40 years ago today - Dec 15, 1979

Two piece garment introduced. The most dramatic recent change was the two-piece garment in 1979. In a letter to Church leaders dated December 15, 1979, the First Presidency announced the introduction in February 1979 of two-piece temple garments. The new style garments were offered in addition to, and priced about the same as, the regular one-piece variety. No explanation for or description of the new garments was given.

[The Temple Timeline (Masons, Ancient Temples, Garments and a Lot More), http://www.exploringmormonism.com/the-temple-timeline-masons-ancient-temples-garments-and-a-lot-more/]

50 years ago today - Dec 15, 1969

First Presidency Statement on blacks. The statement came amid newspaper reports of first counselor Hugh B. Brown's statements about an imminent change in the church's policy toward blacks and the priesthood. Apostle Harold B. Lee reversed the Twelve's amenability to such a change and drafts this reaffirmation of the policy. Brown reluctantly signs it after he adds an edorsement of civil rights for African-Americans. It is published on 10 Jan. 1970. In response, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP writes a guest editorial for the Los Angeles Times on 26 Jan, which concludes: "The Mormon walls on race will come tumbling down," a prophecy fulfilled in eight years.

"In view of confusion that has arisen, it was decided at a meeting of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to restate the position of the Church with regard to the Negro both in society and in the Church. "

"First, may we say that we know something of the sufferings of those who are discriminated against in a denial of their civil rights and Constitutional privileges. ... "

"In revelations received by the first prophet of the Church in this dispensation, Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the Lord made it clear that it is "not right that any man should be in bondage one to another." ... "

"It follows, therefore, that we believe the Negro, as well as those of other races, should have his full Constitutional privileges as a member of society, and we hope that members of the Church everywhere will do their part as citizens to see that these rights are held inviolate. ... "

"However, matters of faith, conscience, and theology are not within the purview of the civil law. The first amendment to the Constitution specifically provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

"The position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affecting those of the Negro race who choose to join the Church falls wholly within the category of religion. It has no bearing upon matters of civil rights. In no case or degree does it deny to the Negro his full privileges as a citizen of the nation."

"This position has no relevancy whatever to those who do not wish to join the Church. Those individuals, we suppose, do not believe in the divine origin and nature of the church, nor that we have the priesthood of God. Therefore, if they feel we have no priesthood, they should have no concern with any aspect of our theology on priesthood so long as that theology does not deny any man his Constitutional privileges. "

"A word of explanation concerning the position of the Church."

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owes its origin, its existence, and its hope for the future to the principle of continuous revelation. ... "

"From the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all succeeding presidents of the Church have taught that Negroes, while spirit children of a common Father, and the progeny of our earthly parents Adam and Eve, were not yet to receive the priesthood, for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man. "

"Our living prophet, President David O. McKay, has said, "The seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God…. "

"Revelation assures us that this plan antedates man's mortal existence, extending back to man's pre-existent state."

President McKay has also said, "Sometime in God's eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the priesthood."

Until God reveals His will in this matter, to him whom we sustain as a prophet, we are bound by that same will. Priesthood, when it is conferred on any man comes as a blessing from God, not of men.

... We have no racially-segregated congregations.

... But we believe that this work is directed by God and that the conferring of the priesthood must await His revelation. To do otherwise would be to deny the very premise on which the Church is established.

We recognize that those who do not accept the principle of modern revelation may oppose our point of view. We repeat that such would not wish for membership in the Church, and therefore the question of priesthood should hold no interest for them. Without prejudice they should grant us the privilege afforded under the Constitution to exercise our chosen form of religion just as we must grant all others a similar privilege. They must recognize that the question of bestowing or withholding priesthood in the Church is a matter of religion and not a matter of Constitutional right.

... Meanwhile we must strive harder to emulate His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose new commandment it was that we should love one another. In developing that love and concern for one another, while awaiting revelations yet to come, let us hope that with respect to these religious differences, we may gain reinforcement for understanding and appreciation for such differences. They challenge our common similarities, as children of one Father, to enlarge the out-reachings of our divine souls.

Faithfully your brethren,

The First Presidency

By Hugh B. Brown

N. Eldon Tanner

[Neither White nor Black: Mormon Scholars Confront the Race Issue in a Universal Church: Chronological Bibliography on the Negro Doctrine [1900-1983], Edited by Lester E. Bush, Jr., and Armand L. Mauss, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

50 years ago today - Dec 15, 1969

A First Presidency letter giving stake presidents the authority to set apart full-time missionaries. Previously only general authorities did this.

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

105 years ago today - Dec 15, 1914

George J. Taylor dies "at his home," according to the Deseret News, but actually in the Utah Insane Asylum, according to its records. The oldest son of LDS president John Taylor, George was also a member of the theocratic Council of Fifty. He is the first prominent Utah Mormon to die in a mental asylum (he has been a patient since February).

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

115 years ago today - Dec 15, 1904; Thursday

[Thomas Clawson]

The [Reed] Smoot investigation was resumed in Washington [D.C.] on Monday. Brother George Reynolds Mrs. Mina Cannon Ellis J. H. Wallis August Lundstrom and John Nicholson have testified. Wallis and Lundstrom are both Apostates and they have revealed the signs, tokens and pen[a]lties of the Temple. It is most shocking to read of these things but he devil has his agents who are working as hard as they can to destroy the work of the Lord but in this they will fail.

[Thomas A. Clawson, Diary]

120 years ago today - Dec 15, 1899

[Benjamin Cluff, BYA (BYU) President]

Last Friday [i.e., December 15, 1899] we held a special fast day in behalf of the school [i.e., Brigham Young Academy]. .... talked to them about a proposed scientific tour or expedition through Mexico, Cenetral America and South America [to search for Book of Mormon evidence]. They were much interested and wanted me to bring the matter up before Pres[iden]t. [Lorenzo] Snow.

[Benjamin Cluff Jr. Diary, December 17, 1899, 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]

185 years ago today - Mid-Dec. 1834

A letter from Gov. Dunklin rekindles the hopes of the Missouri Saints. He says he will not reinstate them to their lands by force, but that they must go through the local courts.

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

135 years ago today - 135 years ago - Dec 14, 1884

George Q. Cannon preaches, "Now I have heard that there are men among us who are professing to cure witchcraft and other evils of that kind... Do not seek for those who have peepstones, for soothsayers, and for those who profess to be able to counter-act the influence of witchcraft." Faithful Mormons continue using counter-charms.

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

55 years ago today - Dec 14, 1964

[Ezra Taft Benson]

Regarding his father's mission call to Europe, at a church farewell on December 14, 1964 Reed Benson complained that his father had been "`stabbed' in the back." The Twelve's president was present to hear the younger Benson's remark that his father's mission call was a back-stab.

Nine days later, Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: "I am glad to report to you that it will be some time before we hear anything from Brother Benson, who is now on his way to Great Britain where I suppose he will be, at least for the next two years.

[Quinn, D. Michael; Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought]

80 years ago today - Dec 14, 1939

[President Heber J. Grant]

I made up my mind, after talking to a number of the Brethren yesterday, to recommend at our meeting today that Sister May Green Hinckley be made Superintendent of the Primary Association General Board. I called and saw Brother B.S. Hinckley and told him what I was going to do. I called up his wife and congratulated her, and then I called and told May Anderson, Superintendent of the Primary, that we had decided upon Sister Hinckley. I had a telephone message from J. Reuben Clark, Jr. He gave his endorsement of Sister Hinckley. Brother David O. McKay called me last night on the telephone. I had called him from the office telling him I was in favor of Sister Hinckley and he said, 'I think you are making a mistake. She is not well enough educated for that important position.' When I got home he called and said, 'I am a hundred per cent for Sister Hinckley. I got the wrong Hinckley in mind.' I was very glad indeed to have this endorsement. Sister Anderson was very much pleased with the selection of Sister Hinckley.

[Diary of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

110 years ago today - Dec 14, 1909; Tuesday

[George F. Richards]

I had a private conversation with Pres[ident]. Francis M. Lyman in which I expressed the thought that it would be well for members of our Council of Twelve who have but one living wife to have some good dead women sealed to them while they are here and can look after their own interests as I have done, and perhaps Pres[ident]. Lyman could present it to these members in a way that they would take no offense. I would have my brethren avoid the disappointments which must follow neglect of opportunity.

[George F. Richards, Diary]

120 years ago today - Dec 14, 1899

Brothers J. G[olden]. Kimball and J[oseph]. W. McMurrin, of the First Council of Seventies, having been invited to go into business for the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, with which concern their associate, Elder Rulon S. Wells, was already engaged under permission of the First Presidency, given last April, they now desired to know the mind of the Presidency upon their own case.

