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Joseph Musser in A Priesthood Issue cites his evidence

          Joseph Musser compiled what has become, unarguably, the greatest defense of the PRIESTHOOD organization ever penned: A Priesthood Issue.[2]  An earlier version appeared by Musser with J. Leslie Broadbent in 1934 entitled Priesthood Items.[3]  In that pamphlet Musser compiled almost every argument used by Mormon fundamentalists, even today, to support the teaching that "there is a Priesthood organization greater than that of the Church; and that Priesthood always has, can now and will continue to function aside from and independent of the Church,"[4] that there is a PRIESTHOOD[5] organization "above the Church, being God's power on earth."[6]  

In the chart below I have listed his evidences chronologically and then provided a response, which ca be accessed by simply clicking on the item.  Perhaps the greatest evidence against the idea of an external priesthood organization is the observation that they never seemed to have done anything for which there is a record.  There are no references to meeting in any journals.  There are no minutes from their gatherings.  If they existed and met together, it appears they did nothing or else they remembered everything, because not one scrap of paper has been yet identified to document such a group gathering or discussing an agenda. 

Evidences as Cited by Joseph Musser in A Priesthood Issue 

 Page

Year

Month

Reference

5

1829

June

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery are ordained Apostles. (D&C 27:12.)

12

 

 

Twelve are ordained "of" not "by" Jesus Christ. (D&C 18:29.)

22

1832

Feb

References to the "Church of the Firstborn." (D&C 76, 77, 78, 93, 107.)

13

 

 

Church of the Firstborn later organized at Kirtland. (JD 5:129.)

10

 

Sep

Lord refers to "Apostles, God's High Priests." (D&C 84:63.)

29

 

Nov

Lord may send one "mighty and strong" to set in order the House of God. (D&C 85:7.)

9,15

1835

Feb

12 Apostles chosen by Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris. (D&C 18:37, JD 6:29.)

13

 

Oct

12 Apostles to attend a solemn assembly of the first Elders in Missouri next season. (HC 2:287).

5,21 24,29

to 1852

 

Plural Marriage practiced without general church knowledge.

13

1836

Mar

9 men called "President" and experienced the Washing of the Feet one day prior to the 12 Apostles. (HC 2:430-431.)

18 

1837

Apr

Joseph Smith states revelations to come through the Presidency. (HC 2:477.)

14

 

Sep

Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith Sr. and Hyrum Smith called as Assistant Counselors. (HC 2:509.)

7,20

1841

Jan

Hyrum Smith called as Patriarch, to hold the "sealing blessings" of the church. (D&C 124:124.)

12

1842

May

Endowments given to James Adams, Hyrum Smith, Newell K. Whitney, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, William Law, William Marks and George Miller. (HC 5:1.) [Endowments I]

13

1843

May

Endowment group meets again. (HC 5:409.) [Endowments II]

20

 

July

Brigham Young teaches a prophet is accountable to God only. (HC 5:521.)

7

 

Aug

Joseph Smith preaches of "Patriarchal Priesthood." (HC 5:544.)

11

1844

 

Joseph Smith bestows keys, ordinances, and priesthood on the 12. (T&S 5:651.)

17

 

May

Brigham Young states, "the kingdom is organized." (HC 7:381-382.)

26

 

June

Brigham Young teaches that the priesthood may build up the Kingdom. (HC 7:235.)

26

 

 

Heber C. Kimball states that more than 30 men have authority higher than Sidney Rigdon. (T&S 5:667.)

27

 

Oct

Brigham Young states, "...there are keys that the written word never spoke of, nor never will." (T&S 5:667.)

10

1852

Apr

Brigham Young preaches that Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, were Apostles first. (JD 6:320.)

18

 

 

John Taylor writes that the priesthood and the 12 received their priesthood from Joseph Smith. (Government of God, pp -117.)

21

1853

Apr

Brigham Young teaches that prophet and president are different. (JD 1:133.)

23

 

 

Brigham Young writes that the Elders have attained only a portion of the Holy Priesthood. (MS 15:440.)

17

1855

July

Brigham Young teaches "The kingdom is organized..." (ref. ?)

10

1856

Dec

Wilford Woodruff uses the term "High Priest Apostle." (JD 4:147.)

15

1857

Oct

Brigham Young states he is an Apostle of Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ. (JD 5:296.)

8

1861

May

Brigham Young purportedly teaches of a Priesthood of the Second Comforter. ("in part" JD 9:87.)

