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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1967

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1967.” You can view other years here.

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1967:      Jan.:  Change in age for ordination to elder.

“Bishops may recommend worthy priests for ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood when they:

a. Become twenty years of age

b. Are called on missions

c. Are being married in the temple

d. Are eighteen years of age and beginning two years or more of active military duty.  There shouild be no abuse of this special privilege and no young man should be thus ordained early for sentimental or family relationship, or personal reasons.  Worthiness, stability and maturity and desire should be the criteria.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 3(1):1, Jan./Feb., 1967)

16 Feb.:  Sunday evening discussions for youth.

“Please make the following changes in your new Aaronic Priesthood–Youth Handbook.

1. Page 60, item 8, Bishop’s Sunday Evening Discussion:

Correct to read: Sunday evening discussions for all youth in the ward 14 to 20 years of age . . .”

(Presiding Bishopric Circular Letter, 16 Feb., 1967; xerox)

20 Feb.:  Advancement seminars for Adult AP.

“Enclosed are manuals which contain a two-fold procedure for activating Aaronic-Priesthood Adults and their wives through (1) Discussion Circles and (2) Priesthood Advancement Seminars.  This material, along with the Aaronic Priesthood-Adult Handbook previously distributed, provides the framework in which personal initiative can be used to activate these brethren.  The Discussion Circles are to be used as an aid to home teachers; and the Priesthood Advancement Seminar is a supplemental special schooling program.  It is intended that the Priesthood Advancement Seminar replace other school programs, such as Project Temple.

In addition, all who work with Aaronic Priesthood-Adults should be thoroughly familiar with the material in the booklets, ‘Priesthood Correlation in Home Teaching,’ ‘Priesthood Home Teaching Handbook,’ and ‘Conducting the Oral Evaluation.'”  (Presiding Bishopric Circular Letter, 20 Feb., 1967; xerox)

Jul.:  Women not to pray in Sacrament Meetings.

“The First Presidency recommend that only those who bear the Melchizedek or Aaronic Priesthood be invited to offer the opening and closing prayers in sacrament meetings, including fast meetings.  This also applies to priesthood meetings.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 3(3):1, Jul./Aug., 1967)

21 Aug.:  Inactivity not grounds for excommunication.

“Reports have come to our attention which give us concern regarding the apparent cause for some excommunications.  It appears that some bishops and branch presidents remove the names of inactive members of their ward or branch from the Church rolls in order that the ward or branch statistical records may present a better showing.

We wish to emphasize that inactivity in and of itself is not sufficient reason to summon a member to a bishop’s court.  We also call your attention to the instruction given in the General Church Handbook of Instructions, page 61, to the effect that the fact that an individual has joined another Church is not always justifiable cause for excommunication.

It has come to our attention that some wives of non-members have been excommunicated because their husbands refuse to permit them to be active.  Unless the person involved requests specifically that her name be removed from the records of the Church and does so in writing, and the bishop or branch president has satisfied himself that this is her firm desire, the individual concerned should not be cited to appear before a bishop’s court to answer for her standing, nor should the individual’s name otherwise be removed from the records of the Church.

It is most important that we recognize that the purpose of the gospel is to save souls.  Bishops, branch presidents and home teachers should labor diligently and untiringly with inactive and neglectful members in an effort to reactivate them and bring them to an understanding of the glorious truths of the gospel.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 21 Aug., 1967; xerox)

28 Sep.:  Revised history of Correlation.

“On March 24, 1960, the First Presidency, David O. McKay, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and Henry D. Moyle, assigned to the General Priesthood Committee of the Church the responsibility for taking the necessary steps to plan, develop and implement correlated practices in all priesthood and auxiliary curriculum and activity.  The General Priesthood Committee of the Church immediately moved forward during 1960 with plans which would bring about a collation and limitation of subjects and activities being implemented in the various priesthood and auxiliary programs.  There were steps taken to simplify, to cut out overlap, to stress the place of the priesthood and the home in the lives of the people, and to clarify the many functions of various agencies of the Church as they teach the gospel to the people of the world.

