SIX MORE PROPOSED GROUPS
Lets examine the next six companies which Musser
stated were actually meetings of his Council of Friends:
1. Endowments I May 1842
2. Endowments II May 1843
3. Quorum of the 12 July 1844
4. First Presidency Oct. 1847
5. Assist. Counselors Apr. 1873
6. Quorum of the 12 Jan. 1880
On May 4-5, 1842, the first endowments in this dispensation were given to members of the church by Joseph Smith.(266) Prior to his death, Joseph met with those favored individuals many times for prayer and sacred
Joseph Musser isolated two of the meetings of this group and suggested
they were assemblies of his alleged Council of Friends. Specifically, he
chose the May 4-5, 1842 group and the May 26, 1843 company as documentation
that the Council of Friends existed and met during that period of Church
On May 4th, 1842, the Prophet's record states:
I spent the day in the upper part
of the store, that is in my private office... in council with General James
Adams, of Springfield, Patriarch Hyrum Smith, Bishops Newel K. Whitney
and George Miller, and President Brigham Young and Elders Heber C. Kimball
and Willard Richards, instructing them in the principles and order of the
Priesthood, attending to washings, anointings, endowments and the communication
of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest
order of the Melchizedek Priesthood, setting forth the order pertaining
to the Ancient of Days, and all those plans and principles by which any
one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessing which have been
prepared for the Church of the First Born, and come up and abide in the
presence of the Eloheim in the eternal worlds. In this council was instituted
the ancient order of things for the first time in these last days. And
the communications I made to this council were of things spiritual, and
to be received only by the spiritual minded: and there was nothing made
known to these men but what will be made known to all the Saints of the
last days, so soon as they are prepared to receive, and a proper place
is prepared to communicate them, even to the weakest of the Saints... (HC
Joseph Musser wrote that this was an occasion when the
proposed order of "seven men holding the higher order of Priesthood, and
forming the presidency of the Sanhedrin" was instituted.(268)
Without further explanation, we are left to believe that General James
Adams, President Hyrum Smith, Bishop Newel K. Whitney, Bishop George Miller,
President Brigham Young, Elder Heber C. Kimball, and Elder Willard Richards
composed the Council of Friends on that date (with Joseph Smith it would
have been eight).
Another proposed meeting of the Council of Friends is
discussed briefly in A Priesthood Issue (page 13):
Friday, 26. - At five p.m. I met
in counsel in the upper room, with my brother Hyrum, Brigham Young, Heber
C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Judge James Adams, Bishop Newel K. Whitney
and William Law, and gave them their endowments and also instructions in
the priesthood on the new and everlasting covenant, etc. (HC 5:409.)
Musser elaborated on the group assembled:
This special Priesthood Council, being an organization somewhat foreign to the present Church concept, we deem it wisdom to make further explanation concerning it.
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.)
Any discussion of the temple endowment requires special
sensitivity due to the sacred nature of the ordinances involved. A brief
review of the administration of the first endowments by Joseph Smith includes
As work on the [Nauvoo] temple progressed, Joseph Smith sought and received additional instructions from the Lord regarding the sacred endowment. However, it is not known exactly when he received all the instructions pertaining to the temple ordinances. He introduced these ordinances to a few trusted Latter-day Saints in the upper room of his red brick store on 4 May 1842. At that time it was virtually the only large place in Nauvoo where a group could assemble in privacy....
On 3 May, with the help of others,
the Prophet arranged his office and Assembly Room to represent "the interior
of a temple as much as the circumstances would permit." On the afternoon
of the following day the Prophet administered the first endowments to a
select group, which included Hyrum Smith, Church patriarch; Brigham Young,
Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards of the Twelve Apostles; Newel K.
Whitney, general bishop; George Miller, president of the Nauvoo high priest's
quorum and a general bishop; and James Adams, president of the Springfield
Branch... (Church History in the Fulness of Times, pp. 253-254.)
