120 years ago today - Apr 25, 1899; Tuesday

Brother Franklin S. Richards, one of the Church attorneys, had an interview with the First Presidency regarding the corporations existing in the various Stakes and Wards for the purpose of holding the properties thereof. The object of the interview was to ascertain the mind of the Presidency upon the multiplying of these corporations as new Stakes and Wards might be organized. Brother Richards represented how burdensome they appeared to many of the brethren, not only from the expense attending their creation, but from the keeping of them up in order to maintain their legal status; and he suggested a much cheaper and easier form of organization, namely, a trusteeship for the holding of the properties. After fully considering both sides of the question, and conceding the merit of Brother Richards' suggestion, the Presidency deemed it best, as a matter of precaution and in view of the hostile sentiment that was again rising and which might culminate in the passage of an anti-Mormon amendment to the Constitution, to keep up the corporations already organized and form new ones as they might be required. Brother L. John Nuttall, whose business it is to see that these corporations are kept up, was called in and informed of this decision and given appropriate instructions.

[First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes]

135 years ago today - Apr 25, 1884

[E. C. Briggs report to Joseph Smith III of interview with David Whitmer]
... [Emma] remarked of her husband Joseph's limited education while he was translating the Book of Mormon, and she was scribe at the time, "He could not pronounce the word Sariah." And one time while translating, where it speaks of the walls of Jerusalem, he stopped and said, "Emma, did Jerusalem have walls surrounding it." When I informed him it had, he replied, "O, I thought I was deceived."

... "In June, 1829, I [David Whitmer] saw the angel by the power of God, Joseph, Oliver and I were alone, and a light from heaven shone round us, and solemnity pervaded our minds. The angel appeared in the light, as near as that young man. [Within five or six feet]. Between us and the angel there appeared a table, and there lay upon it the sword of Laban, the Ball of Directors, the Record, and Interpreters. The angel took the Record, and turned the leaves, and showed it to us by the power of God. They were taken away by the angel to a cave, which we saw by the power of God while we were yet in the Spirit. ...

"The boys, Joseph and Oliver, worked hard, early and late, while translating the plates. It was slow work, and they could write only a few pages a day."

Of Joseph he continued;

"He could not do a thing except he was humble, and just right before the Lord."

I said, "Why not?"

He replied:

"The Urim and Thummim would look dark; he could not see a thing in them."

"How did it appear in them?" we asked.

His answer was:

"The letters appeared on them in light, and would not go off until they were written correctly by Oliver. When Joseph could not pronounce the words he spelled them out letter by letter. ...

[E. C. Briggs to Joseph Smith III, 4 June 1884, Saints' Herald 31 (21 June 1884): 396-97., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: David Whitmer Interview With E. C. Briggs And R. Etzenhouser]

170 years ago today - Apr 25, 1849

[Wilford Woodruff Journal]
I spent the night with Br Druce. He has A good large House & garden. The House was Called Haunted by the Dead. His family was disturbed for A while, but after Dedicating the family & House unto God, & Rebuked all spirits which were not of God to depart out of the house they were not troubled any more.

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

175 years ago today - Apr 25, 1844

Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith told a reporter from the St. Louis Gazette that he had gained his power by the principles of truth and virtue.

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

175 years ago today - Letters from Orson Hyde • 25 and Apr 26, 1844

[Council of Fifty]
On 4 April 1844 Orson Hyde left Nauvoo on assignment from the council to carry its petitions to the U.S. Congress and President John Tyler asking that JS be made a member of the U.S. Army and be allowed to raise one hundred thousand volunteers to protect national interests in the West. Hyde wrote five letters to JS reporting on his activities in Washington DC, dated 25 April, 26 April, 30 April, 9 June, and 11 June. JS received the first two letters on 13 May 1844, and the council met that day to review them. On behalf of the council, Willard Richards wrote a letter in response, which was carried to Hyde by Lyman Wight and Heber C. Kimball, who arrived in Washington on 2 June.

