I found a treasure trove of odd Mormon facts that I wanted to share... this is just a sample of my favorites. If you want to see more, go here and browse through the dates!
Sept 21, 1827 - Around midnight Joseph Smith asks his mother, Lucy Mack Smith, if she has a box with a lock on it. She says she doesn't and Joseph says, "Never mind, I can do very well for the present without it—be calm—all is right." Minutes later Joseph's new wife, Emma, passes through the room in her bonnet and riding dress, and Lucy hears the two of them drive off in Joseph Knight's wagon--borrowed without permission--to get the gold plates from the Hill Cumorah.
Sept 22, 1827 - Joseph Smith tells his mother that he has not brought the plates home but has hidden the, plates in an old birch log three miles from his home. He tells her he hid them by cutting out a segment of bark, carving out the interior, depositing the plates, and replacing the bark. After breakfast he tells visiting Joseph Knight "It is ten times Better then I expected. Then he went on to tell the length and width and thickness of the plates and, said he, they appear to be gold. But he seamed to think more of the glasses or the urim and thummim than he Did of the plates for says he, I can see anything. They are Marvelous."
Oct 25, 1831 - Conference is held in the home of nineteen-year-old Stephen Burnett where Burnett is ordained a High Priest by Oliver Cowdery. A few months later Burnett is appointed by revelation (D&C 75:35 and D&C 80:1) to two missions but later leaves the Church and denounces Joseph Smith. In 1838 an official church publication calls Burnett “an ignorant little blockhead.” Burnett stated that the "last pedestal" of support for belief in the church gave way when he "came to hear Martin Harris state in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver [Cowdery] nor David [Whitmer] & that the eight witnesses never saw them & hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it."
Oct 14, 1834 - Joseph Smith is defeated in his first attempt for elective office, coroner of Kirtland.
Oct 7, 1835 - Joseph Smith uses his white seer stone to give blessings to Newel K. and Elizabeth A. Whitney. The Whitneys have a seer stone of their own shortly afterwards.
Sept 3, 1837 - Book of Mormon witness Martin Harris, discontented after the collapse of the Kirtland Anti-Banking Society, is dropped from the Kirtland High Council. He and his family remain in Kirtland when most Saints emigrated to Missouri or Nauvoo. He later says: "I never did leave the Church, the Church left me."
Oct 22, 1837 - Twenty-two Mormons are disfellowshipped at church headquarters in Kirtland for "uniting with the world [non-Mormons] in a dance…"
Oct 24, 1837 - An appeals court confirms the conviction and $1,000 fine each of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon for operating an illegal bank.
Oct 31, 1838 - Joseph Smith and other LDS and Danite leaders surrender after the Missouri militia surround the Mormon capital of Far West. They barely escape execution.
Oct 27, 1841 - Joseph Smith marries a woman polygamously who lives with her legal husband. Brigham Young University would later name one of its residence halls after her. Zina D. Huntington would also marry Brigham Young after Joseph's death, her legal husband, Henry Jacobs, standing a witness. This is the first of a dozen known cases of polyandry in Mormon history. Throughout his life Jacobs bemoans the fact that his wife and children have been taken from him. In death, however, he is buried 30 feet from Zina in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
July 14, 1842 - In a public speech Joseph Smith calls Orson Pratt's wife Sarah "A whore from her mother's breast." Sarah had accused Smith of proposing plural marriage to her while her husband Orson was away on a mission. Sarah later reported in an interview that Joseph told her, "If any woman, like me, opposed his wishes, he used to say: 'Be silent or I shall ruin your character!'"
Sept 14, 1842 - The SANGAMO JOURNAL carries the following notice: "We, the undersigned, feeling ourselves aggrieved by the conduct of Joseph Smith, and others of the leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints--and feeling that we have been most scandalously imposed upon in matters and things of a Divine character, wish publicly to withdraw from said Church, and no longer claim allegiance thereto." It is signed by ten people.
May 28, 1843 - Joseph and Emma Smith are the first couple "sealed" in marriage for eternity. During the previous month, he had married as polygamous wives seventeen-year-old Lucy Walker, sixteen-year-old Flora Ann Woodworth, and fourteen-year-old Helen Mar Kimball who later testified that he had sexual relations with them.
Oct 19, 1843 - Joseph Smith tells his secretary William Clayton not to worry about an upcoming birth from a secret polygamous union: "if they raise trouble about it and bring you before me I will give you an awful scourging and probably cut you off from the church and then I will baptise you and set you ahead as good as ever."
Sept 21, 1843 - William Clayton writes in his journal: "This A.M. he [Joseph Smith] came to talk with Lydia but she won't yet consent. She wants to tarry with her sisters." Lydia Moon, sister of two of Clayton's wives, had agreed to become a plural wife to Clayton but a week ago Joseph Smith informed Clayton that "the Lord had revealed to him that a man could only take 2 of a family except by express revelation . . . He finally asked if I would not give L[ydia] to him. I said I would so far as I had anything to do in it. He requested me to talk to her."
