20 years ago today - Feb 22, 2000

Three days before his suicide, Stuart Matis wrote a letter to the student newspaper at Brigham Young University, from which he graduated in 1994, urging students to harbor more tolerance toward gays.

"I am gay. I am also LDS. I realized the significance of my sexuality when I was around 13, and for the next two decades, I traveled down a tortuous path of internalized homophobia, immense self-hatred, depression and suicidal thoughts. Despite the calluses on my knees, frequent trips to the temple, fasts and devotion to my mission and church callings such as Elders' Quorum president, I continually failed to attenuate my homosexuality," Matis wrote. " . . . I read a recent letter to the editor with great regret. The author compared my friends and me to murderers, satanists, prostitutes and pedophiles. Imagine having to live with this rhetoric constantly being spewed at you."

[Timeline of Mormon Thinking About Homosexuality, http://rationalfaiths.com/timeline-of-mormon-thinking-about-homosexuality/]

50 years ago today - Feb 22, 1970

First Presidency writes: "We may say that there is no direct revelation upon the subject of when the spirit enters the body; it has always been a moot question. That there is life in the child before birth is an undoubted fact, but whether that life is the result of the affinity of the child in embryo with the life of its mother, or because the spirit has entered it remains an unsolved mystery."

145 years ago today - Feb 22, 1875

[Apostle Wilford Woodruff]

This is not ownly the birth day of George Washington But it was the day when the first Couple of Lamanites were together as man and wife for time & Eternity at the Altar in the Endowment House according to the Holy Priesthood in the last dispensation & fulness of times. Wilford Woodruff Sealed at the Altar two Couple of Lamanites. The first Couple was Indian Named OhetoCump But Baptized and Sealed by the name of James Laman. His wife Named Mine [Minnie]. 2d Couple Isiqwich & Mogogah.

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

155 years ago today - Feb 22, 1865

Brigham Young receives confirmation of the Church's purchase of 6,500 acres of land on the island of Oahu, Hawaii "thirty miles from Honolulu." The price is "$14,000 in gold" to be paid off in two years. "This purchase contains 600 head of cows, worth $8 per head, 500 head of sheep [at] $1.50 per head, 250 goats [at] 75 cts, 20 horses [at] $5, also hoags chickens, turkeys, guinea hens, & peacocks. Had 5 acres of cotton looking well. This is the best peace of ground on the island."

160 years ago today - Feb 22, 1860

DESERET NEWS article, "How to Impress Niggers." The end of a talk by Orson Pratt appears on the second page of the DESERET NEWS. The talk, which was scheduled to run on the first page, was removed by order of Brigham Young but the second page had already been printed. The sermon had been a confession by Pratt of his errors in differing with Brigham Young. Young, however, was unsatisfied with it and called Pratt before the rest of the apostles for further confession. The main point of contention is Young's doctrine that God continues to increase in knowledge. In 1980 Apostle Bruce R. McConkie calls Brigham Young's doctrine on this "false-utterly, totally, and completely. There is not one sliver of truth in it," and lists it first among "seven deadly heresies."

175 years ago today - Feb 22, 1845

[Hosea Stout]

... met Bishop Miller, when we three went to the Temple while consulting on matters pertaining to our safety and also the manner to pursue to rid ourselves of traitors who are in our midst seeking our lives. From thence Brother Harmon & myself went to Br C. C. Richs and talked the same matter over again while we were all going down at the flat. Br Rich went to the High Council and we went to the Lodge room and locked ourselves up and talked over some particular matters reletive to our Eternal exaltation in the Kingdom of God and the absolute necessity of the brethrens being united and maintaining our integrity to each other. We both were highly pleased with our interview and went on our way rejoicing.

[Diaries of Hosea Stout]

40 years ago today - 40 years ago - Feb 21, 1980-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]

Elder Durham asked me if I had complete confidence in Andy Ehat. He is asking to see certain manuscripts in the vault of the First Presidency, and Brother Durham wanted to know whether he should endorse them. I told him that I did not know Andy Ehat that well. Brother Durham said he resembles Mike Quinn-a person of insatiable curiosity. I told him I had full confidence in Mike Quinn and in Ron Esplin, but I had no basis for having confidence in Andy Ehat. In response to a specific question I told him I did not think Andy was a double agent, but that I thought it would be wisdom to watch him and to be careful.

I was prompted by something to begin a list of leading Mormon intellectuals. I consulted with Davis [Bitton] on this. Here are some names we came up with: Henry Eyring, H. Tracy Hall, James Jensen, D. LaMar Jensen, Homer Durham, Lowry Nelson, Nels Anderson, Glen Vernon, Meredith Wilson, Sterling McMurrin, Hugh Nibley, Truman Madsen, Lowell Bennion, Spencer Palmer, Neal Maxwell, Dallin Oaks. Davis wanted to add my name and I wanted to add his name.

