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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1926

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1926.” You can view other years here.

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1926:  Jan.:  Program for Priesthood Conventions.

[This printed program differed from prior years in that a message from the 1st Presidency was not included, and that a program for a concurrent Women’s Meeting was included.  Of note in the outline for the Priesthood Convention were the following:]

“Duties of the Seventies. . . .

In connection with the discussion of this topic, the following letter of instructions by the First Council of the Seventy to the Quorums, published in the January Improvement Era, 1912, should be considered, and the substance of the following paragraphs should be presented:

‘Special vs. General Calling.’

‘The Issue Squarely Met.’

‘Present Principles and Quorum Allegiance.’

‘The Courtesies in the Case–Avoidance of Friction.'”

“2.  Reports by Each President of Elders’ Quorum on Following Items for Year 1925:

a.  Number of meetings of Elders’ Quorum Presidency.

b.  Number of visits to members made by Quorum Presidency.

1.  Results of such visits.

. . . .

3.  Plans for 1926.

a.  To reach all members.

b.  For at least one quorum social.

c.  For increased missionary service.

d.  To secure text books for all members.

e.  To increase Church activities of members.”

(“Program for Priesthood Conventions, 1926,” [pamphlet], xerox)

Feb.:  Stake and Ward supervision of AP work.

“In all of the stakes a supervising committee of not less than six should be appointed to take charge of Aaronic Priesthood work.  This committee may consist of two or three high councilors together with three or four other men who are particularly qualified and interested in boys.  This body should organize to make regular visits, in groups of two or three, to the various wards every week, in order to see that the ward work is being carried out in accordance with the standards and schedule.

It is their business to work out a suitable form of monthly report of the attendance and the activities of the Aaronic Priesthood of each ward, so that they may be able to secure such report monthly from each ward comprising the above information, for their own use and that of the stake presidency.  Similar information will also be required from each ward for the Presiding Bishopric on the quarterly reports.

It is expected that the monthly reports from the various wards to the Stake Aaronic Priesthood Committee will be prepared by the Ward Aaronic Priesthood Committee.

As previously stated, a Ward Aaronic Priesthood Committee should be appointed by the bishopric, consisting of the class leaders of all of the Aaronic Priesthood quorums, one of whom should be appointed by the bishopric as chairman of the committee.  In large wards it may be desirable to have the Ward Aaronic Priesthood Committee separate from the class leaders.

It is the business of this committee, under the direction of the bishopric, to see that every member of every quorum is given regular assignments of duty, in the line of his Priesthood, at proper intervals, preferably every week.

It is their responsibility, in connection with the presidency and members of each quorum, to secure the regular attendance of all members at the weekly priesthood meetings, and to develop enthusiasm and interest with those who may be careless and indifferent.  They should meet as a committee once each week, preferably after the weekly priesthood meeting, and examine every name on the roll books, see that proper assignments for duty for the ensuing week have been, or are, made; check up on assignments of duty previously made, and determine whether or not they have been fulfilled, and assign to each supervisor a certain number of members of the various quorums, in order that he may personally keep in touch with them and with the bishopric so that these young men may attend to the assignments given them.

At the meeting of the ward supervisors, to be held at the end of each month, the monthly report of all quorums will be prepared to be submitted to the stake committee.

Whether a monthly union meeting of the stake and ward supervisors, class leaders and presidencies of quorums shall be held or not, is a matter for dtermination for the individual stakes.  It would undoubtedly prove very helpful in promoting greater co-ordination and unity of effort and much better class work if this meeting were held.”  (“Priesthood Quorums,” IE 29(4):385, Feb., 1926)

Mar.:  Role of High Council & Bishopric in supervising AP.

“Fro inquiries coming to the Presiding Bishop’s Office, it appears that some who are in charge of the Aaronic Priesthood work do not understand the meaning of the recommendation made by the Presiding Bishopric that members of the high council be assigned to supervise Aaronic Priesthood work, and that the bishopric, assisted by three supervisors, be placed in charge of the Aaronic Priesthood work in each ward.

We believe that the work of the Aaronic Priesthood has been very much neglected in the past.  The annual ward records and the condition of young men called to serve in the mission field are evidences of this fact.  The Presiding Bishopric senses the responsibiloity placed upon them as the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood, and have started a campaign to place this work where it belongs in Church government.  To meet with success, responsibility must be placed upon certain individuals who should, as far as possible, be relieved from all other work, but should be in a position to work with other organizations and plan the work to avoid conflict.

It is very important that all those engaged in this work visualize the real purpose, and so plan their work, or carry out the plans recommended, that each department may work in harmony with all others, and with a view to giving to the young men in the Church training necessary to qualify them for greater service as they are advanced step by step in the Priesthood.

