35 years ago today - May 5, 1981

First Presidency statement against deployment of MX missile-system in Utah-Nevada desert, including criticism of developing weapons of war. LDS U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch and Jake Garn immediately reverse their positions from ardent proponents of MX missile-system and of its deployment in Utah to "leading the fight to keep MX out of Utah." The NEW YORK TIMES editorializes, "The Mormon Church's opposition to the MX missile, [is] an oddly selective summons to national morality in the service of an obviously parochial interest." The First Presidency's statement cited the large influx of non-Mormons into Utah for MX construction as a reason to oppose the deployment.

125 years ago today - May 05, 1891

The [Whitmerite Mormon] Rev., W. P. Brown, now of Richmond, Mo., but formerly of Independence, was in the latter town yesterday, he has of late attracted much attention because of his belief that the second coming of Christ is soon to occur, he has openly announced his belief to this effect and is making his arrangements accordingly. He expects to be present at the arrival of Christ, and to be a participant in the attendant ceremonies.

... The event is, in his opinion, to occur in Jerusalem. He expresses his surprise that people generally do not realize this. ...

Rev, Mr. Brown is quite wealthy. He owns considerable property at Independence and at different points in Kansas. He is endeavoring to dispose of his entire interest and turn it into cash. He was at Independence for this purpose. He expects to be able to sell out in time to sail for Jerusalem within two months.

[Source: Revd. W. P. Brown, The Sedalia Weekly Bazoo., (Sedalia, Mo.) May 05, 1891, Page 6, Image 6) Rev. W.P. Brown, Second Coming of Jesus Christ, The Austin Weekly Statesman. (Austin, Tex.), June 18, 1891, Image 7.) http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86088296/1891-06-18/ed-1/seq-7/#date1=1890&index=3&rows=20&words=Brown+P+Rev+W&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1891&proxtext=Rev.+W.+P.+Brown+&y=11&x=13&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1, quoted in The Last Days and December 1890 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ, y George D. Speer Sr., privately circulated]

180 years ago today - May 5, 1836

Patriarchal Blessing of David Elliot given by Joseph Smith, Sr.

... Thou shalt be able to quench the violence of fire. Floods shall not drown thee, winds and waves shall obey thy voice and the elements shall be subject unto thee throug[h] faith, and thou shalt bring thy thousands as seals of thy ministry. ... Thou shalt be able to set thy house in order & stand at the head of thy family like Nephi of old. ...

Thou shalt tarry till the Redeemer comes and see the end of this generation. Thou shalt be numbered with the hundred & forty four thousand on Mount Zion. ... And also I seal thee up unto eternal life in the name of Jesus. Amen

[Source: Patriarchal Blessing Book 1:60, quoted in Early Patriarchal Blessings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Joseph Smith Sr. (Author), H. Michael Marquardt (Editor), http://amzn.to/rCBHVe]

180 years ago today - May 5, 1836

Patriarchal Blessing of Mary Elliot given by Joseph Smith, Sr.

... Thy mind will be cast down and thou wilt remember thy blessing and call upon thy God, and he will send an holy angel to tell the[e] of the affairs of thy husband: thou shalt be comforted and feel a joy spring up, and thy soul shall be filled, for thou shalt desire the salvation of souls. and shalt be willing he should tarry. Thou shalt hear the voice of God and be told of his situation. This is thy blessing, treasure it up and God shall give thee many more. If thou shalt desire life, thou shalt live, but if thou shalt desire to lay it down, thou mayest depart in peace, and rest till the Lord shall bring thee with him in the clouds and thy body rise in the first resurrection, and meet him and even be with him. This is thy blessing: and I seal thee up unto eternal life in the name of Jesus...

[Source: Patriarchal Blessing Book 1:60-61, in Early Patriarchal Blessings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Joseph Smith Sr. (Author), H. Michael Marquardt (Editor), http://amzn.to/rCBHVe]

30 years ago today - May 4, 1986.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, speaking at the LDSSA Fireside in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, repeats his injunction for members of the church to avoid criticizing leaders--"it does not matter that the criticism is true"--then continues: "The counsel against faultfinding and evilspeaking applies with special force to criticisms of Church leaders, but this is not for the benefit of the leaders. It is to safeguard the spiritual well-being of members who are prone to murmur and find fault."

[Source: Anderson, Lavina Fielding, "The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology," Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1]

45 years ago today - May 4, 1971

BYU President Ernest Wilkinson lamented to Ezra Taft Benson that David O. McKay's earlier instructions had blocked any attempts to establish a chapter of the John Birch Society at BYU: "I would personally like to have one at BYU, and I am seeing what I can do, but my lieutenants insist I would be violating the letter that President McKay sent us [during the Midgley/John Birch episode] sometime ago if I did."

[Source: Ernest L. Wilkinson to Ezra Taft Benson as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)]

110 years ago today - May 4, 1906

"Susa Young Gates prophesied to me today that I would yet be one of the Counselors in the First Presidency."

[Source: Orson F. Whitney, Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]

115 years ago today - May 4, 1901 (Saturday)

The Kimball Organ Company completed the reconstruction of the Tabernacle organ in Salt Lake City, making that instrument one of the best pipe organs in the world.

[Source: Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology]

120 years ago today - May 4, 1896

[Heber J. Grant] "I have enjoyed my visit to Cache Valley very much, and my only regret is that all of the members of the High Council of the Cache Stake did not endorse the declaration of church discipline. I was, however, especially pleased to have the document voted for by Bro George Barber."