Brother Grant remarked that he could see no reason why they should not be left at liberty to enter into such an engagement. He also said that he felt there was an excellent opportunity to establish a Home Life Insurance Company among ourselves, and he heartily favored such an institution.

President Snow invited the brethren to express themselves on this subject, whereupon President Cannon said that he was against life insurance as a general proposition, but that he would favor a local organization. He could foresee, however, that if the Church were to engage in anything of that kind, it would invite attacks upon it by its opponents.

Brother Grant suggested that individual names might be used in behalf of the Church. He showed how money could be made in the business, stating that he himself had made as much as $1500 in three days. He would take delight in canvassing for a Church institution, free of charge. He showed that the risks among our people, who were more moral than others, would not be so great as those that other companies carried. Moreover, it would have the effect of keeping money at home.

Brother John W. Taylor reminded the Council that the only thing which induced our people to join secret organizations was to get the benefit of reduced rates of life insurance; and Brother Grant remarked that his brother, B[enjamin]. F. Grant, had told him that from personal experience he knew of nothing so potent as an influence to wean away the feelings and destroy the faith of our young men, as membership in these secret organizations.

President Snow observed that as this was a new idea to the Council, he thought each member might ponder it over for himself and discuss it further at some other time.

Meantime, it was asked, what should be done with the request of Brother Kimball and Brother McMurrin. Brother Grant moved that a committee be appointed to consider the question of the Church going into the business of life insurance, and that these brethren wait for an answer until that committee had reported. The motion was seconded by Brother Clawson and carried. President Snow then named Joseph F. Smith, Francis H. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, and Anthon H. Lund as the committee. ...

[Journal History, 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 14, 1889

[First Presidency Office Journal]

A brief synopsis of the Manifesto [regarding blood atonement] of the First Presidency and Twelve was published in the Salt Lake Herald this morning. Upon which brother W. B. Dougall called and thought it would now be proper to have the whole Manifesto published in the Deseret News and Salt Lake Herald. President [George Q.] Cannon gave instructions to send the Manifesto for publication. It was handed to Brother C[harles]. W. Penrose who called.

[First Presidency Office Journal, 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]

45 years ago today - 1974-12-13

[Women]

RS General President Barbara B. Smith publicly opposes the ERA

[Mormon Women's History Timeline, http://www1.chapman.edu/~remy/MoFem/mormonwomen.html]

50 years ago today - Dec 13, 1969

The Church News reports that Mrs. Maria Martinez has been endowed at 114 years of age. By her native name Teoweluy Tetsa, she was among the hundreds of Zunis healed in 1878 by Llewellyn Harris, but did not accept LDS baptism until age 107.

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

120 years ago today - Wednesday, Dec 13, 1899

[Apostle John Henry Smith]

Salt Lake City

I felt an earthquake about 7 a.m.

I attended the funeral of Emily Partridge Smith, [plural] wife of the Prophet Joseph.

[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]

120 years ago today - Dec 13, 1899

[Apostle Heber J. Grant]

[At the funeral of Emily Partridge Young] Brother Joseph F. in his remarks to-day bore a wonderful strong testimony as to the devotion of Sister Young and others who had been sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith as plural wives. He also bore a powerful testimony as to the rightfulness of plural marriage and the inspiration of almighty God to the Prophet Joseph Smith in restoring the same to the earth. He testified to the eternity of the marriage covenant. Referred to the fact that he looked upon me as his cousin, my mother having been sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith for eternity. His remarks were very powerful indeed and delivered under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

[Diary of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

130 years ago today - Dec 13, 1889

[Apostle Heber J. Grant]

On account of the many disappointments ... to those on the underground it is almost impossible for a person to make his plural wives think that he cares as much for them as he should.

[Diary of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

145 years ago today - Dec 13, 1874

[Apostle Brigham Young Jr.]

Bro[ther] W[oodruff] talked of Gov[ernor] Fords death, and the fulfillment of the curse pronounced upon him by Elder John Taylor. He died after the flesh had shrunken and he was buried as a pauper. This was the man who suffered the prophet to be slain at Carthage.

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

45 years ago today - Dec 12, 1974-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]

... Truman Madsen, who is a grandson of Heber J. Grant, mentioned two things about Edwin D. Woolley. Edwin D. Woolley was bishop of the ward in which President Grant grew up. Apparently Bishop Woolley said that Heber J. Grant was a lazy good-for-nothing. Heber J. reacted so strongly against this that he promptly went to work and built a nice home for his mother and in other ways demonstrated his energy and industry. Truman's comment was that Bishop Woolley may have been a superb psychologist and this may have been his way of getting Heber J. to wake up and make a man of himself.

Truman also mentioned that ... [16 or 17-year old B. H.] Roberts was apparently not active in going to church and maybe displayed some other characteristics as drinking and/or smoking and/or swearing as the result of his experience with miners. Bishop Woolley did not like this and so either through the teachers quorum or on his own authority he excommunicated B. H. Roberts. This was in Roberts' absence. Roberts' first reaction, according to Truman, was "well, so what?" but the more he thought of it the more seriously he took this as a challenge. He went back to Bishop Woolley and protested vehemently. He demanded a hearing. At the hearing he confessed his wrongs and promised to do better, and so he was reinstated by Bishop Woolley. This was a basic point in his life and from then on he was a loyal churchman. ... Again Truman posits that this may have been Bishop Woolley's psychology at work. ...

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

85 years ago today - Dec 12, 1934

[David O. McKay]

... As President Grant is in the East attending to the organization of a Stake in New York, I am taking the liberty of answering the question you propound in your letter, namely: 'In the event of the death of a President of a Temple does the power and authority delegated to him pass to his successor without special confirmation by the President of the Church?' The answer is no. The Authority is given to the individual and not to the office.

[David O. McKay, Letter to B.E. Tilby, 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]

120 years ago today - Dec 12, 1899

[Post-Manifesto plural marriage]

Alvin David Nelson, born at St. Thomas, Nevada, July 7, 1867

Elsinor Johnson, born at Johnson, Utah, May 3, 1878

Married at Colonia Oaxaca, December 12, 1899, Abraham Owen Woodruff officiating

Sixtus E. Johnson and Frank Scott, witnesses

[Stanley Ivins typewritten copy of Anthony Ivins "Record Book of Marriages" [Plural] performed in Mexican colonies, Anderson, Elizabeth Oberdick, editor, Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins: 1875-1932, Signature Books, Salt Lake City in association with the Smith-Pettit Foundation (2013), Appendix A]

130 years ago today - Dec 12, 1889

Official declaration of Church on "Blood Atonement" Capital Punishment, Civil Liberty, Loyalty to the Government of the United States--...

OFFICIAL DECLARATION. Salt Lake City, December 12th, 1889. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

In consequences of gross misrepresentations of the doctrines, aims and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the "Mormon" Church, which have been promulgated for years, and have recently been revived for political purposes and to prevent all aliens, otherwise qualified, who are members of the "Mormon" Church for acquiring citizenship, we deem it proper on behalf of said Church to publicly deny these calumnies and enter our protest against them.

We solemnly make the following declarations, viz:

That this Church views the shedding of human blood with the utmost abhorrence. That we regard the killing of a human being, except in conformity with the civil law, as a capital crime which should be punished by shedding the blood of the criminal, after a public trial before a legally constituted court of the land.

Notwithstanding all the stories told about the killing of apostates, no case of this kind has ever occurred, and of course has never been established against the Church we represent. Hundreds of seceders from the church have continuously resided and now live in this Territory, many of whom have amassed considerable wealth, though bitterly hostile to the "Mormon" faith and people. Even those who have made it their business to fabricate the vilest falsehoods, and to render them plausible by culling isolated passages from old sermons without the explanatory context, and have suffered no opportunity to escape them of vilifying and blackening the characters of the people, have remained among those whom they have thus persistently calumniated until the present day, without receiving the slightest personal injury.

We denounce as entirely untrue the allegation which has been made, that our Church favors or believes in the killing of persons who leave the Church or apostatize from its doctrines. ...

We declare that no Bishop's or other court in this Church claims or exercises the right to supersede, annul or modify a judgment of any civil court. Such courts, while established to regulate Christian conduct, are purely ecclesiastical, and their punitive powers go no further than the suspension or excommunication of members from Church fellowship. ...

Utterances of prominent men in the Church at a time of great excitement have been selected and grouped, to convey the impression that present members are seditious. Those expressions were made more than thirty years ago, when through the falsehoods of recreant officials, afterwards demonstrated to be baseless, troops were sent to this Territory and were viewed by the people, in their isolated condition, fifteen hundred miles from railroads, as an armed mob coming to renew the bloody persecutions of years before.

