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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1948

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1948:  Jan.:  First Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook announced.

“During the past year many priesthood leaders and quorums have attained outstanding achievements and made lasting contributions.  We look back upon 1947 with a feeling of deep appreciation for the loyalty and devotion of our brethren.  Through your unstinted efforts the work of the Lord at the close of the year is in a healthy and growing condition.

Sometimes, in the rush of things, we assume that those of you who carry the responsibility of presiding in the stakes and quorums know how we feel toward you, and thoughtlessly we are apt to devote these pates to problems, reports, and instructions rather than to expressing the appreciation we feel.  We want you to know that your devotion and encouragement is appreciated, and it is apparent that the Lord is blessing your efforts.

For years the need for a comprehensive Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook has been felt.  It is with sincere pleasure that we announce the publication of such a handbook.  This will be made available without cost to all officers working with the Melchizedek Priesthood.  It has been published in loose-leaf style to permit the insertion of pertinent instructions and information from time to time.  If conscientiously studied and properly utilized, it should be a valuable aid in making the new year one of greater purpose and achievement.”  (The General Priesthood Committee of the Council of the Twelve, IE 51(1):38, Jan., 1948)

22 Jan.:  Quorum of 12 considers new Correlation program.

“Council Meeting

January 22, 1948

Elder Harold B. Lee, representing the committee appointed to give consideration to conditions prevailing in the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood and in the auxiliaries with a view to making recommendations toward simplifying the program and improving the work, presented a chart and gave a detailed report regarding the program prepared by the committee and approved by the Council of the Twelve. Brother Lee reported that with permission of the First Presidency the committee had interviewed the Presiding Bishopric and had talked with the General Superintendency of the Sunday School and of the M.I.A.  Brother Lee reported that the committee had four objectives in mind, namely, (1) to give greater emphasis to the work of the priesthood by giving better supervision and by enlarging the fields of priesthood activity.  (2) Attempting to give better supervision to the general auxiliary boards and a coordination with the boards pertaining to the work of the priesthood.  (3) To preserve the good features of the Sunday School and M.I.A. programs, at the same time removing overlapping and duplicating responsibilities between the organizations and the Priesthood.  (4) Endeavor to simplify somewhat the meeting programs as now carried out.

It is suggested that the following organization be effected: That the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve have general supervision over the Priesthood; assisted by the General Priesthood Committee of the Twelve, with four or more members of the Twelve constituting the membership, and have associated with them full-time Assistants ot the Twelve, members of the Council of Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric.  It is suggested that in addition to that committee consideration be given to the setting up of a Melchizedek Priesthood board of assistants, and also the setting up of an Aaronic Priesthood board of assistants, or Aaronic Priesthood General Committee, as sub-committees working under the direction of the entire committee, who receive their direction from the Twelve.  It is suggested that there be a Personal Welfare Committee, with a member of the Twelve as chairman, an executive secretary, a full-time Assistant to the Twelve; one or more members of the First Council of Seventy; part time members; the General Church Welfare Committee as at present constituted, with special assistants to carry out the work of the office.

Another sub-committee carrying out quorum activity and Church service with a member of the Twelve as chairman, an executive secretary, a full-time Assistant to the Twelve, representatives of the First Council of Seventy, part-time members selected from YMMIA Board and others, with special assistants, such as secretaries or recreational directors.

A fact finding and Statistical Committee with a member of the Twelve as chairman, an executive secretary, a full-time Assistant to the Twelve, representatives of the First Council of Seventy, special assistants, such as secretaries, etc.

A gospel instruction and Teacher Training Group, with a member of the Twelve as chairman, an executive secretary, a full-time Assistant to the Twelve, members of the First Council of Seventy, part-time members selected from the present Sunday School Board and others; also special assistants, such as secretary, lesson writers, etc.

The committee also feels that there is need for assistance in the Aaronic Priesthood field and it is suggested that sub-committees be appointed somewhat comparable to those suggested for the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Stake Presidencies and high councils would in turn supervise through their Stake Melchizedek Priesthood comittees Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and Aaronic Priesthood quorums.

It has been considered advisable that time be found when Priesthood can function in collaboration with the auxiliary organizations.  It is proposed that a Priesthood-Sunday School be held Sunday morning from ten to twelve; that children of Junior Sunday School age and children under twelve years of age would meet in one department and that in this group the sacrament would be administered.  Arrangements would be made for the accomodation in another department of all male and female members above that age, but in the adult group the sacrament would be eliminated on Sunday morning.  This adult group would meet from 10 to 10:20 in opening exercises, from 10:20 to 11:00 the Priesthood members would meet in quorum groups, where quorum activity plans and welfare problems, etc., could be considered.  During this same period the L.D.S. girls groups could meet and consider group activity, plans and problems and enlistment.  The Relief Society sisters could meet in theology, literature, and social service classes, and a class could be held for Teacher Training for prospective teachers.

