Witnessing Ordinances: The Forgotten History

With the recent changes announced by President Russell M. Nelson regarding the witnessing of ordinances, it is a good time to review some important items of doctrine.

The importance of witnesses is well documented throughout scripture (Matt 18:16, 2 Cor 13:1, D&C 6:28, etc). Witnesses in regards to ordinances, however, is taught in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning your dead: When any of you are baptized for your dead, let there be a recorder, and let him be eye-witness of your baptisms; let him hear with his ears, that he may testify of a truth, saith the Lord;

That in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven; whatsoever you bind on earth, may be bound in heaven; whatsoever you loose on earth, may be loosed in heaven; – D&C 127:6-7

While having witnesses when ordinances are performed is essential, there is another element of Priesthood ordinances that is even more crucial than witnesses: the authority to perform those ordinances.

There is no doubt that Latter-day Saints know authority is necessary to administer ordinances. The ability to trace Priesthood authority is one of the main things that separates Mormonism from all other Christian denominations. Church leaders have even taught the significance of this.

One of the most significant things about your priesthood is that by tracing the line of your authority through the one who ordained you back through the various steps, your priesthood authority can be traced back to the Savior himself. – Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, p.252

This is important because someone who does not have the Priesthood cannot perform ordinances, neither can they confer that authority upon others. Brigham Young taught:

No being can give that which he does not possess: consequently, no man can confer the Priesthood on another, if he has not himself first received it. – DHC 4:257

This is another self evident truth that Latter-day Saints clearly understand. But what happens when someone without authority claims to have it and, consequently, confers it upon others?

When a man lays his hands upon the head of his fellow man and professes to bestow authority, the mere profession of that authority will avail nothing unless he has indeed the authority and has it legitimately. A man who may profess to have the authority; a man who may say I have ordained this person or the other person, unless he has the authority to do so is a mere pretender, and his acts cannot be recognized nor acknowledged of God. – George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses 26:247

This may be preaching to the choir because Latter-day Saints already know this. However, what Latter-day Saints don’t know is that it has been prophesied that the time would come when those who thought they had the Priesthood will have their authority called into question.

There would be thousands that think they hold the Priesthood at that time, but would not have it properly conferred upon them. – John Taylor, as recounted by Lorin C. Woolley, 9/22/1929

The day will come when men’s Priesthood and authority will be called into question, and you will find out that there will be hundreds who have no Priesthood… – George Q. Cannon, 1901, Draper, Utah, as recalled by Daniel R. Bateman, Ballard-Jensen correspondence

These prophecies started to be fulfilled in 1921 when the First Presidency decided to stop conferring the Priesthood upon members of the church.

We have been conferring the priesthood, and it ought not to be done. – Messages of the First Presidency 5:120

The First Presidency did not start conferring the Priesthood upon members of the church again until 1957. This means that 36 years went by when worthy male members of the church did not have the Priesthood authority conferred upon them. However, this did not stop men from performing ordinances with what they thought was Priesthood authority, nor did it stop them from conferring the Priesthood upon others. According to President George Q. Cannon, they are “mere pretender[s], and [their] acts cannot be recognized nor acknowledged of God.”

What does this mean? This means that anybody that thought they had the Priesthood conferred upon them between 1921-1957 actually did not. More importantly, this means that millions of male members of the church have not had the Priesthood conferred upon them and that ordinances performed by these men are not valid. With this understanding of history, one begins to realize the grave importance of being able to trace one’s Priesthood authority back through the proper channels.

I believe the time will come when it will be necessary for every man to trace the line in which he has received the Priesthood that he exercises. It is therefore of great importance in our Church that records should be kept, and that every man should know whence he derives his authority—from what source, through what channel he has received the Holy Priesthood, and by what right he exercises that authority and administers the ordinances thereof. I believe this is of extreme importance, and that where there are doubts as to a man’s legitimately exercising that authority, that doubt should be removed. Every man should be careful on this point, to know where he gets his Priesthood; that it has come to him clean and undefiled, legitimately; – George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses 26:247

Although witnesses are crucial to ordinances, the proper Priesthood authority is of an even greater magnitude.

