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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1913

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1913.” You can view other years here.

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1913:  Mar.:  Stake Priests’ Quorums Presidency.

“One of the stakes report that it has organized, or appointed, a presidency of the Priests Quorums for the stake.  So far, we have not heard of a similar arrangement made in any other stake of Zion.  There is objection to forming one Priests quorum for a stake, and that is that the Lord has placed the bishop as president of the Priests Quorum and has required him to sit in council with them and teach them their duties.  This could not be done with the quorum in a stake capacity.  The bishop of each ward should preside over the Lesser Priesthood of the ward by virtue of his bishopric.  If each bishop of a ward will take personal charge of the Priests, there will soon be enough to carry on the work in the ward, and the bishop will find young men enough of suitable age and capacity to be Priests, to form a quorum.  We hope that each bishop will enter into the spirit of this calling, and feel that it is his duty to teach the Priests their duties, and to be his aids and assistants in the ward.  This does not preclude a committee of two or more members of the High Council being appointed to look after the work of the Priests, and aid and assist the bishops in this important duty and calling, where so desired.”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 16(5):517-518, Mar., 1913)

4/6 Apr.:  Bishops [not quorums] responsible for adults.

“It is expected of a bishop to know all the people that reside in his ward, not only those that are faithful members of the Church, diligent in the performance of their duties and prominent by their good acts, but to know those who are cold and indifferent, those who are lukewarm, those who are inclined to err and to make mistakes, and not only these, but it is expected that the bishops through their aides in their wards, will become acquainted, not only with their members, male and female, but that they will know also the stranger that is within their gates and be prepared to minister solace, comfort, good counsel, wisdom and every other aid possible to be rendered to those that are in need, whether they are of the household of faith or are strangers to the truth.  So that there is a great deal expected of the bishops and their counselors and the elders and lesser priesthood in their wards whom they call to their aid in administering to the people both spiritually and temporally, and I want to remark in this connection that it is the duty of these bishops and of the presidencies of the stakes of Zion, together with their high councils, to administer justice and right judgment to every member of their wards and of their stakes.  Included in this are the high priests and the seventies and the elders and the apostles and the patriarchs and the presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”  (Joseph F. Smith, 4 Apr., 1913; CR Apr., 1913, pp. 3-4)

“The responsibility rests upon those who preside over us to care for, instruct, prompt, assist and cirect us in our labors and ministry.  The bishops of wards, and presidents of stakes, should take care of the responsibility that rests upon each of them, so that every person that needs their attention may receive it.  It is the sick that need the physician, and these brethren are our spiritual physicians.  I have a physician of that kind in the ward where I live, a bishop, and he always keeps a careful eye on me, he knows pretty well where I am and what I am doing.  Every man in the Church is entitled to the care and supervision of a bishop, and to the care and supervision of a high council and presidency of a stake, or president of the mission, wherever he may be located.  It is those who preside over us that are to direct, and counsel and instruct us.”  (Francis M. Lyman, 6 Apr., 1913; CR Apr., 1913, p. 68)

4 Apr.:  Quorums authorized to disfellowship members.

“Now then we have our high-priests’ quorums or councils, and we have our Seventies’ Councils and our elders, and then we have the councils of the priests, teachers and deacons in the Lesser Priesthood.  These councils each and all in their organized capacity have jurisdiction over the fellowship of the members of these councils–if the member is an elder, or if a man has a standing in the Seventies’ quorum, or is a member of the High Council, or the High Priests’ quorum, and he is misbehaving himself, shows a lack of faith, a lack of reverence for the position he holds in his Council, or quorum, his fellowship in that quorum to which he belongs, or his standing should be looked after or enquired into, for he is amenable to his quorum for his good standing and fellowship in it.”  (Joseph F. Smith, 4 Apr., 1913; CR Apr., 1913, p. 6)

Apr.:  Report of Committee on Priesthood Outlines.

“Report of the Committee on Priesthood Outlines.

Read at the Annual Conference Priesthood Meeting, April, 1913.

Dear Brethren:  The present arrangement for the improvement of the Priesthood Quorums has been in operation for about four years since 1908.  Looking back over this period we have only cause for congratulation in observing the growth and development of the work.  A few moments may well be spent by this great body in the contemplation of some of the points in which we have advanced during the period named.  Therefore, let us devote a little time in emphasizing the successes that have been accomplished, and in contemplating others that are being worked out at present.


Taking as a keynote the 87th and 88th verses of the 107th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, this committee and the Presiding Bishopric urged that the bishops throughout the Church, who are the presidents of the Priests’ Quorums, should carry these instructions into effect:  

‘Also, the duty of the president over the Priesthood of Aaron is to preside over 48 priests, and sit in council with them to teach them the duties of their office as given in the covenants.  This president is to be a bishop; for this is one of the duties of this Priesthood.’

One year ago, when Bishop Nibley’s circular letter went forth to the bishops of the Church, not over 30 bishops had paid attention to these instructions.  According to the latest report received, it is learned that out of the bishops of 715 wards there are now in the neighborhood of 500 who preside over and instruct the Priests’ Quorums or classes of their respective wards.  Following the instructions given last April, that whenever there were enough Priests they should be organized into quorums, the bishops set to work, and as a result we have now 258 organized quorums of 25 Priests or more in each, presided over by the bishops.  The advantages of this arrangement are, first, that the bishops come in personal contact with the Priests–young men of impressionable age,–at a critical period of their lives; and second, that they are thus able to teach and instruct them at a time when they most need it.  This movement has resulted also in an increase in the number of Priests.  There are at the present time 7,578 Priests in the Church, which is an increase for the past year of more than 1,000.

In passing, it should be stated here, that in the organization of Priest’s Quorums, and this applies also to the organization of any other quorums in the Church, when there are not sufficient numbers to form a full quorum there should always be a majority before a quorum is organized.  Thus no quorum of Priests should be organized with fewer than 25 members.  This, however, does not prevent the bishop from following the instructions previously given, that where the number is too small for a quorum to be organized, he should still preside over the Priests, since that is his special duty and calling, and see that they are instructed properly in their duties at the weekly Priesthood meetings.


