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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1960

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1960:  3 Mar.:  Go-ahead for Correlation.

“Elder Harold B. Lee recommended that, in connection with the matter of correlating the curriculum in the Church, it would seem to be advisable to employ someone to make a curriculum study to assist the Priesthood Committee in this project, the one to be employed to do the detail work in connection therewith.  President McKay expressed the feeling that this is a step in the right direction and said that the Committee might go forward with this project along the lines suggested.”  (Minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve, 3 Mar., 1960; in “History of the Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, Prepared by Antone K. Romney for the Research Committee of the Melchizedek Priesthood Education Committee, August, 1961,” section I.)

24 Mar.:  Setting the Correlation wheels in motion.

“March 24, 1960

General Priesthood Committee


Dear Brethren:

The minutes of the meeting of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve held on Thursday, March 3, 1960, contain the following statement:

Study Course for Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums

Recommendation was made by the General Priesthood Committee and the Council of the Twelve that the General Priesthood Committee be permitted to make a study of the study courses of the Auxiliary Organizations with a view of having a well-correlated plan of study.

Elder Harold B. Lee recommended that, in connection with the matter of correlating the curriculum in the Church, it would seem to be advisable to employ someone to make a curriculum study to assist the Priesthood Committee in this project, the one to be employed to do the detail work in connection therewith.

President McKay expressed the feeling that this is a step in the right direction, and said that the Committee might go forward with this project along the lines suggested.

We understand the foregoing minute fairly sets forth the feeling of the Council as set out in the minute.

We of the First Presidency have over the years felt the need of a correlation between and among the courses of study put out by the General Priesthood Committee and by the responsible heads of other Committees of the General Authorities for the instruction of the Priesthood of the Church.

We have also felt the very urgent need of a correlation of studies among the Auxiliaries of the Church.  We have noted what seemed to be a tendency toward a fundamental, guiding concept, particularly among certain of the Auxiliary Organizations, that there must be every year a new course of study for each of the Auxiliary Organizations so moving.  We questioned whether the composite of all of them might not tend away from the development of a given line of study or activity having the ultimate and desired objective of building up a knowledge of the Gospel, a power to promulgate the same, a promotion of the growth, faith, and stronger testimony of the principles of the Gospel among the members of the Church.

We have sometimes been led to wonder whether there was a proper observance of the field of a particular Auxiliary of what might be termed its jurisdiction.  The question has not been absent from our minds that there might be a concept entertained by some of including within their jurisdiction the entire scope of Church activity, and with their members the whole Church membership.

We think that the contemplated study by the Committee now set up, should have the foregoing matters in mind.  We feel assured that if the whole Church curricula were viewed from the vantage ponit of what we might term the total purpose of each and all of these organizations, it would bring about such a collation and limitation of subjects and subject matters elaborated in the various Auxiliary courses as would tend to the building of efficiency in the Auxiliaries themselves in the matter of carrying out the purposes lying behind their creation and function.

We would therefore commend to you Brethren of the General Priesthood Committee the beginning of an exhaustive, prayerful study and consideration of this entire subject, with the cooperative assistance of the Auxiliaries themselves so that the Church might reap the maximum harvest from the devotion of the faith, intelligence, skill, and knowledge of our various Auxiliary Organizations and Priesthood Committees.

This is your authority to employ such necessary technical help as you might need to bring this about.  We shall await your report.

Faithfully your brethren,

David O. McKay

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Henry D. Moyle


(“History of the Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, Prepared by Antone K. Romney for the Research Committee of the Melchizedek Priesthood Education Committee, August, 1961,” section I.)

3 Apr.:  Can’t be in 1st Council of 70 and be High Priest.

“You have been told that I am a member of the First Council of the Seventy.  It is astonishing how many people think that I can be a member of the First Council of the Seventy and a high priest in the Church, which is not the case.  I think it may be appropriate if I can gather from my experience, just to tell you a few words about how the seventies came into existence under the inspiration that was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Almost all of the men who were ordained seventies in that first period, were men who had placed their lives at the disposition of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Almost all of them were men who had gone down in Zion’s Camp and had proved a willingness, if necessary, to give their lives for the work of the Church, under the leadership of the Prophet.