25 thoughts on “Witnessing Ordinances: The Forgotten History”

  1. I’ve always had the mindset that if people are genuinely doing their best to do gods will, and haven’t done anything evil, then evil if they make a mistake during an ordinance or etc that he will still count it as valid. For example miswording of a sacrament prayer that goes unnoticed or whatever.

    I wonder how/if that applies here. Did all those people really not have the priesthood when they honestly thought they did? Are all those ordinances invalid? I’m not sure.

    I’m not sure we have crossed the line yet where god will not recognize the ordinances.

    Time will tell!

  2. Sooooo…don’t leave us in suspense — WHY and in what manner did ordaining males to the Priesthood stop/was done incorrectly from 1921-1957 ?

      1. Why not answer the question here–where it was asked?

        Why direct people to a privacy-invading data-mining psy-op, a publisher in a platform’s clothing?

  3. Why did the 1st presidency say that conferring the priesthood ought not to be done? And then why was it done again? If someone has their line of authority that still doesn’t mean the right words were used to confer the priesthood properly. So where does that leave us?

    The use of a Woolley quote gives the smell of a fundamentalist bent to the article.

    1. Using a quote by a historical figure who had close relationships and contact with the historical figures in question is a good thing, it doesn’t matter that he was a fundamentalist. If anything it gives additional credibility because it is an ‘outside source’ affirming what others inside have said

      1. John Wesley Robertson

        @R. Stupid thing to say. You are saying the same thing that people use to justify going to apostates to learn about Joseph Smith. What rubbish. What absolute rubbish. Don’t quote an apostate to obtain the truth. Here is a better principal that what you endorsed:

        “The history of Joseph and Mary is given to us by their best friends, and precisely as we will give the history of the Prophet Joseph. We know him to have been a good man, we know that he performed his mission, we know that he was an honorable man and dealt justly, we know his true character.
        But let his enemies give his character, and they will make him out one of the basest men that ever lived. Let the enemies of Joseph and Mary give their characters to us, and you would be strongly tempted to believe as the Jews believe.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:366)

    2. The authors here are fundamentalists. A simple search will reveal that Mormon Chronicle is hosted by FLDS. I came across a video which led me to this site. So I did a search and investigated. The spirit held a red flag up to me.

      1. LOL You’re such a liar. The scriptures talk a lot about bearing false witness, but when you have no substantive argument, slander is all you have left.

  4. Yeah this (changing the priesthood ordination wording from 1921-1957) gave me great pause when I first discovered it in Ogden Kraut’s book “The Church and the Priesthood” (great book by the way).

    However, I’ve since learned that in Joseph’s day, there were many times when people didn’t use the exact words “I confer the Melchizedek priesthood and ordain you to an office,” in fact there are many documented instances where Joseph himself (and others in his presence) used very loose wording similar and even exactly like that prescribed from 1921-1957.

    I’ve concluded that if the person giving and the person receiving are both worthy and sincere, and the person giving holds the priesthood and lays his hands on the head and pronounces any words akin to conferral OR ordination, it counts in God’s sight. I’ve received multiple witnesses that despite this gap in church ordinations, I do hold true priesthood. I think it’s a good thing for every man to obtain this knowledge for himself from heaven, rather than even trust in an officially recorded “line of authority” (like many/most fundamentalists fixate upon).

    My biggest concern is how to obtain *power* in my priesthood, which is inseparably connected to the powers of heaven. D&C 121:33-46 is amazingly instructive, I’ve been reading and pondering those verses for 17 years and still am amazed by new insights the spirit often gives me.

    1. I want to agree with your thoughts, can you provide the resources you found when there where times back in Josephs days where the wording conferred wasnt used? my concern is- Gods house is a house of order- He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We know life saving ordinance prayers such as baptism, sacrament, endowment, sealing are all very specific and must be said word for word, and I would guess the conferring of priesthood should be the same.

