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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1933

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1933.” You can view other years here.

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1933:  31 Jan.:  Priesthood business to be conducted in SS Class.

“Allowing more flexibility led to new problems; many wards experienced difficulties in scheduling priesthood meetings.  To eliminate this confusion, beginning in 1933 the General Authorities directed that priesthood business be conducted in the Sunday School class, either before or following the lesson.”  (Richard O. Cowan, “The Priesthood-Auxiliary Movement, 1928-1938,” BYU Studies 19(1):117, Fall, 1978; referenced to Council of the Twelve circular letter, 31 Jan., 1933)

Feb.:  Chronology of Priesthood Events.

“A brief Church chronology for members of the Aaronic Priesthod, for use in connection with 1933 program.

. . . .

April 6, 1830–Church was organized and first Elders were ordained.

. . . .

June 6, 1831–First High Priests ordained.

. . . .

Nov. 3, 1831–Revelation was given on Aaronic Priesthood, showing nature and authority.”

(“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(4):235, Feb., 1933)

Mar.:  New MP manual.

“The Priesthood committee of the Church in the new manual which is just off the press, announces a step forward in the operation of the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Under the new arrangement the monthly quorum meetings are to receive a new emphasis, a complete order of business of which is given on this page.

On account of the fact that many wards have had difficulty finding an appropriate time for the weekly group activity meeting a plan by means of which that activity meeting may be combined with the Gospel Doctrine class of the Sunday School is suggested.  Under the old method activity groups of the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood met at 9 o’clock Sunday morning or at 11:30.  In some cases neither of these hours seemed satisfactory for one reason or another.  The suggestion is now made that members of the various Melchizedek groups of the ward may meet with the Gospel Doctrine Class of the Sunday School.  In that case, however, the Gospel Doctrine Class will become more than a class, it will be the activity meeting of the groups as well.

Under this plan the time of the class will be extended a few minutes, then each Sunday not more than fifteen minutes of class time may be used for reports of group activities.  The secretary of the ward group will keep his roll of those present from his quorum, and the secretary of the Sunday School will keep a roll of the entire class.

In those wards where this plan is used a separate meeting of the ward activity group will be unnecessary.  This system, naturally, will place greater emphasis upon the monthly Quorum Meeting.  Each ward activity group is still to maintain its four permanent committees, viz: Personal Welfare, Church Activity, Class Instruction, and Miscellaneous.

Here is a suggested plan which, in the opinion of the Priesthood Committee, would work well.  The quorums may be organized on a stake basis with these four permanent committees.  For instance, the stake may have a Personal Welfare Committee made up as desired.  This committee could have a list of the names of all members of the quorum in the stake and could work through the ward committee with every individual member of the quorum.  In smaller wards perhaps a single man would constitute the committee.  The other three committees could be organized in exactly the same manner.

This ward committee could in the Gospel Doctrine Class give reports of activity, as there is no particular reason why the women, also, should not know what conditions prevail in the ward especially as they pertain to members of the priesthood.

In addition to making this report, the ward committee could inform the stake committee in order that it, in turn, could make its report.

We are including here a few paragraphs from a letter which has been sent to Presidencies of Stakes and Bishoprics of Wards:

To obviate some difficulties encountered by the stakes in the holding of Priesthood group or activity meetings at various times, it is recommended by the Council of the Twelve and approved by the First Council of Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric that the group or activity meetings of both Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood quorums may be held during the Sunday School hour from 10 to 12 o’clock.

The other period precedes 10 o’clock Sunday morning.  Those wards which are now holding successful activity meetings from 9 to 9:50 a.m. on Sunday should continue as at present unless they think greater good may be accomplished by combining the activity work with the class recitation during the Sunday School period from 10 to 12.  It should be carefully noted, however, that when these activity meetings precede the Sunday School session they should be dismissed no later than 9:55 a.m.

It should also be remembered that in those wards which choose to incorporate the activity work with the class period, the time must be extended ten or fifteen minutes so that the minimum of 45 minutes lesson work may still be retained.  Under these circumstances the quorum secretary or group secretary should give credit for attendance at the activity meeting and the Sunday School secretary record the attendance at the Sunday School session.  This applies to the Melchizedek as well as to the Aaronic Priesthood.

Definite instructions relative to record keeping, to specific duties of quorum officers, group leaders, committees, etc., will be found in the new Priesthood Manual, copies of which may be obtained at the Deseret Book Company. . . .

From the Council of the Twelve.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 36(5):301, Mar., 1933)

Mar.:  AP Correlation update.

“In examining the monthly report of ward teaching and meetings submitted by the stake clerks, it is observed that quite a number of wards are not holding monthly correlation meetings.

The importance of the correlation plan as it affects young men between the ages of 12 and 20 years cannot be over-emphasized, and it is sincerely hoped that stake presidencies and ward bishoprics will see that organizations are immediately effected in the stake and all of the wards of the stake so that these meetings will be held regularly each month, and the activities of the correlation committee carried out as outlined.

There should be no misunderstanding as to the proper organization and plan and program of correlation work.  The personnel and the functions of the ward and stake committees are very clearly outlined in the pamphlets issued by this office April 4, 1931, and restated in the minutes of the Aaronic Priesthood Conventions of April and October, 1931, and April, 1932.  The minutes of these conventions were mailed to stake presidencies and ward bishoprics and should have been carefully preserved for reference.  It is recommended that all who are not familiar with the correlation plan review these minutes carefully.  Monthly reports from the wards to the stake committee are required, and a similar monthly report from the stake to the Presiding Bishopric, as requested in the original plan.

It is hoped that when the reports of ward teaching and meetings are received for the balance of this year that all wards of the church will report the monthly correlation meeting held.

The Presiding Bishopric.”

(“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(5):303, Mar., 1933)

1 Apr.:  Priesthood in class period.

“The following excerpts are taken from a letter by President Rudger Clawson of the Council of the Twelve concerning the time for holding Priesthood activity meetings:

With the experience of a decade of observation and practical demonstration, the choice of two periods may now be fairly definitely fixed.  The following special announcement by the General Authorities of the Church sets forth one of these favored alternatives:

To obviate some difficulties encountered by the stakes in the holding of Priesthood group or activity meetings at various times, it is recommended by the Council of the Twelve and approved by the First Council of Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric that the group or activity meetings of both Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood quorums may be held during the Sunday School hour from 10 to 12 o’clock.

The other period precedes 10 o’clock Sunday morning.  Those wards which are now holding successful activity meetings from 9 to 9:50 a.m. on Sunday should continue as at present unless they think greater good may be accomplished by combining the activity work with the class recitation during the Sunday School period from 10 to 12.  It should be carefully noted, however, that when these activity meetings precede the Sunday School session they should be dismissed no later than 9:55 a.m.

It should also be remembered that in those wards which choose to incorporate the activity work with the class period, the time must be extended ten or fifteen minutes so that the minimum of 45 minutes lesson work may still be retained.  Under these circumstances the quorum secretary or group secretary should give credit for attendance at the activity meeting and the Sunday School secretary record the attendance at the Sunday School session.  This applies to the Melchizedek as well as to the Aaronic Priesthood.”

(“Points for Superintendents,” Instructor 68(4):150, 1 Apr., 1933)

7 Apr.:  Church hereafter to duplicate Church here.

“And then we have the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth, and I should say that as between these two churches there is virtually no difference, except this, that in the one case the church is upon the earth, and in the other case the church is in the spirit world, or in heaven.  The work that we are expected to do here, I am sure we will be expected to do over there, and we will have the means to do it.  They who have gone before us, who bear the priesthood, have taken the means with them which represents divine authority.  We lose nothing by dying, except the body which must go back to the earth that gave it.  The body belongs to the earth.  It is formed of dust, and will return to dust.  But the spirit came from God, and when it leaves the body it will return to God who gave it.  That is good scripture.