Then there came a time, shortly after that, when the Prophet was inspired to call and ordain twelve men to the apostleship of the Church, that was in 1835 in the early part of the year.  That was followed within a few weeks by the ordination of a number of men as seventies in the Church, and before very many weeks had gone there were three full groups of seventy each and forty of a fourth group who had been ordained to the office of seventy.  Over all of them were placed seven men to direct their efforts.

Things went along pretty well for a while, and then one day there were two men working in a brickyard, one was a high priest and the other was a seventy, and the high priest undertook to correct the seventy, and he rebuked him for something he, the seventy, did, and the seventy said, ‘You just can’t do that.  I hold a higher office than you do in the priesthood.’  That little quarrel resulted in their carrying the question to the Prophet Joseph Smith as to which might be higher.  I do not know whether the Prophet ever said which was higher, but he discovered this, that five of the men who had been appointed as seventies of the Church, had already been ordained high priests, and he is quoted as having said that it is contrary to the vision that a high priest should preside in the quorums of the seventies, so those five men were withdrawn, and another five took their place as presidents.

During the entire life of the Prophet Joseph Smith, there were only those seven men, under the direction of the twelve, to direct the work of the seventies.

At the first conference after the death of the Prophet, a member of the Council of the Twelve presented a resolution to the conference that all elders under thirty-five years of age, who were willing to accept of the responsibility of missionary work, should be ordained into the seventies quorum, and enough men were ordained to make up twelve quorums.  Then this first group of seventy was broken down into ten groups and each seven became the presidents of a quorum.  The first seven remained the presidency over all the seventies of the Church; the second, third, fourth to the tenth became the presidents of other quorums, the theory prevailing, it seems, that the first quorum was the presiding quorum of all the seventies in the Church.

Now the first quorum of the seventy has not been kept intact, except for the presidency of it, who are sustained as members of the General Authorities of the Church.

Now these brethren were given a very special office in the priesthood.  [NOTE:]  All elders under thirty-five who are willing and worthy to do missionary work should be ordained seventies, and that is the primary responsibility of the seventies in the Church.”  (Antoine R. Ivins, 3 Apr., 1960; CR Apr., 1960, pp. 45-46)

22 Apr.:  Instructions to Auxiliaries re: Correlation.

“April 22, 1960

Relief Society General Presidency

76 North Main Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Sisters:

By assignment of the First Presidency of the Church, the General Priesthood Committee is making a study with a view to correlating the study courses and other activities of the priesthood quorums and the auxiliary organizations.  The end of all our teaching and other activities, as stated by the First Presidency is ‘the development of a given line of study or activity having the ultimate and desired objective of building up a knowledge of the Gospel, a power to promulgate the same, a promotion of the growth, faith, and stronger testimony of the principles of the Gospel among the members of the Church.’  We respectfully solicit your cooperation in this important assignment.

To begin with, we would like to receive from you at your earliest convenience:

1. A list of all courses now being taught in the Relief Society and of those in contemplation, together with a brief synopsis of the subject matter of each course and a statement of the objectives of each course.

2. A copy of the manual and teacher’s supplement for each course in all age groups.

3. Such other pertinent material as you have.

4. A statement of the Relief Society’s assignment as you understand it to be from instructions received by the Relief Society from the First Presidency of the Church.

Faithfully and sincerely yours,


of the General Priesthood Committee

By Marion G. Romney, Chairman.”  [Similar letters were sent to all auxiliary heads.]  (“History of the Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, Prepared by Antone K. Romney for the Research Committee of the Melchizedek Priesthood Education Committee, August, 1961,” section I.)

18 May:  Call of Antone K. Romney to head task force.

“On Wednesday, May 18, 1960, Elder Harold B. Lee requested Antone K. Romney to assist in the above project of study.”  (“History of the Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, Prepared by Antone K. Romney for the Research Committee of the Melchizedek Priesthood Education Committee, August, 1961,” section I.)

