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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1923

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1923.” You can view other years here.

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1923:  13 Jan.:  Dissolution of Gen. Corr. & Soc. Advis. Comms.

“January 13, 1923

To Presidents of Stakes:

Dear Brethren:

For some years past, the General Correlation Committee and the Social Advisory Committee of the Church have given attention, among other items, to the work of teacher training and the recreational work of the Church, respectively.  These activities have now progressed to such an extent that we believe they can well be assigned to established institutions withint he Church for further development.  The two committees mentioned above have, therefore, been released with the commendation of the Presidency for the splendid work accomplished by them.  The work of teacher training has been assigned to the Church School System, and the major responsibility for recreational work has been assigned to the Mutual Improvement Associations.  In making these assignments we desire it to be understood that all of the associations and organizations concerned with these activities are to give full support and cooperation in carrying them forward.

We wish also to have it clearly understood that all auxiliary associations operate under the direct presidency and supervision of stake and ward priesthood authorities, who carry the ultimate responsibility for the work of these organizations.

The Church Board of Education proposes to project the teacher training work through Stake Boards of Education, consisting in nearly all instances of the presidencies of stakes; with a few additional members, and through the bishoprics of wards.  The Boards of Education will receive suggestions from time to time from the Commission of Education and the Superintendent of Church Schools relative to the manner in which the teacher training work is to be organized and maintained.

The Mutual Improvement Associations, to whom the recreational activities of the Church have been assigned, desire that the services of those who have heretofore served on stake and ward social committees be retained to assist in carrying on the recreational program, at least until such time as those organizations project further plans for the work.  In the future these committees will receive directions with regard to social activities of wards and stakes from the General Boards of the Young Men’s and Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Associations.

In promoting the activites herein mentioned, as well as all other phases of auxiliary work, we regard it as being very desirable that the presidents of stakes and bishops of wards shall from time to time call together the superintendencies and presidencies of auxiliary organizations for the consideration of the work of these organizations and for the establishment of harmonious relationship and endeavor so essential to the success of the cause they represent.

Sincerely your brethren,

Heber J. Grant

Charles W. Penrose

A. W. Ivins

First Presidency.”

(Antone K. Romney, “History of the Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries,” prepared for the Research Committee of the Melchizedek Priesthood Education Committee, Aug., 1961, part E; xerox)

Jan.:  Priesthood Council Conferences announced.

“The First Presidency of the Church have authorized a priesthood council convention to be held on Saturday morning, in each stake of Zion, at the regular quarterly two-day conferences held during the months of January, February and March.  A general meeting for all of the priesthood, both the Melchizedek and Aaronic, will be held at 9:30, and separate sessions of the quorums at 10:30 o’clock.  The meetings are especially designed for quorum officers and teachers, but all members of the quorums are invited and urged to be present.  The stake presidents will preside over the meetings, and make the necessary arrangements for rooms to meet in, select leaders, and provide programs for each of the priesthood divisions, and see to other details necessary to make the meetings successful.  It is a new movement that will be hailed with delight by all who hold the priesthood.”  (“Priesthood Quorums’ Table,” IE 26(3):296, Jan., 1923)

8 Mar.:  Monthly correlation mtgs w/auxiliaries urged.

“. . . in 1923 the First Presidency urged stake presidents and ward bishops to conduct monthly correlation meetings with their auxiliary executives.”  (Richard O. Cowan, “The Priesthood-Auxiliary Movement, 1928-1938,” BYU Studies 19(1):108, Fall, 1978; references First Presidency circular letter, 8 Mar., 1923)

20 Mar.:  Priesthood-Sunday School questions.

“March 20, 1923

President Heber J. Grant

Dear President Grant:

