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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1899

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1899.” You can view other years here.

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1899:    5 Jan.:  Reduction in salaries of Church officials.

“The First Presidency and the Apostles met in the Salt Lake Temple at 11 A.M.  Present:  Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith; Apostles Franklin D. Richards, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund, Mathias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson. . . .

The question of the recent reduction in salaries of Church officials and employees was also discussed, and the reasons given why such a step had been deemed necessary.  The present limits had been set for the sake of retrenchment and to assist in getting the Church out of debt.  Speaking upon this subject, President Snow said that while he understood the Apostles’ salaries were to be reduced, he also understood that they were not to be reduced below what was actually necessary for their support; and now, he added, ‘whenever any one of the Twelve Apostles come to the Presidency and tell them that what they are receiving is not enought their wants will be supplied at once.’  He believed that where brethren gave their time to the Church, their needs should be supplied.  Retrenchment should be made in the building of churches, etc., and not in what men needed to eat. . . .

[Joseph F. Smith] did not think that the office of Apostle should call for a certain salary, but he did think that the Apostles should be compensated by the Church and that each one should know what he could expect to receive, and govern himself accordingly.”  (JH 5 Jan., 1899)

15 Jan.:  Youth in the Deacon’s office.

“An Idaho correspondent submits the following question:

‘Why do we ordain boys twelve or fourteen years old to the office of Deacon, when Paul says to Timothy in his first Epistle, iii, 12: “Let the Deacons be the husbands of one wife”?’

Paul in referring to the branches of the Church as then organized had in mind adults who had been ordained.  Probably in those branches, the most of the members, if not all, were newly converted, none had been born in the Church who were at that time old enough to hold the Priesthood.  With our Elders even in these days it is a very uncommon thing to ordain, while out in the world, very young men to any office.  Mature men are frequently ordained as Deacons and act as such.  But the circumstances which surround us here in Zion are entirely different from those which surrounded the Saints in the days of Paul, and of which he wrote.  There is no impropriety whatever in young men, even as early as at the age of twelve or fourteen years, acting as Deacons.  They receive a training that is very valuable to them, and we know of many who have been and are greatly benefitted by acting in this position, meeting with the Deacons’ quorum and receiving such instructions as are proper to be imparted to them in this capacity.  The cases to which Paul refers, therefore, and those that exist in Zion, are not at all parallel.  All who have had experience among the young Deacons of the Church are doubtless convinced of the propriety of ordaining our boys early, if worthy, that they may become thoroughly familiar one by one with the duties of the various offices and grades of the Priesthood.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 34(2):48-49, 15 Jan., 1899)

18 Jan.:  Dedication of home by Apostle Taylor.

“At home.  Wrote a letter to my brother, William Lewis Rose, Syracuse, New York.  In the evening had a meeting here for the purpose of dedicating my house and receiving our patriarchal blessings.  Apostle John W. Taylor was present, also three patriarchs, John Kynaston of East Bountiful, Ezra T. Clark and James R. Millard.  There were about forty others present.  I received my blessing under the hands of John Kynaston, and my wife under the hands of Ezra T. Clark.  Four of my children, Charles E., Inez E., Alma Genette and Henry Smith, also J. W. Haws, my son-in-law, received their blessings under the hands of the three patriarchs, alternately.  Mrs. Susie Clark acted as scribe.  Afterwards a testimony meeting was held for two hours.  Many powerful testimonies were born to the truth of the gospel and to the powers and blessings attending the same.  Patriarch Kynaston spoke in tongues and Sister Nellie Taylor, wife of the apostle, gave the interpretation.  Patriarch Thomas Steed also apoke in tongues and said, as was interpreted by Sister Taylor, in speaking of my two brothers and myself, ‘Oh ye sons, know ye that you have a mighty work to perform in God’s Holy Temple, both for the living and for the dead.  Do not put off this important labor, for if you do you will come under condemnation and God will be displeased with you.  Know ye that His coming is nigh at your door?  Apostle Taylor then dedicated our home and E. T. Clark pronounced the benediction.  After this a fine lunch was served.  We adjourned at midnight.”  (Alley Stephen Rose diary, 18 Jan., 1899; in Our Pioneer Heritage, 7:238, 1964)

24 Jan.:  Suspension from priesthood w/o excommunication.


Presidents Snow and Cannon received a call from Elder William H. Seegmiller, President of the Sevier Stake, who had written a letter dated December 25, 1898, giving information that a man named George Fenn, Jun., of Salina, had confessed to cimmitting adultery in 1895 or 1896 with a woman living in Gunnison, whose husband is now dead, but to whom she was married when the crime was committed.  President Cannon expressing himself upon this subject, stated that he felt this man should have confessed his own sins (after informing the woman that he was about to do so) leaving her to confess her sins, if she chose.  She is a respectable woman with a family, and Presidents Snow and Cannon both felt that the man alone should be dealt with at the present time; he fully deserved to be excommunicated, but they were inclined to leniency, and instructed Brother Seegmiller to suspend him from acting in his Priesthood and to do this quietly.  Brother Seegmiller interposed the remark that there was an idea prevalent that a man’s Priesthood could not be taken from him without excommunication.  President Cannon replied that such a ridiculous idea was unworthy of consideration, a sentiment in which President Snow concurred.”  (JH 24 Jan., 1899)

2 Feb.:  The Priesthood and control of round dancing.

“Presidents Snow and Cannon, shortly before 11 A.M., proceeded from the President’s Office to the Salt Lake Temple to attend the regular meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.

Present at the meeting:  Presidents Lorenzo Snow and George Q. Cannon; Apostles Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, Mathias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson.  Absent, President Joseph F. Smith, in the Sandwich Islands; President Franklin D. Richards, visiting in San Francisco, Apostle Brigham Young, sick. . . .

Brother Clawson brought up the subject of round-dancing, which was considered at some length, Brother Woodruff, Lyman, Grant, Lund, Clawson, President Cannon and President Snow all speaking upon it.  After discussing the pros and cons, et was found to be the consensus of opinion among the brethren that inasmuch as dancing in moderation was a healthful and grace-giving exercise, and that the style of round-dancing had so changed of late years as to do away with its most objectionable features, and since to prohibit it altogether would be to drive many of our young people to Gentile dancing halls, outside the control of the Priesthood, that it was not wise to attempt to abolish it entirely, but to restrict it as much as possible, and instruct Bishops and Stake Presidents accordingly.”  (JH 2 Feb., 1899)

12 Feb.:  Bishop, not father, to decide who blesses child.

“Sunday the 12 was the Boxelder stake conference I attended it. . . . At this meeting he [Francis M. Lyman] also spoke on the Blessing of Children.  All children should be Brought Before the Church on Fast day and the Bishop Should call on Some one to Bless the Child.  A Father chould Bless his child Providing He was worthy and the Bishop called on Him to do so But if He did not take the opportunity Some one else should do so and a record should be kept.  A Father has no more right to claim the privelage to Bless his child than to Baptise confirm or Perform marriage Ceremony.”  (Vinson F. Davis diary, 12 Feb., 1899; LC Collection)  [Note Davis’ diary entry for 5 Mar., 1899:  “We had our Baby Blessed and Named Ruth I being mouth through the Bishops request.”]

16 Feb.:  Sacrament/Priesthood lineage/Blessing of children.

“Presidents Snow and Cannon proceeded from the President’s Office shortly before 11 A.M., to meet with the Apostles at the Temple in regular council.  There were present at this meeting Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon and Franklin D. Richards; Apostles Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, Mathias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson.  Apostle Brigham Young was absent, still sick. . . .