28 Jun.:  Proposed study of Church curriculum.

“In line with the above assignment [3 Mar., 1960] to the Melchizedek Priesthood Committee, by President David O. McKay, J. Reuben Clark, and Henry D. Moyle, Elder Lee contacted Antone K. Romney and asked him to assist in a study which might meet the above objectives.  During May and June of 1960 Antone K. Romney prepared a recommendation for a proposed study of Church curriculum which included the following divisions:

A. An historic study of the assignments made by the First Presidency to the several auxiliary organizations, and an historical analysis of the objectives as stated by the boards of the several auxiliary organizations.

B. The preparation and adoption of some basic assumptions relative to the entire study.

C. A statement of basic procedures to be followed in the study and

D. A study to determine the jurisdictions of the several auxiliaries and Church organizations.

E. A time survey to determine the use of time by Church members.

F. An analysis of the Church curriculum and

G. A study designed to assist in the psychological presentation of Church curriculum.

This proposal was prepared by Brother Antone K. Romney and presented to the Education Committee of the Melchizedek Priesthood Committee on June 28, 1960.  Those present at that meeting are:

Elder Harold B. Lee

Elder Marion G. Romney

Elder Richard L. Evans

Elder George Q. Morris

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley

Elder Sterling W. Sill

Elder ElRay L. Christiansen

and Brother Antone K. Romney

At this meeting the following written proposal [a synopsis of the proposal above] was made an unanimously approved by that committee.  Antone K. Romney was authorized to request the help of Daniel H. Ludlow, B. West Belnap, and Vaughn Hansen in further investigation of Church curriculum.  He was instructed to follow the proposed study of Church curriculum as the Education Committee of the Melchizedek Committee had approved.”  (“History of the Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, Prepared by Antone K. Romney for the Research Committee of the Melchizedek Priesthood Education Committee, August, 1961,” section I.)

“It is a basic assumption of the whole study that if the revelations of God are taught to His children in the right spirit and in the best possible manner, then virtuous lives and testimonies will follow.  While we cannot guarantee this, it seems that we are safe to assume it. . . .

So far as we know, all that the Lord has done to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man is recorded in the scriptures, either ancient or modern. . . .”  (Antone K. Romney, “History of the Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, Prepared by Antone K. Romney for the Research Committee of the Melchizedek Priesthood Education Committee, August, 1961,” section I.)

Sep.:  Procedures of Priesthood Reactivation.

“In a manner of speaking, the whole program of the Church is geared to the attainment of the goals of priesthood reactivation.  But to provide an orderly and systematic way of reclaiming the greatest possible number of inactive brethren, the following six specific suggestions have been made in recent years:

1. Schools for Senior Members and Their Wives.

Procerdures and policies governing these schools are well known throughout the Church.  Their success has been phenomenal.  Many couples have become active and been sealed to each other in the temple as a direct result of the training given and the testimonies born in them.

2. Schools for Elders and Their Wives.

These, also, are being held in nearly every stake in the Church and are virtually as productive as are the separate schools for senior members of the Aaronic Priesthood.

3. Church Activity Program.

Instinctively and automatically it always had been the endeavor of active Church members to bring the full benefits and blessings of the gospel into the lives of their less active brethren by getting such persons to participate in the program of the Church.  In recent years there has been a concerted effort to do this, and so all of the programs of the Churdch have come to play their part in the great priesthood reactivation program.

4. Cottage Meetings for Elders and Others.

Practically the whole program of gospel teaching used by missionaries is centered around the cottage meeting program.  Conversions come because the gospel is taught to nonmembers in these meetings.  The same principle applies where unconverted members are concerned.  By teaching them the lessons found in the standard proselyting plan, as well as other material, many are being brough to the full blessings and benefits of the priesthood.

5. Personal Missionary Approach.

This is a system of asking an active brother to work with one less active, to do it secretly and without ostentation, to use every approach possible (cultural, civic, athletic, recreational, fraternal, or what-have-you) to mellow the inactive brother to the point where he will come and partake of the blessings of the Church.

