40 years ago today - 40 years ago - Feb 25, 1980-Monday

[Leonard Arrington]
I just learned from a more dependable and informed source more about the preparation of the ERA pamphlet in the March issue[s] of the New Era and Ensign. [[The pamphlet, The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: A Moral Issue, was inserted in the March 1980 issues.]] The question of what to do about the Sonia Johnson affair had been discussed among the Twelve. That this had been going on was mentioned in the First Quorum of Seventies meeting. Elder [M. Russell] Ballard, in trying to think of something that the Church magazines could do for the Church, conceived the idea of including this pamphlet in the two issues. He convened a meeting of Jay Todd and Brian Kelly, at which he instructed them to prepare such a pamphlet and to put it in the March issue. "But the March issue is due to go to press in two weeks!" "Yes, but we can still make it. You have a week to prepare a first draft and then we can have a week to refine it in the final form and send it to the printer."

... The first draft went through Jay and Brian and Elder Ballard. The seventh draft went to Elder [Gordon B.] Hinckley. His judgment was that it needed to be a little more pointed, or emotional, or propagandizing in nature, and they ended up with the ninth draft being published. On the other hand, those who prepared it would have much preferred the seventh draft. It was more matter-of-fact, more factual; on the other hand, it could have been far more defensive and forensic than the draft finally approved. ...

Maureen said that the insert on ERA in the March New Era and Ensign was done over a weekend on a hurried-up basis by staff members of the Ensign. Brother [M. Russell] Ballard told them to do it. Presumably he had instructions from Elder [Gordon B.] Hinckley. Lavina Fielding Anderson was not involved. Presumably it was Jay Todd, Janet Brigham, and one or two others. Maureen emphasized the hurried nature of it.

I asked Maureen on a confidential basis how she felt personally on the issue of ERA. She of course defends the Church in a public capacity and tries to put the best face on the Church posture, but as for her private opinion, Maureen said she thought it would be helpful for ERA to pass. It is a symbolic thing to a large number of "angry women," including a few angry LDS women. Maureen said that things have now developed to the point that it will not make any difference legally whether or not ERA passes. What would be accomplished by ERA has already been accomplished in other ways. What would represent a problem for ERA will be a problem anyway. So Maureen thinks it will not make any difference one way or the other to the status of womenthat it would be a psychological matter to help quiet the vociferous minority.

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

20 years ago today - Feb 25, 2000

Stuart Matis commits suicide on the steps of his local LDS building. His note stated: "I am now free…I am no longer in pain and I no longer hate myself. As it turns out, God never intended for me to be straight. Perhaps my death might become the catalyst for some good."

[Timeline of Mormon Thinking About Homosexuality, http://rationalfaiths.com/timeline-of-mormon-thinking-about-homosexuality/]

85 years ago today - Feb 25, 1935

[Heber J. Grant]
You inquire as to whether or not the negroes can hold the priesthood?

In answer will say that no person having negro blood in his veins is permitted to hold the priesthood, nor do we allow such persons to go through the temple to receive endowments for themselves or their kindred dead. ...

You ... ask, 'Who are the brown and yellow races of people?'

I take it for granted that you refer to the Mongolians, including the Chinese and Japanese and the East Indian who are not of the black race. If so it is my understanding that these people are descendants of Shem and Japheth.

[Heber J. Grant, Letter to Brigham H. Clegg, 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]

105 years ago today - Feb 25, 1915

At the afternoon meeting [of the Nebo Stake conference] a resolution was passed expressing the sentiment of the people of the Stake in favor of prohibition. This was done with a view to sending the same to the members representing the county in the legislature. ...

[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]

120 years ago today - Feb 25, 1900

Returned missionary from Southern States Mission speaks in tongues at Salt Lake tabernacle and gives "the interpretation which was very beautiful" This may not be first time, but is probably the last, that someone speaks in "unknown tongue" (glossolalia) in Tabernacle.

