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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1903

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1903.” You can view other years here.

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1903:  1 Jan.:  The repetition of sacred ordinances.

“There appears to be, among some of our people, an inadequate conception of the sanctity attending certain of the ordinances of the Holy Priesthood.  True, the ministrations of those in authority amongst us are not attended with the pomp and worldly ceremony that characterize the procedure in other so-called churches, but the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in possession of the Priesthood is sufficient to make any and every ordinance administerd by due authority within the Church an event of supreme importance.  In performing any such ordinance, the one who officiates speaks and acts, not of himself and of his personal authority, but by virtue of his ordination and appointment as a representative of the powers of heaven.  We do not set apart bishops and other officers in the Church, with the show and ceremony of a gala day, as do certain sectarians, nor do we make the ordinance of baptism a spectacular display; but the simplicity of the order established in the Church of Christ ought rather to add to than take from the sacred character of the several ordinances.

An illustration of the fact that many do not understand the full sanctity of certain ordinances is found in the desire some evince to have such repeated.  Until within a few years it was a very general custom in the Church to allow a repetition of the baptismal rite to adults before they entered the temples.  This custom, first established by due authority, and for good cause (see “The Articles of Faith” by Talmage,–144-148) finally came to be regarded by many members of the Church as essential, and indeed, ‘re-baptism’ was generally looked upon, though wrongly, as separate and different from the first ordinance of the gospel–baptism–by which alone may one gain entrance to the Church of Christ.  But the most hurtful feature of this misunderstanding was the disposition of some to look upon the repeated baptisms as a sure means of securing forgiveness of sins from time to time, and this might easily have led to the thought that one may sin with comparative impunity if he were baptized at frequent intervals.  This condition has been changed in the Church, and at the present time only those who, having been admitted to the fold of Christ by baptism, afterward stray therefrom or are disfellowshiped or excommunicated by due process of the Church courts, are considered as fit subjects to receive a repetition of the initiatory ordinance.  These remarks, it must be understood, have no reference to the baptisms and other ordinances performed in the temples.

In the matter of administering to the sick, according to the order and practice established in the Church, care should be taken to avoid unwarranted repetitions.  When an administration is made, and when the blessing pronounced upon the afflicted one has been received, the ordinance should not be repeated, rather let the time be given to prayer and thanksgiving for the manifestation of divine power already granted and realized.  No limit should be or can be set to the offering of prayer and the rendering of praise to the Giver of good, for we are specially told to pray without ceasing, and no special authority of the Priesthood or standing in the Church is essential to the offering of prayer; but the actual administration by anointing with oil and by the imposition of hands by those who hold the proper office in the Priesthood is an authoritative ordinance, too sacred in its nature to be performed lightly, or to be repeated loosely when the blessing has been gained.

Another ordinance claiming mention in this connection, though somewhat different from those already cited, is that of naming and blessing infants.  In accordance with the rule of the Church, children born to members of the Church are taken to the monthly fast meetings in the several wards, and are there blessed and named by or under the direction of the bishopric.  It is usual on such an occasion for the Bishop to call upon the father of the child, if he be present, and if he be an Elder, in good standing, to take part with the bishopric in the ordinance.  This is in every way proper, for the blessing so pronounced is in the nature of a father’s blessing.  Record of the ordinance so performed in the ward meeting is made by the ward clerk.

However, a father, holding the higher Priesthood, may desire to bless and name his child at home, perhaps at an earlier date than would be convenient or possible for mother and babe to attend a fast meeting in the ward.  Many Elders desire to perform this ordinance within the circle of their own families on or about the eighth day of the child’s life.  This also is proper, for the father, if he be worthy of his Priesthood, has certain rights and authority within his family, comparable to those of the Bishop with relation to the ward.  Too often amongst us the head of the family, though he hold the higher Priesthood, fails to magnify his calling as the spiritual head of his household.  It would be better if every Elder who is a father rose to the dignity of his position, and officiated in his holy office within his family organization.  He may call to his aid any others who are worthy holders of the requisite authority in the Priesthood, but it is his privilege to stand as the head of his household, and to perform the ordinances pertaining to this family.  The question arises, and has recently been presented in specific form, If an Elder performs the ordinance of naming and blessing his own child at home, is it necessary that the ordinance be repeated in the ward meeting?  We answer, No; the father’s blessing is authoritative, proper, and sufficient.  But every such case must be promptly reported to the Bishop of the ward, who will direct the clerk to make full and proper record of the matter, entering the name of the child, with date of birth and blessing, and all data as to parentage, etc., on the books of the ward.  It is the duty of the Teachers and Priests in their house to house visitations among the people to see that all such reports are fully and promptly made.

The repetition of the ordinance of naming and blessing children tends to diminish our regard for the authority and sanctity attending the father’s blessing within the household.

But let it not be forgotten that if the child be not blessed and named by due authority at home it should be taken to the fast meeting of the ward on the earliest possible occasion, there to receive the blessing and to have its name duly entered on the books of the Church.