6. Family Approach to Priesthood Reactivation.

Under this heading comes the ‘Keep Faith with Your Family’ program.  This is a system of using the children as a means of getting the parents into activity.  It is not a separate program standing by itself.  It is part of the over-all program of priesthood reactivation.  It operates on the proven thesis that all persons have a desire to see their children receive the good things of life.  By pointing out to parents the blessings  their children will receive, by proper spiritual guidance and training in the home and through the organizations of the Church, parents are often led to participate more fully in the Church organizations, with all the attendant blessings of such participation.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 63(9):675, 687, Sep., 1960)

Flexibility in interpretation and application.

“This volume does not purport to cover all matters of Church government, but helpful suggestions will be found in dealing with many problems with which our officers are constantly confronted.  It is recognized that there must be considerable flexibility in handling some of these matters and that inspiration and the direction of the Spirit must be sought for and followed.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 1)

GHI not an official statement of Church doctrine.

“This is not to be construed as an official statement of Church doctrine.  The revelations of the Lord as set forth in the Standard Works constitute the law and the doctrine of the Church.  However we are confident that a careful reading of the following pages and adherence to the suggestions and regulations set forth therein will greatly assist our local officers in carrying forward their many responsibilities.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 1)

Bishops not to serve long without being ordained.

“Stake presidents should not permit bishops to serve long periods of time without ordination and setting apart.  If no General Authority authorized to ordain bishops comes to the conference of the stake in which the new bishop is serving, or if the conference is some weeks away, the stake president should have the bishop ordained and set apart at a nearby conference where one of the General Authorities authorized to ordain bishops is present.  Otherwise the bishop may come to Church headquarters for ordination.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 9)

High Councilors should be set apart by General Authorities

“Counselors to stake presidents, high councilors and bishops’ counselors after proper approval has been given for their appointments, are set apart by members of the Council of the Twelve and the Assistants to the Council of the Twelve.  However, to avoid having these brethren serve long periods of time without setting apart, stake presidents may set them apart when the General Authorities authorized to do so are not available.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 9)

1st Pres. approval necessary for adding Alternate H.C.

“Alternate members of a high council are not to be appointed without the prior approval of the First Presidency, but once approval has been given for a specified number of high council alternates, their positions may be refilled without special approval in each case on the same basis as high councilors.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 10)

Duties and assignments of high councilors.

“The stake presidency presides over the high council.  Members of the high council are assigned their duties by the stake presidency and serve under their direction.  Some of these duties are judicial and some are semi-administrative.  Among them may be the following:

1. Judicial

a. Church courts (See page 97.)

2. Semi-administrative

a. Consideration of routine matters such as:

1. Persons recommended for office within the stake.

2. Persons nominated for ordination in the Melchizedek Priesthood.

3. Other stake business presented by the stake presidency, such, for instance as Church welfare.

4. Under direction of stake presidency share with the presidency responsibilities for planning and implementing programs and policies of stake, and encouraging general faithfulness of the people.

b. Supervising priesthood activities.

1. Ward teaching.  (See pages 10-12.)

2. Stake Melchizedek Priesthood Committee.  (See pages 10-12.)

3. Aaronic Priesthood Committee.  (See page 10.)

4. Stake committee for senior members of the Aaronic Priesthood, and other adult members holding no priesthood.  (See pages 10-12.)

5. Genealogical and temple work.

6. Servicemen’s Program.  (See pages 23, 76.)

c. Advisers to all auxiliary organizations.

d. Activity in contacting wards.

1. Assignment of high councilors to each ward for a given period.  (See page 12.)

2. Assignments with others to speak in wards as home missionaries.  (See page 13.)

3. Presentation of messages from the stake presidency.

4. Observing ward activity and compliance with Church standards and practices.

5. Work as auditors of ward financial accounts.  (See page 12.)

6. Encourage foreign and stake missionary work.

7. Encourage temple marriages.

8. Check with bishops to insure baptism of children at proper age, and particularly those over nine years of age.

9. Encourage proper ushering in meetings.

10. Attendance at sacrament and other meetings.

11. Attendance of students at seminary, institute or Church colleges.

e. Miscellaneous assignments.

1. Stake music advisor.  (See page 26.)

2. Supervisor of buildings and grounds, both ward and stake.

3. Special committees, as appointed by the stake presidency.

The high council does not have a president nor a chairman other than the stake presidency.  They do not meet in the absence of a member of the stake presidency.