Brother John Henry Smith reported his visit to Heber City, in company with Brother Lund.  The brethren at that place had entertained the idea of doing away with the administration of the sacrament at Stake conferences, buit had been advised by him and Brother Lund to continue it until otherwise instructed.  Another question that came up was, How should persons ordained trace their ordination, through the man who was mouth, or through the man highest in authority who may have assisted in the ordination?  They had answered, through the man who was mouth.  Another question was, Whether the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob should be pronounced upon children whose parents had not been through the Temple.  They had advised that children be blessed without distinction.  Brother Smith now asked the views of the Council upon these points.

A discussion ensued, during which Brother Lyman stated that he had noticed at brigham City last Sabbath at the Stake conference that the sacrament was not administered, and he had advised that it be administered in the Sunday morning meeting, so that the children of the Sabbath school who attended that meeting might not be deprived of it.  He favored the administration of the sacrament at the Stake Conferences.  President Cannon thought that the advice given by the brethren at Heber City was very proper, and upon the subject of ordination he added, that in cases where a person holding higher authority in the Priesthood than the one who may be mouth took part in the ordination, his name should also be recorded as having participated therein.  Referring to the blessing of children, President Cannon said that from the number of communications he had received on that subject he was inclined to think that there was too muich formality about it.  He regarded it as a very simple thing, and that there should be no distinction whatever in the blessing of children, whether of members or non-members of the Church, excepting such distinction as the promptings of the Spirit might suggest to him who should be mouth.  Brother Smith added to his report that he had advised, where parents desired to change the name of a child at the time of its baptism, that the name be also changed upon the record showing the blessing of the child.

The question of ordaining children to the Priesthood was also considered, with reference to the practice of conferring the Priesthood upon children when their lives were despaired of through sickness.  Would such ordinations hold good in case those children should live?  The answer to this question was that such children should be re-ordained, with the consent of the people of the Branch in which they lived, after reaching maturity.  President Snow felt that the practice in question should not be approved.  He doubted that such an ordination, that is in infancy or childhood, would do the one receiving it any particular good, that the child would derive any benefit from it.  He had noted that it was quite a common belief where persons die without having all the wives they ought to have sealed to them that it involved personal disadvantage to the deceased; and the same in relation to blessings.  He did not share in these views.  Brother Lyman remarked that he did not feel like placing any blessing or responsibility upon a person about to die, that he might shrink from placing upon him if here were in good health.”  (JH 16 Feb., 1899)

17 Feb.:  Should young boys about to die be ordained?

“[Meeting at the temple]  The question of conferring the Priesthood upon children–boys–who were just at the point of death was discussed.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 17 Feb., 1899)

28 Feb.:  Blessing of baby at home, during week.

“Tuesday.  Richmond.  I went up to my son Marriner’s and blessed their young baby boy, which is the tenth boy for Mary, his wife.”  (Marriner Wood Merrill diary, 28 Feb., 1899)

Feb.:  Joseph & Oliver ordained APOSTLES by P, J & J.

“Previous to the organization of the Church, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had been visited by John the Baptist, who conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood, with the authority to baptize for the remission of sins; and also at a later date by Peter, James and John, who ordained them apostles of Jesus Christ, with authority to confer the Holy Ghost upon baptized, repentant believers, by the laying on of hands; also to organize and establish the Church of Christ in all its fullness preparatory to the second advent of the Savior.”  (Franklin D. Richards, “The Mormon Church,” reprinted in IE 2(4):245, Feb., 1899)

1 Mar.:  Proper manner of blessing children.

“The question has been raised several times as to the proper manner of blessing children.  This subject has been written upon before in this paper, but it seems proper that the matter be again referred to.  A correspondent addresses the editor in these words:

‘Is it right in blessing children to confer on them all the powers and blessings of the new and everlasting covenant?  I observe Elders doing this sometimes in our fast meetings, and in one instance the Elder conferred all the keys and powers and blessings of the new and everlasting covenant upon the babe he was blessing.’

The blessing of children is a very simple matter and it should not be surrounded at all by forms.  The bestowing upon a babe of the blessings and poweers that pertain to adults and that are only pronounced upon people of more advanced years and experience, is entirely unsuitable and improper.  It is a departure from the simplicity of the beautiful ordinance of taking the infant, bestowing upon it a name, and giving it a blessing.  Certainly the use of such terms as our correspondent refers to is improper, for this reason if for no other, that there is, or should be, no necessary distinction between the blessing conferred upon children whose parents do not belong to the Church and those whose parents do.  In some minds there seems to be an idea that there should be a different form of blessing for children born of non-members and for those who are identified with the Church; and it is from such sources that in the case of children belonging to members of the Church ‘the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ and all the attendant favors are frequently conferred upon the child.  This is all wrong.  If we take the example of our Lord and Redeemer, who is our pattern and whose example we cannot too closely follow, we find that He blessed all who were brought to Him.  We have no hint that He asked whose children they were, or the standing or faith of their parents.  His remark was, ‘Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven;’ and He laid His hands upon them and blessed them.  All little children, no matter what their parentage may be, are innocent in the sight of heaven, and they should be received as such and blessed as such.  We repeat, the ordinance is one of beautiful simplicity.  Those who officiate ought to guard against extravagance, either in language or promise.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 34(5):137-138, 1 Mar., 1899)

1 Mar.:  “Getting boys early into the harness.”

“In a recent issue of the Juvenile Instructor we made some remarks about the age at which boys might properly begin to perform the duties of a Deacon.  A letter from an esteemed correspondent on the same subject contains suggestions which we so thoroughly approve of and endorse, that we feel to give them a place in these columns.

He tells us that in his ward when he was a Bishop he followed a rule something like this:

‘As soon as a boy was eight years old I tried to see that he was baptized, and soon after that, say from two to six months, I invited and urged him to attend the Deacons’ meetings.  If he seemed to take an interest and to be regular in his attendance, I ordained him a Deacon at the age of nine or ten years.  I had three brethren of my ward to whom I gave a mission to meet with the Deacons, not for the purpose of presiding, but to help the presidents of the quorum in getting up their program and in instructing them and the quorum generally in their duties.  One of these brethren was also to be present each night that the meeting house was open to direct in providing fire and fuel, dusting, attending to the lighting, etc.–to be with the boys and teach them their duties.  I had four Deacons’ quorums and these quorums took turns in presiding over this part of the work in the meeting house.

When the boys reached thirteen to fifteen years of age I ordained the presidents of the Deacons’ quorums to the office of Teacher.  My reasons for taking the presidents as a rule was that other boys could thus be permitted to be president and gain the experience and enjoy for a time at least that post of honor.  At seventeen to nineteen years of age, faithful Teachers I considered worthy to be ordained Priests.

I found no difficulty in interesting the little fellows in their work.  As a rule they were faithful and anxious to do their duty.  My experience forces me to believe that to put off, until say twelve years of age or after, the introduction of the boys to the labors of the Priesthood is not conducive to the best results, and I believe, therefore, in giving them work to do in these lines just as soon as possible.  It is difficult when a boy gets beyond a certain age, say fourteen, to get him to attend his Deacons’ quorum meetings.’

With very much of the foregoing we are in entire accord.  Of course it would not be proper to lay down a rule that boys of nine or ten should always be ordained Deacons, for there is a difference, sometimes a very great one, in the capacity of boys.  Some at ten years of age are more developed than others at two or three or four years older.  It would not do, therefore, to establish a fixed rule in relation to this; but it certainly can do no harm for boys even of that age to meet with the quorum and to receive ordination as soon as they seem to be fitted for it.  The Priesthood might almost be considered a graded and progressive educational system; and it seems irregular, and generally cannot be attended with the best results, to ordain men Elders and Seventies who have never acted as Deacons, Teachers or Priests.  The late President Woodruff always regretted that he had not been a Deacon and a Teacher.  His first ordination was to the office of a Priest, and while holding that office he went upon his first mission.  His feeling was undoubtedly a correct one, and yet we almost fear that among many young men in our community now, even the office of Priest is not considered exalted enough.  We certainly think it would be excellent training for all our youths if they would act for a time in the offices of the lesser Priesthood before being ordained to the higher.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 34(5):145-146, 1 Mar., 1899)

9 Mar.:  Excommunication by the Quorum of the 12.

“At 11:30 A.M. the First Presidency met with the Apostles in the Temple.  Present:  Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith and Franklin D. Richards; Apostles Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Anthon H. Lund, Mathias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson.

