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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1914

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1914:  Date?:  Formation of 1st Correlation Committee.

“In order to prevent unnecessary duplication of lesson materials of the priesthood quorums and the auxiliaries, the First Presidency in 1914 established a Correlation Committee.”  (Hartley, BYU 13(2):146, Winter, 1973)

Jan.:  Overview of recent quorum activities.

“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.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, Jan., 1914.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:300)

7 Feb.:  A priesthood of “no privileged few”. 

“Without caste distinction as between clergyman and layman, with no order of salaried ministers or professional preachers, The Church provides service for every member who is able and willing to labor in the ministry.  The bestowal of the Priesthood is a blessing reserved for no privileged few; every worthy man in The Church may confidently aspire to some measure of this sacred investiture.”  (James E. Talmage, “The Honor and Dignity of Priesthood,” in Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:305)

7 Feb.:  Use of the term “elder”.

“The word of modern revelation expresly states that ‘An Apostle is an Elder.’  (See Doc. & Cov. 20:48, compare also paragraphs 2, and 3, same section.)  So also every person ordained to the Higher or Melchizedek Priesthood is an Elder whatever his special office in the Priesthood may be.  We do not, and indeed should not, use the terms ‘High Priest’ and ‘Seventy’ as prefixed titles; the designation ‘Elder’ is usually sufficient, and even that should be used with care and reverence.  Brethren laboring in the mission field may well substitute the term ‘Brother’ for ‘Elder’ in common usage; though in announcements and publications involving the specification of position or authority, the title ‘Elder’ may be wholly proper.  The same care should be observed in the use of all distinguishing titles belonging to Priesthood.  Though a man be ordained to the exalted and honorable office of Patriarch, he is still an Elder, and the special designation ‘Patriarch’ is not to be used in every day converse.”  (James E. Talmage, “The Honor and Dignity of Priesthood,” in Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:308)

Feb.:  Priesthood and women.


Occasionally inquiries reach the General Board concerning the duties and labors of new Presidents and Officers in the wards and stakes of Zion.  The work of this Society has been so long before the people, the method of conducting our meetings, of administering our affairs, has so long ago been settled by tradition and custom that it seems as if all ought to be familiar with them.  And indeed, there are only general rules and general lines, which mark our labors.  Wards, stakes and individual officers are allowed great liberty in the adjustment of details and in the conduct of their Society affairs.

There is one rule, however, which whould be writted deep in the heart of every woman in this kingdom–and conned frequently by those who hold office in this great organization, namely, respect for the priesthood.  No woman who slights or neglects this primary law of the Church can hope to have that full degree of liberty and pleasure in her labors which is her privilege to enjoy.

We seldom hear the good old-fashioned counsel on this point that used to ring from our pulpits.  But it is none the less a saving principle of the Gospel.  Obedience to law–obedience to the authority of the Priesthood.

Everybody is quite willing to admit that we should obey law–the laws of health, the laws of chastity, the laws of honesty, the laws of charity, and indeed all law and laws.  Even those so-called laws of man, such as city ordinances, should be obeyed.  And yet, could there be a law, without a law-giver and without an executioner of the law?  What use would there be in having a law if there were no person to pronounce the law, no one to obey or to disobey it?  No one to reward those who keep or punish those who break the law.  Every community renders obedience to law, with few exceptions.  If a law comes in contact with our prejudice or pleasures, we may try to evade the same, although we admit its justice.  Today, women are restlessly trying to change laws in their favor.  The women of this Church should honor the laws of God.

What is Priesthood?  It is the power to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel.  Other churches have ordinances, many of them similar to those obtaining in this church; but none of them have the authority to administer those ordinances.  This power and Priesthood was entirely lost during the Dark Ages, when the Catholic Church ruled the Christian world.  By the way, there was one woman Pople appeared during those dark and stormy days in Rome.  Associated with this Priesthood is the right of presidency.  Out of this grows the functions and offices of the presiding authority; of the Church, and of every quorum in the Church.  Those who preside over the auxiliary organizations receive their authority from the presiding Priesthood.

Women do not hold the Priesthood.  This fact must be faced calmly by mothers and explained clearly to young women, for the spirit that is now abroad in the world makes for women’s demand for every place and office enjoyed by men, and a few more that men can’t enter.  Women in this Church must not forget that they have rights which men do not possess.  They have their own field, their own duties, their own privileges.  It is cowardly to dodge this question in dealing with young women.  But let the whole facts be stated.  Then women will see how richly they are endowed and how righteously their place in this life and the life to come has been provided for.

Women in this Church, choose to be womanly.  They choose to honor their fathers and husbands.  They choose their own sphere and duties with that calm and gracious dignity which ensures to them a full life here and eternal happiness hereafter.  There are some men, perhaps, that are the inferiors of some women, mentally, morally and physically.  But a superior woman is not expected to look up to an inferior man in her own home–which is her sphere.  When the one man comes who is the right one, he will be just one or more degrees superior in intelligence and power to the superior woman.  But to all men, when in their priestly office, women owe the reverence due that priesthood.  The man who holds that office and Priesthood may of himself be not the equal of some of the women who are associated with him in his ward or his public labors; but if he holds an office the Priesthood and is sustained by his brethren in that office, women everywhere, as men who may be under his jurisdiction, should render that reverence and obedience that belongs of right to the Priesthood which he holds.

The women of the Relief Society have long ago proved the value of obedience to law, and to law-givers.  So that, when we suggest to our new officers that they shall go to their ward or stake authorities for counsel, and shall never refuse that advice, we are only repeating the same things that have been told in this organization from its beginning.  Especially was Sister Eliza R. Snow–that great Mormon woman who presided over the Society after we came to these Valleys, and those who have followed her, Sister Zina D. Young, Bathsheba W. Smith and our president President, Emmiline B. Wells–these have been insistent in their advice to the sisters to seek counsel of the Priesthood and to honor those who held it.

In any case where there is a question arising in your minds or between the members of your board, go to your bishop, or to the president of your stake and ask him or them for counsel.  Then accept it.  The presidency of a stake has complete jurisdiction over the saints who reside in that stake.  All the quorums and auxiliary organizations are under their direct supervision, and their counsel on any given point would be final.  The same with the bishop of any ward.  It is true that the general board of any auxiliary organization has direct charge of the various stake and ward organizations under them; to arrange details of work, dates of conferences, mode of procedure, choice of officers, or plans and arrangements of all kinds.  But if the bishop of a ward or the president of a stake should raise an objection to such plans or details, his wish would be paramount in his ward or stake–until such time as a harmonious settlement of the question at issue could be obtained between the general officers and that local presiding officer.  This is the order of the Priesthood and this should be understood by all members.  Men, as well as women, are subject to this law of the Church.  Only so could there exist that perfect order which is the cornerstone of this kingdom.