By October of 1962 the General Priesthood Committee of the Church had recommended to the First Presidency some definite steps which made correlation possible in the Church.  The First Presidency and quorum of Twelve approved these recommendations and implemented them by (1) the appointment of several Priesthood Correlation Committees through which all things were to be communicated and correlated.  Elder Lee became the chairman of the Executive Priesthood Correlation Committee.  Elder Evans is chairman of the Youth Correlation Committee, Elder Hinckley is chairman of the Children’s Correlation Committee, and Elder Monson is now chairman of the Adult Correlation Committee.  The organization of these four correlation committees provided the means whereby those working with various programs and age groups might communicate and come together under the leadership of a General Authority for leadership discussions, instructions, clarification, correlation and approvals of programs.  (2) The General Authorities also adopted a Blue Book of Curriculum Guidelines and lesson recommendations for each age group in the Church in order taht priesthood and auxiliary curriculum planning might develop in an orderly and effective way.  (3) A weekly home evening program was initiated and lessons provided to teach the gospel in the home as a basis for all gospel teaching in all auxiliary and priesthood groups.”  (Antone K. Romney, “Principles, Goals and Functions of Priesthood Correlation,” Seminar for Regional Representatives of the Twelve, 28 Sep., 1967; reprinted in John Fugal, A Review of Priesthood Correlation, BYU Press, 1968, pp. 97-98)

29 Sep.:  Letter introducing Regional Representatives.

“The following is a letter from the Presidency of the Church addressed to the membership of the Church:

September 29, 1967

As many of you will remember, in 1941, it became necessary for the First Presidency and the Twelve to provide for additional brethren to help with the work of overseeing and setting in order an ever-growing, world-wide Church.  Thus in the General Conference of April, 1941, Assistants to the Twelve were named and sustained, ‘to be increased or otherwise from time to time as the necessity of carrying on the Lord’s work seems to dictate.’

Since then the world-wide demands of the Church have increased in ever greater degree and it is felt by the First Presidency and the Twelve that a further provision for guidance and direction is now needed.

What, therefore, is now proposed is the calling of as many brethren as may be necessary, to be known as Regional Representatives of the Twelve, each, as assigned, to be responsible in some aspects of the work to carry counsel to and to conduct instructional meetings in groups of stakes or regions as may be designated from time to time.

These Regional Representatives of the Twelve will not be ‘General’ Authorities, as such, but will serve somewhat as do stake presidents, giving full Church service time for greater or lesser periods of service as circumstances may suggest.

Fuller details will be in evidence as this plan proceeds under the guidance of the First Presidency and the Twelve.

The First Presidency.

While these regional representatives are not byi this appointment to become General Authorities or general officers of the Church, it is deemed advisable to present their names to this one General Conference of the Church for your information and sustaining vote.  Their duties are to begin January 1, 1968.

I shall now read the names of those who are recommended: . . .”

(Hugh B. Brown, 29 Sep., 1967; CR Oct., 1967, pp. 25-26)

30 Sep.:  Update on Correlation.

“President McKay has asked me to talk to the priesthood of the Church tonight on correlation.  My prayer is, President McKay, that I may discharge this assignment as you would have desired me to do; and so with that assignment, and if I might have interest in your faith and prayers tonight, I will attempt to say what I should say of the great movement known as the Correlation Program, which was launched by the First Presidency in a letter seven years ago to the general priesthood committee.  I shall read from that letter:

. . . .

In that same letter they called attention to the fact that the membership of the Church might be divided into three groups:  the children’s group, under 12 years of age; the youth group, from 12 to the 20’s; and the adults, from the youth group on through life.

That is what set us to a study of this whole plan that we now speak of as correlation.  In our study we came across another prophetic statement that has been read before, but I read it now as a part of this presentation in order to tie the matter all together.

At the April conference in 1906, President Joseph F. Smith made this statement:

. . . .

An organization was set up under the direction of the First Presidency following that assignment seven years ago, and seven members of the Twelve and the Presiding Bishop were named as the Correlation Executive Committee.  It should be understood when we say executive committee that the Correlation Committee in total includes the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles.  We then considered ourselves a task committee to bring all our work to that body whom we represented for final approval.

Three correlation committees were set up: the children’s correlation committee; the youth correlation committee; and the adult correlation committee, with aides of editorial boards for curriculum study and lessons for family home teaching.  Also appointed were managing directors for four phases of priesthood activity: home teaching, missionary, welfare, and genealogy.  These directors were three Assistants to the Twelve and one of the presidents of the First Council of the Seventy, with one of the members of the executive committee as the chairman of the group working with these managing directors.

