Although unsigned, these questions published in the Juvenile Instructor were almost certainly answered by George Q. Cannon, or at least under his supervision and with his approval as editor:
In a communication that has been received, it is stated that at funeral services which were held in one of the wards, one of the brethren, in speaking of the resurrection, conveyed the idea that the being who rolled the stone from the sepulchre which held the body of our Savior was a celestial personage who held the keys of the resurrection, and that he came to the earth to resurrect the body of Jesus. Another elder, in speaking upon the same subject, stated his belief to the effect that it was our heavenly Father who came to the earth, rolled away the stone, and resurrected the Son.
In dealing with this subject, care should be taken not to advance mere opinions. It is a very important subject, and one that should be treated with the utmost seriousness, and no one should indulge in theories, outside of the written word, concerning it. There is plenty written upon this subject to give food for reflection and to furnish comfort for mankind, and there is not the least necessity to go beyond that which the Lord has made plain upon it.
Enlighten me as to the reason why Joseph and Oliver Cowdery should ordain each other to the Priesthood they received under the hands of both John the Baptist and Peter, James and John. I understand, of course, that they were commanded so to do of God; but why this should be done in this single case alone, and not in similar other cases is what puzzles me.
There is nothing in writing or that has come to us orally, that I know of, which gives any explanation of this action. But the reason which appears plain to the First Presidency, with whom I have conversed on the subject, is that it was necessary, after the Priesthood had been restored from heaven by the administration of holy angels, that mortal men should ordain each other, and baptize each other, and lay hands upon each other for the reception of the Holy Ghost. This appears to be a sufficient reason for this action on the part of the Prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery. To Joseph the keys were given. He stood at the head. And it was proper that the ordination of all who belonged to the dispensation should come through him; and it appeared to be just as necessary that he himself should be ordained by a mortal, in order to observe the order of heaven.
Do you know of any case on record in any of the standard books of the Church, or in any history of God’s people, where men holding a lesser degree or office in the Priesthood are authorized, under any circumstances, to ordain to the greater offices in the Priesthood, and it be lawful and right; and if so, where may it be found?
There is no record, or book, or history, which I know anything of, which authorizes or justifies such action. A stream cannot rise higher than its fountain. In the affairs of the Kingdom of God a man cannot bestow that which he has not received. This is illustrated in the history of all religious movements since the days when the true Priesthood was taken from the earth. Men have endeavored to ordain their fellow-men to an authority which they themselves did not hold. The result has been failure. God does not acknowledge the bestowal of any authority which He does not authorize; and before a man can legally, in the sight of heaven, ordain his fellow-man to an office, he must have the authority himself from God.
A question asked is concerning the written form of baptism. The reason for asking this question is that some of the Elders insert in the form “for the remission of your sins,” others “for the renewal of your covenants,” and formerly in some instances, the words “into the United Order,” were inserted.
The form of baptism given by the Lord for the baptism of those who are entering into the Church is found in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. This is the form which should be followed in the baptism of all who present themselves for admission into the Church.
Under President Young’s administration, when action was being taken in regard to the United Order, he taught some of the brethren to use the words “into the United Order” in the ceremony of baptism. In the same way the words “for the renewal of your covenants” were used at the time of the Reformation in 1856.
It is always safe, however, for those who officiate in baptisms to confine themselves to the written word. The Lord has given the form, and unless there is some special occasion, when the man holding the keys suggests another form, it is unsafe and unwarranted to depart therefrom.
It is said that many say that tea and coffee are not meant by the “hot drinks” mentioned in that Word [of Wisdom], and that if they let their tea and coffee get cold before drinking, they are not violating that Word.
Tea and coffee were the beverages in use at the time the Word of Wisdom was given, and though these articles are not specifically mentioned, the word of the Lord referred to them. …
The Word of Wisdom should be taken in the spirit in which it was given. It is not difficult to understand. There is no hidden meaning, beyond the reach of the capacity of a child. The Lord has given us excellent counsel concerning our food and drink, and the testimony of those who have observed it is that it is attended with the blessings that He has promised. …
There have been various opinions as to whether it is now a commandment or not. But what difference is there, in a case of this kind, whether it is a commandment or only counsel? The man who would not take the counsel of the Lord in regard to matters of this character, would not be likely to obey a commandment.
We are informed by an esteemed correspondent who lives in one of our remote wards, that a visitor who recently was in the settlement and who spoke at one of the ward meetings, had set all the Saints talking concerning the doctrine that he preached. He advanced the idea that the day would come when the Holy Ghost would have a resurrected celestial body.
It is most unwise for Elders who attempt to teach, to advance such ideas as these. There is so much truth that is clear, and concerning which there can be no question, and that is appropriate to the condition of the people, that there is no necessity to indulge in such a flight of imagination as this elder has indulged in while making this statement concerning the Holy Ghost.
Such teaching is prompted by an itching desire to advance mysteries – a most unsafe practice for anyone to indulge in.