John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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say, each had a right to discipline their own members, and transact other business of the church within their calling, and a decision of either one of these bodies, when in regular session, could not be appealed from to any other, for one had no right or power to reverse or overthrow the judgment or decision of the other, but they could all be called together and form a conference, consisting of all the authorities, to which an appeal could be taken from either one and the decision reversed. These were the regular constituted authorities of the church; but, besides this, Smith and taught the church that these authorities, in ruling or watching over the church, were nothing more than servants to the church, and that the church, as a body, had the power in themselves to do any thing that either or all of these authorities could do, and that if either or all of these constituted authorities became deranged or broken down, or did not perform their duty to the satisfaction of the church, the church had a right to rise up in a body and put them out of office, make another selection and re-organize them, and thus keep in order, for the power was in the people and not in the servants. The high priests, elders, and priests, were to travel and preach, but the teachers and deacons were to be standing ministers to the church. Hence, in the last organizing of the church, each branch of the church choose a teacher to preside over them, whose duty it was to take particular charge of that branch, and report from time to time to the general conference of elders, which was to be held quarterly. For some time after the commencement of the church an elder might ordain an elder, priest, teacher, or deacon, when and where he thought proper, but, after Stakes were planted, and the church became organised, they established a rule that none should be ordained without consent of the church or branch that he belonged to; neither should any man be placed over a branch or take charge of it without consent of the same.
Thus I have given a brief portrait of the authorities of the church. In viewing the subject I saw that there were several different bodies that had equal power; I thought, therefore, they would serve as a check upon each other, and I concluded there was no danger where the full power and authority was reserved to the people. I did not examine the scriptures much on the subject, but I thought that no man who was acquainted with his Bible would pretend to deny that two priesthoods existed in ancient times. As to the apostolic church, I knew that Paul declared that Christ himself was a priest after the order of Melchisedeck, that it never changed, and was such a priesthood as became them, from which I inferred that it was conferred on them, inasmuch as the New Testament was pretty much silent on the subject, and does not show the precise order in that respect of the apostolic church, every man is left to judge for himself. [p. 25]
say, each had a right to discipline their own members, and transact other business of the church within their calling, and a decision of either one of these bodies, when in regular session, could not be appealed from to any other, for one had no right or power to reverse or overthrow the judgment or decision of the other, but they could all be called together and form a conference, consisting of all the authorities, to which an appeal could be taken from either one and the decision reversed. These were the regular constituted authorities of the church; but, besides this, Smith and taught the church that these authorities, in ruling or watching over the church, were nothing more than servants to the church, and that the church, as a body, had the power in themselves to do any thing that either or all of these authorities could do, and that if either or all of these constituted authorities became deranged or broken down, or did not perform their duty to the satisfaction of the church, the church had a right to rise up in a body and put them out of office, make another selection and re-organize them, and thus keep in order, for the power was in the people and not in the servants. The high priests, elders, and priests, were to travel and preach, but the teachers and deacons were to be standing ministers to the church. Hence, in the last organizing of the church, each branch of the church choose a teacher to preside over them, whose duty it was to take particular charge of that branch, and report from time to time to the general conference of elders, which was to be held quarterly. For some time after the commencement of the church an elder might ordain an elder, priest, teacher, or deacon, when and where he thought proper, but, after Stakes were planted, and the church became organised, they established a rule that none should be ordained without consent of the church or branch that he belonged to; neither should any man be placed over a branch or take charge of it without consent of the same.
Thus I have given a brief portrait of the authorities of the church. In viewing the subject I saw that there were several different bodies that had equal power; I thought, therefore, they would serve as a check upon each other, and I concluded there was no danger where the full power and authority was reserved to the people. I did not examine the scriptures much on the subject, but I thought that no man who was acquainted with his Bible would pretend to deny that two priesthoods existed in ancient times. As to the apostolic church, I knew that Paul declared that Christ himself was a priest after the order of Melchisedeck, that it never changed, and was such a priesthood as became them, from which I inferred that it was conferred on them, inasmuch as the New Testament was pretty much silent on the subject, and does not show the precise order in that respect of the apostolic church, every man is left to judge for himself. [p. 25]
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