Now, a man who is an apostle here will be an apostle there.  A man who is a high priest here, or a seventy, or an elder, or a patriarch, when he dies, will still be in possession of the office he held on earth.  The high priest, for instance, will pass into the high priests’ quorum there, the seventy into the seventies’ quorum, and the elder into the elders’ quorum, and so on.  It is all one church.  All that divides these two great church divisions is the veil, and the principles of the Gospel that govern here in the Church of Christ will surely govern there in the Church of Christ.  So the men holding various offices in the priesthood in this life will pass into their proper quorums in the life to come.  No doubt it will all be done in perfect order.  There will be no confusion, and the good work will go on.”  (Rudger Clawson, 7 Apr., 1933; CR Apr., 1933, p. 76)

9 Apr.:  “Priesthood.”

“Priesthood is inherent in the Godhead.  It is authority and power which has its source only in the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  We speak of certain powers and prerogatives possessed by the President of the United States, of rights and privileges vested in Congress, of power held by the Supreme Court of the United States and the source of such authority we easily comprehend.  Ultimately the origin centers in the people as an organized body.  In seeking the source of the Priesthood, however, we can conceive of no condition beyond God Himself.  In Him it centers.  From Him it must emanate.

Delegated Authority

Priesthood being thus inherent in the Father, it follows that He alone can give it to another.  Priesthood, therefore, as held by man must ever be delegated authority.  There never has been a human being in the world, who had the right to arrogate to himself the power and authority of the Priesthood.  As an ambassador from any government exercises only that authority which has been given him by his government so a man who is authorized to represent Deity does so only by virtue of the powers and rights delegated to him.  However, when such authority is given, it carries, within limitations, all the privileges of a ‘power of attorney,’ by which one is empowered by another to act in another’s stead.  All official action performed in accordance with such power of attorney is as binding as if the person himself had performed it.

A Principle of Power

Priesthood is a ‘principle of power.’  To form a mental picture of a principle in its abstract form is difficult if not impossible.  We can interpret it only as it is expressed in human action.  A principle is that something which is inherent in anything, determining its nature.  I have already explained how Priesthood centers in the Almighty.  Its very essence therefore is eternal.  As it finds expression in life it manifests power.  We can conceive of the power of Priesthood as being potentially existent as an impounded reservoir of water.  Such power becomes dynamic and productive of good only when the liberated force becomes active in valleys, fields, gardens and happy homes.  So the Priesthood as related to humanity is a principle of power only as it becomes active in the lives of men, turning their hearts and desires toward God, and prompting service to their fellowmen.

Two Sources Through Which Priesthood is Manifested

Strictly speaking, Priesthood as delegated power, is an individual acquirement.  However, by divine decree men who are appointed to serve in particular offices in the Priesthood unite in Quorums.  Thus this power finds expression through groups as well as in individuals.  The Quorum is the opportunity for men of like aspirations to know, to love and to aid one another.  ‘To live is not to live for one’s self alone.’

The Need of a Church

For a Quorum to function, there must be a Church organization.  In the history of God’s dealing with men individual prophets have held the Holy Priesthood at times when there was no regularly organized Church on the earth, but never under such a condition has there been a Quorum of Priesthood organized.  The Church, therefore, is the means through which the authority of the Priesthood can be properly exercised and administered.  Whenever the full authority of the Priesthood is upon the earth, a Church organization must be maintained.  Contrariwise, there can be no true Church without the divine authority of the Holy Priesthood.  In confirmation of this fact, President Joseph F. Smith has said:

‘No ordinance of the Gospel can be performed acceptably to God or with efficacy to man except by its authority and power, and certainly there is no ordinance or rite instituted by the Almighty in the great plan of redemption which is not essential to the salvation or exaltation of his children.  Therefore, where the Melchizedek or Holy Priesthood does not exist, there can be no true Church of Christ in its fulness.  When this Priesthood is not found among mankind they are destitute of the power of God, and therefore of the true science of theology, or the Church and religion of Jesus Christ, who is the great High Priest and Apostle of our Salvation.’–Gospel Doctrine 236-237.

The world is full or organizations and governments of various kinds, of churches of many denominations, but only as each possesses an element or elements of eternal truth and abides by that truth will it persist.  Man-made organizations are continually springing up, existing for a while and then dying.  Only the Church possessing the eternal power and authority of the Holy Priesthood and abiding therein can eternally endure.  Just preceding and following the year 1830, many religious, educational and economic organizations sprang up as remedial elements offered to a socially and religiously sick-strained world.  They flourished for a time, then failed.  These were followed by others which also proved ineffective in alleviating the ills they sought to cure.  In that same year, however, through an unlearned and unknown youth, God established an organization which has endured and which will endure forever simply because of the divine power by which that Church was organized–the Power of the Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God.  To this Church we may apply the words of one who speaks of ‘God’s truth and faithfulness,’ which are like the ocean, vast, fathomless, sublime, the same in its majesty, its inexhaustible fullness, yesterday, today, and forever; the same in calm and storm, by day and by night; changeless while generations come and pass; everlasting while ages are rolling away.’

Conferring the Priesthood Predicated Upon Two Conditions

There are two conditions which should always be considered when the Priesthood is conferred.  The first of these is the individual’s worthiness to receive it.  The second is the service which he can render to the Church and to his fellowmen.

Privileges and Blessings of the Priesthood

Recognizing the fact that the Creator is the eternal and everlasting source of this power, that He alone can direct it, and that to possess it is to have the right as an authorized representative of direct communion with God, how reasonable yet sublime are the following privileges and blessings made possible of attainment through possession of the power and authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.  The following five blessings are the most glorious that the human mind can contemplate.  The Priesthood gives the right:

1.  To hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the Church.

2.  To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

3.  To have the heavens opened unto them.

4.  To commune with the general assembly and church of the first born, and

5.  To enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.


A man who is thus in communion with his God will find his life sweetened; his discernment sharpened to decide quickly between right and wrong; his feelings tender and compassionate, yet his spirit strong and valiant in defense of Right; he will find the Priesthood a never failing source of happiness–a well of living water springing up unto eternal life.”  (David O. McKay, “Priesthood,” DSSU Conference, 9 Apr., 1933; in Instructor 68(5):193-195, 1 May, 1933)

May:  Summer campaign for AP again stressed.

“Encouraged by the success of the summer campaign of the past four years and spurred on by a realization of the need of Church influences in the lives of members of the Aaronic Priesthood, the Presiding Bishopric is again urging upon Stake and Ward Priesthood leaders the necessity for continuing quorums during the summer months.  The graphic chart shown at the Aaronic Priesthood convention during April conference and reproduced on this page shows how the wide fluctuations in attendance have been checked.

It will be noted from the chart that the lowest mark in the summer of 1932 was one point higher than the highest mark for spring or summer of 1928.  It will also be noted that the decrease in attendance during the summer months of 1932 was comparatively small.  In 1929 attendance ranged from 7% in July and August to 26% in January and December, a fluctuation of 19 points, while in 1932 the figures ranged from 19% in only one month–July–to 26% in January, a variation of only 7 points.  The deep ‘valleys’ of the summer months of a few years ago have been filled with activity.  It is hoped this year to keep attendance above 20% during the mid-summer months and to reach 30% for at least one month.  