Maureen [Beecher]'s list [of ] Mormon women intellectuals-too soon to be sure: Claudia Bushman, Cheryll May, Jill Mulvay Derr, Lavina Fielding Anderson, Melodie Moench Charles, Chris Rigby Arrington, Adele Brannon McCollum, Christine Meaders Durham, Marilyn Arnold, Reba Keele, Margaret Woodworth, Gail Bell Peterson, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Janath Cannon (before officialdom set in), Josephine Meyer Cassie, Ann Stringham Tingle, Francine Russell Bennion, Emma Lou Thayne, Lucile Reading, Dorothy Carson, [[In the margin, Arrington wrote: "These are women whom I know personally. The criterion is how high we reach in private talk-the intellectual games bit-combined with the nature of their thinking once we get there." Peterson was managing editor of BYU Press, Bennion a past member of the Young Women's general board, Reading was editor of the Friend, and Carson was an Arizona county court judge. For the remaining two women, an English professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Partridge) and a political science professor at Weber State (White), he added, "These I don't know, but suspect of intellectual mindset. Obviously a great gap here-generational as well as opportunity created."]] Elinore Hughes Partridge, Jean Bickmore White.

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

100 years ago today - Feb. 21, Mon. [1920]

[James E. Talmage]

... the branch hitherto known as the West Tintic branch of the Tintic Stake of Zion was disorganized. Thus all semblance of Church supervision in the affairs of that unfortunate little group of people has been taken away.

When, more than a year ago, reports reached the First Presidency, to the effect that the people in West Tintic had undertaken to establish the "United Order", they to have all things in common and to abolish all private ownership, I was appointed to investigate the matter. As a result of my first visit to the Tintic Stake with this as one of my appointed duties, I reported the facts as I found them, which were briefly these: That Moses Gudmundson, who was the leader and dominating figure in the movement, denied all intention of going ahead of the Church, specifically in the matter of attempting to start a colony according to the United Order plan; that I did not believe his protestations, but on the other hand was convinced that the people of West Tintic, then organized into an independent branch in the Tintic Stake, were being led by an evil influence.

Many other investigations have followed; and we have found to our sorrow that what we saw as the inevitable development of evil unless the people placed themselves in strict harmony with the order and government of the Church, had become a reality, namely, erotic ideas and practises [sic] concerning the marital state and the sexual relation. The best I can say of the people is that they have become fanatical through the power of evil. They have made sacrifice their hobby. The eating of meat, the taking of animal life even to provide food, and many other practises common with other people have been forbidden there; while long fasts and particularly the sacrificing of comforts and wholesome desires have been held up as ideals. Now they have reached the abominable status of men sacrificing their wives to other men; and by this means they have put themselves subject to the punishment provided for by the law of the land. The present state is one of abominable immorality. Some of the women, notably the wife of Moses Gudmundson, and the wife of Gerald Lowry, withdrew promptly from the colony rather than countenance to any degree these ungodly practices. I believe that the judgment of the High Council in these cases is just; and that others than those already tried are involved. ...

[James E. Talmage Journal, Transcription reproduced by Trevor Antley, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University]

120 years ago today - Feb 21, 1900

George P. Frisby and George D. Cole of Church of Christ, Temple Lot ("Hedrickite"), meet with First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and Presiding Bishopric. Elders Frisby and Cole propose that their church, LDS church , and RLDS church each send four delegates to jointly agree on construction of temple at Independence, Missouri. After discussion of pros and cons, President Lorenzo Snow decided against proposal because "he naturally feared some trick being played against us." However, he is willing to pay travel expenses of Hedrickite elders.

125 years ago today - Feb 21, 1895

[President Wilford Woodruff]

21 I met with the Twelve in the Temple. The Doctrins of <[---]> was Discused in one of his sermons about The Apostles not Having the Gift of the Holy Ghost untill after the death of the Savior.

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

125 years ago today - Thursday, Feb 21, 1895

[John Henry Smith]

The question of the character and operation of the Holy Ghost was taken up, the matter being brought forward by Prest. G. Q. Cannon over a sermon of Prest. J. F. Smith on that subject.

No decision being reached by the Council, although several spoke.

[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]

150 years ago today - Feb 21, 1870

Gov. Brigham Young delivered a short written Message & an oral one. He spoke plain. These are interesting & important times. All the United States as it were are at war with us trying to pass Bills through Congress to destroy us for our religion. -- Salt Lake City

[Wilford Woodruff's Journal. 9 Vols. Scott G. Kenney, ed. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1983-85. 6:529 as quoted in The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Ed. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Smith-Pettit Foundation, Salt Lake City (2009), http://bit.ly/BY-discourses]

160 years ago today - Feb 21, 1860

Brigham Young visits the Historian's office and requests five books be written including "Short Biography of the life of Brigham Young." Young also orders the DESERET NEWS to "take out Orson Pratt's sermon" from the front page and "put another sermon in instead and give a reason for so doing."

