Throughout the publications of Joseph
W. Musser, he provides his readers with lists of Church members who
he declared retrospectively were High Priest
Apostles and members of a Council of Friends. By reviewing Musser's
works, a total of fifteen groups
are supposedly identified. The last group has already been discussed:
1. 3 Witnesses June 1829
2. 6 Elders - D&C 84 Sep. 1832
3. 12 Instructed Feb. 1835
4. Trial - Jared Carter Sep. 1835
5. Trial - G. Bishop Sep. 1835
6. Temple Anointings Jan. 1836
7. Temple Washings Mar. 1836
8. JS Counselors Sep. 1837
9. Endowments I May 1842
10. Endowments II May 1843
11. Quorum of the 12 July 1844
12. First Presidency Oct. 1847
13. Assist. Counselors Apr. 1873
14. Quorum of the 12 Jan. 1880
15. JT/5-hour meeting Sep. 1886
Other Fundamentalist authors, Stephen L. and Lynn L. Bishop,
have also formed a list of members of a Council of Friends(221)
which contrasts Musser's list and will be briefly discussed in chapter
The first apostles in this dispensation were Joseph Smith
and Oliver Cowdery who were ordained by Peter, James, and John in June
of 1829.(222) While nothing is mentioned
by either of these brethren to support the idea that they were actually
ordained "High Priest Apostles," Musser claimed that their higher order
of Priesthood was indeed conferred on that date by Peter, James and John
(not the Savior):
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery
received, not only the Priesthood of Melchizedek, but the order of Priesthood
that comprehends all power as previously explained --- the priesthood that
embraces the Apostolic calling. (A Priesthood Issue, p. 8.)
Brigham Young discussed the priesthood that Joseph and
I say unto you Latter-day Saints,
that the Seventies follow the Twelve Apostles, and the Twelve Apostles
follow in the wake of the First Presidency, and the First Presidency follow
in the wake of Peter, James and John... The Priesthood which Peter, James
and John held while in the flesh was the highest ever bestowed upon the
children of men, and it was conferred upon Joseph and Oliver, and without
it they never could have built up the kingdom. (Deseret News Weekly,
June 6, 1877 as quoted in A Priesthood Issue, p. 19)
In addition to Joseph and Oliver, David Whitmer and Martin
Harris were also referred to as "apostles" before the Church was formally
organized or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was filled. Several references
to these men as apostles are found in the Doctrine and Covenants and the
Journal of Discourses.
Since these men received the apostleship prior to the
formal organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
on April 6, 1830 and also before the calling and the setting apart of the
Twelve Apostles in 1835, Musser and other Fundamentalists conclude that:
1. By virtue of their membership in a supreme priesthood council, a Council of Friends, they were instructed to organize a subordinate organization: The Church of Christ on April 6, 1830.
2. Joseph, Oliver, David, and Martin held a "higher Apostleship"
since the latter three were commissioned to choose and ordain the allegedly
inferior Twelve Apostles.
Since Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were instructed
to "search out the Twelve,"(223) apparently
with the assistance of Martin Harris since Martin helped to set them apart
to the calling in 1835,(224) Joseph Musser
concluded that they must have held a higher order of apostleship:
In course of time, these three men
[Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer], with Martin Harris added,
were commanded to choose a quorum of twelve Apostles, which they did. And
here it will be noted that neither Joseph, Oliver, David, or Martin, under
whose selection the Twelve were chosen, became members of that group, the
choosers holding a higher order of Apostleship. (A Priesthood Issue,
Evidently there is a difference
in the Apostolic calling of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer,
before the organization of the Church, and the apostolic calling of the
"Twelve Apostles"... the former being an ordination in the Priesthood proper,
while the latter is an appendage office. (Truth 17:168 and Supplement
Musser also asserted that it was not by virtue of their
being the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon that they were assigned
to choose the Twelve:
To suppose that these men [Oliver
Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris] did the choosing (as indicated
in some of the writings of the brethren, because of having been witnesses
of the Book of Mormon), is an error - a supposition that is without rhyme,
rhythm, or reason. (Truth 17:168; Supplement p. 99.)
However, a reading of the events surrounding the February
14, 1835 ordinations of the Quorum of Twelve indicates that Oliver, David,
and Martin were commissioned to select and ordain the Twelve Special Witnesses
because they were the Three Book of Mormon Witnesses. In other words, Apostles,
who were Book of Mormon witnesses selected Apostles, who were Special Witnesses.
