55 years ago today - Dec 14, 1963

As for the mission call to Europe, at a church farewell on 14 December Reed Benson complained that his father had been "`stabbed' in the back." The Twelve's president [Joseph Fielding Smith] was present to hear the younger Benson's remark that his father's mission call was a back-stab.

[Wilkinson diary, 14 Dec. 1963. 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 - Dec 14, 1963

"LOGAN, UTAH--Former Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson charged Friday night that the civil-rights movement in the South had been 'formatted almost entirely by the Communists.' Elder Benson, a member of the Council of the Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a public meeting here that the whole civil-rights movement was 'phony'.***"

[Deseret News, Dec. 14, 1963]

95 years ago today - Dec 14, 1923

[George F. Richards]
Called on the First Presidency and attended to some business with them. I presented to them the corrected form of [the] Ceremony for time marriage [sealings] which received their approval.

[George F. Richards diary, Dec. 14, 1923, in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship]

65 years ago today - Dec 14, 1953

Brigham Young University produces its first television program, the BYU Christmas Hour. It was an annual remote broadcast run on KTVT until BYU had its own television studio.

[Sherry Baker: Mormon Media History Timeline: 1827-2007, http://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=7984]

90 years ago today - Dec 14, 1928

[Heber J. Grant]
John M. Knight called. He had been asked to speak at the funeral of [Mormon fundementalist] John Woolley. We told him that we did not wish him to do so.

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

175 years ago today - Dec 14, 1843

Joseph receives a letter from Governor Ford stating that he will not call out the state militia for the general protection of Nauvoo, except on rare and very specifically defined occasions. He tells Joseph not to worry about past offenses by the state of Missouri, and says, concerning any affidavits about their wrongs in Missouri given to him by the Mormons the previous August, "I have not yet read them and probably never will." Joseph records his personal anger at Ford's letter.

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

55 years ago today - Dec 13, 1963

Lamar Peterson tells Jerald and Sandra Tanner of a 1832 hand written "strange account" first vision, they begin writing about it, pressure builds to release it. Joseph Fielding Smith tapes the removed pages pages back into Joseph Smith's journal and grants access to BYU's Paul Cheesman.

[Chronology of Mormon History, http://followtheprophets.com/chronology-of-mormon-history/]

55 years ago today - Dec 13, 1963

Ezra Taft Benson's gave a talk in Logan that was an endorsement of the Birch Society. Early in his remarks, he referred to the "Communist attack on the John Birch Society." A textual analysis also revealed that, without citing his source, 24 percent of Benson's talk quoted verbatim from the Blue Book of the John Birch Society, and another 10 percent paraphrased this publication. Benson's talk also repeated such Birch Society themes as the American civil rights movement was "phony" and actually "part of the pattern for the Communist take over of America." Benson's statements against the civil rights movement worsened the LDS church's negative public image during the 1960s.

The apostle predicted that within ten years the United States of America will be ruled by a Communist dictatorship which "will include military occupation, concentration camps, tortures, terror and all that is required to enable about 3% of the population to rule the other 97% as slaves." Benson promised such dire consequences "unless we join with those small but determined and knowledgeable patriots." He added: "Words will not stop the communists" ... " we can no longer resist the Communist conspiracy as free citizens, but can resist Communist tyranny only by themselves becoming conspirators against established government". He rallied Americans to battle Communism "even with our lives, if the time comes when we must . . . before the Godless Communist Conspiracy destroys our civilization."

[Benson, "We Must Become Alerted and Informed: An Address by Ezra Taft Benson At A Public Patriotic Meeting," Logan, Utah, 13 Dec. 1963, 2, transcript, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City; B. Delworth Gardner, N. Keith Roberts, E. Boyd Wennergren preface to an annotated typescript of Benson's "We Must Become Alerted and Informed," Utah State Historical Society. In the margins of this annotated typescript are the page numbers of the Blue Book from which Benson's talk quoted or paraphrased; "Elder Benson Links Reds to (Civil) Rights Furor," Deseret News, 14 Dec. 1963, B-5; "Communism Moving In on U.S., Benson Warns," Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Dec. 1963, 28. Compare with Ross R. Barnett, governor of Mississippi, "The Rape Of Our Constitution and Civil Rights," in the Birch Society's American Opinion 6 (Sept. 1963): 20-23; John Rousselot, "Civil Rights: Communist Betrayal Of A Good Cause," American Opinion 7 (Feb. 1964): 1-11. 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.]