They cannot properly qualify through study alone, but must be given work to do; for this Priesthood, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel, is a Priesthood of service, and provides that those holding it shall labor in outward ordinances.  This requires action as well as study.  Members of the high council, who are intereted in this work and who can see the importance of it, can greatly encourage the bishops and those whom they select to assist in the wards.  Where it is possible to select active young men as class leaders, this should be done.  It is expected that these leaders form a committee to act under the direction of the bishopric and to keep them informed as to quorum matters.  It is not intended that these class leaders shall perform all of the work of leadership, but they should go to the class as companions to the boys, for companionship is what they most need–someone to help them to realize the importance of their work.  They should have respect for quorum officers and should advise these officers from time to time in their presidency.  Quorums should be encouraged to function as quorums.  Officers should be in charge and should conduct the exercises under the direction of the class leaders appointed.”  (“Priesthood Quorums,” IE 29(5):506-507, Mar., 1926)

4 Apr.:  “If I were choosing the bishop . . .”

“I saw an old gentleman yesterday whom I met way down in Arizona, years and years ago, when our people were in poverty and were about to disorganize the stake, because everything had gone to pieces for the time being; and he said, ‘Brother Kimball, I want to call your attention to something that happened years ago.  You were in the little one-horse town, as I called it then, with the presidency of the stake, and you were there alone representing the brethren of the Church.’  The presidency of the stake presented the name of a man to be bishop of that ward.  I said to them, ‘That man will not remain long.’  ‘Well,’ they said, ‘Brother Kimball, whom would you choose?’  ‘Well, if I were choosing, I would choose that fellow over there sitting on the end of the seat; he will make you a good bishop.’  But they put the first man in, and he did not hold out two years, and afterwards they put in the other man, whom I suggested, and he is one of the best bishops they have had.  I merely speak of this to impress you that God can inspire his servants, and they can prophesy and it will come true.”  (J. Golden Kimball, 4 Apr., 1926; CR Apr., 1926, p. 46)

Apr.:  Suggestions for ward teachers.

“The stake committee on ward teaching in one of the nearby stakes has made these suggestions to teachers in the wards:

1. Pray before you go out teaching.

2. Use Thursday evening, set apart in our stake, for teaching, until you have visited all the families in your district.

3. Do not stay longer than 20 minutes.

4. Discuss the standard provided for you for the month’s teaching wherever possible.

5. Pray with the family.

6. Sing with the family, if it is convenient and possible.

7. Be sure to inquire about their health, and if any are sick, report it to the Bishop.

If you are ill, and cannot visit your district, please advise your district president.”  (“Priesthood Quorums,” IE 29(6):599, Apr., 1926)

May:  Supervision of inactive priesthood holders.

“Attention has been called to the fact that in a number of the quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood there are one or two, and sometimes more, of the members who, through carelessness in past years or for other reasons, have not been ordained to a higher office.  The result is that they are older–in some cases much older–than the remainder of the members.  This condition, however, it must be remembered is often the result of previous lack of care and supervision on the part of those who were at the time in charge of the work.

The questions asked are: What shall be done with these ‘overgrown’ members?  Shall they be treated as our children over nine years who are unbaptized?  That is, shall their names be taken off the membership of the quorum?

Answering the latter questions first: It may be stated that there is no authority for taking the names of persons bearing the Priesthood from the quorum records in this manner.  There is, in fact, no way of withdrawing their record of Priesthood except by action against their fellowship by those in authority.

What then shall be done with them?  The answer is: Labor with them and continue that labor.  Select men of kindliness, of tact, and possessed of persuasive powers, to strive with them.  The ward supervisors of the Aaronic Priesthood should be very well suited to such effort.

Those who are appointed o this work should already enjoy or win the good friendship of those with whom they are laboring.  The first step should be to get such members to attend Priesthood meeting in company of the one who has invited them to come.  Quiet, persistent, enthusiastic efforts are needed to secure this result.  They should be asked to attend whatever class befits their age, although credit should be given for their attendance in the quorum to which they belong.  Whoever presides over the class which they attend should be informed beforehand of their coming into the class, and, while making them welcome, should avoid causing them embarrassment.

Follow-up work in getting their continued attendance is very important.  Cooperation between the bishopric and the ward supervisors, in giving them some interesting duties to perform, as they evidence some willingness, will encourage increased activity.  As they show greater faith and attention to the work they should be ordained to a higher office, and the work of encouraging and helpng them should be continued until they are able to stand firmly for themselves.

In anticipation of the question, ‘Can these results actually be obtained?’ it may be stated that these results are being obtained repeatedly and with great benefits to those thus reclaimed.