Gradually over the next two years, Joseph Smith introduced the endowment to approximately ninety men and women.(269)
The "select group" of nine men with Joseph Smith became the first to receive the endowment in this dispensation. The prophet's record as found in the History of the Church shows that members of this "select group" met on other occasions for variety of reasons.(270) Since Joseph Smith headed the group and they were largely unknown to the general membership of the Church during 1842 and 1843, Musser incorrectly assumed they must have been members of his newly invented leadership quorum, the Council of Friends. However, Fundamentalist assertions of this nature only reveal a high level of ignorance concerning the function and operation of that "select group" of men. To claim that they were a presiding priesthood quorum is completely inaccurate. That "select group" did not act as other priesthood quorums in a presiding capacity. References to their meetings show they met for prayer, to perform ordinance work and to receive instruction from the Prophet Joseph Smith.(271) That they never acted in a "presiding capacity" is manifest through their activities. Likewise, prior to the death of Joseph Smith, women were admitted to the "select group."(272)
Fundamentalists would do well to also note that of the
nine men who were given their endowments in 1842, only Heber C. Kimball
may have been involved with the principle of plural marriage. At least
three of them, Hyrum Smith, William Marks and William Law, had not yet
accepted polygamy. The latter two never did. It is plain that the full
blessings of the endowment were given to many men who were not practicing
plural marriage. Much more could be written to show clearly that there
was no Council of Friends functioning during the 1842-1844 period.
Admittedly the issue of the existence of a Council of
Friends becomes more complicated during 1844. This is because the Twelve
Apostles were supposedly all High Priest Apostles and somehow members of
the Council of Friends as well as being members of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Musser was forced to make that assumption(273)
based on special instructions given to the Twelve by Joseph Smith prior
to his death. In 1869, George Q. Cannon recalled:
By virtue of the ordination he received, Joseph had the right and the authority to confer this Priesthood upon others. He called twelve Apostles, and they were ordained under his authority by the direction of the Lord, and those twelve were endowed with the keys. Previous to his death, the Prophet Joseph manifested great anxiety to see the temple completed, as most of you who were with the Church during his day, well know. "Hurry up the work, brethren," he used to say, "let us finish the temple; the Lord has a great endowment in store for you, and I am anxious that the brethren should have their endowments and receive the fullness of the Priesthood." He urged the Saints forward continually, preaching unto them the importance of completing that building, so that therein the ordinances of life and salvation might be administered to the whole people, but especially to the quorums of the holy Priesthood; "then," said he, "the Kingdom will be established, and I do not care what shall become of me."
These were his expressions oft repeated in the congregations of the Saints, telling the brethren and sisters of the Church, and the world that he rolled the Kingdom on to the Twelve, and they would have to round up their shoulders and bear it off, as he was going to rest for awhile, and many other expressions of a like nature the full meaning of which the Saints did not realize at the time.
Prior to the completion of the Temple,
he took the Twelve and certain other men, who were chosen, and bestowed
upon them a holy anointing, similar to that which was received on the day
of Pentecost by the Twelve, who had been told to tarry at Jerusalem. This
endowment was bestowed upon the chosen few whom Joseph anointed and ordained,
giving unto them the keys of the holy Priesthood, the power and authority
which he himself held, to build up the Kingdom of God in all the earth
and accomplish the great purposes of our Heavenly Father; and it was by
virtue of this authority, on the death of Joseph, that President Young,
as President of the quorum of the Twelve, presided over the Church. (JD
It becomes quite clear that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
were equally endowed with "all the keys, powers and privileges pertaining
to the Kingdom of God" which they received from the Prophet Joseph Smith.
In light of this evidence, Musser concluded that the Twelve were given
the lesser Apostleship in 1835 with their original ordinations. He also
taught that prior to Joseph's death in 1844, the Twelve were given additional
keys and powers making them all "full-fledged" apostles like the Three
Witnesses of the Book of Mormon supposedly were:
Thus it is clearly shown that to possess the Apostleship of Joseph, Oliver and David--the "highest authority ever given to men on earth" --it was not sufficient that men be inducted into the quorum of the Twelve and ordained to the "Apostleship of the Twelve"...
