Great Moments in LDS Mormon Church History

 
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The following historical moments come from Michael Quinn's excellent book The Mormon Hierarchy : Extensions of Power. For references, refer to the book.

All of these events actually happened...


Jan 23,1852 - Brigham Young instructs Utah Legislature to legalize slavery because "we must believe in slavery." 

Feb 5,1852 - Brigham Young announces policy of denying priesthood to all those black African ancestry, even "if there never was a prophet, or apostle of Jesus Christ spoke it before" because "negroes are the children of old Cain....any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him cannot hold the priesthood." Contrary to Joseph Smith's example in authorizing the ordination of Elijah Abel, this is LDS policy for the next 126 years. 

Jan 3,1854 - Brigham Young invites Elijah Ablel, free black and ordained Seventy, to party with 98 other men in Social Hall. Some of these parties are male-only dances. 

Nov 22,1855 - Brigham Young secretly ordains his eleven year old son John W. an apostle in connection with receiving the endowment. Young later ordains three other sons apostles. 

Mar 21,1858 - Brigham Young tells this special conference that Joseph Smith disobeyed revelation by returning to Nauvoo to stand trial, that the church's founding prophet lost Spirit of God the last days of his life, and died as unnecessary martyr. He published this talk as pamphlet. 

Dec 15,1858 - Young readily grants divorce to unhappy plural wives but requires husbands to pay him personally a $10 fee ($214.50 in 2001 U.S. dollars). Young issues 1,600 certificates of divorce for unhappy polygamous marriages. (This equals 16 thousand dollars, or $343,200 2001 U.S. dollars) 

Aug 20,1859 - Brigham Young regarding slavery: "We consider it of divine institution, and not to be abolished until the curse pronounced on Ham shall have been removed from his descendants. 

Sep 7,1859 - Salt Lake City clerk records sale of twenty six year old "negro boy" for $800 to William H. Hooper. Until federal law ends slavery in U.S. Territories in 1862, some African-American slaves are paid as tithing, bought, sold and otherwise treated as chattel in Utah. 

Nov 18,1861 - Abraham Lincoln checks out Book of Mormon from Library of Congress. He returns it on 29 July 1862, apparently first U.S. president to read Book of Mormon. 

Dec 10,1862 - Deseret News reports that Church Historian's Office is displaying sample of tobacco crops grown in Provo during past summer. 

Oct 6,1863 - Brigham Young prophesies to general conference: "Will the present struggle (of the U.S. Civil War) free the slaves? No..... and men will be called to judgement for the way they have treated the negroe." The 13th Amendment legally ends slavery in the United States in 1865. 

May 15,1864 - Brigham Young preaches, "I don't want Mormonism to become too popular... we would be overrun by the wicked." 

Dec 9,1869 - ZCMI Drug Stores advertises that is has just opened on Main Street with "Liquors, Draught and by the case." 

Jun 18,1870 - First Counselor George A Smith tells Salt Lake School of Prophets about "the evil of masturbation" among Utah Mormons. Apostle Lorenzo Snow says that "plural marriage would tend to diminish the evil of self pollution and the indulgence on the part of men was less in plural marriage than in monogamy." 

Sep 1,1870 - Salt Lake City's 9th Ward reports that only thirty one of its 181 families attends Sunday Services regularly and 50% of families are perfectly indifferent. 

Jun 3,1871 - Salt Lake Tabernacle service: "Pres D.H. Wells spoke 25 minutes following President Young's remarks. Not very good attention. Considerable moving about, passing out, and drowsiness." 

Jan 4,1877 - Joseph Smith's last born child David is committed to Illinois Hospital for the Insane. Proclaimed by Brigham Young in 1866 as rightful heir of LDS presidency, he has served as counselor on RLDS presidency since 1873. He dies in asylum in 1904. 

Aug 29,1877 - Brigham Young dies. His last words are "Joseph, Joseph, Joseph!" 

June 4,1879 - John Taylor and apostles decline to allow Elijah Abel to receive temple endowment because he is Negroid, even though Abel received Melchizedek priesthood with Joseph Smith's authorization in 1836. This African American regularly attends his Seventy's quorum meetings and serves proselyting mission just before his death in 1888. 

Dec 27,1879 - Apostle Wilford Woodruff tells stake conference in Snowflake, Arizona, "There will be no United States in the year 1890." 

Jan 9,1880 - Apostle Orson Pratt writes to his children that city of New Jerusalem will be constructed by April 1950. 

Jan 7,1882 - Apostle Francis M Lyman's diary begins recording month-long nervous breakdown of Heber J Grant, his successor as Tooele Stake President. Physician diagnoses Grant's condition as "nervous convulsions" and warns that condition could lead to "softening of the brain," if Grant continues his stressful pace of activity. Grant becomes apostle ten months later and is first LDS leader with diagnosed history of emotional illness. 

Mar 31,1882 - John Taylor closes Church Historian's Office to the public. 

