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Chapter Six


The past two chapters have dealt with the proposed line of priesthood ordinations defended by many modern polygamists. Relatively little attention has been given to the office that these men were purportedly ordained to. We will now look more closely at the purported office of the higher apostleship, referred to as High Priest Apostle.(179)

An investigation of the origin of the titles of "High Priest Apostles" and "Friends" suggests they were derived from D&C 84:63 where the Lord states:(180)

And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God's high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends. [Bold added.]

In this verse the Lord refers to ten(181) elders as "mine Apostles, even God's High Priests." By rearranging the words "Apostles" and "High Priests," Musser developed his title of "High Priest Apostle." Prior to 1934, the term "High Priest Apostle" was unknown among the speeches and writings of all priesthood leaders. The only exception is found in the Journal of Discourses where Wilford Woodruff used the term in conjunction with "seventy apostles" and "all other apostles:"

Let the Twelve Apostles, and the Seventy Apostles, and High Priest Apostles, and all other Apostles rise up and keep pace with the work of the Lord God, for we have no time to sleep. (JD 4:147; emphasis added.)

The next paragraph in the discourse shows that those "High Priest Apostles" were clearly subordinate to the Twelve Apostles for Elder Woodruff stated:

As an individual I am determined to wake up and do my duty, God being my helper. I want to see brother Hyde, who is President of the Twelve, walk into all these Quorums and attend their meetings, and we will back him up.... (Ibid.) [Bold added.]

It is troublesome to believe that Elder Orson Hyde, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, would have been told to enter into a powerful "Quorum of High Priest Apostles" (also called the Council of Friends), if they existed, to encourage them to "rise up and keep pace with the work of the Lord God." If the "High Priest Apostles" referred to were members of a external Priesthood organization that presided over the entire Church, they would naturally be the ones admonishing the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, not the other way around.

The term "Apostle" can refer to an office within the priesthood, but the expression can also refer to a special witness of the name of Christ who is sent to teach the principles of salvation to others.(182)


The last statement in D&C 84:63 quoted above declares "ye are my friends" as it alludes to the ten elders then present. This appears to be the origin of the title "Council of Friends" or "the Council of the Friends of God" which Fundamentalists believe refers to the same group.(183) Musser and others have used the term synonymous with "High Priest Apostles."

The Lord refers to various Church members as "friends" at least fifteen times in the Doctrine and Covenants.(184) As one reviews these verses, it is difficult to identify a specific group of men as the focus of the term "friends" when used by the Lord. There is no hint of a priesthood quorum entitled the Council of Friends in any scripture.


Musser appears to have been the first man to ever teach of two levels of apostleship. Lorin C. Woolley discussed "Great High Priests,"(185) but it was Joseph W. Musser who expounded the doctrine in his 1934 publications: Supplement to the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage and Priesthood Items. Additional instruction was also given through the pages of the periodical Truth. Nothing appears to have been taught of this important office by any monogamist or polygamist prior to the 1930's.(186)

Joseph Musser's High Priest Apostles were supposedly apostles of a higher order than members of the Quorum of the Twelve. Musser taught that to be one of the Twelve Apostles was to be an apostle "of the Church"(187) and not necessarily an Apostle "of Jesus Christ." He also asserted that the Apostles in the Quorum of the Twelve receive only an "appendage"(188) or "delegated"(189) priesthood calling whereas apostles in the Council of Friends purportedly have "authority coming direct from God."(190) These definitions conflict with the description of the Twelve given by the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants:

The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world... (D&C 107:23.)

The Lord stated that the Twelve Apostles were to be "special witnesses of the name of Christ."(191) In light of this, it takes some creativity to claim they were not Apostles of Jesus Christ, but held some imaginary "appendage calling." The most common references to this council in the seven volume History of the Church and other early publications were "the Twelve" or "the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles," but they are also referred to as the "Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ"(192) or "Twelve Apostles of the Lamb"(193) many times.

Oliver Cowdery recalled the ordination that he gave in 1835 to the original Twelve Apostles when he reunited with the Saints in 1848:

I laid my hands upon that man -- yes, I laid my right hand upon his head (pointing to Brother [Orson] Hyde), and I conferred upon him this Priesthood, and he holds that Priesthood now. He was also called through me, by the prayer of faith, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Deseret New Weekly, 42:353-360. Quoted in Collected Discourses, 2:165.)

The language of Oliver Cowdery was clear to show that the members of the Twelve in 1835 were "Apostles of Jesus Christ" and not apostles of the Church as Musser suggested.


