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]

50 years ago today - Dec 7, 1968

[Phone call, Ezra Taft Benson to First Presidency secretary Clare Middlemiss] "Clare, President McKay has told me on various occasions that there are two things he regretted in his presidency: (1) the untimely decision, which was later changed, to move the college at Rexburg to Idaho Falls; and (2) the issuing of the statement in the public press against the John Birch Society. Now, in order to alleviate that feeling about the John Birch Society, I wonder, since they are celebrating their 10th Anniversary tonight at a meeting and banquet in Indianapolis, Indiana, if President McKay would send a telegram similar to the following: "John Birch Society, c/o Mr. Robert Welch, Stauffer Inn, Indianapolis, Indiana—Congratulations upon reaching ten years of courageous and effective service in defense of our freedom and acquainting the American people with the insidious dangers of the atheistic communistic conspiracy. Best wishes for future success in the fight to preserve our God-given liberties." McKay was in a meeting, and counselor Alvin R. Dyer vetoed the request.

["Note by C.M. (Clare Middlemiss)", David O. McKay diary 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)]

65 years ago today - Dec 07, 1953

The West German government grants the Church Koerperschaft des Oeffenlichen Rechts (Corporation under Public Law), giving it equal rights with the established churches in Germany. This is the first time in German history that a foreign church has been so honored.

155 years ago today - Dec 7, 1863

[Wilford Woodruff]
Dec 7th 1863 I spent the fore part of the day in the office writing. Jason Luce killed a man in the street by the name of Samuel Burton from Origon. He cut his throat with a Bowe knife. He was immediately arested & imprisioned.

[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 - Dec 7, 1893

[Franklin D. Richards]
... decided that white is the color for marked garments to be worn. also that baptism should be administered as directed in the B[ook]. of M[ormon]. & Doc[trine]. & Cov[enants]. and not in a Bath Tub where the person officiating cannot go down into the water with the candidate. [This is the first departure of the Utah temple garment from the contemporary "Union suit" which comes in various colors and upon which the Utah "street garment" is based.]

[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]

165 years ago today - Dec 7, 1853

[Hosea Stout]
I forgot to state that while at American Creek I had the satisfaction to witness the triumph of Mormonism over the traditions of our fathers for George A. sealed Arza Adams to an old maid aged 48 as withered and forbidding as 4 Doz. Years of celibacy might natturally be supposed to indicate. She joyfully took his hand and consented to be part of himself as number two. Thus entering into a respectible state of matrimony under auspicious circumstances when nothing except the privileges of Mormonism would have permitted

[Diaries of Hosea Stout]

175 years ago today - Dec 7, 1843

The citizens of Nauvoo meet to draw up petitions against the Missouri kidnappings of the two Avery men and others.

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

120 years ago today - Dec 6, 1898 (Tuesday)

Twenty-four "ministers of the gospel," mostly residents of Salt Lake City, met and adopted an address, prepared by a committee of the so-called ministerial union, in which they "most earnestly" called upon the people of the United States to join them in a strong protest to Congress against the seating of Brigham H. Roberts, member elect from Utah.

[Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology]

135 years ago today - Dec 6, 1883

Patriarchal Blessing of Rudger Clawson given by William J. Smith ... Thou shalt be filled with revelation and prophecy and have power to discern and detect wicked and false spirits wherever thou goest, and thou shalt have power over devils and demons and all diseases and the desolating sickness which shall come over the land and all destructive elements. The winds and the waves shall obey thy voice, and the tempests of the mighty deep shall be stayed at thy command. No enemy shall have power over thee - not even a hair of thy head shall fall by a foe. Thou shalt heal the sick, and cast out devils and raise the dead, if it be necessary, and the sun and the moon shall even be stayed at thy command for the furtherance of the work of God.

Thy faith shall increase and thou shalt have power to prevail with God like the brother of Jared, until thou shalt behold God face to face. Thou shalt have mighty faith in Jesus and gather thy thousands to Zion and feed them in the days of famine by the power of God. Thou shalt assist in gathering the Zion of God from all nations and live to see Israel gathered from the four corners of the earth. Thou shalt be gathered to the center stake, and assist in building that holy temple where a cloud by day shall rest and a pillar of fire by night. Thou shalt be a pillar in that temple, and perform a great work for thy progenitors, and assist in the redemption of thousands of thy friends and kindred that have died without a knowledge of the gospel. ...

