Trying to Confirm or Deny Local Folklore: Do Fast Sunday Priesthood Committees still happen?

April 19, 2008    By: Matt W. @ 10:36 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

Yes I know they’ve never been effective, but my stake does Priesthood Committee Meetings Every other Fast Sunday, which amounts to either 4 or 6 times a year, depending on whether you do them on the odd or even months. What’s odd is there is a rumor in our stake which has gone on for two or three years that the rest of the church got a first presidency letter years ago discontinuing these committee meetings, and though it’s [supposedly] in the handbook, that’s because book 2 hasn’t been revised since 1998. [I say supposedly because I only have book 1 and not book 2, oddly enough]

Here’s the thing: How do you look at first presidency letters? They don’t seem to be compiled or stored anywhere that is accessable.

Anyone have any ideas on how one can get this kind of information? I mean, I don’t want to vent, but I’ve never seen these things be effective in any stake or ward I’ve ever been in, and if there is a way I can free us from them and move on to better things, I’d love to hand a copy of it to my stake president. What drives me even more crazy is google searches pull back absolutely zero hits for priesthood committees outside of PEC and APC!

Further, I often hear little things like this “First Presidency Letter X said Y, so we need to do Z” and there doesn’t seem to be any general way to confirm or deny such.

Basically, I currently have this to take to my Bishop in the Morning to try to put a stop to this committee nonsense, but anything more would be nice.


  1. Ugh, those committees are indeed nonsense and ought to be done away with ASAP. But our stake seemed to be doing them still before I got a job in the primary a few months ago.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 19, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

  2. I believe there is an area online that has all relevant instruction not contained in handbook.

    Comment by zionssuburb — April 20, 2008 @ 5:10 am

  3. My first thought was, ‘What the hell is a Fast Sunday Priesthood committee?’ Had to look it up. I’ve never heard of them. (And I would have if we had any such thing.)

    Comment by Norbert — April 20, 2008 @ 6:45 am

  4. there’s also the option of just choosing the policy you like best and drafting/forging your own 1st presidency letter & sending it to the bishopric. see what comes.
    I mean pray about if first; don’t do anything hasty.

    Comment by english — April 20, 2008 @ 2:40 pm

  5. Hehehe.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 20, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

  6. tempting, but since I’m Ward Clerk, I’m opting for the other option of just “helping the bishop” the third hour on sunday. Failing that, Primary typically needs one or two substitute teachers.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 20, 2008 @ 6:52 pm

  7. Or I’ll just suck it up, whine about it on the internet for a bit, and move on.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 20, 2008 @ 6:53 pm

  8. I make it a point not to know about meetings. That way, if anyone ever has reason to ask me if I attend all my meetings, I can just say “all the ones I know about.”

    Comment by Jacob J — April 20, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

  9. Never heard of ’em.

    The letters thing is part of the reason some stakes still won’t let women give the opening prayer in sacrament meeting. That flamingly stupid policy was rescinded by such a letter, but as you rightly point out there’s no institutional memory that inheres in such letters, and people who didn’t get the memo are still operating in the stone ages.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — April 20, 2008 @ 7:54 pm

  10. I recall meeting with my committee on two occasions several years ago. I’ve heard of no letter discontinuing them–I think our group leadership simply decided they were a waste of time.

    Comment by Last Lemming — April 21, 2008 @ 6:12 am

  11. The prior edition (1999?) of the General Handbook of Instructions dropped the quorums “have” three committees for a “may have” approach.

    Comment by JrL — April 21, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  12. These are still done around here, and I haven’t gotten the sense that they are useless. My thought is, rather than disband them, figure out how to make them useful. :)

    Comment by m&m — April 21, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  13. Let me assure you m&m, they are pretty useless. They were useless 15 years ago too — at least now they aren’t mandatory.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 21, 2008 @ 2:40 pm

  14. The letters should be kept by the ward clerk or executive secretary (we kept ours in a binder in the clerk’s office.) When an updated handbook comes out, it incorporates all relevant letters, which can then be disposed of.

    The challenge comes when a handbook tells you to do ‘x’ and then a letter is sent telling people to stop doing ‘x.’ When the new handbook comes out, there is just no mention of ‘x’. So someone usually is sure there was a letter telling us to stop that, but no one can find a record of it or any mention in the handbook.

    IMO, the handbook should have an appendix called “Everything we used to tell you to do that you don’t have to do anymore.”

    Comment by Joe — April 23, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

  15. IMO, the handbook should have an appendix called “Everything we used to tell you to do that you don’t have to do anymore.”

    Excellent suggestion. If that section went back far enough, it would also be pretty comical in a few places.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 23, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

  16. I have been looking for the handout that counters the First Presidency message in 1983 (?) concerning oral sex. I know that it came 6 months later and I have seen a copy, but I don’t have one of my own.


    Comment by Judo — April 23, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

  17. We still do them and, unlike in other words, they work well.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — April 24, 2008 @ 5:04 pm