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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1972

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1972.” You can view other years here.

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1972:  Feb.:  70s ordination procedures.

“Under the new simplified procedures for ordaining seventies, those involved should adhere to the following:

1. The stake president submits to the First Council of the Seventy the form entitled Ordination of Seventies, form S-1, 1971, which names the additional brethren needed to do the missionary work in the stake.

2. Approval to interview is then given by the First Council of the Seventy to the stake president.

3. The stake president then interviews the candidates, using the form Recommendation for Conferring the Melchizedek Priesthood and Ordaining to Offices Therein, form 1830.  All approvals, signatures, and sustaining votes should be obtained on the same basis as applies to the ordination of elders and high priests.

4. These last-mentioned forms may then be forwarded to the First Council of the Seventy, who will arrange to have the ordinations performed either on a special occasion or at a stake conference.  Or the forms may be held in the stake and submitted to the next visiting General Authority who is authorized to ordain seventies.  Or they must be given to the brethren concerned in those cases where they are coming to the office of the First Council of the Seventy to be ordained.

5. When ordinations are performed in the stake, the stake clerk should make all necessary entries in stake records and transmit the necessary data to the wards on the same basis as applies to the ordination of elders and high priests.

6. Also when ordinations are performed in the stake, the forms, with complete ordination data entered, should be transmitted to the First Council of the Seventy so that proper certificates of ordination can be made out and sent directly to the individuals concerned.

7. When ordinations are performed in the office of the First Council of the Seventy or otherwise away from the home stake, the First Council of the Seventy will send the certificates of ordination to the brethren concerned and will return the ordination form to the stake clerk so that proper entries can be made in ward and stake records.”

(“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 8(1):3, Feb., 1972)

9 Apr.:  Responsibilities of HP, 70, Elder.

“Standing in their responsibility, the high priests in the Church today have the overall priesthood responsibility to do genealogical research and perform temple ordinances.  Through the priesthood they are to see to it that everyone in the Church, in proper time and order, saves his kindred dead. . . .

The seventy are to stand in their own office and labor in their own calling, which is priesthood missionary work.  The seventy, as missionaries, are specialists in teaching.  As members, our strength is in finding and fellowshiping.  United we form a productive team to carry the message of the restoration to all of our Father’s children.

Elders standing in their office and calling have a place in welfare work.  However, they share a major responsibility for the perfecting of the Saints through priesthood home teaching.  The president of the elders quorum has the unique calling to administer the gospel to more people in the ward than anyone else except the bishop.”  (A. Theodore Tuttle, 9 Apr., 1972; CR Apr., 1972, pp. 149-150)

26 May:  Conversion of Student Wards to Student Branches.

“At a recent meeting of the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, it was decided that all existing student wards be converted into student branches.  The principal reason for this change is that the activities conducted in these Church units more nearly correspond with the activities carried on in branches.  Also, this change will make it possible to call young students to serve as branch presidents or as counselors in branch presidencies without the necessity of ordaining them high priests.  Under the present ward structure, bishop’s counselors must be ordained high priests.  When this occurs with young men who are attending school, it prevents them from later giving needed strength and leadership in elders and seventies quorums in the stakes where they settle permanently.  It also sometimes creates social dislocation where these young men are members of high priests quorums where the age level is much higher than in elders or seventies quorums.

This change in ward structure will require no change in the stake structure of student stake organizations.

It will not be necessary for brethren who are now serving as bishops of student wards to be set apart again as presidents of student branches.  This applies also to the incumbent counselors to bishops of student wards who merely become counselors to branch presidents and to the other officers of student wards who will continuie to serve in the same capacities within the student branches.

Hereafter brethren called to serve as the presidents of student branches will be set apart as branch presidents and will not, of course, be ordained bishops.

In announcing this change, we emphasize that it does not in any sense represent a change in the status of these student units or of their officers and members, nor does it indicate an intention to restrict the emphasis to be given to them.  The change has been made only for the reasons given.

. . . .

Since this change is essentially a change in form and not in substance, we desire that brethren nominated in the future to serve as branch presidents of student branches be recommended on the forms provided for the recommendation of bishops.  These recommendations will be processed and a branch president of a student branch should not, therefore, be formally called and set apart until specific authorization is received from the First Presidency.  Furthermore, wherever possible, student branch presidents will be set apart by one of the General Authorities.

This variation with respect to the calling and setting apart of the presidents of student branches will effect no change in the prescribed procedure for the calling and setting apart of the presidents of nonstudent branches.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 26 May, 1972; xerox)

Jun.:  Abortion.