20

1862

Apr

Brigham Young says every branch will have a Patriarch, President, Bishop, High Council, etc. (JD 10:96-97.)

19

 

 

Brigham Young teaches "abuse of that principle [Plural Marriage] will send thousands to hell..." (JD 9:269-270.)

19

 

Oct

Brigham Young wishes to see a fully organized Branch of the Kingdom. (JD 10:20.)

26

1867

June

Brigham Young teaches the Christian world left the Priesthood. (JD 12:69.)

15

1873

Apr

Brigham Young calls Albert C. Carrington, John W. Young, Brigham Young, Jr., Lorenzo Snow, and George Q. Cannon as additional counselors. (MS 35:292.)

16

1874

Aug

Brigham Young says "There are further organizations..." (JD 17:156.)

14

 

 

Brigham Young says there will be no seats in the temple for the Quorum of the Twelve. (DNW, June 6, 1877.)

19

1877

June

Brigham Young states that the Priesthood of Peter, James and John was the highest ever bestowed. (DNW, June 6, 1877.)

16

1879

Mar

John Taylor discusses differences between church and kingdom. (JD 20:166.)

12

1880

Jan

Revelation to Wilford Woodruff - 12 hold in common the Keys of the Kingdom. Members included John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, Lorenzo Snow, Charles C. Rich, Erastus Snow, Franklin D. Richards, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Brigham Young, Jr., Albert Carrington, and Moses Thatcher. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, Jan. 26, 1880.)

10

1882

Oct

Revelation to John Taylor refers to Heber J. Grant and George Teasdale being ordained to "the Apostleship of the Twelve." (My Kingdom Shall Roll Forth, pp. 50-51.)

25

1886

Sep

John Taylor has vision of Joseph Smith and recieves a revelation.  According to Lorin C. Woolley, Taylor also holds an eight hour meeting and afterwards sets apart himself (Lorin), John W. Woolley, Charles Wilkins, George Q. Cannon and Samuel Bateman as "High Priest Apostles." (Supplement 56-61.)

21,25

1890

Oct

Wilford Woodruff issues Manifesto as President of Church, but supposedly not as President of the High Priesthood. (T 5:212.)

23

1892

 

John Taylor teaches prophets held the High Priesthood. (M&A p. 68.)

16

1893

 

B. H. Roberts writes, "The authority of the Church comes from the Priesthood." (Outlines of Eccle His., pp. 373-374.)

20

1901

Nov

Joseph F. Smith says, "We have not always carried out strictly the order of the priesthood. (MS 63:801-802.)

18

 

prior

George Q. Cannon writes that the Church and Kingdom of God are not the same. (Juvenile Instructor.)

23

1918

Nov

No revelation calling Heber J. Grant as President of the Church. (Musser's observation.)

24

1921

Apr

Heber J. Grant states, "No man upon the face of the earth has any... authority to perform a plural marriage." (CR 1921 p. 202.)

29

1936

Mar

J. Reuben Clark writes, "The Priesthood is essential to the Church, but the Church is not essential to the Priesthood." (IE March, 1936, p. 134.)

27

 

also

Samuel the Lamanite "called the Church to repentance. God ignored the church leadership at that time..." (Musser's assertion.)


[2] Joseph W. Musser, A Priesthood Issue. N.p., n.d. [1948]

[3] Muser and Broadbent’s title might have been derived from John Taylor’s publication:  Items on Priesthood. Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon and Sons, 1899.

[4]    .  Musser, Priesthood Issue, 25.  The New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage, published in October, 1933 contained an introduction to the PRIESTHOOD organization.  In July 1934, Musser, with J. Leslie Broadbent collaborating, wrote Supplement to the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage (abbreviated:  Supplement) and in August, 1934, Priesthood Items.  Priesthood Items would be revised and renamed A Priesthood Issue in 1948.  It contains many more details and has been republished many times.  See also Truth 5:179-89 (1 January 1940) and also a rather detailed explanation giving by Zitting in his unpublished autobiography (quoted in Zitting, Charles F. Zitting, 57-66).

[5]    .  Most references to the organization called the "Priesthood" by Mormon fundamentalists will be capitalized "PRIESTHOOD" in this discussion, except in citations.

[6]    .  Musser Journals, 26 April 1939.  See also  "The Priesthood=s Supremacy," in Truth, 2: 21-25 (1 July 1936).  In 5 November 1939 Musser penned: "The President of the Church is not the President of the Priesthood at this time.  Brother [Heber J.] Grant never received that honor" (Musser Journals for date).