We then called to our aid professionally trained men to be our general secretaries.  These men, trained in educational work, preferred not to be paid employees.  They asked to make this contribution to the Church on their own time and without cost, and to continue their teaching roles at the universities where they were employed.  There are also others of our secretarial staff whose work relates to correlation.

We therefore have set ourselves, under the direction of and with the hlep of these aides, to the monumental task of correlating all the curricula in all Church organizations, and to a continuing study of correlation problems for action of the First Presidency and the Twelve.  This organization has been in effect for these seven years.

Some developments have been outwardly observed by the membership of the Church.  I call these to your attention so that you will have them in mind.

The first step that was made was to place the priesthood in the place where the Lord had placed it: to watch over the Church.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 20, the Lord said:

The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them;

And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking;

And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty.  (D&C 20:53-55.)

This, you will note by careful reading of this great revelation in its entirety, was to apply to the whole priesthood of the Church.

The name of home teaching was given to this movement, to distinguish it from ward teaching.  When this was discussed with President McKay, some suggested we should call them watchmen–‘priesthood watchmen’–but the President wisely counseled that we had better not let the membership of the Church think of the priesthood as detectives, that it would be better to call them the priesthood home teachers.

The genealogical representatives called our attention to the fact that home teachers was the title they gave to their genealogical workers in the wards.  The President then advised that these genealogical workers be called family teachers, a name that is more descriptive of the work of genealogical visitors to the homes in each ward.

Home teaching, in essence, means that we consider separately each individual member of the family who constitutes the entire home personnel.  Home teaching, as distinguished from ward teaching, is to help the parents with home problems in their efforts to teach their families the fundamentals of parental responsibility, as contrasted with merely bringing a message, a gospel message, to the entire family.  Quorum leaders were given the responsibility of selecting, training, and supervising quorum members in visiting with and teaching assigned families of their own quorum members.

Presidents or group leaders of each Melchizedek priesthood quorum and general secretaries of Aaronic Priesthood–Adult and Youth were then brought together in what were called ‘priesthood executive committees.’  Once a week this committee, bringing together representative of every priesthood group, has been meeting with the bishopric, and there have been correlated and discussed all problems pertaining to the priesthood.  Here is a teaching opportunity for the bishop to train the leaders of each priesthood group in his ward.

Greater emphasis on the teaching of the children in the home by the parents was brought forth in what we call the family home evening program.  This was not new.  Fifty years ago it ws given emphasis; and as we went back into history, we found that in the last epistle written to the Church by President Brigham Young and his counselors, it was urged that parents bring their children together and teach them the gospel in the home frequently.  So family home evening has been urged ever since the Church was established in this dispensation.  Six hundred and fifty thousand family home evening manuals with lessons for each week have been prepared and placed in the hands of every parent throughout the Church.  Each year’s theme of the home evening lessons has been correlated with the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Relief Society lessons, and this year the Sunday School general board has instituted a special class each week for parents to aid in their weekly family home evening and to help prepare the parents to be better teachers of their children.

Plans were laid early in this dispensation to meet the challenge of anticipated growth as indicated by the scriptures and by prophetic utterances of presidents of the Church.  President McKay gave us the key to our search for what we should do in these matters.  In discussing a matter pertaining to the missions, he said this: ‘Now in changing our policy here, let us keep as near as we can to the revelations of the Lord, and we will never be wrong if we do that.’  That sounds like good logic, doesn’t it?

That injunction from the President took us into a study of all that the Lord has said about the place of the priesthood and how it should operate in the kingdom.  We found what the Lord said about the work of the Twelve:

The Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles, and secondly unto the Jews.  (D&C 107:33.)

About the Seventy the Lord said:

It is the duty of the traveling high council to call upon the Seventy, when they need assistance, to fill the several calls for preaching and administering the gospel, instead of any others.  (D&C 107:38.)

I think you will see in what has gone forward in the last few years that now as never before in our recollection, the seventies have been given a major role in the missionary work of the Church.  Perhaps the door has opened as widely as it has ever been for the work of the seventies, and we thank the Lord for the work of our leaders in the seventies quorums.