A letter was read from President H. S. Gowans of Tooele Stake, stating that a man named Edward W. Rodeback had committed adultery with two women, and had served a term in the penitentiary for his crime; that while there his wife got a divorce from him.  He now wanted to know if he could retain his standing and not be cut off from the Church.  Brother John Henry Smith moved that Rodeback be cut off from the Church, and his case left with the High Council to decide whether or not he should be permitted to regain his fellowship.  Carried.”  (JH 9 Mar., 1899)

14 Mar.:  Rebaptism.

“[President’s Office] Elders S. R. Bennion and R. S. Collett, of the Stake Presidency of Uintah, also called.  They reported that they had a large floating element in their Stake; many of them young men, who had been baptized when boys and had afterwards strayed from the fold; after years of such life they wanted to be identified with the Church, and these brethren wanted to know if in that class of cases re-baptism would be necessary in order to obtain fellowship.  President Snow answered that in all cases, where it was possible, the applicants should present recommends giving their standing when they left their Ward, as this might help in passing judgment as to whether or not they should be re-baptized; if they could be admitted without another baptism, it should be done.  If not, they should be re-baptized.  Another question asked was in relation to cases where persons had been cut off from the Church for adultery and wanted to return.  Who should pass on their cases?  The answer was, the High Council.”  (JH 14 Mar., 1899)

16 Mar.:  Bishop absent for 2 years w/o being released.

“Salt Lake Temple, 11 A.M. present: Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Franklin D. Richards; Apostles Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Mariner W. Merrill, John W. Taylor, Mathias F. Cowley and Rudger Clawson.

The Council considered a letter written some time ago by President Thomas E. Ricks, of Fremont Stake, which represented that Bishop H. H. Smith of Egin Ward had been absent from home for about two years, endeavoring to recover from financial losses, and that now, having failed in his purpose, he wished to be released, which release President Ricks recommended, as the Ward was suffering on account of the Bishop’s long absence.  He also recommended Oliver Legrand Robinson to succeed Bishop Smith.  On motion of Apostle John Henry Smith the recommendations were adopted.”  (JH 16 Mar., 1899)

5 Apr.:  Decisions of 12 equal to those of 1st Pres.

“[Quarterly Conference of the 12; Franklin D. Richards] . . . explained the character of the decisions of the Council of Apostles.  The validity of their decisions is equal to that of the First Presidency.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 5 Apr., 1899)

6 Apr.:  All 70s should be missionaries.

“It is incumbent upon every man who holds the Priesthood of a Seventy in the Church to go forth and preach the Gospel; and if he does not when called, it will be with him as with Paul, Woe be unto him if he preach not the Gospel of Christ when he is called by the Prophet of the Lord to go forth and proclaim it.”  (Abraham O. Woodruff, CR Apr., 1899, p. 7; 6 Apr., 1899)

10 Apr.:  Compensation for Stake Presidents.

“The First Presidency were at the office, but at 10 A.M. repaired to the Temple block, to hold a special meeting with other general authorities of the Church, Presidents of Stakes and counselors, Bishops of Wards and counselors, etc.; the usual special Priesthood meeting following the adjournment of a general conference. . . .

Upon the subject of compensation to Stake Presidents and their counselors, President [Lorenzo] Snow said that it would be expected of such brethren that they would work for the interest of the Church as much as possible without compensation; but in cases where they needed assistance it was expected that they would write to the First Presidency, stating how much they would need, and provision would then be made for them to draw accordingly.”  (JH 10 Apr., 1899)

12 Apr.:  No clear revelation on B. H. Roberts’ seat.

“Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith were at the office.  Among the callers of the day was Elder B. H. Roberts, who conversed with President Snow upon the prospect of his getting his seat in Congress.  The President remarked during the conversation that it was not clear to him whether Brother Roberts would or would not secure his seat, but it was clear to him that the purpose of the Lord would be accomplished through his trying to get it.”  (JH 12 Apr., 1899)

13 Apr.:  “Ordain” vs. “Set Apart”.

“The First Presidency, shortly before 11 A.M., proceeded from the Office to the Temple, to meet with the Apostles in regular council.

Present:  Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith and Franklin D. Richards; Apostles Brigham Young, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, Abraham O. Woodruff, Matthias F. Cowley and Rudger Clawson.  Absent:  Apostle Francis M. Lyman, in Tooele, and Apostles Marriner W. Merrill and John W. Taylor, engaged elsewhere. . . .

A question as to the proper use of the terms ‘ordain’ and ‘set apart’ came up and was discussed at length, the main speakers being Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith, Apostles Richards, Lund, Smith, Woodruff and Clawson.  The question was sprung by Brother Lund, who stated that on his arrival from Liverpool, homeward bound from Palestine, he received a message by cable, requesting and authorizing him to ordain Joseph W. McMurrin as one of the First Presidents of Seventies.  He attended to the matter, but in the ordination the word ‘ordain’ was not used, though the words ‘set apart’ were, and all the rights, privileges and powers pertaining to that office were conferred upon Brother McMurrin.  He had since learned that it was held, especially by the Seventies, that their presiding officers should be ordained, and some of them had queries in their minds as to whether or not this had been done in the case of Brother McMurrin.  The latter being already a Seventy, at the time of his call to be one of the Presidents over the Seventies, the though had passed through the mind of Brother Lund that it was not necessary to ordain him to preside, and he had therefore used the words ‘set apart’ instead of ‘ordain.’  He had since looked up the definition of the word ordain, and found that one of its definitions was ‘to set apart.’  He had concluded in his own mind that it was really not necessary to reordain Brother McMurrin, but he desired the mind of the Council upon the matter.

President Snow having asked the brethren to express their views upon the question, President Cannon referred to a remark which had been made to the effect that in organizing the Presidency of a Deacon’s quorum the Presidents were not ordained but set apart to preside.  He then said that in his opinion the case of a President of a Deacon’s quorum and that of one of the First Presidents of Seventies were not parallel, for the reason that the latter was a prominent office and the other was not.  He thought there was a difference between ordaining and setting apart, and that a President of Seventies, like Brother McMurrin, should be ordained to that office.  According to all the views heretofore entertained, if such a thing should occur as the breaking up of the Quorum of the First Presidency and that of the Apostles, the authority of this Church would rest on the First Seven Presidents of Seventies, and no doubt they would proceed to organize the Church.  Therefore, while the word ordain meant setting apart, there was a distinction in our minds between the two proceedings.  The ordaining of a man seemed to confer a more definite authority than the setting apart.  Moses Thatcher had held that in the case of a Bishop all that was necessary was the setting apart, but from this view the speaker had dissented.  In the matter referred to by Brother Lund, President Cannon thought it would be unfortunate for Brother McMurrin’s ordination to be questioned, as men upon whom the latter had laid his hands might question the legality of their ordination.  President Cannon said that as Brother Lund’s intent was to ordain Brother McMurrin and confer upon him all the keys of the office in question, it ought to cover the case and his ordination should therefore not be questioned.

President Snow said that President Cannon had expressed his views exactly, although, after conversing with Brother Lund upon the subject, he had thought it better to bring the matter before this council.  He favored the use of the word ordain in Brother McMurrin’s case, but at the same time he held that the conferring of all the rights, keys and powers of the office was equivalent to an ordination, and the term used really embodied all the meaning that the word ordain could convey.  He thought that it would be very unwise to question the ordination.

