, (Alma) ordained Elders and Priests in the Church.  These can be no doubt that the Aaronic Priesthood was had among them, as there is mention made in several places of the ordinance of baptism for the remission of sins being performed.  Nephi says that the laws of Moses were observed among his people.  When the Savior appeared among the Nephites, He established His Church upon this continent, and ordained men to the Melchizedek Priesthood.  But when the people became wicked this power was withdrawn from among them and they were left to themselves.”  (“E. F. P.”, JI 20(24):380-381, 15 Dec., 1885)