185 years ago today - Feb 21, 1835

The final three of the first Twelve Apostles of the church (Parley P. Pratt, Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Pratt) are ordained and blessed. Joseph Smith then gives the Twelve their charge before sending them out as missionaries. He says, "Should you in the least degree come short of your duty, great will be your condemnation, for the greater the calling, the greater the transgression. . . .Never cease striving until you have seen God, face to face. Strengthen your faith, cast off your doubts, your sins and all your unbelief and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid his hand upon you." Parley P. Pratt's blessing states " that nothing shall prevail against him, . . . Let sickness and death have no power over him; . . . No arm that is formed and lifted against thee shall prosper, . . ."

40 years ago today - Feb 20, 1980-Wednesday

[Leonard Arrington]

I asked [Dialogue editor] Mary [Bradford] some questions about [ERA activist] Sonia Johnson, and here are some things I learned. Sonia, Mary says, is a very good example of a very orthodox Mormon; that is, in terms of beliefs and doctrines. She is a straight arrow. She has never been plagued by doubts. From this standpoint she is a very sincere, believing, confiding, practicing Latter-day Saint. After the ERA business came out, as one who believed that Mormonism had given women an elevated status, she thought ERA was quite consistent with the gospel. She accepted it on the basis that it was in line with gospel principles and Church practices. Some of the women in Sonia's ward had gotten together for "awareness" meetings. Most of these women who were regular attenders"activists"-were women who had had trouble with their husbands. They were divorcees or separated. ... This little group ... were very upset when they discovered that certain elements in the Church were conducting an intensive campaign against ERA.

This group interpreted that as beyond the proper limits of Church activity and felt that if these Church "right wingers" could carry out a campaign against the amendment, they (the Mormons for ERA) could seek to counteract them. They did organize "Mormons for ERA." After long discussion they decided that Sonia should be their front-person. They decided this because she was the one person in the group who was not divorced, she had a reputation for being a straight arrow and orthodox in her doctrines and beliefs, and she was a sincere, intelligent, and dedicated person. Most of the members of this group now feel that it may have been a mistake to have chosen Sonia to be their spokesperson. They had not counted upon her excommunication. The excommunication would not have hurt the others as much as it hurt Sonia, and of course Sonia subsequently had the divorce from her husband-something they had not expected. Mary said that some of the things that were done by Mormons for ERA were the ideas of Teddy Wood. For example, the ideas of running the airplane over conference in October trailing the banner Mormons for ERA was strictly Teddy Wood's idea. Mary says that this thing went farther than any of them expected-especially farther than Sonia expected. Mary says that she does not believe Sonia is on an ego trip and that she has [not] reveled in the wide publicity and place in the national news which she has come to have. Mary said this whole business, as far as Sonia is concerned, started with her questioning by [Utah] Senator [Orrin] Hatch. [[Hatch invited Johnson to address the US Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights in August 1978. See Bradley, Pedestals and Podiums, 335-36.]] If that episode had not occurred, none of the rest that followed would have; but Hatch sort of dared her and she was courageous enough to take the dare. Mary says Sonia has ego, but not nearly as much as people have supposed. Mary says that while Sonia has been excommunicated by her bishop, the other sisters, Teddy Wood, Maidia Withers, etc., have spoken up in their wards and have not particularly had any trouble with their bishops. Mary thinks that Sonia could have lived in a dozen wards in the area and never have been brought to trial. Mary does not suppose that Bishop [Jeffrey] Willis was put up to this; he was simply a person who perhaps showed an excess of zeal in doing what he thought was the right thing. Mary said she would not be surprised if the stake president decided to suggest a new trial or to overrule the bishop's judgment. Mary says that Sonia has repented of the extreme things she said in her Montana talk and in the paper she gave to the American Psychological Association. But she of course has not repented of her opposition to ERA. Sonia is delighted with one development. She has gotten the Church to openly state that one may speak up for ERA without jeopardizing membership in the Church. It is just the extreme of her speaking against President [Spencer W.] Kimball and urging people not to accept the missionaries that got her into trouble. Mary thinks that Sonia's mother's support of her is undoubtedly due to her knowledge that Sonia is basically an orthodox girl. Mary says that she finds these angry LDS women who favor ERA to be made up almost exclusively of women who had highly orthodox, stern fathers and who had husbands who were not considerate. ...

