← Back to Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism Index

Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1916

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1916.” You can view other years here.

Search the content below for specific dates, names, and keywords using the keyboard shortcut Command + F on a Mac or Control + F on Windows.


1916:    Feb.:  Ordinations and the Word of Wisdom.

“Young men or middle-aged men [note that this seems to “grandfather” the elderly] who have had experience in the Church should not be ordained to the Priesthood nor recommended to the privileges of the House of the Lord, unless they will abstain from the use of tobacco and intoxicating drinks [note the deletion of coffee and tea].  This is the rule of the Church, and should be observed by all its members.”  (Joseph F. Smith, “Editor’s Table,” IE 19(4):360, Feb., 1916)

9 Mar.:  Discontinuation of quorum recommends.

“Accuracy in record keeping was hampered by the practice, still prevalent by 1911, of ‘insisting on a recommend from the quorum where the person formerly was enrolled’ before relocated members could be considered enrolled members of priesthood quorums.  Thus, in 1912 there were 13,308 priesthood members not enrolled in any quorums out of 77,114 total priesthood holders, despite special enrollment drives.  [GPC Minutes, 5 Dec., 1911 and 6 Aug., 1912]  The discrepancy between the real and roolbook count of priesthood holders is demonstrated by the records of some of the Utah stakes that year.

Stake Priesthood Priesthood

Holders Enrolled

Alpine 2,346 1,579

Box Elder 1,392   498

Liberty 1,707   680

Tooele   762   53

[GPC Minutes, 5 Dec., 1911]

But when the Presiding Bishopric instructed bishops in June, 1914, that any priesthood bearer in their wards should be enrolled in proper priesthood classes ‘regardless of whether he has been received as a member of the quorum which has jurisdiction in your ward,’ the enrollment confusion gradually subsided.  Two years later Quorum recommends were discontinued.  [Presiding Bishopric, Circular Letters, 25 Jun., 1914, and 9 Mar., 1916]”  (Hartley, BYU 13(2):149, Winter, 1973)

6 Apr.:  Special calling of the Twelve.

“Now I can’t tell you all that I would like to.  Time will not permit, and there are others to speak.  All these, your brethren, who are called to the apostleship, and to minister in the midst of the house of Israel, are endowed, or ought to be endowed, richly with the spirit of their calling.  For instance, these twelve disciples of Christ are supposed to be eye and ear witnesses of the divine mission of Jesus Christ.  It is not permissible for them to say, I believe, simply; I have accepted it, simply because I believe it.  Read the revelation.  The Lord informs us they must know, they must get the knowledge for themselves, it must be with them as if they had seen with their eyes and heard with their ears, and they know the truth.”  (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Address, 6 Apr., 1916, IE 19:646-652)

9 May:  Enrollment in priesthood quorums and classes.   

“The First Presidency has sent out the following instructions, to stake presidents and bishops, on these subjects:

Dear Brethren:

A number of enquiries have been received of late from Presidents of stakes and quorum officers concerning enrollment in Priesthood quorums and classes.  We consider this subject of sufficient importance to justify sending this letter to you, which we hope you will consider with the High Council and other stake and ward officers, and which should be entered in your stake historical record.

FIRST.–Each quorum should have one roll only, and every person holding the Priesthood should be enrolled in the quorum having jurisdiction in the ward where his Church membership is recorded.  The practice of keeping a supplemental or inactive roll is not approved.

SECOND.–Recommends from one quorum to another are not required.  The present arrangement for admitting members in the quorum is already published as follows:

‘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 names his Priesthood and ordination, it should be accepted as evidence that he holds that office, provided there is no evidence to the contrary, and provided he has been admitted as a member of the ward in full fellowship.’

THIRD.–When a person holding the Priesthood removes from one ward to another and is accepted as a member of the ward into which he moves, it becomes the duty of the Ward Clerk to notify the president of the quorum of the arrival of this person.  The new member should present his certificate of ordination as evidence that he holds the Priesthood, and upon that certificate he should be presented for admission to membership in the quorum to which members of that ward holding the same Priesthood belong.  It is the duty of the Ward Clerk to report at the next ward weekly Priesthood meeting the arrival of any person holding the Priesthood, and every such newly arrived member should be enrolled in the proper class, whether he has attended a class meeting or not.

FOURTH.–When a member holding the Priesthood becomes a member of the ward, the proper quorum officer having jurisdiction should look after him and see that he becomes enrolled in the quorum.

FIFTH.–It is the duty of the secretary of a High Priests’ or Elders’ quorum to prepare certificates of ordination, and to have them signed by the proper officers, presented to the Ward Clerk to be entered upon the ward record, and then delivered to the persons in whose favor they are issued.  Seventies’ quorums, however, do not issue certificates of ordination.  They are issued by the First Council of Seventy.  Therefore, Seventies’ quorums should not be provided with certificates.  When a person is ordained to the office of Seventy by any other person than a member of the First Council, the proper quorum officers should immediately notify the First Council of Seventy, requesting a certificate of ordination to be mailed or delivered to the quorum officer, and after it has been entered on the quorum record and the ward record it should be delivered to the person in whose favor it is issued.

SIXTH.–When a quorum withdraws its fellowship from one of its members, a report of the action of the quorum should be sent to the Bishop of the ward.

We trust that you will take such steps as may be necessary to bring this matter before the quorums of the Priesthood in you stake of Zion, so that there may be uniformity established in enrolling members in quorums and classes and in the preparation and issuing of certificates of ordination.

With kind personal regards, we are,

Your brethren in the Gospel,

Joseph F. Smith, 

Anthon H. Lund,

Charles W. Penrose, 

First Presidency.

