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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1900

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1900.” You can view other years here.

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1900:  9 Jan.:  We must bend or break on polygamy issue.

“I went to the Temple and attended our quarterly quorum meetings.

Bro. [A. O.] Woodruff was the first speaker and referred to the growing influence of secret combinations.  He told of a missionary who was told he could get a position if he would join the ‘Woodmen’ [of the World]. . . .

[M. W. Merrill] He had been Bishop 18 years and never received a nickel from the Church.  I think it is well that the bishops receive remunerations.  He thought we were making sacred things too public.  Bringing oil into meetings and many calling on us to be blessed in public and Satan is taking advantage. . . .

John W. Taylor:  Thought Pres. Snow’s little love-letter to the gentiles is just right.  He thought that we as a quorum should be as careful as possible.  We have a [pass?] and we can go elsewhere.

I was glad to read this card of Prest. Snow and glad that we did not have to sign another declaration of intention.  I believe that we have come to a place where we will have to bend or there will be some breakage come. . . .

George Teasdale: . . . Alluded to the circumstances under which he received the Gospel.  Here we give up the principle of plural [marriage] for the very reason which were given when we got into the Church.  They persecuted us.  Next they will ask us to give up the priesthood.  Will we give it up?  We might as well.  As soon as we give up anything we will have to keep up.  The old woman said after she had been burned out four times she said ‘I will be damned if I will stand it any longer!’  If she had it would have been her exaltation.  I have felt humiliated at our back-down.  He had not learned that God had repealed this law.  It has been said that disobedience to this will cause damnation.  I am the greatest coward in the room but I have felt the Lord has strengthened my backbone.  Celsius said that the Christians were persecuted for the reason they practiced plural marriage.  In the Mexican possessions we can practice the principle.  I have the everlasting principles God has revealed.  I advocate the principles of righteousness.  My sympathies are with every son of Abraham, I want to sit down at the table of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.–I think Prest. Snow’s declaration is perfectly consistent.  It is the United States against the principle.  I want to be on the Lord’s side. . . .

John H. Smith:  I regret nothing more than to be absent from these meetings.  I endorse the Spirit of our brethren.  The only question with the Presidency is this: What is for the best of Israel?  There is none of us that have any doubts of the ultimate success of this work.  It is a battle.  The Gospel has been preached by weak men but God has given them strong testimony.  Prest. Young once proposed that we marry but one wife.  John Taylor never yielded but wanted us to button up our coat and take our medicine.  This body of men covenanted sacredly to defend the principle with their life.  The Lord accepted this and revealed through Wilford Woodruff that we were to conform to the laws of the land.  I believe he felt humiliated, but he did the Lord’s will.  It would have put the people to the knife and made us the hewers of wood and [bearers?] of water.  I do not believe we have been just in the carrying out that law.  Prest. Snow’s declaration is the only safe thing for this people.  I condone Prest. Snow’s position in regard to this principle that no marriage shall be performed under this government.  The danger is from our own brethren.  God has promised to soften the hearts of our enemies from time to time.  He has done this at divers times.  I do not think that Roberts is the cause of our troubles.  The priests are at the bottom.  Mr. Owen came to a judge and told him of children born where he did not even know there were polygamists.  It shows that some give information.  It may be of our own children innocently.  A gentile told me that one of Jos. F. Smith’s children had said: Here comes a woman with 3 kids whom we did not know about.  I believe the Lord will overrule for good.  I think we should be secretive and not give ourselves away.  Our object is to advance the kingdom of God.  There are times when we should be extremely modest and times when we should be extremely aggressive.  I believe it is our 1500 missionaries who are making the devil mad.  I believe that the time will come when the Americans will tip their hats to us.

Prest. B. Young:  There was one thing gave me a testimony concerning the manifesto.  It was this that not a tithing of the people had received the principle, these could not have stood the trials if this revelation had not been given.

F. M. Lyman: . . . [after arguing that we should abstain from polygamy] I believe we are as united behind you as we were behind Prest. Richards and Snow.  The majority of this quorum will always stand.  One or two may go but the rest must and will be true.  I do not think that we need bother about polygamy.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 9 Jan., 1900; LDS Archives)

11 Jan.:  Apostles to be instructed personally by Savior.


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, Marriner W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff, and Rudger Clawson. . . .

President Snow now referred to a verse of the hymn that was being sung by the Apostles as the Presidency entered, and at his request the hymn was sung again, namely ‘Glorious things are sung of Zion.’  After the singing of the hymn, the main theme of which was union, the President spoke briefly on that subject.  He said that although we as a people had met with all kinds of troubles, had suffered from heart burnings, and had been called upon to make all sorts of sacrifices, yet we had never lost hope of arriving in due time at a state of perfect union.  Speaking of the Apostles, he was pleased to say that more could be said of them in this respect today, than at any other time since the days of the Prophet Joseph.  Not withstanding the weaknesses which the servants of the Lord and His people manifested in various ways, he had sustained His servants and given them grace sufficient to meet and overcome every trial and trouble.  This being the fact, he (the speaker), for one, could look into the future with the greatest assurance.  He did not feel to worry one particle as to the present or the future; it was almost impossible to imagine that the future could bring us greater troubles than we had already passed through.  Everything considered, who, he asked, had such great reasons for thanksgiving and rejoicing as we had.  The members of this Council were now about to partake of the emblem of the body and blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and with such feelings as we have here we could not but feel that our Lord and Master is very near to us, and that holy beings are in our presence.  With these thoughts in his heart, the President said that he felt to bless his brethren, and he hoped they would continue in the line of salvation and perfection. . . .

All the brethren present, including George F. Gibbs, the secretary of the Council, then sat at table and partook of the Sacrament, Brother Brigham Young offering the prayer.

Before rising from the table, President Snow invited President Cannon to occupy the few remaining moments of unexpired time, by speaking to the brethren as he might feel led.

President Cannon, responding, said that he heartily endorsed the words of President Snow to the effect that we have the greatest cause to be thankful because of the blessings we enjoy.  He referred to the pleasure experienced by him in his boyhood days when in the presence of the servants of God, and the respect he entertained towards them.  This feeling had never left him, and he rejoiced in the society of the Apostles today, and in being in possession of their fellowship.  He rejoiced in the feelings of union and good fellowship that exist, and there was no question in his mind but that this state of things would continue.  He believed that greater power and gifts would be given to the Apostles, and that this would increase until they should meet face to face with the Savior himself.  He felt that the day was not far distant when the Savior would meet with His Apostles and instruct them; and that they should prepare for the great events which were coming upon the earth.  He knew the Savior was near to us, and that the day would come when the Apostles would be greatly honored of him; and that judgment would be given to the Twelve, as it was given to His Apostles who were with Him in Jerusalem.  President Cannon said too, referring to the enemies of Zion, that the predictions concerning them and the wicked generally would be brought about; the Lord would literally burn them up; and the Saints would go on from victory to victory until we should finally triumph.  In closing, President Cannon, addressed himself to President Snow.  He said he felt that the Apostles should be extremely careful as to the counsel they might give, as well as to the wisdom of their own actions.  Of course, the Lord would continue to overrule in the future as he had in the past, but much trouble might be brought about through an unwise course on the part of the men to whom the people look for guidance.  President Cannon held that no one Apostle should undertake to give counsel affecting the interests of well-being of the community; but on the contrary such counsel should be the combined wisdom of as many of the Apostles as could be got together, with the President at their head.  This was a critical time, and we needed all the light we could get, and the only safe way to get it, in his opinion, was through the presiding head.”  (JH 11 Jan., 1890)

13 Jan.:  1st Pres. reverses excommunication.


The First Presidency were at the office. . . .

A brother Beckstead was cut off the Church last evening by the action of the High Council of the Salt Lake Stake, for adultery, but on account of extenuating circumstances the Presidency consented to his being baptized again, and they authorized Elder Charles W. Penrose, who had made the representation of the case to them, to see that this was done.”  (JH 13 Jan., 1900)

20 Jan.:  Administering ordinances.

“The following editorial from the Juvenile Instructor may be of interest and benefit to many of the Elders in the missionary field:

We have been asked, in substance, ‘If, where the Lord has revealed the exact words to be used in the performance of an ordinance, the Elder or Priest officiating departs therefrom, either from ignorance, or a slip of the tongue, or other cause, does not such departure invalidate the ordinance?’

We answer, as a rule, certainly not; that is, when the spirit and meaning of the words are not palpably departed from.  If awkwardness of expression would invalidate an ordinance administered by a man of God then inextricable confusion would be wrought in the Church.  No man’s standing would be safe; for possibly every one of us has received ordinances–baptisms, confirmations or ordinations–under the hands of men who have not strictly adhered to the given form.  Or, if no such mistake happened in our individual cases, who can say it did not previously occur in the confirmation or ordination of some one or more of those who have been mouth over our heads?  In either case we should not receive the blessing or the authority that was supposedly conferred upon us.  Again, how many of our brethren perform ordinances in the Church in languages with which they are far from thoroughly familiar–Elders who have gathered to Zion from continental Europe and the islands of the sea, who do not understand English; missionaries to lands where other tongues are spoken, into many of which, indeed, the exact formula of these ordinances have never been translated.  Shall the Elders not administer until they are perfect in a tongue?  Will the Lord ignore their ministration because they speak in faltering tones, in ungrammatical phrases or in confused rhetoric?  It were folly to so imagine.  It would place in many regions almost insurmountable barriers to the progress of the work of the Lord.  Our Heavenly Father is aware of our insufficiency; that we are finite, that we cannot reach everything at once, and accepts us as we are when we do our best.  But this best should be constantly improving, we should all the time be drawing nearer to the perfect, making fewer mistakes and more complete observing the requirements of the Lord.

