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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1897

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1897.” You can view other years here.

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1897:  5 Jan.:  Nepotism among the General Authorities.

“At ten a.m. we met in the Temple in our room.  There were absent J. H. Smith, B. Young, and J. W. Taylor.  I was called on first to speak.  Bro. Merrill followed and showed that a man does not fall at once.  Alluded to several things in which Moses Thatcher had shown years past his rebellious spirit.  H. J. Grant followed and said that in his experience Bro. Moses had often shown a very dictatorial spirit and had at times insulted Heber for which he, however, apologized.  Spoke about his own trials and how he had found that the Lord had blessed him with more freedom of spirit in talking to the Saints.  Alluded to his brother’s faithfulness.

Bro. Teasdale followed.  In regard to Heber he prophesied that he will still have sons to perpetuate his name.  He spoke upon the necessity of charity.

F. M. Lyman read the 36th chap. of Alma and showed the repentance of Alma and how he was willing to labor unceasingly for the kingdom of God.  It behooves us to put our shoulder to the wheel and so labor.  Alluded to the natural feeling of wishing to do all for our own sons and relatives.  This should not be nepotism but neither should we be afraid to help our own forward who have talents and willingness to work.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 5 Jan., 1897; LDS Archives)

6 Jan.:  How do discipline unmarried fornicators.

“We had an informal meeting in the room of President Snow.  I asked the question:  If a young couple have gone to the temple to be married and having transgressed with each other before they are there married what shall be done with them?  Ans.  Let them meet before the council of the priesthood and there ask forgiveness.  They need not be baptized again.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 6 Jan., 1897; LDS Archives)

14 Jan.:  Apostles debate investment in railroad.

“The apostles met in the Temple and also the Presidency.  Prest. Cannon had offers from some of Railroad men to join in a project south to California.  The apostles were not willing to give opinion until they understood our resources. I closed the meeting with prayer.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 14 Jan., 1897)

28 Jan.:  Proposal for unified Church magazine.

“Meeting of the Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11 A.M.  Present:  Prests. Woodruff, Cannon, Smith, and Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, B. Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, H. J. Grant, and J. W. Taylor.

. . . . 

The subject of a proposed publication to cover all the ground occupied by a number of periodicals which would have to be absorbed in the one concern, was freely discussed.

Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon, being requested by Pres. Woodruff to express his views, responded by saying that he could not see at present how the scheme could be carried out, so as to make it a financial success, nor how the present publications could be disposed of, and the multiplying of periodicals in his opinion advisable.  Being asked as to his opinion if it would be possible to put the Deseret News, into such a position as would make it fully acceptable to the majority of its readers, Pres. Cannon said it would take $100,000 to place the paper in such a position as was desired.”  (JH 28 Jan., 1897)

1 Feb.:  Should men or women preside in Sunday School?

“Another question is, ‘Is it wrong for one person to hold two offices in the Sunday School, providing he or she is willing to and can perform the duties of both without interfering with the proper working of either?’

There certainly is no reason that we can perceive why a person may not hold two positions, if he or she can attend properly to the duties of both.

As to another question propounded, whether men should preside in preference to women, it is an established rule in our Church that men bearing the Priesthood, as they generally do, ought to take the lead.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 32(3):80, 1 Feb., 1897)

1 Feb.:  Efforts to curtail influence of the Priesthood.

“A determined effort has been made to curtail the influence and authority of the Priesthood of the Son of God.  Lines have been drawn, in some instances by members of the Church, which the servants of God have been told they must not cross; and a strong effort has been made to convince the officers of the Church that they will not be sustained in counseling, directing, or in any manner interfering with the members of the Church in certain directions.

This doctrine, though false, is not new.  It is as old as the Church itself; for one of the great objections that was urged by apostates, or those who had the spirit of apostasy, against the prophet Joseph was taht he should not interfere with temporal affairs, but confine himself to spiritual functions.  All who are familiary with the history of the Church will recall these instances.  Subsequently a feeling prevailed among others who later imbibed this spirit, that Joseph aimed to usurp the functions that belonged to the State and to the civil authority; and the great hue and cry that was raised against him about the time the Church was driven out of Missouri and after it settled in Nauvoo, was that he had ambitious designs and aimed to place himself as a dictator at the head of the people.  Men who contributed to his murder justified themselves for their atrocious acts towards him by professing to believe that his designs against the State were dangerous and should be checked.

A notable apostasy occurred a little less than thirty years ago, and one of the charges made by those who led this movement was that President Brigham Young was interfering with matters that did not belong to his Priesthood; that he was overstepping the limits to which the Priesthood shouldld be confined; he was too much engaged in temporal matters.

This is the cry that has been raised of late in our midst.  The charge is made that there is a disposition to unite Church and State; and many people have been carried away with the feeling that there is truth in this charge, and have attempted to show their disapproval of it.  The political situation has furnished the opportunity for the display of this feeling.

Nothing has occurred among the Latter-day Saints that we know of that has in every respect been such a trial to the people as the division in politics on party lines.  Feelings have been exhibited by men that they were never suspected of possessing.  Men, and women too, have appeared in entirely new characters.  If they themselves had been told a few years ago that they would have shown such a spirit as they have of late, they would not have believed it.  Satan has taken great advantage of the opportunities which have been afforded through this division.  He has exercised great influence, and in order to make his schemes successful, he has resorted to his old methods of using misrepresentation and falsehood.  The eyes of many people have been blinded and their understandings have been darkened, and they have said and done things which not very long ago they would have been shocked at.  In such cases there must needs be heartfelt and sincere repentance, or greater darkness will follow, the Spirit of the Lord will be grieved, and they left to themselves.

It seems necessary that we, as a people, should have the experience we are now gaining.  The Lord has a design in permitting such a condition of affairs to exist in His Church.  The result which will attend this condition, so far as the Church itself is concerned, no one of experience can doubt, its members will be made more perfect, will understand themselves better, will have profited by the lessons which experience has taught them, and their children will have the history of these events before them as a warning and a guide to them in their future lives.  These will be the results with those who are faithful to the truth, and who are determined to honor the Priesthood of the Son of God.  But those who find fault and yield themselves to those evil influences which seek to prevail, will undoubtedly, unless they repent, go into darkness and lose the faith.

It is a trite saying that history repeats itself.  History is repeating itself at the present time, so far as the Church is concerned.  During the sixty-six years that are past no man nor combination of men has ever prospered that has been found arrayed against the servants of God.  It is true that these latter have been and are but mortal.  They are men who have frailties, infirmities and weaknesses like other men.  But God has chosen them.  He has promised those who will listen to their teachings and counsels that they shall be blessed.  He has remitted the sins of those whom they have baptized, and, under their administration He has confirmed uon those baptized the Holy Ghost.  He has blessed the men, the families and the people who have followed their instructions.  The evidences of all this are before the eyes of the Church and the world.  On the other hand, what man is there that has ever prospered who has lifted up his voice and used his influence against the authority which these men hold?  Look carefully along the whole line, from 1830 to 1897, and can anyone point out an instance where either an individual or a number of individuals have prospered and been successful in attacking and condemning the servants of the Lord?  Names without number might be mentioned to prove that failure and ignominy have attended every effort of this kind.  And as it has been in the past so it will be in the future.  God has made promises and these cannot fail.

It is well, therefore, for Latter-day Saints to look to their ways.  They should be warned by the experience of the past and the fate which has befallen all those who have done what many are now trying to do.  It is a good time now for all of us to examine carefully where we stand and what manner of spirit we are of; and if we have, by thought, or word or act, done any thing to grieve the Spirit of the Lord, we should repent of it with all our hearts.

In looking at the history of our Church it has seemed as though the Lord has often permitted affairs to take such a shape as to test the faith and integrity of the people.  There have been numerous instances of this kind.  Pretenders have arisen claiming to have authority, and denouncing those who did have the authority.  Many of them have had a following.  Sometimes the efforts of these pretenders were more threatening than at other times, and they led away a greater number of people.  It has seemed necessary for the cleansing of the Church that such occasions should arise.  If nothing of this kind were to occur, it would appear, looking at our past history, that many people would call themselves Latter-day Saints and remain members of the Church who were utterly unworthy of the name.  But when a crisis occurs, and a division among the people is the result, then the unworthy, the faithless and the corrupt are carried away, and the Church is left purer and stronger for the cleansing.  This is the view we take of the events which are of recent occurrence.  The result, though it may be painful in many respects, cannot be otherwise than beneficial.  There have been men who have not been living as they should do; their lives have not been the lives of Latter-day Saints.  These men, if they do not repent, will sooner or later lose their standing among the people.  The ties which bind them today–self-interest, old associations and friendships, business and ties of habit–will grow weaker and gradually be dissolved until the dread of separation will have disappeared and it will appear an advantage to make the severance complete.  In this respect these events which are now happening do the Church great service.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 32(3):97-99, 1 Feb., 1897)

14 Feb.:  Don’t follow wicked man, even if apostle.

“Bro. [George Q.] Cannon said in the evening, ‘Do not follow a wicked man though he has been an apostle.’  After meeting Prest. Geo. Q. Cannon and I had a nice chat on the affairs of the Church.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 14 Feb., 1897; LDS Archives)

1 Mar.:  Correction:  Nephi DID have power to give HG.

“Our attention has been called to a statement which appears in the Juvenile Instructor of September 15th, 1896, to the effect that ‘Nephi did not have the power to confer the Holy Ghost upon those who were baptized.’

While there is no direct statement in the Book of Mormon that Nephi had the Melchisedek Priesthood, there is no room, we think, to doubt the presence of that Priesthood among the nephites, and especially with the first Nephi.  We read in the 36 paragraph of the 31st chapter of the Book of Alma as follows:

Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him.  And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

From this the inference is plain that Alma had the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Besides this, there is constant allusion in the Book of Mormon to Elders and High Priests, to the building of temples, and to a condition of things as existing in the Church that we cannot conceive would exist in the absence of the Melchisedek Priesthood.

It is recorded in the 7th par. of chapter 10 of the Book of Helaman, that the Lord said unto Nephi, the son of Helaman:

Behold I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth, shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.

This power herein given belongs to one who holds the keys of the Melchisedek Priesthood.

Before the Savior made His appearance to the Nephites, another Nephi arose, the son of the Nephi just mentioned.  It is said:

In the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people.  III Nephi 7, 19.

The statement concerning the first Nephi not having the power to confer the Holy Ghost was published without the notice of the editor, or it would have been corrected.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 32(5):146-147, 1 Mar., 1897)

1 Mar.:  Can higher priesthood be given w/o lower first?

“The following questions come to us with the request that they should be answered, as they have given rise to some discussion in one of the Sunday Schools.

1st.  ‘Are persons ever ordained to the higher Priesthood without first being ordained to the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood?’

2nd.  ‘If so, would such persons be authorized to officiate in the lesser Priesthood?’

To the first question we answer, Yes.  It has not been uncommon to ordain persons to the Melchisedek Priesthood who have never held the Aaronic Priesthood, though the feeling is very general among the authorities of the Church that it is a better plan to ordain, especially in the case of young men, to the offices of the lesser Priesthood in the first place.  By ordaining young men Deacons and the Teachers and then Priests after the order of Aaron, they can gain experience and be better prepared to discharge the duties of the higher Priesthood when they are ordained Elders, Seventies, etc.  It is frequently the case, however, in preaching the Gospel in the world, that Elders find it necessary to ordain recently baptized men to the Melchisedek Priesthood that they may be able to organize branches and have men qualified to assist them in preaching the Gospel and administering the ordinances to the people among whom they dwell.

We repeat, therefore, that persons can be ordained to the higher Priesthood without first being ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood.

In answer to the second question, we say that persons thus ordained would be authorized to officiate in the lesser Priesthood.  This is in accordance with the word of the Lord contained in the 107th section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, par. 8, wherein the Lord says:

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

Also in the 10th and 12th paragraphs:

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

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 in the Church when there are no higher authorities present.”

(George Q. Cannon, JI 32(5):147, 1 Mar., 1897)

1 Mar.:  Did Aaron hold the Melchizedek Priesthood?

“There has been some discussion in one of the Sunday Schools on a question, ‘Did Aaron hold the Melchisedek Priesthood?’ and we are asked to answer it.

We do not know of any record within our reach in which this question is answered.  But it is extremely probable, and we think the weight of evidence is in favor of the conclusion, that he did hold the Melchizedek Priesthood.  He was the spokesman of his brother Moses, and before presiding over the Aaronic Priesthood acted as one might act who held the office of a High Priest in the Melchisedek Priesthood.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 32(5):148, 1 Mar., 1897)

8 Mar.:  Thatcher:  1st Pres. not to be reorganized.

“The First Presidency were at their office this morning, and Brother E. D. Woolley, President of the Kanab Stake, had an interview with them, during which Brother Woolley was requested to relate to the Presidency a conversation he had with Brother Moses Thatcher several years ago when taking a trip with him and Brother Erastus Snow to Pip Springs, in the extreme South.  It was after the death of Pres. Taylor, and Brother Thatcher manifested a desire that the First Presidency should not be reorganized.  In this conversation Brother Thatcher held that the Prophet Joseph Smith had rolled the responsibility of leading, guiding and governing the Church on the shoulders of the Twelve, and that instead of the First Presidency, an executive committee should be chosen to do the business of the Church.  Brother Woolley gathered from the remarks of Brother Thatcher that he expected to be a member of that committee, with Brother Erastus Snow as its chairman.  After arriving at Pipe Springs, further conversation ensued, and Brother Thatcher went so far as to upbraid Brother Snow for not taking advantage of his opportunities, intimating that other Apostles were also backing Brother Snow for this position.  Brother Snow replied to Moses, saying in a firm voice, ‘I want you to understand that I will not fight my brethren.’  Brother Woolley said he felt better after Brother Snow had rebuked Brother Thatcher, as he feared that Brother Snow was indulging in the spirit that Brother Thatcher had manifested.

About two years after this, Brother Woolley said, he had a conversation with Brother Thatcher in S. L. City during Conference time, and Brother Thatcher said: ‘I have been quite plain in talking with you and in your hearing, but I want now to inform you that we have had a reconciliation, and the hatchet is buried.’  Brother Woolley replied that he hoped it was buried so deep that it would never be taken up.  Brother Woolley added that he was quite prepared for the action of the Apostles in the Thatcher case, because of the spirit which Moses had manifested, which was an evidence that the trouble weith Moses Thatcher was long before the Declaration of Principles made by the Church authorities in relation to discipline.

In reply to questions Brother Woolley stated that the bone of contention as he understood it, was personal feeling against Pres. Cannon, and jealousy, on the part of Brother Thatcher.  When asked whether he understood Brother Thatcher to state that Pres. Young should never have organized the First Presidency, Brother Woolley said, ‘He didn’t say that in so many words, but I got that idea from what he did say, and that Pres. Young in organizing the First Presidency, did something which bordered on usurpation, for the reason that the Prophet Joseph Smith had placed the entire responsibility upon the shoulders of the Twelve Apostles.’  Brother Woolley stated further that after the trip to Pipe Springs, he had watched closely the feeling in Brother Erastus Snow’s family, and found that ‘The hatchet was not buried.’  Yet the rebuke that Brother Moses had received from Elder Erastus Snow appeared to check the spirit of disunion which he was manifesting, and given Brother Woolley great satisfaction.”  (JH 8 Mar., 1897)

8 Mar.:  The lead of meetings.


Cannonville, Utah,

March 8, 1897.

To the Editor:

Be kind enough to answer the following questions through the columns of the NEWS:

Can a High Priests, in the absence of the Bishop and counselors of the ward, preside and take the lead of Sunday meetings, without being called or otherwise requested to do so, by the Bishop?

Can he (the High Priest) assume the authority by virtue of his calling as High Priest?

If not, who is the proper person to preside over the Sunday meetings in the absence of the Bishopric?


To the first question we will say that if there is no one directed by the Bishopric to conduct the meeting, and the Bishop and counselors are absent, a High Priest can take the lead of the meeting, provided the Saints present at the meeting indicate him as their choice to do so; but he could not do so against the wish of the Saints.  A High Priest has the authority to preside, but he performs the duties of presidency in pursuance of his appintment; and in the absence of the Bishop and counselors, without instructions, the Saints are not under obligations to select a High Priest to conduct a ward meeting.  They can choose some one else having the presiding qualification.  If a Bishopric should leave the Saints unprovided for in the way of some one to conduct a ward meeting that has been regularly appointed, the members of the Church are not compelled to forego the meeting; they may select some qualified person to conduct the services.