125 years ago today - Dec 13, 1893

[Franklin D. Richards]
Wires say that the bill enabling Utah to become a state passed the House of Rep[resentative]s about 4 pm today. On my arrival learned that Utah Statehood bill passed the House today with only two votes against it one Democrat and one Republican. This is glorious news.

[Franklin D. Richards 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]

135 years ago today - Dec 13, 1883

[Wilford Woodruff]
Emma was Anointed to W Woodruff & W Woodruff for her Father Samuel Smith and He was Adopted to W Woodruff.

[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 - Dec 13, 1843

[Nauvoo Neighbor]
Special Edition Issue

- Ordinances: "An Extra Ordinance for the Extra Case of Joseph Smith and Others" -- Joseph Smith -- Anyone who comes to arrest Joseph Smith or other citizens involved in "Missouri Difficulties" will be arrested, and if found guilty, incarcerated for life. ...

- Note: "Dinner Party" - Christmas Day -- Editorial -- Joseph Smith plans a dinner party for Christmas Day. ...

- Ordinances: "An Ordinance for the Health and Conscience of Travelers--" -- Joseph Smith -- Gives Joseph Smith the power to sell "spirits" for the "health, comfort, and convenience of such travelers."


175 years ago today - Dec 13, 1843

In Missouri, Orrin Porter Rockwell has been in prison for over nine months, never having had a trial. Recently, however, his mother visited him and gave him $100, with which he could afford to hire Mr. Doniphan as counsel. Within two weeks Doniphan got him into court. There being no evidence that could convict Rockwell on the charge of shooting Boggs, he was charged with breaking the Independence jail. In spite of the fact that the Missouri law states that in order to break a jail, "a man must break a lock, a door, or a wall" (and all Porter had done was to walk out when the door was open), Judge King nevertheless orders that Porter has broken jail. He is sentenced to five minutes in the county jail. He is kept there five hours while the Missouri lawmen try to bring another charge against him. Failing to do so, they finally free him at 8 P.M. on Dec. 13, 1843. Doniphan warns him not to walk in daylight or on any known road. Rockwell, having only ragged clothes and shoes,walks three or four days toward Illinois. His feet become so raw that at times he pays people 50 cents or 75 cents to carry him on their backs for several miles. After riding on horseback or walking the 150 miles, he finds a small boat in which he can cross the Mississippi to Nauvoo.

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

185 years ago today - Dec 13, 1833

The first issue of the Evening and Morning Star is printed by Oliver Cowdery.

[Anderson, Lavina Fielding, Editor, Lucy's Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith's Family Memoir, 2001, Signature Books, http://bit.ly/lucys-book]

15 years ago today - Dec 12, 2003

Less than a year after the Mormon church promised, again, to stop baptizing dead Jews into its faith, the Mormons have raised concerns by buying - at 10 cents a sheet - thousands of names of dead Russian Orthodox Church members

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long collected names from government documents and other records worldwide. The names are then used in temple rituals, during which Mormon stand-ins are dunked in water to offer the dead salvation and entry to the Mormon religion.

Salt Lake City independent researcher Helen Radkey said she has found such notable non-Mormons as Adolph Hitler, Anne Frank, and even Roman Catholic popes and saints within the church's database ...

[Mark Thiessen, Associated Press, azcentral.com; A chronicle of the Mormon-Jewish controversy; The LDS Agreement: A JewishGen InfoFile, http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/ldsagree.html]

130 years ago today - Dec 12, 1888

Release of Rudger Clawson after serving three years and one month in prison, the longest any nineteenth-century Mormon is imprisoned for polygamy for unlawful cohabitation. On this same day, Idaho Legislature expels all Mormon legislators.

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

130 years ago today - Dec 12, 1888

Elder [Apostle] Francis M. Lyman surrendered himself to the US Marshal [Frank] Dyer this morning appeared in the 3rd Dist[rict] Court & plead guilty to the last indictment found against him [Unlawful Cohabitation]. ...