There is also another point in this connection to which attention may profitably be drawn.  It is the too frequent use in the ordinary conversation of the Saints of the titles ‘Prophet, Seer and Revelator,’ ‘Apostle,’ etc.  These titles are too sacred to be used indiscriminately in our common talk.  There are occasions when they are quite proper and in place; but in our every-day conversations it is sufficient honor to address any brother holding the Melchisedek priesthood as Elder.  The term Elder is a general one, applying to all those who hold the higher priesthood, whether they be Apostles, Patriarchs, High Priests or Seventies; and to address a brother as Apostle So and So, or Patriarch Such-a-one in the common talk of business and the like, is using titles too sacred to be in place on such occasions.  It, in a lesser degree, partakes of the character of that evil of which we are so often warned–the too frequent use of the name of that Holy Being whom we worship, and of His Son, our Redeemer.  To avoid this evil the saints in ancient days called the holy priesthood after the great High Priest Melchizedek, while the royal and correct title is, ‘The priesthood after the order of the Son of God.’  The use of all these titles scontinuously and indiscriminately savors somewhat of blasphemy, and is not pleasing to our Heavenly Father.”  (Joseph F. Smith, JI 38(1):18-20, 1 Jan., 1903)

10 Jan.:  Scope and authority of lesser priesthood.

“After the meeting I had a little talk with Brother Keeler as to the scope and authority of the lesser priesthood.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 10 Jan., 1903)

10 Jan.:  Do Mormons hold too many Church meetings?


In the opinion of some, the Latter-day Saints have a superabundance of religious meetings.  They cannot understand the need for frequent gatherings of a devotional nature.  They complain of the lack of instruction and edification to be derived from many public discourses, and they but seldom attend the meetings of their wards, or Church, preferring perhaps to busy themselves on a Sunday, in some kind of recreation.  There is something wrong somewhere, when people, instead of longing for the Sabbath day with its opportunities of gathering for the purpose of worship, find the day difficult to get rid of.

It is not true that the people of God have too many meetings for His worship.  It may not be possible for all to attend each of them.  Various circumstances may render this impossible.  But to those who can, there are not too many.  The purpose of those meetings is to awaken such emotions and to aid in the formation of such sentiments as are necessary to a true Christian life.  In those gatherings the Saints renew their covenants, they contemplate the wonderful plan of redemption; they partake of the spirit of unity and brotherly love; their spiritual powers are strengthened, and they become better equipped in every way for the battles of life.  No matter if the speeches delivered are not masterpieces of oratory, or full of novelties in the way of doctrine, or the mode of presenting the doctrines, they are nevertheless moulding the character of the hearers for eternity, and that is the great object.

In songs and prayers, the Saints below are often contemplating the time when they shall mingle with celestial beings in the courts of the Almighty.  But how can they ever attain to that exaltation, without the preparation that is offered by the institutions of the Church of Christ below?  And if they did come to that glorified assembly, would they not feel out of place, if their modes of thought, their sentiments, their desires and aspirations were in no way different from that of the world, and the people that live but for this world?  Could anyone feel at home in the courts of earthly monarchs without previous training and preparation?  If not, is it to be supposed that one can go earth-stained to celestial courts and feel at home there, where truth takes the place of hypocrisy, pure love, of selvishness, and righteousness, of sin?  If the necessity of thorough training in the principles that govern the kingdom of God is understood, and the slow work of forming character is taken into consideration, it will be readily seen that the people of God cannot easily have too many gatherings for devotional purposes.  If they do not feel a constant desire of gathering with their co-religionists, they are spiritually sick, and stand in need, all the more, of such gatherings.”  (Deseret News editorial, 10 Jan., 1903, in JH 10 Jan., 1903)

Jan.:  Priesthood must act under presiding authority.

“‘Does an elder, by virtue of his priesthood have the authority to baptize whenever and whomsoever he may wish, or must he act under the direction of some presiding authority?’

He must act under presiding authority.  While he has authority to baptize, always, it would be improper for him to exercise such authority, in an organized ward or branch of the Church, without being called by proper presiding authority to act in his office and priesthood.  If he is abroad, the presiding authority of the Church has called him; but even then, he is subject to the presiding authority of the mission in which he labors.  There is quite as much need to properly recognize one’s calling in the Church, as one’s authority, for without the calling, the authority to baptize and perform many other labors, lies dormant.  Men may have different callings, but the same priesthood and authority.  A member of a quorum has just as much priesthood or authority as his president, but his calling is different, and it would not be right for him to act in quorum capacity without a call from his presiding brother.”  (“Editor’s Table–Questions and Answers,” [Joseph F. Smith and Edward H. Anderson, editors], IE 6(3):233, Jan., 1903)

19 Feb.:  Priesthood procedural questions.

“[Meeting in the Temple]  Certain questions that had come to the General Board of the Y.M.M.I.A. from the Fremont Stake, were now referred to the Council by Thos. Hull, Sec.:  1st.  Would it be proper for members of the Lesser Priesthood to assist in administering to the sick.  Answer:  In cases where necessary, they might assist, but could not offici[a]te by annointing or sealing the annointing.

They could lay their hands on the sick in connection with the Elder.

2nd.  Would it be necessary for a Seventy who had been called to be an Alternate High Councillor to be ordained a High Priest.  Answer:  Yes.

