The Quorum of the Anointed was a special quorum founded by Joseph Smith just prior to his death in 1844. It was unusual in the fact that both men and women were members of the quorum. Dr. Margaret Toscano discusses how this quorum should inform our understanding of women and priesthood.
Margaret: There’s a book by Gary Bergera, and Devery Anderson called Joseph Smith’s Quorum of Anointed, which I think is really critical source material. In that, and there are some other sources [too], so it’s pretty well documented that on September 28, 1843, in the minutes of the Quorum of the Anointed, and there are several versions of it, that are given in that book by Anderson and Bergera. This is the quote: “Barak Ale” which, of course, was Joseph Smith “was by common consent & unanimous voice [vote] chosen president of the Quorum & anointed & ordained to the highest & holiest order of the priesthood (& Companion) ditto.” I love that little phrase “and companion ditto.” Of course, all scholars say the companion was Emma Smith. We know that she had received her endowment sometime in 1842. In 1843, though, she received this ordinance along with Joseph to be ordained. So that “ditto” is really important because the ditto means that she had the same thing, which means Emma Smith was by common consent and unanimous voice chosen president of the quorum and anointed and ordained [to] the highest and holiest order of the priesthood “and companion.” So was she just ordained to the highest order [of] the priesthood, or were they [Joseph and Emma] joint presidents? Because the man and woman had to have this together.
GT: This is joint presidents of the Quorum of the Anointed. Is that what you’re saying?
Margaret: I know. This is a radical interpretation. But even if you don’t say she was joint president, she was at least anointed and ordained to the highest and holiest order of the priesthood. But it was part of a quorum. This is kind of like my sixth thing [the Quorum of the Anointed]. I think that the Quorum of the Anointed in Nauvoo shows that Joseph Smith intended to have women function in Church priesthood. It was a quorum. It was the highest Quorum of the Church. It was organized in 1843. So, it only functioned for about a year. I argued way back in 1984 that it was a real priesthood quorum. Later, Mike Quinn, he also agreed, and he said they conducted all kinds of business there. But the women were present. Then as soon as Joseph Smith died, Brigham Young and the boys stopped holding the meetings of the Quorum of the Anointed. Certainly, [they] were not going to have Emma [as] a part of this. No, this is a really important thing. That was my sixth thing; this Quorum of the Anointed is a really important precedent for Joseph Smith’s different view.
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