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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1892

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1892.” You can view other years here.

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1892:  1 Jan.:  Transgressors and rebaptism.

“The question is asked, 

‘Where is the authority, if any, to require persons guilty of profanity to be re-baptized and renew their covenants?’

There is no authority given in writing upon this subject.  But there have been many occasions in the Church when the Prophet of God who held the keys has counseled the Saints to renew their covenants by baptism.  This was the case when the pioneers came to this valley, and the people of the companies who came in the same year all renewed their covenants in the waters of baptism.  They had been traveling in the wilderness for a long time, subjected to many trials and temptations, and Brigham Young was led to counsel them to go forth and be baptized and renew their covenants with the Lord.  Since that time, we believe, it has been a custom for all members of the Church who come here as emigrants to go forth and be re-baptized.  On another occasion, at the time that is now called the Reformation, the Saints again renewed their covenants by baptism; and there have been times since that they have obeyed the same ordinance.

It is not necessary for men and women who transgress to always be re-baptized.  A transgressor should make a confession of his sins as publicly as they are known; that is, to use the language of the Lord, in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants,

‘If thy brother or sister offend many, he or shall shall be chastened before many.

‘And if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly, that he or shall may be ashamed.’

It is the privilege of the members of a Ward, upon hearing a confession of sin, to say whether they will take the sinner into fellowship again.  Whether he should be baptized again or not depends upon circumstances, and of these the authorities in the Ward are in a position to judge.  But if any one entertains the idea that by baptism alone he can obtain forgiveness and be restored to the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, he is much mistaken.  Repentance and the confession of sin are necessary in the case of a man who violates the law of God; and no matter how often he may be baptized without these conditions being observed, he is not promised that his sins will be forgiven.

The Lord says also:

‘If any shall offend in secret, he or she shall be rebuked in secret, that he or she may have opportunity to confess in secret to him or her whom he or she has offended, and to God, that the church may not speak reproachfully of him or her.’

Upon these points the law of the Lord is very plain.  If these conditions be complied with–that is, repentance and confession of sin–the members of the Church are assured that they will be forgiven.

Whenever the ordinance of baptism is administered, it should be made plain to those who are candidates that to have it attended with the desired blessing that must be sincere and heartfelt repentance.

Take the instance referred to above, where a man has been guilty of profanity, and it is known to the people of the Ward where he lives, he should make an acknowledgement of his sin as public as his transgression has been known, and he should ask the forgiveness of the members of the Church.  The Latter-days Saints cannot fellowship profane people.  They may have a standing in the Church; but no faithful member who knows than another is profane can hold him in fellowship.  For such a one, therefore, to restore himself to the fellowship of the Saints, he should acknowledge his sin and obtain their forgiveness.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 27(1):27-28, 1 Jan., 1892)

28 Jan.:  When only 6 High Councilors are present.

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “Whether or not a High Council is a legal body to transact business when only six of the Councilors are present and alternates are drawn for the remainder, was considered.  The feeling of those present was that it was legal, and the case was cited in support of this view where Pres. Young once had the High Councilors and Alternates all presented to the conference in this Stake for their votes and called them High Councilors.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 28 Jan., 1892)

1 Feb.:  Beginning of re-baptism at Nauvoo.

“About the time the doctrine of re-baptism for members in the Church was first revealed in Nauvoo, Joseph, the great seer and revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made some remarks on the subject.

On one occasion he read, among other scriptures, Hebrews, 6th chapter, 1st and 2nd verses, as follow:

Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith toward God,

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

The Prophet said the first verse should read: ‘Therefore, not leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, etc.’  This explanation not only made the entire subject of the two verses clear but reconciled them with other scriptures.  Notwithstanding Paul is made to say ‘leaving,’ etc., the inference is clear that if the foundation of repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands should be relaid they would have to perform those works over again, as every careful reader of the text must see.  This also corroborates a revelation to the Church of Ephesus: ‘Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works.’  All latter-day Saints know that the first works after repentance are baptism and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost.  Here we find a presiding elder of a branch or ward of the Church commanded to perform these works over again, under pain of removal if he failed to obey the divine behest.  Many more passages might be quoted to the same effect, but these are sufficient for my purpose.  Joseph’s translation not only reconciles the text with itself, but also with other scriptures, as already shown, and as was explained by the Prophet.”  (Daniel Tyler, “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” JI 27(3):94, 1 Feb., 1892)