The reply to the second question is that a High Priest cannot assume a jurisdiction to which he has not been appointed.  He has the presiding authority, but requires the appointment before he can exercise his authority in a particular field.  The Saints in such a meeting as the one described could select him to proceed with the meeting till the regularly appointed authority comes; or he may proceed by their consent, given in due form.

As to the third question, it is a proper thing for the Bishopric of a ward, where there is liability of the three members of that council being absent, to have one or more brethren designated in regular order to act in such an emergency.  Such an appointment holds good as coming from duly constituted authorities.  But if this be not done, then the voice of the Saints at the meeting must decide who of the qualified persons present shall take the lead; and a High Priest or any one else has a right to make suggestions or call the meeting to order with a view of determining the choice of one to conduct the services.”  (Deseret Evening News editorial, 8 Mar., 1897; JH 8 Mar., 1897)

15 Mar.:  Must one be a High Priest before an Apostle?

“One of the theological classes has had under discussion the question as to the quorum from which the Twelve Apostles are selected.  One of the brethren seems to be very positive that they must be High Priests before they become Apostles.

A number of Apostles have been chosen who were High Priests.  Others have been ordained Apostles who were Seventies.  There would be no impropriety in selecting an Apostle from among the Elders, the Seventies, or the High Priests.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 32(6):188, 15 Mar., 1897)

15 Mar.:  Can non-member be officer in YMMIA?

“A short time since the editor was asked the question, ‘Is it right and proper for a non-Mormon to be appointed and set apart to be a Counselor in the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association?’

We deemed it proper to submit this question to President Joseph F. Smith, who is one of the Presidency of that Association.  He informed us that the question had been submitted to the General Superintendency, and they did not consider it proper for a non-member of the Church to hold a presiding position in an association which is a Church organization.  All such, however, should be welcomed to the Associations as members, and be encouraged to take part in the exercises; but the presiding officers should be members of the Church.  If, however, any one of this class did occupy a position, the Presidency did not think it wise to change the existing arrangements this season.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 32(6):188, 15 Mar., 1897)

20 Mar.:  Form of ordination.


‘A Subscriber,’ writing from Idaho Falls, Idaho, makes the following inquiries of the NEWS:

Will you kindly answer the following questions through the NEWS and oblige several subscribers and Latter-day Saints?

1. If a man is worthy to be ordained to the Priesthood, should the Elder being mouth use the words, I confer upon you the Aaronic Priesthood and ordain you a Deacon, Teacher or Priest, whichever is intended?  Some claim that we do not need to confer the Priesthood, but just ordain him to the office in the Priesthood.

2. If a man is worthy and is recommended by the Bishop to receive the Melchisedek Priesthood, should the Priesthood be conferred and then he be ordained to the office of an Elder, etc.?  Some claim that it is not necessary to confer the Priesthood, but in ordaining to the office, it gives the Priesthood.  The argument is that a man cannot receive the right of a citizen in the nation by receiving an office in the government.

When a person is properly ordained to an office in the Priesthood he receives all the Priesthood pertaining to the office conferred.  The order is to ordain Elders, Priests, Teachers, Deacons, and all other officers.  See Doctrine and Covenants, xviii:32, xx:39, and all other references to ordination of officers; also Book of Mormon, Moroni iii:3.  The Church authorities have given frequent instructions upon this point, a recent notable instance being at the conference of Elders in Salt Lake Stake in 1895, the minutes of which were published at length in the NEWS, so that all could learn precisely what was required.  As to the argument that a man cannot receive the right of a citizen by receiving an office in the government, ordination in the Church does not make a man a citizen or a member.  He becomes a member in a prescribed manner, and being a member and otherwise qualified, he is eligible to ordination to office, which confers all the powers of the office bestowed.”  (Deseret News Editorial, 20 Mar., 1897; in JH 20 Mar., 1897)

27 Mar.:  Questions on Church members voting.


To the Editor:  Will you kindly inform an anxious contingent of Latter-day Saints what position those are in who might vote on the negative on disciplinary or simliar questions?

2nd.  What law (if any) of the Church is broken or strained by opposing and voting against any question that may be presented for endorsement or rejection?

3rd.  Do you not think those who allow a question to go by default, so to speak, are in the more unenviable position than the one who openly opposed but subsequently accepts, like all minorities have to do?

D. P. Felt.

1. When questions of the nature referred to are presented to Church members duly assembled to transact business, those members have a perfect right, and it is their duty, to exercise their free agency in voting either in the affirmative or negative; and they are free from criticism or reproof for the conscientious exercise of that right.  But when the affirmative vote is the majority, the question is settled, and the minority should acquiesce in the decision.  To maintain a position antagonistic to that adopted by vote of the Church, virtually is withdrawing from fellowship with the Church.  If a matter of the nature described be passed upon by the General Conference of the Church, then the decision of that Conference is the rule of the Church.  Should occasion be such that the matter is submitted later to branch organizations of the Church, then a negative vote would be antagonism to a Church rule adopted in regular form and in force, and would be an act of withdrawing or holding back from fellowship, such as has been named.  A member who assumed the negative under the conditions last stated would be subject to labor with, so as to br brought into harmony with the Church; while an officer who assumed the antagonistic position would not be worthy of retaining the official calling unless he repents, for it would be inconsistent to sustain in official positin one who antagonizes a Church rule, or to permit such person to exercise official jurisdiction over any member who is in full fellowship and harmony with the Church.  There is considerable difference between casting a negative vote upon the original presentation of a proposition, and casting such vote in a branch upon a rule already adopted by the Church, and in force upon its members generally.

2.  No law is broken in opposing, or in voting against a proposition when presented for original discussion and vote thereon, provided such opposition keeps within rules of decorum.  But in some cases an opposition violates rules of good order, not because the proposition under consideration is opposed, but because of the form taken by the antagonism, in which case a law is broken.  A further reply to this inquiry is given in the answer to question one.

3.  That depends wholly on the circumstances of opposition or of allowing the matter to go by default.  If the default has been through lack of correct comprehension of a rule already adopted by the general vote of the Church, then active opposition to the rule is an offense, while silence until the proper understanding is arrived at is not.  If the default be through carelessness or lack of courage at a time when opposition was in due season and form, then the former would be reprehensible, while the latter would not be.  But if a person in either of those cases meriting criticism repents, he is entitled to forgiveness and reconciliation.”  (Deseret Evening News editorial, in JH 27 Mar., 1897)

27 Mar.:  Calling of the Seventy.


The third general quorum in the Church, as sustained at each General Conference, is denominated the First Seven Presidents of Seventies; and under the immediate presidency of these is a vast body of the Elders of Israel whose special calling is to preach the Gospel in all the nations, and who are known in the Priesthood as belonging to the order of the Seventy.  There are now organized in the Church one hundred and eleven quorums of Seventy, comprising a total of nearly 8,000 adult male members of the Church who are or should be active ministers of the Gospel for general work in proclaiming the message of salvation revealed by the Lord in this dispensation.  This large body of the Seventy is counted in addition to the great number of High Priests, Elders, Priests, etc., that engage in special callings in the ministry in the organized Stakes and branches of the Church.

Of the body of Seventy as at present constituted there are between twelve and thirteen hundred now on foreign missions.  Under the conditions which prevail these are changed about every two years; so that if the present number were not increased, and all were to alternate in turns upon foreign missions, each one would be called upon to spend about one-sixth of his time abroad in the ministry.  But as the brethren who hold this calling advance in years beyond the time when they can meet with a reasonable degree of comfort the hardships pertaining to missionary life, the ranks are augmented by the youth of Israel as they reach manhood and become qualified to minister among the nations.  Hence the body of Seventy is steadily on the increase.

Those who receive this Priesthood today are under precisely the same obligation as were the quorums of Seventy called and sent out by the Lord Jesus when He was in the flesh, and who continued their activity after His resurrection; they of today are called and sent by the same authority–that of the Divine Master and Savior of the world.  Hence the Seventy may comprehend the responsible nature of their calling, and in the necessity which is seen for laborers in the vineyard may measure the urgency resting upon them to discharge their sacred duty before the Almighty to their fellowmen.

This body of Priesthood acts in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve, in building up the Church; and the Lord says, concerning their ministry in laboring among the people:

The Seventy are also called to preach the Gospel and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world.

In the fulfilling of foreign missions this body of Priesthood, in connection with others, has performed a mighty labor, and has been a mighty instrument in the hands of the Lord in reaching the honest in heart and building up the Church so far as required in operations away from where the body of the Church is assembled.  If the number of missionaries that have been sent out since the Church was organized in 1830 were computed, it would figure up to a vastly greater number proportionately than has been sent out by any organization since the days of the primitive Church.  And the work of this body of preachers, taken as a whole, has been a marvel in the earth, for the reason that the power of God has made it so.  They have not been preachers trained in colleges for the ministry, as are many people who assume to teach the Gospel; but they have been trained to a comprehension of the divinity of the Gospel, of the fundamental principles it presents, and have received the divine commission and authority to preach the same.  This is their qualification, and the Lord has blessed them and the labors performed in His name.

But the Seventy who understands the nature of his calling is not content with filling one or more foreign missions with zeal and integrity.  He is an especial witness to the Gentiles, a traveling minister first to them, and also to the Jews.  But while he is under the responsibility to travel among all nations as directed by the presiding authority, it is not his whole responsibility as a Seventy.  There are circumstances under which he is not required to travel in foreign lands; but under those circumstances he is none the less an especial witness ‘in all the world’–and that means when he is at home as well as when he is abroad.

So far as the gathered condition of the Church is concerned, there is ample work for the especial witness of the Seventy among the people.  The work of the ministry has a field for operation in the perfecting of the Saints, to bring them to a unity under the law of God; and in attaining this unity there is necessary a great labor in giving instruction to those who have become members of the Church, many of whom have had long experience as years go.  And it is meet that one holding the responsible position of a Seventy should be associated in imparting that instruction, with equal zeal and care, and with manifestations of divine approbation equal to those he receives while preaching among strangers.  Besides the room for activity among those Saints who have comprehended the first principles of the Gospel and have received divine testimony of the same, there is the comparatively illimitable field of teaching the young people the truths of the Gospel.  In this department alone, both among the children of Saints and of those who have not united with the Church, there are often to be found greater opportunities for the especial witness of a Seventy than he will meet within months of foreign missionary travel.

The calling of a Seventy is as adaptable to this home missionary work as to the preaching in foreign lands; hence the Seventy has a perpetual missionary call before him.  If there be one who bears that Priesthood who fancies that his only responsibility thereunder is to preach in foreign lands, he has failed to comprehend the scope of his calling, which is in all the world, to Israel and their children in a gathered capacity as well as to scattered Israel or anyone else.  Hence, every Seventy should be as willing–nay, more, as eager as when in a foreign missionary field to bear witness of the Gospel to his fellowmen.  At home he has the opportunity in his daily conduct, in the meetings of the Saints, in the Sabbath schools, the Improvement associations, as Teacher, etc., under the direction of the ward or other authorities, to engage in the calling of his Priesthood, all in the due order of the Church.  And no Seventy who refrains from doing his best in this regard, who is neglectful or unmindful at home, or whom is less an especial witness on behalf of the Lord among the Saints than among others, comprehends and fulfills his duty under his calling.  The Seventy should be zealous to perform their part at home as well as abroad, and those who conduct affairs should give them opportunity to do so in the field to which their abilities and calling adapt them.”  (Deseret Evening News editorial, in JH 27 Mar., 1897)

29 Mar.:  Too many societies within the Church?


A recent discussion in church matters has sprung up through the East, as to whether there are not getting to be too many societies in church work for effective service–whether there are not so many meetings of societies as to exclude the central directing force which should operate in them all, and to tend to disruption instead of to unity.

There can be no question that from the standpoint of church efficiency too many organizations within the body make the appearance of an activity that is superficial; the complicated machinery grinds itself out; and when it comes to adding organizations outside of the church, humanity finds it impossible to keep up with all, and some must suffer from neglect.  In the present state of affairs, it is claimed that generally the churches are the sufferers.

It is necessary in church work to have such organizations as will reach all classes of members, and to give all grades of instruction within reach.  When this is accomplished, the addition of new societies, or a union with organizations beyond, operates to the detriment of the individual; hence a line must be drawn beyond which it is inadvisable to pass.  In the Church which has the bulk of its membership gathered in these mountain vales there are provisions for organizations of a fundamental and auxiliary character, forming avenues of training in every grade, to meet the needs of every member in the Church.  This being the case, it may be readily seen that union with other societies operating in the social, ethical or benevolent fields occupied by the Church, cannot be otherwise than detrimental to the Church efficiency of those who direct their attentnion to other channels which assume to take up similar work.  It is not profitable to have ‘too many irons in the fire.'”  (Deseret Evening News editorial, in JH 29 Mar., 1897)

30 Mar.:  Restoration of MP by Peter, James & John.

“Went to the Temple and met with the Apostles.  Bro. Lyman opened by prayer.  Prest. Richards spoke upon the character of the Prophet Joseph.  He was a wonderful man who was held in high regard by the Lord.  Spoke of his first vision, and how he was watched when he obtained the plates.  That he was charged to preserve them and told that he would be slain if he did not take proper care of them.  He related several incidents of the prophet’s life.  Alluded to his receiving the Melchisedek priesthood the day before he had been arrested and the lawyer thought he would confound him.  He asked him what was the first miracle which Jesus had performed.  Joseph answered that the first miracle he had heard about was when He created the earth.  What He did before Joseph had not learned.  The lawyer was confounded. . . .

In the afternoon Geo. Teasdale arrived and he was the first speaker.  He was sorry that there was so much immorality among our young people.  Said he had been told that in Pleasant Grove there were six couples had to marry on account of having committed themselves.  Referred to some bad cases in Nephi.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 30 Mar., 1897; LDS Archives)

31 Mar.:  How long should an objector remain in Church?

“We met in the Temple.  Bro Snow spoke as above reported.  [Snow’s comments had been juxtaposed between 2 entries for 30 Mar.]  I followed him and talked on the wonderful consistency in the Lord’s plans.  Though Joseph could not conceive the full plan at first yet the Angel Moroni had foreshadowed in his first conversation with Joseph the work for the dead in quoting the last words of Malachi.  Bro. Jos. Smith Sen. had foreshadowed the glorious doctrine of progression when speaking to Bro. Snow.  I referred to the number of cases of fornication among the young.

I [sprang?] the question: How long is a man entitled to a standing in the Church who will do nothing at all but rather fight against it?  Bro. Snow answered as above.  I asked the question concerning the resurrection of those who died after Christ if all were resurrected before them who died before?  Bro. Lyman did not see much use in answering it even if it could be answered.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 31 Mar., 1897; LDS Archives)

7 Apr.:  Secret societies.

“A meeting was held at 10 A.M. in the Assembly Hall, of the First Presidency, Apostles, Presidents of Stakes and counselors, High Councillors, Presidents of Seventies, Bishops and counselors, also Patriarchs.

. . . .

The subject of secret societies was introduced, and in answer to questions, Pres. G. Q. Cannon drew a distinction between those orders which were simply to aid the temporal condition of members, and those which interfered with the rights of employers or employees, of which interfered with membership in the Church, or hindered men from performing Church duties, going on missions, etc.  There were men who belonged to the Masonic Order, and he did not consider that such membership should interfere with their admission into the Temple or prayer circles.  As a general proposition, it was not considered wise for our brethren to join secret societies.”  (JH 7 Apr., 1897)

8 Apr.:  Voting at Stake Conferences.

“Meeting of the First Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11 A.M.  Present:  Prests. G. Q. Cannon, J. F. Smith, L. Snow; Elders F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, H. J. Grant, J. W. Taylor, A. H. Lund.

. . . .

Elder F. M. Lyman presented the question of voting at Stake Conferences.  He thought there was no necessity to present the names of the Officers of auxilliary societies, or of any but the Stake authorities.

Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon coincided with this view.”  (JH 8 Apr., 1897)

29 Apr.:  Change of Bishop w/o consulting Stake President.

“Meeting of the First Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11 A.M.  Present:  Prests. W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon, L. Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, H. J. Grant, and J. W. Taylor (Prest. Jos. F. Smith at home sick).

. . . .

