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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1891

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1891.” You can view other years here.

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1 Jan.:  Why did Joseph and Oliver ordain each other?

“I have received a very interesting communication from a gentleman in Michigan, in which he asks some questions, the answers to which, I think, may be of interest to the readers of the Juvenile Instructor.

He says: 

‘I have for a long time been anxious to find someone or some document that could enlighten me as to the reason why Joseph and Oliver Cowdery should ordain each other to the Priesthood they received under the hands of both John the Baptist and Peter, James and John.  I understand, of course, that they were commanded so to do of God; but why this should be done in this single case alone, and not in similar other cases is what puzzles me, and I doubt not puzzles others.  Please do you know of any record, saying, teaching or document left by Joseph or Oliver as to the why and wherefore of that matter?’

There is nothing in writing or that has come to us orally, that I know of, which gives any explanation of this action.  But the reason which appears plain to the First Presidency, with whom I have conversed on the subject, is that it was necessary, after the Priesthood had been restored from heaven by the administration of holy angels, that mortal men should ordain each other, and baptize each other, and lay hands upon each other for the reception of the Holy Ghost.  This appears to be a sufficient reason for this action on the part of the Prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery.  To Joseph the keys were given.  He stood at the head.  And it was proper that the ordination of all who belonged to the dispensation should come through him; and it appeared to be just as necessary that he himself should be ordained by a mortal, in order to observe the order of heaven.

Another question which he asks is: 

‘Do you know of any case on record in any of the standard books of the Church, or in any history of God’s people, where men holding a lesser degree or office in the Priesthood are authorized, under any circumstances, to ordain to the greater offices in the Priesthood, and it be lawful and right; and if so, where may it be found?’

There is no record, or book, or history, which I know anything of, which authorizes or justifies such action.  A stream cannot rise higher than its fountain.  In the affairs of the Kingdom of God a man cannot bestow that which he has not received.  This is illustrated in the history of all religious movements since the days when the true Priesthood was taken from the earth.  Men have endeavored to ordain their fellow-men to an authority which they themselves did not hold.  The results has been, failure.  God does not acknowledge the bestowal of any authority which He does not authorize; and before a man can legally, in the sight of heaven, ordain his fellow-man to an office, he must have the authority himself from God.  In other words, he himself must have been ordained to that office of the Priesthood which he attempts to bestow.

Another question which he propounds is:

‘It is alleged by men in what is called the Reorganized Church that when Joseph the Seer gave a revelation it must be tested in this way–that is, it must first be presented to the High Council or the Twelve Apostles, for their approval, and then pass on to the next quorum below for their approval, and so on down to the Deacons’ quorums, and if it pass down to all the quorums of the Priesthood “without meeting a snag,” it must then be taken as true.  This to be is a most strange and unprecedented example, and while waiting for the assembling of the quorums would be followed with so much inconvenience as to render most of the revelations of God through His Prophet the same as null and void.  Again, it is astounding to me that when Joseph himself testified to anything as revelation from God, it could not be credited at once as from God, without going through such an ungainly formula.  And again, it seems strange in the extreme that the anointed Prophet of God, who was the only authorized revelator to the church, ordained and set apart to stand in the presence of God, and carry His word from His own mouth to mankind, the man who is of all others supposed to know that his is not deceived cannot be sure that he is right until he is tested in this way by men who are supposed to know the least about such matters.  Surely such a process as the above cannot be true.  Please, if you know anything about such a rule, tell me the particulars about it.’

The writer’s reasoning upon this point seems quite conclusive, and it would be difficult to state it better than he has stated it.  It seems nonsensical that the Prophet of God should submit to such a test as this, and not deem the revelations he received authentic until they had the approval of the different quorums of the Church.  They were authentic and divinely inspired, whether any man or body of men received them or not.  Their reception or non-reception of them would not affect in the least their divine authenticity.  But it would be for the people to accept them after God had revealed them.  In this way they have been submitted to the Church, to see whether the members would accept them as binding upon them or not.  Joseph himself had too high a sense of his prophetic office and the authority he had received from the Lord to ever submit the revelations which he received to any individual or to any body, however numerous, to have them pronounce upon their validity.

In January, 1841, the Lord gave to the Church, through Joseph, a revelation, in which He said:

‘And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference.’

This the Lord spoke in reference to the officers of the Church whose names He had mentioned.  Of course, He did not take away the agency of His servants and people, but desired them to approve or disapprove of these nominations.  There was no particular principle involved in this; but it was evident that the Lord recognized the free agency of His people in this matter; and it may be said in this connection that all these were sustained in the manner that He presented them, at the general conference.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 26(1):13-14, 1 Jan., 1891)