I have been surprised, this week, to be visited by two persons who wanted to "set me straight" on some issues. It was important to set me straight, they inferred, because I was a leader of the Mormon intellectual community. I have never regarded myself in that light. ... Intellectual leaders are deep thinkers; I have never regarded myself as a deep thinker. Intellectual leaders take themselves seriously; I have never taken myself and my own thoughts very seriously. ... If I were to list those who are intellectual leaders in the Mormon community, I would mention Sterling McMurrin, Lowell Bennion, Henry Eyring, Lowry Nelson, Homer Durham, Claudia Bushman, Adele McCollum, Lavina Fielding Anderson, and Hugh Nibley. If anybody should regard me in that company, I would be honored. I suppose some people may have mistaken my readiness in writing for readiness in thinking. I see myself as primarily a conveyor of ideas, not an originator of ideas. To use historical analogy, I am more like James E. Talmage than B. H. Roberts; more like Parley P. Pratt than Orson Pratt. Nevertheless, even if undeserved, it is pleasant to be considered "in the group" of LDS intellectuals.

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

85 years ago today - Feb 20, 1935

[Heber J. Grant]

Had a long chat today with Charles A. Callis, telling him of my having nominated Richard W. Young a number of times to be an Apostle, the first time way back when M. W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund and Abram H. Cannon were chosen, at the organization of the Presidency with Wilford Woodruff as President. The three names that I sent on that occasion were Anthon H. Lund, Richard W. Young, and Abram H. Cannon. I also nominated Richard W. Young a time or two more when there was a vacancy, but when I became the President and it was up to me to nominate someone of the Council of the Twelve I told the Lord in prayer that he knew who I wanted for an Apostle, namely, Richard W. Young, but that I wanted the impression of the Spirit as to whom he wanted, and I finally nominated Melvin J. Ballard.

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

100 years ago today - Feb. 20, Sunday [1920]

[James E. Talmage]

Complaints of wicked and dangerous teachings and practises [sic] had been made against Moses S. Gudmundson, J. Elvan Houtz and others; and the Council of the Presidency and Twelve had directed that President Clawson and I be present at the trial. The case of J. Elvan Houtz was called first. His trial was followed by that of David Whyte. The testimony adduced proved conclusively that these men and other residents of the West Tintic branch had been so far misled as to disregard the sanctity of the marriage obligation, as administered in the Temples, and had adopted a system of "wife-sacrifice", whereby men were required to give up their wives to other men, and this under a diabolical misinterpretation of Scripture as to the law of sacrifice requiring one to give up all he has, even wife and children. At the evening session, which lasted until a late hour, Gerald Lowry, who had refused to answer certain questions put to him in the afternoon meeting, and who defiantly showed his disregard of the authority of the High Council, was by formal action and unanimous vote disfellowshiped from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[James E. Talmage Journal, Transcription reproduced by Trevor Antley, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University]

120 years ago today - Tuesday, Feb 20, 1900

[Apostle John Henry Smith]

Salt Lake City

I called upon Prest. Lorenzo Snow. He was pleased to see me.

He told me there were two brethren of the Hedrekite church wanted to form a combination with us and the Reorganized Church to build a Temple at Independence, Mo.

[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]

150 years ago today - Feb 20, 1870

Brigham Young preaches, "Now the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes every word of truth believed in by the holy Catholic Church."

[Brigham Young, "The Saints Are a Strange People Because They Practice What They Profess," JD 13:233 - 242; The Mormon Hierarchy - Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn, [New Mormon History database ( http://bit.ly/NMHdatabase )]]

150 years ago today - Feb 20, 1870

[Brigham Young]

'... Oh dear, it makes me blush!'" Yes, it makes one think of a little circumstance that transpired with one of our Elders who went after machinery to Massachusetts. He went to inquire about machinery for a cotton factory, and the gentleman to whom he applied said, '"Where are you from?'" '"Utah.'" '"O, you are out among the Mormons?'" '"Yes.'" '"Are you a Mormon?'" '"Yes.'" '"Well, I believe,'" said the interrogator, '"you, out there, believe in having more wives than one?'" '"Yes, that is true,'" said the Elder. '"Well,'" said the gentleman, '"I want you to come up and see my partner.'" So our brother was invited up to see the partner of the gentleman who had questioned him so closely, in order to talk a little about the number of people here, and the improvements, etc. The first thing, on meeting the partner, was to pitch into the '"Mormon'" about how many wives he had, and he replied that '"he had just enough to enable him to keep from troubling his neighbors' wives.'"