At that time excitement prevailed and strong language was used;...

We also declare that this Church does not claim to be an independent, temporal kingdom of God, or to be an imperium in imperio aiming to overthrow the United States or any other civil government. ...

WILFORD WOODRUFF, GEORGE Q. CANNON, JOSEPH F. SMITH, Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LORENZO SNOW, FRANKLIN D. RICHARDS, BRIGHAM YOUNG, MOSES THATCHER, FRANCIS M. LYMAN, JOHN HENRY SMITH, GEORGE TEASDALE, HEBER J. GRANT, JOHN W. TAYLOR, M. W. MERRILL, A. H. LUND, ABRAHAM H. CANNON, Members of the Council of the Apostles.

JOHN W. YOUNG DANIEL H. WELLS, Counselors.

[Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]

130 years ago today - Dec 12, 1889

[Apostle Heber J. Grant]

At our meeting this afternoon. We approved of the Manifesto to be signed by the Apostles declaring that there is nothing in the Endowments that is treasonable or contrary to good citizenship in this Republic.

[Diary of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

150 years ago today - Dec 12, 1869

[Apostle Wilford Woodruff]

At the Close of the Meeting I was informed that one of my Children was nigh unto death. It had Been sick about one week. It was Delights youngest Child. I returned home & administered to it & it revived But was vary low through the night.

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

160 years ago today - Dec 12, 1859

[Mountain Meadows]

Indian Superintendent Forney arrives in Washington, D.C. with the two oldest surviving boys from the massacre. Forney hopes the boys will be allowed to testify before Congress.

[Linder, Douglas, The Mountain Meadows Massacre Trials, http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/FTRIALS/mountainmeadows/leechrono.html]

175 years ago today - Dec 12, 1844

[Apostle Wilford Woodruff]

12th Thursday It blew a gale from the South West. We shiped some heavy stern seas. Broke in all the Stern windows. Filled the first Cabin with so much water that the trunks & baggage was all afloat. Destroyed much of the baggage of the passengers. Some water came into our cabin but no damage done the first & second cabin. Was on deck towards evening. The sea was piled up like mountains. When we were in the troth of the sea waves would arise at our stern as high as the top of the mizzen mast & seemed almost impossible for the ship to arise soon enough to save the sea from breaking over her. But she was 1,000 ton ship & a clean & fast sailor. She carried at this time little or no sail.

We were all vary sick, yet we would spend a few moments in viewing the wild, romantic, terrific, grand & sublime scenery that surrounded us in the wonders of the deep. Elder Holmes was quite sick & said he never beheld such a sight before.

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

150 years ago today - Dec 11, 1869

[Brigham Young sermon to the School of the Prophets]

He said A Bill of Divorce that is given to many is no Better than a peace of Blank paper. A woman who is sealed to a good man who bears the Priesthood if that man honors that Priesthood if that woman leaves him of her own accord & she is sealed to a dozen other men the first man will hold her in the resurrection if he wants her unless she should be sealed to a Man of a Higher Priesthood. Then he would [ ] her...

Some ordinances Cannot Be given without A temple. All Children Born Before Parents are Sealed to [at] the Altar will have to be sealed to their Parents in order to make them Legal heirs. Those who are Born after the parents are sealed are legal heirs. Men also will have to be sealed to Men untill the Chain is united from Father Adam down to the last Saint. This will be the work of the Millennium & Joseph Smith will be the Man to attend to it or to dictate it. He will not administer in person But He will receive his resurrected Body & will dictate to those who dwell in the flesh & tell what is to be done for He is the Last Prophet who is Called to lay the foundation of the great Last dispensation of the fullness of times.

Some have thought it strange what I have said Concerning Adam But the period will Come when this people of faithful will be willing to adopt Joseph Smith as their Prophet Seer Revelator & God But not the father of their spirits for that was our Father Adam.

Many questions are asked about divorces. I will say that many men & women want to be sealed that should not be for they will not stay together. But if I was to stop it there would be a fuss. Now what is to be done? They will be sealed & then they will separate. Some give them Bills of divorce. I Charge Nothing for sealing But I Charge $10 for Bills of divorce. If they will Break the Commandmts & make me Break them they shall Pay $10 for [it].

Presidt Joseph Young asked Presidet Young if He was Justified in giving these Bills of Divorce. Presidet Young says yes I am. I do not force them to separate. I give them good Council & tell them what to do. No man has a right to put away a wife Except for adultry But when a woman will leave a man against his will He does not put her away; but she puts herself away & he that Marries her Commits adultery as James Says. I am Justified in giving these Bills of Divorce for they will separate against my Council & the woman takes the responsibility upon herself & not me.

President Young said in relation to Joseph Smith returning the Plates of the Book of Mormon that He did not return them to the Box from wh[ence?] He had Received But He went [1 m/in?] a Cave in the Hill Comoro with Oliver Cowdry & deposited those plates upon a table or shelf. In that room were deposited a large amount of gold plates Containing sacred records & when they first visited that Room the sword of Laban was Hanging upon the wall & when they last visited it the sword was drawn from the scabbard & [laid?] upon a table & a Messenger who was the keeper of the room informed them that that sword would never be returned to its scabbard untill the Kingdom of God was Esstablished upon the Earth & untill it reigned triumphant over Evry Enemy. Joseph Smith said that Cave Contained tons of Choice Treasures & records.

[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 - Dec 11, 1854 (Monday)

The Utah legislature (4th annual session) convened in the Council House, in G.S.L. City, and organized by electing Heber C. Kimball president of the Council, and Jedediah M. Grant speaker of the House.

[Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology]

175 years ago today - Dec 11, 1844

[Apostle Wilford Woodruff]

11th Wednesday Wind changed to the east. Commenced blowing a gale. It was head wind. We were drove under bare poles through the day & evening. It made us all dreadful sick. The sea was vary rough & piled up like hills. The gale increased untill about 9 oclock in the evening it appeared as though it must tear the yards from the mast. We kneeled before the Lord & Prayed unitedly that the Lord would cause the gale to seease & the wind to change that we might go forward & not backward & in a little time after the wind instantly seeased & finally changed into the South West which gave us fair wind.

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

115 years ago today - Dec 10, 1904

The First Presidency conveyed a request from President William H. Smart that the Senator from Utah [Apostle Smoot] assist the people of his Stake with information relative to the opening for white settlement of the Uintah Indian Reservation in eastern Utah.

[Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]

130 years ago today - Dec 10, 1889 (Tuesday)

The Idaho test oath case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

[Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology]

135 years ago today - Dec 10, 1884

[L. John Nuttall to John D. T. McAllister]

In reply to your letter of Dec. 5th pertaining to telegrams and the payment thereof, I am directed by President [John] Taylor to say that in all cases such as Bishop Jones and widow Thomas, it is his understanding, and wishes you to so understand it, that no matter what may be stated in recommends as to what is desired, his initials, "J. T.," thereon is all that is meant. If he places "J. T. 2nd [anointing]" on, then he approves it in that manner. Hence the recommends of Jones and Thomas only having his "J. T."[,] that was all he intended for them. So that in future it will not be necessary for you to inquire by telegram or otherwise as to what is meant when you see his endorsement.

[Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship]

160 years ago today - Dec 10, 1859

The Pres. [Young] ordered some tobacco to be given to them [Indians], and they sat down and smoked a pipe'- Pres. also observed there are men of so many different temperaments who appear to have the Spirit of the Lord, and some of them would take away your coat or your axe. -- 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]

50 years ago today - Dec 9, 1969

A First Presidency letter to the director of seminaries and institutes, with a copy to Bruce R. McConkie, that "we know of no justification for claiming that 'man was placed on the earth on the seventh day.'"

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

85 years ago today - Dec 9, 1934

The New York Stake is the first stake east of the inter-mountain states since the termination of the St. Louis Stake in 1858.

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

115 years ago today - Dec 9, 1904; Friday

[Rudger Clawson]

On Friday, I was in meeting with the Presidency and Twelve all day on a matter that it would not be wise to name in my journal. [Probably related to the Smoot hearings]

[Rudger Clawson, Diary]

120 years ago today - Saturday, Dec 9, 1899

[Apostle Rudger Clawson]

Brigham City. Clear and cool, with snow during the night. Upon taking up the morning paper, I read a notice of the death of President Franklin D. Richards, president of the Twelve Apostles. He died at 12 o'clock last night. He was a great and good man and will be deeply mourned by Israel.