You suggested to us some time ago that we set before you in writing the matters considered by the body of Stake Presidents who were called together at your request to make reports upon, and to give attention to the holding of Priesthood classes before, and during the hours when the Sunday Schools were held.  We find that upon investigation no elaborate minutes were made of the meeting of the body but from the record which Brother Gibbs has handed to us, and from our own memory of the discussion we think perhaps the following may be said to set out the major thoughts expressed on that occasion:

That in some Stakes Priesthood classes are held on Sunday morning prior to the time when the Sunday School begins, with definite instructions that the Priesthood classes shall be adjourned in ample time for the members holding the Priesthood and offices in the Sunday School to attend officers and teachers prayer meeting not later than 10:10 A.M.  Observation was made, however, that even with such instructions the Priesthood classes in many cases were prolonged so that they interferred with the beginning of Sunday School meetings.

That in a few Stakes represented, the Priesthood classes of the Lesser Priesthood were held during the Sunday School class period under the following regulations:

First, that the Priesthood classes were presided over and conducted by their Quorum officers and leaders, the leaders being enrolled in the Sunday School as teachers, and participating in Sunday School preparation and Union meetings.

Second, that the course of study followed by such Priesthood classes in teh Sunday School was that prescribed by the Sunday School Board.  It was noted, however, that the Presiding Bishopric had issued instructions that in all cases Priesthood classes of the Lesser Priesthood should follow the course of study prescribed for them.  Some Stakes reported that they had conformed to the instructions of the Presiding Bishopric in this respect.

Third, that the members of the Priesthood classes while receiving credit for Quorum attendance are also enrolled as members of the Sunday School, and in their attendance credited as such.  They are also subject to the discipline of the Sunday School in its opening and closing exercise and general activities.

Several Stakes, in fact the majority of the Stakes represented, reported that while they had experimented with the Priesthood meeting on Sunday morning they had abandoned the practice and were then holding their Priesthood meetings on week day nights with good success.  The discussion of the meeting, other than that concerned with reports of practices indulged in in the various Stakes represented, was given over chiefly to two questions.  First, whether or not the holding of Priesthood classes on Sunday morning, prior to the time of holding Sunday School was preferable to the holding of Priesthood classes on week day nights.  And second, if Priesthood classes are held during the Sunday School period whether or not the Sunday School course of study or the Priesthood course of study should be followed, and whether or not those directing the Priesthood class work, so held in the Sunday School, should conform to the Sunday School program and discipline.

While it can not be said that there was uniformity of opinion on these questions it is our remembrance that of those who expressed themselves the larger number seemed to favor the general proposition that the Sunday School hour should be reserved for carrying forward the Sunday School program and course of study, it being suggested that it seemed desirable to give to the boys of the Lesser Priesthood in particular, the opportunity of learning the Gospel from pursuing both the Priesthood course of study and the Sunday School course of study.

Attention should here be called to the fact that in one Stake represented, namely, Liberty Stake, it was reported that by permission of the General Authorities a unique plan had been adopted for experiment which contemplated the holding of all Priesthood classes, both the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood, during the Sunday School hour under the presidency of the Ward Bishopric, who ordinarily accorded to the Sunday School Superintendent the privilege of conducting the opening and closing exercise of such a school, the class of the Priesthood being under the direction of the Priesthood class leader.

We have detailed the foregoing report of the meeting merely for the purpose of refreshing your mind upon what there occurred.  It seems to us that the chief questions for consideration are:

1. Is it advisable to make provision in the Sunday Schools for the holding of Priesthood classes: a–of the Aaronic Priesthood; b–of the Melchizedek Priesthood; or is it desirable that the Sunday School class period should be devoted wholly to the teaching of its own course of study.

2. If the Priesthood classes are held during the Sunday School class period should the Sunday School course of study, or the Priesthood course of study be used? a–With the Aaronic Priesthood; b–with the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Of course, if the Melchizedek Priesthood are taken from our Parents classes only sisters remain therein.