“The following statement explains and elaborates the article on abortion which appeared in the Priesthood Bulletin, February 1971:

The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother.  Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.

As the matter stands today, no definite statement has been made by the Lord one way or another regarding the crime of abortion.  So far as is known, he has not listed it alongside the crime of the unpardonable sin and shedding of innocent human blood.  That he has not done so would suggest that it is not in that class of crime and therefore that it will be amenable to the laws of repentance and forgiveness.

These observations must not be interpreted to mean that acts of abortion, except under circumstances explained in a preceding paragraph, are not of a serious nature.  To tamper or interfere with any of the processes in the procreation of offspring is to violate one of the most sacred of God’s commandments–to multiply and replenish the earth.  Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightening evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality.

Members of the Church guilty of being parties to the sin of abortion must be subjected to the disciplinary action of the councils of the Church as circumstances warrant.  In dealing with this serious matter it would be well to keep in mind the word of the Lord stated in the 59th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 6: ‘Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.'”

(“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 8(3):2-3, Jun., 1972)

Jun.:  Penalty for incest.

“The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have determined that the penalty for incest shall be excommunication.  Also, one excommunicated for incest shall not be baptized again into the Church without the written permission of the First Presidency.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 8(3):3, Jun., 1972)

Jun.:  Who presides when HC visits MP quorums?

“The question has been asked, Who presides when a high councilor visits an elders’ quorum?  A high councilor does not take away the presiding right of the elders’ quorum president.  If he is there by appointment of the stake presidency, he should be so recognized.  The minutes should record that the visiting high councilor representing the stake presidency was in attendance.  This would recognize the position of both the elders’ quorum president and the visiting high councilor.  High councilors assigned to work with the leadership of elders’ quorums should understand that their role is one of teaching and counseling rather than assuming any responsibility to direct quorum affairs.

The foregoing policy applies to groups of high priests, to quorums, units, and groups of seventy, and to groups of elders.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 8(3):4, Jun., 1972)

Aug.:  Handling moral transgressors.

“There is a growing laxity among local Church leaders in taking disciplinary action against transgressors guilty of sexual sin.  Stake presidents and bishops should take action appropriate to the circumstances in any case, but certainly should do so in the case of members who are guilty of flagrant and repeated sex violations.  The Lord has made it plain that adultery is one of the most serious sins a person can commit.  Other sexual transgressions similar to adultery are equally repugnant.  The Lord has made it clear that leaders who fail to take appropriate action, where necessary, in handling transgressors must bear the unhappy consequences which result from the lack of proper discipline.

Often, a person who has committed one of these grievous sins can only repent when he has been disciplined by a priesthood court.  All brethren exercising the judicial power of the priesthood should make certain that they are not derelict in taking formal action against transgressing members where the circumstances clearly indicate the need to do so.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 8(4):1-2, Aug., 1972)

11 Oct.:  Lowering of age for Elder to 18.

“We call your attention to the following statement of policy pertaining to the ordination of young men to the Melchizedek Priesthood which was recently adopted by the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve:

At the age of 18, Aaronic Priesthood bearers may be ordained to the office of an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood or transferred to the prospective elders program.  If, in the judgment of the bishop, qualifying circumstances such as date of graduation from high school, individual maturation, or peer group association seem ton indicate a need for postponement, a young man may remain in the priests quorum until such circunstances change, or until the young man is 19.”

(First Presidency Circular Letter, 11 Oct., 1972; xerox)

Oct.:  Elders may be ordained at age 18.

“At the age of eighteen, Aaronic Priesthood bearers may be ordained to the office of an elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood or transferred to the prospective elders program.  If, in the judgment of the bishop, such qualifying circumstances as date of graduation from high school, individual maturation, or peer group association seem to indicate a need for a postponement, a young man may remain in the priests quorum until such circumstances change, or until the young man becomes nineteen.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 8(5):1, Oct., 1972)

Dec.:  Judicial proceedings in independent branches.

“Attention is called to the following instruction which appeared as item 2 in the August 1970 Priesthood Bulletin.

The General Handbook of Instructions gives information on holding bishops’ courts but no provision is mentioned for handling transgressors in independent branches.  All transgressions of a nature serious enough to be delt with in a Church court that originate in an independent branch of a stake are to be referred by the branch president to the high council court, which court will take original jurisdiction in the case.

This instruction is hereby broadened as follows.

1. Transgressions originating in an independent branch of a mission that are serious enough to be dealt with in a Church court are to be referred to the mission president, who will take original jurisdiction and convene an elders court.