We are asked concerning the customs of clothing our dead, washing and anointing the sick, the proper storing of grain, using outlines, choosing new officers; and all these questions come into the rightfulo jurisdiction of this society, and we will gladly answer according to the precedents of our Society.  Yet any and all of these questions might be referred to the ward or stake Priesthood and their answers should be taken as final.  We would always be glad to hear of such decisions, but would respect the authority in any given instance.  This may be taken as the general rule or law of this Society.

Let the sisters of this Society study the organization of the Church, the wonderful plan of its foundation and thus acquaint themselves with the order of the Priesthood.”  (“Address,” Relief Society Bulletin 1(2):1-3, Feb., 1914; no author given.)

Mar.:  An Apostle is an Elder–Alternative explanation.

“The word of modern revelation expressly states that ‘An Apostle is an Elder’ (See Doc. and Cov. 20:38; compare also paragraphs 2 and 3, same section).  So also every person ordained to the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood is an Elder, whatever his special office in the Priesthood may be.  We do not, and indeed should not, use the terms ‘High Priest’ and ‘Seventy’ as prefixed titles; the designation ‘Elder’ is usually sufficient, and even that should be used with care and reverence.”  (James E. Talmage, “The Honor and Dignity of Priesthood,” IE 17(5):410, Mar., 1914)

4 Apr.:  115 of 724 bishops replaced in 1913.

“During the year 1913, one new stake of Zion (Boise stake,) and 26 new wards were organized; four new stake presidents were appointed and installed, also 115 bishops, and 155 ward clerks.  [There were 724 wards in the Church during that year.]”  (Joseph F. Smith, 4 Apr., 1914; CR Apr., 1914, p. 9)

6 Apr.:  Report of General Priesthood Committee.

“This report was read at the General Priesthood meeting, Monday, April 6, 1914:

It is six years since the general authorites of the Church made the appointment of a Priesthood Outlines Committee.  This period has been marked by a far-reaching increase in Priesthood activity, and a realization of the importance of the Priesthood quorums as compared with the auxiliary organizations.  The outlines committee does not take the credit for the change; its work was only incidental to it.

When the weekly meeting of quorums and classes was instituted, it was extremely hard for many of the wards to accept the change, and practically impossible to continue the classes during the summer.  Now the weekly meeting is established throughout the Church, and the classes continue in about eighty per cent of the wards without interruption the year round.

In a number of stakes throughout Zion the Priesthood are meeting on Sunday morning at nine o’clock and continue their sessions until ten or ten thirty, at which time the Sunday schools are called to order.  Many of those in the Melchizedek Priesthood classes who are present at this Priesthood meeting attend the parents’ class in the Sabbath school, thus receiving added blessing to themselves, and rendering a service to the school.  In other stakes this same method is adopted except that the Lesser Priesthood meet separately in quorums at ten o’clock in the morning for one-half hour, then adjourn at 10:30 for Sabbath school, and receive their lessons in the Priesthood manuals as Sabbath school students.

In other stakes they meet at two o’clock in the afternoon for the Priesthood quorums.  This is where the sacrament meetings are held in the evening.  In all these stakes it is generally conceded that the Priesthood quorums are faring better, as far as attention and advancement are concerned, both in their duties and studies, than in the stakes where the Priesthood quorums meet on a week night.  No general rule has been adopted in this matter, but the time of meetings is left with the authorities of each stake.

For the Church as a whole, an average of 21% of the Priesthood were in attendance at the weekly Priesthood meetings, during the year, 1913.  The stake showing the best record in attendance of weekly Priesthood meetings was Ogden stake with 39% in attendance, followed closely by the Pioneer stake with 38%.

Probably the best index to the new spirit of the Priesthood is the desire for the lesson literature issued by the committee.  This surprising eagerness for the outlines and text-books has been a source of some embarrassment, for already this year a new edition has had to be printed of ‘Gospel Themes’ used by all classes of the High Priesthood.  During the last five years about 150,000 outlines have been distributed throughout the Church.

Of all the activities of the Priesthood, next to crass work, the one receiving the benefit of the new impetus to the greatest extent, is ward teaching.  During the last three years the average percentage of families visited rose from 20% in 1911, to 30% in 1912, and to 39% in 1913.

This result could not have been secured without reducing the average number of families in each district for each pair of teachers to visit.  The number in each teachers’ district was reduced from 20 in 1911 to 12 in 1912 and to 8 1/2 in 1913.  Some wards and stakes have shown wonderful examples of what can be done.

The following wards show 100% of the families visited each month by the ward teachers for the year 1912:

Clearfield Ward, Davis stake; Elwood and Penrose, Bear River stake; Thirty-third, Liberty stake; Eden, Ogden stake; Twin Groves, Yellowstone stake; Redmesa, Young stake.

The following wards showed 100% of families visited each month by the ward teachers for 1913:

Elwood, Penrose, Riverside, fo the Bear River stake; First, Thirty-third, Emigration, of the Liberty stake; Eden, Ogden stake; Fairview, Oneida stake; Twin Groves, Yellowstone stake; Redmesa, Young stake.

The best record in ward teaching was achieved by the Ogden stake, where 93% of all the families were visited each month, throughout the year, by the ward teachers.  The Liberty Stake showed a record of an average of 83% visited every month, and the third best record is that of Bear River stake, showing an average of 76% visited each month for the year 1913.

In five years the Priesthood of the Church has increased in numbers over 15,000.  At the end of 1908, they numbered 71,550; at beginning of this year 86,731, a veritable army of well-trained youths and young men.  The largest proportionate increase has been among the priests and teachers, to which quorums special attention has been paid.  In practically every ward the bishops personally preside over the priests.  A few years ago, there was scarcely a quorum of priests presided over by its proper authority, the bishop.

The convenience of meeting close at home in the wards, instead of in distant parts of the stake, the frequency and regularity of the less irregular monthly meetings, the convenient size of the classes, have wrought a great change in conditions. They have brought about closer companionship between members of the Priesthood, made them better acquainted with the needs of one another, better fitted to carry out any labors for the common good, and more united in spirit.

The committee has thought seriously of their work for the future.  Never has the Priesthood, since the organization of the Church, been in so favorable a position to work out the problems connected with our great cause.  We are meeting many of the same problems that come into the lives of people elsewhere.  That we shall ultimately solve them better than can society generally, is our destiny.

Next year’s work, and subsequent courses, it is desired, will have something to do with these conditions and their betterment.

It has been felt that such work in connection, of course, with the history and doctrines of the gospel and the biographies of the leaders in this dispensation, may help make active some of the 25,000 members of the Priesthood who are not performing no active labors in the wards or stakes of the Church.

The general committee will be pleased to receive from quorums any experiences or carefully considered plans that will be suggestive and helpful, to be embodied in next year’s course of study.