[Journal of Discourses. Liverpool, England, 1853-86. 13:233-242; Deseret News. Also Deseret Evening News, Deseret News Weekly, Deseret News Semi- Weekly, and Deseret News Extra, Salt Lake City as quoted in The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Ed. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Smith-Pettit Foundation, Salt Lake City (2009), http://bit.ly/BY-discourses]

160 years ago today - Feb 20, 1860

[Brigham Young]

... he believed he had as little affection for money as any man that lived, but he valued it for its use. This evening the Chancellor & Board of Regents met at the office to consider the best plan for educating the people. The Deseret alphabet was then discussed. It was proposed that the Regents lecture in the Social Hall, and other places on such subjects which would be favorable to arousing a desire general improvement. Pres. Young lectured on the importance of the Deseret alphabet.

[Brigham Young Office Journals, Special Collections, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan.; Archives, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.; New Mormon Studies CD-ROM as quoted 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. 20-26, 1840

Elias Higbee sends a series of letters to Joseph about progress in Washington. He relates his efforts in taking the Mormon case before the various congressional committees, and explains many of the opposing viewpoints and rumors he has run into (such as the Mormons had tried to take over the state, and the Mormons were the aggressors). His final letter states that "the decision is against us, or in other words unfavorable, that they believe redress can only be had in Missouri."

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

185 years ago today - Feb 20, 1835

[Patriarchal Blessing of John Murdock by Joseph Smith, Sr]

... Thou shalt have power to bring souls unto Jesus by proclaiming the gospel, till the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory. and if thine enemies cast thee into prison it shall not hold thee. If thou cleavest to the Lord and desirest with all thy heart, thou shall be wafted to glory in a chariot of fire like Elijah of old ...

[Early Patriarchal Blessings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Joseph Smith Sr. (Author), H. Michael Marquardt (Editor), http://amzn.to/rCBHVe]

30 years ago today - Feb 19, 1990

The government of the Cook Islands issues a postage stamp honoring Osborne J.P. Widtsoe, the first LDS missionary there in 1899.

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

55 years ago today - Feb 19, 1965

At the end of Janurary, the ultra-conservative John Birch Society released its Bulletin which announced that Apostle Ezra Taft Benson would speak at a testimonial for Birch Society founder Robert Welch in Seattle on 19 February "with the full approval of President McKay of the Mormon Church."

[The John Birch Society Bulletin (Feb. 1966): 30. See D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) for full cite and context.]

150 years ago today - Feb 19, 1870

During the nine-day interim between the first meeting of the Ladies' Cooperative Retrenchment Society and this second meeting held on February 19, 1870, Utah's acting territorial governor, Stephen A. Mann, signed into law a woman suffrage bill. When women from various ward Relief Societies gathered for their second retrenchment meeting, they discussed the developing movement for table retrenchment formally initiated nine days earlier. Additionally, they shared a range of opinions regarding their newly granted right to vote and women's rights generally. The varied nature of the discussion suggests that by the second time these Latter-day Saint women assembled as the Ladies' Cooperative Retrenchment Society, they had some sense that this interward gathering could serve as a forum for sharing, vetting, and directing their expanding collective responsibilities. ...

[3.16 Ladies' Cooperative Retrenchment Meeting, Minutes, February 19, 1870, as quoted in Matthew J. Grow, Jill Derr, Carol Madsen, and Kate Holbrook, editors, The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women's History, The Church Historian's Press, 2016, https://churchhistorianspress.org/the-first-fifty-years-of-relief-society/]

150 years ago today - Feb 19, 1870

On February 19 the Ladies' Cooperative Retrenchment Society met in the hall of the Fifteenth Ward, with representatives from most Salt Lake City wards present. Eliza R. Snow, who presided over the meeting, suggested that the women write "an expression of gratitude" to Governor Mann "for signing the Document of Woman Suffrage in Utah, for, she said we could not have had the right without his sanction." The group then selected a committee to write a letter to Mann, which wrote the letter and delivered it to Mann that same day, February 19. George A. Smith commented, "The Ladies said they thought the Governor was about as much embarrass'd as they were."

[3.17 Eliza R. Snow and Others, Letter to Stephen A. Mann, and Stephen A. Mann Reply, February 19, 1870, as quoted in Matthew J. Grow, Jill Derr, Carol Madsen, and Kate Holbrook, editors, The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women's History, The Church Historian's Press, 2016, https://churchhistorianspress.org/the-first-fifty-years-of-relief-society/]

155 years ago today - Feb 19, 1865

First counselor Heber C. Kimball testifies of healing people with his special handkerchief, cane, and cloak.

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

160 years ago today - Feb 19, 1860

[Brigham Young ]

Prest Young made a few remarks to the 3 Quorum of Seventies this evening; observed when the Spirit and power of the Office of a Seventy rest upon an Elder he will stand before the ruler of the Earth and they will feel like grasshoppers before him. -- Salt Lake City

[Brigham Young Office Journals, Special Collections, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan.; Archives, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.; New Mormon Studies CD-ROM as quoted 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 19, 1840

[Wilford Woodruff]

One by name of Robert Brown rejected my testimony & said I should go to the Bottomless pit & all that followed me. ... I dreamed that I saw men & children killed to be eat because of the soreness of a famine.