[Joseph Smith Papers: Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844-January 1846]

175 years ago today - Apr 25, 1844 • Thursday

[Council of Fifty]
Although in the previous meeting JS had declared the council full, two more members were admitted. In the morning session, council members discussed a proposal before the U.S. House of Representatives related to Oregon. ... JS also proposed that, instead of meeting, council members should travel and campaign for JS's presidency. ...

On motion Er Wm. Smith and Jedidiah M. Grant were then received for time and for all eternity, by the unanimous vote of the council, and took their seats in order. ...

The chairman then made some further remarks and advised that we let the constitution alone. He would tell us the whole matter about the constitution as follows—

Verily thus saith the Lord, yea are my constitution, and I am your God, and ye are my spokesmen. From henceforth do as I shall command you.

Saith the Lord.

Er Rigdon motioned that the constitution be received and the vote was unanimous, whereupon the council adjourned "sine die"

[Joseph Smith Papers: Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844-January 1846]

180 years ago today - Apr 25, 1839

Joseph travels toward the head of the Des Moines River rapids, where he determines that the land on both sides of the Mississippi—Commerce on the east and Montrose on the west—will be the future gathering sites for the Saints.

[He purchases two ajoining farms for $5,000 and $9,000]

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

80 years ago today - Apr 24, 1939

First Counselor J. Reuben Clark requests U.S. department of State to assist immigration of two Mormons: "She and her husband are Aryan natives and nationals of Switzerland." In contrast, Clark privately urges State Department not to help Jewish children to leave Nazi Germany if their parents are trying to send them to United States.

125 years ago today - Apr 24, 1894

[Franklin D. Richards]
Heard Sister Julia Samson's application to Pres[iden]t W[ilford]. W[oodruff]. to have her mother's marriage to Apostle Orson Pratt canceled & to have her sealed to her former husband also that herself & sisters be sealed to their parents'granted. Pres[iden]t. Woodruff granted her request & gave her a letter authorizing Pres[iden]t. [Lorenzo] Snow to do it.

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

155 years ago today - Apr 24, 1864

... President Young said I have ordained my son Brigham unto all the Priesthood & Power that I hold myself and appointed him one of my Counsellors & now Brother Kimball you Bless him if you feel like it. Than Brother Kimball gave him a good Blessing.

[Brigham Young Jr. had been ordained an apostle two months earlier by his father but was not admitted to the Quorum of Twelve until four years later.]

[Wilford Woodruff, Historian's Private 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]

175 years ago today - Apr 24, 1844

To help pay Joseph Smith's debts, apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and Lyman Johnson star in the play PIZZARO OR THE DEATH OF ROLLA at the Nauvoo Masonic Hall. The play tells the tragic fate of the Incas (led by Rolla) in defending their king, country, religion, and lives against the rapacious Spanish Conquistador, Pizarro. Kimball's sixteen-year-old daughter Helen, a secret plural wife of Joseph Smith, plays one of the chorus of virgins in the production.

[On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com, based on Michael Quinn's Mormon Hierarchy vols 1 & 2]

185 years ago today - Apr 24, 1834 (Thursday)

On this and the following six days the mob burned about one hundred and fifty houses belonging to the Saints in Jackson County, Mo.

[Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology]

20 years ago today - Apr 23, 1999

The First Presidency announced that the Church would accept donations for the construction of the Nauvoo Temple. Members could use the "Other" line on the donation receipt and enter the amount and the "Nauvoo Temple."