Elder John Henry Smith reported that at his recent visit to Moab he had released Bro. Jeremiah Hatch from taking charge of the Ward, it being Bro. Hatch’s desire to return to his home in Uintah County.  Elder Smith had ordained Bro. D. H. Johnson as Bishop, and the counselors chosen were _____ Sorenson and Jefferson A. Huff.  Brother Smith explained that the President of the Stake lived at a long distance from Moab and could not be reached, and the place was sadly in need of a Bishop, so he had proceeded without consulting Prest. F. A. Hammond.  The Council approved of the action of Brother Smith.”  (JH 29 Apr., 1897)

2 May:  Blessing of babies at home or at church.

“Sunday.  Franklin.  This is fast day and we are fasting.  I am not well today, but our baby is getting better.  I left for Richmond as 9:15 a.m. and attended fast meeting there.  Marriner, Hazen, and Alma, my sons, were called upon to bless the children, 12 in all, and I had 5 grandchildren blessed at the meeting today, and I blessed one, Wm. and Lucy Merrill’s baby, at their home this morning at 11:50, making 6 grandchildren blessed today.”  (Marriner Wood Merrill diary, 2 May, 1897)

6 May:  H. J. Grant to start life insurance business.

“Meeting of the Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11 A.M.  Prest. Woodruff was not well, having had no sleep during the night, and therefore was not present.  Prest. Geo. Q. Cannon in the east; Prest. Jos F. Smith and Lorenzo Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale, H. J. Grant and A. H. Lund were present.

. . . .

Elder Heber J. Grant mentioned that he had been invited to act as President of a Life Insurance Company, composed of Mormons and Gentiles, which would occupy four or five months of time in starting it, which would hinder him somewhat in the discharge of his Church duties, but would aid him very much in saving himself from financial ruin.  It was the mind of the Council that Bro. Grant have permission to undertake this work, subject to the approval of the First Presidency.”  (JH 6 May, 1897)

10 Jun.:  Concerning women’s rights.

“At 11 o’clock meeting of the Presidency and Apostles at the Temple.  Present:  Prests. W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon and L. Snow; Elders F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale and A. H. Lund.

. . . .

Prest. Geo. Q. Cannon drew attention to the influence of the sisters in the Church since they had obtained the right of suffrage.  This he considered ought not to be left to the manipulation of wicked and designing men, who were opposed to the Priesthood of God.  He thought the Apostles should converse with the Presidents of Stakes in relation to this matter.  A list of Sisters had been submitted to the Presidency as selections made by the officers of the Relief Society as aids to visit the Sisters of the various Stakes.  It was important that only such persons should be selected who have confidence in the Presiding Priesthood and are willing to receive their counsel.  He moved that the brethren in visiting the Conferences investigate the character of those who were at the head of the Relief Societies and Y. L. M. A., with a view to the removal of unsuitable persons and the placing in office those who are of the right spirit.  The motion was seconded and carried, and Pres. Woodruff strongly endorsed the remarks of President Cannon.”  (JH 10 Jun., 1897)

13 Jun.:  Dedicating home to the Lord.

“Sunday, June 13, 1897:  Having previously advised Brother Eddy Crandall, as we usually called him, but whose name was Myron Edward Crandall to have his house which he was then building dedicated to the Lord by authority of the Priesthood for his residence and against the powers of darkness and the destroyer.

He had set for the ceremony Sunday 13th, of June 1897, and decided that I should take charge of the ceremonies.

By his permission I invited Bishop Loren Harmer Dolten, my son-in-law and Brother B. T. Blanchard, as participants in authority and power.  I also invited my wife to attend with me it being only a short distance on opposite side of road from where I lived.

Early that morning President James E. Daniels and his first counselor Albert Jones called at my house for me to go with them to Benjamin Ward but I excused myself on account of the dedication ceremonies which were to commence at once or noon that day between Sunday School and afternoon meeting.

The ceremonies were short and impressive.  Inasmuch as Brother Crandall had decided that I should dictate the meeting I felt at liberty to program the meeting as I liked, which was as follows:

The young folks of his family sang a hymn, accompanied by an organ.

Prayer by Brother Blanchard.  Bishop Harmer gave a short address in which he illustrated the virtue of a dedicatory prayer in an instance that occurred with him while on a mission in the state of Virginia.

He was to travel a long distance down a river on a log raft, and while the raft was being started, he and the Elder with him took position on 2 longs, standing and each in silence, without the knowledge of the other breathed a silent prayer to God and dedicated the 2 longs to the Lord for a safe conveyance for them that they might land safely on shore.  On the way down the river the raft ran upon rocks that broke the whole thing to pieces that no two longs remained together except the two that those two Mormon Elders were on.  People that saw the misfortune wondered at the circumstances, and that the 2 logs floated ashore without any effort of human hands, and they had to only step from the logs to land.

After Bishop Harmer’s talk I offered a prayer dedicating and asking the Lord Almighty to bless Brother Crandall, his 2 wives and children, his house and land, the beautiful apring of water near his door, his horses, cattle, wagons and tools.

After the prayer the family sang a hymn and Brother Dolten dismissed.

After the ceremonies my wife testified that she could not see the spirit of God there in the room, but she could feel it distinctly.”  (Oliver B. Huntington journal, 13 Jun., 1897)

3 Jul.:  Changes recommended in record keeping.

“In some of my previous reports I have referred to the very imperfect state of our records as kept of late years throughout the Church.  I would earnestly recommend a thorough reformation in regard to record keeping.  There is a lack of system and uniformity throughout the Church, in the recording of ordinance work, and in the making of minutes and rolls, statistical reports, annual reports, etc., etc.  Each mission, stake and ward seems to have its own peculiar system, or no system at all; and until regular forms and blanks are furnished from headquarters for use throughout the entire Church, this irregularity must necessarily continue.  Our so-called genealogical books, or registers of members now somewhat in use in the Bishop’s wards in the different stakes are, in my estimation, out of date entirely, and do not answer the purpose for which they were intended, and our statistical blanks are worse still, and ought, in my judgment, to be condemned at once, in favor of something better.  If the forms that I submitted to the Church Historian about three years ago, and which I have endeavored to introduce abroad are not accepted, I would suggest the appointment of a special committee to prepare forms, blanks, etc., and upon their adoption by the First Presidency, Historian, and general Church recorders, make them universal throughout the Church, both at home and abroad.”  (Andrew Jenson to Franklin D. Richards (Church Historian), 3 Jul., 1897; in Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, p. 388)

12 Jul.:  Penrose on Priesthood/Holy Ghost.

“Elder C. W. Penrose sent the following letter today in response to the one preceding it, as here inserted:

Hartford, May 25, 1897.

My Dear Mr. Penrose–

I am very much obliged to you for the package of Mormon literature you sent me, and I want something more, that will throw more light upon your organization, Church and industrial.  I want details of the complete organization from the President down to the lowest officer in the wards, and the office and authority of each.  I want to know the office and work (in authority) of the Apostles, and the several Councils, number and power.  Did the President alone decide as to plural marriages, or with the help of a Council, and what Council?  I also want to know as to the judicial officers and form of procedure.  I want all these things in outline, and as a matter of organization.  I wish also to understand more clearly the union (?) organization.

I hope I am not putting a burden on you, for I fancy that your publications, beside the doctrinal, give all these details.  And I want some details also as to your industrial life.  The world at least can understand that.

Please also send me, and mail that now, a copy of the card you gave me containing your creed.  I lost mine, or rather it was stolen with my pocket book.

Yours sincerely,

Chas. Dudley Warner.

Salt Lake City, Utah, July 12, 1897.

Charles Dudley Warner, Esq.,

Dear Sir–

I trust you will excuse my long delay in replying to your favor of May 25th.  If it had been possible for me to answer your questions at an earlier date, be assured I would have done so.  I will not take up your time by detailing the reasons for delay, but will proceed at once to give you as well as I can the points which you desire.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is composed of persons over eight years of age, who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world; also in the Eternal Father as God over all, the actual progenitor of the spirits of all mankind, and in the Holy Ghost, a universally diffused spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, the light and life of all things, by which deity is omnipresent; who have repented of their sins, have been baptized by immersion in water for the remission of their sins, and have been confirmed by the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, those ordinances having been administered by men holding divine authority.  Every member, male and female, have equal voices and votes in the general and local conferences of the Church, and in the acceptance or rejection of all the church officials, as well as every measure and doctrine to be adopted by the Church, as one of its fundamentals is ‘All things shall be done by common consent.’

There are in the Church two Priesthoods, or rather two branches of the Priesthood, viz: The Melchisedek, or Higher Priesthood, and the Aaronic, or Lesser Priesthood.  The greater includes the less.  The first grade is the office of Deacon, an appendage to the Aaronic Order, officiating in the smaller temporalities.  The next grade is the office of Teacher, the duties of which are local, to watch over the members, that no iniquity be allowed to continue, ‘neither hardness of heart nor evil speaking’; to promote unity and settle privately difficulties that may arise between brethren or sisters.

The next grade is the office of Priest.  Those who hold this office have the right to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and to visit the house of each member and instruct them in their church duties, and their duties as members of families and as neighbors.  Priests may also administer the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, also to baptize for the remission of sins, but not to lay on hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which belongs to the Higher or Melchisedek Priesthood.

The first step in the Higher Priesthood is the office of Elder, the term having no reference to age, but only to authority.  The Elder can administer in all the duties of the Lesser Priesthood, and has authority to lay hands upon the baptized repentant believer, and seal upon him or her church membership and the gift of the Holy Ghost; also to give instruction in advanced principles.

The office of Seventy is that of the Eldership, Seventy Elders forming a Council, or Quorum, to act under the immediate direction of the Apostles as an appendage to the Apostleship, in carrying the Gospel to all nations.  Each Seventy is supposed to be ready at call to perform this mission, without pay, and to travel without purse or scrip in any part of the world to which he may be appointed.

The High Priest holds the authority possessed by officers whose duties have been described, but, although he may travel as a missionary when occasion requires, is more particularly a Presiding Officer, that is to say, the High Priests are local officers, from whom are selected persons to preside in the various branches and wards and Stakes of the Church.  When a Bishop is needed, with two counselors, to take charge of a ward, High Priests are chosen and set apart to occupy that presiding place in the Lesser Priesthood.  A Bishop officiates in the temporalities of the church, and holds the highest office in the Lesser or Aaronic Priesthood.  With his counselors he can sit as a court, or common judge, upon cases of transgression on charges properly preferred, and can decide on the testimony in difficulties between members, and direct as to the course to be pursued by offenders, in order to retain their church fellowship.

The Apostleship comprehends the entire power and authority and fulness of the Holy Priesthood.  The Twelve Apostles bear the keys to open the door of the kingdom in all nations; with the assistance of the different quorums of Seventy they are to carry or send the Gospel to every nation and tribe and tongue, and to regulate the affairs of the Church in all the world under the direction of the First Presidency.  They can officiate in all the offices in the Church.  What they seal on earth as ordained of God and in the way he has commanded, is also sealed in heaven.  They are witnesses of Jesus Christ, entitled to communion with Him and with the Highest.  They have power to ordain in all the offices in the Melchesidek and Aaronic Priesthoods.

The First Presidency is composed of three Apostles or Presiding High Priests.  The President stands at the head of the Church in all the world, and at the head of all its councils, quorums and authorities.  He alone receives the word of the Lord for the entire Church.  He holds the keys of the sealing power for time and eternity.  He is the mouthpiece of deity on earth.  While all persons holding the Priesthood may receive revelation by the Holy Ghost and by angelic ministrations for themselves, each in his own order, all commandments from God to the Church as a body are to come through the head, the President, he being a Prophet, a Seer and a Revelator.  He with his two counselors supervises and directs the affairs of the Church, using and honoring each body and officer in their place and calling.  They represent the Trinity or presiding power in the heavens.

In case of the disorganization of the First Presidency, through the death of the President, or his removal for cause, the Twelve Apostles, forming a quorum or council equal in authority in all their decisions to the First Presidency, and being presided over by the oldest member of their body, stand at the head of the Church, the Twelve being equal to the three.  They can choose and nominate, and by common consent of the body of the Church, appoint the First Presidency again.

Each council or quorum of Seventy is presided over by seven of its number.  The seven presiding over the first quorum also preside over all the Seventies.  Should all the Apostles and First Presidency be taken away, the Seventy with their Presidents would form a body equal in all their decisions to the Twelve or the First Presidency.  There are at present One Hundred and Ten quorums or councils of Seventy.

The Presiding Bishopric is composed of three High Priests, who have been chosen and ordained and set apart and accepted by the body of the Church to preside over its temporalities, the local Bishops having jurisdiction only in their several wards.

A number of wards each presided over by a Bishop and his two counselors, are organized into a Stake of Zion, usually all the wards in a County are thus organized, and the Stake is presided over by three High Priests, chosen, set apart and accepted by the Stake as the President and his two counselors.  They have supervision over all the affairs and officers of the Stake, as the First Presidency have over the entire Church.  In each Stake of Zion there is a High Council, composed of twelve High Priests, chosen and set apart and accepted by the vote of the Stake, to act as a Church Court.  Appeals from the decisions of the Bishops may be taken to the High Council.  That body is presided over by the Presidency of the Stake.  It can judge on ponits of doctrine and discipline, as well as on matters of dispute between members, and may set aside or confirm the decisions of the Bishops’ courts in that Stake.  In case of dissatisfaction with the judgement of a High Council the decision may be reviewed by the First Presidency, and if error is then discovered, may be remanded for a rehearing.  The High Council may excommunicate for transgression.

That is the extent of its punitive powers.  It has no other method of enforcing its decisions.  Members of the Church are instructed not to go to law with their brethren.  Litigation is strongly discouraged.  Tha validity of contracts, however, is maintained in the courts of the Church.  Clemency and mercy in cases of debt are commended and urged upon creditors.  In all cases of dispute the parties are required first to talk the matter over between themselves alone.  If they cannot come to an agreement, the aid of two Teachers is invoked.  These, after hearing both sides, point out the equities of the case, and urge settlement and reconciliation on that basis.  This failing, one of the parties prefers a charge against the other in writing to the Bishop of the ward where the defendant resides.  At an appointed time the parties, with their witnesses, appear before the Bishop and his counselors, when the case is heard without technicalities, and with the purpose of getting at the bottom facts and the spirit actuating the parties.  The Bishop then gives his decision, which must be sustained by at least one of his two counselors.  Usually the three reach an agreement as to the findings, and the decision.  Either of the parties may take an appeal to the High Council, where the case may be heard de novo or on the minutes of the Bishop’s Court, as may be determined by the Council.  Half of the Twelve High Councilors are to watch the case for the accuser and half for the accused.  One or two members of the Council, taking their turn for disposition, act as advisors on either side, and conduct the case.  The accuser states his position, the accused his; witnesses are introduced, examined by one side of the Council, cross-examined by the other side.  When all the evidence is heard pro and con, the accuser and accused [part deleted; seems to be “the Stake President and his] counselors then confer and make up their decision, which is presented to the Twelve High Councilors, and if sustained by a majority it stands, if not, it is void.  Usually a unanimous decision is reached, and the parties yield thereto.  The High Councils serve without remuneration, and there are no costs to the parties in any of the courts of the Church.

The Twelve Apostles when abroad form a Traveling Presiding High Council, with powers similar to those of the Standing High Councils in the Stakes of Zion.

In case of transgression of a President of the Church, a High Council presided over by the Presiding Bishopric would have jurisdiction of the case.  In ordinary cases in which one of the Church authorities and a member not an official are the parties in dispute, the Church official would be amenable to the ordinary course for members, through the teachers, Bishop’s Court and the High Council.  Justice, righteousness, equity and mercy are to be maintained without favoritism and without bias.

Each quorum of the Priesthood may so far sit in judgment upon one of its members as to withdraw fellowship from him, but he cannot be excommunicated without a trial in the proper Church courts and a full opportunity for defence.

After a case has been decided in which property rights are involved, if the defendant refuses or neglects to comply with the decision, he is liable to be disfellowshipped or excommunicated, and resort may then be had to the civil courts for redress.  In case of a note or account liable to become outlawed, the creditor is premitted to enter suit in the civil courts to protect his rights while the case is being enquired into by the Church tribunals.  Corporate rights and those in which non-members are interested cannot be handled by the Church tribunals.

There are in the Church a number of experienced men who are called and ordained as Patriarchs.  Their duty is to impart Patriarchal blessings by the laying on of hands, for the comfort and confirmation in the faith of members of the Church, who desire this favor.  They have the gift of prophecy and discernment, and their predictions on the heads of those who receive their ministrations are fully expected to be realized, as they frequently are in a marvelous manner.  Such officers are called and ordained under the direction of the First Presidency, and accepted by the vote of the Stake of Zion in which they are called to act.  There is one Patriarch to the whole Church, who is numbered among its General Authorities.

. . . .

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there are no fees required or paid for any service of its ministry.  Baptisms, confirmations, marriages, the blessing and naming of children, administrations for the healing of the sick, funeral services, Temple ordinances for the living and the dead, are all gratuitous.  No one is paid for preaching.  The Church is supported in its multiferious works by the tithes of its faithful members. . . .