28 Jan.:  Disunity among 1st Pres. and 12.

“Pres. Woodruff opened by stating that he desired to consult with the brethren in regard to the sugar industry which we are seeking to establish.  He felt that while the Apostles are at home they should engage and direct in temporal affairs and he desired the brethren to speak freely on this subject.  Pres. Snow read from two revelations concerning the will of God in regard to temporal matters as given to the prophet Joseph in Kirtland and Far West (Sec. 104:78. Sec. 115:13)  He believed the Spirit of God inspired the movement which we are now considering, and good would result from it.  In order to insure success, however, the brethren assembled must become united in spirit and object, and then the blessings of God would attend us, and seeming insurmountable difficulties would be overcome.  He felt that we should lay aside the matter in hand, and first reconcile all differences between the First Presidency and Twelve, and then our business matters could be more easily settled.  He was anxious to see perfect union between the two leading quorums, and when he beheld this he was ready to be taken from the earth at any time.–Pres. Woodruff approved of the suggestion and also felt the necessity for union.  The First Presidency were united with each other and worked in perfect harmony.  Personally he had seen things in Moses Thatcher which he did not like, especially in his actions with regard to the B. B. and C. mine, but these things he had now laid aside, and he felt nothing but blessings for his brethren.  He desired the forgiveness of any whom he had offended.–Pres. Snow desired a full and free expression from each of the brethren so that we might now bury all enmity once and forever.–Moses Thatcher had felt for a long time that the President had entertained feelings against him, and he was glad to have the opportunity of a full explanation of his actions.  He then explained how he became connected with the B. B. and C. mine which was not of his own volition, but at Pres. John Taylor’s request.  He also explained some of his recent actions in connection therewith.  He then said he was now in a condition to lose all his worldly wealth with his brethren than to gain the whole world without them.–Geo. Q. Cannon:  ‘I have yearned for the confidence and love of my brethren, but since Pres. Young’s death it has seemed to me that I have done something deserving of censure from my brethren, for they have singled me out as an object for their attacks.  I love you all and desire God to give you the same gifts which He bestows upon me, and I desire your love and confidence.  I did feel that Bro. Thatcher and others were unjust in B. B. and C. matters in refusing my stock representation on the Board, but that is now a thing of the past.–Moses Thatcher explained that the reason for this refusal was that the Company expected trouble with the California company with whom Father was in sympathy, and hence he and colleagues did not desire their position weakened by the election of Father’s representative.–Jos. F. Smith spoke concerning the morals of Isaac Trumbo and others who compose the California company.  Their morals are not good it is true, but they are equal in that respect to all Californians.  At any rate they have been our friends and we should feel grateful for their labors in our behalf.  Even the good and well-beloved Stanford, now Senator, is not free from illicit intercourse.  But these men have done much for us politically.  ‘When I visited San Francisco Col. Trumbo took me around to the U. S. Marshal’s office and introduced me, as one for whose arrest papers might be forwarded from Utah, I being under indictment for cohabitation, but the marshal said he had a capacious waste basket to which he would consign them if they did come, and he assured me that as long as I remained in San Francisco I was perfectly safe.  The only feelings I have had against any of the brethren has been because I thought Moses Thatcher, John W. Taylor, Wm. B. Preston and Alonzo Hyde had not shown proper respect to the counsel of the First Presidency.  When the effort was made to settle differences existing between the California and Bullin Beck stockholders, Moses stood out against it and said he had $100,000.00 which he would spend in fighting these Californians.  Now, there is trouble started among the interested owners in California, and I believe that the dissatisfaction was created by people from this Territory who felt chagrined at the necessity of giving 25% of their stock, as per agreement, to the California people and now desire to institute strife between them.  Should the case come into Court I greatly fear the result, as the Church is bound to be exposed in some manner, an[d] the result may be a confiscation of stock.’  Quite a chat on mine matters followed.  Notice has been served on the Western Union Telegraph Co. for all dispatches which have passed between California people and us, and as there was much Church business connected therewith, no telling what trouble may ensue.  John W. Taylor thought that if the trouble in the west had its origin with any person in this city the matter could be checked.  Moses Thatcher felt that all business rivalries should cease among the brethren.–About 4.45 p.m. we took an adjournment till tomorrow at 11 a.m.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 28 Jan., 1891)

“At 11 a.m. our meeting convened and we all attended without having broken our fast.  In addition to those present yesterday A. H. Lund was here.  Prayer by Joseph F. Smith.  Lorenzo Snow asked that the Apostles have the privilege of expressing their feelings towards each other and the Presidency.  This opportunity was given.  F. M. Lyman said his feelings towards all of the brethren were of the very best.  He loved them all and knew the power of God accompanied them.–J. H. Smith:  ‘If the brethren have anything against me they have never said so, and if I had anything against them I would have said so.’–Heber J. Grant:  ‘I have none but the best of feelings now for all the brethren, though a short time since I felt hard towards Pres. Cannon because I thought he was the cause of a number of humiliations which I received in the Quorum.  I also was deeply hurt by remarks which Moses Thatcher made about me, but he has made ample apology for all these.  I have felt at times that the brethren have misunderstood my business motives and intentions, but I can truly say that my greatest ambition has been and is to see Zion prosper and all her institutions flourish.  Any success I have had either here or on my recent trip east was due alone to the blessings of God upon me.’  Geo. Q. Cannon said the remarks of Bro. Grant were a great revelation to him.  He had not been conscious of injuring him in any way, and as for failing to confide fully in his brethren if he failed to tell them many tings it was because he thought it Pres. Woodruff’s place to say what he felt led to do to the brethren.  ‘Why,’ he asked, ‘should I be blamed for keeping secrets, when Pres. Woodruff know them and could tell if he desired?’  He said he had perfect confidence in the brethren.–Moses Thatcher explained away the differences which had existed between him and others.  Now he was in full accord with all the brethren.–F. D. Richards, John W. Taylor, A. H. Lund and myself expressed our perfect harmony with all the Quorum and First Presidency.–Pres. L. Snow:  It has been the rule of the past with me to honor and reverence the Priesthood.  I may and do see things in the leaders which are not in exact harmony with my views, but that does not affect my faith in the least.  I may criticize the actions of our leaders, but never do I question their authority.  I saw Joseph the Prophet do and heard him say things which I never expected to see and hear in a Prophet of God, yet I was always able to throw the mantle of charity over improper things.  I feel like David of old who would not raise his hand against the anointed of God even though Saul had sought to take his life.  We have got to submit to things that do not agree with our ideas if we remain true to God, and Bro. Grant will yet live to see the day when his name will be honored among men, and again when he will be cursed to his face because of failures which will follow his enterprises.  Thus will the Lord teach him and all of us to rely on Him.–Joseph F. Smith:  ‘I have sometimes felt that Presd’ts. Woodruff and Snow have not shown me that confidence and love which I was entitled to receive, but I often felt that I was to blame; and hence I determined to try and be worthy of their esteem.  I feel that there is not the humility and contrition shown by the apostles which once characterized them, nor is proper reverence for the Preisthood and sacred things always shown.  Personally I have no complaints to make, for no matter what course a man takes or however much he may injure me, if he will keep the faith and be true to the brethren I can forgive him.  I love and honor men who are true to God, and I look upon Franklin D. Richards and George Q. Cannon with love and admiration because they were faithful when the devil seemed determined to kick them out of the Church; when their brethren turned upon them and sought occasion agaisnt them they were true to God and their religion.–I believe that John D. Lee who in his fanaticism committed murder will receive a far greater glory than some of those who executed him, because he paid the penalty of his crime, and was true to God and his brethren.’  Pres. Smith closed with the motion that ‘we seek to live so humbly before the Lord that we may get His Spirit, so that we may place His will uppermost and make everything subservient thereto, and that His kingdom may be first and foremost with us.  We also agree to bury all ill feelings and past differences and henceforth be united in all things and forgiving to each other.  If we will do this all our troubles will sink into insignificance and we will accomplish all we desire.’  This motion was unanimously carried.–Presd’ts Woodruff and Snow expressed their love for and confidence in Pres. Smith.–We now partook of the Sacrament after the bread and wine had been blessed by Lorenzo Snow.  Bro. Geo. Reynolds, our secretary, took part with us in this blessing.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 29 Jan., 1891)