Indeed, notes from the meeting specifically refer to these men as "the
Three Witnesses" four times and as "the Witnesses" once. There is no reference
to them as high priest apostles or as members of a Council of Friends:
President Joseph Smith, Jun., said that the first business of the meeting was, for the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, to pray, each one, and then proceed to choose twelve men from the Church, as Apostles, to go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.
The Three Witnesses, viz., Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, united in prayer.
These Three Witnesses were then blessed by the laying on of the hands of the Presidency.
The Witnesses then, according to a former commandment, proceeded to make choice of the Twelve. Their names are as follows: [12 names listed].
Lyman E. Johnson, Brigham Young,
and Heber C. Kimball came forward; and the Three Witnesses laid
their hands upon each one's head and prayed separately. (HC 2:186-187.)
[Underlining by the authors.]
There is no suggestion from these minutes that callings
to a higher apostleship enabled Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin
Harris to select the members of the Quorum of the Twelve. Rather, their
status as Book of Mormon Witnesses was acknowledged several times and appears
to have been the source of their commission to choose the Quorum of Twelve
Fundamentalists bolster their claims to the superiority
of the apostleship of Joseph, Oliver, and David by showing that in addition
to selecting them, they also ordained them. However, priesthood holders
can ordain others to the same priesthood they hold. They need not hold
a higher priesthood office. For example, Elders can ordain other elders
and priests can ordain other priests etc.(225)
Brigham Young observed the authority of the Apostleship the Twelve received
from the Three Witnesses in 1835:
In our early career in this Church,
on one occasion, in one of our Councils, we were telling about some of
the Twelve wanting to ordain us High Priests... It was William E. McLellin
who told Joseph, that I and Heber were not ordained High Priests, and wanted
to know if it should not be done. Said Joseph, "Will you insult the Priesthood?
Is that all the knowledge you have of the office of an Apostle? Do you
not know that the man who receives the Apostleship, receives all the keys
that ever were, or that can be, conferred upon mortal man? What are you
talking about? I am astonished!" Nothing more was said about it.(226)
Since Joseph stated that the apostleship originally given to the Twelve contained "all the keys that ever were, or that can be, conferred upon mortal man," it is difficult to believe that the apostleship of David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery was somehow greater as Musser taught.
The whole idea taught by Fundamentalists that the Three
Witnesses held a higher level of apostleship in February, 1835, when they
ordained the Twelve is complicated by the terms used by the Prophet Joseph
Smith during the sustaining of priesthood leaders at the General Conference
held March, 1836:
I then called upon the quorums and
congregation of Saints to acknowledge the Twelve Apostles, who were present,
as Prophets, Seers, Revelators, and special witnesses to all the nations
of the earth, holding the keys of the kingdom, to unlock it, or cause it
to be done, among them, and uphold them by their prayers, which they assented
to by rising. (HC 2:417.)
If indeed the Twelve Apostles were subordinate to a Council of Friends, it wouldn't make much sense to sustain them as "Prophets, Seers, and Revelators." The Prophets, according to Joseph Musser, are the members of the Council of Friends who direct the Church via the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Joseph Smith also noted that the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles held the "keys of the kingdom," "not the keys of the church." Fundamentalist doctrine is adamant about separating the Church and Kingdom with the so-called Priesthood organization presiding over both.
Another problem for those who wish to believe that the Three Witnesses held authority higher than the First Presidency of the Church comes as we observe that, prior to ordaining the Twelve "These Three Witnesses were then blessed by the laying on of the hands of the Presidency."(227) This is referring to the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph Smith with counsellors Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams) which Musser taught was subordinate to the higher Council of Friends. Fundamentalists would expect the former to bless the latter and not the other way around.
An additional concern revolves around the question why
only three of the proposed Council of Friends were involved in the selection.
A brief examination of Musser "15 groups" listed earlier shows that in
February of 1835, when the Twelve Apostles were chosen, Joseph Smith, Brigham
Young, Heber C. Kimball, Hyrum Smith, Edward Partridge, David Patten, and
Joseph Stockbridge were also supposedly High Priest Apostles, but were
not included in the selection process. Even the senior member, Joseph Smith,
did not assist. It makes little sense to arbitrarily isolate only three
members of this alleged dominant priesthood quorum and require them to
choose the Quorum of the Twelve when other qualified leaders were available
to help, but that is what many Fundamentalists believe.