145 years ago today - Feb 25, 1875

Brigham Young is ordered to pay disgruntled plural wife Ann Eliza Webb Young $3000 for counsel fees and $500 a month alimony. When he fails to obey, he is sentenced to pay a fine of $25 and to one day's imprisonment. Young is driven to his own residence by the deputy marshal for dinner, and, after taking what clothing he required, is conducted to the penitentiary, where he is locked up in a cell for a short time, and then placed in a room in the warden's office for the night. When the divorce case comes to trial in Apr, 1877, A different Judge accepts Young's argument that the marriage was not a legal marriage but an "ecclesiastical" arrangement. He decrees that the polygamous marriage is void, annuls all orders for alimony, and assesses the costs against Ann Eliza.

165 years ago today - Feb 25, 1855

Apostle Wilford Woodruff preached:"That same organization and Gospel that Christ died for…is again established in this generation. How did it come? By the ministering of an holy angel from God…The angel taught Joseph Smith those principles which are necessary for the salvation of the world…He told him the Gospel wasnot among men, and that there was not a true organization of His kingdom in the world…"

["Journal of Discourses", Vol. 2, pp.196-197 as quoted in A Documented History of Joseph Smith's First Vision, http://beggarsbread.org/2013/04/01/a-documented-history-of-joseph-smiths-first-vision/]

165 years ago today - Feb 25, 1855 (Council Meeting)

William Smith has got to live some years before he comes to his senses... He [Joseph Smith III] will not always feel as he does now. Emma tried to poison her husband and was connived with the mob that did kill him. I will be glad when I die if it is written in truth that Brigham Young never rebelled against Joseph Smith nor the priesthood, but I would like to see all the devils kicked off this continent.

[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.) 9-13-4, 120 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]

190 years ago today - Feb 25, 1830

The first all-county Antimasonic gathering assembled at Chardon, Geauga County [Ohio, 9 miles from Kirtland], and the 300 delegates who attended helped organize the party on a statewide basis. ... some sixty Masons also attended and attempted to cause a disturbance about passage of a resolution disapproving of "all secret combinations." (Moses 5:31, 35; Alma 37:30-31; Ether 8:19, 22; 14:8, 10; 9:1; 13:18; 2 Ne. 9:9; 26:22; Hel. 3:23; 3 Ne. 4:29; Morm. 8:27; D&C 42:64)

[Grunder, Rick, Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographic Source]

45 years ago today - 45 years ago - Feb 24, 1975-Monday

[Leonard Arrington]
... Ernest Wilkinson made some comments which are worth recording in this diary.



In President Wilkinson's judgment President Harold B. Lee was disappointed, perhaps to some extent bitter, that he had been passed over four times to be a member of the First Presidency of the Church. This at a time when he was obviously destined to become president of the Church. President [David O.] McKay preferred to have older men that had been associated with him when he was a younger apostle.

President [Henry D.] Moyle, when a member of the First Presidency, used his power freely. He might telephone somebody to put somebody on a committee or in an important position or to remove somebody peremptorily or have this bought or that sold. He was very free wheeling in his use of his position to achieve goals which he thought should be achieved, even to some extent when he knew President McKay might oppose it.

On the other hand, President Moyle did not harbor grudges nor was he vindictive and if you disagreed with him or defeated him, he did not hold it against you. This was not true of President Lee and Boyd Packer, both of whom have long memories and found it difficult to forgive and forget.

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

15 years ago today - Feb 24, 2005

Hugh Nibley, Mormon scholar, defender of the LDS faith, and sometimes critic of Mormon society, dies at his home in Provo, Utah at age 94. Coincidentally on the same day the New York Times runs an article about a book by his daughter, Martha Nibley Beck, titled LEAVING THE SAINTS: HOW I LOST THE MORMONS AND FOUND MY FAITH. In the book the daughter, who had resigned from the Church, accuses her father of ritual sexual abuse of her when she was a child. The accusations are based upon "recovered memories" that Beck had (some while undergoing therapy involving hypnosis) over a decade previously. The article states "Dr. Beck's seven siblings have condemned her assertions and have hired a psychologist and lawyer who has worked on lawsuits against therapists practicing recovered-memory therapy."

35 years ago today - Feb 24, 1985

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE article tells of Darla Tarrant's attempt to become excommunicated from LDS church. Tarrant, a teminally ill widow, wishes to sever any connections with LDS church before she dies. In writing, she asks three bishops three different times to be formally excommunicated. Her requests, however, are responded to with "vague excuses" and "the same patronizing response of having my wish ignored." Because of Tarrant case and case of Norman Hancock in Mesa, Arizona who sues the church to be allowed to resign his membership, procedures for membership resignation are put in the 1989 edition of the CHURCH HANDBOOK OF INSTRUCTIONS.