Oct 30, 1843 - Brigham Young's diary states: "Monday evening Baptized Sisters Cuoub [Augusta Adams Cobb] & Hari[e]tt Cook." Two days later Joseph Smith marries these two women to Young. Augusta Adams Cobb married Henry Cobb of Boston, Mass., in 1822. She left him five of her seven children to join with the Mormons. Her husband divorced her in 1847-- four years after she married Brigham Young.
Sept 19, 1844 - Brigham Young begins marrying some of Joseph Smith's polygamous widows as his own wives.
Oct 8, 1845 - Lucy Mack Smith is the first woman to speak at general conference. Church authorities do not invite another woman to address conference for 143 years.
May 28, 1847 - Brigham Young dictates a written revelation accusing the "brethren" of sins they would not admit to. He has the revelation recorded but stipulates that it not be officially published.
Oct 26, 1854 - Bishop publishes notice in DESERET NEWS that Enoch M. King is disfellowshipped "for repeatedly refusing to conform to the rules of said Church, in the law of Tithing."
July 15, 1855 - Wilford Woodruff writes: "Their is a strange spirit in provo. . . . The people seemed Cold & indifferent . . ."
Sept 11, 1857 - Members of Parowan's militia participate in killing 120 men, women, and children in Mountain Meadows Massacre. This is largest massacre of wagon train in American history and is unparalleled because killing begins as "whites" are excorting emigrants under flag of truce. After holding prayer circle, local LDS leaders decide not to await word from Brigham Young about whether to help Indians destroy emigrants.
Oct 4, 1857 – Apostle Erastus Snow preaches, “Do you uphold your husband before God as your lord? ‘What! —my husband to be my lord?’ I ask, Can you get into the celestial kingdom without him? Have any of you been there? You will remember that you never got into the celestial kingdom without the aid of your husband. If you did, it was because your husband was away, and some one had to act proxy for him. No woman will get into the celestial kingdom, except her husband receives her, if she is worthy to have a husband; and if not, somebody will receive her as a servant.”
Sept 23, 1860 - Brigham Young tells the Apostles that he loves them more than he loves any woman.
Oct 31, 1877 - John Taylor tells apostles it is wrong for some local partiarchs "to be underbidding the others" in giving patriarchal blessings.
Oct 22, 1882 - David H. Peery resigns as stake president due to his refusal to accept Oct. 1882 revelation's requirement for polygamous marriage.
Nov 1, 1885 - Apostle John Henry Smith notes in his journal, "This makes thirty-eight meetings I have attended in two weeks."
Sept 2, 1887 - Wilford Woodruff notes the cost for the yet uncompleted Manti Temple: "Total up to date $890,662.95. Almost one half of this Expense was in Moving a Mountain to get a place to build a Temple on." Brigham Young had said that the site had been chosen by Moroni.
Oct 9, 1889 - Salt Lake stake high council excommunicates elder for having local bishop perform unauthorized plural marriage for him four years earlier. Stake authorities had not authorized marriage because the young woman has " blood in her veins." First counselor says her father is "about 1/6 Ni**er from his appearance." (I don't even like quoting that word)
Sept 3, 1890 - "President Wilford Woodruff hurriedly leaves Salt Lake City with his counselors for San Francisco to avoid being subpoenaed to testify in government's court case against the Church over polygamy.
Sep 8, 1892 - John H. Gilbert, typesetter for the Book of Mormon, swears in an affidavit: "Martin [Harris] was in the office when I finished setting up the testimony of the three witnesses,--(Harris--Cowdery and Whitmer) I said to him,--'Martin, did you see those plates with your naked eyes?' Martin looked down for an instant, raised his eyes up, and said, 'No, I saw them with a spiritual eye.'" Gilbert also says that the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon had no punctuation. Gilbert himself added the punctuation to the manuscript in pencil. This is the punctuation that was in the first edition.
Sept 12, 1894 - Samuel W. Richards writes, "Prest Snow informed me he had not been able to obtain information why women were required to vail their faces when at prayer in the Temple."
Oct 24, 1894 - Wilford Woodruff and his two counselors each give approval for Apostle Abraham H Cannon to marry another plural wife. In all, ten general authorities marry post-Manifesto plural wives by permission of church president or his counselors during next ten years.
Oct 7, 1896 - At priesthood leadership conference, Wilford Woodruff asks "all those that had money to spare to loan it to the Trustee in Trust to assist the Church."
