Holders of Aaronic Priesthood to watch over Church members

"In the Aaronic Priesthood," said President Joseph Fielding Smith, "besides bishops, who hold the keys of presidency, we have the offices of deacon, teacher and priest. Men holding these offices are appointed to assist the bishops in their wards. The duty of the deacon is to assist the teacher and priest, and to be at the service of the bishop when required.

"What is the duty of the teacher? As we read here in Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which was given the day the Church was organized, it is the duty of the teacher to visit the homes of the people, to teach them, to see that there is no iniquity in the Church; that there is no fault-finding one with another, no backbiting, no false speaking one against another, and more than that, to see that the members of the Church perform their duty. That great responsibility rests upon the teacher. He is to see that the members pray, that they fast upon the fast day, that they are paying their tithing, in the season thereof, that they are attending their fast meetings in the wards, week by week; and all these things are required of the teacher as he visits in the homes of the people. And if the teacher does not see to these things, then the sin lieth at his door."What are the duties of the priest? The duty of the priest is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and administer the sacrament. He is to visit the house of each member and exhort all to pray, vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties. That is the duty of the priest.

"Now the good bishops in the wards should see that their priests go into the homes of the people and do this very thing, teaching the members in the spirit of prayer. When they find an individual member of the Church who fails in any one of these particulars, it is the right of these teachers or priests to make the report to the bishop, the common judge. However, they are to labor diligently, and with long suffering, in faith and humility, with these members who do not see the necessity of keeping the commandments of the Lord, and after they have done all in their power, and can do nothing further to bring the non-praying members to repentance, the common judge may cite them before him, and he has the right to take action against them for fellowship. Of course our duty is to save souls. We must not be hasty in casting any out. So, I say, after the teachers or the priests have done all that can be done, then the drastic measures may be meted out."

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