“Pres. Woodruff now stated in conclusion that he had never felt better since the Quorum was organized, nor had he ever witnessed greater union among the brethren.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 30 Jan., 1891)

21 Mar.:  Tobacco-chewing Bishop; unmarried Bishop chosen.

[Deseret, Utah]  “At 10 a.m. we held a meeting of the teachers, and presidents of quorums in the school-house, at which nearly the first business transacted was accepting the resignation of Bp. Black and releasing him honorably with our blessing and good fellowship.–The matter of dividing the Ward into three was then discussed.  Nearly all the brethren present spoke in relation thereto, and while quite a number did not feel to favor it, the strongest arguments were for the proposition, which finally became the unanimous choice of the brethren.  Nominations for Bishops were then requested from the various districts.  From Deseret the men nominated were V. Kelley, J. Dameron, M. M. Bishop and John L. Allred, with the majority in favor of the latter.  In Oasis the choice almost without dissent fell on John Styler.  In the north Ward, which was named Hinckley, Wm. Pratt was in highest favor.  These names we decided to consider.  John L. Allred was then called to account for this opposition to Bp. Black, and while it was shown that he had determinedly opposed him, it was also shown that he had been consistent and upright.  His habits and course were shown to be upright, and Bro. Allred was acknowledged to be a good and progressive young man.–At noon, rather between 2 and 4.30 p.m. when meeting was not in session, we went to Sister Caroline Balck’s where we had dinner.  We then had John Styler come in and we talked with him about suitable brethren to act as his counselors.  We also sent for Milton Moody, an unmarried man, 23 years old who has been mentioned as a good young man for Bishop of Deseret.  At the time the saloon here was opened with a dance, and all the people were invited to attend, he refused to go to such a place even though his young lady broke up with him because of it.  He is teaching school at present, and is most exemplary in all his habits.  We decided after talking to him to make him the Bishop.–At 4 p.m. our Priesthood meeting convened.  Bro. Lyman asked for more nominations from Deseret, and Milton Moody and Bro. Warnock were nominated.  John Styles was then presented as Bishop of Oasis Ward and received a unanimous vote.  His 1st Counselor was Lars Hansen, against whom there six votes, and his second Jacob Jolly, against whom two votes were cast.  None of those opposing, however, had good reason for voting against the brethren.  Wm. Pratt, about whose nomination we hesitated because of his tobacco-chewing habit, was wanted for Hinckley, and as he thought he could overcome the habit, he was selected without a dissenting vote.  Milton Moody was then presented for the Bishop of Deseret, and was unanimously chosen.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 21 Mar., 1891)

21 Mar.:  Bishops selected counselors and teachers.

“In the evening we apostles met with the Stake Presidency and Bps. Pratt and Moody at Jos. S. Black’s house.  We desired to assist these new bishops in selecting their counselors and teachers.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 21 Mar., 1891)

1 Apr.:  Concerning the written form of baptism.

“A second question asked is concerning the written form of baptism.  The reason for asking this question is that some of the Elders insert in the form ‘for the remission of your sins,’ others ‘for the renewal of your covenants,’ and formerly in some instances, the words ‘into the United Order,’ were inserted.

The form of baptism given by the Lord for the baptism of those who are entering into the Church is found in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.  This is the form which should be followed in the baptism of all who present themselves for admission into the Church.

Under President Young’s administration, when action was being taken in regard to the United Order, he taught some of the brethren to use the words ‘into the United Order’ in the ceremony of baptism.  In the same way the words ‘for the renewal of your covenants’ were used at the time of the Reformation in 1856.

