April 12th

Apr 12, 1828 - With Martin Harris as scribe Joseph Smith begins translating the Book of Mormon. A curtain divides them to prevent Martin from seeing the plates. Two months later they have completed 116 pages which Martin takes home to show his wife and promptly loses them.

Apr 12, 1838 - Second counselor Frederick G. Williams testifies that Oliver Cowdery knew a Mormon who could counterfeit coins, Joseph Smith and first counselor Sidney Rigdon say Cowdery left Kirtland because he was about to be indicted for manufacturing counterfeit money. In private correspondence, Cowdery would insist that these were conscious lies that LDS leaders should retract, but he also accepted rebaptism a decade later without such retraction.

Apr 12, 1845 - Hosea Stout writes in his diary: "At home until about two o'clock and then went with my wife to the Masonic Hall to a feast of beer and cakes prepared by the Old Police. The Old Police and wives and some of the Twelve were present; we had a joyful time, as much cakes and beer as we could eat and drink; we broke up about nine o'clock p.m. and I then came home."

Apr 12, 1866 - DESERET NEWS reports murder of S. Newton Brassfield on 2 Apr. He legally marries plural wife of absent Mormon missionary, and DESERET NEWS editorializes that "the illegally [sic] married couple would probably have been suffered to pursue their way to their own liking," except that she filed for custody of her children. DESERET NEWS also reports Brigham Young's sermon about the murdered Brassfield: "Were I absent from my home [on a mission], I would rejoice to know that I had friends there to protect and guard the virtue of my household; and I would thank God for such friends."

Apr 12, 1868 - Heber C. Kimball preaches: "I have been to the altar where Adam offered sacrifices and blessed his son and then left them and went to heaven. . . . I have been, as I have already told you, to where Adam offered sacrifices and blessed his sons, and I felt as though there were hundreds of angels there, and there were angels there like unto the three Nephites. I have also been over the hill Cumorah, and I understand all about it."

Apr 12, 1882 - DESERET NEWS editorial comment: "Our readers ought to be able to draw a clear distinction between the advertising and editorial columns of this paper. . . .If a liquor dealer advertises his wares, we do not endorse liquor drinking."

Apr 12, 1886 - Barnard White, under indictment for "unlawful cohabitation" legally marries his plural wife shortly after his legal wife dies and two months before his trial. According to the court, "It transpired from the testimony that the sole object in having the marriage ceremony performed was to close the mouth of the witness, and to prevent the government from obtaining her testimony." The Utah Supreme Court reverses the trial court by holding that the wife's testimony had been improperly admitted. Because she had not been the defendant's lawful wife at the time of the alleged offense, the offense could not be used against her and, thus, no exception to the rule excluding a wife's testimony was available. The defendant's motives in legally marrying the woman who had been his polygamous wife were legally irrelevant

Apr 12, 1900 - After a discussion with the First Presidency and Twelve in which it is suggested that Mormons not be discouraged from joining Freemasonry, President Lorenzo Snow, the last surviving general authority who was also a Mason (Franklin Richards had died the previous year), authorizes a statement that church leaders were "opposed to secret societies," which makes no exception for Freemasonry.

Apr 12, 1951 - David O. McKay becomes the first LDS church president to be "ordained" since the Joseph Smith. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith "ordained and set apart" President McKay. At seventy-four Apostle Smith may have forgotten his own father's restriction against ordaining presidents of the LDS church.

Apr 12, 1973 - T. Edgar Lyon tells the Mormon History Association of his stake president's instructions when he began teaching seminary: "Brother Lyon, we want you to settle down, buy a home, and vote the Republican ticket."

Apr 12, 1983 - SEVENTH EAST PRESS, an off-campus newspaper ceases publication. It had been banned from distribution on the BYU campus due to publishing an interview with Sterling McMurrin in which McMurrin says he doesn't believe in either the First Vision or in the Gold Plates. The SEVENTH EAST PRESS often published articles concerning controversial aspects of Mormon history and doctrine.

Apr 12, 1985 - Steve Christensen brings the "salamander letter" (later discovered to be a forgery by Mark Hofmann) to First Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley as a gift to the church. Ten days later he receives a thank-you letter from the First Presidency. Only after Hofmann leaks copies and a session of Mormon History Association is devoted to it is the text published in the CHURCH NEWS.

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