11 Feb.:  Form of baptism.

[At council meeting of the Twelve.]  “We had some talk as to the correct form to be used by the person who administers the ordinance of baptism, and President Woodruff expressed himself in favor of adhering to the words used in the revelation of the Lord as contained in our church publications, except in the case of baptism for the health, when the object of the ordinance might be mentioned.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 11 Feb., 1892)

5 Mar.:  Qualifications for priesthood ordination.

“At 10 a.m. I was at the Quarterly Conference of this [Salt Lake] Stake of Zion, held in the Assembly Hall.  The time of the forenoon meeting was occupied mostly in the reading of the Fast-day donation reports, and the recommends of brethren to receive the priesthood of an Elder.  One brother was refused his recommend till he had labored in the lesser Priesthood for a time.  Chas. W. Penrose spoke against the system of recommending brethren for the Temple who had never done anything to merit the blessings of the house of God.  He also said we should not ordain men or children to the Priesthood just because they are going to die, when they would not be worthy to receive the Priesthood had they lived.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 5 Mar., 1892)

14 Mar.:  Youth should magnify AP before receiving MP.

“Attending conference part of the time.  Br D H Cannon and C Smith spoke on the importance of young men magnifying the Aaronic or Lesser Priesthood before receiving the Higher or Melchisedik.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 14 Mar., 1892)

29 Mar.:  Collegiality among Twelve.

“Pres. Snow said he felt that when any question came up among us on which the majority were clear, should there be one who did not see as the others, that one should be willing to yield his views to those of the majority, and leave the responsibility of the course pursued with them.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 29 Mar., 1892)

3 Apr.:  Order of procession for laying Capstone of Temple

“First Presidency, Twelve Apostles, Presiding Patriarch and Patriarchs, 1st Seven Presidents of the Seventies, Presidents of stakes and their counsellors and the High councillors, Seventies, High Priests, Elders, Presiding Bishops, Bishops and Counsellors, Priests, Teachers, Deacons.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 3 Apr., 1892)

8 Apr.:  Rebaptism prior to marriage.

“I then accompanied Father to the font under the Tabernacle where he baptized Angus and Ada, who are to be married soon, and David for his health.  I was mouth in the confirmation of Ada.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 8 Apr., 1892)

1 May:  Must a Sunday School teacher hold the Priesthood?

“An intelligent Stake Sunday School officer in a northern stake asks, ‘Is it necessary for a Sunday School teacher to have the Priesthood?’

He says that he was asked this question and he answered it as follows: that while he did not consider it absolutely necessary to have any Priesthood to teach in Sunday school, he certainly considered it better for the teacher to hold some portion of the Priesthood.

This is the correct view to take of this question.

He says that in one of the wards a young, worthy brother was told that he had no right to teach, on account of not holding the Priesthood.

Such action is entirely too technical.  No man should be forbidden to do good.  There may be young men who are capable of teaching in Sunday School who do not hold the Priesthood; but young men of that character ought to have the Priesthood conferred upon them.  Of course, there is an authority connected with the Priesthood and blessings bestowed upon those who hold it which add to the qualifications of a teacher.  At the same time we do not think that persons should be excluded from teaching in Sunday Schools because they do not hold the Priesthood; for if that were done, what would become of the many efficient lady teachers among us?”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 27(9):288, 1 May, 1892)

1 May:  Did the Elders of Ancient Israel hold MP?

“We are asked the question by a president of a theological class in one of the Stakes, whether the Elders of Israel in the time of Moses and after his death were holders of the Melchisedek Priesthood; if not, why were they called Elders?

The general understanding concerning this point is that those who were then called Elders held the Melchizedek Priesthood.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 27(9):288, 1 May, 1892)

8 May:  Rebaptism, sealing in temple for time.

“After supper at Pres. Cluff’s he asked me regarding the case of a young girl who had married a man in the Temple, and after her husband’s death had married and lived with another young man who had not had his endowments.  I advised that she be rebaptized with her husband, and that they then go to the Temple and be sealed at least for time.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 8 May, 1892)

8 May:  Rebaptism of husband and wife–an unusual case.

“Another case was then presented: A young girl had been seduced by a married man who had received his endowments.  She is courted by a Bishop’s counselor and is married to him about two months after she had connection with the married man, named James Cowcill, but he does not tell her husband of her sin untill they have been married some time, and he charges her with the crime because of rumors he has heard concerning the matter.  She then tells all, and desires her forgiveness.  By this time she was in a family way by her husband, but has a miscarriage, and is only now recovering from the effects of the same.  My advice was that as she had not had her endowments till after she had sinned, they being given her at the time of her marriage, she should confess her wrong-doing to her husband, and her Bishopric, and shall then renew her covenants; and as her husband has been living with her since he knew of her sin, he too shall renew his covenants.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 8 May, 1892)