From 11 to 11:50 Gospel Doctrine classes would be held where Priesthood members would study the Gospel with their wives, and young men holding the Priesthood would meet with girls of comparable ages.

The closing exercises would be held from 11:50 to 12:00.

It is suggested that the sacrament meetings be held Sunday evenings, except on fast days, that Monday nights be held open for home night; that on Tuesday night there be held what might be called Priesthood-M.I.A., which would begin at 7 o’clock, the M.I.A. activities to be limited to Scouts, Explorers, M Men, Bee Hive, Juniors and Gleaners; in other words, to consist only of the work work of young men and young women up to and including M Men and Gleaner age, and the Priesthood quorum work, with sisters included.

From 7:15 to 8:15 departments for all M.I.A. classes; also other departments, some going into a genealogical class, teacher training class for teachers now in service; a missionary class for prospective and stake missionaries, and there might be others.

From 8:15 to 9, ward teachers report meeting once a month and group special activities three times each month, where groups could hold their socials, Elders, Seventies, High Priests, etc.

Closing exercises 9 to 9:15.

The Relief Society and Primary would hold their meetings on week days.

Friday night would be left open for social programs.

The Twelve’s suggested simplification program is further outlined in the Twelve’s letter of December 15, 1947, on this subject.

President Smith suggested that the matter be gone into thoroughly and sufficiently so that something will not be instituted that we will later feel the need of changing in order properly to take care of the program of the Church.

The Presidency decided to take the matter under consideration.”

(Minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve, quoted in Antone K. Romney, “History of the Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, Prepared by Antone K. Romney for the Research Committee of the Melchizedek Priesthood Education Committee, August, 1961,” section H.

Feb.:  What is the need of ordinances?


“If a person has faith in God, is repentant, and tries to live the moral code, why does he need to be baptized and receive other ordinances of the gospel?  That is an old question.

To this query, usually honestly made, there are several answers.

First:  The Church of Christ is divinely organized.  It is not man-made.  The conditions for membership have been clearly defined by the Lord.  Among the requirements are several ordinances, baptism being the basic one.  Ordinances are necessary because the Lord has so decreed.  The Lord himself while on earth, as an example to us, submitted to ordinances, as in baptism.  There is no other way to membership in Christ’s own organization.

This, of course, should be a sufficient answer to those who believe that the Church was founded by the Lord, and that in all we do, we conform to his will.  We cannot go beyond or around the Lord’s plan.

Members of the Church who ask about the need of ordinances should begin with a consideration of God, his existence, his hand-dealings with man, and his laws for human salvation.  If these fundamentals are found to be secure, ordinances become a welcomed activity in achieving the high gifts of the Lord.

In the words of Wilford Woodruff:

I have heard many men say no ordinances are necessary, that belief only in the Lord Jesus Christ is necessary to be saved.  I have not learned that myself from any revelation of God to men, either ancient or modern.  But on the contrary, faith in Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins were taught by patriarchs and prophets and by Jesus Christ and His apostles.  Baptism for the remission of sins is an ordinance of the gospel.  Says one, baptism is not essential to salvation.  Jesus not only taught it, but rendered obedience himself to that requirement, not that he was baptized for the remission of sins–but, as he said, ‘to fulfil all righteousness,’ thus in this, as in all other respects giving the example for all who follow.  When these principles of the gospel are complied with a man is then a fit subject to receive the Holy Ghost; and this holy gift is bestowed today as it was anciently, by the laying on of hands by men possessing the authority to administer the ordinances of the gospel.  These are the first principles of the gospel which we Latter-day Saints believe in and teach to our fellow men.  [Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 19.]

Second: The Lord’s requirements, never arbitrary, follow logically from principle to principle.

With regard to the ordinances of God, we may remark that we yield obedience to them because he requires it; and every iota of his requirements has a rational philosophy with it.  We do not get up things on a hypothesis.  That philosophy reaches to all eternity, and is the philosophy that the Latter-day Saints believe in.  [Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 152, 1943 edition.]

There are two first principles, faith and repentance, and two first ordinances, baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, in the Church of Christ.  These are closely interwoven.  Faith is the first principle, upon which other principles rest, and in the end all ordinances are derivatives of faith.  But faith must be expressed in human actions, else it cannot be known.  A man proves his faith by his works; he has no other means of doing so.  The ordinance of baptism for example may be viewed as man’s signature to his compact with God, as an acceptance of the leadership of Jesus the Christ, and as a promise to live the law of the Lord–the things that would be expected from one who has acquired faith.  Baptism is a logical sequence of faith.  Every ordinance becomes in like manner a necessary tangible outward evidence of some phase of that inward conviction called faith.  Each ordinance, in its place, becomes a logical acquiescence with some part of the vast territory covered by faith.  Each ordinance becomes a witness of man’s surrender to his Heavenly Father.