Sept 19, 1896 - A "Terrific wind" blows away the entire tin roof off the Salt Lake Temple
Oct 19, 1896 - President Wilford Woodruff preaches: "Joseph Smith visited me a great deal after his death, and taught me many important principles. . . . Brigham Young also visited me after his death. On one occasion he and Brother Heber C. Kimball came in a splendid chariot, with fine white horses, and accompanied me to a conference that I was going to attend."
Nov 1, 1901 - Financial report of the Church lists assets at $1,992,399.40, and liabilities at $1,110,607.58 for a surplus of $881,791.82.
Oct 26, 1904 - Apostle George Albert Smith instructs Salt Lake stake prayer circle: "Among some women the practice of removing the garments from the neck and arms and tying them behind the back was common. These were serious faults, and might result in the offenders being disfellowshipped."
Sept 20, 1905 - As Joseph F. Smith and his wife sleep, a burglar robs their bedroom.
Oct 25, 1905 - Public criticism of Joseph F. Smith's remarks that Father Damien of Hawaiian leper colony was immoral before his death. LDS church president is convinced that leprosy is contracted through sexual contact.
Sept 18, 1907 - Front-page headline of THE LOGAN REPUBLICAN: "Bear Lake Monster Appears: Leviathan Comes from Lake and Devours Horse While Men Shoot At It."
Sept 14, 1926 - First Presidency reaffirms "that temple ordinances could not be performed for people who had any Negro blood in their veins."
Oct 23, 1949 - President of the Brazilian Mission, Rulon S. Howells, meets with the elders. He announced that the only way the Church would grow in a certain city would be to separate the two blacks and whites, with a white branch using the chapel and the blacks meeting in a home of one of the members. They could be brought back together when the white branch was stronger and the idea of integrated meetings was more acceptable.
Oct 23, 1952 - Apostle Henry D. Moyle expresses opposition in meeting of First Presidency and apostles concerning proposal to add lace to temple garments for women. Temple council meeting approves this on Dec. 4.
Sept 6, 1960 - Second Counselor Henry D. Moyle confides to BYU President Ernest Wilkinson that Apostles Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee were in "real opposition" to his "accelerated missionary program." The program includes using baseball as a missionary tool to baptize teenage boys.
Oct 24, 1964 - Australian judge comments that "it seems a particularly extraordinary way of bringing religion to the notice of the housewife," as he imposes criminal fines on two LDS missionaries for impersonating government inspectors in order to enter the home of potential investigators. From mid-1950's to 1980's there are published complaints in various parts of Australia that LDS missionaries force their way through partly opened doors and refuse to leave until householder listens to message about LDS church.
Oct 28, 1965 - Twelve students (at invitation of BYU's president) bring their own rock music and demonstrate contemporary "fad dances" for general authorities in church administration building. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith says, "I don't know anything about them, and want to see them." Aftwards Apostle Gordon B. Hinckley exclaims, "Nothing like this has ever happened in this building before!" Not long afterwards BYU more strictly enforces its ban against contemporary "rock" dancing.
Oct 24, 1968 - Apostle Ezra Taft Benson replies to a letter asking child rearing advice: "I wish my good wife, who has had major responsibility for the training of our children, could talk to you personally. You see, I have been away from home approximately half of our married life, occasioned by my Church service and employment."
Oct 20, 1969 - While BYU's basketball team is playing University of Wyoming in Laramie, fourteen African-Americans are disqualified from Wyoming's team for wearing black armbands in protest of LDS church's priesthood restriction. Game continues despite objects thrown by spectators at playing floor and audience shouting accusations of racism against BYU's athletes. Wyoming defeats BYU by 33 points.
Oct 7, 1972 - CHURCH NEWS announcement of twelve "fellowship lessons" for new converts.
Sept 8, 1975 - LDS Air Force Sgt. Leonard P. Matlovich is featured on the cover of TIME Magazine with the headline, "I Am a Homosexual: The Gay Drive for Acceptance.” The accompanying article makes no mention of Matlovich's Mormonism. Two months later Matlovich is excommunicated. Matlovich served three tours of duty in Vietnam where he received the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and an Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. Sgt Matlovich was discharged from the army for coming out. He sued and settled for $160,000. He became a gay-rights activist and died, from complications due to AIDS, on June 22, 1988. The epitaph carved in his tombstone in the District of Columbia’s Congressional Cemetery reads “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”
Sept 21, 1977 - Joyce McKinney, 27, of Minneapolis, North Carolina, and Keith Joseph May, 25, of Los Angeles, California are formally charged in London, England, with "kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offense." They abducted LDS missionary Kirk Anderson, shackled him to a bed, and Miss McKinney, a former beauty pageant contestant, forced him to have sex with her.
