Correlation: The Early Years

Michael A. Goodman

Michael A. Goodman, “Correlation: The Early Years,” in A Firm Foundation: Church Organization and Administration, ed. David J. Whittaker and Arnold K. Garr (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011), 321–38.

Michael A. Goodman is an associate professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen has stated, “Few superlatives could overstate the historical importance of correlation, both as a doctrinal concept and as an organizational movement.” [1] Yet, despite the importance of correlation, little has been published regarding its history. Though included as a topic in biographies about David O. McKay, Harold B. Lee, and Neal A. Maxwell, each account focused more on the individuals’ involvement in correlation than the history of correlation itself. Therefore, each account had large gaps in the history. This article will present the history of correlation from the turn of the twentieth century until 1960. Though access to some primary sources is limited, the information and documentation illuminates not only the basic early history of correlation but also the processes and inspiration that led to its creation.

The formation of correlation provides a powerful witness to how God guides and directs his work through inspired servants using their agency to act to the best of their abilities. Elder Maxwell explained that “revelation works in a natural way. There is an unmet need [such as Church growth]. As we ponder over it, the mind and experience can put forward an adequate alternative [for the season, and] the confirmation is the inspiration.” [2] Man’s best efforts, combined with direct inspiration, and at times intervention from above, allows God to direct his work on earth. It is important to remember that God works through his chosen servants living in a specific time and place who use their agency to bring to pass things the Lord reveals to them. It has been stated that Church correlation did not spring forth, Minerva-like, in the mid-1960s. It came line upon line, precept upon precept, born of necessity and after a long process filled with inspiration and hard work.

Prophetic Vision

Many people played a crucial role in the early history of correlation. Almost all of them were members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Few had a more profound impact than David O. McKay and Harold B. Lee. For the first fifty-plus years of correlation’s history, President McKay either led out in the actual effort or directed others as one of the presiding authorities. Harold B. Lee, often considered the father of correlation in the modern era, was profoundly influential as well. In fact, in his biography, his son-in-law states that “some historians may well argue that President Harold B. Lee’s most significant lifetime work for the Church, though not generally understood by the membership, was the reorganization of the kingdom under the direction of President David O. McKay.” [3]

To view correlation as those who were responsible for it did is to see God’s hand throughout. These men, in their public discourses and their private writing, acknowledged the historical realities they were working through and the agency and personalities of those involved. As will be seen from the frequent correlation initiatives that came to a stop almost as fast as they started, the history of correlation is full of what might be called failed attempts. However, some of the leading Brethren saw it instead as laying the groundwork needed for future successes which would come when the time was ripe and the need was much greater. They did not see correlation as simply an administrative or organizational matter. They saw it as the kingdom of God rolling forward. They believed it was much larger than simply an effort to correlate curriculum and adjust organizational charts. President N. Eldon Tanner emphatically stated as much when he said, “Priesthood Correlation is the closest blueprint yet in mortality to the plan presented in the Grand Council of Heaven before the world was created and is the most effective utilization thus far of special keys given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple.” [4]

New Beginnings

When God restored his Church in the latter days through the Prophet Joseph Smith, he did so line upon line, precept upon precept. Most Church organization we are familiar with today developed in answer to specific time-and-place needs with guidance and inspiration from above. There were no First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve, Quorums of Seventy, stake presidencies, or bishops when the Church was organized in 1830. Each of these offices developed as the need arose and as God directed. Not only were the offices not in existence when the Church was organized, their form, structure, and duties have also evolved through the years. As early as 1835, the basic governing structure recognized today was revealed to the Prophet Joseph. The Lord dictated that the First Presidency was the presiding organization of the Church, followed by the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, followed by the Seventy. However, the role and function of each of these presiding quorums has evolved in accordance with the needs of the Church. For example, the First Quorum of Seventy as we know it today was not organized until 1975 and 1976 under the inspiration of President Spencer W. Kimball. Even after its organization, the number, structure, and function of the Quorums of Seventy have changed to meet the needs of a growing Church.

As the Church continued to expand, it became clear that the presiding quorums would need help if they were to accomplish the work God had given them. As a result, the Relief Society was organized in March 1842 by the Prophet Joseph. The Sunday School was organized December 9, 1849, by Richard Ballantyne. The Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association was organized on November 28, 1869, as the Young Ladies’ Retrenchment Society by Brigham Young. The Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association was formed on June 10, 1875, also by Brigham Young. Finally, the Primary was organized on August 25, 1878, by John Taylor.