I seal thee up against all plagues and pestilence that shall be sent forth to devastate the wicked, but thy feet shall stand in holy and sure places in these days of trouble and woe. ... I seal you up to eternal life, to a holy resurrection with thy full redemption, with thine inheritance, in a kingdom of glory that shall never fail thee. Even so. Amen.

[Patriarchal Blessings]

185 years ago today - Dec 6, 1833

Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith and others prayed that the newly arrived printing press would be a means to bring -"about the restoration of the house of Israel.-",

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

40 years ago today - 40 years ago - Dec 5, 1978-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]
Yesterday I took opportunity to ask one of our best scholars [D. Michael Quinn] who had been through a number of diaries in the 20th century to give me the "straight story" on two episodes involving General Authorities that I hear rumors about all the time and have never had the chance to investigate them myself.

The first relates to Elder Richard R. Lyman, who had always been a favorite speaker and General Authority. ...

[A] friend says that Brother Lyman's "problem" was not adultery but plural marriage. He said that he was married in a covenant marriage to a second wife in 1925. This woman had previously been married herself in a plural marriage, about 1920, and Elder Lyman had been designated to investigate her situation, which he did and excommunicated her. She showed genuine repentance and came back into the Church about 1922. He played a role in that, apparently. But he did not fall in love with her apparently until about 1924 or '25. Rumor says that it was about that time that his wife, Amy Brown Lyman, determined she would not share the bed with him anymore, and that denial was a contributing factor to him "taking up with" this other woman. But my informant says that he has read the Lyman diaries and there is not one word in the diaries that would suggest that he blamed his wife for that liaison, not one word of recrimination or even a word indicating that she had denied him sexual privileges. This may reflect his genuine manhood-his refusal to blame someone else for his difficulties. At any rate, he entered into a covenant marriage-no third person performing the ceremony-in 1925, and held her as a plural wife until his excommunication, which occurred 12 Nov. 1943. The announcement of the Quorum of the Twelve said that he was being excommunicated "for violation of the Christian law of chastity," and my informant said that the Quorum of the Twelve did not know of his covenant marriage and he chose not to tell them. It was only in the years that followed that they learned this. He was rebaptized, I think in 1954, although he asked for rebaptism about 1945 or '46.31

The other case I enquired about relates to [theater professor] Joseph F. Smith-patriarch to the Church-Joseph Fielding Smith [his uncle's namesake], the son of Hyrum M. Smith, who in turn was the son of [church president] Joseph F. Smith. He was ordained a patriarch in 1942 and released in 1946, "due to ill health." My informant says that he was also disfellowshipped when he was released but that this was never announced. This almost no one knows about. My informant says that the disfellowshipment was arranged by his relative, President George Albert Smith, and that this was done quietly, probably in order to avoid a formal Church trial which might have resulted in his excommunication and in a wider knowledge of his "problem." The problem, according to the informant, was homosexuality. Apparently a woman whose son was about to leave for a mission came into his office to obtain a blessing for her son. She later charged that he had exhibited homosexual tendencies with her son. This charge resulted in him being called in for questioning by the First Presidency and led ultimately to his release.

The informant said that this may or may not have been the case. Apparently Patriarch Joseph F. was very effusive in greeting people. Instead of a normal formal handshake, he was more demonstrative and affectionate, let us say, and his hands would be on the shoulders or around the waist, and some people may have interpreted this as "pawing all over you." The informant thinks this may have been the case with the missionary and that Patriarch Joseph F. may have "seemed" to exhibit homosexual tendencies without having been an actual "hard" homosexual. The informant says that Patriarch Joseph F. had been ill for several months. Just what kind of illness is not clear. Could it have been an emotional illness-a kind of nervous breakdown? Could this have been an illness mentally which caused him to exhibit homosexual tendencies that were only latent when he was emotionally healthy? Could this have resembled the illness of people having emotional troubles, such as when such persons shoplift or exhibit their privates in a public toilet or kiss members of the opposite sex when they are not accustomed to doing so? And could his illness have been the real reason for his release, and the exhibition of symptoms of homosexuality been the reasons for the disfellowshipment? He was soon reinstated and his blessings restored, which suggests that he had once more become healthy emotionally. ...