THE WITNESSES SPEAK
An analysis of Musser's theories regarding the High Priest
Apostles may appear plausible on initial inspection. However, since the
men involved often left us their own record, a truer picture is gained
by consulting their personal statements to see if High Priest Apostles
or a Council of Friends existed as Musser claimed. Without considering
these personal testimonies, a theologian might be able to manipulate selected
historical statements, like pawns in a game of chess, and make them comply
with a 20th century ideology .
Both David and Oliver were excommunicated from the church in 1838. Even if the Council of Friends did exist secretly, excommunicated and disillusioned members would no longer feel obligated to abide by a covenant of secrecy. The estranged and somewhat confused Whitmer was especially critical and wrote a pamphlet in 1887 entitled An Address to All Believers in Christ.(228) In that book, David didn't refer to any group of "High Priest Apostles" or anything higher than the First Presidency. Even a negative reference to the group described by Musser would be very useful in believing that Whitmer was ever a member. In any of his writings and teachings, there is no hint of a group above the First Presidency or a higher apostleship.
Even more telling is to note his actions after he was
excommunicated. In 1847 he was appointed "President" of the "Church of
Christ" by William E. McLellin (a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve).
If David Whitmer had been a member of a Council of Friends, it is likely
that he would have established the highest priesthood council he was aware
of upon starting his own religion. However, after being excommunicated
from the Church, he did not form a Council of Friends, instead, a "church"
was created with him as president. Throughout his associations with schismatic
religious activities, Whitmer never claimed priesthood authority from any
ordination as a High Priest Apostle or as a member of a Council of Friends.
The actions of David Whitmer suggest quite strongly that he was never a
member of a Council of Friends or a dominant external priesthood quorum
as Fundamentalists claim.
In the spring of 1838, Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated
for a variety of reasons. According to John Whitmer, he was even abused
by certain church members at that time:
But to our great astonishment, when
we were on our way home from Liberty, Clay County, we met the families
of Oliver Cowdery and L. E. Johnson, whom they had driven from their homes,
and robbed them of all their goods, save clothing, bedding, etc.(229)
Later he, along with David Whitmer and others received a letter signed by eighty-four Church members ordering them to leave the country or "face a more fatal calamity." If either of these men had presided over the Church as members of a Council of Friends, they might have used that position or referred to it in their defense against the charges made by church members. They might have also claimed continued priesthood authority from that priesthood line after their excommunication from the church (as many modern Fundamentalists have done). Still, there is no mention of any such ordination by these men during their time of disenchantment with the authorities and the Church.
In 1848, when Oliver Cowdery visited the saints in Kainesville,
Iowa, he discussed many things about his early days in the church, but
there is no mention of his being a High Priest Apostle. When David Whitmer
organized his "Church of Christ" in 1847, Oliver wrote him a letter suggesting
that because they had been commissioned to choose the original Twelve Apostles,
they still held those priesthood keys.(230)
However, when Oliver applied to be rebaptized in the Church in May, 1848,
he explained that he wrote the letter prior to understanding D&C 124:91-95
where the Lord says the Oliver's priesthood and gifts of the priesthood
were put upon Hyrum Smith. Since the Lord did not say that David Whitmer's
priesthood had been taken and he had only been excommunicated from the
Church, one might have expected David to claim authority as a High Priest
Apostle, even if Oliver did not. Neither of these men ever made reference
to such an office.
Martin Harris became discontented with Joseph Smith and the church over the collapse of the Kirtland Anti-banking Society in 1837. He and his family remained in Kirtland when most Saints emigrated to Missouri or Nauvoo. In 1870 he moved to Utah where he lived until his death in 1875. Upon arriving in Utah, he had many things to tell about his early years with the saints. He died in full fellowship, but without significant leadership position. In spite of this, he never mentioned his having been a High Priest Apostle or member of a Council of Friends though he talked with vigor of his experience as one of the Three Witnesses.
Eliminating Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin
Harris as potential High Priest Apostles shows that Musser's superimposed
theology completely missed when applied to the first "Quorum of High Priest
Apostles" (Council of Friends) he proposed.
