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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1940

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1940.” You can view other years here.

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1940:  Jan.:  AP emphasis for 1940.

“Stake and Ward Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Skupervision, the Aaronic Priesthood Extension Plan, Gathering of Fast Offering by Deacons, and the Adult Aaronic Priesthood Program are to be given special emphasis during 1940 by the Presiding Bishopric.  Under plans now being developed, requests for special attention to these four projects will be carried to every stake in the Church.  These four projects, including as they do practically every phase of Aaronic Priesthood activity, are to be given special stress in the hope that a much larger percentage of the Aaronic Priesthood may be reached through this plan.  Through special programs in connection with stake conferences, the columns of The Improvement Era, and special bulletins, operation of the four plans, where not understood, will be explained, and every possible effort be made to have each of these programs accepted wholeheartedly in every ward and stake in the Church.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 43(1):41, Jan., 1940)

Jan.:  Training for the AP.

“The importance of proper training of boys before receiving the Priesthood cannot be overestimated.  For some months previous to the time when a person is selected for ordination to an office in the Aaronic Priesthood, the bishopric and ward supervisor of deacons should have such person in training.  The boy should show an appreciation for the Gospel.  He should manifest faith and have good habits.  He should show a willingness to do the things asked of him.  The bishopric should assure themselves that he has fulfilled these requirements.  No one should be ordained to any office in the Priesthood who does not understand the duties and responsibilities thereof.

The Primary Association course for boys from eleven to twelve is designed to assist in this preparation for the Priesthood.  Closer cooperation is urged between the supervisor of Deacons and the leaders of the Guide class in the Primary Association.  While the Primary Associations assist in the preparation of boys for ordination, the responsibility still rests with the bishopric and supervisors.

When the bishopric is satisfied that the candidate is prepared to receive the Priesthood, his name should be submitted to the congregation of the Saints for approval.


1. A boy must be twelve years of age or over.

2. He must have been baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

3. He should know the Articles of Faith and be able to explain each in his own words.

4. He should know the story of Aaron from the Bible, and the story of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood in these days.

5. He should know what Priesthood means and show respect and reverence for those who hold it.

6. He should be able to open or close a meeting with prayer.

7. He should know something about the Word of Wisdom and be living it.

8. He should know the names of the General Authorities of the Church, and the officers of his own stake and ward.

9. He should know something about the law of tithing and be a tithepayer.”

(“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 43(1):41, Jan., 1940)

Feb.:  Can priesthood function independently of Church?

“At times, when the Church, through the wickedness of men, has not existed on earth, the Lord has nevertheless conferred the Priesthood on righteous men, prophets of old.  Under such circumstances, the Priesthood has been obliged to function in a limited manner independently of the Church.  However, since the Church represents the Lord on earth, whenever the Church exists, any and every person who holds the Priesthood must exercise his power under the laws and authority of the Church.  Then, no Priesthood power is recognized on earth outside of the Church.  No matter how much Priesthood a man has received, it is null and void, powerless and unacceptable to the Lord, unless the man has full fellowship in the Church of God.”  (John A. Widtsoe, “Evidences and Reconciliations–Can the Priesthood function independently of the Church?” IE 43(2):97, Feb., 1940)

Feb.:  Reduced requirements for Standard Quorum Awards.

“In order to make allowance more fully for members away from home, working, or at school, and partially to offset serious inroads into attendance records during the summer vacation season, the attendance requirement for the Standard Quorum Award has been reduced from sixty per cent to fifty per cent retroactive for the year 1939.  Under this ruling quorums with average attendance reaching or exceeding fifty per cent will be given the award for 1939 provided that the other six requirements have been met.  In figuring per cents, all members of the quorum are to be included without deductions of any kind being made.

Stake chairmen of Aaronic Priesthood committees are given the responsibility of checking with ward chairmen or quorum officers and recommending to the Presiding Bishopric for the award all quorums which have met the requirements.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 43(2):105, Feb., 1940)

Feb.:  Quorum aids now to be called “Advisers”.

“Without in any way changing their duties or responsibilities, it is announced by the Presiding Bishopric that hereafter the special assistants to members of ward bishoprics in the conduct of Aaronic Priesthood quorums are to be designated as quorum advisers instead of supervisors.

It is felt the term adviser more nearly denotes the actual relationship of this officer to the quorum officers and members and will eliminate any confusion between the duties and responsibilities of the adviser and the member of the bishopric who is assigned to supervise the quorum.  

All future publications will refer to this officer as the adviser.  The cooperation of all concerned in establishing this new designation is desired.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 43(2):105, Feb., 1940)

9 Feb.:  PBO appeal for help in AP Extension Plan.

“February 9, 1940.

Dear Brethren:

The beginning of the year 1940 finds more boys and young men active in the Aaronic Priesthood program of the Church than at any time in the past.  Still, there are many of our boys who are not yet active in any program of the Church.  These inactive boys and young men need our attention.  We appeal to every person in the stakes and wards of the Church who has any responsibility whatever for the success of the program of the Aaronic Priesthood quorums, Sunday School classes, or M.I.A. groups, containing members of Aaronic Priesthood age, to join in a Churchwide effort to attract and hold in the Aaronic Priesthood program every possible member.  We cannot afford to lose one of them.

Responsibility for all the boys and young men of the wards already rests with those who are assigned to leadership in the groups mentioned above.  The Aaronic Priesthood Extension Plan is a means which affords opportunity for those who already have this responsibility in Priesthood quorums, Sunday School classes, and M.I.A. groups to cooperate in fulfilling their assignment and discharging their responsibility.  With the present demands for leadership in the Church and the unmistakable evidences that these demands are to increase, it is important to the welfare of the Church and its future growth and progress that every possible boy and young man be given the training, experience, and development which come from participation in the splendid programs which have been provided for the youth of Zion.  One prominent leader has said: ‘We must save our boys, because if we save the boys, we save the Church.’  Conversely, as we fail to hold the boys, and as we permit them to remain inactive, we retard the growth and progress of the Church.

To accomplish the objective which has been set up, four steps are of vital importance: First, securing, training, and retaining the best boy leaders available in each ward; Second, careful study, development and correlation of the programs which are prepared by the central groups responsible for each of these programs.  In this connection, it is extremely important that the programs, as provided, shall be followed according to the suggestions and recommendations of those who have provided them, and that every possible effort be made so to enrich and develop each program as to make it attractive to every young man or boy; Third, that a proper activity program be provided by these three groups for the young men and boys of the ward, giving due consideration to the recommended programs of each group and to the needs of the boys of any age group.  These activity programs should be adequate and properly distributed between the three gropus, but care should be exercised that the activity and recreation phases of the program shall not be overdone; Fourth, after the first three steps have been taken, then the active missionary work among inactive boys and young men should begin, bsed upon an actual survey and a check of the ward records to make sure that the name of every person of Aaronic Priesthood age is listed on one of the cards provided for that purpose, with charge, by the Presiding Bishop’s office.  If any ward is not supplied with these cards, a request shouild be made immediately for the proper number, and they should be followed through and used as a basis for the missionary phase of the Aaronic Priesthood Extension Program.

Brethren, the responsibility for the boys and young men of the Church is yours and ours.  We have all been called by proper authority to plan, prepare, supervise, and direct the programs which are designed to establish  in the heart of every boy and young man of Aaronic Priesthood age a testimony of the truth of this great Latter-day work, and to provide a means of and encouragement for securing the development and advancement for each of these respective groups.