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

135 years ago today - Dec 9, 1884

LDS political newspaper, the Salt Lake Herald, reports another Mormon's assault and battery on a reporter of the Salt Lake Tribune, "A BLISSFUL LOT. Another of the 'Tribune' Crew Rewarded. A TROUNCING WELL MERITED."

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

135 years ago today - Tuesday, Dec 9, 1884

[Apostle John Henry Smith]

I mailed the Sheffield Daily Telegraph to all of Utah papers and my wives. I weighed on one pair of scales tonight 222 lbs., on another pair 229 lbs.

[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 - Dec 9, 1869

ZCMI Drug Store advertises that it has just opened on Main Street with "Liquors, Draught and [by the] Case." William Godbe is leading economic and political dissenters.

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

160 years ago today - Dec 9, 1859

G A. Smith related a Circumstance of a Mr Woodson who has got possession of the Land upon which the Temple Block stands in Jackson Co Missouri. In 1857 Ferrymore Little was in Jackson Co & Mr Woodson said to him I have heard that your people expected to return to this Country and Build a Temple on the Temple Block on my farm. Brother Little Answered to be sure they do. Woodson said you are a Hell of a set. G.A.S. also said He got a Statement from Lewis Bidemon that the people of the towns of Warsaw Carthage p[untoosee?] & Appanoose made up a subscription of $500 & paid it to Joseph Agnoe for Burning the Temple and He went & burnt it for that sum of money.

[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 9, 1849

Richard Ballentyne begins teaching Sunday school as own activity in Salt Lake City. In 1867 Deseret Sunday School Union becomes churchwide, centrally directed program with George Q. Cannon as general superintendent. In 1934 LDS headquarters adopts junior Sunday school program which was independently established in local wards. Like Sunday schools, churchwide progrmns for young men, primary children, high school seminary, adult Aaronic priesthood, Welfare Plan, and Indian Placement begin as local innovations without central church direction. All LDS auxiliaries, except Religion Classes in 1890, are modeled on pre-existing programs of Protestant denominations. Only Relief Society, young women's program, and Religion Classes have direction of headquarters at outset.

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

175 years ago today - Dec 9, 1844

[William Clayton]

Helen M[ar] Kimball and Diantha Farr came to see my folks and being the first who came to see my child I gave them the privilege of naming her which they did namely "Helen Diantha Clayton" but my folks did not like it. I named it Vilate Ruth. I had some conversation with Diantha and she seems to feel right but like many others has many sectarian temptations &c.

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

185 years ago today - Dec 9, 1834

Patriarchal Blessing of Joseph Smith Jr. given by Joseph Smith Sr. on December 9, 1834

Joseph Smith, junior was born in Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, December 23, 1805.

Joseph, my son, I lay my hands upon thy head in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to confirm upon thee a father's blessing. The Lord thy God has called thee by name out of the heavens: Thou hast heard his voice from on high from time to time, even in thy youth. The hand of the angel of his presence has been extended toward thee by which thou hast been lifted up and sustained; yea, the Lord has delivered thee from the hands of thine enemies and thou hast been made to rejoice in his salvation: thou hast sought to know his ways, and from thy childhood thou hast meditated much upon the great things of his law. Thou hast suffered much in thy youth, and the poverty and afflictions of thy father's family have been a grief to thy soul. Thou hast desired to see them delivered from bondage, for thou hast loved them with a perfect love. Thou hast stood by thy father, and like Shem, would have covered his nakedness, rather than see him exposed to shame: when the daughters of the Gentiles laughed, thy heart has been moved with a just anger to avenge thy kindred.

Thou hast been an obedient Son: the commands of thy father and the reproofs of thy mother, thou hast respected and obeyed - for all these things the Lord my God will bless thee. Thou hast been called, even in thy youth to the great work of the Lord: to do a work in this generation which no other man would do as thyself, in all things according to the will of the Lord. A marvelous work and a wonder has the Lord wrought by thy hand, even that which shall prepare the way for the remnants of his people to come in among the Gentiles, with their fulness, as the tribes of Israel are restored.

I bless thee with the blessings of thy fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and even the blessings of thy father Joseph, the son of Jacob. Behold, he looked after his posterity in the last days, when they should be scattered and driven by the Gentiles, and wept before the Lord: he sought diligently to know from whence the Son should come who should bring forth the word of the Lord, by which they might be enlightened, and brought back to the true fold, and his eyes beheld thee, my son: his heart rejoiced and his soul was satisfied, and he said.

As my blessings are to extend to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills; as my father's blessing prevailed above the blessings of his progen[i]tors, and as my branches are to run over the wall, and my seed are to inherit the choice land whereon the Zion of God shall stand in the last days, from among my seed, scattered with the Gentiles, shall a choice Seer arise whose bowels shall be as a fountain of truth, whose loins shall be girded with the girdle of righteousness, whose hands shall be lifted with acceptance before the God of Jacob to turn away his anger from his annointed, whose heart shall meditate great wisdom, whose intelligence shall circumscribe and comprehend the deep things of God, and whose mouth shall utter the law of the just: His feet shall stand upon the neck of his enemies, and he shall walk upon the ashes of those who seek his destruction: with wine and oil shall he be sustained, and he shall feed upon the heritage of Jacob his father: the just shall desire his society, and the upright in heart shall be his companions: No weapon formed against him shall prosper, and though the wicked mar him for a little season, he shall be like one rising up in the heat of wine - he shall roar in his strength, and the Lord shall put to flight his persecutors: he shall be blessed like the fruitful olive, and his memory shall be as sweet as the choice cluster of the first ripe grapes. Like a shief [sheaf] fully ripe, gathered into the garner, so shall he stand before the Lord, having produced a hundred fold. Thus spake my father Joseph.

Therefore, my son, I know for a surety that those things will be fulfilled, and I confirm upon thee all these blessings. Thou shalt like to do the work which the Lord shall command thee: thou shalt hold the Keys of this ministry, even the presidency of this church, both in time and in eternity. Thy heart shall be enlarged, and thou shalt be able to fill up the measure of thy days according to the will of the Lord. Thou shalt speak the word of the Lord and the earth shall tremble; the mountains shall move and the rivers shall turn out of their course. Thou shalt escape the edge of the sword, and put to flight the armies of the wicked. At thy word the lame shall walk, the deaf shall hear and the blind shall see. Thou shalt be gathered to Zion and in the goodly land thou shalt enjoy thine inheritance; thy children and thy children's children to the latest generation; for thy name and the names of thy posterity shall be recorded in the book of the Lord, even in the book of blessings and genealogies, for their joy and benefit forever.

And now, my son, what more shall I say? Thou art as a fruitful olive and a choice vine: thou shalt be laden with precious fruit. Thousands and tens of thousands shall come to a knowledge of the truth through thy ministry, and thou shalt rejoice with them in the Celestial Kingdom: Thou shalt stand upon the earth when it shall reel to and fro as a drunken man, and be removed out of its place: thou shalt stand when the mighty judgments go forth to the destruction of the wicked: thou shalt stand on mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the north, and with thy brethren, the Sons of Ephraim, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ: Thou shalt see thy Redeemer Come in the clouds of heaven, and with the just receive the hallowed throng with shouts of hallalujahs, praise the Lord. Amen [Patriarchal Blessing Book 1:3-4]

[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]

185 years ago today - 1834: 9 December

[Patriarchal Blessing]

Emma Smith. (Given by Joseph Smith, Sen.)

"... Thou shalt see many days; yea, the Lord will spare thee till thou are satisfied, for thou shalt see thy redeemer. Thy heart shall rejoice in the great work of the Lord, and no one shall take thy rejoicing from thee. Thou shalt ever remember the great condescension of thy God in permitting thee to accompany my son when the angel delivered the record of the Nephites to his care. Thou hast seen much sorrow because the Lord has taken from thee three of thy children: in this thou art not to be blamed, for he knows thy pure desires to raise up a family, that the name of my son might be blessed. And now, behold, I say unto thee, that thus saith the Lord, if thou will believe, thou shalt yet be blessed in this thing and thou shalt bring forth other children...

[Selected LDS Patriarchal Blessings, New Mormon Studies CD ROM, Signature Book, 2009, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

185 years ago today - Dec 9, 1834

At a family blessing meeting, Joseph Sr. refers to his and Lucy's firstborn dead son (Lucy later remembered this child as a daughter) and at least one occasion when he had been intoxicated. He pronounces patriarchal blessings on members of the family, recorded 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]

190 years ago today - Dec 9, 1829

Abner Cole's Palmyra Reflector announces that it will publish selections from the Book of Mormon in future editions . The Reflector was an anonymously published paper that made fun of local issues. Its debut edition appeared on 2 September 1829.