High council meetings are among the most important meetings to be held in the stake, and members of the council should always be present at these meetings except for justifiable reasons, which should be reported to the stake presidency in each instance.

Many confidential matters are taken up in these meetings and high council members should understand the importance of guarding sacredly all business of a confidential nature, never discussing such matters with family or friends.

Minutes should be kept in sufficient detail to constitute an historical record of all action, and at each meeting the minutes of the previous meeting should be read, corrected and approved.

It is suggested that high council meetings be called at a time when they will not conflict with other meetings that the high councilors should attend such as priesthood meeting, Sunday School, etc.

One or more high councilors may be appointed by the stake presidency to each ward for a designated period of time.  In such capacity they stimulate activity in the various departments and act as observers to see that no bad practices or false doctrines creep into the wards.  They should be alert and know what is going on and report their observations to the stake presidency.  Any new successful activity likewise should be reported.

The high councilors also deliver messages and instructions from the stake presidency.

Attendance at High Council Meetings:  This should be limited to the stake presidency, high council members including alternates, and the stake clerk except when other stake officers or members are called in to receive special instructions on special occasions.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, pp. 10-13)

Home Missionaries.

“High councilors and recently returned missionaries should be assigned by the stake presidency to serve as home missionaries, that is, to make monthly visits to the various wards and branches, and speak to the people in their regular sacrament meetings, giving gospel instruction, encouragement, and admonition as the Spirit may move.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 13)

Moral fitness of full-time missionaries.

“It is very important that bishops and stake presidents, as well as General Authorities follow the same basic principles in passing upon the moral worthiness of a young man or woman to receive a call from the First Presidency to go on a full term mission away from home.

Prospective missionaries must be asked specifically if they are virtuous, morally clean, and free from any form of moral or sex transgression, or other impure or improper practice, law breaking, or other irregularities.

Local and General Authorities must satisfy themselves thoroughly before recommending men or women for mission calls, that they are morally clean, that is to say, that they have not been guilty at any time of fornication or comparable offenses.  If they are not thus clean, they must not be recommended for full time missions.

Strict adherence to this rule is imperative.  There must be no departure from the stipulations made herein, and no discrimination nor partiality shown.

Conferences between General Authorities, stake presidents and bishops, are in order when deemed necessary in instances where there is serious question about an individual under consideration.  Such collaboration should be had before recommending or rejecting the applicant.

In all cases the seriousness of transgression in the mission field, with its inevitable punishment of excommunication, should be brought to the attention of all candidates interviewed.

Neither the bishop, nor stake president, the missionary nor his family, should announce the consideration of a mission until after the call from the First Presidency has actually been received.  This will save embarrassment to the missionary, his family, and all concerned.

Any individuals who do not qualify for full term missions in the above respect, but who have demonstrated through a reasonable period of time their total repentance and who are otherwise worthy, may be called into stake missionary service.

There is of course, generally speaking, less temptation within the stake, and in addition there is the benefit of home environment which will further strengthen the individual.  This is a means of giving those who desire to do missionary work, but who cannot be called on full time missions, an opportunity to serve.

Any bishop or stake president who feels that a given case justifies special consideration because of his belief that true repentance has been shown over an adequate period of time, may confer with a member of the Council of the Twelve, who alone, have the sole right to consider and determine any deviation from or exception to this rule.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, pp. 31-32)

Who presides in ward in absence of bishopric?

“Before all members of the bishopric absent themselves from a ward, in consultation with the stake presidency they should appoint some other worthy person, preferably a high priest, to conduct sacrament and other meetings and assume responsibility for such matters as necessarily must be done and which are within the power of the bishopric to delegate.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 39)

Home Evening.

“Home Evening (Family Hour):  Care is to be taken to see that Church members and officers are not so encumbered with Church meetings and other Church duties that they neglect their families.  A home evening, including the family hour, on which families should meet together and follow the program outlined for such gatherings, should be held as often as possible, at least weekly.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 48)

MP fathers to be encouraged to bless their own children.

