THE FUNDAMENTALIST PRIESTHOOD
- AN INQUIRY
by Brian C. Hales
One very fundamental aspect of Mormon Fundamentalism involves
their religious organization usually referred to as the PRIESTHOOD. It
is described as being a separate and distinct entity from The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At its head is a special COUNCIL of
up to six men, sometimes called High Priest Apostles. Most Fundamentalists
believe that Joseph Smith organized two religious bodies: the Church and
a PRIESTHOOD organization. Joseph Musser, a prominent Fundamentalist writer,
explained that God designed the PRIESTHOOD to preside over the Church and
to give direction and guidance to the First Presidency which in turn instructs
According to Fundamentalist beliefs, the men who initially
served as leaders in the PRIESTHOOD organization were also members of the
Church. Supposedly, this is why it is so difficult to identify a PRIESTHOOD
organization in the early days of the Church. For example, they believe
that the Joseph Smith was not only Church President, but that he was also
the Senior member of the PRIESTHOOD governing council. They believe that
when the Prophet was acting as President of the High Priesthood, he wasn't
doing it as President of the Church, but as the Senior member of that PRIESTHOOD
council, a second calling he supposedly held.(0)
Allegedly the PRIESTHOOD's leadership became disaffected
with the Church during the presidency of Joseph F. Smith. Fundamentalist
history suggests that John W. Woolley became the Senior leader at this
time. Some will say the division occurred earlier, perhaps while Wilford
Woodruff was President. Regardless, the theory is that when the Church
President stopped authorizing new plural marriages to be performed (1904),
the PRIESTHOOD organization then broke away from the Church with its own
leadership and membership. Many Fundamentalists will bear fervent testimony
that this is so.
This idea will surprise most Church members since they
have never heard about it previously. Both sides readily concede that the
scriptures do not explain it. Neither can we find any pronouncements from
Joseph Smith, Brigham Young or John Taylor acknowledging its reality and
giving details of its lofty role. Fundamentalists are unfazed by this fact.
They assert that the reason the PRIESTHOOD was entirely unknown during
the early decades of the Church was because it was a secret organization.
A Secret PRIESTHOOD Organization?
We know that during the lifetime of Joseph Smith and beyond,
several genuine secret groups could be found within the Church.
For example, during the Nauvoo period at least three secret councils
and groups can be identified:
1. Nauvoo Polygamists
2. The "Endowed Quorum"
3. The Council of 50
(Fundamentalists would add a fourth group - the PRIESTHOOD.)
1. Nauvoo Polygamists: The
Prophet and members of the quorum of the twelve were commanded to enter
into plural marriage relationships during the early 1840s. The history
of these unions can be found elsewhere. What is important to note here
is that these marriages were kept very secret from the general Church population.
2. The "Endowed Quorum": The
first temple endowments given in this dispensation occurred 4 May 1842.(1)
During the Prophet's lifetime several dozen men and women received their
temple ordinances in places such as the upper room of the red brick store
in Nauvoo. Some of those involved referred to themselves as being members
of the "Endowed Quorum" though it was not a formal "quorum." Their ordinances
and names were kept very secret.
3. The Council of 50: The
Council of Fifty was formed in Nauvoo in 1843-44. Joseph Smith taught that
it would be comprised of fifty men including individuals who were not
members of the Church (unbaptized). It was designated to govern the future
kingdom of God on earth and was a council generally hidden from Church
members. Though it was involved with Joseph Smith's presidential campaign
in 1844 and the exodus from Nauvoo in 1845-1846, it appears that it will
be far more active at some future day.(2)
These three groups existed in Nauvoo in the early 1840s
and their reality was kept secret. Their importance to us is found in the
fact that even though they were secret then, we know a great deal
about them now.
