55 years ago today - Nov 29, 1960

Immediately after his official trip with [a] Birch council member in [November] 1960, Ezra Taft Benson proposed to Brigham Young University's president that his son Reed Benson be used for "espionage" on the church school campus. To Apostle Harold B. Lee, Reed explained that as a BYU faculty member, "he could soon find out who the orthodox teachers were and report to his father." After resisting Apostle Benson's proposal for Reed's employment, Ernest Wilkinson countered that "neither Brother Lee nor I want espionage of that character."

Apostle Benson's call in November 1960 for "espionage" at Brigham Young University reflected two dimensions of the national leadership of the John Birch Society. First, their long-time preoccupation with university professors as Communist- sympathizers ("Comsymps"). Second, the Birch program for covert "infiltration" of various groups. Apostle Benson's encouragement for espionage at BYU would be implemented periodically during the 1960s and 1970s by members and advocates of the John Birch Society.

Wilkinson's diary indicated that Ezra Taft Benson first made the proposal which Reed later outlined to Harold B. Lee.

[Source: Wilkinson diary, 29 Nov. 1960. Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, Brigham Young University: A House of Faith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 203, mention Reed Benson's offer but not his father's support of the "espionage" proposal. 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.]

70 years ago today - Nov 29, 1945

First counselor J. Reuben Clark instructs a stake president that the First Presidency has no objection to church funerals for suicides, who can also be buried in temple clothing. Clark explains, "[W]e permitted it usually in suicide cases on the theory that no person in his right mind would commit suicide and as he was not in his right mind there was no crime involved." He adds, "I told him that the idea was to be as comforting to the family as possible, in cases of suicide the family had double grief."

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

135 years ago today - Nov 29, 1880

[Joseph F. Smith] Minutes of meetings read and corrected concerning the election of the First Presidency. Present: the First Presidency and W[ilford]. Woodruff and O[rson]. Pratt. It was unanimouslyagreed that members of the council of the Twelve should rank according to their ordination into the council and not by age nor previous ordination.

[Source: Joseph F. Smith Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010]

170 years ago today - Nov 29, 1845. Saturday.

...Evening at President Youngs with The Band. President Young, H. C. Kimball, Joseph Young and Levi W. Hancock danced a french four together. The two former are the only two of the first twelve apostles who have never wavered since their appointment and the two latter are the only two of the first presidents of seventies who have never faltered. During the day the Twelve, Bishops Whitney and Miller and some others met in the Temple and laid the carpet on the main floor of the attic story, and also on several of the small rooms ready for the first quorum to meet in.

[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]

55 years ago today - Nov 28, 1960

Inasmuch as our old supply of temple recommends is exhausted, we are now printing and will soon have ready for distribution, a new stock. This has afforded us the opportunity of making some changes in the form which we deem will be helpful and beneficial to the work. ... To provide a safeguard against forgery you will note we are suggesting that the one who signs the recommend, which means the bishop or the branch president or the counselors, as the case may be, will initial each ordinance for which the applicant is being recommended. ... Upon inquiry we learned that there have been frequent instances where individuals who have not been endowed, and in some cases not presently worthy of a regular temple recommend for ordinances, have been given a recommend to witness a marriage. In place of this practice, which is contrary to the rule of the temple, you will find in these forms the statement "any applicant who has been personally endowed and who is presently worthy to do all ordinances for the dead may witness a temple marriage or sealing."... It is not conducive to temple work to have visitors going through as tourists.

[Source: David O. McKay, J. Reuben Clark Jr., and Henry D. Moyle, circular letter, Nov. 28, 1960, in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship]

105 years ago today - Nov 28, 1910

[George Albert Smith] left Grays Sanitarium

[Source: Journals of George Albert Smith]

115 years ago today - Nov. 28th, 1900

[Brigham Young Jr.] Evening Bro. Stevens and W. W. White came in blessed my son and at united request of those present and agreeable to my own feelings, gave him name of "Brigham."

[Source: Diary of Apostle Brigham Young Jr., http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

130 years ago today - Nov 28, 1885

Bodyguard Joseph W. McMurrin is shot twice in the stomach and nearly killed by U.S. deputy marshal Collins while he was seeking to arrest polygamists. Collins claims that four men with clubs attacked him in the alley, and one tried to shoot him. Seven witnesses support his account, and McMurrin's club is found at the scene. The court finds the marshal innocent of attempted murder. McMurrin is an active Mormon with a history of convictions for assault and battery going back seven years. He is the first Mormon bodyguard to be shot and becomes a general authority in 1897.

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

70 years ago today - Nov 27, 1945

Presiding Bishop LeGrand Richards coordinates the continued surveillance of the church-owned Belvedere Hotel and Temple Square Hotel to discover and stop the "evil practices" of tenants. For financial reasons this does not extend to the church's Hotel Utah.