A significant feature of the graph is that in May of 1932 the downward trend of attendance which, in other years, when once started, continued until the bottom was reached, was checked and remained at 21% during May and June.  It dipped to 19%, the low point in only one month.  In the previous three years the low point was held for two or three months.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(7):430, May, 1933)

Jun.:  Fight the summer slump.

“If there is one time of the year when a member of the Aaronic Priesthood needs the supporting and strengthening influence of church associations, activity and influence it is in the summer when school is out, other organizations that exercise some degree of restraint are on vacation and a spirit of ‘freedom’ is manifest.  Every young man should have a vacation during the summer for his own good and benefit.  At such times, especially if he is away from home he is entitled to a legitimate excuse from his quorum duties.  But vacations ordinarily last but a week or two at most.  During the remainder of the summer period there is no legitimate reason why there should be any laxity in church duties.  ‘Satan never takes a vacation’ is a statement we used to hear frequently.  It is certainly true.  In the summer with resorts running full blast, amusement-seeking uppermost in the minds of many young people and temptations multiplied, evil influences are probably stronger than at any other time.  Yet in some stakes and wards Priesthood activity is permitted to lag and in some cases to cease entirely.  Substantial progress has been made in the past few years in the effort of the Presiding Bishopric to increase summer activity.  Request has been made that all stakes and wards continue Priesthood quorum activity during the summer months and that consistent efforts be made to maintain contact with every member of the Aaronic Priesthood.  Special social features should be arranged and quorum spirit and morale maintained in every way possible.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(8):494, Jun., 1933)

Jul.:  Fighting the summer slump.

“Another view of the progress made in the campaign to increase summer activity is shown in the following tabulation:

Monthly average attendance at Quorum Meetings as shown by the Monthly Bulletin:

Year High Low Variations

1928 21% 7% 14 points

1929 26% 7% 19 points

1930 27% 12% 15 points

1931 28% 17% 11 points

1932 27% 19% 8 points”

(“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(9):567, Jul., 1933)

Jul.:  Aaronic Priesthood Standards.


(1) Meetings:  Ward Priesthood meetings weekly throughout year, if possible, at such time each week as will insure the largest attendance.  Lesson books to be in the hands of all members as far as possible.  Course for each year to be completed by December 31st, ready to begin following year’s outlines.

(2) Ordinations–Advancement:  Based on their diligence, boys to be ordained to and in the Priesthood, as follows:

Deacons–12 years (3-year course).

Teachers–15 years (2-year course).

Priests–17 years (3-year course).

Candidates to be individually prepared, under direction of bishopric and ward supervisors, for at least six months before this ordination or advancement.  Boys to be ordained, if prepared, as near their birthdays as possible.

Every candidate should be particularly instructed regarding the following:

(a) His personal habits and actions.

(b) The history of the Aaronic Priesthood.

(c) The restoration of the Priesthood in this dispensation.

(d) Observance of the commandments of the Lord.

(e) The powers that follow the true exercise of this divine authority.

Each one should evidence willingness to perform any duties assigned him to the best of his ability.

Where there are two or more deacons’ quorums in a ward, the first quorum should include the older boys, except possibly the presidency of the second quorum.

(3) Ward Supervision:  Bishopric, assisted by Committee of Supervisors–one supervisor for each quorum or class, with one as chairman.  They also act as class leaders.

Each member of the bishopric has general charge of one grade of the Priesthood [note the gradual evolution of this concept of the counselors presiding over the Teachers and Deacons]–the bishop as president of the Priests’ quorum and each of the counselors in charge of another grade.  Important that each member of bishopric regularly attend quorum meetings.

(4) Supervisors’ Duties:  Act individually as class leaders in quorums.  Hold weekly committee meetings as a board, preferably after Priesthood meeting.  Follow up (a) attendance of members; (b) weekly assignments of duties to all members in rotation; (c) lesson preparation by members; (d) prepare monthly reports to stake committee; (e) prepare young men for ordination and advancement; (f) direct social and fraternal activities; and (g) consider general welfare of quorums.

Best fitted men in ward to be selected as supervisors.

(5) Quorum Meetings–Class Work:  After opening exercises of ward Priesthood meeting, each quorum or class to meet separately.  Arrange definite order of business.  Presidency of quorum in charge (aided by member of bishopric).  Only one roll of all members.

(a) Activity Period–Prayer, roll call, consider ways and means of getting attendance of absent members, report on previous assignments of duty, assignments of duty for ensuing week, social and fraternal activities, brief talk by member of bishopric.  (15 min.)

(b) Lesson Period–Presidency turns class over to supervisor:  Presentation, discussion, next lesson.  (Every member should have outline and be prepared on lesson.)  (20 to 30 min.)

(6) Assignments of Duty:  Every member of each quorum or class should have assignments of duties in rotation, preferably each week.  (See List of Assignments of Duty, Roll Book.)  Assignments made to be noted in Roll Book at the time; if performed, mark (1) through letter indicating assignment; if unfilled, mark (0), at meeting following that in which assignment was made.

Supervisor’s business to see that all assignments are performed.

Short weekly meetings of supervisors, as indicated under (4), to check up on assignments, etc.

(7) Fraternal Matters:  Quorums to visit and assist members in sickness or distress.  Welcome new members.  Farewell to members leaving ward.

(8) Social Gatherings, Outings:  Gatherings that will promote sociability and refinement.  At suitable times, every month or two.  Let presidency and members suggest and carry out plans and fix rules, with advice of supervisors and bishopric.

(9) Correlation Meeting:  Monthly meeting under direction of ward bishopric, of Aaronic Priesthood supervisors, member of Sunday School Superintendency and Y.M.M.I.A. Presidency, Sunday School teachers and Y.M.M.I.A. leaders having direction of young men 12 to 20 years, with ward clerk as secretary, to correlate activities and cooperate in the welfare of the young men.

(10) Stake Supervision:  Committee of High Council, with other assistants.  Organize somewhat as a stake auxiliary board.  Visit all quorums in wards regularly–weekly, if possible.  See that these standards are met.  Get monthly reports from all wards.  Occasional stake social gatherings.  Prepare summary of ward reports for stake presidency and Presiding Bishopric.

(11) Union Meetings, Monthly Reports:  Monthly union meetings of bishoprics, ward supervisors, class leaders, and presidencies and secretaries of quorums, under direction of stake committee, are very advantageous.  However, at least systematic weekly visits, if possible, by stake committee members and the securing of monthly reports from all wards should be carried out.”

(“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(9):567-568, Jul., 1933)

7 Oct.:  Maintaining the AP Correlation Plan.

“Maintaining the Aaronic Priesthood Correlation Plan–We would like to say to you that we think this Aaronic Priesthood correlation plan should not be side-tracked in any way.  It is just as important now as it was when it was first presented.  All the people who have charge of boys of the ages 12 to 20 years should be there.  That is, besides the bishopric, the Aaronic Priesthood supervisors should be there, representatives of each of the Mutual, Sunday School, etc., should be there and every other person in charge of boys between the ages stated, so that they may work with inactive boys and prepare them to take active part in the Church.  This correlation plan is a plan for which the presidencies of stakes and bishoprics of wards are responsible.  We feel sure that if you carry it forward systematically and thoroughly, you will get fine results in reclaiming boys who need our greatest attention.

Holding Boy Men in Boy Work–We have asked that the men to be selected as ward supervisors should be the men who are best qualified for this work in the ward.  We think it advisable that the bishopric should select men who are best qualified to win and influence the boys in the Aaronic Priesthood.  We call them boy men–men who have the welfare of the young men at heart.  We feel that when they are selected they should be retained in this position and not called to some other position.  There is opportunity for good in this work as there is nowhere else.  We would like to convert you to this viewpoint: that these men, if they are the right kind, are worthy of the greatest respect in their efforts to train the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood.  The preparation of these boys in their Priesthood work is the greatest work of the men in the Church.”  (Presiding Bishop Sylvester Q. Cannon, remarks at Aaronic Priesthood Convention, 7 Oct., 1933; IE 37(7):430, Jul., 1934)

Oct.:  Priesthood and Womanhood.

