Lorenzo Snow, Aug 29, 1901; Thursday

-- Aug 29, 1901; Thursday
President [Lorenzo] Snow presided at the council meeting in the Temple today. ...

Brother [Matthias F.] Cowley here remarked that he met Brother Moses Thatcher on the street this morning, and that Brother Thatcher asked him what influence had been used to put Brother Thoresen in office. Brother Thoresen had always been a chronic kicker against the Priesthood. Brother [John Henry] Smith said that he, Brother [Marriner Wood] Merrill, and Brother Pitkin were of the opinion that the choice of Brother Thoresen as counselor would result for good as he wielded a strong influence over a great many of his Scandinavian brethren.

Rudger [Rudger] Clawson reported his visit to Uintah [Utah] Stake. He had released three members of the High Council on account of advanced age, and he set apart three younger men.

President Snow remarked that it would perhaps have been a good idea of Brother Clawson had informed the new High Councilors that they had been called to act in the position of High Councilors until it might be deemed advisable to release them, and that it would be whenever the authority saw fit to take that step and it would be expected that they would be found ready and willing to be released.

It having been remarked that a certain brother who held the office of a Seventy declined to be ordained a High Priest. President [Joseph F.] Smith said that if the seventies generally could be convinced that they were simply elders with a special calling as aids to the Apostles in preaching the Gospel in foreign lands, and their minds could be disabused of the idea placed thereby the teachings of the late Elder Joseph Young, President of the Council of Seventy, to the effect that the Seventies were Apostles, some of them would not perhaps feel as they do now.

Brother Cowley related a conversation he once had with the late President John Taylor, to the effect that a man holding the office of an Elder has all the authority necessary to preach the Gospel, and believing this to be true, thought the Elders should not be ordained Seventies in a wholesale way as they were now being ordained, but that they should be chosen according to their fitness to become aids to the Apostles.

President Snow remarked that when elders were ordained seventies no more Priesthood was conferred upon them, but that they were merely called to work in a special field. (1)

-- Aug 29, 1901
Secret orders and organizations-- Salt Lake City.

The same question of whether or not young men should be given recommends to go to the Temple if they had joined secret orders was raised earlier (July 9, 1896) by President Abram Hatch of the Wasatch stake. The essential answer is the same in both cases.

"The counsel of the First Presidency in all such cases has been against our brethren joining secret organizations ..."

Salt Lake City, Utah, August 29th, 1901.

Prest. Angus M. Cannon and Counselors,


The following question has recently been asked us by one of our Stake Presidencies:

How strict shall we be with young men who wish to go to the temple who have united themselves with secret orders?

That our views might be known and acted upon by Presidents of Stakes generally, we send you herewith a copy of the same, as follows:

"The counsel of the First Presidency in all such cases has been against our brethren joining secret organizations, and where any of them have already done so their counsel to them is to withdraw themselves from such organizations as soon as circumstances permit and wisdom dictate.

"It is true that many of our people have been led to join some of these societies on the ground that their aims and objects are purely charitable and social in their character, and besides, inducements are held out of procuring life insurance at greatly reduced rates. But however worthy their aims and objects may be, this fact remains: They are outside the pale of the church and kingdom of God, and brethren in allying themselves with them divide their allegiance with organizations that are man-made, and which have not been devised of the Lord for the building up of Zion; and in doing this they render themselves liable to have their feelings alienated, in whole or in part, from the church which requires their all. We may say on this point, that it is the testimony of brethren who have joined organizations of this character and severed their connections with them, that their tendency is to draw away from the church; and it may be said and expected, without question, if the lines were sharply drawn between Mormon and non-Mormon, that all such organizations would be found in the ranks of our enemies, on the principle set forth in the saying of our Savior, "Those who are not for us are against us."

We understand that plausible excuses are given for joining these organization which amount to certain financial advantages which it is expected our brethren will obtain either for themselves during their lifetime or for their families, at their death. Like excuses might reasonably be given by brethren who have run after the things of the world in the hope of accumulating wealth and who, by doing so, have as a general thing made shipwreck of their faith. While we cannot consent to aught calculated to bring division and consequent weakness to the church, at the same time we have no desire whatever to deal harshly with brethren who have been led to become members of lodges or secret societies; but to all such who have faith enough to receive our advice, we would say, shape your affairs so you can withdraw from them, and never be found again associating yourselves with any organization which has not been instituted of the Lord for the building up of His Zion in the earth, and to all brethren who manifest a desire to receive this advice we would give temple recommends, also permit them to join prayer circles if found otherwise worthy.

In addition to the above we feel to direct your attention to the importance of the young men under your jurisdiction receiving proper instruction on this subject before they join secret societies; and we would suggest, instead of making this a subject for public discourse, that it be talked of at priesthood and quorum meetings.

LORENZO SNOW, JOSEPH F. SMITH. {1901-August 29-Circular letter-Church Historian's Library,} (2)

1 - First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes
2 - Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)

LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow


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