[Francis M. Lyman reports to First Presidency.] He had also been out to the penitentiary & saw Bro[ther] Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon. He purposes devoting as much of his time as possible among the saints preaching to & counseling with them. ... [Lyman was placed under a $1,500 bond].

[First Presidency Office Journal, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]

175 years ago today - Dec 12, 1843

After prodding from Joseph Smith to embrace plural marriage, John Taylor is sealed to his first plural wife, Elizabeth Kaighan.

[Hales, Brian C., Joseph Smith's Polygamy: History and Theology, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2013 (www.JosephSmithsPolygamy.com)]

175 years ago today - Dec 12, 1843

Smith as Mayor of Nauvoo passes ordinance allowing him to sell alcohol from the bar in his house.

[Chronology of Mormon History, http://followtheprophets.com/chronology-of-mormon-history/]

185 years ago today - Dec 12, 1833

A letter arrives stating that the Saints who had moved to Van Buren County will also be driven from there.

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

185 years ago today - Circa Dec 11, 1833

I became acquainted with the Smith family, known as the authors of the Mormon Bible, in the year 1820. At that time, they were engaged in the money digging business, which they followed until the latter part of the season of 1827. In the year 1822, I was engaged in digging a well. I employed Alvin and Joseph Smith to assist me; the latter of whom is now known as the Mormon prophet. After digging about twenty feet below the surface of the earth, we discovered a singularly appearing stone, which excited my curiosity. I brought it to the top of the well, and as we were examining it, Joseph put it into his hat, and then his face into the top of his hat. It has been said by Smith, that he brought the stone from the well; but this is false. There was no one in the well but myself. The next morning he came to me, and wished to obtain the stone, alledging that he could see in it; but I told him I did not wish to part with it on account of its being a curiosity, but would lend it. After obtaining the stone, he began to publish abroad what wonders he could discover by looking in it, and made so much disturbance among the credulous part of [the] community, that I ordered the stone to be returned to me again. He had it in his possession about two years.--I believe, some time in 1825, Hiram Smith (brother of Joseph Smith) came to me, and wished to borrow the same stone, alledging that they wanted to accomplish some business of importance, which could not very well be done without the aid of the stone. ...

In the month of June, 1827, Joseph Smith, Sen., related to me the following story: "That some years ago, a spirit had appeared to Joseph his son, in a vision, and informed him that in a certain place there was a record on plates of gold, and that he was the person that must obtain them, and this he must do in the following manner: On the 22d of September [1823], he must repair to the place where was deposited this manuscript, dressed in black clothes, and riding a black horse with a switch tail, and demand the book in a certain name, and after obtaining it, he must go directly away, and neither lay it down nor look behind him. They accordingly fitted out Joseph with a suit of black clothes and borrowed a black horse. He repaired to the place of deposit and demanded the book, which was in a stone box, unsealed, and so near the top of the ground that he could see one end of it, and raising it up, took out the book of gold; but fearing some one might discover where he got it, he laid it down to place back the top stone, as he found it; and turning round, to his surprise there was no book in sight. He again opened the box, and in it saw the book, and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box something like a toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head.--Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. After recovering from his fright, he enquired why he could not obtain the plates; to which the spirit made reply, because you have not obeyed your orders. He then enquired when he could have them, and was answered thus: come one year from this day, and bring with you your oldest brother, and you shall have them. This spirit, he said was the spirit of the prophet who wrote this book, and who was sent to Joseph Smith, to make known these things to him. Before the expiration of the year, his oldest brother died; which the old man said was an accidental providence!

Joseph went one year from that day [1824], to demand the book, and the spirit enquired for his brother, and he said that he was dead. The spirit then commanded him to come again, in just one year [1825], and bring a man with him. On asking who might be the man, he was answered that he would know him when he saw him.

Joseph believed that one Samuel T. Lawrence was the man alluded to by the spirit, and went with him to a singular looking hill, in Manchester, and shewed him where the treasure was. Lawrence asked him if he had ever discovered any thing with the plates of gold; he said no: he then asked him to look in his stone, to see if there was any thing with them. He looked, and said there was nothing; he told him to look again, and see if there was not a large pair of specks with the plates; he looked and soon saw a pair of spectacles, the same with which Joseph says he translated the Book of Mormon. Lawrence told him it would not be prudent to let these plates be seen for about two years, as it would make a great disturbance in the neighborhood. Not long after this, Joseph altered his mind, and said L[awrence]. was not the right man, nor had he told him the right place.