None of the foregoing thoughts are intended to encourage slovenliness in the performance of any ordinance.  When we set out to do a thing we should make sure that we do it; and do it as it should be done.  If it be our intention to ordain a man to an office in the Priesthood, let us be sure that we ordain him, and always in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let that holy and all-saving name never be forgotten.  It is a far more serious matter to omit the name of our Savior in the performance of the ordinances of His Church, than to insert sentences that do not appear in the form the Lord has given us, or to say, ‘upon your head to cconfirm or ordain you,’ and then only by indirection do it.

While it should be the aim of the Elders to conform strictly to the revealed word in the administration of ordinances, they should not permit themselves to become too technical, and to look so carefully at the word that the spirit is lost sight of.”

(JH 20 Jan., 1900)

Jan.:  How long will Lesser Priesthood remain on earth?

“We have been asked to explain question 8, lesson 5: ‘Until what time is this Priesthood to remain on the earth?’  The intention of the question is evidently to draw out the statement of John the Baptist that this Priesthood ‘shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.’  But the natural inquiry on rendering this answer, is: When the sons of Levi do offer such an offering, will this Priesthood then be taken away?

A number of explanations have been offered, some of which we give in order to show the variety of opinions:

1. Righteousness can not come by the law, therefore the sons of Levi can not under old conditions offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness; hence the statement of the heavenly messenger is equivalent to saying that this Priesthood will never be taken from the earth.  This, however, does not make it much clearer, because the time may come when, under new conditions, under a Godpel dispensation, the sons of Levi shall offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.  If such a time may come, the query still stands unanswered.

2. The words of Oliver Cowdery are quoted as the proper explanation: ‘He said, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer this Priesthood and this authority, which shall remain upon earth, that the sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”‘  (Pearl of Great Price, p. 71; also note 2, Lesson 5, Manual 1899-1900.)  This would seem to answer the question except for the fact that Brother Cowdery’s rendition is not the authorized version of the words of John the Baptist.  If Oliver was right, why not have the correct rendering in Section 13 of the Doctrine and Covenants?

The inference that the word ‘until’ conveys the idea that the Priesthood shall not remain after the sons of Levi make their offering in righteousness, is erroneous.  Evidently John the Baptist only intended to give absolute assurance to the Saints, or to those who might become Saints, that the Priesthood would remain upon the earth for a sufficiently long period to accomplish all they could desire in righteousness, without intending to leave the impression that after that time it was to disappear.  The Priesthood is to remain forever.

4. The Priesthood of Aaron, conferred on Aaron and his sons, will be taken away and the Priesthood of Elias take its place, as before the Mosaic law.

5. The Aaronic Priesthood will not remain forever.  The time must come when every son and daughter of Adam that will and can be saved, shall have been saved, when repentance and baptism, and the temporal duties now devolving upon us will no longer be necessary, when all the functions and duties exercised in the Priesthood will be in that higher division of God’s authority which we are taught to call the Melchizedek Priesthood.  When this time comes, although the same Priesthood (that is, authority or agency delegated by God to man) will exist, there will be no need of the particular functions in which it is now exercised, and therefore will not be exercised on this earth when it has reached its state of celestial perfection.  We may, therefore, practically say that it will be taken away, being an appendage to the Melchizedek Priesthood necessary for the temporal and imperfect conditions under which we now dwell.  With Paul, we may conclude that when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part will be done away.

Whichever of these is right, if any, matters little.  We incline to the last named view, because when the sons of Levi do offer again an offering in righteousness to the Lord, the time may have come when the particular functions of the Aaronic Priesthood are no longer to be performed.  Some may say that if sacrifices are to be restored, this Priesthood will be needed, but it must be remembered that sacrifices were offered in the Gospel dispensations of Adam, Enoch and Abraham, long before the lesser Priesthood was conferred upon Aaron and his sons.  Be that as it may, it matters not.  It is wholly immaterial to the student of ‘The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times’ whether or not the Priesthood is to be taken away at the time inferred, so long as he is assured that it is to remain until the sons of Levi make an offering in righteousness.  When that time comes, we will doubtless have further light upon it.  In the meantime, question 8, lesson 5, should be answered by simply quoting the words of John the Baptist: ‘Until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.'”  (“Our Work:  Answers to Manual Questions,” [Joseph F. Smith and Edward H. Anderson, editors], IE 3(3):236-238, Jan., 1900)

26 Jan.:  We should not take on the US Government.

“I called at the office.  Prest. Cannon said concerning the Roberts case that it was idiocy to say that we should defy the U.S.  ‘I have learned what it is to meet the nation when up in arms against us.’  We ought not to have raised the issue.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 26 Jan., 1900; LDS Archives)

15 Feb.:  Priesthood procedural questions.

“I met with the President and Council. . . . I submitted the question: Can a seventy preside over an Elder’s quorum?  Answered by Prest. Cannon that it would not be a good precedent.  Question:  Shall a person convicted of crime be dealt with by the Church authorities?  Jos. F. Smith and F. M. Lyman held that they should have a chance to appear before our council first before dealing with them.  Prest. Cannon thought that a thief who confesses guilt should be dealt with and disfellowshipped.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 15 Feb., 1900; LDS Archives)

24 Feb.:  Alternate High Councilor (Juarez Stake).

“After dismissal [Stake Conference] High Council met.  Apostles [Heber J.] Grant & [Rudger] Clawson & Bros. Kimball & Maeser met with us.  Daniel Skousen was set apart to be a regular member & Heber E. Farr as alternate in the Council.”  (Anthony W. Ivins diary, 24 Feb., 1900)

28 Feb.:  Related to ordaining young boys to AP?

“Sisters Freeze, Felt and West, the Presidency of the Primary Association, and their secretary, Sister Anderson, called and met the First Presidency.  It appears that in some places Religion Classes are superseding the Primary Associations, and in other places it is difficult to retain the boys of twelve to fourteen in the Primary and they were seeking advice and help in the needed direction.  Their report was referred to Elder Karl G. Maeser, Superintendant of the Religion Classes.”  (JH 28 Feb., 1900)

1 Mar.:  Secret societies.

“At 11 o’clock the Twelve Apostles met with the Presidency at the office.  There were present:  Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith, Elders Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund and Abraham O. Woodruff. . . .

President Smith informed the Council that he had learned that one of the Bishop’s counselors of the Fremont Stake, had joined a secret society, and that some twenty-five other brethren had done likewise, and that this counselor claimed he had a right to do this, and held that it was no one’s business to question that right.  Whoever of the Apostles shall attend the next conference of Fremont Stake is to confer with the Stake Presidency in regard to this matter, and advise accordingly.  In the meantime a letter is to be written to them.”  (JH 1 Mar., 1900)

1 Mar.:  Ordination for one of suspected Negro blood?

“At 11 o’clock the Twelve Apostles met with the Presidency at the office.  There were present:  Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith, Elders Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund and Abraham O. Woodruff. . . .

A communication from President Ira Hinckley setting forth that a man in Oasis named Church, had received his patriarchal blessing in which he was told that he was of the lineage of Ephraim and that he should have the priesthood and go on a mission.  But it is believed and so understood that he inherits some negro blood in him through his mother, and many questions were being asked about the right of this party to hold the Priesthood, some holding that he might do so provided the white blood predominates.

President Snow, commenting on this subject, said that he asked President Brigham Young on one occasion, why it was that millions and millions of people were cursed with a black skin, and when, if ever, this curse would be removed?  President Young explained it in this way–but whether he had it revealed to him or not, President Snow did not know–When Cain slew Abel he fully understood the effects of the killing of his brother, but that it extended to the spirits in eternity.  He said that in the spirit world people were organized as they were here.  There were Patriarchs standing at the head of certain classes of spirits, and there were certain relationships existing which affected their coming into the world to take tabernacles.  For instance, when Abel came into the world it was understood by Cain that the class of people which he presided over as a prince, if they ever came into the world in the regular way, they would have to come through him.  So with Cain, he was a prince presiding over a vast number of a certain class of spirits, and it was natural that they should come through him, if at all, and therefore when Cain slew Abel he understood that the taking of his brothers life was going to deprive the spirits over whom he (Abel) presided from coming into the world, perhaps for thousands and thousands of years; hence the sin was immense because the effects were immense.  Then there was this understanding when the Lord executed judgement upon Cain: The spirits under his leadership still looked up to him, and rather than forsake him they were willing to bear his burdens and share the penalty imposed upon him.  This was understood when the curse was pronounced upon him, and it was understood that this curse would remain upon his posterity until the class of spirits presided over by Abel should have the privilege of coming into the world and taking tabernacles, and then the curse would be removed.