Musser referred to his High Priest Apostles as "full-fledged" apostles.(194) Exactly how a man supposedly obtained the "full-fledged" apostleship is confusing. Musser plainly taught that the ordination must come from God, yet there are numerous accounts of men being directly given the alleged higher apostleship (i.e. being made High Priest Apostles) by other purported High Priest Apostles. Concerning the need for divine participation, Musser taught:

To be such an Apostle one must be personally anointed by Jesus Christ, thereby being in a position to testify from direct and personal knowledge that Jesus lives. (Supplement, p. 100.)

To be a full-fledged Apostle, a "Special Witness of Jesus Christ," one MUST [sic] see the Savior, have His hands laid upon him, and hear His voice. Without this experience one may possess the ordination but not the qualification. (Truth 4:132.) [Underlining added.]

The proposed need for a divine confirmation of an apostolic ordination may be derived from the charge given to the first Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in this dispensation by Oliver Cowdery. Even though the Church was formally organized in 1830 and the First Presidency in 1833, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were not called and ordained until 1835. The Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon were commissioned to select them and set them apart.(195) After their ordinations, Cowdery admonished the new apostles:

Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid His hands upon His disciples, why not in latter days? (HC 2:195-196.)

Oliver Cowdery admonished the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to "never cease striving" until "God has laid His hand upon you." Musser then implemented this counsel into his doctrine concerning a "High Priest Apostleship." Supposedly, High Priest Apostles have all received a divine confirmation to that office. However, if such ideas were correct, separating the apostleship into two levels is something only God could do, not man. The earthly ordination would have to be to one single office. Therefore, according to Fundamentalist doctrine, God withholds His personal ordination from members of the Quorum of the Twelve, thus preventing them from becoming "full-fledged" apostles.(196) However, supposedly all of the members of the Council of Friends have received this important ordination.

The issue becomes more confused as we observe several accounts where men were supposedly ordained to the purported office of High Priest Apostles as an earthly ordinance. The Prophet Joseph Smith supposedly ordained the members of Quorum of the Twelve as High Priest Apostles just prior to his death in 1844.(197) Likewise, the five men allegedly ordained in 1886 were purportedly given that same authority.(198) One account of Joseph Musser's own 1929 "blessing" states that he was set apart as a High Priest Apostle directly.(199) Many other examples exist.


According to the teachings examined above, Fundamentalist High Priest Apostles and Senior members of the Council of Friends should all have received an ordination directly from the Savior or they would not have been "full-fledged" apostles. It does not appear that Lorin C. Woolley claimed an ordination as an apostle from Jesus Christ,(200) but he did declare his personal knowledge of our Savior. On one occasion he taught:

L.C.W. said to some friends that the remark about Jesus never laughing was not true, "For, I have seen him laugh."(201)

A man who could make the claim listed above could easily recall an ordination from the Savior.

The cases of J. Leslie Broadbent, John Y. Barlow and Joseph W. Musser are more complicated. On June 15, 1934 all three of these men left the city to camp in the mountains. From Musser's journal:

Preparing to leave for God's Temple in morning with John Y. Barlow and Pres. Broadbent - the Mountains to make inquiry of the Lord regarding his will concerning us. (June 15, 1934.)

The camp lasted over a week. On June 23, Musser recorded:

This morning at our altar, the sacred spot among the quaken asps [sic] on the ridge above our tent which we have dedicated for the purpose, we having observed our fast since Thursday evening, we were blessed with the spirit of prayer and prophecy. Bro. Barlow first prophesied that the prediction made by Brigham Young to the effect that men of the order of the Priesthood we hold would be walking along and be met by strangers from beyond who would commence with their teaching them...

Bro. Broadbent, being clothed upon by the Holy Ghost, prophesied that the purpose of our mission to this spot would be realized soon - that is the confirmation of our calling.

I was moved to prophecy with reference to the leadership of Bro. Broadbent that the channel of revelation would be opened up; that the gift of leadership would be upon him , and the powers of his priesthood would be so manifest that the earth would tremble at his word; he would rebuke the nations with boldness and power from afar. The present Church authorities would be made to tremble at his word. He would have the power of Enoch. [Underlining added.]

Despite the beauty of their prophesies, their predictions were not fulfilled,(202) nor did they receive the "confirmation" they sought. The next day Musser recorded:

Last night the powers of darkness sought to overcome us. We could not sleep, but very little. It affected all three of us. Bro. Barlow said that evil spirits had bothered him.

Sunday opened up by a heavy rain storm. It continued until nearly noon, when we decided it unwise to try and hold a meeting in the grove, and having to go to the city anyway, we adjourned....