About this time he went to Harmony in Pennsylvania, and formed an acquaintance with a young lady, by the name of Emma Hale, whom he wished to marry

.--In the fall of 1826, he wanted to go to Pennsylvania to be married; but being destitute of means, he now set his wits to work, how he should raise money, and get recommendations, to procure the fair one of his choice. He went to Lawrence with the following story, as related to me by Lawrence himself. That he had discovered in Pennsylvania, on the bank of the Susquehannah River, a very rich mine of silver, and if he would go there with him, he might have a share in the profits; that it was near high water mark and that they could load it into boats and take it down the river to Philadelphia, to market. Lawrence then asked Joseph if he was not deceiving him; no, said he, for I have been there and seen it with my own eyes, and if you do not find it so when we get there, I will bind myself to be your servant for three years. By these grave and fair promises Lawrence was induced to believe something in it, and agreed to go with him. L[awrence]. soon found that Joseph was out of money, and had to bear his expenses on the way. When they got to Pennsylvania, Joseph wanted L[awrence]. to recommend him to Miss H[ale]., which he did, although he was asked to do it; but could not well get rid of it as he was in his company. L[awrence]. then wished to see the silver mine, and he and Joseph went to the river, and made search, but found nothing. Thus, Lawrence had his trouble for his pains, and returned home lighter than he went, while Joseph had got his expenses borne, and a recommendation to his girl.

Joseph's next move was to get married; the girl's parents being opposed to the match: as they happened to be from home, he took advantage of the opportunity, and went off with her and was married.

Now, being still destitute of money, he set his wits at work, how he should get back to Manchester, his place of residence; he hit upon the following plan, which succeeded very well. He went to an honest old Dutchman, by the name of Stowel, and told him that he had discovered on the bank of Black River, in the village of Watertown, Jefferson County, N.Y. a cave, in which he had found a bar of gold, as big as his leg, and about three or four feet long.--That he could not get it out alone, on account of its being fast at one end; and if he would move him to Manchester, N.Y. they would go together, and take a chisel and mallet, and get it, and Stowel should share the prize with him. Stowel moved him.

A short time after their arrival at Manchester, Stowel reminded Joseph of his promise; but he calmly replied, that he would not go, because his wife was now among strangers, and would be very lonesome if he went away. Mr. Stowel was then obliged to return without any gold, and with less money than he came.

In the fore part of September, (I believe,) 1827, the Prophet requested me to make him a chest, informing me that he designed to move back to Pennsylvania, and expecting soon to get his gold book, he wanted a chest to lock it up, giving me to understand at the same time, that if I would make the chest he would give me a share in the book. I told him my business was such that I could not make it: but if he would bring the book to me, I would lock it up for him. He said that would not do, as he was commanded to keep it two years, without letting it come to the eye of any one but himself. This commandment, however, he did not keep, for in less than two years, twelve men said they had seen it. I told him to get it and convince me of its existence, and I would make him a chest; but he said, that would not do, as he must have a chest to lock the book in, as soon as he took it out of the ground. I saw him a few days after, when he told me that I must make the chest. I told him plainly that I could not, upon which he told me that I could have no share in the book.

