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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1954

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1954:  Jan.:  Should deacons be married?

“Question:  According to I Timothy, Chapter 3, Verses 12-13, it refers to deacons as husbands of one wife, etc.  Why is the office of a deacon in the Church today held by very young boys?

Answer:  It was the judgment of Paul that a deacon in that day should be a married man.  That does not apply to our day.  Conditions were different in the days of Paul.  In that day a minister was not considered qualified to take part in the ministry until he was thirty years of age.  Under those conditions deacons, teachers, and priests were mature men.  This is not the requirement today.  There are in all kinds of churches today ministers who are under that age, and there is no requirement in the Church in this dispensation that a person must be a matured man before he can take part in the ministry or hold the priesthood.  Nor was it the rule in very ancient times, for we learn (D&C 107:52), that Noah was only ten years of age when he was given the priesthood under the hands of Methuselah.  John the Baptist was ordained when only eight days of age when he was ordained by an angel, ‘. . . to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people,’ (D&C 84:28) but John did not enter this ministry until shortly before the coming of Christ to be baptized and enter his ministry.  John was a few months older than our Savior.

So you see there is nothing wrong, nothing out of orcer, in what we are doing, for it is by revelation from the Lord.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Your Question,” IE 57(1):17, Jan., 1954)

Jan.:  Responsibilities of stake presidencies.


In order to make the program of the Church function more effectively, nearly two years ago the General Authorities decided that the stake president is to serve as chairman of the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee.  The reason that the stake president rather than one of the counselors was chosen for that position was stated by the General Authorities as follows:

In order that closer co-ordination may be had in the assignments of the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee and the stake welfare committee, especially in employment placement work, it is desirable that the stake president personally be the active chairman of the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee.

Under this new arrangement one counselor is to serve as chairman of the stake Aaronic Priesthood committee and the other counselor is to be the chairman of the stake committee for senior members of the Aaronic Priesthood.


It is the duty of the stake presidency to organize a stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee, composed of the stake president as chairman ‘and as many members of the high council as are necessary, but in no case fewer than three.’  (Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook, p. 11.)  The chairman of the committee sees that the committee’s secretary receives reports from quorum secretaries, which reports are compiled on a stake report and approved by the chairman before being sent to the general Melchizedek Priesthood committee.

It is advisable for the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee to hold weekly committee meetings, as is pointed out in the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook, p. 13, as follows:

A weekly council meeting should be conducted to discuss current problems and needs of the various quorums and to determine means of stimulating activity and effectively introducing and following through on all projects and assignments to the various quorums.

This committee meeting could conveniently precede or follow the stake presidency’s regular weekly council meeting.


The stake president and his two counselors stand at the head of the stake, having jurisdiction over every organization within the boundaries of the stake; therefore, the wards, the auxiliary organizations, the missionary work, the genealogical work, the Church welfare program, and the priesthood quorums are under their jurisdiction.  The Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook (p. 10) states that ‘in connection with the seventy’s quorums this control is exercised in collaboration with the First Council of the Seventy.’  ‘The presidents of stakes are called upon to collaborate with the First Council . . . in keeping the quorums of seventy well organized within the stakes.’  (p. 19.)  It is to be understood that the seventies presidents, as well as all other officers of the priesthood quorums, are subject to the general supervision of the stake presidency.


The General Authorities desire to remind the stake presidencies once again that they have a definite responsibility toward every Melchizedek Priesthood quorum within their stake bounds and thereby indirectly toward every priesthood holder.  It should be recalled that the following instruction appears in the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook, p. 10:

It is the duty of the stake presidency to supervise Melchizedek Priesthood quorums.  No stake president should permit a quorum to mark time month after month without giving serious thought and attention to the duties required of quorums.  If officers will not serve conscientiously, then others should be selected who have the ability and inclination.  Stake presidencies, with the help of the high councilors, are charged with the repsonsibility of following up this labor to see that every man who is given proper authority performs his duty.

All stake presidencies throughout the Church are urged to see that the quorum presidents under their jurisdiction hold weekly presidency meetings, weekly group or quorum meetings, monthly quorum business meetings, and magnify their callings in all respects.


Stake presidencies should be cognizant of their responsibility to see that all the stake and ward officers over whom they have jurisdiction observe the Sabbath day properly, pay a full tithing, obseve the Word of Wisdom, hold family prayers, attend conference sessions and their meetings regularly, deal honorably with their neighbors, and keep the other commandments of the restored gospel in order that they might set worthy examples to those with whom they work.

Also, among the various responsibilities of stake presidencies are the following:  They are to approve in general the expenditure of quorum funds, to direct the ordinations of elders and high priests, to select and set apart the presidencies of elders quorums, to set apart the counselors in the presidencies of high priests quorums, to choose members and alternate members of high councils and direct all of their activities.  They are to take the initiative for the ordination of seventies and selecting of presidents of seventies quorums, which ordination and setting apart are done by one of the General Authorities of the Church who has been duly authorized.  They are to make full preparations for stake quarterly conferences in their respective stakes, and, under the direction of the visiting General Authority, conduct the conference sessions.  And at all times they are to be subject to directions from the First Presidency and the other General Authorities.


It is the policy of the Church for the stake presidencies to direct a two-hour combined monthly stake Melchizedek Priesthood meeting and priesthood leadership meeting in each stake.  Exceptions to this rule are made only with the consent of the General Authorities in cases where scattered conditions in stakes make it advisable to hold these meetings no oftener than once each quarter.  This monthly meeting affords the stake presidency an opportunity to meet with the priesthood quorums and transact such business as is necessary in the best interest of the priesthood program and activity of the stake; however, it should be kept in mind that this meeting does not replace the monthly quorum meetings.  (See Ibid., pp. 37-41.)


One of the important responsibilities of stake presidencies is to organize and direct stake missionary work and push forward vigorously that program.  Stake presidents select and recommend to the First Presidency stake mission presidents who are set apart by one of the General Authorities.  However, the counselors to the stake mission presidents are set apart by stake presidencies.  Stake missionaries, recommended by bishoprics, are called into the service by stake presidencies, and they are to see that the missionaries are released from all other Church duties so that they may devote their full church-service time to the missionary cause.  It is also the responsibility of stake presidencies to further the missionary program in foreign fields.


Since bishops of wards and their counselors, as well as all other stake and ward officers, are accountable to the stake presidency, the stake presidency has the right to select any person in the stake and assign him or her to do stake missionary work or to any other job.  It is desirable that the stake presidency consult with the bishopric of the ward concerned when selections of persons to do stake work are made; however, bishoprics should recognize the fact that they are accountable to the stake presidency and should readily submit to the desires of their superior officers.  By so doing unity will prevail throughout the stakes of Zion among the priesthood holders and officers.  This will result in progression and strength in the cause of building the kingdom of God.


Stake presidents are advised to make extensive use of their high councils in supervising the various organizations and activities of their stakes.  By so doing marked progress and efficiency in all the organizations of the stake will be attained; and this will result in the Saints’ adhering more closely to the commandments.  It is a known fact that people will readily respond to good leadership that knows in which direction it is going; and the First Presidency and its associates look to the stake presidencies to supply that leadership.”  

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 57(1):40-41, Jan., 1954)

Feb.:  Responsibilities of high councilors.


The stake presidency stands at the head of the stake and is in charge of all the ecclesiastical functions that transpire therein.  This jurisdiction includes both priesthood and auxiliary work–and of course ‘the bishops of wards are also accountable to the stake presidency.’  The present policy and practice of the Church is to have high councilors assist the stake presidency in its great work of administering the affairs of the stake; however, the fact should be kept always in mind that high councilors function only under appointment of the stake presidency and in all of their ‘. . . capacities they are directly responsible to the stake presidency and attend to such duties as may be delegated to them.’

High councilors play a vital role in the administration of the stake.  Figuratively speaking, they constitute the right arm of the stake presidency.  The degree to which they are faithful, efficient, and willing to work determines their value to the stake presidency and goes far in determining the progress made by the stake and ward organizations in which they have been called to serve.

The duties and assignments of high councilors are very extensive and varied.  Such assignments absorb much time in stakes where the stake presidencies fully utilize their high councilors in carrying forward the Church program.  Experience has shown that it is wisdom for stake presidencies to make very extensive use of their high councilors, because the progress of the work of the Lord within a stake and the efficiency with which it is carried forward will be determined to a large extent by the use made of high councilors by the stake presidency.


The numerous duties and assignments of high councilors may be classified under two principal heads: (1) judicial; and (2) semi-administrative.  Relative to the judicial, the procedure of the high council trials is found in the Doctrine and Covenants 102:12-23.  Under ordinary conditions high council trials do not occur frequently in the various stakes; therefore, the principal work of high councilors is their semi-administrative functions, the most important of which is to serve in supervising priesthood activities.  This latter function will be discussed later.


First:  High councils approve nominees for priesthood ordinations.  Stake presidencies are given the assignment of nominating brethren to be ordained to the various offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood; and, with the help of the high councilors, they are charged also with the responsibility of seeing that every man who is given divine authority performs his full duty.  Initiative for the ordination of a priest to become an elder rests with the bishops, whose recommendations go to the stake presidency; but the initiative for ordinations of seventies and high priests within the Melchizedek Priesthood is to be taken by the stake presidency.  However, all of these brethren are to be presented by the stake presidency to the high council, and in case of seventies, they are to be presented to the First Council of the Seventy for approval before ordinations are performed.