Here is another very important division of work that has been emphasized in the past year with excellent results, and which is being urged at the present time upon the authorities throughout the Church.  There is an unusual interest aroused in this great work of ward teaching, which cannot fail to result in great good to the people, and in growth to the Church of Christ.

In the 65 stakes of Zion, there are 12,500 brethren engaged in this noble cause.  They are laboring in 6,250 districts, with an average to each two teachers of 11 families.  In some of the wards the average number of families to each teacher very largely exceeds 11, but it has been observed that the best results were obtained where fewer than 8 families were assigned to a pair of teachers.  The bishops of the various wards are, therefore, urged to cut up their wards into smaller districts, thus setting more people at work, and at the same time obtaining better results.  It has been urged by some bishops that they have not the material in their wards, but it has been proved by experience by those who have followed instructions that there is more slumbering material in the wards suitable for this work than some bishops ever dreamed of.  The object should be to set everybody to work, including especially the ordained teacher and the priest who should be set to work with the more experienced brethren, thus interesting them in the cause and creating life and activity in the ward.

It appears from the reports sent to the Bishops’s Office, that every month of the past year over 20,000 families were visited by the teachers.  [i.e., approx. 30%]  One of the interesting facts in connection with the report is, that in a number of the country districts the most successful work of the teachers was done by day-time visits, a day being set apart for this work, and the people, as well as the officers and teachers, being notified and urged to prepare for the visits.  Another admirable fact in connection with the visit of the teachers in the wards where the teaching is now being done, is, that the work is specific.  The teachers go with a message, or with instructions, or with a view to some specific doctrinal teaching, thus making their trips and their efforts profitable not only to the people whom they visit, but also to themselves.  One splendid idea that has contributed largely to the spritual improvement in ward teaching is that the bishops have met with their teachers each month and have given the teachers messages suitable for that month and time to deliver in their teachings to the people.  In this way, the bishops is informed of the condition of the people, and the people are taught the instructions and messages  which the bishop desires shall be borne to them.

In this connection it is interesting to observe from the statistics obtained that in the following stakes over 50 per cent of the families were visited each month by the acting teachers during the year 1912:

Ogden, 85 per cent; Bear River, 70 per cent; Liberty, 68 per cent; Box Elder, 64 per cent; North Weber, 63 per cent; Ensign, 53 per cent; and Oneida, 51 per cent.

In the following wards 100 per cent of the families are reported visited by the acting teachers each month during 1912.  These wards are entitled to be entered on the roll of honor, in the matter of teaching:

Elwood, Bear River Stake; Penrose, Bear River Stake; Clearfield, Davis Stake; 33rd Ward, Liberty Stake; Eden, Ogden Stake; Twin Groves, Yellowstone Stake; Redmesa, Young Stake.

It will be observed that these stakes and wards are largely scattered throughout the Church; that is, they are not in any one particular district, but extend from the north to the extreme south; and it might be suggested here, that what these wards and stakes are able to do may be done by every ward and stake in the Church, and we hope will be done, as the splendid work shall grow, and the officers of the Church shall take it up with the enthusiasm manifested in the wards and stakes that have been named.

Let it be observed, too, that in these wards, under the instructions of the bishops, the teaching has not been mere calling, but the ward districts assigned to two teachers are so small, and so many are engaged in the work that it has not been difficult for the two teachers assigned to the district to visit an evening and do real teaching with every family assigned to them.

Other wards in the Church have come close to the figures of the wards named above in their visits, and have had almost 100 per cent of the families each month, visited by the teachers, during 1912.  These are reported as follows:

Knightsville, Nebo Stake, 98 per cent; Huntsville, Ogden Stake, 96 per cent; Ogden 4th Ward, Ogden Stake, 96 per cent; Lynne North Weber Stake 94 per cent; Brighton, Pioneer Stake 94 per cent; Middleton, Ogden Stake, 93 per cent.


In the attendance at the weekly quorum study meetings there is marked improvement generally throughout the Church, and a few statistics on this matter will not be out of place, as an encouragement to the wards that are still lacking in the necessary enthusiasm characteristic of those who have succeeded.

There are 10,735 officers enrolled in the weekly Priesthood meetings.  The average number attending, or present at each meeting, is 5,908, or 52 per cent, which shows that 4,758 is the average absence or 48 per cent.  There are 79,681 members enrolled altogether in the Priesthood, of which 60,702 are enrolled in the classes, and the average number present at the meetings is 17,294.  There are 1,656 on missions, which leaves the number not enrolled at 19,388, a body of men among whom it is the duty of the various officers of the quorums and the bishops to do effective work.  Let us impress it upon you that nearly 18,000  men meeting weekly for study and contemplation must inevitably result in general good in the Church.

It has often been said that the High Priests are the least active in the Church, but the records show that 34 per cent of the High Priests attend the weekly priesthood meetings, 26 per cent of the Seventies, 23 per cent of the Deacons, 17 per cent of the Priests, 15 per cent of the Elders, and 14 per cent of the Teachers.  Here also is a pointer to the authorities of the quorums that need missionary work.


With the organization that we have, it should not be necessary for too great a burden to be placed upon the bishoprics of the wards in keeping the members of the various priesthood quorums in the line of their duty.  The work is so fairly distributed among the quorums that no one person need be overworked.  It is the duty of the President and counselors of the quorums of the priesthood to keep in touch with every member of their quorums, by personal visit, by teaching, by instruction, and by that sympathy and interest that should characterize an official in the Church.  Let the officers of the quorums remember that they are responsible for the members of their respective quorums.  To this end they should have some system of keeping touch with them.