The second gathering of men identified by Joseph Musser
as an assembly of the Council of Friends occurred on September 22 and 23,
1832. On that date the Lord gave a revelation through Joseph Smith at Kirtland,
Ohio that is now section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The Prophet
Joseph Smith designated this section as "a revelation on priesthood."(231)
Verse one reads:
A revelation of Jesus Christ unto
his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts
and lifted their voices on high. (D&C 84:1.)
The revelation contains 120 verses, many of which deal
with priesthood topics. Verses 33-42 have been referred to as the "oath
and covenant of the priesthood:"(232)
For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.
They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.
And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;
For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him...
And wo unto all those who come not
unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you
who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens, and even
I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.
(D&C 84:33-38, 42.)
In Supplement to the New and Everlasting Covenant of
Marriage, Musser recorded the above verses, then, with the addition
of some commentary placed in brackets and emphasis, quoted verses 60, 61,
63 and 77.
Verily, verily, I say unto you WHO NOW HEAR MY WORDS [the seven elders] which are my voice, blessed are ye inasmuch as you receive these things;
For I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment, that you remain steadfast in your minds in solemnity and the spirit of prayer, in bearing testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto you.
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.
And again I say unto you, MY FRIENDS
(for from henceforth I shall call you FRIENDS), it is expedient that I
give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my FRIENDS in days
when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power. (D&C
84:60-61, 63, 77 as quoted in Supplement p. 100 and Truth
17:170.) [Bold and brackets Musser's.]
After citing the above scriptures, Musser contended five
things were learned:
1st. That God confirmed a Priesthood upon Joseph Smith
and six other Elders (whose names are not given), which was the same Priesthood
and authority that Moses had previously received, and only by which man
can see the face of God even the Father, and live.
2nd. They are to have their sins forgiven.
3rd. That through faithfulness in obtaining this Priesthood
and functioning in it men become "sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing
of their bodies." They also "become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and
the seed of Abraham and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God;"
and they receive Christ and the Father and are received by them, and are
given all that the Father hath.
4th. They are "MINE APOSTLES EVEN GOD'S HIGH PRIESTS;
ye are they whom God hath given me; YE ARE MY FRIENDS", and from henceforth
they are to be called FRIENDS. (This revelation was given in 1832 while
the quorum of twelve disciples was not selected until 1835, three years
later. "Mine Apostles" doubtless had reference to the same apostolic
calling that Joseph, Oliver and David previously received. It will
be noted that there were seven men, at least, in this order of the Priesthood.)
5th. Upon them rested the responsibility of bearing the
Gospel message to the world - their testimony being immediately in force
upon all the world - with power to rend the kingdom of the world, which
power pertains only to this order of the Priesthood, and not primarily
to appendage callings.(233) [Underlining
by the authors.]
There are significant problems with the first, fourth
and fifth conclusions. First, Musser contended that Joseph Smith with "the
six other Elders (whose names are not given), received the same Priesthood
and authority that Moses had previously received." This would, in his mind,
make them High Priest Apostles which is without historical or scriptural
support. It is true that the Lord stated, "wo unto all those who come not
unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you
who are present this day,"(234) but the
two priesthoods mentioned in these verses (see verse 33) are the Aaronic
and Melchizedek as indicated by verses 14, 18, 25, 26, 29, and 30. Exactly
why Joseph Musser believed that a calling of High Priest Apostle is discussed
in any way is unclear.
THE SIX ELDERS IDENTIFIED
Musser presumed that only six elders were present to receive
the entire revelation and observed that their names were not given. No
historian has been able to identify who the original six elders were. However,
Musser listed six elders he claims to have comprised that group in Items
from the Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser.(235)
They were: Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Edward Partridge, David Patten,
Joseph Stockbridge and Hyrum Smith.(236)
An analysis of these six men is useful to determine if they might have
been included in the group of "six elders" referred to in the first verse
of section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
A simple inquiry into the timing of Brigham Young's arrival
in Kirtland, Ohio in 1832 assists us in understanding whether he could
have been one of the Musser's six Elders:
Brigham Young was baptized April
14, 1832, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
and ordained an Elder immediately after confirmation, Eleazar Miller officiating
in each instance. Three weeks after, his wife was also baptized. During
the following summer he preached the gospel in the regions adjacent to
Mendon, (New York), baptizing many and organizing branches. His wife died
September 8, 1832, leaving him two little girls, one two years old and
the other seven years of age. In the Fall of 1832 he visited Kirtland,
Ohio, in company with Heber C. Kimball and Joseph Young, and made the acquaintances
of the Prophet Joseph Smith.(237)
A more exact date is given by the Prophet Joseph Smith
in his history:
About the 8th of November I received
a visit from Elders Joseph Young, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball of
Mendon, Monroe County, New York. They spent four or five days at Kirtland,
during which time we had many interesting moments. (HC 1:295-6.)