These anointings, privileges and
powers, the members of the Quorum of Twelve received, not by virtue of
their being called into the Quorum of Twelve, but strictly in line with
their callings late given them, of Presiding High Priests, the former being
an appendage calling only. (A Priesthood Issue, pp. 11-12.)
In these statements, Musser demonstrated an inaccurate understanding of the apostleship. Being ordained an apostle, as Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were in 1829, does not require membership in the Quorum of the Twelve. Several individuals have received the apostleship without becoming a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles.(274)
Also, we must understand that whatever authority Joseph
Smith received from Peter, James and John in 1829 was given to the Twelve
Apostles in 1835. Between 1835 and 1844, Joseph Smith himself received
visitations from divine messengers who imparted keys to him. Prior to his
death in 1844, the prophet Joseph shared those keys with the Twelve in
conjunction as related by Elder George Q. Cannon above. The idea that the
Twelve Apostles received a lesser apostleship in 1835 than the Three Witnesses
held in 1829 is incorrect.
Brigham Young first heard of the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith on July 16, 1844. He recalled, "The first things which I thought of was, whether Joseph had taken the keys of the kingdom with him from the earth." Then after little hesitation he concluded, "The keys of the kingdom are right here with the Church."(275) With the President of the Church lying dead in Nauvoo, the Church, Kingdom, and Priesthood of God had lost their leader. The ensuing months would see conflict over who should led the Church as Sidney Rigdon and others would try to displace the Quorum of the Twelve and the Senior Apostle.
Today, Latter-day Saints believe that the Quorum of the Twelve held the authority and were therefore the rightful successors. However, Fundamentalists claim that a Council of (Seven?) Friends whose membership included the Twelve Apostles and others, continued to direct the Church and Kingdom during that period. Why the proposed Council of Friends may have felt the need to wait three years to replace the subordinate First Presidency is unclear.
Since Musser et al have suggested that his group of High
Priest Apostles were also the same Apostles which took control of the Church
and lead the people West, it is impossible to survey the memberships for
comparison. However, an examination of statements by Brigham Young, John
Taylor and other supposed High Priest Apostles, might be useful to determine
which Priesthood Quorum, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles or a Council
of Friends, was promoted to lead the Saints since the First Presidency
was dissolved through the death of Joseph Smith. Additionally, the inquiry
becomes even more enlightening as Sidney Rigdon, a proposed one-time member
of the Council of Friends, is forced to convince the Saints of his authority
claims to the exclusion of the Twelve.
Sidney Rigdon(276) arrived in Nauvoo on August 3, 1844, about five weeks after the Carthage massacre. Sidney spoke forcefully of a vision he received showing that since he was appointed by revelation as Joseph Smith's spokesman and since the Church would now have to be built up to Joseph, he would have to be Joseph's liaison. Sidney desired an early meeting for the Saints to decide. Willard Richards, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, proposed that the Saints wait until the rest of the Twelve had returned. On August 7th, the Twelve Apostles, the High Council and some high priests met in the second story of the incomplete Seventy's Hall and listened to Sidney Rigdon rehearse his claims. He claimed to have received a vision which was presented to his mind after prayer, but was not an open vision.(277) He proposed that every Quorum should stand as they had stood in the washings and consecrations of the Kirtland Temple period.
After Sidney's plea, Brigham Young spoke briefly and said:
I do not care who leads the church, even though it were Ann Lee,(278) but one thing I must know, and that is what God says about it. I have the keys and the means of obtaining the mind of God on the subject.
I know there are those in our midst
who will seek the lives of the Twelve as they did the lives of Joseph and
Hyrum. We shall ordain others and give the fullness of the priesthood,
so that if we are killed the fullness of the priesthood may remain. 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.(279) (HC
7:230.) [Underlining by the authors.]
