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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1929

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1929.” You can view other years here.

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1929:  22 Jan.:  Instructions on quorum committees.

“To the Presidencies of Quorums.

Dear Brethren:

It is taken for granted that you have by this time appointed members of your quorums (or groups) to serve on the following four standing committees:

Personal Welfare Church Service

Class Instruction Miscellaneous

As already stated in the Guide, much of the success of the quorum or group depends upon the intelligent and efficient activity of these committees.  As heretofore recommended the reports of these committees should be submitted in writing and recommendations therein made should be acted upon promptly by the presiding officers and members of the respective quorums or groups.  The following suggestive or illustrative reports are merely indicative of the field of activity in which these committees should function.  They do not purport to be applicable to all cases or even to any particular quorum, but they will serve as samples of written reports, one of which should be submitted at each weekly meeting.

It is recommended that each committee be held largely responsible for the program of one meeting each month.  It will be necessary, therefore, for members of these committees to advise with the quorum presidency (or group representative) regarding the assignment of members to take part on the program or to perform other service.  These assignments should be made from two to four weeks in advance, that those who are to render parts on the program may have ample time for thorough preparation.


The Council of the Twelve,

Rudger Clawson, President.”

(“Suggestions for Melchizedek Quorum Committees,” LDS Archives; Also in IE 32(6):512-516, Apr., 1929; Four sets of Suggestions were printed, each with the above cover letter:

Committee on Personal Welfare (P M251.3 S947p 1929)

Committee on Class Instruction (P M251.3 S947cl 1929)

Committee on Church Service (P M251.3 S947ch 1929)

Committee on Miscellaneous Activity (P M251.3 S947m 1929))

[From “Personal Welfare” suggestions:]

“Suggestive Form and Items for Report.

. . . .

Dear Brethren:

In accordance with instructions given, your committee on Personal Welfare respectfully recommends that the following suggestions be adopted as general ideals for the guidance of the members of the quorum:

1.  That every member strive earnestly and persistently to have the quorum achieve a high degree of efficiency in the observance of the Word of Wisdom.

2.  That at least fifteen minutes a day be devoted to intellectual activity.  This may consist of a study of the principles of the Gospel as set forth in the Standard Works of the Church; of reading articles in standard magazines; of studying the writings of worthy authors; or of participating in religious, literary or scientific gatherings.

3.  That we strive to make our homes places of comfort and delight to those who dwell therein.

4.  That the moral and ethical principles named in the 13th Article of Faith be accepted as our guide in daily conduct.

5.  That each member of this quorum (or group) express his willingness to undertake the achievement of these worthy ideals.

6.  That immediate opportunity may be furnished for this expression, your committee further suggests that every member not present at this meeting be visited in person during the following week.

Respectfully submitted,

Committee on Personal Welfare.”

[From “Class Instruction” suggestions:]

“Dear Brethren:

The members of the committee have met once each week and discussed matters which properly came before them.  Feeling that it is the duty of the committee to encourage all members of the quorum to attend the theological study period Sunday mornings, we, the members, have visited and conversed with each member of the quorum to learn his feelings in relation to the class study and the course of lessons in the Gospel Doctrine department.  All the brethren expressed the desire to take part in these class exercises with the exception of Elder _____, who informed us that he was not interested and felt that he could employ his time to better advantage Sunday mornings.  We are reporting his case so that the committee on _____ may take up a further labor with him with the hope that he will be brought to realize his mistake.  Elder _____ is employed by the street railway and therefore cannot attend regularly.  He assured us, however, that he is in full accord with the quorum and the lessons which he is studying, as best he can, at home.  We have assisted the instructor in the Gospel Doctrine class by placing the lesson leaflets in the hands of the brethren who have been absent from sessions of the Sunday School

The following suggestions for the sbudy of the history and doctrine of the Church are herebyi submitted, and if adopted, it is recommended by the committee that copies be burnished each member of the quorum with instructions that they be preserved and carefully considered as a guide in the studies of the quorum. . . .”

[From “Church Service” suggestions:]

“We recommend:  First, that the quorum (or group) authorize us to make a survey of quorum members to ascertain the present Church service of every member of the quorum; second, that the quorum (or group) place itself on record in a resolution to increase the efficiency and extent of service rendered by the quorum (or group) and its members within the organizations of the Church.”