Second:  High councils approve Melchizedek Priesthood presidencies.  Presidencies of all Melchizedek Priesthood quorums–high priests’ quorums, seventies’ quorums, elders’ quorums–are chosen by the stake presidency with the approval of the high council; and in the case of presidents of seventies’ quorums, the approval of the First Council of the Seventy is also obtained by the stake presidency.

Third:  High councils approve new high councilors and new alternate members of high councils.  The following is quoted from the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook, p. 66: ‘High councilors and alternate members of high councils are to be selected by the stake presidency with the approval of the high council.’  However, when the first high council of a stake is organized or when a complete reorganization of a high council takes place at the time of the reorganization of a stake, there is no high council to approve the newly established high council.

Fourth:  High councils approve persons recommended for stake offices.  High councils are also asked by presidencies of stakes to consider and approve persons recommended for all auxiliary offices within the stake.  They are also to pass on any other stake business presented to them by the stake presidency.

Fifth:  High councilors advisers to auxiliaries.  Stake presidencies appoint certain high councilors to be advisers to the stake missionary work, to the Sunday School program, to the Relief Society organization, to the Mutual Improvement Associations, and to the Primary Association.

Sixth:  High councilors and ward work.  It is suggested that stake presidencies assign one or more high councilors to each ward for a given period to be the special agent to the stake presidency there.  It is the duty of the high councilor or of high councilors so assigned to observe all the ward activities and see that Church standards and practices are maintained.  Wherever it is found that conditions are not as they should be, these findings are to be reported to the stake presidency.  By being alert in this assignment, high councilors can do much toward preventing heresies, apostate practices and such tendencies from getting a foothold in the Church.  The net result tends toward unity in the wards, in the stakes, and throughout the entire Church in carrying forward the work of the Lord.  In their assignments to work with wards, the high councilors serve as messengers for the stake presidency.  Also, the auditing of the ward financial accounts is done by these special agents.

Seventh:  High councilors as home missionaries.  A very important assignment given to high councilors by the stake presidency is to serve as home missionaries in the various wards.  It is suggested to high council members that in performing this assignment they preach gospel sermons and not spend their time on travelogues and other similar types of material.  The Latter-day Saints are hungry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and are eager to have it taught to them.  This assignment gives high councilors a marvelous opportunity to do much good in teaching basic doctrines such as the laws of tithing and fast offerings, the Word of Wisdom, chastity, eternal marriage, honesty, and etc.

Eighth:  High councilors and miscellaneous assignments.  High councilors also receive a number of miscellaneous assignments, such as supervising buildings and grounds of both ward and stake, and acting as music supervisors.  Also, they serve on task committees as appointed by the stake presidency, and receive numerous other assignments as needs arise.

Ninth:  High councilors supervising priesthood activities.  As previously mentioned, the most vital assignment of high councilors is to serve in supervising priesthood activities, such as ward teaching, and serving on such committees as stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee, Aaronic Priesthood committee, stake committee for senior members of the Aaronic Priesthood and other adult members holding no priesthood, servicemen’s committee, genealogical committee and personal standards committee.  They may also serve as contact men for high priests’, seventies’, and elders’ quorums.  If these assignments are conscientiously and effectively performed the complete tenor of Melchizedek Priesthood work will rise to a higher standard and the people throughout the stakes of Zion will become more devoted to the Church and more faithful in keeping the commandments.  Thus the building of the kingdom will go forth rapidly and effectively.

Tenth:  High councilors and elders’ quorums.  Of all assignments connected with Melchizedek Priesthood work, high councilors could probably do the most needed and effective work with the elders’ quorums.  Their efforts will result in an untold amount of good by helping further the work of the Lord in diligently and intelligently working with the various elders’ quorums of their stakes.  The men holding the office of elder in the Church constitute the majority of the adult male membership, thereby furnishing a marvelous opportunity to the high councilors assigned to work with that group.  Their efforts should be directed towards helping to increase the activities in the various elders’ quorums, resulting in an increase in the righteousness of the members in general and of their families.

Stake presidencies and high councilors should keep in mind the fact that there are no other assignments in the stakes which need the work of high councilors more than does the elders’ program, and probably nowhere else could high councilors do more effective and beneficial work than in helping to improve the work of these men, bringing the less active ones into activity.  The General Authorities of the Church encourage high councilors to engage in this work wholeheartedly.

Eleventh:  High councilors and stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee.  Every stake should have a stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee composed of the stake president as chairman and at least four members of the high council, or more if deemed necessary, and a secretary.  The purpose of this committee is to afford the stake presidency an effective organization composed of sufficient helpers to supervise the functions of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums within the stake:

The stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee represents the stake presidency in the direction and supervision of all quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood within the stake.  This committee is appointed to be an aid to the stake presidency.

Among the chief functions of this committee are:

1. To train quorum officers in their duties so they may become effective in their leadership;

2. To keep the stake presidency informed so that quorums are kept organized;

3. To receive and audit reports and send them on to the general priesthood committee at church headquarters;

4. To see that all Melchizedek Priesthood officers are thoroughly instructed in the items which appear on the Melchizedek Priesthood page in The Improvement Era and also in the special leaflet published monthly.

The proper functioning of this committee constitutes one of the major assignments of high council members.


First:  High councilors only semi-administrative officers.  Since high councilors are not administrative officers, they are not authorized to preside over quorums of elders, seventies, or high priests when they are visiting those quorums under appointment of the stake presidency.  The same holds true in their visits to wards–high councilors should not preside over nor conduct bishoprics’ meetings.  Their capacity is one of observing and reporting.  These high councilors take instructions from the stake president to the quorum presidencies and bring reports back, thereby extending the directive powers of the stake president.

If two or more quorums of elders or two or more quorums of seventies in a stake are having a joint meeting or a joint social, it is improper for the high council representative of those quorums to preside over the meeting or over the social.  He is a contact man between the stake presidency and those quorums and not an administrative officer.  It is suggested that the presidencies of the priesthood quorums involved select from among their own members a presiding officer for such an occasion.

Second:  Council meetings.  High councils should not hold council meetings unless one or more of the members of the stake presidency are present to preside and conduct the meetings.  The stake presidency remains the executive power at all time.  In other words, high councils do not hold their own separate council meetings but meet only as called together by the stake presidency.  It follows then that it is improper for a high council to appoint from their numbers a chairman or president to preside over the other council members in high council meetings, as has been done by some high councils in the past.  As has been pointed out, such meetings are all held with and under the immediate direction of the stake presidency.

Third:  Setting apart presidencies of elders’ quorums.  High councilors should not be authorized by stake presidencies to set apart presidencies of elders’ quorums.  However, they may be invited by the stake presidency to join with them in the circle at the time of setting apart of those presidencies, but a member of the stake presidency offers the setting-apart blessing.

Fourth:  Ordaining elders.  Ordinarily it is not the prerogative of high councilors to ordain elders; however, under special authorization from the stake president the high councilor who is serving on the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee as contact man for the elders’ quorums may be authorized to ordain certain elders.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 57(2):112-113, 127, Feb., 1954)

Feb.:  Care urged in advancing adult AP.

“Bishops should use discretion and care in advancing senior members in the Aaronic Priesthood and in recommending them for advancement to the Melchizedek Priesthood.

To advance a man in the priesthood before he is ready is to place obligations upon him that he may be unwilling or unable to carry.

It is strongly suggested that quorum or group officers in senior Aaronic Priesthood quorums or groups, if they are carrying the responsibility of their offices, be retained in their positions until other quorum members  are qualified to replace them.

Senior members should be guided to appreciate the priesthood they bear.”  (“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 57(2):115, Feb., 1954)

11 Mar.:  Epistle from 1st Council of 70 on the quorums of Seventy.


The Council of the Twelve Building

Subject: Policies Relative to Seventies

Dear Brethren:

May we take the liberty of reporting to you the following facts and policies which have lead to the present practice of the First Council of the Seventy relative to the quorums of the Seventy:

1. We are attempting to follow your instructions relative to the ordination of men to offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood, as set forth on pages 64 and 65 of the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook.  As there directed, we have endeavored “…to use care and discretion in approving candidates for ordination and to be sure that they are living in full accord with the principles of the gospel and the doctrines of the Church.”

2. We think that Elders should not be ordained to the office of Seventy until they have gained some reasonable experience as Elders, have matured somewhat in the Gospel, and become stable members of the Church.

3. We have applied this principle to the young men called to serve as foreign missionaries with the result that nearly all of the younger men are now going into the mission field as Elders.

4. In recent years we have had great concern for the well being of the Elders quorums, and have thought it unwise to ordain too large a proportion of the outstanding and worth Elders into the quorums of Seventy for fear that the Elders quorums would be weakened unduly.

5. We have thought that in the main young returning missionaries should come home and affiliate with Elders quorums so that they might add their strength to those quorums, and also–because of age, social, and fraternal considerations–gain for themselves more opportunities for service and brotherhood in priesthood activities.

6. We believe that the calling of a Seventy is an especial one, that those so called should be in fact, as the revelation says, “especial witnesses of the name of Christ”; and that they should have the desires, aptitudes and inclinations for missionary work.

7. We do not believe however, that every Elder who may be ordained to [page 2] the office of Seventy must be called immediately into the missionary service.  We think that there should be a large reserve of brethren in training for missionary work, and that it is the function of the Seventies quorums to prepare their members for such service.