15 May:  Selection of a bishop.

“We then drove two miles to Sandy, where the [Union] Ward conference was to be held.  The house was full, and a good spirit prevailed.  After the opening exercises Uncle Angus spoke of the resignation of Bishop Ezekiel Holman because of the loss of his sight, by the formation of cataracts on his eyes.  It was decided to select another man to preside in the Ward if the people accepted the resignation.  It was voted that the resignation be accepted, and that we recommend Bro. Holman to be ordained a Patriarch.  Uncle Angus then called for nominations if the people desired to make the Bishop.  A Bro. White arose and said the people would object to the appointment of a man to preside if he were brought from another settlement.  Some little talk followed, and several nominations were made.  Votes were taken on these candidates, and finally on the suggestion that the President of the Stake nominate the person.  The latter motion received the most votes.  I then spoke for a short time on the necessity of our being united, and of being contented with the selection which might be made.  I also urged the Saints to Pray and exercise faith for the restoration of Bro. Holman’s sight.—-Because of the division of sentiment which prevailed, and for the reason that some of the Saints did not seem willing that Uncle Angus should name the Bishop, he was about to close the meeting without accomplishing the labor for which we came, when some man arose and moved that the President of the Stake name the man to preside in this Ward.  This motion was unanimously carried. Uncle Angus therefore named James Jenson, who now resides in Draper, but who has a lumber yard in this place, to preside as Bishop.  He was sustained by the majority, though about six persons voted against him.  He spoke a few words, and expressed his reluctance at taking the position, but said he would do the best he could.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 15 May, 1892)

23 May:  Deplorable record keeping throughout the Church.

“After my experience up to the present, and after getting thoroughly acquainted with the condition of affairs in all the places I have visited so far, I am sorry to report that in most places I have found the Church records in a very deplorable, neglected condition; in many instances no regular records are being kept at all, and those few which are kept are as a rule kept without system or order.  Nearly all the early records kept in the several wards and branches have long ago been lost, misplaced or destroyed entirely, and consequently about half the members of the Church are in perfect ignorance today as regards the dates of their blessings, baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, etc., as most of them have relied on the public records that are lost. . . .

And therefore I take the liberty to suggest that a circular letter, issued by the First Presidency or the Church historian, or both, setting forth in plainness what is required of the stake, ward and branch clerks, as well as heads of families and individual members in regard to keeping records, would make a deeper impression and leave a more lasting effect, besides being the means of introducing uniformity and system in record keeping throughout all the stakes of Zion.”  (Andrew Jenson to First Presidency, 23 May, 1892; in Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, p. 200)

12 Jun.:  Elderly 70s should be made High Priests.

“Pres Woodroof gave it as his counsel that the elderly brethren of the Seventies should avail themselves of the privellege of joining the High Priests Quorum and retiring from the ranks of the seventy and that, with the full faith and confidence of these and blessings of the first Presidency and the People, there was a unanimous vote of the conference showing their united approval of the counsel.  The council of the 29th Quorum all accepted the counsel of Pres Woodroof and resigned in favor of younger men to fill their places.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 12 Jun., 1892)

“Conference convened at the Tabernacle at 10 oclock a.m.  On the stand were the stake authorities, also Pres Wilford Woodruff and George Q. Cannon of the Presidency of the Church.  Also B. Y. Roberts of the first Council of Seventies.  They gave excellent instructions.  Afternoon meeting, large congregation.  I stopped over night at Brother McAlister’s also Clara A. and William B. and I took supper there.  Soon after the close of the afternoon meeting President Woodruff and Cannon suggested to the assembly of Seventies the properity of the Elderly Brethren not able to perform foreign missions to withdraw from their Quorum.  And join the High Priests and thus make room for young men able to perform foreign missions.  A number gave their names for withdrawl.”  (Levi Savage diary, 12 Jun., 1892)

13 Jun.:  Sunday School as a correlating body.

“It is not intended to inaugurate a perfect educational system at once in our Sunday Schools, but to give an impetus to the efforts of devoted educators in Zion, in systematizing and harmonizing the labors of Sunday school workers so that in future there will be less waste of time and energy and the results be more commensurate with their desires.”  (13 Jun., 1892; pp. 3-4)  (“Sunday School Work.  A Series of Lectures, by Dr. Karl G. Maeser.  Under the Auspices of the Deseret Sunday School Union.  Delivered in the Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, beginning Monday Evening, June 13, and closing Saturday Evening, June 18, 1892.  Reported by John M. Whitaker,” [Salt Lake City, Hyrum Parry, Printer, n.d.–ca. 1892])