Being baptized into this Church is only like learning the alphabet of our mother tongue–it is the very first step.  But having received the first principles of the gospel of Christ, let us go on to perfection.  [Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 20]

Third:  Ordinances give life to faith because they require a covenant from those who participate.  Faith is a principle that demands action.  Whether it is faith in a law, doctrine, or plan relative to human affairs, it fails unless it leads to a practice, rite, or ceremony.  Otherwise it remains an idle belief, an abstract conviction, a theory.  The moment it is used, as in an ordinance, it flames into life, and leaps into the world of practical affairs, becoming a positive power, helpful in the world of men.

Everyone who receives an ordinance must make a convenant, else the ordinance is not fully satisfactory.  He who is baptized covenants to keep the law of the Church; he who is administered to for sickness, and the administrators, covenant to use their faith to secure the desired healings; he who receives the temple endowment covenants to use in his life that which he has been taught; he who is ordained to the priesthood agrees to honor it, and so on with every ordinance.

That places covenants high, as they should be.  Knowledge of itself has little saving power.  Only as it is used does knowledge become of value.  The man who learns and promises to use that knowledge is of value to society.  To accept the plan of salvation without promising to comply with its requirements will result in something worse than ignorance.  The world moves forward by the efforts of covenanted people–who keep their covenants.

So, whether from the point of view of obedience to the Lord’s command, or of logical necessity, or of giving life to human knowledge for the good of mankind, ordinances are necessary and desirable.”  (John A. Widtsoe, “Evidences and Reconciliations,” IE 51(2):97, 117, Feb., 1948)

Feb.:  New MP handbook issued.

“The following letter announcing the issuance of a new Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook was sent to all stake and mission presidencies recently.  It is published herewith in order that all brethren engaged in the Melchizedek Priesthood supervision activities may be aware of their right to receive one of these handbooks to assist them with their work.

Stake Presidents and Counselors

Mission Presidents and Counselors

Re: Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook

Dear Brethren:

Enclosed herewith is a copy of the new Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook which has been prepared by the general priesthood committee with the approval of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve.  It is believed that the instructions herein incorporated will provide readily a comprehensive guide to priesthood organization, policies, procedures, and activities.  These instructions supplant all previous instructions.

This handbook has been prepared in loose-leaf style with standard three-hole punching.  The committee will, as the First Presidency and Twelve may direct, prepare future suggestions and instructions from time to time in this form so they may easily be inserted and become a part of this booklet.

Under separate cover we are mailing you sufficient additional copies to supply your entire presidency and, in the case of stakes, your high councilors, stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee, quorum and group officers, quorum and group class instructors, stake mission presidents, stake mission district presidents, and bishoprics.  We desire to make this handbook available without charge to all brethren who are responsible for the direction of Melchizedek Priesthood activities.

May we suggest that you keep a listing of the distribution you make in order that future supplements to be incorporated as a part of this handbook may be given to all brethren possessing them.  Unless these booklets are kept up-to-date, some of their value will be lost.  The general priesthood committee office is likewise keeping a record of the number of such handbooks sent to all stakes and missions and will send sufficient supplements for insertions as these are prepared.

It is intended that these instructions will be incorporated in the official Handbook of Instructions for stake presidencies and bishoprics when it is reprinted.  In order to make the Melchizedek Priesthood instructions more accessible to all brethren engaged in priesthood supervision activities, this special handbook has been prepared.  All orders for additional copies, if such are necessary, should be submitted by stake and mission presidencies to the general priesthood committee.

Faithfully your brethren,

Council of the Twelve

George F. Richards, President.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(2):102, Feb., 1948)

Feb.:  1948 course of study to be new MP Handbook.

“The general priesthood committee of the Council of the Twelve suggests to all Melchizedek Priesthood (high priests, seventy, and elders) throughout the Church that during the year 1948 the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook be used as a course of study in their monthly quorum meetings.  All lessons will be taken from this book.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(2):102, Feb., 1948)

Feb.:  70’s general fund discontinued.

“Announcement was made recently by the First Council of the Seventy to all quorums of seventy that the general fund would be discontinued as of January 1, 1948.  In conveying this information they wrote as follows:

Beginning January 1, 1948, the traveling and office expenses of the First Council of the Seventy will be paid through the office of the First Presidency.  After the payment of the 1947 fund, quorums of seventy will not, therefore, be asked for the annual fifty-cent donation.