“The question is often asked ‘What interest has Priesthood to the women of this Church?’  Two mission incidents make the discussion of this subject seem timely.

Incident Number One occurred in May, 1929, when a large celebration was held in Leipzig, Germany, to honor the hone hundredth anniversary of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood.  Members of the Church from all parts of the mission were present, as well as mission authorities and some distinguished American guests.  After a most impressive program one of the visiting women turned to me and asked, ‘What is the meaning of Priesthood to a member of your Church?’

I explained briefly that it is the delegated authority of our Father in Heaven restored to men one hundred years ago by Heavenly Beings so that men may act in His name in any official Church capacity.

‘Do your women hold the Priesthood, so-called?’

I explained that women do not directly hold that power nor exercise its authority but that through father or husband they share in its blessings and gifts.  Inded, the highest, sacred ceremonies in the Temple, or House of the Lord, are participated in by man and woman, side by side, and may not be taken by either one alone.

‘But as an individual woman, or independent unit, woman has no part in exercising that delegated authority?’

‘No, she has not.’

‘Then, why are you women here today celebrating the restoration to man alone of a Higher Power, as you consider it?’

Then was given an explanation, the gist of which follows later in this discussion.

Incident Number Two happened recently.  A group of women had been attending a Relief Society meeting while Theology lesson number five of a current series of lessons, ‘Authority to Act in the Name of God’–was being given.  Amongst the group was an intelligent woman, a non-member of the Church.  The lesson was discussed paragraph by paragraph.  Finally she remarked, ‘We have discussed this lesson, I have read it through and it doesn’t seem to concern women at all.  Why should your women study this subject?’  Then she asked some of the questions already quoted in incident number one.

She continued, ‘I read from the lesson, “Thus at this early date in the history of the Church the Lord had restored full authority to man to act in His name. . . . It encourages men to do good and shun evil. . . . The priesthood is intended for every son of God who is prepared to receive it.  Accordingly, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the Priesthood is widely held by the male laity, as well as by those in official positions.  The equality of this practice is immediately apparent, etc.”  And the closing paragraph of the lesson reads: “And this is not all.  Every male member in the Church is given some specific duty to perform, especially adapted to his capacity.  With a working Priesthood of this nature, far greater efficiency is assured than in churches where the clergy alone are active.  Moreover, the Priesthood of the Church possesses the actual authority to act in the name of God, and therefore its works are recognized of Him.”‘

The questioner continued: ‘Are not women given some specific duty to perform?  Or are they a negligible quantity?  Woman is not mentioned in any part of the lesson.  Are only the “male laity” able to act for God and therefore is man alone recognized of Him?  I would like really to know what the womanhood of your Church has to do with Priesthood?’  On numerous other occasions, the above questions, with many others, have been asked by members and friends of the Church.

Some of these pertinent questions concerning this subject follow:

1.  ‘What is Priesthood and how does it function?’

2.  ‘Why should God give His sons a power that is denied His daughters?  Should they not be equal in His sight as to status and opportunity to perform the labors of life?  Surely a just God has no favorites!’

3.  ‘Are not women as a class just as good and intelligent as men as a class?  Then why single out one sex for God’s preferment?’

4.  ‘In this day of “woman’s rights” how do your women react to having men only hold the Priesthood?  Do you not feel that you are discriminated against by this same Higher Power?’

5.  ‘If a boy of 12 years has this gift bestowed upon him while his sister has not does it not tend to make him grow up with a feeling that he is literally a “lord of creation” while his sister belongs to “the common herd”?’

6.  ‘Does not this discrimination make men more arrogant in their attitude toward women?  Do they not necessarily feel themselves the superior and dominant sex?’

7.  ‘Does not this difference in religious status take away from men the chivalry and courtesy that make life association so beautiful and satisfying?  Indeed, do you not feel that “Mormon” men are really less courteous and more imbued with the reaction that the “Priesthood always precedes,” and are not really and truly as naturally polite as are other men?’  This question has often been asked by women who are members of the Church as well as by those who are not.

8.  In this day of more general study of modern psychology, the next question is natural, and bears somewhat on the other queries.  ‘Does not the fact that women cannot hold the Priesthood tend to give them an “inferiority complex” and therefore make their inner lives less serene and normal?’

9.  ‘What is the effect on the home life of families following the past hundred years of dominance by men who hold the Priesthood?’  This question, in a way, includes all the others.

10.  ‘Does not this power tend to cause a feeling of “sex-rivalry” in the relationship of men and women in this Church?’

The answers to the above questions should be understood by the girls and women of the Church for their own peace and progress, as well as to enable them to answer intelligently all interested questioners.

To answer question number one our late Prophet Joseph F. Smith may be quoted, 

‘What is the Priesthood?  It is nothing more nor less than the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and act legitimately; not assuming that authority, not borrowing it from generations that are dead and gone, but authority that has been given in this day in which we live by ministering angels and spirits from above, direct from the presence of Almighty God, who have come to the earth in our day and restored the Priesthood to the children of men.’

It must be understood that the Priesthood is operative for the welfare of the entire human family, not for one class or sex.  Men and women share alike in its blessings and resultant joy but for the sake of order and wise government our Heavenly Father delegated the power of presidency in this order to His sons.  Therefore man holds the Priesthood and stands before his Maker as the one who is responsible for all official acts in Church capacity for human welfare.

‘Is this fair?’ one may ask, ‘Why should not women exercise that power as well as men?’  This leads to the answer of question number two.  Our Father in Heaven has bestowed upon His daughters a gift of equal importance and power, which gift if exercised in its fulness will so occupy their entire life on earth that they can have no possible longing for that which they do not possess.  The ‘gift’ referred to is that of Motherhood–the noblest, most soul-satisfying of all earthly experiences.  If this power is exercised righteously, woman has no time nor desire for anything greater, for there is nothing greater on earth.  This does not mean that women may not use to the full their spiritual gifts, for they are possessed of human free agency to the same extent as are men.  Also, the more they advance and exercise innate qualifications the greater will be their motherhood.  However, this power of motherhood is so engorssing that when exercised completely, any added outside demand for time or strength would be a tax and would tend to detract from its great requirements.  Woman may claim other activity but motherhood should take precedence in her entire scheme of life.  So our Father is entirely just, and does prove His love for His daughters as well as His sons.

A question may here be asked:  ‘But what of the women who through no fault of their own can never exercise their great gift?’  The answer is simple: Motherhood can be exercised as universally and vicariously as can Priesthood.  The world needs good mothers more than any other one thing.  Because a woman has been denied children of her very own is no reason why her God-given power and gift may not be exercised for the countless neglected children in every community whose mothers are unfit or have been taken from earth.  All intelligent worth-while work for social betterment in private life or in organized activity is but an enlarged Motherhood acting for the uplift of mankind.  And in this field every would-be Mother could and should be active.  When the Mothers of the world train their children from infancy with a ‘will for peace’ and wars cease on earth then may there be enough good men so that most women may exercise directly their own right to Motherhood.