3rd.  In several instances young men had been ordained to the office of a Deacon without mentioning the church or sealing upon him the gifts, powers and authority of the office.  Would this be proper?  Answer:  No; considered by the Council a very foolish question to ask.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 19 Feb., 1903)

25 Feb.:  Bishop’s precedence over secret orders.

“[Meeting in the Temple]  There was some discussion regarding secret orders in our midst, suggested by the fact that in one instance a secret order claimed the privilege to officiate at the funeral of a member of the society–a Latter-day Saint–and in case of denial threatened to with-hold the annuity, or death allowance, to which said deceased person was entitled.  The bishop objected to being mixed up with said society in the funeral services.  It became the sense of the Council that the stand taken by the bishop was and [sic] that in future cases of a similar character, our bishops should insist upon completing the funeral service before any society or outside organization should officiate in the burial.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 25 Feb., 1903)

Feb.:  Did the prophets hold the Melchizedek Priesthood?

“‘Was the Melchizedek priesthood taken from the earth with Moses?  If so, what priesthood did Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah and Isaiah hold; and how was this priesthood conferred upon these men?’

In considering this question, the distinction between the priesthood and its keys should be carefully drawn.  Priesthood is authority in general, but this generic term does not necessarilyi include the call to preside over a dispensation, bestowing the priesthood on one’s fellows, and organizing the work of God in its various ramifications.  This calling and power is exercised by virtue of the keys of the priesthood.  The keys of the Melchizedek priesthood were held and exercised by Moses, but they were taken from the earth with him, because of the unworthiness of the Israelites.  (Doc. & Cov. section 84:19-25; Psalm 81:11, 12.)  So far as we know, the keys of this high priesthood were not held in their fulness by any one between Moses and Messiah; but it does not follow that the general authority and power of the Melchizedek priesthood was not held by individuals who lived during that interval.  It would seem impossible for the great works performed by Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, samuel, and others of the prophets to have been done with lesser power than that priesthood; but these men could have held this power and authority without possessing and exercising its keys in their fulness; indeed, we think that this was the case, and that these men held, by special appointment, the power and authority of the Melchizedek priesthood without exercising a fulness of its keys.  The Prophet Joseph Smith says: ‘All the prophets held the Melchizedek priesthood, and were ordained by God himself.’  (See Compendium, Gems, page 287.  Also ‘Spirit of Elijah,’ Compendium, pages 281-2.)  (“Editor’s Table–Answers to Questions,” [Joseph F. Smith and Edward H. Anderson, editors], IE 6(4):311-312, Feb., 1903)

8 Mar.:  Salt Lake Stake priesthood numbers.

“First Session of the Salt Lake Stake conference. . . .

Coun. C. W. Penrose read the statistical report of the stake in part as follows:  First Presidency, two; Apostles, 4; Patriarchs, 13; High Priests, 362; Seventies, 1030; Elders, 1683; Priests, 248; Teachers, 342; Deacons, 1224; total Priesthood 4908; Members, 14,131; Total M-&-P, 19,039; children under age, 5457; grand total 24,496.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 8 Mar., 1903)

9 Mar.:  Form for ordinance work.

“I was busily engaged these two days in getting up a blank form for a family record-&-ordinance work for the dead combined.

My data was obtained from family records–some four in number already in use in the church.  These four records contained excellent features but neither one of them answered the purpose entirely.  The idea upon which I was working, and in which I succeeded, was to enter the desired information for each individual on a single line, viz:–Parents names:–Fathers name, Mothers maiden name Children:–Born, Blessed, Baptized, Confirmed, Priesthood Ordinations, Endowments, Sealing, Second Blessings, Patriarchal Blessings, Missions, Death.  To this was added as a second part of the book, Ordinance work for the dead.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 9 Mar., 1903)

10 Mar.:  Form for ordinance work.

“Pres. Anthon h. Lund and myself met as the Committee on Church Records to consider the Form I had drawn up.

After due consideration, it was adopted, with the proviso that the copy not be placed in the printers hand until after the return of Elder Andrew Jensen the other member of the Committee from Europe–two weeks hence–in order that his signature and approval might appear with ours upon the fly leaf of the new form.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 10 Mar., 1903)

13 Mar.:  Appeal of High Council Court decision.

“At the Pres. Office we read letters.  A case of appeal was decided by us in favor of Bro. J. Ostlund.  He had appealed to the High Council and won and then at a rehearing there was a difference of opinion.  Two of the Presidency and nine of the Council reversed the decision, and 1 of the Presidency and three councilors voted against this.  We examined the case and decided that the first decision of the High Council should stand.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 13 Mar., 1902)

17 Mar.:  Appeal of High Council Court decision.

“At the office we read an appeal from the Sevier Stake High Council.  We felt to confirm the decision, but as the appellant told us that she had new evidence, and could prove some testimony false, we wrote her to send us such fact.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 17 Mar., 1902)

24 Mar.:  Keeler manuscript on the Seventy.

“Answering a communication from Elder Jos. B. Keeler, Professor in the Brigham Young Academy, Provo, I sent the following letter:

Salt Lake City, Utah

March 24, 1903

Elder Jos. B. Keeler, 

Provo, Utah.

Dear Brother:

I return herewith the manuscript treating upon the subject of ‘The Seventy.’  I feel that you have treated the subject in a clear and comprehensive manner, which requires nothing to be added.