The custom of requesting every seventy to contribute to the fund began in 1850 when the First Council had to have means to defray their expenses in carrying on their work.  The fund has been maintained ever since.

We are thankful for the manner in which the seventies throughout the Church have responded to our request in the past, and are grateful to the First Presidency for what they have now done.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(2):102-103, Feb., 1948)

Feb.:  Who should do ward teaching?

“The safeguarding of the Church, the home, and the individual is the responsibility divinely delegated to the ward teacher.  The importance of such a calling might suggest that it is exclusive in nature coming to only a few privileged individuals.  While it should always be considered as a great privilege to be called as a ward teachers, it nevertheless is not reserved to any limited number of participants.  In fact, this call may come to every male member of the Church.  It is true there are qualifications, but they are within the reach of every man and boy who lives a worthy life.

The first and primary requisite is that he shall bear the Holy Priesthood.  Beginning with each member of the Aaronic Priesthood who has been ordained to the office of teacher or priest, it continues as the duty of all who bear the Melchizedek Priesthood.  It excludes only those who are physically incapable, and those who are spiritually unworthy.

The obligation is more exacting upon those who are best prepared.

And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also.

Therefore, take with you those who are ordained unto the lesser priesthood.  (D&C 85:106-107.)

The call is particularly directed to quorum presidencies, auxiliary leaders, and to stake and ward officers.

There is no such thing as graduating from this sacred duty.  Neither is there any specified time for one to continue in this service.  It may be for a year or a lifetime.  Worthiness, physical ability, and the inspiration of the Lord to the bishopric–these alone determine how long one shall serve.”  (“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 51(2):104, Feb., 1948)

Mar.:  Can the Bishop directly question the MP leader?

“Question 65:  If, in the opinion of the bishop, the elders quorum the quorum or group of seventy or the high priests group is not functioning as he thinks it should, has he the right to talk to the quorum officers about it?

Answer 65:  Since Melchizedek Priesthood quorums are not ward quorums, the bishopric of the ward has no jurisdiction over their quorum functions.  If, in the opinion of the bishop, a quorum or group of the Melchizedek Priesthood in his ward is not functioning properly, he shoud call this to the attention of the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee or the stake presidency, who will not only take the proper steps to correct such a condition, but also will be grateful to the bishop for making such observations.  Any effort of the bishop to deal directly with such quorums or gropus is not in harmony with established Church policy and should not be undertaken.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(3):166, Mar., 1948)

Mar.:  Bishoprics’ responsibility to priesthood meetings.

“From time to time inquiries are received regarding the attendance responsibility of bishoprics at ward priesthood meetings.  For the benefit of all concerned, the following policy should govern quorum attendance.

The bishop’s responsibility during the ward priesthood meeting hour is to meet with, and preside over, his priests as their president, excepting only each third meeting when he is to take his turn with his counselors in attending the department conducted for the adult members of the Aaronic Priesthood.  These meetings are the logical place for the bishop ‘. . . to sit in council with them, to teach them the duties of their office, as given in the covenants.’  Bishops should so arrange their schedule as to allow no interference with regular attendance at these meetings.

In the same manner that a counselor shares the responsibilities of a bishopric, he shares in the responsibilities of the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood.  It is suggested therefore that the first counselor be assigned to supervise the work of the ordained teachers and that the second counselor supervise the work of the ordained deacons.  They should attend these quorum meetings each week, excepting only each third meeting when they will take their turn as members of the bishopric in meeting with the adult members of the Aaronic Priesthood.

As high priests, members of the bishopric are to attend the monthly quorum meeting of the high priests quorum inasmuch as they are members of that quorum.  This meeting should be held at a time that will permit bishoprics to attend without neglecting their Aaronic Priesthood duties, otherwise they will be excused from attending their monthly quorum meeting with the high priests.

Members of the bishopric are not to leave their assignments with the Aaronic Priesthood in order to attend weekly high priest group meetings.  They are given due credit for ‘other Church work during priesthood hour.'”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(3):167, Mar., 1948)

Jun.:  Home Missionary program re-emphasized.

“Among the greatest satisfactions for Latter-day Saints is the privilege of listening to good gospel discourses and humble testimonies.  The home missionary program, as outlined in the following letter from the First Presidency, has contributed much toward this objective and is being re-emphasized as a means of promoting this splendid sacrament meeting factor in all stakes and wards where it is not already in vogue.  The use of returned missionaries to instruct the Saints as they did in the mission field will be uplifting and very stimulating.  Bishops are invited to wholeheartedly cooperate with their stake presidencies and support this recommendation.