[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 19, 1840. Wednesday.

[Missionary William Clayton]

... Sister Poole has been and says Susan is jealous of Thomas [Miller]. He wants her out of the way. If she was to die he would be married again in 3 months &c. Thomas wanted to know who he would be married to &c. She would not tell him. He says he will not go to his work untill she does tell him and she says she will not. Thomas is very much troubled &c. Thomas has practiced kissing all in the house before he goes to bed &c. Went to Bewshers to dinner. She gave me a pint of Porter. ...

[George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1995, http://amzn.to/william-clayton]

45 years ago today - Feb 18 1975

Utah legislature, with solid Church support after rallying thousands of Mormon women against the issue, votes down Equal Rights Amendment.

[Chronology of Mormon History (Mormon Stories), http://www.mormonstories.org/truth-claims/chronology-of-mormon-history/]

25 years ago today - Feb 18, 1995

'On one occasion Paul H. Dunn, a newly appointed General Authority approached McKay with a request:

'I said to him, "President McKay, some day I would like to just have a little while with you to ask some questions that kids have been asking me for thireen years." That quick, he said "Well,I don't have anything schedule for the next hour or so let's do it now." And so I sat there and asked him every question I could thing of that those college kids were asking me. I guess a full 40-50% of his responses were, "I don't know. I don't know. The Lord hasn't told us yet."'

[David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, by Greg Prince, Chapter 1, Footnote 72, Interview with Paul H. Dunn, February 18, 1995.]

60 years ago today - Thu Feb 18, 1960

[David O. McKay]

10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple. One matter considered at this meeting wasBrother Mark E. Petersen's report on an assignment given him to investigate a game called "Exaltation," which has been prepared by the Bookcraft Company, and which is being sold in various stores, Z.C.M.I., Deseret Book Company, etc., and said that he had made an investigation of the game and explained to the Brethren just what the nature of it is. I commented that the Church is a sacred institution, that it is the only "Light" that the world has today, the only means by which peace can be established and the world saved, and anything that will cast reflection upon it should be avoided. I said I certainly did not think such games are uplifting when played in a group of people who are assembled for pleasure and recreation. I said that devotion and reverence are elements that need to be developed. =Humor, amusement, recreation, are elements intended to build character also, but the name of deity should not be associated with amusement and pleasure. I feel that the association used in this game is not reverential. and I think it would be well to let the Bookcraft Company know that we look upon the selling of this game in that way.

[McKay, David O., Office Journal]

85 years ago today - Feb 18, 1935

[Heber J. Grant]

We have never presumed to tell Church members how large their families should be. That is a matter that people must decide for themselves and accept the responsibility for their decision. We have always advocated large families under normal conditions. Of course, ill health, disease, and perhaps other conditions may be justifiable reasons for restrain in such matters. The first great commandment given to Adam and Eve was to multiply and replenish the earth. The teachings of the Church are reasonably clear upon the subject, but it is worth considering whether or not we should not avoid extremes in pressing our doctrines.

[Heber J. Grant, Letter to Samuel F. Smith, 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]

160 years ago today - Feb 18, 1860

Brigham Young's office journal records: "Pres[iden]t Young made a few remarks to the 3 Quorum of Seventies this evening; observed when the Spirit and power of the Office of a Seventy rest upon an Elder he will stand before the ruler of the Earth and they will feel like grasshoppers before him."

165 years ago today - Feb 18, 1855

[Wilford Woodruff]

Notice had been given out a week ago that President Brigham Young would preach to the people to day upon our views concerning the government of the United States and all strangers were invited to attend. At an early hour the tabernacle was filled & a thousand people that could not get into the House....

President Young arose & said ... He sustained the constitution of the United States also its laws but He used a sharp two edged sword against wickedness & wicked men. He sharply rebuked sin in high places & when the address was finished He followed with a lengthy sharp Cutting Oral Speech which was more pointed than his written...

At the close of the afternoon meeting I met in the prayer Circle & at the close of prayer I had the Happy privilege of seeing John Smith the son of Hiram Smith the martered Patriarch set in the middle of the circle & Presidents Young, Kimball & Grant & O. Pratt W. Woodruff G. A. Smith & Lorenzo Snow of the Twelve Apostles laid Hands upon his head & ordained Him unto the office of the first Patriarch in the church & kingdom of God. This blessing was sealed upon him as it belonged to him by right through the linage of his Fathers. ...

