40 years ago today - Sep 20, 1979-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]
Lavina Anderson came by to tell me that [managing editor] Jay [Todd] had received a note from Elder [M. Russell] Ballard, [new] editor of the Ensign, asking him to respond to two matters. He said that this had been conveyed to him by Elder [Boyd K.] Packer. Lavina assumes that this means it came from someone higher than Elder Packer, such as, for example, from Elder [Ezra Taft] Benson or Elder [Mark E.] Petersen, but Elder Ballard did not reveal who had asked Elder Packer to convey it to him.

Anyway, the two matters were, first, some criticism of the Donna Hill book [a biography of Joseph Smith]; and secondly, a general criticism of my article in the September issue, "Six Lessons in Church History." Dean Jessee is preparing a comment with respect to the statements made about the Donna Hill book. Basically, they are suggesting that the book contains material that is both defamatory and incorrect, about Joseph Smith. After looking over the list of things, it is clear that these were not things that Donna Hill agreed with, but simply charges that she acknowledged were made against the Prophet, and she really provides an answer to them. So that criticism seems to be misplaced.

With respect to my article, there apparently were no specific criticisms but simply demanding a justification as to why the article was published, why I was asked to write it, and so on. So Lavina was trying to get something together to write up for Jay. Certainly I was not asked, in a formal letter, to write the article. It was something which was transmitted by telephone and not in one of our monthly meetings.

Anyway, there is, somewhere in the world, one person who did not like the article, nor did he/she think that I was qualified to write about Church history. Lavina assumes that I should not inform anybody of this, since she was not officially authorized to tell me. But she simply told me as a friend.

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

110 years ago today - Sep 20, 1909

[Thomas A. Clawson]
... Bro[ther] James E. Talmage was the speaker and the burden of his remarks were upon Church Organization, the Priesthood its powers and authority, the people and their authority and agency. In the course of his remarks he expressed himself as opposed to these persons, members of the Church, who go whisper about that the Church is not sincere in its declaration against the practice of plural marriage now. He went on to explain that there was only one man on earth at a time who held the Keys of this sealing power with authority to delegate it to others. ...

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

135 years ago today - Sep 20, 1884

Lorenzo Saunders was first interviewed by William H. Kelley [RLDS] on 17 September 1884 [regarding Joseph Smith in Palmyra, see http://bit.ly/ZwQNU5]. But Kelley evidently returned on 20 September with a different version of the interview, which rearranged and deleted a number of the questions and answers, but retained nearly identical wording. Following his brother's instructions, Kelley read this version to Saunders and had him sign it before a notary public.

[Lorenzo Saunders, Interviewed by William H. Kelley, 20 September 1884, 1-7, "Miscellany," RLDS Church Library-Archives, Independence, Missouri., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: Lorenzo Saunders Interview]

145 years ago today - Sep 20, 1874

Orson Pratt preached: "Joseph Smith…was a boy about fourteen years of ageat the time the Lord first revealed himself…to him…he saw nothing excepting the light and two glorious personages…One of these personages, pointing to the other, said—'Behold my beloved Son, hear ye him.'

After this, power was given to Mr. Smith to speak, and…he said that he desired to know which was the true Church…immediately after receiving it, he began to relate it to some of his nearest friends, and he was told by some of the ministers who came to him to enquire about it, that there was no such thing as the visitation of heavenly messengers, that God gave no new revelation…he knew that he had seen this light, that he had beheldthese two personages, and that he had heard the voice of one of them…and he continued to testifythat God had made himself manifest to him…"

["Journal of Discourses", Vol. 17, pp.278-280; A Documented History of Joseph Smith's First Vision, http://beggarsbread.org/2013/04/01/a-documented-history-of-joseph-smiths-first-vision/]

155 years ago today - Sep 20, 1864

President Young ... said "we are in the Land of Zion. It is known why we are in this land. This Country was not much known untill we Came into it. Since that time much has been known. Who printed the first Paper in the west, planted the first fruit trees, Penetrated the western wiles, Printed the first paper in the Rocky Mountains? The Latter Day Saints done all these things.

Most people thought that we should go to vancouvers Island. We were urged to go to Calafornia. Had we have gone there we should not have staid but a short time. We Could not have Staid there. The Emigration would have overwhelmed us. But we intend to Fill these mountains....