To Presidents of Stakes

Dear Brethren:

Some time since, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve adopted a recommendation from the Council of the Twelve that in the stakes of the Church the members of the high council and the returned missionaries be used as home missionaries to make monthly visits to the wards of the stake.  These brethren should carry on the same sort of work regularly performed by stake home missionaries, that is, they should go to the wards to which they are assigned to speak, and give to the people instruction, encouragement, and admonition as the Spirit may move.

We should like you to proceed to put this plan into operation at your early convenience.  If you already have such a plan in operation in your stake, then obviously it will not be necessary for you to take any special action except that you should be sure that the missionaries that you now have are carrying on in the way suggested above.

. . .

The First Presidency.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(6):388, Jun., 1948)

Jun.:  New approach to Adult  AP.

“The new approach is a revitalized program designed to arouse the interest of the brethren over twenty-one years of age who are members of the Aaronic Priesthood and also stake and ward committees who have the responsibility of bringing these men into Church activity.

The new approach is introduced by the writing of a personal letter, signed by the Presiding Bishopric, addressed to each adult member of the Aaronic Priesthood.  The letter is friendly and warm and reflects a real concern for the welfare of the brethren of the Lesser Priesthood over twenty-one years of age, and indicates a heartfelt desire to win their confidence and love.  It expresses the thought that each one has a contribution to make to the work of the Lord and that each of us can cast a ray of sunshine across someone’s pathway.  An invitation is extended to correspond with the Presiding Bishopric and to respond to the solicitation of the ward bishop or the group adviser to join them in Church functions.

Results of the new approach are gratifying.  Many of the brethren have personally acknowledged the letter addressed to them.  Stakes and wards report increased activity in the promotion of the program.  In the seventy-nine stakes to which these personal letters have been sent, there is a noticeable enthusiasm among stake and ward committees.  The adult members of the Aaronic Priesthood are being visited in their homes more frequently; many cottage meetings are being held; priesthood classes are being organized and a general awakening in the welfare of these brethren is in evidence.

Scores of these long-forgotten brethren are warming up to their leaders, and are being made to feel they are wanted and that they have a place in the Church.

If present attitudes and enthusiasm continue, the program with the new approach will reach its goal of ninety percent activity on the part of the adult members of the Aaronic Priesthood by the end of 1948.  Let each leader do his full part in realizing our objective.”  (“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 51(6):393, Jun., 1948)

Sep.:  What is Oath and Covenant of Priesthood?


In the fall of 1832, meetings were held in Kirtland, Ohio, to hear the reports of groups of missionaries who had recently returned from the eastern states.  These elders were filled with the spirit of their work.  They had preached the doctrine of the restored gospel; they had been successful in bringing souls to a knowledge of the truth; their hearts were filled with joy.

Under the influence of the missionary spirit, they had glimpsed the vast meaning of the Lord’s plan of salvation for the human family.  As their fervent testimonies were borne, many gospel questions were asked.  Especially were these ambassadors of truth concerned with the priesthood, under the authority of which they had labored–its history, extent, and power.

The Prophet Joseph Smith inquired of the Lord, and received, on September 22 and 23, one of the great revelations on priesthood, now known as section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  While the Prophet called it a revelation on priesthood, it goes beyond the technical limits of the subject, and discusses many related or cognate items.  The Lord then, as now, gave more than was asked for.

After discussing the history and offices of the two divisions of the priesthood, the Aaronic and Melchizedek, the revelation continues:

[D&C 84:33-40]

These words clearly refer to the covenant which the Lord makes with all who receive the priesthood worthily, and who attempt to magnify it in their lives.  ‘All that my Father hath shall be given unto him’–the worthy priesthood bearer.

Wilford Woodruff, fourth president of the Church, speaking upon this revelation commented upon the greatness of the promises made to the faithful priesthood bearers.

I often reflect upon the promises made concerning the priesthood. . . . Now, I sometimes ask myself the question, Do we comprehend these things?  Do we comprehend that if we abide the laws of the priesthood we shall become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ?–Who in the name of the Lord can apprehend such language as this?  Who can comprehend that, by obeying the celestial law, all that our Father has shall be given unto us–exaltations, thrones, principalities, power, dominion–who can comprehend it?  Nevertheless it is here stated.  [The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 79-80]

However, a covenant concerns two persons.  Both parties must do something to make the covenant effective.  That principle is in full operation in the oath and covenant of the priesthood.  He who receives the priesthood covenants to magnify his calling in the priesthood.  That makes the covenant valid.  That is too often forgotten.

The revelation sets this forth clearly.  A man who has received the priesthood and then fails to use it is a covenant breaker, subject to punishment.

But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.  (D&C 84:41)

That makes it a most serious offense to dishonor the priesthood by not using it in the building of the Lord’s latter-day kingdom.