For example, the issue of Nauvoo Polygamists was the focus
of Danel Bachman's 1975 Master's Thesis.(3)
Comprising over 350 pages, Bachman provided one of the first well documented
discussions of this secret group of Nauvoo Mormons. Since that time, numerous
other authors have delved further into the historical records to provide
us with additional facts and data.(4) Perhaps
one of the best documented publications is the recent In Sacred Loneliness,
The Plural Wifes of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton. His 770+ pages provide
incredible details in the lives of many polygamist of the early 1840s and
The "Endowed Quorum" has also been studied, but since
it involves the temple and temple ordinances, Church members have largely
steered clear of general publication. Nevertheless, Andrew Ehat used this
group as a main topic in his 1982 Master's Thesis, "Joseph Smith's Introduction
of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Succession Question." Providing over
700 footnotes, Ehat also has identified at least 70 different meetings
of members of this group. He has been able to discern the purpose of their
coming together and the respective dates upon which they were held, sometimes
even furnishing a description of the activities and duration.(5)
The Council of 50 is no longer a mystery to Church members.
While Hyrum Andrus referred to it in the 1950s(6)
and later Klaus Hansen,(7) D. Michael Quinn
appears to be the very first to write an extensive article concerning it:
"The Council of Fifty and Its Members, 1844 to 1945" published in BYU
Studies.(8) Additional details have
surfaced since that initial article.
Other secret groups may be identified after 1844.
Perhaps the most impressive involves hundreds of plural marriages which
were performed in the Church between 1890 and 1904. Dr. Quinn, Carmen Hardy
et al have documented many details regarding these secret
Why is any of this important to us now? The point is that
no one, even enemies and friends of the Church has yet to identify any
evidence that a additional secret group, the PRIESTHOOD, was functioning
during this same time span. While we know exact dates and times when the
other groups met and we even know details of the business transacted, there
is nothing to suggest that a PRIESTHOOD organization existed then. There
are no diaries containing direct or even obscure references, no records
of meetings or priesthood directives, no behind-the-scenes declarations
of the PRIESTHOOD's leadership council and important duties... nothing
More recently Michael Quinn has published his voluminous
study of the history of Church leadership: The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins
of Power and The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power. Together
the two volumes contain almost 2000 pages with thousands of footnotes.
They purport to explore the history of priesthood leadership affecting
the Church. Yet, through everything presented, there is no hint or mention
of the Woolleys as priesthood leaders or anything else. Neither is there
any sign of a PRIESTHOOD organization presiding over the First Presidency
or existing outside of the Church.(10)
Some may suppose that Quinn would not want to publish
anything that might place the Church in a negative light. However, anyone
familiar with those two books, or any of Quinn's later publications will
know that devotion to the Church has not been a recent priority. Doubtless
he would have publicized anything supportive of a PRIESTHOOD organization
or Mormon Fundamentalism if he thought the information to be historically
accurate. In the early 1990s he presented a special fireside to the Allred
Fundamentalists where he reviewed plural marriages performed between 1890
and 1904. Nevertheless, there was no mention of a presiding PRIESTHOOD
organization. Even when directly asked concerning the Woolleys and their
alleged ordinations, he was unable to give corroborating evidence. Even
D. Michael Quinn, accomplished historian, author and former Church member
found only one thing to support the PRIESTHOOD doctrine. It was silence.
Of course silence does not disprove anything and herein
lies the strength of the Fundamentalist position. For them, the lack of
evidence simply means that early Church leaders (PRIESTHOOD leaders?) were
just more successful in hiding the existence of the PRIESTHOOD than they
were hiding the existence of Nauvoo polygamists, the "Endowed Quorum,"
the Council of 50, or plural marriages between 1890 and 1904. Apparently
they were much much more successful.
But wait, Joseph Musser and a few other Fundamentalist
authors have provided evidence to substantiate the PRIESTHOOD's existence.
In 1934 Musser published the first known exposition of the PRIESTHOOD idea
entitled Priesthood Items. In 1948 it was enlarged and renamed
A Priesthood Issue. In that publication Musser compiled dozens of references
to support a continued existence of the PRIESTHOOD from even before the
Church was organized in 1830. Musser presents numerous incidents where
the PRIESTHOOD was supposedly operating.
To this date A Priesthood Issue is still a primary
defense and explanation of the PRIESTHOOD. Nevertheless, it suffers from
several significant weaknesses. First, there is a lack of chronological
consistency. Musser skips back and forth between difference incidents occurring
years apart. This jumping about appears to strengthen the Fundamentalist
position but in reality it seems more to cloud the primary issue.
