According to the present official handbook, the religion of the Latter-Day Saints consists of doctrines, commandments, ordinances, and rites revealed from God to the present age. The first principle is faith in God and in Jesus Christ; the next is repentance from all sin, then follows baptism for the remission of sin, as a prepara tion for the gift of the Holy Ghost, bestowed by the laying on of hands. Obedience to these prin ciples is necessary to membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Faith in God is the beginning of religion, and confers spiritual gifts such as heal ings, mica des, tongues, the interpretation of tongues, discern ment, visions, dreams, prophecy, and revelation. Authority to administer in the name of the Deity must of necessity come from God. This involves revelation. There having been no communication with heaven for hundreds of years, the world was without divine authority to administer gospel ordinances until Joseph Smith. By John the Baptist he was ordained to the lesser or Aaronic priesthood, and by Peter, James; and John to the higher or Melchizedek priesthood, receiving the Hely Apostleship and the keys of the kingdom with power to seal on earth so that it might he sealed in heaven. The religion of the Latter-Day Saints is progressive. It cannot he defined in a written ereed. It is added to by the revelations of God as the capacities of the Saints enlarge and the needs of the Church increase. Every member of the Church is entitled to the blessings of divine communion and revelation for his or her own comfort and guidance. Revelations for the whole Church are only given through its President, who is its earthly head and holds the keys of the kingdom. Among the later revela tions to the Church are the doctrines of baptism for the dead and of celestial marriage. As there was no authority among men to administer the ordinances of the gospel from the days of the early Apostles or shortly after, to the time of the restoration of the priesthood to Joseph Smith the Prophet, all the baptisms during the inter vening period were void. The friends of the dead, however, are permitted to take their names and be baptized iu their stead, the ceremony being duly witnessed and recorded on earth and accepted and ratified in heaven. Other ordinances may also be admitted by proxy, the living in behalf of the dead.
Celestial marriage is*marriage unto all eter nity. According to the revelation on this sub ject all the marriages entered into without divine authority are dissolved by death. Celestial mar riage is entered into by those who have obeyed the gospel and become the sons and daughters of God by adoption. The woman is given to the man and they become one flesh. That which is thus sealed on earth is sealed in heaven, and is as valid as though performed in person by the Deity. If a wife thus sealed to her husband should precede him in death, it would be his privilege to wed another. The second wife, or third, if the second should die, would he sealed to him in the same manner as the first. They would all be his equally. In tbe resurrection he would have three wives, with their children, be longing to him in the everlasting covenant. The revelation on celestial marriage declares that if given to man in the everlasting covenant in the way appointed of God, he is not under condemna tion, but is justified in receiving more wives than one. They are sealed to him and become
his, and he cannot commit adultery with them because they are his and his alone. None of them are concubines or mistresses, or mere min isters of lust. Celestial marriage in its fullness is ordained of God. It is an establishment of religion. It is ecclesiastical in its nature and government. It is therefore outside the domain of constitutional law. Being within the pale of the Church, its free exercise cannot of right he prohibited.
The Mormon system of proselyting is simple. Twice each year, at the annual and semi-annual conferences held in Salt Lake City, a number of the faithful elders of the Church are selected by the authorities and 'called' by the assembled saints to visit• the home or the foreign field. They travel at their own charges. Each mission is presided over by sonic elder selected by the general authorities of the Church, and the minor divisions of branches and conferences have their proper officers. The Utah missionaries remain in their fields of labor from two to four years and until released by competent authority to re turn home. Mormon missionaries have gone to every State and Territory of the Union, also to Canada, Mexico, the Antilles, Brazil and Peru, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Denmark. Sweden, Norway, Iceland. Fin land, South Africa, India, the East Indies. China, Australia, New Zealand, the Society Islands. and the Hawaiian Islands. The Church has an or ganization known as the Perpetual Emigration Fund Company, which makes advances of money to assist the faithful to Utah and adjoining dis tricts.
The Mormon hierarchy is complicated. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were the first two elders and apostles in the Church. Smith, who bore the title of Prophet. Seer, and Revelator, stood at the I ead of the :Melchizedek priesthood, of which three presiding High Priests, chosen bv the body. form a quorum of the Presidency of the Chards. The President of the Church and his two counselors form the First Presidency, and the three together represent the Trinity. The Twche Apostles form a (worm]] equal in au thorityant. I power to the three Presidents preiou-ly mentioned. The Twelve are n traveling presiding High Council. under the direetion of the Presidency of the Church, to build up the Church and regulate its affairs in all nations. The Seventies are also called to preach the gos pel and form a quorum equal in authority to that of the Twelve. The Seventy Elders have seven presidents to preside over them, chosen out of the number of the Seventy. There are now over 120 of these Seventies. In addition to these the officers of the Melchizedek priesthood are high priest- and elders. The officers of the Aaronie or lesser priesthood ire priests. teach er-, and deacons. There are twenty-one Stakes of Zion in Utah. Over each stake there is a presidency consisting of a president and two cmonselors, who are high priests. This presi dency hears the same relation to the stake that the First Presidency hears to the whole Church. A high council in each stake. consisting of twelve members, who are also high priests, ;met for the stake as the traveling presiding High Council act for the Church in all the world. It is the province of the high priests to preside, while the special calling of the Seventy is to travel and preach the gospel and build up the Church.