President Cannon remarked that he had understood that the Prophet Joseph had said during his lifetime that there would be a great wrong perpetrated if the seed of Cain were allowed to have the Priesthood before Abel should have posterity to receive it and this curse was therefore to remain upon the seed of Cain until the time should come that Abel should have posterity.  He understood that that time could not come until Abel should beget spirits in the eternal worlds and those spirits obtain tabernacles; if it were otherwise the slayer would have advantages over the slain.  President Cannon further remarked that it would seem that there was a class of spirits who had to take such bodies for the reason that Ham introduced this blood through the ark by marrying a woman of the cursed seed named Egyptus.”  (JH 1 Mar., 1900)

7 Mar.:  Women performing washings/anointings outside Temples.

“Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith were at the office today as usual.

Recently a letter was received from the presidency of the Relief Society in Dublan, Mexico, asking certain questions on the subject of washing and anointing sisters preparatory to confinement, and women and children for the restoration of their health; and among the questions was one asking if the washing should be sealed, and if the sisters had a right to seal, using no authority but doing it in the name of Jesus, or should men holding the Priesthood be called in to attend to their particular part of the ceremony or administration.  These questions were referred to the general presiding officers of the Relief Society to prepare answers and submit the same.  The answer to this question was as follows:  Brethren are sometimes called in to seal the washing and anointing; usually by the desire of the sister herself, her husband being called, or her father, or someone in whom she has great faith.  In case no request is made for brethren to be called, the sealing is done by the sisters officiating, uniting their faith and simply doing so in the name of Jesus, not mentioning authority.

President Smith expressed himself to the effect that in his opinion the word ‘seal’ should not be used by the sisters at all, but that the word ‘confirm’ might be substituted, and that it should be used not in an authoritative way but in the spirit of invocation.

Presidents Snow and Cannon endorsed this, and the secretary was directed to refer the answer back with the request that the sisters of the Relief Society adopt the change.” (JH 7 Mar., 1900)

22 Mar.:  Uniform Church record forms, inc. temple recommends.

“At eleven o’clock in the forenoon the regular council of the Presidency and the Twelve met in the Temple.  There were present:  Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith; Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Anthon H. Lund, Abraham O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson.  Elder Matthias F. Cowley was visiting in the Southwestern States mission. . . .

Elder Lyman, who with Brothers Clawson and Andrew Jenson, had been made a committee to consider the question of uniformity in our records now made his report.  He said the committee had prepared uniform blanks, and he had learned that most of the old blanks were now out of print, so that the new forms adopted would be timely.

Elder Clawson explained the nature of these forms prepared by the committee.  He said they would be bound in book form for ward purposes, to contain the names, genealogies etc of the members, ordinations to the Priesthood etc.  Besides these a form of certificate of standing to be given to members of the Church moving from one ward to another, was submitted; also a form of Temple recommends.  These recommends are to contain names and genealogies of the parties applying for them, and only one form can be used for one person.  As the labor of making out these recommends and recording them would cause considerable work for ward clerks, it was suggested that a small fee be collected by him of the parties applying for the recommends.  Considerable talk was had on this subject, after which the report of the committee was adopted.

The question arose as to whether the Church should have what may be called a ‘Record Day.’  Brother Clawson explained it in effect that if a day were set apart each year, any forenoon of a Sunday to be regarded as record day, it would be in order for the Bishopric of each ward to meet on such a day with the clerk of the ward, and also a member of the stake presidency, or one appointed to represent them, and upon this occasion it would be their duty to examine the record of the ward for the purpose of seeing that they are properly kept.  There was no action taken on this.

Referring to the increased work of the ward clerks, President Cannon asked if it would not be a good plan to permit the presidents of Stakes to authorize the ward clerks to charge a fee of ten cents as a means of remuneration, since for the work they do they receive no compensation.  Agreeable to this Elder Lyman moved that the clerks be permitted to charge ten cents for each recommend issued by him, either of removal or to the Temple.  The motion was carried.”  (JH 22 Mar., 1900)

29 Mar.:  High Councilors released due to drunkenness.

“[Meeting at the Temple] Apostle J. H. Smith reported his visit to the Fremont Stake.  Said the High Council of the Fremont Stake was released and re-organized.  The change was made necessary owing to the status of some of its members.  A number of the council was in the habit of getting drunk; others neglected the law of tithing.  Two of the old council were brought in again.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 29 Mar., 1900)

Mar.:  Order of ordaining an Elder.

“What is the regular order of The Church in the presentation and ordination of a person to the office of Elder?–H. B. Coles, Point Lookout, Utah.

The person is first selected by the bishopric of the ward in which he is a resident, then presented to a regular meeting of such ward and there, by the congregation, sustained as worthy.  He receives a recommend to this effect from the ward clerk.  Then follows his presentation, by the president of the stake, to a regular stake priesthood meeting, where, being sustained, he obtains from the clerk, a certificate to this effect, which is by him presented to the elders’ quorum of his ward.  The quorum having accepted him, he is then ordained an Elder by the presidency of that quorum.”  (“Our Work:  Answers to Questions,” [Joseph F. Smith and Edward H. Anderson, editors], IE 3(5):393, Mar., 1900)

5 Apr.:  Change in order of seniority of 12.

“I attended meeting with First Presidency and Twelve today.  Several matters were discussed and decided.  One subject decided after full discussion was that Joseph F. Smith stood ahead and outranked Brigham Young in the Quorum of Apostles.  The vote was unanimous.  After business we partook of bread and wine.”  (Marriner Wood Merrill diary, 5 Apr., 1900)

“At 11 o’clock the First Presidency and the Apostles met in council meeting at the Temple.  There were present: Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, M. W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson. . . .

After a few general remarks on the subject of tithing by the brethren, President Snow stated that there was a vacancy in the Council of Apostles caused through the death of President Franklin D. Richards, and he invited the brethren to hand in to him two names each of persons whom they thought worthy and could recommend to fill the vacancy.

Elder Merrill stated that he favored the Presidency uniting on a name and presenting it to the Council and President Snow answered that the Presidency would decide, but would like the Apostles to express their individual suggestions.

President Snow then stated that there was another subject that ought to be settled, and perhaps the time had come when it should receive the attention of the Council.  It was understood by the members of the Council that Elder Brigham Young was ordained an Apostle before President Cannon or President Joseph F. Smith, and there might be a question regarding the standing of these brethren in relation to seniority in the quorum, since both President George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith were ordained as members of the quorum and were received into the quorum before Elder Young.  Each of the brethren spoke to the question and all were agreed that the seniority should be based on the time the brethren were admitted to the quorum and not from the date of ordination, which in this particular instance took place when the quorum was full.  Therefore the unanimous decision was that the ranking order of these brethren was, first President George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith and then Brigham Young.”  (JH 5 Apr., 1900)

5 Apr.:  Older men should resign to make way for younger.

“At 11 o’clock the First Presidency and the Apostles met in council meeting at the Temple.  There were present: Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, M. W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson. . . .

[Lorenzo Snow] also spoke of a condition that existed in some Stakes where the brethren were feeble or because of the state of their health were not able to look after the interests of the people, and while it was unpleasant to ask such men to resign yet they should be willing to occupy other positions and let younger men who were in the vigor of youth take hold of the burdens under which they were laboring.  He thought it was wise to inform those who were called to positions of this kind that they were to act as long as their services were blessings to the people.  No man because of infirmity would lose his Priesthood and a man who should resign from his calling as a Bishop or President of the Stake did not step down or backwards, but held just as much Priesthood and could still be useful in the Church in some other calling.”  (JH 5 Apr., 1990)

7 Apr.:  Secret societies and the priesthood.

“We feel sometimes that it is doing no particular wrong if we associate ourselves with secret societies.  But it is drawing us away from the work of the Lord and from the Priesthood.  People who join these organizations will argue that it is important for them; it is a sort of insurance for their families; and they are not bad things because there is nothing bad done there.  Of course I do not know anything about that personally.  I speak simply upon principle, and from that standpoint I know they are not productive of good to any Latter-day Saint.  These secret organizations are what broke up the Nephite nation, and there is one society after another being organized in the midst of the Latter-day Saints.  And whose work is it?  Do the leaders of the Church advise it?  Do they countenance it?  I do not know that they do.  I know that I do not personally endorse any of these things, because I do not think they are productive of good.  On the contrary, they will result in those who hold the Priesthood losing the spirit of that Priesthood and going into darkness.  The Lord has given us the most complete organization there is in the world.  You cannot find anything like it anywhere.  It is a safe-guard and an insurance to the people.  Who among all the Latter-day Saints is allowed to suffer.  If the husband should be taken away, if any of the family should be taken away, are those remaining not provided for?  Why, tens of thousands of dollars of your tithes and offerings go to provide for the needy.  Hence in the Church of God there is no necessity for any of its members being associated with secret societies.”  (Marriner W. Merrill, 7 Apr., 1900; CR Apr., 1900, p. 30)

8 Apr.:  Selection of new Apostle.


According to the request of President Snow the members of the Apostles quorum suggested names for the vacancy in their quorum which is to be filled at this conference today.  Immediately after the forenoon session today the brethren of the quorum of the Twelve and the Presidency met in the Presidents office for the purpose of filling the vacancy.  The meeting was short, President Snow informing the brethren that the First Presidency had considered the names suggested and had decided on Elder Reed Smoot to fill the vacancy in the quorum if his selection was approved by the members of the quorum.  The nomination was seconded and unanimously carried.  Elder Reed Smoot was then called into the room and informed of his being called to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Elder Franklin D. Richards, President of that quorum.  After receiving the council of his brethren Elder Smoot manifested his willingness to magnify his calling and labor with his brethren for the best interests of the Kingdom of God.  The meeting then adjourned, and at the afternoon session of conference the general authorities of the Church were unanimously sustained by the people, including Elder Smoot as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  (JH 8 Apr., 1900)

9 Apr.:  Non-tithepayers to be denied Temples, missions.

“At 10 o’clock this morning a special Priesthood meeting composed of the General Authorities of the Church, Presidents of Stakes and counselors, High Coucilors, Bishops and counselors and mission Presidents, was held in the Assembly Hall and continued until afternoon.

