May 17th

May 17, 1836 - Joseph Smith with his brother Hyrum "brought [to Kirtland] my grandmother, Mary Smith, aged ninety-three years. She had not been baptized, on account of the opposition of Jesse Smith, her eldest son, who has always been an enemy to the work". Mary Smith dies ten days later.

May 17, 1842 - John C. Bennett resigns as Mayor of Nauvoo. Joseph Smith writes to Church Recorder James Sloan, "You will be so good as to permit Bennett to withdraw his name from the Church record, if he desires to do so, and this with the best of feelings towards you and General Bennett" Two days later Joseph Smith is elected Mayor by the Nauvoo City Council. His first official act is to ask for the establishment of a "night watch etc." for "counteracting the designs of our enemies, . . . whereupon the council resolved that the mayor be authorized to establish a night watch, and control the same." At that time Joseph asks Bennett if he had anything against him. Bennett responds: "I know what I am about, and the heads of the Church know what they are about, I expect. I have no difficulty with the heads of the Church. I publicly avow that any one who has said that I have stated that General Smith has given me authority to hold illicit intercourse with women is a liar in the face of God"

May 17, 1843 - William Clayton writes of a sermon by Joseph Smith: "He shewed that knowledge is power and the man who has the most knowledge has the greatest power. Also that salvation means a man's being placed beyond the powers of all his enemies. He said the more sure word of prophecy meant, a man's knowing that he was sealed up unto eternal life by revelation and the spirit of prophecy through the power of the Holy priesthood. He also showed that it was impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance. Paul had seen the third heavens and I more. Peter penned the most sublime language of any of the apostles." Later Clayton and Smith "went to hear a Methodist preacher lecture. After he got through President Joseph offered some corrections as follows. The 7th verse of C[hapter] 2 of Genesis ought to read God breathed into Adam his spirit or breath of life, but when the word "ruach" applies to Eve it should be translated lives. Speaking of eternal duration of matter he said There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter but is more fine or pure and can only be discerned by purer eyes. We cant see it but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter."

May 17, 1844 - Nauvoo's political convention nominates Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon as presidential and vice-presidential candidates and appoints 344 delegates to campaign for their election in every state. All of the 26 states of the United States and ten Illinois counties are represented by delegates at the convention. Two non-Mormon delegates, Dr. G. W. Goforth and John S. Reid, have prominent speaking positions. Resolutions passed at the convention include: "4. Resolved, that to redress all wrongs, the government of the United States, with the President at its head, is as powerful in its sphere as Jehovah is in His." and "7. Resolved, that we will hold a National Convention at Baltimore on Saturday, the 13th day of July." The Baltimore convention was held but, due to the death of Joseph Smith adjourned sine die.

May 17, 1868 - Brigham Young preaching on the Word of Wisdom says: "I only saw one cup of coffee last summer during my trip south, and it was for an old lady eighty years of age. She asked me if she might not take her cups of coffee; and I told her to take it, and blessed her and her coffee."

May 17, 1884 - John Taylor dedicates temple at Logan, Utah, and receives revelation concerning temple (exact date unknown). Text available but not canonized or officially published. Construction took seven years and cost $800,000.

May 17, 1888 - At dedication of Manti Temple, Wilford Woodruff declares prophetically, "We are not going to stop the practice of plural marriage until the Coming of the Son of Man." During dedication some hear heavenly choir, while others see bright halos of light around apostles Lorenzo Snow, John W. Taylor, Heber J. Grant, John Henry Smith, and Seventy's president Jacob Gates, and dimmer halo around Apostle Francis M. Lyman's head. Some say that John W. Taylor's "voice was exactly like Joseph the Prophet" and that Lyman's voice is that of Brigham Young.
While in temple, Woodruff "Consecrated upon the Altar the [brown] seers Stone that Joseph Smith found by Revelation some 30 feet under the earth."
After the temple dedication the Twelve meet and "conversed in regard to adultery and what course to pursue when men confess their wrong doing and no other persons but the guilty parties know in regard to it. It was agreed the parties should be protected and told to report and renew their Covenants."