Wilford Woodruff, a purported High Priest Apostle and
member of the Quorum of the Twelve, recorded an account of the same meeting:(280)
We spent the fore part of the day
at Br Taylors, and in the afternoon, we met in Council at the Seventies
Hall, viz the Twelve, High Council, and High Priest &c. & we herd
Sidney Rigdon tell his Story and message which he had to us and the Church.
A long Story it was a kind of second Class vision. He said he was appointed
to come and offer himself to lead the Church, and many things was said.
He was followed by Br Brigham Young and he showed that their could not
be any one before the Twelve. (Wilford Woodruff, Journal, Aug. 7, 1844.)
The following day, August 8, 1844, the whole Church met
in the form of a Solemn Assembly. At this meeting, Brigham Young taught
For the first time in my life for the first time in your lives, for the first time in the kingdom of God do I step forth to act in my capacity in connexion with the quorum of the Twelve as Apostles of Jesus Christ unto the People and to bear of the keys of the Kingdom of God in all the world...
I now want to ask each of you to tell me if you want to chuse a gardeen, a Prophet evengellst or sumthing els as your head to lead you. All that are in favor of it make it manifest by raising the right hand. No hands raised. All that wants to draw away a party from the Church after them let them do it if they can, but they will not prosper...
There has been much said about President Rigdon being president of the Church leading the People, being the head, &c. If the People want President Rigdon to lead them, they may have him. But I say unto you that the quorum of the Twelve have the keys of the kingdom of God in all the world. They stand next to Joseph and are the Presidency of the Church, and hold the keys and would have to ordain any man unto that appointment that should be chosen ie. if one was to be chosen. You cannot appoint any man at our head. We should have to ordain him. You cannot appoint a man at our head. But if you want any other man to lead you, take him, and we will go our way to build up the kingdom in all the world...
Let those who holds the keys of
the Kingdom of God build it up in all the world. If their is a spokesman
if he is a king and Priest [received the fullness of the priesthood] let
him go and build up a kingdom. This is his right, and it is the right of
many here. But who is the head? The Twelve. If one Thousand rise up and
say they have the Prophets Joseph shoes I know they are impostors. If you
know how the Church is organized I wish to ask a question. Now If you want
Rigdon, Lyman or Law to lead you or any body else, you may have them. But
I tell you in the name of the Lord, that no man Can put another between
the Twelve and the Prophet Joseph. Why? Because Joseph was their file leader
and he has committed into there hands the keys of the kingdom for all the
world. Don't put a thread between the Priesthood and God... (Ibid.,
August 8, 1844.)
President Rigdon asked W. W. Phelps to speak on his behalf
since he could not speak. Brother Phelps, who was supposedly a member of
the Council of Friends since the 1835 trial of Jared Carter, said:
...You are ready to submit to the Authority of God. The Twelve are Chosen to rise up and bear the Church off triumphant....
But let us go ahead and build the
Temple and you will then be endowed. If you want to do right uphold the
Twelve. If they die I am willing to die with them. But do your duty and
you will be endowed. I will sustain the Twelve. Joseph and Hiram are removed
whare they can converse with Gods beyond the reach of powder and ball.
(Ibid. See also Times and Seasons, 5:638)
Anyone present in that solemn assembly that day would
have left the meeting believing that the Quorum of the Twelve was the priesthood
body possessing the Keys of the Kingdom and the right to lead. Musser admitted
that the Twelve Apostles must have also been High Priest Apostles and therefore
they could make such claims based on their alleged secret ordinations.
To show that such secret ordinations never occurred and that a secret organization
(e.g. a Council of Friends) also never existed is difficult since even
an overwhelming lack of evidence can be excused as being consistent with
the purported "secret" nature of the group. However, if a Quorum of High
Priest Apostles (or Council of Friends) was actually the presiding priesthood
authority at the Solemn Assembly, its members were purposefully lying to
the people about who was in charge. The people were taught that no man
or group such as a Council of Friends existed above the Quorum of the Twelve.