After the usual exercises, President Snow addressed the brethren in regard to missionary work, Temple blessings and non-tithe payers, and their privileges in the Church.  He said that men who wilfully refused to pay tithes were not worthy to be recommended to the the house of the Lord.”  (JH 9 Apr., 1900)

12 Apr.:  Membership in secret societies condemned.

“The Apostles met . . . Secret societies were discussed and the President considered that those who join should not be admitted into the Temples.  The Apostles were authorized to make such changes in the Stakes as they should find necessary.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 12 Apr., 1900; LDS Archives)

“[Meeting at the Temple] The question as to the attitude of the church in relation to secret societies was brought up. . . . It was the mind of the brethren that our people should not have the consent or approval of the church in connecting themselves with secret societies, and that those who already belong should be encouraged to withdraw as soon as they reasonably can.  The society of free Masonry was in some degree excepted, as it was thought that in some instances it might be advisable to join that body.  Apostle H. J. Grant said that if this matter was not publicly announced (and some of the brethren seemed to think it ought not to be) we would make slow progress in fighting it with active canvassers of secret societies in the field.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 12 Apr., 1900)

12 Apr.:  Authority to reorganize wards.

“At 11 o’clock the Presidency and Apostles met in Council meeting in the Temple.  There were present:  President Lorenzo Snow and counselors; Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund, Rudger Clawson and Reed Smoot. . . .

Before the brethren left the room President Smith stated that the Apostles occasionally visited a ward where a reorganization was necessary, and in such cases, he thought they would be justified in organizing such wards after a careful consultation with the Presidencies of the Stakes and High Councils; but they should not attempt to upset things without having been sent by the Presidency.  This met with the approval of the brethren.”  (JH 12 Apr., 1900)

23 Apr.:  Election for new Bishop.

“Monday.  Richmond.  I attended Priesthood Meeting at 10 a.m., about 65 of the Brethren present.  Bishop Skidmore resigned as Bishop and the resignation was accepted, and Thomas Hazen Merrill was chosen by 33 persons to fill his place.  There were 35 names presented, ranging from 1 to 33 votes; 33 for T. H. Merrill was 12 more than any other one got.  Alma Merrill got the next highest vote, 21, and August Schow and James Funk got the next highest, 15 and 12 each, and they were chosen Counselors to the Bishop.  In the afternoon a full congregation was in attendance of all the people and the action of the Priesthood Meeting was ratified.  Thomas Hazen Merrill was ordained a Bishop by Apostle F. M. Lyman, and August Schow was ordained a High Priest and set apart as Second Counselor by Apostle John W. Taylor.  Brother James Funk was not present.  [i.e., he was sustained without his consent]”  (Marriner Wood Merrill diary, 23 Apr., 1900)  

May:  Setting an Elder apart as a Teacher.

“If an elder is called as an acting teacher in a ward, should he be set apart to that office by the laying on of hands?–W. H. Mendenhall, Gentile Valley, Idaho.

Yes; but he could act without being so set apart.  It is customary, however, and perfectly proper, for the bishop to bless him and set him apart for this work.”  (“Our Work:  Answers to Questions,” [Joseph F. Smith and Edward H. Anderson, editors], IE 3(7):557, May, 1900)

18 May:  Extenuating circumstances in fornication/adultery.


President Snow and counselors were at the office.  The Presidency of the St. George Stake had written stating that the practice of the St. George High Council had been to excommunicate for sexual sin where the parties in transgression had received their endowments without taking into consideration extenuating circumstances, and they desired to know if the First Presidency approved of their continuing this procedure.  The following answer was given:

It is our mind that all such cases be tried on their merits, and that extenuating circumstances can be favorably considered where it can be done so consistently, especially in cases of fornication.  In cases of adultery, however, it would be difficult to conceive of extenuating circumstances, unless, perhaps, on the part of the woman in the case; but even in such cases they should not be entirely ignored.

Signed by Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith.”

(JH 18 May, 1900)

24 May:  Members of secret societies to be weeded out.

“[Meeting at the Temple] Remarks were made by Pres. J. F. Smith and others in regard to secret societies, and they expressed the view . . . that officers in the Sunday Schools, who belonged to secret societies, and who were not willing to withdraw, should be quietly weeded out.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 24 May, 1900)

8 Jun.:  Continuation of missionary training courses.

“The experimental missionary courses given by our direction in several of our Church institutions of learning during the past academic year, were sufficiently successful to warrant, in our opinion, a continuation of the practice.  We entertain the hope that with the experience of the last school year to guide us and an early preparation for the coming one that still more satisfactory work will be done.  We therefore invite you to select and forward to the missionary Committee of the Apostles at your early convenience the names of a number of young brethren whom you deem suitable to take a missionary course with a view to their being called into the field of active missionary labor as soon as they are prepared for its responsibilities.  When these names are received by us, to each of the young men thus suggested will be sent a call to attend one of our church colleges or academies where these classes are held.  If for convenience or economy’s sake any of the brethren prefer to attend one of these institutions which is not geographically the nearest they can have that privilege, and you should note their wishes on your report so that the Committee may be properly advised.”  (Lorenzo Snow to M. W. Merrill, 8 Jun., 1900.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 3:326-327) 

12 Jul.:  Change in seniority rules in Quorum of 12.

“[Quarterly Conference of the Twelve] At 11 oclock we were joined by Prest. Cannon and Smith.  Bro. Merrill was mouth.  A long document was read containing the decision of Prest. Snow in regard to Brigham Young’s place in the quorum of the Twelve.  Jos. F. Smith was placed before him he being ordained and set apart as one of the Twelve before Brigham.  The latter had been ordained by his father to be an apostle before Jos. F. Smith, but this did not make him one of the Twelve until he was sustained and set apart as such and this was later than Bro. Smith.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 12 Jul., 1900; LDS Archives)

12 Jul.:  Ratification of succession order.

“At 11 o’clock the meeting of the Presidency and Apostles convened in the Temple.  There were present: Presidents George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith of the Presidency; Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Anthon H. Lund, John W. Taylor, Mariner W. Merrill, Mathias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff, Rudger Clawson and Reed Smoot, of the Quorum of Apostles. . . .

President Cannon informed the council that President Snow came into the office yesterday, and in chatting with him desired the minutes of the Council of April 5th last passed upon, he having heard of them and approved of them himself.  The minutes referred to the succession in the presidency and seniority of the Apostles quorum; and on motion of President Joseph F. Smith, and seconded by Elder Brigham Young, the minutes were unanimously approved.”  (JH 12 Jul., 1900)

19 Jul.:  No further organizations to be made at present.

“[Meeting at the temple] A letter was read from Alice A. Miskin in which she suggested the organization of a Young Married Womans’ M.I.A. where the duties of wife and motherhood could be taught.  The clerk was instructed to answer and say that it was not deemed wise to make any further church organizations at present.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 19 Jul., 1900)

9 Aug.:  Payment for bishops and clerks from tithing.

“[Meeting at the Temple] Apostle Reed Smoot called attention to the fact that the Presidency and High Council of the Utah Stake had made a distribution of the 10% tithing set apart as compensation to the bishops and bishops’ clerks, and stake tithing clerks, and that out of the distribution a small margin was reserved to meet some of the stake expenses.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 9 Aug., 1900)

“At 11 o’clock the Presidency and the Apostles met in council meeting in the Salt Lake Temple.  There were present President Lorenzo Snow and George Q. Cannon of the Presidency, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund, Abraham O. Woodruff, Rudger Clawson and Reed Smoot, of the Twelve. . . .

President Cannon now brought the following matter before the council:  A short time ago he and a few of the Apostles, including Elder Reed Smoot, met with Bishop Preston in relation to the disbursement of the ten percent allowed by the Church to the Bishops for handling tithing.  The Presidency of the Utah Stake had met with great difficulty in raising means for the purpose of paying the janitor for their stake house, paying the choir conductor and meeting other stake expenses; and they conceived the idea that sufficient to meet the stake expenses might consistently come out of this ten percent, and they, in connection with the High Council divide it in such manner as to fully satisfy the bishops and all concerned and leave a margin for this purpose; but it seems that Bishop Preston objected to this being done.  Brother Smoot on this occasion showed that to distribute this means among the Bishops equally would be an extremely unfair and improper thing to do, and he gave reasons therefor; for instance in one of the wards in Provo, a Bishop would have made some $1,400. last year for simply writing a few cash tithing receipts.  This was in one of the wards where large cash tithe payers lived.

President Cannon explained that President George C. Parkinson came to the office the day before yesterday on the same question.  The High Council of his stake had appointed this means in the same way that the High Council of Utah Stake had done, and the apportionment was agreeable to the bishops of the Oneida Stake, but Bishop Preston had entered an objection to it.