Twice a year all the Church authorities are formally presented to the body of the Church in Conference assembled, that they may manifest by uplifted hands, voting for or against, whether they willingly accept those whose names are presented in their respective callings.  Thus all things are done by common consent, and the voice of the Lord and the voice of the people unite in harmony, order is secured, and unity and brotherhood prevail.  The Priesthood and the people believe the system, the doctrines, the ordinances and the authority to be divine, having come by direct revelation from God in the Nineteenth Century, and they have no doubt of the ultimate triumph of the Church over error and the powers of evil, and the final reign of God and Christ over all the world.

Charles W. Penrose.”

(JH 12 Jul., 1897)

“The following letter from Charles Dudley Warner, to C. W. Penrose, was received today, July 28, and replied to as per copy of letter following of this date:

57 Forest Street, Hartford, Conn.

July 24th, 1897.

My Dear Mr. Penrose:

Thanks for your very long and very lucid and interesting letter of the 12th.  I am sorry to have put you to so much trouble.  I thought that you would have a printed constitution or statement of your entire organization, in the spiritual and in the industrial and government sides.  Something, I mean, defining the whole scheme, with the powers and officers, as our constitution does.

There are some things now that are not quite clear to me, and perhaps no wonder, as your government or organization is os mixed of Church and State.

You speak of the First Presidency as composed of three Apostles.  Yet there is only one President, with final power and authority.  Are there three Presidents, of which one is the superior?

How are the Presidents or the President elected?  (Yes, I see; the Apostles nominate.)

Has each Ward a Seventy, and who chooses or elects the Seventies?  Who appoints the Twelve Apostles, and are they over or subordinate to the President?

How does a man get to be a Deacon or a Priest, or a Teacher?  Has the President a similar power to the Pope of Rome?

You speak of government by ‘common consent,’ but what does this mean, and how do you get at it?  Have you elections or a vote for officers by ballot or otherwise?  Who takes the initiatiave in creating any one an officer?  Do you mean that there is a sort of theological aristocracy that governs and really orders all things, but refers matters formally to popular assemblies from time to time?  How about pay and salaries?  Those chosen to do the business of the Church, to govern, hold courts, etc., and conduct all the industries, must find nearly all their time occupied.  Are they not paid?  I can understand that in [several lines too light on microfilm to read]  I can understand that the revenues of the Church are controlled by the head.  But does no one receive a stipend fixed by law?

You will think me dull.  But to one accustomed to defined duties of the State, separate from all Church organizations, you can see that your mixed government is something of a mystery.

I believe that your women vote in your civil State, but do they hold any offices in Church or State?  Or, do you hold with St. Paul?

Please do not think these are idle enqueries.  I do not think your Church is understood by the world generally.  Let me say that it is a phenomena, both in its religious and industrial sides, that ought to be understood.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Dudley Warner.”

“Salt Lake City, Utah, July 28, 1897.

Charles Dudley Warner, Esq.,

My Dear Sir:

Your favor of the 24th inst. has just come to hand.  I hasten to reply.

First, let me assure you that our Church organization is entirely separate and distinct from that of the State.  When the Territory of Utah was organized and Brigham Young was appointed Governor by the President and Senate of the United States, he was at the same time President of the Church, but although he gave advice and direction in many temporal affairs, as the head of the Church, he did not mingle the concerns of the Church with those of the Territory.  The machinery of each was different and kept apart one from the other.  This distinction has always been observed, and in the formation of the State of Utah this clause was inserted in the State Constitution:

There shall be no union of Church and State, nor shall any Church dominate the State nor interfere with its functions.

The authority of the Priesthood as to temporal affairs relates to the temporalities of the Church, and those of its members as such.  The Church does not control in politics nor direct as to the voting of its members in State or National affairs or in their choice of party or political principles.  There are no Church strings on the people at the polls or in caucus or convention.

Now as to the First Presidency of the Church:  It is composed, as I said, of three persons–a President and his two counselors.  These three are the Presiding Council.  In that case they are all Presidents, but the head of the Church on earth is one man, a Prophet, a Seer and a Revelator, through whom, alone, revelations by commandment are received from God for the whole Church.  While living his counselors represent him in his absence, and the three together regulate the affairs of the Church, all other organizations therein being under their supervision.  At the death of the President, his counselors do not take his place, but the next body in authority–the Twelve Apostles–form the Presiding Council or Quorum, and their President, one of their number, recognized in that capacity, is virtually the head of the Church until the First Presidency is reorganized.

The Seventies are not Ward officers.  They are Elders selected by the First Seven Presidents of the Seventies, or by the Twelve, or by the First Presidency, and ordained to that office.  The members of a quorum or Council of Seventy may be residents of different wards, and hold their meetings at a place of their own selection.

Apostles are chosen by the First Presidency and the existing members of the Twelve in unison, or are designated by revelation to the President of the Church, and endorsed by the members of the Council of the Apostles.

A man ‘gets to be a Deacon, a Priest or a Teacher’ by being called to the office by the Bishop of the Ward to which he belongs, and, with the consent of the Ward, ordained to that office.  ‘No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron.’

The President of the Church and the Pope of Rome are somewhat similar in their positions, and are yet entirely dissimilar in others.  The President of the Church is assisted by his two counselors, who hold presiding authority with him; not so with the Pope.  The President of the Church has no State functions; the Pope has; The President of the Church does not claim the right to direct kings, Princes or Presidents, in their governmental capacity; the Pope of Rome does.  The President does not claim to be infallible; in that respect, also, he is unlike the Pope.  The President makes no pecuniary demand upon communicants for his own emolument; the Pope requires Catholics to pay ‘Peter’s pence’.  The President of the Church is an Apostle of Jesus Christ, with the power and right of divine revelation; the Pope of Rome is not an Apostle, does not claim revelation, and though pretending that he is the successor of St. Peter, declares himself a Bishop, which St. Peter never was.

‘Common consent’ of the body is obtained in Conference assembled.  When measures and names of persons selected by the Church authorities for offices in the Church are presented for the acceptance or rejection by the members, the vote is by uplifted hands, and not by ballot.  The same order is observed in a Council or Quorum or Auxilliary organization, the members of that body having a voice in its affairs.  All the officers of the Church, from the President down, are presented to the body in Conference for their vote twice every year, that is, in April and October.

As to pay and salaries.  There is no pay for preaching, but when a man’s entire time and talents are required by the Church, he is allowed a sufficient amount from the general fund, obtained by tithings, to supply his needs, and those of his family.  Gratuitous service to the Church is encouraged, and men with ability to obtain means by engaging in profitable enterprises or industries are expected to labor for the Church when called upon, without remuneration, and also to pay their tithing like other Church members.  Employees of the Church for common labor, clerical positions, etc., are paid wages, as in other institutions.  When on missions, Elders are expected to go to their fields of labor and travel without purse or scrip, receiving no salary from the Church, but depending on the Lord and on friends he may raise up to them to supply their needs.

Women vote in Utah, both in Church and State.  They are eligible to office in the State.  The good sense of the voters regulates in this matter, and women are selected for those offices for which they are adapted.  There are organizations in the Church in which women hold office, but they are not ordained to the Priesthood.  As Presidents of Relief Societies, Mutual Improvement, and Primary Associations, and officers of educational Boards, they are appointed and set apart, and accepted by the body.

The doctrine of the Church is that man is the head of the woman, but that she is one with him, not his servant but his [illegible words]

Charles W. Penrose.”

(JH 28 Jul., 1897)

30 Jul.:  Church judicial procedure.

“The case of Bro. De Fries was investigated this morning by Prests. Geo. Q. Cannon, Jos. F. Smith and Lorenzo Snow, Elders F. D. Richards, B. Young, J. H. Smith and H. J. Grant.  He had been suspended in a public Priesthood meeting on Uintah Stake, presided over by the President of the Stake, in consequence of a difficulty over water, in which Bro. De Fries and some members of the High Council of that Stake were interested.  On his appeal to be reinstated, the High Council of the Stake had declined to entertain that appeal.  The decision of the members of the First Presidency and Apostles present was, that no member of the Church should be punished by excommunication or suspension without due notice and trial before the constituted courts of the Church, and that brethren personally interested in a case should not act as judges or as adjudicators.”  (JH 30 Jul., 1897)

19 Aug.:  Bishops should be appointed, not elected.

“I attended meeting in the Temple.  President Woodruff was with us. . . . There has been some talk of consolidating Porterville’s two wards into one but the result stood 40 for doing this and 20 against it.  Bro. Teasdale had promised to come up again in a week and wanted to know the will of the Presidency.  Bro. Cannon and L. Snow expressed themselves against voting against ourselves, thought such things should be avoided.  They were against electing a bishop.  They should be appointed.  I do not think that this criticises Bro. Lyman’s method of getting suggestions from the people when organizing wards.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 19 Aug., 1897; LDS Archives)

9 Sep.:  Filling vacancies in 12 and 70.

“Meeting of the Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11:30 A.M.  Present:  Prests. W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon, L. Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, J. H. Smith and G. Teasdale.  Pres. J. F. Smith and Elder A. H. Lund at Parsons Ranch; B. Young at Fruitland, F. M. Lyman in the South; H. J. Grant sick.

The subject of filling vacancies in the Council of the Twelve and Seventies was considered, and it was decided to notify all the Apostles to come to the City to attend the regular meeting on the 30th inst, to counsel on this subject.  Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon expressed the desire that in filling the vacancies nothing should intervene of a personal or partisan character, to prevent the mind and will of the Lord being carried out in the selections that would be made.”  (JH 9 Sep., 1897)

9 Sep.:  Pres. of Stake MIA to be High Priest.

“Meeting of the Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11:30 A.M.  Present:  Prests. W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon, L. Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, J. H. Smith and G. Teasdale.  Pres. J. F. Smith and Elder A. H. Lund at Parsons Ranch; B. Young at Fruitland, F. M. Lyman in the South; H. J. Grant sick. . . .

Elder R. R. Lyman having been selected to preside over the M.I.A. of Salt Lake Stake, to succeed Elder Jos. H. Felt, the question of the necessity to ordain him a High Priest was discussed.  Pres. G. Q. Cannon stated that Pres. Taylor had decided that this was to be done in the selection of a man to preside over the associations of a Stake, and that he should be passed upon by the High Council of that Stake.  Some of the brethren thought that this was not really necessary, but Pres. Woodruff decided not to deviate from a decision rendered by the late Pres. Taylor.”  (JH 9 Sep., 1897)

15 Sep.:  Doctrinal questions to go to local leaders.


‘Member,’ writing from Lyman, Idaho, requests the ‘News’ to answer some questions regarding the proper procedure to be taken respecting ordinations to the Priesthood.  No doubt the request is made in good faith and from proper motives, but as has been heretofore explained in these columns, a newspaper is not the best channel through which to impart such instruction to members of the Church who may be interested.

As a rule, it is better to put such questions to the local authorities of the ward.  If a satisfactory reply cannot be obtained from them, the matter should be laid before the presidency of the Stake; and should it become necessary to do so, it may be carried higher.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is provided with a complete organization, one of the chief purposes of which is to authoritatively determine matters pertaining to the faith and practice of its members; and in such matters as ‘Member’ refers to, it is better to apply for instruction to the proper officers of the Priesthood than to a public journal.

It is difficult to lay down a rigid rule upon this subject, which will cover all cases; because there are times when it becomes the duty of the ‘News’ to treat of matters of faith and practice among the Saints.  But the circumstances of each case must determine its treatment and we advise ‘Member’ to take the course indicated above.”  (Deseret Evening News, 15 Sep., 1897; in JH 15 Sep., 1897)

30 Sep.:  Choosing an new apostle.

“The Apostles met in the Temple and transacted business.  The matter of filling the quorum came up and the Apostles were requested to suggest names.  Bro. Teasdale, J. W. Taylor and M. W. Merrill did not put in any names nor did I as none were strongly in my mind.  I tried to write some names, the Presidency took a recess and then came back and presented the names of Matthew [Mathias] Cowley and A. O. Woodruff for the quorum and Jos. McMurrin for the vacancy in the Seven presidents of Seventies.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 30 Sep., 1897; LDS Archives)

“At 11 A.M., meeting at the Temple.  Present:  Prests. W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon, J. F. Smith, L. Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, B. Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, J. W. Taylor, M. W. Merrill, and A. H. Lund, comprising all the members of the Council except Bro. Grant, still unwell. . . .

The subject of filling the vacancies in the Councils of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidents of Seventies was considered, and after some remarks had been made by a number of the brethren, and lists of suitable persons had been made by some of the Apostles, it was decided that the matter be left with the First Presidency and the President of the Twelve Apostles, who withdrew to consult and seek the mind of the Lord in relation to the matter.  On returning, Pres. Wilford Woodruff announced that Elders Matthias F. Cowley and Abraham Owen Woodruff had been chose to fill the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Jos. W. McMurrin to fill the vacancy in the First Council of the Seventies.  The selection was endorsed by the unanimous vote of all the Council.

Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon stated that the Lord had revealed to him that Bro. A. O. Woodruff should be selected to fill one of the vacancies.

Pres. W. Woodruff stated that in all his life he had never sought office for himself or family, but it had been deeply impressed on his mind that he would like one of his sons to represent him in the Quorum of the Twelve, so that when he passed to the other side of the veil, he could feel that his labors were being continued by his son.  He believed that Owen would prove worthy of the calling.  He was a young man, but was sound, virtuous, temperate, honest and a strict observer of the Word of Wisdom.  He had lately returned from a two and a quarter years mission in Germany, where he had made a good record; and since his return had been a home missionary, preaching to the Germans in their language, and the English in theirs.  He thanked the Lord and the Council for their kindness to him in this matter.

Elder John W. Taylor stated that when he was laboring in the Southern States some years ago, he was with Bro. Cowley six months, and on reading an article in the Globe-Democrat over Bro. Cowley’s signature, it was manifested to him that Bro. Cowley would be one of the Twelve Apostles, and he wrote to him to that effect.”  (JH 30 Sep., 1897)

4 Oct.:  Bishop and stake pres. should give counsel first.

“If the Bishop is not able to give the necessary counsel, the President of the Stake may be.  If he is not able to give it, he may apply to the Presidency of the Church for it.  If this organization was considered and respected by the Saints, everything would work harmoniously and smoothly, and every man and every woman would get the proper counsel for their guidance.”  (Marriner W. Merrill, 4 Oct., 1897; CR Oct., 1897, p. 6)

5 Oct.:  P, J & J brought the Apostleship (not MP).

“Now a word about the Priesthood and its restoration: Think of it!  This same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery Apostles by Peter, James and John, His servants.  Joseph and Oliver having receive this apostleship, confirmed it upon twelve brethren of the Church, and those brethren have conferred it upon us who are in the stand today; thus some of us received this holy apostleship but the fourth in succession from Jesus Christ.  And the fact is that the Priesthood has come down to us as the Lord promised when He said He would be with His Apostles always ‘even unto the end of the world.’  And He says to us concerning 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, and bear the keys of your ministry, and of the same things which I reveal unto them; unto whom I have committed the keys of My kingdom, and a dispensation of the Gospel for the last days and for the last times; and for the dispensation of the fulness of times in the which I will gather together in one all things which are in heaven and which are on earth.'”  (Franklin D. Richards, 5 Oct., 1897; CR Oct., 1897, pp. 28-29)

6 Oct.:  So much rebaptism should be stopped.

“When men and women join the Church in sincerity, they repent of their sins, and they have new desires.  The desire to do evil is taken from them.  The Spirit of God will not dwell in a man that has evil desires and does not try to quench them.  We as a people should seek to be converted in this respect, if we hve not been.  If we are as wicked and have as wicked inclinations since our baptism and our association with the Church as we had before, then we need to be converted and be born again.

We hear a good deal of talk about re-baptism, and the First Presidency and the Twelve have felt that so much re-baptism ought to be stopped.  Men, when they commit sin, think if they can only get the Bishop to re-baptize them, they are all right and their sins are condoned.  It is a fallacy; it will lead to destruction.  There is no such thing in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is repentance from sin that will save you, not re-baptism.  If you have been baptized, then, if you commit sin, repent of the sin, confess it, and make the confession as broad as the knowledge of the sin; confess it to your brethren and sisters, and ask their forgiveness; and do not imagine that when you commit sin you can slip into the waters of baptism and you are all right again.  Do not delude yourselves, brethren and sisters.  Sinners, be not deceived by such a fallacy.  Something more than this is necessary.  We need to repent of our sins, and to confess them to God.  We need to come before the Lord with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and before the Church with the spirit of confession.  We should not be afraid to confess our sins; for there is no man among us that is not a sinner.  Of course, there are different degrees of sin, and there is a difference in the degrees; but no man or woman, in listening to the confession of another, need pride himself or herself and say, ‘I am not a sinner.  Here is this poor creature, a sinner; oh, how I pity him!’  If we come to God in humility, He will show unto us our sins, and our imperfections, and our faults; and we will feel merciful to our brethren and sisters who, like ourselves, are weak and erring.  We will be full of pity for them, and we will forgive them.  This is the feeling that should exist in every bosom when men and women who commit sin come and confess their sins and are humble and contrite.  When Latter-day Saints hear such things, there is a feeling of pity wells up in their hearts, and their souls overflow with sympathy, and they say, ‘Yes, yes, we’ll forgive you, and we’ll try and forget all about it.  Go on, dear brother, (or sister) repent, and do better from this time forward, and we will give you our faith and prayers.’  That is the way Saints should feel when their brethren and sisters commit sin and repent of it.”  (George Q. Cannon, 6 Oct., 1897; CR Oct., 1897, pp. 68-69)

4-6 Oct.:  Questions on priesthood procedure.