It is always safe, however, for those who officiate in baptisms to confine themselves to the written word.  The Lord has given the form, and unless there is some special occasion, when the man holding the keys suggests another form, it is unsafe and unwarranted to depart therefrom.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 26(7):218, 1 Apr., 1891)

2 Apr.:  Jesus to appear to the 12.

“If we are engaged in any business that is not in accordance with God’s will we will not prosper therein.  I believe you apostles will yet be blessed with the presence of Jesus in your midst, and He will lay his hands upon your heads.  This, too, before He comes in great glory.  The apostles should desire and pray for this blessing, and also to live to the end of time.–I do not know but what Joseph and his laborers on the other side of the vail have the privilege of calling brethren from this earth to assist them, but you need not go.  You should live above sin and without pain, except the pain caused by seeing the sins of others around you.”  (Lorenzo Snow, quoted in Abraham H. Cannon diary, 2 Apr., 1891)

15 Apr.:  Did Joseph have MP when church was organized?

“On behalf of a theological class in one of the Stakes, the following question is asked, and as the writer desires an answer through these columns, and it may possibly be of interst to others we reply to his inquiry in this manner.  The question is:

‘Did the Prophet Joseph Smith hold the Melchisedec Priesthood at the time the Church was organized (April 6th, 1830), or did he only hold the Aaronic Priesthood?’

In connection with this the writer says:

‘We can read on page 73 of the Life of Joseph Smith, by George Q. Cannon, that the Melchisedec Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the month of June, 1829.  But we find of page 88, of Vol. 24, of the Juvenile Instructor (quoted by Elder Ben. Rich from a discourse of President Brigham Young) the following:  “He [speaking of the Prophet Joseph] went and preached to his father’s house, and to his neighbors.  It was four or five years before he got the six members that composed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when it was first organized on the 6th of April, 1830.  This was a slow business.  But at last he organized the Church; for the Lord had revealed to him the Aaronic Priesthood upon which the Church was first organized: after that he received the Melchisedec Priesthood, when the Church was more fully organized.”‘

Our correspondent things the last quotation indicates that the Prophet Joseph did not hold the Melchisedec Priesthood till after the 6th of April, 1830, ‘when the Church was first organized.’

The Prophet Joseph Smith did undoubtedly hold the Melchisedec Priesthood at the time the Church was organized.  The revelation contained in section 20 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants says in the second paragraph, that he ‘was called of God and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first Elder of this Church.’  Not only was the Prophet Joseph the bearer of the apostleship and the Melchisedec Priesthood at that time, but Oliver Cowdery also was ‘called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second elder of this Church.’  In another revelation, contained in section 21, received on the same day, the Lord commanded that a record should be kept, in which Joseph should be called ‘a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the Church;’ and in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the same section, Oliver Cowdery is called an apostle and an elder also.  Both these revelations were given on the day the Church was organized, which clearly establishes the fact that the Melchisedec Priesthood was held both by the Prophet Joseph and by Oliver Cowdery at that time.

In a revelation given shortly afterwards, probably in September of the same year, the Lord, in speaking of the time when He would dring of the fruit of the vine with His servants on the earth, mentions, among others, His ancient apostles, Peter, James and John, and says concerning them, ‘and also Peter, James and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name.’  The Lord here positively declares that these apostles who held the keys in a former dispensation had been sent by Him to ordain Joseph and Oliver apostles, and, of course, when they received the apostleship, they received the fullness of the Melchisedec Priesthood.

The question may be asked, then, ‘What is meant by President Young’s remarks to the effect, “for the Lord had revealed unto him the Aaronic Priesthood upon which the Church was first organized; after that he received the Melchisedec Priesthood, when the Church was more fully organized?”‘

This can only be explained as an incorrect report of the discourse on the part of the short-hand reporter, and an oversight on the part of the person who prepared the discourse for print.  None knew better than President Young that the Melchisedec Priesthood had been fully restored at the organization of the Church.  But the Aaronic Priesthood had been first bestowed.  The Lord says, in the 8th paragraph of section 27: ‘Which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto this first Priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron.’

It may be that President Young had in his mind, in speaking about the Church being more fully organized, the bestowal of the High Priesthood upon the Elders, which occurred at a conference held on the 8th of June, 1831.  The Prophet Joseph, in speaking of that conference in his history, says:

‘The Elders from the various parts of the country where they were laboring, came in; and the conference, before appointed, convened in Kirtland; and the Lord displayed His power in a manner that could not be mistaken.  The Man of Sin was revealed; and the authority of the Melchisedec Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders.’

The wording of this statement shows that there were Elders in the Church at that time, and, of course, they had received the Melchisedec Priesthood; but it was another office, with greater power and authority, that was evidently referred to here, and that was conferred upon them.

Elder Parley P. Pratt, in his autobiography, explains this.  He says:

‘On the 6th of June, 1839 [sic–should be 1831], and general conference was convened at Kirtland, consisting of all the Elders, far and near, who could be got together.  In this conference much instruction was given by President Smith, who spake in great power, as he was moved by the Holy Ghost; and the spirit of power and of testimony rested down upon the Elders in a marvelous manner.  Here also were some strange manifestations of false spirits, which were immediately rebuked.

Several were then selected by revelation, through President Smith, and ordained to the High Priesthood after the order of the Son of God, which is after the order of Melchisedec.  This was the first occasion in which this Priesthood had been revealed and conferred upon the Elders in this dispensation, although the office of an Elder is the same in a certain degree, but not in the fullness.'”