No formal action was taken on this question but President Snow agreed with President Cannon that where a High Council meet and make an apportionment perfectly agreeable to the Bishops and all concerned living in the stake, inasmuch as the apportionment did not exceed the ten per cent limit allowed by the Church, it was a matter that should not concern the Presiding Bishopric.”  (JH 9 Aug., 1900)

13 Aug.:  Non-tithepayers should be disfellowshipped.

“Brother Rudger Clawson had a talk with Presidents Snow and Cannon on the subject of non-tithe-paying.  He had learned that the Davis Stake contained a great number of non-tithe payers among whom were some High Priests and Seventies; some of these, he had learned, did not believe in the law of tithing at all and the question had arisen what shoulid be done with them.  President Cannon suggested that the proper thing to do was for the quorums to which these men belonged [to] take up the subject of non tithe-paying and make it a matter of fellowship, that is, that non tithe-payers belonging to quorums of the Priesthood who declare their unbelief in this law or who refused to pay tithing, should have fellowship withdrawn from them.  This would leave them in a suspended state and would relieve the Bishopric and High Council from dealing directly with them, and giving any of them a chance to rail against any unfavorable action that might be taken against them in the regular church courts.  Of course, they should be first labored with.”  (JH 13 Aug., 1900)

16 Aug.:  Non-tithe-payers/Continued plural marriages.

“At 11 o’clock the Presidency and Twelve met in their regular council meeting in the Temple.  There were present: Presidents Lorenzo Snow and George Q. Cannon of the Presidency; Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund, A. O. Woodruff, Rudger Clawson and Reed Smoot. . . .

President Snow requested President Cannon to state to the brethren the suggestion which he recently made as to a method of dealing with members of the Church who disbelieved in the law of tithing or refused to pay their tithing.

President Cannon said that instead of requiring the bishopric of the wards to deal with such cases, he thought it would be well for the presidency of each quorum of the priesthood to deal with their own members, that is, take up a labor with them and if found to be obstinate cases that the fellowship of the quorum might be withdrawn from them.  This would leave them in a suspended condition without the action of a bishop’s court.  And this rule he thought might be carried so far as to withdraw fellowship from men who never attend their quorum meetings, and he believed there were many such.  This action would disarm men who had really apostatized in their feelings, and as far as the spirit of the work was concerned, have severed themselves from the fellowship of the saints, and would afford them no opportunity to rail against the presiding authorities of the Church.  After the quorum had taken suich action against individuals, if they did not repent in due season their cases might be taken up on their fellowship, and they be severed from the Church if they showed no signs of repentance.

Continuing this subject President Cannon said that men ought to be held to some responsibility as to their belief; if they were members of our Church holding the priesthood who did not believe in the Gospel, they were unworthy of the priesthood.  If a man, even in these days were to proclaim his unbelief in the doctrine of plural marriage, he would not be worthy of the Priesthood.  In fact, no man could worthily bear the Priesthood, and exercise the functions who rejected any of the principles of the Gospel.  The speaker added that Brother B. H. Roberts, who had recently attended the Cassia Stake conference, had reported that some brethren in that region were being accused by their Teachers of living in adultery with their plural wives.  He said that he told Brother Roberts that it should be made clear to such teachers that when the Manifesto was issued we did not pledge ourselves to abandon our plural wives, nor even cease to perform plural marriages outside of the Government; and when our people get the idea that we have bound ourselves to the whole world they manifest ignorance.  A man may go to some countries and not violate their laws by taking a plural wife and living in plural marriage.  Turkey, for instance; that is, if the man holding the keys authorizes him to do so he would have a right to do this.  It was wrong for the idea to go abroad among our people that we had abandoned the doctrine of plural marriage as a tenet of our faith, simply because the practice of marrying plural wives is forbidden.

Brother Clawson moved that President Cannon’s suggestions regarding non tithe-payers be adopted.

Elder John Henry Smith expressed the hope that action on this question would not be taken as it would be delegating, he thought, too much power to presidents of quorums, many of whom had more zeal than wisdom.

President Snow remarked that if he knew anything at all he knew there were thousands of dead branches which should be pruned for the benefit of the church.  While no action was taken this was the general sentiment of the council.

The council then closed by prayer.”  (JH 16 Aug., 1900)

17 Aug.:  Non-tithepayers should be dropped from quorums.

“[Meeting at the Temple] Some discussion was indulged in regarding non-tithe-payers, and it was suggested by Pres. Cannon that men holding the Priesthood who do not pay tithing should be handled in their Quorums, and if they did not repent and honor this law, they should be dropped from the quorum, as in his opinion, a man who rejected this law was certainly not worthy to hold a standing in a quorum of the priesthood.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 17 Aug., 1900)

18 Aug.:  Concerning Negroes and the priesthood.

“Presidents Snow, Cannon and Smith were at the office. . . .

A communication was also read from President Ben E. Rich who stated that the president of the South Carolina conference had accidentally run across a village of negroes who were members of the Church, and that two of the males claimed to hold the Priesthood, having been ordained by the Elder that baptized the, whose name was Bond.  Elder Humpherys wanted to know what should be done about it.  The question was now considered.  President Cannon stated that President young held to the doctrine that no man tainted with negro blood was eligible to the Priesthood; that President Taylor held to the same thing, claiming to have been taught it by the Prophet Joseph Smith.  President Cannon also read from the Pearl of Great Price showing that negroes were debarred from the Priesthood; also that Enoch in his day called upon all people to repent save it were the descendants of Canaan.

President Snow intimated that at the first opportunity this question would be presented before the council of the Presidency and Apostles for discussion, when there should be a full attendance.

President Cannon remarked to President Snow that as he regarded it the subject was really beyond the pale of discussion, unless he, President Snow, had light to throw upon it beyond what had already been imparted.”  (JH 18 Aug., 1900)

31 Aug.:  Permission for rebaptism from 1st Presidency.


John Lloyd, of Sandy, called at the President’s Office today and requested to be admitted into the Church.  He had been criminally intimate with a woman while in the mission field in Great Britain some years before and for that offense had been excommunicated.  Since he showed a very repentant spirit permission for his baptism was given.”  (JH 31 Aug., 1900)

6 Sep.:  Baptism before 8 years invalid.

“[Meeting at the Temple] Pres. Snow said that Apostle Merrill, President of the Logan Temple had ruled that the baptism of a certain man who had been baptized a few days before he was 8 years of age was of no virtue.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 6 Sep., 1900)

“The Presidency and Apostles met in council meeting in the Temple.  There were present: President Snow, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith; Elders Brigham Young, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, Mathias F. Cowley, Rudger Clawson and Reed Smoot. . . .

President Cannon brought up the question of the validity of the baptism of a young man named William W. Astle.  The circumstances are these:  This young man went to the Logan Temple to get his endowments before leaving for a mission and while there it was discovered that he had been baptized one month and thirteen days before he was eight years of age.  At the time he went to the Temple he was a Seventy and had officiated in the ordinances of the Gospel and in the Priesthood common to men of his years.  Brother Merrill gave him to understand that he was baptized too soon and therefore his baptism was unlawful and acting on this ruling he had the missionary baptized again and confirmed and ordained an elder after which he gave him his endowments.  He was also given to understand that his baptism dated from that date.

The question now arose in the Council as to whether this young man’s baptism when a child was lawful or not.  After discussing it for a short time it was decided that the original baptism under the circumstances was valid, this was the united expression of the brethren.  It was stated that Brother Merrill would be informed of this action and that he have an opportunity to be heard at the first meeting of the council which he may attend.”  (JH 6 Sep., 1900)

6 Sep.:  Elders’ quorum functioning in Southern Utah.

“Thursday 6th.  I start to St. George Conference via Pinto and Pine Valley.  In order to hold meetings there with the Elders I sent notice of the meeting a few days ahead.  And arriving at Pinto I met Bro. Robert Knell the Bishop of the place just in the edge of town.  In talking a little while with him he finally said ‘we will not have Elders meeting here tonight as the boys are all busy thrashing’ I said ‘Bro Knell I would like you to come over to the Elders meeting at about seven o’clock and talk to the Elders a few minutes if you will.’  I let on as if I did not hear him.  I went on to where the boys were thrashing grain.  I asked some of the about meeting.  They said ‘of course we will meet, everybody has been notified, the Elders will all be there.  We will all quit thrashing early.’

Every man in town was at meeting except the Bishop.  And there were also quite a crowd of Women there who helped to make a good meeting.  We sure had a splendid time.

On arriving in Pine Valley the next day I found that my notice that I had [sent] a few days ago had not as yet arrived and the Bishop had gone to Salt Lake therefore I thought it no use to try to have meeting and told the Bishops counselor (Bro. Joseph Burgess).  He said ‘we will meet’, said ‘I will put a boy on my horse and they will soon come together as the men folks are at home.’

The boy soon went over the town telling everybody that there were missionaries in town, would meeting at seven o’clock and to be sure everybody came, women and children, the house was soon full and no preacher.  I felt very humble and weak but determined to try and do my part or my duty.  I felt very glad that so many women had joined the Elders Quorum as I know that they can be a great help to the Elders.  With the help of Bro. Burgess and a few others I can say we sure did have a good meeting.

My counselors were to have been with me but could not.  Our quorum is widly scattered, some in Clover, Panaca, Eagle Valley and White River in Nevada and in Hebron, Hamblin, Pinto and Pine Valley, Utah, making 186 Elders, almost enough for two quorums, but not enough in one town for a quorum, therefore we are called upon to look after them all.  We try to visit all, once in three months.