Mar 22,1884 - James E Talmage begins using hashish at Johns Hopkins University as "my physiological experiment" of its effects. By April 6 he is using twenty grains, "and the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way." This is last reference in his diary. Four months later he becomes member of stake high council. 

May 17,1888 - At dedication of Manti Temple, Wilford Woodruff declared prophetically , "We are not going to stop the practice of plural marriage until the Coming of the Son of Man."

Feb 27,1889 - LDS political newspaper Salt Lake Herald: "In 1870 Utah had second highest rate of divorce and in 1880 the tenth highest for all states and territories." 

Jun 8, 1889 - Apostle Lorenzo Snow says that "his sister, the late Eliza R. Snow Smith, was a firm believer in the principle of reincarnation and that she claimed to have received if from the Joseph the Prophet, her husband. He said he saw nothing unreasonable in it, and could believe it, if it came from the Lord or His oracle." 

Dec 5, 1891 - Stake President relates "incident of the Prophet Joseph telling Dimick B Huntington.....that Noah built the Ark in the land where South Carolina is now. 

Nov 29,1893 - Presidents Wilford Woodruff and George Q Cannon meet with three apostles and James E Talmage: "That there will also be daughters of Perdition there is no doubt in the minds of the brethren." 

Dec 7,1893 - First Presidency and Twelve decide that garments worn under clothing should be white. This is first departure of Utah temple garment from contemporary "Union Suit" which comes in various colors and upon which Utah "street garment" is based. 

Apr 5,1894 - At meeting of First Presidency and apostles, Wilford Woodruff announces revelation which ends practice of adopting (sealing) men to LDS leaders. 

Apr 9,1894 - Death of Thomas C Sharp, principal conspirator in murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. He has had a successful career as mayor, judge, school principal and newspaper editor. 

Apr 15,1894 - Juvenile Instructor publishes hymn "Our Mother in Heaven," which is phrased as prayer to the goddess. 

May 18,1894 - In Salt Lake Temple, "Jane Elizabeth Manning (a Negro woman) is sealed as a servitor for eternity to the Prophet Joseph Smith." Joseph F. Smith acts as proxy. 

Aug 26,1894 - "First time a woman has spoken in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on the Sabbath at the regular service- the people don't know what to make of it-it must bode good for women." The speaker is a non-Mormon. 

Oct 24,1894 - Wilford Woodruff and his two counselors each give approval for Apostle Abraham H Cannon to marry another plural wife. In all, ten general authorities marry post-Manifesto plural wives by permission of church president or his counselors during next ten years. 

Mar 1,1895 - Some non-Mormons are given full tour of dedicated Salt Lake Temple interior. 

Apr 7,1895 - Wilford Woodruff tells conference: "Cease troubling yourselves about who God is; who Adam is, who Christ is, who Jehova is. For Heaven's sake, let these things alone. 

Aug 22,1895 - First Presidency and apostles decide to deny temple endowments to "Black Jane" Manning (James) because of her "negro blood." Black women are banned from temple, as are black men until 1978.

Mar 12,1896 - First Presidency gives James E. Talmage "an instruction to smoke tobacco to relieve his persistent insomnia." 

Aug 23,1896 - Sugar House Ward congregation votes against man proposed as Bishop of new ward to divided from the old. Salt Lake stake president Angus M. Cannon furiously shouts, "Sit down! and shut your mouths, you have no right to speak!" When Cannon engages in shouting match with dissenting congregation, a ward member and policeman threaten to arrest stake president for disturbing the peace. Cannon more calmly repeats his attempt but is voted down "again several times." Secretary of the First Council in attendance writes: "I have been taught that the appointing power comes from the priesthood and the sustaining power from the people and that they have the right of sustaining or not sustaining appointees." 

Aug 26,1896 - Apostle Moses Thatcher begins treatment with Keeley Institute for his addiction to opium and morphine. First Presidency and apostles tolerated Thatcher as a "morphine fiend" and "opium eater", but on 26 July his family and friends considered involuntary commitment to treatment. His is most prominent drug addict in Mormon history. Twelve drop Thatcher from quorum membership on 19 Nov because of four year conflict over his insubordination in political matters, but Thatcher's drug addiction aggravates that conflict. 

Nov 5,1896 - Apostle Lorenzo Snow's youngest plural wife bears his last child in Canada. At age 82 he is the oldest General Authority to father a child. 

Jan 15,1897 - Apostle Brigham Young, Jr. temporarily resigns as vice-president of Brigham Young Trust Company because first counselor George Q. Cannon allows its property to become "a first class" brothel on Commercial Street (now Regent Street), Salt Lake City. Apostle Heber J. Grant is invited to its opening reception and is stunned to discover himself inside "a regular whore-house." This situation begins in 1891, and for fifty years church controlled real estate companies lease houses of prostitution. 