Members of the Church heard W.W. Phelps, also supposedly a High Priest
Apostle, state, "If you want to do right uphold the Twelve." Through it
all, the Council of Friends was apparently kept very secret. The secrecy
was maintained so well that not one member of the Church attending the
conference that day would have had the slightest idea from what was taught
that any priesthood group could ever preside over the Quorum of the Twelve
Apostles. The purported wholesale deception of the Saints by their priesthood
leaders, affirmed by Fundamentalists, is difficult to defend. The truth
is that the Twelve Apostles were the highest Priesthood Quorum then in
With the death of Joseph Smith in 1844, the bulk of the
Church members followed the Quorum of the Twelve and their claims to the
keys of the Kingdom.(282) Brigham Young
was sustained as the leader of the Saints by virtue of his position as
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was not until after
the Saints arrived in Utah in 1847 that the First Presidency was reorganized
with Brigham Young as President, Heber C. Kimball as First Counselor, and
Willard Richards as Second Counselor. Joseph Musser used this episode attempting
once again to identify a Council of Friends historically and to assert
that it was directing the affairs of the Church on that occasion:
[In 1844] Brigham had the "keys"
and therefore the "means of obtaining the mind of God on the subject."
Did he hold those "keys" by reason of his being the President of the Quorum
of Twelve? No, he held them by reason of his ordination unto the higher
order of the Priesthood -- a Presiding High Priest -- and from the fact
that he had become, through the death of Joseph and Hyrum, the senior President,
by ordination, and therefore the head of that order of Priesthood. He and
his associates, then, were the group that possessed the authority to reorganize
the First Presidency, which was later done in accordance with the will
of Heaven. Brigham Young was the choice of the Lord for the position of
President of the Church, as Joseph had been before him, and the Saints
sustained him as such, but not by virtue of his being the President of
the Twelve --that fact the Saints should get thoroughly fixed in their
minds. (Truth, 9:169.)
Musser did not tell us the membership of the Council of
Friends in 1847. However, they were supposedly presiding during the reorganization
of the First Presidency which occurred in December of that year. Wilford
Woodruff recorded some of the discussion that accompanied the reorganization:
I had a question put to me by President
Young what my opinion was concerning one of the Twelve Apostles being
appointed as the President of the Church with his two Counselors. I
answered that a quorum like the Twelve who had been appointed by
revelation and confirmed by revelation from time to time I thought it would
require a revelation to change the order of the quorum. (Wilford Woodruff
Journal, October 12, 1847)
Sunday. We rode to Brother O. Hydes
and spent the day and night. We an interesting time. We had a good feast
and went into council and Brother Brigham Young expressed his feelings
concerning the organizing of the Church and appointing a First Presidency.
This subject lies with weight upon my mind. I have been stirred up to do
this by the Spirit of the Lord. He wished all of the Quorum present
to express their feelings upon this subject beginning at the oldest and
each one of the following person expressed their feelings in rotation:
Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff,
George A. Smith, Amasa Lyman and Ezra T. Benson and many interesting remarks
were made by the various individuals who spoke. We were followed by President
Young After which Orson Hyde moved that Brigham Young be the President
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that he nominate
his two Counselors and they form the three First Presidency. Seconded by
Wilford Woodruff and carried unanimously. (Ibid., December 5, 1847.)
[Spelling standardized. Underlining added.]
