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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1937

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PRIESTHOOD, 1937 (January-September).

1937:    Jan.:  Acting Teachers.

[Article entitled “Suggestions for Acting Teachers,” concerning ward teachers.  IE 40(1):49, Jan., 1937)

Jan.:  The three responsibilities of the Church.

“The Lord has placed three responsibilities upon the Church:  1.  To help the membership of the Church remain firm in the faith; 2.  To spread the knowledge of the Gospel over the earth that all may share in its joys; 3.  To open the doors of salvation for the dead by doing work for them in the temples.”  (John A. Widtsoe, “The Urgency of Temple Service,” UGHM 28:5, Jan., 1937)

15 Jan.:  Changes in Sunday School/Priesthood procedures.

“To Presidents of Stakes–

Dear Brethren:

Difficulties and some confusion have been reported from several stakes arising out of the administration of the present plan of holding Priesthood Activity Meetings following Sunday School classes during the Sunday School hour.  To obviate these difficulties and to stimulate the work of the priesthood quorums it has been decided by the Council of the Twelve, with the approval of the First Presidency and the concurrence of the First Council of the Seventy and after consultation with the General Sunday School Superintendency, to submit to the stakes the following proposed changes in the procedure of Sunday morning:

Monthly Quorum Meetings

Monthly quorum meetings of the Melchizedek Priesthood may be held during the Sunday School hour, following the opening exercises of singing, prayer, singing, and the administration of the sacrament,–on the last Sunday of each month.  These meetings may be continued until the adjournment of the Sunday School, thus providing a period of approximately one hour and fifteen minutes within which to transact quorum business and carry forward a program of study and other quorum activities as may be provided.  The course of study to be pursued will be the Gospel Doctrine lesson for the day on which the quorum meeting is held, it being understood, however, that regular quorum business shall take precedence over all other matters.  Quorum officers will preside and quorums may adjourn without returning to the general assembly of the Sunday School.  It will be well, however, to arrange for adjournment of quorum meetings at the same time as the adjournment of Sunday School, preferably at the sound of the bell, in order that confusion may be avoided.

In wards where complete quorums of Elders and Seventies are maintained no problem of transportation of quorum members to central places will be involved but in the case of High Priests and where members of a Seventies or an Elders Quorum reside in several wards, it will become necessary for such members to choose one of the several wards in which they reside as the place for their monthly quorum meeting.  In such cases it is recommended that the monthly quorum meetings be distributed among the wards of the stake, that is, a High Priests Quorum meeting in one ward, a Seventies Quorum meeting in another ward, and an Elders Quorum meeting in another ward in such manner as to provide, if practicable, that there shall be a quorum of Melchizedek Priesthood meeting in each ward of the stake on each last Sunday.  This will not leave any ward without some of the higher priesthood in attendance.

Where the High Priests or other quorums of Melchizedek Priesthood desire to continue monthly quorum meetings already established at a time other than during the Sunday School hour, groups of these quorums residing in the several wards will hold group meetings during the same period that is allotted to the quorums of Seventies and Elders.

Priesthood Class Work

Members of the Melchizedek Priesthood on each Sunday of the month, excepting only the last Sunday, will participate in the Sunday School Gospel Doctrine classes for which a period of about one hour and five minutes will be hereafter provided.  It is believed that with the extension of the class period and the provision made for at least a limited consideration of the Gospel Doctrine lessons during the monthly quorum meeting, the class work of the priesthood will receive substantially more time and attention than it has received heretofore.

Weekly Assignment and Checking

For the purpose of enabling the priesthood quorum officers to make their assignmentents and check the activities of members and committees, it is allowable for quorum presidencies and committee chairmen to use a few minutes if necessary at the beginning of each Gospel Doctrine class.

Women and Girls

The General Sunday School Board will provide on the last Sunday of each month, during the time that quorum meetings are held, a suitable program for the women.

Aaronic Priesthood

Arrangements have been made with the Presiding Bishopric to hold the Priesthood Activity Meeting of the Lesser Priesthood for a full 25-minute period preceding the class work of the Sunday School instead of following the class work as at present provided.

The brethren of the Aaronic Priesthood will also convene in a monthly meeting on the last Sunday of each month at the same hour when the brethren of the Melchizedek Priesthood are meeting, at which they may transact quorum business, attend to such matters as will properly come before them, it being understood that the courses of study to be pursued in the time remaining should be the Sunday School courses for the Aaronic Priesthood quorums.

Detailed Program of Exercises

The General Sunday School Superintendency will send a letter to all stake superintendencies advising of the changes herein mentioned and giving specific directions with reference to the adjustment of the Sunday School program.  It is hoped that you will confer with the Stake Sunday School superintendent and see that the arrangements are perfected.  It is expected that the new plan will become operative as soon as possible.


It is hoped that the adoption of the foregoing plan will solve a number of problems which are now found to exist in various parts of the Church and be helpful in the following respects:

First:  It will provide a more convenient hour for the monthly quorum meetings of the Melchizedek Priesthood which has always been a real need among the quorums.

Second:  Monthly stake priesthod union meetings, relieved of the necessity of making provision in their programs for monthly quorum meetings, will be better able to provide that which is probably their chief objective, namely, training for the officers of the quorums that quorums officers may have at least equal opportunities to learn their duties that the officers of our auxiliary organizations have long enjoyed.  We feel that in every stake there must be provided adequate facilities for the training of quorum presidencies.

Third:  The arrangement should obviate all of the confusion which has been reported from some quarters attending the adjournment of the Sunday School.  There will be no classes of the boys of the Lesser Priesthood to adjourn at a time so nearly approaching the closing of Sunday School as to induce them to leave the school without participating in its closing exercises.  The women will also be provided for until the end of the school period and the quorums of the Higher Priesthood must cooperate in helping to maintain orderly closing exercises.

Fourth:  It is believed that if bishops will call on quorums as units through their presiding officers to perform service in the ward such as block teaching, special projects, etc., these assignments would tend to conserve the integrity of the quorum and make the members more fully appreciate quorum opportunities for service.  Emphasis on the quorum integrity and unity will do much to accomplish this end.  If a bishop sends a message to the quorum through the quorum presidency, he helps to establish respect for the presidency and enhances their influence.