  5. Both John Taylor and Joseph F. Smith said th as t it was a “distinction without a difference”. If one was ordained to an office, then it was understood that they received the priesthood.

    We should also look at Moroni 3 & 4 where they were given a word for word ordination, and there was no conferring of the priesthood in either if those ordinations.

    1. Where did John Taylor say that?
      In the Church we have a standard for official doctrine and practices as found on the Church’s website:
      “Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications.” https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/approaching-mormon-doctrine

      If it was a distinction without a difference the Church would not require it be done a certain way as it does. The only time anyone claimed it was a distinction without a difference is when they were trying to justify a change after a long standing practice/principle. If a father were to ordain his son without conferring the priesthood, the Bishop or other presiding authority would require it be done again. https://faithfulsaints.com/wp-content/uploads/young-men-manual-priesthood-conferral-563×400.jpg

      https://faithfulsaints.com/wp-content/uploads/current-handbook-priesthood-conferral-259×400.jpg

      At the time of the change the First Presidency did not feel it was a “distinction without a difference”. They said
      “We have been making a mistake in ordinations. We have been conferring the priesthood, and it ought not to be done. If we confer the Priesthood on a man, we give him all the offices and callings in the Church. We should ordain directly to the office in the Priesthood.” – Messages of the First Presidency 5:120

      Depending on an incomplete account of a record that wasn’t intending to lay out procedure above the teachings of more contemporary leaders who have a responsibility to make sure ordinances are performed as prescribed by Heaven is dangerous at best.

      Joseph Fielding Smith knew it wasn’t a distinction without a difference as well, telling members not to follow policy and ensure that priesthood was conferred before conferring office. https://faithfulsaints.com/wp-content/uploads/joseph-fielding-smith-priesthood-conferral-376×400.jpg

      1. In case you missed it in my comment below:

        The following letter was received from President John Taylor in answer to a letter from F. G. Froerer and Angus McKay of Huntsville from the 45th Quorum:
        “Salt Lake City, Utah
        March 25, 1887
        Elder Robert Campbell
        Dear Brother:
        We might answer the question contained in the letter of F. G. Froerer and Angus McKay by asking another question: Did the Priest (after the order of Aaron) who was ordained according to the form given by Moroni in the 3rd chapter of his book, on page 609, of the Book of Mormon, receive the Aaronic Priesthood when there was no mention of its bestowal upon him or anything said concerning his being in the Church of Christ?
        When a man is ordained to an office and to all the gifts and blessings pertaining to that office, if the man who ordains him has the authority necessary to ordain him, he certainly receives all that is conferred upon him.
        It is very wrong for Elders in the Church to be caviling and getting up disputes upon such questions as are mentioned in this letter. Instead of contending upon such a subject, if there be any doubt respecting the sufficiency of the ordination, (it would be) far better to remove it by giving him another ordination that will leave no room for question than to have disputes about its validity.
        With kind regards
        Your Brother,
        John Taylor“

          1. Joseph F. Smith used those words. John Taylor echoes them – well, er, who spoke first about this? Oh, yeah, John Taylor did.

            Or, do we read about it first in Moroni 3 and 4?

      2. Statement of John Taylor

        Salt Lake City, UT
        March 25,1887
        Elder Robert Campbell, City
        Dear Brother:

        We might answer the question contained in the
        letter of F.G. Froerer and Angus McKay by asking
        another question; Did the Priest (after the order
        of Aaron) who was ordained according to the form
        given by Moroni in the 3rd Chapter of his book, on
        page 609 [i.e. Moroni 3:3] of the Book of Mormon,
        recieve the Aaronic Priesthood when there was no
        mention of its bestowal upon him or anything said
        concerning his being in the Church of Christ?

