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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1983

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1983.” You can view other years here.

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1983:  May:  Use of HP and 70 to assist elders with HT.

“The Guidelines for Priesthood Home Teaching published in May 1908 include the folloing important instructions:

Each inactive Melchizedek Priesthood bearer and prospective elder and their families should be assigned to the quorum or group that can provide the most effective fellowshipping and teaching.  Where there is a need, high priests and seventies may be assigned to teach prospective and inactive elders.  In such instances fellowshipping may occur for these brethren in the priesthood quorum or group to which they are assigned for home teaching purposes.  Home teachers will report to their own quorum presidencies or group leaders.

Where the bishopric assigns such brethren to a quiorum or group other than the one that correlates with the priesthood they hold, the new quorum or group should–

a. Take responsibility for home teaching the brother and his family.  Home teachers report their activities to the leadership of their own quorum or group.

b. Invite the brother and his family to the socials and other fellowshipping activities of the new quorum or group.

c. Invite the brother to attend the meetings of the new quorum or group.”

(“Bulletin,” No. 35, May, 1983)

Aug.:  PPIs with home teachers.

“The personal priesthood interview is a private interview conducted between the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum leader and the home teacher.  The purposes of this interview are to:

1. Report the activities of the home teachers with their assigned families, including the visits made to the families.

2. Consider the needs of assigned families, set goals, and plan activities or contacts to provide needed encouragement and assistance.

3. Motivate, inspire, and train home teachers.

When properly conducted, the personal priesthood interview can be a powerful tool for accomplishing the Lord’s work.  Quorum leaders can strengthen their interviews and home teaching in general by:

1. Conducting interviews regularly.

2. Conducting interviews in a private setting where the needs of families can be discussed and prayer can be offered.

3. Teaching home teachers the importance of having the Ensign in their home and using it to present the First Presidency messsage to their families.  Special messages from the quorum leader or bishop or one requested by the father or head of household are also appropriate.

4. Teaching home teachers to work through and consult with the father or head of household regarding family needs and ways in which they can be most helpful.

5. Using the interview to obtain information that will enable the quorum presidency to organize the resources of the quorum to meet needs of families.

6. Using the suggested report forms in the interview.”

(“Bulletin,” No. 38, Aug., 1983)

Oct.:  Helping disfellowshipped/excommunicated members.

“Stake presidents and bishops should review section 8, ‘The Church Judicial System,’ of the General Handbook of Instructions, 1983.  The subsection titled ‘Fellowshipping’ contains instructions on helping disfellowshippped members and excommunicants.  A review of this instruction will remind local leaders that the objective of Church courts is not to keep anyone out of the church, but to help the disciplined repent and return to full fellowship.

The time just after an individual has been disfellowshipped or excommunicated is critical and difficult for him or her and, equally important, for members of his or her family.  During this time, leaders as well as Church members should be especially patient and sensitive to the needs of those involved.  Leaders as well as members should seek constant guidance from the Holy Spirit in assisting and encouraging those who have been disciplined, their companions, and their families.  They may have a greater need for sustained love and considerate attention than at any other time.  Such genuine concern can give them hope, a great incentive to repentance, and can assure them that they have not been abandoned.

Stake presidents and bishops are to consider the status regularly of those who have been disciplined and be sure everything possible is being done to help them regain the full blessings of the gospel.”  (“Bulletin,” No. 40, Oct., 1983)

Nov.:  Strengthening quorum members.

“The Lord gave instruction in the revelations that holders of the priesthood should be organized by quorums.  The Presidency of the quorum is responsible for the activity of each quorum member.  Home teaching, wherein quorum members ‘visit the house of each member’ (D&C 20:51), is one of the most effective means by which the members of the quorum are cared for and strengthened.

The bishop, as presiding high priest and chairman of the ward priesthood executive committee, which is the home teaching committee, in consultation with Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidents and group leaders, should assign families for home teaching purposes to quorums and groups.  Generally, members will receive home teachers from their own quorums.  However, where there is a special need, inactive Melchizedek Priesthood bearers and prospective elders and their families may be assigned to the quorum or gropu that can provide the most effective fellowshipping and teaching.  Home teachers will report to their own quorum presidencies or group leaders.  [NOTE THE DEPARTURE FROM EARLIER GUIDELINES, WHICH STATED THAT SEVENTIES AND HIGH PRIESTS WOULD REPORT TO THE QUORUM OF THE ASSIGNED FAMILY, I.E., ELDERS QUORUM.]

Brethren who have special talents in teaching the inactive should be assigned by the bishop as home teachers to selected inactive families.  When those families are brought into activity, the teachers may then be assigned to work with other inactive families.

When an inactive elder or prospective elder who has been assigned to the high priests is brought to priesthood meeting by his home teacher, he may attend the high priests or seventies group or the elders quorum depending upon his needs.  The bishop makes this decision in consultation with the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum and group leaders.

When it is appropriate for a prospective elder to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, he should be ordained an elder and then become a member of the elders quorum.  Age is not the determining factor for Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations of these brethren.  Men are ordained to offices of the priesthood when their calling requires it and by inspiration and according to their worthiness.”  (“Bulletin,” No. 1, Nov., 1983)

Dec.:  Changes in 1983 GHI.