“Questions for Oct. Conference 1897.

Should men who are High Priests, Seventies and Elders be organized into a quorum of Priests to visit the homes of the Saints, hold meetings with and exhort & teach them, Doing the duty of Teacher. 

In choosing a man to preside over a branch of a ward should it be a priest, or should he be called a priest.

In the absence of the Elder appointed to preside would a priest take charge of the meeting in preference to a High Priest Seventy or Elder who might be present.”  (Anthony W. Ivins diary, Oct., 1897)

7 Oct.:  Charge of 1st Pres. to new Apostles.

“Attended Priesthood meeting in the Assembly Hall.  Matters in regard to burying the dead with the robe on the left side and women with the veil up were attended to. . . .

The afternoon was spent in the Temple setting apart the new apostles.  It was a glorious time.  The charges of the First Presidency were clear and to the point.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 7 Oct., 1897; LDS Archives)

“The First Presidency and Apostles met at the Temple at 2:30 P.M.  Present:  Presidents W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon, J. F. Smith, L. Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, B. Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, J. W. Taylor, M. W. Merrill, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley and A. O. Woodruff (Elder H. J. Grant at home sick).  Pres. Jos. F. Smith made some remarks on the calling of an Apostle, which he said required a man to lay aside everything of a temporal character and hold himself ready to respond to any call which might be made upon him.  He was to be a special witness of the Gospel and of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He must have a witness for himself that Jesus is the Christ, and that he committed the dispensation of the fulness of times to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and be ready to bear that testimony to all mankind.  He should not engage in anything that would interfere with these duties without permission from the proper authority.

Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon said the Apostleship was the highest authority the Lord bestows on man on the earth.  It comprehends all the authority in the Priesthood.  An Apostle should be a Prophet, a Seer and a Revelator.  An Apostle, however, was not authorized to go into an organized Stake of Zion and interfere with the things of that Stake, unless authorized to do so by the proper authority.  It was the privilege of an Apostle to live so as to have the revelations of Jesus personally.  In Council, each Apostle should come with his mind as free as a child, without caucusing or planning how to have certain things done, so as to be free for the spirit of God to operate upon their minds.  It was proper for each Apostle to express his views freely, but not his right to contend.  When all had expressed themselves freely, it was the prerogative of the President of the Council to have the mind of the Lord and to decide that which was right; then all should be agreed and submit to that decision, and treat the President with the deference due to the man chosen to be the mouth-piece of God.  When in Council, it was not right to leave during its session whenever it could be avoided.  The word of God and the will of God should be sought for diligently.  It was not proper to sit still, content with having received the Apostleship, but it was necessary to progress, magnify the office, realize the weight of the responsibility, seeking by prayer and faith to have the ministration and Angels and the power of God.  It was a solemn obligation, the newly chosen brethren were about to take upon them, and they should not assume it unless they were determined to seek after every gift and power connected with it.  They must not indulge in ambitious desires; when the sick were healed, when they were successful in preaching, they must not take credit to themselves but give the glory to God.  They should be one with the Presidency and listen to the counsels of the man whom God had placed at the head.

Pres. Wilford Woodruff said God had set in the Church, first, Apostles.  This was the greatest authority bestowed upon man in the flesh.  He had lived in this Church since 1833 and was familiar with the history of the Apostleship, and had seen Apostles fall, which gave him great sorrow of heart.  The First Presidency were responsible before God for their own course; the Apostles were responsible for theirs.  In order to magnify this high calling, an Apostle must be willing to sacrifice everything on the face of the earth.  He must let nothing come between him and his God.  The brethren now chosen were the youngest of the Quorum and it would require diligence and faithfulness on their part to become thoroughly acquainted with the operations of the Holy Ghost.  He believed they would be faithful, and that they would fulfill their office and calling acceptably.  Referring to the stir his remarks at Conference had made, the President said, God required the Elders of Israel to refrain from going to extremes in political party spirit.  The world would find out that God had a right to make His will known to His children, and if the enemies of Zion take a stand against Him they would wither and die.  The greatest desire of Apostles should be for the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God on the earth, regardless of consequences.  He did not expect to stay much longer in the flesh among his brethren.  He had always known that God had chosen in him one of the weakest instruments and he had never felt for a moment that he could boast.  He had felt much joy in this work and felt the credit belonged to the Lord.  Out of the books, God would judge the world.  His history and that of his brethren would be there.  He exhorted the brethren to give heed to the admonitions that had been imparted, to go in peace, serve God and keep his commandments and all things would be added to them.

Elder Matthias F. Cowley said he was fully in accord with all that had been said by the First Presidency, and with all his heart he would seek for strength and power from on high, to honor and magnify the Apostleship about to be conferred upon him.

Elder Abraham O. Woodruff said his only fear was that he was unworthy of so high a calling, but the great desire of his heart was to be devoted to the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God.  He wished to be one with the Council, and had always respected the servants of God.  He wished to dedicate his life to the service of the Almighty.

All the members of the Council laid their hands upon the head of Bro. Cowley, Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon being mouth, and he was ordained to the Apostleship and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with all the keys and powers and authority pertaining thereunto.  The Council then laid their hands upon Bro. A. O. Woodruff, Pres. Wilford Woodruff being mouth, and he was similarly ordained, after which they were congratulated by all the brethren present.

Pres. Cannon, Pres. Woodruff, Elder F. D. Richards, E.der F. M. Lyman and Pres. J. F. Smith each made remarks in reference to the course taken by some of the Apostles in the days of the Prophet Joseph and since, which had brought darkness upon them and trouble to the Church.”  (JH 7 Oct., 1897)

7 Oct.:  Woodruff statement on politics.

“The First Presidency and Apostles met at the Temple at 2:30 P.M.  Present:  Presidents W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon, J. F. Smith, L. Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, B. Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, J. W. Taylor, M. W. Merrill, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley and A. O. Woodruff (Elder H. J. Grant at home sick). . . .

Referring to the stir his remarks at Conference had made, the President said, God required the Elders of Israel to refrain from going to extremes in political party spirit.  The world would find out that God had a right to make His will known to His children, and if the enemies of Zion take a stand against Him they would wither and die.  The greatest desire of Apostles should be for the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God on the earth, regardless of consequences. . . .

The Salt Lake Herald and Tribune of this morning contain garbled reports of the remarks made by Pres. Wilford Woodruff at the close of the Conference on Wednesday afternoon, with vicious editorial comments, conveying the idea that the President counseled the people to so unite in politics that the division on party lines would be practically abolished.  The Deseret News of this evening, therefore, published Pres. Woodruff’s remarks in full, as follows, with accompanying editorial comments:


The Semi-Annual Conference of the Church closed yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) with brief but impressive remarks from President Wilford Woodruff.  These have already been distorted and misconstrued in some quarters, and in certain circles it is understood there is considerable flurry and distrust–in must cases due, we believe, to a misunderstanding not only of what was said but more particularly of what was meant.  It is therefore a pleasure to the ‘News’ to give herewith the full official report of the sentences uttered by the venerable leader.  His remarks were as follows:

It is time to close this conference; but before closing I want to say a few words to the Latter-day Saints.  I have attended conferences under the presidency of Joseph Smith during his life time, from 1833; I have attended conferences under President Brigham Young nearly forty years, from the time of the death of Joseph Smith until his own death; I have attended conferences under the presidency of John Taylor, and I have attended conferences as President of the Church myself since that period.  That responsibility has rested upon me, and rests upon me today.  Sixty-four years of my life have passed away as a member of this Church.  I do not know that I shall ever address you again; I cannot tell anything about this; but I feel strongly impressed to say a few words to you upon principle, although it is late.

I want these Latter-day Saints to lay to heart what has been said to you by the Apostles and Elders who have spoken at this Conference.  I want to say another thing.  I prophesy, in the name of Israel’s God, the day has come when the mouths of Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, and these Twelve Apostles, should not be closed because of the opinions of the children of men.  There have been feelings that these men holding high positions–the Twelve Apostles and Presidency–should say nothing about politics.  I want to say to you here, the day has come when God Almighty requires at your hands to unite together in your temporal business, and in your politics, so far as it is wisdom.  I do not care whether a man is a Republican or a Democrat, in that he is free; but it is your duty to unite in electing good men to govern and control your cities, your local affairs, and I will state that when you do not do this you are losers of the blessings of Almighty God.  I want to tell you this upon this occasion.  My mouth shall not be closed upon these principles.  I know it is the duty of the Latter-day Saints to unite together in your local affairs, the election of your city councils, the election of men to act for you in the affairs of state.  Lay aside your extremes in democracy and republicanism, as far as is wise in that matter, and in other than local matters as Latter-day Saints unite together within your party lines and appoint good men.  When you do that, God will bless you.  You won’t all be taxed to death and lose your property, if you will appoint good men and pursue this course.

I take the liberty, as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of making these remarks.  No matter what the feelings of men may be towards me; I shall not stay in this country very long.  But I realize very well that this people are groaning under poverty, under affliction, under taxation, and in positions that they ought not to be if they would only unite together and do their duty.  And this idea of a person being afraid of somebody because he is a Democrat or a Republican, it is all wrong.  I feel like saying to you, as the President of the Church, and do state, that it is your duty to unite together and appoint good men to act in every capacity for the public welfare.  Therefore let us do our duty, walk uprightly before the Lord our God, and leave the consequences with Him.  ‘Do what is right, let the consequences follow;’ which may God grant, for Christ’s sake.  Amen.

As already stated, certain classes claim to have discovered in the foregoing an utterance of counsel to the Latter-day Saints to depart from and sweep away political party lines in all their elections.  We now ask all such persons candidly to state whether a fair perusal and an honest construction of President Woodruff’s words will justify the conclusion referred to.

In common with thousands of the thinking people of this community, his mind was filled with reflections upon the sad and straightened condition in which the residents of this city find themselves through municipal misgovernment.  In common, too, with thousands of others, he holds views and desired to express and did express them in disapproval of the idea that hide-bound, closely-drawn, partisan politics should be insisted upon in purely local affairs.  Men of all forms of religious and political belief hold and express these same views.  But do they, or does he, proceed from that basis to advise or expect that there shall be a wholesale or even a partial disintegration of parties, a wiping out of the lines on which national or state issues are fought for and decided?  Not at all–and it is not only absurd but dishonest to make any such charge.  Not only his own utterances as quoted here, and his counsel and views as many times published before, but the equally emphatic remarks of others on the same subject, prove in the most ample manner that no such thought is entertained.  One of the most forcible discourses delivered during this very Conference was especially strong in discussing this identical question; the speaker expressed his pleasure that national party lines had been drawn in our State, he believed in the movement when it had its inception, he believed in it now, and he urged the people to be true to their party convictions and loyal in their support.  It was a part of the spirit of the Conference, as it has been and is the desire and counsel of the leaders of the Saints all the time.

If it is a crime or treason or heresy for a man of prominence and experience to advise the people to select only good men for office, the standard of political morality is surely in bad need of elevating.  If it is a crime, President Woodruff is only one among millions who can be accused.  Why, the parties themselves are prone to indulging in the same advice–‘vote for the best men for office–you will find them on our ticket!’  His sole thought was the betterment of local conditions–indeed the betterment of politics itself.  Isn’t it wise and safe at all times to warn against extremes in politics and partisanship?  Is it any better to be a fanatic or a bigot in politics than to be a fanatic or a bigot in religion or anything else?

A moment’s reflection in a spirit of candor and with a regard for the conditions which exist in this city at present will convince every one that there is not a sentiment or a thought in President Woodruff’s remarks which need cause a fear or a suspicion of the kind which some people ignorantly and carelessly, and others, we fear, maliciously, have sought and may seek to put upon them.  He spoke as a wise father of his people, a true citizen of State and Nation, a tried servant of the Lord in promoting human salvation–he spoke as an honest, upright man; and those who deny his right thus to speak, or who do not approve of his views when thus fairly explained and properly presented, can make the most of it.”  (JH 7 Oct., 1897)


There have been many political sermons in Utah, but it is very doubtful if there was ever a more important one than that delivered by President Woodruff in the tabernacle yesterday afternoon.  There was no insinuation, no beating about the bush, but what was said was as plain and straightforward as language could make it; in this regard President Woodruff’s remarks were admirable, for they leave no room for ingenious construction or interpretation.  What he said is so important that we shall quote it all before making any comments.

‘The day has come,’ said President Woodruff, ‘when God requires that you unite together, both in business and in politics.  I do not care whether you are a Republican or a Democrat; you should unite to elect good men for the government of the city and the state, and if you do not do this you are losing the true spirit.  Lay aside your Democracy and Republicanism, and as Latter-day Saints unite together and appoint good men.  When you do this, God will bless you.

‘Now I take the liberty, as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to make these remarks, and do not mind what the people shall say.  I realize that this people are groaning under poverty, under affliction, under taxation, and under things that ought not to be, and you should unite together.  This idea of holding to party ties amounts to nothing.  It is your duty as members of the church to unite and appoint good men to office to rule in this city and state.  Do your duty and the Lord will bless you.’

To whom were the remarks addressed?  To the members of the Mormon church in general conference assembled.  And what were they told?  To unite in business and in politics; to them it was a command and nothing else.

It is just as well to place President Woodruff’s language of yesterday in juxtaposition with the language he used in what is known as the Times interview:

In the Tabernacle.

Lay aside your Democracy and Republicanism, and as Latter-day Saints unite together and appoint good men.  When you do this, God will bless you.  This idea of holding to party ties amounts to nothing.  It is your duty as members of this church to unite and appoint good men to office to rule in this city and state.  Do your duty and the Lord will bless you.

The Times Interview.

If we have any desire in this territory it is that the people shall study well the principles of both the great national parties, and then choose which they will join, freely, voluntarily and honestly, from personal conviction, and then stand by them in all honor and sincerity.  Each party should have the same rights, privileges and opportunities as the other.  If any man claims that it is the wish of the first presidency that a Democrat shall vote the Republican ticket, or a Republican the Democratic ticket, let all people know he is endeavoring to deceive the public and has no authority of that kind from us.  We have no disposition to direct in these matters, but proclaim that, so far as we are concerned, the members of this church are entirely free in all political affairs.

In a card which President Woodruff addressed ‘To All Whom it May Concern,’ and which appeared in the Deseret News October 14, 1895, he said:

Every man has his own free agency.  He has the right to withdraw from his quorum, or the church, if he wishes.  But while he remains in his quorum, or in the church, we think he should be subject to the same rules that we are ourselves.  But that duty does not require any man to withdraw from the Democratic or Republican party, or to give up his political principles.

President Woodruff made all these statements in his official capacity and in none other, and they are irreconcilable.  In express terms he bids his people unite in business and politics, tells them that parties ties amount to nothing.  Do party ties amount to nothing?  Has the division on party lines in Utah been but a hollow mockery, a diversion and not a division?  We believe the people of Utah were sincere in their division, that they adhered to the principles of Democracy or of Republicanism because they believe them; and we still believe in their honesty and sincerity.

President Woodruff bids his coreligionists to unite in politics.  If they do this, is there any other alternative for those who are not his coreligionists but to unite in politics?  And what would that be but a return to those old conditions which all have believed had passed away forever?  The only difference would be that now Utah is a state instead of a territory.  President Woodruff does not tell the people to unite in municipal politics merely; he also bids them unite in state politics.  In this he is most consistent, for if it is a good thing to abolish party lines in municipal affairs it is equally as good a thing to abolish them in state affairs.  And this is a point on which The Herald, in its opposition to the non-partisan movement, has insisted.  The Herald has further insisted that if non-partisanship should be successful in the municipal election an effort would be made to extend it to state elections.  And now President Woodruff recommends this very thing.