[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 18, 1855

Orson Pratt preaches: "I will tell you what I believe in regard to the Holy Ghost's being a person: but I know of no revelation that states that this is the fact." Wilford Woodruff preaches: "I would far prefer to bury any wife or child I have than to have them live to dishonor my name & disgrace themselves by commiting sin with the gentiles."

165 years ago today - Feb 18, 1855

... I well knew a man who, to get the plates, rode over sixty miles three times the same season they were obtained by Joseph Smith. About the time of their being delivered to Joseph by the angel, the friends of this man sent for him, and informed him that they were going to lose that treasure, though they did not know what it was. The man I refer to was a fortune-teller, a necromancer, an astrologer, a soothsayer, and possessed as much talent as any man that walked on the American soil, and was one of the wickedest men I ever saw. The last time he went to obtain the treasure he knew where it was, and told where it was, but did not know its value. Allow me to tell you that a Baptist deacon and others of Joseph's neighbors were the very men who sent for this necromancer the last time he went for the treasure. I never heard a man who could swear like that astrologer; he swore scientifically, by rule, by note. To those who love swearing, it was musical to hear him, but not so to me, for I would leave his presence. He would call Joseph everything that was bad, and say, '"I believe he will get the treasure after all.'" He did get it, and the war commenced directly. When Joseph obtained the treasure, the priests, the deacons, and religionists of every grade, went hand in hand with the fortune-teller, and with every wicked person, to get it out of his hands, and, to accomplish this, a part of them came out and persecuted him. ...

But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith Jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong; that they were following the precepts of men instead of the Lord Jesus; that He had a work for him to perform, inasmuch as he should prove faithful before Him.

Brethren and sisters, our friends wish to know our feelings towards the Government. I answer, they are first-rate, and we will prove it too, as you will see if you only live long enough, for that we shall live to prove it is certain; and when the Constitution of the United States hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they will have to call for the '"Mormon'" Elders to save it from utter destruction; and they will step forth and do it. We love the Constitution of our country; it is all we could ask; though in some few instances there might be some amendments made which would better it. We love the Federal Government, and the laws of Congress. There is nothing in those laws that in the least militates against us, not even to our excluding common law from this Territory. ... It was told him, while he was on the plains, that President Zachary Taylor was dead and damned, and it has gone through the States, from side to side, that I said so. It was first given out that the '"Mormons'" said so, and then that Brigham said so; well, I backed it up, because I knew it was true. I have just as good a right to say that President Taylor is in hell, as to say that any other miserable sinner is there. ... The newspapers are teeming with statements that I said, '"President Pierce and all hell could not remove me from office.'" I will tell you what I did say, and what I now say; the Lord reigns and rules in the armies of the heavens, and does His pleasure among the inhabitants of the earth. ... I conclude that I shall be Governor of Utah Territory, just as long as He [God] wants me to be; and for that time, neither the President of the United States, nor any other power, can prevent it. ...

Formerly the rumor was that '"they were agoing to tamper with the slaves,'" when we had never thought of such a thing. The seed of Ham, which is the seed of Cain descending through Ham, will, according to the curse put upon him, serve his brethren, and be a '"servant of servants'" to his fellowcreatures, until God removes the curse; and no power can hinder it. These are my views upon slavery. I will here say a little more upon this point. The conduct of the whites towards the slaves will, in many cases, send both slave and master to hell. This statement comprises much in a few words. The blacks should be used like servants, and not like brutes, but they must serve. It is their privilege to live so as to enjoy many of the blessings which attend obedience to the first principles of the Gospel, though they are not entitled to the Priesthood. ... I will take the Government of the United States, and the laws of Missouri and Illinois, from the year 1833 to 1845, and if they had been carried out according to their letter and spirit, they would have strung up the murderers and mobocrats who illegally and unrighteously killed, plundered, harassed, and expelled us. I will tell you how much I love those characters. If they had any respect to their own welfare, they would come forth and say, whether Joseph Smith was a Prophet or not, '"We shed his blood, and now let us atone for it;'" and they would be willing to have their heads chopped off, that their blood might run upon the ground, and the smoke of it rise before the Lord as an incense for their sins. I love them that much. ...

[Journal of Discourses. Liverpool, England, 1853-86. 2:179-191; Deseret News. Also Deseret Evening News, Deseret News Weekly, Deseret News Semi- Weekly, and Deseret News Extra, Salt Lake City as quoted in The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Ed. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Smith-Pettit Foundation, Salt Lake City (2009), http://bit.ly/BY-discourses]

195 years ago today - Feb 18, 1825

Rev. Alexander Proudfit, of Salem, N.Y. writes to Ethan Smith: "Reverend and esteemed Brother: I have examined with no inconsiderable interest your 'View of the Hebrews,' and have been highly entertained, and instructed. From the view given of their Language, and from the similarity of their customs and religious rites, with those of ancient Israel; from their belief in the existence of the one Great Spirit. as the Creator and Judge of the world; from their existing in tribes, during the lapse of so many ages; from the coincidence of their traditions with the events recorded in the inspired volume; we have in my opinion satisfactory evidence that the aborigines of our country are the remnant of the ten tribes of Israel."