15 Jun.:  Further programs needed to combat secularism.


Our Sunday Schools have been established by Divine inspiration, by the word of God.  It is a sacred, it is a holy work.  It may be somewhat inefficient, and may be compared with the small ditch made to receive the water from the mountains; as it runs it is distributed in the garden until it reaches every tree and shrub.  But sometimes a heavy flood comes, and these ditches are too small to contain the water, and it comes rushing along, overflowing the ditches, and destruction sweeps along with it.  Therefore, other provisions have to be made to forestall such a calamity.

An avalanche of evil is upon us now.  There was a time when our Sunday Schools were sufficient, and they would be now if parents would have given their support to them, and teachers had been prompt, obedient, and at their posts.  But to-day we are under different circumstances.  There is a flood of infidelity, of evil influence, crowding upon us, bearing heavily upon the youth from every side.  It is a mighty flood, and the Sunday Schools alone can not avert the dreadful results that may follow.  From Monday morning to Friday night, thirty hours in the week, these children are more or less in a dangerous influence, being under the control of teachers in many instances opposed to our faith.  The teachers may be efficient, and have the respect of their pupils–their word is law; but as an offset to this, all the time devoted to Sunday School work is from three quarters to one hour one day in the week.  This is not sufficient to counterbalance the influences working against the progress of the Kingdom of God; hence, Religion Classes, Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Associations, Primaries, etc. have been established throughout Zion.  But it is the Sunday Schools that we look to as the central point–the focus–of all this great work.  It is the Sunday Schools from which diverge the different workers of the Church.  It is here we train the officers for the Mutual Improvement Associations, Primaries, Relief Societies and Religion Classes.  The Sunday Schools are established in every Bishop’s ward and are doing a noble work.  God bless the Sunday Schools, in them we should train and drill the young for the various callings of the priesthood.”  (15 Jun., 1892; pp. 25-26)  (“Sunday School Work.  A Series of Lectures, by Dr. Karl G. Maeser.  Under the Auspices of the Deseret Sunday School Union.  Delivered in the Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, beginning Monday Evening, June 13, and closing Saturday Evening, June 18, 1892.  Reported by John M. Whitaker,” [Salt Lake City, Hyrum Parry, Printer, n.d.–ca. 1892])

15 Jun.:  Church organized precisely as anciently.

“The Church of Christ has been established on the earth in a perfectly organized form.  Its founder is the Lord Almighty.  Its officers have been designated by Him.  He has given instructions as to their kind and their number, and has assigned them their duties and all their functions.  The Church now on the earth is organized precisely as it was when it was here before.  A comparison between the two, if our records contained all the details, would show that in every particular they are alike.  The officers in the Holy Priesthood are the same.  The authority and powers which each officer holds and exercise are the same today as they were in ancient days.  When the moderns who bear the Priesthood shall have the privilege of entering into the society of the ancients who bear it, they will stand upon the same level.  The authority of each will be equal, and their experience will be entirely similar.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 27(12):373, 15 Jun., 1892)

16 & 18 Jun.:  Duties of Deacons re: Sunday School.

“He [Sunday School Superintendent] should cultivate the spirit of public responsibility and public duty.  He should call boys to act as deacons, to do all little errands and have them where he can put his hands on them at a moment’s notice.  Where the superintendent does all the little work in the school, there is no order, some one is not doing his duty; some one does not understand his work; where there is confusion in the school, somebody is neglecting his part; hence, all should be taught their duties by the superintendent, and be encouraged to fulfill them.

The deacon should keep order.  If any one whispers in the room or makes a noise, it is his duty to go to such person and ask him to be still.  He is thus acting within the province of his calling, in the range of his Priesthood.  He should understand public responsibility.”  (16 Jun., 1892; pp. 31-32)