[From “Miscellaneous Activity” suggestions:]

“Your Committee recommends that a social dinner be given for the members of the quorum living in the ward and their wives on the evening of _____.  A Committee consisting of some of the members of the quorum and their wives have agreed to take over the responsibility of preparing the dinner.  This social evening will help to bring a spirit of fraternity among the members of the quorum and also wives of the members.

It is desired as a result of this dinner that the expenses of the quorum of this ward be taken care of for the year.  It is therefore proposed that each member of the quorum pay $_____ for this dinner and that amount will finance the dinner as well as pay the members’ portion of the expense of maintaining the quorum during the year.”

29 May:  Religion Class and Primary combined.

“May 29, 1929

To Presidencies of Stakes.

Dear Brethren:

Please be advised that we have approved the recommendations of the General Church Board of Education that the Primary and Religion Classes of the Church for the children of the elementary grades of the public schools, kindergarten to the sixth grade inclusive, shall be consolidated and the work be carried on under the auspices of the Primary Association which, it has been decided, shall hereafter be known as the Primary-Religion Class of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This organization is given the responsibility of conducting week-day classes in religion for the children of these elementary grades, in general about agest five to twelve inclusive.

Further, the General Church Board of Education through the Department of Education is given the responsibility of conducting week-day religion class work for the children of the Church beginning with the seventh grade of our public schools, in general about ages twelve and up.  These classes, it has been decided, shall be known as junior seminary classes.

Again, until otherwise determined, the Primary-Religion Class organization shall have jurisdiction of the Seagull Girls, ages twelve to fourteen, for leisure-time activities, other than theological studies.  In other words, these girls are assigned to the junior seminaries for week-day religion class work.

The purpose of these approved recommendations is to insure harmony and cooperation in providing week-day religious instruction for all our children by making only one organization at a time responsible for week-day religion class work.  It is hoped that you and all others concerned will heartily support the plan and aid in carrying it out.  All reasonable efforts should be made to have all children of the Church attend, where feasible, a week-day, as well as a Sunday, class to receive religious instructions. . . .

Sincerely your brethren,

[First Presidency]”

(First Presidency Circular Letter, 29 May, 1929; in Richard O. Cowan, “Priesthood Programs of the Twentieth Century–Under the direction of Dean Jesse, Melchizedek Priesthood Research Task Committee, March, 1974,” p. 211)

May:  Formal training for missionaries.

“The Presidency of the Church recently ruled that prospective missionaries shall be recommended to them at least three months before the date when they will be ready to leave for the mission field.  It was recommended that ‘during this period they should be assigned to special missionary work, or ward teaching, and be given an opportunity to speak in the sacramental meetings, and to assist in the ordinance work at fast meetings.’  In section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord has specifically enumerated three of these special preparatory activities as duties of the Lesser Priesthood.  The ruling provides that the modern missionary shall not lack some training in these Lesser Priesthood duties even if his quorum work has been neglected.  The era of the untrained, uninformed missionary is passing.

It is true that the Lord has performed and still does perform miracles with the missionary material we send him.  ‘Mormons’ and non’Mormons’ alike have marveled at the development which has come during brief missionary terms to the multitude of young men whose first public utterances were abbreviated, halting words of thanks for the funds raised for them at their farewell entertainments.  Our Heavenly Father is especially good to those whose opportunities for training are limited.

At the same time he is continually blessing us with better means of learning and greater facilities for training, to the end that we may be really prepared to represent him.  There is now scarcely a case where the missionary may conscientiously plead lack of opportunity to be prepared.

We bear an authoritative message to mankind.  The ‘Thus saith the Lord’ of modern revelation takes precedence over any opinions of men.  While our humility must not be lost, our preparedness to speak and act must be raised more closely to the standard of our message if we would gain the ears of the multitude of honest-hearted people among the so-called higher classes.

Manifestly the three short months of special training just before the missionary departs should be a finishing course only.  For years before that day, the boy who takes advantage of the Lesser Priesthood activity program is preparing for his call to ‘go into the world.’  Let Aaronic Priesthood leaders and members bear this objective in mind.

. . . .

How many of our young missionaries make their first speech at their farewell, and how few have stood before a congregation of the Church a half dozen times before they are sent out to declare the Gospel message?  May we suggest that a careful study of the present Aaronic Priesthood plan as outlined be carefully made by the Priesthood leaders with a view to encouraging young men to prepare for missionary service, which cannot be done in a few weeks, but requires years of patient effort, following the plan of our Lord.  Let us keep in mind the promise that ‘the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.’