The references to "council" and "quorum" above could only mean the Quorum of the Twelve, since Wilford Woodruff never referred to anything even remotely resembling a Council of Friends at anytime. All the men who spoke were members of the Quorum of the Twelve. Clearly there was no higher Council of Seven Friends presiding over the proceedings. A survey of the actions and statements of all the priesthood leaders during the 1844-1847 period clearly shows that the Quorum of the Twelve was guiding the Saints.(283)
If one subscribes to Musser's theories regarding a Council
of Friends directing the Church after 1844, it is curious to note that
they waited three years to reorganize the First Presidency. The Saints
were taught that the Twelve held the keys and were able to preside. Waiting
for three years until the Lord inspired them to re-establish the First
Presidency seemed consistent with the teachings of the apostleship they
all held. The instruction to form a new First Presidency needed to come
from the next highest authority above the Twelve and the Saints were taught
that that was the Lord. It is indeed peculiar that Musser's lofty Council
of Friends supposedly felt the need to wait three years to recreate the
subordinate First Presidency. The delay and the wholesale deception concerning
the purported Council of Friends seems to serve little useful purpose.
In early 1873 the First Presidency of the Church consisted of Brigham Young President, George A. Smith (1817) First Counselor and Daniel H. Wells Second Counselor. At the April conference, Brigham called five additional counselors: Lorenzo Snow, Brigham Young, Jr., Albert Carrington, John W. Young and George Q. Cannon.
Respecting these callings Musser wrote:
A similar situation prevailed in
the year 1873, at the general conference of the Church held in April, when
President Brigham Young, in choosing five other counselors announced that
"he had two counselors to aid him as President of the Church; he had the
privilege of having seven brethren to assist him in this capacity. (Mill.
Star, Vol. 35:292)" Since, as explained above, only three could constitute
the First Presidency of the Church, the "privilege of having seven brethren
to assist him in this capacity," undoubtedly referred to some other "capacity"
than that of the First Presidency. Brigham Young, like Joseph Smith, was
occupied in a dual capacity; he not only presided over the Church as its
President, but also presided over the Priesthood of God, and the seven
counselors were to assist him in this latter office. (A Priesthood Issue,
Hence we are taught that these eight men composed the
Council of Friends in 1873. This possibility raises several questions:
1. Why is there no evidence of this important priesthood
quorum functioning between 1847 and 1873?
2. What about previously mentioned "High Priest Apostles"
such as Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff who were
3. According to Musser, the alleged Council of Friends
was composed of the following in 1873:
It is peculiar that upon the death of Brigham Young, John
Taylor became the President of the Church and supposedly the senior member
of the alleged Council of Friends since he wasn't even mentioned in Musser's
discussion of the 1873 High Priest Apostles.
4. Why did Brigham Young wait until he supposedly identified
a need to replace five members of the alleged highest priesthood quorum,
instead of calling replacements one-at-a-time?
5. Why were members of this non-Church Priesthood council presented for a sustaining vote at a Church conference?
6. Why did Brigham Young feel the need to call these men
to an inferior Church position (as his counselors) at the time they were
also supposedly "High Priest Apostles?"
Joseph Musser failed to give any additional justification
for his belief that these men, besides being counselors to Brigham Young,
were also High Priest Apostles. For Fundamentalists who believe Musser
was correct in this assumption, the challenge is apparent and awaiting.
On the night of January 26, 1880, Wilford Woodruff, a
member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, received a vision:(284)
The Lord poured out his spirit upon
me and opened the vision of my mind so I could comprehend in good measure
the mind and will of God and his purposes concerning our Nation and the
inhabitants of Zion... (Wilford Woodruff Journal.)
In conjunction with that vision, President Woodruff recorded
a personal revelation. The revelation has never been presented to the membership
of the Church, but Fundamentalists hold it in high esteem and quote from
it often. One part includes the following:
And while my servant John Taylor is your President, I wish to ask the rest of my servants of the Apostles the question,
Although you have one to preside over your Quorum, and over the Church which is the order of God in all generations, do you not all of you hold the Apostleship, which is the highest authority ever given to man on the earth? You do.
Therefore you hold in common the
Keys of the Kingdom of God in all the world... (Journal of Wilford Woodruff,
January 26, 1880.) [Underlining added.]