President Richards moved that it be the sense of the Council that the action taken with Bro. McMurrin as to the office named was a competent act and that there should be no revision of it.  The motion was seconded and carried.

President Cannon further remarked that when a man holds a Priesthood and he is called to labor within that Priesthood to preside, the words ‘set apart’ should be used, but the office of President of Seventies being a prominent office the word ‘ordain’ should be used.

President Smith:  The Presidency of the Church is a prominent office, but the First Presidency are not ordained.

President Cannon:  They are already Apostles, and no new power is conferred upon them by reason of their calling to act in the Presidency.

President Smith thought that the words ‘set apart’ used in the case of a President of Seventies were just as proper and appropriate as in the case of the Presidency of the Church, or in that of a Stake President, since it conferred no higher Preisthood upon either of them to call them to act in the Presidency of these several organizations.

President Cannon rejoined that he would not feel satisfied, if called to act as a President of Seventies, unless the word ‘ordain’ were used; that is, if it were intentionally omitted and the words ‘set apart’ substituted; but if other brethren felt to use the words ‘set apart’ instead of the word ‘ordain,’ he would not question their right to so express themselves.  Yet if he were the subject for ordination, and Brother Lund, after this consideration of the question, were to ordain him and use the words ‘set apart’ instead of ‘ordain,’ he would not feel satisfied with his action.

President Snow remarked that he would not feel satisfied either.

President Richards stated that the Josephites asked the question, by way of criticism, if Brigham Young was ordained to preside, holding that all such officers should be ordained.

President Cannon referred to the revelation providing for the Presidency of the Church, in which revelation the words ‘appointed and ordained’ are used.  He then said that in speaking to President Young, after he had selected additional counselors, he asked him if he was going to set them apart.  The President answered no, that their Priesthood, the Apostleship, entitled them to officiate without further action.

Brother Woodruff here remarked that there was an understanding among the people that the word ‘ordain’ should be used in all prominent offices, and the words ‘set apart’ in case of temporary callings.

President Snow put this question:  ‘Suppose a man were ordained an Elder in the following manner, “I appoint you to be an Elder, and confer upon you all the rights and keys of this office and calling in the Melchisedek Priesthood, etc”; and this language were used with the intent of ordaining him an Elder.  I hold that such a man would be in every sense of the word ordained.’

President Cannon stated that he was told by the late Apostle Parley P. Pratt that the first Elders of the Church, in confirming new members, laid their hands upon them and confirmed them, but that the language used was not spoken audibly, and that the Prophet Joseph told them they had better speak audibly.  But the people received the Holy Ghost all the same.

President Smith asked if the use of the word ‘ordain’ should be confined to the First Seven Presidents of Seventies.  A High Priest, he said, was called to preside over a Stake, but the word ‘ordain’ was not used in setting him apart.

President Snow replied that he did not care particularly whether the word ‘ordain’ were used or not, so long as other words were used bestowing all the rights, keys and powers of the office intended to be bestowed upon the person.  Such language, with the intent, would in the judgment of the President be all sufficient.

President Smith remarked that this expressed his feelings exactly, and he further said that he was heartily in accord with the action taken upon the matter of the ordination of Brother McMurrin by Brother Lund.  He did not believe it would be right to question that ordination.  Brother Lund was an Apostle, and was authorized to ordain or set apart Brother McMurrin, and his intent was all right before the Lord, even if he did not use all the words that some one else would have used, the act was just as acceptable before the Lord, and his mind was that no one should be permitted to call in question Brother McMurrin’s ordination.  This, he understood to be the substance of the action just taken.  He believed that the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  He did not favor a uniform ceremony any more than he favored a uniform suit of clothes for missionaries, so long as the language used in ordaining was that prescribed by revelation.  In the sacramental prayer and in the form of baptism the Church had a definite guide, but he did not think, even if we failed to confine ourselves strictly to those prescribed forms, that it would vitiate our actions, if the intent was pure; as the authority and intent would govern in such cases; still it would be better to be exact in all such cases.  Referring to the Lord’s prayer, President Smith said that he did not believe for a moment that it was the intention of the Savior to have the Apostles always using that exact form of prayer; but the object evidently was to impress upon them the need of simplicity and directness in presenting their petitions to the Father.  Where this was done, and the dictates of the Spirit faithfully followed, all would be acceptable before the Lord.  The ‘Josephites’ had compiled a book of rules, and the result was that they were all the time quarreling as to how things should be done.  Referring to the ceremonies of the various sectarian churches, the speaker said he believed they were all of the devil.  He regarded the man of authority as the constitution, and whatever he did by the promptings of the Holy Spirit would be acceptable to the Lord.

Brother John Henry Smith held in the main with President Smith, but it seemed to him that if the Church was to be run by the operations of the Spirit upon the Elders, or rather by what some of the Elders deem the operations of the Spirit, the result would be a grand conglomeration of various views.  He then went on to say that it was already understood that a Bishop should be ordained; this being so, why not determine which of the officers of the Church should be ordained, and which set apart, defining the distinctions between them.  He held that if the Apostles were not united upon such matters, confusion must result.  Speaking of the ceremony of baptism, he said that it had gone out that the words ‘forgiveness of your sins’ should be added to the ceremony, as published in the Doctrine and Covenants, but that had since been corrected.  The speaker held that uniform views on all such subjects should exist in this council.

Brother Lund remarked that if Presidents of Stakes and all officers having special callings were ordained, the sacredness of the word ‘ordain’ would be lost.  It was only as to the Presidents of Seventies that the use of this word had been called in question, or rather the omission of it, and he did not think that any difficulty would arise from the present understanding.

President Snow expressed the belief that no further light would be obtained by discussing the question any longer at the present time, and remarked that if the Council preferred the First Presidency to further consider the matter, it would be done.

Brother Clawson moved that this be the sense of the meeting, and the motion was seconded and carried.”  (JH 13 Apr., 1899)

[19 Apr.]  “Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith were at the Office.  Elder Seymour B. Young, the senior President in the First Council of Seventies, called and saw President Snow about the matter of Elder Joseph W. McMurrin’s ordination as one of that body, the subject so exhaustively considered at the last meeting of the Apostolic Council.  Brother Young wanted to know if Brother McMurrin had been actually and properly ordained, since the word ‘ordain’ was not used, but the words ‘set apart’ at the time of his ordination.  President Snow explained to Brother Young that inasmuch as the intent was to ordain Brother McMurrin, and the words used on the occasion not only set him apart, but conferred upon him all the authority, keys and privileges of the office and calling, it was a complete and valid ordination, and had been so decided by the Presidency and the Apostles in council.  At the same time President Snow remarked that if it had to be done over again, his mind would be that the word ordain should be used.”  (JH 19 Apr., 1899)

20 Apr.:  Ordaining 70s HP to preside over branches.

“[Meeting at the Temple] It was reported by Elder Seymour B. Young, so Pres. Smith said, that Apostle J. W. Taylor, President of the Colorado Mission, had been ordaining some of the Seventies laboring under him to the office of High Priests to preside over branches of the Church.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 20 Apr., 1899)

“Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith proceeded from the office to the Temple to meet at 11 A.M. with the Apostles in regular Council.

Present:  Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith and Franklin D. Richards; Apostles Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson. . . .

