[John M. Whitaker]
At the Council meeting of the Seventies today in the Temple, a matter occurred that all present will never forget. The Council room of the Seventies is next to that of the Twelve Apostles, and just as I was finishing reading the Minutes, Apostle Francis M. Lyman president of the Twelve came in and sat down by me, and asked for the privilege, of speaking: He took the letter written to him by Brother [B. H.] Roberts wherein Brother Roberts held that the High Priests were not as high as the Seventy, and also spoke of Brother Roberts address at Loa, San Pete County [Utah] Conference of Seventies wherein Brother Roberts preached the doctrine that the Seventies hold a higher Priesthood than that of the High Priests.
'The same controversy that has been going on for weeks, and for nearly three hours Brother Lyman, preached opposite to this that the Position of the High Priests is the highest office a man can hold, and that the Seventy is World wide as a missionary, and under the directions of the Twelve Apostles, and what he Brother Lyman was saying is the word of the Lord and he asked that from this time forward Brother Roberts adhere to this doctrine. After Brother Lyman went back to the room of the Twelve, the First Council remained and discussed the matter until after 3 pm and although there was an excellent feeling, I don't believe this will settle the matter between President B. H. Roberts and President Francis M. Lyman, two strong characters, but that we will hear more from this marvelous and important matter. And unless there is a revelation, or a pronouncement from the First Presidency of the Church it will rage as it has been doing for months past and it is not a good thing. All over the Church people of different views are taking sides, and I have a ticket to a debate on this same subject in this City this coming Saturday night. I regret this wide publicity and division of sentiment on doctrines of the Church. And pray that wisdom may bring it to a speedy conclusion. It has also brought a division on the subject on church influence and this is affecting Both Democratic as well as Republican members of the Church, both taking sides as they see it. I hope to see it settled soon.
[John M. Whitaker, Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]