We feel confident that with the full cooperation of the stake presidents, the bishops, the quorum presidencies and the Sunday School officers, the foregoing suggestions may be incorporated in the program of Church activities of the Sunday forenoon with great profit to all concerned.

Sincerely your brethren,

The Council of the Twelve,

By Rudger Clawson, President.

P.S.  These suggestions have been approved by the Presiding Bishopric.”  (Instructor 72(2):47-48, 1 Feb., 1937; also in IE 40(2):68-69, Feb., 1937)

“To Stake and Ward Superintendents–

President Rudger Clawson’s letter to Presidents of stakes, explaining modifications which may be made in the Priesthood Sunday School arrangement of exercises, states that the General Sunday School Superintendency will send you a letter ‘advising of the changes herein mentioned and giving specific directions with reference to the adjustment of the Sunday School program.’:

Accordingly we offer the following:

. . . 

The class period of one hour and five minutes is to be used as follows:

For Aaronic Priesthood and girls of corresponding ages:


First 25 minutes–Priesthood activity.

Remaining 40 minutes–Sunday School class work.

Girls 12, 13 and 14 years of age

Full 1 hour and five minutes Sunday School class work.


First 25 minutes–Priesthood activity.

Remaining 40 minutes–Sunday School class work.

Girls 15 and 16 years of age

Full 1 hour and five minutes Sunday School class work.


First 25 minutes–Priesthood activity.

Remaining 40 minutes–Sunday School class work.

Girls 17 and 18 years of age

Full 1 hour and five minutes Sunday School class work.

For Melchizedek Priesthood and women:  Every Sunday except the last Sunday (Program for which please see below.)

Missionary Training:

Young Elders and young women 19 and 20 years of age.  For Priesthood business and Sunday School class work, 65 minutes, every Sunday except the last.

Gospel Doctrine Classes.

Elders Section:  Elders and women–For Priesthood business and Sunday School class work, 65 minutes every Sunday except the last.

Seventies Section:  Seventies and women–for Priesthood business and Sunday School class work, 65 minutes, every Sunday except the last.

High Priests Section:  High Priests and women–For Priesthood business and Sunday School class work, 65 minutes, every Sunday except the last.

Melchizedek Priesthood Departmental Period on the Last Sunday of the Month–Melchizedek Monthly Priesthood Quorum Meetings:

This period for the monthly Priesthood quorum meetings of the Melchizedek Priesthood should begin at 10:45 a.m. on the last Sunday, and continue for one hour and fifteen minutes bringing the time for dismissal from the respective departments of the Melchizedek Priesthood at 12 noon.  The program for the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood will be suggested in the Second Quarterly ‘Quorum Bulletin–Gospel Doctrine Sunday School Lessons.’  Also see the second paragraph of President Clawson’s letter titled ‘Monthly Quorum Meetings.’

On the last Sunday, when the departmental period following the usual Sunday School opening exercises, is given over to the Priesthood for the monthly quorum meetings of one hour and fifteen minutes duration, the Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums may or may not reassemble for closing exercises with the other Sunday School classes.  All other Sunday School classes including the Aaronic Priesthood Quorums (which on this day will utilize the regular departmental period of one hour and five minutes for the monthly Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Meetings), should reassemble as on the other Sundays for closing exercises.

While the brethren of the Priesthood are in monthly quorum meetings during the departmental period on the last Sunday, the girls of Aaronic Priesthood ages, and the women who on other Sundays meet in the Missionary Training and Gospel Doctrine sections with the Melchizedek Priesthood, will meet in their respective Sunday School classes and study for the full hour and five minute class period, the regular Sunday School lessons.  On this day, however, these lessons will be treated in such a way as to stress and clarify the special interests and opportunities of girls and women.  In view of the fact that a portion of the time of the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood Monthly Quorum Meetings may be devoted to a consideration of the Sunday School lesson for the day, the continuity of study of these lessons need not be broken and the fact that the girls’ and women’s classes are studying the regular lessons on the last Sunday, separte from the boys and men, will keep both groups on the same lesson, with the result that when the classes join again on the following Sunday, they will be on schedule.  In the event that the lesson for the last Sunday is not considered by the Priesthood classes it should be assigned for home reading only, and the next lesson taken up the following Sunday.

. . . 

We earnestly appeal to Sunday School workers everywhere to devote themselves with characteristic Sunday School loyalty, enthusiasm and good-will to the perfection of this plan for the improvement of the Sunday School and the strengthening of the Priesthood.

Sincerely your brethren,

Deseret Sunday School Union Board,

George D. Pyper,

Milton Bennion,

George R. Hill, General Superintendency.”

(Instructor 72(2):49-51, 1 Feb., 1937)

Feb.:  AP Ward Teaching shows increase.

“Ward teaching by members of the Aaronic Priesthood is showing gratifying increase as indicated by the reports for the first nine months of 1936, recently tabulated in the office of the Presiding Bishopric.  Eleven thousand and thirty-seven, or practically 25 per cent of the members of the Aaronic Priesthood from 12 to 20 years of age, are now acting as regular ward teachers.  Considering the fact that a comparatively small percentage of Deacons are thus engaged it is evident that a substantial number of ordained Teachers and Priests are regularly assigned to ward teching in accordance with the recommendations of the Presiding Bishopric.”  (“Ward Teaching,” IE 40(2):115, Feb., 1937)

Mar.:  Presiding Bishopric: changes in quorum meetings.

“A bulletin containing the following information was recently sent to all the Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics:

We are herewith submitting further information relative to the weekly Aaronic Priesthood meetings in conjunction with Sunday Schools as follows:

(1) For the Aaronic Priesthood quorum period and the Sunday School class period full 65 minutes shall be provided, of which the Aaronic Priesthood quorum period shall occupy not less than 25 minutes each week.  However, on the last Sunday of each month these quorums may occupy such portion of the 65 minute period for the Aaronic Priesthood Activity and Lesson Work as they may need, with the understanding that any remaining time will be given to the Sunday School lesson.