We appeal to stake presidencies and stake Aaronic Priesthood extension plan committees, to bishoprics of wards, quorum advisers, Sunday School teachers, and M.I.A. leaders to join in a Churchwide effort to be prosecuted diligently during 1940, to reach and hold the highest possible number of members of the Aaronic Priesthood, in order that they may be prepared as far as is possible for leadership and service in the Church.

Yours sincerely,




(“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 43(3):168, Mar., 1940)

29 Mar.:  Correlation suggestions.


On Friday, March 29, 1940 at 4:00 p.m. President J. Reuben Clark, speaking for the First Presidency to the Presidencies and Superintendents of the Church Auxiliaries, defined the responsibilities of each of the several auxiliary organizations and set up a committee.  The committee was called the Church Union Board of the Auxiliaries and President George Q. Morris was asked to act as the President of the Union Board until further assignment was made.  This committee was set up in order that the Union Board would coordinate, consolidate, eliminate, simplify, and adjust the work of the auxiliary organizations in accordance with the general outline herein given.


Made by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., speaking for the Presidency, to the Presidencies and Superintendencies of 

The National Women’s Relief Society

The Deseret Sunday School Union

The Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association

The Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association

The Genealogical Society of Utah

At a meeting with the Presidencies and Superintendencies of the foregoing organizations on Friday, March 29, 1940, at 4:00 p.m., in the General Church Office Building.

In the course of the conference President Clark made suggestions as follows:

1. That there was an ever-mounting burden (financial and otherwise) that the Church was placing on the people for carrying on the various activities of the Church, that the people were increasingly complaining about it, and that the Presidency felt that there must be some measures taken to curtail as far as possible these burdens.

2. That the numerous and absorbing duties which were being placed upon the Bishops, not alone because of their ordinary duties as Bishops, as laid down in the revelations, but also because of the numerous activities of the Auxiliaries, were making it increasingly difficult to find responsible men who were really leaders, to take on the work, or to retain it for any proper length of time after they came into office; that the Presidency fell we must try to do something to lessen these burdens.

3. That the elaborate program which had been suggested for the various Priesthood and Auxiliary groups had led to a demand for very large Ward buildings; that the building costs were constantly mounting; that the necessary divisions of Wards and Stakes, which divisions were progressively increasing, called for additional buildings at a rate which the Church would find it difficult fully to meet; that a disposition was growing to build very elaborate, even luxurious buildings; that some of the Wards and Stakes ‘near in’ to the headquarters of the Church had, because of their proximity, been able to get buildings that were of a grandeur that seemed sometimes not fully in harmony with the simplicity of the Gospel and the simplicity of the lives of most of our people; that the ‘far outs’ had suffered as a result of this and that there were many Wards in the Church where their facilities were not only inadequate, but almost discreditable; that the Presiding Bishopric had gone over the ground thoroughly and designated a great number of Wards that must receive a sort of ‘first aid’ in this matter of buildings; that for this year we had determined upon assisting some twenty Wards in this way; and that the Presidency wish to bring the whole situation more into line along some respectable, adequate and reasonable plan.

4. That our income was limited and that its expenditure had to be carefully watched; that in 1937 we had a deficit of over $100,000 from the point of view of income and expenditures; that in 1938 the deficit approached half a million dollars; that in 1939, by the most scrupulous care, we had again brought our budget into balance with our income; and, that we had so planned our budget this year in such a way as likewise to come within our income, and that the Presidency was determined that it should so conduct its financial affairs as to live within the regular Church income so far as that could be done, in view of the fact that our income was uncertain.

5. That to the end that the Auxiliaries might consolidate, cooperate, eliminate, simplify, and adjust their work so as to cooperate with the Presidency in reaching the aims above indicated, the Presidency wished to suggest for their consideration the following matters:

a. That at least for working out the present problem and purposes, the foregoing officers should constitute the Church Union Board of the Auxiliaries, and President George Q. Morris is asked to act as President of the Union Board until further arrangement is made.

b. That the work of the Union Board would be to consolidate, coordinate, eliminate, simplify, and adjust the work of the Auxiliary organizations in accordance with the general outline hereinafter given.  Later the problem will be taken up of tying up these activities in with the activities of the Church School System.

c. That the sole ultimate aim and purpose of the Auxiliary organization of the Church is to plant and make grow in every member of the Church a testimony of the Christ and of the Gospel, and of the divinity of the mission of Joseph Smith and of the Church, and to bring the people to order their lives in accordance with the laws and principles of the restored Gospel and Priesthood.

d. That the home is the basis of a righteous life, that no other instrumentality can take its place nor fulfill its essential functions, and that the utmost the Auxiliaries can do is to aid the home in its problems, giving special aid and succor where such is necessary.

e. That in aiding the home, the Auxiliaries might well consider thinking of the home life of the people as having three periods:  a) birth to of, when children should, as a rule, be taken from their homes for Church or community work only during the day; b) from 15 to marriage or the early 20’s, when the young people may be taken from their homes for Church or community work at night, but occasions therefor should not be unduly sought or multiplied; c) from this last period on.

f. That these periods might be divided among the Auxiliaries as follows:

First:  From 5 to 12 in Primary

Second:  From 12 to marriage or early 20’s in the Mutuals–the Junior Mutuals, 12-15, the Senior Mutuals, from 15 to 25.

Third:  From Mutual age on for the women in the Relief Society.

Fourth:  From Mutual age on for the Genealogical Society, both sexes.

Fifth:  For the Sunday School, all ages, and both sexes.

g. That as to the character of the work of these different Auxiliaries, it is suggested that, subject to such change as experience or wisdom shall suggest:

First:  The Primary will follow existing lines, subject to the Principles set out hereinafter.  This work will not include any night work, either for the regular activity or for preparation.

Second:  The Mutuals might take as their guide the original mandate of President Young, plus the assignment of 1923, by the First Presidency, though it may be wise to give this latter a little more exact definition.

h. That the Mutuals might also have in mind these additional suggestions:

First:  While for the home-age indicated above,–(12-15)–The Junior Mutual, Ward-wide work should be provided, this should be normally for the day.  Ward-wide night work should be only occasional and special.  Junior Mutual work should not provide for nor contemplate regular night work, even for preparation.

Second:  For the Junior Mutuals, they might consider suggesting plans for evening home activity, designed to keep the children home at nights.  These plans might include suggestive programs for occasional small groups–home evenings, where conditions are favorable.  The Ward organization (Priesthood and Auxiliary) should lend such assistance as may be feasible to make these home evenings successful.

Third:  For ages above 15, the Senior Mutual, the work might follow the present general broad lines, but should not attempt to include work for parents and persons beyond 25 years of age.  Wisdom and experience should suggest that this work should not provide for nor contemplate more than one night per week for regular work, and at most not more than one additional night per week for rehearsal or preparation for group activities, except perhaps for one week before the Road Show, or like activity, one week before any drama presentation (of which it would seem wise there should not be more than perhaps two each year in order to reach the highest possible excellence) and one week before the basketball or other tournament.

Fourth:  The Mutuals will carefully consider not attempting to provide any so-called ‘adult’ work.  Adult Church members can be well taken care of by Priesthood quorums and other Auxiliary organizations.

Fifth:  The most careful attention should be given to having ‘M Men’ activities absorbed and assimilated into the appropriate Priesthood quorum groups.

Sixth:  Obviously the Mutuals ought not to attempt to occupy the proper field of the public school system, common or grades, high school or college, nor to enter into competition in those fields.  On the other hand, they will not give up their own proper fields merely because some other agency tries to occupy them, and in some respects this is being consciously or unconsciously attempted.