2. The president of a student branch has the authority to convene an elders court and to try a member for any serious transgression, provided that his stake president gives approval and elects not to take original jurisdiction by convening a high council court.  Such an elders court convened by a student branch president has the authority to impose only the penalties that could be imposed by a bishops court.  If the transgressor has his pink membership in the branch, the branch president should notify the home ward bishop of what is being done and of any penalties imposed.”

(“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 8(6):1-2, Dec., 1972)

Dec.:  “Personal Priesthood Interview.”

“Effective immediately, the title Personal Priesthood Interview will replace Priesthood Home Teaching Evaluation (oral evaluation).  Church handbooks and manuals will be changed to reflect this new title as they are reprinted.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 8(6):3, Dec., 1972)

Dec.:  Priesthood MIA programs.

“On November 9, the First Presidency announced the creation of two priesthood-oriented MIA programs:  Aaronic Priesthood Mutual Improvement Association and Melchizedek Priesthood Mutual Interest Association.  The new general leaders of these programs are planing and preparing specific additional instructions for stake and ward priesthood leaders regarding the new programs.  Pending receipt of further instructions, stake and ward leaders are to continue all present programs as they were before the announced change.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 8(6):3-4, Dec., 1972)

Priesthood Fellowship[p]ing Handbook.

“Fellowshiping is a process that relates to all Church programs and organizations.

Any effort that results in a person’s becoming actively involved in satisfying, contributing participation in any phase of Church membership can accurately be described as fellowshiping. . . .

This handbook identifies many responsibilities assigned to members of the Church who have a contribution to make to successful fellowshiping.  It provides general guidelines for fellowshiping activities on a number of levels.


Regional Representative of the Twelve

1. As assigned by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, the Regional Representative of the Twelve, through semiannual and interim regional meetings and in personal evaluations with the stake president, trains and motivates stake presidents to meet their fellowshiping responsibilities.

2. He encourages stake presidents to set goals for greater membership activity and participation through projects designed to increase a spirit of fellowshiping within the stake and its units.

3. He is alert to successful fellowshiping activities throughout the Church which can be encouraged and implemented in the stakes to which he is assigned.

Stake President

The stake president–

1. Is responsible for the home teaching program, including fellowshiping activities in the stake and in the wards and branches of the stake.  He is responsible for training and inspiring Melchizedek Priesthood leaders, bishops, and stake auxiliary leaders on matters pertaining to fellowshiping through the stake priesthood executive committee, the stake council, and in home teaching evaluations with bishops.

2. Encourages the stake membership to engage in effective fellowshiping activities.

3. Assigns to the stake executive secretary, because of his assignment in home teaching, the responsibility for monitoring and reporting on fellowshiping activities within the stake.

4. Encourages Melchizedek Priesthood quorum leaders, stake auxiliary leaders, and bishops to set goals for achieving better fellowshiping activities.  Reviews these goals in evaluation sessions and in the stake executive committee and stake council meetings.

5. Evaluates the effectiveness of the fellowshiping activities within the stake by reviewing the correlated reports, with the assistance of the executive secretary, and through the home teaching evaluation with the bishops.

6. Fosters and promotes regular social and cultural activities on a stake level that have a fellowshiping emphasis.

Stake Priesthood Executive Secretary

The stake priesthood executive secretary–

1. Must keep the stake president informed on fellowshiping activities, projects, and possibilities on a stake level, and by assignment from the stake president and in cooperation with the bishops, he may train and assist the ward executive secretaries in this same responsibility.

2. Has a particular interest in fellowshiping activities that affect members of the Church as distinguished from people who are being proselyted by missionaries, especially as these activities relate to home teaching.

3. Provides for discussion and review of fellowshiping needs and activities on a stake level by preparing agenda for stake priesthood executive committee meetings and stake council meetings.

4. Keeps the stake president apprised of the status of the Gospel Essentials class in each ward.

5. Keeps the stake president informed of matters in correlated reports that have a bearing upon fellowshiping, such as priesthood advancements for new members, reactivation of priesthood members, and reenlistment activities in the auxiliary programs.

High Council Representative to the Ward

The high council representative to the ward–

1. Shares the responsibility for planning and implementing fellowshiping under the direction of the stake presidency.

2. Encourages the ward to hold an effective Gospel Essentials class.

High Council Representative to the Stake Mission

The high council representative to the stake mission–

1. Represents the stake presidency in correlation of missionary work and fellowshiping of prospective members on the stake level.  Correlates with the stake executive secretary on activities that have fellowshiping value for members and prospective members of the Church.