(2) The Aaronic Priesthood quorum period shall be immediately before the Sunday School class period.

(3) Every Aaronic Priesthood quorum shall, as far as practicable, meet in a separate room, with the quorum presidency, the supervisor, and under the direction of the member of the bishopric in charge of that grade of Priesthood.

(4) It is very important, in view of the insufficient time available for Aaronic Priesthood work, that each supervisor shall advise with the quorum presidency as to how best to expedite all the various matter included in the suggested order of business for the Activity Period, so as to give proper consideration to each.  Then the supervisor should so prepare the Priesthood Lesson as to be able to review it with the members and bring out the essentials in the available time.  At the close of each period members should be urged to read and study the lesson for the following week.  For this home reading they are entitled to credit as an assignment.

(5) As to the adult Aaronic Priesthood, these instructions will not apply.  They may meet at any time most suitable to them.  Complete instructions are given relative to the meetings and the suggested course of study in the Adult Aaronic Priesthood Manual.

It is greatly desired that everything possible be done to secure the largest attendance, activity, and thorough training of all members of the Aaronic Priesthood.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 40(3):172, Mar., 1937)

4 Apr.:  Appreciation of the Priesthood.

“The Priesthood is a priceless thing.  It cannot be bought, it cannot be sold,–at least not for considerations that are monetary.  Its values are measured in terms of benefaction and blessing.  While it is essentially spritual in nature and essence, the results which flow from its use and administration are often temporal and material.  It is at once the key to the ‘mysteries of Godliness’ and the power and authority underlying the ecclesiastical organization of God’s work in the world.  It is everlasting in duration.  It existed before the foundations of the earth were laid and will endure eternally.  In its last analysis it is the enduring, perpetual power of the Gods,–that is, Elohim; the power by which worlds have been and will be created; the power by which all everlasting covenants and conditions are established and perpetuated; the power and the only power which gives warrant and convincing assurance for the fulfillment of the highest and noblest aspirations of the human family.

The Priesthood is usually simply defined as ‘the power of God delegated to man.’  This definition, I think, is accurate.  But for practical purposes I like to define the Priesthood in terms of service and I frequently call it ‘the perfect plan of service.’  I do so because it seems to me that it is only through the utilization of the divine power conferred on men that they may ever hope to realize the full import and vitality of this endowment.  It is an instrument of service.  Its uses and purposes are all defined in terms of service and the man who fails to use it is apt to lose it, for we are plainly told by revelation that he who neglects it ‘shall not be counted worthy to stand.’

The Priesthood is not static and a man’s ordination to it is not a static investiture.  There may be some men, however, who so regard it, for they seem to be so smug and content with their ordinations.

I can well imagine such a man going into the presence of the great Eternal Judge and saying in substance, ‘While I was on earth I was a High Priest.  I come now to claim the reward of a High Priest.’  I think it is not difficult to suppose what may be his answer.  He will likely be met with such questions as these, ‘What did you do when you were a High Priest?  How did you use this great power which you held?  Whom did you bless with it?’  Upon his reply to such interrogatories as these will his reward be predicated.

I have sometimes compared the powers of the Priesthood bestowed on men with the waters that flow from our mountains down into the valleys below, as those waters are controlled and regulated by the law of irrigation which prevails in our western states.  An early settler might have diverted from its natural channel the whole of a mountain stream upon lands which he occupied and thereby set up a claim of right and ownership to the entire flow, but the law said, ‘No, you cannot have the whole stream.  You may have only so much of it as you can put to beneficial use in the culture and production of crops on your land,–no more.’  Is it not so with the great stream of power that flows from the fountain-head of God down to His servants on earth?  Can anyone claim the right to more of that power than he uses wisely and well for the blessing of his fellowmen?  I think not and I believe that if he indulges such a hope he will be disappointed.”  (Stephen L. Richards, General Conference Address, 4 Apr., 1937; in Instructor 72(5):192-193, 1 May, 1937)

6 Apr.:  Reed Smoot’s call to the Apostleship.

“Thirty-seven years ago this day I was sitting upon the bench to my right.  President Snow sent to me a note, and all that was on it was: ‘I want to see you at my office at the close of these services.’  I had no more idea, my brethren and sisters, what President Snow wished of me, than I have at this moment how long I shall live.

I went immediately, at the close of the meeting, to his office, and as I entered the door most of the members of the Twelve were in the room, and President Snow told me I had been chosen to be one of the quorum of Twelve.  I had had no previous intimation, so it was a complete surprise.”  (Reed Smoot, 6 Apr., 1937; CR Apr., 1937, p. 104)

Jun.:  Renewed emphasis of AP Correlation Plan.

“To Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics:

Subject:  Renewed Emphasis of the Aaronic Priesthood Correlation Plan.

Dear Brethren:

The growing spirit of indifference throughout the land, which is creeping into our own ranks, and the disturbing influences, moral and social, with which we are confronted, makes it highly desirable that immediate attention be given to a renewal of activity and an extension of the objectives of the Aaronic Priesthood Correlation plan.

We therefore request that, where it is not already being done, regular monthly meetings be arranged for in all stakes, wards, and branches and that the program and procedure suggested herein be set up and followed to the end that we might discharge our full responsibility as leaders of the Aaronic Priesthood and bring every possible young man into activity.

The outline given herewith enlarges the scope of operations of the Correlation Plan but the objectives are exactly the same as when the plan was inaugurated, incrasing the participation and activity of every Latter-day Saint young man in the programs provided by the Church for young men and boys 12 to 20 years of age. . . .

The recommendations herewith reduce the committee membership to the minimum and give a new approach to the problem–the development of our program and activities in order that they will be attractive to young people and at the same time carrying on continuous missionary work among those who are inactive.

Your active leadership in this important movement as leaders of the Aaronic Priesthood will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely your Brethren,

The Presiding Bishopric.



