George Q. Cannon provided the answers to these questions from correspondents in 1896:
A case is submitted to us of this character: It seems that a child was ordained when he was four days old to the office of an Elder. On the strength of this ordination, when grown up, he connected himself with a quorum of Elders, and has recently applied for a recommendation to another quorum. Objection is made to this recommendation being given on the ground that it may not be proper to recognize that ordination at that early age as binding; and this question is propounded:
First. – Is an ordination to any office of the Priesthood valid before a person has become a member by baptism?
Second. – Must a person so ordained be re-ordained before officiating in any of the duties pertaining to that office or calling?
Third. – Can we as a quorum refuse rightfully to grant a recommendation to such person, he being in all other respects worthy of such recommendation?
The ordination of a child under such circumstances would not empower him when grown up to act in the office to which he is ordained without further ordination. he would necessarily, in order to make his standing entirely valid, have to be ordained again.
This answers the first and second questions.
The third question depends upon the answer already given, and, of course, it follows that if re-ordination is necessary, and that has not been attended to, the quorum can rightfully refuse to grant a recommendation to such a person, whatever his worthiness may be in other respects.
We are informed that some question has arisen in some of the Stakes as to the proper manner of ordaining priests or teachers. Some have referred to the manner of ordination which “the disciples who were called the elders of the church ordained priests and teachers” among the Nephites, as given in the Book of Mormon, and think that the form there given is not applicable to this dispensation, but that they should be ordained with greater fullness of language.
There certainly would be no harm in adopting the form that is given in the Book of Mormon; neither would there be any harm, if the Spirit so led, in using greater fullness of language. If, however, the language used in the Book of Mormon was sufficient to ordain priests and teachers, and they were ordained adopting the form that is given in the Book of Mormon; neither would there be any harm, if the Spirit so led, in using greater fullness of language. If, however, the language used in the Book of Mormon was sufficient to ordain priests and teachers, and they were ordained “according to the gifts and callings of God unto men” and “by the power of the Holy Ghost which was in” the men who ordained them, in the days when the Lord had a church on the earth before, that language is certainly sufficient to convey the same authority at the present time.
Our readers will notice that the form which is given in administering the sacrament, in blessing the bread and in blessing the wine, is exactly the same that has been given to us by revelation in our day; and while we are not told that this form of ordination is to be followed by us in ordaining priests and teachers, the object in it being recorded as it is in the Book of Mormon was for our benefit, that we might see the manner in which ordinations were attended to in that day.
We are asked, Is the Church of God and the Kingdom of God the same organization? and we are informed that some of the brethren hold that they are separate.
This is the correct view to take. The Kingdom of God is a separate organization from the Church of God. There may be men acting as officers in the Kingdom of God who will not be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On this point the Prophet Joseph gave particular instructions before his death, and gave an example, which he asked the younger Elders who were present to always remember. It was to the effect that men might be chosen to officiate as members of the Kingdom of God who had no standing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Kingdom of God when established will not be for the protection of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints alone, but for the protection of all men, whatever their religious views or opinions may be. Under its rule, no one will be permitted to overstep the proper bounds or to interfere with the rights of others.
We are asked, “Should consecrated oil be administered to non-members of the Church?”
We suppose the question is: Can this oil be administered properly to one not a member of the Church in the ordinance of laying on of hands for the healing of the sick?
No doubt, every Elder who has had much experience in the ministry has had occasion to administer the ordinance of laying on of hands for the restoration of the sick to persons who were not members of the Church; for there were people who had faith in that ordinance and who had not been baptized. The rule generally adopted by all Elders under such circumstances, as far as we understand, has been to require the sick person, before being administered to, to make a covenant that he or she would obey the ordinances of the Gospel, and upon this promise being made the Elders felt justified in administering the ordinance for the healing of the sick.
In a Sunday school theological class the question arose, so a correspondent informs us, as to whether, when the law of consecration is established among the people, the law of tithing will be observed by them. Our friend says there are some members of the class who think it will, while others of the class think it will not, as they look upon tithing as the lesser law, and that it will be swallowed up in the law of consecration.
While it is true that tithing is what may be called a lesser law than consecration, still whenever consecration comes into operation there will undoubtedly be a necessity for the existence of some fund that will be set apart for the uses to which tithing is now devoted; not for the sustaining of the poor, because if the law of consecration be practically carried out, the necessity for administering to the poor as we now do will be obviated; but for other purposes of a public character, such as public works of various kinds. Of course, at this time it is difficult to tell what conditions may arise when consecration is practiced, and whenever that happy period shall arrive the Lord will then give revelations to the living oracles, as he does now, in relation to all these matters. It is not easy to foreshadow what changes will take place and how business of this kind will be conducted, as the necessity for this knowledge has not at present arisen.