Sept 7, 1982 - DENVER POST article "Fed Up, Mormon's Request Stuns Her Church" tells of 19-year-old Ann Wallace who in a surprise announcement that took even her family off guard, stood up in a Sunday public church meeting and read an 8-minute statement asking that she be excommunicated from the LDS church in which a woman cannot "experience 'the full power of God' without a man as intermediary." The 250 worshipers were reported to be "stunned" and "shocked." "A lot of people knew how I felt but no one expected me to ask for my excommunication," she added. "I wanted the women of the Church to know about it, too."
Oct 3, 1982 - Adoption of subtitle for BOOK OF MORMON: "Another Testament of Jesus Christ."
Oct 20, 1982 - The LDS Church purchases a letter written by David Whitmer for $10,000. The letter is purchased from Mark Hofmann and is one of his forgeries. Gordon B. Hinckley had authorized $15,000 for the purchase, but Hofmann reduced the price in a show of good will.
Sept 29, 1983 - LOGAN HERALD JOURNAL reports Cache County administrative assistant Keith Nelson had been printing LDS ward material in the men's room of the county Hall of Justice. As a result the practice is stopped. However, the Logan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union accuses the Cache county commission of violating First Amendment rights by failure to separate church and state.
Sept 9, 1984 - CHURCH NEWS article on the "Salamander Letter" explains that the letter's "white salamander" was only Martin Harris's use of "language and symbolism." "If you look the word up in the Oxford Dictionary it has many uses and meanings not known to the modern world, not just the amphibian we think of today. By the time of Martin Harris, the word also meant angel. It also referred to brave soldiers who would run into the heat of battle. The bravest soldiers in the French Revolution were known as salamanders." It is later revealed that the letter was forged by Mark Hofmann
May 28, 1988 - First Presidency statement on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which encourages "compassion for those who are ill with AIDS," but with emphasis on abstaining from any homosexual behavior.
Sept 10, 1988 - The bishopric of the Boise, Idaho 20th ward mails a letter on Church stationary to ward members. "In meetings with the area presidency, our stake presidency committed to raise funds for Consider [Consider is a political group opposing an Idaho State Lottery]. The assignment to our ward is to, among its members, raise $2,000 by September 15th. The urgency of this request does not allow for individual, person-to-person contact. Please, consider your resources, decide what would be an appropriate response to this request, and make a contribution to Consider. Checks need to be made out directly to Consider and collected on a ward basis. They can be turned in to a member of the bishopric or mailed in the enclosed envelope." The letter is signed by Bishop Gordon J. Stevens,
Oct 2, 1988 - Michaelene P Grassli, general Primary President, is first woman to speak in general conference in 133 years.
Sept 26, 1992 - Aileen Clyde, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, while conducting the general women's meeting welcomes them: "It is good to have President Hinckley, President Monson, President Hunter, and other priesthood leaders with us tonight to symbolize the priesthood partnership we so value in the Church and in our homes." When the talk is published in the ENSIGN the phrase "to symbolize the priesthood partnership we so value in the Church and in our homes" is deleted.
Oct 25, 1992 - General authority Malcolm S. Jeppsen prepares talk which he gives to LDS leaders in Utah during next several weeks, listing twenty warning signs of apostasy. In addition to usual cautions about current polygamy, he includes: "those who advocate a mother in heaven and women holding the priesthood," those who hold special prayer meetings in private, "John Birch membership or leanings," and those who store more than LDS headquarter's recommendation of one-year's supply of food.
July 15, 1993 - INSIDE RADIO reports: "New York's finest summoned to the mailroom [of station WABC] Tuesday morning. Somebody heard a beeping or ticking noise coming from a pouch. Played it safe and called the cops. Actual contents of the package: the latest PSA package from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). Seems the press kit contained a chip designed to emit an attention-getting signal. It worked."
July 14, 1995 - USA TODAY reports: "A Bountiful, Utah man discovered that his wife of 3 1/2 years is a man who is now jailed on charges he ran up $40,000 in phony credit card charges. Bruce Jensen, 39, says he feels 'pretty stupid' that he didn't know Felix Urioste, 34 was a man." Jensen and Urioste (using the name Leasa) were married in Lyman, Wyoming in December of 1991 and later were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.
Sept 2, 1996 - Gordon B. Hinckley receives American Legion's "Good Guy Award."
Oct 15, 1996 - Boyd K. Packer, Twelve's acting-president, tells BYU devotional assembly that Bishops should exercise strict control over LDS funerals because families are conducting funerals where "several family members speak in a funeral, we hear about the deceased instead of about the Atonement." DESERET NEWS notes that he speaks about "unwritten laws" of church conduct, but does not quote or paraphrase Apostle Packer's statements against content of LDS funerals by grieving families.
I found a treasure trove of odd Mormon facts that I wanted to share... this is just a sample of my favorites. If you want to see more, go here and browse through the dates!