Seventh:  The ‘leisure time’ for which the Mutuals are given responsibility is the time which may be wisely spent in recreation.  It does not include all the time the young people are not in school, nor every night in the week.  It is the minimum time that youth may profitable spend in amusements.  Work, not amusement, is the norm of men and women.  While ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,’ so ‘all play and no work usually makes Jack a vicious boy.’  The constant multiplication of amusements should not continue.  The world is more than a fun-house.

i. That the Relief Society go forward under the original mandate given to them by the Prophet Joseph.  In their social service work they may wish to cooperate and coordinate as closely as possible their work to the utmost attainable extent with the Church Welfare Program, becoming for this work an integral part of the Program, and as fully as possible confining their work of this sort to that of the Welfare Program.  In so far as can be done the Social Service work might be stressed from the point of view of helping the sisters to care for distress, and with no idea of evading help, yet to wipe out imposition and fraud on the part of professional beggars.  In their cultural work, they should seek primarily the promotion of faith and testimony, and their work in this field should tend to this end.

j. That the Genealogical Society could well confine its work to those above the Mutual age (25 years) except that it might, with the approval of the Sunday School, submit for inclusion as a part of the Sunday School courses of study, some work especially dealing with genealogy.  It is desirable that unreasoning emotion and hysteria should be kept out of this work, which is no more important or sacred than any other work of the Church that pertains to the salvation of the living.

k. That the Sunday School should continue to reach out and include all groups, but should consider carefully adjusting its work to the necessities required by the instructions set out in paragraph number x (a) hereinafter.  The Sunday School is to teach the restored Gospel.  It will refrain from attempting to teach any purely cultural courses.

l. That an Executive Committee of the Church Union Board is hereby appointed to be composed of the Presidencies and Superintendencies of the various Auxiliaries, who should act as a special committee to coordinate the work of the organizations with the cooperation of the full Union Board.  They should fix, subject to the approval of the Committee from the Twelve, and of the First Presidency, the limits of work of each of the Auxiliary organizations and should eliminate so far as possible all duplications and repetitions in this work.  President George Q. Morros will, until further arrangement is made, act as Chairman of this Committee.

m. That when the respective fields of activity of each of the organizations has been so fixed by this committee, and approved, every organization will abide thereby.  Obviously no organization will try to occupy all or a major portion of the whole field of Church activity.

n. That course of study for the various Auxiliaries should be prepared after prayerful study, deliberation, and contemplation.  That it seems not only unwise and unduly onerous on the people but unnecessary from the point of view of Church work, to have a new set of study courses every year.  Standard courses in outline could be prepared, the work of the Auxiliaries–the Primary, the Mutuals, and the Sunday Schools–being graded by years, so that one book for a particular grade could be used for several successive years.  If necessary supplementary inexpensive leaflets might be gotten out each year to keep the teaching from becoming more or less mechanical.

o. That the work of the Church, in all fields, is standing in grave danger of being regimented down to the minutest detail.  The result of that will be that not only will all initiative be crushed out but that all opportunity for the working of the Spirit will be eliminated.  The Church has not been built on that principle.  In all their work, the Auxiliaries must not only give opportunity for initiative, but they must encourage it.  In approaching this task it will be a mistake to assume that there is not a great and sufficient reservoir of initiative in the Church to carry on if that reservoir be drawn upon.  Such initiative existed in the past; it exists now.  Instead of the local boards straining their energy to carry out what the General Boards minutely prescribe, they should be exerting their utmost talents to create work along the lines the Boards will be able to suggest.  (This point was overlooked by President Clark in his meeting talk.)

p. That whether we like it or [are?] not willing to admit it, the fact is that the standards of youth, particularly as to chastity and temperance, and indeed as to honesty and truthfulness, have materially slipped from the standards of the last generation.  The evidences of this are so many that we may not blink our eyes at them.  The youth of today is the product of our public schools, our Church activities, and the home environment.  Each of these must assume its full share of the blame.  It is evident we must take stock of where we fail to measure up to our responsibilities.  We may find some of our failure in our disposition to accentuate our amusements a bit, and perhaps in a neglect to exercise that rigorous supervision of the conduct of our amusements which wisdom requires.

We may not, under out duty, provide or tolerate an unwholesome amusement on the theory that if we do not provide it the youth will go elsewhere to get it.  We could hardly set up a roulette table in the Church amusement hall for gambling purposes, with the excuse that if we do not provide it the youth would go to a gambling hall to gamble.  We can never really hold our youth thus.  Our task is to help the home to plant better standards in the minds of the youth.

We cannot tolerate the indecent or immodest exposure of the body in our amusements, and shorts, tights, extreme evening dresses, bathing suits, and like attire constitute such exposure.  Modesty is an almost forgotten word, and an increasingly rare virtue.

q. That you should insist that all contestants in your athletic and other activities shall be clean in their bodies and strict observers of the Word of Wisdom; and the young man or young woman who begins his observance the night before the event or who may be expected to cease its observance as soon as the event is over, is not an observer of the Word of Wisdom.  It goes without saying that all contestants should exemplify in their lives all the other essential Christian and Church virtues.  In all activities a premium should be placed on righteousness.

r. That above everything else, there must be thrown around all our activities the strongest possible religious atmosphere.  It must never be forgotten that the only excuse for the existence of an Auxiliary is the obtaining and building of a testimony of the Gospel, of the Messiahship of Jesus, of the divinity of the mission of Joseph Smith, and a leading of the membership of the Church to the living of righteous lives.

s. That the magazines of the Auxiliary organizations might well be combined as follows:

First:  The Relief Society Magazine and the Primary Children’s Friend could be combined into one magazine for mother and child.

Second:  The Era (as now constituted), the Instructor, the Genealogical Magazine, and the Week Day Religious Training could all be combined into one magazine.

Third:  These two combined magazine should contain all lesson material for all the Auxiliary organizations.  They could be managed and printed under the direction of a Printing Sub-Committee appointed from the Union Board.  They should be distributed to the people at the cost of publication.  The fiction printed should be only the very best, likewise the special articles, and both fiction and special articles should be printed only in limited amounts.  So far as possible, fiction and special articles should be secured without cost.  In this view, the two magazines would be essentially lesson material manuals, not fictional, literary magazines.

All Church news should be printed in the Church section of the Saturday Evening News, which should be enlarged and reconstituted.

A Club rate for subscription to all three could be worked out by the Printing Sub-Committee and the Deseret News.

t. That hereafter the Auxiliary organizations should operate on a budget supplied by the First Presidency.  Surplus funds (cash and securities) now held by the various Auxiliary organizations would be taken over by the First Presidency and kept invested.  The revenues derived therefrom would be turned back to the organzations turning them in as part of their budgetary allowance.

u. That hereafter no Auxiliary organization would solicit dues or other funds on any account from the people, except for auxiliary magazines.

Both Primary and Sunday School might continue their work of making the children contribution-minded for the help of others and of the Church, by urging upon them, and facilitating through the Bishops, the payment of their tithes to the Bishop, so that they could early get their names on the tithing roll, and also establish the habit of tithe-paying.

v. That travel and visits by members of the Auxiliary Boards should be reduced to the minimum, and each visit should be made by the fewest possible number of members.  Efforts could be made to direct the work through correspondence and lesson direction.  Visits could be made only where some special reason called for them.

w. The Union Board will so plan the new work as materially to curtain the ever-increasing labor which their activities have been putting upon the people, who are groaning under the weight of the financial and other burdens they are trying to carry.  They should try likewise so to frame their own work as to relieve them of the well-nigh completely absorbing character of their labors.

x. With the added view of further cutting down as much as possible the work of the people, a schedule of meetings might be worked out to this end.  The following is suggested:

First:  All Ward and Stake Auxiliary officers’ meetings could be held at some time during Sunday, either before or after Sunday School, and the Sunday School could facilitate this bymaking such helpful adjustments as would not interfere with Sunday School work.

