the thinker

Priesthood Restoration

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“A closer look at contemporary records indicates that men were first ordained to the higher priesthood [in June of 1831] over a year after the Church's founding [on April 6, 1830]. No mention of angelic ordinations can be found in original documents until 1834-1835. Thereafter accounts of the visit of Peter, James, and John by Cowdery and Smith remained vague and contradictory.”

- Dr. Michael Quinn, LDS Historian, The Mormon Hierarchy – Origins of Power, p. 15

“Until Cowdery's 1834 history and retroactive changes in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, there was nothing in Mormonism to attract converts who expected a literal restoration of apostolic authority. Charisma (spiritual sign gifts like healing and prophecy) and the Voice of God (coming through Joseph Smith) were the only bases of authority that early Mormon converts knew until the publication of Cowdery's history in 1834.”

- Dr. Michael Quinn, LDS Historian, The Mormon Hierarchy – Origins of Power, p. 32

“... neither did I ever hear of such a thing as an angel ordaining them [Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery] until I got into Ohio about the year 1834 – or later.... Oliver stated to me in Joseph's presence that they had baptized each other seeking by that to fulfill the command. And after our arrival at father's sometime in June 1829, Joseph ordained Oliver to be an Elder, and Oliver ordained Joseph to be an Elder in the Church of Christ.... I do not believe that John the Baptist ever ordained Joseph and Oliver as stated and believed by the same.”

- David Whitmer, interview with Zenas H. Gurley, David Whitmer Interviews, p. 154

“In this month [June 1829] I was [also] baptized, confirmed and ordained an Elder in the Church of Christ by Bro. Joseph. Previous to this, Joseph and Oliver had baptized, confirmed and ordained each other to the office of an Elder in the Church of Christ.... We preached, baptized and confirmed members into the Church of Christ, from August, 1829, until April 6, 1830, being eight months in which time we had proceeded rightly: the offices in the church being Elders, Priests and Teachers.”

- David Whitmer, Address to All Believers in Christ, pp. 32-33. Oliver Cowdery's “A Commandment from God” (or “Articles of the Church”) printed in Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants, by Robert J. Woodford, v. 1, p. 288, confirms that elders existed in 1829.

“Can you imagine what a wonderful experience this restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood must have been for Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery when John the Baptist spoke to them? Here was a man who had lived upon the earth more than 1,800 years earlier. Now he was speaking in English to two young men while he held his hands upon their heads. His was a resurrected body. Theirs were mortal bodies. They felt his hands, the materiality of them, and understood the words that he spoke. This tells us that resurrected beings are tangible, that they can move and act, that they can speak and be understood.”

- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckely, “Priesthood Restoration,” Ensign, October 1998, p. 69

“In 1831 I heard Joseph tell his experience about angel visits many times, and about finding the plates, and their contents coming to light, but I never heard one word of John the Baptist, or of Peter, James, and John's visit and ordination till I was told some years afterward in Ohio.”

- William E. McLellin, printed in the Salt Lake Tribune, December 4, 1985, p. B-1