“WORK OF DEACONS.–Speaking of order in the schoolroom, there should be as already stated, a body of young deacons appointed and assigned certain duties to perform in keeping the house clean, maintaining order, attending to fires and seeing if anything is wanted in any of the departments, so that nothing may destroy the harmony that should characterize a Sunday School.  A log hut or a tent kept clean, and everything in order, is more acceptable to God and more inviting to the angels, than palaces or marble halls disorderly kept; and if these young deacons are properly trained, there will be but little difficulty in the future in keeping our places of worship clean, and having order and harmony in our public assemblies.  It is in the Sunday School that these things should be learned.”  (17 Jun., 1892; p. 42)  (“Sunday School Work.  A Series of Lectures, by Dr. Karl G. Maeser.  Under the Auspices of the Deseret Sunday School Union.  Delivered in the Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, beginning Monday Evening, June 13, and closing Saturday Evening, June 18, 1892.  Reported by John M. Whitaker,” [Salt Lake City, Hyrum Parry, Printer, n.d.–ca. 1892])

15 Aug.:  A Teacher in Nauvoo.

“Before I close my testimony concerning this good man, I wish to mention one circumstance which I never shall forget: I was called and ordained to act as a teacher to visit the families of the Saints.  I got along very well till I found that I was obliged to call and pay a visit to the Prophet.  Being young, only about seventeen years  of age, I felt my weakness in visiting the Prophet and his family in the capacity of teacher.  I almost felt like shrinking from duty.  Finally I went to his door and knocked, and in a minute the Prophet came to the door.  I stood there trembling, and said to him:

‘Brother Joseph, I have come to visit you in the capacity of a teacher, if it is convenient for you.’

He said ‘Brother William, come right in, I am glad to see you; sit down in that chair there and I will go and call my family in.’

They soon came in and took seats.  He then said,

‘Brother William, I submit myself and family into your hands,’ and then took his seat.  ‘Now Brother William,’ said he ‘ask all the questions you feel like.’

By this time all my fears and trembling had ceased, and I said, ‘Brother Joseph, are you trying to live your religion?’

He answered ‘Yes.’

I then said ‘Do you pray in your family?’

He said ‘Yes.’

‘Do you teach your family the principles of the gospel?’

He replied ‘Yes, I am trying to do it.’

‘Do you ask a blessing on your food?’

He answered ‘Yes.’

‘Are you trying to live in peace and harmony with all your family?’

He said that he was.

I then turned to Sister Emma, his wife, and said ‘Sister Emma, are you trying to live your religion?  Do you teach your children to obey their parents?  Do you try to teach them to pray?’

To all these questions she answered, ‘Yes, I am trying to do so.’

I then turned to Joseph and said, I am now through with my questions as a teacher; and now if you have any instructions to give, I shall be happy to receive them.’

He said ‘God bles you, Brother William; and if you are humble and faithful, you shall have power to settle all difficulties that may come before you in the capacity of a teacher.’

I then left my parting blessing upon him and his family, as a teacher, and took my departure.”  (William Farrington Cahoon, “Reminiscences of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” JI 27(16):492-493, 15 Aug., 1892)

5 Sep.:  Foreordination to the priesthood.

“Attended Fast Meeting and spoke to the People a short time on our preexistence, quoting the saying of F D Richards, G. Q. Cannon, and Pres Woodroof, who made the statement last June in the young mens Meeting that our spirits had been kept back in the spirit world for thousands of years to come forth in these days to hold the Holy Priesthood and help to roll this great work along.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 5 Sep., 1892)

7 Sep.:  Is a 70 higher than a HP?

“In conversation with Pres. [Lorenzo] Snow . . . I remarked that the brethren belonging to the Seventies Quorum, many of them, who had been advised to identify themselves with the High Priest Quorum because of advancing age, and thus make way for younger men, objected to the change.  They appeared to entertain the idea that in ‘doing’ so they were retrogressing or losing something–that in the Priesthood a seventy stood higher than a High Priest.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 7 Sep., 1892)

21 Sep.:  No 70’s meetings during Sac. Mtg.

“Wednesday.  I had a visit from the Presidency of the Stake; C. H. Monson had complained to them about me interfering with the Seventies’ meetings being held in the afternoon Sacrament Meetings in the Wards.  I directed that the Seventies’ meetings should be held by themselves and not in a Ward Sacrament Meeting.”  (Marriner Wood Merrill diary, 21 Sep., 1892)

Sep.:  General instructions to Seventies Quorums.


512 and 513 Constitution Building,

Salt Lake City, September, 1892,


Dear Brethren:–There are some items of special interest we desire to call your attention to, connected with our duties in the quorum over which you preside.  We feel very much encouraged at the evidence of the union and progress manifested by the great majority of quorums throughout the church, and realize that commendable progress is being made in many directions; and that possibly never before in the history of the Church, has such a degree of discipline and earnest zeal been made manifest as at the present time, all of which is very gratifying to the brethren who preside over you.