Second:  The Primary and the Junior Mutuals could hold their meetings at the same time in the afternoon of the day chosen.

Third:  The Senior Mutuals could hold their meetings on Friday evenings (a non-school night), and their entertainments and amusements could normally come on the same night.

Fourth:  The Genealogical Society could hold its meetings on Tuesday.

Fifth:  The Relief Society could continue to hold its meetings on Tuesday.

This plan would require only one night out of each week for meetings and entertainment, except that special rehearsals, etc., might take one night more.”

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

30 Mar.:  Time of holding of priesthood meetings.

“To Stake Presidencies

Dear Brethren:

Our attention has recently been called to the fact that in several stakes and wards Priesthood quorum and group meetings are being held during the Sunday School period.

When the change was recommended in the time of holding Priesthood meetings, the attached letter [28 Oct., 1937] was sent to all stakes informing them of the plan approved and recommended by the General Authorities of the Church.  Since learning that some of the stakes are not following this plan, we are sending you copy of the original letter to bring this matter to your attention.

We congratulate all of you on your willingnes to cooperate in these matters which it is felt will best promote the interests of our people, and trust that the stakes not following the plan outlined in the accompanying letter will make the necessary changes as soon as possible.

Ever praying the Lord to be with you in your labors,

Sincerely your brethren,

The Council of the Twelve

Rudger Clawson, President.”

(Instructor 75(5):195, 1 May, 1940)

5 Apr.:  Responsibilities of priesthood.

“Quorum membership is something more than a name.  The Lord has made it abundantly clear by repeated commandments that upon the Priesthood in its organized form, and not merely upon individuals bearing it, rests the responsibility of instructing, encouraging, and admonishing the people.  The Lord has designated specifically the duties of the Priesthood in this regard, grade by grade.  He has given no authority to the Priesthood to relieve itself of this responsibility, of instructing, encouraging, and admonishing, by delegating to someone else this duty, individually or by class.  The Lord will therefore hold the Priesthood as such responsible for a due and proper instruction of Church membership in the way of life and salvation.

The Priesthood must not either forget or shirk this great responsibility.  The Church may provide aids and helps through Auxiliary organizations, schools, and otherwise for the doing of this work, but the Church cannot and does not seek or aim to relieve the Priesthood from the obligations of this divine command, nor to authorize it to shirk it or dodge it.  You bearers of the Priesthood, bend your backs, and take on this God-placed burden.  The Almighty expects, indeed commands this.  Your failure to do so will bring woe to the people and condemnation upon yourselves.”  (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., 5 Apr., 1940; CR Apr., 1940, p. 20)

Aug.:  Ages for AP ordinations.

“The offices of the Aaronic Priesthood are deacon, teacher and priest.  A boy may be ordained to this Priesthood at the age of twelve.  He receives first the office of deacon.  When he is fifteen, if he has proved faithful to his duties, he usually is advanced to the office of teacher; at seventeen, he may become a priest.”  (“Divisions of Priesthood–The Aaronic Priesthood,” RS 27(8):561, Aug., 1940)

Aug.:  When should group meetings be held?

“A president of a High Priests’ quorum of one of the stakes asks what we suggest be done to improve conditions in his quorum.  He says the monthly quorum meetings are a great success, the fine program meeting usually being followed by a good social attended also by the wives of the members.

But the weekly group meetings are almost a ‘flop,’ he writes.  They are held after Sunday School, are short, poorly attended, and due to various interferences only two a month, on an average, are held.  ‘What do you suggest?’ he asks.

Our reply is to take the problem to the monthly meeting of the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee with the officers of the groups and quorums.  The same problem of weekly meetings is probably found in the other quorums.  The stake presidency and high council might well be invited also to this meeting.  Or the problem could properly be referred for recommendation to the presidency and high council of the stake.

In any case, brethren, the time and place of holding weekly and monthly Priesthood meetings in a stake are matters to be recommended by the Priesthood authorities of the stake.  Let it always be remembered that the weekly Priesthood quorum or group meetings should not be curtailed by other Church activities.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 43(8):489, Aug., 1940)

Sep.:  Stake Missionary work vs. Home Missionary work.

“This statement is intended to clarify misunderstanding which seems to have arisen pertaining to the difference between the Stake Mission work and the Home Mission work of the Church.

The Stake Mission is organized after the plan of missionary work abroad, having in each stake a mission president, district presidents, and a corps of missionaries who are called stake missionaries, and who preach the Gospel from door to door, and by various other means, as though they were in mission fields away from home.

The Home Mission in the stakes consists of a number of faithful representative men and women of the stake, usually members of the High Council, returned missionaries from abroad, released stake missionaries, or others whom the stake presidency may call to that service.  These missionaries are usually selected at the beginning of the year by the stake presidency and sustained in a stake Priesthood meeting or at a stake conference.  These home missionaries, according to the appointment of the stake presidency, are to visit the Sunday meetings in the wards as preachers of the Gospel.  One sunday each month is set apart in the wards for this purpose, and the ward bishops are informed in advance when those visits are to be made.  The same Sunday of the month is designated for all the wards of the stake.

The Council of the Twelve,

By Rudger Clawson, President.”

[Note how this appears to be the predecessor to having regular “High Council Sundays.”]

(“Editorial,” IE 43(9):544, Sep., 1940)

Sep.:  Date of MP restoration.

“Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to this Priesthood by Peter, James and John, between May 15 and the end of June, 1829, near Harmony, Pennsylvania.”  (“Divisions of Priesthood–The Melchizedek Priesthood,” RS 27(9):640, Sep., 1940)

Sep.:  No latitude of interpretation permissible.

“The rulings do not permit of any latitude of interpretation as far as procedure is concerned, but the application of the rulings as it applies to the conduct, standing and privileges of individual members of the Church should, of course, be influenced by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for every stake presidency and ward bishopric is entitled to Divine guidance in the administration of the duties pertaining to their respective offices.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. ii)

Sep.:  Form of ordination: still no “conferral” of AP, MP.

“The form of ordination authorized by the First Presidency, is as follows:

By (or in) the authority of the Holy Priesthood, I (or we) lay my (or our) hands upon your head and ordain you a deacon (or other office in the Aaronic Priesthood) in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and confer upon you all the rights, powers and authority [keys was also in earlier GHI versions] pertaining to this office and calling in the Aaronic Priesthood, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

(Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, pp. 17-18)

Sep.:  Inactive adults holding Aaronic Priesthood.

“When persons have grown to manhood without having been advanced to the Melchizedek Priesthood, special efforts shouild be made to secure their regular attendance at the weekly ward priesthood meetings.  Those who are beyond the ages designated for the Aaronic Priesthood should be given constant attention.  One of the most successful plans for creating interest and activity in the priesthood on the part of inactive men is to have a special committee appointed by the ward bishopric, as members of the ward Aaronic Priesthood committee, to have entire responsibility for all inactive adults who bear the Aaronic Priesthood.  This committee should be composed of men of kindness, enthusiasm, perseverance and tact.  They should prepare a complete roll of all the inactive adult Aaronic Priesthood members, and proceed steadfastly and with enthusiasm to carry out the missionary plan outlined in the Aaronic Priesthood Handbook.  A definite program should be followed for the purpose of qualifying every member for advancement to the Melchizedek Priesthood.  This plan necessarily involves missionary work in order to arouse new interest and to encourage inactive adults to take part in this work.  Success in this worthy movement will result, if those responsible will maintain the proper effort.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 22)

Sep.:  Ward Teaching.