“Worthy fathers who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood should be encouraged to bless their own children.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 56)

Non-member fathers may participate in blessing child.

“Only those holding the Melchizedek Priesthood should be invited to participate in the ordinance of blessing and naming of children; but where a father, whether a member of the Church or not, requests permission to hold his child while the officiating elder gives the blessing he may be permitted to do so, but they should not be encouraged to make the request.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, pp. 56-57)

Dedicating water for baptism.

“Dedicating Water for Baptism:  This should not be done.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 59)

Fathers may baptize and confirm their children.

“Under the direction of the bishop, worthy fathers holding the Melchizedek Priesthood may baptize and confirm their children.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 59)

Reversal of policy on weddings in ward chapels.

“Marriage is one of the most sacred ordinances of the Church.  It should not be performed before the gaze of the world.  When couples are not to be married in the temple, a little discreet counsel from bishops might lead them to have the ceremony performed in the home of one or the other of those being married.  A good home is the next most sacred place to the temple.

Marriage ceremonies may hereafter be performed in chapels in stakes or missions.  This permission is given with the understanding that local officers will be able to persuade the young people and their families to dispense with most, if not all, the formal practices that pervade the weddings in sectarian churches.

Elaborate weddings are discouraged.  The use of candles and other worldly additions to the ceremony should not be permitted in Church buildings.  Wedding receptions may be held in recreation halls.  Civil marriage for Church members should be performed by Church rather than civil officials.

In some places there are commercial chapels used solely for the performance of marriage ceremonies.  Their use by Church members is discouraged.  Permission is granted, however, for our authorized Church officials to perform marriage ceremonies in them.  It is recommended that in such cases the couples concerned be encouraged to come to the home of the bishop or other Church officer to have the ceremony performed.  Couples to be married should be interviewed by the one chosen to perform the ceremony and ceremonies should not be performed at unusual hours of the night.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, pp. 72-73)

Dedication of graves.

“One of the bishopric should accompany the cortege to the cemetery, where there should be a graveside or dedicatory prayer.  This prayer should be simple and earnest seeking the protection of the body from molestation until the time of the resurrection.  There is no set form and the person offering the prayer, preferably a bearer of the Melchizedek Priesthood, may seek for such blessings as the Spirit of the Lord dictates.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 75)


“Transgressors to be Handled:  The Lord directs that the priesthood shall ‘see that there is no iniquity in the Church.’  (D&C 20:54.)  Those who fall into sin are to be handled according to the gravity of each case.  (D&C 20:80 and 134:10-11.)

Some sins will require bishops court action and possibly trial by the stake presidency and high council.  Others may be handled without taking them to trial provided there is sincere repentance.  Transgressions referred to here include sex sins; intemperance; criminal acts involving moral turpitude such as burglary, dishonesty, theft, murder; apostasy; open opposition to the rules and regulations of the Church; cruelty to wife or children; and similar matters of a serious nature.

Cases Where No Court Action Is Required:  When young unmarried people are involved in sexual sin, every consideration should be given to helping them adjust their situation so that if possible they may live normal lives.  Too severe action often defeats the ends of justice.

If transgressions are known only to the persons involved, and they voluntarily appeal to the bishop in the spirit of repentance, seeking to confess their wrongdoing and adjust their lives, it is proper for the bishop to consider privately the facts of the case.  No public confession would be required under these circumstances. The bishop should advise the young people as to their immediate and future action, put them on probation, and avoid placing a stigma upon them.

Bishops have the right to waive Church court action upon proper evidence of genuine repentance.  It should be remembered, however, that forgiveness comes only from the Lord.

. . . .

Where married couples are involved in sexual sin, and only those immediately concerned know of it, such cases may be handled as above described, the bishop making certain that full adjustment between families is made.  Divorces should be avoided if at all possible.  In these instances, the sinner must always confess also to his or her spouse.

Where endowed persons are involved in such serious sin it should be remembered that the transgression takes on added gravity and should be dealt with accordingly.

