40 years ago today - Dec 5, 1979

The announcement of the excommunication of Sonia Johnson, president of the Mormons for the ERA. Charged with apostasy she unsuccessfully appeals the decision to the First Presidency (which already authorized this "local action"). Johnson's case becomes the top story in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, and on network television news. The resulting non-Mormon criticism of the church and Johnson's own subsequent radicalization drive many LDS moderates away from their prior support of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and into acceptance of the church's anti-ERA position.

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

55 years ago today - Dec 5, 1964

It is deemed necessary that the following instructions should be imparted to the brethren and sisters of the Salt Lake Temple District who intend entering the House of the Lord to attend to ordinance work for themselves or their dead.

(1) The Saints who enter the sacred building should be properly prepared. Their bodies should be scrupulously clean; ...

(4) In the performance of work for the dead the rights of heirship (blood relationship) should be sacredly regarded, when practicable. When an heir empowers another person to do the work in his or her stead, he or she should give the acting proxy a written authorization to that effect.

...(6) Those who do ordinance work have not the right to make matches between people who are deceased, except in cases of persons who were married in life. In all other instances the President of the Temple must be consulted. He should be appealed to in all matters involving doubt or complications.

(7) The Temple is open on all working days at 7:30 a.m. Monday is devoted to taking the record of Baptisms for the Dead, which are performed on Tuesdays. Baptismal records are not taken after twelve o'clock on Mondays. On Tuesdays all ought to be in the building by 8 a.m. (8) The higher ordinances are attended to on Wednesdays, Thurs days, and Fridays. The record of this work is taken between the hours of 7:30 and 9 a.m., of the day it is performed. After the last named hour none will be admitted, as the doors will then be permanently closed for the day. The earlier the Saints come to [turn] in record[s] the better. ...

[Lorenzo Snow, President of the Salt Lake Temple, "To Whom it may Concern," June 23, 1893, reprinted in the Church News, Dec. 5, 1964 as quoted in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship. I've added line feeds for readability]

60 years ago today - 1959. December 5

(Amy Brown Lyman) : Died at her daughter's home at the age of eighty-seven while recovering from a fall. Her husband, who had been rebaptized in 1954, died in 1963. Both were buried in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Gardens in Salt Lake City.

[Van Wagoner, Richard and Walker, Steven C., A Book of Mormons, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

160 years ago today - Dec 5, 1859

[Brigham Young]
Read part of one of Orson Hyde's sermons delivered in the Tabernacle. President Young suggested an alteration. Orson Hyde said we had come here unwilling to receive our tabernacles. The Pres. said most spirits eagerly desired to receive tabernacles, for they understood they could not receive power or glory without taking such a course. -- Salt Lake City

[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]

175 years ago today - Dec 5, 1844. Thursday.

[William Clayton]
Brother Kimball asked President Young concerning D[iantha] Farr. He gave full consent [to plurally marry her] and ordered Brother K[imball] to attend to it. I feel humbly grateful for this grant. And feel to ask the father in the name of Jesus to give me favor in her eyes and the eyes of her parents that I may receive the gift in full.

[George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1995, http://amzn.to/william-clayton]

175 years ago today - 1844 5 Dec.

Young signs a letter as "Prest of the Church of L.D.S."

[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]

185 years ago today - Dec 5, 1834

Joseph, Sidney, Frederick G. Williams, and Oliver Cowdery meet to discuss "the welfare of the Church." Joseph ordains Oliver Assistant President:. My brother, in the name of Jesus Christ who died was crucified for the sins of the world, I lay my hands upon thee, and ordain thee an assistant President of the high and holy priesthood in the Church of the Latter Day Saints

[Kenney, Scott, Saints Without Halos, "Mormon History 1830-1844," http://web.archive.org/web/20120805163534/saintswithouthalos.com/dirs/d_c.phtml]

60 years ago today - 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.

[Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Appendix 5, Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1848-1996, http://amzn.to/extensions-power]

85 years ago today - Dec 4, 1934

[Heber J. Grant letter]
... I will say in answer to your inquiry about your little son, that it will not be necessary for him to be baptized again because of the fact that at the time of his baptism two or three of his toes were not under water. You need not worry any more about this matter, for if he was baptized by proper authority the ordinance was efficacious.

[Heber J. Grant, Letter to Mrs. J. M. Aime, 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]

85 years ago today - Dec 4, 1934

[Heber J. Grant letter]
In the providences of the Lord, the United Order will never be established'and there is no need for you or anyone else quoting from the Prophet Joseph Smith in regard to it'until the Lord sees fit to inspire the leaders of his Church to do so. The Prophet was unable to establish this order in his day on account of the lack of faith on the part of the people.

[Heber J. Grant, Letter to Joseph J. Cannon, 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 - Monday, Dec 4, 1899

The [United States] House of Representatives refused to permit Brigham H. Roberts to be sworn in.

[Jean Bickmore White (editor), Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1990, http://bit.ly/johnhenrysmith]

120 years ago today - Monday, Dec 4, 1899

[Apostle Rudger Clawson]
... spent the afternoon at the President's office, getting out a report of the Box Elder Stake Fund, a fund which I have managed for a number of years as president of the Box Elder Stake. I now feel it my duty to turn it over to Brother Chas. Kelly, my successor in office. A good opportunity for investing a little money in sheep with my brother-in-law, Samuel G. Spencer, having presented itself, I borrowed $267.50 from the Box Elder Stake Fund under the approval of Chas. Kelly, president of the stake, giving my note for 3 years at 5% per annum, being the same rate of interest as the bank is paying.

[Stan Larson (editor), A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic diaries of Rudger Clawson, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1993, http://bit.ly/rudgerclawson]

125 years ago today - Dec 4, 1894

[Wilford Woodruff]
It looks now like a Bloody Indian war against our People In San wan Country urged on by the people of Colorado.

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

140 years ago today - Dec 4, 1879

William Clayton Dies, leaving four wives and thirty-three children.

[Smith, George D., An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, p.lxiii, A William Clayton Chronology, http://amzn.to/william-clayton]

40 years ago today - 40 years ago - Dec 3, 1979-Monday

[Leonard Arrington]
There are many articles in the newspapers, much discussion over the radio and some TV stories that relate to the Church trial of Sonia Johnson. I thought it might be helpful to some future historian for me to record some personal impressions. Nearly all of the articles in the papers and interviews over the radio and TV have been initiated by Sonia and not by the Church, and it would seem appropriate to give a more balanced perspective.

It is my understanding that Elder Gordon Hinckley is chairman of a Church political action committee [Special Affairs Committee] which has been interested in several projects:

1. A drive against pornography in Salt Lake City and elsewhere.

2. A campaign against abortion and birth control.

3. A series of movements designed to prevent the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

... It is my understanding that this central Church committee assists with literature, pins, buttons, etc., state groups attempting to influence the legislature against ratification or in favor of rescinding the ERA. Groups of LDS women, in advance of legislative action, are organized and are instructed specifically not to reveal that they are LDS women but simply that they are residents of the state opposed to ERA. They get hundreds of Relief Society women involved and some of their husbands as well. Regional Representatives have given them counsel and support, as have area executive administrators. This has been true in Virginia, Washington, Maine, Nevada, Illinois, and Florida, and possibly in other states as well that I am not aware of. All those participating understand that they are doing what the Church wants them to do. To some extent the General Authorities have been mobilized; Elder [Boyd K.] Packer gave a talk in Idaho and another in California on the ERA; Elder Neal Maxwell has also talked in at least two locations with the same theme. And of course the theme is carried out in many of the talks delivered by Elder [Ezra Taft] Benson, Elder [Mark E.] Petersen, and others.

Not every Latter-day Saint man or woman accepts the Church stand on ERA. I am sure they're a small minority; I would guess perhaps one-tenth of the U.S. adult members of the Church-something like 100,000 persons, maybe. Because of the First Presidency's letter on the subject and following-up letters in the Ensign and other publications, this group has not been vocal. It is made up of "liberals" and perhaps in a number of instances people who are never very responsive to Church counsel.

