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September 1880


22 September 1880 • Wednesday

Elder W. Woodruff, Jos. F. Smith and myself were appointed a committee to examine the exhibit of the unpaid tithing and the remittances in tithing asked for by the various stakes in consonance with the vote taken at the last April Conference; also the donations of stock made by the church for the benefit of the worthy poor and the donations made by the various stakes for the same purpose. A list of names of persons <These were referred to us to get> them into shape so that the vote taken at the last Conference upon this subject might be carried into practical effect. A list of names of persons engaged by the church with the amount of salary and the amount of tithing paid in the year 1879 by them was also referred to us for examination. I was engaged for some time in arranging these lists and apportioning the tithing. Bro. Jos. F’s eyes failed him so that he could render but very little aid after the first day and Bro. Woodruff was so busy with other matters that he could do but little and the labors of the com. fell to myself. We found that some of the stakes asked for so much that if their requests were granted the church donation would be distributed quite unfairly, for some stakes that had many poor within them had really asked for very little from the church of its donation; and it was found that to grant the requests of those who asked freely would take all the church donation and yet leave many stakes that ought to have help, with little or none. This being the case, Prest Taylor upon our laying the condition of these papers before him suggested that we take the population as a basis. I did this and found how much each stake was entitled to upon the basis of the last statistical report. There were some stakes, however, such for instance as Cache and Davis who had not so many poor in their midst, where the general average of wealth was greater than in some other stakes. We reduced their allotment one half and gave an extra amount to the poorer stakes. We also reduced the allotment of some of the other stakes acting upon our judgment as to the condition of the stakes from personal observation and also from the reports which we had before us. The tithing reports were most unsatisfactory and but little could be done with them. I therefore proposed to the council that we should remit half the tithing in each stake and let each stake divide this remission among their worthy poor to the best of their judgment. Each stake also was to divide its donations to the poor among its own poor as well as the church donation. I drew up a circular for the presidents of stakes which I read to the council and was adopted by it, giving instructions upon these points. The following is a copy of it:

29 September 1880 • Wednesday

Our enemies have been very noisy of late and threatening considerably what they would do to secure the delegateship of the Territory[.] They have been very abusive of me and threaten to contest my election[.] As a part of the programme a writ of mandamus was sued out by Geo R Maxwell against R. T. Burton the assessor of the county to have the names of Sister Emmeline B. Wells, Maria M. Blythe and another woman, erased from the registry list of the county. Considerable anxiety has been felt respecting this, no[t] so much because of any merit there was in the proceeding from a legal standpoint but because of the well known timidity of the courts and their want of nerve when any case comes before them involving the rights of Latter Day Saints. At our council to-day after <in> the circle after prayer I mentioned that no allusion had been made to this case and I thought we should ask the Lord to aid us in this matter. Several of the other brethren also felt like mentioning it but as I had mentioned it first I was called upon by Prest Taylor to be mouth and offer prayer in behalf of Zion. I may as well mention here that our prayers were heard and the court decided against Maxwell in a very broad and comprehensive decision[.]

The news of Bishop Jonathan Pugmires <sudden> death having reached us, Bro C. C. Rich suggested Bro Geo. Osmond of Bloomington as Bishop’s agent in his stead. This nomination was confirmed by the council. For a number of days before this we have met in council every day to transact business necessary for the conference. Those present were Prest. Jno Taylor, W. Woodruff, O. Pratt, C. C. Rich, F. D. Richards, myself, Jos F. Smith, A. Carrington and D. H. Wells, Bros. Erastus Snow and Brigham Young being absent on their visit south and Bro’s L. Snow and M. Thatcher are being in the north and not having reported themselves. Considerable discussion has been had upon points of doctrine and the authority of the priesthood which I have enjoyed because of the unanimity which has prevailed. I was absent at last April conference when various subjects were discussed connected with the priesthood concerning which there was much difference of opinion especially respecting the authority of bishops and how far they could go in severing men from the church who hold the Melchisedek priesthood. But during the discussions of these days upon the matter there has been good feeling and much union. My own feeling has been respecting the bishops that they have all the authority we choose to give them, that if the Council decide they shall have authority to deal with men holding the Melchisedek priesthood they will have the right to act upon their cases, and if for any reason it may be deemed unwise to give them this power the council have the right to do so and their suggestions upon this matter would be binding in the absence of direct written revelation upon the subject. Bro Pratt as one of a committee had written a circular which was read and partially approved, but it was felt that in some particulars he had set too many stakes and therefore those parts were deemed better to be omitted for fear that we should be hampered by them in our government of the church. The general feeling appears to be that any branch of the church or a ward has the right to withdraw fellowship from any officer in the church or from any of its members. A branch abroad might do this upon sufficient reason in the case of an apostle and of course in the case of any other officer in the church and then they could report the case to headquarters and to his quorum. In Zion the feeling appears to be among the brethren that a bishop should disfellowship offenders who hold the Melchisedek priesthood and then report them to their quorum and to the High Council for further action. I think the general feeling is that in cases where men hold the Melchisedek <lesser> priesthood or in all cases of members of the church the bishop has the unquestioned right to excommunicate from the church upon good evidence; of course such members have the right to appeal to the High Council.

President Taylor has been engaged in getting out views on the Aaronic priesthood or bishopric from the Bible and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which were read to the Council and approved by it and it was motioned that they should be printed in pamphlet form.

During these days a successor to Prest Wm Budge in the European mission was talked over. Various names were suggested but no conclusion was reached. There seemed to be such a diversity of views, while no one appeared to meet the united feelings of the council. Bro. Carrington’s name has been mentioned but some of the brethren, especially Bro’s Woodruff and J. F. Smith thought that he was not suitable and his former management of that mission did not meet their approval.