        When a man is ordained to an office and to all the
        gifts and blessings pertaining to that office, if
        the man who ordains him has the authority necessary
        to ordain him, he certainly recieves all that is
        conferred upon him.

        It is very wrong for Elders in the Church to be
        caviling and getting up disputes upon such questions
        as are mentioned in this letter. Instead of contending
        upon such a subject, if there be any doubt respecting
        the sufficiency of the ordination, (it would be) far
        better to remove it by giving him another ordination
        that will leave no room for question than to have
        disputes about its validity.

        With kind regards
        Your Brother
        John Taylor

        (AS QUOTED IN COLLIER’S PAMPHLET, “New Light on
        the Lorin Woolley Story”)

        The following is from the Historical Department (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – Confidential Research Files, 1950-1974

        January 5, 1906

        Elder James R. Moffett.
        Smoot, Wyoming

        Dear Brother:-

        This is in answer to yours of the 1st inst.

        The Lord has given us no particular form for ordinations to the priesthood, and the Church recognizes none. Moroni in the first three verses of the 3rd Chapter of, the Book of Moroni, gives the manner which the disciples on this continent ordained priests and teachers; and we may add that the same simple matter would apply to all the other offices in the priesthood.

        It is our understanding that when a person is ordained a deacon, with all the [sic] pertains to that office sealed upon you, it is tantamount to conferring upon him the Aaronic Priesthood and ordaining him to the office of deacon, and so also in regard to the ordination of an elder. When a man is ordained an elder it is understood that the Melchizedek Priesthood is conferred upon him whether the officiating elder expressed the fact or not in the ordination; and it is by virtue and authority of this priesthood that the elder performs the duties of his office.

        Brethren have been criticized for using this language: “We lay our hands upon your head to ordain you, &c., because the language fails to express the full intent of the officiating elder, and for that reason brethren have been instructed to use the word “and” in that connection instead of the word “too”.

        Of course all ordinations are not worded alike, and it may be true also that some ordinations may be somewhat defective, grammatically or otherwise, in fully expressing their full scope and meaning; but while it is true that the Lord accepts of the intent, it is nevertheless true also that officiating elders should learn to express themselves as fully and clearly as possible in ordaining to the priesthood as well as in the performance of every other duty or labor.

        Your brethren
        Joseph F. Smith
        John R. Winder
        Anthon H. Lund
        First Presidency

        (p. 78)

        November 14th, 1905

        Elder Maynard E. Nielson,
        Boise City,

        Dear Brother:–

        It is our understanding that when a person is ordained a deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood, with all that pertains to that office sealed upon him, it is tantamount to conferring upon him the Aaronic Priesthood and ordaining him to the office of deacon.

        Of course all ordinations are not worded alike, and it may be true also that some ordinations may be somewhat defective in fully expressing their full scope and meaning; but the fact remains nevertheless that when a person is ordained a deacon, for instance, even in a language said to have been used by the elder on the occasion referred to her in your letter, the ordinations [sic] is lawful and valid. In this connection we refer you to the 3rd Chapter of the Book of Moroni.

        Your Brethren,

        Joseph F. Smith
        John R. Winder
        Anthon H. Lund
        First Presidency

  6. “The manner which the disciples, who were called the Elders of the Church, ordained Priests and Teachers—
    In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a Priest, (or, if he be a Teacher) I ordain you to be a Teacher, to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end. Amen.
    And after this manner did they ordain Priests and Teachers, according to the gifts and callings of God unto men; and they ordained them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which was in them.” (Moroni 3:1-4)

