May 23rd

May 23, 1837 - Apostle Parley P. Pratt writes an angry letter to Joseph Smith saying that Smith has wronged him in turning his personal notes for debt over to a bank. Pratt says Smith was "taking advantage of your brother by undue religious influence" and "the whole scheme of speculation in which we have been engaged, is of the devil." He insists it had given rise to "lying, deceiving, and taking advantage of one's neighbor" and that Smith and Rigdon "have been the principle means in leading this people astray . . . by false prophesying and preaching." Pratt threatens to bring church charges against Smith, but six days later it is his brother, Apostle Orson Pratt, and Apostle Lyman Johnson who bring charges before a bishop's court condemning Joseph Smith for "lying and misrepresentation--also for extortion--and for speaking disrespectfully against his brethren behind their backs."

May 23, 1843 - Brigham Young, president of Twelve Apostles, gives instructions to missionaries being sent to Hawaii ("Sandwich Islands"): "Keep union among yourselves. be serva[n]ts to each other, when you arrive never say that the missionaries are wrong.-- attend their meetings.-- get the hearts of the people. go help build up a methodist church & till you get the hearts of the people, -- tell the Methodist[s] the Presbyterians are right or -- never will do any thing with argument.-- do not contend against the missionaries."
William Clayton writes: "President stated to me that he had had a little trouble with Sister E[mma]. He was asking E[liza] Partridge concerning [Joseph] Jackson['s] conduct during Presidents absence and E[mma] came upstairs. He shut to the door not knowing who it was and held it. She came to the door and called Eliza 4 times and tried to force open the door. President opened it and told her the cause &c. She seemed much irritated."

May 23, 1844 - William Law files a formal complaint with the Hancock County circuit court charging Joseph Smith was living "in an open state of adultery" with Maria Lawrence, Smith's foster daughter and polygamous wife. Smith is indicted and arrested for adultery but is acquitted by Nauvoo municipal court. Polygamy is illegal in Illinois at this time. Smith had previously and publicly accused Law of adultery. However there had been no mention of adultery at Law's excommunication trial.

May 23, 1855 .-.Samuel Richards writes: "I attended the High Priests Quorum meeting at which Elder Curtis E. Bolton was tried for taking a woman and getting her pregnant which Bro. Brigham had allowed him to adopt into his family as a daughter. She had been heretofore his wife but during his late mission, she had been married to two other men, and had a child by one of the men who was a California Emigrant. . . . He was disfellowshipped from the Quorum, subject to the revision of Prest. Young when he returned from his southern expedition."

May 23, 1860 - DESERET NEWS editorial: "Murder after murder has been committed with impunity within the precincts of Great Sale Lake City, till such occurrences no not seemingly attract much attention, particularly when the murdered have had the reputation of being thieves and murderers or of associating with such characters from day to day . . ."

May 23, 1888 - Apostle John Henry Smith writes of the continuing dedication ceremonies of the Manti Temple: "The people passed through the rooms of the house. 2,200 persons were said to be present. The heavens were opened. Sacred choirs sang, Angles were seen, Hallos of light encircled the head of the Priesthood and joy filled our hearts. It was the day of days and none present will ever forget it."

May 23, 1889 - President Wilford Woodruff "went with Bros. Geo Q Cannon F D Richards & H J Grant to the [uncompleted] Salt Lake Temple to decide in regard to the steps at the main entrances East & west. I went up onto the roof of the Temple and examined it. Decided on the Steps. Also examined the opening for an Elevator."

May 23, 1901 - Thomas Clawson (brother of second counselor in First Presidency Rudger Clawson) writes of a conversation with Dewey Richards, "He also said that he had examined the Court records of Ohio Indianna and other states and had found evidence against the Mormon faith which would be very hard for them to answer and which would soon appear in print and he would send me a copy to read."
St. George Temple President David H. Cannon instructs temple workers: "When a person is anointed, the towel should not be taken to wipe off the oil from the face or the hands or any portion of the body. Oil should not be used too profusely by the workers and should not be wiped off. There are probably some who do not understand this correctly. If they did they would not do it. It must not be done. Speaker wanted to say this to the people. When people come here to be baptized for their health who have not been endowed, they should be gotten out before the ceremonies commence."

May 23, 1931 - DESERET NEWS "CHURCH SECTION" article, "Bishop Released after 31 Years," regarding Joseph C. Cowley.

May 23, 1953 - Apostle Spencer W. Kimball publishes repudiation of Norman C. Pierce's THE COMING OF THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF: "If members of the Church would always check the authenticity of such stories, through Church authorities before spreading them abroad, it would save much embarrassment and deception."

May 23, 1946 - Six months after the publication of NO MAN KNOWS MY HISTORY, William H. Reeder, Jr., President of the New England Mission, sends a letter to Fawn Brodie which institutes Church proceedings against her to investigate "alleged wrongdoing and to show cause, if any you have, why you should not be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for apostasy, in this among other matters: That in a book recently published by you, you assert matters as truths which deny the divine origin of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the Priesthood and of Christ's Church through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith, contrary to the beliefs, doctrines and teachings of the Church." Brodie does not attend the bishop's court convened in her behalf "because, after all, I was a heretic." On the same day Historian Dale Morgan writes to Juanita Brooks, "As she [Brodie] has remarked to me, the book has served her as the autobiographical novel serves many other writers; it has been a kind of catharsis for her."

May 23, 1970 - CHURCH NEWS article about Yoshiko Nakamura, Relief Society president in Hiroshima where her only child was burned to death by atomic blast in 1945 and her husband later died of radiation sickness. She comments: "I have no resentment for America now."

May 23, 1983 - Newspapers reveal that Apostle Mark E. Petersen is leading inquisition against Mormons who have written articles for independent publications SUNSTONE and DIALOGUE. Although stake presidents nationally are instructed to interview such contributors, BYU faculty members are focus of special attention. When First Presidency learns of this, second counselor Gordon B. Hinckley tells apostles to stop this investigation immediately.

May 23, 1989 - First Presidency's office completes documents which give Counselors Gordon B Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson power of attorney for church president Ezra Taft Benson which "shall not be affected by [his] disability" or "incompetence." Church president does not sign these legal documents which are instead "signed" by signature machine in First Presidency's office. Identical signature of Ezra Taft Benson also appears on similar document, dated Feb. 25, 1993, and also filed with state of Utah. Although Presidency's office uses its AUTO-PEN machine to create church president's signature on correspondence, missionary calls, and other routine documents, this use of signature machine for legal documents (especially power-of-attorney) is unprecedented. Disclosure of this by SALT LAKE TRIBUNE fuels speculation that Benson is already in mental decline by 1989.

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