Oct 7,1898 - At general conference Apostle John W. Taylor reports that in one rural area, 80% of LDS marriages involve premarital sex. 

Feb 7,1901 - Apostle Brigham Young, Jr writes that proposal to provide Utah's school children with smallpox vaccinations is "Gentile doctors trying to force Babylon into the people and some of them are willing to disease the blood of our children if they can do so, and they think they are doing God's service." 

Mar 3,1901 - Lorenzo Snow promises Salt Lake temple workers that "some of us would go back to Jackson County, Missouri." 

July 11, 1901 - First Presidency and apostles agree that Danish beer is not harmful or in violation of Word of Wisdom and release an official statement to the same affect. 

Nov 7,1901 - First Presidency officially declares that there is no "rule in the church forbidding cousins to intermarry" and that first cousins can have temple marriages if they present civil license. 

Apr 3,1902 - First Presidency and apostles read letter that U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and Republican Part leader Mark Hanna guarantee they will arrange to defeat proposed constitutional amendment on polygamy and unlawful cohabitation. They expect Mormons to vote Republican in exchange. 

Mar 26,1903 - Joseph F Smith tells apostles "there would be no daughters of perdition, only sons" in final judgement. 

Oct 22,1903 - First Presidency and Twelve authorize purchase of twenty five acres of the original temple lot at Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. Purchase is complete on 14 Apr 1904. These purchases continue throughout twentieth century. 

Feb 20 1904 - First verified suicide of full time LDS missionary. He shoots himself as he is returning to Utah. 

Mar 2,1904 - Before committee of U.S. Senate, Joseph F. Smith testifies: "I have never pretended to nor do I profess to have received revelations. I never said that I had a revelation except so far as God has shown me that so-called Mormonism is God's divine truth, that is all." 

Apr 14,1904 - First Presidency and apostles decide to resume sale of liquor at church resort of Saltair due to need for non-Mormon patronage. 

Jan 10,1906 - First Council of Seventy instructs B.H.Roberts to go to Los Angeles for "recuperation from a weakness for liquor that had fastened itself upon him." 

Oct 6, 1907 - At sustaining of church officers a man votes against Joseph F. Smith because of his admitted violation of Utah's cohabitation law. Smith has him ejected from Salt Lake Tabernacle by force. 

1904 - Church president instructs twelve apostles to walk through all doorways in order of seniority. 

1906 - Joseph F. Smith pleads guilty in court to unlawful cohabitation for which he pays $300 fine. 

1907 - General Conference votes to send twenty tons of flour to China for famine relief. This comes from Relief Society grain storage program. 

1909 - October at General Conference, Apostle George Albert Smith stops speaking after three minutes as he begins to "tremble and perspire." Apostle Reed Smoot had referred two weeks earlier to Smith's "mental trouble." Since January Smith's diary has described symptoms of his eventual collapse. At age thirty-nine he is first general authority whose debilitating mental problems cannot be attributed to senility. Hospitalized for ten weeks at Gray's Sanatarium in Salt Lake City, Smith does not recover from his emotional breakdown until 1913. Problem re-emerges in 1930's and in 1949-51. 

1910 April - Stake president writes of church members "complaining on account of so many Smiths being chosen." Recent conference sustained John Henry Smith as second counselor and President Smith's son, Joseph Fielding Smith, as new apostle. In addition to appointing his son Hyrum M. an apostle in 1901, Smith also appointed his son David A. Smith to Presiding Bishopric in 1907. 

Oct 2,1910 - First anti-Mormon film, Victim of the Mormons ("Mormonens Offer"), opens in Copenhagen, Denmark. Film goes into international distribution, is publicly condemned by Apostle David O. McKay at next general conference. It is target of first censorship effort led by Utah governor (William Spry, LDS). 

Jan 1913 - Deseret News favorably reviews One Hundred Years of Mormonism, first commercial film about Mormons made with cooperation of church officials. The 6 reel, 90 minute silent film features one of Brigham Young's grandsons in the role of his grandfather. During Joseph F. Smith presidency, Hollywood produces other silent features which portray Mormonism less favorably: A Trip to Salt Lake City (1905), The Mountain Meadow Massacre (1912), The Mormon (1912), Deadwood Dick Spoils Brigham Young(1915), Cecil B. DeMille's A Mormon Maid (1917), and The Rainbow Trail (1918). 

Dec 17,1913 - Death of Joseph Smith's last surviving plural wife, Mary E. Rollins Lightner. She helped save the still-unbound Book of Commandments from printing office set afire by mob in 1833. She witnessed adoption of 1835 D&C, which prohibited polygamy, and became secret plural wife of Joseph Smith at Nauvoo while still living with her non-Mormon husband. 

Oct 8, 1916 Apostle James E. Talmadge anounces in Conference that "The [ten lost] tribes shall come: they are not lost unto the Lord; they shall be brought forth as hath been predicted; and I say unto you there are those now living - aye, some here present - who shall live to read the records of the Lost Tribes of Israel..."