    “Conferring the Priesthood. To prevent disputes over this subject that may arise over the procedure presented on page 136, we draw attention to the fact that until recently, from the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith, ordinations to the Priesthood were directly to the office therein for which the recipient was chosen and appointed, in form substantially as follows:
    As to the Melchizedek Priesthood—“By authority (or in the authority) of the Holy Priesthood and by the laying on of hands, I (or we) ordain you an Elder, (or Seventy, or High Priest, or Patriarch, or Apostle, as the case may be), in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and confer upon you all the rights, powers, keys and authority pertaining to this office and calling on the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”
    As to the Lesser Priesthood—“By (or in) the authority of the Holy Priesthood I (or we) lay my (or our) hands upon your head and ordain you a Deacon (or other office in the Lesser Priesthood) in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and confer upon you All the rights, powers, and authority pertaining to this office and calling in the Aaronic Priesthood, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.” In reference to the form of procedure mentioned on page 136, and that set forth in this addendum as adopted by the leading authorities of the Church from the beginning, our beloved and departed President, Joseph F. Smith, when questioned concerning them, decided, as of record, “It is a distinction without a difference,” and “Either will do.”
    Persons, therefore, who have been ordained in either way hold the right to officiate in all the duties of their respective offices in the Priesthood.
    Heber J. Grant
    Anthon H. Lund
    Charles W. Penrose
    (Gospel Doctrine, by Joseph F. Smith, Addenda A.)”

    Ordinations Joseph Smith oversaw in Kirtland:
    Aldin Burdick: “We ordain you to be in elder in the Church of the Latter-day Saints. When you did obey the Gospel the eye of the Lord was upon you and you are called and set apart…”
    Peter Buchanan: “We ordain you to be an Elder to go forth and preach the gospel, baptize and lay on hands. Thou are a vessel chosen of God to bear the news of salvation to the Gentiles…“
    Burr Riggs: “We ordain you to be an Elder in the Church of God to go forth and preach the Gospel…” (Kirtland Council Minutes, 1835, pp. 165-185.)

    The Prophet recorded the following in his history for January 2, 1836:
    “Elijah Fordham, Hyrum Dayton, Samuel James and John Herrot were also appointed by council to be ordained Elders under my hands.“ (HC 2:354.)
    The ordination of Elijah Fordham is contained in an extant letter written by W. W. Phelps to his wife:
    Kirtland, [Ohio]
    Jan. 3, 1836
    The ordination and blessing of E[lijah] F[ordham]:
    “Brother, we lay our hands upon thy head in the name of the Lord Jesus and we ordain thee to be an Elder in the Church of the Latter-day Saints, praying our Heavenly Father that he will bless thee with all the blessings of this ministry…” (W.W. Phelps Family History, Utah Genealogical Society, S.L.C. Utah.)

    Extant records indicate the Prophet’s brother, Hyrum Smith, also ordained directly to office without first conferring the Priesthood. The two following ordinations were performed by him. This procedure followed the Prophet’s example.
    Samuel Merrill: January 2, 1841 “…I ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to preach repentance and remission of sins through faith in the name of Jesus Christ and the endurance of faith unto the end…”
    Philemon Merrill: January 2, 1841 “…I ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ordain you to that office to preach repentance and baptism for the remission of sins through faith in the name of Jesus Christ and the endurance through faith unto the end.”

    Note the following license of William Smith, a younger brother of Joseph and Hyrum:
    “Kirtland, Ohio, Dec. 19th, 1833
    License, liberty, power and authority are given to William Smith, the bearer of this, to preach the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, by the endurance of faith on His name unto the end. Also certifying that he has been received into the Church of Christ; which was organized on the 6th day of April, 1830, according to the articles and covenants of said Church. Furthermore, stating that he has been regularly ordained an Elder in the Church, under the hands of Lyman Johnson, who is also an Elder in the Church.” (F. G. Williams, Clerk of Conference, cited by William Smith in William Smith on Mormonism)