It is interesting to note Musser's interpretation that the storm represented "the powers of darkness." Undoubtedly, good weather would have been interpreted as evidence that the Lord approved of their activities. Regardless, it does not appear that the elements or the Lord cooperated with the desires of these three men.

Fundamentalists will be quick to point out that something as sacred as a visitation from the Savior might not be recorded in a private journal. However, it should be remembered that John Y. Barlow plainly stated over two years later, in November of 1936, that he did not have the priesthood keys. It is likely that he had not received a divine ordination either, for how could a man be confused about such an issue if the Savior himself had ordained him? Recall also that at that time Musser did not know where the priesthood keys were either.(203) Could Musser have received his much desired divine ordination if he was unaware of the location of the priesthood keys in 1936?

Additionally, on December 19, 1938, Musser wrote the following concerning a meeting with the Council of Friends:

This morning the Priesthood group met and enjoyed a spiritual get-to-gether, Bro. Barlow, however, being away. There is a sweet spirit among the brethren and a desire to wrestle with the Lord for a confirmation of our calling in the Priesthood.(204) [Underlining added.]

In 1932, while ordaining Charles F. Zitting, a new member, to the Council of Friends, J. Leslie Broadbent clearly defined the meaning of "confirmation" of their priesthood calling. A "confirmation" required a personal meeting with the Savior and receiving an ordination under His hands.(205) At least as late as 1938, members of the Council of Friends were supposedly presiding over the Priesthood, the Church and the Kingdom of God without having received the ordinations they believed were necessary to administer their proposed callings.


The idea that two levels of apostleship could possibly exist may come as a surprise to many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The doctrine may be based in the fact that Joseph Smith, shortly before his death in 1844, conferred upon the Twelve additional keys that had been shared with him by heavenly messengers after 1835 (the year the original Twelve Apostles were set apart). This occurred so that in 1844, there would be no question that the members of the Quorum of the Twelve held all the authority that Joseph himself held.

We remember that Joseph was ordained to the apostleship by Peter, James, and John when he received the Melchizedek priesthood in June of 1829(206). He also received keys and knowledge from Moses, Elias and Elijah in April of 1836(207) as well as those associated with the temple endowment prior to May of 1842.(208) Those keys were needed for the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, the gathering of Israel, to seal families together for eternity and to perform sacred temple ordinances. Joseph F. Smith taught that one does not receive additional priesthood when given keys,(209) rather the keys convey the right to exercise priesthood powers. Concerning Joseph Smith's reception of priesthood authority, Brigham Young observed:

When Brother Joseph received the Priesthood, he did not receive all at once, but he was a prophet, seer, and revelator before he received the fullness of the Priesthood and keys of the kingdom.

He first received the Aaronic Priesthood and keys from under the hands of John the Baptist. He then had not power to lay on hands to confirm the Church, but afterwards he received the Patriarchal or Melchizedek Priesthood from under the hands of Peter, James and John who were of the Twelve Apostles and were the Presidency when the other Apostles were absent. From those Apostles, Joseph Smith received every key, power, blessing, and privilege of the highest authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood ever committed to man on the earth which they held.

Some have had fears that we had not power to get revelations since the death of Joseph. But I want this subject from this time forth to be forever set at rest and I want this Church to understand from this day henceforth and forever that an apostle is the highest office and authority that there is in the Church and Kingdom of God on the earth. From whom did Joseph receive his authority? From just such men as sit around me here (pointing to the Twelve Apostles that sat with him). Peter, James and John were Apostles and there was no noise about their being seers and revelators, though those gifts were among them. Joseph Smith gave unto me and my brethren the Twelve all the Priesthood keys, power and authority which he had and those are powers which belong to the Apostleship. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, August 15, 1847.) [Underlining added.]

Based on the teachings of President Young and Oliver Cowdery above, it would be inaccurate to suggest, as many Fundamentalists have done, that the 1835 ordinations of the Twelve Apostles were to something less than the full apostleship (i.e. "Apostles of the Church"). The Twelve apostles received the same authority in 1835 that Joseph held in 1829. Prior to his death in 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith conferred on the Twelve Apostles the additional keys he had received since his original ordination as an apostle. It is pure fantasy to teach that Joseph had a higher apostleship in 1829, but gave a lower apostleship to the Twelve in 1835 and then conferred a higher apostleship on the Twelve in 1844.

Additionally, the keys given to the Twelve Apostles by Joseph Smith prior to his death did not, by Joseph's own statement, come from seeing the Savior and having "His hand laid upon them" but were imparted to the Twelve by Joseph Smith himself.