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

50 years ago today - Dec 5, 1968

[David O. McKay]
Attention was called to a letter from President Reuel E. Christensen of the Manti Temple reporting that a bishop and stake president in one of the BYU Stakes had inquired if they could send colored people who are members of the Church in good standing residing in their wards to do baptismal work for the dead in the temple. I ruled that worthy negro baptized members of the Church should be permitted to do baptismal work for the dead if they desire to do so.

[David O. McKay diary, Dec. 5, 1968, in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship]

85 years ago today - Dec 5, 1933

Prompted by Prohibition's vast unpopularity as well rampant organized crime--namely bootlegging--and the loss of potential tax revenue from alcohol, the 21st Amendment is passed, repealing Prohibition. Utah is the last state to ratify the amendment.

[Harward, Randy; Utah Brewing Timeline, Salt Lake City Weekly, Aug 24, 2011]

115 years ago today - Dec 05, 1903

Harper's Weekly, a U.S. national newspaper, defends Apostle Reed Smoot during the Senate hearings on his worthiness to be seated following his election to the U.S. Senate. Smoot's seating was opposed because it was rumored the church continued to secretly sanction polygamous marriages.

180 years ago today - Dec 5, 1838

Governor Boggs defends his Extermination Order in the state legislature.

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

185 years ago today - Dec 5, 1833

[David Stafford (neighbor of the Smiths)]
I have been acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith Sen. for several years ... It is well known, that the general employment of the Smith family was money digging and fortune-telling. They kept around them constantly, a gang of worthless fellows who dug for money nights, and were idle in the day time. ...

[Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, Ohio: E. D. Howe, 1834), 249-50., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: David Stafford Statement]

45 years ago today - Dec 4, 1973-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]
... This meeting had been arranged by Jay Todd as he thought it would be helpful for us to understand the policy of the Ensign in relation to the articles which we have and will be preparing for publication there. I really think that the underlining motive of Brother Todd was to have us there to persuade Brother Green to be a little more lenient in permitting publication of items that we prepared. The experience which occasioned the meeting was the editing of an article on Brigham Young's writings by Dean Jessee. In editing this article they had done two things: first they had eliminated all references to the plural wives of Brigham Young; nevertheless they had left in references to his forty-six children that had grown to maturity. Second, they had corrected the spelling of the quotations from Brigham Young's diaries and letters.

During the twenty years Brother [Richard L.] Evans was editor of the Improvement Era neither the word sex nor the phenomenon of sex could be mentioned nor could polygamy or plural marriage or the phenomenon of plurality.

Marba Josephson, [had been the associate managing editor of the Improvement Era] who complained about these restraints, said she always wondered how [apostle] Richard L. Evans ever got his wife Alice pregnant considering his prudery. Also the Improvement Era never could use the eternal triangle in any fiction they ran. It was just not something they would permit. The Church magazines today have inherited this policy plus additional restraints-no discussion of the Negro question, play down the Missouri persecutions (since this reflects on our enemies), don't permit a characterization of the Indians as the bad guys.

Brother Green thought that reproducing the misspelled words of the prophets tended to discredit them. We had quite a long discussion on the subject. ... It would appear that what Jay Todd can run depends upon what he thinks Brother Green will approve, what Brother Green will approve depends upon what he thinks Brother Ludlow will approve, what Brother Ludlow will approve depends upon what he thinks "the brethren" will approve, what the apostle advisors will approve depends upon what they think President Lee will approve, so all the way through everybody is second guessing the one next above him in authority. Everybody seemed to be terrified that if he makes a mistake the prophet will lash out like a watchdog demanding to know "Who authorized that," and the responsibility will be lodged with some particular person. The thing that disturbs me is so what? What is the Prophet going to do to you if he finds that you have made a mistake? Is he going to slip out his bowie knife and cut you down? ...

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

110 years ago today - Friday, Dec 4, 1908

[John Henry Smith]
I went with John M. Cannon of Granite Stake to South Cottonwood Ward where we investigated the Bishopric of that ward. We are satisfied that they obeyed the Words of Wisdom.

[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]

180 years ago today - Dec 4, 1838

[Wilford Woodruff]
Phebe is still vary feeble & low. ... I felt the power of the destroyer resting upon me in the fore part of the day.