The officers of a certain Seventies’ quorum in one of the Northern stakes, have set a good example by personally communicating by letter with members of their quorum.  For example, last November they called the attention of each member to these facts that needed consideration at that time: the study of the year book; the payment of tithing, so that there should be no list of non-tithepayers in that quorum; the payment of the local funds; an invitation to attend the quarterly conference on the Sunday following, at which time the secretary would be prepared to furnish year books, and receive funds, which it was stated could also be paid to any member of the presidency of the quorum.  This is only one means of keeping before the members of the quorum the duties required of them from week to week and from month to month.  But the point is, that the officers of the quorums, not only of the Seventies, High Priests and Elders, but also the presidencies of the quorums of the Lesser Priesthood are responsible for each member of their respective quorums.  In this way they not only urge them to their duties, but they become closely associated, and that fraternalism that should characterize the quorums of the Priesthood is encouraged and made to grow to the advantage of the individuals and the development of spiritual growth in all concerned.  Every person belonging to the Priesthood should feel it his duty to be actively engaged in the work, either in the ward or stake, and officers should make it a point to see that encouragement is rendered to the brethren to this end.


From information in the hands of the Presiding Bishopric very interesting facts may be gleaned concerning the activities, not only of the Melchizedek but of the Aaronic Priesthood.  It appears that the High Priests, Seventies and Elders, who are engaged in quorum duties, such as officers and instructors in the quorums of the Higher and Lesser Priesthood, have laregly increased during the year 1912: Whereas, in 1911, 5,243 were then engaged as instructors, for the year 1912, 6,288 were thus engaged.

It appears also that of the High Priests, Seventies and Elders engaged in ward duties for 1911, there were 18,086, but for the year 1912, 20,495 were thus engaged.  Also that, whereas, in 1911, 10,644 High Priests, Seventies and Elders were engaged in the auxiliary organizations as teachers and officers, 10,728 were thus engaged in the year 1912.  This increase is shown also in quorum enrollment in the Priesthood classes, in missionary duties, in stake duties, and in other activities of the Higher Priesthood.

Speaking of the Lesser Priesthood in this respect, there also is a commendable increase in quorum or class duties, in ward duties, and in auxiliary organization duties.  And thus, while there are many items that can be largely improved in the various wards and stakes of Zion, the reports show a strong indication of growth.  Whie the activities of the Priesthood in a general way could be very largely improved, and made more effective, the fact remains that we are moving upward, and that the year 1912 shows marked improvement over the activities of the previous year.  We urge stake officers, the bishops and quorum officers to check up the work of the various quorums in their stakes and wards, with a view to encouraging the officers to increased effort in their duties and activities for the year 1913.  As an example of some of the reports which the authorities now and then hear in the quarterly conferences from presidents of quorums who are trying to do effective work among the members of their respective quorums, we take two stakes who report the activities of their High Priests:

Maricopa Stake: High Priests enrolled 72.  Doing active service in the Stake 64.  Number excused from service because of infirmity 6.  Number idle 12.

Granite Stake: Number of high priests enrolled 429.  Number doing active service in the stake and wards 350, leaving only 79 not engaged in ward or Priesthood duties; notwithstanding the fact that in the total number there are 112 who are 70 years and over.

Thus, brethren, we have cause to be encouraged over the splendid showing, and while it may not be so good as it should be, we are assured from the figures we have received, from the general interest manifested, and from the new life permeating the Priesthood generally throughout the Church, that there is a strong, active movement upward.  The purpose of this information, as well as of all reports rendered, is not the information and reports as an end, or for the personal benefit of the Presiding Bishop’s Office, but to create an awakening among the officers of the Church, and a desire among the Priesthood generally to improve conditions as they exist in the various wards of the Church.  We, therefore, urge the bishops and the authorities carefully to consider their reports.  Where they show weakness, strengthen that weakness, so that each succeeding year may show improvement over the past, and thus the Church be made to grow and to prosper, and the Spirit of the Lord be made manifest among the people to their own salvation and development, and to the glory of our Father in Heaven.

The General Priesthood Committee.

By David O. McKay, Chairman.”

(“Report of the Committee on Priesthood Outlines to the General Priesthood.  Read at the Annual Conference Priesthood Meeting, April, 1913,” Presiding Bishop’s Office, Salt Lake City [pamphlet]; xerox; also in IE 16(7):734-739, May, 1913)

Apr.:  Duties of Teachers.

“The Teacher’s duty is to watch over the Church always, and be with and strengthen them,’ are the words of the Lord to the young men who have been ordained to this calling.  To be in line with this injunction every Teacher should seek out and labor with and strengthen at least some one person who is weak,–his associate quorum members it may be, and the failing may be occasional, as yet not habitual, smoking or profaning, or non-attendance at meetings.  In any case, those in charge of the quorum work should encourage the members to do individual teaching, wherever it is needed.  There should be in the quorum meetings occasional discussions of what might be done in this line, with examples of results that have been achieved, and the activities of members in this work shoiuld be investigated by quorum officers.  The outcome of such efforts would be the steady improvement of the individual Teachers themselves, who would be brought to realize that the example of personal good conduct is an effective method of teaching.  There would also be wholesome improvement among those labored with.

The duties of the Teachers, if performed fully, require that they go into the homes of the Saints.  They are to see that there is no iniquity in the Church.  In case these young men cannot bring themselves, on account of the oppressive diffidence that affects them, to go into the homes two together, it should be arranged by the ward officers that they receive instruction and experience with older brethren.  But, while they may not feel competent to go alone on a teaching mission and expound doctrine, there are other duties that they are able to attend to that are in line with their calling, the performance of which will relieve the acting teachers of much routine work and leave them free to devote themselves to spiritual instruction.  For instance, the Teachers are to see that the members of the Church ‘meet together often’ and partake of the sacrament.  Good results would follow the sending of a special message from the Bishopric to slothful members of the Church inviting them to sacrament meeting, and no more proper messengers could be found than two ordained Teachers who, on the Sabbath day, could go to the doors of those who habitually absent themselves from meeting, and, acting in the authority of their calling, deliver their message and invitation.  The same is true as to announcements of tithing settlements.  Bishops would do well to engage the help of young Teachers and send them to the homes of the Saints with a reminder of the duty of tithe-paying and making settlement on the days appointed for that purpose.  The Teachers who do this duty would themselves be impressed with the importance of tithe-paying, and thus would be doubly benefited.