Now to support what the First Presidency’s message has already said about others who would be called as leaders:

Whereas other officers of the church, who belong not unto the Twelve, neither to the Seventy, are not under the responsibility to travel among all nations, but are to travel as their circumstances shall allow, notwithstanding they may hold as high and responsible offices in the church.  (D&C 107:98.)

That would allow, besides those mentioned, a place for the Assistants to the Twelve.

Then we found another scripture that had significance.  It has always been there, but we had never read this scripture as we saw it now.  The Lord said in the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants (this is to the Twelve):

Therefore, go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature.

And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends.  (D&C 84:62-63.)

Where we couldn’t go, then, the Lord has said, ‘Send,’ that the testimony, your testimony, might by those you send be brought to every creature throughout the world.

Soon after the death of President Young, President John Taylor and the Twelve took over the presiding authority of the Church for approximately three years before President Taylor was sustained as the President of the Church.  In a message to the Church at that time, two or three things were said to which I would like to call your attention:

The keys of the kingdom are still right here with the Church . . . the holy Priesthood and Apostleship, which He restored to the earth, still remain to guide and govern, and to administer ordinances to the Church which He has established.  Our beloved brother Brigham Young has gone from us to join the Prophet Joseph and the host of the holy and the pure who are behind the veil; but we do not therefore lose the benefit of his labors.  He is now in a position to do more for that work which he loved so well, and for which he labored so aredntly, than he could possibly do in the flesh; and that work will roll onward with increased power and accelerated speed.  (Messages of the First Presidency 2:299.)

And then they quoted from the Prophet Joseph Smith’s instructions the following:

The Twelve are not subject to any other than the First Presidency, viz: myself, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, who are now my counselors (ahd where I am not there is no First Presidency over the Twelve).

After the death of the Prophet Joseph, President Young, in speaking to the Saints, said:

Here are the Twelve, appointed by the finger of God, who hold the keys of the Priesthood, and the authority to set in order and regulate the Church in all the world.

Then there followed a statement which indicated that there was some tendency to look back to the previous administration and think what the Prophet Joseph might have done had he been there.  President Brigham Young and his counselors wrote this in their closing epistle to the Church:

Here is Elder Amasa Lyman and Elder Sidney Rigdon; they were councillors in the first presidency, and they are councillors to the Twelve still; if they keep their places; but if either wishes to act as ‘spokesman’ for the prophet Joseph, he must go behind the veil where Joseph is.  (T&S 5:638.)

Now that was a rather interesting observation.

May I now say this: Those keys of the kingdom are still here with the Church today.  As President Taylor declared, ‘the holy Priesthood and Apostleship, which He restored to the earth, still remain to guide and govern, and to administer ordinances to the Church which He has established.’  President David O. McKay is the one man today who holds those keys, as did the Prophet Joseph Smith, as did President Brigham Young, as did President John Taylor, and so on down to President McKay, who presides today.

Then President John Taylor added this final statement, which indicates something in which you will be interested:

That there may be a correct understanding among all the Stakes of Zion respecting the time for holding the quarterly Conferences in the different Stakes, and the Presidents be enabled to make preparations thereof, we have deemed it best to make the following appointments for the conferences during the next half year.  {This was in 1877.}  It will be seen that in most instances they will be held in two stakes upon the same days.  This is unavoidable, in consequence of the great number of stakes.  (Messages of the First Presidency 2:301.)

And then I counted the ‘great’ number of stakes: Salt Lake, Davis and Utah, Weber and Juab, Tooele and Box Elder, Wasatch and Cache, Summit and Bear Lake, Morgan and Sanpete, Sevier and Millard, Panguitch and Beaver, Kanab and Iron {Parowan}, and St. George–20 stakes, a great number of stakes.  There were nine missions–nine organized missions–at that time.  Well, as we think about that now, and as they closed that epistle after making that profound statement about the great number of stakes, the Twelve then added:

And now, brethren and sisters, we exhort you to arouse yourselves and seek unto the Lord in fervent faith and prayer.  We know that our Father in heaven is a God of Revelation.  He is ready and willing to pour out his blessings and gifts upon those who seek unto Him for them.  We need them as individuals and as a people to qualify us for the duties which devolve upon us.  We should remember and carry into practical effect the counsels and instructions we have so liberally received from our departed President.  He has gone from us; but the flock is not left without a shepherd.  Latter-day Saints should so live that they will know the voice of the True Shepherd, and not be deceived by pretenders. . . . The Latter-day Saint who does not live so as to have the revelations of Jesus constantly with him, stands in great danger of being deceived and falling away. . . . All the signs which the Lord promised to send in the last days are making their appearance.  They show that the day of the Lord is near.  A great work has to be done, and there is but little time in which to accomplish it; great diligence is, therefore, required. . . . Let us not slacken our diligence, or give way to doubt, unbelief or hardness of heart; but be strong in the Lord, and cry unto Him unceasingly to give us the power to build up His Zion on the earth, and to help establish a reign of righteousness, peace, and truth.  (Messages of the First Presidency 2:302-303)

And so ended that remarkable epistle to the Church.

Now to point up our challenge of the present growth and to prepare for the fulfillment of the hastening of the Lord’s work, which he promised he would do in his own time: If one were to paint a picture in broad strokes of just a few features of the future, here are some things that will challenge the Church in the years that lie ahead:

When I came into the Council of the Twelve we had 35 missions.  I helped to organize, along with President Joseph Fielding Smith, the 138th stake.  We now have 443 stakes.

During the 70 years from 1830 to 1900, the Church grew by 258,000 members.  Today, a quarter of a millino expansion in membership takes not 70 years, but in only two or three years, we expand by a quarter of a million.

Our Church membership is increasing at about three times the growth rate of the population of the United States.  But, just as significantly, the regional distribution of Church membership is also following some clear trends that we must recognize, not only intellectually, but also administratively.

In 1910, Utah and Idaho contained approximately 75 percent of all Church membership.  Today, only 40 percent of the Church’s members live in these two states.  Utah once held two-thirds of all members.  Today, even though the number of members in Utah has now risen from 224,000 in 1910 to 714,000, only one-third of all members now live in Utah.  Brazil now has 23,000 Latter-day Saints; Australia, 21,000; and Mexico, 50,000.

During the last ten years, membership in the southern states has risen from 72,000 to 170,000; in South America from 6,000 to 67,000; and in Asia from 1,500 to 21,000.

We have no choice but to think regionally.

Research has been done by the department of statistics at the Brigham Young University by Dr. Howard Nielsen, and he estimates the Church membership by 1985, just 17 years from now, will total from 5,700,000 to 7,700,000, depending on the rate of conversions.

By the year 2000 A.D., which means that our children now eight years of age will then be 41 years old, we could have a total membership of over ten million people.  Though this may sound very distant to some of us, it is the year, I repeat, when these eight-year-olds will become 41, if you get that clearly.

In 1985 there will be more than one million members in Utah, but they will represent only 21 percent of all Church membership.  California will have almost a million members by then, and the southern states one-half million.  Canada will host 160,000 members, with more than 200,000 in the British Isles, and over one-quarter million in Central and South America.

Today, there are approximately 443 stakes and nearly 4,000 wards and branches.  By 1985, depending on our effectiveness and external events, we should have 1,000 stakes and nearly 10,000 wards.

In the calendar year 1985, about 200 new stake presidents will be appointed to new or existing stakes, and General Authorities will need to direct five stake reorganizations each week.  The brethren will then need to clear between 50 and 60 names for the office of bishop each week.

Well, you begin to see something about the growth, and so we could go on with auxiliary organizations.

Now just a word about the missions: It is estimated that in the missions within that 17-year period, in contrast to 77 or 78 missions we have today, we could have as many as 185 missions by then, with probably as many as 30,000 missionaries instead of our 13,000 as of today.

Perhaps this is enough, then, to indicate the great challenge that demands an extended authoritative supervisory ministry.

When the first five Assistants to the Twelve were called in 1941, the Presidency said:

The rapid growth of the Church in recent times, the constantly increasing establishment of wards and stakes, . . . all have built up an apostolic service of the greatest magnitude.  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.  (IE May, 1941, p. 269.)

That was said when we had 137 stakes.  Now, when we have 443 stakes and twice as many missions, you begin to see what we are talking about.  All of this is sobering to think about, even superficially.  It is awesome to contemplate, at any length.  How can we best provide the necessary leadership with enough worthy, able leaders in the right places at the right time?  How can we best finance a kingdom of this scope and dimension?  How can we best absorb, fellowship, and teach this many souls?