I went on to St. George arriving in time to be at commencment of conference.  Brothers Francis M. Lymon and Angus M. Cannon of Salt Lake City gave us much good advice and counsel.

I was called on to report the fourth quorum of Elders again and most everybody laughed at me for the way I did it.  I am a poor unlearned boy.”  (Orson W. Huntsman diary, 6 Sep., 1900; LC Collection)

15 Sep.:  Words used in confirming members.

“An esteemed correspondent, who lives in Arizona, writes to us to know whether there has been any change made in the words used in confirming members of the Church.  His reason for asking this question, is that one of the brethren who lives in the settlement has been at the Salt Lake Temple attending to ordinances.  Upon his return he informed the officers of the Church there that they did not use the same words in confirming members of the Church that are used in the temple.  He quotes the words used in the temple as being, ‘We give you the Holy Ghost, instead of saying ‘We give unto you the gift of the Holy Ghost,’ which seems to be the form used where he lived.

The words used in the temple in confirming members in the Church are, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost,’ and though there may be some deviation from that by some persons, that is the phraseology used not only in the temple but by the Elders generally; for the First Presidency have so instructed.

Our correspondent mentions the Book of Covenants, but the Book of Covenants gives no form of confirmation.  There are two or three references in that book to the subject of laying on of hands.  One is found in section 39, paragraph 23, where it says:

‘And again it shall come to pass, that on as many as ye shall baptize with water, ye shall lay your hands, and they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and shall be looking forth for the signs of my coming, and shall know me,’

and the other in section 49, paragraph 14:

‘And whoso doeth this shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands of the Elders of this Church.'”

(George Q. Cannon, JI 35(18):616-617, 15 Sep., 1900)

6 Oct.:  Responsibilities of ward teachers.

“I am quite confident that many of the organizations in the Church are neglected.  Take for instance, the Teacher’s quorum.  Every ward in the Church is supposed to have efficient men to labor as Teachers among the people.  I believe that this important organization in the ward is in many instances, materially neglected.  If the duties of Teachers were carried out as the Lord designed they should be, we would see a marked improvement in the midst of the people.  These Teachers are not confined to spiritual things.  They can talk and advise about temporal things also.  In many instances, however, Teachers’ visits are hurried over while in others they are put off.  If the Teacher is expected to visit once a month, he puts it off till the last day before the Bishop requires him to report, and then he hurries around around and does not take the time that ought to be taken.  I know whereof I speak in regard to this matter, because in the early days I was trained under Brother Jedediah M. Grant.  When the Teachers in the district where he labored all did their duty, it was called a reformation.  We had quite a reformation in all the Church at that time.  I remember very distinctly in the ward where I lived, Brother Grant on one occasion called all the Teachers to the stand.  We met in the bowery, and had a board about sixteen feet long, put on some posts for the stand.  There were twelve of us in the ward, and we had to stand up there in a row.  He wanted us all to pray, each one in his turn, commencing on the right and going to the left.  Someone asked Brother Grant afterward why he did that, and he replied that he wanted to see whether those young men had the spirit of prayer, so that he could judge if they prayed in the households of the Saints.  I was quite a boy at the time, and when it came to my turn I hesitated a moment or so.  Brother Grant happened to be kneeling right behind me, and he turned around, grabbed me by the leg with his hand and said, ‘Now, you pray.’  Well, it nearly scared all the pray out of me.  But it was an object lesson and one that was very profitable to me.  How many of the Teachers who go into your homes, gather the family together and pray with the family or ask some of the family to pray?  I question whether this is very strictly attended to.  Now, it is the Teacher’s duty to talk about all matters of interest to the Saints, connected with the kingdom of God.  It is their business to inquire of the family if they pay their tithes and offerings, that the poor may be sustained and the hands of the Bishop upheld.  In going into the congregations of the Saints it is very seldom that I hear an Elder pray for the Bishop, or for his counselors, or for the Teachers.  Teachers need not discuss the condition of the weather, for this is not part of their duty.  They should go into the houses of the Saints enjoying the Spirit of the Lord, that they may have a refreshing from the Lord with that family.  They go there to bless the family and to do them good, and in order to do this successfully they must concentrate their minds on the object of their labor in the midst of the people.  By these means the Saints are instructed in their homes.  When we find invalids in the households of the Saints who are unable to attend the gatherings of the people we can comfort and bless them.  If this were carried out as the Lord has designed it, the people would become more and more united, and they would be determined to do their duty in paying their tithes and offerings and in attending their meetings.  If the teachers did their duty in every ward, people would feel that they ought to go to meeting.  I have heard people say, ‘We have not seen a Teacher in our house for a year,’ or for six months, as the case may be.  This is not as the Lord designed it and there is some reponsibility resting upon the presidents of Stakes and their counselors in regard to this matter.  The Lord gave a revelation to President Taylor in his time on this subject.  It does not matter how isolated the Saints may live, they are in somebody’s ward, and they should be sought after if it takes two or three days to find them.  I can remember when Brother Preston was president of the Cache Stake and I was one of his counselors, it took us just one month to get around the Stake and visit the Saints, and then we could not get to all the wards.  The Stake at that time ran from Logan to the Montana line.  Stakes now are smaller, and they are within the reach of every President.  The wards are within the reach of every Bishop, and the teachers can find the people, if they are so inclined.  Bishops and Presidents of Stakes should be aroused to the importance of this matter, because when the people are neglected, the Church is neglected, the poor are neglected, the tithes and offerings are neglected.  Hence we cannot afford, as officers in the Church, to neglect our duty.  If we do the Lord will hold us to account for it.”  (Marriner W. Merrill, 6 Oct., 1900; CR Oct., 1900, pp. 27-28)

6 Oct.:  Stake Pres. and Bishops should meet weekly.

“I believe that a president of a Stake should have a meeting with his counselors at least every week.  They should sit down together, sing and pray together, and see what the Lord will suggest to be done in that Stake of Zion.  I think Apostle Lyman has advocated this idea.  I do not know how far it is attended to, but I say to you, my brethren, it ought to be attended to in every Stake of Zion.  Then, following in the same line, every Bishop in the Church should meet with his counselors and talk over matters pertaining to the ward.  Just as sure as you do this, you will always find something to talk about that will be of interest and benefit to the ward.”  (Marriner W. Merrill, 6 Oct., 1900; CR Oct., 1900, p. 28)

6 Oct.:  P, J & J restored Apostleship.

“It had a very small beginning.  Two men–Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery–were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist.  They were ordained to the Apostleship by Peter, James and John.”  (George Teasdale, 6 Oct., 1900; CR Oct., 1900, p. 37)

7 Oct.:  No new ordinances since Joseph’s time.

“The same Gospel prevails today [as in Joseph’s time], and the same ordinances are administered today, both for the living and for the dead, as were administered by the Prophet, himself, and delivered by him to the Church.  So far as I know, there is not an ordinance of the church now enjoyed or practiced that was not revealed to the Church by the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I know of no new doctrine that has been revealed. Principles that were revealed to the Prophet Joseph have grown and developed more fully and clearly to the understanding; but we have received nothing new that I know of.  Yet if we should receive something new, through the proper channels of the Church, we should be as ready and willing to receive it ias we were or would be to receive the same at the hands of the Prophet Joseph himself.”  (Joseph F. Smith, 7 Oct., 1900; CR Oct., 1900, p. 47)

18 Oct.:  Unauthorized rebaptism invalid.

“Met with the Presidency [and Twelve]. . . . The question of Nathan Tanner came up.  Prest. Snow held that as he had been [re]baptized by his father a high-priest he might raise a quibble about his standing.  I moved that the Weber High Council notice him enough to publish a statement that he had been cut off from the Church and that in case he has been baptized this had been done unauthoritatively and hence will be null and void.  This was carried.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 18 Oct., 1900; LDS Archives)

Oct.:  Can a teacher ordain a teacher?

“‘Can a teacher ordain another teacher or a deacon?’ is a question that has been submitted to the ERA.

The general reply may be made that what power or authority a man has in the Priesthood, he can confer upon others.  What a man has he can give, but it must be under proper conditions.  Such conditions do not exist in organized wards, and hence, while a teacher can ordain another teacher or deacon, it would be highly improper in organized wards, stakes, or missions, presided over by authorities holding the Melchizedek Priesthood.”  (“Our Work,” [Joseph F. Smith and Edward H. Anderson, editors], IE 3(7):557, May, 1900)

1 Nov.:  Stake Presidents in Sunday School matters.

“We are asked the question, ‘What jurisdiction has the president of a stake over the Sunday Schools in his stake; and if any, to what extent should he interfere with the Sunday Schools by withdrawing workers therefrom?’

In reply to the first part of this question, we say the president of the stake has entire jurisdiction over every organization in his stake, Sunday Schools included.