Concerning the apostleship, Brigham Young also taught:

The keys of the eternal Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God, are comprehended by being an Apostle. All the Priesthood, all the keys, all the gifts, all the endowments, and everything preparatory to entering into the presence of the Father and of the Son, are in, composed of, circumscribed by, or I might say incorporated within the circumference of, the Apostleship. (JD 1:134-135.)

An examination of references to the apostleship by early priesthood leaders reveals that all who received it, received one ordination which contained the fullness of it and all authorities available to mortal man. Many Fundamentalists believe otherwise and have utilized a variety of strategies to authenticate their doctrine of two different levels of apostolic authority.


To help Fundamentalists understand the authority of the Higher Apostleship, the author of Truth in 1951 quoted Brigham Young who said:

What ordination should a man receive to possess all the keys and powers of the Holy Priesthood that were delivered to the sons of Adam? He should be ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ. That office puts him in possession of every key, every power, every authority, communication, benefit, blessing, glory and kingdom that was ever revealed to man. (JD 9:87-8.)

After citing the discourse above the author elaborated:

Certainly the members of the Quorum of Twelve in this day [November, 1951] do not pretend to possess "all the keys and powers of the Holy Priesthood that were delivered to the sons of Adam," etc. Their authority as Apostles is limited - it being an appendage calling - while Joseph, Oliver and David received that Apostleship spoken of by Brigham Young - in very deed Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, with all the keys, powers and blessings pertaining thereto. (Truth 17:169.)

The assertion that the Apostles in 1951 (or 1992) did not "pretend to possess all the keys and powers of the Holy Priesthood" is simply untrue. All the keys of the priesthood held by the Apostles were being utilized in the LDS temples to seal living men and women for time and eternity, as well as to perform other necessary ordinances for the living and the dead, in 1951 as well as today.


Another approach to dividing the apostleship proposes that there is (1) an apostleship and (2) the "fullness" of the apostleship. The latter supposedly contains the authority to seal marriages for eternity.(210) It is true that two speeches recorded in the Journal of Discourses refer to a "fullness" of the apostleship,(211) but these references do not teach that anyone has ever been ordained to anything less than the fullness. There are no records suggesting that an individual was set apart as an apostle, and then later was given the "fullness" of that apostleship to become a High Priest Apostle. All men ordained to the apostleship on this earth since the restoration began have received the "fullness" of that office.

An additional concern involves the keys of Elijah which allow "valid" eternal marriages to be performed on this earth.(212) Fundamentalists have implied that those keys are held by those receiving the "higher apostleship."(213) However, if that "higher apostleship" must be conferred by the Savior Himself, why was Elijah sent in the first place? Do we believe the Lord has personally restored the keys of Elijah to every High Priest Apostle Musser has supposedly identified? Despite energetic attempts by Fundamentalist apologists to prove its validity, the idea of two levels of apostleship is probably best relegated to a more fictional realm.


An examination of other quotations from various priesthood leaders enlighten us regarding the impossibility of two apostleships. Notice the multiple references to a single apostleship. Underlining is by the authors.

Brigham Young:

The High Priesthood, and the Lesser Priesthood, and all the Priesthood there is, are combined, centered in, composed of, and circumscribed by, the Apostleship. (JD 1:134.)

Now, brethren, the calling of an Apostle is to build up the kingdom of God in all the world: it is the Apostle that holds the keys of this power, and nobody else. (JD 6:282.)

What ordination should a man receive to possess all the keys and powers of the Holy Priesthood that were delivered to the sons of Adam? He should be ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ. That office puts him in possession of every key, every power, every authority, communication, benefit, blessing, glory, and kingdom that was ever revealed to man. That pertains to the office of an Apostle of Jesus Christ. (JD 9:87-88.)

Wilford Woodruff:

If you will lead the Twelve, brother Hyde, in the spirit and power of your calling as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, you will see your brethren by your side. (JD 4:147.)

What more responsible position can a man occupy than to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ? (JD 13:319-320.)

The office of an Apostle entitles him to hold the keys of the kingdom of God; and what he binds on earth is bound in heaven, and what he looses on earth is loosed in heaven. (Ibid.)

I say to the Latter-day Saints that the visions of our minds are open, the revelations of God rest upon us, and the voice of God to us is that the day has come when we, as shepherds in Israel, holding the Apostleship and keys of the kingdom of God, should stand in the midst of this people and call them to repentance... (Quoted in Collected Discourses 1:263.)