8. There is no justification for the feeling that the Seventies are intermediate between the Elders and High Priests.  They hold a highly specialized office, “…thus differing form other officers in the Church in the duties of their calling.” (D. & C.  107:25.)

9. We would like to see the Seventies in the stakes of Zion used more and more within the field of their primary responsibility, that is, in missionary activity.  This would necessitate a policy to which all would adhere, that Seventies should not be used in Auxiliary capacities when they are needed for missionary service.

10. This would mean that many worthy Seventies who, because of age, physical condition, or for other reason, can no longer in wisdom be expected to do missionary work, should properly be ordained High Priests if their personal worthiness merits it.

11. Largely because we have operated under the foregoing policies relative to the ordination of Seventies, the number of brethren so ordained in recent years has decreased.  For your information we are attaching a chart which shows the number of Elders, Seventies, and High Priests in the Church for the years 1944-1953, both inclusive.  From this chart you will see that the number of Seventies has not kept pace with the increase in the Elders and High Priests.  This should indicate that we have not been excessive in ordinations into the Seventies quorums.

12. When the number of brethren being ordained Seventies was at the peak we still had many quorums whose membership was not large, quorums that had 37, 40, and 45 members.  Since there have been further serious reductions in the number of brethren in some of these small quorums, we have come to the point where quorum combinations are necessary.

13. In a number of instances, stake presidents have informed us that they have been keeping brethren in Seventies quorums who should be ordained High Priests and who normally would have been, and that they have done this solely for the purpose of keeping a quorum up to strength.  In one Salt Lake City stake the presidency had a list of 32 brethren whom they had been keeping in the Seventies quorums because of age, physical incapacity, inclination, and for fraternal reasons whom they wanted to ordain High Priests.  The ordination of these men, and other reasons, virtually necessitated the combination of five quorums into three.

14. We have had considerable concern over the years at the situation that has grown up–almost exclusively, however, in the Salt Lake and Ogden areas–wherein a quorum of Seventy is frequently located within a single ward.  It has been our observation that under such circumstances Bishops sometimes assume a control which because of its being a Melchizedek Priesthood quorum is unjustified.  On the other hand, we have observed that where several ward areas are in one [page 3]quorum it is easier to keep the spirit and purpose of the Seventy alive and maintain a proper relationship between the Bishops and the quorums.  This is a goal toward which we are working.

15. As the Brethren all know, the number of Seventies quorums in the various stakes varies widely.  One stake has seven quorums, several have six, and a number of Salt Lake and Ogden stakes have five.  Other equally large stakes, some of which have much larger missionary fields, have only one or two quorums.  We are working toward a system of more uniformity throughout the Church.  Obviously this cannot be achieved over night; but there are some stakes in California and Arizona which should have more quorums of Seventy in the future, and some in the Salt Lake and Ogden areas which should have fewer.

16. Factors we use in determining the need for quorums of Seventy in the various stakes include the following: stake population; total number of Elders; number of Elders who pay a full tithing and are otherwise worthy to be ordained Seventies; the prospective missionary field; the number of minority groups with whom missionary work could be done; the geographical area of the stake; whether the Church is growing in numbers in the area; the leadership available for use as Presidents of Seventies quorums; the effect the creation of a new quorum or the discontinuance of an existing one would have on the Elders quorums; the number of brethren in the existing quorums of Seventy; and any special circumstances that might prevail in the stake concerned.

17. The First Council of the Seventy are particularly desirous that the Seventies of the Church be organized and that they function for the best interests of the Church, according to the revelations, and subject to the direction of the Council of the Twelve.  We shall be greatful for your council and direction.

Faithfully your brethren,


Levi Edgar Young

Antoine R. Ivins

Oscar A. Kirkham

Milton R. Hunter

Bruce R. McConkie

Marion D. Hanks”  (Levi Edgar Young Papers, Utah State Historical Society, B12, Box 11, Fd 1, Correspondence and instruction to the Seventies, Ca. 1905-1959, 11 Mar 1954)

Mar.:  Worthy fathers to ordain sons to AP.

“It has never been intended that worthy fathers who are priests or who bear the Melchizedek Priesthood be denied the privilege of ordaining their own sons to offices in the Aaronic Priesthood.

When fathers do not request the privilege to ordain their sons, only the bishop and his counselors are to perform the ordinations.”  (“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 57(3):189, Mar., 1954)

May:  Duties of ordained teachers.

“We have been asked to itemize the assignments which may properly be given to ordained teachers.

We must not begin on the premise that, when a deacon is advanced to teacher, he has been graduated from his former duties and responsibilities.  We should never forget that advancement in the priesthood simply increases our obligations to serve.  Priesthood responsibilities are ‘cumulative’ as we advance from one office therein to another; they never diminish; they always increase, cumulatively.

Therefore, an ordained teacher is under the same obligation to pass the sacrament, when asked by those in authority, as he was when he was a deacon.  It is the same with a priest, elder, seventy, or high priest.

Our first step in coping with the teacher’s problem is to give no countenance to any feeling that he is relieved, in any measure, from his responsibilities as a deacon.  We are not sound in any assumption that effective work among ordained teachers imposes the necessity for ‘make work’ projects in priesthood work.  If we proceed on any other premise, we will come to a dead end.

Then what may we ask of our ordained teachers?

1. That they cheerfully and willingly fill any assignment as teacher, which they formerly filled as a deacon, when so assigned by those in authority.

2. That they be faithful as junior companions with senior companions from the Melchizedek Priesthood in ward teaching.

3. That ushering in the meetinghouse be done faithfully and efficiently.

4. They may be asked to prepare the sacrament table, placing thereon clean linens, bread and bread trays, filled cups in water trays, and the card containing the sacrament prayers.

5. They may be assigned to take care of the properties of the sacrament service after the meeting, cleaning and storing them in full readiness for their next use.

6. Serve on committees (1) for increasing attendance, (2) for quorum socials, (3) for combined Aaronic Priesthood socials.

These are a few suggestions offered for whatever help they may be to our leaders.

We emphasize again that we must not assume that ordained teachers cannot be interested in this program unless there is ‘something new’ offered simultaneously with their advancement from deacons to teachers.”  (“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 57(5):348, May, 1954)

Jun.:  Corrections and changes in MP program.



Setting apart presidencies of elders’ quorums.  Item ‘Third,’ under topic ‘NOT AUTHORIZED TO DO,’ The Improvement Era, February, 1954.

On page 67 of the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook the instruction is given that ‘Presidents of elders’ quorums are to be chosen by the stake presidency. . . . Following the sustaining vote of the quorum members, . . . they will be set apart by the stake presidency. . . .’

In harmony with that instruction, the suggestion was made on the ‘Melchizedek Priesthood Page’ of the Era, February, 1954, that ‘High councilors should not be authorized by stake presidencies to set apart presidencies of elders’ quorums.’

Since the issuing of that instruction, it has been pointed out that on page 21 of the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook, a conflicting statement appears, which states that the ‘stake presidency should set the elders’ quorum presidents apart . . . or assign a high councilor to do this.’

Since there is a conflict in instruction on procedure regarding setting elders’ quorum presidents apart, the general priesthood committee has given this matter further consideration, and has concluded that the stake presidencies could either set elders’ quorum presidencies apart or authorize the high councilors assigned to work with the elders’ quorums to perform this ordinance.

Therefore, the priesthood brethren of the stakes are hereby instructed to delete the ‘third’ item under the topic ‘Not Authorized to Do,’ The Improvement Era, February, 1954, and also the same item in the reprint from that article, and regard the following as the official instruction:

Elders’ presidents are chosen by the stake presidency approved by the high council, sustained by the quorum members, and set apart by the stake presidency or their high council representative.


Ordaining elders.  Item ‘Fourth,’ under topic ‘NOT AUTHORIZED TO DO,’ The Improvement Era, February, 1954.

In addition to stake presidencies or high councilors ordaining elders, the high councilors may authorize other qualified and worthy persons to perform these ordinations.



Quarterly reports changed to monthly reports.

Stake Melchizedek Priesthood Committee.  Item ‘Seven,’ under topic ‘FUNCTIONS,’ The Improvement Era, March, 1954.

In error the following was stated in the Era as one of the assignments of the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee: ‘To make a quarterly summary of quorum reports on forms provided, so that such may be sent to the general priesthood committee by the stake president.’  The foregoing was the procedure until January 1, 1954; however, at that time a change was made but by oversight was not reported in The Improvement Era article.

The procedure is now as follows: One of the functions of the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee is to make a monthly report of Melchizedek Priesthood activities on forms provided.  This report is to be approved, signed, and sent to the general priesthood committee by the stake president on or before the fifteenth of the following month.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 57(6):465, Jun., 1954)

Jul.:  Responsibilities of MP quorum presidencies.


In a revelation received by the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Savior warned those who are called to positions of leadership in the priesthood in the following words:

Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.

He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand.  Even so.  Amen.  (D&C 107:99-100.)

The foregoing statement definitely shows that one of the first responsibilities of any man who is called to hold a position of leadership in the Melchizedek Priesthood is to become acquainted with all of the requirements and duties entailed in that position.


Priesthood quorums are organized for the purpose of helping every priesthood holder to attain a condition of well-being in body, mind, and spirit–which includes the economic, moral, and spiritual welfare of each member and of his family.  Since each quorum presidency is called of the Lord and set apart through his divinely appointed power to direct all of the activities of the quorum, each member becomes the concern of the presidency.