(George Q. Cannon, “The Melchisedec Priesthood and the Organization of the Church,” JI 26(8):237-238, 15 Apr., 1891)

1 May:  Proper method of blessing children.

“There are queries in the minds of some of the brethren concerning the proper method of blessing children, some being of the opinion that there should be more care taken in laying hands upon them.  Of course, where children are of a sufficient age to sit up alone, it is proper for the Elders to lay their hands upon them.  But it has been practice where infants are blessed, for the Elders to take them up in their arms and bless them, without laying their hands upon their heads.  There is a power and efficacy in the laying on of hands, and where it is convenient it is well for the Elders, if there are more than one, to lay their hands lightly upon the infant’s head.  Where there is only one, it is not a difficult thing for a man to hold the child so that its head will rest in his hands.  There has been no fixed rule on this point, so far as we know; but it has been the practice among the Elders, where they could lay their hands upon the heads of the children in blessing them, to do so.  When children were brought unto the Lord Jesus, ‘he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.’  It seems from this reading that He not only took them up in His arms, but He put His hands upon them.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 26(9):276, 1 May, 1891)

17 May:  Monthly meeting of the 12.

“[YMMIA conference of Box Elder Stake] A brief synopsis of the remarks of Pres. L. Snow which were interesting and instructive are given herewith:  Referred to the Quorum of the Twelve as a Mutual Improvement Assn.  They hold monthly meeting which is generally very interesting.  This meeting occupies two days.  The first day is devoted to prayer and asking each others’ forgiveness.  The Lord has met with us.  The oldest member called upon the youngest member to lay his hands upon his head, and then the oldest member laid his hands uopn the youngest member, and so we continued until all had received a blessing.  The second day, we fast throughout the entire day, and partake of the Lord’s Supper.  By reason of these meetings we have attained a wonderful degree of unity.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 17 May, 1891)

13 Jun.:  Attempted recall of bishop by congregation.

“Attended a good conference and received much timely instructions.  At the close of the conference attended a High Counsel trial.  The people of Bunkerville wqrd have laid in a complaint against their bishop [Edward Bunker].  About all the charge there was that I could see in it was they were tired of the old Bp. and wanted a new one.  After much talk the counsel decided that the Bp. and those there should go home and call a fast meeting.  The Bp. and all the people one & all repent of their sins and ask each others forgiveness & strive to righ[t].”  (Orson W. Huntsman diary, 13 Jun., 1891; LC Collection)

1 Sep.:  Rules regarding baptism.

“1st.  ‘In some wards, when a person presents himself for baptism, whether a first baptism or a re-baptism, immediately before being baptized he is required to raise his right arm to the square and covenant before God, angels and witnesses present, that he will keep the commandments of the Lord as they are made known to him.  In other wards there is no such covenant required.  Which is proper?’

We should say that the proper course to be taken with candidates for baptism is to ask them to covenant that they will keep the commandments of the Lord.  This is a custom that has prevailed in the Church always, and it is in accordance with the requirements of the Lord in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

Of course, if candidates for baptism have witnessed before the Church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ and to serve Him to the end, etc., before they come to the water to be baptized, there would be no necessity to ask them to do so then; but if not, they should do so there.

2nd.  ‘Is it proper to use the words “for remission of sins” in baptizing either in a first baptism or a rebaptism?’

It is safe, in the first baptisms, to follow the language given to the Church in the revelations.  In the form which is there given, the words ‘for the remission of sins’ are not used.  As we have explained before in these columns, the man holding the keys has the right to instruct the Elders to modify or change that form, according to circumstances which may arise from time to time in the Church; but where no such modification is given, the safe and proper course for the Elders and priests in baptizing is to follow the words which the Lord has given.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 26(17):535, 1 Sep., 1891)

20 Sep.:  Bishop resigns, is reinstated.

“At 2 p.m. attended the Ward Conference.  There have been some complaints about the Bishop–Lehi N. Hardman, and when meeting was opened he arose and resigned his position in the hope that some more efficient person could be found to preside over the people.  Nominations were then called for by Uncle Angus, but after considerable talk and two nominations, it was found that the Bishop was still the most popular man.  He was therefore sustained, as were the other Ward officers, without a dissenting vote.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 20 Sep., 1891)

28 Sep.:  Request for ordination.

“I asked the Bishop to ordain my Son Wilford to the office of a Deacon which he said he would do.”  (L. John Nuttall diary, 28 Sep., 1891)

1 Oct.:  Should nominations from the people be requested?

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “John W. Taylor desired to know how to act in selecting Bishops and other presiding officers.  Shall the Priesthood nominate and the people accept, or shall the people nominate?  The conclusion reached in the discussion which followed was that it is always the right of God through His Priesthood to appoint, but it is quite proper for the brethren before making appointments to consult with the local authorities and be sure to select men for position whom the people will be glad to sustain.  Father said we should treat the people as we do our families–make them think that the thing we do is the very thing they desire.  If we try to force matters contrary to their will, a rebellion is apt to ensue.  We should never over-reach our influence, or disaster will result.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 1 Oct., 1891)

3 Oct.:  Boys to be encouraged to join AP quorums.

[Meeting of the 1st Pres. and 12] “F. M. Lyman made some quite lengthy remarks the substance of which was that the Saints living in the various Stakes and Wards should be more often visited by the living oracles.  The lesser Priesthood should receive more attention from those in authority and young men and boys should be encouraged to join the Priests’, Teachers’ and Deacons’ Quorums.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 3 Oct., 1891)

15 Oct.:  Must a 70 be ordained a HP to move to HP quorum?

“In conversation with one of the Seventies recently, he stated that there had been quite a discussion in the quorum to which he belonged upon the subject of ordination.  The ground was taken by one of the leading brethren of the quorum that it was not necessary, when a man was taken out of the Seventies and placed in the High Priests’ quorum, to ordain him to that office; he asserted that all that was necessary was to set him apart.  It was further argued that all that was necessary to make an Elder a High Priest was to set him apart, as his ordination to the office of an Elder bestowed upon him the Melchisedek Priesthood.