This great body of the Priesthood is playing no unimportant part in the work of the Lord in this dispensation, and it should be the pride of every Seventy to so magnify his calling as to have continually with them the evidence of the approving spirit of the gospel, and the approbation of our Heavenly Father.  There are now but few “scattered” Seventies, and this is as it should be.  Nearly every Seventy, who is entitled to this office and calling, has identified himself with some one of the many quorums, and has become an active worker in the Gospel vineyard.


In this connection we desire to impress upon the minds of the brethren the necessity of their securing transfers from their quorums, signed by the Senior President present, and secretary, whenever they change the location of their residence.  This is a matter of paramount importance, and should not be neglected.


All Seventies are expected to obtain their licenses and those who have not done so, should immediately make application for them through the quorum secretary who should be able to impart all necessary information, [page 2] and see [t]hat date of ordination, by who, number of quorum, Bishop’s recommend of standing in the ward, etc., should all be included in the application.


We call your attention to the enclosed statement of the payment made by your quorum to the Seventies’ General Fund, with the wish that should there be any error in the account, attention will be called to it at once, that it may be corrected.

All quorums numbering sixty, and over, are expected to pay into the general fund, thirty-five dollars per annum., and all quorums numbering less, an amount pro rata.  This should be paid in full by December 31st of each year.  Where quorums have been remiss in this direction, they should at once see to it that the balance is forwarded.


Great care should be used in keeping correct, neat, and concise minutes of quorum meetings, securing the services of brethren for this duty who have an aptitude for it, who will take a pride in keeping the genealogical and other records of the quorum complete, and who will promptly forward to us all changes in the quorum, together with the statistical and financial reports required, etc.


The genealogical statistics should be carefully recorded; and all changes, by accessions to the quorum, or by death, removals, or otherwise, should be reported without delay.


Be kind enough to keep us informed of date and place of your regular meetings, as we may thus be enabled to meet with you from time to time.


At your regular quorum meetings, the Senior President, present, should always preside and have charge of the proceedings.  Great care should be exercised in calling the meeting to order promptly on time, and not continuing the session beyond a reasonable hour.  The lack of attendance is often to be accounted for by the length and tediousness of the meetings held; every effort should be made to make them interesting and instructive.


We desire your quorum to be kept full, and therefore recommend that you do not permit many vacancies to occur before taking steps to fill them.  In selecting men to fill the vacancies, you will understand that you are limited in your selection to the Elders’ Quorums.  The mode of procedure in filing vacancies should be as follows:  First, inform the Presidency of the Stake that you wish to fill so many vacancies in your quorum, and want his permission to select that many names form the quorums of Elders within your district.  Having obtained his assent, consult the Presidents of the Elders’ Quorums, and with them select such Elders as are most worthy of advancement into the Seventies’ Quorum.  Having selected the names you want, submit the list to the Bishop, that he may endorse them as being men of good standing in his ward, if they are; and if they are not, that he may so inform you: for if an Elder is not in good standing in the ward where he resides, he is not worthy to be ordained a Seventy.  When all is thus made in readiness, if you will inform the First Council, an appointment will be made at our earliest convenience to meet with you and attend to the ordination of the brethren selected.


Whenever vacancies occur in the Presidency of your quorum, the Council should be called together, and nominations made of worthy brethren from among the members of the quorum to fill the vacancy.  The number of nominations need not be limited to the number of vacancies, but several nominations for each vacancy may be made, and from the list submitted to the First Council a choice will be made.  The brethren whose names are submitted should not be informed of their selection until the First Council has taken action in the matter.


We again call your attention to all important duties connected with the selection of missionaries, to travel and preach the Gospel.  After a call is made upon your quorum, the council should at once convene and make a list of the most eligible names belonging to the quorum.  Having found a sufficient number to fill the call, the list should then be submitted to the Bishop of the ward for his endorsement before the brethren are spoken to on the subject.  After obtaining the Bishop’s endorsement as to their standing in the ward, these brethren should be visited at once and their feelings ascertained relative to filling a mission.  Consideration should be had of their financial condition, as it is not intended to place too heavy a burden on any one.  In this connection we desire to say, that it is our firm conviction that a Seventy will often find the easiest solution of his financial troubles by filling a mission, and will, in the end, receive a blessing, much more than commensurate with the sacrifice made.

The list of names should then be presented to the President of the Stake for his endorsement, and the list so endorsed should then, and not until then, be forwarded to this council.