Among the principal purposes of the priesthood quorums are to help the Church accomplish its divine mission of perfecting the saints, of carrying the gospel message to the world, and of providing for the salvation of the dead.  Thus, quorum presidencies have the responsibility of working with each quorum member and his family until they conform their living to all the standards of the restored gospel.


First–To become acquainted with every quorum member:

It is the duty of all Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidencies to become personally acquainted with all their quorum members.  They should know the economic status, the type of work engaged in, the abilities, the attitudes, the personal habits, and, as far as possible, the spirituality of each quorum member.  This thorough acquaintance is acquired gradually and will come only as rapidly as quorum presidencies put forth an exerted effort to attain it.

Second–To Visit Melchizedek Priesthood quorum members.

a.  Annual visits to all quorum members.

Early in the year is the preferred time for quorum presidencies to begin their annual visits to quorum members to prevent having this assignment crowded on them during the last few days of the year.  By starting early, the quorum presidencies can take their time in making the annual visits and thereby make them more worth while unto themselves and more beneficial to the quorum members.  These annual visits supply the best opportunities for quorum presidencies to become personally acquainted with each of the quorum members.  (See Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook, pp. 49-50 and the Era, December 1952, p. 969.)

b.  Visits at times of sickness or death.

Quorum presidencies should be alert and on hand on all occasions when the quorum members or their families become ill or when deaths occur.  Hospitalization of quorum members furnishes presidencies excellent opportunities to visit them and take flowers and encouragement to them in behalf of the quorum.  At the time of death, quorum presidencies should be among the first to arrive at the homes of the deceased and offer condolence and their services.

c.  Visits to reactivate quorum members.

One of the principal duties of quorum presidencies is to reactivate quorum members.  Up to the present time there has been no method discovered which equals the personal contact method.  If quorum presidencies go to the homes of the less-active quorum members and invite them to attend quorum meetings, occasionally take those members to the meetings or to socials in their cars, telephone to them regularly and thereby extend invitations to affiliate with the quorum, they can reactivate many of these less-active brethren.

d.  Welfare visits.

Since the quorum presidencies have a definite responsibility in regards to the economic welfare of quorum members, priesthood holders in economic distress should be visited by the presidencies for the purposes of ascertaining what help could be rendered and to bolster them up with moral support.

Third–To care for the personal welfare of quorum members:

Among the various objectives and duties of quorum presidencies as listed in the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook, pp. 20-22, the following statement is made:

To help every bearer of the Melchizedek Priesthood attain to a degree of economic independence and material well-being that will assure adequate food, clothing, fuel, housing, and other needed physical comforts and educational advantages for himself and his family.

Obviously it is the duty of a quorum presidency to take advantage of every opportunity ‘to improve the economic status of quorum members.’  The Handbook of Instructions of the Welfare Plan, pp. 20-23, definitely assigns a certain amount of responsibility to priesthood quorums in the rehabilitation of quorum members.

Fourth–To support the Church Welfare Program:

Among the duties of quorum presidencies as outlined in the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook, p. 23, the following appears:

a. To direct and urge participation in welfare projects.

b. To meet regularly each week with the ward welfare committee as official representatives of the priesthood quorum, in cases where the quorum membership is confined to one ward.  In the case of a priesthood group, the group leader may serve on the ward committee.

The Welfare Plan Handbook, p. 9, states that a member of the high priests’ quorum, a member of the seventies’ quorum, and a member of the elders’ quorum should serve on the ward welfare committee.  In many cases those appointees will be taken from the presidencies of those quorums.

Fifth–To devise ways and means to get every member active in the priesthood and rendering obedience to God’s commandments.

No quorum presidency should rest contentedly when one or more of the quorum members are not active in priesthood work and are not keeping God’s commandments.  The Savior’s teachings of the lost sheep and the lost coin illustrate this point perfectly.  Fortified by faith, prayers, and the help of the Lord, quorum presidencies should diligently devise every way and means possible to bring into activity all of the quorum members.

Sixth–To foster and encourage missionary work:

a. Stake missionary work.

Quorum presidencies should encourage quorum members to make their services available to the stake missionary work.  Quorum presidencies could, with propriety, suggest to the stake presidencies that they have certain capable missionary-minded quorum members who could, if called, render good service.

b. Foreign missionary work.

Quorum presidencies should also support the foreign missionary program by helping to prepare quorum members to go in the foreign missionary field, by encouraging them to accept missionary calls, and by providing quorum missionary funds to assist needy missionaries to sustain themselves in the foreign fields.  Thus, the quorum presidencies constitute the directing force in a quorum in fostering and encouraging the missionary program.

Seventh–To promote temple work:

a. To encourage all quorum members to become worthy.

It is the duty of quorum presidencies to direct the teaching of the gospel to quorum members, preparing them to become worthy to go to the temple.  Quorum presidencies should understand definitely the requirements for entrance into the House of the Lord and also the great blessings which come to those who take out their endowments and enter into the order of celestial marriage, realizing that the blessings of the temple will be attained, however, only by the righteous Saints who remain faithful to the end.

b. To encourage all quorum members to get their own endowments.

Quorum presidencies should know which quorum members have and which have not their endowments, and should encourage all of them to do their own temple work while the opportunity is available.

c. To have their families sealed.

Quorum presidencies should encourage all their quorum members to have their families sealed back through the proper lines.

d. To trace their own ancestry.

To accomplish the sealing of families, quorum presidencies should encourage all members to become interested in genealogy and trace their own ancestry, thereby providing family records for temple work purposes.

e. To do vicarious work for the dead.

Quorum presidencies should encourage all quorum members to engage actively in vicarious work for the dead.  Of first interest and importance to each one should be his own ancestors and then they could work on other lines.

f. To promote temple excursions.

Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidencies should promote temple excursions among quorum members and their wives.  These excursions could be carried forward periodically, as occasion and opportunity may afford.

Eighth–To promote quorum socials:

Each Melchizedek Priesthood quorum should hold at least one good social every two months.  In order to maintain the interest of the quorum members, the socials should be varied in nature.  The purposes of these socials are for the presidencies to become better informed regarding the capabilities of the quorum members, to become better acquainted with them, to stimulate in them increased interest in the Church and the quorum, and to provide fraternal activity among the quorum members.

Ninth–To correspond with absent members:

a. With servicemen.

Servicemen should be corresponded with at least monthly by quorum presidencies or their appointees.  It is recommended that quorums provide their members in the armed services, from quorum funds, subscriptions to the ‘Church Section’ of the Deseret News and The Improvement Era.  From time to time when quorum presidencies correspond with servicemen, they should include in their letters gospel tracts and tracts on the clean life.  These tracts may be obtained from the stake mission president.

b. With members on missions, away at school, or at work.

Quorum presidencies should correspond or direct the corresponding each month with members of their quorum who are filling foreign missions or who are away at school or at work.  Some of the replies from servicemen, from quorum members at school or away at work, and from missionaries could with profit be read to the quorum members at the monthly quorum business meeting.

Tenth–To provide good class work:

a. Provide good teachers.

It is the duty of quorum presidencies to provide capable, faithful, and intelligent teachers to be instructors in the doctrinal classes.  Since the principal purpose of holding the group or quorum weekly doctrine classes is to teach priesthood holders the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is very vital that the most capable teachers in the quorums be assigned to that position.  (See Era, May 1954, pp. 346-347.)

b. To see that correct doctrine is taught.

It is the responsibility of Melchizedek Priesthood presidencies to see that correct doctrine is taught in the Melchizedek Priesthood classes.  The priesthood leaders should be students of the gospel and thereby able to recognize false doctrine.

c. Strive to have all quorum members in attendance.

Quorum presidencies should strive to build up the attendance at the weekly doctrine classes and monthly quorum business meetings to one hundred percent.  As long as one quorum member refuses to attend these classes, quorum presidencies should devote every intelligent effort possible to persuade him to attend.

Eleventh–To teach all quorum members how to perform all Church ordinances:

It is recommended that as often as necessary quorum presidencies give the members instructions on performing such ordinances as that of baptism, confirmation, administering to the sacrament [sic], anointing and blessing the sick, and other similar ordinances.  When new members come into the quorum, it is well for the presidency to see that those new members understand the Church procedure in regards to performing Church ordinances.

Twelfth–To hold a presidency council meeting once each week:

It is the duty of all Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidencies to hold a presidency council meeting once each week in accordance with the instructions given in detail in the April 1954 issue of The Improvement Era, pp. 266-267.

Thirteenth–To direct the holding of weekly group or quorum meetings:

The duty rests upon the quorum presidency to see that every group under their direction, or the quorum under their direction holds group or quorum meedtings once each week and that the prescribed course of study be diligently pursued in that weekly meeting.  (See ibid., May 1954, pp. 346-347.)

Fourteenth–To hold and direct a monthly business meeting:

As was pointed out in the June issue of The Improvement Era, the responsibility of not only holding the monthly business meeting but also providing the business, the probram and directing all activities pertaining to the meeting rests upon the quorum presidency.  (See ibid., June 1954, pp. 464-465, 479.)

Fifteenth–To attend Stake Priesthood and Priesthood Leadership meetings:

It is very necessary that every member of all Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidencies be in attendance at the stake priesthood and priesthood leadership meetings.  There they receive direction from the stake presidency regarding matters pertinent to priesthood work and instructions relative to their assigned positions as leaders in Melchizedek Priesthood quorums.