It would be proper, also, for Bishops to ekmploy the ordained Teachers in laboring with those who are allowing their children to grow up without baptism.  The Teachers might also be helpful to the ward clerk in gathering the genealogies of persons or families whose records are not complete on the ward books.  They could be used in visiting newly arrived Saints to learn of their former places of residence, and, after their recommends have been received, to invite them to the meeting at which their names are to be presented.  In stirring up the slothful and securing their attendance and enrollment in the various organizations, and their attendance upon the meetings of such organizations, the Teachers can do good service.

Then there is the regular duty that should be assigned to the Teachers, in connection with other members of the Lesser Priesthood, of going among the Saints each month and collecting fast offerings.  In stakes and wards where this work is being done, the results are helpful alike to the people and to the young men who attend to the duty.  The funds for the care of the poor are increased, and where tithing is collected in the same way, the habit of paying tithes in the time and season thereof grows upon the people to their blessing.

Inasmuch as Teachers are charged with seeing ‘that all members do their duty,’ their calling requires that they be vigilant against every form of evil, and constant in exhortation to righteousness.  If ill feelings exist, they are to bring about a reconciliation.  Lying, backbiting and evil speaking are evils that they are expected to see do not exist among Church members.  They are to be advocates and exemplars always of honesty, temperance, chastity, truthfulness, patience, charity and good-fellowship, and by word and act are to ‘invite all men to come to Christ.’  To be able to fill acceptably this splendid calling requires a careful training that should be given the young men in their quorum classes, as well as in the field of experience that they should enter as companions of acting teachers in house to house visits.

The Teachers’ place on the Sabbath day is in meeting, and they should be used as occasion requires in the passing of the sacrament and attending to such other duties as are within the scope of their authority.  Ward authorities will find that the more these young brethren are used the better will be their attendance at meetings.

The Bishop of a ward as the president of the Aaronic Priesthood has a duty to perform for, with and in behalf of the young men, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, who are within his jurisdiction; but inasmuch as he is specially called upon in the Doctrine and Covenants (Section 107:87, 88) to sit in council with and teach the Priests in his ward, filling the position of president of the quorum of Priests, it is clear that he cannot personally spend any time during the weekly Priesthod meetings to look after the members of the Teachers’ quorum and direct their instruction.  Provision has been made for a presidency of the Teachers’ quorum to be chosen from among the members and this presidency have enjoined upon them the duty of sitting in council with their members and teaching them the duties of their office as given in the covenants.  Under the custom now observed in the Church of ordaining youths of fifteen years Teachers and passing them into the Priests’ quorum at eighteen years of age, there is rarely developed among the quorum officers a leader and teacher who, without help, is competent adqeuately to control and instruct the members.  To fill this recognized need, Bishops have quite generally assigned Elders, Seventies or High Priests to act as instructors.  The operation of this system has produced a condition in some, and perhaps in many, wards in which the quorum officerws are almost displaced by the instructors.  Such quorum work as is done, and such instruction as is given, is under other guidance than was intended by the Lord.  This is destructive of quorum loyalty, pride and discipline, and should be corrected.  No one should ever be permitted to come between a presiding officer and his quorum.  Where instructors are inclined to do so, and officers to allow it, it would be well for the Bishopric to set the matter right, so that the officers may gain experience in presidency, and that members may be instructed and trained in proper obedience to authority.

The good that has been seen to result from the personal labors of the Bishop with the Priests’ quorum has prompted the thought that similar attention paid to the Teachers would show like beneficial effects.  While the Bishop is engaged with the Priests one of his counselors might profitably undertake the watch-care of the Teachers’ quorum of the ward, not by presiding over it, but by an appointment to supervise the work of the quorum, to instruct the officers in proper methods of presiding, to suggest and assist in quorum activities, to cultivate intimate acquaintance with the members, with a view of correcting injurious habits, holding before them always high ideals, and impressing upon their souls faith in the gospel, and reverence for the Priesthood, but all the time using the greatest care against usurping the rights of quorum officers or allowing any other person to do so.

The Bishop’s counselor assigned to this labor may or may not be the class instructor.  It would be desirable, probably, for him to act in that capacity, if he happens to be qualified, but whether he assumes that position or not, his duty would be to see that all worthy young men in the ward of proper age are looked after and brought into the quorum as working members.  He should also provide opportunities for exercise in the particular duties of the Teachers’ calling.  If it were arranged that one Bishop’s counselor would attend to this work, and the other, if I may be permitted to suggest, were asked to perform a similar duty for the Deacons’ quorums, there would be brough to the weekly council meetings of the Bishopric fresh, first-hand and accurate information as to every Lesser Priesthood quorum.  The result of this personal attention to the young men by the Bishopric could scarcely fail to be manifested in better attendance at quorum meetings, better instruction, more practical work by the boys, and an upbuilding of faith in their hearts.”  (Bishop H. H. Blood, of Kaysville, Davis Stake of Zion, “The Ordained Teacher,” in “Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 16(6):645-648, Apr., 1913)

Apr.:  Bishop presides over all quorums within the ward.

“In answer to questions which have come in, it should be thoroughly understood that the weekly Priesthood classes are under the direction of the bishop.  They meet as High Priests, Seventies, Elders, etc., of their ward.  The bishop presiding over that meeting is the presiding High Priest.  His presidency includes the High Priesthood as well as the Lesser Priesthood in that capacity.”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 16(6):648, Apr., 1913)

19 Sep.:  Repentance following artificial insemination.

“Spent the afternoon in the office.  A young woman confessed how she had gone wrong.  She was so anxious to have children and went to a doctor to be examined, and he dealcred that she was capable of bearing children and that it must be her husband’s fault.  He told her he would inject semen and that would give her a chance to bear.  He persuaded her there was no wrong in this, and though she told him her fears of its being wrong, he told her it would be all right, and she yielded to the operation.  I told her she must tell her husband and get his forgiveness and then be re-baptized.  She had wronged him and must be reconciled with him and her God and this must be by true repentance.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 19 Sep., 1913)