[page 5] In making these selections Presidents of quorums  should be careful not to seriously interfere with the local organization of the ward, so as to not leave it in a crippled condition.  Every effort should be made to observe the proper courtesy that should exist between these organizations, that there may be no conflict of interest, but hat all may work together harmoniously.  In the meantime the brethren should not make any definite arrangements about leaving home, until notified by letter from the First Presidency of the Church as to when and where they will be wanted.  The very greatest care should be exercised in the selection of missionaries, and only those who are worthy to be the bearers of the message of life and salvation should be selected.  Men are wanted whose age and physical condition will enable them to perform the arduous duties that devolve upon a missionary.


Where you have brethren who are derelict in their duties, and setting an example unworthy of a Seventy, they should be labored with, and, if they fail to reform, should be dealt with, and not permitted to retain their standing and continue in wrong-doing.  Should it become necessary to withdraw the hand of fellowship form any brother, his license should be demanded, and if he refuses to give it up, it should be canceled by the vote of the quorum, and public notice given of the action taken.


Where brethren of the Council or Quorum have arrived at an age, or through physical disabilities, are not able to perform the duties that devolve upon a Seventy, we recommend that they secure transfers to the High Priests’ Quorum, that they may have the privileges of their meetings, and not be expected to accomplish labors beyond their strength.  These brethren have, as a rule, borne the heat and burden of the day, and in the evening [page 6] of their lives are entitled to the kindly care and consideration of those who follow in their footsteps and emulate their example.


Measures should at once be taken to organize theological classes in all the quorums, that these classes may be in good working order in ample time for the long evenings of the fall and winter.  We cannot impress too forcibly upon your minds, the necessity of making this work a preparation for the missionary labor the Seventies are expected to perform.  Each member of the quorum, and particularly the younger members, should be encouraged to speak upon the first principles of the Gospel, and all doubtful or intricate subjects should be avoided.  In short–the class should be made a drill ground, to prepare men to intelligently present the Gospel to the world.  Presidents of quorums should not occupy too much time in the quorum meetings; for by so doing they destroy their influence as presiding officers, and render the meetings tedious and therefore unprofitable.


In conclusion we trust you will use every exertion to make your labors successful, and thus aid in the promulgation of truth, and the establishment of righteousness in this great dispensation of the Gospel; in so doing you have our faith and prayers, and the blessings of our Heavenly Father.

The General Secretary will be in the office week days, Tuesday excepted, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

With love and kind regards, we remain, your brethren in the new and everlasting covenant,


General Secretary, C. D. FJELDSTED,

513 Constitution Building JOHN MORGAN,

Salt Lake City. B. H. ROBERTS,


JONATHAN G. KIMBALL.” (Levi Edgar Young Papers, Utah State Historical Society, B12, Box 8, Fd 12, Seventies’ Council Rooms, September, 1892)

5 Oct.:  Choosing the wrong man for bishop.

“[Wednesday]  St. Johns.  Today Conference meets in S. L. City.  May the Spirit of God be poured out upon the saints in a great measure.  We met yesterday with the saints of St. John’s.  I advised the Bishop to resign as I feared the opposition was too strong for him.  He did so.  I then spoke to the saints about their position and privileges as to voting for a bishop.  I then gave them a chance to suggest the name of 3 good men for the bishopric.  24 were suggested.  The presidency and I canvassed the votes and they suggested J. T. LaSeur.  He refused point blanc.  I then dismissed the meeting until half past 1 and then I nominated Jos. B. Patterson.  He was absent at the Saw Mill 30 miles away.  A boy was sent to notify him.  In the afternoon I preached on the organization of the Church and our relation to God.  Read 1st and 4th Eph.–Bro. Smith addressed the saints also. . . . I had my misgivings in nominating Jos. B. Patterson for Bishop; but the people had clamored to have their own will and so I gave them the man who had the most votes but he will refuse.  I hear he has promised to not smoke in order to get a recommend and he is now taking up with it.  When I proposed his name I felt the right man ought to be C. P. Anderson; but I thought it would teach the people a lesson to be in suspense another day. . . . 