1. A member of the Stake Presidency.  Preferably the one assigned to supervise the Aaronic Priesthood.

2. Members of the High Council assigned to Aaronic Priesthood supervision–a minimum of three.

3. Members of the Stake Sunday School Board Supervising A, B, and C Departments.

4. The M Men Supervisor, Explorer Commissioner, and Scout Commissioner.

5. A Secretary–Not the Stake Clerk.

Time of Meeting.

To be determined by the Stake Presidency but to be a regular monthly meeting.


1. Member of Stake Presidency to conduct the meeting.

2. Opening Exercises (Brief).

3. Instructions from Stake Presidency–. . .

4. Determine dates for all stake Aaronic Preisthood social and fraternal activities . . .

5. Separate into three groups–leaders of Priests, Teachers, and Deacons quorums and classes, separately with the members of the High Council assigned to each group, conducting the discussion.  In the separate groups the following should be considered:

(A) Attendance at quorum or class meetings of each organization.  Where wards are below the stake average, members of the stake committee should be assigned to learn the causes; if possible, visiting the groups showing low attendance, conferring with leaders and in other ways studying the reasons for inactivity from the standpoint of the organization, its program, the presentation, response, and general results based upon attractiveness of the program to the group for which it is intended.  Observations and recommendations should be reported at the following meeting and suggestions developed for improving the conditions noted.

(B) Plans for stake-wide social or fraternal features for the age-group represented.  Check on such activities in each ward and encourage regular programs of such features.

(C) Plans for motivating and correlating all programs and activities of all organizations involving members of the age group represented.

(D) Missionary visits by ward leaders to inactive members, and encouragement of all wards to follow the recommended program with regular meetings, plans for the activities suggested and reports on visits to inactive members.



1. The bishopric as the Presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood.

2. The chairman of the Ward Aaronic Priesthood Committee and all Quorum Supervisors.

3. The Teachers of A, B, and C Departments in Sunday School.

4. The M Men Leader, Explorer Leader, and Scoutmaster.

5. A secretary of the Committee. . . .

Time of Meeting.

To be determined by the bishopric, but to be a regular meeting to be held monthly.


1. Bishopric to conduct meeting.

2. Opening Exercises (Brief).

3. Instructions from bishopric . . .

4. Determine dates for all ward Priesthood social or fraternal activities . . .

5. Separation into three groups . . .

(A) Activities involving members of that particular age or quorum group should be planned and dates determined as far in advance as practicable . . .

(B) The general conditions of activity and Church participation of young men or boys of that age group with means of improving them.

(C) Missionary work among those who are inactive.  It is suggested that the names of inactive members be discussed impartially and that each member of the group (the member of the bishopric excepted) be assigned two names per month for personal contact and missionary work.  At the succeeding meeting each leader should report on his contacts and make recommendations for further follow-up, by himself or some other person, in all cases where the person contacted has failed to respond.  This procedure is to be followed month after month until every person of every age group has been brought into regular activity in the Church.  Considering the frailties of human nature and the perplexing problems of the age it is anticipated that this will be a continuous and permanent process and it is therefore urged that the Aaronic Priesthood Correlation Plan be set up as the permanent plan which has been adopted for the advancement of the Aaronic Priesthood and its members.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 40(6):378-379, Jun., 1937)

Jul.:  AP quorums not to adjourn during summer.

“Under no circumstances should quorums adjourn during the summer period.  For many obvious reasons quorum work and Church activity are more essential to the welfare of boys and young men in summer than in winter.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 40(7):448, Jul., 1937)

9 Sep.:  Ordination of High Priests in mission field.

“If High Priests are ordained in the mission field it should be done under approval of the Council of the Twelve when one of the members is visiting the Mission.”  (9 Sep., 1937; Rudger Clawson “Book of Decisions-2”; in Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government (1939 edition), p. 348)

Sep.:  General instructions for quorum presidencies.

“For the benefit of newly appointed officers in the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the following instructions are repeated.  The Handbook is out of print and a new edition is in course of preparation.  There should be in the files of each quorum of the Priesthood a complete set of the bulletins which contain in detail the instructions which have been given from time to time for the guidance and conduct of Priesthood quorums.  A copy of the Handbook should also be in these files.  It appears, however, that there has been neglect of this important matter on the part of many of the quorums, and letters are constantly being received asking for instructions which these publications contain.  Some of these questions are here answered, repeating what has already been published in the Handbook:


Defined:  A quorum of the Priesthood consists of a specified group of men, holding the same office in the Priesthood, organized for material betterment and for the advancement of the work of the Church.

Membership:  Every person holding the Priesthood should be enrolled and received as a member of the appropriate quorum having jurisdiction in the ward, or stake, in which his Church membership is recorded.

A certificate of ordination, which is given to each member, should be carefully preserved by the person ordained and when necessary should be presented to the proper authority as an evidence of his ordination.  Upon this evidence, and when moving and being received into another ward, the holder of the certificate should be admitted to membership in the quorum in the ward or stake where he resides.  If he has not Priesthood certificate, but the recommendation on his certificate of removal from one ward to another names his Priesthood, it should be accepted as evidence that he holds that office, provided there is no evidence to the contrary.  When a person holding the Priesthood removes from one ward to another and is accepted as a member of the ward to which he moves, it becomes the duty of the ward clerk to notify the president of the quorum of the arrival of this person.

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

It is the duty of the secretary of a High Priests’ or Elders’ quorum to prepare certificates of ordination and to have the signed by the proper officers, presented to the ward clerk to be entered upon the ward record, and then delivered to the persons in whose favor they are issued.  Certificates of ordination for Seventies are issued by the First Council of the Seventy.

Should a quorum withdraw fellowship from one of its members, a report of the action of the quorum should be sent to the bishop of the ward.  (See Gospel Doctrine, pp. 207-208.)

Purpose:  A main purpose of a quorum of the Priesthood is to help every individual member of the quorum, and his family, to attain a condition of thorough well being in body, mind, and spirit.  Every need of a man holding the Priesthood should be the concern of the quorum to which he belongs.

Another important purpose of a quorum, closely connected with the personal welfare of the members, is to help the Church itself in the accomplishment of the divine duties imposed upon the organized body of Latter-day Saints.  The members of the quorum should be developed to understand and to perform the work in which the Church is engaged.