I have been associated with the Apostleship for over fifty years... When the Prophet Joseph organized the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he taught this principle of union to them. (Quoted in Collected Discourses 2:83-84.)

I feel also to bless my brethren who bear the Apostleship. Now, you talk about union. Can Apostles dwell with this work upon their shoulders without being united? They cannot do it. (Quoted in Collected Discourses 3:160.)

Orson Pratt:

Jesus chose twelve disciples on the American continent. They are not called apostles in the Book of Mormon, but disciples. I have no doubt, however, in my own mind, that they held the office of the apostleship, for they exercised all the functions of apostles. They had power not only to baptize with water, but to lay on hands for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which latter was one of the functions granted, in ancient days, unto the office of an apostle. (JD 14:329-330.)

We have been taught, ever since the Twelve were chosen, that they held all the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, all the power of the Apostleship that could be conferred upon mortal man.. (JD 19:114.)

I would state that this change made a vacancy of three in the Quorum of the Apostles, and persons have been selected to fill this vacancy thus made; or, rather, two persons have been selected from among the High Priesthood to partially fill that vacancy in the Council of Apostles. The third one has not yet been chosen to completely fill the vacancy in the Apostles' Quorum.(214) (JD 22:38.)

George Q. Cannon:

Every man who is ordained to the fullness of the Apostleship, has the power and authority to lead and guide the people of God whenever he is called upon to it. (JD 19:233-234.)

The Church is not governed like Zion's Cooperative Institution by a Board of Directors; this is not God's design. It is governed by men who hold the keys of the Apostleship, who have the right and authority.(215) (Ibid.)

In relation to ordination, a great many people have imagined that it was necessary to ordain a man to succeed another, that it would impart a particular efficacy or endow him with some additional power. Ordination is always good and acceptable; blessings and setting apart are always desirable to those who have to go forth to prepare them for God's service; but it is not necessary that an Apostle should be ordained to stand at the head of the people. When the exigency arises, he has already got the fullness of authority, and the power of it. (JD 19:235.)

There are some members of the Church who have appeared to think that there has been some power lacking, and have manifested a feeling of restlessness, anticipating the rising of some one who should have greater authority than at present exists. While I would not wish to detract from the reasonable expectations of my brethren and sisters upon this or any other point, my view is that the apostleship, now held in this Church, embodies all the authority bestowed by the Lord upon man in the flesh. (JD 21:268-269-270.)

The fact remains that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as it is organized in these mountains, has had the apostleship; that the men who have stood at our head, President Young and the Twelve Apostles, whose President at the death of the Prophet Joseph he was, actually received under the hands of the Prophet Joseph, every key, and power, and authority that he himself possessed. (Ibid.)

The same spirit of revelation that Moses had, concerning which God speaks through the Prophet Joseph Smith, has rested upon men that have held the keys of this kingdom, whether it was during President Young's life or at the present time that same spirit of revelation rests upon him who holds the presidency as senior apostle in the midst of the people of God. The apostles of this Church have all the authority, they have all the keys, and it is within the purview of their office and calling to have all the spirit of revelation necessary to lead this people into the presence of the Lamb in the celestial kingdom of our God. (Ibid.)

All the authority, all the power, all the keys, and all the blessings that were necessary for the guidance of this people he [Brigham Young] held. He held them as his fellow servants, the Apostles, held them; only he, being the senior, had the right to preside. (JD 23:363-364.)

Joseph Smith ordained other men to hold this authority, or caused them to be ordained. In this way the authority that he had received was given to others. The same keys, the same power, the same Apostleship, the same Priesthood that he held, were bestowed upon other men. (Quoted in Collected Discourses, 1: 210.)

The Apostleship has been placed in this Church to lead men to the unity of the faith. That is what Paul said in ancient days concerning the Apostleship... If you have followed the teaching of the Apostles, you have not been carried about by every wind of doctrine; nor have you been deceived by the cunning craftiness of men. None of you have been misled in this way. But you have been guarded against this. God has placed Apostles in the Church for this express purpose. They are not self-chosen. God know, and you know, that those who bear the Apostleship have not sought this... (Quoted in Collected Discourses 3:416.)

Virtually every reference to "the apostleship" by early priesthood leaders supports one indivisible office and calling.(216) While a few citations may be taken out of context and molded by surrounding Fundamentalist narration to bolster the two-apostleship theory,(217) there are no teachings prior to the 1930's by anyone to support the doctrine.