Mar 22,1919 - "The Nigger" is the new production to be given at the Social Hall, proclaims Deseret News with explanation: "The Nigger" is distinctly Southern. It is a romance based on Southern ideals and the race problem. 

Nov 11,1919 - Apostle James E. Talmage attends Third Christian Citizenship Conference in Pittsburgh as delegate chosen by Utah's governor. Utah delegates are booed and hissed by 4,000 other delegates. Talmage hurriedly leaves after some delegates surround him and threaten to strip off his clothes in order to display his temple garments. 

Jan 4,1922 - From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Brigham H. Roberts presents detailed summary of textual and historical problems in Book of Mormon to combined meeting of First Presidency, apostles, and Seventy's presidents. He recommends that these problems should be researched and publicly discussed. 

May 17,1923 - First Presidency and Twelve agree to alter temple undergarment worn outside temple: "buttons instead of strings; no collar; sleeves above the elbow and few inches below the knee and a change in the crotch so as to cover the same." Mormons of the time regard this as a dramatic change from endowment garment introduced by Joseph Smith. 

Nov 26,1923 - Corporation of the President is incorporated, becoming the successor of the Trustee-in-Trust as center of church financial operations. 

Jan 21,1925 - Mason Grand Lodge of Utah officially prohibits Mormons from membership in any of its Masonic lodges and provides for expulsion of any Mormons who are current members of any Utah lodge. Utah is the only state with formal Masonic restriction against religious group or denomination. Some Mormons (primarily converts) affiliate or preside in Masonic lodges outside Utah after 1925. 

May 22,1925 - Deseret News editorializes in favor of new Utah law which legalizes horse racing and pari-mutual betting. Legislature has appointed Brigham F. Grant as chair of Racing Commission. He is manager of Deseret News and brother of church president, Heber J. Grant. 

Feb 15,1927 - Apostle George F. Richards notifies temples that it is decision of First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve to immediately omit from prayer circles "all references to avenging the blood of the Prophets. Omit from the ordinance and lecture all reference to retribution." Letter also instructs to "omit the kissing" at the end of the proxy sealings. 

Jan 19-20,1928 - Frederick M. Smith, RLDS president, supervises disinternment of his martyred grandfather and granduncle, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, from coffin-less burial place kept secret since 1844. They are reburied in coffins, one on each side of Emma Hale Smith Bidamon, next to Mansion House in Nauvoo. 

Sept 24,1929 - Heber J. Grant writes: "I am free to confess that I am disappointed with the Yosemite valley. It seems only about one-half as grand as the American Fork canyon of Utah."

Aug 16,1930 - Heber J. Grant remarks that Apostle George Albert Smith "is getting very nervous. We don't want him to have another breakdown such as he had years ago, almost costing him his life." Apostle Smith doesn't begin describing his symptoms until January 1932, and year later writes, "My Nerves are nearly gone but am holding on the best I know how." Symptoms gradually subside and do not resume until he is church president years later. 

April 2,1932 - Heber J. Grant launches campaign against use of tobacco as part of his emphasis on observing Word of Wisdom by total abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee. Previously, Section 89 was not regarded as a commandment nor was it interpreted as simply abstaining from four specific substances. 

May 5,1932 - Apostle Stephen L. Richards tells First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve that he will resign as apostle rather than apologize for his general conference talk which says church is putting too much emphasis on Word of Wisdom. He later confesses his error to Heber J. Grant on 26 may and retains his position. 

July 29,1932 - Death of George H. Brimhall from self-inflicted gunshot. He served as BYU President from 1904 to 1921 and is only BYU president to commit suicide. 

Dec 9,1933 - Church News article "Mormonism in The New Germany," enthusiastically emphasizes parallels "between the LDS Church and some of the ideas and policies of the National Socialists." First, Nazis have introduced "Fast Sunday." Second, "it is a very well known fact that Hitler observes a form of living which Mormons term the Word of Wisdom. Finally, due to the importance given to the racial question by Nazis and the almost necessity of proving that one's grandmother was not a Jewess, there no longer is resistance against genealogical research by German Mormons who now have received letters of encouragement complimenting them for their patriotism." 

Jan 25,1936 - Church News Section photograph of LDS basketball team in Germany giving "Sieg Heil: salute of Nazi Party. 

Oct 31,1936 - First Presidency publishes unsigned editorial in Deseret News, which argues against re-election of Democratic president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Editorial, written by J. Reuben Clark, accuses F.D.R. of unconstitutional and Communist activities. In response one thousand Mormons angrily cancel their subscriptions to the News. Three days later, 69.3 percent of Utah's voters help re-elect Roosevelt. Utah's electorate re-elects F.D.R. again (1940,1944), despite First Presidency's opposition. 

Mar 29,1940 - First Presidency asks Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith to chair "Literature Censorship Committee authorized by Quorum of the Twelve last Thursday." 