The next question regarding the intelligence and capability of women as a class is but an enlargement of the others.  Does not the training of the human soul for advancement and joy here and hereafter call for the greatest possible powers of mind and heart?  Psychologists and students generally admit that the first years of life are crucial in determining what shall be the future of the child physically, mentally, morally and spiritually.  That grave responsibility belongs, by gift divine and right of sex, to the woman who bear and nurture the whole race.  Surely no right thinking woman could crave more responsibility nor greater proof of innate powers than that.  Such power entrusted to women proves conclusively that they have been recognized and trusted.  Our Father even chose a daughter of Eve to be the earth-Mother and guide of His Only begotten Son, and thus honored womanhood for all time and eternity!

The fourth question is answered by simply stating that in this day of ‘woman’s rights,’ the women inside this Church or out, who feel that they must have more than their womanhood demands, are but short-sighted and do not recognize the full scope of their God-given powers.  The struggle for woman’s rights is rieghteous in so far as it claims independence of thought and action, civic equality and economic independence for the mothers of men.  It is misdirected if it hopes to give woman man’s work to do or encourages her to evade her birthright–motherhood.  Truly, there is in reality no discrimination between the sexes as to purpose and power only as human beings make it or permit it.  Therefore, all must understand that the Priesthood when exercised righteously unites men and women, it never separates them–unless either group, by their own acts, cuts off its power.

Question number five, concerning the attitude of youth to this subject, may well be answered by telling a story of the small brother and sister who were competitively discussing their future.  The boy stated he could be an engineer when he grew up and crive a huge engine.  The girl said she could be a great musician and thrill great audiences with the joy of her art.  The boy retorted that he could be President of the United States.  For a while the little girl was somewhat silenced for surely here her brother had the better of the argument.  Suddenly a bright thought came.  ‘When I grow up I can be a mother and have a baby all my own and nurse it!’  That seemed to silence the lad until his bright thought came, ‘but I can hold the Priesthood!’

Who won?  Both of them.  Because Father shares with Mother the responsibility and joy of raising the new-born life to useful maturity and motherhood were impossible without a father.  So with the Priesthood: man exercises its power but may not partake of its greatest gifts and blessings without the woman by his side.  Moreover, the exercise of the Priesthood is for woman’s benefit as well as for man’s.  From childhood both should be made to understand and prepare for the great gifts and powers that await their maturity and should realize that before the great Judge they are equal.  However, since man exercises the responsibility of Priesthood his must be the deciding voice.  This is but wise and just because man who carries church and familyi responsibility should actually be the leader.  Leadership is necessary in all smooth-running human institutions; in the home it may be joint leadership through love and mutual understanding.

Questions numbers six and seven, regarding man’s possible arrogance or lack of chivalry, may be answered together by saying that a man’s attitude to woman depends largely upon the mother who trained him in youth and the women who have most influenced his life.  True, father’s attitude to mother influences the growing lad, but some woman trained father!

If boys are brought up to a full realization of the importance of motherhood and its power for human good or ill they will naturally reverence every potential mother and wish to guard her powers.  So that a chivalry deeper and truer than merely polished manners will be felt by men who exercise righteously their Priesthood.  A proof of this statement is the fact that the men of this Church granted woman her religious and civic independence without her even having to ask for it.  No other group of men on earth have done that!  In some cases women have had to fight and suffer imprisonment for just those privileges that were granted women of this Church as their inalienable right.

However, the training for true chivalry as evidenced by an outward respece and true courtesy should be given every lad in his home.  Girls must be trained to merit and reciprocate that courtesy.  The right attitude of the sexes toward each other depends fundamentally upon home training, and woman strikes the keynote of the home.

Question number eight implies that the women of this Church may have an ‘inferiority comples’ but it has not been made evident.  However, it is often asked and may be answered only by each woman individually.  The general reply would be that if woman sensed fully the full scope of her power for human progress or retrogression there would be danger of her having a ‘superiorty comples.’  For there is no greater power on earth than Motherhood!  A knowledge of its full scope and possibility should make women feel neither inferior nor superior but truly humble, and willing to learn that they may exercise that power increasingly for the improvement and uplift of mankind.  If they will but grasp the full meaning of their privileges they will have no time and less inclination to feel themselves either inferior or superior but will be happy and joyously content to do their share toward making their own little world a better place in which to live.

As to the next question, which concerns the home life of the people of this Church, the answer is conclusive.  The homes of today, as of the past, in which the Priesthood is held and exercised by the fathers and sons and honored by the mothers and daughters are the ones where, almost without exception, peace and mutual understanding make life a continuous round of progressive accomplishment and joy for all.  This condition is so general that it may be given as a rule.  Exceptions there may be, but they are extremely rare.  The rule is so general, in fact, that it should be taken by the women and girls of today as a guild for future success in home building.  If you would have a truly happy home in which children may be nurtured for future progress, then do your full share to this end but in addition encourage your menfolk to honor and exercise their Priesthood.  It is in reality a key that may unlock the door of joy and accomplishment so that all may progress together.

Here it must be understood that girls and women should participate in those Church auxiliaries that fit their age and capacity for they were designed to prepare women to study, learn, and progress toward the ideal of Eternal Motherhood as the exercise of the Priesthood causes man to reach upward toward his Father in Heaven.  It should be understood also that all official acts performed by men or women in the Church auxiliaries or in Temple ceremonies are performed by certain powers being delegated by the Priesthood–those who have the right to direct these activities.  So that women officially appointed do exercise on their own behalf a measure of that delegated Power or Priesthood; this is done always under the authority of those who directly hold the Priesthood.

The next question, that of possible sex-rivalry, concerns deeply the women of this Church for therein may they be able to set an example to all the world.  When the Priesthood is understood and exercised righteously there can be no ‘sex antagonism’–it is impossible.

Let some of our leaders of the past express themselves on this subject: On one occasion Brigham Young said, ‘We have sisters here who, if they had the privilege of studying, would make just as good mathematicians or accountants as any man; and we think they ought to have the privilege to study these branches of knowledge that they may develop the powers with which they are endowed.  We believe that women are useful, not only to sweep houses, wash dishes, make beds, and raise babies, but that they should stand behind the counter, study law or physics, or become good bookkeepers and be able to do the business in any counting house, and all this to enlarge their sphere of usefulness for the benefit of society at large.  In following these things they but answer the design of their creation.’

On another occasion he said,

‘Now, sisters, I want you to vote, because you are the characters that rule the ballot box.’


‘Every man or woman that has talent and hides it will be called a slothful servant.  Improve day by day upon the capital you have.  In proportion as we are capacitated to receive, so it is our duty to do.  Go to school and study, have the girls go, and teach them chemistry, so that they can take any of these rocks and analyze them.  The sciences can be learned without much difficulty.  I want to have schools to entertain the minds of the people and draw them out to learn the arts and sciences.’

A later prophet, our beloved Joseph F. Smith has said,

‘Motherhood lies at the foundation of happiness in the home, and of prosperity in the nation.  God has laid upon men and women very sacred obligations with respect to motherhood, and they are obligations that cannot be disregarded without invoking divine displeasure.  The word and the law of God are as important for women who would rech wise conclusions as they are for men; and women should study and consider the problems of this great latter-day work from the standpoint of God’s revelations, and as they may be actuated by His Spirit, which it is their right to receive through the medium of sincere and heartfelt prayer.  If ther is any man who ought to merit the curse of Almighty God it is the man who neglects the mother of his child, the wife of his bosom, the one who has made sacrifice of her very life, over and over again, for him and his children.  That is, of course, assuming that the wife is a pure and faithful mother and wife.  I have often said, and will repeat it, that the love of a true mother comes nearer being like the love of God than any other kind of love.  The father may love his children too; and next to the love that the mother feels for her child, unquestionably and rightfully, too, comes the love that the father feels for his child.  There are people fond of saying that women are the weaker vessels.  I don’t believe it.  Physically, they may be; but spiritually, morally, religiously and in faith, what man can match a woman who is really convinced?  Daniel had faith to sustain him in the lion’s den, but women have seen their sons torn limb from limb, and endured every torture satanic cruelty could invent, because they believed.  They are always more willing to make sacrifices, and are the peers of men in stability, Godliness, morality and faith.  No man will ever enter heaven until he has consummated his mission; for we have come here to be conformed to the likeness of God.  He made us in the begining in His own image and in His own likeness, and He made us male and female.’