But a judicious president of a stake will not withdraw workers from the Sunday Schools to make any changes therein, without consulting the stake superintendent of Sunday Schools and the local superintendent.  In such matters there should be perfect harmony of action.  The bishop of a ward and the president of a stake, having the welfare of the children at heart, will not arbitrarily remove workers from the Sunday School or do anything that would cripple its usefulness.  They will honor the man or men in charge of the Sunday Schools in their callings by speaking to them concerning any changes to be made, as they would like to be honored in the positions they themselves occupy.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 35(21):724, 1 Nov., 1900)

8 Nov.:  Should Smoot be sent to the Senate?

“Attended meeting in the Temple. . . . A discussion followed our meeting on the senatorial situation.  Bro. Reed Smoot was proposed.  I said Bro. Smoot would make a good senator but I doubted the wisdom of sending an apostle to Congress in the present irritable disposition of the masses.  Bro. Snow said he hoped to live to see us send an apostle there.  I said I hope you may.  Bro. Grant, Smith and Teasdel thought Reed Smoot would be the man that could do us the most good.  Bro. Brigham was much in favor of Bro. Smoot but his judgement was somewhat in doubt as to the wisdom of sending him.  Prests. J. F. Smith, Geo. Q. Cannon and Snow thought it best not to send a prominent Churchman.  Bro. Snow even thought it might be wisdom to send a gentile.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 8 Nov., 1900; LDS Archives)

11 Nov.:  Secret societies.

“[Joseph F. Smith speaking]  The speaker then turned to the question of secret societies and stated that events often had proved the unwisdom of Latter-day Saints allying themselves with secret orders.  ‘We are an order of ourselves; we are not of the world, for their [sic] is no other people in the earth that has the same message.  We are commanded to repent from the sins of the world, to turn unto God with full purpose of heart to build up Zion, and not by ingrafting in any order of man.  I hold that it is not necessary, nor a wise thing for a Latter-day Saint to join any oathbound society.  Many things have proved the folly and impropriety of a Latter-day Saint joining a secret society.  If they are bound to a society, they are in some cases under oath to protect its members in guilt.  One man who had joined a society had learned that some of its members were horse thieves, but he was bound by his oath to shield them.’

President Smith here cited an instance of a man who had been called upon a mission, but was unable to go because all that he made he was obliged to pay into secret societies of which he was a member.  Another man was asked why he did not pay his tithing, and said it was because it required all he could spare to meet the demands of the society of which he was a member.

‘I know that it is unwise for a Latter-day Saint to connect himself with any of these organizations outside of the Church, and contrary to the counsels of the Priesthood.  If he does so he has no right to the privileges and blessings of the Church, until he repents.  No man who lives up to the laws of chastity as revealed through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can tie himself to societies where immorality is winked at.’ . . .

Elder Brigham Young followed with a few remarks. . . . Turning to the theme of secret societies, he stated that most of the men who have joined such societies use tobacco, and he felt impressed to say that those Church members who unite with those organizations will wayne [sic] in their faith and finally apostatize.”  (Sunday School Convention minutes, 11 Nov., 1900; JH 11 Nov., 1900)

12 Nov.:  Sunday School superintendencies.

“In reply to a question as to whether the assistants of a Sunday school superintendent ceased holding office when the superintendent is removed or died, President [George Q.] Cannon said that they did not cease to hold office, but retained their authority and position, in this respect differing from the counselors to a Bishop.”  (Sunday School Convention minutes, 12 Nov., 1900; JH 12 Nov., 1900)

13 Nov.:  Sisters may act in Sunday School Superintendencies.

“Since the year 1895 the Deseret Sunday School Union Board has adopted the following resolutions and instructions for the government and discipline of the various Sunday schools throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They are hereby compiled, classified and presented for the guidance of the officers and teachers.


1. Superintendents and assistant superintendants of Sunday Schools should be selected from among those holding the higher Priesthood.  In instances where suitable and qualified men holding the Priesthood cannot be found brethren holding the lesser Priesthood may act as superintendents or assistant superintendants, or in exceptional cases, properly qualified sisters may act in these positions.”

(Sunday School Convention minutes, 13 Nov., 1900; JH 13 Nov., 1900)

13 Nov.:  Secret societies.

“Since the year 1895 the Deseret Sunday School Union Board has adopted the following resolutions and instructions for the government and discipline of the various Sunday schools throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They are hereby compiled, classified and presented for the guidance of the officers and teachers.


. . . .

3. Wherever it becomes necessary to fill vacancies among the officers and teachers of a Sunday school, preference should be given to those who practice the Word of Wisdom, honor the Sabbath day, sustain the Priesthood, observe the law of tithing, and are not members of secret societies.”

(Sunday School Convention minutes, 13 Nov., 1900; JH 13 Nov., 1900)

15 Nov.:  Pres. Snow inclined to send Mormon to Senate.

“I was to meeting with the Presidency.  The subject of vaccination was discussed and Prest. Cannon said he felt like writing an article in favor of vaccination.  Prest. Snow said he would endorse such an article.  There was an informal consultation about the senatorship.  The President feels more inclined to have a leading Mormon go down.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 15 Nov., 1900; LDS Archives)

Nov.:  Confirmation of baptism w/o laying on of hands.

“As to the means through which the Holy Ghost confirms the ordinance of baptism, this is by the laying on of hands.  If it be asked why this is so, the answer is, simply because God ahs so ordained.  There are two instances on record when the Spirit confirmed baptism without the laying on of hands, (so far as we know).  The one was that of Christ, the other that of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.  In the case of the Savior, the Holy Ghost manifested itself in the sign of a dove, and a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’  In the case of Joseph and Oliver, ‘the ordinance of baptism by water was immediately followed by a most glorious baptism of the Holy Ghost.’  Divine joy and inspiration fell upon the two brethren and each in turn exercised to a remarkable degree the spirit of prophecy.  (See Millennial Star, vol. 3, p. 148.) 

It will be noticed, however, that these two exceptions mark the beginning of dispensations.  There was at hand no one with authority to confer the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands.  But even if we had not these good reasons, the simple fact that God ordained that confirmation is to be by laying of hands must forever dispose of the question.”  (Editor’s Table [Joseph F. Smith and Edward H. Anderson, editors], IE 4(1):52-53, Nov., 1900)

6 Dec.:  Smoot to meet with McKinley.

“I attended meeting in the Temple.  Bro. Reed Smoot informed us that Thomas Kearnes would get him an interview with Prest. McKinley and he would ask him if in the opinion of the president it would be wise to send a leading Mormon to the Senate.  The President is not much in favor of this, but allowed him to try it.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 6 Dec., 1900; LDS Archives)

6 Dec.:  Relationship between YMMIA and Priesthood quorums.

“At 11 o’clock the council meeting of the Presidency and Apostles was held in the Temple.  There were present: President Snow, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund, Rudger Clawson and Reed Smoot. . . .

Elder John Henry Smith stated that the officers of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Associations at their meeting last night discussed the propriety of combining the Juvenile Instructor and the Era, and perhaps the Young Ladies Journal, making it one publication, and by this means save expenses, and also relieve the representatives of those journals from continually calling upon the people to patronize them.  He also stated that the idea was sprung and discussed at that meeting, as to whether or not the Mutual Improvement Associations were not in their tendency drifting away from the regular quorums of the Priesthood; also as to what was now being done by those associations, if the same could not be done within the lines of the Priesthood in a quorum capacity.

Brother Heber J. Grant speaking on the same subject said that the Mutual Improvement officers did not wish it understood that they were asking President Snow and the Apostles to advise the amalgamation of these periodicals, that is, that they would not like the Juvenile people to get the idea that the Mutual Improvement people were seeking the influence of the Presidency to accomplish this; that if it were accomplished he would like it to be reciprocal.  He said he had not heard this subject discussed until last night, but her certainly favored combining the periodicals.  Also as to the idea of magnifying the Priesthood by means of the several quorums he believed if the same work had been done in the interest of the several quorums of the Priesthood as has been done in the interest of Mutual Improvement the results would to day be more gratifying.

Brother Clawson thought that the publications referred to could be combined into one magazine that would cover the ground, it would be a wise and beneficial change, as the number of papers now published and of which the people were requested to subscribe for, certainly was a burden to them.

Brother Lund believed the papers could be run more economically, but at the same time he believed that the trend of the age was to specialize; he believed there was room for all the magazines mentioned, and that better work could be done by each organization running its own paper.

It was decided that the council express no opinion and leave each organization to take its own course in the matter when the question should be brought up for consideration before them.

Council adjourned, prayer by Elder John Henry Smith.”  (JH 6 Dec., 1900)

15 Dec.:  Jos. F. Smith on the restoration of the Priesthood.


President Joseph F. Smith intended to write for the Deseret News an article appropriate to this occasion, namely the closing of the Nineteenth Century.  But being called to visit the Stakes of Zion in Mexico and Arizona, he was prevented from favoring us as anticipated.  We therefore reprodice part of an article from his pen on the restoration of the Holy Priesthood, which he regards as among the most important events of the century now approaching its termination.  As this article clears up some points on which there has been a little dubiety, it will be found valuable and appropriate as the present time.  We quote as follows:

John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood with all its keys and power.  The ordination was in the following words:  ‘Upon you my fellow servants in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the Gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.’