Sonia Johnson, however, made a personal decision to establish a small organization, "Mormons for ERA." She was able to raise some money, probably from non-Mormon sources and organizations, and has carried out an active campaign. She has made it a policy to follow the Mormons against ERA into a state and has held news [conferences and issued news] releases, appeared on TV and radio, and given talks designed to demonstrate to everybody that there are Mormons for ERA, and she has gotten a good deal of mileage out of this publicity. When LDS people have questioned her she has insisted that ERA is a political matter, not a religious matter, and that she has a right to disagree with the Church and its officials on this political matter, also that she has a right to actively campaign against it [the church]. Occasionally in talks she has gotten a little carried away and has said that the Brethren are badly informed and not inspired in adopting the anti-ERA position. She has urged Church members and others to campaign for ERA and by inference campaign against a stand taken by the First Presidency. Her remarks about the Brethren have not been complimentary. She has insisted that she strives to be a loyal Latter-day Saint on religious matters, and that she is free to depart from the Church's political position on this one matter. Non-LDS people have cheered her on and have made of her a sort of heroine for her courage and determination.

Sonia's activities have not only included campaigning against the Mormon political action group in several states, but also flying pro-ERA banners over the [Salt Lake] Tabernacle during [general] conference, and news releases and interviews in newspapers in New York, Washington, and elsewhere. ...

LDS officials have been irritated by her activities, which has tended to counter the effectiveness of the Church's campaign against ERA. Complaints have been made to her bishop, Bp. Jeffrey Hinckley Willis, of Oakton, VA. One wonders whether he is a relative of Elder Gordon Hinckley and if so, how close the relationship is. One speculates whether Elder Hinckley advised the bishop to put her on trial for her membership, or perhaps President Benson; or perhaps the bishop received complaints from people about her behavior and asked the counsel of Elder Hinckley or President Benson or someone else about placing her on trial. It is our information that a woman who is active in the John Birch Society in Utah Valley heard her speak in Provo and was so infuriated that she telephoned Bp. Willis, made a complaint, and said she would like the opportunity of testifying against Sonia at a trial held for her membership. Bp. Willis, incidentally, is said to be the personnel director of the CIA.

Sonia has declared that the decision to try her for her membership was made on Tuesday, November 13. She said a written notice to her to appear at a [ward] bishop's court was received by her on Thursday, November 15. She said the notice did not mention any specific charges nor any specific complaints. Sonia, immediately upon receiving the letter that she was to appear Saturday, telephoned a number of her friends and supporters and released statements to newspapers in Washington, D.C., New York, and Utah, telling about the trial and indicating how unfair it was to conduct the trial before she had an opportunity of preparing her defense. As she thought about it, she felt she needed people to testify in her behalf and needed to prepare argumentation. She telephoned the bishop and asked him for a postponement. The bishop finally agreed to postpone it for two weeks. The trial was therefore rescheduled for December 1.

Several groups of friends, supporters, and other persons in Utah interested in a "fair trial" met in Salt Lake City and Provo to discuss aspects of the case. Some telephoned her and offered their help and assistance. They talked with her about Church trial procedures, they raised money to send a delegate back to testify for her-a person who was at the same meeting that the John Birch women had attended. I do not know the names of all of these persons, but it is my understanding that they raised money enough to send Jan Tyler back to testify. It is my understanding that they also made contact with Esther Peterson, who volunteered to testify. At the same time Sonia's mother agreed to testify on her daughter's behalf. Reba Keele [[Reba L. Keele (1941-) was a Utah native who graduated from BYU, served a church mission to France, and received a PhD in educational psychology from Purdue. She returned to Utah and became director for the Center for Women's Health at a local hospital, and was hired to teach organizational behavior at BYU from 1978, becoming in 1991 dean of undergraduate education at the University of Utah.]] of BYU faculty and Kathryn MacKay, of the University of Utah, also testified in the trial on December 1. One group, in which J. D. Williams was vocal, sponsored a large ad in the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune of Tuesday, November 27, asking the First Presidency to intervene to prevent an action against Sonia for what they called "exercising her free agency and free speech." The letter was signed by about a hundred persons of whom a large number were not LDS. Probably more than half were non-LDS. ... The ad was signed by the "Supporters of Sonia (SOS) committee"; but that title has been popularized generally with "Save Our Sonia (SOS)." Among the names were some of our own friends...