When men, our leaders, express such sentiments regarding women one must know that such a feeling as sex-jealousy is set aside.  Individual exceptions may occur but that proves nothing.  If women are expected to exercise all their faculties and magnify every gift they may possess. and that without any feeling of prejudice; if men and women admittedly stand equal before the bar of man’s and God’s judgment, then what more is there to be desired–and of what may either one be jealous?

Indeed a woman who would sacrifice the greatest of all earth professions, that of Motherhood which is hers by right of sex, for the senseless reason of proving that she could do a man’s work as well as any man, or for any other reason, is something less than a true woman and is to be pitied as well as condemned.  While on the other hand it is but a small and puny-souled man who could wish to humiliate woman as a class and keep her as the inferior sex.  For men can never rise superior to the women who bear and nurture them.  The man who fears the dominance of woman or suspects that she is now attempting to take revenge on man for the centuries that her sex has been held in thralldom before the law–such a man admits his own inferiority, and condemns his own beginnings.

When women are recognized as the equals and partners of men in the good game of life and given the privilege of traveling side by side with them while sharing equally the load, they will be more than willing to accord man the presidency of all domestic councils, and will always look up to him as a leader–when, only when, he is a worthy leader.  The history of familiy life in this Church is ample proof of that statement.  The normal woman is glad to be led–in righteousness; she craves the companionship of a man, a real man; one whom she may honor and respect and on whose wise judgment she may lean.  There are times when a man desires the same support from a good wife.  So that in the last analysis, life to be complete must be shared by well matched ‘team-mates’ each one carrying a full share of the load, but with a comfortable understanding that man is the leader for his is the final responsibility for family integrity.  When this relation is understood and practiced there can be no room for sex-rivalry; it is just crowded out of the picture.

Here the thinking woman may remark, ‘All this is very well, if all men were righteous and natural leaders and if all women were rather shrinking by nature and glad to lean on someone and be led.  But what about the countless cases where unquestionably women possess greater powers of leadership than their husbands or where the husband is unable to lead or even provide for himself to say nothing of the family?’  It is undeniable that there are weak men as well as weak women, and it is equally true that such men are often attracted by and marry strong capable women and visa versa.  What then?

Brigham Young partly answered the question when he said on one occasion,

‘I have counseled every woman of this church to let her husband be her file leader; he leads here and those above him in the Priesthood lead him.  But I never counseled a woman to follow her husband to hell!’

Families in such cases must make their own adjustments.  The wise woman, however, will place her motherhood above every claim and not allow it to become secondary to anything.  The wise man will accept the situation and be content to be the titular head of the family only, giving his best so far as his capacity allows.  If a man is vicious or unwilling to do right that brings in another factor which is not within the scope of this discussion.  Women are weak and fall into error, too, but that is another question.

In the Church, however, it is different.  There, no adjustment can be made.  The Priesthood always presides and must, for the sake of order.  Some of the women of a congregation or an auxiliary organization may be wiser, even greater in mental power, or in actual power of leadership than the men who preside over them.  That signifies nothing.  The Priesthood is not bestowed on that basis but is given to good men and they exercise it by right of divine gift as they are called by those who have authority so to do.  However, woman has her gift of equal magnitude also.  Sex enters here and is indisputable.  It is eternal–so why quarrel with it?  A wiser Power than any on earth understands why a spirit in the far off beginning was male or female.  On earth there is waiting work for each to do.

The important thing to consider here is that there is scope in this Church for every woman to exercise all her greatest powers and talents.  If she is a natural leader then in her own field she may demonstrate and use her powers to the utmost.  No one could or would hold her back.

Never in history have women enjoyed the freedom of thought and action accorded the women of this Church.  In the Temple and sacred buildings of the past women were not permitted to enter beyond the outer court.  In the Jewish Synagogues to this day women are not permitted to worship with the men; they are separated by a distinct wall or barrier.  While in the Temples of the restored Gospel a man may not partake of the highest ordinances without his wife and in life pursuits she is given her entire independence.

This gives to woman a mighty responsibility which if she honors and uses will be increased in power upon her; but if she ignores it or treats it lightly or fails to magnify it she may lose that which she now possesses and thereby forfeit her birthright.  For this great privilege women in this Church should be eternally gratefuol and willing to use and cherish this precious and priceless relationship.  Where much is given, much is expected.

A final question may be asked: 

‘With the restoration of the Gospel in its fulness, all righteous men of this Church were given the right to hold the Priesthood–a privilege unknown for ages and not shared by men outside this Church.  No commensurate gift was bestowed on the women, for motherhood is a universal gift for woman in every age, the heathen and degraded, as for the women of the Church.  Where is the Justice?’

The answer to this question summarized the entire discussion.  Indeed the women of this Church are equally honored, for they share with father or husband all the resultant privileges and blessings of Priesthood.  ‘Neither is the man without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord.’  Exaltation is impossible for man alone.  The full understanding of this privilege should sober every woman in this Church and cause her to pause when any temptation to worldliness or weakness comes her way.  She may be a real support and inspiration to one who literally holds a measure of authority to act for God on earth; or she may be the opposite.  Which shall it be?  She surely has a privilege not shared by women outside of this Church.  Indeed, hers is the gift supreme: to be the mother and guide of priests and men of God!  Hers is the privilege of teaching the lad to honor or despise the great gift which awaits him; she it is who implants his desire to honor or disregard his sacred calling.  As the girl grows she retains the same privilege: as sister, sweetheart, or wife she may ridicule and taunt or encourage and bless the lad or man who is to hold this sacred power.  So who may decide as to the greater gift?

The womanhood of modern Israel have a joyous responsibility.  They must never lose sight of their greatest privilege–to be the mothers and companions, hence the inspiration, of righteous men who hold the Holy Priesthood.  They must ever hold to the ideal of the Mother of the Gracchi: while scorning the wiles and temptations of the world they must gather round their own or potential children with the joyous thought ‘These are my jewels!’  When woman understands her full and complete power for building righteousness on earth she will sense that the gift of motherhood direct or vicarious is the greatest of all gifts and will be forced to exclaim ‘My cup if full; I cannot ask for more!'”  (Leah D. Widtsoe, “Priesthood and Womanhood,” RS 20(10, 11):595-598, 666-670; Oct. & Nov., 1933)

Oct.:  Ordination in the AP.

“In response to numerous requests suggestions made in bulletin Number 177, pertaining to ordinations in the Aaronic Priesthood are printed herewith:

In order to be assured of the worthiness of those who are to be ordained in the Aaronic Priesthood and to promote appreciation of the dignity and importance of these callings, it is appropriate that in the presentation of their names for the approval of the members in any ward there should be a little formality attached thereto.

Therefore, it is desired that everyone whose name is to be presented to the ward members in fast or sacrament meeting should be on the stand at the time.  In the case of those to be ordained deacons it is suggested that the Chairman or other member of the Ward Aaronic Supervisors should be invited on the stand, as also the President or other officer of the Primary.  At the bishop’s request they should, in turn, state what preparation the boys have had and what evidence they have shown of worthiness for the ordination to the priesthood.

. . . .

The bishop should then arise and call each boy by name to stand.  He should then present each by name for the separate vote of the congregation.