“System of Ward Teaching–Ward teaching is the method by which the bishopric has personal and frequent contact with the members of his ward.  There is no other way by which contact with all of the members of the Church is maintained.

It is the frequent personal contact by ward teachers that is important.  Every family should be visited regularly each month.

Organization–In order that the work of teaching may be performed systematically and thoroughly, the teaching corps should be well organized.  A sufficient number of ward teachers should be appointed so that each pair of teachers will not have more than six or eight families to visit.  The ward should be districted in the most convenient way to permit each pair of teachers to visit the families under their direction with the least loss of time in going from house to house.  The following is suggested as an effective organization:

First:  The bishopric, or a member thereof, as general supervisors.

Second:  A ward chairman with special assignment and responsibility of supervision under the direction of the bishopric.

Third:  The chairman of the Church service committee of each Melchizedek Priesthood quorum or group, with the responsibility of taking to the members of quorums or groups such advice or instruction as the ward committee may see they need, and to check the activities of the teachers in the quorum or group.

Fourth:  The chairman of Aaronic Priesthood committee, with the responsibility of keeping the ward teaching committee in close touch with the members of the Aaronic Priesthood who are assigned to do, or should be doing, ward teaching.

Fifth:  Appointment of district presidents or supervisors to direct the work of teachers in several districts.

To further develop and improve the program of ward teaching, a stake committee might also be appointed, this committee to be composed of the chairman of each ward committee (not the member of the bishopric) and a general chairman appointed by the stake presidency to be in charge of the committee.  This committee could meet monthly at the time of the stake priesthood meeting and upon separation after the opening exercises go into its own department and consider problems pertinent to ward teaching.  This program might include reports from each ward chairman as to difficulties, successes, methods of teaching, and other relevant matters.  The department could also function as a training school for new ward chairmen who could be given the benefit of the experience of other members of the group.

Selection of Ward Teachers–The ordained priests and teachers are specifically charged with the responsibility of ward teaching, under the direction of the bishopric, and every opportunity should be given them to perform this important duty, Doc. and Cov. Sec. 20:46-55; but members of the Melchizedek Priesthood may be called by the bishopric to this service.  Excellent success has been had by assigning supervision of some phases of the work fo the priests’ and teachers’ quorums.

In the selection of ward teachers the bishopric should have personal talks with them to learn whether they are willing to accept and fulfil this responsibility.  Those selected should be of exemplary habits and character, possessed of some knowledge of, and faith in the gospel and be imbued with love and consideration for their fellowmen.  They should have tact, or develop it.  They should be pleasing and agreeable in manner, and neat in appearance.  They should cultivate thoroughness, and seek to obtain the influence of the Holy Spirit by prayer and observance of the commandments of the Lord.  They should not unduly pry into personal matters, nor be too aggressive in making inquiries.  Matters of a private or personal nature should be developed naturally and without pressure from the teacher.

Instructing Ward Teachers–Before teachers are sent out to labor among the peoplek, as well as thereafter, they should be thoroughly instructed in the duties of ward teaching, the necessity of holding confidences sacred, and how and what to teach.  Members of the priesthood might properly be appointed to discuss some phase of ward teaching each week in the priesthood meeting, for not to exceed five minutes.

Subjects which may properly be stressed at this time are: monthly visits to every family; starting visits early in the month; preparation of the monthly topic; encouraging prayer by teachers before starting out; making visits at times convenient to the various families; visits to be brief, except in cases where special instructions or settlement of difficulties are necesary; confining conversation to the subject assigned; encouraging prayer by the family and individuals; inviting all to attend meetings; avoiding criticism or gossip of others; leaving a blessing in every home, or cards or notes for families who are away when the visit is made, inviting them to meetings.  These and other important suggestions could be properly discussed in the weekly ward priesthood meeting.

Monthly Topics–Monthly topics are prepared by the Presiding Bishopric for the benefit of teachers, and may be secured by application to the stake presidency.  They will be supplied in ample quantities to provide each teacher with a copy.  It is not intended that these monthly messages will be left in the homes of members.  They are to aid the teacher in preparing himself for the monthly visit, and experience demonstrates that more effective teaching is done when the message is presented by the teachers, in connection with other business which the bishopric may assign.  The topic could properly be considered at the ward teachers’ monthly report meeting, prior to the beginning of the month for which the message is intended.

. . . .

What Constitutes a Visit–To accomlish the objective contemplated by ward teaching, actual visits in the home are essential.  No substitute for such visits is permissible and the actual personal visit in the home is the only basis upon which credit for ward teaching will be given, except when a family is quarantined on account of contagious disease.  Any personal contact with a member of the family under these conditions, during which the teacher fulfils his responsibility as fully as possible, may be counted as a visit.  Telephone conversations, meetings on the street, conversations in Church or at socials are not to be counted as ward teaching, nor will any number of calls at a home when people are absent receive credit as a visit.  Families inaccessible for any reason are not to be counted as visited, unless a visit has actually been made.  The only way to actually do ward teaching is to enter the homes of the people and get close to them with a pleasant attitude and interesting message.

The essence of this ruling is that in listing the number of families visited during the month, only the actual number of homes entered by the teachers during which the purposes of ward teaching are fulfilled shall be counted as visits.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, pp. 67-72)

Sep.:  Monthly meeting of bishopric and ward officers.

“A monthly meeting of the bishopric and ward officers will prove to be very profitable.  Such a meeting affords opportunity to hear reports, discuss problems and give instructions for the improvement of ward work.  It may be advantageous to have the superintendencies and presidencies of the auxiliary organizations meet separately with the bishopric for an hour in an executive session, and then continue the meeting for an additional period with the teachers joining with the heads of organizations, or, the various organizations could separate for department work after a brief interview with the bishopric.

During the meeting, careful inquiry should be made by the bishopric of the work being accomplished and of problems that have arisen; the needs of the organizations for teachers or teaching equipment; presentation of proposed programs or activities for which funds from the budget may be required; and a general survey conducted of each department’s operations.  By close observation by the member, or members, of the bishopric assigned to supervise organization work, ample material will be found to assure profitable monthly meetings of ward officers.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, pp. 80-81)

Sep.:  2 year course for young men to become 70s.

“The First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, and the First Council of the Seventy have decided upon a plan whereby young men who are not yet twenty-one years of age will be required to take two years’ course of study as elders to prepare themselves for ordination to the office of seventy and for service in the ministry.  Young men twenty-one years or over, who are properly recommended, may be ordained seventies without taking this course of study.  In the meantime missionaries younger than twenty-one years of age should serve in the missions as elders.  This applies not only to brethren who are preparing to go into the mission field, but also those who may be selected for local missionary service.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 113)

Sep.:  Ordaining persons with physical defects.

“Physical defects should not ordinarily bar a person from receiving the priesthood, provided he is mentally alert, capable of being instructed, and able to understand the duties and responsibilities that pertain to the priesthood.  An individual unable to walk would, naturally, be unable to perform priesthood assignments, but it is possible that he could be brought to the meetinghouse to attend quorum meetings and receive the instructions and lessons that are given.  Those suffering from physical handicaps or infirmities should receive every encouragement possible and be given such opportunities for training and development as their conditions permit.

Persons who are mentally deficient should not be ordained to the priesthood.  The same rule applies here as in the case of baptisms.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 114)

Sep.:  No 8-day rule for infant blessings.

“If for justifiable reasons, parents are not able to bring children to fast meeting, they may be blessed at home under the direction of the bishopric, and the ward clerk shouild not fail to make the proper record.  This practice should be permitted only under exceptional circumstances.  If an infant is critically ill, it may be blessed and the proper information reported to the ward clerk for entry in the Ward Record of Members.”  [Prior GHI spoke of infants at least 8 days old.]  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 116)

Sep.:  Father may hold child regardless of his priesthood.