The slip bearing on the subject of ordinations I think is correct.  As to which office is the higher, the Seventy or Elder, I think there should be no question.  In my judgement the Seventy stands above the Elder.  In fact I have never heard until now that a different view was taken upon this matter.  The question has been often discussed in the quorums as to the relative standing of the High Priest and Seventy, but I did not know that the Elder was involved in the discussion.

In my view, the order heretofore observed by the church clearly defines the standing of the various divisions of the Priesthood, viz: High Priest, Seventy and Elder–Priest, Teacher and Deacon.  It seems to be mt would be just as consistent to ask which is the higher office, Priest or Teacher as to ask which is the higher office High Priest or Seventy?  It should be remembered that the highest office in the church is that of President, who is the Prophet, Seer and Revelator–and yet no man is entitled to receive this high appointment until after he is ordained a High Priest.  In my opinion, that alone should determine the question.

With kind regards, I remain,

Very truly your brother in the Covenant,

Rudger Clawson.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 24 Mar., 1903)

26 Mar.:  YMCA vs. Church organizations.

“[Meeting in the Temple]  There was some informal talk regarding the question as to whether there are, or would be, any women in hell.  It was condeded that some women by their acts–namely, abortion, child murder after birth, and the poisoning of their husbands and other criminal acts, merited a place in the lower regions.  President Smith expressed the view that women who commit such crimes as those mentioned would receive punishment to the uttermost farthing, but that there would be no daughters of perdition.  This, he said, was his view in regard to the matter, which also seemed to meet the minds of the brethren. . . .

The clerk read a letter from Wm. A. Hyde of the Pocatello Stake in which he desired counsel in reference to our attitude to the Young Men’s Christian Assn.  In Pocatello they were very friendly to our people and desired him to affiliate with them.  He now wished to know how far it would be wisdom for him to go in this matter.

The question provoked a good deal of discussion.  Elder Jno. H. Smith said that the general purpose of the Y.M.C.A. was to win young men away from the saloon and bad companionship, and he felt that it might be good policy to affiliate with them to some extent.

Elder Clawson took an entirely different view.  He said he looked upon the Y.M.C.A. as being a very little less dangerous to our young people than the secret orders against which we proclaim.  While we approve of all the good they do, to affiliate with them would be giving the seal of sanction, and the tendency would be to draw our young men away from the church institutions.  What is lacking in our church schools in the line of a gymnasium should be supplied that our young people would have no desire to go to the Y.M.C.A. rooms.

Elder Woodruff was opposed to affiliation.  He remarked that ‘those who are not for us are against us.’

Pres. Smith said that he did not want his children to patronize the Y.M.C.A. and was therefore opposed to affiliation.  He had recently visited the gymnasium at the B. Y. College at Logan and the one at the B. Y. Academy, Provo, and was well pleased with what he saw.  The Latter-day Saints University should have something of the same kind.

It is required of us to keep ourselves pure and unspotted from the associations and organizations of the world.  We should not affiliate or fraternize with them.  We can mingle with the world and not be hurt but our children cannot–this by reason of their lack of knowledge.  The Mutual Improvement Associations include and comprehend all that they have and more to[o].

It was decided to write and advise Prs. Hyde to simply maintain a friendly and liberal n[e]utrality towards the Y.M.C.A.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 26 Mar., 1903)

1 Apr.:  Extremes among bishops.

“Quarterly conference of the Twelve at the Temple. . . .

Having been lawfully detained, I was a little late to the meeting and Elder Jno. H. Smith was speaking–He alluded to the extremes to which some of the brethren go in their administration over the saints.  He understood that in one ward the bishop required the people to ask forgiveness for the most trivial offenses; in another ward the boys were forbidden to play marbles. . . .”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 1 Apr., 1903)

2 Apr.:  Importance of quarterly conferences of the 12.

“Elder Jno. H. Smith said that we must shape our affiars to attend these quarterly meetings.  These are the only gatherings which the Twelve can claim as strictly their own.  Said that he felt to lay it as an obligation on every man of the quorum that his duty requires him here unless taken away by the Presidency.  Unless this is done, we cannot accomplish the purpose had in view by President Snow in inaugurating these meetings.  We must be united for our voice is a potent voice in the church.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 2 Apr., 1903)

5 Apr.:  High Councilors for 26 years.

“The presidency of the Tooele stake and the High Council labor in unison.  Quite a number of the High Councilors have been members of the High Council ever since the stake was organized, in 1877, and they are laboring for the best interests of the people.”  (Hugh S. Gowans, President of the Tooele Stake, 5 Apr., 1903; CR Apr., 1903, p. 36)

6 Apr.:  Weekly Stk. Pres. mtgs.; monthly HC mtgs.

“The presidency meet together once a week, except on rare occasions when they are not at home, to talk over matters pertaining to the Stake; and they meet once a month with the High Council.”  (David Cameron, President of the Panguitch Stake, 6 Apr., 1903; CR Apr., 1903, p. 58)

“The presidency of the stake meet once a week, the High Council once a month.”  (Lewis Anderson, President of the South Sanpete Stake, 6 Apr., 1903; CR Apr., 1903, p. 61)