(“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 17(7):692-693, May, 1914)

8 Apr.:  Use of local foreign missionaries.

“During a temple meeting of the Council of the Twelve and mission presidents in 1914 he [George F. Richards] also recommended that missionaries from the United States be paired with local men in order to double the missionary force and eliminate the danger of missionaries working alone.”  (Mouritsen Diss., p. 155; also George F. Richards diary, 8 Apr., 1914)

Apr.:  Concerning the “Sons of Levi.”

“Question: ‘What is meant by the words of John the Baptist in conferring the Lesser Priesthood: “And this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness”?’–D. & C. sec. 13.

It simply means that the Priesthood of Aaron, ‘which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins,’ shall surely remain upon the earth, until the time that the sons of Levi do offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.  And, since the gospel fo the ministering of angels, repentance and baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, is necessary for the salvation of mankind, it is quite probable that after the sons of Levi are purified so that they may make such an offering, that the Church will still be in such a condition of growth and development, and wil have advanced to such a degree in the knowledge of the things of the Lord, that this priesthood will still remain and be found among us.  Furthermore, the Aaronic priesthood, like the offices of the priesthood, is an appendate to the Higher, or Melchizedek priesthood, and will always be connected with it.  (See section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants.)”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 17(6):601, Apr., 1914)

1 May:  Status of year-round priesthood meetings.

“Only five out of the thirty-one stakes reporting to the [General Priesthood] Committee in 1910 had held summer meetings.  But four years later, due to continual pressure from Church officials, nearly eighty percent of the wards were continuing priesthood classwork the year round.  Generally, however, wards which succeeded in holding summer meetings had to shift their meeting times to Sundays, freeing the weekdays for the hard summer farm work.”  (Hartley, BYU 13(2):144, Winter, 1973; quoting GPC Minutes, 29 Nov., 1910; IE 17:692, 1 May, 1914)

29 Jun.:  Encouragement of improved quorum function.

“Presidency of ____ Stake of Zion,

Dear Brethren:–

We offer the following suggestions, which we desire you to follow and send to the Bishopric of each ward in your Stake, to be presented at the ward priesthood meetings, as an incentive to more active and energetic work in every quorum and organization of the priesthood:

We hope that you will make a special effort to continue your meetings throughout the year at the time which has been arranged for in your Stake of Zion, or which you have considered most suitable for the weekly Priesthood meetings of your ward.

Every person in the ward who holds the Priesthood should be enrolled in the proper class, regardless of whether he has been received as a member of the quorum which has jurisdiction in your ward, and encouragement should be given all the members of all classes to attend regularly.

Let the priests be presided over by you personally, that they may have your watchful care and fatherly guidance during the critical period of their lives.  Encourage them to perform their duties with precision and faithfulness, commend their good works, and by your personal example and influence lead them in the way that will make for high ideals in temporal and spiritual affairs.  A faithful Priest who develops in his calling will become a valuable Elder, Seventy or High Priest.

All who have received the Priesthood should be looked after, and efforts made to keep them interested in their callings.  When any begin to grow indifferent or neglectful, a personal labor ought to be taken up with them.  In some instances returned missionaries have been assigned this duty.  If they are filled with the missionary spirit, and are diligent and earnest in their labors, realizing that the salvation of men is just as important at home as in the world, they can do much good, and will be amply rewarded for the efforts they put forth.  Men specially called to this labor will visit the homes of delinquent brethren and labor with them just as they visited the homes of delinquent members, or investigators, while in the mission field.  The same missionary service rendered at home will usually produce larger results than in the mission field.

Another successful method is for the class instructor to call to his aid another faithful member of the class, and together take up a personal labor with the delinquent members of their class.  Such work performed under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit is usually effective if persisted in with patience and love.

In some wards the Bishopric take a direct interest in the indifferent members who hold the Priesthood.  A list of these is made up, and divided among the members of the Bishopric, each one taking the names of those with whom he knows he will have the most influence, and labor with him in a serious heart to heart way.

Of course, the Teachers should always be alert to their duties in this matter.  Just as the Bishop is the father of the ward, they are the fathers of their districts, and exercist an influence over those they visit.  From time to time let priesthood work and duties be made the special subject for the month.

Some men cannot be persuaded to attend their classes out of a sense of mere duty.  Such men can usually be reached by making the classes really worth their while.  To do this a man who is a real leader should be selected as a class instructor, and must possess a goodly measure of those qualities that go to make a real teacher.  Too much attention cannot be given to the selection of one to fill this important place.  The leader must be well prepared with his subject, and by his example encourage the members of the class to do the work, he acting simply as their teacher and guide.  It is also his duty to see that the lesson is confined to the subject assigned, and prevent as far as possible rambling and unprofitable discussion.

Social functions among the Priesthood classes and quorums will also serve to arouse interest.  Such occasions should be made pleasant and agreeable in every way for all that attend.

But the best way to keep up interest is to give every man who holds the Priesthood something to do, and encourage him to perform his duties faithfully.  We naturally take the most interest in those things in which we are engaged.  By making a careful study of each man’s character it isusually possible to find something that will interest him, and his sympathy can be won and his help secured by appealing to this side of his nature first.

May the Lord bless you in this important work, that you may have the full support of all the brethren in your ward.

Your brethren in the gospel,

Joseph F. Smith

Anthon H. Lund

Charles W. Penrose

First Presidency”

(29 Jun., 1914, First Presidency Circular Letters, LDS Archives, CR 1/1)

Jun.:  A typical ward meeting.

“The simplest form of the general ward meeting consists of five parts; namely, (1) two hymns or songs, one at the opening of the service and one following the prayer; (2) the invocational prayer; (3) the administration of the sacrament; (4) speaking by one or more of the elders, or testimony-bearing by members; and (5) the closing hymn and benediction.  Each of these features are often varied and sometimes others are added.  While custom and precedent have much to do in the present methods, yet, really, the bishop or presiding elder has considerable latitude in the conducting of a meeting.”  (Joseph B. Keeler, President of the Utah Stake, “A Typical Ward Service,” IE 17(8):738, Jun., 1914)

Aug.:  New work for the Seventy.

“The First Council of Seventy ahve sent the following instructions to the presidents of the Quorums of Seventy:

DEAR BRETHREN:  It has been decided that the Seventy’s Quorums shall be called upon to assist in the Department of Vocations and Industries of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Associations as herein described.

Some difficulty has been experienced in finding suitable ward vocational counselors in the Young Men’s Associations to act in this department, hence it has been decided to try and find suitable men among the Seventies.  Here perhaps an explanation is necessary to have a clear understanding of what is meant by the above.  The general board of Y.M.M.I.A. has opened a new department in the activities of the above asociations known as the Department of Vocations and Industries, appointing a standing committee on the General Board to have charge of the work, the personnel of which, at present, is B. H. Roberts, Chairman; Claude Richards, Vice Chairman; Edward H. Anderson, Jonathan G. Kimball, Roscoe W. Eardley, Lewis T. Cannon, Oscar A. Kirkham and John H. Taylor, members.

