115 years ago today - Feb 21, 1903

The Utah Legislature selects Apostle Reed Smoot to be U.S. Senator from Utah. Smoot is not seated for three years as the U.S. Senate holds hearings on whether to seat a Mormon apostle as a senator.

130 years ago today - Tuesday, Feb 21, 1888

[John Henry Smith]
I was called out of bed in the night and consented to aid the Democratic national committee to the tune of $25,000.00.

[Source: Jean Bickmore White (editor), Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1990, http://bit.ly/johnhenrysmith]

175 years ago today - Feb 21, 1843

By early 1843 there was much speculation in Nauvoo as to whether or not Joseph Smith was secretly practicing polygamy. More and more were learning that members of the Twelve and others had secret plural wives, and the saying became more popular, "There cannot be so much smoke without some fire." On February 21,1843, the Prophet spoke to those who were building the Temple ... a group consisting of both men and women, and told them that he knew what people were saying about him. According to Official Church History, Joseph told them: Smith tells temple workers to stop gossiping about polygamy . "There is a great noise in the city, and many are saying there cannot be so much smoke without some fire. Well, be it so. If the stories about Joe Smith are true, then the stories of John C. Bennett are true about the ladies of Nauvoo; and he says that the Ladies' Relief Society are all organized of those who are to be the wives of Joe Smith. Ladies, you know whether this is true or not. It is no use living among hogs without a snout. This biting and devouring each other I cannot endure. Away with it. For God's sake, stop it."

[Source: Joseph Smith Polygamy Timeline, http://www.i4m.com/think/polygamy/JS_Polygamy_Timeline.htm]

175 years ago today - Feb 21, 1843

Joseph Smith preaches concerning a wife-beater in Palmyra, New York: "I whipped him till he cried enough."

[Source: Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Appendix 7: Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-47, http://amzn.to/origins-power]

175 years ago today - Feb 21, 1843

[Wilford Woodruff]
Joseph said the Pagen Prophet [Lucien Woodworth] had prophesied one thing that was true viz that if we did not build the temple & Nauvoo house it would proove the ruin of the place that if we did not build those buildings we might as well leave the place & that it was as necessary to build one as the other

[Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

180 years ago today - Feb 21, 1838

[Wilford Woodruff]
I had an interesting time in speaking and after we closed the meeting at half past 8 oclock I walked out of the house & cast my eyes towards the heavens & a glorious scene presented itself to our view.

I light commenced in the NE. & spread to the W. & soon rolled up over head & also in the south & it centered in the heavens & rolled forth fire blood & smoke like contending armies: the whole heavens was illuminated with blood & fire for the space of half an hour & shook like a fowl upon the wing. It seemed at times as though the veil was about to rend in twain <and the throne of God to appear>. It appeared as though the elements were contending with each other.

We were travling through deep snow drifts most of the time during this sceneery. This is one of the signs in the heavens in the last days spoken of by the ancient as well as modern Prophets. O may God hasten the day when the scenerry will be wound up.

[Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

25 years ago today - Feb 20, 1993

Second counselor Thomas S. Monson speaks at rededication ceremony for Roman Catholic church's Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City, also attended by Apostles James E. Faust and Neal A. Maxwell.

In response to LDS man and woman separately preparing simplified English versions of BOOK OF MORMON, First Presidency officially prohibits such a "translation" as undermining the ancient origins of scripture. Man withdraws but Lynn Matthews Anderson publishes her revision in 1994.

115 years ago today - Friday, Feb 20, 1903

[John Henry Smith]
I visited the Penitentiary and had a chat with Tom Williams who killed one Hutchinson over 20 years ago. he is serving a life sentence. With others I am trying to get him paroled.

[Source: Jean Bickmore White (editor), Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1990, http://bit.ly/johnhenrysmith]

130 years ago today - Feb 20, 1888

[James E. Talmage]
[Talmage] was pouring molten slag from an assay crucible into a mould [sic] in the laboratory when some material inside the molten mass exploded, scattering the remainder and hurling some of it directly into the professor's left eye. The pain was frightful and it at first appeared that the eye had been permanently destroyed, for the molten matter had actually penetrated the eyeball. […] But expert medical attention, frequent administration by the priesthood, and the motherly nursing of Sister Josiah Cluff into whose home James was induced to move temporarily after a grim attempt to care for himself in his bachelor's quarters, eventually brought full recovery with no permanent impairment to his vision.