[Vogel, Dan, Early Mormon Documents, Appendix B: Chronology, 1771-1831, http://amzn.to/T5nY8w]

20 years ago today - Dec 8, 1999

Commemorating the sesquicentennial of the organization of the Sunday School, President Gordon B. Hinckley presides over the sealing of a time capsule to be opened in 2049.

[LDS Daily, www.ldsdaily.com]

110 years ago today - Dec 8, 1909; Wednesday

[George F. Gibbs]

Word has come to this office, from quite a reliable source, to the effect that your counselor, Brother Borkman, has the idea that plural marriages are still being solemnized by and with the sanction of the authorities of the Church, and that in this understanding he is paying his addresses to a young woman with a view to marriage, provided he can get a competent person to perform the marriage ceremony. It is also being told that you are encouraging Brother Borkman in the idea ... You are reported to have said other things as well along this line, going to convey the idea that you knew personally of such things, and could enumerate a very large number of such marriages since President [Wilford] Woodruff's Manifesto.

I am instructed to say to you that no plural marriage can be entered into by and with the sanction of Church authority, and that any person found doing so will be dealt with on his fellowship in the Church. This applies also to the party solemnizing a plural marriage, and you are requested by the presidency to so inform Brother Borkman, and his wife as well.

[George F. Gibbs, letter to Bishop Lorin A. Merrill, Kenney Papers, original in LDS Archives]

115 years ago today - Dec 8, 1904

Those conducting the Smoot hearing sought to have the L.D.S. Church produce temple records and even records of the temple ceremonies. [In a First Presidency letter] John Nicholson, Temple recorder, is permitted to take the records of temple marriage with him to Washington, but with instructions to produce them only if failure to do so would place him in contempt before the Senate Committee.

Temple President Marriner Merrill records: "I went to Logan [Utah] to see about Temple affairs as I was Summoned to Washington [D.C.] on Tues[day] Morninging [sic] at 7.30 AM Dec[ember] 6th by US Marshal Donehue to go to the above City and take with Me all Temple Records. of course I am not well enough to go but sent three (3) Doctors Certificates in stead of going &c."

[Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes);Marriner Wood Merrill, Diary]

120 years ago today - Dec 8, 1899; Friday

Brother [Thomas] Taylor complained now, as he has complaind before, and that bitterly, that he had on two former occasions arranged to sell this property, but had been defeated by the Church, to whom the property was mortgaged. In answer to this he was told that there was no desire to hamper him or prevent him from disposing of his property, and in order to show this President Snow now offered to extend the mortgage long enough to enable him to sell...

[First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes]

130 years ago today - Dec 8, 1889

[President Wilford Woodruff]

We are passing through a strange portion of our History. The whole Nation seems to be united against me us. Judge Anderson has decided not to receive any Mormons to Citizenship. The whole Country is stired up against us.

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

130 years ago today - Dec 8, 1889

[Apostle Abraham H. Cannon]

Father briefly mentioned two cases with which he was familiar where men were killed in a violent way for the reason, as he believed, that they took the name of God in vain and were very profane.

[Diary of Apostle Abraham H. Cannon, http://www.amazon.com/Apostles-Record-Journals-Abraham-1889-1896/dp/B000MFD1K4]

180 years ago today - Dec 8, 1839

... We have heard it rumored about, that some at least, and probably many, are making their calculations to remove back to Kirtland next season.

Now brethren, this being the case, we advise you to abandon such an idea; yea, we warn you, in the name of the Lord, not to remove back there, unless you are counseled so to do by the First Presidency, and the High Council of Nauvoo.

[Times and Seasons. Vol. 1, p. 29., 1839-December 8-DHC 4:45 as quoted in Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]

65 years ago today - Dec 7, 1954

Mark William Hofmann born in Salt Lake City, Utah.

[Whittaker, David J., The Hofmann Maze, A Book Review Essay with a Chronology and Bibliography of the Hofmann Case, BYU Studies Vol. 29, No. 1, pg.80,]

70 years ago today - Dec 7, 1949

[George F. Richards diary, Dec. 7, 1949] I went to the temple at 11:00 a.m. and assisted Elder Jos[eph] Fielding Smith, administered Seconds [second anointings] to Preston D. Richards and wife Barbara, and the members of [the] Emigration Stake Presidency and their wives.

[Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship]

75 years ago today - Dec 7, 1944

President McKay at my desk 4:00 to 4:15 p.m. discussing contract with Preston Nibley regarding writing and compensation to Brother Nibley for 'Joseph Smith the Prophet.' We are to accept Brother Nibley's checks covering authors royalty of 10% until $5,775 is paid, said amount having been advanced.

[Frank Evans 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]

120 years ago today - Dec 7, 1899

[Apostle Heber J. Grant]

[At meeting of Presidency and Apostles] The question had been presented whether it was the proper thing for [unruly apostle] Moses Thatcher to speak at conjoint meetings of the Mutual Improvement Associations President Joseph F. Smith answered "No". This answer was approved.

[Diary of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

135 years ago today - Sunday, Dec 7, 1884

[Apostle John Henry Smith]

Sheffield, Yorkshire

At 10 a.m. we held meeting in the Temperance Hall, Brightside.

At 12 noon we closed our services. We went to the Conference house and had dinner, and at two p.m. returned to the Hall. At the front door were about three hundred people. We passed in at a side door and shortly after the door was opened in front and the crowd rushed in, the Apostate William Jarman in the lead. There were about one hundred of the Saints and their friends and about three hundred of the others. We sang and prayed and Bro. Collett spoke on the first principles of the Gospel for 25 minutes. I took the stand to speak when a "gentleman" in the hall arose and asked me to let him speak. I told him no person would be allowed to speak only those on the platform. At this a rush was made for us and two Policemen who we had hired came to the platform and we beat back the enemy and held them at bay. I and Bro. Collett threw some men off the platform, which was about four feet high. Two old Sisters got on to the platform with us and one of these pulled out some of Jarman's beard

and kicked him several times. Bro. Favel got a severe blow on the head. Jarman's own friends nearly killed him by crowding him against the platform. Jarman then drew to the center of the Hall and made a most vile speach, while his followers yelled like demons. We then passed into a room at the back and the crowd thinking we were going to try to get away they rushed out at the front just as Inspector Smith and several more Policemen were coming to clear the hall. The door was locked and we finished up our meeting, while the rowdy demons were harrangued in the street by Jarman. After our Services we returned to Peter [?] street. On going out the crowd hooted and hissed at me, and some of them told us they would give me a thrashing at night. A friend came in about 5 p.m. and told us that a very large crowd was gathering in front of the Hall. Bro. S. R. Bennion went and saw the Proprietor of the Hall and told him that we wanted to hold our meeting but was unable to pay any damage that might be done.

He said he should close the door for the building would certainly be wrecked. The Saints and some friends were instructed to go to the Conference House where we held our evening meeting, and while packed in close we had a good time. Elders Bennion, Biggs, Brown, Winward and myself were the speakers. The rowdy element to the tune of about two thousand strong gathered in front of the Temperance Hall and finding that [we] were gone they went to the Wicker [?] where the Saints had formerly occupied a room, and broke the windows, and not finding us they made some speeches and dispersed. There is no doubt but what if they had known where the Saints were holding their meeting the house would have been torn down. An Atheist came in to see us late in the evening, saying that the mob had run him off because he had said that we were kind of decent fellows.

I asked the police to arrest Jarman but they said they could not without a warrant.

[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]

160 years ago today - Dec 7, 1859

[Apostle Wilford Woodruff]

President Young said in speaking of the Temple I herd a man say to day we would go back to Jackson County in 7 years. I said Amen but if we go back in that time we shall have to hasten to get our temple Built. I think we must Commence it next spring, uncuver the foundation.

[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 - Dec 7, 1839

Washington, D.C. Joseph Smith consulted with the Illinois delegation about how to get the Church's petition for redress brought before Congress.

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

130 years ago today - Dec 6, 1889

[Apostle Heber J. Grant]

This afternoon attended a meeting of the Presidency and Apostles at the Gardo there were also present a number of the leading men in political matters. Most of the city central committee. The subject under discussion as what would be the best thing to do under the circumstances to counteract the effect of the recent decision of Judge Anderson. After a long chat and the expressions of all that felt as if they wished to say anything, the matter was left for the Presidency and Apostles to decide on. I was positive in my feelings that the best thing was for the leading officials of the Church to deny the charges that were contained in the decision of Anderson ...