Quorum Presidency:  For the special duties and authority of the presidencies of the various quorums, see Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 107.

The quorum presidency are the responsible directing officers.  All committees are appointed by and responsible to the quorum through the presidency.  The presidency must find ways and means by which they are in touch with all the work of the quorum.  They should attempt to make personal calls upon every member of the quorum, at least once each year.

An indispensable requirement for the success of a quorum of Priesthood is a regular meeting of the quorum presidency.  The secretary also should attend this meeting.  Matters relating to the duties of the presidency of the quorum should be freely and frankly considered, no one feeling hindered or inhibited in the expression of his views.  A unity of opinion and especially of action on quorum matters should be arrived at before they are presented to the members concerned.

The presidency of a quorum is responsible for the conduct of the affairs of the quorum.  It is from this body that the inspiration for the progress of the quorum should come.

A regular order of business and the outlines provided should be carefully followed.

Quorum Secretary:  All records of the labors and findings of the several committees should be placed in the hands of the quorum secretary.  By him they should be arranged, digested and presented in accordance with the wishes of the quorum presidency.  The secretary should act as the custodian of quorum records and keep accurate minutes of all regular meetings.


The general plan of the Priesthood provides for the appointment of the following four committees:  1.  Personal Welfare.  2.  Class Instruction.  3.  Church Service.  4.  Miscellaneous and Social.

Each committee should consist of several members.  The members of the quorum presidency are ex-officio members of all committees.  One member of the committee may be appointed secretary, another, chairman.  Sub-committees may be appointed to look after special features of the work.  Standing committees should have regular times for meetings, and as far as possible every member of the quorum should be assigned to one of the committees.

Personal Welfare Committee:  It is the duty of the personal welfare committee to become acquainted with the character and attitude of quorum members so far as these relate to the advancement of quorum ideals.  It is not the prerogative of this committee to inquire into private matters which concern only the individual member himself.

The committee should have in hand:

1. A complete list of quorum or group members.

2. The number who keep the Word of Wisdom.

3. The number who are true tithepayers.

4. The number who have paid some tithing.

5. The number who are non-tithepayers.

6. The number unemployed.

7. The number who can render service to the quorum and to the Church.

8. The names of those who are incapacitated to render service.

9. The names of those who are unable to attend meetings but who could do so if somebody furnished transportation.

10. The committee should know how members on foreign and their families are–their needs.

11. Under assignment of the quorum presidency the committee should make personal contact with every quorum member, commending the active, giving strength to the discouraged, awakening renewed desire among the indifferent and slothful, and leading them back to activity in the Church.

Church Activity Committee:  It is the duty of the church activity committee:

1. To keep at hand a complete roster of quorum members.

2. To know what each member is doing in a church capacity.

3. To report to the quorum presidency the names of those who are attending to no church duty.

4. To study adaptation of each member to any particular church activity.

5. To become personally acquainted with members, as regards their inclinations and desires.

6. To note, at least quarterly, average attendance of each member at:

a. Monthly quorum meeting.

b. Sacrament meeting.

c. Quarterly conference.

d. Gospel Doctrine class.

e. Mutual Improvement meetings.

7. To note the number who did not attend (a) a quorum or group meeting in three months; (b) a Sacrament meeting in three months.

8. To be able to report:

a. Number inactive because of age, infirmity or sickness.

b. Number inactive because of absence from ward or stake.

c. Number inactive on account of occupation.

d. Number willing to labor but unassigned.

e. Number who refuse to render service.

f. Number unworthy to serve.  (All who refuse to serve, or who are unworthy, should be labored with patiently and intelligently by members of the Personal Welfare, or the Church Activity, committee.)

Class Instruction Committee:  The committee on class instruction should deal especially with preparation of lessons and attendance at classes.  This committee should see that each member is provided:

1. With current Gospel Doctrine lessons.

2. With a copy of the Bulletin and all other necessary current publications.

The committee should be prepared to cite interesting and helpful instructive references pertaining to the lessons under consideration.  These references should be given one week in advance of the lesson.

It is the principal duty of this committee to visit delinquent members with the view of converting them to the need and benefit of participation in class and quorum study.

The class instruction committee should keep informed concerning current events, and present these briefly at the monthly quorum meetings.

Miscellaneous Committee:  As the name implies, the duties of the miscellaneous committee include varied phases of quorum activity not assigned to other standing committees.

To this committee are assigned:

1. The social functions.

2. Summer outings.

3. Temple excursions.

4. All other activities not within the realm of the other committees.

The Monthly Quorum Meetings:  According to present arrangements, a monthly quorum meeting of each quorum of the Melchizedek Priesthood should be held either during the Sunday School hour, as provided, or at some other hour, on the last Sunday of each month.  At this meeting the regular lesson as outlined in the Bulletin should be considered.  Time shold also be given to the transaction of any quorum activity and business which needs attention.

The purposes of the monthly quorum meeting, which should not be confused with the monthly union meeting or any other gathering, are:

1. To make clear the place of the quorum in the Church.

2. To improve individual standards of living.

3. To consider current events and study Gospel themes.

4. To receive reports of services rendered and to make assignments for the coming month.

5. To foster true fellowship in the Brotherhood of Christ.

6. To set free the spirit that it may be more responsive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

7. To become better acquainted with one another, and thereby bury enmity and hard feelings and foster kindliness and appreciation.

8. To sense the security that comes from union.

9. To aid one another to become successful in temporal matters.

10. To attend to current business pertaining to the quorum, and to make the group an efficient organization in promoting the Kingdom of God on earth.”  

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 40(9):574-575, Sep., 1937)

Sep.:  Correlation plan to be given renewed emphasis.

“The Aaronic Priesthood Correlation Plan, which has been responsible for bringing thousands of boys and young men into activity in the Church, is to be given renewed emphasis beginning with the fall season.  Conventions with groups of stakes meeting together will be held as rapidly as possible over the Church.  Stake conventions have already been held in New York, Chicago, and Big Horn stakes in connection with other gatherings.  The enthusiasm with which the new phases of the plan have been received is reported to be most gratifying.