“In order to bring your General Handbook of Instructions, 1983, up to date, please make the following corrections as indicated:

. . . .

P. 19, right column, under ‘Singles Wards.’  Add the word married to the first sentence to make it read ‘Bishops called to preside over singles wards should be mature, married, permanent residents of the community.’  Change the second sentence, ‘Their counselors normally will be single adults,’ to read ‘Their counselors should generally be married men and should be ordained high priests.’

P. 20, opposite the office ‘Stake patriarch,’ under the column ‘Called and Set Apart.’  Delete the words ‘and set apart’ to make the entry read ‘Ordained by a General Authority or by stake president when authorized by the Council of the Twelve.’

. . . .

P. 21, opposite the office ‘Presidents of seventies quorums,’ under the column ‘Called and Set Apart.’  Change the entry to read ‘By stake president.’

P. 21, opposite the office ‘Elders quorum president,’ under the column ‘Called and Set Apart.’  Change the entry to read ‘By stake president.’

P. 35, right column, last sentence under title ‘To Converts.’  Add the clause ‘who is not over twenty-one’ to make the sentence read ‘However, a worthy member may perform proxy baptisms and confirmations for the dead, and a kworthy single member who is not over twenty-one may be sealed to his parents without waiting one year.'”

(“Bulletin,” No. 2, Dec., 1983)

Offices deleted in GHI-1983.

The offices of Patriarch to the Church and Assistant to the Twelve are no longer mentioned in GHI-1983.

PPI with stake presidency and quorum presidents quarterly.

“The duties of the stake president and his counselors, as assigned, include–

. . . .

7. Holding a personal priesthood interview with each bishop and Melchizedek Priesthood quorum president and group leader at least quarterly.”

(General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 2)

Justification for Alternate High Councilors.

“Stake presidents may call alternate high councilors when there are more than twelve units in the stake and it is necessary to assign one high councilor to each ward and branch.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 2)

High Council to meet twice a month.

“The stake presidency and high council meet regularly (twice monthly, where feasible), with the stake president presiding and conducting, to consider stake priesthood and auxiliary matters.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 7)

High Priest quorum to meet annually.

“Under the direction of the quorum president (who is the stake president), all high priests in the quorum meet annually to transact quorum business and receive instruction in priesthood duties.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 8)

Ward PEC now to meet twice a month.

“The ward priesthood executive committee meets at least twice each month; the bishop presides and conducts.”  [Earlier GHI said weekly.]  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 9)

Stake Pres. nominated by any assigned GA.

The Stake President may now be nominated by any designated General Authority; previous GHI said First Presidency and Quorum of 12.  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 20)

No specific time requirement for ordination to MP.

“Recently baptized adult male members may be ordained to the office of elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood after they have served as priests and have demonstrated their worthiness.  No specific time as a member is required.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 28)

If a non-member father INSISTS on holding his child.

“Usually, only those who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood should participate in the blessing of children.  However, if a father, whether he is a member or not, insists on holding his child while the child receives the blessing, he may do so.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 30)

Format for blessing a child.

“To name and bless a child–

1. Take the child in your arms or, if the child is older, place your hands on his head.

2. Address our Heavenly Father as in prayer.

3. State that the ordinance is being performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

4. Give the child a name.

5. Add such words of blessing as the Spirit dictates.

6. Close in the name of Jesus Christ.”

(General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 31)

Format for performing a baptism.

“To perform a baptism–

1. Stand in the water with the person to be baptized.

2. Hold the person’s right wrist in your left hand; have him hold your left wrist with his left hand and hold his nose with his right hand.

3. Raise your right arm to the square.

4. Call the person by his full name and say the baptismal prayer (D&C 20:73).

5. Place your right hand high on the person’s back and immerse him completely.

6. Help the person come up out of the water.”

(General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 31)

Baptism of those involved in abortions.

“A woman who has submitted to an abortion or a man who has encouraged, consented to, or arranged for an abortion may be baptized only if the stake or full-time mission president approves.  When considering requests for baptism from such persons, the president should be guided by Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, 68, and 69.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 31)

Baptism of convicted felons.

“Convicted felons who seek baptism, except those guilty of murder, should not be baptized until they complete their prison term and any parole or probation.  They should be encouraged to work closely with local priesthood leaders, and should do everything they can to become worthy of baptism.  Those who have been convicted of homicide cannot be baptized without permission from the First Presidency.  The application or request for permission must include all pertinent details.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 31)

Format for confirmation.

“To confirm a person as a member of the Church and bestow the Holy Ghost–

1. Place your hands on the person’s head.

2. Call him by his full name.

3. State that the ordinance is being performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

4. Confirm the person a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

5. Bestow the Holy Ghost, using such words as ‘Receive the Holy Ghost.’  Do not say ‘Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.’

6. Add such words of blessing as the Spirit dictates.

7. Close in the name of Jesus Christ.”

(General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 32)

Restoration of blessings for the dead.

