April 21st

April 21, 1834 - At a conference in Norton, Ohio: "Bro. Joseph Smith Jun. then delivered a short prophecy, that if Zion was not delivered [in Jackson County, Missouri] the time was near when all of this Church, wherever they might be found, would be persecuted and distroyed [sic] in like manner." At this conference, "President Smith then laid hands on certain children, and blessed them in the name of the Lord," which may have been the first time small children were blessed. Giving names and blessings to infants would become standard practice two decades later. Joseph also preached, "It is very difficult for us to communicate to the Churches all that God has revealed to us, in consequence of tradition; for we are differently situated from any other people that ever existed upon this Earth. Consequently those former revelations cannot be suited to our condition, because they were given to other people who were before us. This statement of 'theocratic situation ethics' is further expounded in Smith's letter to Nancy Rigdon eight years later: "That which is wrong under one circumstance may be, and often is, right in another."

Apr 21, 1840 - U.S. Post Office Department designation for Commerce, Illinois is changed to Nauvoo, "a Hebrew term signifying a beautiful place." Although credit for the inventive name is usually given to Joseph Smith, contemporaries attribute it to George W. Robinson, Robinson, appointed Nauvoo's first postmaster, had studied under Kirtland's Jewish tutor Joshua Seixas and was "quite a Hebrew scholar."

Apr 21, 1847 - The pioneers en route to Salt Lake Valley meet a tribe of Indians: "The Indians to the number of about 200 on the south side of the river came down to the shore. Some waded over. About 75 came into camp including the grand Chief of the Nation with many war Chiefs. We met them before we left the ground & made them presents of about 4 lbs of tobacco 15 lbs lead powder fish Hooks heads flour salt &c.

Apr 21, 1897 - Aging Wilford Woodruff writes in his diary about his health: "The swelling in my body and limbs has gone down. My pulse are normal. I have no pain. Weak in my limbs. I eat bread & milk and drink Cacao & a little port wine."

Apr 21, 1898 - Arrival in British Mission of Amanda Inez Knight and Lucy Jane Brimhall, first unmarried women to serve as full-time missionaries. Previously lady missionaries were married women who were set apart as companions to their husbands, usually mission presidents. On Mar. 16, George Q. Cannon had said that through missionary service of unmarried women, "some kind of solution would be found to the problem so often discussed, 'What shall we do with our girls?'"

Apr 21, 1898 - The United States declares war against Spain--the Spanish-American War. On this day at a meeting of the First Presidency and Council of Twelve First Counselor George Q. Cannon remarks to Apostle Brigham Young Jr."Our young men might distinguish themselves in this war." Brigham Young Jr. replies "Yes, they would undoubtedly extinguish themselves. If I knew of any young men who wanted to go to this war, I would call them on a mission to preach the gospel of peace. Our mission is to preach and to save souls."

Apr 21, 1899 - A special meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve discusses selling the Saltair resort. Joseph. F. Smith explains the object for which the Saltair Beach Pavilion was built: "It was that we might be able to control in some degree the amusements and pleasures of the young. There was to be no traffic in liquor and no Sunday trains." These rules drove away business so it was "decided to rent bar privileges" to insure profitabity. The final vote is unanimous in favor of not selling.

Apr 21, 1907 - Last known plural marriage performed with personal knowledge and authorization of President Joseph F. Smith.

Apr 21, 1901 - On the 300 th anniversary of the King James Bible the DESERET EVENING NEWS publishes a column saying the King James's "is the version given to the world by eminent scholarship in the very same language in which modern revelations are given." This notes that Joseph Smith's revelations are in

Apr 21, 1921 - The IMPROVEMENT ERA publishes an article by James E. Talmadge on church discipline which says, "Should knowledge of any case of wrongdoing, or lack of harmony between or among members, come to the attention of the Bishopric of a Ward, it is their duty to delegate two or more priests or teachers to visit the parties concerned, and to try by brotherly mediation to bring about a reconciliation."

Apr 21, 1932 - Outgoing New Zealand Mission President John E. Magleby asks missionary Harold T. Christensen to stand in as mission president until a new mission president is appointed. Christensen agrees but the new mission president doesn't arrive for 15 months during which time Elder Christensen is president of the New Zealand mission.

Apr 21, 1940 - Captain William Losey is killed by bomb during Nazi invasion of Norway, first U.S. serviceman to die in World War II. A returned LDS missionary, he is military aide to U.S. ambassador. Despite his and other American deaths in Nazi war zone, United States remains officially neutral until Dec. 1941.

Apr 21, 1945 - CHURCH NEWS reports that due to ward's lack of deacon-age boys, bishop has called young girls (ages 12 to 14) to do work of deacons such as collecting fast offerings.

Apr 21, 1958 - BYU president Ernest L. Wilkinson writes in his journal that he must "set up some kind of machinery for getting the facts," because "most people have a tendency to exaggerate or color the facts when they are alone and think they can get away with it"

Apr 21, 1966 - BYU president Ernest L. Wilkinson gives what he, himself calls a "powerful address" that would "rock the campus from one end to the other." Wilkinson designs the speech to be controversial and hopes that it will generate discussion on campus, especially among "liberal" professors. He then instructs the newly-formed student spy ring to solicit and report on the "liberal" professors's reactions to the speech. One professor of political science, Ray Hillam, a target of the spy ring, learns about the spy ring and requests a formal hearing which Wilkinson uses to formally charge Hillam with being pro-communist and disloyal to BYU. Hillam, in the process of defending himself exposes the spy-ring and precipitates a major scandal for Wilkinson. Wilkinson privately confesses his role to the Board of Trustees but publicly denies it.

Apr 21, 1978 - Robert Stevenson, an African-American Mormon, marries Susan Bevan, a white Mormon.. They had met at Brigham Young University as students, but her Mormon family questions the viability of the relationship. Stevenson later notes that "everybody from the garbage man to the stake president had told her that marrying me would be to her eternal detriment." They seek an interview with a general authority, Boyd K. Packer. Packer calls in Marion D. Hanks. According to Stevenson, "Elder Packer squared off on one side, and Elder Hanks squared off on the other." Packer argued that Stevenson "could accomplish [his] mission in life and be more effective without being married to a white woman." Hanks said, "I think it's the best thing in the world that you marry Susan. I think that you'll be more effective and you'll be able to break down racial barriers easier."

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