A few weeks after this conversation, he came to my house, and related the following story: That on the 22d of September, he arose early in the morning, and took a one horse wagon, of some one that had stayed over night at their house, without leave or license; and, together with his wife, repaired to the hill which contained the book. He left his wife in the wagon, by the road, and went alone to the hill, a distance of thirty or forty rods from the road; he said he then took the book out of the ground and hid it in a tree top, and returned home. He then went to the town of Macedon to work. After about ten days, it having been suggested that some one had got his book, his wife went after him; he hired a horse, and went home in the afternoon, staid long enough to drink one cup of tea, and then went for his book, found it safe, took off his frock, wrapt it round it, put it under his arm and ran all the way home, a distance of about two miles. He said he should think it would weigh sixty pounds, and was sure it would weigh forty. On his return home, he said he was attacked by two men in the woods, and knocked them both down and made his escape, arrived safe and secured his treasure. --He then observed that if it had not been for that stone, (which he acknowledged belonged to me,) he would not have obtained the book. ... His neighbors having become disgusted with his foolish stories, he determined to go back to Pennsylvania, to avoid what he called persecution. His wits were now put to the task to contrive how he should get money to bear his expenses. He met one day in the streets of Palmyra, a rich man, whose name was Martin Harris, and addressed him thus; "I have a commandment from God to ask the first man I meet in the street to give me fifty dollars, to assist me in doing the work of the Lord by translating the Golden Bible." Martin being naturally a credulous man, hands Joseph the money. In the Spring 1829, Harris went to Pennsylvania, and on his return to Palmyra, reported that the Prophet's wife, in the month of June following would be delivered of a male child that would be able when two years old to translate the Gold Bible. Then, said he, you will see Joseph Smith, Jr. walking through the streets of Palmyra, with a Gold Bible under his arm, and having a gold breast-plate on, and a gold sword by his side. This, however, by the by, proved false.

In April, 1830, I again asked Hiram for the stone which he had borrowed of me; he told me I should not have it, for Joseph made use of it in translating his Bible. ...


On the 11th December, 1833, the said Willard Chase appeared before me, and made oath that the foregoing statement to which he has subscribed his name, is true, according to his best recollection and belief.


Justice of the Peace of Wayne County.

[Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, Ohio: E. D. Howe, 1834), 240-48., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: Willard Chase Statement]

25 years ago today - Dec 10, 1993-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]
Ron Walker, who was at the Salt Lake Institute of Religion in 1976, said Bill Nelson orchestrated the movement to ban Story of the Latter-day Saints. He looked for people who would write what he wanted them to write.

Gary Bennett [who had reviewed Story of the Latter-day Saints even though he was] not trained in history. Why not Ron Walker? "Because he wouldn't write what I want him to write." [[Bennett was apparently asked by Nelson if he would write a review of the book for Ezra Taft Benson. See Apr. 13, 1981.]] Elder Mark [E.] Petersen [also] sought a reviewer who was not too well-trained or read in history.

Bill Nelson orchestrated the whole business. He didn't like liberals. When Gene England learned of the Committee to Control Members [Strengthening Church Members Committee] he went to Nelson. "Why?" [Nelson had said,] ["]I want to get rid of every liberal in the Church." He Nelson persuaded Elder [Boyd K.] Packer to vote against Tom Alex[ander] as [Charles] Redd professor because of his article on "The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine." [[Alexander's article was "The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology," published in the July-August 1980 issue of Sunstone. Twelve years later, Alexander was appointed Charles Redd Professor.]] [Neal A.] Maxwell & [Dallin H.] Oaks later talked Packer into withdrawing his objection & Tom got the post.

[Confessions of a Mormon historian : the diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997, Gary James Bergera, editor, Signature Books, 2018]

120 years ago today - Dec 10, 1898 (Saturday)

The last number (No. 26, Vol. 57) of the Deseret Weekly was issued.

[Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology]

160 years ago today - Dec 10, 1858

[Wilford Woodruff]
I feel to acknowledge the Hand of God in all these things. The Lord has sustained us through the war ["Utah War"] and is now Sustaining us through the Courts & is thwarting all the designs of our Enemies in all their wicked designs against the Latter Day Saints. The Lord has given President Young wisdom to out general all the United States with their Armies Judges & Courts So that they have had no power over him or this people for which I feel to praise the name of the Lord.

President Young wished the Twelve who went to Fillmore to inquire into ... into the Case of McBrides sons who Bishop Bronson was jealeous were laying plans to kill him.

We made an estimate of some of the expenses of the war of the United States against the mormons. We made including soldiers teamsters & waiters for 1858: 12,730 Men

Russel & Wardles Government freight amounted to $5,445,468

20,400 Government waggons cost of each outfit $1,500 $9,180,000.00

Paid for 3,200 teamsters 480 dollars each 1,536,000.00

Paid 4,600 soldiers $300 each 1,380.000.00

Sum total for the Above four items $17,540,468.00 [$484 million, infation adjusted]

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

170 years ago today - Dec 10, 1848

[Hosea Stout]
Also passed a law granting a bounty of one dollar each on wolf skins and for J. M. Grant to recieve them.

