History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 586
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addition to the church laws, respecting church business; <March 28> verily I say unto you, says the Lord of Hosts, There must needs be presiding elders, to preside over those who are of the office of an elder; and also priests to preside over those who are of the office of a priest; and also teachers to preside over those who are of the office of a teacher, in like manner; and also the deacons; wherefore from deacon to teacher, and from teacher to priest, and from priest to elder, severally as they are appointed, according to the covenants and commandments of the church; then comes the high priesthood, which is the greatest of all. Wherefore, it must needs be that one be appointed, of the high priesthood, to preside over the priesthood; and he shall be called president of the high priesthood of the church, or, in other words, the presiding high priest over the high priesthood of the church. From the same comes the administering of ordinances, and blessings upon the church, by the laying on of the hands.
<Office and duty of a Bishop.> 32. Wherefore the office of a bishop is not equal unto it; for the office of a bishop is in administering all temporal things; nevertheless, a bishop must be chosen from the high priesthood, unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron; for, unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron, he cannot hold the keys of that priesthood. Nevertheless, a high priest, that is after the order of Melchisedek, may be set apart unto the ministering of temporal things, having a knowledge of them by the spirit of truth, and also to be a judge in israel, to do the business of the church to sit in judgment upon transgressors, upon testimony, as it shall be laid before him, according to the laws, by the assistance of his counsellors, whom he has chosen, or will chose among the elders of the Church. This is the duty of a bishop, who is not a literal descendant of Aaron, but has been ordained to the high priesthood after the order of Melchisedek.
<The Bishop shall be a Judge.> 33. Thus shall he be a judge, even a common judge among the inhabitants of Zion, or in a stake of Zion, or in any branch of the church where he shall be set apart unto this ministry, until the borders [HC 2:215] of Zion are enlarged, and it becomes necessary to have other bishops, or judges is [in] Zion, or else-where; and inasmuch as there are other bishops appointed they shall act in the same office.
<Descendants of Aaron have a legal right to the Bishopric> 34. But a literal descendant of Aaron has a legal right to the presidency of this priesthood, to the keys of this ministry, to act in the office of Bishop independently, without counsellors, except in a case where a the president of the high priesthood after the order of Melchisedek, is tried; to sit as a judge in Israel. And the decision of either of these Councils, agreeably to the commandment which says; [p. 586]
addition to the church laws, respecting church business; March 28 verily I say unto you, says the Lord of Hosts, There must needs be presiding elders, to preside over those who are of the office of an elder; and also priests to preside over those who are of the office of a priest; and also teachers to preside over those who are of the office of a teacher, in like manner; and also the deacons; wherefore from deacon to teacher, and from teacher to priest, and from priest to elder, severally as they are appointed, according to the covenants and commandments of the church; then comes the high priesthood, which is the greatest of all. Wherefore, it must needs be that one be appointed, of the high priesthood, to preside over the priesthood; and he shall be called president of the high priesthood of the church, or, in other words, the presiding high priest over the high priesthood of the church. From the same comes the administering of ordinances, and blessings upon the church, by the laying on of the hands.
Office and duty of a Bishop. 32. Wherefore the office of a bishop is not equal unto it; for the office of a bishop is in administering all temporal things; nevertheless, a bishop must be chosen from the high priesthood, unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron; for, unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron, he cannot hold the keys of that priesthood. Nevertheless, a high priest, that is after the order of Melchisedek, may be set apart unto the ministering of temporal things, having a knowledge of them by the spirit of truth, and also to be a judge in israel, to do the business of the church to sit in judgment upon transgressors, upon testimony, as it shall be laid before him, according to the laws, by the assistance of his counsellors, whom he has chosen, or will chose among the elders of the Church. This is the duty of a bishop, who is not a literal descendant of Aaron, but has been ordained to the high priesthood after the order of Melchisedek.
The Bishop shall be a Judge. 33. Thus shall he be a judge, even a common judge among the inhabitants of Zion, or in a stake of Zion, or in any branch of the church where he shall be set apart unto this ministry, until the borders [HC 2:215] of Zion are enlarged, and it becomes necessary to have other bishops, or judges is [in] Zion, or else-where; and inasmuch as there are other bishops appointed they shall act in the same office.
Descendants of Aaron have a legal right to the Bishopric 34. But a literal descendant of Aaron has a legal right to the presidency of this priesthood, to the keys of this ministry, to act in the office of Bishop independently, without counsellors, except in a case where the president of the high priesthood after the order of Melchisedek, is tried; to sit as a judge in Israel. And the decision of either of these Councils, agreeably to the commandment which says; [p. 586]
Page 586