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

Enoch Abel, son of Elijah Abel, ordained an Elder.

[African American crapo-blackh]

[Source: 19001127]

115 years ago today - Tuesday, Nov 27, 1900

A letter, addressed to Apostle F. M. Lyman by Elder Platte D. Lyman, president of the European Mission, was read. He spoke in reference to some deaf mutes in England, who professing belief in the gospel desired baptism. He was in doubt as to whether they should be given the privilege, as he feared they might possibly be disappointed in reference to some expectations they might have regarding the gift of healing. In such case the church would be injured. It was decided that if the mutes believe and have faith, they should not be denied baptism, and if they have sufficient faith to be healed, they could be healed.

[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]

175 years ago today - Nov 27, 1840

[Wilford Woodruff] ... "The floods & inundations of France of late has been dreadful & loss of property immense. I was informed one River was turned entirely out of its course & a stone found in the bed of the River bearing the following inscription: (He that findeth me shall weep.)"

[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 - Nov 27, 1835

[Joseph Smith] Much afflicted with my cold, yet able to be about. I am determined to overcom[e] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Spent the day in reading Hebrew at home.

The weather continues cold and unpleasant. Br[other] Parrish my scribe being afflicted with a cold asked me to lay my hands on him. In the name of the Lord I did so and in return I asked him to lay his hands on me. We were both relieved.

[Source: Faulring, Scott (ed.), An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith: Joseph Smith Diary, 1835-36, http://amzn.to/jsdiaries]

85 years ago today - Nov 26, 1930

[The Great Depression] Transients were more and more in evidence. On 26 November 1930, according to the Deseret News, "More than 500 men who came to Salt lake City looking for work from other sections of the country have been picked up during the last three days by members of the police department and sent on their way". Unable to pay rent or meet mortgage payments, many families were dispossessed from their homes.

[Source: Utah History Encyclopedia: The Great Depression, http://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/]

135 years ago today - Nov 26, 1880

Rev. Thomas DeWitt Talmage, a nationally known Protestant minister, preaches in Brooklyn, New York: "I tell you that Mormonism will never be destroyed until it is destroyed by the guns of the United States government. It would not be war. I hate war. It would be national police duty, executing the law against polygamy."

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

155 years ago today - Nov 26, 1860

[Wilford Woodruff] The New York Herrald of Nov 1 1860 Howls Bitterly at the prospet of the desolution of the American Union which is nigh [at] the door as the signs of the times indicate. South Carolina is the first to cecede according to the Revelation of the Lord through Joseph Smith given December 25 1835. Four other States have already signifyed their intention to follow. The papers are full of the speeches of Southern Statesmen Calling upon the South to arm themselves against the North & to secede from the Northern States. The times are quite warlike.

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

160 years ago today - Nov 26, 1855

[Hosea Stout] Court met at ten a. m. I commenced suit against Baker the prisoner and in favor of the perpetual Emmigrating Fund in the sum of $155.20. Mr Bair atty for defence who confessed judgement for the amount of the demand & execution issued.

[Source: Diaries of Hosea Stout]

160 years ago today - Nov 25, 1855 (Council Meeting)

[Brigham Young] I want you [Orson Pratt] to let mysteries alone you made a gross mistake in printing Mother [Lucy Mack] Smith's history, there were too many thumping lies in it. Another was in publishing the marriage ceremony, and another was in diving into the mysteries of the Gods - Joseph said infants will remain in size and be filled, that is a great way this side of you - I expect to see an eternity variety... I cannot vouch for the truth of that book [Mother Smith's]- it mortifies me to see a bundle of lies printed no one of the Twelve ought to assume that authority or responsibility - I would not presume to do it myself there will be another addition - we shall leave out lots of things in it and many thing right to the reverse - I would rather every one was burnt up... You will find the Lord will put his hand over that [marriage ceremony] and hide it from the gentiles - if we hold our tongues about it.... suppose the Holy Ghost rested on you when you begat a child - it would rule the fallen nature in the seed - Asked Orson Pratt if he did not believe that Jesus was begotten by the Holy Ghost? (No)... If we are faithful we shall know and we shall become Adams and hand down from generation to generation that we were formed of the dust of the earth - our father and our children can say it of us with all propriety - our bodies are actually organized here - We shall get our bodies from this earth and be exalted - I believe that the rib made Eve as much as I can make a baby out of that dais (pointing to one). -- Salt Lake City

[Source: Leonard J. Arrington Papers, Special Collections, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan in The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Ed. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Smith-Pettit Foundation, Salt Lake City (2009), http://bit.ly/BY-discourses]

175 years ago today - Nov 25, 1840, Wednesday

[William Clayton] ... The saints frequently told us that the devil was over the river ...