(“Priesthood Quorums,” IE 32(7):603-605, May, 1929)

Jul.:  Origin of D&C 84.

“Sister [Martha Jane Coray] Lewis has related the following incident pertaining to the Prophet and witnessed by her father, Mr. Coray.  At one time the Prophet was preparing an article for conference.  As the writing progressed, he was impressed that mistakes had been made.  He stopped work and told his secretary that he would correct it by the spirit.  Pausing for a few minutes, he then stepped out into the center of the room and under the influence of the holy spirit, which seemed to radiate from his face, making his fathomless eyes appear as deep as eternity and filling the room with an atmosphere of authoritative power and spiritual serenity, he dictated a portion of the revelation on Priesthood, a truly heavenly communication.  (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 84.)  This incident, related by her father, did much to strengthen the faith of Sister Lewis.”  (Lamont Poulter, “A Spiritual Life: Comprising Certain Experiences of Martha Jane Coray Lewis,” RS 16(7):364, Jul., 1929)

Sep.:  Deacons and Teachers no longer able to ordain.

The phrases “Deacons may ordain persons to the office they themselves hold, when so directed by proper authority, but not to a higher office,” and “The Teacher may Ordain persons to the office of Teacher and of Deacon.  The Deacon may ordain others to the office of Deacon, provided these officers are so directed by the proper authority,” which were present in the 1906 edition, were deleted in the 1929 edition.  There is no indication in the 1929 edition that the deletion was made.  (See pp. 42 and 48 of 1929 edition.)  (Joseph B. Keeler, The Lesser Priesthood and Notes on Church Government, 1929 edition)

Sep.:  Apostles represent 1st Pres. in selecting bishops.

The phrase, “In the selection and ordination of ward bishops Apostles often represent the First Presidency,” was added to the section on “Selecting Ward Bishops.”  Otherwise the procedures listed are identical to the 1904 and 1906 editions.  (Joseph B. Keeler, The Lesser Priesthood and Notes on Church Government, 1929 edition, p. 67)

6 Oct.:  The priesthood in the Sunday School.

“The Priesthood in the Sunday School.

Speaking to the above subject, Elder Stephen L. Richards stated that every institution, every agency, and every facility in the Church is basically a Priesthood institution, agency or facility.  Every function is a Priesthood function.  There is no nominating or appointing power in the Church independent of the Priesthood.  Sunday School officers and teachers should look upon the relation of the Priesthood to the Sunday School in this light.  The Sunday School is the Priesthood’s Sunday School.  It belongs to no one else.  Its facilities have been provided as auxiliary to the priesthood.

It was suggested that when the Bishop is consulted about the appointment of teachers, that the Presidency of Priesthood quorum or groups be consulted also, especially when teachers or Melchizedek Priesthood Quorum groups are under consideration.

The importance of differentiating the Priesthood Study Class and the Priesthood Fraternity and Business Meeting was stressed.  The purpose of the General Authorities is to promite fraternity and quorum activity through the quorum business meeting.  This purpose will be defeated in the Business Meeting if that meeting is devoted to the consideration of a course of study, which should rather be undertaken in the Sunday School hour.

The study groups in the Sunday School may be organized to conform to the Quorum Group.  Elders and their wives and friends may study in one group, Seventies in another and High Priests in another.”  (Report of Stake Superintendents’ Meeting held in the Bishop’s Building, Salt Lake City, 6 Oct., 1929; in JI 64(11):635, 1 Nov., 1929)

15 Oct.:  Every quorum to supply missionaries.

“A special calling of the Seventy is to be ‘traveling ministers’ or in other words, missionaries, and it is the duty of the presidents to stimulate the missionary spirit among them and every quorum should take a special pride in supplying a goodly number of missionaries to the Church.”  (15 Oct., 1929, The First Council of Seventy, by B. H. Roberts; typescript, LDS Archives Pq M251.3 B855 195-?; xerox)

New mission president escorted to field by Apostle.

“A new president of a mission is to be installed, as far as possible, by one of the members of the Council of the Twelve, who shall accompany the new president to his field of labor and to the various districts of his mission.”  (1929; Rudger Clawson “Book of Decisions-1”; in Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government (1939 edition), p. 341)