6 Apr.:  Weekly Stk. Pres. AND HC mtgs.

“The presidency of the stake and High Council, with the presidency of the High Priests’ quorum, meet in the Temple once a week, and we also meet as occasion requires, for the transaction of business pertaining to the stake.”  (Angus M. Cannon, President of the Salt Lake Stake, 6 Apr., 1903; CR Apr., 1903, p. 59)

6 Apr.:  16 Elders Quorums in 37 wards.

“Today there are thirty-seven wards in the stake . . . We have sixteen quorums of Elders.”  (Angus M. Cannon, President of the Salt Lake Stake, 6 Apr., 1903; CR Apr., 1903, p. 59)

6 Apr.:  Not all missionaries are ordained 70s.

“It has not been deemed necessary to ordain all who go on missions to the office of Seventy, but many have gone clothed upon with the Melchisedek Priesthood, as helps unto the Seventies and to the Twelve.”  (Angus M. Cannon, President of the Salt Lake Stake, 6 Apr., 1903; CR Apr., 1903, p. 59)

6 Apr.:  Stk. Pres. mtgs. weekly; HC twice a month.

“We are united as a Stake presidency, and hold our council meetings once a week.  We are also united with our High Council, and with them hold council meeting on the first Saturday in the month, and a prayer circle the last Sunday in each month.”  (Edward H. Snow, President of the St. George Stake, 6 Apr., 1903; CR Apr., 1903, p. 68)

6 Apr.:  22 wards, 9 branches; 3 70s & 5 Elders quorums.

“There are twenty-two wards and nine branches, and a population of about 5,600, stretching over a large area of territory, and requiring a little over a thousand miles of travel for us to reach them all. . . . We have the usual High Priests’ quorum, three quorums of Seventy and five quorums of Elders in the stake.”  (Edward H. Snow, President of the St. George Stake, 6 Apr., 1903; CR Apr., 1903, p. 68)

7 Apr.:  Refer questions to Stake President, not 1st Pres.

“[General Conference, Priesthood Session, Joseph F. Smith speaking]  All questions which arise in wards should be submitted to the Presidency of the Stake not to the Presidency of the Church.  Individuals should not come to the Presidency of the Church.”  (Anthony W. Ivins diary, 7 Apr., 1903)

“Meeting of the First Presidency, the Twelve, First Seven Presidents of Seventies, Patriarch, Presiding Bishopric, Presidencies of Stakes, High Councillors, Bishopric of wards and others. . . .

[Jos. F. Smith] The knitted garment, as approved by the Presidency, is acceptable at the temple; all knitted garments should bear the approved label; no color but white can be used in a garment of the priesthood.

A question was asked as to the propriety of burying a suicied in his temple clothing.  Answer: It depends upon circumstances; if his life was taken through wickedness, no; if, thorugh insanity, yes.  Action in cases of this kind is not governed by precedent but by circumstances.

It is not the duty or right of bishops to give recommends for second blessings.  This privilege belongs exclusively to Presidents of Stakes with the endorsement of the President of the church.

Presidents of Missions should not recommend people of their missions to the temple, and bishops should not receive people from the mission field into their wards without a letter of standing. . . .

Pres. Winder gave some instructions in regard to the temple.  Also said that a woman who lives and cohabits with a gentile husband cannot be received into the temple.  People who come to the House of the Lord should be cleanly in their persons. . . .

[Jos. F. Smith] Cases of adultery should be investigated and decided by the Bishopric of wards and Stake High Councils and should not be sent up originally, to the First Presidency.

Pres. Lund said that the saints should be instructed that it is not right to move from place to place without counsel.

Tobacco users should not be recommended to the temple, but cases might arise where a little leniency could be shown in regard to this matter.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 7 Apr., 1903)

11/18 Jun.:  Should fornicator be readmitted to Church?

“[11 Jun.] [Meeting in the Temple]  The clerk read a letter from Pres. David John of the Utah Stake, in which he called attention to the fact that Harvey Cluff had been severed from the church about a year ago for fornication, but, upon showing forth a spirit of repentance and humiliation had recently been received back by baptism; he also drew attention to the case of Conrad Maug Jr. who had been cut off for fornication and restored.  Both these brethren now desired the Priesthood, and for this reason the matter was sent to the Council.

Elder Smoot, who was personally acquainted with both of these brethren, said that they were sincerely repentant, but it was a question in his mind whether they should be given the Priesthood so soon after the commission of the offense and their restoration to the church.  A sufficient time should elapse to make a proper impression upon the minds of the young.

Action was deferred until next meeting.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 11 Jun., 1903)

“[18 Jun.] [Meeting in the Temple]  It was moved and carried, after some discussion, that the priesthood and their former blessings, be conferred upon Harvey cluff, nephew to H. H. Cluff, and Conrad Maug Jr., who had been cut off for fornication and restored to the church.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 18 Jun., 1903)

25 Jun.:  Proper form for confirming members.

“[Meeting in the Temple]  Pres. A. W. Ivins wrote from Mexico regarding the proper form to be used in confirming applicants for membership in the church. 

He had been an advocate of the following form: ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, I lay my hands upon your head and confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, and say unto you receive ye the Holy Ghost.’  He discouraged the idea of giving a patriarchal blessing in connection with this ordinance.