In light of the statement concerning the status of the
apostleship held by the Twelve in 1880, Musser was forced to assume that
in addition to the Apostleship of the Twelve, these men had also been ordained
to the High Priest Apostleship he had described:(285)
This higher order of Apostleship
was evidently held by the members of the Quorum of the Twelve at the time
of the Revelation of the Lord to Wilford Woodruff, January 26, 1880. (A
Priesthood Issue, p. 12.)
As with the previous assertions concerning the 1873 counselors to Brigham Young, we are left with nothing but Joseph Musser's opinion regarding the priesthood calling of these men.
Difficulties in believing Musser's conclusions regarding
the 1880 Quorum of the Twelve(286) "High
Priest Apostles" parallel those of the 1873 group. Noteworthy concerns
surface as we compare this group to the proposed reorganization of the
Council of Friends in 1886. (See chapter four.) Inconsistencies abound.
THE "COUNCIL OF FRIENDS" AS PROPOSED BY OTHER FUNDAMENTALIST
In 1971, Lynn L. and Steven L. Bishop published a book of just under 300 pages entitled Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated. Their text is different from other Fundamentalist literature in that it actively discusses the doctrine of a Priesthood existing outside the Church and yet its theories differ from Musser's ideas in several significant ways. Most Fundamentalist publications treat this topic by borrowing parts from Musser's High Priest Apostle philosophy. Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated is the only other serious attempt to explain the existence of a presiding Priesthood Council external to the Church since 1829 utilizing Lorin C. Woolley's claims.(287)
Parallels do exist between the theories promoted by Joseph Musser and the Bishops. Both employ a Council of Friends as the mechanism for extracting the sealing authority from the Church and making it available to the Fundamentalists. However, the membership differs: Musser's presiding authorities are "High Priest Apostles"(288) while the Bishops suggest that the Council of Friends is filled with Apostles only.(289) The term "High Priest Apostle" is not employed by the Bishops to describe the membership of their dominant priesthood council.(290) Even though apostles comprise Bishops' Council of Friends, they are thought to hold a higher calling than the apostles of the Quorum of the Twelve. The basis of this assumption is purely conjectural, as is most of Musser's evidence.
One value of Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated is most evident when its priesthood theories are compared to Musser's ideas. A detailed comparison of the members of the Council of Friends over the years with the fifteen groups promoted by Musser will not be provided here.(291) Many differences and similarities between the proposed members exist. The Bishops entirely omitted any group that contained Sidney Rigdon. Reasons for these omissions may be secondary to the same problems to his supposed membership in the Council of Friends listed in chapter eight.
Overall, Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated utilizes much of the same reasoning as that found in Musser's works to demonstrate the existence of a superior priesthood quorum, outside the Church, from the year of 1886 onward. An analysis of Musser's ideas will serve to address Bishops' conclusions because the two philosophies are more closely related when discussing the membership of the Council of Friends between 1886 and 1932.
As one reviews the multitude of Fundamentalist factions,
one in impressed with the wide variety of beliefs concerning priesthood
authority. Notwithstanding this diversity, it appears that no one group
strictly follows the Bishops' theories to the exclusion of Musser's suppositions.
Indeed, the discrepancies are disregarded since the three authors (Musser
and the two Bishop brothers) agree on the basic premise that authority
to seal polygamous marriages is somehow available to Fundamentalists today.
An examination of the "select group" given their endowments by Joseph Smith in 1842 shows clearly they did not function in a presiding capacity as a Council of Friends was supposed to do. Additionally, women were admitted which is inconsistent with Musser's lofty priesthood council as well. After the death of Joseph Smith in 1844, it was plainly taught and evidenced through their activities that the Quorum of the Twelve, not a higher priesthood quorum, was presiding and directing the affairs of the Church and Kingdom of God. Teachings that the additional counsellors to Brigham Young in 1873 or the Quorum of the Twelve in 1880 were somehow members of a Council of Friends is completely unsupported by the historical record.