Each auxiliary was created to help the presiding authorities accomplish the work of the ministry. As each auxiliary grew in size, it also grew in complexity. Though each auxiliary was intended to meet the needs of distinct groups, it soon became evident that much of what they did overlapped and at times complicated the work as a whole. By the turn of the twentieth century, these auxiliaries had grown so large and complex that they presented two distinct but connected challenges. First, through their diligent efforts, the auxiliaries were supplanting the priesthood quorums in their divinely commissioned responsibilities to minister to the Saints. Second, as each auxiliary grew, so did the amount of training material and curriculum each produced. The expense in time and money of constantly developing new training and curriculum materials, along with the challenge of avoiding overlapping, ineffective, or misdirected material, constantly challenged the Brethren. These two challenges gave rise to one other unintended consequence. With so many organizations often working in so many directions and requiring great amounts of time from individual members, the family unit began to suffer.

Priesthood and Curriculum

The presiding Brethren felt it necessary to reemphasize the divinely appointed and central role of the priesthood with the auxiliary organizations functioning in a supporting role. President Lee stated that a main purpose of correlation was to place “the Priesthood as the Lord intended, as the center core of the Kingdom of God, and the auxiliaries as related thereto; including a greater emphasis on the Fathers in the home as Priesthood bearers in strengthening the family unit.” [5]

Early on, the need to correlate a rapidly expanding curriculum may have been its most visible role. By the early 1900s, many Church organizations, including Young Men, Young Women, Sunday School, and the Seventies, were already publishing their own instructional material, often annually. Other than the Sunday School, which began publishing curriculum in the beginning, the other auxiliaries did not begin the work of curriculum or instructional development right away. For example, though the Relief Society was organized in 1842, they did not begin publishing a unified curriculum until 1913. [6] However, as each organization produced more and more instructional material, the lack of correlation led to inevitable duplication, disparity, and expense. These curricular challenges, coupled with the ever-increasing overlap of each auxiliary’s efforts with the priesthood, led to a realization by the presiding Brethren of the need of greater correlation of efforts. Though some early attempts at correlation focused more strongly on one or the other challenge, most sought to address both priesthood and curricular issues.

General Priesthood Committee on Outlines

By the beginning of the twentieth century, President Joseph F. Smith began to correlate the efforts of the auxiliaries and to restore the priesthood quorums to the more prominent role they were created to fill. At the April 1906 general conference, President Smith prophesied:

We expect to see the day, if we live long enough (and if some of us do not live long enough to see it, there are others who will), when every council of the Priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will understand its duty, will assume its own responsibility, will magnify its calling, and fill its place in the Church, to the uttermost, according to the intelligence and ability possessed by it. When that day shall come, there will not be so much necessity for work that is now being done by the auxiliary organizations, because it will be done by the regular quorums of the Priesthood. The Lord designed and comprehended it from the beginning, and He has made provision in the Church whereby every need may be met and satisfied through the regular organizations of the Priesthood. [7]

In the beginning, the effort was not to minimize the work of the auxiliaries as much as it was to get the priesthood actively engaged in correlating their efforts. Within two years, President Smith took the first step by creating the General Priesthood Committee on Outlines on April 8, 1908, and appointing recently called Apostle David O. McKay as chair. [8] The major assignment of this committee was to write the curriculum for the deacons, teachers, priests, elders, and high priests. By this time, most of the auxiliaries were beginning to work on their own curriculum, but there was no curricular committee to take care of the priesthood quorums.

The committee was also tasked with helping the priesthood “understand its duty, . . . assume its own responsibility, . . . magnify its calling, and fill its place in the Church, to the uttermost,” as Joseph F. Smith stated above. In a report, the committee declared that the major problem in getting the priesthood quorums to function was a loose organizational structure and quorums that were not functioning properly. [9] As part of their efforts to correct these problems, the committee did write curriculum for each of the quorums. In May of 1912, they also published an article in the Improvement Era detailing the need for greater diligence and organization of Aaronic Priesthood quorums, especially teachers and priests quorums. [10] After four years of effort, they felt that their work in spurring the priesthood forward was successful. In a report given to the general priesthood conference in 1913, the committee reported great satisfaction at the results of their efforts from 1908 through 1913. They list several impressive accomplishments during this time period. According to their report, in 1908 only thirty bishops were actively presiding over the priests quorum in their ward. By 1913, about 500 of the 715 Church bishops were now doing so. Over 258 new priests quorums had been organized. In a single year over 1,000 new priests were ordained, making a total of 7,578 priests. The report also mentioned an overall increase in ordained priesthood members who attended quorum meetings. Finally, it spoke of an increase of quorum officers doing their work and thus lightening the loads of the bishops. [11] Clearly they felt that their work had produced good results.