It was decided that a letter be written to Apostle John W. Taylor, President of the Colorado Mission, in relation to a matter excepted to by Elder Seymour B. Young of the First Council of Seventies.  It appears that Brother Taylor has been making High Priests out of Seventies laboring under his jurisdiction, in order to make them competent to preside over conferences.  Brother Young’s exception is based upon his view that such action is unnecessary.”  (JH 20 Apr., 1899)

2 Jun.:  Seymour B. Young’s salary.

“President Snow granted a request from Elder Seymour B. Young of the First Council of Seventy to increase his monthly compensation for services from $100 to $150; the appropriation for this purpose to cover the rest of the current year.”  (JH 2 Jun., 1899)

21 Jun.:  Outside business activities by Apostles.


Presidents Snow and Smith gave an interview to Apostle Brigham Young; Bishop Preston also being present.  Brother Young had concluded to go into a business enterprise with his son-in-law, Charles Kraft.  They had acquired, or were about to acquire, the State right of a new process for coking coal, and proposed to manipulate the coal near Cedar City, in which the Church is interested, with a view to testing its coking quantities.

President Snow, after hearing Brother Young’s statement, told him that he very much questioned the right of an Apostle to go into business in such a way as to tie himself up, so that he would not be free to attend to the duties of the Apostleship; especially in view of the fact that he is so well remunerated for his services.  Moreover, the President questioned the wisdom of Brother Young’s doing as he proposed, since he would have to borrow money.

Brother Young reminded President Snow that nearly all the Apostles were engaged in some kind of business, and he, being an exception to the rule, was desirous of doing something too.

President Snow reminded Brother Young that brethren of the Twelve had gone into business and deplorably failed, and that the Church had to come to their rescue at great expense.  It was time, he thought, that the Church should protect itself against a repetition of such things.  Finally, in order to accede to Brother Young’s wishes, the President told him that if he must go into business, to avoid going into debt.  In answer to a question from Brother Young, the Presidency said that if he should carry out his purpose and demonstrate that the Cedar coal could be coked, they thought it would pay him to get the State right to use the patent for coking bituminous coal.

Brother Young intimated that he might go to Chicago on this business, paying his own expenses.”  (JH 21 Jun., 1899)

22 Jun.:  Elderly Stake Presidents should be retired.

“[Meeting at the Temple] Apostle J. H. Smith suggested that some attention should be given to a number of the Presidents of Stakes, who are getting old and are therefore not so active and progressive as they should be.  He named the following Stakes as needing a change, Pannock, Cassia, Wasatch, Sanpete, Malad, Beaver, Morgan and San Juan.  Pres. Snow said he would be in favor of a change if we could supply their places with men who are devoted and ambitious.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 22 Jun., 1899)

7 Aug.:  Blessing of women and men by women.

“Bro Maeser dictated & I wrote our report to the S S Board  Sister Woolf & counsilors Hamman & June E Bates  sisters Rhoda Hamman and Several other Sisters called & we conversed on Relief Society matters.  I explained many things to them & they were Much pleased  Afterwhich Sister Elizabeth Hamman said she felt the Same spirit which was upon her at the meeting last night when she wanted to bless me – She arose & placed her hands on Bro Maesers head & blessed him.  then on my head & blessed me then on Sister Woolf & blessed her  also blessed 3 other of the sisters & sister Zina Card  this was done in Tongues – Sister Zina Y Card arose And laying her hands on our heads interpreted these bless[ings]  a good feeling was present.”  (L. John Nuttall diary, 7 Aug., 1899, describing a conference in Alberta, Canada)

12 Aug.:  Saturday Priesthood meeting.

“I attended a Priesthood meeting at 5 pm.”  (L. John Nuttall diary, 12 Aug., 1899)

17 Aug.:  Elderly officers need to be retired.

“[Meeting at the Temple] Pres. Snow made brief remarks, saying that he did not know how long the Lord would justify us, in retaining brethren in position after they had become disqualified by age or from other causes.  The matter, he said, ought to be fully discussed by the brethren.  References were made by Apostles J. H. Smith, H. J. Grant and myself to cases where the brethren were disqualified to act in presiding.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 17 Aug., 1899)

“President Snow was at the office, and proceeded thence to the Temple, to meet with the Apostles in regular council.

Present:  Lorenzo Snow, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, Rudger Clawson. . . .

Brother Clawson reported the visit of himself and Brother Wells to Star Valley.  It had been two years since the Saints in that valley received the visit of an Apostle, and as the result some things needed attention there.  Bishop Weight of Afton had been released, and Osborn Low appointed his successor.  The counselors were not chosen.  Bishop Weight had not been in touch with his people.  He lived two miles out of town.  When made Bishop, he was told that he would have to move his family from his ranch into town; he did so, but his wife complained of the water, so he moved back again.  He was very much pleased at his release.  Fairview Ward was organized, with F. G. Tolman as Bishop, and Christopher Merkley and Levi Richardson as counselors.  Brother Clawson added that he found an aged brother presiding, who was a barrier in the way of progress.  It was suggested to him that he resign and go into the High Priests quorum, but he did not like this, and said he would rather go on a mission.

This mention raised the question in the mind of President Snow as to how far a man should be permitted to hold office, when through age or other defects he impeded the progress of the work.  Some of the brethren expressed themselves to the effect that there were a great many places where changes ought to be made on this account.  President Snow, continuing the subject, said he believed the Lord required that the proper men should preside over our Stakes and Wards, men who would be diligent, thoughtful, full of consideration, and have the interest of the people very near to their hearts.  Where men were found lacking in these qualities, they should be talked to and looked after, and if they failed to come up to the mark, a change should be effected.”  (JH 17 Aug., 1899)

8 Oct.:  We shoot at the Priesthood, then run.

“You will have to excuse me for occupying the time in talking about the Seventies, for our labor among them puts me a good deal in mind of the Filipinos.  They shoot and then run, and that is about the way we have been doing.  We would have a little time between meetings to talk to our Seventies; then we would shoot and run and never ascertain whether we had killed anyone or not–that is metaphorically speaking.  We did not know whether we had any good effect on our Seventies or not.”  (J. Golden Kimball, CR Oct., 1899, pp. 53-54; 8 Oct., 1899)

8 Oct.:  Aged men ought to go to High Priests’ quorums.

“I read in the scriptures that some one says that he would rather be a living dog than a dead lion.  So far as I am concerned, I would rather be a dead lion.  I would rather go forth and preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I want to do it while I am young and full of vigor and life.  When I get old I will come back and go into the High Priests’ quorum and labor, while some other young men preach the Gospel.  I believe that the Seventies quorums ought to be made up of young men.  The saying is ‘Old men for counsel and young men for war,’ and this is a warfare.  If we do not kill anybody, everybody wars upon us.  I believe that aged men ought to go into the High Priests’ quorum.  I want to say it right from this stand, so that when they call upon us for missionaries, we will have able-bodied men and men who are willing to go forth and preach the Gospel.  We do not want any Seventies that are run by their wives either.  I do not blame the wives for running their husbands, because I think we have Seventies that their wives ought to run.”  (J. Golden Kimball, CR Oct., 1899, p. 54; 8 Oct., 1899)

8 Oct.:  Don’t send “old fogeys” to High Priests quorums.

“Let me say here that we do not want every ‘old fogey,’ or any man because he is an ‘old fogey,’ to be joined to the High Priests quorum.  We want men to be connected with the High Priests that have sense and intelligence enought to govern, if they are called upon to do so.  The office of High Priest is the office of Presidency in the Church, and men who are High Priests should be men possessing more wisdom, more intelligence, and more knowledge as to how to govern and how to rule in righteousness in the Church than any other class of people in it.  We want good men to be High Priests, as well as good men to be Seventies.  then we want good men to be Elders.”  (Joseph F. Smith, CR Oct., 1899, p. 73; 8 Oct., 1899)

9 Oct.:  Priesthood lineage and ability to perform ordinances.

“The General Authorities of the Church, with the Presidencies of Stakes, High Councils, and Bishoprics of Wards, met in a priesthood meeting at the Assembly Hall at 10 o’clock this morning.  The First Presidency were there, and all the Apostles excepting President Franklin D. Richards, who is sojourning in California on account of failing health; Elder Brigham Young, who is in the city of Chicago on business; and Elder John W. Taylor, absent with the approval of the Presidency, in order to avoid arrest for unlawful cohabitation. . . .

