March 12th

Mar 12, 1831 - In Palmyra, New York, "ten individuals of the first respectability" sign a letter to the Painsville, Ohio TELEGRAPH: "The first idea of a 'Book,' was doubtless suggested to the Smiths by one Walters, a juggling fortune-teller, who made the ignorant believe that an old book in his possession, in the Latin language, contained an account of the anti-deluvians, &c. and the word was given out that the book Smith has about to find, was a history of hidden treasures. Smith and his father belonged to a gang of money-diggers, who had followed that business for many years, Jo pretending he could see the gold and silver by the aid of what they called a 'peep stone.' The book is chiefly garbled from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocraphy having contributed its share; names and phrases have been altered, and in many instances copied upwards.--A quarto Bible now in this village, was borrowed and nearly worn out and defaced by their dirty handling. Some seven or eight of them spent many months in copying, Cowdery being principal scribe."
Martin Harris arrives in Kirtland, Ohio and prophesies that "all who believed the new bible [the Book of Mormon] would see Christ within fifteen years, and all who did not would absolutely be destroyed and dam'd."

Mar 12, 1835 - The Twelve Apostles meet in Kirtland: "It was then proposed that during their present mission, Elder Brigham Young should open the door of the Gospel to the remnants of Joseph, who dwell among the Gentiles, which was carried."

Mar 12, 1849 - Disregarding the newly created Constitution of the State of Deseret, the Council of Fifty holds elections with a slate of unopposed candidates. The Church paper the MILLENIAL STAR reports: "The Election Came off to day and resulted in the unanimous choice of Brigham Young as Governor, Willard Richards Secretary, N[ewell] K. Whitney Treasurer, H[eber] C Kimball Chief Justice, John Tailor and N[ewell] K. Whitney Associate Judges, Daniel H. Wells Attorney General Horace Eldridge Marshall, Albert Carrington Assessor and Collector Joseph L Heywood surveyor of Highways And the Bishops of the several wards as magistrates."

Mar 12, 1850 - "Elder Alexander Badlam" arrives in Salt Lake City "from the gold diggings of San Francisco to Cambridgeport" After a year's absence He brings Wilford Woodruff a"a present of 9 1/2 ox. Of gold dust as a present from several Brethren in the mines." Woodruff writes that "this begins to fulfill a portion of my Patriarchal Belssings which I received under the hands of Father Joseph Smith [Senior] in AD 1837. He said I should have access to the treasures hid in the sand to assist me . . ."

Mar 12, 1851 - The Ship "George W. Bourne" arrives in New Orleans with a shipload of Mormon converts from England including two sisters who were excommunicated "for levity of behavior with some of the officers of the ship and continued disregard of the counsels of the President."

Mar 12, 1854 - After the funeral of Second Counselor Willard Richards, Heber C. Kimball councils the family: "He advised the family all to hold together & remain as they were on his inheritants & not marry again but to keep themselves for him . . ." Richards was survived by eleven widows. Richards is the first member of the Twelve Apostles or First Presidency to die of natural causes. The first General Authority to die of natural causes was Patriarch Joseph Smith Sr.

Mar 12, 1856 - Cedar City's Relief Society members are exhorted by Elias Morris, Mormon businessman and confident of the Church leadership, to "mind your own business, and ask no Questions." The next year many of the husbands of the Cedar City's Relief Society participate in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Mar 12, 1868 - Apostle Orson Pratt tells his legal wife, Sarah, that he will spend equal times with all his wives. She later says the her marriage ended on this day: "I believed, when he decided to enter upon the practice of polygamy, that he did so not from any violence of individual passion, but from sheer fanaticism." Orson told her that he considered it "his duty to take other women besides myself to wife," but that "this would make no difference in his affection for me, which would continue pure and single as it had ever been. . . . By and by he told me that he intended to put these five women on an exact equality with me [by spending] a week with one, a week with another, and so on, and that I should have the sixth week! Then patience forsook me. I told him plainly that I wouldn't endure it. I said, 'If you take five weeks with your other women you can take the sixth with them also.'"

Mar 12, 1886 - Lorenzo Snow begins serving his sentence, for polygamy, in the Utah Territorial Penitentiary. Two physicians write to the prison authorities, "in consideration of the advanced age of the bearer, Lorenzo Snow, and also of his unusually delicate condition, we the undersigned, take the liberty of stating that we fear his health would be seriously jeopardized by depriving him of his hair and beard, as he has worn the latter 16 years on this account." Snow is allowed to keep his hair and beard. He is released on February 8, 1887, having served eleven months.

Mar 12, 1887 - St. George temple president and president of Twelve Apostles Wilford Woodruff "conversed with Br J. D. T. McAllister concerning being sealed for the dead. He thought the courts would require us to record in the Probate Courts office all sealings for the dad as well as for the living so I let the matter rest until we heard the opinion of Presid[en]t Taylor."
In San Francisco Apostle John Henry Smith "In returning to the hotel . . . came down Dupont Street, the heart of the Demimond of the City and was astonished at the brazen effrontery of the girls."

Mar 12, 1888 - Apostle John Henry Smith writes in his diary: "I spent most of the day at the office with the brethren and in the evening attended an underground gathering and had a pleasant time." The "underground" referred to a network of Mormons hiding polygamists from federal authorities.

