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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1950

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1950.” You can view other years here.

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1950:  30 Jan.:  I have felt the 1st Quorum of 70 should not be in existence.

“Your letter of December, which has the date omitted, has long since been received.  As I am catching up on my correspondence today, a long delayed resolution is being filled.

You ask concerning the First Quorum of Seventy, which was organized in 1836.  Let me say that the First Quorum of Seventy was gradually eliminated.  The exact reason, I have never known.  It has never been called in existence since the days of the Prophet.

I have always felt down deep in my heart that the First Quorum should not be in existence, for, should it be called, I fear that the Seventy’s work might more or less be relegated to the standard of an auxiliary of the Church.  I feel very deeply the calling of the First Council.  It is the third great council of the Church, and it must always be so recognized.  However, the First Quorum may be reorganized, but this will be done by the First Presidency when it comes to pass.

It will be a pleasure to meet you sometime when I go your way to a Quarterly Conference.”  (LEY to Elder J. H. Dean, 30 Jan 1950, Levi Edgar Young Papers, Utah State Historical Society, B12, Box 6)

31 Jan.:  Bishops have nothing to do with the Seventies.

“A few days ago there was laid on my desk your letter of January 21st.  First let me say to you that I shall be in your Stake this coming Saturday and Sunday to hold a convention with the Seventies and missionaries.  I shall take up the matter of the relationship of bishops to our Seventy’s work.  The bishops all over the Church have seemingly not grasped the correct point that they have nothing to do with Seventies in general or with quorums in particular.  It is a hard lesson to put over.

You are absolutely right in your intention as expressed in your letter.  The bishops have no right to use the stake missionaries for ward teaching.

Let me see you some time this coming Sunday, if it is possible.  It will be a joy to meet you.”  (LEY to Pres. Edwin S. Dibble, 31 Jan 1950, Levi Edgar Young Papers, Utah State Historical Society, B12, Box 6)

6 Apr.:  Responsibility of MP quorum leaders.

“I fear that many of us who have those responsible positions of presidency in the Melchizedek Priesthood don’t realize the weight of the responsibility that we have.  What are we expected to do for the members of our quorums?  Are we to sit and preside over them, assuming that all of them are firm in the faith and know the whys and wherefores of all these things, or is it our duty to look after the members of our quorums and implant in their hearts the principles of righteous living, as well as to preside over their meetings and keep the quorums moving along nicely?

I believe the great weight of their responsibilities is in the perfecting of the members of their quorums, and since this great body of people to whom President Richards referred is not in any of these Melchizedek Priesthood quorums, I believe it the duty of the seventies of the Church to reach out and find them.  When they find them, it is their duty to teach them, to lead them back into activity.  And, of course, in order best to do that, they should all be exemplary bearers of the priesthood.  They should live the principles of the gospel as nearly perfectly as possible so that when they go to these men they may have influence with them which comes from the presence of the Spirit of God.”  (Antoine R. Ivins, 6 Apr., 1950; CR Apr., 1950, p. 26)

Aug.:  New Ward AP Committee meeting.

“The full time of the monthly meeting, which used to be the ward youth leadership meeting, is now to be occupied as the ward Aaronic Priesthood committee meeting.  This change is the result of the recent transfer of the Latter-day Saint girls program to the Y.W.M.I.A., whic took all leaders of girls out of the ward youth leadership meeting.

In keeping with the change, the ward Aaronic Priesthood committee meeting will henceforth be devoted entirely to a consideration of Church programs for young men twelve to twenty-one and of the status of each boy in the respective programs.

Leaders expected to attend the ward Aaronic Priesthood committee meeting each month, in addition to the bishopric, are as follows: Aaronic Priesthood general secretary and quorum advisers to priests, teachers, and deacons; Sunday School teachers of The Gospel Message, Advanced Senior, Senior, Advanced Junior, and Junior classes; Y.M.M.I.A. M-Men leader, Junior M-Men leader; Explorer Post adviser, assistant Explorer Post adviser, Scoutmaster, and assistant Scoutmaster.

The ward Aaronic Priesthood committee meeting is to be held each month under the personal direction of the bishop and his counselors.”  (“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 53(8):660, Aug., 1950)

13 Aug.:  Deacon ordained by another deacon.

“Certificate of Ordination to the Holy Priesthood

Number 141

This Certifies, that Donald Paul Olsen was ordained a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on August 13 1950, by William Robert Jurinjak who holds the office of Deacon.

David Stoddard, Mission President

Ralph H. Adams, Branch President

Santa Maria Branch

California Mission.”