It is certainly to be regretted that President Woodruff should have injected politics pure and simple into his sermon yesterday and advised the adoption of a course that if pursued could not fail to result in at least a partial if not complete restoration of old conditions with all their bitterness and animosities.  That which he recommends would not remove any of the evils from which the people may be suffering but would add others innumerable and infinitely worse.  As we said but a few days since, it is better to bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.”  (Salt Lake Herald, 7 Oct., 1897; in JH 7 Oct., 1897)


The words of President Woodruff on politics, in the Tabernacle yesterday, will be received with a full consideration of the extreme age and the many infirmities of the speaker.  It is plain that while he was talking he quite forgot his own statements regarding the rights and duties of voters when the division movement was first sprung, and the people divided off on party lines.  Old people, very old people, are prone to forget the lapse of time and the events of recent days or years, and to go back and follow the paths of youth and early manhood.  It is quite possible that President Woodruff, yesterday, was for the time being only dimly conscious of the past seven years’ history of Utah; what has been done, what pledges have been made, what restraints and restrictions have been removed by his own consent from his own people’s political freedom; what obligations the church during his presidency has placed itself under to the great Republic and its government.

Considering all these things, there is nothing more necessary to be said, than that if it were not so; if President Woodruff were back in life forty years, and in his full vigor and with all the power which his place in the church gives him, still he would be impotent to carry out what he yesterday advised.  For citizens to unite to elect a non-partisan ticket in the city, for the purpose of giving to the city a simple business administration, is a natural thing; one which has often been done in the cities of the country, which is becoming more and more the rule with every returning year.  But that is merely a concession made by partisans for a particular purpose, and that does not make men forget political principles; it does not trench in the least upon State or National politics; it does not for a moment cause men to forget that there are vital political questions to be fought to a finish by the American people; it does not for a moment blind their eyes to the need of parties under a free government, and to the duty which attaches to every citizen to solve for himself, with such lights as are before him, the right and the wrong of every question, and, through the ballot, to express his will.  And there is no priesthood strong enough to make the rank and file of the Mormon people give up this right and surrender this duty which they owe to the land which draws its protection around them, and opens to them blessings and opportunities which no other Government that ever existed, vouchsafed to its people.”  (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, 7 Oct., 1897; in JH 7 Oct., 1897)


The Tribune and the Deseret News both attempt explanations of President Woodruff’s sermon on the last day of conference advising the members of the church to unite on political matters, and business ones also.  The Tribune explains President Woodruff’s remarks on the ground of senility, and the explanation is senile.  The Tribune says:

The words of President Woodruff on politics, in the tabernacle yesterday, will be received with a full consideration of the extreme age and the many infirmities of the speaker.  It is plain that while he was talking he quite forgot his own statements regarding the rights and duties of voters when the division movement was first sprung, and the people divided off on party lines.  Old people, very old people, are prone to forget the lapse of time and the events of recent days or years, and to go back and follow the paths of youth and early manhood.  It is quite possible that President Woodruff, yesterday, was for the time being only dimly conscious of the past seven years’ history of Utah; what has been done, what pledges have been made, what restraints and restrictions have been removed by his own consent from his own people’s political freedom; what obligations the church during his presidency has placed itself under to the great republic and its government.

Considering all these things, there is nothing more necessary to be said, that that if it were not so.

That is to charge President Woodruff with imbecility and mental decay.  What he said was clear cut and incisive, and showed that his mind is still active and vigorous though his years be great.  Compare what he said with the Tribune explanation of it and no one will say that it is President Woodruff who shows extreme age and evinces its usual infirmities.  The Tribune’s explanation doesn’t explain; it only shows an intention not to recognize the facts in the case and to avoid a disagreeable situation for itself.  The Tribune simply insults President Woodruff and all those who look up to him as their spiritual guide.

The News has the good taste not to resort to any plea of imbecility, but the explanation is simply an effort to minimize the effect of what was said and to make it appear that no attack was made on party lines, and that the remarks only had reference to the local situation.  It is an explanation that wholly fails to explain.  The News says:

In common with thousands of the thinking people of this community, his mind was filled with reflections upon the sad and straightened condition in which the residents of this city find themselves through municipal misgovernment.  In common, too, with thousands of others, he holds views and desired to express and did express them in disapproval of the idea that hide-bound, closely drawn, partisan politics should be insisted upon in purely local affairs.

Men of all forms of religious and political belief hold and express these same views.  But do they, or does he, proceed from that basis to advise or expect that there shall be a wholesale or even a partial disintegration of parties, a wiping out of the lines on which national or state issues are fought for and decided?

How does the News know with what reflections the mind of President Woodruff was filled?  If it was filled with reflections on municipal mismanagement in this city, why should he seek to give them to his auditors, the great majority of whom were non-residents of this city and have no concern with its affairs?  If his mind was filled with reflections on municipal mismanagement, and that only, why did he refer to affairs of state?  The News declares that ‘his sole thought was the betterment of local conditions–indeed, the betterment of politics.’  It wasn’t a local assembly that he addressed, nor was it a political gathering.  No matter what his reflections were, the fact remains that President Woodruff, in a general conference of his co-religionists, told them to unite on political matters.  If it is said that he only advised them to do this ‘so far as is wisdom,’ the question naturally arises in whom is ‘wisdom’ lodged that shall say the thus far and no farther?  Will it not be in those who advise the ignoring of party lines in a city election?  And if it is the province of President Woodruff, speaking excathedra, and not merely as a citizen interested in good government, to tell his co-religionists to ignore party lines in municipal elections, why is it not his province to tell them to do the same thing in all other elections?

The news says that ‘he spoke as a wise father of his people, a true citizen of state and nation, a tried servant of the Lord in promoting human salvation–he spoke as an honest, upright man; and those who deny his right thus to speak, or who do not approve of his views when thus fairly explained and properly presented, can make the most of it.’

Nobody is denying President Woodruff’s right to speak as he chooses and where he chooses, but when he gets up in a general conference of his co-religionists and in his ecclesiastical capacity tells them what they should do in political matters, whether pertaining to the city or the state, he is using his great ecclesiastical position and power to influence political matters pure and simple.  And if it is his right and province to do this in a municipal election it is equally his right to do this in a state election; and it can all be done on the same plea that it is now being done.

The News says that those who do not like what President Woodruff said can make the most of it.  Isn’t it hurling unnecessary defiance?  It ignores the fact that the head of the church was speaking as such and addressed his remarks solely to its members.  Ie did not say that as a citizen he believed that the best interests of the city would be subserved by abandoning political lines in municipal affairs.  What he said was that God Almighty required those whom he addressed to unite in politics and business.  What becomes of political freedom where God Almighty requires people to unite in politics, no matter how extensive the union?  There is none; that is all.  When a people believe that God, through his servant, commands that a certain thing be done they have no alternative but to do it.

There is no disguising the fact that President Woodruff has undertaken, in his official ecclesiastical capacity, to direct the course of political affairs in Salt Lake City.

The Herald still thinks that President Woodruff’s remarks are to be regretted, but its faith in the sincerity and honesty of the people in their division on party lines is as firm and unshaken as ever.  The people can always be trusted; let no one doubt that fact.


Because President Woodruff made some ill-advised remarks about his co-religionists uniting in politics, is no reason why anybody should advocate a policy of abandoning national party lines in Utah and reforming on old political lines.  There can never be any reforming on those old lines, for Utah and her people have made too much progress for that.  Why anyone should think a re-establishment of those old lines desirable is difficult to see.  The people of Utah divided on party lines in good faith, and they are still so divided, and will continue to be.

The people in this city have seen an attempt made to break down party lines, and the present agitation in our politics is the direct result of that attempt.  The Herald has fought it from the first, insisting that the manner of proceeding was a direct assault on the capacity of the people for local self-government.  How pernicious it is, is now plain to all, now that President Woodruff has seen fit to use the influence of his position to further it.  It shouild be equally plain to all that it was never more essential to the best interests of the state to maintain party lines than at the present somewhat critical moment.

In this country the government is administered by parties, and the people know no other method of doing it.  It has developed as all our political institutions have.  It is not a creation, but a growth, and to attempt to abolish it and substitute something absolutely antagonistic to it in its place is a huge folly; how huge may be seen from the turmoil into which our local politics has been suddenly plunged.

This is, of all others, the time to stand by party lines.  Let the noxious non-partisan movement be stamped out and let party lines remain.


Elsewhere in this issue will be found the various versions of President Woodruff’s remarks about the duty of the people to unite in politics and in business.  The versions are those of The Herald, the Tribune and the one which appeared in the Deseret News, and which is termed the official report.

The Herald report was taken by a young man who is a first-class stenographer and who was close to President Woodruff, and it was transcribed from his stenographic report, and is absolutely reliable.

We recognize the fact that it differs somewhat from the official report.  We also recognize the fact that public speakers claim and exercise the privilege of revising what they have said before it is finally placed on record.  This is a common practice in congress, and newspaper reports of speeches, which are absolutely correct, very often differ from the report of them as found in the Congressional Record, in that they are very often materially modified.  It is also a frequent custom with pulpit speakers to revise their remarks before publishing them, and this custom has been adopted in this state at times.


(As reported for The Herald by an expert Stenographer who sat near the speaker.)

‘The day has come,’ he continued, ‘when God requires that you unite together, both in business and in politics.  I do not care whether you are a Republican or a Democrat; you should unite to elect good ment for the government of the city and the state, and if you do not do this you are losing the true spirit.  Lay aside your Democracy and Republicanism, and as Latter-day Saints unite together and appoint good men.  When you do this God will bless you.

‘Now I take the liberty, as president of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to make these remarks, and do not mind what the people shall say.  I realize that this people are groaning under poverty, under affliction, under taxation and under things that ought not to be, and you should unite together.  This idea of holding to party ties amounts to nothing.  It is your duty, as members of this church, to unite and appoint good men to rule in this city and state.  Do your duty and the Lord will bless you.’

(As given by the Tribune Reporter.)

‘The day has come when the mouths of Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, Joseph Smith and the twelve apostles should not be closed.  It is said we should say nothing about politics, but God Almighty requires you to unite together; to unite in your temple work and unite in your politics.  If I say “unite in your politics,” I mean for good men to govern the city, the state and the nation, and when you don’t, you lose the essence of your rights.  You should unite together to elect your city council and all the state organization.  The day has come when you must put aside Democracy and Republicanism, and as Latter-day Saints unite, and you will not be taxed to death.

‘I take the liberty as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to say that I realize we are groaning under poverty, affliction, taxation and expense, which would not be if we were united to do our duty.  This idea of principle, of being afraid to do something because you are Democrats or Republicans is wrong.  It is you[r] duty to get together and appoint men for every capacity in the state and city.  You should do what is right, and let the consequences follow.’

(‘Official’ report, as it appeared in the Deseret News.)

‘I prophesy, in the name of Israel’s God, the day has come when the mouths of Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith and these twelve apostles, should not be closed because of the opinions of the children of men.  There have been feelings that these men holding high positions–the twelve apostles and presidency–should say nothing about politics.  I want to say to you here, the day has come when God Almighty requires at you[r] hands to unite together in your temporal business, and in your politics, so far as it is wisdom.  I do not care whether a man is a Republican or a Democrat, in that he is free; but it is your duty to unite in electing good men to govern and control your cities, your local affairs, and I will state that when you do not do this you are losers of the blessings of Almighty God.  I want to tell you this upon this occasion.  My mouth shall not be closed upon these principles.  I know it is the duty of the Latter-day Saints to unite together in your local affairs, the election of your city councils, the election of men to act for you in the affairs of state.  Lay aside your extremes in Democracy and Republicanism, as far as is wise in that matter, and in other than local matters as Latter-day Saints united together within your party lines and appoint good men.  When you do that, God will bless you.  You won’t all be taxed to death and lose your property, if you will appoint good men and pursue this course.

‘I take the liberty as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of making these remarks.  No matter what the feelings of men may be towards me; I shall not stay in this country very long.  But I realize very well that this people are groaning under poverty, under affliction, under taxation, and in positions that they ought not to be if they would only unite together and do their duty.  And this idea of a person being afraid of somebody because he is a Democrat or a Republican, it is all wrong.  I feel like saying to you, as the president of this church, and do state, that it is your duty to unite together and appoint good men to act in every capacity for the public welfare.  Therefore let us do our duty, walk uprightly before the Lord our God and leave the consequences with him.  “Do what is right, let the consequences follow;” which may God grant, for Christ’s sake.  Amen.’







The utterances of President Woodruff at the tabernacle, as published in The Herald yesterday, created a profound impression in the city of Salt Lake.  Never, since the disbanding of the Liberal party, has there been such political excitement manifested on the streets.  Mormon and Gentile discussed the subject in groups and the greatest interest was manifested by all.

Groups of men met on Main street and talked over the matter from morning until evening.  It was the principal subject during the entire day.

There was considerable talk among certain classes of organizing the old Liberal party, and a call was issued to the members of the old drum corps to meet today at noon in the room they formerly occupied.  This meeting will be held today and it is said a parade will take place this evening, which will be participated in by a great many.

Cool, calm, thinking men, however, deteremined that it will be better to await developments ere doing anything rash.  There is ample time for the taking of decisive steps.  This feeling is augmented by the declarations of members of the dominant church, who say that the utterances of President Woodruff will have no effect upon those who divided on party lines for the benefit of the state.  That the people were honest and still are honest.  That they will stand for the American system of politics.

In this emergency, all eyes are turned toward the Democratic party.  It was the only party to make a protest against church influence, which it did effectively and forcibly.  The sentiment yesterday crystallized into the question, ‘What will the Democrats do?’  There were several rumors prevailing to the effect that the candidates had resigned and that the Republicans would not hold a convention.  THis is untrue, as no action has been taken in the matter nor will there be.  All are waiting until the situation clears a little and lucidity takes the place of the general confusion which prevailed all day yesterday.

The sentiment is expressed by the following statements made by various people:


Judge Powers was asked for his views last evening and furnished the following statement:

I read the report of President Woodruff’s address to the conference, as it appeared in The Herald, and which you assure me was a verbatim report, and during the day I have given it serious and unimpassioned thought.  I could come to no other conclusion that that it was fraught with grave import and well calculated to produce ill feeling among the people.  Its urgent insistence that the Mormon people should unite in business and politics, had the ring of the days that I had hoped were gone and ill comported with the apparent era of good feeling which impelled Gentiles to vie with Mormons in our celebration of the jubilee year, in diong homage to the Mormon founders of this state.

To the Gentile, it seemed to be a challenge, and the leaders of the dominant church should hesitate before issuing a defi [?].  If they attempt a union once more, in business  and politics, they will find that the Gentiles will meet the issue.  It seems to be forgotten that at the historic meeting, the last held by the Liberal party, that the party did not disband.  It rested on its oars.  There was a fear in men’s hearts, that the time might come when the organization might be needed, and the city Liberal committee was directed to cease its functions, until such time as in the judgment of its chairman it should again be called to duty.  I was one of those who went down to the last ditch, and I shall want proof of an imperative necessity, before I will deem it wise to turn from party lines and renew the old fight.  But, if such necessity be made apparent during my life time, I shall not hesitate to act.

I have too much faith in the honesty, good faith and independence of the Mormon people, to believe that their political action will be controlled by spiritual advisers.  It has been solemly declared, that ‘the members of this church are entirely free in all political affairs,’ and with the Australian ballot, I believe that they will remain free.  We fought the matter out in our party in 1895, and 19,000 voters declared against dictation.

I have read and re-read the version of President Woodruff’s address, as published in the Deseret News, and I am glad to see that the Mormons are only advised to unite in temporal business and in politics ‘so far as it is wisdom.’  They may conclude that it will not be wise to unite at all and much that is open to strong criticism in The Herald report fades away in the News report.  The speech as printed in the News seems to be an effort to bolster the ‘non-partisan’ cause, now on its last legs, and interferes in the free agency of the people to vote for their party candidates.  It has not the merit of frankness and is open to two constructions and while it will not strengthen the citizens’ movement, it will not help to bring us peace.

Men ought not ton consider this matter from a standpoint of passion.  If the sole object of President Woodruff was ‘the betterment of politics,’ then no harm will be done.  Let us do nothing until forced by circumstances, that will destroy the good feeling which for some months has existed between Mormons and Gentiles.  Under the circumstances, if the Citizens’ ticket win, it will be a bad sign.  This is a year for Republicans and Democrats to support their respective parties.


Angus M. Cannon, president of the Salt Lake Stake, in reference to the remarks of President Woodruff, said that personally he (Mr. Cannon) favored obliterating party lines in municipal affairs and voting for the best men and seeing that rascalls who would rob and plunder the people were not put in office.