In the evening Phebe for the first time during her sickness began to lay hold on faith for her recovery. Her faith was strong in God. We laid hold on faith together repented of all our sins & confessed them befor God & covenanted to keep his Commandments. I had some oil that was Consecrated for my anointing while in kirtland. I again Consecrated it before God for anointing the sick. I bowed myself down before the Lord & prayed with my companion & anointed her [with] oil in the name of the Lord. I laid my hands upon her in the name of JESUS CHRIST and rebuked the fever the destroyier the deadly malidy that was praying upon her system & thank God we both obtained a great blessing in so doing & according to her faith her fever left her & praised be the name of GOD for we will ever keep his commandments & trust in him. Praise the Lord O my soul for all of his wonderful acts.

[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 - Dec 4, 1833

[Joseph Smith]
[On] the 4th [of] Dec[ember 1833] [we] commenced distributing the type and commenced setting on the 6[th of December]. Being prepared to commence our Labours in the printing buisness I ask God in the name of Jesus to establish it for ever and cause that his word may speedily go forth [to] the Nations of the earth to the accomplishing of his great work in bringing about the restoration of the house of Israel.

[Faulring, Scott (ed.), An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith: Joseph Smith Diary, 1832-34, http://amzn.to/jsdiaries]

185 years ago today - Dec 4, 1833

Palmyra, Dec. 4, 1833.

We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with the Smith family, for a number of years, while they resided near this place, and we have no hesitation in saying, that we consider them destitute of that moral character, which ought to entitle them to the confidence of any community. They were particularly famous for visionary projects, spent much of their time in digging for money which they pretended was hid in the earth; and to this day, large excavations may be seen in the earth, not far from their residence, where they used to spend their time in digging for hidden treasures. Joseph Smith, Senior, and his son Joseph, were in particular, considered entirely destitute of moral character, and addicted to vicious habits. ...

Geo. N. Williams,

Clark Robinson,

Lemael Durfee,

E. S. Townsend,

Henry P. Alger,

C. E. Thayer,

G. W. Anderson,

H. P. Thayer,

L. Williams,

Geo. W. Crosby,

Levi Thayer,

R. S. Williams,

P. Sexton,

M. Butterfield,

S. P. Seymour,

D. S. Jackways,

John Hurlbut,

H. Linnell,

Jas. Jenner,

S. Ackley,

Josiah Rice,

Jesse Townsend,

Rich'd. D. Clark,

Th. P. Baldwin,

John Sothington,

Durfey Chase,

Wells Anderson,

N. H. Beckwith,

Philo Durfee,

Giles. S. Ely,

R. W. Smith,

Pelatiah West,

Henry Jessup,

Linus North,

Thos. Rogers, 2d.

Wm. Parke,

Josiah Francis,

Amos Hollister,

G. A. Hathaway,

David G. Ely,

H. K. Jerome,

G. Beckwith,

Lewis Foster,

Hiram Payne,

P. Grandin,

L. Hurd,

Joel Thayer,

E. D. Robinson,

Asahel Millard,

A. Ensworth,

Isarel F. Chilson

[Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, Ohio: E. D. Howe, 1834), 261-62., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: Palmyra Residents Group Statement]

55 years ago today - Dec 3, 1963

Some rank-and-file Mormons threatened to picket Benson's farewell talk at the LDS tabernacle in Logan, Utah, because his remarks "will most likely be an attempt to again build up the John Birch Society." When stake leaders "became skittish" about letting him use the tabernacle for this talk, Benson said he would "hold the meeting in a tent, if need be."

["Group Decides Against Picketing Benson Talk," Ogden Standard-Examiner, 3 Dec. 1963, A-7; Dew, Ezra Taft Benson, 372-73. 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.]

75 years ago today - Dec 3, 1943

[J. Reuben Clark]
[Regarding Apostle Lyman's extra-marital relationship] I told Bro. Hardy I was still not satisfied that we knew all about the situation. I still could not wipe out the "new polygamy" idea.