“The question is sometimes asked whether it is proper for a father who has been ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood only to occupy a position in the circle when his own baby is being blessed in the fast meeting.  Also in blessing children whether it is proper to give them the full name or merely the given name.

In a meeting of the Council of the Twelve held February 1, 1940, it was the decision of the Council that a father may hold his child when it is being blessed, regardless of the office he holds in the priesthood, and it makes no difference whether the whole name or only the given name is mentioned in the blessing of a child.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 116)

Sep.:  Priests should be given opportunity to baptize.

“One of the functions of the priests’ office is to baptize and the performing of this ordinance could well be made an activity of the Aaronic Priesthood, and all worthy young men who hold this office given an opportunity to do some baptizing.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 118)

Sep.:  Baptizing for living in temples discouraged.

“Reports received at the office of the First Presidency indicate that there is an increasing practice in some districts of baptizing and confirming children and adults in Temples even where baptism fonts are conveniently accessible.

This matter was recently considered by members of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, and after due deliberation it was unanimously decided to confirm a former ruling that baptisms for the living should not be performed in any Temples where there is a convenient place for baptisms outside of the Temple, and that Temple fonts, excepting in cases of real necessity, be used only for the purpose of baptizing for the dead.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 118)

Sep.:  Baptism:  Waders–Hip Boots–Bathtubs.

“It is improper for those who are appointed to perform baptisms to use waders or hip boots to avoid wetting the clothing or to keep the water from coming in contact with the body.

Those who officiate in this sacred ordinance should be dressed in white clothing.  If there are a number to be baptized and the water is cold, several may be appointed to officiate so that none will become unnecessarily chilled.

Children shouild not be baptized in bathtubs.  The ordinance of baptism requires that the one officiating shall go down into the water with the candidate to be baptized.

The wearing of bathing caps by women who are to be baptized should not be permitted.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 119)

Sep.:  Baptizing the mentally deficient.

“Those who are mentally deficient do not need to be baptized, no matter what their age may be.  They are not in a position to understand or capable of repentance and, therefore, cannot be held accountable.  Should they ever become mentally responsible, the ordinances of the gospel may then be administered.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 119)

Sep.:  Dedicating water for baptisms.

“The dedicating of water by prayers for baptism is not a part of the baptismal ordinance or ceremony, and is, therefore, not necessary.  Stake presidencies and ward bishoprics should instruct those who have charge of baptismal services of the proper procedure to be followed.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 119)

Sep.:  Form for confirmation.

“It is not necessary in confirming members to give lengthy blessings.  The essential features of the blessing are to confirm the members and bestow the Holy Ghost upon them, for example–(calling the person by name) In the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, we lay our hands upon your head and confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and say unto you, receive the Holy Ghost.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 120)

Sep.:  Who may perform civil marriages?

“Bishops of wards and presidents of stakes are the only ones authorized to perform marriage ceremonies outside of the Temple.  In the absence or disability of one of these, his counselor, who under the circumstances is the acting presiding authority, may officiate.  Couples who marry outside of the Temple should be informed of this rule and asked as far as possible not to request exceptions to it.  However, when circumstances seem to justify a marriage ceremony being performed by someone other than the president of a stake or the bishop of a ward, permission to perform such a marriage must be obtained from the Presidency of the Church.  The elder who is to perform the ceremony should send with his request the written approval of the bishop of his ward.  No bishop should aprove the application of any elder to perform a marriage to whom he would not give a recommend to the Temple.  If the application is approved and permission given to an elder of the Church to perform a marriage, it applies only to the one occasion for which the approval was given.  Presidents of stakes and bishops of wards do not have the right to delegate this authority.

Presidents of independent branches must secure permission to perform marriage ceremonies in the same manner as other persons who are not bishops or stake presidents.”  [Note that this changes the earlier GHI policy, which allowed stake presidents and bishops to grant authority, on a case-by-case basis, to any Melchizedek Priesthood holder.]  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, pp. 120-121)

Sep.:  Dedication of graves:  Now a semi-ordinance?

“[Compare to instructions in earlier GHI.]  The graveside prayer should include thanksgiving for the safe commital of the body to earth and reverent acknowledgement that it shall come forth, reanimated by the immortal spirit to which it once gave tenancy, at a time appointed for its resurrection.  The grave may be designated as the resting place of the body of the deceased.  Any suitable person may offer this closing prayer, whether he be a bearer of the priesthood or not; though, naturally, if the service has been conducted by men ordained to the priesthood, one of them would be chosen to thus officiate at the grave.

It is not advised, however, that one so ministering should use words to the effect that he is officiating by virtue of any power or authority pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, nor that by any such authority or power he dedicates the grave.  He is acting as the leader in prayer in behalf of relatives and friends there assembled.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, pp. 127-128)

Sep.:  Updated list of transgressions.

The following changes occurred, compared to GHI-1934:

1. “Liquor drinking, durnkennes and bootlegging” was changed to “intemperance.”

2. “Apostasy, opposition to the Church” was changed to “apostasy, opposition to the Church or deliberate disobedience to its regulations.”

(Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 138)

Sep.:  Judicial procedures for Plural Marriage.

“As persistent reports are coming to us of activity by a group said to be propagating a false doctrine and illegal practice of polygamous or plural marriage, (the group apparently being composed of avowed or virtual apostates, of persons excommunicated from the Church, and of a few misguided members), we deem it wise again to declare that neither the group nor its activities are in any way connected with the Church, that not only are the activities unauthorized and, therefore, illegal and void, but that they are contrary to the rule of the Church and the will of the Lord as revealed through President Woodruff and adopted by the Church, and that marriages performed by members of this group are false and mock marriages.

It is almost unnecessary to add that the activities of this group are violative of the laws of the land and that certain of the group members seem subject to criminal prosecution.

We desire that this matter shall be fully and directly called to the attention of every Latter-day Saint, that none shall be in ignorance of the falsity of the doctrines or of the illegality of the practices of this group, nor in doubt as to the spiritual falling away of its members and those who follow them, nor unaware of the Church disciplinary measures which must be taken against unrepentant participants in this unrighteous and rebellious activity.

Any Church member belonging to this group or adopting or advocating its doctrines and practices, is not to be considered in good fellowshi in the Church, is not entitled to and should not be granted any of the rights and privileges appertaining to Church members–such as entry into the Temples, the payment of tithes, participation in the activities of the priesthood quorums or of the auxiliary organizations of the Church, or in other ward, stake, or Church activities–and should, unless they truly repent, be immediatly and formally dealt with by excommunication, as directed in the Official Statement.

The great law-abiding, faithful church membership cannot and must not be brought into disrepute, nor their honor and good faith challenged, by a small group of recalcitrant and evilly-led Church members in rebellion.

Each president of stake and each bishop will proceed immediately to correct any situation of the kind described and existing within his jurisdiction.  There must be no condoning of or trifling with this rebellious condition which must be brought to an end at once.  This is imperative.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, pp. 139-140)

Sep.:  Objections to personnel in Church courts.

“If either party to a case set for trial in a bishop’s court objects to the personnel of the court, he must present his objections, together with an adequate statement of reasons therfor in writing to the bishop, who will forthwith report the matter to the stake presidency.  It is within the power of the stake presidency, if they deem the reason set forth by the objector to be real and sufficient, to transfer the case to some other bishopric within the stake, for hearing and decision.  Under direction of the stake presidency, the high council may assume original jurisdiction in such cases, as in any other arising in the wards of the stake.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 146)

Sep.:  Procedure in rendering decisions.