It is thus evident that Brigham Young was not one of the
six Elders present in Kirtland on September 22 and 23, 1832, he first arriving
in Kirtland some 6 weeks later according to the Prophet's account.
An investigation of Heber C. Kimball's movements during
the Fall of 1832 reveals the following:
Heber C. Kimball was baptized in
April 1832 by Alpheus Gifford. About two weeks later his wife Vilate was
baptized by Joseph Young. Kimball was ordained an Elder by Joseph Young,
and in company with him and Brigham Young he preached in Genesse, Avon
and Lyonstorn, where they baptized many and built up branches. In November,
1832, with Brigham Young and Joseph Young, he went to Kirtland, Ohio and
visited the Prophet Joseph Smith. (Historical Record, p. 34.)
It is also evident that Heber C. Kimball was not one of
the six Elders present in Kirtland on September 22 and 23, 1832, he also
first arriving in Kirtland some six weeks later.
Edward Partridge went to Missouri with the Prophet and
others in June, 1831. While there he was appointed to remain and stand
as the first Bishop in the Church.(238)
Partridge remained in Missouri until the Saints were driven out in November,
1832 to the surrounding counties,(239)
and eventually out of the State in 1838. It thus becomes obvious that he
also was not one of the six Elders present in Kirtland on September 22
and 23, 1832.
David Patten was also out of the state on the day the
revelation was given:
David Patten was baptized by his
brother John Patten, in Green County, Indiana, June 15, 1832. He was ordained
an Elder on the 17th by Elisha Groves and appointed with a Brother Wood
to preach in the Territory of Michigan... In October he went to Kirtland,
where he spent two or three weeks, after which he started out on his second
mission, this time going East into Pennsylvania.. from this mission he
returned to Kirtland Feb. 25, 1833. (Historical Record, p. 19.)
It thus becomes doubtful that David Patten was one of
the six Elders present in Kirtland on September 22 and 23, 1832.
There is no mention of a Joseph Stockbridge in the early
history of the Church. Andrew Jenson's four volume L.D.S. Biographical
Encyclopedia(240) containing over 5500
names of people important to the restoration does not list a Joseph Stockbridge.
Likewise, computerized searches of the seven volume History of the Church
and 26 volume Journal of Discourses, and many other early historical works
fails to discover anyone by that name. It appears that Joseph Stockbridge
is a pure fabrication. If a Stockbridge were a member of the Council of
Friends in 1832, one would expect his name to appear somewhere in early
Hyrum Smith could have been in Kirtland on the day D&C
84 was given. However, the supposition that he was ever a "High Priest
Apostle" must be evaluated. Hyrum Smith was called to be Second Counselor
in the First Presidency of the Church in 1837. He replaced his father as
Patriarch to the Church and was called as Associate President of the Church
on January 24, 1841.(241) If Hyrum was
a High Priest Apostle in 1832 and thus presiding over the Church by virtue
of that calling in the Priesthood, his subsequent advancements within the
Church are curious. Hyrum Smith was designated the successor to President
Joseph Smith through the calling Hyrum received as Associate Church President.
Musser taught that each Church President is supposedly chosen by the alleged
Council of Friends. It appears that Joseph had desires to completely bypass
the purported Council of Friends and their authority to choose the President
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In reality, there was
no such council presiding anywhere. There is nothing to suggest that Hyrum
Smith was ever a High Priest Apostle as described by Musser.
SEVEN OR ELEVEN MEN?