Sixteenth–To direct the work of the standing committees:

It is the responsibility of Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidencies to appoint the quorum standing committees and direct the work of those committees.  (See ibid., April 1954, pp. 266-267.)  Matters which should be brought to the monthly business meeting pertaining to the standing committees could be brought there under the direction of the quorum presidencies.  The success of these committees will be determined by the amount of direction given them by the quorum presidencies.  In the past these committees have been appointed but they have not functioned as they should have because they have not received sufficient direction from the quorum presidencies.

Seventeenth–To attend various Church meetings:

Quorum presidencies are to set the example to all quorum members by being in attendance at all the meetings at which they are suppposed to attend.  They should make as near one hundred percent records as possible in their attendance at priesthood meetings, sacrament meetings, conference sessions, monthly stake priesthood and priesthood leadership meetings, their council meetings, and other Church meetings.  Few, if any, excuses are acceptable for quorum presidencies to be absent from their meetings.

Eighteenth–To keep all of God’s commandments:

It is the responsibility of quorum presidencies to set a good example to their quorum members, and so they should live as near in harmony with all of God’s commandments as possible.  They are requested to obey the Word of Wisdom, to keep themselves morally clean, to keep the Sabbath Day holy, to have family prayers regularly and faithfully, to deal honestly, justly, and righteously with their associates, to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, and their neighbors as themselves, etc.  By doing so the Spirit of God will dwell with them and they will be able to direct the activities of their quorum in a pleasing and effective manner.


In conclusion, this article has definitely shown that quorum presidencies are the responsible, active, directing heads of the quorum and are to manage all its affairs so that all quorum purposes will be achieved.  They should act as a unit in the discharge of their duties and not independently; and should appoint all committees and supervise and direct their work.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 57(7):528-529, 541-543, Jul., 1954)

Sep.:  Keys of ministering of angels/Levitical priesthood.

“Question:  Will you please consider the following questions?  (1) What is meant by the keys of the ministering of angels as stated in the conferring of the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by John?  (2) Will the Levitical Priesthood remain on the earth after the sons of Levi make an offering in righteousness unto the Lord?

Answer:  (1) The answer to the first question in brief is that the Lord revealed it to be the privilege of those holding the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood to have the visitation and ministering of angels if the occasion should arise, in relation to the temporal matters of the Church.  It is presumed that your question calls for further details in relation to this priesthood and its powers.

When Israel came out of Egypt it was the intention of the Lord to organize the men of all the tribes into a royal priesthood, conferring upon them all the gifts and privileges of the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood, which holds the keys of the fulness of the gospel and ‘. . . holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.’ (D&C 84:19.)  Because of rebellion and unwillingness to hearken to the commandments given by Moses, these great privileges and blessings were denied them, although Moses did all in his power to teach and sanctify them.

But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;

Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.  (D&C 84:24-27.)

If Israel had remained faithful they would have had all the blessings and privileges of the Melchizedek Priesthood, but instead they were confined to the scope of the blessings of the Aaronic Priesthood and also became subject to the measures of the ‘Law of Moses,’ which contained many temporal laws some of which were severe and drastic in their nature.  This condition continued until the resurrection of Jesus Christ when this carnal law was fulfilled and was replaced by the fulness of the gospel.  The Aaronic Priesthood did not lose the right to the ministering of angels in the days of restoration when Jesus Christ came to fulfil the law and this power continues in the Church today, which is fully attested in the words of John.

We should understand, however, that while Israel was restricted in the power of the priesthood from the days of Moses to the days of the ministry of our Savior, yet the prophets in Israel, such as Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, were blessed with the Melchizedek Priesthood, but this priesthood was not given to others.  Most of these prophets were not of the tribe of Levi, but were from the tribes of Juday, Ephraim, and others.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, ‘All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it.  That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained.’  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 180-181.)

(2) The Priesthood of Aaron, or the Levitical Priesthood, will not end when the sons of Levi make their offering in righteousness.  This priesthood continued in the Church which was organized by our Redeemer and continued until the days when apostasy drove the Church into the wilderness.  There will be need for this priesthood in this dispensation at least as long as time endures and mortals dwell upon the earth.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Your Question,” IE 57(9):622-623, Sep., 1954)

Oct.:  The Melchizedek Priesthood.


Meaning of Priesthood

First–Power of God

Priesthood is power–the power of God.  It is the power by which all the works of God, both in heaven and on earth, have been accomplished during the past, are being accomplished at the present time, and shall be accomplished in the future.  It is the power by which the divine Creator organized the heavens and the earth.  Since Elohim, the Eternal Father, understands an untold number of eternal laws of nature, having all knowledge and power, he is able to regulate and use those laws in accordance with his divine will and purposes.  Thus, through his omnipotent knowledge, intelligence, and power, God created this world and numerous other worlds.  Working with him in the organizing of this world were Jehovah and Michael, known in mortality as Jesus Christ and Father Adam respectively.  The power by which this world and other creations were organized and the power by which the heavenly bodies are controlled is priesthood.  We read in The Pearl of Great Price:

And the Lord God said unto Moses:  For mine own purpose have I made these things. . . .

And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.

And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.  (Moses 1:31-33.)

Second–God’s channel of revealing knowledge:

From age to age throughout the various gospel dispensations, according to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood is the channel which God has used to reveal knowledge to the human family.

{The Melchizedek Priesthood holds} the keys of the kingdom of God in all ages of the world to the latest posterity on the earth; and is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation, and every important matter is revealed from heaven. . . .

It is the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing His glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth, and through which He has continued to reveal Himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which He will make known His purposes to the end of time.  (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 166-167.)

Those possessing a fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings.  In fact, that priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam.  (Ibid., p. 322.)

Third–Power of God delegated to man:

The Prophet Joseph Smith defined priesthood as being the ‘Power of God delegated to man to act in his stead here on earth.’  President Joseph Fielding Smith explains the meaning of priesthood in the following words:

{Priesthood} is the authority of God delegated to man, by which he is given power to officiate in all the ordinances of the gospel, speak in the name of the Lord, perform all duties pertaining to the building up of the kingdom of God on earth, and obtain knowledge of revelation.  (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p. 70.)

Fourth–Sealing power of all gospel ordinances:

Priesthood itself is the power by which all the gospel ordinances are performed and are made valid and binding not only in this world but also in the world to come.  Only those contracts, ordinances, and blessings which are sealed upon church members by the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood will be recognized throughout the eternities by the Eternal Father and his Only Begotten Son.  It is through their ‘power of godliness’ and through the power of the priesthood that holy men have been and may be privileged to ‘. . . see the face of God, even the Father, and live.’  (D&C 84:22.)  Priesthood is the authority by which Joseph Smith organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and it was through the same power and authority that the true Church was established in any and all previous gospel dispensations.  At no time in history has the true Church of Christ been on the earth unless the priesthood was there.  The Lord revealed the following pertinent doctrine to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh.  (D&C 84:19-21.)

Naming of the Priesthood

The Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God‘:

‘The Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God’ (D&C 107:3) was the name by which the Lord’s power and authority, or priesthood, was known in the beginning of man’s sojourn on this earth.  This name, revealed to Father Adam, was to be applied to the priesthood which was bestowed upon him and by him upon his righteous posterity.  Thus, it was the name given to the power and authority by which ‘Adam, the first man’ established the true Church of Jesus Christ on the earth in the beginning, holding the right to perform all the ordinances of the gospel requisite for the exaltation of men and women in the celestial kingdom and by which the true Church was perpetuated by the holy men of God in ancient times down to the days of Abraham.

Second–The Melchizedek Priesthood:

Back in the days of Father Abraham the name was changed to ‘Melchizedek Priesthood.’  According to the word of the Lord, the reason for the change in the name was as follows:

There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood.

Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest.

Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.

But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood.

All other authorities or offices in the church are appendates to this priesthood.  (D&C 107:1-5.)

In speaking of Melchizedek, the great ancient high priests, the Prophet Alma wrote:

And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes; yea, even our father Abraham paid tithes of one-tenth of all he possessed.

Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness; 

But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people.  And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establsih peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father.

Now, there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater; therefore, of him they have more particularly made mention.  (Alma 13:15, 17-19.)

Third–The Aaronic Priesthood:

The priesthood is divided under two ‘. . . grand heads–one is the Melchizedek Priesthood, and the other is the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood.’  (D&C 107:6.)

The latter is called the Aaronic Priesthood because it was conferred upon Aaron and his posterity.  It is called the Levitical Priesthood because the male members of the tribe of Levi, Aaron standing at the head, were selected by the Lord to hold this priesthood.  It is also known as ‘. . . the lesser priesthood . . . because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances.’  (D&C 107:14.)

Great High Priests

First–Jesus Christ, the First Great High Priest:

At the Grand Council in heaven when God the Eternal Father was presenting his plans for this mortal earth to his spirit children, explaining to them the conditions they would meet in mortality, he selected Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world and foreordained him to that great calling.  Jesus was to be the Mediator between the Father and the mortals; and through him all gospel truths were to be revealed to the earth throughout its telestial and terrestrial mortal probations.  Therefore, in regards to its mortal operation on this earth, the Eternal Father honored the Savior by naming the gospel after him, namely, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Elohim also bestowed upon his Only Begotten Son the keys of authority to perform all the ordinances of the gospel and to declare all the divine truths which emanate from the throne of the Most High.  Also, he honored his Only Begotten Son by naming the priesthood ‘the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God,’ as we have already pointed out.  Thus, through his divine calling as Savior and Mediator and as a result of his holy ordination, Jesus Christ, under the immediate direction of the Eternal Father, became the first great high priests in relation to this earth.  He was foreordained to minister the gospel ordinances and principles and to hold the keys of the Holy Priesthood forever.  Because of his divine appointment, the Son of Man was in position to declare that ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.’  (Mt. 28:18.)

