Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Minister’s Certificate, 1909

Minister’s Certificate, 1909

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 15, 2013

If you had been a regularly called missionary in 1909 — and for many years on either side of that year; the certificates changed very little — you would have carried a Minister’s Certificate like this one, issued by the First Presidency. This is how you would have identified yourself when you arrived at mission headquarters or in new fields; you would have presented it to police and other officials when you needed permission to tract or rent meeting halls or conduct other mission activity; you would have shown it to railroad officials when you sought the special clergyman’s travel rates. If you behaved so badly that you were dismissed from your calling, the certificate was confiscated by mission leaders. It was always in English even when you served in a non-English speaking country.

I’ve clipped the name of the man this certificate was issued to; also, know that John R. Winder, first counselor in the First Presidency, did sign in the second slot, but my scanner refuses to display the light ink of his pen.



Transcription for the sake of search engines:

Minister’s Certificate

To all to whom this may be presented: This Certifies that the bearer, Elder [blank] is in full faith and fellowship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that by its General Authorities he has been duly ordained a minister of said Church with authority to preach the Gospel and administer in all the ordinances thereof pertaining to his office and authority. And we invite all men to give heed to his teachings as a servant of God, and to assist him in his travels and labors, in whatsoever things he may need.



  1. I believe much of the wording is identical to my certificate, issued in 1978. I’ll have to get out my Book of Remembrance and compare. It’s interesting that there is so little change in the text, though the allusion to traveling without purse or scrip was dropped.

    Comment by Left Field — October 15, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

  2. Mine is in Chinese. Which sadly even after two years on my mission I never learned to read. I’m assuming it says much the same.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — October 15, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

  3. Here it is:

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    [Beehive logo surrounded by motto “THE GLORY OF GOD IS INTELLIGENCE”]

    No. 101732
    This certifies that the bearer, Elder _______ who is in full faith and fellowship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a duly ordained minister of the Gospel, and as such has authority to preach the principles of the Gospel and to administer the ordinances thereof.
    We invite all people to give heed to his message.

    Spencer W. Kimball [printed signature]
    Oct. 7 1978 SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH


    Expires October 1980

    In fine print at the bottom is probably a document number and date, “PFM10268 2/77” In the lower left is a raised seal on top of what I can only describe as a printed Spirograph pattern. The seal has the word “SEAL” in the center, and in concentric circles, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” and “CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS”

    My name and the date (except for the pre-printed “19” of the year) appear to have been typed in faux cursive type with an IBM Selectric. The certificate number seems to have been printed with whatever gadget is used to print consecutive numbers on multiple documents.

    Comment by Left Field — October 15, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

  4. Ralph just scanned his dad’s certificate for 1941 which is basically the same as Elder Left Field’s except signed by Heber J. Grant. Even the spirograph pattern is there.

    Comment by LauraN — October 18, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

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