Under the new plan special stress is being given to the plan of organization which limits the membership of stake and ward correlation committees to those actively engaged in supervision of boys and young men of Aaronic Priesthood ages and the necessity for monthly meetings of all stake and ward committees.  A number of stakes have already adopted the new plans and report satisfactory progress.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood–Ward Teaching,” IE 40(12):577, Sep., 1937)

1 Oct.:  Separation of Sunday School and Priesthood.

“Sunday School and Priesthood Activity Period to be Conducted Separately.

The General Authorities of the Church have granted the request of the General Board for permission to have the Sunday Schools meet for an hour and a half separate from the activity period of the Priesthood.  Members of the Priesthood will continue their Gospel study in the Sunday School.  This action, to take effect January 1, 1938, ends a period during which several plans have been tried out.  

The action was taken after a very thorough and extensive survey had been made for the General Authorities.  Questionnaires covering every phase of the problem were sent to stake presidents, bishops and Melchizedek Priesthood quorum officers.  The responses revealed an overwhelming sentiment in favor of a separate meeting for the Priesthood.  A majority favored holding priesthood meeting apart from but near the time of Sunday School.  This confirmed the judgment of Sunday School workers and consequently the decision of the Authorities to approve of separating the activity meetings of the Priesthood from the exercises of the Sunday School meets with general approval.

The facts revealed by the questionnaire will guide the Authorities in the formulation of plans for the Priesthood which will take local conditions and needs into consideration.  It is expected that the final instructions will establish efficient and definite procedure for all classes of ward conditions.

We shall be left free to conduct a Sunday School of one hour and a half, including a class period of 45 minutes.  If priesthood meeting is held near enough to the Sunday School time to make it necessary for the children and women to remain until this meeting adjourns, interesting lessons and activities for the women and children will be provided by the Sunday School.

Until the complete plan of the Authorities is published, it cannot be known whether the Sunday School will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 or from 10:30 to 12 noon.

For the present, it is important that Sunday School workers make no change in the present Sunday School procedure, but that they hold steady until the separate Sunday School arrangement goes into effect on January 1, 1938.

When the details of the plans of the Authorities are available, complete plans for the hour and a half Sunday School sessions will be prepared and published by the General Board.  These will appear in the November issue of ‘The Instructor.'”

(“From the Desk of the General Superintendency,” Instructor 72(10):424, 1 Oct., 1937)

Nov.:  Graded Aaronic Priesthood quorums.

“For several years, a recommendation has been made by the Presiding Bishopric that, in wards where there are two or more quorums, a plan of grading according to age be followed.  The recommendation is that where there are three quorums in a ward, the twelve-year-old boys constitute the first quorum, those thirteen years of age would comprise the second quorum, and those fourteen the third quorum.  Under this plan, a boy would have a promotion on advancement from one quorum to another each year.  This plan, it is believed, will increase interest and make it possible to hold more boys for the three-year period covering the Deacons’ quorum activity.

In wards where there are two quorums, it is suggested that a division be made on the most practical basis, leaving the older boys in one quorum and the younger in the other.  Where four, five, or six quorums are organized in one ward, the grading could be done along the same lines, keeping the boys of each age grouped together as far as possible.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 40(11):701, Nov., 1937)

Nov.:  The Priesthood Quorum comes first.

“Elsewhere in this issue will be found an official statement concerning the new program, in line with progress, for the quorums of the Priesthod.  Every man holding the Priesthood should read it with care.  (Seee pages 768-771.)

The foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is its authoritative Priesthood.  Without this power, the Church would be as a man-made institution.  Its principles, however good, would be as sounding brass.  The Priesthood gives life to the Church.

The progress of the Church depends upon the activity of the Priesthood.  When the Priesthood is active, the Church surges forward; when inactive, the Church creeps along.  The Priesthood is as a barometer of the condition of the Church.

In an ancient day, whenever Moses lifted his arms toward heaven in prayer, the battle favored Israel; when his tired arms fell to his sides, the enemy advanced.  Therefore, Joshua and a son of Hur stood by the side of Moses and held up his arms until the victory was won by Israel.  In such a manner must the men holding the Priesthood support the Church until it has attained victory over all unrighteousness.

The organizations of the Church are but helps to the Priesthood.  That places the Priesthood quorums in the position of leadership.  They should be so ably conducted, so faithfully attended, so thoroughly serviceable, as to set an example to all other Church organizations.  Necessarily, if a man must choose between loyalty to his Priesthood quorum and some other Church organization however good, his duty is to the quorum.

Under the new program the Priesthood at large will receive theological instruction in the Gospel Doctrine Class of the Sunday School; the quorum meeting may be held at any suitable time; quorum study courses dealing with practical Gospel problems will be supplied; quorum activities beyond the weekly meeting will be urged upon the Priesthood; more effective means of supervision will be devised.  The quorums of the Priesthood must assume preeminence in all Church activities.

Quorum possibilities are very great.  Through the Personal Welfare Committee, the condition of every member may be known and his wants supplied; through the Church Service Committee all members may be provided with Church experience; through the Class Instruction Committee profitable information may be gained weekly; through the Miscellaneous Activity Committee, the social life of the members may be enlarged.  Read the record of the accomplishments of one Priesthood quorum as published in this issue of the Era.  (See opposite page, 761.)  Others have done as well; and all may do as well.  The quorums of the Priesthood should take pride in being the most helpful agencies to the stake presidencies and ward bishoprics in their important duties.

Let our slogan be ‘The Priesthood Quorum First.’  Those who heed this call will soon find themselves increasing in every power for good.”  (John A. Widtsoe, Editorial, “The Priesthood Quorum Comes First,” IE 40(12):760, Dec., 1937)

Dec.:  Details of new Priesthood/Sunday School.

“October 28, 1937

To Presidents of Stakes, Bishops of Wards, and Presidents of Priesthood Quorums.

Dear Brethren,

A recent recommendation by the Council of the Twelve in relation to a change in the holding of Priesthood meetings at some time other than during the Sunday School period has been approved by the First Presidency and will be effective commencing January 2, 1938.