[Diaries of Hosea Stout]

170 years ago today - Dec 10, 1848

[Brigham Young]
[We need a] petition for a territorial government each year until the honest in heart had been gathered out of the nations and the armies of Israel had become very great, and then we will say 'We don't care whether you grant it [the territorial recognition] or not. Damn you, we are here and we ask no odds of you.' -- Salt Lake City

[John Pulsipher Journal, BYU; 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 - Dec 10, 1843

[Anointed Quorum]
Sunday prayer meeting in the upper room of Joseph Smith's store; "Joseph not present," and "Brigham Young presided," apparently for the first time .

"B Young was called to the chair who addressed the meeting in a vary feeling manner & interesting to our minds, he reasoned clearly that we should follow our file leaders & our savior in all his law & commandments without asking any questions why they were so[--]He was followed by P. P. Pratt & others who expressed their minds freely[--]several sick were prayed for"

[Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Signature Books, 1994, Appendex: Meetings and Initiations of the Anointed Quorum, 1842-45, http://amzn.to/origins-power; Wilford Woodruff's Journal. 9 Vols. Scott G. Kenney, ed. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1983-85. 2:331]

185 years ago today - Dec 10, 1833.

Joseph Smith tells the saints that they should retain their lands in Missouri and seek legal redress against their enemies. If they should not obtain it, God will avenge them with `ten thousand of his Saints' and all their adversaries would be destroyed.

[History of Church, v1, p 455]

40 years ago today - Dec 09, 1978

Missionary couples Rendell N. and Rachel Mabey and Edwin and Janath Cannon, the first missionaries to Ghana, arrive in that country and soon baptize eighty-nine people who have been waiting for the missionaries, some of them for many years. Within a year, more than four hundred people are baptized.

85 years ago today - Dec 9,1933

Church News article "Mormonism in The New Germany," enthusiastically emphasizes parallels "between the LDS Church and some of the ideas and policies of the National Socialists." First, Nazis have introduced "Fast Sunday." Second, "it is a very well known fact that Hitler observes a form of living which Mormons term the Word of Wisdom. Finally, due to the importance given to the racial question by Nazis and the almost necessity of proving that one's grandmother was not a Jewess, there no longer is resistance against genealogical research by German Mormons who now have received letters of encouragement complimenting them for their patriotism."

[Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Appendix 5, Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1848-1996, http://amzn.to/extensions-power]

65 years ago today - Dec 9, 1953

[J. Reuben Clark]
Proposed Statement of President McKay to State Legislators.

In the early 1930's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints transferred to the State of Utah, Dixie College, Snow College, and Weber College. The deeds in each instance provided that in the event the particular college was not maintained as a Junior College by the State, it would revert to the Church.

If the Legislature now decides no longer to operate these three Colleges, the Church will again take title to them and operate them as a part of its educational system.

Drafted by Pres. Wilkinson.

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

130 years ago today - Dec 9, 1888

[Brigham Young Jr.]
Pres[iden]t. [Wilford] Woodruff & members of the Council decided to advise the brethren who had resigned their standing in the wards in our northern stakes [Idaho] to remain as they are until after the Court trials in the spring. The Repub[lican]s. of Idaho want an opportunity to accuse the people of perjury in leaving the church to vote. And the pubs. Will prosecute our people for conspiracy if they return to their fellowship in the Church. Three hundred & fifty dollars was voted for the relief of brethren involved in litigation in Idaho. [It was illegal in Idaho for Mormons to vote.]

[Brigham Young Jr., Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]

170 years ago today - Saturday, Dec 9, 1848

[John D. Lee, Council of Fifty]
The council of YTFIF [Fifty] again met at the House of H[eber] C. Kimballs, & took into consideration the propriety of Petition[ing] Congress for a Teritorial Government, Giving them to understand at the same time we wanted officers of our own nomination &, should they Send such men as Lilburn W. Boggs, Neal Gilliam [of] Benton County, [Austin] King, [Wiley] Williams & others, that we would send them Cross Lots to Hell, that dark & dreary Road where no traveler ever returns. Pres. B[righam] Young was nominated & voted to be the governor of Said Territory. ... The Territory should be called Desarett [Deseret] & bounded as follows: [blank]. [Ten men] … were appointed a commity to obtain the Names of all the inhabitants of the valley & all the region roundabout to [be] incorporated in the Pe[ti]tion. The subject of gathering up the catle & Hors[es] that were Scatered over the valley, exposed to the ravages of the wolves & Indian[s], was called up & voted that O[rrin] P. Rockwell, J[ohn] D. Lee & Geo[rge] D. Grant be the commity to manage or superintend the geathering of the catle; the above commity was nominated by Pres. B[righam] Y[oung] who observed, ["]If there is not fire and thunder in this commity we will try & put some in them.["] ...