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

120 years ago today - Dec 03, 1898

The first issues of the Latter-day Saints' Southern Star, a weekly Church periodical, is published in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

130 years ago today - Dec 3, 1888

[Brigham Young Jr.]
Left home before daylight, repaired to the Gardo House. Met Bro[ther]. Jos[eph]. F. S[mith]. Our quorum meets at 10 a.m. A very unpleasant meeting this has been; but I was thankful to witness the brethren tone down when reprimanded by our president. How the adversary creeps in, through selfishness he seeks to mould the brethren to his will.

[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 - Dec 3, 1848

[Hosea Stout]
In a letter from George A. Smith we learn that on the 4th of July last the people of Nauvoo borrowed a cannon from Carthage to celebrate the day & that night it left & was only tracked to the river where no doubt it passed through the cerimonies of immersion & he thought it would be wending its way west in search of new adventures. ...

A Proclamation was read from [apostle] Lyman Wight & Bishop George Miller, Calling on all the people to geather to them on the Rio Colerado about 75 miles from Austin Texas. [Joseph Smith had charged Wight with finding an area for the saints to settle in Texas.] It is a long document & contains some foul insinuations against the Twelve. It breaths a dishonest, low, and mean, Spirit and was recieved as such by the saints both here & at the Bluffs

Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmore & W. E. Mc[.] Lelland were trying to raise up the kingdom again. also William Smith. But the "Sound of their grinding is low"They are all waiting for the Twelve & Presidncy to fall.

After the news was read the case of Lyman [Wight] was taken up and he & all who were with him were cut off from the church as the Saints at the Bluffs also done at the conference.

In the evening I went to the Council. ... The president [Brigham Young] explained the object of the exploring expidition now being raise. which was to look out a good place to locate a settlement on the gulf & California & a road from thence to this place.

[Diaries of Hosea Stout]

175 years ago today - Dec 3, 1843

[Anointed Quorum]
Sunday prayer circle meeting at noon in the upper "assembly room" of Joseph Smith's store where "all [were] present except Hyrum & his wife," and Emma Smith attended even though she "had been unwell during the night." Instead of ordinances, this was a political meeting: "The fore part of the day was taken up on the Appeal to the Green Mountain Boys. It was read by W. W. Phelps & [was] consecrated & dedicated unto God by the quorum."

[I believe this is the first time women participated in priesthood quorum decision making/ business.]

[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]

25 years ago today - Dec 2, 1993-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]
I received a call from the office of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada in Washington, D.C. inviting us to lunch in SLC yesterday noon. Harry was a student in political science and history back in the 1960s when I was in the USU Stake Presidency. He and his wife Landra [[Landra Joy Gould (1940-) was born and raised Jewish. Since her parents disap- proved of Harry Reid, the couple eloped in 1959 and she worked to put him through USU and George Washington University law school, while also raising five children.]] had just been converted to the Church and I had the privilege of ordaining him an Elder and signing their first temple recommend. They have been close friends ever since. He invited us to dinner every two or three years when he is in SLC or Provo and we have a good chat. He is a former golden gloves boxer; attended College of Southern Utah in Cedar City for a couple of years, then two years at USU. He was here with Landra to speak to classes and students at BYU, where his son is a law student. They have 4 children, all of whom have gone to BYU. Landra has been a Relief Society president; now a teacher. Harry likes to read-is now on the fourth volume of Will Durant's history of civilization [The Age of Faith]. We talked politics, economics, Mormonism, and family. Landra, now that her children are grown, is interested in lots of things. This is their 11th year in Washington-4 years as a Congressman and now 7 years as a Senator. He is a Democrat, moderate in philosophy and voting. He is on Appropriations, Environment, and other important committees. He's now working on the health bill with Hillary [Clinton], for whom he has enormous respect. He's a good guy. We like him and Landra.

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

40 years ago today - Dec 2, 1978-Saturday

[Leonard Arrington (Church Historian)]
I now (Dec. 2, 78) make comments about 1978. This was a year, in my opinion, when Elder [G. Homer] Durham became determined to become the Church Historian, i.e., to take active charge of our division and replace me as its administrator. He sought to get me on to a program of research and writing, and to "take over" to himself the determination of what other members of the staff would do. His purpose in doing this was to replace our judgment with his own, cut down our staff and work, and gradually phase out the division. He gave a variety of reasons for doing this, none of which, in my judgment, hold water. He said that the Church needed to cut down on departmental budgets. But other departments, generally speaking, are not reducing staff. ... He said that the authorities of the Church were displeased with our work, distrusted what we are doing, and wished to liquidate our division. This is not the tenor of letters we have received from the First Presidency or other General Authorities, and we firmly believe that the letter from the First Presidency that contains a hint of this was written by Elder Durham himself and given to them by him for their signatures. Only Elder [Ezra Taft] Benson and Elder [Mark E.] Petersen are distrustful of us, and they have been outvoted by the Quorum of the Twelve on two separate occasions that we know of. ... He has said a number of times that he hates to preside over the liquidation of the division, paraphrasing [Winston] Churchill. I do not find this funny.