Less information is available regarding the success of the committee in correlating the curriculum of the different auxiliaries. A note in the minutes indicated that the committee was later enlarged to include members of the general boards of Sunday School, the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, and the Church School System in an attempt to enhance the correlation between these organizations. [12] However, no records have yet been found documenting either the efforts or the results of this correlation effort.

The Correlation Committee

In 1912, President Smith organized the Correlation Committee and once again assigned David O. McKay as the chair. [13] Steven L Richards, who would become one of the major contributors to the Church’s correlation efforts, was called to serve on this committee with Elder David O. McKay while he was serving as a member of the General Sunday School Board. While serving on this committee, Brother Richards was called as an Apostle on January 18, 1917. [14] This committee was tasked to do more than simply correlate curriculum. The heads of each auxiliary were also called to serve on this committee. “The purpose of the committee was to prevent the unnecessary and undesirable duplication of work [of all kinds] in the various auxiliaries of the Church . . . and for the general purpose of unifying the work and advancing the cause of each organization.” [15] Records indicate that this committee met at least quarterly from 1912 to 1918. [16] They met more frequently during the first and last year of their time together, approximately every month. Though the minutes do show an effort to correlate the studies of each auxiliary, they do not definitely indicate how successful these efforts were. They worked for several years to create a teacher improvement program written by Howard R. Driggs. He wrote a book entitled Teacher Training Course, which was recommended for use throughout the Church. [17]

Social Advisory Committee of General Boards

By 1916 the Social Advisory Committee was formed, consisting of three members each from the general boards of the Relief Society, YLMIA, and the Primary. [18] Within a month, the First Presidency recommended that the General Sunday School Board be added. Stephen L Richards, then serving on the General Sunday School Board, was chosen as chairman. [19] As has been noted, within a year he was also called as an Apostle. The work of this committee overlapped with some of the work of the Correlation Committee headed by Elder McKay. Though the Social Advisory Committee was originally tasked to bring about reforms of dress and social conduct, they found themselves working on some of the same issues as the Correlation Committee. [20] Elder Richards suggested that the two committees be combined and that the “amalgamated committee be instructed to consider and report on the relationship of the quorums to each other, and the auxiliaries to each other, to define their functions and fields of endeavor and outline a program or survey of their work.” [21] Elder Richards then moved that Elder McKay be named chair of the combined committees. However, Elder McKay felt that Elder Richards should be made the chair of the combined committee. Ultimately, Elder Richards was appointed as chair.

The Amalgamated Correlation–Social Advisory Committee

This combined committee, the Amalgamated Correlation–Social Advisory Committee, was tasked with trying to correlate the work of each of the auxiliaries and the priesthood quorums. [22] By April 1921, they submitted a comprehensive twenty-seven-page recommendation to the First Presidency. [23] They recommended the creation of correlation committees, like their own, on several different levels in the Church. These committees, to be staffed with both priesthood and auxiliary officers, would carry on the work of correlation at every level. A second recommendation was made to resolve a conflict between stake and ward conferences and the annual general auxiliary conferences. They recommended that the stake and ward conferences be adjusted to make room for the auxiliary conferences that were regularly held at the same time each year.

The amalgamated committee made an even bolder recommendation regarding the correlation of gospel instruction and curriculum development. They recommended that the Sunday School take over all “theological and doctrinal instruction for the whole membership of the Church in an authoritative, standardized course.” [24] The reason given for this recommendation included the “pronounced need for a well organized, well administered course of study which will be adequate to insure to the membership of the Church a comprehensive, coherent conception of the fundamental principles of the gospel.” [25] Though this course of action would have largely eliminated the need to correlate curriculum, as only one organization would be writing and delivering it, it was a radical departure from Church practice.

