General Meetings.

The first of a series of General Meetings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, preliminary to the opening of the General Semi-annual Conference, opened on Thursday, October 4th, at two o’clock in the afternoon….

Friday, Oct. 5th, 2 p.m.

Elder Orson Pratt addressed the meeting. He read a portion of the words of the Savior, during his last visit to the Nephites, as recorded in the Book of Mormon. These words were not only written for the benefit of the ancient Israelites, but also for the benefit of those who should live after. The priesthood was not given to be exercised only in this life but also in that which was to come.

He gave a short account of his recent mission to England. A telegram reached Liverpool announcing the death of President Young seven hours after he breathed his last.

Another telegram was received from the Twelve, requesting himself and Elder Joseph F. Smith to arrange their affairs and return home, which call they at once responded to.

After rehearsing some of the leading labors of our late beloved President, he said this was the second time it became necessary for the Twelve to step forward and assume the responsibilities that legitimately belonged to that Quorum. After the death of Joseph the Prophet, the Twelve officiated in all the affairs of the Church for three years and a half, at the end of which time the First Presidency was organized. He then explained the nature of the apostolic priesthood. When the president of the Church was taken away, his counselors who were left did not have the authority to lead the Church, but could meet with the Twelve and sit in counsel with them.

The speaker referred to the important duties that rested upon the twelve apostles of the ancient Nephites and also those who were chosen by the Saviour at Jerusalem, who were to sit as Judges of the whole house of Israel. He also spoke of the Apostles who had been ordained in these latter days. Some of the first Twelve apostatized and their places were filled by others. Joseph the Prophet made the apostles all equal, and the senior one was to preside at one Conference, the next one to preside at the following one, and so on, until all had an opportunity of presiding.

He then described the order in which it was intended to have the votes cast at the coming conference—by quorums, the members of each rising on their feet, instead of raising their hands, and then a vote would be taken by the whole congregation. Those presented before the Conference could be objected to if any one felt disposed to do so. God had given the people this right.

[Deseret News, Oct. 10, 1877]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Sept. 2006]

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