This same procedure should be followed in the case of teachers and priests, except that in such cases the Primary officers would not be called upon to make recommendations.  In very small wards where there may be no supervisors, a member of the bishopric who has had charge of the preparation of the boys or young men, should make the recommendation.

The Presiding Bishopric.”

(“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(12):747, Oct., 1933)

Oct.:  The Aaronic Priesthood Supervision Plan.

“The bishopric of the ward have the responsibility of presidency of the entire Aaronic Priesthood, and have the authority and responsibility for the direction of the same.  At the same time, the bishop is specifically named by revelation as the President of the Priests’ quorum.  It is expected also that each member of the bishopric will have general charge of one division of the Aaronic Priesthood.  The general practics is that the bishop presides over the priests and meets with them regularly, the first counselor with the teachers and the second counselor with the deacons.  Their direction, however, does not interfere with the presidencyof the quorum in the case of the teachers and the deacons but they sit in an advisory capacity with them.  This does not interfere either with the duties of the supervisors who work under the direction of the bishopric.  Where the bishop presides in person and attends the meetings of the priests’ quorum or class reguolarly, the young men gain the advantage of the association with the bishop and of obtaining the benefit of his advice and counsel, not only in their priesthood duties but in their habits and their lives.

Specifically, in the functioning of the quorum meetings, a member of the bishopric should be present at the quorum meeting and have general direction of its activities.  The presidency of the quorum preside and conduct the meeting with the help and advice of the member of the bishopric.  The supervisor is expected to present the class lessons.  He also plans with the presidency of the quorum to check up on attendance, the making of assignments, the following up of assignments and all the other activities of the quorum.  The Secretary is expected to keep an accurate record of the quorum meetings and the activities of all members.  This record is of the utmost importance.  The supervisor should keep a check on the record as a means of keeping in touch with individual activities of the quorum members.  With such a system in proper operation, the Aaronic Priesthood becomes a great training school to prepare the young men of the Church for the greater responsibilities of the higher priesthood and for future service in the Church.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(12):748, Oct., 1933)

Oct.:  Duties of Supervisors.

“Among the various duties of the supervisors of the classes or quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood are to take charge of the lesson work; be prepared on the lesson and to bring out from all members of the class their understanding of the lesson itswelf and the purpose of the lesson; to follow up the attendance of members; to see that the weekly assignments of duties are made and that the assignments are properly performed; to prepare the young men for ordination and advancement in the priesthood; to supervise the social and fraternal activities and to consider the general welfare of the quorums.  The regular lesson courses outlined should be followed in all the quorums and classes of the Aaronic Priesthood.  Every member should have a copy of the lesson book and use it.  Naturally the supervisor should be thoroughly prepared on the lesson in order to be able to present it properly and to draw out from the members their views upon the lesson itself.  The class exercises are divided into two periods–activity and lesson work.  Both are of very great importance.  Neither should be minimized.

Once a month a lesson is given on genealogy and in connection therewith all members of the quorum should be encouraged to obtain a book of remembrance and to carry it forward.  The purpose is to develop in the hearts of the young men a desire to look after their ancestors.  The filling of this book makes a very interesting experience in the life of the young man.

Every boy who is approaching the age of twelve should, for several months at least, or preferably for a year previous thereto, be given special consideration and trainng in preparation for this important responsibility.  It has already been urged that boys should be prepared in ample time so that, if they are worthy, they may be ordained at or as near as possible, their twelfth birthday.  However, in connection with the Primary Association, it has been agreed that the Primary Association shall have classes for the boys in which the boys will be graded according to their ages approaching twelve years and from which they can be graduated every three months so that every boy, who is a member of the Primary Association, if prepared, can be ordained within three months of his twelfth birthday.  The details of this Primary cooperation plan have been submitted to the ward bishoprics and it is suggested that the proper encouragement be given the Primary Association in all of the wards of the Church in helping to prepare these young men for this priesthood.  The same plan of preparation should be followed in the case of Deacons who are approaching the age at which they should be ordained Teachers.  Supervisors should give special attention to the preparation of these boys to enter the higher calling, in addition to the regular training they receive in the quorums and so with the advancement from Teacher to Priest.  In the matter of assignments of duty it is very desirable that every member of the quorum should have some assignment to perform every week that is a part of his duties in the priesthood calling.  There are so many things that these boys can properly do in each of the callings of Deacons, Teachers, and Priests that there is ample opportunity for every member to function regularly.  Thereby they develop the spirit of the priesthood.  In no other way can they obtain it.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(12):748, Oct., 1933)

Nov.:  Keeping track of ward membership.

“The communication from Elder David O. McKay, of the Council of the Twelve, representing the Priesthood committee of the general authorities, to a stake president in Idaho was thought to be of sufficient importance to be published on this page.  It is of importance not only to the presidents and group leaders of the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood but to auxiliary presidents and bishops as well.

The new plan for carrying on ward priesthood activity is not succeeding in many places chiefly because bishops are failing to have these regular correlation meetings.  The letter is self-explanatory.

September 28, 1933

Dear Brother:

At the request of the Presiding Bishopric I take pleasure in replying to that part of your letter to them of the 14th inst., which refers to what you term ‘the larger plan’ of the correlation work.

You ask specifically if it is ‘advisable to commence the work of the larger plan of the Correlation of Organizations in Accounting for everyone?’

In the ‘Supplement’ to ‘In the Realm of Quorum Activity, Second Series,’ we find the following:  ‘During the year 1931, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints inaugurated a campaign to ‘account for everyone.’  Hundreds of committees worked untiringly and faithfully in family to family visits to obtain complete records.  The campaign was highly successful so that at the beginning of the year 1932, there might be found in the hands of every ward clerk the name, address and standing not only of every child but of every member of the Church.’

Please not the phrase, ‘not only of every child but of every member of the Church.’  It is the duty of ward clerks to continue to keep this enrollment complete, so that not only the residence but the actual condition and welfare of every person may be known by some organization, group or agency in the Church.  To this end all quorums and auxiliary organizations unite their efforts in the Ward Correlation Committee, the personnel of which consists of the following:

1.  The Bishopric (Presidency of the Ward.)

2.  The group leader of the High Priests.

3.  The group leader or president of Seventy.

4.  The group leader or president of Elders.

5.  Relief Society President.

6.  Sunday School superintendent.

7.  Y.M.M.I.A. president.

8.  Y.L.M.I.A. president.

9.  Primary superintendent.

    10.  Representative of Seminary.

    11.  Ward clerk.

This group and others whom the Bishopric may call should meet once each month and assign the inactive members of the Ward to the organizations with which the inactive should be affiliated.  The committee representatives of these organizations will then report these names to their respective groups, and the enlistment and visiting committees of the several groups will function as real missionaries in efforts to awaken interest in the lives of those who have been careless and indifferent.

. . . .

Sincerely yours, David O. McKay.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 36(13):808, Nov., 1933)

Nov.:  Copies of ward publications desired.

“The Presiding Bishopric will appreciate receiving copies of any papers, bulletins, programs, report forms and all other material prepared for use in Aaronic Priesthood work.  Frequently excellent ideas have come from the field which have proven helpful to other classes or wards.  Through the columns of The Improvement Era, and in other ways, news of these special publications may be passed on to other groups.  Stake Aaronic Priesthood Chairmen are especially urged to secure copies of any such material coming to their attention to be sent to the office of the Presiding Bishopric, 40 North Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(13):812, Nov., 1933)

Nov.:  AP members over 20 years of age.