[Diary of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

130 years ago today - Friday, Dec. 6th, 1889

[Apostle Abraham H. Cannon]

In speaking of the recent examination before Judge Anderson, Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in that massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs. The Prophet charged Stephen Markham to avenge his blood should he be slain; after the Prophet's death, Bro. Markham attempted to tell this to an assembly of the Saints, but Willard Richards pulled him down from the stand, as he feared the effect on the enraged people. Bro. Joseph F. Smith was traveling some years ago near Carthage, when he met a man who said he had just arrived five minutes too late to see the Smiths killed. Instantly a dark cloud seemed to overshadow Bro. Smith and he asked how this man looked upon the deed. Bro. S. was oppressed by a most horrible feeling as he waited for a reply. After a brief pause the man answered, "Just as I have always looked upon it that it was a d . . . d cold blooded murder." The cloud immediately lifted from Bro. Smith and he found that he had his open pocket knife grasped in his hand in his pocket, and he believes that had this man given his approval to that murder of the prophets, he would have immediately struck him to the heart.

[Abraham H. Cannon Journal Excerpts, http://www.amazon.com/Apostles-Record-Journals-Abraham-1889-1896/dp/B000MFD1K4]

175 years ago today - Dec 6, 1844

The last of the capital sunstones were placed on the [Nauvoo] temple walls. There were problems in raising the stone, causing a delay of an hour and a half, when it was finally placed at 10:30 a.m., which closed the construction season for 1844. The last stone had been cut by Harvey Stanley. Twelve of the capitals were still lacking their trumpet stones, which would not be placed until the following spring. The Saints viewed the late arrival of winter as divine assistance in their labors; the season's first snow storm commenced just two hours after the last sunstone was placed. By morning there was four inches of snow on the ground.

[Brown, Lisle (compiler), Chronology of the Construction, Destruction and Reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple]

180 years ago today - Dec 6, 1839

[Brigham Young]

I found the Saints in confusion; they had the gift of tongues among them, and the interpretation, and they were so ignorant of the nature of these gifts that they supposed that everything which was spoken in tongues was immediate revelation from God; a false spirit had therefore crept in, and division was the result. I taught them that when they spoke in tongues the language might be from the Lord, but with that tongue they spoke the things which were in their hearts, whether they were good or evil; the gift of tongues was given for a blessing to the Saints, but not to govern them, nor to control the elders, or dictate the affairs of the Church. God had placed in the Church different gifts; among which were apostles, prophets, helps and governments, and wisdom was profitable to direct. Before leaving, the Saints came to an understanding on these matters.

[Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1801-1844, ed. Elden Jay Watson (Salt Lake City: Smith Secretarial Service, 1968).]

185 years ago today - 1834 6 Dec.

Joseph Smith, Sr., and son Hyrum are the first Freemasons to become general authorities, although they had not been active since the 1826 murder of anti-Masonic crusader William Morgan. Before his own death Joseph Smith would marry the anti-Masonic martyr's widow Lucinda. First Presidency ordains Hyrum Smith as an additional assistant president (counselor) and Joseph Sr. as assistant president and Presiding Patriarch. Joseph Jr. had ordained Brigham Young's father John Young as patriarch to his family a few weeks earlier.

[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]

40 years ago today - Dec 5, 1979

The announcement of the excommunication of Sonia Johnson, president of the Mormons for the ERA. Charged with apostasy she unsuccessfully appeals the decision to the First Presidency (which already authorized this "local action"). Johnson's case becomes the top story in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, and on network television news. The resulting non-Mormon criticism of the church and Johnson's own subsequent radicalization drive many LDS moderates away from their prior support of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and into acceptance of the church's anti-ERA position.

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

55 years ago today - Dec 5, 1964

It is deemed necessary that the following instructions should be imparted to the brethren and sisters of the Salt Lake Temple District who intend entering the House of the Lord to attend to ordinance work for themselves or their dead.

(1) The Saints who enter the sacred building should be properly prepared. Their bodies should be scrupulously clean; ...

(4) In the performance of work for the dead the rights of heirship (blood relationship) should be sacredly regarded, when practicable. When an heir empowers another person to do the work in his or her stead, he or she should give the acting proxy a written authorization to that effect.

...(6) Those who do ordinance work have not the right to make matches between people who are deceased, except in cases of persons who were married in life. In all other instances the President of the Temple must be consulted. He should be appealed to in all matters involving doubt or complications.

(7) The Temple is open on all working days at 7:30 a.m. Monday is devoted to taking the record of Baptisms for the Dead, which are performed on Tuesdays. Baptismal records are not taken after twelve o'clock on Mondays. On Tuesdays all ought to be in the building by 8 a.m. (8) The higher ordinances are attended to on Wednesdays, Thurs days, and Fridays. The record of this work is taken between the hours of 7:30 and 9 a.m., of the day it is performed. After the last named hour none will be admitted, as the doors will then be permanently closed for the day. The earlier the Saints come to [turn] in record[s] the better. ...

[Lorenzo Snow, President of the Salt Lake Temple, "To Whom it may Concern," June 23, 1893, reprinted in the Church News, Dec. 5, 1964 as quoted in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship. I've added line feeds for readability]

60 years ago today - 1959. December 5

(Amy Brown Lyman) : Died at her daughter's home at the age of eighty-seven while recovering from a fall. Her husband, who had been rebaptized in 1954, died in 1963. Both were buried in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Gardens in Salt Lake City.

[Van Wagoner, Richard and Walker, Steven C., A Book of Mormons, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

160 years ago today - Dec 5, 1859

[Brigham Young]

Read part of one of Orson Hyde's sermons delivered in the Tabernacle. President Young suggested an alteration. Orson Hyde said we had come here unwilling to receive our tabernacles. The Pres. said most spirits eagerly desired to receive tabernacles, for they understood they could not receive power or glory without taking such a course. -- 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 - Dec 5, 1844. Thursday.

[William Clayton]

Brother Kimball asked President Young concerning D[iantha] Farr. He gave full consent [to plurally marry her] and ordered Brother K[imball] to attend to it. I feel humbly grateful for this grant. And feel to ask the father in the name of Jesus to give me favor in her eyes and the eyes of her parents that I may receive the gift in full.

[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]

175 years ago today - 1844 5 Dec.

Young signs a letter as "Prest of the Church of L.D.S."

[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]

185 years ago today - Dec 5, 1834

Joseph, Sidney, Frederick G. Williams, and Oliver Cowdery meet to discuss "the welfare of the Church." Joseph ordains Oliver Assistant President:. My brother, in the name of Jesus Christ who died was crucified for the sins of the world, I lay my hands upon thee, and ordain thee an assistant President of the high and holy priesthood in the Church of the Latter Day Saints

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

60 years ago today - Dec 4,1959

Budget Committee reports that church spent $8 million more than its revenues that year. As result, church permanently stops releasing annual reports of expenditures.

[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]

85 years ago today - Dec 4, 1934

[Heber J. Grant letter]

... I will say in answer to your inquiry about your little son, that it will not be necessary for him to be baptized again because of the fact that at the time of his baptism two or three of his toes were not under water. You need not worry any more about this matter, for if he was baptized by proper authority the ordinance was efficacious.

[Heber J. Grant, Letter to Mrs. J. M. Aime, 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]

85 years ago today - Dec 4, 1934

[Heber J. Grant letter]

In the providences of the Lord, the United Order will never be established'and there is no need for you or anyone else quoting from the Prophet Joseph Smith in regard to it'until the Lord sees fit to inspire the leaders of his Church to do so. The Prophet was unable to establish this order in his day on account of the lack of faith on the part of the people.

[Heber J. Grant, Letter to Joseph J. Cannon, 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]

120 years ago today - Monday, Dec 4, 1899

The [United States] House of Representatives refused to permit Brigham H. Roberts to be sworn in.

[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]

120 years ago today - Monday, Dec 4, 1899

[Apostle Rudger Clawson]

... spent the afternoon at the President's office, getting out a report of the Box Elder Stake Fund, a fund which I have managed for a number of years as president of the Box Elder Stake. I now feel it my duty to turn it over to Brother Chas. Kelly, my successor in office. A good opportunity for investing a little money in sheep with my brother-in-law, Samuel G. Spencer, having presented itself, I borrowed $267.50 from the Box Elder Stake Fund under the approval of Chas. Kelly, president of the stake, giving my note for 3 years at 5% per annum, being the same rate of interest as the bank is paying.

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

125 years ago today - Dec 4, 1894

[Wilford Woodruff]

It looks now like a Bloody Indian war against our People In San wan Country urged on by the people of Colorado.

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

140 years ago today - Dec 4, 1879

William Clayton Dies, leaving four wives and thirty-three children.