Second–Adam, the Second Great High Priest:

At the Grand Council in heaven, Adam was appointed to a position of power and leadership.  He championed the cause of the messiahship of Jesus against Lucifer, leading the righteous spirits in that great struggle known as the war in heaven.  The Eternal Father bestowed upon Adam power and authority and appointed him to a position of leadership by selecting him to be the father of the human family.  Since he was chosen to be ‘the first man’ in mortality, he was privileged to stand among the council of the Gods and help plan this world for those who were to become his mortal posterity.

Then Adam was placed upon the earth; and under the direction of the Father and the Son, he was appointed by the Savior to hold the keys of the priesthood throughout all dispensations until the Son of Man should come to reign.  Therefore, whenever the priesthood has been withdrawn from the earth through apostasy and later brought back to earth through a divine restoration, the priesthood and the keys of the priesthood have been brought back from heaven by Adam’s authority.  According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, when angels are sent as messengers to restore the ordinances of the gospel and the priesthood, ‘these angels also are sent under the direction of Michael, or Adam, who acts under the direction of the Lord.’  (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 168.)  Thus, ‘Christ is the Great High Priest; Adam next;’ and the Prophet Joseph Smith also tells us that Noah, or Gabriel, ‘stands next to Adam in the priesthood.’  (Ibid., pp. 157-158, 168-169.)

Third–Other Great High Priests:

The Prophet Joseph Smith also informed us that each great prophet who held keys of the priesthood over a dispensation while in mortality will continue after he leaves this world to hold this same authority and blessing.  For example, Joseph Smith–our church doctrine declares–will retain his position as the head of the ‘Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.’  All other holders of the priesthood who have lived righteous lives will rise in the next world with the same blessings, authority, or priesthood which they enjoyed at the time of leaving this life.

Priesthood Eternal

The Holy Writ informs us that the Melchizedek Priesthood, or the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God, is eternal.  An explanation of its eternal nature is made in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews; however, as it appears today in the King James Version of the Bible the explanation is not exactly clear as to whether the writer is referring to Melchizedek or to the priesthood.  The Prophet Joseph Smith, however, in the Inspired Version of the Bible, gives a beautiful and clear interpretation of what Apostle Paul had originally written.  To quote:

For this Melchisedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, . . .

. . . was ordained a priest after the order of the Son of God, which order was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.  And all those who are ordained unto this priesthood are made like unto the Son of God, abiding a priest continually.  (Joseph Smith, Inspired Version–Hebrews 7:1, 3.)

In one of his famous discourses, Alma, the great ancient American missionary and prophet, described the importance of Melchizedek and explained the order of priesthood which he held.  The following are extracts from Alma’s sermon:

. . . and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, . . .

This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things–

Now they were ordained after this manner–being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning or end–

Thus they became high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father.  (Alma 13:1, 7-9.)


This article has pointed out that priesthood is power–the power of God–and the channel through which all revelations from the Eternal Father, through the Son, come to the holy prophets from age to age.  It has also been suggested that this power is delegated to man and through this power all gospel ordinances are sealed and thereby made binding and effective before the throne of the Eternal Father and his Only Begotten Son.  Such historical points as the names which have been applied to this great power in various dispensations, as well as the mentioning of those who stand at the head, holding the keys, have also been suggested.  All of these pertinent facts have been pointed out with the purpose in mind of stimulating holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood and those in positions of leadership to develop a deeper appreciation for the priesthood and inculcate in their hearts a stronger desire to serve God faithfully and thereby at all times magnify their callings in the priesthood to the best of their abilities.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 57(10):752-753, 766-767, Oct., 1954)

1 Oct.:  Improvement in Sacrament meeting attendance.

“I remember some time ago Bishop LeGrand Richards announcing to the Church that any bishop should be ashamed who did not have at least twenty-five percent of his membership at sacrament meeting.  We all thought this could not be done.  What has happened?  In the last few months we have had a Church average of as high as thirty-one percent; several months of thirty percent.  Even in the summertime when our activities have declined some, we have not had less than twenty-six percent.”  (Carl W. Buehner, 1 Oct., 1954; CR Oct., 1954, p. 13)

1 Oct.:  Progress report of Senior AP quorums.

“Brethren, I have the same feeling toward this great program for senior Aaronic Prieshtood groups in the Church.  When it was announced that we should organize these men into priesthood quorums, we received protests from all over the Church claiming, ‘It cannot be done.  We do not get enough of these men into our wards to even have a group.’

This morning I would like to tell you that we have over 1600 quorums of senior members of the Aaronic Priesthood that we did not have before the program was announced to the Church.  So these things can be done.”  (Carl W. Buehner, 1 Oct., 1954; CR Oct., 1954, p. 13)

Nov.:  Priesthood and the Church of Jesus Christ.


The Necessity of Priesthood

First–Necessity of Priesthood in Christ’s Church:

Under the true gospel plan, the vital thing in church organization is priesthood.  It is absolutely impossible for the Church of Jesus Christ to be upon the earth unless the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God is here also.  On the other hand, it is possible for the priesthood to be upon the earth without Christ’s Church being here.  As a matter of fact, priesthood must first be brought from heaven to earth preparatory for establishing the true Church of our Lord and Master.  In his divine Church, the stipulated officers and the number of offices may vary to meet the social needs and conditions of the age; but the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood is the foundation of church government and offices.  They are the products of its creation, existing for the purposes of carrying out the functions of the priesthood and of meeting the needs of the times.

Second–Priesthood and Apostasy:

Whenever an apostasy from the gospel of Jesus Christ has occurred, probably the most vital part of that apostasy was the loss of the power and authority to speak and act in the name of the Lord.  In other words, apostasy denotes the loss of the authority to make valid before the throne of the Divine Creator the ordinances and doctrines of the gospel.  When God ceases to sanction the religious principles and ordinances practised by mortals, he withdraws the Holy Priesthood from the earth and takes it back unto himself in the celestial realms.

Third–Priesthood and Restoration:

When an apostasy has occurred and the priesthood has been withdrawn from the earth, it becomes necessary for that divine authority to be restored from heaven to earth again before the true Church of Jesus Christ can be organized.  Any organization not possessing that priesthood would be man-made and not approved nor sanctioned by the Father and the Son.  Thus such a church would not be theirs.

Restoration of the Priesthood

First–Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood:

In the First Vision the Savior declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith that a great apostasy had taken place; and so the priesthood had been withdrawn from the earth.  When Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were translating the Book of Mormon at Harmony, Pennsylvania, they came across passages dealing with baptism by immersion and statements to the effect that those who officiated in that holy ordinance must have power given them of God.  Desiring further light, these two young men retired to the woods on the banks of the Susquehanna River, kneeled down, prayed, and asked God for further knowledge.  While they were thus engaged an angel descended from heaven in a could of light and introduced himself as John, known as John the Baptist in the New Testament.  He said he acted under the direction of Peter, James, and John, the Lord’s apostles who held the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and that he had been sent to confer upon Joseph and Oliver the Aaronic Priesthood, which holds the keys of the temporal gospel.  He laid his hands upon their heads, saying:

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.  (D&C 13.)

Second–Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood:

Shortly after the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery again kneeled in prayer before their Maker, seeking knowledge of the higher priesthood which John the Baptist promised them that they would receive.  Accordingly, Peter, James, and John appeared and conferred upon them the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood.  The place of the restoration was between Harmony, Pennsylvania, and Colesville, New York, near the Susquehanna River.  (Ibid., 128:20.)  Unfortunately the exact date is not known nor are the main circumstances surrounding the restoration of this priesthood, but it was probably in the latter part of June, 1829.  Oliver Cowdery declared that the circumstances connected with the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood were recorded, but the record was evidently lost at the time of the expulsion of the Saints from their homes in the East.

In certain revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord definitely declares that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had received the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood under the hands of Peter, James, and John.

In August, 1830, the Savior told the Prophet Joseph Smith that in some future day he would return to the earth and partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper with many of the ancient prophets and apostles who had lived in former ages on this earth; and then he made a definite mention of the receiving of the Melchizedek Priesthood by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery under the hands of Peter, James, and John.  To quote part of the revelation:

And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them;

Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;

And also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world.  (Ibid., 27:12-14.)

Thus, if a Latter-day Saint were asked to name one outstanding quality possessed by the Church of Jesus Christ which is not found in any other church in the entire world and which gives to this Church the official stamp of the Eternal Father and the Savior, the answer would be, ‘It possesses the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God.’  Therefore, the Church of Jesus Christ is unique, being the only one on the face of the earth which operates under the direction of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood.

Third–Restoration of the Keys of the Priesthood:

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received not only the priesthood but received also what has been termed by the Lord as ‘the keys to the priesthood.’

On April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple, the Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.  After Jesus had departed, Moses appeared before them and bestowed upon them the keys of missionary work; in other words, to quote, ‘he . . . committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.  After this, Elias appeared and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.’  (D&C 110:11-12.)  After this vision closed, Elijah, the ancient Hebrew prophet, came to them and conferred upon them the keys of temple work; or, in other words, he gave to them the power and authority to ‘. . . turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers’ (Malachi 4:6), declaring, ‘Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.’  (D&C 110:16.)