5 Oct.:  Priesthood classes and the Sunday School.

“The next topic that is now prominent in the minds of the Sunday School workers, is that of the Priesthood and the Sunday School.  Ever since the priesthood movement began, there has been more or less difficulty in finding a suitable time in which to carry on the study that has been assigned to the various quorums.  Several years ago a suggestion was made that the Sunday School give up the ten o’clock hour and meet a little later in the day, and make the Sunday School morning the study hour for the priesthood; but you who were called to consider the question will remember President Lund expressing the sentiment of the First Presidency when he rose and said, in substance, ‘Brethren, the Sunday morning hour is for our children.  It is the best, it is the most appropriate, the most convenient, and we want to keep that hour for them.’  ‘Amen,’ said the priesthood.  And that time, I trust, will remain, under present conditions at least, the hour for the Sunday School children.  However, there is at least an hour, perhaps an hour and a half, before the Sunday School convenes, that may be utilized by the priesthood, and already permission has been granted several stakes to make a test of the morning study for priesthood classes prior to the opening of Sunday School.  It has been tried in Fremont stake, Ogden stake, Weber stake, Liberty stake, Salt Lake stake, and several others.  Three methods have been tried.  One is this: To have all the priesthood, including deacons, teachers and priests, meet at nine o’clock Sunday morning, continue in the pursuance of their quorum or class work until ten o’clock, at which time the priesthood meeting is dismissed, the Sunday School workers pass into the preliminary prayer meeting, and Sunday School convenes at ten-thirty o’clock, carrying out the regular order of business, and pursuing the regular course of study.  Another method is this: To have all the Melchizedek priesthood meet at nine o’clock, and continue as indicated in the other method, but have the priests, teachers and deacons meet with the Sunday School at 10:30, continue in regular Sunday School for the opening exercises, and then pass to the department work.  Instead of pursuing the regular Sunday School course, however, these classes take up the course of study prescribed by the general priesthood committee.  Both plans have met with more or less difficulty.  Many obstacles somewhat difficult to overcome have arisen, but both have been carried on with more or less success.  The principal objection to the first is that the young boys are kept in continuous session from nine until twelve o’clock, and some of the boys have said, ‘Well, I go to priesthood meeting, but I don’t care to go to Sunday School.’  One principal objection to the second method is this: You either lessen the dignity of the quorum by admitting other boys who are not ordained to the priesthood, or else you exclude those boys not only from priesthood but from Sunday School, because that class of boys from 12 to 14 years of age, if there happen to be two or three in the ward who have not yet been ordained to the priesthood, will not care to go into a girl’s class.  They are self-conscious, and a feeling will come, ‘If I am not good enough to go to priesthood meeting I wil not go to Sunday School.’  Thus will be thwarted one of the principal purposes of the Sunday School work, which is to gather in the indifferent boys, to save the souls of the indifferent ones, to reach out for those who are careless in regard to Church work.  We cannot afford to do that.  And another thing, the teachers are not trained in the Union meeting work.  They are appointed by the Bishop.  They come to the monthly priesthood meeting, and there receive their training in teaching, and are not in direct touch or under direct influence of Sunday School discipline.  This has caused some little friction.  Now a third plan, a modification of these two, seems to be the one which will work most successfully.  It is as follows:  The High Priests, Seventies, Elders and Priests meet at 9 o’clock in the morning, and continue in their respective quorums or classes until ten o’clock.  The Deacons and the Teachers meet in their respective quorums or classes at ten o’clock, each presided over by the presidency of the quorum, with a secretary and class leader there as usual.  This is distinctly a quorum meeting; they transact their quorum business, make assignments of quorum duties, the assignment of lessons if necessary, dismiss at ten-twenty-five, and go right into the Sunday School to take up the regular course of study.  Now, whether any of these methods be adopted, they will affect the Sunday Schools in two distinct ways, and that is the only thing we have to consider this evening.  The priesthood and presiding authorities of the Church will guide us and say what is the best for the priesthood.  Tonight it is for us to consider the Sunday School phase of the question.  If the priesthood be permitted to hold their meetings Sunday morning, the Sunday School will be asked to give thirty minutes of that morning hour.  The General Board, after considering this matter carefully for several months, recently passed the following resolution:

‘We recommend that the holding of priesthood classes on Sunday morning, in so far as the same affects the Sunday School interests, be approved by this Board, provided that in all instances, the arrangements to be made and plans to be adopted for the regulation of the priesthood classes and the Sunday Schools, and their relation each to the other shall be first submitted to the general board for its approval.  We deem this necessary and justifiable for the reason that the Sunday Schools for many years have had substantially the exclusive use of Sunday morning.  It is proposed that in order that our Sunday School discipline may still be uniform throughout the Church, in regard to the opening of school as well as in regard to other things, that the time of meeting be changed from ten to ten-thirty.'”

(David O. McKay, DSSU Conference, 5 Oct., 1913; in JI 48(11):745-747, 1 Nov., 1913)

15 Oct.:  Report of the General Priesthood Committee.

“The following report of the committee for the six months ending October 15, 1913, has been submitted to the First Presidency:

President Joseph F. Smith and Counselors,

Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dear Brethren:  At the close of another six months’ labor, your committee on general Priesthood work takes pleasure in again reporting that the particular work assigned to it is progressing favorably.  Specifically this work consists in preparing an appropriate and progressive course of study for the respective quorums, from the Deacons to the High Priests; in directing quorum activity, and in rendering such assistance to presiding officers as necessities and conditions may require.

The commendable growth of our Priesthood quorums, during the last five years, is surely cause for gratitude, and the practical work that has been performed by them has undoubtedly tended to the building up of Zion and the edification of her people.  But commendable as the results are, the possibilities of Priesthood accomplishments have not seriously begun to be sensed by the majority of the quorum members, to say nothing about the application of those possibilities to daily life.


Take for example the number of unenrolled members.  It is noted from the records of the Presiding Bishop’s Office that over four thousand brethren holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, and over nine thousand holding the Aaronic Priesthood are not enrolled in any quorum.

