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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1981

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1981.” You can view other years here.

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1981:  4 Apr.:  The overriding will and wisdom of God.

“I think I should like to say a few words this afternoon about the recently discovered transcript of a blessing, reported to have been given January 17, 1844, by Joseph Smith to his eleven-year-old son.  This has received much attention in the media of late. . . .

I do not wish to open old discussions, but for those who may feel that the document casts a cloud on the principle of transfer of authority through the Council of the Twelve Apostles, I desire to review briefly a few facts concerning the document and the history of the period to which it is related, and then conclude with some observations that arise out of the circumstances.

First, it should be said that the document is a transcript of a blessing.  It is not a record of ordination to an office.  As a matter of fact, the recipient of the blessing, Joseph Smith III, himself testified in 1893, in the U.S. Circuit Court in Kansas City:

I did not state that I was ordained by my father: I did not make that statement.  I was not ordained by my father as his successor: according to my understand of the word ordain, I was not.  I was blessed by him and designated, well in a sense chosen . . .

It should be noted further that at various times Joseph Smith had indicated a number of men or groups of men who might possibly succeed him.  These included his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, his son Joseph III, even his yet unborn son David; and, most importantly, on a number of occasions, the Council of the Twelve Apostles.

Nor was it unusual for fathers to give their sons blessings of this kind.  Orson Pratt, an Apostle, similarly blessed his son in a spirit of hopefulness that he would rise to leadership.  Brigham Young and others similarly blessed their sons.

We in the Church recognize that the fulfillment of all blessings given under authority of the priesthood is conditioned upon two things: one, the worthiness and faithfulness of the recipient, and, two, the overriding will and wisdom of God.”  (Gordon B. Hinckley, 4 Apr., 1981; CR Apr., 1981, pp. 24-25)

Apr.:  Youth interviews by bishopric.

“A member of the bishopric should interview Aaronic Priesthood-age young men and young women of corresponding ages at least every six months.  Bishops should interview every young man or young woman on their birthday, and priest-age young men and young women of corresponding ages at least every six months.  Bishops’ counselors should interview teachers, deacons, and young women of corresponding ages six months after their birthday.

During these interviews, the bishopric members should determine, among other things, that young men and young women are being taught the gospel and are developing a close, personal relationship with the Savior.  Only the bishop should discuss moral cleanliness, including chastity.  All members of the bishopric should emphasize Christian service, missionary preparation, preparation for temple endowment and marriage, and attendance at meetings.”  (“Bulletin,” No. 10, Apr., 1981)

Jul.:  Priesthood leader may know tithing status.

“Bishops and branch presidents occasionally are asked for information on the membership or financial contributions of members living in their units.  Such information from Church records is confidential.  A bishop or branch president is not to release it except in the following cases:

. . . .

Tithing and Contribution Information

a. A member asking for information from his own record.

b. A priesthood leader asking for the tithing status (that is, full, part, or exempt) of a member within his jurisdiction (see General Handbook of Instructions, no. 21, p. 93.)”

(“Bulletin,” No. 13, Jul., 1981)

Aug.:  Monthly home teaching messages.

“A letter from President Ezra Taft Benson dated 1 December 1980 stated the following:

We suggest that the First Presidency Message carried in the Ensign magazine be considered for use as a monthly home teaching message.

Home teachers may present a First Presidency message to their families at any appropriate time after it appears in the Ensign, as instructed by their priesthood leaders.  These messages need not be presented throughout the Church in the same month as they are printed in the Ensign.  They are not out of date if presented later.”  (“Bulletin,” No. 14, Aug., 1981)

Sep.:  Training for MP quorum leaders.

“Stake presidencies and high councilors serving on the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee are responsible to train Melchizedek Priesthood quorum and group leaders.  New quorum leaders should be trained carefully at the time they are called, and all quorum leaders should receive regular in-service training throughout their term of service.  Stake presidencies and high councilors assigned to quorums should also provide individual guidance and encouragement through regular personal priesthood interviews and personal visits.

Initial training should include instruction in selecting counselors, secretaries, instructors, and committee chairmen; preparing for quorum and presidency meetings; basic duties and principles of quorum leadership and administration; and dealing with other immediate demands of the first two to four weeks.

In-service training should be part of stake priesthood leadership meetings and meetings of the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee when quorum leaders are invited.  It should include counsel regarding home teaching, quorum administration and instruction, activation, and single adults, and the missionary, genealogy, and welfare programs.  Personal priesthood interviews and personal visits to quorum or presidency meetings also provide valuable in-service training opportunities.

The basic training resources include the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook and other approved guidelines and manuals.”  (“Bulletin,” No. 15, Sep., 1981)