Musser's fourth assertion involves the popular Fundamentalist
scripture (D&C 84:63) where the Lord refers to the members present
as "mine Apostles, even God's High Priests." This appears to be the origin
of the idea of "High Priest Apostles" or Friends. Musser contended that
the Lord was specifying those six elders as High Priest Apostles in that
verse. Respecting the number of individuals present and the dates involved
when Section 84 was received, Lyndon W. Cook has observed:
It is difficult to determine which
verses were received on which day, but some evidence suggest that verses
1-41 constitute parts of the revelation received on 22 September. Whereas
verse 1 indicates that the revelation was received in the presence of six
elders (undoubtedly high priests), an unpublished note (dated 23 September
1832) that appears in the "Kirtland Revelation Book" after verse 42 affirms
that that verse (42) was specifically intended for ten high priests, then
present. It is also worthy of note that there is a change of tense in verse
42 from the third to the first person. (The Revelations of the Prophet
Joseph Smith, p. 176)
Therefore it is more likely that verses after 42 (including
verse 63 where the Lord refers to his "Apostles, even God's High Priests")
were given to ten elders and not six. As will be seen, having seven members
in the Council of Friends is something routinely deviated from by Fundamentalists.
Such also appears to be the case if one is to utilize D&C 84:63 to
support a Council of Friends.
HIGH PRIEST APOSTLES AND MISSIONARY WORK
Musser's Fifth observation that "upon them [the High Priest
Apostles] rested the responsibility of bearing the Gospel message to the
world" directly contradicts Musser's other teachings that it is a duty
of the Church (not the proposed Priesthood organization and a Council of
Friends) to proclaim the gospel:
The Church might be termed the spiritual
branch or propaganda division of the Priesthood. To its sacred care is
entrusted the duty of proclaiming the "gospel of the Kingdom" to mankind...
(A Priesthood Issue, p. 17.)
Likewise, it should be noted that the Council of Friends does not promote missionary work today. This, even though the senior member of the Council allegedly holds the "keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth" restored to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland temple on April 3, 1836.(242)
An examination of the Fundamentalist approach to missionary
work is somewhat puzzling. Notwithstanding their attempts to practice fundamental
doctrines, they ignore the many directives from the Lord to do missionary
work.(243) They do not actively proselyte
to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or to their own external
Priesthood organization. They criticize the attempts by The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints to effectuate the final gathering through missionary
work.(244) From their actions, one would
readily conclude that Fundamentalists feel that missionary work was a priesthood
duty of the nineteenth century only, for they place little emphasis on
fulfilling the Lord's multiple commands to perform missionary work.
D&C 84 - ITS IMPORTANCE
This second group proposed by Musser and others as a council of High Priest Apostles may have been the source of the number of individuals Musser believed should be in his dominant priesthood quorum. Six Elders, plus Joseph Smith, make seven and since the number is seldom found in the other proposed groups,(245) Musser's determination that the Council of Friends should contain seven individuals may have been primarily derived from this historical episode. The alleged Council of Friends is also referred to as the Council of Seven. The names "High Priest Apostles" and "Friends" were also probably derived from verse 63 as discussed above.
226. The exact date of this occurrence is not given, but William McLellin was excommunicated on May 11, 1838, so it most certainly occurred prior to that time. The incident likely transpired early after their ordinations as apostles since the Twelve appeared to know relatively little of what they had received when they were ordained to the apostleship.
237. Andrew Jenson, comp. The Historical Record, 9 Vols. (Volumes 5-9 of the Historical Record were printed as a monthly periodical between 1886 and 1889 and later compiled as a single publication with pages consecutively numbered 1-1011) Salt Lake City, Utah: Andrew Jenson, 1889, p. 25; see also Brigham Young Journal cited in HC 1:297.
243. Possibly the most repeated theme in the Doctrine and Covenants is that of doing missionary work. A few examples include: 1:4-5, 4:1-7, 11:21-22, 15:6, 16:6, 18:15, 21:9, 84:60-62, 88:81, 100:5-8 etc.
"Therefore, let no man among you,
for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in
the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that
goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom."
Since missionaries receive financial support from others
and do not preach without "purse or scrip," Fundamentalist wish to discount
their efforts. It should be noted that preaching without purse or scrip
is against the law in most countries including the United States. Likewise,
the Lord realized acceptable missionary work could occur with missionaries
who carried purse and scrip. He counseled His disciples:
"But now, he that hath a purse,
let him take it, and likewise his scrip..." (Luke 22:36.)
Additionally, missionaries were receiving financial assistance from the Church or their families as early as September, 1843 (HC 6:14-15, see also JD 8:172-173). Fundamentalists wish to postpone the final gathering until it can be performed "without purse or scrip" despite the Lord's subsequent council, as taught by His prophets, that rendering assistance to missionaries in the field is acceptable.
245. See Musser's "15 Groups" of proposed Council of Friends membership.