April 17th

Apr 17, 1840 - "This day the Twelve blessed and drank a bottle of wine at Penworthan, made by Mother Moon forty years before."

Apr 17, 1847 - Brigham Young instructs the pioneer company about to embark on the trek from Winter Quarters to Salt Lake valley, "after we start from here, every man must keep his loaded gun in his hand, or in wagon where he can put his hand on it at a moments warning."

Apr 17, 1864 - Brigham Young casually tells John Taylor and George A. Smith, "I have ordained my sons, Joseph A., Brigham, and John W., apostles and my counselors, have you any objections?" Taylor and Smith reply that they did not, that it was his own affair, and that they considered it to be under his own direction.

Apr 17, 1870 - Brigham Young preaches: "Talk about polygamy! There is no true philosopher on the face of the earth but what will admit that such a system, properly carried out according to the order of heaven, is far superior to monogamy for the raising of healthy, robust children! A person possessing a moderate knowledge of physiology, or who has paid attention to his own nature and the nature of the gentler sex, can readily understand this."

Apr 17, 1897 - President of the Twelve Lorenzo Snow visits ailing Church President Wilford Woodruff "He gave me a list of Salt Lake Temple work since the commencement May 22, 1893 to March 31 97 Showing 142,679 Baptisms for the dead, 3,646 for health, 5,908 living Endowments 81,933 dead endowments; ordinations 53 living 32,739 dead; Sealings 2,590 living, 21,288 dead; children to Parents 6,147 living 17,936 dead; adoptions 67 living 694 dead; 2nd anointing 1,017 living 531 dead. Total living 19,428 Dead 297,794 = 317,222."

Apr 17, 1900 - Brigham Young Academy president Benjamin Cluff Jr. along with a company of two teachers and about twenty students leave Provo expecting to be gone for two years. Their destination is South America where they hope to locate rivers, cities, and places that would "throw light on the divine claims of the Book of Mormon." When the expedition reaches Spanish Fork they are received with a Brass Band and a Banquet in their honor. They are received with so many banquets that they don't cook their own food until eleven days into the journey. At the Mexican Border Cluff negotiates with border officials to allow passage through Mexico while the rest of the group boards with church members in Thatcher, Arizona. Cluff lingers in Mexico hoping to marry a polygamous third wife, Florence Reynolds, daughter of George Reynolds, and one of his former students. Florence had been using his last name for the previous year. While Cluff is in Colonia Diaz, he orders other expedition members to begin proselyting in Thatcher. The students discover why Cluff had prolonged his stay and became disheartened and angry. His assistant, Professor Walter Wolfe, reacts to the news of Cluff's delay by escaping to Nogales for an "extended three-day alcoholic spree." Wolfe (who had been told in a dream that he would find gold plates on the expedition and be able to translate them) later sells his mule to buy liquor. The students determine not to do any more missionary work and "took every opportunity to visit with the young ladies and to attend the weekly dances" in Thatcher. Apostle Heber J. Grant learns of the expedition's behavior while traveling in Arizona. He informs President Lorenzo Snow who sends Second Councilor Joseph F. Smith. Smith authorizes Cluff's plural marriage but instructs the group to either disband or proceed on their own as a "purely scientific" group without church endorsement. Most return to Provo but Cluff and five others press on to Columbia. A week after arriving, all but one student, Chester Van Buren, return to Utah. Van Buren remains in Colombia long enough to conduct scientific investigations. When he finally returns to Provo, his wildlife specimens become a prized collection. Cluff is censured by the Board of Trustees for "unwarranted use of authority" and is kept as Brigham Young Academy's president for only one more year. One of his last official acts is to change the name to "Brigham Young University."

Apr 17, 1902 - Only specifically dated example of Joseph F. Smith as church president authorizing man to marry plural wife. Apostle Abraham Owen Woodruff's daily diary records that President Smith says: "While I can not advise you to do this I will not advise you not to do it." That is the kind of covert authorization that reminiscent accounts by other post-Manifesto polygamists claim Smith gave them. Smith also tells the Twelve that plural marriages cannot be currently performed "in the United States."

Apr 17, 1967 - BYU president Ernest Wilkinson reports to the Board of Trustees and confesses his role in the BYU "spy scandal:" "I wanted to know from regular students what their regular teachers were teaching, and I think information of that kind is proper for me as the President to know, and I think this method of finding out is a proper method."

Apr 17, 1991 - Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Utah "ranks last in proportion of students who are female" throughout the United States. This is result of Utah's "traditions that inhibit the educational progress of women."

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