195 years ago today - 1825 Feb 18

Russell Stoddard sues Joseph Smith Sr. for $66.59 for work completed on frame house. Stoddard wins judgment

[https://docs.google.com/document/d/10ttN3vOzf2UcVhruCrvDf9pF27T0o0PP0Xj1X98tKBc/edit?fbclid=IwAR3HXLgL-X-M_c5LT2W-_F7AYqsqqaQ0yIhfNuyeFsX85irSPuEO6_Q993A]

25 years ago today - Feb 17, 1995-Friday

[Leonard Arrington]

Sterling McMurrin, who was at the ballet, told me a J. Golden Kimball story. Said he was present when his grandmother [Mary Ellen], a wife of Joseph W. McMurrin [Sr.], the Seventy (now deceased), was visited by J. Golden. She was complaining of poor treatment by the Church. After her husband died, she had little to live on. She finally complained to the Church, and they soon started sending her a $10 check each month. She was insulted and sent the check back. J. Golden then said he prayed every night that his wife died before he did so she would not have to be subjected to depending on the Church for subsistence.

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

130 years ago today - Feb 17, 1890

First Counselor George Q. Cannon meets with the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Senator Calvin S. Brice. He argues against Brice's recommendation that the Church make a public announcement of the cessation of plural marriages by saying that plural marriages have ceased in the church and that older polygamists will eventually die off. He does not mention that church-sanctioned plural marriages are being conducted in Mexico by Alexander McDonald. Later at home, he writes in his diary, "How could any man come out and say that it [polygamy] was not right or that it must be discontinued, and set themselves up in opposition to God."

165 years ago today - Feb 17, 1855

'The Mormon' first published in New York City; John Taylor, editor. Ceases publication in 1857. Its motto was ―it is better to represent ourselves than to be represented by others. Proclaimed its desire to be the ―true representative of Mormonism to the world.

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

185 years ago today - Feb 17, 1835

The committee in charge of compiling Latter Day Saint revelations, comprising Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, issue a letter that later becomes the preface to the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. The preface describes the Lectures on Faith as "embracing the important doctrine of salvation", and describes the remaining section as containing "items of principles for the regulation of the church, as taken from the revelations which have been given since its organization, as well as from former ones." In the process of compilation, many of these earlier revelations were extensively revised by the committee.

[Wikipedia: Chronology of Mormonism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_Mormonism]

20 years ago today - Feb 16, 2000

Utah lawmakers excluded unmarried, single adults who live together from adopting children in an attempt to keep gay couples from adopting.

[Timeline of Mormon Thinking About Homosexuality, http://rationalfaiths.com/timeline-of-mormon-thinking-about-homosexuality/]

50 years ago today - Feb 16, 1970

Provo DAILY HEARALD quotes BYU Football coach Tommy Hudspeth that BYU "discourage[d] the Negroes because [it was felt] they would not be happy in the social situation here. We have certain rules and regulations which we won't change; we will not allow inter-racial dating"

55 years ago today - Feb 16, 1965

A student letter to the editor of BYU's DAILY UNIVERSE complains that the use of "racial slurs" by BYU students at sporting events is not just a few isolated incidents but "it has happened every time I have witnessed an athletic event where Negroes have participated at BYU"

60 years ago today - Tue Feb 16, 1960

[David O. McKay]

at meeting of Presidency: Billboard advertising of "Mormon Church" The billboard advertising soliciting attendance at "Mormon Church" meetings was considered, and it was agreed that since it does not comport with the dignity of the Church that this billboard advertising should be discontinued.

[McKay, David O., Office Journal]

160 years ago today - Feb 16, 1860

[Brigham Young]

The President also remarked when conversing upon the doctrine of polygamy that it was practiced now to give men an experience and prepare them for a time when polygamy will be more extensively practiced. -- Salt Lake City

[Brigham Young Office Journals, Special Collections, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan.; Archives, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.; New Mormon Studies CD-ROM as quoted 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 - Feb 16, 1845

[Wilford Woodruff]

This day fulfilled a prophecy which I predicted in the house of the Lord in Kirtland Ohio in 1837 that I should attend a Conference with Elder Milton Holmes in one of the British Isles.

[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 - about Feb 16, 1835

Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith saw in vision the order of the priesthood and the postmortal condition of those who died in Zion's Camp.

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