Licensing in the Early Church

The Historians Corner
Journal: 22:1

Even in its infant stages The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints instituted various procedures which would allow its members to be organized and regulated more effectively. One such procedure was the practice of licensing. Church leaders issued licenses to all men holding priesthood offices and also to all missionaries called to preach the gospel. Licenses provided a means of regulating the conduct of Church members. Only those with a bona fide license could serve in the Church or engage in missionary work. This custom, however, served another important purpose. The license of an elder provided him with appropriate credentials so that Mormons and non-Mormons could rest assured that he represented the Church.