When we go to the Centre Stake of Zion we shall not have 600 Acres of Land Each to run over. No we shall have a small spot. There will not be a Chicken pig Cow horse or any animal in the City.

If you put in one Acre to grapes as it should be you Could take $5,000 for the use of it. Again tobacco. If you must use it raise it yourselfes. You Can raise 1,000 lbs on an Acre. At $2 per lb. itwould fetch $2,000. You have welth in the Soil here.... You do nothave so many foul spirits to Contend with as we doin the North, both from the Living & the dead."

[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 - 20 September 1844, Friday

[William Clayton]
The works of the temple moved on with astonishing rapidity, and on the 23rd of September the first capital was put up.

The stone weighed about two tons and when the stone was at its hight, and the men were attempting to draw it to the wall, the crane gave way at the foot of the wing or angle, which circumstance caused considerable danger. By great care the stone was safely landed and set without any further accident.

[Fillerup, Robert C., compiler; William Clayton Nauvoo Diaries and Personal Writings, A chronological compilation of the personal writings of William Clayton while he was a resident of Nauvoo, Illinois. http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/clayton-diaries]

175 years ago today - Sep 20, 1844

Heber C. Kimball tells William Clayton that he "shall yet have Sarah Crooks." Clayton had fallen in love with Crooks while on a mission in England. Clayton was married so did not pursue the relationship. Joseph Smith encouraged Clayton to send for Crooks after revealing plural marriage to him. Crooks arrived in Nauvoo but did not agree with polygamy or Joseph Smith and had already married another man by this date.

[On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com]

175 years ago today - Sep 20, 1844

[Brigham Young]
went to the temple cauld at Sister Evens seald hir up to hir husban Horres hir oldest son stod as proxy lad hands on sister Durly the Lord is with me continuly

[Brigham Young Journal (1801-1877) Journal #2 July, 1837- Mar. 1845]

85 years ago today - Sep 19, 1934

[President Heber J. Grant]
I was delighted to find that the Associated Press cut out only the three articles of our faith and broadcast my talk made at the University chapel in Chicago. To get publicity of this kind in the newspapers is something new. The Associated Press as nearly as I can judge now is our friend.

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

120 years ago today - Sep 19, 1899; Tuesday

[First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes]
...The matter of printing, for Sunday School purposes, the Lord's prayer as proposed at the Council of the First Presidency and the Apostles, held on the third day of last August, was brought up and considered by Presidents Snow and Cannon with Brothers Anthon H. Lund, Rudger Clawson and Heber J. Grant. The question considered was, which version of the prayer should be used, the one given by the Prophet Joseph Smith, or the one contained in St. Matthew's Gospel, the Council having postponed consideration of the matter, owing to the absence of President Cannon, whose opinion, as General Superintendent of the Deseret Sunday School Union, President Snow wished to have, before the question was decided. President Cannon now stated that while he favored the Prophet Joseph's version, from the sound point of doctrine, he thought it better to adhere to the scriptural version in the Sunday schools, for the reason that this version appears in the Book of Mormon, and if the new version were adopted, questions might arise that would be confusing to the minds of the children. If the Scriptural version were used, proper explanation could be made, and the wisdom of the Prophet's rendering of the prayer would be appreciated upon comparison. President Snow acquiesced.

[First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes]

135 years ago today - Sep 19, 1884

By direction of President [John] Taylor I return herewith the request of Brother David B. Ott without the signature of the president who directs me to say that in regard to the second anointings it used to be usual for others to appoint and designate who should receive them. They now seem to come wrong end first. By this I infer that the president desires to designate the parties who should receive these ordinances without the application of the parties or other persons in their behalf. There may be some instruction given upon this matter at some of our meetings during the coming conference.

[L. John Nuttall to John D. T. McAllister, Sept. 19, 1884 as quoted in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship]

155 years ago today - Sep 19, 1864

[Brigham Young Sermon]
... When we read of the History of the City of the Zion of Enoch we find it a beautiful City So will it be with the Zion of God in the last days which we are called to build up. It will be 1500 mile's square and if this was the case it would reach nearly to the pacific Ocean

...I don't want to have the Elders testify that I am Joseph successor for all Earth and Hell knows it and it does not require any proof; ...