I am determined not to let him liquidate the division. I am not defying him, publicly at least. But I am insisting upon holding actions which will keep the liquidation to a minimum-in the hope that he will someday change his mind or that he will be replaced. I firmly believe in what we are doing, that what we are doing is beneficial to the Church, and that future generations will call us blessed for doing what we are doing. Believing this firmly, I am determined not to "let the Church down" by giving in to Elder Durham's whims. ... And he, by the way, does not allow us to "defend ourselves" before the advisors to the Twelve. He and Earl Olson meet with them without our presence. So he is our sole link with "approval."

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

110 years ago today - Dec 2, 1908

Bro[ther]. [Heber J.] Grant remarked that while attending the Nebo [Utah] Conference he ... learned that the Seventies' meetings on Sunday mornings were having a poor effect, for the reason that while they faithfully attended their quorum meetings they could not be used in the Ward to any extent otherwise, and besides, as a general thing, they did not attend their sacrament meetings. Bro[ther]. Grant also said it had come to this, that in order for a Bishop to get the benefit and utilize the labors of Seventies in the Sunday Schools they had to ordain them High Priests. Bro[ther]. Grant added that since it had been determined to hold ward priesthood meetings on Monday nights, he thought it would be a good plan for the Seventies to meet with them also instead of meeting as quorums on Sunday mornings, as it would help to correct the feeling among the Seventies generally which had manifested itself in Canada and Oregon, in effect, that the Bishops had no right to enter their quorum meetings; and besides, it might leave Seventies free to labor as Elders and High Priests do under the direction of the Bishops, and at the same time do away with the idea that when the services of Seventies are needed in Sunday Schools, that such brethren would not have to be called upon missions to labor in the Sunday Schools. ... Motion seconded by Brother [David O.] McKay. President [Joseph F.] Smith remarked that he favored the motion, and requested Bro[ther]. [Francis M.] Lyman and the Apostles to inform the First Council of Seventy of this action. Motion put and carried.

[Minutes, 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 2, 1843

[William Clayton]
A.M. at the Temple Office. Bro Cutler called me aside & gave me to understand that Cahoon was fully bent on having revenge on my head. It appears he is trying to excite the stone cutters against me & I know no cause except it be because I have opposed his dishonesty & told him of it. I now realise my situation more sensibly than I ever did in my life. I might have the privilege of being received into the quorum of anointing but Cahoon has got there and through private pique he is resolved to deprive me of that privilege. that added to Emmas determination to be revenged sink my mind & fills me with agony, but I yet believe that innocence will finally triumph & I shall be prospered. As to any accusation which may be brought against me by the stone cutters my conscience is at peace. I am at the defiance of all or any man & am willing to be proved I wrote a long letter to J. on the subject.

[The Nauvoo Diaries of William Clayton, 1842-1846, Abridged, Digital Edition, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2015]

175 years ago today - Dec 2, 1843

Brigham recorded his dream in which he, his legal wife, and the Prophet were traveling in a covered carriage: "Br Joseph Smith sat on the Back Seat with my wife [--] he whispered to hir [her--] Sead [said] it was wright [right] if she was a mind to [--] nothing more past [passed] betwen [sic] them." Then, in the dream, she disappears and is next seen as a corpse in a hearse.

During a meeting of Church President Wilford Woodruff with the apostles in the Salt Lake Temple on 25 June 1896, there was a discussion about "certain trials or tests to which Prests. B. Young and Jno. Taylor were put by Prest. Joseph the Prophet in Nauvoo, as the plurality & Eternity of the M. [Marriage] covenant was being revealed. Also what Emma was commanded to abstain from, and O. Hyde's trial also." Young's dream in December 1843 apparently referred to the Prophet's "test" of asking for Brigham's wife to become Joseph's.