The concept of two levels of apostleship also includes the existence of a priesthood quorum that presides over the Church, because its members supposedly have higher authority than the apostles in the Church. This doctrine will appear unique to most members the Church and deserves special consideration in light of its importance and singularity. Also, the idea that such a significant priesthood council could have existed from 1829 without the awareness of the Latter-day Saints appears unlikely. Regarding this council, Musser observed:

That there was a Priesthood council operating wholly separate and apart from the Church and, generally speaking, unknown to the Church, must be conceded for the evidence of the fact is conclusive... (A Priesthood Issue p. 13.)

Chapter three briefly discussed the proposed relationship between the purported Council of Friends and the First Presidency of the Church. Musser spent a great deal of time searching through Church historical documents attempting to prove the existence of his higher priesthood council.(218) Notwithstanding his great efforts, a true picture of the position of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is found in the public teachings of previous priesthood leaders on the subject. Notice the complete absence of any priesthood council outside of or superior to the presiding quorums within the Church: (Underlining added.)

Brigham Young:

Joseph conferred upon our heads all the keys and powers belonging to the Apostleship which he himself held before he was taken away, and no man or set of men can get between Joseph and the Twelve in this world or in the world to come. How often has Joseph said to the Twelve, "I have laid the foundation and you must build thereon, for upon your shoulders the kingdom rests." (HC 7:230.)

There never has a man stood between Joseph and the Twelve, and unless we apostatize there never will... If Hyrum had lived he would have acted for Joseph, and then when we had gone up, the Twelve would have sat down at Joseph's right hand, and Hyrum on the left hand... If the Twelve do not apostatize they carry the keys of this kingdom wherever they go. (HC 7:288.)

In last week's [Deseret] News I published a portion of a revelation, showing the authority of the First Presidency of the Church, composed at first of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams. When this revelation was given, the two last-named brethren were Joseph's counselors, and this First Presidency possessed the power and authority of building up the kingdom of God upon all the earth, and of setting the Church in order in its perfection. You read in the revelation alluded to that when the Twelve were called and ordained, they possessed the same power and authority as the three First Presidents. (JD 9:87-88.)

Suppose that Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams had been taken away or had apostatized, as one of them did soon after the revelation I have referred to was given, and there had been only Joseph Smith left of the First Presidency, would he alone have had authority to set in order the kingdom of God on the earth? Yes. Again: Suppose that eleven of the Twelve had been taken away by the power of the Adversary, that one Apostle has the same power that Joseph had, and could preach, baptize, and set in order the whole kingdom of God upon the earth, as much so as the Twelve, were they all together... And we ask, Could Joseph Smith or the First Presidency do this without revelation? No; not one of them could do such a work without revelation direct from God. (Ibid.)

John Taylor:

You heard too that although the Priesthood held certain powers and privileges, the manifestations and powers thereof were only conferred according to the exigencies of the case and the necessities and requirements thereof. God has conferred upon us these blessings, but here are certain manifestations and powers that must come directly from him, and it is the duty of the Twelve to hunt up, search after, pray for and obtain them... (JD 19:124.)

Because the Twelve cannot go everywhere as a body, and the interests of the Church are being extended, and we are growing larger all the time; and Zion will continue to grow until the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and His Christ, and that as a matter of course means that this is the kingdom of God and the Priesthood is the representation of that kingdom, the proper authorities of the holy Priesthood, wherever they go to represent the Priesthood, must be respected in their position; and as their brethren represent the First Presidency where they are going, they must be respected and their counsels adhered to as such. (JD 21:362-363.)

Thus Christ is at the head, His Apostles and disciples seem to take the next prominent part; then comes the action of the Saints, or other branches of the Priesthood.(219)

Wilford Woodruff:

Let the Twelve Apostles, and the Seventy Apostles, and High Priest Apostles, and all other Apostles rise up and keep pace with the work of the Lord God, for we have no time to sleep... I want to see brother Hyde, who is the President of the Twelve, walk into all these Quorums and attend their meetings, and we will back him up.(220) (JD 4:147-178.)

[Joseph Smith] lived until every key, power, and principle of the holy Priesthood was sealed on the Twelve and on President Young, as their President. (JD 13:164.)

The Almighty will never permit me, nor any other President who holds the keys of the Kingdom of God, to lead you astray. (Quoted in Collected Discourses, 1:240.)