Whoever takes this position errs and entertains incorrect views.

It is true that ‘the office of an Elder comes under the Priesthood of Melchisedek,’ and ‘an Elder has a right to officiate in his [High Priest’s] stead, when the High Priest is not present.’  But ‘the offices of Elder and Bishop are necessary appendages belonging unto the High Priesthood,’ just as ‘the offices of Teacher and Deacon are necessary appendages belonging to the Lesser Priesthood.’  ‘Wherefore from Deacon to Teacher, and from Teacher to Priest, and from Priest to Elder, severally as they are appointed, according to the covenants and commandments of the church.  Then comes the High Priesthood, which is the greatest of all.’

The language here quoted are the words of the Lord from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

An Elder is not a High Priest until he is ordained to the High Priesthood.  He cannot legally act in that office by being merely set apart; he must be ordained, and the High Priesthood must be bestowed upon him.

There should be care exercised, especially when speaking in the presence of young, inexperienced men, in setting forth doctrine about which there is room for discussion.  There is enough that is sound and true upon which Elders can converse without venturing upon topics concerning which there is liable to be disputation.  Whenever contention or disputation arises among Elders it may be accepted as a sure sign that there is something wrong; for the Spirit of God does not teach doctrines which are in conflict with each other, nor present opposing views concerning the plan of salvation.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 26(20):622, 15 Oct., 1891)

15 Oct.:  “Clean from the blood of this generation.”

“In one of the theological classes an esteemed correspondent informs us that a question has come up as to the application of the 138th paragraph of the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, which reads:

And ye shall not receive any among you into this school save he is clean from the blood of this generation.

Concerning this paragraph there is a diversity of opinion among those composing the class.  In the 85th paragraph of the same revelation it says:

Verily, I say unto you, let those who are not the first elders continue in the vineyard until the mouth of the Lord shall call them, for their time is not yet come; their garments are not clean from the blood of this generation.

It appears to be clear in this latter paragraph that there were at that time certain Elders, not, however, the ‘first elders,’ whose garments were not clean from the blood of that generation, who were to still continue their labors until they should be called home by the Lord.  But in the 127th paragraph the Lord says:

And again, the order of the house prepared for the presidency of the school of the prophets, established for their instruction in all things that are expedient for them, even for all the officers of the church, or in other words, those who are called to the ministry in the church, beginning at the High Priests, even down to the deacons.

From this it seems that those who bore the Lesser Priesthood were to have the privilege, if they wer in a suitable condition, of partaking of the blessings of the school of the prophets.  The question arises, how could they of the Lesser Priesthood be said to be in the condition required by the 138 paragraph–that is, ‘clean from the blood of this generation?’

It appears plain that those who had been called at that time to the Melchisedek Priesthood, and had been sent out as ministers of salvation to the people, were required by the Lord to labor diligently in that ministry, and having done so, the first elders were, doubtless, as a general thing, considered clean from the blood of that generation.  But there were a number of elders whom the Lord still required to continue to labor in the vineyard, for their time had not yet come to be released; their garments were not clean from the blood of that generation; that is, there was a responsibility resting upon them to continue their labors faithfully in the ministry until they should be called home by the Lord.  Whenever that time should arrive, then, doubtless, they, too, would be qualified to enter the school of the prophets.

Could deacons, and teachers, and priests, it may be asked, be esteemed as being clean from the blood of that generation, and enter into the school of the prophets, while elders were stil required to labor in the ministry?  Yes, certainly.  The callings of priests, teachers and deacons are different from that of an elder.  They are not required to go out into the world to warn the nations, but labor in the ministry at home, in the midst of the Saints; and in this way, through faithfully performing their duties in these offices, be esteemed as being clean from the blood of the generation in which they lived.  The calling of an elder is a different one; and in the instances referred to in the 85th section, it is evident that those elders had not labored as long in their ministry as the Lord deemed necessary to enable them to stand acquitted of having fulfilled their duty to that generation.  The deacon who fulfills the duties of his office faithfully is as honorable in the sight of God as an elder who does the same; and a deacon or a teacher may never go on a mission, and yet, by the faithful performance of the duties of his calling, be in such a situation that the Lord may view him as free from all condemnation concerning the generation in which he lives.

The elders who were sent out to proclaim the word of the Lord unto the inhabitants of the earth were required to shake off the dust of their feet against those who received them not; that is, in secret they were to wash their feet as a testimony that would stand against those who rejected them, in the day of judgment.  They were informed that, where the elders were not received, they were to depart speedily from that house, and that in the day of judgment they should be the judges of that house and condemn it.  The manner in which they should deal with cases of this kind was pointed out with great plainness.  They were to go away from the man who received them not, and when alone by themselves, were to cleanse their feet with pure water and bear testimony of it unto their Father in heaven, and were not to return again unto that man.  There were to do the same also, when rejected by villages, or cities; but they were commanded that they must search diligently, and spare not.  Men who labored in the ministry in this way, until the Lord should say it was enough, were clean from the blood of the generation which they had warned, and such were considered suitable, they being also equally faithful in all other things, to enter the school of the prophets.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 26(20):634-635, 15 Oct., 1891)

8 Nov.:  Let young men enter the ministry.

“[Conference at Orangeville]  He [Francis M. Lyman] then instructed the bishops to see that the young men be brought into the ministry.  Let them commence when they are 16 years old send them with an experienced elder and let them visit the saints.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 8 Nov., 1891)

9 Nov.:  Election of new bishop.

“[Conference at Huntington]  Prest. Lyman said the action taken this afternoon [releasing a bishop] relieves us of further investigation.  The important part for us is to select a bishop.  We want you to assist us in finding material and we will take the responsibility of nomination–I want you to consider prayerfully the best man–don’t ask one another, but suggest names yourselves–I will furnish you the ballot–Don’t think of relation but the best man most able one who is able also–Slips of paper was then distributed.