The oath and covenant of the priesthood is between man and God.  The Lord promises him great blessings if he magnifies the priesthood he receives.  The man in turn, when he receives the priesthood, promises that he will honor the priesthood received, by magnifying it.

Every ordination to the priesthood implies this covenant between man and God, whether so stated or not.  It would be well, if in all priesthood ordinations the oath and covenant of the priesthood were explained.  Too many priesthood bearers feel that they have been given something without a corresponding promise by themselves.  They forget too often that every ordinance in the gospel is accompanied by a covenant between God and man.  We are a covenant people.”  (John A. Widtsoe, “Evidences and Reconciliations,” IE 51(9):577, Sep., 1948)

Sep.:  Perfect MP attendance expected within 4-5 years.

“A comparison of standards attained in 1947 as compared with the two previous years reveals that proper emphasis is resulting in greater accomplishment.  Among quorum members the percentage of full tithepayers  has increased very substantially and grafitying achievement is noted in Sabbath day observance, in observance of the standards embodied in the Word of Wisdom, in participation of family prayer, and in attendance at sacrament meeting.  The general trend is heartening, to say the least.

Admittedly there are still some weak spots and there is adequate room for improvement, but if the present trend may be indicative of the future, the possibility of achieving a nearly perfect record of adherence to Church standards among members of the Melchizedek Priesthood within four or five years may well be realized.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(9):582, Sep., 1948)

Sep.:  Personal interviews by quorum presidencies.

“Those quorum presidencies which have conscientiously conducted the personal interviews as requested know what values result.  Some few presidencies are still neglecting the obligation of making personal interviews which afford such an excellent opportunity for encouragement and establishing a highly desirable friendly relationship.  There is no substitute for personal contact.

Quorum presidencies are urged to complete as soon as possible the interviewing of all quorum members.  If such visits have been made early in the year, during December those members who have just moved into the quorum may be contacted without posing an undue burden.  However, if the majority of the visits are left for the last few weeks, there will be a great tendency to either neglect making such interviews or to use means to accomplish these purposes which are not approved or conducive to achieving proper results.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(9):582, Sep., 1948)

Sep.:  Promptness in AP ordinations.

“It is recommended that worthy boys be ordained deacons at the age of twelve years, teachers at the age of fifteen years, priests at the age of seventeen years, and elders at the age of nineteen years.”  (“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 51(9):584, Sep., 1948)

1 Oct.:  Concern for inactives.

“Brothers and sisters, while we are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, as we are, to send men to Japan and Africa and all intervening points what are we doing with these people who are right around our doors, to bring them into activity?  I give that to you as our great objective in the missionary work for the immediate future.”  (Antoine R. Ivins, 1 Oct., 1948; CR Oct., 1948, p. 50)

2 Oct.:  Calling of a ward teacher.

“There is no greater calling, brethren, in the Church, than that of a ward teacher.  If the ward teachers realized what an opportunity that is and if they were doing their duty, we wouldn’t have the condition exist that Brother Ivins referred to in his splendid talk yesterday.  The bishop would know through these ward teachers if any of the children in his ward were over nine years of age and not baptized, or needed shoes before they could enter school.  He would know if the ward teachers were doing their duty, where our boys are who are in the service at this time, and when they changed their address.  They could always get such information from the mothers in the homes they visit.  It doesn’t matter, brethren and sisters, so much what the position is.  It is how we fill that position.  We are given a job to do.  It may be the only position that we have to show our Father in heaven that we can make good, that he can depend upon us.”  (Thomas E. McKay, 2 Oct., 1948; CR Oct., 1948, p. 69)

2 Oct.:  Some were ordained in the pre-existence.

“The priesthood is an everlasting endowment.  Some, at least, who have come to the earth had it before they came here.  The Prophet Joseph said: ‘Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of Heaven before the world was.  I suppose,’ says he, ‘I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council.'”  (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., 2 Oct., 1948; CR Oct., 1948, pp. 178-179)

Nov.:  Changes in Standard Quorum and Individual Awards.

“Several major changes in the requirements of the Aaronic Priesthood Standard Quorum Award and Individual Certificate of Award programs, were announced by Presiding Bishop LeGrand Ricahrds during the bishops’ conference held in the Tabernacle, Friday, October 1, 1948.

Preliminary to the determination and announcement of the changes, the Presiding Bishopric invited stake Aaronic Priesthood committees, stake chairmen of L.D.S. Girl committees, and bishoprics from eight stakes to sit in council and express their opinions concerning the award programs in general, and the requirements in particular.  The enthusiastic and unanimous approval of the continuation, and increased tempol, of the award programs were most heartening to say the least.