(I learned after dictating the above that Bishop Willis did go to her home on the Thursday before the first hearing. There were fireworks and her husband finally invited the bishop to leave. ... The bishop refused to allow the use of the word Equal Rights Amendment in the trial. He acted correctly in not allowing the trial to become a forum for arguing the merits of ERA. ... I'm told that a group of thoughtful Latter-day Saints, meeting the Sunday before Sonia Johnson's December 1 hearing, listened to her talk (taped) from the University of Utah's women's conference in October. There she had, rather than voice her own opinions in her own voice, read excerpts from letters received from other Mormon women. Her delivery was much like that of a political candidate, eliciting applause in all the "right" places. With a combination of humor and sincerity, she moved her audience to warm friendship. All, that is, but a row of some four or five BYU women, among them some administrative heads, who neither smiled nor applauded. ...

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

45 years ago today - 45 years ago - Dec 3, 1974-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]
Today we held the meeting of our executives ... The last item discussed was the letter of Elder Boyd Packer...

Brother Anderson then volunteered, not for the record but for our information, his own comments. His comments were made at extenso [[That is, at length.]] and Earl has agreed to save the tape of our meeting together to preserve these. First of all, Brother Anderson said he could hardly accept the two criticisms of Elder Packer, one criticizing Jack Adamson for using the term Brigham to refer to President Brigham Young. He said he had often referred to him as Brigham or Brother Brigham and the prophets and General Authorities he was associated with had done the same. The same with the Prophet Joseph [Smith]. In the second place the criticism of our inclusion of Brigham Young's advice to Brigham, Jr. to cease the use of tobacco while on his mission. Brother Anderson said he didn't see anything wrong with people knowing that and with Brigham Young, Jr.'s posterity knowing about that. People should understand that our emphasis on the Word of Wisdom today has not always applied. It is true that the Prophet Joseph Smith drank wine after he received the Word of Wisdom revelation. It is also true that Brigham Young used wine, even fermented wine, both at his table and in the Sacrament. I added that was true as late as Lorenzo Snow, who administered the Sacrament in the Salt Lake Temple with wine-and Brother Anderson added not just with a little glass cup but with large goblets so that the authorities drank more than just a swallow. Brother Anderson in regard to this pointed out a number of General Authorities who as late as his day were not as strict on the Word of Wisdom as we are today. He mentioned President [Charles W.] Penrose, one of the most beloved persons in Church history, who being English loved his ale and continued to use it more or less regularly to the end of his life and as I recall he died about 1923 or '24. He mentioned Patriarch John Smith, who continued to use tobacco and liquor and had certain problems with both to the end of his days, and yet he was patriarch to the Church. Brother Anderson mentioned President [Anthony W.] Ivins who used wine, having grown up with its use in Mexico and continued to use it at least many of the years in the 1920s.

Brother Anderson mentioned that the Word of Wisdom was not the only thing that we have changed our emphasis upon-other things as well. An example is birth control and contraceptives. As a secretary of the First Presidency he had been designated to respond to many of the questions that came into the First Presidency. On the matter of the use of birth control devices he had always responded that the Church had been opposed to the use of these devices except when the health of the mother was involved. That included both the physical health and mental health, and he always added a sentence at the end which said in the last analysis this is a matter for individual decision by the family involved. That is the way President [David O.] McKay had wanted the letter to read, but after his death, he was advised to leave out that last sentence by Joseph Fielding Smith, who tended to be the most strict-the most strict of all the brethren-and by President Harold B. Lee. In recent years there has been a tendency to announce the Church's opposition to birth control devices without adding the phrase "[with] the health of the mother" being a consideration. Brother Anderson said we have to use good judgment on these matters and if it comes down to an individual case, the authorities will almost always say this. ...