Notwithstanding, all of his individual evidences have been arranged chronologically
to allow them to be examined in a more orderly fashion. (See the chart
giving evidence chronologically and The Priesthood
of Modern Polygamy.)
A second concern involves the gross inconsistencies in
the membership of the PRIESTHOOD leadership which Joseph Musser provides.
Allegedly, the PRIESTHOOD's leadership council contains only six men. However,
the lists provided by Musser often contain more and great incongruities
in purported membership from one alleged meeting to the next. (See the
chart listing the alleged personnel
in Musser's 15 leadership groups.)
Numerous other problems may be identified in A Priesthood
Issue (see The Priesthood of Modern Polygamy). Many Fundamentalists
already recognize these and consequently discount some of Musser's conclusions
(like the Council of Friends and the office of High Priest Apostle).
They assert that while Musser might have also missed the mark in his attempts
to identify the leadership of the PRIESTHOOD during the early years of
the Church, he was correct when describing the PRIESTHOOD as an organization
that can exist outside of the it.
In Musser's defense we must acknowledge the limitations
under which he was forced to research. Unlike historians such as D. Michael
Quinn, Joseph Musser had access to relatively few historical sources. He
had no computers, neither did he have access to caches of archived papers
and documents. Understanding these difficulties, one might be impressed
with the result - A Priesthood Issue.
However, even a little research and study might prompt
the average reader to conclude that the evidences presented by Musser are
less than convincing. Many references appear to have been taken out of
context. Others are at best, tangential. No where in all of the evidence
provided in A Priesthood Issue is a clear statement referring to
the PRIESTHOOD organization. No plain declaration delineating the PRIESTHOOD
with its leadership council, membership and duties is provided. This deficit
is attributed to the extreme secrecy which surrounded this incredibly powerful
and important organization.
Why Joseph Musser?
The issue of secrecy of the alleged PRIESTHOOD organization
begets a few questions. If the existence of the PRIESTHOOD was kept so
unbelievably secret for over a century, we might ask, "Why was Joseph Musser
chosen to broadcast the idea to the entire world?" Obviously this is a
lofty responsibility - to reveal to the Church and men and women everywhere
the existence of the PRIESTHOOD. Musser appears to have been quite determined
to do just that. In describing the PRIESTHOOD with its leadership council
and presiding apostles in Priesthood Items (or later in A Priesthood
Issue), there is no hint of holding back. Neither is the text tentative
in declaring the reality and mission of the PRIESTHOOD. Musser appears
to be using all the reasoning forces at his disposal to convince the reader
that there has been a PRIESTHOOD functioning from the beginning. He taught
that the doctrine was for "general circulation"(11)
as he personally made copies (at his own expense) and mailed them to various
friends and Church leaders.
But the question persists: "Why Joseph Musser?" Undoubtedly
God would have considered the calling and mission to reveal the PRIESTHOOD
to the world to have been very important, especially in light of the extreme
measures apparently implemented to maintain its secrecy for over one hundred
years. Regardless, Musser never suggests that he was divinely commissioned
to reveal that which was previously kept hidden from the Church membership
(i.e. the PRIESTHOOD). The tone of his publication is one of persuasion,
not a pronouncement as prophets give when declaring new doctrine (or revealing
things formerly secret).
This is a puzzler. It is even more perplexing as we observe
how some Fundamentalists completely discount Musser as an inspired leader
(e.g. the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ - Colorado City, Arizona).
Without Musser's publications and ideas, where do these Fundamentalists
obtain descriptions of their religious organization and its purported leadership?
Perhaps tradition (secretly maintained). But where and when did those traditions
Who Taught Joseph Musser About the PRIESTHOOD?
Other questions arise. For example we might ask, "Who
taught Joseph Musser about the PRIESTHOOD? Ostensibly its mission and authorities
were discussed only in private settings. Hence we would naturally conclude
that he would have learned about it secretly.