. . . .


1. Set up and follow a yearly quorum meeting program.

2. Set up and follow a yearly program of social and fraternal activities.

3. Have an average attendance record at priesthood meeting of fifty percent or more during the year.

4. Have an average attendance record at sacrament meeting of thirty-five percent or more during the year.

5. Have seventy-five percent or more members fill a minimum of twenty-four Priesthood assignments each during the year.

6. Have eighty-five percent or more members observe the Word of Wisdom.

7. Have fifty percent or more members qualify for the Individual Certificate of Award.

Note:  It will be observed that the requirement for the payment of tithing has been eliminated from the requirements for the Standard Quorum Award.  It should be noted, however, that requirement number seven takes care of tithing since 50 percent or more members must earn the Individual Certificate of Award which, among other requirements, includes the full payment of tithing.

. . . .


1. A minimum of 75 percent attendance at priesthood meeting.

2. A minimum of 50 percent attendance at sacrament meeting.

3. A priest or teacher must fill a minimum of thirty-six priesthood assignments.

A deacon must fill a minimum of fifty priesthood assignments.

4. Observance of the Word of Wisdom during the entire year.

5. Full payment of tithing.

6. One or more public addresses in a Church meeting.

7. Participation in a Church welfare project, or in a quorum service project.

8. A priest or a teacher must serve as a ward teacher and visit in the homes of the Saints at least six months out of the twelve months of the year.

A deacon must gather fast offerings at least six months out of the twelve months of the year.”

(“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 51(11):732-733, Nov., 1948)

1 Nov.:  Aaronic Priesthood quorum meeting time.

“We quote excerpts from the Melchizedek Priesthood handbook, pp. 35, 36, as follows:

‘A definite time for quorum or group meeting should be arranged in order to permit the maximum attendance. . . .

Consideration might well be given to holding the priesthood meeting at a time that will permit a fifteen minute intermission between the close of the priesthood meeting and the beginning of Sunday School.  This will make possible the attendance of any quorum members and quorum advisers at the Sunday School prayer meeting without disrupting the priesthood quorum or group meeting.’

Every effort should be made by the bishopric, Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidencies, and quorum advisers, to induce Priests, Teachers, and Deacons to attend their classes in Sunday School.  We should persistently labor with Aaronic Priesthood members who fail to attend Sunday School after having attended Priesthood meeting in an effort to persuade them to attend Sunday School and receive the gospel lessons so essential in their Church education.

We desire you brethren to know of our whole-hearted desire to cooperate with the Sunday School in the filling of its assignment to provide religious instruction and training to the youth of the Churc.  We appreciate the Sunday School organization and look upon it as a choice agency set up under the inspiration of the Lord for the teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the membership of the Church.

We are particularly anxious to have all of our Aaronic Priesthood members, and all of our L.D.S. girls of corresponding ages, brought under the wholesome influence of the Sunday School. . . .

The Presiding Bishopric.

We have also the following note from Presiding Bishop Richards:

Milton Bennion, General Superintendent Deseret Sunday School Union Board

Dear Brother Bennion:

We have completed a survey of our Aaronic Priesthood reports for 1947 and observe that only 48 per cent of your Sunday School leaders of the ward level who are expected to attend the Ward Youth Leadership Meeting each month gave their support in attendance.  We felt you brethren would like to know of this finding since one of the objectives of the Youth Leadership Meeting held under the direction of the bishopric is to bring about a closer relationship between the bishopric and your Sunday School teachers of young people twelve to twenty-one years of age.

Anything which you brethren of the superintendency and your general board members may do to encourage your Sunday School teachers to attend this meeting will be most sincerely appreciated. . . .

The Presiding Bishopric.

Our reply follows:

Bishop LeGrand Richards

40 North Main Street

Dear Brother Richards:

This is to acknowledge with thanks your letter of August 27 concerning attendance of Sunday School teachers at Youth Leadership meetings.  We are very glad to be informed of this situation and shall be pleased to do all we can to improve conditions of which you speak.  We have not, heretofore, been informed on this particular point.

We shall have your letter read at our board meeting next Tuesday and will publish in the November Instructor recommendations to all Sunday School superintendents to co-operate to the fullest extent possible.  (Our October Instructor is already in press.) . . .

Deseret Sunday School Union Board.”