The following is the result–

A. J. Allen – 17

J. W. Nixon – 10

Geo. Gull – 2

E. N. Cox – 8

D. A. Washburn – 12

P. Johnson – 5

J. E. Johnson – 14

F. Johnson – 1

Jos. Jones – 1

Wm. Howard – 2

James Canfield – 1

J. F. Wakefield – 1

J. S. Braser – 1

W. A. Guymon – 1

A. J. Harmon – 1

H. Herriman – 1

Tuesday Nov. 10th

We attended meeting until nearly 2 p.m. listening to the charges against Bp. Pulsipher.  At 2 p.m. we met with the saints.  I sopke on the necessity of continuing in well doing in order to gain the crown.  Encouraged the saints to charity–spyglass [?]–Spoke on the blessing of speech and read 15th psalm–When I was done Bishop Pulsipher got up and tendered his resignation in well chosen language.  Prest. Lyman followed and laid the matter before the congregation who voted to release him honorably and forgave him all his offenses.  In the evening we had a counsel meeting as per previous pages.  After meeting we met with the presidency of the stake and canvassed the names given in by the brethren.  We concluded to put in nomination Peter Johnson as Bishop, Andrew J. Allen and J. W. Nixon as counsellors.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 9 Nov., 1891)

11 Nov.:  Some take exceptions to consulting with the people.

“Meeting at Huntington 9 a.m. . . . Prest. F. M. Lyman:  . . . . We find in the history of the Apostles a vacancy in the quorum of twelve.  This was a new departure for them it may be profitable to refer to the mode of filling that vacancy.  We generally put up two when we want to fill a vacancy except as when Bro. Lund came in there were three to be selected so we had six up.  We had a priesthood meeting last night and the brethren gave in their names of the best man they could think of.  How many men with Bishops materials in them do you think we have in Huntington?  We received 16 names.  Mentioned the apostles who had been selected since his entering the quorum and the different methods employed–H. Grant & G. Teasdale by written revelation, J. W. Taylor by unanimous vote–M. W. Merrill, A. H. Lund and A. H. Cannon received the unanimous vote of the quorum though six names were presented.  Related his experience in Tooele.  Some take exceptions to counsulting with the people.  The Bishop of the ward presides over all in the ward.  If the president of the High Priests is residing in a ward he is subject to the bishop but when the Bishop goes to the High Priests quorum meeting he is subject to the President of the Quorum.  I and Bro. Lund would not come into this stake and make any changes unless we consult with the Presidency of the stake.  The President of the YMMA can not go into any ward organization and make any changes without first consulting them.  Now when I came here and helped organized [sic] a High Council I consulted with the brethren and with common consent.  The leading sisters of the Relief Society can not come into a ward and establish a Relief Society.  They could not do this without the consent of the Bishop.  The president of the stake would not think of establishing a Sunday school in the ward without the consent of the Bishop–The line and scope of the apostles is to set the Church in order.  We make and unmake Bishops and high councils.  Some High Councils argue that they are to the Stake what the 12 are to the Church!  They have no business to go around and set wards in order.  They sit on cases and decide–We have extended their jurisdiction and made them Home Missionaries, but they are not to regulate affairs as the apostles.  We the apostles are called to do this and have jurisdiction to remove even the presidency of a stake if that was right.  Should we abuse Prest. Larson he has redress from the presidency of the Church.  No tyranny no abuse by any superior to those place[d] under him.  The people should feel as free to go to their bishop as children to their father.  I have no right to abuse any one. . . . The twelve used to reside in different parts of the territory.  They had more of a local jurisdiction than now when they are called to travel all over.  We are really performing the duties of the Presidency of the Church who are not able to travel all over.  Parkinson at Cassia has many sons in office–J. N. Smith in Snowflake has several relations in office.  This gives sometimes offence.  I have felt a High Council should not have any more than two of the same blood.  In this stake Prest. C. G. Larsen has a son in the High Council, now if he had 40 sons he should not put another in that council–Now there is a family who has furnished a great many officers–The Johnson family.  We have selected Peter Johnson for Bishop have you anything serious against him speak it now or forever afterwards hold your peace.

Peter Johnson was sustained as bishop with unanimous vote. . . .

I followed on the method of casting lots for officers mentioned the election of Saul to King–casting lots finding out the guilty–Benjamin and Jonah–Told the people to sustain their Bishop and to furnish their meetinghouse and plant trees etc.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 11 Nov., 1891)

19 Nov.:  No changes in baptismal prayer for rebaptism.

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12]  “C. W. Penrose submitted an article which he had prepared for publication in answer to an inquiry as the proper words for use in a case of rebaptism.  In this article he states that the words ‘for a renewal of your covenants,’ should be inserted in the regular form.  Considerable discussion which followed resulted in the conclusion that except where the President of the Church directs otherwise the regular form given us in the written revelation should be strictly followed.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 19 Nov., 1891)