Asked what interpretation he put on President Woodruff’s utterance in that regard, Mr. Cannon said that as the president was here and framed his own words, he (Mr. Cannon) had no right to take the license to interpret the sayings of the president, who was amply capable to do so himself.  But if the president were not here Mr. Cannon would say that his remarks were called forth by the knowledge that the people had been plundered, and owing to maladministration, were groaning under the burden of high taxation, and byi his desire to see good, honest men elected to office who would give a clean, honest and capable administration in municipal affairs.  From private conversations with President Woodruff he was of the opinion that the president referred only to the obliteration of party lines in municipal affairs and had no reference to state or national politics.  The word ‘state,’ occuring in the remarks of the president, Mr. Cannon thought was owing to a slip of the tongue.  Anybody was liable to make a slip of that kind, and when President Woodruff’s age–over 90 years–was considered, it was surprising that his utterances were as clear and lucid as they were.


Hon. Aquila Nebeker, president of the last state senate, said he deplored the statements.  He could assign no reason for their being uttered by President Woodruff.  ‘What we want in this state is the same system of American politics which prevails in other states.  We want the two great parties to grapple with the issues which interest the people, and settle them as they do elsewhere.  We want the old bitterness removed; and I tell you that the people of this state are going to settle them in that way regardless of interference by the Mormon church, or any other church, and when the time comes to vote we will snow the opponents of an American policy under soo deep that they will not know themselves.  I say to you that the people of Utah, as a people, are honest in their desire to wipe out the bitter past and they are going to do it. You don’t need any Liberal party just now.  Just leave the matter to the people themselves and they will settle all of it.


B. T. Lloyd, city councilman, declared he wanted the politics of other states to prevail here.  When wrongs and abuses creep in the people are ever ready to arise and declare that the men who caused them shall vacate their positions and that new conditions shall reign.  I am sorry that this statement was made.  It will do us no good [the remainder of this article was not included in the Journal History].”

(From The Salt Lake Herald, 8 Oct., 1897; in JH 8 Oct., 1897)


There was a flurry in the city yesterday morning when the people read the statements made by President Woodruff in the Tabernacle the previous day, and the remarks made were characteristic of the dispositions of the different speakers.  Some assumed that all was lost; some who snarled at The Tribune for years prior to the division on party lines, for keeping up an agitation here and preventing trade from seeking its natural channels, assumed an injured tone, as though they had been betrayed in the house of their friends; some whispered darkly of traitors who had sold out, and looked as though they were sorry that they had no portion of the supposed swag, and some who were jack Mormons from the first, and who in the old days expressed a desire to see The Tribune gutted by ‘the outraged Saints,’ stood on the corners and said, ‘Ha, ha!  Serves ’em right.’  It was probably natural for a people who were churned here with excitement for twenty years to be suspicious, apprehensive and fault-finding, and to be anxious to establish that their own hands were clean; that by no consent of theirs had the change come.

There was a long time, in the old days, when it was necessary for The Tribune to keep an account of the friends of Americanism that it believed could be relied upon in case matters became serious, but among them all, there was not one of those who were so furious in their denunciations and anathemas yesterday.

Now, the remarks of President Woodruff were all wrong, but they were of the same nature as the remarks made by the same old man a year or two prior to the completion of the Temple, when he declared that upon its dedication the Lord in person would come and begin His final reign over the earth.  When the division was made, the Mormon priests and people made certain voluntary agreements which were to run without any statute of limitations.  That did not make impossible the fact that there might be here and there a false priest who, for political power and commercial profit, might, later, desire to ignore that agreement.  But it was accepted as an agreement on the part of the great mases of the Mormon people, and no man has any right, by anything that has since been said or done, to impeach the honesty of those people.  On the other hand, we have had repeated proofs of their sincerity.  This being true, it is proper to call the attention of Gentiles to the fact that they, too, made an implied agreement to go on, to let by-gones be by-gones, and to try to build up an American State on this soil.  ‘But,’ says some one, ‘the Mormons are largely in the majority, and they will do as they are bidden, in political, as well as religious matters.’  The first is true; there is no proof of the last.  On the other hand, the great masses of Mormons realize that they need the Gentiles here as much, quite as much, as the Gentiles need the Mormons.  They understand that the city was run by their own people forty years, and that there was next to nothing to show for it; that since the Gentiles obtained power, though some unworthy or incompetent men have held office, a magnificent school system has been established, the death ratio has been reduced 50 per cent, and among children 70 per cent, that needed and magnificent improvements have been made, and that all the stealings by Gentile officials do not amount to as much as one officer, named and elected by the church in the old days, stole.

Of course, the depression that has well-nigh wrecked the country has had its effect here, and some careful management is needed for two or three years.  But that has nothing to do with party politics, and nothing has been said or done to justify the belief that the young State of Utah is not now on as fair and free a basis as any other State in the Union.  Except for the depression, the roads west and south-west would have been built, the property of the city, instead of shrinking in value, would have doubled; with it the people would have doubled, and the interest account, which is a burden now, would have been a mere bagatelle.  It will all come pretty soon; the signs are all right in the East; the one thing which this State has most needed is, we believe, about to be given it; why the belly-aching and the wrath and despair?  Why not, like American citizens, deal with the present as it presents itself, and have a little faith that the immediate future holds more of hope and prosperity than of disaster and fear in its scope?  So interwoven are the interests of Mormons and Gentiles that they cannot be separated; the interests are mutual, and if President Woodruff, his counselors and the whole array of apostles were to try to undo this, and to cause things to revert back to where they were in the old days, there are enough young Mormons who have marked the changes and who are exulting over them, to join with the Gentiles and make a majority.  Why, then, cannot men be sensible, meet difficulties when they come, and not spend their strength in fighting imaginary terrors?

The best symptom seen yesterday was the universal disappointment of the people, Mormon as well as Gentile, over the words of the President of the Mormon church in the Tabernacle the previous day.  They were construed as a notice that the church high authorities had determined to undertake again to control their people in political matters, as they formerly did in Utah, and the expression on every hand was that it could not be done.  It was plain how sensitive the people are on the question and what their determination is.

The versions of what President Woodruff said at the Tabernacle at the close of the conference on Wednesday evening differ somewhat, but all are to the same purport.  Ours was made with great care by a man of experience and in perfect sincerity; we believe it to be accurate; to be as near as possible precisely what President Woodruff said; yet, before using it, we tried to get the official stenographic report, but were told very directly that no stenographic notes had been taken by him.  The News, however, gave a version last night which was changed by leaving out reference to the State.  For the purpose of comparison, we reproduce all the versions made, in connection with a talk with President Woodruff on the subject of his remarks.”  


President Woodruff Discusses His Political Address.


He Says He Spoke as a Burdened Taxpayer.


He States that He is in Favor of the Continuance of Present Party Divisions, Except in City Affairs–He Did not Mean to Say that there Should not be partisanship in State Elections–Claims the Right to Speak on Political Questions, not as the Head of the Mormon Church, but as a Citizen–This was what He Meant, He Says, When He Declared that the Time had Come When His Mouth Should not be Closed on Political Matters–His Address Caused Much Discussion and Bitter Condemnation–George Q. Cannon’s Position.


In response to questions asked by a Tribune reporter, President Woodruff yesterday discussed his conference address on politics.  He entered into an explanation of his object in making the address and his purpose in using the language which has caused such a sensation.  He was first asked:


‘What purpose did you [several words missing] in giving your people this [words missing] advice?’

‘I had in mind,’ said President Woodruff, ‘the financial condition of our city and the heavy taxation its property owners are bearing.  I know how heavy it is from my own experience.  On the Valley house property, which I own, I pay from $1200 to $1500 taxes a year, and my income from the Valley house is but $50 per month.  I get but little revenue from the balance of the property.  I talked as a taxpayer to other taxpayers–not as the head of the Mormon church to Mormons.  I felt that the time had come when there should be a change in the way of managing our city affairs, so that we might have officials who whould not be merely after the loaves and fishes.’


‘Did you mean to advise Mormons to cease being Republicans and Democrats?’

‘No, I did not.  I am in favor of parties.  I wanted the people to work for the election of good men to our city offices.  That was all.  I did not advise the election of Mormons to office.  I am anxious for the election of men, whether Mormons or non-Mormons, who will manage our city affairs economically.  I do not wish my remarks to be understood as applying to people of our church only.  As a citizen and taxpayer, I desire all good citizens to unite for the election of good officers.’


‘But what method of union did you have in mind?  Did you mean that Republicans should work within their party lines to elect good Republicans and Democrats within their party to elect good Democrats?’

‘I did not care how they did it, so long as they voted for good men.  But I spoke especially with reference to non-partisanship in city affairs–not to the present non-partisan movement, but to non-partisanship in general.  I felt that the experience of the city showed that it would be better not to have party spirit control in our city offices, but that the city’s affairs should be managed in a business way.’


‘Is it true, as claimed, that your purpose was to direct your church members to vote the Non-Partisan ticket?’

‘I did not refer to any ticket.  I did not have any particular ticket in mind.  I have not had time to pay much attention to tickets.  I was simply advocating the principle of non-partisanship in city matters.  I have no desire to pitch into Republicans and Democrats.  I think parties are needed, as a general thing.  I spoke spontaneously, and did not mean to say that there should be non-partisanship in State and National affairs.  I meant that we should elect good men to all offices, but it was about city officers that I was thinking when I urged people to unite regardless of party.  I had in mind particularly our heavy city debts and expenses.  I want it to be clearly understood that I do not want to break up the parties.  I want them to exist here.  I have no intention to urge that they be broken away from in State affairs.  It would not be wise to do away with our present party lines.’


‘What did you mean by saying that the time had come when the mouths of the church authorities should not be closed as to politics?’

‘I meant that we had the right to express our views as citizens.  It has been claimed, not only by people outside of the church, but by Mormons as well, that the higher church officers should be silent in political matters.  But I differ from them.  As President of the Mormon church I claim no right to dictate to any one in politics.  When I speak on political matters I speak simply as a citizen, interested in the welfare of the people.  I feel that I have a right, as an individual American citizen, to speak on political questions.  I don’t think that any man, because he is a priest, has any right to dictate in politics.  But I claim that a Mormon priest has as much right to speak of political matters as has a Methodist or a Baptist minister or a Catholic priest.  He has no right, however, to use his priesthood to influence people politically, and I have no intention of using mine for that purpose.’


President George Q. Cannon was asked for a statement regarding the references he made to political affairs in his address of Tuesday.  He declined, however, further than to say that it was not his desire to see existing party divisions done away with.  In city affairs, however, he did not believe party lines should be drawn, and he therefore favored the election of the Non-Partisan ticket in the present campaign.


Much Hostility to it Expressed

Throughout the City.

President Woodruff’s conference speech was the chief subject discussed about town yesterday.  Hostility to its sentiments was expressed very generally, and often with great rancor by the majority of Gentiles, while men known as liberal Mormons often criticised it with only a shade less bitterness.  Orthodox Mormons who cling closely to the church and not a few Gentiles found excuse for the aged president.  They expressed the belief that he spoke not as president of the Mormon church, but simply as a citizen.

About the streets everywhere in groups of varying size the all-absorbing topic of church dictation was discussed.  There was variety of sentiment expressed, but in the main people were loath to believe that, however intended, the president’s remarks would be accepted by his hearers as a mere expression of personal opinion.

Maj. Stanton endeavored during the afternoon to get together a sufficient number of the old Liberal Drum corps to parade the city in the evening.  He was unable to do so, but believes he can effect this purpose tonight and make a demonstration.  There was futile talk, too, of the reorganization of the Liberal party, but few of judgment spoke favorably of the idea.

The Citizens’ committee and ticket came in for a full share of the anathemas breathed out by the firebrands.

All sorts of foolish reports were in circulation.  One of the most ridiculous was to the effect that the entire general and Council tickets of the Democrats would be withdrawn.  ‘I guess we won’t do anything of the sort,’ said a Democrat who possess his mind.  ‘We have fifteen Mormons out of twenty-one candidates, and if that won’t counteract any effect President Woodruff’s speech might have, nothing will.  We will stand pat.’

Another of the many rumors flying about town was that W. H. Dale and W. C. Hall were about to withdraw from the Democratic ticket, as they believed that nothing but defeat could be their party’s portion after President Woodruff’s address.  Both said that the story was untrue, and that they had nothing of the kind under consideration.  ‘I am willing, however, to do anything to defeat the non-partisan movement,’ said Hall.  ‘The method of the ticket’s nomination was altogether wrong.  Support is being improperly brought to it and it should be defeated.’

Chairman Sloan of the Democratic State committee found an occasion for mirth in the situation.  ‘This non-partisan movement,’ said he, ‘was instituted for the purpose of preventing Democratic control of Salt Lake City.  The Gentile Republicans in the movement believed themselves very adroit at the start, but I question that they longer consider themselves such.  They have been taken in and done for.’

Other Democrats expressed a similar opinion as to the genesis of the Citizens’ party, and while they regarded the outlook for the Democracy as gloomy, the majority expressed themselves as believing that the result would not be a Citizens’ party victory.


Three Reports of the Remarks of President Woodruff.

The daily papers of the city each have reports of what President Woodruff said at the conference on Wednesday evening.  For the purpose of comparison, all are here given: . . .”

(“Above taken from the Daily Tribune of October 8, 1897.”  JH 8 Oct., 1897)

  9 Oct.:  Woodruff statement.

“The Deseret News this evening has the following editorial on a subject that has been much discussed because of the misrepresentations of Daily papers since the close of the Conference:


No utterance during the recent General Conference of the Church was received by the Saints with greater pleasure and gratitude than the declaration of President Woodruff that the mouths of the First Presidency should not henceforth be kept closed because of the opinions of the children of men.  The fast assembly received this promise with joy, and their hearts were made glad by the knowledge that the whims and objections of carping outsiders should no longer be effective in preventing the chosen and anointed leaders of the Church from expressing to the people the feelings that their duty and the Spirit prompted.  An extreme desire to avoid the appearance of anything that even the most technical and suspicious critic could find fault with, has caused these men in the past to abstain in great measure from the discussion of subjects which are of the liveliest importance to the welfare of the whole community.  The American right of free speech they have never relinquished; neither have they yielded up the right, either as citizens esteemed because of their experience and service in that capacity, or as ecclesiastical leaders beloved because of their integrity and love of righteousness, to advise and counsel and set before their followers an example in any matter that seemed to them proper.  They are not dumb cowards who must not breathe a word lest some partisan or sensationalist take exceptions or take fright.  They are not fettered in thought or utterance because a certain element chooses to exaggerate, distort and get alarmed over their intentions.  They may not always have exercised these rights as fully as they thought necessary or as fully as the people would have been glad to have them do; but if there has been such erring it has been on the side of prudence and with the worthiest of motives, without, however, abandoning in the least degree the inalienable privileges and the undisputed rights inherent in American citizenship.  There will be no less prudence, there will be no less worthiness of motive, hereafter than heretofore, and the President’s announcement–pleasing as it is to the Saints–cannot reasonably give offense to any one else.  He and the men to whom he referred are not deficient in any of the graces of citizenship or the qualities of patriotism.  They have not lived in Utah all these years–he and others half a century, still others all their lives–without having an interest in its welfare and a love for it equal to that of the most enthusiastic resident of a more recent date.  These men, or those whom they have succeeded, made the country.  Is it to be presumed that their affection for it is second to that of any one who came in after the country was made, and who frequently acts as though he had the exclusive right to grumble and criticise?  They have also lived through the various vicissitudes and trials that the subsequent years brought forth.  Is it common sense to say that they prefer a recurrence of the dissensions, the discords, the bitterness of the past, to the peace, the Union, the charity that have more recently smiled upon our State?  Whoever answers these questions other than in the negative betrays his own lack of sincerity, he is rather to be pitied for imbecility than blamed for bigotry.  Among all, therefore, whose hearts and minds are true, and who honor past service, ripened experience, sincere patriotism, and who are willing to accord to others the rights they claim for themselves, be they Mormon, Gentile, Jew or Pagan, President Woodruff’s promise will be heard with gratitude and its fulfillment awaited with confident joy.”

(JH 9 Oct., 1897)



It would, therefore have been perfectly proper for Brother George Q. Cannon to have said what was attributed to him in the Tribune of January 17, 1897, to the effect that he had as much political wisdom as all (meaning legislators) combined.

‘The wisdom which is to be obtained in this kingdom is more satisfactory to us than the boasted wisdom of the world.’–6 Jour. of Dis. 314.

President Joseph Smith thus unreservedly states the case:

‘I am learned and know more than all the world put together.  The Holy Ghost does anyhow–and he is within me and comprehends more than all the world.  I will associate myself with him.’–6 Jour. of Dis. 5.