The Prophet Joseph Smith described the ushering in of the gospel dispensation of the fulness of times, with its restitution of knowledge, keys, priesthood, doctrine, and ordinances, as follows:

Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received?  A voice of gladness!  A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. . . .

. . . And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope!

. . . for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time.  And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.  (D&C 128:19, 21, 18 [sic].)

The Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery now possessed all the priesthood and keys necessary for the salvation of both the living and the dead in building the Church and kingdom of God here upon earth preparatory for the coming of Christ to reign as Lord of lords and King of kings.  In referring to the Prophet Joseph, the Master declared:

For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint another unto them {church members} another in his stead.  (D&C 28:7.)

Therefore, the keys of the kingdom of God and the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood are vested in the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, each succeeding president having received the same keys and authority which were bestowed upon the head of Joseph Smith by heavenly messengers.

Meaning of the Keys of the Priesthood

First–Meaning of the ‘Keys of the Priesthood’:

There is a symbolism involved in the word ‘keys,’ a key being an instrument designed to unlock or open a door.  Thus, the keys of the kingdom or the keys of the priesthood constitute the power by which the kingdom is opened or unlocked for men.  In other words, the keys of the priesthood constitute the power by which the priesthood is made available for the use of men in building up the Church and kingdom of God here uopn this earth.

Second–Keys held by presidencies:

The keys are the directing power, which directing power is the right of presidency.  Each presiding officer in the priesthood holds the keys of presidency which go with his particular office in the Church; and it is by virtue of the keys which he holds that he is entitled to direct the manner in which other people use their priesthood, or the manner in which they work in the Church.  These keys are delegated to him by the president of the Church.  In discussing the distinction between keys of the priesthood and priesthood, President Joseph F. Smith stated:

[quotes Gospel Doctrine, pp. 168-169.]

Offices and Callings in the Melchizedek Priesthood

First–Elders, Seventies, and High Priests:

The Melchizedek Priesthood, possessing the power to officiate in all spiritual matters, is divided into three divisions, namely, elders, seventies, and high priests.  The duties, responsibilities, and callings of each of these shall be discussed in later articles.

Second–Offices in the Priesthood:

There are certain offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood such as apostles, patriarchs, presidencies of Melchizedek Priesthood quorums, and bishoprics, which Melchizedek Priesthood holders are appointed to fill.  These appointments are made through the directive power of him who stands at the head of the Church and kingdom, namely, the president.

Third–The President of the Melchizedek Priesthood:

The man who is appointed to preside over the Melchizedek Priesthood as president and to direct all the affairs of the Church of Jesus Christ holds ‘the keys of the priesthood.’  He is designated by the Lord as the ‘Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and President’ of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only one to receive revelations for the guidance of the entire Church.  (See D&C 28:1-16; 43:1-7; 132:7; 81:2.)”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 57(11):832-833, 847, Nov., 1954)

Nov.:  Change in ages of AP offices.

“In a meeting of the First Presidency and the Presiding Bishopric, held August 31, 1954, it was approved that worthy young men be ordained teachers at the age of fourteen and priests at the age of sixteen.

Worthy young men will continue to be ordained deacons at the age of twelve and recommended to be ordained elders at nineteen as in the past.

This announcement was made on behalf of the Presiding Bishopric by Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, first counselor to Presiding Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin, during the bishops’ conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, October 1, 1954.

Benefits to Deacons

With a two-year course for deacons (ages twelve and thirteen), the newly ordained deacon will feel more comfortable: He will not be so likely to feel overshadowed and embarrassed as has often been the case when in the same quorum with older and larger deacons fourteen to fifteen years of age.

It is imperative that deacons be given every possible consideration to insure their being started properly in the activities of the Aaronic Priesthood.  We believe the change will materially help them to be more companionable as quorum members in every way.

Special Consideration for the Fourteen-Year-Old

A careful study conducted over the past several years has revealed the fact that fourteen-year-old deacons have been the most restless, and often the most dissatisfied, year-group in the Aaronic Priesthood.  We undertook a study to determine the reasons.

We found that many fourteen-year-old deacons were not too happy because, while they honestly felt they were quite ‘grown up,’ they were still grouped with much smaller and younger boys with whom they had so little in common.

Then there was the fact that many fourteen-year-old deacons were in high school while their fellow deacons were still in elementary school.  Compatibility in priesthood work under these conditions was a trial to the older boys, many of whom felt they had as well slow down in priesthood work until they became teachers.  This attitude too often resulted in increased inactivity, with the hazard that some probably became unworthy for advancement while ‘waiting.’

With worthy deacons being ordained teachers at fourteen instead of fifteen as in the past, these and other difficulties with this particular age group may be largely overcome.

It is a more natural grouping that fourteen and fifteen-year-olds be in the teachers’ quorum rather than fifteen and sixteen-year-olds, as in the past.

Priests Now Three Years Under Bishop’s

Personal Leadership

Since worthy young men may be ordained priests at sixteen years of age, it is significant that our priests will now have three years under the personal direction of the bishop as the president of the priests quorum instead of two years, as in the past.

While it may appear to bishops that this is an added responsibility, let them consider for a moment that it is an added ‘opportunity.’  To have the care of priests sixteen to nineteen is to be blessed with the singular privilege to steady them, counsel them, teach them, that they may become all our Heavenly Father trusts bishops to make out of them.

Immediate Action Necessary

Bishops should proceed at once to bring their Aaronic Priesthood members under 21 in line with the new age grouping.

Based on worthiness, young men fourteen years old should be ordained teachers, and young men sixteen years old should be ordained priests.

All of these ordinations should be taken care of before January 1, 1955 in order that new deacons’ and teachers’ quorum organizations may be effected and quorum roll books for deacons, teachers, and priests brought up-to-date in line with these new instructions.

Bishopric and Worthy Fathers to Perform Ordinations

As previously announced, unless worthy fathers request the privilege of ordaining their sons, the bishopric, as the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood, are to perform all such ordinations.

Priests may be asked to stand with those performing the ordinations in order that they may enjoy the experience of assisting.

A Charge to All Stake and Ward Committees

When the first of the year arrives, it is hoped that, based on their worthiness, all boys twelve and thirteen will be deacons, all young men fourteen and fifteen will be ordained teachers, all young men sixteen to nineteen will be priests, and that all young men nineteen or over will have been recommended to the stake presidency for ordination to elders.

Stake and ward leaders of Aaronic Priesthood under 21 are charged with full responsibility for effecting these changes, and completing their roll books accordingly, by January 1, 1955.

These changes are of history-making calibre and we must not fail to comply with these recommendations immediately and without reservation.”

(“The Presiding Bishopric’s Page,” IE 57(11):834-835, Nov., 1954)

Dec.:  MP quorum presidencies and quorum committees.


Introductory Statement

In the July 1954, issue of The Improvement Era, an article appeared on the Melchizedek Priesthood page entitled ‘RESPONSIBILITIES OF MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD QUORUM PRESIDENCIES.’  Certain items in the following article are somewhat similar to some items in that article; however, it is deemed wise to print this article in the exact form that it was prepared by a committee of the General Authorities representing the general priesthood committee of the Church.

This article will not replace the previous one, but it is suggested that quorum presidencies use both of the articles for their guidance.

Responsibilities of Quorum Presidencies

The management of quorum affairs for the accomplishment of quorum purposes and objectives is the continuing responsibility of quorum presidencies.  It should be the objective of Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidencies to help every member of their quorums to attain to a state of spiritual well-being and to a degree of economic independence and material well-being that will assure adequate food, clothing, fuel, housing, and other needed physical comforts, and educational advantages for himself and his family.

Each quorum presidency should appoint a quorum secretary from the quorum membership, whose duty it is to make minutes, keep records current, render reports, prepare graphs, compile statistics, and perform such other duties as are assigned by the quorum presidency.

Quorum presidencies should organize committees as hereinafter advised.  They cannot, however, thereby relieve themselves from the responsibility of seeing to it that the work assigned to those committees is done.  It should further be kept in mind that there are certain quorum responsibilities which should not be assigned to committees.  For the discharge of such responsibilities the quorum president and his counselors (presidents in quorums of seventy), acting as a presidency, should assume and retain the responsibility.  Among these duties are the following:

1. To become acquainted with the character, qualifications, and attitudes of all quorum members.

2. To make personal calls upon each quorum member at least once a year, and oftener when necessary, giving deserved commendation, blessing and encouraging the sick, bereaved, and discouraged, ever seeking to awaken and renew good desires among indifferent quorum members.

3. To foster and encourage stake and foreign missionary service.

4. To promote temple work.

5. To keep in constant touch with all quorum members away from home (this includes the implementation of the servicemen’s program) and their families at home.

6. To provide adequate class instruction (including able teachers) and facilities.

7. To teach all quorum members how priesthood ordinances should be performed.

Quorum presidencies should hold a regular presidency’s council meeting each week.  Available at these meetings should be records of attendance at and minutes of recent presidency, quorum, and group meetings, together with a current record covering every quorum member.  The information on this current record should include the following: Name of the quorum member, date of his birth, his address, telephone number, marital status, whether sealed in the temple, number of children, ages, health, economic status, business ability, and skills, whether he needs work or whether he is able to give others work.