[Source: The Diaries of Heber J. Grant, 1880-1945, Abridged, Digital Edition Salt Lake City, Utah, 2015]

120 years ago today - May 4, 1896

[Brigham Young Jr.] "Had a long talk with Bro[ther] Willis on the true meaning of the Manifesto prohibiting plural marriages especially in relation to men living with their old wives. No plural marriages are solemnized but men are loath to give up or rather forsake their wives. I can take no oath that looks toward annulling the covenants I have made with my wives."

[Source: Brigham Young Jr. Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010]

125 years ago today - May 4, 1891

[Heber J. Grant] "... (GQ) Cannon said that he was willing that we should sell one half of the Herald to the gentile Democrats and allow them a majority of the Directors. I think the chances are that it will finally be approved to sell a majority of the stock."

[Source: The Diaries of Heber J. Grant, 1880-1945, Abridged, Digital Edition Salt Lake City, Utah, 2015]

130 years ago today - May 4, 1886

Apostle John Henry Smith writes that Presiding Bishopric counselor John Q. Cannon is "getting quite reckless" with the church's tithing funds. Cannon is excommunicated four months later, but for adultery not embezzlement. His father, first counselor George Q. Cannon, tells the apostles on 3 Aug. 1887 that "he admitted trying to cover up John Q. Cannon's stealings fromt he Church and that he & his son Abraham had made good John Q's defalcations to the amount of nearly Ten thousand dollars."

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

140 years ago today - May 04, 1876

Eliza Jane Churchill Webb Letter to Mary Bond regarding [possible first plural wife of Joseph Smith] Fanny Alger

"I do not know that the 'sealing' commenced in Kirtland but I am perfectly satisfied that something similar commenced, and my judgment is principally formed from what Fanny Alger told me herself concerning her reasons for leaving 'Sister Emma'."

[Source: Exploring Mormonism: Polygamy Timeline, http://www.exploringmormonism.com/polygamy-timeline/]

160 years ago today - May 4, 1856

President B. Young preached in the tabernacle to the few who were gathered. said he should urge it upon the people for every family of the saints to lay up 7 years of provisions as soon as possible. -- SLC Tabernacle

[Source: Sermons and Writings of the Restoration. 4 Vols. Ogden Kraut, ed. Pioneer Press, 1994, 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 - May 4, 1856

[Brigham Young] "... if you give an Indian plenty of beef, and keep him from freezing he will live to be 150 years old; there is nothing to kill unless they freeze to death. ..."

[Source: The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Ed. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Smith-Pettit Foundation, Salt Lake City (2009), http://bit.ly/BY-discourses]

50 years ago today - May 3, 1966

With Ezra Taft Benson's permission, three weeks after the April 1966 general conference a national committee announced that it was preparing a campaign to elect him U.S. president in 1968. As part of its ten-year plan, this "1976 Committee" nominated Strom Thurmond, conservative U.S. senator from South Carolina, as Benson's vice-presidential running mate.

A former state coordinator wrote that Birch president Robert Welch "was the guiding light behind" this 1976 Committee [to elect Benson president].

National leaders of the Birch Society comprised 59 percent of this committee, including its chair and two vice-chairs. Most other committee members were probably lower-ranking Birchers.

Benson's 1976 Committee was a classic demonstration of Welch's philosophy of creating "fronts"--organizations that merely had the appearance of independence from the Birch Society which formed and directed them.

In effect, the Birch Society was nominating Benson for the White House.

[Source: "Presidential Draft for Elder Benson?" in Deseret News, 3 May 1966, A-l; "Group Seeks Benson for Race in '68," Salt Lake Tribune, 3 May 1966, 6; "Benson Hints Door Open In '68 Race," Salt Lake Tribune, 4 May 1966, A-14; Dew, Ezra Taft Benson, 383. Also Epstein and Forster, The Radical Right, 53-55,142; Bethke, "BF (Before Falwell), EB (Ezra Benson)," see additional footnotes in Michael Quinn article. From D. Michael Quinn, Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992), also in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3.]

50 years ago today - May 3, 1966

[Deseret News] Benson told a reporter that he was in "shock" over the committee's proposal. "It's the first I've heard of it," he said. The same newspaper report indicated that "about half of the committee's 30 organizers are members of the Birch Society."

[Source: "Presidential Draft for Elder Benson," Deseret News as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)]

70 years ago today - May 3, 1946

[George Albert Smith] In bed regretting that I am not able to keep my work up at the office.

[Source: George Albert Smith, Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]

120 years ago today - May 3, 1896

Second Counselor in the First Presidency Joseph F. Smith presents the "Political Manifesto" before the Cache Stake Conference, in Logan, Utah. He asks for a show of hands: " I don't want anybody to fail to vote because of fear, or because of any other reason. If they have made up their mind one way or the other, let them manifest, and let us see who are for the authorities of the church and who are not for them." About two-thirds of those present voted. From twenty to twenty-five hands were raised against it. Those voting against it included Moses Thatcher, jr., (son of the Apostle) and wife and others stood up and voted "No."

Heber J. Grant noted that "Prest. [Orson] Smith, in his remarks, stated that it had been claimed that the people of Cache Valley did not sustain this declaration, and it had been intimated that the damned thing was being crowed down the throats of the people, and that he had characterized this statement as a vile slander on the character of the Cache Valley Saints. ..."

135 years ago today - May 3, 1881

May 3 We drove to Franklin. ... W Woodruff spoke 25. ... Also thought that in 1881 there would be an Emigration to Zion from the spirit world of about 10,000 souls, as the Poland Bill of 1862 was not in force in the spirit world these spirits would Come to Zion and take up their abode in the Tabernacles of the Mothers in Zion and in spite of the Poland Bill or the Devil they would be born and some of them would be born in Franklin in Idaho notwithstanding the opposition of Gov M.C. /(How many born in 1881?) ...

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