Brother [Francis M.] Lyman advised that all men holding the priesthood trace the ordination of the man who ordained them, so that a complete line of ordination might be had by them.  He held that a man who could not trace the line of his authority was not fully qualified to ordain others and he thought no one would care to be ordained by one who could not trace his ordination to some Apostle at least. . . .

Referring to the remarks of Brother Lyman on the subject of tracing ordinations, President [George Q.] Cannon said that he felt very much impressed thereby, but he questioned the wisdom of making any rule forbidding any man to ordain others who might not be able to trace his line of priesthood.  He did not think it wise to say anything from the public stand that would tend to establish such a rule.”  (JH 9 Oct., 1899)

12 Oct.:  Aged 70s should be ordained HPs.

“[Meeting at the Temple] I referred to a matter that was worthy, I thought of some consideration, namely: the passing of aged brethren from the Seventies Quorums to the High Priest Quorums.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 12 Oct., 1899)

26 Oct.:  Apostolic debate over new Stake President.

“Apostolic Council.  Salt Lake Temple, 11 A.M.

Present: Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, George Teasdale, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson. . . .

When the order of the conference appointments was reached, President Snow remarked that he expected to go t Logan, and he asked if any of the brethren had a clear view as to who should be made President of that Stake, to succeed Elder Orson Smith.  If so, he would be glad to have an expression of it.

Brother Lyman, arising, said that he had already expressed himself to President Snow on this subject, and he would now repeat that after looking over the situation he could find no other man as well qualified for the place as Brother Charles W. Nibley.  He was a man of faith and integrity, a good theologian, and a successful business man.  He was also a successful polygamist, and had two sons in the mission field.

Brother John Henry Smith could also heartily sustain Brother Nibley, if chose, but it occurred to him that if Brother Orson Smith, who was no doubt at home by this time, could satisfy his creditors, the problem might work out itself without any change.

Brother Grant stated that while he could sustain Brother Nibley as President of Cache Stake, and believe to be true all that Brother Lyman had said of him, still he had never been impressed that he was spiritually minded enough to be a Stake President.  The speaker regarded Brother Nibley as the brightest man in Cache County, but his interests were outside that County, and the appointment would entail a personal sacrifice on his part.  Brother Grant did not think that Orson Smith could now retain the confidence of the people.

Brother Lund was not acquainted with Brother Nibley, but the problem presented itself to him in this way.  There was a large faction in Cache Valley that were followers of Moses Thatcher, and the speaker thought that if someone could be found who had influence with that side, and was still a man of integrity, he would be able, more than anybody else, to brean down the Thatcher influence.

Brother Teasdale had no views to express, and Brother Woodruff said he could support Brother Nibley.  He had also heard Brother Joseph Morrell spoken of very highly, and believed him to be a good man.

Brother Clawson was not intimately acquainted with the brethren of Cache Stake.  He believed Brother Nibley would make a good President, also Brother Morrell, but he was ready to sustain any man that President Snow might name.

Brother Grant now arose and said that as between Brother Nibley and Brother Morrell, he believed the latter was the better man for the place.

President Smith felt that Brother Nibley was in every way qualified, excepting perhaps his physical condition, but his health was improving.  He had not thought of Orson Smith coming back again.  He had always believed in Brother Smith’s integrity.  His return might have the effect of pacifying his creditors, and it might be the proper thing to retain him, if it could be done consistently, and perhaps give him other counselors.  It did not strike the speaker that Brother Morrell was a man equal to the requirements of the position of President of Cache Stake.  If there was nothing more crooked in the record of Orson Smith, than that he had made a break in order to meet his debts, he could still sustain him in his position, if the spirit of the Lord approved.  Or if it were thought wise for Brother Nibley, who was a near friend of the speaker’s in every way, to preside over that Stake, he could heartily sustain him, especially if his bodily strength would permit.  Brother Nibley would be his next choice after Brother Smith.

Brother Grant here remarked that perhaps it would lengthen Brother Nibley’s life to make him President of the Stake, as it would take his mind off so much other business.

President Snow then said: ‘You have all spoken and given your views.  Your feelings do not fully accord.  Cache is a large and important Stake, and it would be well to choose a man that the people are acquainted with and in whom they have confidence, both as to his faithfulness and his ability to preside over them.  If a man could be selected who combines these qualifications, and especially if he be head and shoulders above every body else named, he would be the right man for the place.’  The President then said that he could mention a man whom the people would be perfectly satisfied with, and would have reason to be satisfied, but in selecting him they would have to go a little out of the ordinary course.  That man was M. W. Merrill.

Whereupon President Smith said quickly ‘I believe, President Snow, that you have struck the right man, and I would nominate him but for his Apostleship.’

Brother John Henry Smith: ‘I move that we adopt the selection of the President.’

Everybody present seconded the motion, and it was carried unanimously, all feeling that Brother Merrill was the right man in the right place.”  (JH 26 Oct., 1899)

“I attended meeting in the Temple.  It was agreed to appoint Apostle Merrill Pres. of the Cache Valley Stake.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 26 Oct., 1899; LDS Archives)

27 Oct.:  Appeal of Bishop’s/High Council Courts.

“Presidents Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith were at the office; President Cannon, their associate, still absent and sick in New York City.

The case entitled Levoy Campbell versus Silas S. Smith, appealed to the First Presidency from the High Council of San Luis Stake, and referred to a committee consisting of Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Anthon H. Lund and Abraham O. Woodruff, now came before the Presidency for final action.  The committee had found that the case had been decided unanimously by the Bishop’s court as well as the High Council, and they saw no reason why the decision should in any way be changed.  The Presidency approved these findings.”  (JH 27 Oct., 1899)

27 Oct.:  Adultery by a missionary.

“Presidents Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith were at the office; President Cannon, their associate, still absent and sick in New York City. . . .

Brothers Rulon S. Wells and Joseph W. McMurrin, of the late presidency of the European Mission, waited upon President Snow . . . These brethren also spoke to President Snow regarding the case of Jacob R. Hunter, of Granger Ward, who had transgressed with a married woman while on his mission to England; her husband being hopelessly insane, and not a member of the Church, while she herself was a member.  Hunter had since married the woman and they were now living in Granger.  The Bishop of that Ward wished to know what should be done in the case.  It was decided by President Snow that the Bishop should be written to and requested to call upon him the next time he comes to the city.”  (JH 27 Oct., 1899)

29 Oct.:  Change of Stake Presidency.

“Sunday.  Logan.  I attended Quarterly Conference in Logan today.  President Orson Smith arrived home from the Klondike country, where he went last May without the consent of the Presidency.  He was one of the speakers at the afternoon meeting and tendered his resignation as President of Cache Stake.  President Snow and the congregation accepted it.  I attended private meeting with President Snow and Apostles Lyman and John Henry Smith this evening to decide who my Counselors were to be, as the Presidency and Twelve in their meeting in Salt Lake Temple last Thursday, October 26th, decided that I should preside over the Cache Stake of Zion.”  (Marriner Wood Merrill diary, 29 Oct., 1899)

2 Nov.:  Resumption of prayer circle for 1st Pres & 12.


Salt Lake Temple, 11 A.M.

Present:  Lorenzo Snow, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, and Abraham O. Woodruff.

Absent:  George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Brigham Young, John W. Taylor, Marriner W. Merrill, Matthias F. Cowley, and Rudger Clawson. . . .

President Snow inquired why prayer circles had ceased with the Council.  No reason was assigned for their discontinuance, except that it had become inconvenient for President Woodruff to clothe, and the custom had gradually been laid aside.  President Snow thought that the Council should resume its prayer circle, and it was the feeling of all present that this should be done. . . .