Musser was excommunicated from the Church in 1921. Fundamentalist
beliefs hold that the only living members of the PRIESTHOOD at that time
were John W. and Lorin C. Woolley. Naturally we would assume that Musser
would have learned about the PRIESTHOOD from one of them. John Woolley
was born in 1831 and would have been in his 90s at that time. Perhaps Musser
met with the elder Woolley. But if he did, he never mentioned it in his
journal. The first mention of John Woolley refers to his death.(12)
Of course proponents of the PRIESTHOOD will say that they undoubtedly counseled
together, but in secret.
In contrast though to the complete silence regarding John
Woolley, Musser had much to write in his journal concerning Lorin's ideas
and teachings. The first entry is found April 9, 1922. During that meeting,
Musser recorded that Woolley discussed over a dozen different topics which
comprised several pages in Musser's typed record.(13)
Woolley taught the importance of continuing plural marriage and addressed
priesthood topics including leadership. He even claimed to have been ordained
an "apostle."(14) Throughout it all however,
there was no mention of a PRIESTHOOD organization. There were no admonitions
for Joseph to join Woolley in any kind of religious entity. Neither was
there any reference to a PRIESTHOOD leadership calling ostensibly held
by him or his father John W. Woolley. Musser listened to Lorin C. Woolley
teach at least five times in 1922 and wrote pages of notes of his teachings,
however, nothing is mentioned of the PRIESTHOOD as Musser would later describe
Joseph Musser is not the only person who recorded the
teachings of Lorin C. Woolley. A few other individuals have compiled "recollections"
of Lorin's ideas and stories.(16) Notwithstanding,
there is virtually nothing in any of Woolley's teachings to support the
idea that Woolley saw himself as the leader of a PRIESTHOOD organization
similar to those found in Fundamentalism today. It is curious that no Fundamentalist
has yet to produce a biography of Lorin C. or John W. Woolley.
So where and when did Joseph Musser learn about the PRIESTHOOD?
His personal religious activities suggest strongly that it occurred sometime
after the 1920s but obviously before 1933. We would assume it came from
Lorin Woolley (John Woolley died in 1928) in a secret setting - so secret
that Musser would fail to mention anything about it in his personal journal.
However, Musser never claimed to have learned about the PRIESTHOOD from
Woolley (or anybody else). In 1942, Musser reflected upon the doctrine
I am convicted with the feeling
that the Priesthood is one organization and the Church is another, and
that Pres. [Heber J.] Grant has jurisdiction in the Church. If I am wrong
I pray the Lord to correct me and to assist me in getting back into the
proper channel. Up to date, however, in all the reasoning power I have,
and listening to the voice of the Spirit of the Lord, I am convinced that
I am right. (Journal of Joseph W. Musser, December 28, 1942.)
In this journal entry, Musser ascribes the doctrine of
the PRIESTHOOD to "all the reasoning power" he possessed and "the voice
of the Spirit of the Lord." Understandably, Fundamentalists would prefer
to attribute it revealed truths given through the Prophet Joseph Smith
and subsequently taught secretly to worthy priesthood leaders.
Another pertinent question involves the timing of this
declaration regarding the PRIESTHOOD. We wonder, "Why 1933?"
One obvious reason appears to be that Joseph Musser could
not have written about it much sooner because he was completely unaware
of the PRIESTHOOD idea in the 1920s. He apparently still sustained Church
leaders even after hearing Lorin teach. On January 5, 1923, he recorded
in his journal:
Routine at office.
In evening attended meeting at home
of Nathan Clark of Bountiful. Several assembled with Bro. Alder, Hansen,
Clark, and myself and same splendid sisters. Bore testimony to the Gospel
and counseled those present to sustain the leaders of the Church as
loyally as possible. (Emphasis added.)
Also, rather than join with Lorin and the PRIESTHOOD,
Musser apparently lost contact with him after 1922 since there is no mention
of him in his journal until 1928.(17) Nonetheless,
Musser did meet with those sympathetic to polygamy a few times between
1922 and 1928, but Woolley was absent and there was no sign of the PRIESTHOOD.(18)
When he participated in Sabbath worship, he would usually attend Church
at an LDS ward.