2. Has a knowledge of the missionary program and its relationship to fellowshiping activities.

Stake Mission President

The stake mission president–

1. Organizes and directs all seventies and other stake missionaries within the stake in connection with the fellowshiping of prospective Church members.

2. Informs the stake priesthood executive committee on fellowshiping activities related to missionary work, as invited by the stake president.

3. Makes a monthly report to the stake president on fellowshiping activities for prospective members in the stake.


The bishop–

1. Makes certain that home teachers are assigned immediately to all newly converted members of the Church and to those who move into the ward from other areas.  (It is recommended that home teachers be assigned to prospective members in advance of their baptism in order that the home teachers may be present at the baptism after having given help where necessary in the prepatism fellowshiping.)

2. Makes home visits to all new members of the ward as soon as possible after their transfer to his ward area.

3. Cooperates with missionaries in arranging for an introduction to the bishop for all prospective new members before their baptism.  (This is not to be an interview to determine worthiness for baptism, which responsibility rests with the missionaries.)

4. He consults with full-time missionaries and ward mission leader to receive progress reports on all investigators within the ward whom the missionaries are teaching.  These reports should be received weekly from the ward mission leader in the priesthood executive committee meeting.

5. Arranges for newly converted male members of the appropriate age to receive ordination to a priesthood office soon after baptism and confirmation.

6. Expedites the transfer of membership records of those who move from the ward and those who enter the ward area.

7. Provides service opportunities and callings for all new members of the ward commensurate with their abilities.

8. Sets objectives for fellowshiping and reactivation projects with priesthood and auxiliary leaders in the ward.  He gives sustained follow-up through a careful analysis of the correlated reports and through his home teaching evaluation with priesthood leaders.  Reviews these objectives and the progress toward their achievement in ward priesthood executive committee and ward council meetings, utilizing the services of the ward executive secretary to assist in this area.

9. Reviews the Checklist of Fellowshiping Experiences for New Members in home teaching evaluations with priesthood leaders regarding new members of the Church.  (See p. 13.)

10. Ensures that the Gospel Essentials class is being conducted in his ward and that all who should attend receive an invitation.

11. Calls a competent instructor, preferably a seventy, to teach the Gospel Essentials Class.

Ward Priesthood Executive Secretary

The ward priesthood executive secretary–

1. Keeps the bishop informed of fellowshiping activities, projects, and opportunities on a ward level.  He assists the bishop by carefully reviewing the correlated reports and by keeping informed on all aspects of the fellowshiping work so that he can advise the bishop on these matters.

2. By assignment from the bishop, he consults with the ward mission leader on fellowshiping activities in the ward that have value for prospective members of the Church and for those members who are being helped into renewed activity in the Church programs.

3. As assigned by the bishop, he effectively coordinates all fellowshiping activities of the organizations within the ward, keeping the members alert to special fellowshiping opportunities such as ward socials, cultural events, and sports activities.  In this assignment he has the responsibility for assisting the bishop in training and inspiring all ward leaders and members to develop and maintain a fellowshiping spirit and to carry out an effective program of fellowshiping activities.

Melchizedek Priesthood Quorum Presidents and Group Leaders

Melchizedek priesthood quorum presidents and group leaders–

1. Recommend to the bishop the home teachers to be assigned to the new families who enter the quorum.

2. Make home visits to all new quorum members as they enter the quorum or group in order to become acquainted with them and to make them feel welcome.  (It would be well for the quorum president or group leader to accompany the home teachers on their first visit to the home of a new quorum member, so that the priesthood leader can introduce the home teachers and explain the nature of their assignment to the quorum member and his family.)

3. Make occasional home visits to inactive quorum members, encouraging them to participate in the activities of the quorum and strengthening them through individual counsel.  This would be supplementary to and in coordination with the visits made by home teachers.

4. Arrange regular, appropriate social activities for quorum members and their families to generate a spirit of friendship and unity within the quorum.

5. Analyze special needs of quorum members during evaluation with home teachers and assist home teachers to outline measures for maintaining full participation and well-being of quorum members.

6. Report to the bishop on the status and needs of quorum members during home teaching evaluation with the bishop.

7. Make certain that all new quorum members are properly introduced in general priesthood meetings and in quorum or group meetings.

Ward Mission Leader

The ward mission leader–

1. Trains and assists missionaries living in the ward in fellowshiping activities related to proselyting.

2. Reports in weekly ward priesthood executive committee meeting on all fellowshiping activities related to missionary work.  (See Priesthood Missionary Handbook for Stake Missions, p. 8.)