[Brigham Young 1840-44 journal; Franklin D. Richards journal, 25 June 1896, LDS Church History Library; "Evidence For The Sexual Side of Joseph Smith's Polygamy," Comments by D. Michael Quinn on Session #2A "Reconsidering Joseph Smith's Marital Practices," Mormon History Association's Annual Conference, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 29 June 2012 (unabbreviated version, revised during July)]

175 years ago today - Dec 2, 1843

The first endowments for women and more for men are conducted. During this month, there are several hostile incidents: Missourians kidnap a Mormon on a four-year-old horse-stealing charge and take him across the state line. A Mormon living on the prairie is stabbed and robbed. A Mormon's house is burned near Ramus.

[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]

185 years ago today - Dec 2, 1833

[Peter Ingersoll]
"I picked up a small stone and was careless tossing it from one hand to the other. ' No, said the old man, it is of great worth; and upon this I gave it to him. ' He then put the stone which I had given him, into his hat, and stooping forward, he bowed and made sundry maneuvers, quite similar to those of a stool pigeon. At length he took down his hat, and being very much exhausted, said, in a faint voice, "if you knew what I had seen, you would believe."

[Peter Ingersoll affidavit, 2 December 183, as quoted in A Topical Guide of Treasure-Seeking Rituals From the American Northeast during the 18th and 19th Centuries, Compiled by Joseph T. Antley (2010)]

40 years ago today - Dec 1, 1978-Friday

[Leonard Arrington]
I meant to record earlier that Senator Orrin Hatch told me on one occasion in general conference that he had studied under Kent Fielding at BYU and that as a part of the "enlightening" process under Dr. Fielding, he had read quite a number of anti-Mormon books. The end result of doing this was to realize the superficiality of most of these and to increase his testimony of the gospel. [[Hatch graduated from BYU in history in 1959 when R. Kent Fielding had been on the faculty already for seven years but had completed his PhD from the University of Indiana only two years earlier. His emphasis was LDS history.]]

Also wanted to record what Earl Olson had told me earlier, that there are two seerstones in the Joseph Fielding Smith safe which is in the vault of the First Presidency. Earl is not certain about these seerstones; he thinks one of them belonged to Hiram Page, and one of them may very well have belonged to the Prophet Joseph [Smith]. He says one is kind of a clear geode, and the other is a chocolate color with specks. I have a vague memory that he said that they were about the size of a hen's egg.

Somebody told me the other day that they had been reading some correspondence and that they found evidence of a disagreement between David O. McKay and Joseph Fielding Smith on an important matter of Church doctrine. This is the question of whether a person in the hereafter can advance from one kingdom to another. According to this source, David O. McKay said yes, a person may advance from one kingdom to another in the next world; Joseph Fielding Smith said no, he or she will be restricted to whatever kingdom they are assigned to.

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

45 years ago today - Dec 1, 1973-Saturday

[Leonard Arrington]
It is clear that the position of Church Historian in an ecclesiastical sense has diminished or declined. With Joseph Fielding Smith, who was known as Church Historian perhaps more prominently than he was known as an Apostle, the position had power and terrifying influence, respect and recognition. After two years, and despite my appearances to thousands of audiences here and in Idaho, California, and Arizona, it seems clear that very few persons know the name of the Church Historian, and remain half skeptical when someone introduces me as Church Historian. It's like a seminary teacher in California expressed it to me: "You are a Church Historian, of course; but you aren't the Church Historian, are you?" Some of this will be remedied as we publish books and articles. But we shall never again, I hope, have the "cult of personality" connected with the office that we have had with George A. Smith, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, and Joseph Fielding Smith. The move to a professional historian is good and makes the history stand on scholarship and judgment rather than on the basis of the authority of the Historian. ... What happens when we publish books including material which they have studiously avoided including in church magazines? What happens when we revise standard accounts of church history? What happens when we have treatments of polygamy? There are three topics which the church magazines studiously avoid: polygamy-any mention of plural wives; masonry-any mention of the extensive masonry activities of Nauvoo; and such other controversial items as Mountain Meadows Massacre, Negroes and the Priesthood, and practices connected with the temple. There are persons who tell me that it is impossible for a Mormon, let alone a church employee, to write a reasonably objective and complete history. This must be done by a non-Mormon, because he has neither internal nor external restraints on what he writes. Some time ago, at my suggestion, Dean Jessee prepared an article for the Ensign on Brigham Young as a writer. A splendid article. The Ensign accepted it, and it now turns out that through the influence of Doyle Green, and correlation, Dean must eliminate references to the plural wives of Brigham Young and must correct the spelling mistakes in his letters and diary excerpts. But if we were publishing it, we would leave both in. Should we fight these changes or accept them? I took the attitude that we should concede to them the right to establish their own policies for publishing in church magazines. We should not appeal. If we did so, then higher authority would enter into it, and the first thing we knew, they would be telling us how we should publish as well. I should prefer for us to be left independently. If we had to go through correlation and get approval from higher ecclesiastical authority for all we publish, then we might as well close up shop. If history is going to be an aspect of doctrine and missionary work, then our department should not exist. ... In 1974 we shall publish Letters of Brigham Young to his sons, and, hopefully William Clayton diaries and the biographies of Charles C. Rich and David Eccles. ...