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

20 years ago today - Dec 03, 1999

The First Presidency announces that Craig D. Jessop has been appointed music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, replacing Jerold D. Ottley, who later retires after leading the choir for twenty-five years.

130 years ago today - Dec 3, 1889

[Apostle Heber J. Grant]
I see from the papers rec[eive]d today that there is to be a large hotel built on the corner of Third South and First East Streets. I am sorry that there were not some steps taken by our folks to build a large hotel before those not of our people should occupy the field. It seems to me that we always wait until the field is occupied and then have a hard fight on our hands to regain the ground that we have lost ... I cannot help feeling that we should lead in all things and that under no circumstances should we allow those that are bitterly opposed to us to occupy the ground in any direction that we are capable of occupying. ...

Bro. S.S. Smith this morning brought from La Jara a copy of the Denver News from which we learn that Judge Anderson has decided against naturalizing of any more of our people. He claims that all that have been through the Endowment House have taken on themselves oaths that are not in keeping with a proper feeling towards the Government and that such oaths are treasonable in their nature. His decision is an outrage as there is no oath in the Endowments that is in the slightest degree inconsistent with good citizenship.

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

160 years ago today - Dec 3, 1859

[Brigham Young regarding the Utah War]
President Young said that He heard that General Black told Presidet Buchannan that if He permitted the Judges in Utah or in any other portion of the United States to use the military to the injury of the Citizens he would resign his office as a member of the Cabinet.

"It has been said that Buchanan was in his dotage & feeble in mind which was the Cause of his Course towards Utah & many other acts of his Administration but this is not the Case. He is just as much of a man now as he ever was in his life and it was the first time He ever was in a situation to fully Carry out the evil designs of his heart, and his acts are Carrying out his principles.

E R Young said that the Judges in this Territory would not have taken the course they did if they had not Believed the Presidet would have sustained them in it. President Young He did not think they would do much more But they may try to get up a fuss and do sumthing.

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

30 years ago today - Dec 2, 1989

Church memebership reaches seven million.

[LDS Daily, www.ldsdaily.com]

30 years ago today - Dec 2, 1989

[Nauvoo Temple]
The Smithsonian Institute paid $100,000 for the sunstone, owned by the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams Counties, Illinois. The only other sunstone was displayed in the Nauvoo City Park.

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

80 years ago today - Dec 02, 1939

Harry Reid, a Nevada representative in the U.S. Congress (1983–87) and a U.S. senator (1987–), is born in Searchlight, Nevada.

125 years ago today - Early December, 1894

[James E. Talmage]
Talmage receives word that he has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In his journal Talmage writes:

[The honor is] a recognition of Utah and the ‘Mormon’ Church, in which I see the hand of God plainly manifest. May the prestige thus bestowed be used in the service of God.

[Chronology of the Life and Work of James E. Talmage, J. Trevor Antley, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MJsHY83JZL_n6CjWq11y1trT_CVXMMXAx2uYOWAwn0c/edit#heading=h.2zfdaoa]

125 years ago today - Dec 2, 1894

[Apostle Francis M. Lyman]
Bro[ther] Richards ... said if any of the Saints felt that they could not live without a little tea they could use it a little and it would be all right. This came so in conflict with the late instructions upon the Word of Wisdom that it made a visible sensation among the people. I then spoke 30 minutes and held that none of the Saints would die if they left off their tea. They would not only live without it but would be healthier and happier. I held if excuses were made it should be in favor of the young and not the old. The longer we live the better we should be.

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

130 years ago today - Dec 2, 1889

[First Presidency letter]
Special Fast Day-- ...

