Questions from the past, answered by George Q. Cannon in the pages of the Juvenile Instructor —
Q. Who has the authority to excommunicate members from the Aaronic Priesthood? Does this come under the jurisdiction of the Bishopric or not?
A. The Bishopric has authority to excommunicate from the Church lay members, or those who have received only the Aaronic Priesthood.
Q. How far can members of the Aaronic priesthood, who are transgressors, be handled by their respective quorums?
A. The quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood can only deal with their members who are in transgression to the extent of withdrawing from such transgressors the fellowship of the quorum. The quorums have no authority to deprive them of their membership in the Church.
Q. Would it be right for a member of the Melchisedek Priesthood and one of the Aaronic Priesthood to take part in administering to the sick?
A. Any member in the Church would be committing no sin to lay his or her hands upon the head of one who is sick, and bless or pray for the individual. Members of the Aaronic Priesthood may act in this way under the direction of and in connection with the Melchisedek Priesthood when called upon to do so by those holding the Melchisedek Priesthood.
It is, however, perfectly proper and advisable for the sick to use oil for their afflictions, and God will sanctify the anointing to their good. All the Saints should be careful, however, to not overstep the rights which belong to them as members of the Church or members of the priesthood.
Q. There seems to have been a discussion among members of a Theological class in one of our Sunday schools concerning the right of an Elder or Seventy to baptize members into the church. There was some question as to whether a man holding this priesthood was authorized to exercise it in this direction unless he was set apart for a mission.
A. It is certainly the right of either Elders or Seventies to baptize and confirm members into the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, but they should not do so in any regularly organized branch or Ward of the Church without first consulting with and obtaining the permission of the presiding authorities in said branch or Ward. There is order in the Church which every man should strictly observe. This requires that Saints be amenable and labor under the direction of the general or local authorities. Therefore, whatever rights a man may possess through receiving the priesthood, should be exercised only in consonance with the feelings and wishes of those in whose care the various portions of the vineyard are placed.
Q. An esteemed correspondent asks us several questions concerning round dancing. From what she says it seems to be the practice in the ward to which she belongs for the musicians at a ball to play a number of waltz tunes, and she inquires whether it is proper for this temptation to be placed in the way of the young people and they be expected to resist it.
A. In reply we say that the playing of such tunes ought to be avoided if it be the design to have the young people refrain from waltzing. There certainly is no necessity for the playing of such tunes and exciting the desire on the part of those who can waltz to join in the round dance.
Q. Next, she asks: Is the responsibility of stopping round dancing equally upon the shoulders of the young men and the young ladies, or chiefly upon the latter?
A. The responsibility rests equally upon both sexes; but the greater responsibility rests upon those who have the party in charge, whether it be the Bishop or a committee.
Q. Again: Are the Latter-day Saints permitted to dance two round dances in an evening, or are these dances forbidden entirely?
A. We understand that some years ago, when round dancing was freely indulged in, and an attempt was made to check the practice, permission was granted for two round dances only during an evening. It is better, however, inasmuch as round dancing is not considered as decorous and proper for young people to indulge in as square dancing, that round dancing be entirely dropped.
The objection to round dancing will suggest itself to very person who looks on and sees the manner in which it is conducted. A husband and a wife, a brother and a sister, or two young ladies, might dance a round dance and there would be no impropriety in their doing so; but if such persons indulge in waltzing, others would think that they also should have the same liberty. and when persons of both sexes dance promiscuously there are those who will take advantage of the familiarity which the found dancing affords, and evil is likely to result therefrom. Is not this plain? Innocent girls may not be aware of the danger to which they may be exposed in this style of dancing; but older persons of more experience perceive it. They know that there is danger of sinful temptation following the familiarity which this kind of dancing permits. It is for this reason that objection is urged, by the leading men of the Church, to the practice of round dances. They would like all the young people of the Church to understand the reasons they have for using their influence against waltzing. it is not for the purpose of curtailing their enjoyment to keep them from indulging in a form of amusement which might lead to serious and dreadful consequences. For it should be the aim of every virtuous person of both sexes to avoid the familiarity which the clasping of each other in the round dance admits of. Besides, it is scarcely to be supposed that all who frequent balls are so pure as to be above temptation. There are some, doubtless, who obtain access to such gatherings who are ready to take advantage of the liberty which the round dance affords to accomplish evil ends. For this reason, if for no other, this form of dance should be avoided.
Q. If an aged man is brought up before the bishop and his council to be tried, and he is a man that is not fully capable of explaining his own position, is there anything in the laws of the Church to prevent his having a man belonging to the Church act as his spokesman at the trial?
A. There is nothing in the laws of the Church against one of the brethren acting as spokesman for another in a case of this kind. But, of course, there would have to be great care taken in granting permission of this character, for the reason that there are so many would-be lawyers who would like to get an opportunity to argue cases before the Bishops’ Courts, and make themselves disagreeable, and perhaps offensive. But for one man to speak for another in the spirit of the gospel and in a way to explain fully to the Bishop’s Court the position of the other man who is up for trial, there can be no objection to it – that is, if the accused is a man not fully capable of explaining his own case.
Q. We are asked whether terrestrial and telestial beings will inhabit this sphere after it is celestialized, or whether they occupy another sphere.
A. The revelations of the Lord have not explained this in sufficient plainness to permit an answer to be given that is entirely definite. Still we can imagine that it is quite possible for beings who enjoy a telestial and terrestrial glory to dwell on a celestial sphere. It is not the place that constitutes the glory so much as the power and the blessings enjoyed in the Celestial Kingdom. This is illustrated in this life. There are degrees of glory in this life. Freedom and bondage co-existed in the United States a generation ago. masters were free and enjoyed great honor and distinction, while their slaves breathed the same air and had the same surroundings, but they were slaves and subject to their masters.
Q. Which is the proper way of the may ways that are practiced of asking the blessing upon the sacrament?
A. Our correspondents say that in some instances those who are administering kneel upon both knees, while others kneel upon one; some hold up the right hand, while others the left, and again, some hold up both hands, and perhaps others none at all.
The usual custom, and one that is appropriate, is for the person asking the blessing upon the Sacrament to kneel on both knees, and not lift the hands; but there is nothing imperative about this.