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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 Church members.

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 beyond.

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 unions.(9)

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 but silence.

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.

Musser's Evidence

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 begin?

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 it.(15)

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 and wrote:

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.

Why 1933?

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 Church:

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 16:292-302.)

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 as well.

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 All Priesthood

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 6:809.)

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?"

A Challenge

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.

0. For example, Fundamentalists will assume that the following verses are not referring to the First Presidency, but to the leadership of a superior PRIESTHOOD organization:

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.)

1. HC 5:1-2.

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.

3. "A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage Before the Death of Joseph Smith"

4. See Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy - A History or Kimball Young, Isn't One Wife Enough? The Story of Mormon Polygamy.

5. See pp. 98-100.

6. Andrus, Hyrum L. Joseph Smith and World Government. Salt Lake City, 1958.

7. Hansen, Klaus J. Quest for Empire. East Lansing, Mich., 1967.

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.

9. D. Michael Quinn, "LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890-1904," Dialogue 18 (Spring 1985): 9-105. B. Carmon Hardy, Solemn Covenant, The Mormon Polygamous Passage, 1992.

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.

11. Journal of Joseph W. Musser, July 26, 1934.

12. Journal of Joseph W. Musser, December 16, 1928.

13. Musser typed much of his journal between November 1920 and September 11, 1922. He appears to have lost access to a typewriter after that time until March of 1935 when typed entries reappear.

14. Journal of Joseph W. Musser, April 9, 1922.

15. Journal of Joseph W. Musser, April 9, August 6, 7, 13, and November 22, 1922. Additional notes from Woolley's teachings can be found in Items from the Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser.

16. See Mark and Rhea Baird, Reminiscences of John W. Woolley and Lorin C. Woolley, 5 vols. N.p. N.d. to 1987 and Lynn L. and Stephen L. Bishop, Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated, Draper Utah, 1971.

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.

18. Journal of Joseph W. Musser, January 5, February 28, 1923; April 22, May 1, 22, October 12, 29, 1927.

19. Journal of Joseph W. Musser, May 16, 24, 1922.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid, 10 June 1928. The reference reads:

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.

22. See the Journal of Joseph W. Musser, entries for May 20, 22, 24, July 21, 29, 31, and August 4, 1922. It is interesting to note that the journal entry for May 20, 1922, reads:

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.

23. John T.Clark, The One Mighty & Strong, N.p., 1922 p. 64. It has recently been republished by Willard E. Palmer, 835 Garfield Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah, 84105.

24. James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 6 vols. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1965-1975,

25. D&C 132:18.

26. A Leaf In Review was originally written in 1932 with first edition published in 1933.

27. A Leaf In Review, p. 48, 195-196.

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?

29. Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated, pp. 305-306.

30. Letter from Joseph Fielding Smith to Dean Jessee, July 13, 1956. Photocopy in the possession of Max Anderson.

31. This affidavit is found in the Anthony W. Ivins papers, Utah State Historical Society.