[John D. Lee diary, 80-81, as quoted in Jedediah S. Rogers (editor), The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History, Signature Books (2014)]

10 years ago today - Dec 8, 2008

The inaugural volume of the much-anticipated Joseph Smith Papers, released today, brings to light a project that has been under way for many years. This landmark publishing venture begins with Joseph Smiths personal journal entries, covering the years 1832 to 1839.

[Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, United Kingdom, "On This Day," https://www.lds.org.uk/show_oda.php]

165 years ago today - Dec 8, 1853

[Hosea Stout]
This fore noon I arrived at home or what more properly might be said where once was my home.

Here, not 14 months since was concentrated all my earthly happiness. Here, the confiding Louisa, the dearest object of my heart, the solace in all my troubles and my inocent prattling children, was left, in the most perfect enjoyment of earthly bliss. To them I fled as a refuge from trouble & disappointment & how often I have rejoiced that I was thus blessed with that most essential ingredient for mans comfort, a true, faithful & confiding wife, and obedient lovely children There were here then, Here then was my own ocean of affection & love[.] I left them by the command of the Lord to preach the gospel in foreign lands & returned but not to them.

Louisa was no more, the scource of my happiness was beneath the cold sod while the very geniuse of desolation & loneliness seemed to brood over the scenes of by gone happiness.

What did I find? Even my brother had removed into the country & not the first vistage of former associations moved on the desolate place.

A family of English saints, total stranger to me resided here and could give no account of neither family or friends.

I gazed upon the sad wreck of all my hopes in silence while my heart sank within me & those around could not refrain from mingling their tears with mine for a few moments when we all hastily with drew from a place so full of sad reccollections as my HOME.

[Diaries of Hosea Stout]

75 years ago today - Dec 8, 1943

[George Albert Smith]
[Excommunicated apostle] Richard [R. Lyman] applied for [re-]Baptism.

[George Albert 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]

130 years ago today - Dec 8, 1888

Bro[ther] Parkinson reported the condition of things in the Oneida [Idaho] Stake ... prospective nonpayment of tithings by the brethren, who felt it to be necessary to withdraw from the church [so they could vote] & they believing they can now pay their tithes for fear of the results &c they needed some assistance. 200 allowed. The Idaho political situation was discussed. The feeling being that those who were out of the church should remain so. Pres[ident] Woodruff seemed quite clear that it would be better for no one to return to the church until after the cases in courts came up & were disposed of In cases of aged brethren returning thought it would be done privately.

[First Presidency Office Journal, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]

185 years ago today - Dec 8, 1833

I, William Stafford, having been called upon to give a true statement of my knowledge, concerning the character and conduct of the family of Smiths, known to the world as the founders of the Mormon sect, do say, that I first became acquainted with Joseph, Sen., and his family in the year 1820. They lived, at that time, in Palmyra, about one mile and a half from my residence. A great part of their time was devoted to digging for money: especially in the night time, when they said the money could be most easily obtained. I have heard them tell marvellous tales, respecting the discoveries they had made in their peculiar occupation of money digging. They would say, for instance, that in such a place, in such a hill, on a certain man's farm, there were deposited keys, barrels and hogsheads of coined silver and gold -- bars of gold, golden images, brass kettles filled with gold and silver -- gold candlesticks, swords, &c. &c. They would say, also, that nearly all the hills in this part of New York, were thrown up by human hands, and in them were large caves, which Joseph, Jr., could see, by placing a stone of singular appearance in his hat, in such a manner as to exclude all light; at which time they pretended he could see all things within and under the earth, -- that he could see within the above mentioned caves, large gold bars and silver plates -- that he could also discover the spirits in whose charge these treasures were, clothed in ancient dress. At certain times, these treasures could be obtained very easily; at others, the obtaining of them was difficult. The facility of approaching them, depended in a great measure on the state of the moon. New moon and good Friday, I believe, were regarded as the most favorable times for obtaining these treasures. These tales I regarded as visionary. However, being prompted by curiosity, I at length accepted of their invitations, to join them in their nocturnal excursions. I will now relate a few incidents attending these excursions.