Mar 10,1941 - First Presidency orders Clayton Investment Company to get rid of its "whore-houses," no matter the financial loss, so that church affiliated company can merge with church-owned Zion's Securities Corp. Ends fifty years of church's leases to brothels. 

June 8,1941 - First counselor J. Reuben Clark tells annual conference of youth and their leaders: "When I was a boy it was preached from the stand, and my father and mother repeated the principle to me time and time again. They said, 'Reuben, we had rather bury you than to have you become unchaste.' and that is the law of this Church." This doctrine continues in the church and is included in all editions of Bruce R. McConkie's great work Mormon Doctrine under the heading "Chastity." 

June 1945 - Improvement Era states: "When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done." This is the ward teacher's message to all members for the month. To an inquiring Unitarian minister, George Albert Smith writes that "not a few members of the Church have been upset in their feelings, and General Authorities have been embarrassed" by above statement. "Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church," he continues. However, church president's retraction reaches one non-Mormon, while original statement reaches entire LDS population without similar retraction. 

Oct 6,1946 - Public release of Joseph Fielding Smith (b. 1899) as Patriarch to Church due to "ill health" but actually due to discovery of his recent homosexual activity. 

Oct 9,1946 - First Presidency and apostles decide to allow faithful African-American Mormons to receive patriarchal blessings, and Patriarch Elder G. Smith blesses black couple for the first time. 

April 16,1948 - Apostle Mark E. Petersen asks for permission to instruct local leaders to begin excommunication trials for persons he suspects of having disloyal attitudes towards LDS Church. First Counselor J. Reuben Clark warns Petersen "to be careful about the insubordination or disloyalty question, because they ought to be permitted to think, you can't throw a man off for thinking." 

Jan 20,1949 - President George Albert Smith begins week's stay in California Lutheran Hospital for his "tired nerves," which his diary first refers to at Oct 1948 general conference. He is first LDS president with history of severe emotional illness and hospitalization. He does not recover from this episode until mid May 1949, when able to be in First Presidency office at least half day. Smith is absent from church headquarters 12 Jan to 27 Feb 1950 to stay at Laguna Beach, California, "to rest my nerves." He returns there to recuperate again for ten days in March. Year later his nurse notes that church president is "very confused, very nervous." Ten days before his death, nurse adds that George Albert Smith is "irrational at times." 

April 5,1949 - First counselor J. Reuben Clark tells meeting of bishops: "I wish that we could get over being flattered into almost anything. If any stranger comes among us and tells us how wonderful we are, he pretty much nearly owns us." 

Aug 17,1951 - First Presidency statement that church's restriction on negroid peoples receiving priesthood "is not a matter of the declaration of policy but of direct commandment from the Lord." 

Oct 16,1951 - Temple council of First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve Apostles and Patriarch to church decides to allow beer commercials on church-owned KSL television station. 

Nov 5,1951 - First Presidency learns of plans by Warner Brothers to make film about Mountain Meadows Massacre, based on recent scholarly book by LDS Juanita Brooks. Within seven days First Presidency successfully persuades Hollywood studio to kill project. 

Mar 3,1953 - First Presidency secretary answers Mormon's inquiry about receiving blood transfusions from African Americans: "The LDS Hospital here in Salt Lake City has a blood bank which does not contain any colored blood." This represents five year effort to keep LDS Hospital's blood bank separate from American Red Cross system in order "to protect the purity of the blood streams of the people of this Church" (Counselor J. Reuben Clark's phrase.) 

March 30,1955 - Quorum of Twelve recommends establishment of separate unit or branch for African-American members in Salt Lake City. 

April 10,1956 - Non-LDS governor of Utah, J. Bracken Lee, speaks of his counsel to prominent non-Mormons: "I said to them you are never going to have any success in Utah unless you let the leaders of the Church give you some advice." 

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. 

Jan 7-8,1960 - First Presidency decides that Bruce R. McConkie's Mormon Doctrine "must not be re-published, as it is full of errors and misstatements, and it is most unfortunate that it has received such wide circulation." They are exasperated that McConkie and his publisher released the book without pre-publication publicity or notifying First Presidency. Even his father-in-law, senior apostle, Joseph Fielding Smith, "did not know anything about it until it was published." This is McConkie's way to avoid repetition of Presidency's stopping his pre-announced Sound Doctrine three years earlier. 

Committee of two apostles (Mark E. Petersen and Marion G. Romney) report that McConkie's Mormon Doctrine contains 1,067 doctrinal errors. For example, page 493 said: "Those who falsely and erroneously suppose that God is progressing in knowledge and gaining new truths cannot exercise sufficient faith in him to gain salvation until they divest themselves of their false beliefs." However, McConkie is affirming doctrine of omniscience officially condemned by previous First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1865. In announcing their decision to the Twelve on 28 Jan 1960, First Presidency says there should be no revised edition of Mormon Doctrine. Presidency reverses initial decision on 7 Jan. "that the book should be officially repudiated." 