In each stake of Zion the Superintendent of the Y.M.M.I.A. has been asked to appoint a stake vocational supervisor, and also to select and appoint a vocation counselor in each ward association to have charge of the work.  The Stake supervisor, as would be inferred from his station, is to take general supervision of the work in his stake; while the ward vocation counselor is to have supervision of this department in the ward association, and take up the work to be done directly with the young men of the association, thus becoming the man who will be in direct personal contact with the youth of the ward, whom it is desired to interest in vocational and industrial activities.

It is the purpose of the department to aid in giving intelligent direction to the choice of vocations of our youth in life, and to stimulate industrial activity among them.  The key note of the movement may be found in the head line on the stationery of the General Board Committee, viz:

Have you chosen your vocation?  If you have, or if you have not, let us help you.

This much in the way of brief explanation, in order that you may see the importance of this communication.  You will readily understand that the success or failure of the work will depend upon the efficiency of the men who come immediately on contact with the young men of our associations, between the ages of fourteen and twenty.

. . . . 

The mode of procedure in the matter of bringing our seventies into this work should be by the ward or stake superintendents or presidents calling in person or submitting in writing to the council of the quorum a request for the appointment of suitable persons to fill these positions; whereupon the council should take the matter under advisement, canvass the quorum for the most suitable persons, taking care, however, not to interfere with men already engaged in special service unless it is possible for them to accept the new appointment without interfering with the service in which they are already engaged.

In order that there may be no conflict in authority, or confusion in appointments, when a selection is made from among the Seventy for this work, the name of the appointee, before informing him of his selection should be submitted to the bishop of the ward that his sanction may be obtained to the appointment and thus a perfect union of effort be secured in carrying out this program.  Whenever a member of the Seventy’s quorum is finally selected for this work, that appointment should be regarded as a call to local missionary work the same as in appointments to ward teaching and home missionary service, and every encouragement be afforded the appointee which will tend to his success.  It will be a fine contribution to community service to respond to these appointments and we trust presidents and members of the Seventy’s quorums will enter into the work with enthusiasm, as there is no more important home work that Seventies can engage in than this, which shall substitute intelligent direction in the choice of vocations for our youth, instead of allowing them to drift by accident into such callings as may come in their way.

This letter should be presented and read to the Council of your quorum at the very earliest opportunity and a prompt acknowledgement made of its coming to your hand.

Seymour B. Young, In behalf of the First Council of Seventy.”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 17(10):991-992, Aug., 1914)

Aug.:  Subjects for Ward Teachers.

“The general conditions in the wards and among the families of Saints will help the bishops in selecting subjects to be assigned to ward teachers for their monthly visits.  The bishops will find that the assignment of subjects to the ward teachers will add greatly to the quality and efficiency of the teaching, and will add interest to the work.

The following subjects are suggested topics which have been used in the various wards of the church:  [lists 34 topics].”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 17(10):992-993, Aug., 1914)

Sep.:  Nephite priesthood?

“Question:  When and by whom were the Nephites ordained to the Priesthood before the time of Christ?

Answer:  Lehi, founder of the Nephite race, was a prophet of the Lord, in Jerusalem, and had the Priesthood before he was commanded of the Lord to leave the land of his nativity and journey to the promised land.  Nephi, his son, also was a prophet, and held the Priesthood, and most likely the other sons of Lehi held the Priesthood also, but Laman and Lemuel failed to magnify their callings.  Lehi and Nephi could not have conversed with the Lord as they did nor received the commandments which they recorded in their scriptures without holding the Holy Priesthood.  Who ordained them is not stated in the Book of Mormon, but the Priesthood they held was conferred upon their posterity from generation to generation.”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 17(11):1085, Sep., 1914)

3 Oct.:  Washing and anointing by women.

“Questions are frequently asked in regard to washing and anointing our sisters preparatory to their confinement.  In a circular issued by the leading sisters of the Relief Society [see following document] a number of questions on this matter have been answered and correct instructions given, but notwithstanding this having been done, we judge from the contents of letters received by us that there exists some uncertainty as to the proper persons to engage in this administration; we have therefore considered it necessary to answer some of these questions, and give such explanations as will place this matter in the right light.  We quote some of these questions and give our answers:

     1.  Is it necessary for one or more sisters to be set apart to wash and anoint the sick?

     2.  Should it be done under the direction of the Relief Society?

     Answer:  Any good sister, full of faith in God and in the efficacy of prayer, may officiate.  It is therefore not necessary for anyone to be set apart for this purpose, or that it should be done exclusively under the direction of the Relief Society.

     3.  Must the sister officiating be a member of the Relief Society?

     Answer:  It is conceded that most of our sisters, qualified to perform this service and gifted with the spirit of healing and the power to inspire faith in the sick, belong to the Relief Society, but if the sick should desire to have some good sister who is not a member of the Relief Society administer to her, that sister has the right to so administer.

     4.  Have the sisters the right to administer to sick children?

     Answer:  Yes; they have the same right to administer to sick children as to adults, and may anoint and lay hands upon them in faith.

     5.  Should the administering and anointing be sealed?

     Answer:  It is proper for sisters to lay on hands, using a few simple words, avoiding the terms employed in the temple, and instead of using the word ‘seal’ use the word ‘confirm.’

     6.  Have the sisters a right to seal the washing and anointing, using no authority, but doing it in the name of Jesus Christ, or should men holding the priesthood be called in?

     Answer:  The sisters have the privilege of laying their hands on the head of the person for whom they are officiating, and confirming and anointing in the spirit of invocation.  The Lord has heard and answered the prayers of sisters in these administrations many times.  It should, however, always be remembered that the command of the Lord is to call in the elders to administer to the sick, and when they can be called in, they should be asked to anoint the sick or seal the anointing.

     7.  Are sisters who have not received their endowments competent to wash and anoint sisters previous to confinement?

     Answer:  It must always be borne in mind that this administering to the sick by the sisters is in no sense a temple ordinance, and no one is allowed to use the words learned in the temple in washing and anointing the sick.  Sisters who have had their endowments have received instructions and blessings which tend to give them stronger faith and especially qualify them to officiate in this sacred work; but there are good faithful sisters, who through circumstances have not received their endowments, and yet are full of faith and have had much success in ministering to the sick, who should not be forbidden to act, if desired to do so by our sisters.

In conclusion we have to say that in all sacred functions performed by our sisters there should be perfect harmony between them and the Bishop, who has the direction of all matters pertaining to the Church in his ward.”  (First Presidency to Presidents of Stakes and Bishops of Wards, 3 Oct., 1914.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:314-315)

[The following is the letter distributed by the Relief Society, from about 1888-1910, referred to in the above First Presidency statement.]


The first question:  ‘Is it necessary for one or more sisters to be set apart for that purpose?  (Washing and anointing the sick, etc.)  Or should it be done under the direction of the Presidency of the Relief Society, or could any good sister officiate?’