[Leonard J. Arrington Papers, Special Collections, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan.. (A reference reading LJA 12-55-5, 10, means LJA Series 12, Box 55, Folder 5, page 10.) 12-56-2, 17 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 - Sep 19, 1844

[Heber C. Kimball marriage]
wife #5. Sylvia Porter Sessions (Lyon Smith Kimball Clark), 1818-1882 [former wife of Joseph Smith]. Apparent separation from HCK, time only.

[Hatch, Charles M. and Compton, Todd M. editors, 'A Widow's Tale: 1884-1896 Diary of Helen Mar Kimball Whitney' p. 37]

175 years ago today - 1844 19 Sept.

Young begins marrying some of Joseph Smith's polygamous widows as his own wives.

[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]

175 years ago today - Sep 19, 1844

Brigham Young (aged 43) marriage to Louisa Beaman (1815-1850) (aged 29) plural widow of Joseph Smith, Jr. sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for life; 5 children

[Wikipedia, List of Brigham Young's Wives, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Brigham_Young%27s_wives]

30 years ago today - Sep 18, 1989-Monday

[Leonard Arrington]
... Writing good history requires brains, courage, access to archival sources, and appropriate intellectual training and formation. But it also depends on intuition, the daily inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and the inspiration that comes from Sacrament services and individual and collective devotional life. I have not yet come to feel the necessity of frequent attendance at the temple. I think I get as much inspiration watching birds, or looking at the mountains and the wilderness, as participating in the rituals there. The one regret I have is the failure of the Church authorities to recognize that by restricting the use of the archives they are concealing vast riches of inspiration and revelation.

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

40 years ago today - Sep 18, 1979-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]
Moana Bennett telephoned this morning to say that she had been requested by Elder [Mark E.] Petersen to leave out all reference to the Expositor incident in [her Nauvoo pageant] "Because of Elizabeth." She wanted some alternative reason for the assassination of the Prophet [Joseph Smith] and his brother [Hyrum Smith]. So what could she portray? ... I told her I thought her play was very historic and that in the absence of mentioning the Expositor she'd have to adapt what happened in Missouri and Ohio or maybe fudge something like Tom Sharp's personal animosity against Joseph [Smith]. She said, "It surely is difficult to follow the Brethren, isn't it?"

Kathy [Stephens] says TV Channel 2's Extra [news program] had an interview with Sonia Johnson; ... She talked about the same things she always does: emphasized that the President [Spencer W. Kimball] wouldn't grant her or a group of her associates an interview. Mentioned a conversation with her bishop relating to that, and the interviewer reported that the bishop had denied such a conversation, and then five minutes later had said there was a conversation but he couldn't remember what was said. She stressed that the leaders didn't know how many women and men are feeling as she does, and insisted that there are a great many more than they realize. ... Also interviewed [general Relief Society president] Barbara Smith briefly on the subject. The interviewer pushed, rather rudely, to make her say whether the First Presidency's stand [against the Equal Rights Amendment] was based on opinion or revelation. She finally said, "I don't know, but it doesn't matter," and then went on to say that whichever it was, it was their stand and it had been the result of careful, prayerful consideration and was "the" word to follow, because they are the First Presidency.

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

45 years ago today - Sep 18, 1974-Wednesday

[Leonard Arrington]
... They told a number of stories about them such as the daughter of a stake president, who was showing very heavily with child, who came into their home, saw a carton of empty coke bottles on the floor. "You certainly don't drink coke, do you," she said. Another girl, a daughter of a bishop, only fifteen years old, who was pregnant, stayed with them. The Christensens asked her which she thought was worse, to smoke or to commit adultery. She thought and thought, was very serious, and thought and thought, and finally she said she thought it was worse to smoke.

We talked about the matter of telling the truth in Church history to young people. Sister [Marlene] Christensen felt strongly that we must be very careful with children ages three through seven but that young people in their teens ought to be told enough to recognize that Church officials have their faults and shortcomings and ought to be told, for example, that Brigham Young once chewed tobacco.

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

70 years ago today - Sep 18, 1949

CHURCH NEWS reports that Ute Indian Albert Harris has been "recently chosen to represent his race and Church on the Roosevelt Stake High Council."

[On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com]

125 years ago today - Sep 18, 1894

[Francis M. Lyman]
[Summit] I proclaimed against us entertaining our political faith as our religion as some are doing.

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