More questions answered in the Juvenile Instructor by, or under the direction of, George Q. Cannon —
Do the “Lost Tribes” comprise ten only or more than ten of the tribes of Israel?
This question has been submitted with reference to Sunday School Leaflet No. 195, in which the “Lost Tribes” are spoken of as the original tribes. As is generally understood, during the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon the Israelites existed as a united kingdom. After the death of Solomon (about 975 B.C.) the tribe of Judah and part of the tribe of Benjamin accepted as their king Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, while the rest of the people, usually spoken of as the ten tribes, though really comprising ten tribes in addition to part of the tribe of Benjamin, chose Jeroboam as their ruler. Rehoboam and his subjects were known as the Kingdom of Judah and Jeroboam retained for his people the title of Kingdom of Israel. In the division of the territory secured by the two kingdoms, the northern part of the land belonging to the tribe of Benjamin, including the cities Bethel, Ramah and Jericho, fell to Jeroboam; while the southern portion of this tribe’s possessions went with Judah to Rehoboam. (See I Kings 12:29; 15:17, 21; 16:34). It is thus seen that the Kingdom of Israel, which after the Assyrian captivity (721 B.C.) came to be known as the Lost Tribes, comprised ten tribes in addition to a portion of Benjamin. This explains the common reference to these tribes as including ten and a half of the original tribes.
[A much better explanation of exactly which tribes are considered “Lost” is found in this John A. Tvedtnes article in the January 1982 Ensign.]
Is it right in order to save time to bless both the bread and the water before handing these emblems to the congregation?
It is contrary to the accepted usage of the Church.
Is it right or proper for the Deacons to pass round the emblems in the administration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper?
Yes; the passing of the bread and water to those who partake is not a part of the administration of the ordinance: that can only be performed by brethren holding the higher Priesthood, or who are Priests after the order of Aaron. We often witness in our meetings the members of the Church passing the plate and the cup one to another. Then, surely, if the members of the Church can rightfully do this, (and it has been done regularly in the presence of the presidents of the church without stoppage or rebuke), there is no reason why the Deacons cannot do so. The meaning of the word Deacon is a helper,. In some languages that is exactly what he is called. One of his duties is to assist the Elder, Priest or Teacher in the performance of Church duties.
Should the regularly ordained Deacons attend to janitor duties for the Sunday School, or should the superintendent appoint from the scholars?
We consider that the first of the two methods mentioned is the better. It is desirable that the young men who are ordained Deacons should be given Church duties to attend to that are in the line of their calling in the Priesthood. To ordain a man to any position in the Priesthood and give him nothing to do is not a wise policy. One so neglected, as a rule, rusts out. It is particularly so with our youth; if called to the deaconship and then left severely alone they often become disappointed and grow careless and indifferent. Again, why should others be appointed to perform those duties and do that work which properly belongs, in the order of God, given to us by revelation, to the Deacons? Let every man be taught his duty and be given an opportunity to do it.
Which is the first law of heaven?
If there is any law of heaven which can properly be called the first, it is obedience. In one sense all laws of heaven are the first – as it is essential that all should be recognized, accepted and obeyed. There is a saying that “Order is heaven’s first law,” and we have found persons who imagined that this quotation was taken from the Bible. This is a mistake. It is from the writings of the English poet Pope and has no more authority to us than any other line of poetry written by him or any other verse-maker not called of God. It is evident that he is not correct, for without obedience there could be no order, therefore obedience comes first.
If a Sunday School superintendent is called on a mission should his place be filled in his absence?
This is one of those questions regarding which no general answer can be given. The Spirit of the Lord is the best guide in such cases. Let the Bishop of the ward and the stake superintendent confer together on the question, and their decision will no doubt be the correct one, as it is their privilege to know the mind of the Lord on all such matters.
Where a brother who is a Priest is an assistant superintendent in the Sunday School, is it necessary that he be ordained to the higher Priesthood before he can assist in setting Sunday School teachers apart?
As the setting apart of a Sunday School teacher confers no Priesthood, we see no reason why an assistant superintendent, who holds the office of a Priest after the order of Aaron, should not assist in setting a teacher apart. In so doing he is conferring no power which he himself does not possess.
Is it right for a brother or sister who has not fasted to partake of the Sacrament on fast day?
Yes, if his conscience acquits him of any wrong doing in not having observed the fast. We know of no law of God which forbids a man or a woman otherwise competent partaking of this holy ordinance because they have not fasted on the ordinary fast day.