Though these recommendations would have moved the work of correlation and simplification forward, as will be seen by the response of the First Presidency, they would have moved in a direction contrary to what the First Presidency had outlined as the primary objective. A week before formally submitting his report, Elder Richards had read and given details on the report to the full Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency. [26] On April 28, Elder James E. Talmage moved that further discussion of the Correlation–Social Advisory Committee recommendations be tabled until the First Presidency had a chance to go over it first. The First Presidency of Heber J. Grant, Charles W. Penrose, and Anthony W. Ivins responded almost immediately to the committee’s recommendation that stake and ward conferences be moved so as not to conflict with the auxiliaries’ conferences. In their response they stated, “We think it the wisest plan to not make the change.” [27] However, they did not respond to the other recommendations for another thirteen months.

On June 7, 1922, the First Presidency advised the Quorum of Twelve Apostles that they felt it would be unwise to adopt the recommendations regarding the Sunday School taking over all curriculum development and delivery or the establishment of correlation committees on the various levels. [28] In this letter, and a letter which was given to Elder Richards on June 26, the First Presidency gave several reasons why they declined acting on the recommendations. Regarding permanently organizing correlation committees at each level of the Church, the First Presidency stated they felt it would simply be “unnecessary and undesirable.” They further emphasized the importance of maintaining the organization the Lord had revealed of direct priesthood direction in all aspects of correlation:

All these organizations were presided over and their fields of activity outlined by the Presidency of the Church, the details of their work being directed by the general and local officers who were chosen to preside over them.

While the present administration has relinquished the direct presidency of the Sunday Schools and the Young Mens Mutual Improvement Associations, it still retains its right of presidency over all of the quorums and auxiliary organizations of the Church. Under the Presidency of the Church, are the General Boards, which have been chosen to direct, in detail, the various associations. These General Boards are expected, in all that they do, to act in harmony with the Stake Presidencies, and the Stake Presidencies act in harmony with the Bishoprics of the various wards. Thus all of the agencies through which the activities of the Church are controlled come under the direct supervision of the Priesthood. [29]

In letters sent out to the wards and stakes dated January 13 and March 8, 1923, the First Presidency announced that the General Correlation Committee and the Social Advisory Committee had completed their assigned tasks and have “therefore, been released with the commendation of the Presidency for the splendid work accomplished by them.” They went on to emphasize the importance of maintaining direct priesthood direction to all work done in the Church. Rather than another administrative level being placed between the stake and ward leaders and the auxiliaries, the First Presidency stated, “We wish also to have it clearly understood that all auxiliary associations operate under the direct presidency and supervision of stake and ward priesthood authorities, who carry the ultimate responsibility for the work of these organizations.” [30] They recommended that stake and ward leaders hold a monthly meeting to correlate the work of the auxiliaries under their stewardship. This step seems to have been a precursor to the present stake and ward council system. [31]

The First Presidency also chose not to implement the recommendation regarding the Sunday School taking over all gospel instruction and curriculum development. In explaining why, they emphasized that the major purpose for each organization was that “the doctrines of the Gospel might be taught, . . . that faith in the Lord, in Christ His Son, and in Joseph Smith, His Prophet might be burned into the souls of the people.” [32] Though there was a great need to correlate the efforts of the different organizations, the First Presidency chose not to accomplish it by assigning responsibilities to one organization.

Priesthood/Sunday School Cooperative

The next effort at correlation focused largely on Church curriculum and again involved Elder McKay. In 1928, while serving as both Apostle and general superintendent of the Sunday School, Elder McKay announced that the curricula of all quorums and the Sunday School would be reviewed and authorized by a common committee. [33] He announced that in doing so, the Sunday School would take up its role as a “helper” to the priesthood. [34] No records have been found which indicate the success or failure of this endeavor. However, one notable simplification in Church publications did occur around this time. In 1929, the magazines of the YMMIA and YWMIA, the Improvement Era and the Young Woman’s Journal, were combined into one publication called the Improvement Era. [35]

Though the work of these early committees did not accomplish their intended aim of Churchwide correlation, the First Presidency felt that they did redirect Church thinking toward priesthood leaderships rather than auxiliary control. [36] Efforts to strengthen the priesthood continued through the 1930s. As early as 1932, the First Presidency reported gratifying results. [37]