It was now decided to resume the Council prayer circle on the first Thursday in December.”  (JH 2 Nov., 1899)

15 Nov.:  List of all non-tithepayers requested.


. . . .

President Snow asked Bishop Preston to instruct the Ward Bishops to include in their returns to the presiding Bishop’s office the names of all non-tithe-payers in their Wards who are members of the Church.”  (JH 15 Nov., 1899)

16 Nov.:  Apostolic prayer circle reinstituted.


Salt Lake Temple 11 A.M.

Present:  Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Marriner W. Merrill, and Anthon H. Lund.

Absent:  Joseph F. Smith and Rudger Clawson, in Canada; Franklin D. Richards, sick at home in Ogden; George Teasdale, attending the funeral, in Manti, of Elder Alder, who died while on a mission to Germany.  Also Matthias F. Cowley and Abraham O. Woodruff.

President Snow explained to President Cannon the mind of the Council in relation to resuming the prayer circle, and President Cannon replied that he was very glad to learn of it.

The order of procedure, as to the prayer circle and the business of the Council, was next considered, and a decision reached that it would be better to have the prayer circle first.

President Snow now withdrew for the purpose of getting his Temple clothes . . .

The brethren present now clothed and assembled for prayer using the room of the Apostles, where they have always met to do the business of the Council, in lieu of the First Presidency’s room, where the prayer circle was formerly held, but which is not now in readiness.

The hymn ‘Lord, we come before Thee now,’ was sung; Elder Brigham Young offered the opening prayer, and Elder John W. Taylor was mouth in the circle.  After the members of the Council had disrobed, and resumed their ordinary attire, the following business was transacted. . . .”  (JH 16 Nov., 1899)

23 Nov.:  Endorsement of adultery decision of civil court.


Salt Lake Temple 11 A.M.

Present:  Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Brigham Young, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley, and Rudger Clawson.

Absent:  Franlkin D. Richards, sick at home; Francis M. Lyman, on a trip south; George Teasdale, attending a funeral; M. W. Merrill, at Logan; A. O. Woodruff, on his way south; and John W. Taylor, absent by leave, evading arrest for unlawful cohabitation.

The hymn beginning ‘O My Father’, was sung, and prayer was offered by Brother Rudger Clawson; prayer circle being omitted this time, as there were not enough present prepared to clothe.

A letter was read from Attorney Samuel R. Thurman, giving an account of the trial of Elder Jesse W. Crosby Jr., for adultery.  Brother Thurman, who was the defendant’s attorney, said that he took it upon himself to explain matters, and his explanation, went to show the entire innocence of Brother Crosby in this case.

Brother John Henry Smith moved that Brother Lyman, during his travels south, investigate the Crosby case from a Church standpoint.

President Cannon did not think that this should be done after Brother Crosby had been tried in the civil courts, and he therefore moved that Brother Thurman’s letter be accepted as conclusive testimony of Brother Crosby’s innocence.  The motion was seconded by President Joseph F. Smith and Brother M. F. Cowley.  It was also shown that Brother Lyman had gone into the case already and had reported his belief in the entire innocence of Brother Crosby.

The motion was then put and carried unanimously.”  (JH 23 Nov., 1899)

1 Dec.:  Teachers to notify members of tithing settlement.

“Every member of the Ward should be notified by the teachers (in their visits from house) of the time time and place appointed for settling tithing.”  (First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric, Instructions to Presidents of Stakes, Bishops of Wards and Stake Tithing Clerks, 1899, 1 Dec., 1899)

3 Dec.:  Sunday Priesthood Meeting.

“also attended a priesthood meeting at 4 pm.”  (L. John Nuttall diary, 3 Dec., 1899)

8 Dec.:  Appeals of High Council courts.

“Presidents Lorenzo Snow and George Q. Cannon were at the office. . . .

An appealed case from the High Council of Salt Lake Stake, and one from the High Council of St. Joseph Stake, were considered by the Presidency.  The former case was that of Spencer Clawson versus Charles M. Plant, in which the latter had been excommunicated for refusing to pay a debt of $100, for goods obtained by him, as a peddler from Brother Clawson, wholesale merchant.  The account had become outlawed.  The papers in the case had been placed in the hands of three of the Apostles, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith and Anthon H. Lund, who recommended that the decision of the High Council be sustained.  The Presidency, before accepting the recommendation of this committee, decided to confer with them in relation to it.  It appears that Brother Plant had seen President Snow before and after the High Council decision, and that the President, in order to save him from the power of Brother Clawson, had given him an order on the latter for $100, drawn on account of $40,000 and interest that Brother Clawson is owing to the Church, but he had declined to honor the order, and Brother Plant was subsequently excommunicated.

The other case was that of Joseph Cluff versus Central Ward, appealed by the plaintiff, and referred to the same committee, who recommended that the decision of the High Council be sustained.  It involved a piece of ground on which the Central Ward meeting house stands.  The committee recommended that in case the members of that Ward still want this ground that they be required to pay Brother Cluff, on or before January 1st 1901, the sum of $237.84, with interest at ten per cent from April 29, 1899, until paid, and that he then give the Ward a legal deed for the same.  If he refused to do this, the committee recommended that the decision of the Council excommunicating him be sustained.  The recommendation was approved by the Presidency.”  (JH 8 Dec., 1899)

12 Dec.:  Would priesthood be taken from many men?

“[Lorenzo Snow] . . . related an incident that occurred in the days of the reformation when some thought that the Priesthood should be taken from a great many men in the church.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 12 Dec., 1899)

14 Dec.:  Life insurance vs. secret societies.


Salt Lake Temple, 11 A.M.

Present:  Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley, and Rudger Clawson.

Absent:  Marriner W. Merrill and Abraham O. Woodruff, the latter visiting in Mexico and the southern country. . . .

Brothers J. G. Kimball and J. W. McMurrin, of the First Council of Seventies, having been invited to go into business for the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, with which concern their associate, Elder rulon S. Wells, was already engaged under permission of the First Presidency, given last April, they now desired to know the mind of the Presidency upon their own case.

Brother Grant remarked that he could see no reason why they should not be left at liberty to enter into such an engagement.  He also said that he felt there was an excellent opportunity to establish a Home Life Insurance Company among ourselves, and he heartily favored such an institution.

President Snow invited the brethren to express themselves on this subject, whereupon President Cannon said that he was against life insurance as a general proposition, but that he would favor a local organization.  He could foresee, however, that if the Church were to engage in anything of that kind, it would invite attacks upon it by its opponents.

Brother Grant suggested that individual names might be used in behalf of the Church.  He showed how money could be made in the business, stating that he himself had made as much as $1500 in three days.  He would take delight in canvassing for a Church institution, free of charge.  He showed that the risks among our people, who were more moral than others, would not be so great as those that other companies carried.  Moreover, it would have the effect of keeping money at home.

Brother John W. Taylor reminded the Council that the only thing which induced our people to join secret organizations was to get the benefit of reduced rates of life insurance; and Brother Grant remarked that his brother, B. F. Grant, had told him that from personal experience he knew of nothing so potent as an influence to wean away the feelings and destroy the faith of our young men, as membership in these secret organizations.

President Snow observed that as this was a new idea to the Council, he thought each member might ponder it over for himself and discuss it further at some other time.

Meantime, it was asked, what should be done with the request of Brother Kimball and Brother McMurrin.

Brother Grant moved that a committee be appointed to consider the question of the Church going into the business of life insurance, and that these brethren wait for an answer until that committee had reported.  The motion was seconded by Brother Clawson and carried.  President Snow then named Joseph F. Smith, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, and Anthon H. Lund as the committee.”  (JH 14 Dec., 1899)

14 Dec.:  Decision to standardize ward record keeping.


Salt Lake Temple, 11 A.M.