3. If Priesthood classes are held during the Sunday School hour shall the members of the class and their class leader be held amenable to the jurisdiction and discipline of the Sunday School.  That is to say, shall such members of classes be enrolled as members of the Sunday School and conform to its requirements as to attendance, punctuality, order, etc.  And shall class leaders be enrolled as teachers of the Sunday School, participating with the teachers corps in preparation, Union Meetings, and other Sunday School activities.

4. Is it advisable for Priesthood meetings to be held Sunday morning either prior to, or during the time of the holding of Sunday School, when not held in connection therewith.

5. If Priesthood meetings are held prior to the Sunday School hour is it to be understood: a–In the Aaronic Priesthood; b–In the Melchizedek Priesthood classes, that male officers and teachers allied with the Quorum may be excused from Quorum meeting in sufficient time to attend teachers prayer meeting at 10:10 A.M., and that adjournment of the Quorum be taken so that other members of the Priesthood may attend the Sunday School service at its beginning.  In this connection it may be noted that often the same rooms are utilized for Priesthood classes as for the Sunday School opening exercises and that prompt adjournment of the Priesthood is necessary to begin Sunday School on time.

We feel that definite instructions from the Presidency on the foregoing matters would be very helpful to a harmonious articulation of the Priesthood classes and the Sunday School and, therefore, respectfully submit the foregoing for your consideration.

If we may be of any service in further explanation of the matter, we are

Sincerely yours to command,

Stephen L. Richards

Geo. D. Pyper

In behalf of the General [Sunday School] Superintendency.”

(Richard O. Cowan, “Priesthood Programs of the Twentieth Century–Under the direction of Dean Jesse, Melchizedek Priesthood Research Task Committee, March, 1974,” pp. 163-166)

8 Apr.:  The system of Church courts.

“It is true that a system of Church courts has been given, and judges provided whose duty it is to watch over the Church, to hear cases where differences may exist between Church members, and to take cognizance of cases where the rules governing the conduct of members, whose acts may be un-Christian, immoral, or opposed to justice and righteousness, are concerned.

This system begins with the teachers, who are expected to be familiar with the lives and conduct of the members of their wards, and who seek to induce, by persuasion and love, those who may have departed from the way of the Lord, to return to it.  Where members refuse, or neglect to be governed by the council of the teachers, their case may be taken to the bishopric, and if they fail to reach a satisfactory adjustment may be carried to the high council, and from there appealed to the First Presidency.

These Church courts, while corresponding closely to our civil courts, differ entirely from the latter in this respect.  Whether it be the decision of a bishop’s court, a high council or the First Presidency, no effort is made to enforce the decree contrary to the will of the accused.  Disinterested men hear the case, there are no lawyers to interpret, or misinterpret the law, the accused has the right to appear and speak in his own behalf, and to introduce evidence, after which the decision is rendered.  If the accused refuses to submit to the findings of the court, the only penalty attached is the withdrawal of the hand of fellowship, or excommunication from the Church, after which he is permitted to go his way in peace, so far as his conscience may permit peace to dwell in his soul.”  (Anthony W. Ivins, 8 Apr., 1923; CR Apr., 1923, pp. 91-92)

8 May:  Reason for not allowing locals to choose 70s.

“The choosing, ordaining and presiding over the Seventies is the special calling of the First Council, who, however, are acting under the direction of the Twelve.  Therefore, they, that is, the Twelve and the First Council, are held responsible and have adopted this rule primarily to prevent the filling up of our quorums with non-missionary material.  Neither do we desire to impose the details of our work upon others who usually have quite enough of their own affairs to attend to and are not at all familiar with ours.”  (8 May, 1923, The First Council of the Seventy, by J. Golden Kimball; LDS Archives, Pq M251.3 B855 195-?; xerox)

26 Dec.:  Calling of Priesthood Conventions.

“We desire that the Priesthood Quorums and Priesthood activities shall receive especial attention during the Stake Quarterly Conferences, to be held in January, February and March, 1924.  We recommend, therefore, that the Presidencies of stakes set aside the first day of the Quarterly Conferences for the consideration of work pertaining to the Melchizedek and the Aaronic Priesthoods; and in the case of stakes holding a one-day conference only, that arrangements be made to carry out the Priesthood Convention Program in special meetings appointed for that purpose, if necessary before or after the conference day.