[Smith, George D., An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, p.lxiii, A William Clayton Chronology, http://amzn.to/william-clayton]

40 years ago today - Dec 3, 1979-Monday

[Leonard Arrington]

There are many articles in the newspapers, much discussion over the radio and some TV stories that relate to the Church trial of Sonia Johnson. I thought it might be helpful to some future historian for me to record some personal impressions. Nearly all of the articles in the papers and interviews over the radio and TV have been initiated by Sonia and not by the Church, and it would seem appropriate to give a more balanced perspective.

It is my understanding that Elder Gordon Hinckley is chairman of a Church political action committee [Special Affairs Committee] which has been interested in several projects:

1. A drive against pornography in Salt Lake City and elsewhere.

2. A campaign against abortion and birth control.

3. A series of movements designed to prevent the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

... It is my understanding that this central Church committee assists with literature, pins, buttons, etc., state groups attempting to influence the legislature against ratification or in favor of rescinding the ERA. Groups of LDS women, in advance of legislative action, are organized and are instructed specifically not to reveal that they are LDS women but simply that they are residents of the state opposed to ERA. They get hundreds of Relief Society women involved and some of their husbands as well. Regional Representatives have given them counsel and support, as have area executive administrators. This has been true in Virginia, Washington, Maine, Nevada, Illinois, and Florida, and possibly in other states as well that I am not aware of. All those participating understand that they are doing what the Church wants them to do. To some extent the General Authorities have been mobilized; Elder [Boyd K.] Packer gave a talk in Idaho and another in California on the ERA; Elder Neal Maxwell has also talked in at least two locations with the same theme. And of course the theme is carried out in many of the talks delivered by Elder [Ezra Taft] Benson, Elder [Mark E.] Petersen, and others.

Not every Latter-day Saint man or woman accepts the Church stand on ERA. I am sure they're a small minority; I would guess perhaps one-tenth of the U.S. adult members of the Church-something like 100,000 persons, maybe. Because of the First Presidency's letter on the subject and following-up letters in the Ensign and other publications, this group has not been vocal. It is made up of "liberals" and perhaps in a number of instances people who are never very responsive to Church counsel.

Sonia Johnson, however, made a personal decision to establish a small organization, "Mormons for ERA." She was able to raise some money, probably from non-Mormon sources and organizations, and has carried out an active campaign. She has made it a policy to follow the Mormons against ERA into a state and has held news [conferences and issued news] releases, appeared on TV and radio, and given talks designed to demonstrate to everybody that there are Mormons for ERA, and she has gotten a good deal of mileage out of this publicity. When LDS people have questioned her she has insisted that ERA is a political matter, not a religious matter, and that she has a right to disagree with the Church and its officials on this political matter, also that she has a right to actively campaign against it [the church]. Occasionally in talks she has gotten a little carried away and has said that the Brethren are badly informed and not inspired in adopting the anti-ERA position. She has urged Church members and others to campaign for ERA and by inference campaign against a stand taken by the First Presidency. Her remarks about the Brethren have not been complimentary. She has insisted that she strives to be a loyal Latter-day Saint on religious matters, and that she is free to depart from the Church's political position on this one matter. Non-LDS people have cheered her on and have made of her a sort of heroine for her courage and determination.

Sonia's activities have not only included campaigning against the Mormon political action group in several states, but also flying pro-ERA banners over the [Salt Lake] Tabernacle during [general] conference, and news releases and interviews in newspapers in New York, Washington, and elsewhere. ...

LDS officials have been irritated by her activities, which has tended to counter the effectiveness of the Church's campaign against ERA. Complaints have been made to her bishop, Bp. Jeffrey Hinckley Willis, of Oakton, VA. One wonders whether he is a relative of Elder Gordon Hinckley and if so, how close the relationship is. One speculates whether Elder Hinckley advised the bishop to put her on trial for her membership, or perhaps President Benson; or perhaps the bishop received complaints from people about her behavior and asked the counsel of Elder Hinckley or President Benson or someone else about placing her on trial. It is our information that a woman who is active in the John Birch Society in Utah Valley heard her speak in Provo and was so infuriated that she telephoned Bp. Willis, made a complaint, and said she would like the opportunity of testifying against Sonia at a trial held for her membership. Bp. Willis, incidentally, is said to be the personnel director of the CIA.

Sonia has declared that the decision to try her for her membership was made on Tuesday, November 13. She said a written notice to her to appear at a [ward] bishop's court was received by her on Thursday, November 15. She said the notice did not mention any specific charges nor any specific complaints. Sonia, immediately upon receiving the letter that she was to appear Saturday, telephoned a number of her friends and supporters and released statements to newspapers in Washington, D.C., New York, and Utah, telling about the trial and indicating how unfair it was to conduct the trial before she had an opportunity of preparing her defense. As she thought about it, she felt she needed people to testify in her behalf and needed to prepare argumentation. She telephoned the bishop and asked him for a postponement. The bishop finally agreed to postpone it for two weeks. The trial was therefore rescheduled for December 1.

Several groups of friends, supporters, and other persons in Utah interested in a "fair trial" met in Salt Lake City and Provo to discuss aspects of the case. Some telephoned her and offered their help and assistance. They talked with her about Church trial procedures, they raised money to send a delegate back to testify for her-a person who was at the same meeting that the John Birch women had attended. I do not know the names of all of these persons, but it is my understanding that they raised money enough to send Jan Tyler back to testify. It is my understanding that they also made contact with Esther Peterson, who volunteered to testify. At the same time Sonia's mother agreed to testify on her daughter's behalf. Reba Keele [[Reba L. Keele (1941-) was a Utah native who graduated from BYU, served a church mission to France, and received a PhD in educational psychology from Purdue. She returned to Utah and became director for the Center for Women's Health at a local hospital, and was hired to teach organizational behavior at BYU from 1978, becoming in 1991 dean of undergraduate education at the University of Utah.]] of BYU faculty and Kathryn MacKay, of the University of Utah, also testified in the trial on December 1. One group, in which J. D. Williams was vocal, sponsored a large ad in the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune of Tuesday, November 27, asking the First Presidency to intervene to prevent an action against Sonia for what they called "exercising her free agency and free speech." The letter was signed by about a hundred persons of whom a large number were not LDS. Probably more than half were non-LDS. ... The ad was signed by the "Supporters of Sonia (SOS) committee"; but that title has been popularized generally with "Save Our Sonia (SOS)." Among the names were some of our own friends...

(I learned after dictating the above that Bishop Willis did go to her home on the Thursday before the first hearing. There were fireworks and her husband finally invited the bishop to leave. ... The bishop refused to allow the use of the word Equal Rights Amendment in the trial. He acted correctly in not allowing the trial to become a forum for arguing the merits of ERA. ... I'm told that a group of thoughtful Latter-day Saints, meeting the Sunday before Sonia Johnson's December 1 hearing, listened to her talk (taped) from the University of Utah's women's conference in October. There she had, rather than voice her own opinions in her own voice, read excerpts from letters received from other Mormon women. Her delivery was much like that of a political candidate, eliciting applause in all the "right" places. With a combination of humor and sincerity, she moved her audience to warm friendship. All, that is, but a row of some four or five BYU women, among them some administrative heads, who neither smiled nor applauded. ...

[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 3, 1974-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]

Today we held the meeting of our executives ... The last item discussed was the letter of Elder Boyd Packer...

Brother Anderson then volunteered, not for the record but for our information, his own comments. His comments were made at extenso [[That is, at length.]] and Earl has agreed to save the tape of our meeting together to preserve these. First of all, Brother Anderson said he could hardly accept the two criticisms of Elder Packer, one criticizing Jack Adamson for using the term Brigham to refer to President Brigham Young. He said he had often referred to him as Brigham or Brother Brigham and the prophets and General Authorities he was associated with had done the same. The same with the Prophet Joseph [Smith]. In the second place the criticism of our inclusion of Brigham Young's advice to Brigham, Jr. to cease the use of tobacco while on his mission. Brother Anderson said he didn't see anything wrong with people knowing that and with Brigham Young, Jr.'s posterity knowing about that. People should understand that our emphasis on the Word of Wisdom today has not always applied. It is true that the Prophet Joseph Smith drank wine after he received the Word of Wisdom revelation. It is also true that Brigham Young used wine, even fermented wine, both at his table and in the Sacrament. I added that was true as late as Lorenzo Snow, who administered the Sacrament in the Salt Lake Temple with wine-and Brother Anderson added not just with a little glass cup but with large goblets so that the authorities drank more than just a swallow. Brother Anderson in regard to this pointed out a number of General Authorities who as late as his day were not as strict on the Word of Wisdom as we are today. He mentioned President [Charles W.] Penrose, one of the most beloved persons in Church history, who being English loved his ale and continued to use it more or less regularly to the end of his life and as I recall he died about 1923 or '24. He mentioned Patriarch John Smith, who continued to use tobacco and liquor and had certain problems with both to the end of his days, and yet he was patriarch to the Church. Brother Anderson mentioned President [Anthony W.] Ivins who used wine, having grown up with its use in Mexico and continued to use it at least many of the years in the 1920s.