3. Instructs and inspires other priesthood leaders, home teachers, and auxiliary leaders in fellowshiping activities connected with proselyting, as invited by the bishop.  (See Priesthood Missionary Handbook for Stake Missions, p. 9.)

4. Meets with ward council, as invited by the bishop, to give encouragement and suggestions with respect to fellowshiping of prospective members.

5. Plans and helps to conduct open houses and other special proselyting and fellowshiping activities related to missionary work in the ward.  He coordinates the use by ward members of visitors centers within his area for fellowshiping both before and after baptism.

Special Responsibilities of the Elders Quorum President or Group Leader

The elders quorum president or group leader–

1. Recommends to the bishop those prospective elders who should be advanced in the priesthood, and those who need service opportunities and assignments.

2. Ensures that all newly baptized adult male members are introduced properly in ward priesthood meetings and in their respective quorums.  This should also be done for adult male members moving into the ward who are unordained or who hold the Aaronic Priesthood.

3. Carefully evaluates individual and family needs during the monthly home teacher evaluation with the home teachers under his supervision and ensures proper follow-up.

4. Supplies copies of the Checklist of Fellowshiping Experiences for New Members to home teachers who are assigned to families of new adult male members of the Church.  He instructs home teachers in this part of the fellowshiping responsibility, and helps to evaluate the progres of new members by referring to this checklist during the home teacher evaluation.  (See p. 9.)

Priesthood Home Teachers

The priesthood home teachers–

1. Call upon new families immediately to become acquainted and to help them feel welcome in the ward.

2. Attend baptismal services for those prospective members to whom they have been assigned as home teachers.  They also assist in prebaptismal fellowshiping as directed by the bishop in cooperation with the ward mission leader.

3. Make certain that newly baptized adult members are enrolled in the Gospel Essentials class in Sunday School.

4. Cooperate closely with priesthood quorum and group leaders and auxiliary leaders and teachers to formulate and carry out special fellowshiping efforts in behalf of nonparticipating members in the families to whom the home teachers are assigned.

5. Give a careful evaluation of the fellowshiping needs of their families during the home teacher evaluation with the priesthood leader, and make other confidential reports as circumstances may dictate.

6. Check to see that all families assigned to them are notified of and invited to all special ward and stake activities such as dances, parties, road shows, and sports events.  This will probably require that the home teachers keep a ward and stake calendar for special activities.

7. Follow up to see that new members of the Church have all of the experiences outlined for them in the Checklist of Fellowshiping Experiences for New Members.  (See page 9.)

[Also includes instructions for missionaries, stake auxiliary leaders, ward and branch auxiliary leaders.]

(“Priesthood Fellowshiping Handbook,” Corporation of the President, 1972)

New responsibility for Prospective Elders.

“As a Melchizedek Priesthood leader, you are accountable for the spiritual and the temporal well-being of each elder and his family in your quorum or group.  Your rsponsibilities have now been expanded to include all prospective elders and their families.

Prospective elders include all adult men in the Church, nineteen years of age and older, who hold the Aaronic Priesthood or who are unordained.”  (“Preside . . . Sit in Council . . . and Teach by the Spirit–Suggestions for Elders Quorum Presidencies and Group Leaders,” Corporation of the President, 1972; p. 1)

EQP to have quarterly interview with Stake President.

“The stake president will schedule an evaluation with you at least quarterly.”  (“Preside . . . Sit in Council . . . and Teach by the Spirit–Suggestions for Elders Quorum Presidencies and Group Leaders,” Corporation of the President, 1972; p. 3)

EQP to have monthly interview with Bishop.

“Your bishop will be a valuable source of assistance in determining the individual needs of specific elders and prospective elders and their families, and in conveying information and instructions as appropriate to you.  The bishop meets with you weekly in priesthood executive committee meeting, and monthly in ward council meeting.  He will also meet with you monthly for home teaching evaluations.”  (“Preside . . . Sit in Council . . . and Teach by the Spirit–Suggestions for Elders Quorum Presidencies and Group Leaders,” Corporation of the President, 1972; p. 4)

Use of HP, 70s, PE in home teaching.

“You are responsible, under the direction of the bishopric or branch presidency, for home teaching prospective elder families.  You should call prospective elders to assist in home teaching.  If too few elders and prospective elders are available. your bishopric may call high priests and seventies to assist.  However, all home teachers who visit the families of elders and prospective elders should report in a monthly evaluation to a member of the elders quorum presidency or with the group leader or assistant (or secretary when designated).”  (“Preside . . . Sit in Council . . . and Teach by the Spirit–Suggestions for Elders Quorum Presidencies and Group Leaders,” Corporation of the President, 1972; p. 9)