40 years ago today - Feb 24, 1980

A full- page ad appears in the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE describing Jerald and Sandra Tanner's THE CHANGING WORLD OF MORMONISM. The ad draws attention to changes in the Church's position on such matters as polygamy and the granting of the priesthood to blacks and thereby questioned the consistency of the prophetic leadership of the Church. Two days later Ezra Taft Benson gives a speech at BYU, in which he dismisses the issue of conflicting past and present policies by declaring that the words of living prophets supplant or make moot the directives of past prophets.

60 years ago today - Feb 24, 1960

Counselor J. Reuben Clark tells BYU's president: "You have got some members of the faculty who are destroying the faith of our students. You ought to get rid of them"

70 years ago today - Feb 24, 1950

The last two missionaries of the Czechoslovakian Mission were released from prison after 27 days and expelled from communist Czechoslovakia.

[Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/58765/Historical-chronology-of-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints.html]

75 years ago today - Feb 24, 1945

DESERET NEWS "CHURCH NEWS" prints letter concerning DLS captain Denmark C. Jensen of Idaho during U.S. invasion of Philippines: "The next day-Christmas Day-Mark issued the same order [to his men], that they were not to kill any Japs they found but to send for him. During the course of the day another Jap was located with his rifle by his side, bathing his feet in a small mountain stream. They called Mark and unobserved he crept up on the Jap, took his rifle away from him and led his captive down to his waiting men." Captain Jensen explains that "it just didn't seem right to kill even a Jap on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day-the time we have set aside to commemorate the birth of our Lord and Savior."

105 years ago today - Feb 24, 1915

In an affidavit to Church Historian Andrew Jenson Josephine Sessions describes how her mother, faithful Mormon and polyandrous wife of Joseph Smith, Sylvia Sessions (Lyon), on her deathbed told her daughter of her true parentage: "Just prior to my mothers death in 1882 she called me to her bedside and told me that her days on earth were about numbered and before she passed away from mortality she desired to tell me something which she had kept as an entire secret from me and all others but which she now desired to communicate to me. She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she having been sealed to the Prophet at the time that her husband Mr. [Windsor P.] Lyon was out of fellowship with the Church."

[Affidavit to Church Historian Andrew Jenson, 24 Feb. 1915]

140 years ago today - Feb 24, 1880

Pres. Jensen referred to the condition of some of the High Priests in the Malad Ward who were contending one with another concerning some point of doctrine, which they did not understand. The point in dispute being, was Adam our God, some taking the affirmation and some the negative of the question.

[Minutes of the High Priests Quorum", p. 86; Box Elder Stake as quoted in Quotations Dealing with the Relationship of Our First Earthy Parents to Our Heavenly Parents (1830-1978)]

150 years ago today - Feb 24, 1870

As a matter of course the people desired to see and hear President Young. No meeting was complete unless he spoke. He seldom led in speaking; but the cap-stone was laid by him. Usually all present were silent, all who were out came indoors, and the indifferent listeners woke up. The great leader cut right and left, handling the subjects affecting the interests of the people with a fearless, decisive dignity, which unmistakably indicated his broadminded views of the people's needs. -- American Fork, Utah

[Improvement Era. LDS Church. Salt Lake City, 1897-1970. 3:4 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]

160 years ago today - Feb 24, 1860

President Young in the course of his remarks alluded to the zeal of Hyrum Smith Brother of the Prophet, in his views of the word of wisdom. who prophesied that every Saint who chewed tobacco would apostatize. President Young observed he prophesied by Hyrum Smith and not by the Spirit of the Lord. and that he (Hyrum) would eat about 3 lb. of fat pork in a day; and yet be so severe upon a tobacco chewer; upon other points observed the President Hyrum Smith was a man of knowledge. Once Joseph told his Brother Hyrum if he would suffer him to dictate [to] him he should lead the Church to Hell; and he would frequently sit and sneer at the remarks of Bro. Hyrum, which were frequently delivered to the congregation when they were weary with the remarks of the preachers that had preceded him.

[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]