A decided effort should be made to interest these brethren in their high and important callings, and enroll them in the quorums of the wards where they reside.  In this connection it should be noted that a man’s being received into a ward does not make him a member of the quorum to which he should belong.  Regarding this matter, it has been suggested that if his Priesthood is stated on the certificate of membership presented to the bishop (and it should be in every case), it is the duty of the ward clerk immediately to advise the proper quorum officer of the residence of the new brother in the ward.  Who the quorum officer is, will depend on what officers of the quorum reside in that particular ward.  If the president of the quorum be there, then he is the proper officer to be notified, but if the quorum extend over two or more wards, then the proper person to notify is the accredited representative of the quorum in the ward where the member is received.  The officers having been notified properly by the ward clerk, it becomes their duty to come in contact with the new member and invite him to become a member of the quorum, and to see that he is properly enrolled.

In communities where the quorum is scattered, and two or more classes are held, the class teacher should take a special interest in all the members of his class, and keep them all in close touch with the presidency of the quorum.

Another important matter in relation to the new member is, that he should be put to work immediately upon his being received in the quorum.  The scope of the Priesthood is so great, and its activities so broad, that there is something for every man to do.  And nothing will sustain class interest in any work so much as some activity in the cause.


When the present system of Priesthood work was put in operation, about five years ago, not more than five per cent of the wards of the Church had paid any attention to the Priests’ quorums of the Priesthood.  Even less than two years ago, not more than thirty out of seven h hundred bishops had given this matter any serious consideration.  About this time, however, a great awakening was brought about by an inspired letter from the Presiding Bishop of the Church, in which the importance of Priests’ quorums was pointed out, and the wide scope of their duties defined.  At the present time about five hundred of the wards of the Church have their Priests’ quorums, or classes, and the benefit to these wards is very noticeable.  But even more marked is the advantages that have come to our young brethren holding this highest office in the Aaronic priesthood.

There should be a Priests’ class organized in every ward where a sufficient number of worthy young men reside to form a class.  And when it is possible to secure twenty-five or more Priests, they should be organized into a quorum.

The bishop is the proper person to preside over the Priests’ quorum.  The Lord has especially commissioned him to this work.  It is his duty to take a fatherly and companionable interest in this quorum.  He should gather the young brethren around him, holding them near him with the strongest ties of fatherly and brotherly love, teaching them their duties by precept and example, and implanting faith in their hearts by teaching them how to live the commandments of God.  If he does this, he will be paid an hundred fold.  All the fresh love of their young hearts, and the strength, vigor and enthusiasm of their youth will be at his command.  Through his personal influence, born of a very close association with his Priests, the bishop can teach better than any other person, the fundamental principles of the gospel, faith, repentance, baptism, the Word of Wisdom, tithing, keeping the Sabbath day holy, proper administration of the sacrament, etc.  And he can implant in their impressionable minds the highest ideals, inspiring them on to the loftiest heights, religiously and industrially.  And for his labor, in this one of his specific duties, they will reward him with clean and pure lives, and with a splendid young manhood that will be a pillar of strength to the ward, the stake and the Church.  If the bishop lives so close to his Priests that he places within their reach all the opportunities that God intended they should enjoy, and then helps them to realize what these opportunities mean, and what the application is to develop and enlarge upon them, he will have enrolled in the service of the Lord an army of young men who will carry with honor and distinction, a little later in life, the dignity of the offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and who will be honorable and successful missionaries in the nations of the earth and earnest and sincere workers in the wards and stakes of Zion.


Besides assisting the Priest in his duties, the principal work of the ordained teacher is as the title indicates, to teach the Saints of the ward.

We are glad to report that the spirit of ward-teaching has been felt in many of the wards as never before, and the brethren called to this important work have shown an interest that is indeed encouraging.  Of course, nearly all of this duty is carried by the Melchizedek priesthood, assisted in many cases by the members of the Teachers’ quorum.  In a few wards, one hundred per cent of the families have been visited regularly every month.  In a number of the stakes over fifty per cent of the families were visited regularly every month, during 1912.  Commendable as this work is, however, there is still much room for improvement.

The duty of the Teacher is to watch over the Church always, ‘to be with and to strengthen them.’  His work is the saving of souls,–the greatest calling in which man can engage.  It is, therefore, worthy of the best efforts of our best men.

Priests and teachers should be constantly encouraged to do their part of this great labor.  If assigned with a more experienced brother, they will render good service and be of real value in the work.

Every acting and ordained teacher should be encouraged to render one hundred per cent efficiency.  This does not necessarily mean that he shall merely visit one hundred per cent of the families in his district each month, but it means that he shall carry them a definite gospel message, one that will build them up in their faith, that will develop their spirits, and cause them to go undauntedly forward in the work of the Lord.  More than this, he should be with them always, watching over their spiritual interests, and, if needs be, their temporal affairs, even as a careful shepherd watches over his flock.  This kind of teacher will be a fit representative of the bishop in that particular district, and his report at the regular monthly meeting will be of real worth to the presiding authorities of the ward.


The work of the Aaronic Priesthood has been carefully graded in accordance with the ages of the young brethren that constitute the respective quiorums.  For the Deacons, the course for 1914 consists of ‘Incidents from the Lives of our Leaders.’  For the Teachers, the subject is, ‘The Life of Christ.’  For the Priests’ text book, ‘Restoration of the Gospel.’

All the members of the Melchizedek Priesthood, during 1914, will study the same text book, a work now being prepared under the direction of the general committee by Elder Orson F. Whitney, of the Council of Twelve Apostles, and will consist of an able treatise of ‘Gospel Themes,’ which considers in a comprehensive way, the general plan of salvation.

All these books will be ready for distribution in time for the work on them to commence on January 1, 1914.


The best time of meeting for Priesthood classes has been a much discussed question since the present system of Priesthood work was inaugurated.  Perhaps the question can be best decided by conforming to local conditions.

In a number of stakes, however, permission has been given to hold these meetings on Sunday, and, as a rule, the Sunday meetings have been followed with marked success.  In some stakes, quorums of the Melchizedek priesthood meet at 9 o’clock in the morning, and those of the Aaronic priesthood at 10:30; permission having been granted by the General Sunday School Union Board to commence the Sunday School at 10:30 o’clock, instead of 10, the usual time throughout the Church.  These classes of the Aaronic priesthood then continue their class work as part of the Sunday School.