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

105 years ago today - Apr 23, 1914; Thursday

Telegram sent to President Joseph F. Smith regarding volitility in Mexico affecting Mormon colonies:

"El Paso, Texas, April 23rd, 1914. Pres[iden]t. Joseph F. Smith. Local situation has changed to a marked degree within the last twelve hours. Mexicans who until this morning have been very friendly are now outspoken in their threats towards Americans. Under the present conditions our colonists are in grave danger, threats having been made that certain families would be exterminated. Having been robbed of a great many of their teams and wagons and the railroad not being in operation, their condition is very serious. An overland trip would be dangerous as the country is infested with filibusterers. Have asked Senator Smoot if it would be possible to have troops give protection tot he colonists in case of hostilities. What steps can be taken? Advise at once.

(Signed) A. L. Pierce, Presiding Elder."

[First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes]

110 years ago today - Apr 23, 1909; Friday

Dr. James E. Talmage had had some conversation with the Presidency about making an effort to regain possession of the dies from which our Deseret gold coins are struck, he having learned some time ago that they were not in possession of Alfales Young, a son of President Brigham Young. It appears that these dies were among the personal belongings of President Brigham Young which were sold at auction to his heirs, no one else having been allowed to bid on his personal property, and Alfales bought them with some other things at a very low figure.

Dr. Talmage now represented to the Presidency in the presence of Brothers Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant and George F. Richards that he had waited on Alfales Young with the following result: Alfales claims that he could legally hold these dies, he having come rightfully by them, but offered to let the museum have them for five hundred dollars. Bro[ther]. Talmage now produced the dies, which he had procured from Alfales Young on certain binding conditions. They consisted of seven sets which covered all the coins issued. It was decided to regain possession of them for the Museum by paying Alfales Young his price, namely, five hundred dollars, although it is understood by the Presidency that he could be compelled to part with them as they were not personal property of President Brigham Young, but really belonged to the Church.

[First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes]

140 years ago today - Apr 23, 1879

[Joseph and Hiel Lewis]
[Joseph Smith's] so-called "money digging," of which so little is said in his histories, was in Susquehanna Co. Pa. Smith declared that vast treasures were hidden on this spot, and interested men of money sufficiently to procure funds to bear the expense of searching for it. Mr. Ira Stevens of East Grove Township [Illinois], lately deceased, was in his employ as head workman, and had charge of the excavation. The project was abandoned only when the prophet declared the enchantment was so great he could see no farther, and to dispel it, a snow white dog must be slain and its warm blood sprinkled in the hole. His adherents sought far and wide for a white dog, but none were to be found. Smith then thought a white sheep would do--one was brought, its fleece thoroughly cleaned, the sheep was slain and its blood administered as directed; but the enchantment was as great as ever, and the pursuit of wealth in those diggings had to be abandoned.

["The Histories of Mormonism," Amboy (IL) Journal, 23 April 1879., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: Amboy (Il) Journal]

185 years ago today - Apr 23, 1834

Joseph Smith is referred to as "Enoch" in a revelation. [D&C 104]

[Tidd, N. R., "Mormon Chronology, Rev 01 Volume 01" http://bit.ly/tiddchron]

185 years ago today - Apr 23, 1834

A revelation ends the Kirtland United Order and distributes its real estate assets among Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Martin Harris, Newel K. Whitney, and John Johnson. Although the revelation says, "it is my will that you shall pay all your debts," Smith requires Whitney to absorb the $1,121.31 Whitney had loaned to him personally as well as $2.484.22 of other men's debts to Whitney. Ten days later the name of the church is officially changed from "The Church of Jesus Christ" to "The Church of the Latter Day Saints" possibly to avoid law suits.

[On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com, based on Michael Quinn's Mormon Hierarchy vols 1 & 2]

185 years ago today - Apr 23, 1834

The United Order would be "everlasting", and "immutable and unchangeable" to benefit the church until Jesus comes. D&C 104:1

[D&C 104]

55 years ago today - Apr 22, 1964

Opening of New York World's Fair which LDS church's first major exhibit hall at world's fair, the "Mormon Pavilion." Continues through 1965 season.

[On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com, based on Michael Quinn's Mormon Hierarchy vols 1 & 2]