Brother Anderson mentioned that the Word of Wisdom was not the only thing that we have changed our emphasis upon-other things as well. An example is birth control and contraceptives. As a secretary of the First Presidency he had been designated to respond to many of the questions that came into the First Presidency. On the matter of the use of birth control devices he had always responded that the Church had been opposed to the use of these devices except when the health of the mother was involved. That included both the physical health and mental health, and he always added a sentence at the end which said in the last analysis this is a matter for individual decision by the family involved. That is the way President [David O.] McKay had wanted the letter to read, but after his death, he was advised to leave out that last sentence by Joseph Fielding Smith, who tended to be the most strict-the most strict of all the brethren-and by President Harold B. Lee. In recent years there has been a tendency to announce the Church's opposition to birth control devices without adding the phrase "[with] the health of the mother" being a consideration. Brother Anderson said we have to use good judgment on these matters and if it comes down to an individual case, the authorities will almost always say this. ...

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

20 years ago today - Dec 03, 1999

The First Presidency announces that Craig D. Jessop has been appointed music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, replacing Jerold D. Ottley, who later retires after leading the choir for twenty-five years.

130 years ago today - Dec 3, 1889

[Apostle Heber J. Grant]

I see from the papers rec[eive]d today that there is to be a large hotel built on the corner of Third South and First East Streets. I am sorry that there were not some steps taken by our folks to build a large hotel before those not of our people should occupy the field. It seems to me that we always wait until the field is occupied and then have a hard fight on our hands to regain the ground that we have lost ... I cannot help feeling that we should lead in all things and that under no circumstances should we allow those that are bitterly opposed to us to occupy the ground in any direction that we are capable of occupying. ...

Bro. S.S. Smith this morning brought from La Jara a copy of the Denver News from which we learn that Judge Anderson has decided against naturalizing of any more of our people. He claims that all that have been through the Endowment House have taken on themselves oaths that are not in keeping with a proper feeling towards the Government and that such oaths are treasonable in their nature. His decision is an outrage as there is no oath in the Endowments that is in the slightest degree inconsistent with good citizenship.

[Diary of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

160 years ago today - Dec 3, 1859

[Brigham Young regarding the Utah War]

President Young said that He heard that General Black told Presidet Buchannan that if He permitted the Judges in Utah or in any other portion of the United States to use the military to the injury of the Citizens he would resign his office as a member of the Cabinet.

"It has been said that Buchanan was in his dotage & feeble in mind which was the Cause of his Course towards Utah & many other acts of his Administration but this is not the Case. He is just as much of a man now as he ever was in his life and it was the first time He ever was in a situation to fully Carry out the evil designs of his heart, and his acts are Carrying out his principles.

E R Young said that the Judges in this Territory would not have taken the course they did if they had not Believed the Presidet would have sustained them in it. President Young He did not think they would do much more But they may try to get up a fuss and do sumthing.

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

30 years ago today - Dec 2, 1989

Church memebership reaches seven million.

[LDS Daily, www.ldsdaily.com]

30 years ago today - Dec 2, 1989

[Nauvoo Temple]

The Smithsonian Institute paid $100,000 for the sunstone, owned by the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams Counties, Illinois. The only other sunstone was displayed in the Nauvoo City Park.

[Brown, Lisle (compiler), Chronology of the Construction, Destruction and Reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple]

80 years ago today - Dec 02, 1939

Harry Reid, a Nevada representative in the U.S. Congress (1983–87) and a U.S. senator (1987–), is born in Searchlight, Nevada.

125 years ago today - Early December, 1894

[James E. Talmage]

Talmage receives word that he has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In his journal Talmage writes:

[The honor is] a recognition of Utah and the ‘Mormon’ Church, in which I see the hand of God plainly manifest. May the prestige thus bestowed be used in the service of God.

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

125 years ago today - Dec 2, 1894

[Apostle Francis M. Lyman]

Bro[ther] Richards ... said if any of the Saints felt that they could not live without a little tea they could use it a little and it would be all right. This came so in conflict with the late instructions upon the Word of Wisdom that it made a visible sensation among the people. I then spoke 30 minutes and held that none of the Saints would die if they left off their tea. They would not only live without it but would be healthier and happier. I held if excuses were made it should be in favor of the young and not the old. The longer we live the better we should be.

[Excerpts of Apostle Francis M. Lyman Diaries, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

130 years ago today - Dec 2, 1889

[First Presidency letter]

Special Fast Day-- ...

The reference in this letter to a pending decision of the Supreme Court of the United States presumably was relative to the validity of the Idaho Test Oath Law which was upheld as constitutional February 3, 1890 in a decision in the case of Davis vs. Beason.

The list of things for which the Saints should pray during their special fast might be classified as the Mormon "Bill of Rights" of 1889.

...There never was a time probably in our history when the Latter-day Saints needed more than they do at present the assistance which God has promised to render to us. ... And that we may do this in a proper manner we have felt led to set apart the next anniversary of the birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith-December 23rd-as a day of fasting and of solemn prayer unto the Lord.

We think the fast should be from sundown on Sunday, the 22nd, to sundown on Monday, the 23rd, covering a period of twenty-four hours. ...

All labor that can be dispensed with should be suspended on that day...

We should pray for the plots and the schemes which are being framed for the purpose of robbing us of our civil and political rights and of obtaining control of our cities, counties and Territory, to be confounded, and their authors to be thwarted in their evil designs.

We should pray for all who conspire, in any manner, to injure or destroy the work of God, or to take from the people their rights and liberties, to be defeated in their wicked purposes.

We should pray for the unfavorable action of courts and of officials to be overruled in such a manner that no injury will be done to Zion....

We remain, your Brethren, WILFORD WOODRUFF, GEORGE Q CANNON, JOSEPH F. SMITH, First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[1889-December 2-Original circular letter, Church Historian's Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. See also Deseret News Weekly as quoted in Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]

175 years ago today - Dec 2, 1844

[Nauvoo Temple]

The Temple Committee reported that all of the capitals were in place, except one which would be placed within the week.

[Brown, Lisle (compiler), Chronology of the Construction, Destruction and Reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple]

115 years ago today - Dec 1, 1904

A letter was read from Elders B. H. Roberts, stating in effect that he had quite accidentally run across a clause in the Constitution of the State of Utah which he thought affected a question now being discussed in the anti-Mormon press, that no property should be applied (used) to any religious worship, exercise or instruction. And Brother Roberts thought it quite possible that this provision may yet be invoked against our efforts to use the school houses throughout the state, which are public property, for religion class instruction. Brother Roberts goes on to state that he had been watching with some degree of interest the rising tide of public feeling among the Gentile citizens against the use of public school property, and in the presence of our many institutions for the instruction of our youth, it seemed to him we were needlessly irritating people not of our faith by the use of school buildings for imparting religious instruction. After discussing the matter quite freely, the sentiments of most of the brethren being those of Brother Roberts, the letter was referred, on motion of President John R. Winder, to the Religion Class Board. ...

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

120 years ago today - Friday, Dec 1, 1899

[Apostle Rudger Clawson]

Said I believed the hand of the Lord was in [B. H. Roberts election to the House of Representatives], and whether or not he obtained his seat in Congress, felt that the gospel was being preached by and through the prominence given to him.

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

135 years ago today - Dec 1, 1884

[President John Taylor]

In regard to the enquiries made by you in your letter as to the propriety of your sister officiating in the Logan temple in the ordinances for the dead, I have to say that under the circumstances stated by you it would not be proper for her to do so; and being married to a gentile, it is not proper for her to wear her garments.

[John Taylor to Joseph Hunter, Dec. 1, 1884 as quoted in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship]

170 years ago today - Dec 1, 1849

[Hosea Stout]

another Company came in from the States. They left their waggons a few miles beyond the Weber & their cattle over the second mountain and wallowed through the snow sometimes over their hips and came in to day.

[Diaries of Hosea Stout]

170 years ago today - Dec 1, 1849

[Apostle Wilford Woodruff]

I called upon Col Kane & saw A sleigh robe presented to him by Dr Bernhisel as A present from President Young. It contained 7 wolf skins & 10 Fox skins got up with great taste & splendor. It was worth $40.

[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 Dec 1, 1834

Kirtland, Ohio. The School of the Prophets was established and well attended, and Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon gave regular lectures on theology that later became known as the -"Lectures on Faith."

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