His object now in writing about this matter was for information, as he had been told that he was in error.  The matter was discussed and it became the sense of the Council that the short form, as above, is correct, but that if the Spirit so prompted, there could be no objection in adding a few words of blessing.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 25 Jun., 1903)

2 Jul.:  What happened to 1st Quorum of Seventy?

“[Meeting in the Temple]  Elder Clawson referring to the quorums of Seventies said that he had often wondered why there was no first quorum as the numbering appears to begin with the second.  The revelation on Priesthood (Sec. 107) seems to indicate that there should be a first quorum.

Pres. Smith said in reply that this matter had been thrashed out in the days of Pres. Taylor, and he decided that the presidents of the first sixty three quorums, with the First Seven Presidents at the head, should constitute the first quorum,–the quorum referred to as coming next to the Twelve.  Brother Clawson remarked that the matter was not so understood by the First Council of Seventies nor by the people generally, and in fact that the identity of this quorum is not recognized (or is practically lost) for the reason that they are never called together as a quorum, and it was a question in his mind whether the presidents of the first 64 quorums were aware of the fact that they constituted a part of the first quorum.

As the time was far spent Pres. Smith said that this matter would be called up again as he considered it an important question.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 2 Jul., 1903)

2 Jul.:  Insurance and secret societies.

“Meeting of the First Presidency and Apostles. . . .

Brother Reed Smoot briefly mentioned the subject of insurance, remarking that a great deal of money was going out of the country for life insurance, that it seemed that nearly everybody nowadays was taking out life insurance; and he thought it would be a good thing if life insurance company could be started in which the Church should be largely interested, so as to be in a position to offer cheap insurance to our young people as an offset to the inducements offered them to join secret societies.”  (JH 2 Jul., 1903)

7 Jul.:  AP Youth need more attention.

“[Quarterly conference of the Twelve]  Brother Clawson said that he thought the attention of this Council should be turned very much for a long time in a special effort to improve the youth of Zion.  Spoke of the benefits to be derived from meeting with the Lesser Priesthood, and urging them to a performance of their duty.  Felt that the quorums of the Lesser Priesthood were not conducted in a skillful and interesting manner.  Made honorable mention of the labors of Counselor Jos. B. Keeler of the Utah Stake Presidency in this direction.  Felt that the M.I.A. work in respect to order and system and effective action, had some advantages over the Aaronic Priesthood meetings, because greater attention was being paid to them.

Children should be kept under the control of their parents until they should be sufficiently trained in the spirit of obedience.

Said that the practice of self-abuse existed to an alarming extent among the boys in our community who attend the district schools, and also, he doubted not, the church schools.  He felt that the boys and girls should be properly instructed in regard to this evil.  The matter could be mentioned to good advantage at our priesthood meetings.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 7 Jul., 1903)

Jul.:  HP’s to preside over stake MIA.

“Now, another phase arises; it is when the Young Men’s and Young Ladies’ associations meet together.  When they meet separately, they each have presiding officers and they take charge and conduct the business.  If the bishop comes in to either the Young Men’s or Young Ladies’ association, due deference is paid him.  But in joint association of the Young Men’s and Young Ladies’ officers, there are the two organizations, the two boards are represented.  Who shall take the initiative?  Who shall exercise the presiding function?  Is the sister to take the initiative and exercise the presiding function?  Why, no:–not so, because that is not in accordance with the order of the priesthood.  If the Young Men’s officers are there, they hold the priesthood, and it is their place to take the initiative.  President John Taylor was particular that High Priests should preside over these organizations in the stakes, and did not allow anyone to preside in stake capacity in the Mutual Improvement Associations who did not hold the office of High Priest.  I never did quite see the necessity for this, but he established it.  But in any event, every officer of the Y.M.M.I.A. holds the priesthood, is an elder, high priest, or seventy.”  (Joseph F. Smith, “Editor’s Table:  On Church Government,” IE 6(9):706, Jul., 1903)

1 Aug.:  Church courts in land disputes.

“Question:  Has a Bishop’s court authority to try cases involving land disputes?

Answer:  Before our lands were surveyed by the government, settlements had been formed and boundaries clearly established.  After the survey was made it was found that, as a general thing, the lines of a quarter section would run through the lands of more than one settler; and in order that every man might have title to that which belonged to him, one of the interested parties would comply with the provisions of the law and obtain the title, and after doing this he would deed to the others such portions of the homestead entry as belonged to them; and it was not an uncommon thing for our Church courts to settle disputes arising under these circumstances.  But since the government survey it has not been customary for Church courts to entertain complaints involving the title to lands, and the same may be said with respect to water.  All disputes involving legal titles must be adjudicated by courts of competent jurisdiction.  The point is this, Church courts must not undertake to interfere with the legal rights of any member.