1922 was also the year he teamed up with a charismatic
fellow named John T. Clark. Clark was a self-proclaimed prophet who professed
to be the "One Mighty and Strong" mentioned in D&C 85:7 who was to
"set in order the house of God." Clark also declared himself to be "the
most literal descendent of Jesus Christ on earth today" and to carry "indian
blood in his veins."(19) Joseph Musser
wrote in 1922 that he was "deeply impressed with his claims"(20)
and while Joseph Musser did not espouse all of the teachings of John T.
Clark, he later recorded in his journal: "That he has important work to
do, I do not doubt..."(21) To demonstrate
his support for John T. Clark, Joseph Musser aided him for many hours(22)
as Clark wrote a book titled The One Mighty and Strong.(23)
That book contains teachings which contradict Musser's later ideas about
the PRIESTHOOD organization.
There were circumstances which might have influenced Musser
to write about the PRIESTHOD in 1933. On June 17 of that year the First
Presidency of the Church taught that all sealing authority rested within
The keys of the sealing ordinances
rest today solely in President Heber J. Grant, having so passed to him
by the ordination prescribed by the Lord, at the hands of those having
the authority to pass them, and whose authority has never been taken away
by the Lord, nor suspended, nor interfered with by the Church. President
Grant is the only man on the earth at this time who possess these keys.
He has never authorized any one to perform polygamous or plural marriages;
he is not performing such marriages himself... (Messages of the First
Presidency,(24) 5:315-330, Truth
This clear claim to the sealing keys made by the President
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints placed the polygamists
somewhat on the defensive with respect to the issue of authority. If the
statement were true, their polygamous marriages "would not be valid, nor
of force in the world to come."(25) The
issue of priesthood authority was pushed to the forefront in the conflict
between the excommunicated polygamists and the Church.
At least two explanations of what happened next are available. Fundamentalists might suggest that in light of President Grant's assertions, the Lord finally decided to unveil the knowledge of the PRIESTHOOD. Musser never made this claim (and for the most part neither do Fundamentalists), but it could justify the publication of Priesthood Items. Of course, skeptics will declare that President Grant's statement proclaimed a state of authority-bankruptcy for the budding Fundamentalists. Joseph Musser had to respond and the result is the PRIESTHOOD as presented in Priesthood Items (and later A Priesthood Issue).
Regardless, 1933 appears to be the first year that anyone
ever wrote or taught about the PRIESTHOOD organization. Publications written
in 1932(26) such as the popular A Leaf
In Review by B. Harvey Allred (father of Rulon C. and Owen Allred)
contained nothing about it. In fact, that book teaches that the First Presidency
presides over all priesthood.(27) There
is no hint of the PRIESTHOOD doctrine that Musser was to introduce a year
or so later.(28) It is interesting to note
also that Lorin C. Woolley is quoted as saying that "Every word of [A
Leaf in Review] is scripture."(29)
A second volume, Celestial Marriage? written by
J. Leslie Broadbent (purportedly next in seniority to Lorin Woolley ahead
of John Y. Barlow) in 1927 is also devoid of any reference to the PRIESTHOOD
What About John Woolley?
Fundamentalist literature is replete with claims that
John Woolley was involved with the PRIESTHOOD long before 1933. They suggest:
"When President J[opseph] F. Smith
was nearing the end of his life there were no General Authorities left
in Church leadership who would help to continue the work he'd been commissioned
to carry out, and so that responsibility passed on to Brother Woolley,
who became President of the Priesthood in fulfillment of the promise he
received as a boy."
The "promise" he received was a vague reference to receiving
"priesthood keys." Of course there are many men who hold different priesthood
keys (quorum presidents, bishops etc.). However, a man does not need to
be President of the High Priesthood to hold them.
More specifically however, if John Woolley was indeed
functioning as the head of some type of PRIESTHOOD organization prior to
1918 (the death of Joseph F. Smith), then obviously 1933 is not the "coming
out year" for the PRIESTHOOD.
The idea that President Joseph F. Smith ever gave John
Woolley presiding priesthood keys or that the Church President ever esteemed
the elder Woolley as being senior to him in the priesthood is completely
unsubstantiated. Fundamentalist apologists are entirely unable to document
these claims, except to appeal to secrecy and silence.