    The following letter was received from President John Taylor in answer to a letter from F. G. Froerer and Angus McKay of Huntsville from the 45th Quorum:
    “Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 25, 1887
    Elder Robert Campbell
    Dear Brother:
    We might answer the question contained in the letter of F. G. Froerer and Angus McKay by asking another question: Did the Priest (after the order of Aaron) who was ordained according to the form given by Moroni in the 3rd chapter of his book, on page 609, of the Book of Mormon, receive the Aaronic Priesthood when there was no mention of its bestowal upon him or anything said concerning his being in the Church of Christ?
    When a man is ordained to an office and to all the gifts and blessings pertaining to that office, if the man who ordains him has the authority necessary to ordain him, he certainly receives all that is conferred upon him.
    It is very wrong for Elders in the Church to be caviling and getting up disputes upon such questions as are mentioned in this letter. Instead of contending upon such a subject, if there be any doubt respecting the sufficiency of the ordination, (it would be) far better to remove it by giving him another ordination that will leave no room for question than to have disputes about its validity.
    With kind regards
    Your Brother,
    John Taylor“

  7. Examples of Priesthood ordinations performed without statements of conferral of Priesthood by Hyrum Smith and others:

    “Samuel Merrill: January 2, 1841 …I ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to preach repentance and remission of sins through faith in the name of Jesus Christ and the endurance of faith unto the end… ” performed by Hyrum Smith

    “Philemon Merrill: January 2, 1841 …I ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ordain you to that office to preach repentance and baptism for the remission of sins through faith in the name of Jesus Christ and the endurance through faith unto the end.” Performed by Hyrum Smith

    “Sunday 23rd Dec. 1855
    Was ordained to the office of a Deacon under the hands of Elder L. D. Young [Bro. Robert Crookston] when the following blessing was pronounced: Bro. Crookston in the name of the Lord Jesus of Nazareth we lay our hands on you to ordain you to the office of a Deacon in the 18th Ward and pray our Heavenly Father to pour his spirit on you that you may go forth and discharge all the duties of this office that devolves on you. We ordain you even to the office of a Deacon in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that your mind may be quick of understanding that you may perform the duties of your office and [I] seal this blessing on you and this we do in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, even so Amen. (18th Ward Record no. 1, pp. 17-18, March 18, 1855.) ”

    Wednesday, Dec. 19th (1855) Was ordained to the office of an Elder [Oscare B. Young son of Brigham and Harriet Elizabeth Young] under the hands of Bishop L. D. Young when the following blessing was pronounced:

    Bro. Oscar in the name of the Lord Jesus I lay my hands on your head to ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and pray God the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus His dear son to pour His Holy Spirit upon you that you may be healed up and made whole that your system may be renovated and I seal upon you according to your faithfulness all the blessings and privilege pertaining to the Holy Priesthood and seal you up unto eternal lives that you may come forth in the morning of the First Resurrection. Therefore, I say unto you Oscar, be humble and prayerful and obedient to your parents that your mental faculties may be strengthened and that you may grow up and become a mighty man in Israel to help to prune the vineyard of the Lord for the last time and if you are faithful and obedient and humble I seal all these blessing upon you together with all others pertaining to this holy ordination in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (Ibid.. pp. 15-16.)

  8. Many times in the early Church the method of ordination was that a
    person
    was just ordained to the office; no mention of conferral of priesthood
    was
    mentioned.

    For example, here are two ordinations performed by Hyrum Smith:
    ” Samuel Merrill: January 2, 1841 …I ordain you an Elder in the
    Church of
    Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to preach repentance and remission of
    sins
    through faith in the name of Jesus Christ and the endurance of faith
    unto
    the end… ”

    ” Philemon Merrill: January 2, 1841 …I ordain you an Elder in the
    Church
    of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ordain you to that office to
    preach
    repentance and baptism for the remission of sins through faith in the
    name
    of Jesus Christ and the endurance through faith unto the end.”

    And here are two more demonstrating that there was NO specific
    conferral of
    priesthood.