While sacrament meeting attendance rose from 21 percent in 1921 to 36 percent in 1965, we appear to have hit a plateau.  We are not advancing from that 36 percent.  Effective preaching of the gospel and showing how it relates directly to the lives of people today are partial but needed answers to this challenge.

Now the plan that has been announced is for the appointment of Regional Representatives of the Twelve.  Many of you heard the announcement by the First Presidency yesterday.  This was the official announcement:

. . . .

During these last few years, we have had in preparation for this regional expansion 114 priesthood committee members representing the four phases of priesthood work previously referred to.  They have rendered a great and monumental service and will do so to the end of 1967, after which they will be released by the First Presidency.  When their present service is concluded, we hope to show our appreciation to them in some more appropriate manner.  And, parenthetically, I might say, I would think that presidents in stakes where these well-trained committee members reside would be something less than alert if they did not move after January 1 to bring these brethren into some of their local priesthood structures, in order to take advantage of the great experience these brethren have had throughout the Church.

Most all of these who are called now to be Regional Representatives of the Twelve have served in stake presidencies or as mission presidents or both.  Fifteen of them are now serving as stake presidents and will be released before the end of this year.

Areas of the Church, where clusters of stakes will be brought together, will be assigned to the 69 Regional Representatives of the Twelve; and so far as possible, these men are being assigned to areas as near to their homes as possible.  Forty-four Regional Representatives will live within their assigned areas.  Twenty-five will be assigned outside their own areas, but about 12 of them convenient to their homes.  Eleven will be in distant areas and nine outside of continental United States, particularly those countries that need men with special language aptitudes to teach effectively the leaders in these foreign language stakes.

One of the reasons we have released a number of priesthood committee members is because we are trying to find men within the regions, so far as it is practicable so to do, to regionalize as far as is possible close to their homes.

With this in mind, perhaps we should say just a word about the role of Regional Representatives.  For two days this past week, we have had eight hours each day with our Regional Representatives of the Twelve together with the General Authorities and the heads of our auxiliary organizations, in an intensive instructional period, highlighted by a devotional in the temple under the direction of the First Presidency.

This, then, will be the program that will go into effect.

Last night after two hours of meeting with all the stake presidents of the Church and these Regional Representatives, each representative received his assignment to a given area and went thereafter to an office in the Church Office Building where he met, for the first time, the stake presidents who will work under his supervision, and to become acquainted and there to establish a relationship that, we hope, will grow strong and very precious throughout the years.

As the Church has grown, we have felt somewhat guilty.  I called attention last night to the fact that last Sunday I was in Dallas, Texas, where we organized a new stake, the Fort Worth Stake.  We took all the time between the two sessions to set new officers apart.  We then went into the second session, after which, as we rushed to catch a plane to come home, I said to the stake president, ‘The Lord bless you, President Kelly.  I will see you at general conference.’  I had a guilty feeling that I didn’t take the time, didn’t have the time, to sit down and do an adequate job of teaching and training those new officers.

So, in the stake quarterly conferences hereafter, or beginning in 1968, the General Authorities will be the only official visitors to attend stake conferences except in those single stakes that are not aligned with regions.  In those stakes the Regional Representative of the Twelve will go on the conference dates when no General Authority is to be in attendance; and with the auxiliary representatives, they will hold a regional meeting similar to that which will be held in all the regions semi-annually throughout the Church and remain over for the stake conference.

The General Authorities will go to stake quarterly conferences on Saturday afternoon, and there we will have a leadership training session in the afternoon with the stake presidency, the high council, and the bishoprics; with all the priesthood leaders in the evening; and on Sunday morning, with the stake presidency.  And then we are endeavoring to get all the families to come to conference.  In order to provide a place for the small children, we are suggesting that in every stake the stake superintendency of Sunday School arrange for a Junior Sunday School, perhaps in a separate building, if one can be found nearby, or in another area of the stake conference center; and there, with a suggested program that we will give, the children will be taken care of during that two-hour period, which will perhaps be broken down into short periods, with some diversion for the children.

Now, beginning in 1968, there will be only one general session of conference in each stake; in the afternoon, when the General Authority is in attendance, we will take time to give instruction that we haven’t had time to give, as I have illustrated in the case of the Fort Worth Stake leaders at Dallas this past week.

As we read the revelations we found something significant about stake conferences:

The several elders composing this church of Christ are to meet in conference once in three months, or from time to time as said conferences shall direct or appoint. . . .