“If an endowed, deceased person was excommunicated, a proxy baptism and a proxy restoration of the priesthood and the temple blessings must be performed.  If the deceased person was excommunicated for teaching or practicing polygamy, the First Presidency must give permission for his temple ordinances to be performed.

The Temple Department, under the direction of the First Presidency, oversees all restorations of blessings for the dead.  This department considers only the requests of family members and priesthood leaders.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 44)

Fraud added to judicial offenses.

“Church courts may be convened to consider–

. . . fraud . . .”

[All other listed offenses in GHI-1983 were in earlier editions.]  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p.51)

Deletion of circumstance for mandatory court action.

The category “The Spirit so directs,” was deleted from GHI-1983.  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 51)

Modification of statement on incest.

“Incest is an extremely serious transgression.  The term incest refers to sexual intercourse between a parent and a natural, adopted, or foster child or stepchild.  A grandparent is considered the same as a parent.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 52)

Modification of statement on abortion.

“Abortion is a most serious transgression.  Priesthood leaders should carefully review the circumstances of members involved in abortions to determine whether or not to bring them before a Church court.  Except in those cases where the life or health of the mother is at stake, or where the pregnancy resulted from forcible rape or incest, those who engage in abortions, or Church members who are doctors who perform abortions, may be brought before a Church court where the facts can be weighed.  Questions on difficult cases can be forwarded by local priesthood leaders to the Office of the First Presidency, setting forth the facts in detail.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 52)

Modification of statement on transsexual surgery.

“. . . A change in a member’s sex ordinarily justifies excommunication.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 53)

Voluntary withdrawal not to be labeled “excommunication.”

“If the member requested that his name be removed from the records of the Church and the court has granted his request, the written notice advising him of the Church court action should not use the word excommunication.  The notice should state that his request to have his name removed from the records of the Church has been granted.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 57)

“Exoneration” changed to “Take No Action.”

“When a Church court has been convened, the following decisions are possible:  take no action [was ‘exoneration’] . . .”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 58)

When to announce Church court action.

“The action of a Church court to disfellowship or excommunicate a member is announced only to those who need to know.  The following principles and procedures govern:

1. No announcement is made to anyone if an appeal is pending.

2. The bishop announces the action in the ward priesthood executive committee meeting in confidence to guide ward officers who might use the person in Church service.

3. The bishop advises the ward Relief Society president in confidence when a woman of Relief Society age is involved.

4. If a case infolves the preaching of false doctrine or other flagrant transgressions, such as plural marriage or cultist teachings to attract a following, then, with the approval of the stake president, the bishop announces the court action in the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum or group meetings.  In such cases the stake president also may need to make a groader announcement in a stake priesthood meeting or in a priesthood meeting of each ward in the stake, after the young men of Aaronic Priesthood age have been excused.

5. An announcement of a disfellowshipment or excommunication never requires a sustaining vote.

6. Decisions for probation are not announced.

7. An announcement shouild consist only of a general statement that the person named has been disfellowshipped or excommunicated for conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church, unless some special statement is considered advisable.

8. If a person’s name has been removed from the records of the Church in response to his request, any announcement should not include the word excommunication.  It merely should state that his name has been removed from the records of the Church at his request.

9. In unusual cases, ann announcement that a Church court was held but no action taken may be necessary to dispel rumors.

All proceedings of a Church court, except the official public announcement, are strictly confidential.  Presiding officers of courts must make certain that this principle is stressed to court members and is strictly obeyed.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 59)

Fellowshipping following Church court action.

“The time just after a person has been disfellowshipped or excommunicated by a Church court is difficult and critical for the person and for his family members.  During this time, priesthood leaders and other Church members should be patient and sensitive to the needs of those involved.  Stake presidents, bishops, quorum and Relief Society leaders, home teachers, visiting teachers, and other Church members should give special encouragement and assistance to all members of the family involved.

In addition, stake presidents and bishops should take the following steps to help rehabilitate the person involved and his family:

1. Assign mature, specially-called home teachers and visiting teachers (and in some cases couples) to the person who has been excommunicated or disfellowshipped.  These home and visiting teachers should contact the person and his family regularly and see that they receive the attention, counsel, and fellowship needed during this critical period of repentance and healing.  The spouse needs special attention and concern because he or she suffers great anguish and emotional trauma.

2. After action by a bishop’s court, the bishop should interview the person and, if necessary, the spouse periodically.  If the person moves, the bishop is to inform the new bishop so he can continue working with the person and his family.

3. After action by a high council court, the stake president should ask the person’s bishop to see that Melchizedek Priesthood holders fellowship the disciplined person.  They should inform the bishop of their progress.  The bishop will notify the stake president.  The stake president should interview the person and, if necessary, the spouse periodically.  If the person moves, the stake president is to inform the new stake president.

These steps will lend a strong supporting hand to individuals and families who need love and concern during a difficult time and will help them return to the fold.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; pp. 59-60)

Abortion probably a forgivable sin.

“As far as has been revealed, a person may repent and be forgiven for the sin of abortion.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, #22, 1983; p. 78)