President Young held that when any person secures title to land from the government, part of which has been occupied and cultivated by others, he or she should respect the rights of such persons by being willing to ded to them the land they have improved, provided that they pay their share of the expenses incurred in securing the government title, and also a fair remuneration to the pre-emptor or homesteader, for the loss of his or her pre-emption or homestead right in proportion to the amount of land which the various parties received.”  (JI 38(15):467-468, 1 Aug., 1903)

13 Aug.:  Appeal of Bishop’s Court.

“Meeting of High Council.  Case of Henry M. Tanner against John McLaws on a land boundary claim was heard, an appeal from the St. Joseph Ward Bishop’s Court.  Partly sustained and partly reversed, but gave satisfaction.”  (13 Aug., 1903; The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith, Provo, Jesse N. Smith Family Organization, 1970; p. 445)

4/5 Oct.:  Stk. Pres. mtg. weekly; HC monthly.

“The Stake Presidency meet every Thursday, at 2 o’clock, and deliberate upon the things pertaining to the welfare of the Stake.  The High Council and the Stake Presidency meet once a month and counsel together for the good of the people.”  (James E. Steele, President of the Bingham Stake, 4 Oct., 1903; CR Oct., 1903, p. 17)

“The presidency of the Stake meet together once a week, on Thursday evenings, and discuss matters pertaining to the spiritual and temporal interests of the people.  The presiding authorities are united, and our efforts are to benefit the people over whom we preside.  The High Counselors are good men, and we meet with them once a month.”  (William H. Lewis, President of the Benson Stake, 5 Oct., 1903; CR Oct., 1903, p. 46)

5 Oct.:  HCs, RMs used as home missionaries.

“The members of the High Council visit among the people as home missionaries, and we aim to have return missionaries who come home filled with the spirit of their calling, act in this capacity also.  We release them at the end of six months, and appoint others.”  (William H. Lewis, President of the Benson Stake, 5 Oct., 1903; CR Oct., 1903, p. 46)

“We have in our stake about 60 [home] missionaries; they visit the various wards once a month.  Every ward in the stake is visited on the same Sabbath; if any of the missionaries are unable to visit on the appointed Sabbath, they notify the Bishop of the ward, and inform him when they will visit.”  (David Cameron, President of the Panguitch Stake, 5 Oct., 1903; CR Oct., 1903, p. 47)

5 Oct.:  Bishoprics and Stk. Pres. should meet weekly.

“In conclusion, I wish to say that the presidents of stakes are desired to meet regularly every week, to counsel, and devise plans for the benefit of those over whom they preside.  We expect them to hold these weekly meetings without fail, and to give attention to the purposes of them.  We also desire the Bishops of wards and their counselors to meet regularly once a week, with the same faithfulness as is shown by the presiding authorities.  No Bishopric should let a week pass without coming together, to enquire into the conditions that prevail in the ward, and to correct any evils that may exist.  These meetings also bring them into greater harmony, and they become better acquainted with one another.”  (Rudger Clawson, 5 Oct., 1903; CR Oct., 1903, p. 60)

6 Oct.:  Seventies & HPs have equal authority.

“Today the question is, which is the greater–the High Priest or the Seventy, the Seventy or the High Priest?  I tell you that neither of them is the greater, and neither of them is the lesser.  Their callings lie in different directions, but they are from the same Priesthood.  If it were necessary, the Seventy, holding the Melchisedek Priesthood, as he does, I say IF IT WERE NECESSARY–he could ordain a High Priest; and if it were necessary for a High Priest to ordain an Seventy, he could do that.  Why?  Because both of them hold the Melchisedek Priesthood.  Then again, if it were necessary–though I do not expect the necessity will ever arise–and there was no man left on earth holding the Melchisedek Priesthood, except an Elder, that Elder, by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and by the direction of the Almighty, could proceed, and should proceed, to organize the Church of Jesus Christ in all its perfection, because he holds the Melchisedek Priesthood.  But the house of God is a house of order, and while the other offices remain in the Church, we must observe the order of the Priesthood, and we must perform ordinances and ordinations strictly in accordance with that order, as it has been established in the Church through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors.

I am aware of the fact that there are those who in the past have held different views to this.  They may still hold different views; and if they do, they will have to change them by and by, if they ever get a correct knowledge of the Priesthood.  No office of an Apostle, no office of a President, no office of a High Priest, or a Seventy, or an Elder, is greater than the Melchisedek Priesthood.  I hope you will understand that.  If an Apostle has any authority at all, he derives it from the Melchisedek Priesthood, which is after God’s order, and he cannot have it in any other way.  There is no authority except it comes from that Priesthood.”  (Joseph F. Smith, 6 Oct., 1903; CR Oct., 1903, p. 87)

“[General Conference, Joseph F. Smith speaking] Seventies & High Priests are equal in authority.  A Seventy can ordain a high priest or a high pst could ordain a Seventy.  If only one Elder remained upon earth he could proceed to reorganize the Church.”  (Anthony W. Ivins diary, 6 Oct., 1903)

8 Oct.:  Priority of 12 in matters referred to them.

“[Meeting in the Temple]  It became the sense of the Council, that all matters which are brought by the President to the Council should be discussed and decided here and not be referred back to the Presidency for action.  It was clearly apparent that when the President submitted a matter to the Council, he expected a decision and to immediately refer the matter back to the Presidency, as had been done in some instances, would be in bad taste.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 8 Oct., 1903)