This seems to include three questions.

Firstly, our late President Sister Eliza R. Snow Smith said many times, ‘Any good sister who had received her endowments and was in good standing in the Church, might officiate in washing and anointing previous to confinement, if called upon, or requested to do so by the sister or sisters desiring the blessing’ but should not offer her services.

Secondly, not necessarily under the direction of the Presidency of the Relief Society, althought it is most likely whoever was called upon to render such services would be a member of the Relief Society in her own Ward.  Some sisters are gifted in ministering and comforting with faith, and adaptability, who might not be chosen to preside or fill any official position in the Relief Society, then the sister herself who desires the blessing might have some choice as to whom she would prefer, and there are many little things [that] might be taken into consideration, all cases are not alike, all circumstances are not the same, wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit are things necessary in all such matters.

Thirdly, in reference to children in sickness, one could not always wait to consult the Presidency of the Relief Society; mothers, grandmothers, and often other relatives attend to a sick child, both in administering and in the washing with pure water and anointing with consecrated oil; but generally in neighborhoods, there are sisters who are specially adapted to minister to children, and who have in large degree the gift of healing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, who are possessed of greater humility and have cultivated the gift, or whom the Lord has greatly blessed.

Second question:  ‘Should the washing be sealed?’  It is usual to do this in a few simple words, avoiding the terms used in the Temple, and instead of using the word ‘Seal’ we would use the word ‘Confirm’ in the spirit of invocation.

Third question:  ‘Have the sisters a right to seal the washing and anointing, using no authority, but doing it in the name of Jesus Christ, or should men holding the Priesthood be called in?’  The sisters have the privilege of laying their hands on the head of the one officiated for and confirming the anointing in the spirit of invocation, and in the name of Jesus Christ, not mentioning authority.  Therefore it is not necessary to call in the Brethren.  The Lord has heard and answered the prayers of the sisters in these ministrations many times.

In suggestions made in reference to washing and anointing the sisters are always advised to kneel and offer prayer previous to officiating in any sacred duty.

Your sisters in the Gospel,

________General President

________General Secretary

(On behalf of the Relief Society)

Approved by the First Presidency of the Church.”

(In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:316-317)  

4 Oct.:  Some indifference to Ward Teaching.

“The presiding bishopric have issued quarterly bulletins which have kept presidencies of stakes in closer touch with the general conditions in all the stakes of Zion, than in the past.  Ward teaching is being rapidly developed in many of the stakes of Zion.  Some stakes are still indifferent to this important movement.  There is a splendid opportunity in this work to use every ordained priest and teacher and man holding the priesthood, and it would seem rather strange that there should be any of the presidencies of the stakes, or any of the presiding officers in the Church, who would be indifferent to the subject of keeping in contact and in harmony with the progress of all the other stakes.”  (Joseph F. Smith, General Conference Address, 4 Oct., 1914; IE 18(1):78, Nov., 1914)

4 Oct.:  Every 70 should be in the mission field.

“I see to the right here the Presidents of Seventies.  I find that in the Church there are very many thousands of seventies; they have become very abundant and they are being multiplied.  Discovering that the nations in trouble and in war has made it necessary for us to call many of our elders home, and release those whose missions were completed, and give those who were just starting out new fields in other nations, I would ask that the brethren who have the direction of their labors, of their ordinations and training and so forth, should give careful attention to the body of seventies in this Church.  We are preaching the Gospel as best we can in the world with the elders, quite generally, when in preference to the elders, and the Lesser Priesthood and high priests, the seventies should be found in the field, every seventy.  When I was called and ordained a seventy, I was instructed that I had become a minute man.  I have been a minute man for over fifty years, ready and willing at any moment.  I believe that I have never hesitated when I was wanted in the field, for I have been a seventy from that time, and expect to be as long as I keep the faith.  We need the seventies, Bishops and presidents, the general presidency, the presiding presidency of the seventies, and presidency of quorums of seventies, we want the seventies; we need them in our business of preaching the Gospel.  I hold that no man should be ordained a seventy unless he is prepared to work, that is work in the ministry abroad.  It isn’t necessary that men should be ordained seventies to work at home, for the elders have ample authority to work at home.  In the home mission fields, so far as that is concerned, the seventies are perfectly competent, but they are expected to labor in the foreign ministry, as those upon whom the Twelve depend, and call upon, in preference to all others.  I want to interpret that scripture for the benefit of the seventies in this Church.  Bishops and presidents of stakes, and all who are intrusted with recommending elders for the field, should regard it as their duty to recommend the seventies in preference to any other elders in the Church, for foreign ministry.  Every seventy should be in condition to go, that is be ready to go; and his condition should be such that he is able to go.  If he is not able to go into the field, he may take a place with the elders and high priests, and he can labor at home, because there is ministry needed at home that will, perhaps, never be quite fully and completely occupied.  The field is not filled here, no more than we can fill it abroad.  There is work enough in Zion, among the Latter-day Saints, to occupy the labors of the ten thousand or more seventies that are now at home.  The elders and high priests can take care of that labor, as well as to go abroad when necessary.  But, we advise that our brethren of the seventies, who have had experience and training, and possibly have been in the missionary field at least once, and also had training and experience at home, that they be put into the field.  We want at least one of them by the side of every two elders or inexperienced men; we would rather have more.  We would like them to have the opportunity, and it should be the pride of every seventy in this Church to fulfil one mission, and after he has fulfilled that one mission he should be willing to fill another mission to preach the Gospel.  These are opportunities that are very precious to the elders in Israel.  The Priesthood is given to them and to us to magnify.  When the presiding brethren in the Church, in the stakes and quorums, and in every department are called upon, and are set apart and instructed, it is because they are needed, and should be employed.  We are willing, the Twelve are willing, to put our hands upon those brethren and bless them and send them forth, if you will send them to us.  We don’t think it necessary to multiply seventies simplyi to fill up quorums of seventies and keep them here at home, not at all.  We want them prepared and ready to preach the Gospel.  We want that to be the pride of their lives, to work while they are in the prime of life, and can stand the hardships that attend upon missionary service; and those who are unable to go abroad and do that, can take place with the high priests, and work in the home ministry, there is plenty of labor here.”  (Francis M. Lyman, 4 Oct., 1914; CR Oct., 1914, pp. 29-30)

5 Oct.:  The problems with Priesthood Mtg. on Sundays.

“We used to have, generally, in the different wards of the stakes of Zion, priesthood meetings on Monday evenings.  In many of the wards that has been changed, to holding priesthood classes on Sunday mornings, and I learn that in consequence of that in some places, the Sunday Schools are denuded, so to speak, of the influence and power and authority and presence of men holding the priesthood, men of experience.  We have so many meetings to attend, particularly on Sunday, that instead of being a day of rest it becomes to some a day of toil.