6 Oct.:  We received a letter from Jos. B. Patterson refusing to act as Bishop.  I had expected this and I now told the people that as they could not get their choice I would make a choice for them and nominated Charles P. Anderson.  He was sustained unanimously.  The people began to feel they had got rid of a good man and did not know where to get another who would serve.  I am glad that the two who were called first were shown up before the people in their true character and that the people learned the lesson that it takes even of God for that position.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 5-6 Oct., 1892)

8 Oct.:  How to select a General Authority.

“At 12:30 First Presidency and Twelve held a meeting in the President’s office to select one of the Seven Presidents of Seventies.  After some discussion of different names without reaching definite conclusion, I made a motion seconded by John W. Taylor that the First Presidency select the man to fill the vacancy.  After some discussion the motion was put and carried unanimously.”  (Marriner Wood Merrill diary, 8 Oct., 1892)

15 Nov.:  Should a terminally-ill child receive MP?

“An esteemed correspondent wrote us some time since concerning the propriety of ordaining a child who was sick to the Melchisedek Priesthood.  He states that the mother called himself and another Elder in to administer to the child, and asked if it would not be well for them to ordain her boy to the Priesthood, so that in the event of his passing away he would be a holder of the Priesthood.  Her anxiety appeared to be that he should receive the Priesthood, lest, not having it, he might be at a disadvantage.  Our correspondent gave her his views upon the subject, to the effect that as a rule it is not expedient to ordain a boy to be an Elder because he is sick, especially when he had not held any of the lesser offices.  Then the mother informed him that one of the patriarchs, in bestowing a patriarchal blessing, had ordained a brother of this sick boy to be an Elder, and the child was only five months old at the time.  Afterwards, as this boy grew up, he was ordained to the office of a Deacon, the local authorities being ignorant at the time that he had been ordained an Elder.

There is a manifest impropriety in such action as seems to have been taken by this patriarch.  He exhibited more zeal than discretion.  We know that such things have been done by Elders when they thought children were likely to die.  They have felt as though the children would lose something and would be at a disadvantage if they were not ordained.  There is certainly no good ground for entertaining such views.  It has the appearance of distrusting the providence of God and the salvation that He has provided for His children.  If such ideas were to become prevalent in the Church, what a strange result would follow!  Parents who had lost their children in infancy or early life and who had not had them ordained, would feel to mourn, either at their neglect or that they had allowed their children to pass away without receiving ordination; and wre such an idea not checked, it would not be long until some members of the Church might fall into the errors of certain sects concerning the baptism of infants–that those who were not baptized in infancy would not receive the joys of heaven.

Our correspondent states some of the conclusions that he had reached, and asks if they are correct.  He says:

First–I do not think any male person who may be taken sick should be ordained to any calling he would not or could not be ordained unto were he in good health.

Second–That if a faithful member of the Church should be suddenly called hence, the fact that he had not been ordained would not deprive him of the reward to which he is entitled.

Third–That in the absence of a special command it is not according to the order and the revelations to the Church of Christ to ordain an infant to the Priesthood. These conclusions, as they appear to us, are certainly safe, and it is not proper that any practice should arise among us of such a character as this referred to, as it would surely lead to confusion.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 27(22):684, 15 Nov., 1892)

21 Nov.:  Common consent.

“Monday.  At the afternoone meeting the Authorities of the Church were presented and sustained, with the exception of one vote cast in the negative by young George Bean against the Twelve Apostles.”  (Marriner Wood Merrill diary, 21 Nov., 1892)

1 Dec.:  Can women pray over ill priesthood holders?

“A correspondent asks a question concerning the right of the sisters of the Relief Society to fast and hold meetings and pray over those who are sick who hold the Priesthood.

There can be no question upon a point of this kind.  Sisters have the right as well as the brethren to pray to the Lord, and to fast also, and to offer their petitions in favor of every righteous object, and the Lord has promised to hear and answer them.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 27(23):726-727, 1 Dec., 1892)

15 Dec.:  Setting apart Sunday School officers & teachers.

“Respecting the setting apart of officers or teachers, this is not absolutely necessary.  A man who has the Priesthood can act as an officer of a Sunday School or teach in a Sunday School by virtue of that authority, without it being necessary that he should be set apart for that labor.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 27(24):761, 15 Dec., 1892)

29 Dec.:  Why were emigrants rebaptized?

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “For some time there were various points of doctrine discussed which were called out by a question which was asked as to the reason for the baptism of those who come to Zion from abroad.  The Josephites object to our common use of this doctrine.  It was done by the Prophet Joseph in Nauvoo, and by Pres. Young and those who succeeded him in this Territory.  The subject in its various phases was given to the Historian, F. D. Richards, and John H. Smith to investigate and prepare an article upon it.  The latter said in very strong terms that the authorities of the Church must meet the various questions of doctrine which are continually arising or the people will lose confidence in us.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 29 Dec., 1892)