(“Priesthood Quorums,” IE 29(7):687, May, 1926)

24 Aug.:  Instructions on Melchizedek Priesthood activity.

“We have directed the Presiding Bishopric to submit to us a memorandum of the conditions of the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood as rendered by the officers of these quorums as an annual report of the year 1925.  Brief comment is made on the condition of each quorum, which is herewith enclosed.

It is desired that every person holding an office in the Priesthood be enrolled in the quorum to which he belongs; that the attendance at Priesthood quorum meetings be materially increased; that the quorum officers interest themselves in the attendance at the class meetings of the quorums of the various wards; also that special labor be taken up with those who do not attend their quorum meetings or Sacramental meetings.

Every quorum should make an effort to have representatives in the mission field, and as far as possible members should be actively engaged in some stake or ward duty, and especially active in the performance of their quorum duties.

Your attention is also called to the record of tithepayers.  Some of the quorums make a very fine record, others not so good.  There should be placed upon the president of each quorum and other competent persons the duty of laboring personally and privately with those who have failed to pay their tithing and who are reported as non-tithepayers.

Meetings should be held in every stake of Zion of the stake presidency and committee of the high council with the officers of the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood, at which the presidency of the stake give advice and counsel, make suggestions for improvements and follow up work of the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

With your active supervision and the cooperation of the members of the high council and officers of the various quorums, the records should disclose a considerable improvement.”  (First Presidency to Stake Presidents, 24 Aug., 1926.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 5:251-252)

Oct.:  Plea for renewed activity in AP program.

“The attention of the presiding officers in the stakes, wards and missions is directed to the necessity of renewed activity in the Aaronic Priesthood.

During the past Summer there has been a slackening, and in some cases an entire cessation, of meetings and of the activities of the members of this Priesthood.  This is due in some instances to the absence from home of many boys and young men, as well as to the long hours of work in the farming communities during the Summer season, also in some instances to the prevailing vacation spirit.  But with the coming of the Fall and Winter there is need for the careful organization of the Priesthood to promote to the fullest the attendance, class work and activities.  Supervision and direction of this work is of such importance that it is entitled to first consideration.

In connection therewith, and to secure the best results, the hour appointed for holding Priesthood meeting should be given careful consideration, in order that it may prove most convenient to the greatest number.  Every incentive should be offered all the members of the Aaronic Priesthood in the various wards and branches throughout the Church, to promote their greatest interest and activity in this important work.

It is, therefore, earnestly urged upon all who have responsibility for the Aaronic Priesthood that the plans and recommendations already presented be taken up and followed out systematically and vigorously, and every effort be made to bring everyone into active service.–The Presiding Bishopric.”  (“Priesthood Quorums,” IE 29(12):1195, Oct., 1926)

Nov.:  Instructions to AP quorums by bishoprics.

“Under the plan now in operation for the supervision of the Aaronic Priesthood quorums, the members of the bishopric are expected to have charge of the various grades of the Priesthood.  They are to act in an advisory capacity with the presidency of the quorum and to train them in the business of directing the proceedings of the meeting.

Of course, in the case of the priests’ quorum, the bishop has immediate direction as the president of that quorum.  But even in that quorum he may call assistants to conduct the exercises, so as to fuirnish development for the young men in the matter of presidency.

In this connection it may be well to remind all those connected with this work that an order of business for each quorum should be outlined by those in charge, in cooperation with the quorum presidency, and then be regularly carried out in the meeting.  A suggested order of business has already been submitted by this office for the consideration of all ward officers.  Such an arrangement will promote system and dispatch in the business of the meeting.

The plan above mentioned for the Aaronic Priesthood provides for a class supervisor in each quorum, who shall be thoroughly prepared to conduct the class work after the preliminary business of the class or quorum is put through.  In addition to this work it would appear from our personal experience with deacons’ quorums that in these quorums particularly it might be advisable for the supervisors to call the roll and make the proper entries, since most deacons are hardly experienced enough to keep a roll book accurately and neatly.

The particular phase of the work, however, which we desire to stress here is that the member of the bishopric in charge of the quorum should occupy from two to five minutes time in each meeting, after the preliminary matters have been carried out, and before the lesson work, in a brief discussion of some topic that has to do with the duties, qualifications or habits of the members.

For instance, it is important to discuss with the boys from time to time such topics as the names, quorums and duties of the General Authorities; stake and ward organization officers; observance of tithing; avoiding profanity; how to do good ward teaching; developing moral stamina; the bad effects of the use of tobacco; developing will power; personal cleanliness; proper administration of the Sacrament; having purpose in life; learning a trade or profession, and many other details that are very timely and vital in the training of the boy.

Such topics treated briefly, but in some detail and in such a manner as will appeal most to the boys, will prove very interesting and influential in their growth and progress.”  (“Priesthood Quorums,” IE 30(1):77, Nov., 1926)