Parley P. Pratt:

In the year 1835, in Kirtland, Ohio, they ordained our President, Brigham Young, also Heber C. Kimball, your servant that is now addressing you, and many others, by the word of the Lord. Thus our President and others received the keys of the Apostleship, and we magnified it until Joseph's death, when two of his Quorum of Three went behind the veil, and the third, Sidney Rigdon, who had got in the background, became an apostate. The First Presidency was re-organized, under the authority proceeding from the Almighty through Joseph Smith, in the persons of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards; and they, by virtue of the keys lawfully in their possession, filled up the vacancies occasioned in the Quorum of the Twelve, and also the vacancy made in their Quorum by the death of our beloved brother, Willard Richards. (JD 5:200.)

Orson Pratt:

In those days, some persons, ignorant of the authority of an Apostle, questioned the right of the Twelve to preside, but I would ask, what authority ever existed in the Church that the Twelve do not hold? I would further enquire, had the First Presidency any office that the Twelve had not? If they have, where did they get it? Do you know? Another First Presidency of the Church were organized, three years and a half, after the death of Joseph. If they held any higher authority, then they must have received it by direct communication from the heavens. But it is known that they received it by the voice of the Council of the Twelve, with all the authorities of the kingdom of God to back them up. We have been taught, ever since the Twelve were chosen, that they held all the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood; all the power of the Apostleship that could be conferred upon mortal man... (JD 19:114.)

George Q. Cannon:

At Joseph's death, there was only one man who could exercise that authority and hold these keys, and that man was President Brigham Young, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve whom God had singled out. (JD 19:233-234.)

Therefore, as I have said, when President Young died there was no doubt in the minds of those who understood the principles as to who was the man -- it was the then senior Apostle. He was the man who had the right to preside, he holding the keys by virtue of his seniority, by virtue of his position in the Quorum; and he became the President of the Twelve Apostles; and became President of the Church. (JD 23:365.)

Though there may be many Apostles, there is only one man at a time on the earth who can hold the keys, and who can exercise this authority, as the President of the Church, in giving voice to the mind and will go God in written revelations to the Church. (Quoted in Collected Discourses, 1:212-212.)

Orson Hyde:

[Joseph Smith] said, "My work is about done; I am going to step aside awhile. I am going to rest from my labors; for I have borne the burthen [sic] and heat of the day and now I am going to step aside and rest a little. And I roll the burthen [sic] off my shoulders on the shoulders of the Twelve Apostles." (JD 13:180.)


An examination of the concepts of two levels of apostleship or a priesthood council higher than the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve reveals a doctrine that in internally inconsistent and contrasts greatly with the teachings of our priesthood leaders on the topic. Difficulties also appear in believing that Fundamentalist leaders qualified as members of the priesthood quorums they developed.



179. A Priesthood Issue, p. 10.

180. Ibid, pp. 9-10.

181. Musser mistakenly assumed that the entire Section 84 was given to six elders (Supplement, pp. 101-104, Truth 17:170-171) because the first verse starts with six. However, the chapter was given over two days to groups of different sizes. Verses 1-41 were given to six elders on the first day and everything after verse 41 (including verse 63) was given to ten elders on the second day. See Lyndon W. Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1985, p. 176. The difference in numbers is important because the quorum of High Priest Apostles is supposed to have seven members. If six were present with Joseph, the total receiving verse 63 would have been seven, but actually 11 were present. See chapter seven.

182. Mormon Doctrine, p. 46-47, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pp. 59-61.

183. Reminiscences of John W. Woolley and Lorin C. Woolley, Volume 1, Life Sketches Section, page 2. The authors Mark J. and Rhea A. Baird refer to John W. Woolley as a member of this council.

184. See D&C 84:63, 77; 88:3, 62, 117; 93:45, 51; 94:1; 97:1; 98:1; 100:1; 103:1; 104:1; 105:26; 109:6.

185. Journal of Joseph W. Musser, August 13, 1930 (see also May 28, 1935).

186. Even Lorin C. Woolley appears to have waited until he heard Musser's theories on D&C 84:63 before he taught about the COUNCIL OF FRIENDS, if Woolley ever mentioned it at all. In 1930, Lorin Woolley discussed "Great High Priests," but they were members of the "Grand Council of the Kingdom" which included "honorable men of the world" as members. (See Journal of Joseph Musser, August 13, 1930.) It is unlikely that Woolley's "Grand Council of the Kingdom" could have had anything to do with Musser's COUNCIL OF FRIENDS since the former contained non-members and the latter was supposedly composed of the highest priesthood authorities on earth. Lorin C. Woolley failed to mention any "higher apostleship" or that of the High Priest Apostles. Apparently, Joseph Musser would develop these ideas later.

187. Supplement pp. 99-100.

188. Ibid.

189. Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 27.