May 17, 1890 - LDS political newspaper SALT LAKE HERALD condemns "the scheme of the conspirators to consummate the political debauchery of making Utah a Republican state."

May 17, 1899 - Lorenzo Snow's revelation at St. George on necessity for church members to pay full 10 percent tithing, which conference votes to accept on May 30. Tithing is now on annual income only. However, individual general authorities and local leaders continue to differ about whether tithing should be on gross or net income. Text of revelation is part of his published sermon but never canonized by addition to D&C.

May 17, 1900 - Apostle George Teasdale (sixty-eight years of age) marries twenty-three-year-old Letitia Dolly Thomas in the Logan Temple. Teasdale had lost four of his five wives through death. He formally divorces the fifth, (after a marriage of 24 years) just prior to this marriage charging that she was unable to have sexual intercourse, an impediment he discovered "immediately after said marriage took place." Teasdale had taken a post-Manfesto plural wife, Marion E. Scoles, three years previously but she had died in childbirth. After Apostle Teasdale's death Letitia married one of his sons (by a previous wife) George Washington Teasdale and thus became her own step-mother-in-law

May 17, 1923 - May First Presidency and Twelve agree to alter temple undergarment worn outside temple: "buttons instead of strings; no collar; sleeves above the elbow and few inches below the knee and a change in the crotch so as to cover the same." Mormons regard this as a dramatic change from endowment garment introduced by Joseph Smith. Few realize that traditional Utah "garment" is based on "Union suit" of last half of nineteenth century, while earlier garment worn under clothing at Nauvoo was based on legless "shirt" or two-piece undergarment current in America from late-eighteenth century to 1840's.

May 17, 1930 - International Hygiene exposition at Dresden, Germany, includes LDS exhibit on Word of Wisdom. This is church's first formal participation in national or international exposition. In 1933, church has exhibit which includes sculptures by Avard Fairbanks in Hall of Religion at Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. In 1935 church has its first exhibit building at California-Pacific International Exposition in San Diego.

May 17, 1954 - Counselor J. Reuben Clark writes U.S. senator Henry Dworshak: "I am impressed, as to Indo-China with this fact. . . .it is not worth spending our blood for it. . . Finally, while unalterably opposed to Communism, I can imagine that an enlightened Communism may be a whole lot better than a decrepit, deficient, corrupt colonial government [in Indo-China]. I feel that the principle could be applied to very much of the situation in the whole Far East. . . . In my personal view, our greatest danger and greatest handicap is the concept, not yet more than half-expressed, sometimes, perhaps, not even fully recognized that we are destined to dictate to and rule the world, though we have not enough sense to rule ourselves wisely." Indo-China soon becomes separate countries of North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, all of which are part of Vietnam conflict, longest war in U.S. history.

May 17, 1973 - President Harold Bee Lee's secretary replies on Lee's behalf in response to a letter from a member to President Lee. The letter quotes President Lee: "I was shocked to have you raise the question about oral lovemaking in the genital area among married couples.' Heaven forbid any such degrading activities which would be abhorrent in the sight of the Lord. For any Latter-day Saint, and particularly those who have been taught in the sacred ordinances of the temple, to engage in any kind of perversions of this sacred God-given gift of procreation, would be sure to bring down the condemnation of the Lord whom we would offend were we to engage in any such practice."

May 17, 1982 - Former Mormon Ed Decker writes to Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop: "The Mormon excommunication system brings a stigma with it that generates an aroma of 'stink' about the persons requesting separation. It has caused divorces, economic hardships, social shunning, and many other problems-all in the name of righteous judgment. We are at the point that we must require some system that will allow a decent withdrawal of membership. Item 4, page 72 of the General Handbook of Instructions allows for such an act of free agency. Yet, to the general membership, excommunication has to fall into the categories of Moral Transgression found on the preceding page of the handbook! Not only are we dumped together as having some kind of secret sins too awful to mention to decent people; but categorically have no honor or witnesses (unless approved by the court) on your own behalf within the trial procedures." The Church later allows members to resign without excommunication.

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