Committee of Correlation and Coordination

Though the earlier Churchwide correlation committees had been discontinued, the need to correlate the work of the priesthood and the auxiliaries continued to grow. On September 23, 1938, Elder John A. Widtsoe wrote a memorandum for President J. Reuben Clark Jr., reiterating the need to have all policy decisions made by the Twelve, not the auxiliary heads. [38] In that same year, the First Presidency of Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, and David O. McKay was again considering ways to correlate the work of the Church. In January of the following year, the First Presidency organized the Committee of Correlation and Coordination and asked three members of the Twelve—Joseph Fielding Smith, Stephen L Richards and Albert E. Bowen—to take the lead. [39] The committee was made up of members of the Twelve, the First Council of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, the Relief Society, the Department of Education, the Sunday School, the YMMIA and YWMIA, the Primary, and the Genealogy Committee. The First Presidency letter calling this committee sheds light on their purpose:

The continuing expansion and the increasing overlapping of these fields, . . . the failure always to hew to the line in matters of doctrine and Church discipline, with the final result that the youth of the Church are left with too fragmentary information, sometimes, almost chaotic notions regarding the principles of the gospel, and the organization and history of the Church, the necessity to provide a course of study and of activities that will bring the young people of missionary age to a substantial and rounded knowledge of the principles of the gospel—all require that the work of the auxiliary organizations and of our educational institutions should be coordinated, unified, and standardized to avoid duplication and overlapping, and to provide the training which is required by the young people. . . . In order to accomplish the purposes herein stated, the First Presidency desire that this Committee shall outline courses of study and activities for each of the organizations named above, and report, with recommendations, to us. [40]

Not many records have been found detailing the actual work of this committee. We know that they chose to start by asking each organization to report on their current status. They arranged to have a letter sent to each General Auxiliary leader asking that they submit a report of their general objectives, plans, procedures, and lesson courses. A copy of the letter to the president of the Relief Society is contained in the history compiled by Antone K. Romney. [41]

Union Board of the Auxiliaries

March 29, 1940, was a watershed moment in the correlation efforts of the Church. President Clark, under assignment by President Grant, called the leaders of the Relief Society, Sunday School, Young Men, Young Women, Primary, and Genealogy Society together and presented detailed instructions on correlation principles. A follow-up letter signed by all three members of the First Presidency, entitled “Memorandum of Suggestions,” was sent thereafter. [42] In large measure, it summarized past and current correlation challenges and outlined suggestions on how best to address each of them. At this meeting President Clark announced the formation of the Union Board of the Auxiliaries and called President George Q. Morris, then general YMMIA superintendent, to be president. In his presentation, President Clark listed four specific correlation challenges that needed to be addressed. First, there was an ever-increasing burden being placed on the membership of the Church, both financial and otherwise, to carry out the various activities of the Church. Second, the bishops of the Church were being overwhelmed not only with their scripturally mandated duties but also with the numerous activities of the auxiliaries. Third, there was beginning to be a great disparity between the “near ins” and the “far outs” of the Church created by the fact that those who lived near Church headquarters had vast and elaborate organizations competing to fill their needs and that those same organizations could not function in an equal manner for those who lived farther out. Finally, the financial burdens placed on the Church had created large debts in 1937 and 1938. The ever-expanding activities of each of the organizations constantly strained the Church’s ability to live within its means.

In order to address these concerns, the First Presidency suggested that the “auxiliaries might consolidate, cooperate, eliminate, simplify, and adjust their work so as to cooperate with the Presidency.” [43] They further suggested that auxiliaries should operate on a budget supplied by the First Presidency and that all surplus funds be returned to the First Presidency. The First Presidency recommended that auxiliaries cease to solicit funds except for magazines. Finally, they recommended that travel and visits by members of the auxiliary boards be reduced to a minimum and that the Union Board plan all new work so as to curtail the ever-increasing burden that their activities had been putting on the Church membership. [44]

At the creation of the Union Board of Auxiliaries, President Clark made several recommendations regarding the restructuring of Church curriculum. He reminded those in attendance that “the sole ultimate aim and purpose of the Auxiliary organizations of the Church is to plant and make grow in every member of the Church a testimony of the Christ and of the Gospel.” [45] He reminded everyone that the Church auxiliaries exist to aid the family in their work and that the family was the basic unit in the Church. [46] Though this suggestion would not bear fruit immediately, it would form the basis of future efforts. The First Presidency recommended that each auxiliary consider home life as divisible into three periods: birth to fifteen, fifteen to marriage or early twenties, and from this point forward. They then suggested a division of responsibility by organization based on these three age periods.