It follows very naturally from the foregoing that no one is permitted to judge or criticise the divine wisdom (political or otherwise) of God through his priesthood.  You must do as you are told.  If the authorities make a mistake in their orders (I mean counsel) to you they will settle that with God.

‘In their official positions they have responsibilities to carry and duties to perform with reference to the flock over which they preside, that no other man is entitled to belittle or impugn, since in these respects they are answerable only to God.’–Des. News, Oct. 23, ’95.

‘Those church members who contend against and criticise the exercise of such right (application of church discipline) by the proper authority, place themselves in a condition of rebellion against such divine authority and of apostasy from the rules it prescribes.’–Des. News, Nov. 9, ’95.

President Cannon modestly puts the case thus, for his priesthood:

‘Even if there be apparent cause for saying severe things and censuring them, no wise man or woman will yield to that spirit for fear of grieving the spirit of the Lord. * * * The Lord has not given to the members of the church the right to find fault with or condemn those who hold the Priesthood. * * * If file leaders or presiding authorities do wrong, God will deal with them in the way He has ordained.  Those who preside are accountable to authority, but it is to the authority which God has prescribed. * * * No necessity will ever arise, therefore, for men to take upon themselves, in their individual capacity, the right to judge and condemn the Lord’s servants.’–29 Juvenile Inst., 745.



Are we then to believe that this Priesthood is infallible?  No, of course not, as is frankly admitted by the authorities when they republished Brother Woolley’s letter in a pamphlet gotten out on Mr. Thatcher called ‘The Thatcher Episode.’  There it is said concerning the authorities that:

They may at times commit errors in judgment, and even do things through selfish principles not in keeping with their professions and high callings.’

This might be the case if one in authority having stock in the Utah Sugar company should counsel the brethren to vote with the political party favoring bounties to sugar factories.  Of course if such counsel was given from a selfish motive, this would not be admitted, but the erring brother must settle that with God.  You have no right to enquire into the motive but must obey counsel.  It might be that such counsel even is inspired of God.  The owner of the sugar stock may have served God so well that it is His will that that [sic] the brother should be temporarily rewarded for his faithfulness by making his investment in sugar stock more profitable.  Hence, if you are counseled to vote in favor of a bounty paying political party, you must be obedient; for no man is entitled to belittle or impugn those superiors who give this counsel, since in this respect they are answerable only to God.

But some will say, ‘I have made a careful study of the Science of Government, and am honestly and earnestly convinced that the giving of bounties to sugar factories is not within the legitimate province of government, and is a violation of those principles of governmental science upon which depends the perpetuity of free institutions.  Must I then abandon all these cherished principles at the suggestion of those in authority?’

Let that grand old man, President Woodruff, answer:

‘Whatever I might have obtained in the shape of learning by searching and study respecting the arts and the sciences of man, whatever principles I may have imbibed during my scientific researches, yiet, if the Prophet of God should tell me that a certain theory or principle which I might have learned was not true, I do not care what my ideas might have been, I should consider it my duty at the suggestion of my file leader to abandon that principle or theory.’–5 Jour. of Disc. 83.

Your theories about bounties and tariffs or any other question debated by scientists or economists must all be held subject to modification at the suggestion of your file leaders.  If we are unwilling to do this, then why do we acknowledge the apostles of our church as the mouthpieces of God, clothed with authority as prophets, seers and revelators?

(To be continued.)”

(“Above taken from The Broad Ax of October 9, 1897.”  JH 9 Oct., 1897)


On Thursday the Tribune and Deseret News both gave explanations of President Woodruff’s political sermon, delivered in the tabernacle Wednesday.  Yesterday he gave his own explanation in an interview that was prepared for the Tribune.  The explanation cannot be characterized as anything less than remarkable, and it fails to reconcile the language used in the sermon with what was the intended meaning, according to the interview.  This will be made self-evident by placing the language of the sermon, as found in the ‘official’ report, beside the language of the interview:

       Interview.                     Sermon.

I talked as a taxpayer to other taxpayers–not as the head of the Mormon church to Mormons.
When I speak on political matters, I speak simply as a citizen, interested in the welfare of the people.
I prophesy, in the name of Israel’s God, etc.

I take the liberty, as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of making these remarks.

The explanation will not be generally accepted as satisfactory, but even if it were so accepted it still remains pertinent to ask if a religious gathering is the proper place to talk politics?

If it is proper to talk city politics at a general conference it is equally proper to talk state or national politics at a general conference; the difference is simply one of degree and not of kind.

President Woodruff’s explanation will have the effect to act at least as a partial antidote to his sermon.  But what is the necessity for preaching political sermons that have to be explained?”  (“Above taken from The Salt Lake Herald of October 9, 1897.”  JH 9 Oct., 1897)

14 Oct.:  Should there be organizations for foreigners?

“Meeting of the First Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11 A.M.  Present:  Prests. W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon, J. F. Smith and L. Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff.  (Elder B. Young in Bannock Stake; Elder H. J. Grant sick; Elder J. W. Taylor in Colorado.)

. . . .

The subject of organization within the Stakes of Zion for the benefit of the Scandinavian people was considered, and while they were decided to be beneficial to Saints who did not understand the English language, it was held that feelings of nationality should be discouraged, and that the sooner such organizations be done away with the better.”  (JH 14 Oct., 1897)

14 Oct.:  Disharmony among the 12 Apostles.

“Meeting of the First Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11 A.M.  Present:  Prests. W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon, J. F. Smith and L. Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff.  (Elder B. Young in Bannock Stake; Elder H. J. Grant sick; Elder J. W. Taylor in Colorado.)

. . . .

Pres. L. Snow took pleasure in reporting to the First Presidency that the Twelve Apostles were now in perfect harmony with each other and with the First Presidency.

Pres. Woodruff expressed his appreciation of that fact, and reverted to painful experiences since the death of Pres. Taylor.  He believed that through their unity the spirit and power of God would be upon the Apostles and First Presidency and that the Lord would deliver them out of financial bondage and difficulties.

Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon also expressed his joy at the union existing among the leading authorities, and went over the ground of recent difficulties, but looked for happy results and a better feeling throughout the Church, that its discipline would be more readily recognized and the result would be greater strength and power.

Pres. Smith fully endorsed all the remarks that had been made.”  (JH 14 Oct., 1897)

15 Oct.:  Is it proper to vote against someone?

“A correspondent asks the question, What course should she pursue when the name of a sister is presented to be voted for as president of an association who, she knows, makes slighting remarks about the President of the Stake and her Bishop, and who, she knows also, is not in harmony with either one?

Our correspondent seems to be perplexed as to what course she should take.  She shrinks from the thought of arising in the meeting and stating her reasons for not voting, and yet she feels that in her conscience she cannot sustain this sister.

In a case of this kind the sister should tell her husband, or some friend, what her scruples are, and let this friend communicate them either to the Bishop or to the President of the Stake, that they may know what objections she has, and if they are objections that are well taken they should not present such a person for the vote of the people.  It would not be wise, speaking generally, for a person to arise in the meeting and explain the reasons for voting against another, without in the first place taking a course to make these explanations in private to the officers in charge.  This can easily be done through the medium of a teacher, or some other prudent person, who will be able to weigh the character of the objections which are entertained.  This would prevent the one who has objections from being placed in an embarrassing and awkward position.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 32(20):627, 15 Oct., 1897)

21 Oct.:  Meetinghouses to be paid before dedication.

“Meeting of the First Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11 A.M.  Present:  Prests. W. Woodruff, G. Q. Cannon, J. F. Smith and L. Snow; Elders F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley and A. O. Woodruff.  (B. Young in Bannock Stake; J. W. Taylor in Colorado; H. J. Grant sick.)

. . . .

It was also decided by the Council that meeting houses should be finished and paid for before being dedicated.”  (JH 21 Oct., 1897)

7 Nov.:  A proposed bishop rejected by ward vote.

“Pres. Jos. F. Smith, accompanied by Presidents A. M. Cannon, J. E. Taylor and C. W. Penrose, of Salt Lake Stake, went to Herriman Ward to appoint a new Bishopric, the former Bishop Robert Dansie being deceased.  Some time ago Pres. Smith, with two of the Stake Presidency visited that Ward and proposed James S. Crane as the Bishop, but although he had been regularly chosen with the approval of the First Presidency and the endorsement of the High Council, he was rejected by a majority of the people of the Ward who were present.  Their reasons when called upon to express them were founded on erroneous ideas concerning Bro. Crane’s connection with some difficulties in relations to water rights, he having merely supported the late Bishop in his official position.  There was also division among the Herriman people as to whom they desired for a Bishop.  The consequence was that in view of the discordant and contentious spirit prevailing among them, Pres. Jos. F. Smith with Prests. A. M. Cannon and Jos. E. Taylor, decided to leave the Ward without a Bishopric, and to suspend the privileges of the Melchisedek Priesthood in that Ward.  Bro. William C. Crump was appointed to take charge in the capacity of a Priest, to hold meetings, but not administer the sacrament.  After enduring this condition of affairs for some time, a large number of the members of the Ward petitioned the Stake Presidency to reorganize them in proper form.  Therefore, the brethren attended meeting there to-day.  The leading Elders of the Ward were invited to express their feelings, and when all had done so that desired, remarks were made by Elder C. W. Penrose, Jos. E. Taylor, Angus M. Cannon and Jos. F. Smith, instructing the people as to the rights of the Priesthood and the rights of the people, and what was meant by ‘divine appointment’ and ‘common consent’.  Bro. James S. Crane was then renominated for Bishop of Herriman Ward and was sustained by unanimous vote; Geo. Miller as his first counselor and Jos. S. H. Bodell as his second counselor and were also unanimously sustained.  Prest. Jos. F. Smith, with the Presidency of the Stake, ordained these brethren and set them apart to their respective positions.  The sacrament was administered, Elder William C. Crump was ordained a Patriarch and the spirit of the Lord was abundantly enjoyed.”  (JH 7 Nov., 1897)

15 Nov.:  The duties of a priest.

“We have been asked a number of questions, regarding the authority and duties in the Church of the Priest after the order of Aaron.  The following embodies answers to those inquiries.

According to the revelations of God:

There are, in the church, two Priesthoods, namely, the Melchisedek, and Aaronic, including the Levitical priesthood.

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

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

The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood and holds the keys or authority of the same. [107:1, 13-15]

From this it is evident that those holding this priesthood are amenable to their Bishops not only for their actions as members in the Church, but also for the fulfillment of their duties in the priesthood.

The priest’s duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament,

And visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties;

And he may also ordain other priests, teachers, and deacons.

And he is to take the lead of meetings when there is no elder present;

But when there is an elder present, he is only to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize,

And visit the house of each member, exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties.

In all these duties the priest is to assist the elder if occasion requires. [20:46-52]

From the above we learn that the duty of the Priest is to preach the Gospel, to baptize, and to administer the Sacrament of the Lord’s supper.  When there is no officer of the Church holding the Melchizedek Priesthood present at a meeting of the Saints, it is the Priest’s duty to preside at that meeting; and if there is such a one present it is the Priest’s privilege to assist the presiding officer as he may be called upon, but within the scope of the duties assigned him by the word of God: that is, he can, for instance, assist the Elder in administering the Sacrament, but he cannot join him in the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

It is the Priest’s duty, as he may be appointed by his Bishop, to visit the members of the Church at their homes, preach the Gospel to them, exhort them to pray, and to attend to all family duties–to teach them the law of God and persuade them to live it.  This he can do either as an assistant to an Elder, called to this duty, or he can do it by himself, or with another Priest associated with him, or assisted by a Teacher.

Nor are the duties of the Priests confined to home alone.  They can travel abroad and preach the Gospel to the nations, (as President Woodruff did when he held this Priesthood,) for the word of the Lord says:

And behold the High Priests should travel, and also the elders, and also the lesser priests; but the deacon and teachers should be appointed to watch over the church, to be standing ministers unto the church. [84:111]

In view of these revelations on the order of the Priesthood, it is proper and consistent with the word of God for the Bishop of a ward to organize a Priest’s quorum in his ward whenever such action is desirable and there are sufficient available brethren in the ward worthy of this important calling.  It is, however, well for him to counsel with the Presidency of the Stake before he takes action, that he may learn their minds thereon.  It is also permissible, where wards are small and enough available brethren cannot be found in any one ward, for the Priests in two or three, or more wards to be united in a quorum, and a Bishop be appointed by the Stake Presidency to preside over the quorum.

In all the wards of the Church, Teachers are appointed to visit its members; but in few wards have Priests been called to go from house to house and preach the Gospel to the people resident within their borders.  The reason, apparently, for this is that the acting teachers have generally been men holding the Melchizedek Priesthood who had the right to officiate in both the Priest’s and the Teacher’s duties, and when visiting as Teachers, they have not only performed these Teacher’s duties which require them to

See that there is no iniquity in the church–neither hardness with each other–neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking;

And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty.

But also that of the Priest; for they have, in their visits, preached, taught, expounded and exhorted; though, unfortunately, not as often or to the extent that the Priests’ calling requires.  Had they done so, we believe, the members of the Church, as a whole, especially our youth, would have a better knowledge of the Gospel and a greater desire to keep God’s law more perfectly.

It is a wise and proper thing for the Bishops to appoint discreet and prudent men, possessed of the Holy Ghost and well versed in the principles of the Gospel, and with its love in their hearts, to visit the Saints at their homes and teach them the law of the Lord, and the first principles of the Gospel of salvation.  If this be done we believe the Church will be greatly strengthened in the increased faith and intelligence of the Saints.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 32(22):690-691, 15 Nov., 1897)

17 Nov.:  Inactive Seventies should be dropped from their quorums.


The subject dealing with delinquent members was considered by the Council and the following conclusion arrived at:

“Where members of Quorums persistently fail to attend their Quorum meetings, and have no reasonable excuse to offer for this neglect of duty, they should be labored with by the presidents of that Quorum, and, if they continue in a course of general neglect of duty, after sufficient patience has been manifested with them to satisfy the claims of mercy, that they then be formally notified by letter, to be present at a meeting of the Quorum appointed for the purpose of showing why they should not be dropped from the Quorum.  And, in the event of their refusing, or neglecting to attend the summons of the Quorum, when nit is possible for them to be present, and if a reasonable excuse is not sent to the Quorum, the Quorum is instructed to take action in their case.  In the event of their responding to the summons of the Quorum and showing a proper spirit of repentance, the Quorum can, at its discretion, continue to hold them in fellowship; but if action is taken against them, said action should immediately be reported to the High Council of the Stake where they reside.”  (Levi Edgar Young Papers, Utah State Historical Society, B12, Box 8, Fd 12, Resolution, 17 Nov 1897)

11 Dec.:  Concerning “rebaptism.”

“The Salt Lake Stake Conference was held to-day in the Assembly Hall, commencing at 10 A.M. . . . President Angus M. Cannon, in answer to questions, explained that the word ‘rebaptize’ was not to be used when an excommunicated member re-joined the Church.  The word ‘baptize’ was sufficient, as the Lord had provided.  Baptism of persons who were in the Church should not be solemnized except when absolutely necessary.”  (JH 11 Dec., 1897)

15 Dec.:  Tithing policy/Jurisdiction of Stake Presidents.

“The First Presidency were waited upon at their office to-day by Presiding Bishop W. B. Preston, who submitted to their inspection the annual circular addressed byi him to the Presidents of Stakes, Bishops, etc., in reference to tithing matters.

President Geo. Q. Cannon objected to the instructions requiring the cash tithing to be sent to the Presiding Bishop, who, after using such portion as was needed through his office, turned over the balance through his bank account to the Trustee-in-trust.  Pres. Cannon considered, as he had stated before many times, that the Trustee-in-trust should control the cash tithing as had always been the method until after the decease of Pres. John Taylor.  Bishop Preston expressed his entire willingness to have the old order restored, and the circular was changed accordingly.  The following paragraph being also added to the circular:

The Question was asked at the late Priesthood meeting, at which were present Presidents of Stakes and Bishops of Wards, what authority if any have Presidents of Stakes over the tithes of their Stakes?  The answer was that they should take supervision of everything in the Stake, including the care of the Tithing, and as they are required to certify to the correctness of the tithing report made annually to the Presiding Bishop’s Office, they should satisfy themselves that the tithing account of the Bishops and Stake Tithing clerks are correctly and properly kept.

The circular was also amended so that Presidents of Stakes, their counselors and others, were prohibited from drawing from the tithing office with the expectation of obtaining an order at the end of the year to cover the amounts, and that application should be made at the beginning of the year for such assistance as they might need for the year.”  (JH 15 Dec., 1897)