Now, it is not obligatory upon all the wards and stakes of Zion to make this change.  If they find it better to have the priesthood meetings held on Monday evenings they are at liberty so to do, so far as the Presidency of the Church are concerned.  What we want is to have the greatest good come to the greatest number; and it is advisable that, so far as possible, the men who hold the Holy Priesthood, particularly men in authority, will by their presence and their influence and their teachings, aid in the glorious work of teaching our young people–children and the teachers of the children, the things of God.  So, it is advisable as far as possible, to have the brethren of the priesthood, if they hold their meeting on Sunday morning as classes in the priesthood, to remain and attend the Sunday Schools.  But if they can’t do both, they can make their arrangements, if they so desire, to have their priesthood meetings as before on Monday evenings.  This is not obligatory upon all the brethren because of the change that has taken place in some of the wards.  In some wards it works well; in others it does not work so well.  Do that which is best, brethren, and all will be right.”  (Charles W. Penrose, 5 Oct., 1914; CR Oct., 1914, pp. 85-86)

5 Oct.:  No need for activities other than Church-related.

“Now, in regard to having so many meetings, we are told by a great number of our brethren that about every night in the week they have some duty to perform, either as teachers or attending priesthood meetings or class meetings or some other meetings connected with the wards of the Church in which they reside.  I would say then if that is the case, confine your time and your talents and your labor and work to the institutions of the Church.  There is no need to go outside into other organizations established for other than Church purposes.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains within its organization all that is needed for the labors of our brethren in the priesthood, and for our sisters in their auxiliary societies, for the benefit of the Saints, for their uplifting, for their enlightenment, for their progress, for the consolidation of their energies in any direction.  So, brethren, the advice of the Presidency is to you, do not be entangled with orders, or societies, or outside and extra organizations that are being attempted or set up, but bring your energies together inside the Church, its quorums, its organizations of every kind, and you will have plenty to do.”  (Charles W. Penrose, 5 Oct., 1914; CR Oct., 1914, p. 86)

6 Oct.:  Seventies outside of organized quorums.

“Total number of Seventies in the Church:  10,968

Total number enrolled in Quorums as reported for the year 1913:  8,078.”  (J. Golden Kimball, 6 Oct., 1914; CR Oct., 1914, p. 113)

Oct.:  Woman shares priesthood through the endowment.

“In the restored Church of Jesus Christ, the Holy Priesthood is conferred, as an individual bestowal, upon men only, and this in accordance with Divine requirement.  It is not given to woman to exercise the authority of the Priesthood independently; nevertheless, in the sacred endowments associated with the ordinances pertaining to the House of the Lord, woman shares with man the blessings of the Priesthood.  When the frailities and imperfections of mortality are left behind, in the glorified state of the blessed hereafter, husband and wife will administer in their respective stations, seeing and understanding alike, and co-operating to the full in the government of their family kingdom.  Then shall woman be recompensed in rich measure for all the injustice that womanhood has endured in mortality.  Then shall woman reign by Divine right, a queen in the resplendent realm of her glorified state, even as exalted man shall stand, priest and king unto the Most High God.  Mortal eye cannot see nor mind comprehend the beauty, glory, and majesty of a righteous woman made perfect in the celestial kingdom of God.”  (James E. Talmage, “The Eternity of Sex,” YWJ 25[Oct., 1914]:602-603)

Oct.:  Monthly messages for ward teachers.

“The following letter and circular has been mailed to all the Stake Presidents and Bishops of the Church:

Dear Brother:–In many of our stakes the ward teachers’ work is so organized that each month the teachers carry a special message to the people, emphasizing the work of one or more auxiliary organizations.  In the early part of October the Y. M. and Y. L. M. I. A. will begin their class work.  We solicit your co-operation in behalf of our organizations and ask that the ward teachers, during September or October, encourage the members of your ward to attend our associations.

We are taking the liberty of enclosing a number of reasons why the young people should attend our organizations.  Hoping that these may assist you in presenting this subject to your ward teachers, and aid them, in turn, in presenting our work to the people of your ward, we remain,

Yours faithfully,

  Heber J. Grant,

For the General Board of Y.M.M.I.A.”

(“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 17(12):1175, Oct., 1914)

Oct.:  Report of General Priesthood Committee.

“The following report of the General Priesthood Committee for October, 1914, is of interest in all parts of the Church, and should be read in every ward and stake priesthood meeting:

The work of the teachers and class efficiency are two phases of priesthood work that have been emphasized since the last report.


In the matter of ward teaching, the progress recently made is very gratifying.  Statistics of the number of families visited monthly for the past five years show that 31,008 families are now visited monthly, which is a gradual increase from ten thousand visited monthly five years ago.  The work of the active corps of teachers engaged in the services of the Lord in each ward of the Church, results not only in great social improvement among the people but in the creation of a spirit of loyalty and enthusiasm in spiritual affairs that enlivens every member of the Church and causes a better influence to permeate every citizen of the ward.  Furthermore, it provides activityi for every priest and teacher of proper age to act in the work, thus training and preparing them for future service.  Not only in the Priesthood quorums is the effect of ward teaching shown, but also in the enrollment of every auxiliary organization, which has largely increased, through the labors of the ward teachers, wherever these have been performed properly.  The records at the Presiding Bishop’s office show that great effort is still being put forth by the stake and ward authorities in increase [sic] the efficiency of ward teaching as well as the number of families visited monthly.


Uniform records are now being used by the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums.  These should be carefully kept, as annual reports will be required of each quorum.  It should be remembered that these records and reports are more valuable to the presiding officers in the stake and quorum than to anyone else, for they enable these officers to take once a year a careful inventory of themselves and the quorums over which they preside.  While the attendance at the Priesthood quorum meetings is still far below what it should be, the large increase recently has been very encouraging.

Every member of a quorum in the Melchizedek Priesthood when absent should feel it his duty to report to his quorum the cause of his absence; and likewise to attend regularly when possible each meeting of his quorum.  Excuses may be conveyed to the presiding officers of the quorums either in writing or verbally.  The secretary of each quorum should record, in every instance, the cause of absence so that the record may be complete.


It is pleasing to report that an increased number of officers of quorums make it a point to labor with delinquent brethren.  This is commendable; for it is quite as necessary to re-convert to the gospel and to the spirit of the work, a person who is indifferent and delinquent at home, as to convert in the mission field a person who has never heard the gospel.  We, therefore, advocate strongly that missionary work should be done with every neglectful or delinquent member, by the officers of the quorum, or by special missionaries under their direction.  Quorum officers should make at least one quarterly visit to each class, in each ward, under their jurisdiction.  They should satisfy themselves as to the qualifications of the class instructors, the method of teaching, and confer with the bishop, making suggestions as to where and how better instructors, if need be, can be obtained and also where changes would be necessary and advantageous; and then, with the consent of the bishop, see that they are made.  Members often lose interest in class work because of the inefficiency of the class instructor.  A change, therefore, is often desirable–not that there should be frequent changes but onlyi changes for the betterment of the service and to the advantage of the class.