The doctrine of early priesthood authority as contained in Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated, is unique in that it parallels Musser's theories while differing with them on several important points. Besides these three authors, no other Fundamentalist has written on this important topic in such detail. The fact that they supplement each other at times, while disagreeing on other major issues, is representative of Fundamentalist theology in general. It seems historical documentation serves only to substantiate the ideology that has already been accepted. A multitude of discrepancies appears to cause little distress to these sincere believers.
272. One interesting list of meetings
of the proposed COUNCIL OF FRIENDS found in the Keys of the Priesthood
Illustrated includes ten dates when their proposed COUNCIL OF FRIENDS
met during the years of 1842 and 1843:
1. May 4, 1842
2. May 5, 1842
3. June 26, 1842
4. June 28, 1842
5. May 26, 1843
6. May 28, 1843
7. May 29, 1843
8. August 27, 1843
9. September 3, 1843
10. September 11, 1843
Three of these dates (numbers 1,2, and 5) correspond to the Endowment groups I and II promoted by Musser with similar membership. An initial review of the list raises the question as to why they claimed there were no more identifiable meetings of the proposed COUNCIL OF FRIENDS after September 11, 1843. The alleged abrupt discontinuation of meetings is perplexing since the chart that contains this list is titled, "MEETINGS OF COUNCIL OF FRIENDS BEFORE MARTYRDOM." With the last suggested meeting being in September of 1843, a gap of over nine months prior to the death of the Prophet in June, 1844, supposedly existed without an identifiable meeting of the proposed COUNCIL OF FRIENDS.
It appears that it was in September of 1843 that the first women may have been given their endowments and joined the "select group" that first assembled in May of 1842. The subsequent meetings of the "select group" included the participation of women which was inconsistent with an assembly of a presiding priesthood quorum such as a COUNCIL OF FRIENDS. Hence, no other gatherings of the "select group," after women were admitted, were advocated by the Bishops as meetings of the COUNCIL OF FRIENDS. In fact, no other dates are given for meetings of this purportedly dominant priesthood council prior to the death of Joseph Smith.
274. Men who served at one time as Apostles outside of the Quorum of the Twelve include Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Amas M. Lyman, Jedediah M. Grant, John W. Young, Daniel H. Well, Joseph A. Young, Brigham Young, Jr., Joseph Fielding Smith, Sylvester Q. Cannon, and Alvin R. Dyer etc. See Succession in the Church, pp. 196-198.
278. Ann Stanley Lee (1736-1784) claimed to be the female reincarnation of Jesus Christ. She was the founder of the "Shakers" or "Shaking Quakers," which were a celibate religious sect. Their name was derived from the contortions they experienced during their religious dances.
279. The exact source of the portion underlined is presently unknown. Even if it only reflects a Utah period interpolation, it nevertheless accurately reflect's Brigham's understanding of the expansion of the definition of the apostleship of the Twelve.
285. Reportedly, Rulon Jeffs, leader of the Colorado City, Arizona, polygamists does not believe this verse that requires all members of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1880 to be "High Priest Apostles" (private interview - notes in possession of the authors).
Upon the death of President Young, who was the President in the First Presidency, it then fell again upon the Twelve as formerly, and they have continued some three years and upwards occupying that position. Have they done right? Yes; they have done as they were required to do during the time being. And now, after having performed their duties, they still keep in mind the necessity of this First Quorum of all Quorums of the Church again being filled up, so that the revelations of God may be honored and we fulfill their requirements. Hence, the Council of the Apostles has taken into consideration this subject, and the question in our minds was, Have we sufficiently, as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, magnified our office and calling, in setting in order the Church of the living God, in organizing the various Councils, or is there something lacking? Every time we thought upon the subject, we saw that one Council, the most important of all, was still vacant. Could we ignore it? No. We therefore considered the propriety of organizing it at the present conference. (JD 22:37 quoted in Succession in the Church, pp. 89-90.) [Underlining by the authors.]
290. Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated, p. 75 does reference Wilford Woodruff's quote from the Journal of Discourses (4:147) where the term "High Priest Apostle" was used. However, that is the only reference to High Priest Apostles in the whole book.