19 Nov.:  Ordination of bishops by 70’s invalidated.

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12]  “H. J. Grant was mouth in prayer.  He then submitted the question as to whether or not some ordinations of Bishops and Counselors were valid, which have occurred in the Rexburg Stake within a week, wherein Seymour B. Young, a President of Seventies, was mouth.  The latter told him he had been called to do similar acts by Moses Thatcher, John Henry Smith and John W. Taylor.  For this reason, Heber asked him to assist him, though he did not feel right about it all the time Seymour was officiating.  The brethren decided that it was improper, and instructed that those whom Seymour was mouth in ordaining, be ordained over again.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 19 Nov., 1891) 

29 Nov.:  Only one dissenting vote.

“In the afternoon we met with the people of Fountain Green.  Before meeting we called C. J. Christiansen, A. M. Barutzen and R. Lewellyn together and informed them that they had been nominated to fill the Bishopric of Fountain Green.  After some talk they accepted it.  When I laid the matter before the meeting they were sustained by only one vote against Lewellyn.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 29 Nov., 1891)

3 Dec.:  Forms to be used in baptisms.

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12]  “The matter of a form to be used in baptisms was considered, but no decision was reached, it being desired to first send to the various temples and see what forms they use and why they do so.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 3 Dec., 1891)

13 Dec.:  Bishops ordained and set apart in Sac. Mtg.

“The people in the meeting also voted to honorably release him [Bishop Tanner] with their blessing, after he had presented the matter to them in the forenoon.  John E. Huish for the 1st and Jonathan S. Page Jr., for the 2nd Ward Bishops were then presented and sustained for the positions, there being only one dissenting vote on the former selection.  These brethren were then called to the stand and I ordained them High Priests and Bishops.  I then spoke for half an hour on the duties of Ward officers, and the respect the people should show them.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 13 Dec., 1891)

15 Dec.:  The authority of an Elder.

“We learn that a question has arisen in a theological class held by the Seventies in one of the Stakes concerning the authority of an Elder to ordain priests, teachers and deacons in the lesser Priesthood where the Elder has himself never been ordained directly to the Aaronic Priesthood.  Someone appears to have the idea that before an Elder can legally ordain men to the Aaronic Priesthood, he ought himself to have been ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood; in other words, that even though he had been ordained to the Melchisedek Priesthood, he could not by virtue of his possessing that Priesthood ordain any man to the lesser Priesthood.

Upon this point there there should be no room for controversy, for a man who holds the Melchisedek Priesthood has a right, by virtue of his ordination to that authority, to act in all the offices of the lesser Priesthood, when called to do so.  Upon this point the Lord says:

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

Again He says:

High Priests, after the order of the Melchisedek Priesthood, have a right to officiate in their standing, under the direction of the Presidency, in administering spiritual things; and also in the office of an elder, priest, (of the Levitical order) teacher, deacon, and member.

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

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

An Elder having the ‘right to officiate in all these offices of the church,’ it follows that he has the right under proper circumstances to ordain men in these offices–namely, priest, (of the Levitical order) teacher and deacon, whenever he is called upon by proper authority to ordain such officers.

During President Brigham Young’s life time a bishop of one of the wards of Salt Lake City had expressed a desire, although he held the Melchisedek Priesthood and had been ordained a high priest and a bishop, to be ordained a priest after the order of Aaron.  His desire, as reported to the President, was to be ordained by one of the brethren who had received the Aaronic Priesthood under the hands of the Prophet Joseph in Kirtland.  On hearing about this, President Young expressed himself very emphatically upon the subject.  He said such a proposition, if carried out, would be an insult to the Priesthood, and if the bishop attempted such a thing, he should be dealt with and severed from the Priesthood.  The bishop, upon hearing President Young’s views, became staisfied that his position was a wrong one, and dismissed from his mind the wish that he had had upon the subject.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 26(24):767-768, 15 Dec., 1891)

15 Dec.:  Concerning deacons’ quorums.

“Another theological class has been agitated over what is said in the 85th paragraph of the 107th Section of the Book of Covenants.  That paragraph read as follows:

And again, verily I say unto you, the duty of a president over the office of a deacon is to preside over twelve deacons, to sit in council with them, and to teach them their duty–edifying one another, as it is given according to the covenants.

The question that seems to arise in the minds of some is, Do twelve deacons constitute a quorum, or are there thirteen deacons, counting the president, in a quorum?

The views of the First Presidency upon this point are that the ‘president over the office of a deacon’ is included in the twelve deacons, and is not counted in addition to the twelve.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 26(24):768, 15 Dec., 1891)

15 Dec.:  Ordinances performed by an unrighteous man.

“One of our correspondents desires an answer to the following question:

‘If a man should be ordained to an office of the Melchisedek Priesthood by an Apostle who is corrupt and deep in sin, but who has never been convicted of this sin, will this ordination hold good after the Apostle has been convicted and cut off from the Church, or will the one whom he ordained have to receive a second ordination?’

A man holding the Priesthood and in good standing in the Church may nevertheless be a sinner and a violator of the laws of God.  There have been such cases in the Church; yet while they held the Priesthood and performed acts such as the ordination of men under proper circumstances, those ordinations have not been void.  A man properly ordained by another who is in this condition would receive the Priesthood conferred upon him, although it might be subsequently discovered that he who did the ordaining  was in transgression at the time.  That would not invalidate that ordination, neither would it be necessary for a person thus ordained to be ordained a second time.

To deprive a man legally of his Priesthood, there must be action on the part of proper authority.  There have been apostles who have fallen into sin, but they held their apostleship until they were legally deprived of it by action of their own council, or the action of the Church.  When they were excommunicated by the council, they lost all the authority which had been conferred upon them; and so also, when excommunicated by the Church, they lost the fellowship of the Saints and all the promises which had been made unto them as members of the Church.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 26(24):768-769, 15 Dec., 1891)