30 Oct.:  Can bishop withhold membership record w/o cause?

“Pres. Miller of the Emory Stake writes that Bp. Nixon refused to marry a couple because he wanted them to go to the Temple.  It was a young man from Ephraim (Abel Nielsen?) and a girl from Huntington.  The young people then went to Cleveland and Bishop Oveson married them.  This has caused much feeling among the Huntington people who are blaming the Bishop for refusing to marry the young couple.  We will answer that Bp. Nixon did right in teaching them their duty to go to the Temple, but when they insisted on getting married the Bishop should have married them.  He may withold a recommend to the Temple but he can not withold a certificate of membership except he does it after having dealt with the girl according to the rules of the Church, and getting married out of the Temple is not enough to bring them before the Church courts.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 30 Oct., 1903; LDS Archives)

1 Dec.:  Bishoprics to meet weekly to discuss ward members

“The Bishopric should meet in council once a week and discuss the affairs of the ward, including the receipt and disbursement of tithes, and thus become familiar with those who are paying their tithes, so that the indifferent and negligent may be visited by the Priests and Teachers and taught to pay their tithes in the time and season thereof.  Similar arrangements should be made for regular Bishops’ meetings where more than one ward is using the same Storehouse.”  (First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric, Annual Instructions, No. 5, to Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, High Counselors, Bishops and Counselors, and Stake Tithing Clerks in Zion, 1 Dec., 1903, p. 2)

1 Dec.:  Duties of Bishop to Aaronic Priesthood.

“An annual report of the organization, duties, and labors of the Aaronic Priesthood will be required for the year 1903, which we trust will form a basis for reviving an interest in this important branch of the Priesthood.

Many Latter-day Saints are holding the office of Priests, Teachers and Deacons, and in some instances very little attention has been given to training them in their several duties and callings.  These quorums of the Priesthood are admirably adapted for teaching them their duties and preparing them for higher callings as missionaries and presiding officers.

The Bishop as President of the Lesser Priesthood of the ard, shoulid take a fatherly interest in the young men, and whenever, in his opinion, a person is eligible for the office of Priest, Teacher or Deacon, he should be ordained and set to labor in such office and calling, under the Bishop’s direction.  

We earnestly hope that presiding officers, both in Wards and Stakes, will give this subject careful consideration, and make every reasonable effort to organize these quorums throughout the several wards.”  (First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric, Annual Instructions, No. 5, to Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, High Counselors, Bishops and Counselors, and Stake Tithing Clerks in Zion, 1 Dec., 1903, pp. 15-16)

1 Dec.:  AP to collect fast offerings.

“A fast meeting should be held in every ward on the first Sunday of each month, at which time the Saints should remember the poor and donate for their benefit, which should at least equal the amount saved by the person or family so fasting.  Whenever practicable, these donations should be paid at the meetinghouse on fast day; in scattered communities, where it would not be convenient to do so, the Bishop should call upon the Aaronic Priesthood to visit the houses of the Latter-day Saints and collect their fast offerings.”  (First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric, Annual Instructions, No. 5, to Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, High Counselors, Bishops and Counselors, and Stake Tithing Clerks in Zion, 1 Dec., 1903, p. 12)

1 Dec.:  List of Non-Tithepayers to each quorum.

“We request that the Stake Tithing Clerk provide the Presiding Officers of the several Priesthood quorums of the Stake with a list of the non-tithepayers of their respective quorums, so that a labor can also be taken up in a quorum capacity.”  (First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric, Annual Instructions, No. 5, to Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, High Counselors, Bishops and Counselors, and Stake Tithing Clerks in Zion, 1 Dec., 1903, p. 21)

1 Dec.:  Stake President to make report of state of AP.

“When the Stake reports have been compiled, the Presidency of the Stake will carefully consider them in council, and make a general report of the condition of the Stake in the place provided on the Stake Financial Report, including the report of the condition of the Aaronic Priesthood.”  (First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric, Annual Instructions, No. 5, to Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, High Counselors, Bishops and Counselors, and Stake Tithing Clerks in Zion, 1 Dec., 1903, p. 26)

3 Dec.:  Jurisdiction over stake auxiliaries.

“At the Apostles meeting the question of the jurisdiction over stake auxiliary organizations was discussed.  It was decided that any change should be initiated by the organization and must be done under the authority of the Bishop who has the supervision over the whole ward.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 3 Dec., 1903; LDS Archives)

6 Dec.:  Christian Churches praying for Smoot’s expulsion.

“In the afternoon attended fast meeting and spoke upon the stir made in the Christian Churches today where Smoot is being prayed for that he may be expelled.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 6 Dec., 1903; LDS Archives)

25 Dec.:  Warning against unrighteous dominion.

“The Church and Kingdom of God does not use any compulsion over the souls of men.  Nor does it claim any right so to do.  The Priesthood which it bears is Divine authority to administer in behalf of Deity in the truths and ordinances of salvation.  Those who hold it are warned against seeking to exercise unrighteous dominion, and instructed that it can only be maintained ‘by persuasion, by longsuffering, by gentleness and meekness and by love unfeigned.’  The presiding authorities therein regulate the affairs of the Church by ‘common consent,’ and their jurisdiction is within, and not without, its ecclesiastical limits.  Every member of the organization in every place is absolutely free as a citize, and is not restrained of any liberty enjoyed by non-members.”  (First Presidency, 25 Dec., 1903.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:82)