[See Xerox of ordination certificate in GAP Correspondence notebook, 5 Oct., 1987.  On the back of the xerox, Don Olsen wrote the following note:

“Dear Bro. Prince,

It was a pleasure to visit with you on the plane last week.  Pursuant to our discussion on priesthood I have enclosed the copies of my Aaronic priesthood ordination.  I stand corrected on one point.  The officiator was not my father.  I hope this information is useful to you in your research.  Please contact me if there is anything else I can do for you.”]

Sep.:  AP Presidencies to conduct quorum meetings.

“Observation points up the necessity for again directing the attention of bishoprics and quorum advisers to the fact that Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidencies or group leaders of teachers and deacons should not only preside over their quorum or group meetings but should also conduct the exercises thereof from beginning to end.  The bishop should preside over his priests as their president.

Aaronic Priesthood leaders are expected to teach young quorum and group officers how to preside and how to conduct their meetings.  Young men should not be left to do this work perfunctorily or to do it without being taught.  It is the responsibility of the bishopric and advisers to teach them.

. . . .

Teach them, train them, show them how to do it, but let them do it.  There is no substitute for experience in the art of presidency.”  (“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 53(9):741, Sep., 1950)

30 Sep.:  J. Reuben Clark, Jr. on Priesthood.

“My brethren, again I sense that this is a great privilege to stand before you for a few minutes, and to say something to you that I hope may be helpful.  Before I finish I shall want to return to my solo on the G string, ‘Unity,’ but I want to say a little something beforehand, and I trust the Lord will be with me that what I say may be in harmony with what He would have said.

The question of the priesthood has always been to me an alluring question, and not only alluring, but more or less elusive.  We use the word priesthood apparently in at least two, if not three, senses.  We use it sometimes to mean the power of the priesthood.  I suppose in fact the priesthood is power.  We use it sometimes to indicate the organization through which the priesthood operates, and we use it sometimes, apparently, to indicate the service which the priesthood is to render.

I am going to read two or three extracts from the brethren of the past regarding the priesthood.  The Prophet Joseph said:

The priesthood is an everlasting principle and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years.  The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the gospel is sent.  When they are revealed from heaven it is by Adam’s authority.

On another occasion the Prophet said that Adam received the priesthood before the world was created.

You may remember that as the account is given in the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham, the Father told Abraham that sometime he had come down and organized the spirits, and then he told Abraham that when he came down among them he found many that were great and good, and further on he said to Abraham, and I will read this to you:

There were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

Following upon this general principle, the Prophet Joseph said: ‘Every man who has a calling’ every man, ‘to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the grand council of heaven before this world was.  I suppose,’ said he, ‘that I was ordained to this very office in that grand council.’

Now I think I might read two statements from Brigham Young:

If anybody wants to know what the priesthood of the Son of God is, it is the law by which the worlds are, were and will continue forever and ever.  It is that system which brings worlds into existence and peoples them, gives them their revolutions, their days, weeks, months, years, their seasons and times, and by which they are rolled up as a scroll, as it were, and grown to a higher state of existence.

And on another occasion he declared the priesthood to be

a perfect system of government, of laws and ordinances, by which we can be prepared to pass from one gate to another and from one sentinel to another until we go into the presence of our Father and God.

These various quotations must inevitably lead us to a great deal of reflection, and as I have indicated, to me they suggest we are using the term, priesthood, in the manner that I have spoken about.

Now, I have often wondered if I could find an analogy to the priesthood, and the best I have been able to do is to liken the priesthood to citizenship.  Potentially every citizen of the United States is a president of the United States, speaking generally and disregarding the limitations as to who may be president, but we are not all presidents.  Every one of us may be a senator or a congressman.  We have that power as citizens.  We may be governors; we may be state legislators; we may be city councilmen; we may be county commissioners; we may be judges.  All of these or each of them or any of them may come to any citizen, but in order to exercise any particular function we must be duly appointed to it or duly elected to it.

Now there are many differences between citizenship and priesthood, many.  One that occurs to one offhand is that a man elected to be a judge in one locality, one jurisdiction, loses that power when he moves to another jurisdiction.  That is not true of the priesthood.  A man remains a deacon wherever he goes, or a high priest, and may perform his functions under certain limitations and rules.