Present:  Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley, and Rudger Clawson.

Absent:  Marriner W. Merrill and Abraham O. Woodruff, the latter visiting in Mexico and the southern country. . . 

Brother Rudger Clawson recommended that a record day be adopted in each ward of every Stake throughout the Church, and that on that day the Stake Presidencies meet with the Bishoprics of the wards for the purpose of examining the ward records to see if they are properly kept; and on motion of Brother John Henry Smith, Francis M. Lyman, Rudger Clawson, and Andrew Jensen were appointed as a committee to look into this matter, and devise a plan that could be adopted by the Church for the keeping of records.”  (JH 14 Dec., 1899)

21 Dec.:  Geo. Q. Cannon and excess tithing payments.

“Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith were at the office.

President Cannon informed President Snow that he desired to pay a certain amount on account of tithing, but he did not have the money, and therefore proposed to pay it in Grand Central Mining stock at six dollars a share.

President Snow hesitated, for the reason that he did not know the value of such stock.

President Cannon remarked that he did not have to pay it, perhaps, but in order to satisfy his feelings he felt that he ought to do so.

President Snow answered that he did not see why President Cannon should pay tithing unless it was a tenth of his income.

President Cannon explained that his practice had been, whenever he was in a tight place, to overpay his tithing, and he had found that in doing this he had been prospered.

President Snow:  ‘Then, President Cannon, you make the Lord your debtor, and obligated to you.’

President Cannon:  ‘No, not in that light.’

After further talk on the subject President Snow said that he should leave such matters to President Cannon himself, as he knew what to do, and did not need any counsel from him.

President Smith, however, saw no reason why the Church should not receive President Cannon’s tithing in this stock.”  (JH 21 Dec., 1899)

26 Dec.:  Appeal of High Council trial by another stake.

“PRESIDENT’S OFFICE.  [Lorenzo Snow and George Q. Cannon present.] . . . .

The case of F. M. Weldon vs. S. S. Smith Jr., appealed from the High Council of San Luis Stake had been referred to Elder John T. Caine, an experienced High Councilor of Salt Lake Stake, with the request that he examine the papers and report findings.  This he did, setting forth his views in two communications.  It was his judgment that a new trial should be had, with two of the Apostles sitting with the High Council.  This view was not adopted by the First Presidency.”  (JH 26 Dec., 1899)

27 Dec.:  One-year preparatory course for missionaries. 

“In accordance with a resolution passed by the General Board of Education September 11th last, you are hereby authorized and requested to select and call upon members of the various quorums of Seventies whom you think qualified and suitable for missionary service in the various mission fields to attend the Latter-day Saint schools or colleges to take one year’s preparatory course to better fit them for their missionary labors, and, so far as may be necessary to meet the requirements of the various missions, you are requested to inquire of the various stake presidencies the names of such other young men of good standing and report as would also be suitable to call to the missionary fields, who would also be willing to take such preparatory course in one of the three colleges most convenient to them, and you will be further guided in this labor by the instructions you have already received from the General Board of Education in relation to this matter.”  (First Presidency to First Seven Presidents of Seventies, 27 Dec., 1899.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 3:323-324)

28-30 Dec.:  Threat to Church of anti-polygamy forces.

“I attended meeting in the Temple.  Woodruff prayer and Cowley mouth.  A serious matter has arisen.  The talk is that Congress will re-construct Utah and disfranchise the Mormon people.  What a mistake it seems to have been to send Roberts and stir up the nation, but the Lord will overrule for good over our mistakes.  What can be done to avert this impending calamity?  It seems to me that a frank statement of position and the present status of polygamic marriages would soothe the riled feelings of the nations.  There is not half as many persons liable to prosecution today as there were during the raid, and this number is growing gradually less.  The nation ought to be satisfied with this.  They can not expect that such ties can be sundered completely and that a man who maintains his family or families outside his first family can feel otherwise than they are his, and with that feeling towards them they in turn will love him, and who ought to be offended if the object of the union, that of multiplying and replenishing the earth, is not set aside?  Polygamic marriages having been stopped, the system must become less and less, it is only a matter of time.  When the few cases which are made so prominent in accusing this people, are considered and compared with the number of the whole people it becomes clear it is not the moral side of the question which so stir the feelings of the world, there is something else that is at the bottom of the fight and it is ‘bigotry.’  There is a hatred against the Gospel now as there was in the Savior’s days.  The priests take up the cry of polygamy and picture out to their audiences how immoral are the Mormons.  A few children begotten in marital union entered under the sanction of a man who holds the priesthood, are made the basis for the attack while the numberless seductions and whoredoms committed in the world are going unchallenged.  In New York alone is committed more sin in one night than there is committed by the Mormon people in one year even if living with plural wives is reckoned as an offense.  Yet the godless Gothamites are horror-struck to hear a Talmage hold up that people, not as they are before God but as they appear before a prejudiced people.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 28 Dec., 1899; LDS Archives)

“In the afternoon we met at the Prests. Office and the question what shall be done to avert Congressional action tending disfranchise all the Mormons.  It is said that there is a plan on foot to take the franchise from the Latter-day Saints for 30 years.  There is no doubt that the Republicans feel that they have been deceived in thinking that we were inclined to that party and then turned Democrats.  Several of the brethren spoke.  I was called on and said that I considered it a very grave question, that the Desereet News which is a non-partisan paper takes up the side of roberts; this being looked upon as favoring Democracy.  I have felt the fight has turned as against the Church instead of against Roberts and hence have rather enjoyed Bro. Penrose’s writings, but still I doubted the wisdom of the News taken up the cudgel against Congress in favor of Roberts.  I also said that I believed that we should try to placate our enemies at this end, as they were the ones who stirred up the world against us.  Bro. Jos. F. Smith suggested releasing Bro. Penrose and putting him into the Historian’s office.  Bro. Penrose said he had been accused of writing as a Democrat, but every complaint of this kind has come from one of the Repub. editors.  Prest. Snow felt that as the paper has risen as much as it has we ought to be careful and not pull it down.  A meeting was appointed for tomorrow.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 29 Dec., 1899; LDS Archives)

“We met again on the question of yesterday.  Prest. Snow considered that what Prest. Woodruff had said in the Court of Chancery in regard to Co-habitation was binding on us.  He considered that the few polygamists who had young wives able to bear children should make the sacrifice to abstain from having children, as there are many thousands in the land who are willing to give their lives to sustain the laws of the country and when they hear that the Mormons refuse to obey the laws, they feel that drastic measures ought to be used towards them.  Jos. F. Smith and H. J. Grant felt it would reach them and having young wives they felt that it would be hard on their wives; still if the inspiration of the Lord should indicate to Prest. Snow that such a course ought to be pursued they would follow counsel.  Bro. Owen Woodruff said he felt deeply anything that went against the System through which he was born and thought this scare had been gotten up by our enemies here.  Prest. Snow asked him if he thought his father had done right in giving the manifesto?  He said that he believed his father was inspired of God in diong so.  Prest. Snow asked which was worse: the abrogation of polygamy or the counsel to abstain from having children?  Prest. Snow is taking the same view on the manifesto as Prest. Woodruff stated publicly was his.  J. H. Smith spoke feelingly upon the matter.  He said no one could accuse him of cowardice in reagrd to this matter; but he felt there was so much danger for the whole Church that he was willing to make any sacrifice.  Owen Woodruff wanted to get up and speak but the President said: ‘Never mind you are a young man yet, let some of your seniors speak.’  It was a hard rebuke for poor Owen.  He is such a good fellow and what he said he meant, but not in a way to go against the President.  There was no action taken and some of the brethren asked at the close of the meeting: Where are we now?  I consider that it was a very important meeting and that all ought to know what is the word of the Lord.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 30 Dec., 1899; LDS Archives)