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

65 years ago today - Dec 1, 1953

[J. Reuben Clark]
Yesterday (November 30, 1953): I got in touch with Brother Ivor Sharp and asked him to get in touch with Rosel Hyde, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, in order that I might talk to him regarding the establishing of an international short-wave station. ...

He said he assumed that as to any station which we might set up, we would be willing to devote part of the time to something beside proselyting, give cultural programs, and what not. I told him I thought we would, or course, be willing to do that.

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

120 years ago today - Dec 1, 1898

The first Circular of Instructions on tithing settlement issued by the new First Presidency-Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith. It was issued five months before Lorenzo Snow received the revelation on tithing.

[1898-December 1-Circular of Instructions, Church Historian's Library, Salt Lake City, in Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]

120 years ago today - Thursday, Dec 1, 1898

[John Henry Smith]
It was decided to Issue a half Million of bonds at 6 percent for Eleven years, and fifty thousand dollars to be placed as a sinking fund each year after the first year.

[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]

145 years ago today - Dec 1, 1873 (Monday)

Notwithstanding Geo. R. Maxwell's protest, Geo. Q. Cannon was permitted to take his seat in Congress.

[Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology]

175 years ago today - Dec 1, 1843

Joseph Smith's manuscript diary makes first mention of the Nauvoo Mansion's bar room. Joseph Smith III later reminisced that his father set up a fully-stocked bar with Orrin Porter Rockwell as bartender.

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

180 years ago today - Dec 1, 1838

Joseph begins his stay in Liberty jail, which lasts almost six months. The jail is 22 feet square, with walls four feet thick. The food is filthy, and at one time the guards boast that they have fed the prisoners human flesh. At another point the prisoners are fed poison. However, some exciting things also occur during their prison stay. Parley P. Pratt writes poetry and a history of his life; Lyman Wight is blessed several times by Joseph and learns many things "yet unknown to the Church." George A. Smith is called to the apostleship; Brigham Young and others receive instructions about moving the Saints to Illinois; Joseph reveals several of the most important sections of the D&C.

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

185 years ago today - Dec 1, 1833

[Roswell Nichols]
... I lived a neighbor to the said family about two years. ... he [Joseph Smith Sr.] told me that he had received an express command for me to repent and believe as he did, or I must be damned. I refused to comply, and at the same time told him of the various impositions of his family. He then stated their digging was not for money but it was for the obtaining of a Gold Bible. Thus contradicting what he had told me before: for he had often said, that the hills in our neighborhood were nearly all erected by human hands--that they were all full of gold and silver. And one time, when we were talking on the subject, he pointed to a small hill on my farm, and said, "in that hill there is a stone which is full of gold and silver. I know it to be so, for I have been to the hole, and God said unto me, go not in now, but at a future day you shall go in and find the book open, and then you shall have the treasures." He said that gold and silver was once as plenty as the stones in the field are now--that the ancients, half of them melted the ore and made the gold and silver, while the other half buried it deeper in the earth, which accounted for these hills. Upon my enquiring who furnished the food for the whole, he flew into a passion, and called me a sinner, and said he, "you must be eternally damned."

[Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, Ohio: E. D. Howe, 1834), 257-58., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: Roswell Nichols Statement]