There is a slight tendency, too, shown among quorums to assist missionaries in the field.  However, this manifestation of quorum activity is still very faint.  Officers should be alert to render financial and other assistance to missionaries representing the quorum wherever this is found necessary.  They should visit the relatives of those who are endeavoring to keep the missionary in the field, and if conditions are such that help is required, it is the duty of the quorum, through its officers, to provide such help.  The officers and members of the quorum should consider it a reflection upon their quorum if it becomes necessary to release a faithful missionary because his family cannot continue to provide for missionary expenses.  If a missionary’s family is not able to provide the minimum amount required to keep him in the field, the quorum should take steps to provide the deficiency, and see that a regular contribution is sent either to the missionary, or to the headquarters of the mission for his credit where he labors.  The presidency of every quorum should thoroughly understand the personal financial condition of their missionary members.  Work in the mission field has now become largely an economic question.  It is not so difficult to get men who are able and willing to go into the mission field, as to get men who can support themselves or whose relatives or friends are able to support them while in the field.  Hence the need of timely help by the quorum brethren at home.


We are pleased to report perceptible progress in the work of the Lesser Priesthood quorums.  Compared with five years ago the enrollment of the Lesser Priesthood is very gratifying.  Where five years ago the number enrolled was 21,587; today there is an enrollment in the Lesser Priesthood of 39,292.  There are 303 classes of Priests, 367 classes of Teachers and 621 classes of Deacons meeting weekly.  It is unnecessary to do anything more than refer to the invaluable educational results that must follow through holding these weekly classes, properly officered and disciplined.  Not only can the progress be measured in educational value but in that greater value–the growth of the true religious sentiment which must necessarily develop through the efforts of these classes and the labors of their teachers.

The purpose of ordaining persons to the Priesthood should be to set them to work in their offices and callings.  Where Deacons are ordained they should be set to work immediately, instructed in their duties, and trained for the higher offices of the Priesthood.


Many inquiries are made as to what Priests can do in a ward.  In addition to fulfilling the specific duty of teaching, exhorting, expounding and visiting the Saints in their homes, baptizing, etc., these additional activities for them may be named: administering the sacrament; aiding the ward teachers; taking part in 

Sunday School and M.I.A. activities; holding cottage meetings; working in various Church organizations; inviting the Saints to special and general meetings, especially missionary farewells; repairing cemetery grounds, acting as Sunday School, Mutual Improvement Association, and other organization choristers; and aiding missionary families.

A very pleasant duty for the priests is the call to administer the sacrament in stake conferences, assisted by the Deacons.  How pleasing the sight of ten, twenty or thirty priests engaged in this sacred work!  They should also be called upon to open and close the public assemblies of the Saints with prayer.  So likewise in the quorum meetings and the auxiliary organizations.


The teachers should assist the priest in these activities.  They may act also as officers in the auxiliary organizations, and as ward teachers.  They may assist the bishop in collecting donations for special purposes, in keeping the meetinghouse in order, acting as ushers and door-keepers, and secretaries of organizations.  In many other duties teachers and deacons may act, such as, aids to the bishop in miscellaneous activities, as ushers, messengers at quarterly conferences, and in aiding visitors.  A regular usher service should be organized for every chapel or meetinghouse of the Latter-day Saints.  It should be the duty of the teachers and deacons to assist in seating the congregation, passing the sacrament, collecting fast offerings, taking care of visitors’ teams, aiding the Relief Society by errands, helping to care for the poor, carrying messages, acting as book and record keepers, and doing other special work required by the bishops.  Nothing so develops in the young man the sense of respect as assisting in the work at hand, and as having something to do as a messenger and help for the authorities of the stake or ward.


Class instructors in the Lesser Priesthood should always be chosen by the bishops, and in the classes of the Higher Priesthood, by the quorums themselves on consultation and with the approval of the stake and ward Priesthood authorities.  We should not lose sight of the fact that the ward classes are frequently not quorums, and that they should be watched over by the officers of the quorums to which the members of these classes belong.  The officers should take an abiding interest and watchcare over them as parts of their quorums.


The course of study for the Melchizedek Priesthood for 1915 is now in preparation by Dr. John A. Widtsoe, president of the Utah Agricultural College.  The work will be a rich contribution to our Priesthood Library, and the best hope we have for it is that it will be as favorably received and as generally studied as has been Elder Whitney’s Gospel Themes this year.  Each quorum in the Lesser Priesthood will have its own book.

In conclusion, we might say, that the progress of the Priesthood work is encouraging, the outlook promising, and the possibilities for improvement infinite.

Respectfully submitted,

The Priesthood Committee.

By Rudger Clawson, Chairman.

David A. Smith, Secretary.”

(“Ward Teaching and Class Efficiency,” IE 18(1):34-37, Nov., 1914)

Oct.:  Attendance at Priesthood Meetings.

“Bulletin No. 16, issued by the Presiding Bishop’s Office, October 31, 1914, shows the average attendance of priesthood at weekly priesthood meetings for the three months ending Sept. 30, 1914, based on the total priesthood of stake, as follows:

[66 stakes listed, with median % for quarter ending 30 Sep., 11%; median for quarter ending 30 Jun., 15%; median for quarter ending 31 Mar., 23%.]”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 18(3):273, Jan., 1915)

1 Nov.:  The priesthood in the Sunday School.

“I have learned that in some of our Sunday schools, the members of the priesthood, who once attended them in large numbers, are now, in consequence of holding their classes on the Sunday morning, absenting themselves from the Sunday School services.  This I deplore, and I ask our brethren who hold the priesthood, who have to attend these services on Sunday morning in the priesthood classes, if they possibly can to attend also the Sunday School services, and by their influence and presence and teachings help to support the principles that have been advocated here this evening.  The Sunday schools will be made a greater spiritual force by the presence and influence and teaching of the brethren who hold the priesthood, which God has revealed in the last days for the teaching of the principle of eternal life, of the principles of righteousness, which are the foundations of peace.  I think that without the presence of the priesthood there will be less influence to promote the social good, and I also feel that the foundations of peace will be more secure and broad, upon which we can build a structure that will endure forever, by the presence of the servants of the Lord holding the priesthood in the Sunday School classes.