The reference in this letter to a pending decision of the Supreme Court of the United States presumably was relative to the validity of the Idaho Test Oath Law which was upheld as constitutional February 3, 1890 in a decision in the case of Davis vs. Beason.

The list of things for which the Saints should pray during their special fast might be classified as the Mormon "Bill of Rights" of 1889.

...There never was a time probably in our history when the Latter-day Saints needed more than they do at present the assistance which God has promised to render to us. ... And that we may do this in a proper manner we have felt led to set apart the next anniversary of the birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith-December 23rd-as a day of fasting and of solemn prayer unto the Lord.

We think the fast should be from sundown on Sunday, the 22nd, to sundown on Monday, the 23rd, covering a period of twenty-four hours. ...

All labor that can be dispensed with should be suspended on that day...

We should pray for the plots and the schemes which are being framed for the purpose of robbing us of our civil and political rights and of obtaining control of our cities, counties and Territory, to be confounded, and their authors to be thwarted in their evil designs.

We should pray for all who conspire, in any manner, to injure or destroy the work of God, or to take from the people their rights and liberties, to be defeated in their wicked purposes.

We should pray for the unfavorable action of courts and of officials to be overruled in such a manner that no injury will be done to Zion....

We remain, your Brethren, WILFORD WOODRUFF, GEORGE Q CANNON, JOSEPH F. SMITH, First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[1889-December 2-Original circular letter, Church Historian's Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. See also Deseret News Weekly as quoted in Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]

175 years ago today - Dec 2, 1844

[Nauvoo Temple]
The Temple Committee reported that all of the capitals were in place, except one which would be placed within the week.

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

115 years ago today - Dec 1, 1904

A letter was read from Elders B. H. Roberts, stating in effect that he had quite accidentally run across a clause in the Constitution of the State of Utah which he thought affected a question now being discussed in the anti-Mormon press, that no property should be applied (used) to any religious worship, exercise or instruction. And Brother Roberts thought it quite possible that this provision may yet be invoked against our efforts to use the school houses throughout the state, which are public property, for religion class instruction. Brother Roberts goes on to state that he had been watching with some degree of interest the rising tide of public feeling among the Gentile citizens against the use of public school property, and in the presence of our many institutions for the instruction of our youth, it seemed to him we were needlessly irritating people not of our faith by the use of school buildings for imparting religious instruction. After discussing the matter quite freely, the sentiments of most of the brethren being those of Brother Roberts, the letter was referred, on motion of President John R. Winder, to the Religion Class Board. ...

[Journal History, 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 - Friday, Dec 1, 1899

[Apostle Rudger Clawson]
Said I believed the hand of the Lord was in [B. H. Roberts election to the House of Representatives], and whether or not he obtained his seat in Congress, felt that the gospel was being preached by and through the prominence given to him.

[Stan Larson (editor), A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic diaries of Rudger Clawson, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1993, http://bit.ly/rudgerclawson]

135 years ago today - Dec 1, 1884

[President John Taylor]
In regard to the enquiries made by you in your letter as to the propriety of your sister officiating in the Logan temple in the ordinances for the dead, I have to say that under the circumstances stated by you it would not be proper for her to do so; and being married to a gentile, it is not proper for her to wear her garments.

[John Taylor to Joseph Hunter, Dec. 1, 1884 as quoted in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship]

170 years ago today - Dec 1, 1849

[Hosea Stout]
another Company came in from the States. They left their waggons a few miles beyond the Weber & their cattle over the second mountain and wallowed through the snow sometimes over their hips and came in to day.

[Diaries of Hosea Stout]

170 years ago today - Dec 1, 1849

[Apostle Wilford Woodruff]
I called upon Col Kane & saw A sleigh robe presented to him by Dr Bernhisel as A present from President Young. It contained 7 wolf skins & 10 Fox skins got up with great taste & splendor. It was worth $40.

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

185 years ago today - about Dec 1, 1834

Kirtland, Ohio. The School of the Prophets was established and well attended, and Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon gave regular lectures on theology that later became known as the -"Lectures on Faith."

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