The First Presidency felt that there was no need for completely new curriculum to be written every year for each auxiliary and recommended a different approach to curriculum development. Finally, they suggested combining all Church magazines into three magazines that could contain all of the curricular material for the Church and could be managed and printed under the direction of the Union Board of Auxiliaries. It appears that with the onset of America’s involvement in World War II, most of these suggestions were not implemented. In fact, the union meetings held by the auxiliaries were discontinued for a time. [47] However, we know that President Clark continued to mentor and teach others regarding these and other correlation principles. From Harold B. Lee’s biography, we learn that Elder Lee and Elder Romney were invited to President Clark’s home July 10, 1941, where he continued to share this vision regarding the “simplification of the present Church programs.” [48]

Committee on Publications

Four years later, the First Presidency set up a committee to evaluate all Church publications. In a letter dated August 9, 1944, the First Presidency formed the Committee on Publications, made up of Elders Joseph Fielding Smith, John A. Widtsoe, Harold B. Lee, and Marion G. Romney. “The function of this Committee is to pass upon and approve all materials . . . to be used by our Church Priesthood, Educational, Auxiliary, and Missionary organizations in their work of instructing members of the Church.” [49] The First Presidency also named a Reading Committee to assist the Committee on Publications. They then gave strict guidelines for evaluating all published materials. These guidelines and committees were the forerunners of the modern evaluation committees within the Correlation Department.

Harold B. Lee Committee

One of the final attempts at correlation in the first half of the century began on December 15, 1947. The First Presidency assigned Elder Harold B. Lee to head a committee of Apostles to look at work in the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and the auxiliaries and recommend changes. [50] The committee was tasked with four specific objectives. First, they were to work toward a greater emphasis and enlarging of the field of priesthood activity. Second, they were to work toward better supervision of the auxiliary boards and coordination of their work. Third, they were to preserve the good being done by the Sunday School and MIA programs but remove overlapping and redundant responsibilities. And finally they were to come up with a simplified Church meeting schedule. [51] On January 22, 1948, they made several recommendations. First was that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve maintain general supervision of priesthood quorums and work; second, that full-time assistants to the Twelve as well as members of the First Council of Seventy and Presiding Bishopric be called to help in the correlation work; third, that Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood boards of assistants be organized; and finally, that the Church’s meeting schedule be modified. The First Presidency of George Albert Smith chose to take the recommendations under consideration. [52] No record has been found indicating that the First Presidency acted on the recommendations at that time.

Though no other formal correlation committees were organized until 1960, there was some continued correlation work done. Elder Lee continued to suggest a redesign of ward teaching program to bring it under the supervision of the Quorum of the Twelve instead of the Presiding Bishopric in 1948 and again in 1949. [53] Next, when Elder Richards was called to the First Presidency in April 1951, he met with the Twelve to review unsolved business, including several correlation issues. He promised to seek for decisions on several of these issues. [54] Finally, in 1956, Elders Delbert L. Stapley and Adam S. Bennion met with the First Presidency and suggested a new general committee that would again attempt to correlate the course of study given by the quorums and auxiliaries of the Church. President McKay instructed them to submit their proposal as a formal request, which they did.

Clearly, the early years of correlation did not bring to fruition many of the stated goals and objectives the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve had suggested. However, the stage was being set and the groundwork was being laid for the time when those same principles would be even more crucial. With the end of World War II, the Church began to expand at a dramatically faster rate internationally. The expansion further exacerbated the challenges facing the Church. As President Lee once stated, the whole problem of correlation becomes more acute as the Church grows and develops.” [55] Though the realization of many of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve’s ideas would have to wait till the 1960s and ’70s to come to full fruition, the principles were taught as early as the first decade of the 1900s. When the need for correlation became even more acute, it could be built on the foundation laid during the first sixty years of the twentieth century.


[1] Bruce C. Hafen, A Disciple’s Life: The Biography of Neal A. Maxwell (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 318.

[2] Hafen, Disciple’s Life, 324.

[3] L. Brent Goates, Harold B. Lee: Prophet and Seer (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985), 363.

[4] N. Eldon Tanner, Minutes of the Priesthood Genealogy Committee Training Session, December 1963, quoted in Daniel H. Ludlow, “Correlation,” in Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, ed. Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 251.

[5] Harold B. Lee, regional representatives seminar, 2–3, quoted in Hafen, Disciple’s Life, 325.

[6] Antone Kimball Romney, August 1961, “History of the Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, Section A,” Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

[7] Joseph F. Smith, in Conference Report, April 1906, 3.