Salt Lake City, May 9, 1916.”

(IE 19(8):752-753, Jun., 1916)

1 Jun.:  Duties of AP offices specified.

“A year later, specific Aaronic Priesthood duties, based on actual ward practices, were identified and circulated for the aid of bishops.  They included the following:


Collect fast offerings

Messenger for bishops

Pass sacrament

Prepare fuel for widows and old people

Care for the poor

Pass out notices

Pump organ at meetings

Keep Church property in good condition

Assist in caring for cemeteries

Keep order in meeting house

Maintain meeting house grounds

Assist in Primary work

Assist in religion class work

Act as ushers

Boy Scout work

Attend the doors

Distribute special notices


Assist in ward teaching

Assist with sacrament

Instructors for boy scouts

Take charge of meetings, furnish speakers, singing, etc

Collect ward funds

Assist in renovating meeting houses

Cutting wood for poor

Choir members

Clerk in branch

Officers in auxiliary organizations

Notify priesthood quorums of meetings


Administer the sacrament

Pass the sacrament

Assist in ward teaching

Sunday School officers and teachers

Mutual officers and teachers

Perform baptisms

Ward choristers

Messengers for bishopric

Hold cottage meetings

Assist the elders

Missionary work in the ward

Read scriptures at ward meetings

Supervise the fast offering collecting

Help bishop with care of tithes

Help bishop with wayward boys

Take part in meetings

Haul gravel and make cement walks around meeting houses

Help with teams to level public squares

Active in guiding amusements”

(Hartley, BYU 13(2):151-152, Winter, 1973; quoting GPC Minutes, 1 Jun., 1916)

Jul.:  Duties for members of the Lesser Priesthood.

“Recently the bishops of the Church were asked, through letters sent out by the Presiding Bishopric, what activities were engaged in by members of the Lesser Priesthood, in the different wards.  The answers with a number added by the committee were compiled, from which the Priesthood committee makes the following suggestions, hoping they will be of service to bishops throughout the Church, many of whom have found difficulty in providing activities for members of the Aaronic Priesthood quorums.  We urge the bisohps to select such activities for the members, as shall be most suitable to their local conditions, with a view to interesting the youth of Israel in the work that shall promote the growth of Zion:


Administer the sacrament, pass the sacrament, including taking it to the infirm who are not able to attend meeting; assist in ward teaching, act as Sunday school officers and teachers, act as Mutual officers and teachers, perform the ordinance of baptism, serve as ward choristers, act as messengers for bishopric, hold cottage meetings, assist the elders, do missionary work in the ward, read the scriptures at ward meetings, supervise the collection of fast offerings, help bishop to take care of tithes, help the bishops with wayward boys, take part in meetings, haul gravel, and make cement walks about meeting house; help with teams to level public squares, make special visits to delinquents of Lesser Priesthood, be active in guiding amusements.


Assist in ward teaching; assist with the sacrament, and seeing that the service is in order; become instructors for boy scouts; collect ward funds; take charge of meetings now and again and furnish speakers, singing, etc.; assist in renovating meeting house; take care of meeting house grounds; cut wood for the poor; act as officers in Sunday school; help clerk of branch; become officers in auxiliary organizations; notify priesthood quorums of their meetings; serve as choir members; serve as ushers in gathering, and as order monitors.


Collect the fast offerings, assist in passing sacrament, assist in providing and preparing fuel for widows and old people, act as messengers for bishop, keep meeting house grounds free from weeds, look after the poor, keep order in meeting house; deacons should be given a closer study of the lives of the leaders of the Church, and singing should be part of quorum meetings; assist in Primary and Religion Class work, act as ushers, engage in M.I.A. Scout work, give out notices, assist in caring for cemetery grounds, pump organ at meetings, prepare meeting house, attend the doors, keep Church property in good condition, distribute special notices.”

(“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 19(9):847, Jul., 1916)

6 Oct.:  Too many bishops want to quit.

“Another source of regret is that we have too many of our bishops who want to quit the bishopric.  They want to resign, to give the duty of the bishopric over to somebody else.  They get tired of it.  Of course it is a labor, it is a great responsibility, and when a man becomes incapable of performing the duties of a bishop and the president of the stake is attending to his duty, he will consult with him and recommend that he be honorably released.  Let him be honorably released, without the necessity of resigning; and so the presidents of stakes should do their duty in their stakes, as well as the bishops should do their duty in their wards.  It is a common saying and perhaps a vulgar one, that the Lord hates a quitter, and I must say to you, that it does not strike me as the right thing for a man to quit doing his duty as long as he is able and it is expected of him to do it.  He should do it until he is disqualified by illness or age or other incapacity and then the presiding officers of the stake should know his condition and should recommend his honorable release and the appointment of some one capable to succeed him.

. . . .

Forty-six bishops and sixty-eight ward clerks have been appointed since last April.  This is one of the things I had in my mind, it is too many changes, if we could avoid it. . . .

THere are now seventy-two organized stakes of Zion, with eight hundred and sixteen wards and independent branches, and there are twenty-two missions in the Church.”  (Joseph F. Smith, 6 Oct., 1916; CR Oct., 1916, pp. 5, 9)

6 Oct.:  Don’t take AP responsibilities away from boys.

“Give the boys something to do with the older brethren.  Don’t take all the rights and privileges of teachers away from the deacons and teachers and the priests and give it all to the high priests and to the seventies and the elders; but let the boys go with you.”  (Francis M. Lyman, 6 Oct., 1916; CR Oct., 1916, p. 28)