The system to be inaugurated in January is as follows:

All Priesthood quorums, or segments of quorums as the case may be, will meet either before or after Sunday School on the Sabbath day, or, if preferable, on a week night at some time which will not interfere with other stated meetings.  The time chosen is to be at the option of the Bishopric and Priesthood of each ward with the approval of the Stake Presidency.  If the brethren choose to meet before the Sunday School period, they may convene at 9:30–or earlier if they choose–and continue in session until 10:20 when they will adjourn for the Sunday School exercises which will commence at 10:30 a.m.  If it is agreed that the Priesthood meeting shall be held following the Sunday School period, then the Sunday School will convene at 10 a.m. and continue until 11:30 a.m.  Then the Priesthood will convene for firty minutes, or for a longer time if desired.  All Priesthood quorums that are divided between two or more wards, such as the High Priests, should meet in quorum capacity once each month at the time and place to be approved by the Stake Presidency.

Programs and suggestions for these weekly and monthly meetings will be prepared and published in the Quorum Priesthood Bulletin, the Improvement Era, and the Church Section of the Deseret News.  

On the Fast Sunday of each month these weekly Priesthood meetings will be suspended and all members are urged to attend the Sunday School and the Fast meeting to follow, for which credit for Priesthood activity on that day will be given.

This program is based on the results of a questionnaire which was sent out to all Stake Presidents, Ward Bishops and Presidents of Melchizedek Priesthood quorums.  It was discovered that because of different environments a uniform time for the holding of these meetings could not be adopted, therefore the option is granted to the stakes and wards as herein stated.  This plan has been approved and accepted by all the General Authorities of the Church.  All quorums of the Melchizedek and all quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood are expected to conform to this arrangement, which it is confidently believed will result in greater activity and advancement among the quorums of the Priesthood.

Sincerely your brethren,

The Council of the Twelve,

By Rudger Clawson, President.”

(Instructor 72(12):536, 1 Dec., 1937; also in IE 40(12):768, Dec., 1937)

“Working the New Plan.

On Sunday, January 2, will go into effect, the new Priesthood and Sunday School plan under which the activities of the Priesthood will be separated from the Sunday School period.  The change will require careful preparation on the part of ward authorities in many particulars, among which are the following:

1.  If Priesthood meets before Sunday School early arrangement of rooms should be made by Priesthood groups.  This should not be left until the day of meeting, but carefully considered in advance.

2.  Evacuation of rooms in time for Sunday School classes and proper seating and ventilation.

3.  General understanding that Sunday School lessons are the Gospel teaching lessons for the whole Church.

4.  That there should be an orderly reassembly of all Sunday School members at the close of the hour and a half period whether Sunday School begins at 10 or 10:30.

5.  Careful adherence to the time limit for Sunday School as scheduled in order to keep up with the work.  Don’t get behind.”

(Instructor 72(12):537, 1 Dec., 1937)

“It is hoped that all stake supervising and Priesthood quorum officers will take notice of the preceding letter from President Rudger Clawson, and will arrange to go forward with the plan at the beginning of 1938.  In any case, all arrangements to do this should be made before the first Sunday in January.  It would be wonderful to have all classes and quorums well prepared to put the plan promptly into operation in the first week of the new year.

Now, to carry out successfully any plan with a large number of organized groups–there are nearly one thousand Melchizedek Priesthood quorums–there must be effective organization, conformity with the program, and careful supervision.  No doubt partial failure of some quorums in the past has been due to a lack of this kind of organization and supervision.  So, the call now comes to repair these defects.  This can be done by (a) a capable, active stake committee, (b) the complete organization of each quorum with energetic, faithful officers and committees all working in harmony to carry out a well-planned program, (c) adherence to the suggested program, and (d) reports at regular intervals.

The features of the plan are:

1. A Weekly Meeting:  A joint meeting of all the Priesthood in the ward should be held weekly.  This meeting should occupy at least 50 minutes, preferably more.  It should consist of two parts, (a) the opening, the bishop presiding and presenting matters of a general nature, to last about 15 minutes; and (b) the separation into quorum or ward group meetings during the remainder of the period, the time to be given by the Melchizedek Priesthood to the suggested program (a study course and activities), which is the same for all High Priests, Seventies, and Elders classes and quorums, and will be printed in The Improvement Era).  Each quorum member should also provide himself with a copy of the study course, which is printed separately in book form.

2. Time of Weekly Meeting:  The time of holding the ward weekly Priesthood meeting is optional with the bishopric and Priesthood of each ward under the approval of the stake presidency.  The suggested times are, for at least 50 minute periods, before or immediately after Sunday School or on a week-day evening.  If before, the Sunday School should convene at 10:30 a.m.; if after, the Sunday School should convene at 10:00 a.m. and dismiss at 11:30 a.m.; if on a week-day evening, at any suitable time.

3. Fast Meeting in Place of One Quorum or Group Meeting:  Since fast meetings in most of the wards are held immediately following Sunday School, it is suggested that on fast days the regular weekly Priesthood meeting be suspended and that the members attend the fast meeting as a Priesthood activity.

4. Monthly Quorum Meeting:  Further, the plan provides that a monthly quorum meeting of at least one hour in length be held at a time different from the weekly ward group meeting by all quorums that cover two or more wards.  A suggested program for these monthly meetings is presented in this issue of The Improvement Era.  The same program is offered to all Melchizedek Priesthood quorums.

5. Stake Supervision:  To improve the supervision of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums it is requested that a stake Melchizedek committee be appointed, of at least four brethren, one of whom shall be a member of the stake presidency, acting as chairman, the others a High Priest, a Seventy, and an Elder.  In large stakes a representative from each of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums in the stake may be added to the committees.  This committee should feel keenly the responsibility of getting all quorums of High Priests and Elders into first-class condition.  Monthly meetings of the committee with quorum officers, frequent visits to quorum meetings, written monthly reports from the classes and quorums, etc., are suggested as means of keeping the stake committee informed.

6. Quorum Supervision:  Each quorum should be fully organized with a presidency, secretary and the four standing quorum committees.  Special committees may be formed as necessary.