Joseph Smith, Sen., came to me one night, and told me, that Joseph Jr. had been looking in his glass, and had seen, not many rods from his house, two or three kegs of gold and silver, some feet under the surface of the earth: and that none others but the elder Joseph and myself could get them. I accordingly consented to go, and early in the evening repaired to the place of deposit. Joseph, Sen. first made a circle, twelve or fourteen feet in diameter. This circle, said he, contains the treasure. He then stuck in the ground a row of witch hazel sticks, around the said circle, for the purpose of keeping off the evil spirits. Within this circle he made another, of about eight or ten feet in diameter. He walked around three times on the periphery of this last circle, muttering to himself something which I could not understand. He next stuck a steel rod in the centre of the circles, and then enjoined profound silence upon us, lest we should arouse the evil spirit who had the charge of these treasures. After we had dug a trench about five feet in depth around the rod, the old man by signs and motions, asked leave of absence, and went to the house to inquire of young Joseph the cause of our disappointment. He soon returned and said, that Joseph had remained all this time in the house, looking in his stone and watching the motions of the evil spirit--that he saw the spirit come up to the ring and as soon as it beheld the cone which we had formed around the rod, it caused the money to sink. We then went into the house, and the old man observed, that we had made a mistake in the commencemnt of the operation; if it had not been for that, said he, we should have got the money.

At another time, they devised a scheme, by which they might satiate their hunger, with the mutton of one of my sheep. They had seen in my flock of sheep, a large, fat, black weather. Old Joseph and one of the boys came to me one day, and said that Joseph Jr. had discovered some very remarkable and valuable treasures, which could be procured only in one way. That way, was as follows: -- That a black sheep should be taken on to the ground where the treasures were concealed -- that after cutting its throat, it should be led around a circle while bleeding. This being done, the wrath of the evil spirit would be appeased: the treasures could then be obtained, and my share of them was to be four fold. To gratify my curiosity, I let them have a large fat sheep. They afterwards informed me, that the sheep was killed pursuant to commandment; but as there was some mistake in the process, it did not have the desired effect. This, I believe, is the only time they ever made money-digging a profitable business. They, however, had around them constantly a worthless gang, whose employment it was to dig money nights, and who, day times, had more to do with mutton than money.

When they found that the people of this vicinity would no longer put any faith in their schemes for digging money, they then pretended to find a gold bible, of which, they said, the book of Mormon was only an introduction. This latter book was at length fitted for the press. No means were taken by any individual to suppress its publication: No one apprehended any danger from a book, originating with individuals who had neither influence, honesty or honor. The two Josephs and Hiram, promised to show me the plates, after the book of Mormon was translated. But, afterwards, they pretended to have received an express commandment, forbidding them to show the plates. Respecting the manner of receiving and translating the book of Mormon, their statements were always discordant. The elder Joseph would say that he had seen the plates, and that he knew them to be gold; at other times he would say that they looked like gold; and other times he would say he had not seen the plates at all. I have thus briefly stated a few of the facts, in relation to the conduct and character of this family of Smiths; probably sufficient has been stated without my going into detail.


State of New York, Wayne County, ss:

I certify, that on this 9th day of December, 1833, personally appeared before me, William Stafford, to me known, and made oath to the truth of the above statement, and signed the same.


Judge of Wane County Court.

[William Stafford affidavit, 8 December 1833]

175 years ago today - Dec 8, 1843

The Nauvoo City council passes a law stating that any officer bringing a writ against Joseph Smith based on a Missouri charge will be subject to life imprisonment, "which convict or convicts can only be pardoned by the Governor, with the consent of the Mayor of said city." (Joseph Smith himself is, of course, the mayor.) The Nauvoo Legion is also ordered to be ready to protect the rights of Nauvoo citizens. Affidavits are drawn up in protest of the recent kidnappings

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]