[Source: Fillerup, Robert C., compiler; William Clayton Nauvoo Diaries and Personal Writings, A chronological compilation of the personal writings of William Clayton while he was a resident of Nauvoo, Illinois. http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/clayton-diaries]

180 years ago today - Nov 25, 1835

[Joseph Smith] Spent the day in Translating [Egyptian records]. To day Harvey Redfield and Jesse Hitchcock ar[r]ived here from Missourie. The latter says that he has no doubt but that a dose of poison was administered to him in a boll [bowl] of milk, but God deli/vered him/.

[Source: Faulring, Scott (ed.), An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith: Joseph Smith Diary, 1835-36, http://amzn.to/jsdiaries]

30 years ago today - Nov 24, 1985

The second LDS fast day for African famine-relief ($4 million more donations).

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

50 years ago today - Nov 24, 1965

[Clare Middlemiss, McKay's secretary note] "President [Hugh B.] Brown said, 'Why cannot we have harmony?'

Clare answered, 'Yes, why?'

[Brown:] 'You got off the wrong track with me over the John Birch Society and Brother Benson.'

[Middlemiss:] 'I have only wanted to fight Communism, and have answered letters on the John Birch Society the way President McKay has told me to.'

President Brown said, 'I have wanted to fight Communism also, but not the way Benson or the John Birch Society are doing it —everybody is against them.'"

[Source: Clare Middlemiss, "Notes" as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)]

180 years ago today - Nov 24, 1835

Joseph Smith (specifically prohibited from performing the ceremony by the local county court) married Newell Knight (recently widowed) to Lydia G. Bailey. A state licensed Mormon Elder was available to do the marriage. Lydia was not divorced from her non-Mormon husband at the time. Newell wrote in his journal that Joseph Smith said "I have done it by the authority of the holy priesthood and the Gentile law has no power to call me to account for it. It is my religious privilege, and even the Congress of the United States has no power to make a law that would abridge the rights of my religion."

Lydia remembered Joseph saying, "Our Elders have been wronged and prosecuted for marrying without a license. The Lord God of Israel has given me authority to unite the people in the holy bonds of matrimony."

Joseph would perform five more illegal marriages over the next two months, calling one the "ancient order of marriage."

[Source: Brooke, John L. The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994. p.212]

105 years ago today - Wednesday, Nov 23, 1910

[Second Counselor John Henry Smith] I also spoke upon the question of Morality advocating the same standard for men as women.

[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]

115 years ago today - Nov 23, 1900

Editorial in the Democratic Salt Lake Herald: "It is not likely that the active participation of church apostles in campaigns will ever be abandoned until the church realizes that such participation is injurious to church interests, as their best friends and a host of their own people believe."

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

160 years ago today - Nov 23, 1855

[Hosea Stout] Court met. Grand Jury presented Indictment against James Hart, John and Thomas Hildreth, Andrew Tippetts & Robert Lazenby for murder of Too-ebe an Indian on Meadow Creek[.] This is the same Indian which Levi Abrams was indicted and tried for killing

The court adjourned and I wrote an Indictment against Naw-oo-guich et al. Indians for the murder of Capt Gunnison and party on the 26th Oct 1853

Snowing this evening at dark[.] Robison and King gave an Oyster Supper and party to their boarders and friends this evening at which we eat oysters and danced and danced and eat oyster untill one a. m.

[Source: Diaries of Hosea Stout]

185 years ago today - Circa Nov 23, 1830

About a couple of weeks since, three men, calling themselves Oliver Cowdry, David Whitmer and Martin Harris, appeared in our village, laden with a new revelation, which they claim to be a codicil to the New Testament. . . .

The account which they give is substantially as follows:--at a recent period an angel appeared to a poor ignorant man residing in or near Palmyra in Ontario County in the State of New York, directed him to open the earth at a place designated, where he would find the new revelation engraved on plates of metal. In obedience to the celestial messenger, Smith repaired to the spot, and on opening the ground discovered an oblong stone box tightly closed with cement. He opened the sacred depository and found enclosed a bundle of plates resembling gold, carefully united at one edge with three silver wires so that they opened like a book. The plates were about 7 inches long and 6 broad, and the whole pile was about 6 inches deep, each plate about the thickness of tin. They were engraved in a character unintelligible to the learned men of the United States, to many of whom it is said they have been presented. The angel afterwards appeared to the three individuals, and showed them the plates. To Smith was given to translate the character[s] which he was enabled to do by looking through two semi-transparent stones, but as he was ignorant of the art of writing, Cowdry and the others wrote as Smith interpreted. They say that part of the plates escaped from them in a supernatural manner and are to be again revealed when the events of the time shall require them. . . .

[Source: "Delusion," Geauga (OH) Gazette, circa 23 November 1830, as reprinted in Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer, 7 December 1830., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: Geauga (Oh) Gazette]