“After all the testimony has been heard and recorded, the three members of the [bishop’s] court may consult among themselves and formulate their decision; or if the court desires further time for consideration, the case may be taken under advisement, and the session adjourned to a fixed date.  All decisions are made by the presiding officer, then sustained by the members of the court.  The sustaining of the decision must be unanimous to make it fully acceptable.  [Note the difference from previous GHI, where the sustaining vote of only one of the two counselors rendered it an acceptable decision.]  If a unanimous decision cannot be reached, the case must be retried or referred to the stake presidency who will determine as to further procedure.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, pp. 147-148)

Sep.:  Restoration of priesthood and temple blessings.

“Applications for the restoration of priesthood and Temple blessings to men who have been excommunicated and returned to the Church again by baptism and confirmation should be submitted to the president of the Church.  These blessings may be restored upon his authority.  In the case of women it is not necessary to submit these cases for the written approval of the president of the Church, but members of the Council of the Twelve, when visiting the stakes, may investigate each case on their own responsibility and restore former blessings upon women who have been reconfirmed members of the Church, having had this authority delegated to them in advance by the president of the Church.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 149)

Sep.:  How decisions are rendered in High Council Court.

“After the evidences are heard, and the councilors, accuser and accused have spoken, the president shall give a decision according to the understanding which he shall have of the case, and call upon the twelve councilors to sanction the same by their vote.

But should the remaining councilors, who have not spoken, or any one of them, after hearing the evidences and pleadings impartially, discover an error in the decision of the president, they may manifest it, and the case shall have a rehearing.

And if, after a careful rehearing, any additional light is shown upon the case, the decision shall be altered accordingly.

But in case no additional light is given, the first decision shall stand, the majority of the council having power to determine the same.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 151)

Sep.:  Procedure in appeal from Bishop’s Court.

“In an appeal from the bishop’s court, there are three modes of procedure:

(1) if the testimony from the lower court is satisfactory to both parties, the council may either affirm, reverse or modify the decision of the bishopric;

(2) if the testimony is objected to by either of the parties, the council may hear the case over again, as if it had never been heard;

(3) if the council shall discover irregularities, or find that new testimony should be adduced, it may remand the case back for rehearing in the bishop’s court.

An appeal may be taken also from a stake high council to the council of the First Presidency, who may review the proceedings, and if there have been irregularities, order a rehearing.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 151)

Sep.:  Non-members as witnesses in Church courts.

“It has been and is regarded by the Church authorities as inadvisable generally to bring non-members of the Church before tribunals either in the wards or stakes.  If, however, a non-member is considered to be a material witness, the trial body may consider the advisability of securing the evidence of such a witness through a properly arranged interview with the witness, directed by the tribunal.  In the event, however, that the testimony is secured at such an interview, great caution should be exercised in accepting it when not generally corroborated by witnesses appearing in due course at the trial.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 152)

Sep.:  Liquor dispensers to be denied Church offices.

“Members of the Church who may be employed as salesmen in state liquor stores, or in any other way be engaged in the trafficking of liquor, should not be assigned stake or ward offices.  The two positions are incompatible.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, p. 156)

Sep.:  Secret organizations.

“Members of the Church are strongly advised not to become identified as members with any organization established for the benefit of any group which is antagonistic to the Church, is oath-bound, or is of such character as would cause members of the Church to lose interest in Church activities or interfere with the performance of their duties.  This does not apply to any association that is free from the conditions above-mentioned and that is organized for the commercial or general welfare of its members.  The important thing for every Church member to determine very carefully in advance is whether the proposed connection is such as to cause him to lose interest in the Church by the associations to be formed, or to interfere with his duties and activities in the Church.  It is felt that there is ample opportunity for all members to devote their time profitably to the various activities of the Church.

On page 135 of Gospel Doctrine, the rule established by President Joseph F. Smith relating to secret organizations may be found.  This rule, which was endorsed during his administration, has not be changed nor modified.  It is felt that there is an incompatibility between membership in secret lodges and membership in the Church.  This is particularly the case where to all intents and purposes the lodge is also a religion.  It is felt that it is impossible for a member of the Church to have two religions.  The activities of the Church are such that they cannot be properly performed when one is not able to devote his full time to the duties required of him.  If the time at one’s disposal is divided between the lodge and the Church it is obvious that neither activity can be fully served, and it usually results in the easier activity being the one that absorbs the time.

As to whether Church members who belong to secret oath-bound organizations shall be ordained to or advanced in the priesthood or given the privileges of the Temple depends upon their standing in the Church.  While it is felt that there is no occasion or justification for our people joining or continuing memberships in lodges, if there are members of such lodges who are otherwise faithful in the observance of the commandments of the Lord and are exemplary in their habits, they may be accorded the privileges of the priesthood and the Temple.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Stake Presidencies, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks and Other Church Officers, No. 16, 1940, pp. 158-159)

Oct.:  Priesthood denied to NO worthy man in the Church.

“The gift of Priesthood is denied to no worthy man in the Church.”  (“The Democracy of the Priesthood,” RS 27(10):710, Oct., 1940)

Nov.:  Priesthood and womanhood.

“Those who have kept the Relief Society Magazine will find in the issues of October and November, 1933, a discussion of this subject as it affects women, entitled ‘Priesthood and Womanhood.’  This was enlarged somewhat and reprinted in the Church News for January and February, 1934. . . .

Women do not hold the Priesthood directly, but they do share with father or husband in all the blessings which result fron honoring this great power.

In Priesthood and Church Government, page 83, we read:

‘The Priesthood is for the benefit of all members of the Church.  Men have no greater claim than women upon the blessings that issue from the Priesthood and accompany its possession.

Woman does not hold the Priesthood, but she is a partaker of the blessings of the Priesthood.  That is, the man holds the Priesthood, performs the priestly duties of the Church, but his wife enjoys with him every other privilege derived from the possession of the Priesthood.’

Our present Church Historian, Joseph Fielding Smith, makes this clear in a quotation from The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

‘The Prophet Joseph Smith made this relationship clear.  He spoke of delivering the keys of the Priesthood to the Church, and said that the faithful members of the Relief Society should receive them with their husbands, that the Saints whose integrity has been tried and who proved faithful, might know how to ask the Lord and receive an answer.  He exhorted the sisters always to concentrate their faith and prayers for, and place confidence in, their husbands whom God has appointed for them to honor, and in those faithful men whom God has placed at the head of the Church to lead His people; that we should arm and sustain them with our prayers, for the keys of the Kingdom are about to be given to them, that they may be able to detect everything false; as well as to all the Elders who shall prove their integrity in due season.’

. . . .

Woman’s responsibility to the Priesthood is fourfold: to understand fully the meaning as well as the blessings which come from the righteous exercise of this great power; to honor Priesthood in our hearts and by our actions and to value it in our own lives if we are called upon to be an officer or teacher in any auxiliary organization; to assist our husbands (or fathers, brothers or sweethearts) to guard and honor their great privilege of possessing this delegated power; to train our sons (or other women’s sons) to be prepared for the exercise of this gift when it shall be bestowed upon them.  We should also train our daughters to understand these truths, so that they may choose their boy friends wisely and encourage them to live and merit the blessings which are theirs if they but prove worthy.

Therefore, no home in the Church, even that of a widow and only daughter, is so remote or so placed that the inmates can truthfully say that Priesthood does not concern them.”  (Leah D. Widtsoe, “How We May Honor Priesthood in the Home,” RS 27(11):738-740, Nov., 1940)

Nov.:  Church duties come first.