190. Ibid.

191. D&C 107:23. See also HC 2:357 and 418.

192. For example see HC 7:37-38, and 7:232, and Wilford Woodruff Journal April 26, 1839. Also see Collected Discourses 1:120, 297; 2:165, 378; 3:37.

193. Examples include HC 2:394, 499; 7:37, 232, 517; and Times and Seasons 5:637.

194. Truth 4:132.

195. D&C 18:37-39 and HC 2:181-200. See also chapter seven for a more in-depth analysis of those ordinations.

196. It is inaccurate to believe that no member of the Quorum of the Twelve has received a divine witness. Elder Boyd K. Packer observed:

We do not talk of those sacred interviews that qualify the servants of the Lord to bear a special witness of Him, for we have been commanded not to do so.

But we are free, indeed, we are obliged, to bear that special witness. (Ensign, May, 1980, p. 64.)

197. A Priesthood Issue, p. 11.

198. Ibid., p. 25.

199. In Joseph Musser's autobiography entitled The Journal of Joseph W. Musser, he recounted: "May 14, 1929, I was ordained a High Priest Apostle and a Patriarch to all the world, by a High Priest Apostle..." (p. 11, see also Truth 21:28). Musser's personal journal contains no such entry for May 14, 1929 (or any other date).

200. Woolley claimed to have been given the apostleship, but exactly when he was ordained and who purportedly ordained him is a much confused issue.

201. Reminiscences of John W. Woolley and Lorin C. Woolley, Vol. 5, p. 34.

202. Musser recorded that his own prophecy of June 23rd, "was literally fulfilled" in a meeting held the 24th. However, he did not specify how his predictions had been realized. It appears unlikely that J. Leslie Broadbent had successfully "rebuked the nations with boldness and power from afar" or that the Church authorities were "made to tremble at his [J. Leslie Broadbent] word" so exactly what may have been "fulfilled" is unclear.

203. See chapter five.

204. Journal of Joseph W. Musser, December 19, 1938.

205. In 1932 Charles F. Zitting was ordained a member of the of the COUNCIL OF FRIENDS by J. Leslie Broadbent (under the direction of Lorin C. Woolley). In that ordination, Zitting was instructed: " will be able to discharge your duties with God's approbation and in due time receive the confirmation of your calling under the hands of your Saviour Jesus Christ, when you will meet him as one man converse with another." (Life of Charles Frederick Zitting, pp. 61-62.)

206. D&C 27:12-13, 20:2-3.

207. D&C 110:11-16.

208. HC 5:1-2.

209. Improvement Era, 4 (Jan. 1901):230. Quote in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. 780.

210. Personal communication with several Fundamentalists who wish to remain nameless.

211. JD 16:266 (Wilford Woodruff) and 19:233 (George Q. Cannon).

212. D&C 132:18.

213. A Priesthood Issue, p. 25.

214. These multiple references to a single Council or Quorum of Apostles, which clearly refers to the Twelve, show that Orson Pratt was entirely unaware of a second purported Quorum of High Priest APOSTLES. Allegedly, Orson Pratt was a member of both Quorums of Apostles. See A Priesthood Issue, p. 12.

215. Contrast Musser's teaching that: "The Church might be likened to an executive committee appointed by a board of directors - the directors, of course being those of the priesthood..." (Supplement, p. 100.)

216. The Journal of Discourses contains 175 references to the "apostleship" and the History of the Church, 22. Recently INFOBASES (3549 N. University Ave. - 250 Yorktown Bldg., Provo, Utah 84604-4440) and INFORMATION SOLUTIONS INC. (P.O. Box 23235, Salt Lake City, Utah 84125) have made databases like the History of the Church and the Journal of Discourses available for the computer and rapid computerized searches of terms like "apostleship" and "apostle." The original scanning of the Journal of Discourses was actually performed by Fundamentalists from Colorado City, Arizona. This is ironic because the Journal of Discourses database allows one to easily recognize the complete absence of any teachings concerning a COUNCIL OF FRIENDS, an external PRIESTHOOD organization or High Priest Apostles within its pages. It appears obvious that Priesthood Leaders between 1854 and 1886 (the years the Journal of Discourses were produced) were entirely unaware of those ideas.

217. See A Priesthood Issue, p. 10 on the calling of Heber J. Grant to "the Apostleship of the Twelve." Also Truth 8:172.

218. See Musser's "15 Groups" of proposed Council of Friends membership.

219. John Taylor, Mediation and Atonement, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Company, 1882, p. 156.

220. It should be noted that the Quorum of High Priest "Apostles" referred is clearly subordinate to Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. See footnote 5, this chapter.