But we do not now have the keys to do some of the things which Brother Brigham said the priesthood was to do, or that the priesthood did, for example, the creation and the governing of worlds.  I can think of this situation, this power in terms of human government, civil government; the powers of sovereignty that rest in the people and that are delegated to government, to be exercised, by this man as a governor, by that man as a senator, and by another man as a president of the United States.  So do we in the priesthood.  Each one of us, as it seems to me, has certain functions of the whole priesthood.  A deacon has his, the teacher has his, the priest his, and so on.  And while under the priesthood, a man in a high place may perform all the functions of those who are below, the one in the lower bracket may not perform the functions of anybody in the higher bracket.  This principle does not of course obtain in our civil government.

I do not know whether we have a right to interpret the Prophet’s statement, ‘Every man who has a calling to administer to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the grand council of heaven, before the world was,’ I do not know that we may interpret that to mean any but those who have charge of dispensations or are leaders therein, but I like to think that it does include those of us of lesser calling and lesser stature.  We have been told ever since I was old enough to remember that those who are coming forth among the Latter-day Saints were choice spirits, and I like to think that perhaps in that grand council something at least was said to us indicating what would be expected of us, and empowering us, subject to the re-confirmation here, to do certain things in building up the kingdom of God on earth.

Now the lesson that I would like to get out of that, has been referred to by President McKay, and that is that this whole priesthood organization–I am now using the term in the sense of organization–each part of it, has its own function, and each man belonging to the given order of priesthood, deacon, teacher, priest, and so on, has certain things to do.  If a quorum fails in a ward, the ward is not carrying on as it should.  We are all bound together as one, and insofar as we fail, as individuals, to carry on the work which we are supposed to do, we are to that extent hindering the carrying on of the work of the Lord and to that extent we are responsible for the lack or fulness of growth that may occur on account of our failure.

There is no escape, as I see it, brethren, from that conclusion.

Now, before passing to the unity matter, I wish to call your attention to the fact that the Prophet said we had a perfect system, ‘the priesthood was a perfect system of government.’

Have you ever thought, and if you have not I suggest you do think about it, that if the civil government of any of our communities were to be suddenly wiped out, that the Church organization could govern the community if it were given the necessary civil sanction.  To illustrate, our teachers who are to keep the Church in order, could act as the police force.  Our bishops are authorized to hold court, the high council and the president of the stake another court, both of appellate and of original jurisdiction, with an appeal to the Presidency of the Church from that decision.  And in the First Presidency of the Church, the President of the Church resides the power and authority to make all necessary rules and regulations for the government of the people.

We have already, therefore, set up in this Church of ours, an organization of the Priesthood which could govern any community if it were given the necessary civil sanction, and if chaos should come, and if we travel along our present line far enough it will come, some of you may live to see the necessity of such an action as that.

Now, brethren, coming back to our individual responsibility for the welfare of the carrying on of the work of the Lord.  Every man having his own place must, if he is to fulfill his full duty and perform his full functions, work with those about him.  He cannot go off on a line of his own and still help to carry on the work of the Lord.  The quorum must be united if it is to function properly, and united means seeing and working eye to eye.  The ward and all the quorums in it must so function if the ward is to carry on and do its work as it should.  So with the stake and so with the Church as a whole.

And now I will repeat to you, brethren, what I have said to you every time I have had the opportunity to talk to you, and that has been every time since I came into this position, and I believe I have attended every general priesthood meeting since then; if we were united there is nothing that the body of priesthood of this Church might not do within the functions of the priesthood, no matter what it is.  And I say to you further that if we saw eye to eye on matters of civil government, which we are not likely to do, there is nothing we might not accomplish there within the places and jurisdictions where we live.

Now, brethren, I again pray, as I have always, that we will be united.  The Lord has laid down with sufficient clearness that none of us needs have any doubt about it as to what his will is.  He set up this government under his divine guidance, and so far as I am concerned, as I have said before so I say now, this government of ours under the Constitution, being thus set up by the Lord, is a part of my religion, and we shall not succeed, and we shall not preserve our independence, our free institutions, our liberties, unless we safeguard our rights under the Constitution.”  (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., 30 Sep., 1950; CR Oct., 1950, pp. 168-172)

Nov.:  Candidates for AP ordination to be approved by vote

“There is some indication of laxness in the matter of presenting to the ward members individuals approved by the bishopric for ordination to, or advancement in, the Aaronic Priesthood.

This procedure is a directive from our Heavenly Father and should be followed in every ward and branch in the Church without exception.  Give careful consideration to the Lord’s words:

No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly authorized branch of the same, without the vote of that church.  (D&C 20:65.)

One of the purposes in presenting candidates for ordination to the membership of the ward or branch for their vote is to provide a safeguard against the ordination of persons unworthy to receive priesthood authority.”  (“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 53(11):917, Nov., 1950)