By 28 Jan Presidency decides against requiring McConkie to make public apology because "it might lessen his influence" as general authority. 

In 1966 year after his father-in-law becomes assistant counselor to First Presidency, McConkie publishes second edition of Mormon Doctrine. It corrects only a few of first edition "errors" cited by First Presidency and apostles in 1960. Book becomes best seller among Latter-day Saints. McConkie becomes member of Quorum of Twelve Apostles to fill vacancy which his father-in-law's death creates in 1972. 

Nov 10,1960 - Brigham Young University's president tells Executive Committee of BYU's trustees "about a colored boy on campus having been a candidate for the vice presidency of a class and receiving a very large vote." The three apostles present want to exclude all African Americans from BYU. "If a granddaughter of mine should ever go the BYU and become engaged to a colored boy," Apostle Harold B. Lee fumes, "I would hold you responsible!" 

May 14,1961 - Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith announces to stake conference in Honolulu: "We will never get a man into space. This earth is man's sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it." Smith, the Twelve's president and next in succession as LDS President, adds: "The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen." In May 1962, he privately instructs that this view be taught to "the boys and girls in the Seminary System." On 20 July 1969 U.S. Astronauts are first men to walk on moon. Six months later Joseph Fielding Smith becomes church president. 

June 22,1961 - First Presidency supports plan to persuade U.S. Army to send its "colored contingents" to California rather than to Utah. At its same meeting Presidency agrees to allow baptism of Nigerians seeking membership in church. 

Feb 3,1962 - Church News Headlines, "MIA Bans The Twist," popular dance among teenagers and young adults. This prohibition is widely ignored by youth and even by adult leaders in some wards and stakes, especially in Britain and Europe. 

May 25,1962 - Boyd K. Packer is first to earn regular doctorate while serving as general authority. He receives Ed.D. degree from Brigham Young University. 

Sep 19,1962 - First Presidency rules that prominent Egyptian polygamist can be baptized because polygamy is legal in Egypt. This is in reference to "an earlier ruling in the matter of Indians who had married more than one wife and it was decided that they may be baptized, if they were legally married according to their tribal customs." 

Oct 27,1962 - In midst of Cuban Missile Crisis, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson publicly endorses John Birch Society as "the most effective non-church organization in our fight against creeping socialism and godless communism," and his son Reed A. Benson announces that he is Utah coordinator of the society. 

Jan 1,1964 - "Home Teaching" replaces traditional "ward teaching" program of monthly visits of priesthood men to church members. This begins new emphasis on family life which subtly (yet fundamentally) replaces previous priorities of God, Church and family with new ranking of family, church and God. 

Feb 29,1964 - After forty one years teaching in Church Education System, George S. Tanner writes that " a large majority" of CES teachers are so narrow and ignorant that it is a shame to have them indoctrinating our young people. I would much rather my sons and daughters go to other schools in the state than have them led by these religious fanatics." 

April 15,1964 - Daryl Chase, Mormon president of Utah State University, confides that "the LDS church has a greater strangle hold on the people and institutions of the state now than they had in Brigham's time. Complete academic freedom is actually non-existent." 

March 3,1965 - Apostle Harold B. Lee is "protesting vigorously over our having given a scholarship at BYU to a negro student from Africa. Brother Lee holds the traditional belief as revealed in the Old Testament that the races ought to be kept together and that there is danger in trying to integrate them on the BYU campus." 

April 29,1965 - BYU President Ernest L. Wilkinson makes first reference in his diary to receiving reports from student "spy ring" he has authorized and which becomes national scandal within ten months. 

July 1967 - Church-wide Priesthood Bulletin prohibits women from praying in sacrament meeting. Ban stays in effect until late 1978. 

Nov 27,1967 - New York Metropolitan Museum of Art gives to LDS church the original Egyptian papyri upon which Joseph Smith based "Book of Abraham" in Pearl of Great Price. Scholars and church officials authenticate papyri as the same used by Smith. Apostle N. Eldon Tanner states the discovery of the papyri will finally prove Joseph Smith could translate ancient documents. Unfortunately, Egyptologists, LDS and non-LDS, verify that these papyri are typical "Book of Breathings" in form and content. Church officials begin repressing the story that the original papyri have been discovered and are in their possession.

June 33,1967 - BYU's president receives "confidential draft" by Terry Warner, professor of philosophy and religion, that "freedom of speech as it is known today is a secular concept and has no place of any kind at the BYU." 

Nov 19,1967 - BYU's administration discuss possibility of taking legal action to close down off campus student newspaper. 

Dec 19,1967 - BYU's Daily Universe publishes article in favor of recruiting African American athletes. BYU's president writes: "This argues all the more in favor of our making the student newspaper an agency of our Communications Department rather than a student publication." Universe ceases to be independent student paper on 18 Apr 1969, but "nothing would be announced about this new policy." 