It is true that President Smith and John Woolley were
friends. John W. Woolley worked as a sealer in the Salt Lake Temple. He
claimed that sometime prior to 1914, Apostle Matthias Cowley instructed
him to perform polygamous marriages which Woolley later did. On one occasion,
John Woolley confided in President Smith that he had performed polygamous
sealings by directive of Matthias Cowley. Upon learning of this, President
Joseph F. Smith notified Francis Lyman, President of the Quorum of the
Twelve Apostles.(30) A Church Court was
held which resulted in Woolley's excommunication. In an attempt to retain
his membership, John W. Woolley wrote the following:
At Centerville, Davis County, Utah on the 16 day of January, A.D. 1914, Prest. Francis M. Lyman and Anthony W. Ivins called at my home, and in answer to questions asked I make the following statement:
Some months ago I met Matthias F. Cowley on the street and he asked me if I was familiar with the sealing ceremony. I told him I was. He said, "If any good men come to you don't turn them down." I believed from that statement that it was still proper that plural marriages be solemnized, and that President Smith had so authorized Cowley to instruct me.
Since that time I have married wives to Nathan G. Clark, Joseph A. Silver, Reuben G. Miller, and P.K. Lemmon, Jr.
The ceremony in the case of Miller
was performed in the S.E. part of Salt Lake, the woman being a widow whose
names I do not know. The Lemmon ceremony was in Centerville, the name of
the woman, I think being Johnson.
(sig.) John W. Woolley(31)
Had John Woolley believed that he held special sealing
authority or that he was a member of a superior PRIESTHOOD organization,
this might have been an opportune time to share that information. Again
only silence corroborates the Fundamentalist position.
This is not all. Contemporary documents including letters
written by his brothers show that John Woolley was hurt by his excommunication.
Neither did he consider himself superior to the Church and even encouraged
his brothers to approach members of the Quorum of the Twelve on his behalf
to see how he might have his membership reinstated. It appears that the
John Woolley of Fundamentalist tradition was a different person from what
contemporary documents will support.
The Church President and First Presidency Preside Over
As we noted earlier, it is difficult to convincingly show
that any council or organization can exist which is superior to the First
Presidency using the scriptures or other prophetic utterances. In D&C
51:14 the Lord promises, "And again, I will give unto you a pattern in
all things, that ye may not be deceived." Hence we might ask, "Has the
Lord given us patterns for a Presiding First Presidency or for a
PRIESTHOOD organization?" The pattern for a First Presidency can be found
in numerous teachings. One example:
Truly Jesus Christ created the worlds,
and is Lord of Lords, and as the Psalmist said: `Judges among the Gods.'
Then Moses might have said with propriety, he is the `living God,' and
Christ, speaking of the flesh could say: -- I am the son of man; and Peter
enlightened by the Holy Ghost; -- Thou art the Son of the living God, meaning
our Father in heaven, who is the Father of all spirits, and who with Jesus
Christ, his first begotten son, and the Holy Ghost, are one in power, one
in dominion, and one in glory, constituting the first presidency of this
system, and this eternity. But they are as much three distinct persons
as the sun, moon, and earth are three different bodies. (Times and Seasons
After Christ's ascension, Peter is found presiding over
the First Presidency which was formed:
When Peter, and James, and John
went up into the mount with the Savior, Moses and Elias were there; and
the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom were conferred upon them, Peter
being at the head. -- It is written in the first chapter of the Acts of
the Apostles [Acts 1], that after he (Jesus) ascended into heaven, he gave
commandments, through the Holy Ghost, unto the apostles whom he had chosen,
that is, to Peter, James and John, they forming the first presidency of
the church of Christ, after the meridian of time. (Messenger and Advocate
July, 1835, p. 145. See also George Q. Cannon, JD 22:268-269.)
We see that a First Presidency is the presiding
authority in these citations. It is also true in the true Priesthood. In
1857, Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor to President Brigham Young stated
clearly that no authority existed beyond that held by the First Presidency:
You have got to render an account
of everything you have, for we are all stewards. You Bishops, Seventies,
High Priests, Elders, Priests, Teachers, Deacons, and members where did
you get the Priesthood and authority you hold? It came from this very authority,
the First Presidency that sits here in this stand. There was an authority
before us, and we got our authority from that, and you got it from us,
and this authority is with the First Presidency. Now do not go off and
say that you are independent of that authority. Where did you get your
wives? Who gave them to you? By what authority were they given to you?