    Sunday 23rd Dec. 1855
    Was ordained to the office of a Deacon under the hands of Elder L. D.
    Young
    [Bro. Robert Crookston] when the following blessing was pronounced:

    Bro. Crookston in the name of the Lord Jesus of Nazareth we lay our
    hands on
    you to ordain you to the office of a Deacon in the 18th Ward and pray
    our
    Heavenly Father to pour his spirit on you that you may go forth and
    discharge all the duties of this office that devolves on you. We ordain
    you
    even to the office of a Deacon in the Church of Jesus Christ of
    Latter-day
    Saints that your mind may be quick of understanding that you may
    perform the
    duties of your office and [I] seal this blessing on you and this we do
    in
    the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, even so Amen. (18th Ward Record
    no. 1,
    pp. 17-18, March 18, 1855.)

    Wednesday, Dec. 19th (1855) Was ordained to the office of an Elder
    [Oscare
    B. Young son of Brigham and Harriet Elizabeth Young] under the hands of
    Bishop L. D. Young when the following blessing was pronounced:

    Bro. Oscar in the name of the Lord Jesus I lay my hands on your head to
    ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    and
    pray God the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus His dear son to pour
    His
    Holy Spirit upon you that you may be healed up and made whole that your
    system may be renovated and I seal upon you according to your
    faithfulness
    all the blessings and privilege pertaining to the Holy Priesthood and
    seal
    you up unto eternal lives that you may come forth in the morning of the
    First Resurrection. Therefore, I say unto you Oscar, be humble and
    prayerful
    and obedient to your parents that your mental faculties may be
    strengthened
    and that you may grow up and become a mighty man in Israel to help to
    prune
    the vineyard of the Lord for the last time and if you are faithful and
    obedient and humble I seal all these blessing upon you together with
    all
    others pertaining to this holy ordination in the name of the Father and
    of
    the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (Ibid.. pp. 15-16.)

  9. For example, here are two ordinations performed by Hyrum Smith:
    ” Samuel Merrill: January 2, 1841 …I ordain you an Elder in the Church
    of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to preach repentance and remission of
    sins through faith in the name of Jesus Christ and the endurance of faith
    unto the end… ”

    ” Philemon Merrill: January 2, 1841 …I ordain you an Elder in the
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ordain you to that office to
    preach repentance and baptism for the remission of sins through faith in the
    name of Jesus Christ and the endurance through faith unto the end.”

    And here are two more demonstrating that there was NO specific conferral
    of priesthood.

    So are these four ordinations invalid?
    Sunday 23rd Dec. 1855

    Was ordained to the office of a Deacon under the hands of Elder L. D.
    Young [Bro. Robert Crookston] when the following blessing was pronounced:

    Bro. Crookston in the name of the Lord Jesus of Nazareth we lay our
    hands on you to ordain you to the office of a Deacon in the 18th Ward and
    pray our Heavenly Father to pour his spirit on you that you may go forth and
    discharge all the duties of this office that devolves on you. We ordain you
    even to the office of a Deacon in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
    Saints that your mind may be quick of understanding that you may perform the
    duties of your office and [I] seal this blessing on you and this we do in
    the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, even so Amen. (18th Ward Record no. 1,
    pp. 17-18, March 18, 1855.)

    Wednesday, Dec. 19th (1855) Was ordained to the office of an Elder
    [Oscare B. Young son of Brigham and Harriet Elizabeth Young] under the hands
    of Bishop L. D. Young when the following blessing was pronounced:

    Bro. Oscar in the name of the Lord Jesus I lay my hands on your head to
    ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and
    pray God the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus His dear son to pour His
    Holy Spirit upon you that you may be healed up and made whole that your
    system may be renovated and I seal upon you according to your faithfulness
    all the blessings and privilege pertaining to the Holy Priesthood and seal
    you up unto eternal lives that you may come forth in the morning of the
    First Resurrection. Therefore, I say unto you Oscar, be humble and prayerful
    and obedient to your parents that your mental faculties may be strengthened
    and that you may grow up and become a mighty man in Israel to help to prune
    the vineyard of the Lord for the last time and if you are faithful and
    obedient and humble I seal all these blessing upon you together with all
    others pertaining to this holy ordination in the name of the Father and of
    the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (Ibid.. pp. 15-16.)

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