In other stakes, the Priests’ quorum meets with the Melchizedek priesthood at 9 a.m. and the Teachers and Deacons meet at 10 a.m. as quorums, and at 10:30 a.m. for class work.  This latter arrangement seems to offer the best solution of this question of the best time of holding quorum classes.


An important item connected with our Priesthood work is the keeping of accurate records.  Both the roll and minute book should be carefully kept every week.  To assist in this matter, regular printed forms have been prepared and used with more or less success, during the past few years.  Experience in the matter, however, has taught us that in many ways these records can be simplified, and in the preparation of the records for 1914, this simplifying of the records has been carried out.  The new records are now in course of preparation, and can be obtained from the stake clerks at the end of the year.  There will be no charge for these books, and every quorum should provide itself with a set as soon as they are distributed to the stakes.

In conclusion, we would like to urge the presiding brethren of the various quorums to ‘take stock’ of the quorums over which they preside and put their whole heart and soul into this great work.  Their callings merit all the spirit and energy that can be put into them.  We trust that the success that has attended their efforts in the past will inspire them on to greater efforts in the future.  We trust that quorum members will face their weaknesses manfully, and endeavor to overcome them until they have conquered and become strong.  Above all, we pray that each may seek earnestly, and in faith, for the spirit of his particular office and calling, and then in humility, depending upon the Lord for strength, infuse this same spirit into all over whom he presides.  Thus will the power of the Priesthood increase in the midst of Zion and become a light unto all the world, and its influence for good shall extend for the blessing of the Saints, the redemption of the world, and the honor and glory of our Father in heaven.

With assurances of our loyal support and hearty co-operation with you in this great latter-day work, we beg to remain,

Very respectfully your brethren,



DAVID A. SMITH, Secretary.”

(“Priesthood Quorums’ Table–Report of the General Priesthood Committee,” IE 17(1):60-64, Nov., 1913)

16 Oct.:  Conferral vs. ordination.

“In 1913 Elder [George F.] Richards recorded a declaration made by President Joseph F. Smith during a meeting of Church leaders.  He stated that a man should have the priesthood (Aaronic or Melchizedek) conferred upon him and then be ordained to a particular office in the priesthood.  President Smith said that if a man did otherwise because of ignorance, God would still honor the action.”  (Mouritsen Diss., p. 152; also George F. Richards diary, 16 Oct., 1913) 

Dec.:  Commendation of quorum work.

“The General Priesthood committee has provided and will continue to supply the priesthood quorums throughout the Church with the necessary text-books for the study of the gospel, and for familiarizing them with their duties in priesthood and quorum capacity.  Commendable efforts are being made to unite the quorums in fraternal strength and love.  The growth of the quorum activities during the last five years is a cause for gratitude.  The practical work performed, and the educational information disseminated by them, have tended greatly to the building up of Zion, and to the edification of her people.  Efforts are being made to enroll all members of the priesthood in the various quorums to which they belong.  This work should be zealously encouraged.

There is a praiseworthy advancement among the Priests of the Church.  At present, in five hundred wards in the Church, there are priests’ quorums, or classes each presided over by a bishop, and arrangements are making for an organization of such a quorum or class in every ward of the Church.  The Bishops are gathering the young brethren around them, and taking a fatherly interest in their welfare, tnus teaching the young men the commandments of the Lord and their daily duties, by precept and example.  Another very important activity in the priesthood work is ward teaching.  This work, in many places, has been seriously neglected, and we are delighted to learn that the spirit of teaching has been awakened generally.  An effort is being made in many of the stakes of Zion to have all the families of the Church visited regularly every month by teachers, and all the officers are being enlisted in this very commendable work, which is worthy of the best efforts of our brightest men.  Not only the priests, teachers, but elders, high priests, and seventies, should be encouraged to do their part in this great labor.  We trust that in addition to the consideration of the studies provided for the coming year, the practical work of the priesthood will not be neglected.  It is necessary that every officer shall magnify his calling, and that the teachers visit the people in their homes, to teach them the word of God.  The authorities throughout the Church should come close to the members, and particularly to the youth, to lead them in light and truth in spiritual affairs, and to that conduct in temporal and social affairs that should characterize Latter-day Saints.”  (First Presidency Christmas Message, IE 17(2):169-170, Dec., 1913)

Dec.:  Bishop presides over all priesthood classes.

“The bishopric of the ward, as presiding high priests, preside over all the priesthood classes of the ward, both Melchizedek and Aaronic, and all such classes should meet weekly under their direction.  The classes should not be confused with the quorums of the Melchizedek priesthood.”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 17(2):180, Dec., 1913)

Emphasis during the past year.

“During the past year special endeavors have been made to encourage the payment of tithes monthly or at other regular intervals, and to improve the quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood through the bishop giving them his personal attention and presiding over the Priests’ quorum or class in person, in harmony with the instructions of the Lord in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

A very desirable movement has been developed in the stakes of Zion to improve the work of the ward teachers.  Detailed instructions as to how this can be done have been addressed to the presiding officers of every stake and ward and to the ward teachers themselves.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. 3)

Ward Teachers’ Monthly Meetings.

“A meeting of the bishopric of the ward and teachers should be held once a month.  The teachers should report the number of families visited, arrival of new members and the removal of others.  Every family in each district should be visted every month.  That this may be done each ward should be divided into small districts of about eight families.  The best men in the ward should be called to labor as ward teachers, especially those of mature years who hold the office of high priest, seventy or elder.  Young men holding the office of priest or teacher should be appointed to labor with older or experienced persons.  At the ward teachers’ meeting the bishopric should instruct the teachers upon subjects to be presented to the Saints, on the occasion of the house to house visits, providing, of course, they are not otherwise led by the Spirit.  The essential element of success in ward teaching is love for the work on the part of the teachers.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, pp. 17-18)

Certificates of membership of transgressors.