This most sacred and important event occurred at or near a place called Harmony in Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania, while Joseph Smith was living there, engaged in the translation of the Book of Mormon, and Oliver Cowdery was writing for him.  We have not, unfortunately, any account so definite, of the reception by Joseph and Oliver, of the Melchisedec Priesthood as we have of the confirmation of the Aaronic Priesthood.  But we have positive information and knowledge that they did receive this Priesthood at the hands of Peter, James and John, to whom the keys and power thereof were committed by the Lord Jesus Christ, and who were commissioned to restore it to the earth in the dispensation of the fulness of times.  We cannot fix the exact date when this Priesthood was restored, but it occurred sometime between the 15th of May, 1829, and the 6th of April, 1830.  We can approximate to within a few months of the exact time, but no further, from any of the records of the Church.  Joseph, the Prophet, designates the place where their ordination took place, in his address to the Saints, written September 6, 1842, as follows: ‘Again what do we hear? * * * the voice of Peter, James and John, in the wilderness, between Harmony, Susquehanna County, and Colesville, Broome County, on the Susquehanna River, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the Kingdom and of the dispensation of the fulness of times.’  And in a revelation given September, 1830, referring to Joseph and Oliver, the Lord said in reference to partaking again of the Sacrament on the earth, that ‘the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, * * * and also with Elias, * * * and also with John, the son of Zacharias, * * * which John I have sent unto you my servants Joseph Smith, Jr., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto this first Priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron; and also with Elijah, * * * and also with Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers, byi whom the promises remain, and also with Michael, or Adam the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days.  And also with Peter, and 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 revealed unto them: unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom and a dispensation of the Gospel for the last times, and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things both which are in heaven and which are on earth.’  In a revelation given April, 1830, verses 2 and 3 say: ‘Which commandments were given to Joseph Smith Jr., who was called of God and ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first Elder of this Church; and to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second Elder of this Church, and ordained under his hands.’  After the Melchisedec Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph and Oliver, by the ancient Apostles, they were commanded to ordain each other, as we see by the above quotation, and the 10th and 11th verses of section 21, Doctrine and Covenants.

It would appear from the instructions given in the revelation, dated June, 1829, that the apostleship had been then conferred on Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer.  If this supposition is correct, it reduces the period of uncertainty when this glorious event actually took place, to a few weeks, or from the middle of May to the end of June.  It is also asserted that David Whitmer supposed the event to have taken place about this time.  It is evident, however, that David received the apostleship under the hands of Joseph and Oliver, and was not present when they received it under the ministration of the ancient Apostles.

In the first edition of the Compendium, under the heading of, ‘Chronology of the most important events which have transpired in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from A.D. 1820 to 1856,’ we find the following brief statement: ‘June 6, 1831, the Melchisedec Priesthood was first given.’  This detached sentence conveys the idea that the Melchisedec Priesthood was not given unto fourteen months after the Church was established.  Many have been misled and others greatly puzzled over this statement, knowing that ‘Elders were ordained’ on the 6th day of April, 1830, a year and two months before, and that ‘the office of an Elder comes under the Priesthood of Melchisedec.’

It is a pity that greater attention is not paid to matters of history, for then such mistakes would not occur.  Several errors of this character have crept into history through neglect or want of proper attention to the subjects.  The passage of history from which this brief and misleading extract was taken reads as follows: ‘On the sixth of June, (1831) the Elders from the various parts of the country where they were laboring came in; and the conference before appointed, convened in Kirtland; and the Lord displayed His power in a manner that could not be mistaken.  The man of sin was revealed, and the authority of the Melchisedec Priesthood was manifested, and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders.’  Now if this does not mean that on this occasion several Elders received their first ordination, then it must mean that these several Elders who had previously been ordained, then, for the first time, received the power or authority of their ordinations.  The words ‘conferred for the first time upon several Elders,’ would seem at first glance to mean that several were then ordained Elders, but taking the complete sentence together, namely, ‘The man of sin was revealed, and the authority of the Melchisedec Priesthood was manifested, and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders,’ we naturally conclude that several who had previously been ordained Elders, had not yet received the spirit or power, or authority of their ordinations, but that now for the first time, the authority of the Priesthood having been manifested, it fell upon them.  It is evident from the context that the word authority as used in this quotation means power.  It reads as follows: ‘It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race before us, and grace and help as our needs required.’  That several persons were ordained on that occasion is directly stated, as follows:  ‘Great harmony prevailed; several were ordained; faith was strengthened; and humility, so necessary for the blessing of God to follow prayer, characterized the Saints.’  One thing is perfectly clear, and that is, no reference whatever is here made to the restoration of the Melchisedec Priesthood by Peter, James and John, which great event occurred, without doubt, between May and July, 1829.  However, until about the time this conference was held, the term ‘Melchisedec Priesthood’ was seldom or never used.  The High Priesthood, or the Holy Priesthood, were the terms generally applied until then.

Thus this glorious Priesthood, which ‘is after the holiest order of God,’ has been restored to man in its plenitude and power in the present age for the ‘last time,’ and no part of it will be ‘taken from the earth again until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness,’ or ‘until God shall gather together in one all things both which are in heaven and which are on earth.’  In conclusion I will call the attention of the readers of this to sections 5, 13, 27, 84, 107, 110 and 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants for further reflection on the subject.


(Deseret News, 15 Dec., 1900, in JH 15 Dec., 1900)

27 Dec.:  Snow doesn’t tell Smoot what to do.

“The Apostles met with the Presidency. . . . Reed Smoot reported his visit to President McKinley and Mr. Hanna.  They thought it would not be wise for a Mormon to come to Congress, but thought in two years we could send one.  This has been my stand on this question.  We all would like to see Reed go back as senator; but I fear it would again stir up the enmity of our enemies against us.  Reed was not told just what to do but Prest. Snow in a fatherly way said: You are the youngest Apostle, let your whole mind be how you can magnify your priesthood, and then when it is thrust upon you to go to Washington you can go, but do not work for it.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 27 Dec., 1900; LDS Archives)

27 Dec.:  Rules concerning ordinations.


We have received a communication from an Elder in an adjoining county, in which we are requested to republish the minutes of a Priesthood meeting held in this city on Saturday, January 19, 1895, and also to answer a number of questions in reference to ordinations and certificates thereof.  We do not think it necessary to comply with the first request, but will make some general answers to the queries of our correspondent.

In the first place, we wish to say that the instructions given to the Elders in the Salt Lake Stake of Zion, by the Stake Presidency, are always intended for them, and not presumed to be given to govern quorums or individuals in other Stakes.  Of course remarks are made, frequently, which in their nature apply to every person holding the holy Priesthood.  But the Presidency of a Stake of Zion have jurisdiction in church government, only within the boundaries of that Stake.  Each Stake is an entity.  It is under the supervision of its own Presidency, and questions relating to its organizations and policy should be submitted to its own authorities.  If the answers are not satisfactory, the First Presidency of the Church may be appealed to, but not the Presidency of another Stake.  The Twelve are appointed by the First Presidency to visit and set in order the several Stakes, and they can settle such controversies when acting in that capacity.

In this Stake of Zion it is the rule when a person is ordained, to mention the office in the Priesthood to which he has been ordained.  If he is to be an Elder, to ordain him an Elder with all the authority, etc., pertaining to that office in the Melchisedec Priesthood.  If a Deacon, to ordain him a Deacon with all the authority, etc., belonging to that office in the Aaronic Priesthood.

When it comes to his admission into a quorum a vote is taken by that quorum by uplifted hands.  When he is ordained he should receive a certificate of his ordination, signed by the President or secretary thereof, or both, which he should keep as his own.  This he can show to the authorities of any quorum or ward where he may remove to, and that will be his evidence of ordination.

When a member of the Church–and every Elder or other person holding the Priesthood is a member–removes from one ward to another, he takes from the Bishop a certificate.  This gives him a standing in the ward which he joins, and his Elder’s or other certificate of Priesthood, is evidence to the quorum there, which is sufficient.  This is the rule in this Stake of Zion, and no other recommend is required.

The issuance of general counsel or rules for the observance of the Church, rests with its general authorities, and does not devolve upon any local authority.  The minutes of the Priesthood meetings of the Salt Lake Stake are printed in the Deseret News, because this paper is published in that Stake of Zion.  But no one connected with it presumes to give directions as to another Stake, or to try to regulate the affairs of the Church as a whole.

One thing more.  The rules adopted and followed here were sanctioned by former Presidents of the Church when submitted to them.  But the same authority vested in the Prophet Joseph Smith and in President Brigham Young, belongs to the office and is held to the fullest extent by the present earthly head of the Church, and anything he may decide to be the rule or regulation for today will be and ought to be readily accepted and carried out, as if it had come direct from the Prophet Joseph or any of his successors now departed.

Uniformity in all ordinances, ceremonies, methods and procedures in the Priesthood, is eminently desirable.  It has been attained to a remarkable extent.  If there are any differences in minor matters, they have grown out of the personal views of local officers.  All such things can be put right and will be in good time, but they must be rectified and made uniform under the action of the general authorities of the Church, with the First Presidency at the head.  We hope this explanation will prove satisfactory and of general benefit.”  (Deseret News editorial, 27 Dec., 1900, in JH 27 Dec., 1900)

31 Dec.:  Church roster.

“At the close of the century ending today the official reports of the statistics of the Church are as follows:  The total membership consisted of 206,344 baptized members.  Of that membership the following held the Priesthood:  Three High Priests constituting the First Presidency of the Church; Twelve Apostles, 197 Patriarchs, 6,194 High Priests, 8,425 Seventies, 17,994 Elders, 3,924 Priests, 4,434 Teachers, 15,420 Deacons and 149,741 of the total were lay members.  There were also 77,452 children (of Church members) not baptized because they were not of age, making a grand total of 283,796.”  (JH 31 Dec., 1900)