[8] Dale Mouritsen, 1974, “Efforts to Correlate Mormon Agencies in the Twentieth Century: A Review,” 6, Church History Library.

[9] Mouritsen, “Efforts to Correlate Mormon Agencies,” 6–7.

[10] David O. McKay, David A. Smith, and Joseph J. Cannon, “Priesthood Quorums Table” Improvement Era, May 1912, 655–60.

[11] David O. McKay, “Priesthood Quorums’ Table: Report of the Committee on Priesthood Outlines,” Improvement Era, May 1913, 734–39.

[12] General Priesthood Committee, Minutes of Meetings, 1908–22, 1, 11, quoted in Mouritsen, “Efforts to Correlate Mormon Agencies,” 6.

[13] Gregory A. Prince and William Robert Wright, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2005), 141.

[14] Minutes, 1913–20, Correlation Committee, Church History Library.

[15] Joseph F. Smith, in Marion G. Romney, Correlation Items, “The Basics of Priesthood Correlation,” address at general priesthood board meeting, November 15, 1967, 2, Church History Library.

[16] Minutes, 1913–20, Correlation Committee.

[17] Minutes, 1913–20, Correlation Committee.

[18] Minutes, 1916–120, Social Advisory Committee, Church History Library.

[19] Minutes, 1916–1920, Social Advisory Committee.

[20] Minutes, 1916–1920, Social Advisory Committee.

[21] Minutes of a Temple Meeting, November 4, 1920, in Romney, Correlation Items, “The Basics of Priesthood Correlation,” 4, Church History Library.

[22] Romney, Correlation Items, “The Basics of Priesthood Correlation,” 5.

[23] Stephen L Richards, Report of the Amalgamated Correlation–Social Advisory Committee, April 21, 1921, in Antone Kimball Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, D,” Church History Library.

[24] Richards, Report of the Amalgamated Correlation–Social Advisory Committee.

[25] Richards, Report of the Amalgamated Correlation–Social Advisory Committee.

[26] Romney, Correlation Items, “The Basics of Priesthood Correlation,” 6.

[27] First Presidency letter, April 20, 1921, in Romney, Correlation Items, “The Basics of Priesthood Correlation,” 6.

[28] First Presidency letter, June 26, 1922, in Antone Kimball Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, E.”

[29] First Presidency letter, June 26, 1922.

[30] First Presidency letter, June 26, 1922.

[31] Romney, Correlation Items, “The Basics of Priesthood Correlation,” 12.

[32] First Presidency letter, June 7, in Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, E.”

[33] Prince and Wright, Rise of Modern Mormonism, 142.

[34] David O. McKay, Improvement Era, July 1928, 792–94.

[35] Richard O. Cowan, Priesthood Programs of the Twentieth Century (n.p., 1974), 157.

[36] First Presidency letter to stake presidents, January 13, 1923, in Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, E.”

[37] Deseret News, Church Section, July 9, 1932, 1, 3.

[38] John A. Widtsoe, Memorandum for J. Reuben Clark, in Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, F.”

[39] First Presidency letter, January 1939, in Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, F.”

[40] First Presidency letter, January 1939, in Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, F.”

[41] First Presidency letter, January 1939, in Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, F.”

[42] Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, David O. McKay, Memorandum of Suggestions, in Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, G.”

[43] Grant, Clark, and McKay, Memorandum of Suggestions.

[44] Grant, Clark, and McKay, Memorandum of Suggestions.

[45] Grant, Clark, and McKay, Memorandum of Suggestions.

[46] Grant, Clark, and McKay, Memorandum of Suggestions.

[47] Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, David O. McKay, circular letter, January 15, 1944, in Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. James R. Clark (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1975), 6:206.

[48] Goates, Harold B. Lee: Prophet and Seer, 365.

[49] Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, and David O. McKay to Joseph Fielding Smith, John A. Widtsoe, Harold B. Lee, and Marion G. Romney, August 9, 1944, in Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 6:209.

[50] First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, Temple Meeting Minutes, January 22, 1948, in Romney, “History of Correlation of L.D.S. Church Auxiliaries, H.”

[51] First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, Temple Meeting Minutes, January 22, 1948.

[52] First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, Temple Meeting Minutes, January 22, 1948.

[53] Goates, Harold B. Lee: Prophet and Seer, 365.

[54] Goates, Harold B. Lee: Prophet and Seer, 366.

[55] Harold B. Lee, quoted by Marion G. Romney in Correlation Items, “The Basics of Priesthood Correlation,” 3.