Where deemed advisable, arrangements may be made for separate meetings for the sisters, to be held while the Priesthood Convention meetings are in session.

The program of procedure for the Priesthood Conventions has been prepared by the Council of the Twelve, with our full concurrence.”  (First Presidency, 26 Dec., 1923, IE 27:386[Feb., 1924]; also in “Program for Priesthood Conventions . . . 1924,” [pamphlet], xerox)

[From the program of that convention:]

“2.  The special calling of a Deacon:

a.  To assist Teachers when so directed.

b.  To assist in maintaining proper decorum in places of worship.

c.  To labor with delinquent quorum members.

d.  To assist in making meeting house clean and orderly.

e.  To assist in keeping in order the meeting house grounds.

f.  To assist in caring for the homes and grounds of the aged, sick or feeble.”  [Why no mention of passing the sacrament?]

(“Program for Priesthood Conventions . . . 1924,” [pamphlet], xerox)

29 Dec.:  Scheduling of priesthood meetings.

“Dear Brethren:–

For a considerable period consideration has been given to the growing tendency to conduct Priesthood classes and quorum meetings on Sunday mornings during the time allotted to the Sunday Schools.  It appears that in some instances Priesthood classes are substituted for Sunday School classes under either Sunday School auspices or that of quorums, and the boys and men holding the Priesthood are thus deprived of the Sunday School courses of study.

It is our desire that the Sunday School hours on Sunday morning, namely, from 10:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M., be preserved without interference from other organizations for Sunday School exercises and the presentation of Sunday School courses of study, subject, of course, to such interruptions as occur through the holding of general and stake conferences, stake conventions and other specially called or extraordinary meetings.  We believe that all male members of the Church should have opportunity for training in both the courses of study offered in Priesthood classes and those offered in the Sunday School.

While the period from 9 A.M. to 10:20 A.M. may be considered to be available for the holding of Priesthood classes, it is our opinion, speaking generally, that a week-day night presents a more satisfactory and adequate opportunity for effective Priesthood class work, with less likelihood of interference with the Sunday School work and meetings preliminary thereto.  We desire to emphasize the desirability of teaching in the Sunday School by members holding the Priesthood, and we urge Bishops and presiding officers of quorums to encourage men of the Priesthood to give liberally of their time and service in teaching the youth of the Church.

If Priesthood classes are held on Sunday morning they should be adjourned no later than 10:20 A.M., and all members holding the Priesthood should be urged to attend and take part in the Sunday School.  Members of Priesthood classes who are officers of teachers in the Sunday School should be excused from such classes, if held on Sunday morning, in sufficient time to permit their attendance at the prayer meeting of the Sunday School which is held at the hour of 10:10 A.M.

Sincerely your brethren,

Heber J. Grant

Charles W. Penrose

A. W. Ivins

First Presidency”

(29 Dec., 1923, First Presidency Circular Letters, LDS Archives, CR 1/1)

Stronger emphasis on adult non-MP meeting together.

“When persons have grown to manhood without having been advanced in the priesthood, they should be permitted to meet with one of the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood and thus be encouraged to attend the priesthood meetings, until such time as their good works justify their advancement; or still better may be grouped into a separate class or quorum and placed in charge of a capable instructor.”  [“still better” added to 1921 edition.]  (Instructions to Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks, No. 13, Second Edition, 1923, p. 13)

Addition to Priest job description.

All duties listed in No. 13 (1921) were repeated in No. 13, 2nd edition (1923), and one was added:  “to help bishopric with wayward boys.”  (Instructions to Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks, No. 13, Second Edition, 1923, p. 14)