7. Ward Group Supervision:  Where the quorum has two or more ward groups, each ward group should have a presiding officer (one of the quorum presidency if a member of the group), a group secretary, and a group class-leader.  The ward groups should meet as a quorum once a month, as stated in paragraph 4.

8. Officers and Quorum Meetings and Reports:  The officers of each quorum (presidency and secretary and class-leader, if desired) should meet at regular intervals, at least monthly, to discuss the welfare of the quorum.

It would be well also for the quorum presidency to meet occasionally with each standing quorum committee.

Each of the four standing quorum committees should meet at regular intervals, at least monthly, to discuss the problems coming under their assignments.

Quorum standing committees should report to the quorum once a month.  One committee might report one week, another the next, and since there are four standing committees, each committee would have the opportunity of reporting once a month.

9. Monthly Melchizedek Priesthood Union Meetings:  It is recommended that monthly stake union meetings be held, for all officers of the quorums, at which the lessons, projects and activities of the month would be gone over in detail, in preparation for the weekly Melchizedek Priesthood quorum meetings.

10. Reports to Stake and General Authorities:  Report forms will be sent from Church headquarters.  Beginning with the new year a quarterly report from each quorum is requested to be sent to the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee, who will forward it to the Council of the Twelve.  This report will supersede the reports now sent just before the semi-annual stake Priesthood conferences.  It will be the responsibility of the stake committee to see to it that these quarterly reports are made.  If all quorum officers do their duty the stake committee will have a pleasant task.

11. District Meetings of Quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood:  Such meetings may be called as deemed advisable.  Ample notice will be given of the time and place of such gatherings.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 40(12):768-769, Dec., 1937)

Dec.:  New hour for priesthood meetings.

“Effective January 1st, Priesthood meetings are to be held separate from the Sunday School or other organizations.  Instructions sent out by the General Authorities (see page 768) specify that the meetings are to be held before Sunday School, preferably at 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. and continuing until 10:20, the Sunday school to begin at 10:30 a.m.; or following Sunday School from 11:30 a.m. for fifty minutes or longer if desired.  Meetings may be held on a week night, if desired, provided there is no conflict with any other organization.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 40(12):772, Dec., 1937)

Dec.:  Ward teachers are the “extended arm” of the bishop.

“The responsibility of a bishop of a ward is one of the greatest and most serious of any in the Church.  It is his duty as the ‘father’ of the ward to look to the welfare, both spiritual and temporal, of every member of his ward.  It is to the bishop that ward members look for help in virtually all phases of life and living.

If it were practical, it would be highly desirable to have wards of such limited population that the bishop and his counselors could actually minister in person to every member of the ward.  For many reasons, however, this is not practical, and from the same angles, impossible.  Yet the desirability of such personal contacts remains.

It would be an ideal situation in which the bishop or one of his counselors could visit every family in the ward once each month, inquiring after their welfare, ministering to their spiritual and temporal needs and teaching them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The bishopric would then know the conditions of each family.  If sickness or distress came to a home, the bishop would be informed without delay, because he would be close to the family and would have established a bond of fellowship and confidence.  If misunderstandings occurred, the bishopric would be the first to learn of them.  If defections should begin to creep in and Church duties were being neglected, the bishopric would notice them immediately.

As desirable as such a condition is, it is not practical; therefore, it has been found necessary, in order to preserve the morale of ward members, to demonstrate the brotherhood of the Gospel, and to encourage the Saints in their duties, to devise a plan that will accomplish as nearly as may be, the same purposes as would be accomplished through visits of the bishop and his counselors.  This plan, having been revealed from our Father in Heaven, is an excellent method of accomplishing many of the results of a bishop’s visit, and in addition has some advantages which could not be secured if ward teaching should be confined to the bishopric.

From the viewpoint of Church government and operation, the ward teacher becomes, in effect, the extended arm of the bishop.  He goes into the homes of ward members as the personal representative of the bishop.  It is his duty to perform the same services, extend the same fellowship, and give the same teachings as though the bishop himself made the visit.  He has the same obligations to concern himself with the temporal and spiritual welfare of the families in his district, as the bishop would have, if he made the visit in person.

In addition to being a representative of the bishop, a ward teacher also visits as a brother in the Church, as a member of the ward Priesthood.  This adds another value to the visits which goes beyond the duty of acting for the bishop.

The ward teacher also has the same responsibilities in his visits that the bishop would have.  He would have the same obligation to be respectful, to regard the feelings and have consideration of other people and to hold sacred every confidence.

This phase of ward teaching adds strength and power to the Church that can hardly be estimated at its full value.  Brotherhood and fraternal relationships follow such visits, when properly made, to an extent that non-members of the Church envy us this great plan which has been revealed in this dispensation, and which, in the past, has brought untold strength to the Church.

Viewed in this light, the calling of a ward teacher becomes seriously important.  To represent the bishop and act in the Priesthood capacity assigned to a ward teacher, whether ordained or acting, is a grave responsibility.  What far-reaching and lasting results would come to the Church and all of its members, if every home in every ward could be visited every month by a pair of teachers who would accept the responsibility in this light and discharge it faithfully!  This Church and its progress would be more than ever the wonder of the world.

Sucn a condition is not impossible.  In many wards of the Church and in some entire stakes, that kind of teaching is being done today.  Those who are called as ward teachers are impressed with the responsibility of their calling.  They are given counsel and advice each month by the bishopric.  They visit every home religiously.  They establish confidence and fraternal relationships with every family.  They encourage Church activity and teach the Gospel in the homes of the Saints.  Needless to relate, in such wards, the spirit of the Lord abounds.  The people are happy and contented; the work of the Church comes first in the lives of the members; and the teachings of the Gospel are demonstrated in an impressive manner.

Such teaching is needed in the Church today, more, probably, than at any time in the history of the Church.  It is important to the welfare of the Church and its members that the true spirit of ward teaching, as intended in the revelations, be developed in every ward, and that teachers discharge this important responsibility to the utmost of their ability and capacity.”  (“Ward Teaching,” IE 40(12):774, Dec., 1937)