“There has been considerable inquiry made as to what might be done to separate those who are over Priesthood age on the roll books from those of Priesthood age.  We have discussed this matter and have decided to present this plan to you:  There should be, of course, only one roll in the rool book for the members of each quorum.  In your roll book of the Deacons’ quorum, for instance, it is suggested that you list first on the roll the names of all those who are over 20 years of age and inactive and that immediately following, leaving one line, list the names of the presidency of the quorum and the secretary and then all the other members who are below 20 years of age.  This does not mean that you have to call the names of these older men every time, but it means that you have before the supervisors and the bishopric, the names of these older men, so that they can cooperate and see what they can do to get these men active and prepared for ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood.  If these men are willing to come to Priesthood meeting, they should be invited to meet with the brethren of their own age, that is, the Elders, Seventies or High Priests so that they will not be embarrassed by meeting with young men.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(13):812, Nov., 1933)

Nov.:  A. P. A. Glad and the Adult Aaronic Priesthood.

“The Adult Aaronic Priesthood class of the Twenty-Eighth Ward in Salt Lake Stake recently celebrated the first anniversary of its organization.  At the meeting nearly forty adults who hold the Aaronic Priesthood, or did hold it, at the time the class was organized, were present and participated in the meeting.

The class was organized a year ago under the direction of Bishop A. P. A. Glad, with Elder Leo Robinson in charge.  With some assistants Elder Robinson took up the work in earnest.  First, a list was made of all Aaronic Priesthood members over 20 years of age.  These men were then visited in the spirit of missionary work.  It took several weeks to secure enough promises to justify the calling of the first meeting.  When the meeting was called to order five men were present.  Careful study was undertaken under Elder Albert Langton and interest in the class soon began to increase.  After eight months of persistent effort and continued missionary labor forty men had been brought into activity.  Some of these had been advance in the grades of the Aaronic Priesthood and others had been made Elders.

At the anniversary meeting the report made by Elder Robinson and the statements made by several members of the class left no doubt as to the effectiveness and value of this method of reaching those who have grown to manhood still holding the Aaronic Priesthood.

Many of the members of the class had spent considerable time in communities where there was no opportunity for church activities.  Others had been compelled to work at such hours as to prevent church activity.  Still others had become indifferent.  The unanimous testimony was that all who had been brought into activity as a result of this class were happy and thankful to the officdrs of the ward for the efforts put forth in their behalf.

The class meets each Sunday morning at 11:30.  Practically all of the activities are carried on by the members.  Many of them have engaged in ward teaching for several months and as a rule 100% visits are reported from the districts assigned to the members of this class.  The work of this group formed the topic for one of the most important discussions at the Aaronic Priesthood Convention held during the General Conference in October.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(13):812, Nov., 1933)

Dec.:  Assignments for ordained teachers.

“Some misunderstanding appears to exist regarding assignments to be made to ordained Teachers.  Statements are frequently made that Deacons and Priests have definite work to do but that Teachers appear to have been neglected in making assignments.  A careful study of assignments made to Teachers, both by revelation as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants and by designation by the Presiding Bishopric, shows that exactly the same number of assignments have been made to ordained Teachers as to Priests and Deacons.

In the quorum roll books provided for each quorum of Aaronic Priesthood the assignments for each grade of Priesthood have been listed in parallel columns.  The assignments for Teachers are as follows:

Ward Teaching, Attend Sacrament Meeting, Prepare Sacrament Table, Speak in Sacrament Meeting, Pray in Meeting, Scripture Reading–Sacrament Meeting, Assist at Cottage Meeting, Messenger for Bishop, Usher, Collect Ward Funds, Prepare Meeting House, etc., Care of Meeting House, Visit Quorum Members, Notify Members of Meetings, Cut Wood for Poor, Assist M.I.A. Recreation Leaders, Bring in New Members–not ordained, Bring in new resident of Ward, Bring in Candidate, Revive Inactive member, Work on Book of Remembrance.”

(“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(14):868, Dec., 1933)

Dec.:  Correlation work in AP to be intensified.

“Stake and ward Aaronic Priesthood correlation committees are urged to intensify their efforts among the inactive young men of the Church in view of conditions which make this action highly important.  The need for more intensive work and regular monthly follow-up in every ward and stake was streessed at the Aaronic Priesthood convention held during the general conference in October.

The problems of cigarettes and tobacco, liquor, lowering moral standards, questionable magazine reading and attacks being made on orthodox views of the Church were cited as causes for grave concern.  Inactivity among some members of the Aaronic Priesthood has been traced diretly to these sources.  The Aaronic Priesthood correlation plan has been given to the Church as the means of contacting boys and young men and of holding them within the influence of the Church and the teachings of the gospel.

The changing conditions affecting liquor distribution have been cited by Church leaders as presenting a new challenge to those who are responsible for the welfare of young people in the Church.  The program outlined in the various organizations are intended to reach the interests of boys and young men but in many cases intensive missionary work is required to arouse those interests.

With the beginning of the new year it is urged that all stake and ward committees renew their efforts to contact all inactive members of the Aaronic Priesthood in the manner contemplated by the correlation plan.  It is also requested that all wards make regular reports to stake committees and that the stakes in turn report regularly to the Presiding Bishopric.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(14):868, Dec., 1933)

Dec.:  Instructions for organizing Adult AP classes.


Special Supervisor for Work is Urged in Each Ward

With the inauguration of adult Aaronic Priesthood classes throughout the Church some suggestions for the organization and operation of such classes have been made by the Presiding Bishopric.

This work, it is pointed out, like all other matters connected with the Aaronic Priesthood, is under the direct supervision of the ward bishopric.  It should also be made a part of the work of the ward Aaronic Priesthood committee, a special supervisor and an assistant being appointed for this group.  These supervisors should become members of the ward Aaronic Priesthood committee as this work deals directly with those who hold that Priesthood.

The steps suggested are as follows:

1. Select and appoint a suitable man as supervisor.  He should be a mature man of wide experience and broad sympathies and with an understanding of human nature.  He should be thoroughly converted to the work he is about to undertake and should, if possible, be relieved of other responsibilities.

Instructor Important

2. Appoint an assistant supervisor who will become closely associated with the supervisor.  The assistant may become the class instructor if one is selected who is peculiarly adapted to that work.  Class instruction is one of the most important features of the work and requires a person of rare ability.  He should combine the best qualities of a missionary, a teacher and a socializer.  He should be a good ‘mixer’–friendly, sympathetic and patient with others.

3. Make a list of all members of the ward over 20 years of age who hold the Aaronic Priesthood and those over 20, members of the Church, who hold no Priesthood.  Secure as much information as possible regarding each member.  This will be helpful in making contacts for the purpose of arousing interest in the class when it is organized.

Organize Class Early

4. Have the supervisor and assistant visit a selected number of persons in an effort to secure a nucleus for the class.  When five or six have expressed a willingness to attend, the first meeting should be announced and the class organized.

5. Having established the class the supervisors should set aside regular evenings for visits to other members who are inactive, continuing this work as long as any names remain on the inactive list.  Those who are backward should be called for and accompanied to the class for a few meetings.

6. The time for the class meeting should be determined by the bishopric after ascertaining what hour will be most suitable to those who express a willingness to attend.  This hour may or may not be the same as that set for Aaronic Priesthood quorums.

7. A course of study, based upon the first principles of the gospel, the history of the Church, ordinances in the Aaronic Priesthood or similar subjects should be carefully outlined before the first meeting.  The lessons presented should be within the Church experience of those attending the classes.  New members of the class should not be embarrassed by being urged to participate in the discussions (other than to ask questions) until they have had an opportunity to become full acquainted and feel ‘at home.'”

(“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 36(14):868, Dec., 1933)