Where did you get anything? (JD 4:251; emphasis added.)
In light of these teachings, what would the conversation
be if Joseph Smith, Brigham Young or John Taylor were to encounter Mormon
Fundamentalists in the Spirit World? Perhaps Joseph would ask, "When did
we ever teach you that the priesthood was an organization?" Possibly
Brigham would inquire, "When did we instruct you that the priesthood could
ever exist outside of the Church?" (See D&C 84:17.) Maybe
John Taylor would petition, "Why didn't you study and compare the ideas
of Lorin Woolley and Joseph Musser to the scriptures and to our own teachings
before embracing them?"
It is plain that this brief introduction to the PRIESTHOOD is incomplete. Too much silence is referred to as a support of its existence. There is an opportunity for anyone who believes in the PRIESTHOOD. It is to prayerfully "study it out in [their] minds" (D&C 9:8-9) and perhaps, share their research and findings with others to further advance their missionary efforts (D&C 88:81). The challenge awaits.
Verily, verily, I say unto you my servant Frederick G. Williams: Listen to the voice of him who speaketh, to the word of the Lord your God, and hearken to the calling wherewith you are called, even to be a high priest in my church, and a counselor unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.;
Unto whom I have given the keys of the kingdom, which belong always unto the Presidency of the High Priesthood. (D&C 81:1-2; emphasis added.)
2. See Andrew F. Ehat, "It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Constitution of the Kingdom of God." BYU Studies 20 (Spring 1980):253-79 and D. Michael Quinn, "The Council of Fifty and Its Members, 1844 to 1945." BYU Studies 20 (Winter 1980):163-97.
8. Quinn, D. Michael. "The Council of Fifty and Its Members, 1844 to 1945." BYU Studies 20 (Winter 1980):163-97. See also Ehat's Thesis lists above and Andrew F. Ehat, "It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Constitution of the Kingdom of God." BYU Studies 20 (Spring 1980):253-79.
10. Quinn's conclusions consistently suggest that Church leaders were insincere, manipulative, conniving and generally wearing black hats. This might be harmful to the Church. However, Fundamentalism fairs far worse in that it is totally disregarded, its historical claims simply ignored.
17. See Journal of Joseph W. Musser October 16, 1928. Fundamentalists will claim that Musser might have met with Woolley during the period between 1922 and 1928 and just not recorded it in his journal. Musser held Woolley in high regard and wrote a daily entry for most of that period. The detail of Musser's journal included a record of the drilling depths of the oil well he was managing (for example: May 26, 1923) and other activities. It is highly unlikely that any interaction with Lorin C. Woolley would have escaped his record.
To me, John [T. Clark]'s claim's
do not ring true in their entirety. That he has an important work to do,
I do not doubt, but that he is chosen to lead the people I do doubt. And
shall continue to doubt, until at least the Lord shall make his mind and
will known to me. (Emphasis added)
This reference strongly suggests that Joseph W. Musser was unaware of Lorin C. Woolley's alleged priesthood calling and the 1886 ordinations as late as June of 1928, even though Musser had been listening to the teachings of Lorin C. Woolley's for several years.
Took typewriter to Kenyon Hotel
to assist John T. Clark in preparing a pamphlet on "The One Mighty and
Strong" for publication.
This entry was handwritten, while previous journal entries were typed. For days after May 20, the entries continued to be written, not typed, apparently until Musser was able to reacquire his typewriter.
28. It is interesting to observe that B. Harvey Allred approached the presiding PRIESTHOOD "Priesthood Council" in January of 1934 with a response to the 1933 First Presidency's Message that Heber J. Grant held the keys of sealing. Musser recorded on January 22: "We did not favor its publication." Since there was no hint of an external PRIESTHOOD organization in Allred's first publication, A Leaf In Review, one wonders if Allred's response to the 1933 First Presidency's Message agreed with the doctrine being advanced by Musser?