It shall be the duty of the several churches, composing the church of Christ, to send one or more of their teachers to attend the several conferences held by the elders of the church.  (D&C 20:61, 81.)

That was a stake conference.  If we understand that instruction correctly, we should understand that the prime purpose of a stake conference was to instruct the leaders of the stakes; and that is what we are now intending to do, more than we have done in the past.

It will be expected that every ward in the stake will return home and have a sacrament meeting in the evening, where the greater number of the membership of the Church will be brought into some worshiping assembly on the day of a stake quarterly conference.

Now, we have had excellent conferences in the stakes, but we find we have had good attendance in the morning, while many have stayed away from the afternoon session.  That is happening not in one stake but in many stakes.  Now, in order to see that there is a place in every stake for every member to attend, we are asking that there be a sacrament meeting in every ward in every stake on the day of stake conference.

At the conferences where no General Authority is in attendance, we are asking our stake presidents not to have an imported speaker to take the place of a General Authority, or to expect their Regional Representative to come.  He will only go there as he may indicate he would desire for some special purpose or may be assigned by the First Presidency or the Twelve.  This will be the opportunity for the stake president with his staff, meaning his auxiliary and priesthood leaders, to instruct his priesthood leaders, to instruct his people as the leaders have been instructed in their previous regional meetings.  And so our quarterly conferences will be more intensive training in leadership by General Authorities, and we are now trying to gear ourselves to do a better job than we have been doing in the past.

We will have in addition some specialists or, as we will now call them, priesthood aides, in genealogy, welfare, missionary and home teaching, who may be brought into service as necessary to meet the needs of our Regional Representatives or individual stakes needing specialized attention. 

Now then, I conclude with just one or two observations.  Again and again has been repeated the statement that the home is the basis of a righteous life.  With new and badly needed emphasis on the ‘how,’ we must not lose sight of the ‘why’ we are so engaged.  The priesthood programs operate in support of the home; the auxiliary programs render valuable assistance.  Wise regional leadership can help us to do our share in attaining God’s overarching purpose, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’  (Moses 1:39.)  Both the revelations of God and the learning of men tell us how crucial the home is in shaping the individual’s total life experience.  You must have been impressed that running through all that has been said in this conference has been the urgency of impressing the importance of better teaching and greater parental responsibility in the home.  Much of what we do organizationally, then, is scaffolding, as we seek to build the individual, and we must not mistake the scaffolding for the soul.

Now may I just say this: I was with one of the brethren who formerly presided over the Swedish Mission.  He told me about being on a ship that was going out among the various islands into the open sea.  As the ship was being steered near one particularly unimpressive island, he wondered why it wasn’t steered past another island.  Finally he noticed ahead what appeared to be broomsticks sticking up; these sticks were attached to bouys, to guide the ship through safe channels.  Engineers had discovered the safe places.

God’s engineers have charted the course ahead of us.  Now our critics (and we expect we will have some; usually they are those without knowledge or with little or no vision) will wonder why we didn’t take some other course to meet the problem.  This reminds me of the saying: ‘A man is usually down on what he ain’t up on.’  We suppose we will have more and more of that.

The Lord’s chosen leaders have signaled us now to move forward.  When Moses went to lead the children of Israel out into the desert, it was not the Moses who had fled for his life; it was not the Moses who had climbed the mount with fear; but it was the Moses endowed by the power of Almighty God.  When he lifted his staff and signaled, the whole company moved forward.  We must not lose ourselves in the mechanics of leadership and neglect the spiritual.  ‘If you eye be single to my glory,’ the Lord said, ‘your whole body shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you.’  (D&C 88:67.)

Evidence of improved leadership will bring more consistent study of the scriptures, greater concern of the holders of the priesthood in watching over the Church, more devotion to family duties, more of our young people married worthily in the temple, greater faith and righteous exercise of the priesthood, and so on.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said as he wrote from Liberty Jail:

Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.

You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small help in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.  (D&C 123:15-17.)”

(Harold B. Lee, 30 Sep., 1967; CR Oct., 1967, pp. 98-108)

Nov.:  AP quorum presidencies should hold weekly meetings.

“The presidency of the deacons and teachers quorums should meet separately each week with their respective quorum advisers to consider quorum business.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 3(5):4, Nov./Dec., 1967)