Mar 12, 1890 - Apostle Heber J. Grant writes: "This morning I went to the Gardo [Church President's residence] and had a chat with the brethren and they told me that they had prayed about the proper course for the saints to take under the present circumstances and that they had come to the conclusion that the best thing that those living on the outskirts of the city could do was to sell their property at the high prices which property was going at the present time. I am not sorry that such a decision has been arrived at, but I do not now think of what will be the best plan of action in the premises. I am afraid that in case there was a public statement to this effect that there would be a stampede to sell and that in case it is not made public that it will be a good chance for the saints who are sincere in thinking they should hold on to their property to get badly swindled by selling to those who are aware that there will be no blame attacked to those who sell property. I confess that I have no solution of the problem, as to the best plan of action. I was asked not to mention the matter to a soul."

Mar 12, 1896 - First Presidency gives James E. Talmage, who is working on his book THE ARTICLES OF FAITH, "an instruction" to smoke tobacco to relieve his persistent insomnia. Heber J. Grant is present and gives "his acquiescence" but dates meeting as Mar. 11. Talmage is then president of University of Utah and becomes apostle in 1911. Talmage later writes, "a good cigar produced a marvelous quieting of my over-wrought nerves."

Mar 12, 1922 - Apostle James E. Talmage gives a lecture at the "Free Thought Forum" in Cincinnati, Ohio. He speaks on "'Origin and Destiny of Man,' giving attention to the DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE BODY ONLY AND THE MAN, and dealing with the subjects of ante-mortal existence, life beyond the grave, and the resurrection." During his fifty-minute talk he is "listened to with every outward mark of close attention" by the 300 people in attendance. However during the discussion period after his talk he notes "some of them were blatant in proclaiming their atheism. There were three or four women who took part in the discussion, and these were even more extreme than the men. Such an exhibition of godlessness I have seldom seen."

Mar 12, 1926 - Provo's DAILY HERALD reports that in a poll of 3000 Provo residents, forty-eight percent favored either outright repeal major modification of prohibition, while fifty-two percent advocated keeping the law as it stood

Mar 12, 1942 - First Presidency letter bans foreign-language meetings in United States. Directed particularly at German-speaking Mormons, this restriction ends thirty years later as conversion and immigration bring to U.S. congregations thousands of Europeans, Latin-Americans, and Asians who speak little or no English.

Mar 12, 1961 - First non-English-speaking stake organized at The Hague in Netherlands, which is also first stake in continental Europe.

Mar 12, 1975 - Thomas Stuart Ferguson, founder of the New World Archeological Association at BYU, writes a paper for a written symposium on Book of Mormon Archaeology. He concludes: "The evidence supporting the geographical views of Norman and Sorenson, under the exacting tests laid down by the text of the Book of Mormon, is indeed very meager. We have the cylinder seal from Chiapa de Corzo, the cylinder seal from Tlatilco and the toys with wheels. That's about all. This paucity of specific support presents, at least to me, a dilemma. One way out of the dilemma is to say that everything was scrambled and lost because of the upheavals described in 3 Nephi for the time of the crucifixion. In my personal opinion, this is not a satisfactory escape hatch. . . . . I don't have the answer to the dilemma. I just call it up. I'm afraid that up to this point, I must agree with Dee Green, who has told us that to date there is no Book-of-Mormon geography. I, for one, would be happy if Dee were wrong."

Mar 12, 1976 - African-American Robert Lee Stevenson is elected vice-president of BYU students.

Mar 12, 1984 - BYU's DAILY UNIVERSE letter to the editor concerning four drawings by undergraduate artist Bob Adams which were removed from a student art exhibition by officials as being "potentially offensive:" "LDS artists cannot and should not ignore the [human] figure, for that would be admitting that the body is evil. . . . If the viewer sees [the drawings] as [erotic, suggestive, or pornographic], perhaps she should examine her own thoughts"

Mar 12, 1987 - Announcement that church's Hotel Utah will be remodeled into additional office building for LDS Bureaucracy. When completed in 1991, renamed "Joseph Smith Memorial Building" has 75,000 square feet of floor space.

Mar 12, 1988 - First Presidency statement supports Child Abuse Prevention Month and encourages Mormons to combat this "pernicious problem."

Mar 12, 1995 - Quorum of Twelve sustains Gordon B. Hinckley as church president with Thomas S. Monson and James E. Faust as counselors, and ordains President Hinckley. Occurring nine days after death of his predecessor, this is longest period without organized First Presidency since 1898. Hinckley is first LDS president since Joseph Fielding Smith who has worked his entire adult life in church bureaucracy, Church-controlled business and headquarters administration.

Mar 12, 2005 - SALT LAKE TRIBUNE has article on recently-released book MORMONISM FOR DUMMIES by LDS authors Jana Riess and Christopher Bigelow: "Probably the trickiest part to write was the section on race, Bigelow said. 'We didn't want to call the church to repentance, but we wanted to acknowledge that many Mormons still don't think we've fully come to terms with our past racism.' Given that Mormons don't talk about temple rituals to outsiders, the chapter on temples was 'quite sensitive to write,' he said. 'During revision, we pulled back on several details about logistics inside the temple.'"

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