Sep 14,1971 - Apollo 15 astronauts present to President Joseph Fielding Smith a Utah state flag that has traveled with them to the moon. 

May 13,1972 - May Presidency letter that "fluoridation of public water supplies to prevent tooth decay" is one of the "non-moral issues" that Mormons should vote on "according to their honest convictions." John Birch Society, which Apostle Ezra Taft Benson and many other Mormons support, is condemning fluoridation as a Communist "plot." 

April 6,1974 - April conference sustains Neal A. Maxwell as Assistant to the Twelve, first general authority who previously worked for U.S. Government's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Maxwell becomes member of the twelve in 1981. 

Aug 14,1976 - New York Times reports U.S. patent granted to Mormons G. Richard Jacobs, Cluff Peck, Dean G. Doderquist for "speaking mannequins" at LDS information centers. 

Nov 1,1977 - Spencer W. Kimball dedicates Osmond Family Studio in Orem, Utah. 

Feb 15,1978 - First Presidency letter that Mohammed and Confucius "received a portion of God's light." 

June 9,1978 - First Presidency announces "priesthood now available to all worthy male members." First Presidency secretary Francis M. Gibbons writes that this change "seemed to relieve them of a subtle sense of guilt they had felt over the years." 

June 17,1978 - Church News headline "Interracial Marriage Discouraged" in same issue which announces authorization of priesthood for those of black African descent. Sources at church headquarters indicate that Apostle Mark E. Petersen requires this emphasis. 

Dec 29,1978 - First Presidency allows women to pray in sacrament meetings again, rescind earlier ban from July 1967. 

August 1979 - Church's Ensign magazine publishes first counselor N. Eldon Tanner's statement: "When the prophet speaks the debate is over," which echoes Improvement Era's message of June 1945. 

Feb 7,1980 - Dallin H. Oaks, president of BYU, is chair of board for television's Public Broadcasting Service. He continues as PBS Chair after his appointment to Twelve in April 1984. 

March 2,1980 - Introduction of "Consolidated Meeting Schedule" of three-hours on Sundays. This eliminates week-day meetings of auxiliaries, as well as traditional twice daily Sunday meetings. This eases transportation and weekly scheduling but erodes fellowshipping opportunities and diminishes tightly knit social environment of LDS Wards. By 1996, this has severely diminished emotional ties of North American Mormon youth to LDS community, eroding what is called "Mormon ethnic identity." Most dramatic manifestation of this trend is fact that for first time in Mormon history, young women cease LDS participation at greater percentages than young men (according to general authority Jack H. Goaslind's statement in BYU Daily Universe, 31 Aug 1992). Likewise, despite absolute increase in missionary numbers, proportion of Mormon males who accept full time missions has decreased significantly in North America. 

July 3,1981 - After nearly eleven years of losing advertising revenues, Deseret News begins publishing ads for R-rated movies. 

August 22,1981 - Apostle Boyd K. Packer instructs BYU religion faculty, all seminary and institute teachers, and administrators of Church Education System that Mormon history, "if not properly written or properly taught, may be a faith destroyer," and he affirms that Mormon historians are wrong in publicizing controversial elements of Mormon past. BYU Studies publishes this address in full. At request of students, BYU history professor gives his perspective on Elder Packer's talk and role of historical inquiry to meeting of BYU's history majors. Summarized within days by off-campus student newspaper Seventh East Press, this conflict between some apostles and some Mormon historians is subject of Feb 1982 Newsweek article which quotes BYU professor that "a history which makes LDS leaders flawless and benignly angelic would border on idolatry." 

Oct 1,1981 - New York Times reports official announcement that new edition of Book of Mormon changes prophecy that Lamanites will "become white and delightsome." Instead of continuing original reference to skin color, new edition emphasizes inward spirituality: "become pure and delightsome." 

Oct 31,1981 - Apostle Bruce R. McConkie preaches to combined stakes of BYU that second coming of Jesus Christ will not be in his lifetime or in lifetime of his children or his grandchildren. This runs contrary to the common folk belief that Christ will come in year 2000 or shortly thereafter. 

March 2,1982 - In televised sermon at BYU Apostle Bruce R. McConkie denounces "spiritually immature: students and other Mormons who devote themselves to gaining a special personal relationship with Christ." He criticizes widely circulated book on that topic by popular religion professor George Pace who writes public letter of apology within days and is released as stake president shortly thereafter. 

April 2,1982 - First Presidency announces service of male missionaries is reduced from 24 months to 18 months. "It is anticipated that this shortened term will make it possible for many to go who cannot go under present financial circumstances," counselor Gordon B. Hinckley explains. "This will extend the opportunity for missionary service to an enlarged body of our young men." Instead, the annual number of new missionaries level off. Annual convert baptisms decline more than 7 percent each year rather than increase by same proportion as before. 