(Instructor 83(11):527-529, 1 Nov., 1948)

7 Dec.:  Local 70’s quorums should solve their own problems.

“You must realize, dear brother, that I can not answer questions concerning local organizations unless all details are presented; and then, too, local questions of the kind you have asked should be solved by yourselves.  You must realize that the quorums of Seventy themselves must solve their local questions, for the First Council has everything they can do with more important problems.  I know you will understand the spirit in which I say this, so please talk the matter over with the brethren concerned, and they will, I know, do everything they can to bring the spirit of peace within your group.”  (LEY to Pres. Joseph W. Hoglund, 7 Dec, 1948, Levi Edgar Young Papers, Utah State Historical Society, B12, Box 6)

21 Dec.:  How to improve the dignity of the office of Seventy.

“This is a cold winter morning.  It has been snowing for a number of days, and of course the canyons will be filled with water in the coming summer for the snow has piled up everywhere.

Things are coming along about as usual.  We are all well and of course very busy  with our many prospects for the future.  I believe that the various councils of quorums are awakening to the responsibility of their duties.  The thing that must be done is to influence the various quorum presidencies to take hold of the work and feel their responsibilities to the call that has been made upon them, for it is a call that is different from any other phase of the Priesthood of God.

The letter that I am sending you with this letter will go to all the quorums and will indicate briefly just what the call as a Seventy means.  It is really a title of honor.  In early days brethren rose to the dignity of the title, but they do not do so today because the work imposed upon presidents of stakes and bishops of wards, together with other offices of the Church, has lowered the meaning and the dignity of the call.

I have seen this coming for years.  It will not be improved by a system of percentages or other thoughtless means to bring about what we call efficiency.  I will ask, in my mind only, that the First Council become readers of books and to carry out the admonitions of the Prophet Joseph Smith when he said, “Seek ye wisdom out of the best books,” and he set the example by organizing classes for the study of the classics in the Kirtland Temple.  In fact, he became a student of Hebrew and Greek; not that he felt he could learn these ancient languages, but he wanted to set the example for future days.

Just think of the great men of the early days of the Church who were Seventies and were constructive geniuses.  I have a list of fifty of them[.] who have won distinction in the world.  The brethren need to be taught how to teach the Gospel.  In this I know you agree with me.

I am merely writing these things to you to indicate what’s on my mind this morning.  Progress is a slow thing, and character [page 2] can’t be manufactured.  I believe the day is coming when the Seventies will take their call with sincere propose.  The word `seventy’ I have studied for some twenty years, and am now giving much of the information to two of the divinity schools of America.”  (LEY to Pres. S. Dilworth Young, 21 Dec, 1948, Levi Edgar Young Papers, Utah State Historical Society, B12, Box 6)

Dec.:  Confidential annual reports.

“Less than thirty days remain to complete the personal interviews of quorum members required by the Confidential Annual Report.  These interviews are to be made by members of the presidency of each quorum of high priests, seventy, and elders.  Neither quorum secretaries nor group leaders are to be asked to assist quorum presidencies in conducting these interviews.  So, unless the majority of interviews have been completed–as suggested frequently throughout the year–the remaining time will barely be sufficient for most quorums, even if every available evening is used.

It is requested that quorum presidents and counselors go individually when interviewing quorum members, not as a presidency.  Confidential matters may be more freely discussed when only one quorum officer and a member are present.  Care should be exercised to avoid any embarrassment to the member.  The interview should not be conducted while he is in the presence of the members of his family.  There is no need to ask questions the answer to which are already known to you.

When making this survey, avoid recording any information, except in this report, which will identify any member with the answers made.  This is a confidential report and the statements of members should be held in the strictest confidence.  The practice of sending questionnaires in any form to obtain this information is not approved.

The information gained through these reports is invaluable.  Recently stake presidencies were furnished with comparative charts covering a three-year period based on the information contained in these reports.  The trends shown were quire revealing and in many cases quite unexpected.  Some stakes showed steady improvement while some showed rather glaring deficiencies.  Without the information from these annual reports many of these conditions would have continued unnoticed.  When true situations are known and understood–be they favorable or unfavorable–definite steps may be taken for continued improvement or rectifying undesirable conditions.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(12):814, Dec., 1948)

Dec.:  Jobs for all quorum members.

“Priesthood quorums may perform an invaluable service.  One of their functions is that of keeping an up-to-date list on all members pertaining to their qualifications for rendering Church service.  Every member in the quorums should be given an opportunity in one way or another to participate in Church service.

Quorum presidencies are urged to keep bishoprics and stake presidencies informed of the qualifications possessed by their quorum members.  They should be energetic in promoting activities and responsibilities for their associates, arranging for them to perform ceremonies, do ward teaching, engage in stake missionary work, or assist in the auxiliaries.  The opportunities for service in the Church are unlimited, yet all too often little effort is made to provide responsibilities and activities for many capable brethren.  Inasmuch as quorums are charged with the responsibility of assembling such information, every effort should be made to put it to practical use.  Activity promotes growth.  Growth is essential to continued vitality and progress.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 51(12):815, Dec., 1948)