May 20th

May 20, 1842 - Catherine Fuller Warren, responds to charges by the Nauvoo High Council of "unchaste and unvirtuous conduct with [Assistant President] John C. Bennett." She admits to them and also confesses to intercourse with others, including Joseph Smith's younger brother, Apostle William Smith. She explains that the men had "taught the doctrine that it was right to have free intercourse with women and that the heads of the church also taught and practiced it which things caused her to be led away thinking it to be right." Bennett is excommunicated but charges against William Smith are withdrawn by Brigham Young after Joseph Smith complains, "I will not listen to this abuse of my family a minute longer. I will wade in blood up to my knees before I will do it."

May 20, 1843 - Joseph Smith writes for publication in the TIMES and SEASONS, "I may safely say that the word "Mormon" stands independent of the wisdom and learning of this generation. The word Mormon, means literally, more good."

May 20, 1855 - "Elder E[zra] T. Benson exhibited part of an ancient sword which had been dug up about 10 ft. under ground while excavating for a well, which called forth a few remarks from him."

May 20, 1883 - Salt Lake City police arrest seventeen boys for "breaking the Sabbath" by playing baseball on Sunday.

May 20, 1901 - Mormon's funeral has "white coffin & white horse, flowers." To symbolize their positive view of death, Utah Mormons emphasize white at funerals.

May 20, 1947 - LDS president George Albert Smith offers official prayer for U.S. Senate, and CONGRESSIONAL RECORD publishes his invocation's full text. Exactly nineteen years later, May 20, 1966, first counselor Hugh B Brown does likewise. In 1974 Apostle (later LDS president) Gordon B. Hinckley opens U.S. Senate with prayer.

May 20, 1971 - After BYU's WYE MAGAZINE publishes some poetry and fiction which general authorities and others find offensive, the university's administration "confiscated those copies that had not been delivered (1,000 out of 2,000)." Two years later general authorities require BYU Press to destroy its entire press run of Thomas E. Cheney's GOLDEN LEGACY, because he includes some vulgarisms in J. Golden Kimball's folk tales. Cheney republishes it with independent press and without offending stories.

May 20, 1992 - For third time in as many decades, national honor society Phi Beta Kappa rejects BYU's application for membership because BYU does not encourage "a liberal arts education which . . . foster[s] free inquiry."

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