Jan 11,1983 - Second counselor Gordon B. Hinckley pays document dealer Mark Hofmann $15,000 for alleged Joseph Smith letter about his treasure digging activities. He has Hofmann agree not to mention the transaction to anyone else and then he sequesters document in First Presidency's vault. First Presidency does not acknowledge its existence until Los Angeles Times is about to release story about document, which Hofmann later admits he forged. 

April 15,1983 - University Post: The Unofficial Newspaper of Brigham Young University reports interview with director of Standards Department. He acknowledges that students suspected of cheating, illegal drug use, stealing, or homosexuality are expelled from BYU if they refuse to take polygraph examination. BYU Security has licensed polygraph examiner. 

Nov 26,1984 - First Presidency announces that as of 1 January mission service for young men will return to 24 months. 

May 5,1985 - LDS Astronaut Don Lind administers sacrament in zero gravity Skylab 3. 

June 9,1985 - Church headquarters telephones all bishops in Utah, Idaho and Arizona with instructions to forbid discussion of Linda Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery's biography Mormon Enigma:Emma Hale Smith in Relief Society or other church meetings. Lasting for ten months, this ban is apparently what triples book's sales. 

April 4,1987 - First Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley tells priesthood session of conference that "marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations of practices..." This reverses decades long policy formulated by Spencer W. Kimball. 

Oct 2,1988 - Michaelene P. Grassli, general Primary President, is first woman to speak in general conference in 133 years. 

Oct 12,1989 - Deseret News reports that representative of Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company confirms that Utah has highest per-capita use in nation of anti-depressant Prozac. 

April 1,1991 - Student at BYU's commencement offers prayer to "Our Mother and Father in Heaven." 

April 17,1991 - Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Utah "ranks last in proportion of students who are female" throughout the United States. This is result of Utah's "traditions that inhibit the educational progress of women." 

Aug 9,1991 - Salt Lake Tribune article, "Of LDS Women, 58% Admit Premarital Sex." 

April 4,1992 - Apostle Richard G. Scott tells general conference that LDS women should avoid "morbid probing into details of past acts, long buried and mercifully forgotten," and that "the Lord may prompt a victim to recognize a degree of responsibility for abuse." 

Among his concluding remarks: "Remember, false accusation is also a sin," and 'bury the past." Unspoken background to his remarks is that in recent years current stake presidents and temple workers have been accused of child abuse by their now adult children. Salt Lake Tribune reports that suicide prevention lines are swamped with telephone calls by women in days after Scott's remarks. 

Aug 8,1992 - Salt Lake Tribune reports that First Presidency's spokesman has acknowledged existence of special "Strengthening the Members Committee" that keeps secret files on church members regarded as disloyal. Due to publicity on this matter, including New York Times, Presidency issues statement on 13 Aug. defending organization of this apostle-directed committee as consistent with God's commandment to Joseph Smith to gather documentation about non-Mormons who mob and persecute LDS Church. Presidency lists Apostles James E. Faust and Russell M. Nelson as leading the committee. 

May 18,1993 - Apostle Boyd K. Packer tells All-Church Coordinating Council that LDS church faces three major threats: "The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals." 


June 27,1993 - Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley dedicates former Hotel Utah as new Joseph Smith Memorial Building to serve primarily as additional office space for LDS central bureaucracy. Its large theatres also begin showing devotional film, "Legacy" (about Mormon pioneers), scripted by Academy award-winner Keith Merrill according to Hinckley's instruction: "I want them to leave the theatre crying." 

Nov 6,1994 - Apostle M. Russell Ballard tells 25,000 students at BYU that general authorities "will not lead you astray. We cannot." This claim of infallibility is officially published, and he repeats it to another BYU devotional meeting in March 1996. 

May 3,1995 - Agreement between LDS church and American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors "over the issue of posthumous baptisms of Jewish Holocaust victims." First Presidency agrees to "remove from next issue of International Genealogical Index [public-access record only] names of all known posthumously baptized Jewish holocaust victims, "and "to discontinue any further baptisms of deceased Jews, including all lists of Jewish Holocaust victims who are know Jews, except if they were direct ancestors of living members of the Church." 

Sept 1995 - Ensign magazine publishes First Presidency message by second counselor James E. Faust which denounces "the false belief of inborn homosexual orientation." Next month's Ensign contains what appears as one apostle's direct challenge to First Presidency's unequivocal statement. In his October article "Same-Gender Attraction," Dallin H. Oaks writes: "There are also theories and some evidence that inheritance is a factor in susceptibilities to various behavior-related disorders like aggression, alcoholism, and obesity. It is easy to hypothesize that inheritance plays a role in sexual orientation." 

1996 Fall, Brigham Young University Studies publishes study by two sociologists who analyze 1,384 questionnaires submitted by LDS "householders," including discovery that LDS men are more likely to think they are going to heaven ("celestial kingdom") than women think of themselves. Men are less likely to attend church or pray privately than women.




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