“In accepting social engagements or in arranging social affairs, the wife should always consider that the husband’s Church duties come first and should not be put aside for other things.  The same standard could well be followed by girls and boys in the home.”  (“How We May Honor Priesthood in the Home.  No. 5.  The Physical Preparation of the Home,” RS 27(11):785, Nov., 1940)

Nov.:  Stake organization and supervision.

“The Stake Aaronic Priesthood Committee is directly responsible for the success of the program in the wards.  Working in close cooperation with the bishoprics, who form the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood in the wards, and with the quorum advisers, who form the ward committees, members of the stake committee (operating as a stake board) should promote and motivate all plans of the program.  There should be at least six members, three of them members of the High Council, and preferably enough to equal the number of wards.  One member of the committee (not a member of the stake presidency) should be appointed as chairman by the stake presidency.  He should be a member of the High Council.


The Stake Aaronic Priesthood Extension Committee is an entirely different committee from the Stake Aaronic Priesthood Committee.  The one with a member of the High Council as chairman supervises directly the quorums in the wards in cooperation with bishops and quorum advisers.  The other is a correlating committee which brings together leaders of Aaronic Priesthood groups in quorums, Sunday School, and the Y.M.M.I.A.  The chairman of this group is a member of the stake presidency.

The Stake Aaronic Priesthood Committee acts in the stake for the Priesthood in very much the same manner as the stake boards of Sunday School and Y.M.M.I.A. act for their organizations.

The Extension Committee brings together the leaders in the three groups–Aaronic Priesthood, Sunday School, and the Y.M.M.I.A.–to correlate their leadership, their activities, and missionary work among inactive members 12 to 20 years of age.”  (“Aaronic Priesthood,” IE 43(11):680, Nov., 1940)

Dec.:  Stake MP Committee monthly meeting.

“The stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee should not fail to conduct a monthly meeting, sometimes spoken of as a Union or Leadership meeting, for the officers of the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood.  There should be invited to this meeting the quorum presidencies, secretaries, and members of the several standing or other committees.

The monthly quorum meeting, elsewhere explained, is quite another meeting.

This monthly Melchizedek Priesthood officers’ meeting is really a report meeting of work that has been done and a preparation meeting for the coming month.  It should begin, after the opening exercises are over, with instructions from the stake Melchizedek Priesthood

committee based uopn their experiences with the quorums during the month.  Instructions from the Melchizedek Priesthood committee of the Council of the Twelve should also be brought to the attention of the brethren at this meeting.  Then the group should separate into departments.  The quorum presidencies and secretaries wiould retire and discuss, for a period of preferably an hour, the problems pertaining to the supervision of the quorums for the coming month.  Each committee group would likewise meet separately to discuss and report upon its peculiar problems; that is, the Personal Welfare committeemen would discuss ways and means of bringing about a closer understanding of the needs of quorum members; the Class Instruction committee would review in detail the lessons to be given for the coming month and agree upon methods of presentation, and other pertinent matters; the Church Service committee would plan together for the best means of providing Church service for the members of the quorums; the Miscellaneous committee, likewise, would discuss the many problems which come under its care.

The stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee should be so organized that when the separation into departments occurs one member of the stake Priesthood committee should be in charge of each department to preside at the meeting and to guide the discussion.

If this meeting be held faithfully from month to month it will contribute much toward an increase in every division of quorum activity.  We urge upon the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committees to organize for this purpose; and to call the meetings regularly at a time when sufficient time may be given to quorum problems.

Too frequently this meeting has been merged with quorum meetings or stake meetings of various kinds with the result that quorum matters have not received the proper amount of attention.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 43(12):744, Dec., 1940)

Dec.:  AP not do to ward teaching without MP.

“Bishops of wards are urged to discontinue the practice of sending members of the Aaronic Priesthood in pairs, or alone, to do Ward Teaching.  A member of the Melchizedek Priesthood should take the lead in all Ward Teaching assignments.  It is suggested that a member of the Aaronic Priesthood be assigned to labor with an older brother.  While the value of the fine efforts and work of the Aaronic Priesthood in this connection is not being discounted, it is felt that the people will feel better about it if an older and more experienced brother takes the lead in discussions and inquiries which hereafter will be the suggested ofder of business in all Ward Teaching.

In this plan, however, it is intended and expected that the brother bearing the Melchizedek Priesthood will give his young companion every possible opportunity to participate actively in the routine of Ward Teaching.  The young man should always be given full opportunity to express himself or participate in some way in each and every home.

Beginning with the new year, all leaflets for Ward Teachers will have suggestions and instructions for the conduct of the Teachers’ visits in the homes of the people.  These instructions will also appear each month in The Improvement Era.

The Presiding Bishopric.”

(“Ward Teaching,” IE 43(12):748, Dec., 1940)

20 Dec.:  The Stake Priesthood Committee.

“The following important letter by President Rudger Clawson was sent to the field under date of December 20, 1940.  Because of its great importance it is given in these columns so that all officers of the Priesthood may easily become acquainted with it.  They will thus understand why the committee in their stake is organized as it is and what its duties are.  Knowing these things they will want to do their part so that the purposes of setting up the committee may be readily achieved.

This is the letter:

December 20, 1940

To Stake Presidencies

Dear Brethren:

The welfare of Priesthood quorums and their members is and has been a great concern of the Council of Twelve.  Three years ago you were asked to organize in each stake a Melchizedek Priesthood Committee to supervise and stimulate the quorums to greater activity.  Since that time The Improvement Era has published in the Melchizedek Priesthood Department of each issue pertinent matter.  But experience gained during these years indicates the need of a more specific statement of the duties of the stake committee.  Hence the Council of Twelve has recently approved the following statement:


The stake presidency with the approval of the high council shall appoint a Melchizedek Priesthood committee with a minimum of five members, consisting of a member of the stake presidency who shall be chairman, a high councilor, an High Priest to represent the High Priests’ quorum, a Seventy, and an Elder.  Additional members may be appointed if necessary to do well the work of the Committee.  From the committee the chairman shall choose, with the approval of the stake presidency, three assistants–a High Priest, a seventy, and an Elder.  A secretary of the committee may also be appointed. 

It shall be the duty of the committee:

1. To train quorum officers in their duties so that they might become effective in their leadership.

a. By conducting a monthly leadership meeting with the officers and leaders of the quorums and groups.  (See Dec., 1940, Era, p. 744.)

b. By stimulating and assisting them to make their work more effective.  (As to the Seventies, this relates exclusively to local activites in stakes and wards, and does not conflict with the system of supervision of the First Council of Seventy.

c. By keeping in touch with the work and activities of all Melchizedek Priesthood quorums in the stake.

d. By visiting the meeting of every quorum and group at least quarterly.

e. By encouraging regular council meetings of the quorum presidency.

f. By seeing that instructions of the Council of Twelve relative to quorum activities are carried out.

2. To report promptly to the stake presidency any vacancy in a quorum presidency.

3. To make a quarterly report and to collect quarterly quorum reports and send them to the Council of Twelve.

Will you kindly organize your committee as indicated, if it is not now so organized.  This committee is of course to aid the stake presidency, upon whom rests the responsibility of seeing that the Priesthood quorums are thriving.  The chairman of the committee and his three assistants are to act as an executive and planning group of the stake committee.  This planning group will need to be very active, and in the case of the smaller stakes it may be large enough to serve as the committee without additional members.

The objective is to bring all the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums into full activity.  We ask that you do everything practicable to attain this objective.

Praying you will make yourselves fully worthy of abundant divine blessings, we are,

Sincerely your brethren,


By Rudger Clawson, President.”

(“The Stake Priesthood Committee,” LDS Archives, P M251.3 C617s; xerox; also in IE 44(1):166, Mar., 1941)