Cases of immoral conduct that have become public knowledge and an offense against the community will require more drastic measures.  In such cases the man involved may stand before a Melchizedek Priesthood meeting, and without divulging the details of the transgression, confess to having violated the rules of the Church, express repentance, ask for forgiveness, and declare his intention to live righteously in the future.

Confessions of women may be made to the bishop who in turn may make such explanations in the Melchizedek Priesthood meeting of the ward as may be considered necessary.  (D&C 42:89.)

. . . .

Persons convicted of crimes in the civil courts should also receive consideration of the Church courts, subsequent to action of the civil courts.

There is no forgiveness for murder.  Murderers should be excommunicated from the Church.  Persistent criminals involved in lesser crimes should be handled in accordance with the gravity of their cases.

In some violations, including certain sex offenses, excommunication may not be deemed necessary.  It may be that such person should only be disfellowshipped, or otherwise suspended from all activity in the Church, and kept on probation pending complete repentance.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, pp. 97-99)

Voluntary withdrawal from Church is excommunication.

“If a membership record card is received for a person who does not desire to be accepted in the ward, nor considered a member of the Church, and asks that his name be taken from the records, the record card should be accepted in the usual way, and the member should be labored with in kindness and patience in an endeavor to bring him to repentance.  Too hasty action should be avoided.  If, however, he still persists in his determination to leave the Church, he should be invited to appear before the bishop’s court.  If he does not wish to appear he may send a letter expressing his wishes and waiving his right to appear.  In any case a formal summons should be sent to him in the usual way.  If necessary, he to whom he made his request for removal of his name from the Church records may stand as a witness in the bishop’s court and give such testimony.  The bishop’s court should then take formal action, excommunicating the individual if he holds the Aaronic or no priesthood, and disfellowshipping him and referring the case to the stake presidency and high council if he holds the Melchizedek Priesthood.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, pp. 100-101)

Confessing to bishops.

“Confidential Interviews:  Church members may afford themselves of the privilege of confessing to their bishops such sins as might affect their standing in the Church or their rights to enjoy the privileges of the Church, and of receiving from the such counsel, guidance, and help as the Spirit of the Lord may indicate.

Forgiveness comes only from the Lord, but for contrite and repentant persons bishops may elect to waive any formal trial or penalty within the power of the Church to impose.  The bishop will keep such totally confidential.

No permanent record should be made of transgressions confessed to a bishop unless the matter is formally tried by a bishop’s court.  A record should be made of any cases tried in a regular way by a bishop’s court.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 101)

When to Take Action Against Transgressors.

“Bishops are to handle all cases of alleged transgression promptly.  If persons involved are about to move from the ward, investigation shoiuild be made and cases tried and disposed of before they leave.  If they leave before action can be taken, membership record cards should be retained until restitution has been made, unless they move to such a distance that it is impractical to have them return.  In such cases suggestions for restitution should be forwarded to the Presiding Bishopric’s Office with the membership record card so that the bishop of the new ward may be informed.  If the transgression was not known at the time the member left the ward, the bishop should make a report to the Presiding Bishopric when the facts do become known.  If a bishop finds that members of his ward have transgressed previously in some other ward, he should obtain all the facts, and if necessary, take action against such individuals or otherwise bring about a proper reconciliation of the difficulty.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, pp. 101-102)

Non-members as witnesses in Church courts.

“It is generally inadvisable to bring non-members before tribunals as witnesses either in the wards or stakes.  If, however, a non-member is considered to be a material witness, the trial body may hear the evidence of the witness through a properly arranged interview with him, directed by the tribunal.  An affidavit signed by such non-member would also be acceptable.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, p. 106)

Restoration of former blessings.

“Application for the restoration of former blessings to men and women who have been excommunicated and who have been returned to the Church by baptism and confirmation should be submitted to the President of the Church.  These blessings may be restored only upon his authority.

When such applications are approved, a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, upon receiving authority from the President of the Church, will restore all or part of the former blessings as directed by the President of the Church.

The former blessings restored are those related to the endowment and the priesthood held by the excommunicant at the time of the excommunication.  Excommunicated men who have not had their endowments receive and advance in the priesthood by ordination as in the first instance.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, Number 18–1960, pp. 109-110)