I know that it is rather a burden upon some of our brethren who toil all the week in various labors, to hold so many meetings on a Sunday.  I will say that I do not understand that it is obligatory, in every place, for the priesthood classes to meet on Sunday morning.  They used to meet, generally, in the wards on Monday evening, and I understand they are still at liberty to do that, if they find it will bring about the greatest good.  Give them more time to hold their priesthood meeting on Monday evening, and then leave the Sunday to attend their Sunday School.  If they cannot attend to all these meetings on the Sunday, then it will be the duty of the bishops and authorities in the wards and stakes of Zion to regulate matters so as to bring about ‘the greatest good to the greatest number.’  No better employment can be had in the priesthood than training the young people, our boys and girls, in the knowledge of the principles of the Gospel, and in a determination and desire to be pure in heart, to be right in conduct, to be truthful always, and to love God with all their hearts, and love their neighbors as themselves.  And so I appeal to my brethren who hold the priesthood not to absent themselves from the Sunday schools, but to lend their aid as far as they possibly can in this grand and glorious work . . .”  (Charles W. Penrose, DSSU Conference, in JI 49(11):689-690, Nov., 1914)

6 Nov.:  Annual visits by quorum officers recommended.

“You, no doubt, have been impressed with the excellent results that have followed the annual visits of the Bishoprics to the homes of the members of their respective wards.  It has occurred to us that similar good results could be obtained if the officers of the quorums of the Melchisedek Priesthood of your stake could make an annual visit to the homes of all those over whom they preside in quorum capacity.

The records of the Presiding Bishop’s Office indicate that there are thousands of brethren who have been honored with the Priesthood, but who are not enrolled in the quorum having jurisdiction in the ward where they reside.  An annual visit would, no doubt, result in a large number of the brethren mentioned, becoming enrolled in the quorum; thus a missionary work of great importance would be accomplished.

As far as circumstances will permit, this annual house to house visit should be made by the Presidency of the quorum, but in case they cannot do it alone, the class should be asked to assist in making this visit, giving special attention to the inactive and those not enrolled in the quorum.

If this movement is properly inaugurated and becomes an annual event with the officers of each quorum, it will develop a quorum spirit, broaden the spirit of brotherhood and fellowship and make Priesthood quorums a more effective force for good and usefulness in your stake of Zion.

We sincerely hope that you will give this subject the consideration it deserves, at your next meeting with the High Council, and that you will decide on ways and means through the officers of the quorums to have a house to house visit by the quorum officers, or representatives, to every person holding the Melchisedek Priesthood in your stake of Zion.”  (First Presidency to Stake Presidents, 6 Nov., 1914.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:317-318)

5-11 Dec.:  Problems with Widtsoe’s MP Manual.

5 Dec.:  “I had a telegram from El Paso in which I was asked to stop the publishing of the Manual on the Melchisedek Priesthood.  Edward Anderson told me this would not be done till the return of the President. . . .

7 Dec.:  I spent the day in the Office.  I had a telegram from Pres. Smith to stop the publication of Widtsoe’s manual for the Priesthood.  I called E. H. Anderson over, and he furnished me with a proof copy of the Manual.  I believe it is the idea of the origin of God, which he makes an evolution from intelligences and being superior to the others He became God.  I do not like to think of a time when there was no God.  I read several chapters. . . . 

8 Dec.:  Spent the day in business and reading Widtsoe’s manual. . . .

11 Dec.:  Bro. Widtsoe who wrote the manual for the Priesthood, came and we went over the manuscript and eleminated from it all that pertained to intelligences before they became begotten spirits as that would only be speculation.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 5-11 Dec., 1914)

28 Dec.:  On the duties of the Bishopric of the ward.  

“This is the season of the year when it is customary to prepare for changes and improvements in the method of doing business in the stakes and wards, and the present, we think, is an opportune time to call your attention to the remarks of President Joseph F. Smith at the recent October conference concerning the distribution of the duties and labors of the Bishoprics, as follows:

‘The work of the Bishop is both temporal and spiritual.  He should not try to do all the work that is necessary to be done in his ward.  His counselors are there to help him, and a due portion of the responsibility of the Bishop should be placed upon his counselors.  Neither is it wise that the Bishopric shouild feel that they should do all that is necessary to be done in their respective wards.  They should exercise their right to call upon the Priesthood.  It is sometimes advisable to give to each counselor special duties, the Bishop assigning to each of the counselors his proportion of the responsibilities that belong to the Bishopric, each one doing some special work for which he is adapted, so that all may be active.’

In well managed wards, the Bishopric have systematized their work, and while the Bishop has complete oversight of all the affairs of the ward, many of the details are assigned to others.  In such wards the Bishopric thoroughly enjoy their labors and do not feel overworked.  For the purpose of assisting those who are not familiar with the plan of dividing the responsibility, we make the following suggestions:

Let the Bishopric hold a regular weekly council meeting, at which the ward clerk should be present, and a regular order of business followed.  At this meeting, correspondence from the First Presidency, Presiding Bishopric and stake officers should be read and discussed.  Members of the Bishopric should report their labors for the previous week concerning the departments to which they are assigned.  There should be considered recommendations for ordinations to the priesthood, the selection and assignment of ward teachers, the selection of missionaries and all other business of the ward.

As stated by President Joseph F. Smith, the assignment of work should be according to the special adaptability of each member of the Bishopric, and the following is an arrangement which is in operation in a number of wards:–The Bishop attends to all tithing matters; the aid of the worthy poor; the issuing of temple recommends; signing certificates of membership; overseeing the work of the Relief Society; presiding personally over the Priest’s quorum and supervising one-third of the Teachers’ districts.  To one counselor is assigned ward financial matters, including the up-keep of meeting house and grounds; the supervision of the work of the ordained teachers; the charge of ward amusements; the oversight of the work of the Y.M.M.I.A. and Y.L.M.I.A.  The other counselor supervises the work of the deacons in a quorum capacity and their labors in the ward; also the Sunday School, Ward Choir, Primary Association and Religion Class.  The Ward Clerk prepares all certificates of membership, requests for certificates; supervises the work of the secretaries of all the auxiliary organizations; the weekly priesthood classes; keeps the ward records and performs such other duties as may be assigned to him.  These are suggestions only.  They have been carried out successfully in a number of wards.  Each ward must work out its own problems and adapt these suggestions to its local conditions.

In order that the arrangement outlined above may be made effective and to avoid confusion, the heads of the various ward activities should confer freely with the member of the Bishopric in charge of that part of the business of the ward; and the Bishop’s counselors should consult freely with the Bishop, both at the weekly council meetings and at other times, on all matters pertaining to the business of the ward placed in their charge.  This should not be taken to indicate that the Bishop’s counselors assume at any time the duty of presiding over the ward, except in the absence of the Bishop.  It is the duty of the Bishop to preside whenever he is present, although he may direct his counselors in conducting meetings, etc.

In view of the importance of this movement, we recommend that you, as the Bishopric of the ward, meet in council, at which the ward clerk should be present and adapt the recommendations outlined in this letter to the business of your ward, providing you have not already followed this matter of dividing your duties.”  (Presiding Bishopric to all Bishops, 28 Dec., 1914.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:333-334)

Dec.:  Monthly ward teaching messages by Stakes.

“For stake authorities of the Church to prepare subjects at different times for the teachers in the various wards of the stake, is an idea that is gaining popularity in a number of stakes.  (See ERA, Vol. 17, pp. 992-3, for topics.)”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 18(2):173, Dec., 1914)