[Source: Chronology of the Life and Work of James E. Talmage, J. Trevor Antley, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MJsHY83JZL_n6CjWq11y1trT_CVXMMXAx2uYOWAwn0c/edit#heading=h.2zfdaoa]

140 years ago today - Feb 20, 1878

Proxy endowments are performed in the St. George Temple for Marie Antoinette, Charlotte Corday, and the wives of Sir Walter Scott, Horatio Nelson Thomas Moore, Robert Burns, Edmund Burke, Lord Byron, Goethe and other "eminent women of the world." Wilford Woodruff "officiated as El[oheim]" and also "took through the veil some 30 person[s]."

155 years ago today - Feb 20, 1863

[Wilford Woodruff]
I had the two last teeth taken out of my upper Jaw to day by Brother Barlow with the intention of putting in a New Set.

[Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

165 years ago today - Feb 20, 1853. Sunday.

[William Clayton]
Took Tea at Brother W[illia]m Memmet's, then again went to meeting. I addressed the Congregation and proved to them, that even if we were deceived in regard to the administering of the angel &c. we were still better off than the sectarians in every sense of the word.

[Source: George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1995, http://bit.ly/WilliamClayton]

165 years ago today - Feb 20, 1853

Brigham Young speaks concerning Mormons who say the judgment of living prophets "is superior to mine, and consequentîy I let you judge for me." He says that such Latter-day Saints do not possess "the true independence of heaven," and consequently "will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming gods." Young says that Mormons should depend on "the influences of the Holy Spirit" and "their own understanding."

[Source: The Mormon Hierarchy - Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn, [New Mormon History database ( http://bit.ly/NMHdatabase )]]

165 years ago today - Feb 20, 1853

Erastus Snow Addressed the meeting & spoke well. ... He spoke of his mission in denmark. The Lord showed him that the King & Counsel was taking counsel against him to stop his preaching. He herd their conversation in a night vision but He said as I kept the Law & my brethren they could find no accusation against me. ...

[Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

175 years ago today - Feb 20, 1843

Seventy brethren help Joseph chop, split, and pile logs in his yard. He studies German. He sees two boys fighting with clubs and stops the fight. He lectures the onlookers for not stopping the fight immediately and tells them that "nobody was allowed to fight in Nauvoo but myself."

[Source: Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

115 years ago today - Thursday, Feb 19, 1903

The clerk read a letter from Alfred A. Cluff and several other brethren written in behalf of about 25 members of the church from Guatemala, Central America. They reported the fact that they had reached that land and found everything favorable to establishing a colony of our people, which they would do. Said that the Presidency of the church might look for a letter from them occasionally. Regarding this matter Pres. Smith said that they were counseled not to go, because of the great distance from the body of the saints, and the first thing we knew they had gone. Elder Jno. H. Smith moved that, notwithstanding the move had been made against counsel, they be nursed along and that a kind and encouraging letter be written in answer to their communication. Carried.

A letter was read from Chas. W. Carroll, Orderville. He said that the report had gone out among the people down there that plural marriages were being solemnized under the sanction of the Presidency, and this was causing some commotion among the saints. Pres. Smith remarked that, as the brethren knew, the rumor was foundationless ...

[At this time, the post-Manifesto plural wife of Kanab's stake counselor-patriarch Thomas Chamberlain is secluded in the house of President Smith's wife Julina, but the Church President tells the Quorum of Twelve that he was sending two apostles to Orderville to "endeavor to correct any wrong impression in the minds of the people." The two he sends are Matthias F. Cowley ( who had performed the Chamberlain plural marriage in Salt Lake City) and George Teasdale (whose own post-1890 polygamous marriage had been repeatedly described in the newspapers).]

[Source: Stan Larson (editor), A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic diaries of Rudger Clawson, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1993, http://bit.ly/rudgerclawson]

130 years ago today - Feb 19, 1888

[Wilford Woodruff]
I looked over the Expression of 252 Members of Congress upon the Utah question. 54 were for the Admission of Utah 124 against it & 74 Non Committal.

[Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

190 years ago today - February 19-20 and July 4-5, 1828

W. W. Phelps (publisher of 'Light on Masonry') is listed with other prominant antiMasons including a future antimasonic nominee for governor, original printer of William Morgan's expose' and the future husband of Lucinda Morgan [Harris]). He continues to be included as an active participant in the proceedings with mention of his Antimasonic newspaper 'Lake Light' and is the 3rd to sign the July 4th 'A Declaration of Independence from the Masonic Institution.' He toasts William Morgan as "the morning star of more light."

[Source: 'Convention of Seceding Masons' Held at LeRoy, New York, reprinted in 'Light on Masonry,' "Master Mason", in Grunder, Rick, Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographic Source]

195 years ago today - Feb 19, 1823

Article in PALMYRA HERALD AND CANAL ADVERTISER: "The Indians are reported the aborigines of North America; but I doubt the truth of this proposition. The fortifications and remains of antiquity in Ohio and elsewhere, clearly prove them to be the work of some other people than the Indians. Many of these fortifications were not forts, but religious temples, or places of public worship. . . . What wonderful catastrophe destroyed at once the first inhabitants, with the species of the mammoth, is beyond the researches of the best scholar and greatest antiquaran."

115 years ago today - Feb 18, 1903; Wednesday

A meeting of the First Presidency and Apostles was held in the Temple.

Brother James Sharp, while attending the meeting of the Y.M.M.I.A. at Rexburg [Idaho] on the 25th of last month, was informed that it was the practice in the Fremont [Idaho] Stake to send a brother holding the lesser priesthood with an elder to administer to the sick, and he was asked this question: Is it proper for an elder to take with him a brother holding the Aaronic priesthood to assist in administering to the sick?

After general remarks, it was the sense of the Council, expressed in a motion by Bro[ther]. John Henry Smith, that the practice be confined to the elders; but in case of absolute necessity, that is where an elder finds himself in the situation that he cannot avail himself of the company of another elder, he may, if opportunity affords, avail himself of the company of a member of the Aaronic priesthood, or even a lay member, but for the purpose only of being supported by the faith of such member or members, the elder alone to officiate in the ordinance of administration; or the elder may administer alone without such assistance of a lay member or one holding the Aaronic priesthood. ...

[Source: First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes]

145 years ago today - Feb 18, 1873

Mormon mob lynches Charles A. Benson for murder in Logan, Utah, under circumstances in which his LDS apostasy is a contributing factor. He is the son of the former Cache Valley president, deceased apostle Ezra T. Benson, whose official biography states that "no further record of his life is available" after Charles's endowment date.

[Source: The Mormon Hierarchy - Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn, [New Mormon History database ( http://bit.ly/NMHdatabase )]]

175 years ago today - Feb 18, 1843

Joseph Smith teaches, "When the earth was sanctified and became like a sea of glass it would be one great Urim and Thummim [and] the Saints could look in it and see as they are seen."

180 years ago today - Feb 18, 1838

[Wilford Woodruff]
Elder Townsend and myself had an interesting time in secret Prayer in a snow bank. I Preached again upon the gospel. The spirit of God rested [upon] me.

[Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

185 years ago today - Feb 18, 1833

Orson Pratt returns to Kirtland after a long mission and washes his hands and feet "as a testimony unto the Lord that I had warned this wicked generation, and that my garments were clean of their blood," and is admitted to the School of the Prophets.

--

[Source: Kenney, Scott, Saints Without Halos, "Mormon History 1830-1844," http://web.archive.org/web/20120805163534/saintswithouthalos.com/dirs/d_c.phtml]

75 years ago today - Feb 17, 1943

[J. Reuben Clark]
D O M'Agreed that we would meet request of F.B.I. for missionary information regarding towns and cities in Axis countries, [Nazi Germany, Facist Italy, Imperial Japan and territories counquered by them] by giving them lists of missionaries and permitting them (FBI) to interview them and get such information as they could. We were to make clear there was to be no espionage in Axis countries by our missionaries.

[Source: The Diaries of J. Reuben Clark, 1933-1961, Abridged, Digital Edition, Salt Lake City, Utah 2015]

135 years ago today - Feb 17, 1883

[Wilford Woodruff]
Alma Moroni Blanchard Called on me to day And professed to have found some plates Containing records in addition to the Book of Mormon. He had translated them by the Urim and Thummim and He wanted to Publish them. I think it all fals.

[Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

175 years ago today - Feb 17, 1843

[Josiah Stowell Jr. recollection]
I will give you a Short history of what I know about Joseph Smith Jr I have binn Intemetely acquainted with him about 2 years[.] he then was about 20 years old or there about[.] I also went to schoal with him one winter[.] he was a fine likely young man & at that time did not Profess religion[.] he was not a Profain man although I did once in a while hear him sware[.] he never gambled to my knowledge[.] I Do not believe he Ever did[.] I well know he was no Hoars [Horse] Jocky for he was no Judge of Hoarses[.] I Sold him one[.] that is all I ever knewd he dealt in the kind[.] I never new him to git drunk I believe he would now and then take a glass[.] he never Pretend=ed to Play the Slight of hand nor Black leg, it was fashionable at that time to drink Liquor[.] ...

I am yours truly

Josiah Stowell Jr.

[Source: Josiah Stowell, Jr., to John S. Fullmer, 17 February 1843, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: Josiah Stowell, Jr., To John S. Fullmer]

75 years ago today - Feb 16, 1943

[Heber J. Grant]
Brother Moyle is writing a history of his life to leave to his children. Really I would like to have a copy of it before the book is published. I am afraid there will be some things in it that he will regret. ... I hope he will not publish a book that will reflect upon the leaders of the Church. He is intensely Democratic and I am afraid of what he might write. I feel the same way toward my associate Apostle Reed Smoot, I think if he had written a book it would have been colored too much Republican. ... The same was the trouble with B. H. Roberts. When Roberts ran for Congress he knew that the Presidency of the Church, seeing that he had three wives, did not want him to run, and so did Brother Moyle. I was sitting with Brother Moyle in the convention that nominated Roberts.

[Source: The Diaries of Heber J. Grant, 1880-1945, Abridged, Digital Edition Salt Lake City, Utah, 2015]

145 years ago today - Feb 16, 1873

President Young said ... to the mechanics, farmers, cotton raisers, and others that feel willing, to build up Zion and nothing else, to raise their right hands and covenant that they will build up the Kingdom of God and nothing else. (All hands were raised to the square). Said to the Bishops and others to sever those from the Church who will not cease their wickedness. -- St. George, Utah

[Source: James G. Bleak. "Annals of the Southern Utah Mission," Archives, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, in The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Ed. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Smith-Pettit Foundation, Salt Lake City (2009), http://bit.ly/BY-discourses]

150 years ago today - Feb 16, 1868

[Brigham Young]
One of the first objections that was urged against Joseph Smith was that he was a money digger; and now the digging of gold is considered an honorable and praiseworthy employment. They are hunting for gold all over the country, doing the very thing which they condemned in him. The next fault they found with Joseph and the Saints was that they were stirring up the slaves to rebellion against their masters; and this was published abroad. Have they not done, and are they not now doing, the very thing for which they falsely blamed the Saints? The next accusation was that the Saints took more wives than one. Whether they will make one grand sweep of it in the future, and all conclude to take more wives, I cannot say. I wish they might; I do not, however, wish this for any private benefit it will be to me or to God's people, but that they may make women honorable wives whom they now destroy, and conduct themselves more like human beings who bear the image of God than they now do before Him. It is for their own sakes that I wish this, and for the sake of the unfortunate females whom they outrage. ... Supposing that the Latter-day Saints had possessed the city of New York for the last twenty years, as they have these valleys of Utah, and the young women of that city from sixteen years of age to twentyone had been in the hands of Mormon Elders as wives, how many would have now been living and honorable mothers of a bright, intelligent, and vigorous race of men and women, that have met an untimely grave, husbandless, childless, friendless, disgraced, and forgotten? ...

It is absolutely necessary that the Saints should receive the further ordinances of the house of God before this short existence shall come to a close, that they may be prepared and fully able to pass all the sentinels leading into the celestial kingdom and into the presence of God. ...

[Source: Journal of Discourses. Liverpool, England, 1853-86. 12:161-167; Deseret News. Also Deseret Evening News, Deseret News Weekly, Deseret News Semi- Weekly, and Deseret News Extra, Salt Lake City, in The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Ed. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Smith-Pettit Foundation, Salt Lake City (2009), http://bit.ly/BY-discourses]

180 years ago today - Feb 16, 1838

[Wilford Woodruff]
I left the Simonton district in company with Elder Ball & J. Townsend. We repaired to a grove and held a Council and the Holy Ghost said seperate unto me James to the ministry. So we ordained Brother James Townsend unto the office of an Elder. We had a good time & the spirit of God rested upon us although we were alone in a grove surrounded by a snow storm.

[Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

40 years ago today - Feb 15, 1978

First Presidency letter: "The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius and the reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato and others, received a portion of God's light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals."

50 years ago today - Feb 15, 1968

Not until President McKay specifically instructed him to do so in February 1968 did Ezra Taft Benson report to the Twelve about the behind-the-scenes efforts on behalf of his presidential candidacy. This was more than two years after he began exploring this possibility with McKay and with the national leaders of the Birch Society who headed "The 1976 Committee."

... He attended their weekly meetings without once mentioning the efforts being made to propel him out of quorum activity and into the White House. What the apostles learned about Benson's candidacy, they read in the newspapers. When he finally informed a quorum meeting of those efforts in February 1968, Benson made it clear he did so only upon McKay's insistence. That was the day after the church president had privately ended Benson's political hopes by confidentially reaffirming to George Wallace that the apostle was unavailable as his vice-presidential candidate.

[Source: Dew, Ezra Taft Benson, 397-98; The 1976 Committee, Vie Team You Can Trust To Guide America; Epstein and Forster, The Radical Right, 53-55, 142. From D. Michael Quinn, Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992), also in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3.]

55 years ago today - Feb 15, 1963

T]he church president instructed his secretary, Clare Middlemiss, to send a reply to Mormon Birchers [far right conservatives] who criticized the First Presidency statement. The letter affirmed: "The Church is not opposing the John Birch Society or any other organization of like nature; however, it is definitely opposed to anyone using the Church for the purpose of increasing membership for private organizations sponsoring these various ideologies."

[Source: "Bircher" and "Birchers" are terms members of the Birch Society apply to themselves, as in Vie John Birch Society Bulletin (Oct. 1992): 6,14, 20. From D. Michael Quinn, Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992), also in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3.]

100 years ago today - Feb 15, 1918

President John R. Winder was not ordained an apostle when he was set apart as first counselor to President Joseph F. Smith, nor afterwards, nor at any other time. He was a 'presiding high priest' and so filled the requirement in Section 107, par 22, Doctrine and Covenants. There is no such order as you mention, that persons called as counselors to the president must first be ordained apostles and then set apart as counselors.

[Source: Anthon H. Lund and Charles W. Penrose, Letter to Clarence Gardner, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]

180 years ago today - Feb 15, 1838

The PAINESVILLE REPUBLICAN prints a letter from Warren Parrish: "I have performed a pilgrimage with him [Joseph Smith], (not to Mecca,) but to Missouri, a distance of 1000 miles, for the redemption of Zion, in company with about two hundred others, called the camp of Israel. When we arrived in Clay County adjoining Jackson County, Mo., in which Zion was located by revelation, and from which our brethren had been driven, we were informed through the Prophet that God had revealed to us that we need not cross over and fight as we had expected, but that God had accepted our sacrifice as he did that of Abraham, ours being equal to his when he offered up his Son. Therefore, we were sealed up unto eternal life in the name of Jesus Christ, as a reward for our suffering and obedience. I have set by his side and penned down the translation of the Egyptian Hieroglyphicks as he claimed to receive it by direct inspiration of Heaven. I have listened to him with feelings of no ordinary kind, when he declared that the audible voice of God, instructed him to establish a Banking-Anti Banking institution, which like Aaron's rod should swallow up all other Banks (the Bank of Monroe excepted,) and grow and flourish and spread from the rivers to the ends of the earth, and survive when all others should be laid in ruins. I have been astonished to hear him declare that we had 60,000 Dollars in specie in our vaults, and $600,000 at our command, when we had not to exceed $6,000 and could not command any more; also that we had but about ten thousand Dollars of our bills in circulation, when he, as Cashier of the institution, knew that there was at least $150,000." The truth of the letter is attested to by two former apostles, Luke Johnson and John Boyington and two former Presidents of Seventy, Sylvester Smith and Leonard Rich.

190 years ago today - about Feb 15, 1828

Joseph Smith gave Martin Harris a transcript of characters from the plates of Mormon, which Brother Harris took to show scholars in New York City.

[Source: BYU Studies Journal, volume 46, no. 4: A Chronology of the Life of Joseph Smith, http://byustudies.byu.edu]