Here is a brief history of the mysterious Quorum of the Anointed, as
posted on BCC.
The Anointed Quorum
J. Stapley - May 4, 2006
On May 4th, 1842, Joseph Smith met with nine men in the upper room of
his Red Brick store. He initiated them into a new order of the
priesthood and established a new quorum in the Church. This quorum was
intended to be secret during Joseph's life and it was called by many
names. Contemporarily, it is often referred to as the "Anointed
Quorum" and is not well known among the Saints. While there is reason
to believe that the Quorum still exists, it no longer functions as
Many have heard about the May 4th meeting as this was the day that
Joseph first revealed part of the Temple ordinances. That there was a
quorum created is more obscure. Seven of the nine persisted with the
quorum and they are the foundation for the Restored Church.
While the Nine received the majority of the Temple ordinances on that
day, the requirement for entry into the Quorum was the initiatory
ordinances of washing and anointing. Sometimes, months or years
separated the reception of the various ordinances (1).
Admittance to and expulsion, in cases of disfellowship, from the
quorum was a matter of common consent. All initiates required the
unanimous approval of the Quorum members before they were received in
fellowship. Joseph was voted president of the Quorum.
At first, for Joseph, the most important aspect of this new quorum was
a new form of prayer. Prayer Circles are an integral part of
contemporary Temple liturgy. In Nauvoo, they were an integral part of
life. Heber Kimball preached in the completed Temple in 1845, as
related by William Clayton:
When we come together * * and unite our hearts and act as one
mind, the Lord will hear us and will answer our prayers=85Said that
whenever they could get an opportunity they retired to the wilderness
or to an upper room, they did so * * * and were always answered. It
would be a good thing for us * * every day and pray to God in private
Not too long after the Quorum was organized, John Bennett assailed the
church and the quorum ceased to meet. Moreover, Hyrum, Joseph's
successor, crusaded against polygamy in the Church, which created
obvious stress for Joseph. Finally in May 1843, Hyrum accepted all of
Joseph's teachings and all the quorum was re-initiated into the
Converted, Hyrum sought to persuade Emma, who was still antagonistic
to Joseph's teachings. It would not be until the latter portion of the
year that Emma would acquiesce for a season. On Thursday, September
28, 1843, Joseph Smith and Emma were received into the highest and
holiest order of the priesthood.
Section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenants has a peculiar verse
explaining the need for the Nauvoo temple:
For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and
restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken
away, even the fulness of the priesthood.
Wilford Woodruff recorded a letter from Brigham Young that was
included in the History of the Church (vol. 5 pg. 527) that states
that "[f]or any person to have the fullness of that priesthood, he
must be a king and priest." Indeed, the fullness was extended to both
men and women, making them Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses.
Joseph taught that the Fullness of the Priesthood was issued by the
Spirit and Power of Elijah (3).
While the Quorum governed the spiritual blessings of the church, they
were not a governing body. Still, it is important to note that women
held the same status in the Quorum as men. They acted as priestesses
in administering the ordinances of the Temple. They also acted in
common consent to select members of the quorum. (4)
Upon Joseph's death, it was the Quorum that served to stabilize the
Church. It was the only quorum where a majority was not needed to
convene (most of the Twelve, council of fifty and 100 other
missionaries were out of Nauvoo preparing for Joseph's Presidential
bid). It is also important to note that the Quorum is tied to the
succession crisis after Joseph's death. The Twelve ultimately governed
the Church because they were the only ones with the Fullness of the
Priesthood and the mandate to administer it to others.
While in Joseph's life, the Quorum met for the spiritual and temporal
welfare of the church, after his death, the amount of people with
Temple ordinances ballooned to over 5,000. The concept of a quorum
became too unwieldy and as it was not reformed, like other quorums in
the church, it was left to history. In lieu of Quorum meetings, Prayer
Circle groups formed and met regularly, sometimes keeping minutes,
until the First Presidency ended all extra-temple Prayer Circles in
1978 (see the BYU Studies article in footnote 2 for more information).
164 years ago, Joseph's most revolutionary doctrines began to
crystallize. Over the next 18 months Joseph wielded God's forge to not
only bind man and woman, but human to God.
1. E.g., see Joseph Kingsbury Diary. University of Utah Archives.
pg 21-23. Images available at both the UU and BYU digital archives.
2. Helen M. Kimball, Woman's Exponent. 15 July 1883. vol. 12, no.
4, pg. 26; reprinted in A Woman's View pg. 299. For more information
on Prayer Circles see D. Michael Quinn (1978) Latter-Day Saint Prayer
Circles. BYU Studies, vol. 19 No. 1 pg. 79
3. WoJS pg. 327-336
4. For more information on how this ordinance relates women and the
priesthood, see this post: Women and the Priesthood. Part I.