Quorum Committees

To assist them in the discharge of some of their responsibilities, it is recommended:

1. That the presidency of each Melchizedek Priesthood quorum organize three quorum committees, as follows:

Personal Welfare

Church Service


2. That the quorum president be the chairman of the welfare committee; that one of his counselors be the chairman of the Church service committee; that his other counselor be the chairman of the reporting committee; that the quorum secretary be a member of the reporting committee.  NOTE: In quorums of seventy, the chairman of each committee should be a president.)

The quorum presidency should appoint to each committee from the quorum membership enough members to accomplish the work assigned by the quorum presidency to the respective committees, provided, however, that where the quorum has members in more than one ward, the member of each ward group appointed by the quorum presidency to be a member of the bishop’s ward welfare committee shall be a member of the quorum welfare committee.  NOTE: This member will be the ward group leader, except in cases where the chairman of the Church service committee or the chairman of the reporting committee is the group leader.  In such a case, the quorum presidency will appoint some member other than the group leader to the bishop’s ward welfare committee.  Ordinarily, each group should be represented on each of the three committees.)

As quorum presidencies review in their weekly council meetings responsibilities of their high callings, their quorum projects and their activity programs, and consider each quorum member’s status and needs in relation to church standards and glorious ideals of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they will discover many things which should be done for the perfrection of the lives of their quorum members and for the building of the kingdom of God.  Some of these things can be referred to the above-named committees through their chairmen, who, being members of the quorum presidency, will all be present in the presidency’s council meeting.

The following suggestions are made as a guide to the fields in which the respective quorum committees can best serve.  Presidents of quorums and counselors to presidents of quorums who are chairmen of those committees shold arrange regular times and places for their respective committees to meet, so that they may plan their activities and report the work they have done.  To be effective, these committees will need to meet at least once or twice a month.  A suggestion regarding the time to hold the meetings was given in The Improvement Era, April 1954, p. 267.

Personal Welfare Committee

Chairman:  Quorum president.

Immediate Objective:  To look after the economic needs and responsibilities of the quorum and each of its members.

Fields of Action:

1. Promoting projects for raising quorum funds.

2. Helping to maintain quorum members in the mission field and looking after the economic welfare of their families in their absence.

3. Teaching and stimulating quorum members to perform their duties in church welfare programs:

a. In rehabilitating by assisting unemployed quorum members to find employment, for and by otherwise improving the economic status of their own quorum members.

b. In assisting bishops in their welfare functions (this includes obtaining the information to be entered on the welfare green record card).

4. Arranging transportation to church functions for quorum members who need it.

Church Service Committee

Chairman:  Counselor to quorum president (in quorums of seventy, a president).

Immediate Objectives:  To convert every quorum member to the gospel; to enlist him in some church service; and to induce him to fraternize with his brethren of the quorum.

Fields of Action:

1. Doing missionary work among quorum members and their families for the purpose of converting them to the gospel and inducing them to accept church standards.

2. Securing for every quorum member a church assignment.

3. Promoting social and athletic activities.

Reporting Committee

Chairman:  Counselor to quorum president (in quorums of seventy, a president).  The quorum secretary is to be a member of this committee.

Immediate Objectives:  To keep quorum records and reports current, by means of graphs, reports and statistics, keep quorum presidency advised of spiritual and temporal conditions of quorum members; keep the general priesthood committee of the Council of the Twelve, and quorum members living away from home advised of quorum activities, accomplishments and other news.

Fields of Action:

1. Making and maintaining records, such as:

a. Minutes of meetings.

b. Attendance rolls.

c. Recording historical events.

d. Making and submitting reports.

e. Preparing graphs and charts.

f. Compiling statistics.

2. Supervising work of group secretary.

3. Publicity.

a. Sending news items, pictures, and suggestions to the general priesthood committee for publication.

b. Sending quorum news to those away from home.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 57(12):944-945, Dec., 1954)

Democratic nature of priesthood downplayed.

Section heading on page 44 of 1939 edition, “A Democratic Basis,” was replaced by heading “A Royal Priesthood.”  To the end of this section was added, in the 1954 edition, the following paragraph:

“The Priesthood does not partake of the nature of a democracy, for the people do not elect the officers, but this is done by the presiding authority; the people only sustain after nominations are made.”  (Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government, 1954 edition, p. 44)

MP confusion surrounding 1831 conference downplayed.

1939 edition (p. 122):

“Ordination of the High Priests after the Organization of the Church.  On the 3rd of June, 1831, the Elders from various parts of the country where they were laboring, came in; and the conference before appointed convened in Kirtland; and the Lord displayed His power to the most perfect satisfaction of the Saints.  The man of sin was revealed and the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders.

Significance of the Occasion.  A misapprehension has arisen in the minds of some respecting the statement, ‘The authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested for the first time upon several of the Elders.’  It has been supposed that this passage meant that the Higher or Melchizedek Priesthood was now for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation.  This of course is an error, since even before the Church was organized, the Apostleship, the highest authority in the Melchizedek Priesthood, was conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and very probably upon David Whitmer also.  The Prophet does not mean that the Melchizedek Priesthood was given for the first time in the Church.  It was at this conference, however, that the special office of High Priest was for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation, except in so far as Apostles are also High Priests (D&C 84:63); and of course as there were men who had been ordained to the Apostleship before the conference of June, 1831, in that manner there had been High Priests in the Church, but not otherwise.”

1954 edition (p. 122):

“The Important Conference of June, 1831.  In the month of February (1831), the Lord commanded that the word be sent out to the Elders of the Church calling them from the east and from the west; from the north and from the south; to meet in conference and receive instruction.  Accordingly a conference was set for June 3, which convened at Kirtland and continued until the 6th.  The spirit of the Lord was displayed in a marvelous way, and the power of the evil one, which was made manifest in opposition to the work was successfully rebuked.

. . . .

In the minutes of the meeting the statement is made that the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time on several of the Elders.  This is an error, for the Melchizedek Priesthood had been conferred upon these and other brethren when they were ordained Elders.  The meaning is clear that the office of High Priest is meant instead of Melchizedek Priesthood.”

Assistants to the Twelve.

“The First Presidency and Twelve feel that to meet adequately their great responsibilities and to carry on efficiently this service for the Lord, they should have some help.

Accordingly it has been decided to appoint assistants to the Twelve who shall be high priests, who shall be set apart to act under the direction of the Twelve in the performance of such work as the First Presidency and the Twelve may place upon them.

Assistants to the Twelve will labor under the supervision and direction of the First Presidency and of the Twelve.

The Assistants to the Twelve have jurisdiction in all matters assigned or delegated to them by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve.  Being members of the general priesthood committee of the Church they are called to assist in the direction of all activities assigned to this committee.”  (Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government, 1954 edition, pp. 129-130)

Weekly meetings between bishop and quorum leaders deleted.

The following from the 1939 edition (p. 142) was deleted in the 1954 edition (Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government):

“A regular weekly meeting with the Bishop and quorum presidency or group leader should be held, at which the Bishop should make his assignments for service to the quorum or group and receive reports on assignments made.  The quorum presidency or group leader should then carry these assignments to the quorum or group for execution.  (“A Guide for Quorums of the MP,” 3rd ed., 1930, pp. 84-85)”

Four standing quorum committees deleted.

The following from the 1939 edition (p. 157) was deleted in the 1954 edition (Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government):

“That is, the following four standing committees should be appointed:

1. Personal Welfare.

2. Class Instruction.

3. Church Service.

4. Social and Miscellaneous Activities.”

Suggested form of ordination deleted.

The following form of ordination from the 1939 edition (pp. 243-244) was deleted in the 1954 edition (Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government)

“Conferring the Priesthood.  From the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith, ordinations to the Priesthood were directly to the office therein for which the recipient was chosen and appointed in form substantially as follows:

As to the Melchizedek Priesthood.  ‘By authority (or in the authority) of the Holy Priesthood and by the laying on of hands, I (or we) ordain you an Elder (or Seventy, or High Priest, or Patriarch, or Apostle, as the case may be) in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and confer upon you all the rights, powers, keys and authority pertaining to this office and calling in the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.’

As to the Lesser Priesthood.  ‘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 Lesser Priesthood) in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and confer upon you all the rights, powers and authority pertaining to this office and calling in the Aaronic Priesthood, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.’  (Gospel Doctrine, 1928 printing, addendum.)”

Mention of non-quorum Apostles deleted.

The following section from the 1939 edition was deleted from the 1954 edition (Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government):

“Apostles Who Are Not Members of the Council of Twelve.  When the duties of an Apostle, as a member of the Quorum, and the duties of all the members forming the Council, are defined, it is found that they are more definite and particular than are the duties of an Apostle who is not a member of the Twelve.  (Keeler, 1929 ed., p. 141)

Now will it cause some of you to marvel that I was not ordained a High Priest before I was ordained an Apostle?  Brother Kimball and myself were never ordained High Priests. . . . It was William E. McLellin who told Joseph, that I and Heber were not ordained High Priests, and wanted to know if it should not be done.  Said Joseph, ‘Will you insult the Priesthood?  Is that all the knowledge you have of the office of an Apostle?  Do you know know that the man who receives the Apostleship receives all the keys that ever were, or that can be, conferred upon mortal man?  What are you talking about?  I am astonished!’  Nothing more was said about it.  (Discourses of Brigham Young, 1925 edition, p. 218)

Stake President to call and set apart stake missionaries.

“The following is a list of some of the principal duties of the Stake Presidency:

. . . .

11.  To call and set apart stake missionaries.”

(Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government, 1954 edition, p. 289; not in 1939 edition.)