March 16th

Mar 16, 1840 - In England Wilford Woodruff obtains a preaching license. He has to classify himself as a "protestant" and swear allegiance to Queen Victoria. A few days later an Anglican rector sends a constable to arrest Woodruff for preaching without a license. Woodruff shows his license and invites the constable to stay for the sermon. The constable remains and afterwards asks to be baptized.

Mar 16, 1842 - Joseph Smith is raised to the office of Fellow Craft Mason and then to Master Mason one day after being initiated into the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge as an Entered Apprentice Mason. He writes in his journal: "I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree."

Mar 16, 1844 - The last Relief Society meeting in Nauvoo is held. The Relief Society doesn't officially meet for ten years. John Taylor later gave the reason that Joseph's wife Emma "made use of the position she held [Relief society president] to try to pervert the minds of the sisters in relation to [plural marriage]."

Mar 16, 1845 - Brigham Young preaches that William Law and Sidney Rigdon "are one in Spirit, & I do not know but when they may yet be twain in flesh."

Mar 16, 1856 - Brigham Young preaches: "Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands. . . . There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants."

Mar 16, 1860 - Brigham Young discusses "the abuses of the Postal arrangements, they are a set of thieves from beginning to end, In one instance they opened a communication that Geo[rge] A. Smith sent to his bro[ther] and published it."

Mar 16, 1866 - Wilford Woodruff writes, "found Brother Edward Tullidge raving mad. He was at the City Hall in the hands of the poliece. He had been writing or Compiling my own Autobyography for nearly two years. Of late he had been drinking vary hard & writing Theatrical Plays. He now imagines himself the great Bridegroom & many other foolish things."

Mar 16, 1877 - L. John Nuttall writes in his diary: "Spent the evening at President Youngs got his mind and views in regard to the proper manner of giving the Tokens. and presenting the man at the veil & which were very essential & gave all present further light."

Mar 16, 1879 - John H. Gilbert, who set the type and added the punctuation to the first edition of the Book of Mormon writes, "I asked [Martin] Harris once if he had really seen the plates with his naked eyes? -- his reply was, No, but with spiritual eyes."

Mar 16, 1888 - First Presidency and Twelve apostles meet and "voted not to form any more Quorums of seventies and not to ordain any more seventies at the present."

Mar 16, 1890 - In Thatcher, Arizona, a church court presided over by two apostles considers charges against Stake President Christopher Layton: "charged Bro. Layton with using ardent spirits and using profane language and of associating with bad men at Tucson." The first two charges are "fairly well proven" and "fairly well sustained" respectively but the third charge "fell to the ground. Bro. C. Layton confessed wrongdoing and asked forgiveness, which was granted." He is not removed from his position as stake president.

Mar 16, 1892 - Apostle John Henry Smith writes "A large Democratic Committee waited on the Presidency of the Church and made complaints over the Logan election and read letters and affidavits showing that George F. Gibbs [Secretary to President Woodruff] had used his influence in favor of the Republicans. Some one in this business has done wrong."

Mar 16, 1904 - Carl A. Badger, secretary to Apostle and U.S. Senator Reed Smoot writes a letter to a friend: "The people at home may be proud of the showing we have made here, but I am not. It was with humiliation that I heard the brethren acknowledge that the[y] had broken the law of God and of their country. I know that it is folly to condemn individuals when we all are in the same muddle. Public sentiment, the sentiment that you and I have helped create, has sustained them in what they have done. The great wrong is in an attempt to continue what we have promised to give up [polygamy]. I for one hope that the whole truth will come out; I am not in a mood to hide a thing."

Mar 16, 1911 - A large group of students publish a petition, signed by 80% of the student body, in the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE to keep professor Henry Peterson at BYU. Peterson is being removed for teaching Evolution. The next day Peterson is fired and the DESERET NEWS prints an editorial chastising the students for publishing the petition in an "anti-Mormon" newspaper.

Mar 16, 1925 - First Presidency rules, in response to an inquiry asking if it was proper to remove garments from patients during operations, that "the wishes of the patients should be considered." but there had been a previous ruling that because of sanitary reasons it "might be wise to remove the garments from the patient, and where it is thought best to do so, this may be done."

Mar 16, 1949 - CHURCH NEWS reports that paraplegic convert Mrs. Luett J. Standliff has been baptized while strapped to stretcher in Salt Lake Tabernacle baptistery.

Mar 16, 1968 - U.S. troops in "Charlie Company" massacre 400-500 civilians at village of My Lai South Vietnam. One of the soldiers later says that he does not participate until he sees his Mormon buddy, recently returned missionary, shooting Vietnamese women and children. Two days earlier, the other Mormon in Charlie Company wrote letter about unrelated incident in which his "friends" shot a woman working in a rice field, "kicked her to death," and then "emptied" their weapons into her head. "It was murder [and] I've seen it many times before," Greg Olsen wrote his father. "My faith in my fellow men is shot all to hell." After remorseful participants and news media unravel military's cover-up, officer-in-charge is court-martialed and imprisoned for giving his troops direct orders to kill everyone in My Lai on suspicion that they are Communist sympathizers. Most published accounts emphasize religious background of the two Mormons a My Lai but say nothing about religion of other soldiers involved in massacre.

Mar 16, 1983 - Thomas Stuart Ferguson, LDS apologist turned closet critic, has a massive heart attack while playing tennis and dies immediately.

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