“Certificates of Membership should not be issued in the case of transgressors.  Should a request for certificates be received in such cases, a prompt report to the Presiding Bishop’s Office should be made, stating the cause for withholding the certificate.  The presidency of the stake should be consulted and such action be taken as may be right and proper.  If the offender makes satisfactory amends and shows evidence of true repentance, the certificate may be forwarded with such explanation as may be considered necessary.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. ?)

Withdrawing one’s membership from the Church.

“If a Certificate of Membership is received for a person who is living in the ward and who expresses a desire not to become a member thereof, nor to be considered a member of the Church, and requests that his name be stricken from the records, such person should be summoned to appear before the bishopric, and if he persists in his desire to have his membership canceled, action should be taken accordingly.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, pp. 25-26)

Blessing of Children.

“Parents should have their children blessed in the ward of which they are members.  Where parents do not observe this rule and their children are brought to another ward, the bishop may bless the children, but the parents should be instructed concerning this rule of the Church.  The ward clerk should send a record of such blessings to the bishop of the ward to which the parents belong.

The names of children who are blessed and who have one or both parents in the Church should be entered in the ‘Ward Record of Members’ as those of children under eight years of age.  When children who are not of Latter-day Saint parentage are blessed, their names should be entered only in the ward ‘Historical Record’; and they should not be counted in the quarterly or annual statistics.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. 26)

Transgressors and public confessions.

“In case of transgressors, the laws of the Church as set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants should be complied with.  It is not necessary in all cases that those whose offenses are not generally known shall be required to confess in public.  Transgressors should be dealt with in kindness and with the object of reclaiming them where possible.  The bishop should act with the utmost care and discretion in all such cases.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, pp. 26-27)

Combining priesthood classes in small wards.

“In small wards where the number holding the priesthood will not justify having six separate classes, it is suggested that the high priests, seventies and elders meet in one class.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. 30)

Selection of quorum instructors.

“The presidents of quorums, aided if necessary, by the bishopric of the ward, and always with their consent, should select able brethren for instructors to conduct the lessons of the classes of the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Where the presidents are as capable as any others, they themselves should act as teachers.

The selection of competent teachers cannot be too strongly urged, as the success of the class work depends largely upon the ability and character of the instructors.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. 30)

All boys over 12 should be ordained, if possible.

“Diligent efforts should be made to have all the members of the Church over 12 years of age ordained to the priesthood and enrolled in their proper quorums.  Those who through neglect or other reasons are not affiliated with their quorums, should be encouraged to attend to their quorum duties.  It should ever be borne in mind that every person ordained to the priesthood should be given something to do, then he will realize that priesthood means service.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. 31)

Advancement in priesthood/foreshadowing of Pros. Elders.

“Young men should be advanced in the Aaronic Priesthood, whenever, in the opinion of the bishopric, they are worthy.  It should be the aim to first ordain boys deacons, then after they have served in this capacity, they should be ordained teachers and then priests.  In cases where persons have grown to manhood without having been advanced in the priesthood, they should be permitted to meet with one of the higher quorums and thus be encouraged to attend the priesthood meetings, until such time as their good works justify their advancement in the priesthood.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. 31)

Recording ordinations.

“Every person ordained to an office in the priesthood is entitled to a certificate of ordination, which should be presented to him with the least possible delay after the fact of his ordination has been entered on the ward record of members and where the person’s membership is recorded.  When the certificate is issued by high priests’ and elders’ quorums, their respective secretaries should see that the certification is entered on the ward records and listed by the ward clerk before it is delivered to the person ordained.  A notice will be sent from the First Council of Seventy for each ordination to the office of seventy, which will be the bishop’s authority for entering the ordination on the ward record of members.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, pp. 31-32)

Enrollment in quorums.

“The certificate of ordination should be carefully preserved by the person ordained and whenever necessary, it should be presented to the proper authority as an evidence of his ordination.  Upon this evidence he should be admitted to membership in the usual manner by the quorum having jurisdiction in the ward or stake where he resides; providing he has been accepted as a member of the ward.  If he does not possess a certificate of ordination, and the recommend upon which he is received in the ward gives his Priesthood and last ordination, it should be accepted as evidence that he holds the office, provided there is no evidence to the contrary, and provided he has been admitted as a member of the ward in full fellowship.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. 32)

Weekly bishopric meetings.

“The bishoprics should meet in council at least once a week to discuss the affairs of the ward.  Counselors should be familiar with matters pertaining to the ward and should be consulted about all important actions taken by the bishop.  Matters requiring the attention of the bishopric may be divided among the three members, and reports made by each member at the weekly council meeting.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. 38)

House-to-House visits by bishopric.

“As often as convenient, and especially during the months of November and December, the bishopric should visit each family in the ward.  Where the ward is so large that such visits cannot be attended to by the bishopric, other leading men of the ward may be called to assist.  The purpose of the visits is to make the bishopric better acquainted with the people in their home life, to encourage and instruct the people concerning their religious obligations, and to offer such counsel and advice as may be necessary.  The influence of the bishopric is, or should be, such that their personal counsel in the homes of the Saints will be productive of much good, especially to the young.”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, pp. 38-39)

Bishop to preside over Priests’ quorum.

“The bishop is appointed by the Lord as president of the Priests’ Quorum and he should preside in person over the priests of the ward at the weekly priesthood meeting, ‘sitting with them in council and teaching them their duties’ as outlined in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.'”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, p. 39)

Performing marriages.

“Presidents of stakes and bishops of wards are the only persons authorized by the Church to perform civil marriage ceremonies–the former in the stakes over which they preside and the latter in the wards wherein they preside.  In case these officials are away from home one of the counselors in the stake presidency or ward bishopric may be appointed to officiate.  No marriage should be performed without a proper record being made of the ceremony.  Those who officiate must acquaint themselves with the requirements of the laws of the respective stakes concerning the filing of records of marriages.  We recommend to the presidents of stakes and bishops of wards the following form of ceremony: . . .”  (Circular of Instructions No. 12, To Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, Presidents of Missions, Bishops and Counselors, Stake, Mission and Ward Clerks and all Church Authorities, 1913, pp. 46-47)