May 31st

May 31, 1827 - Lemuel Durfee, landlord to the Smith family, writes in his account book: "Joseph [Sr.] and Hiram Smith Dr [debit] to three barrels of Cider at 9/ per barrel May the Last 1827 [9 shillings per barrel]"

May 31, 1856 - Recently-ordained Church Patriarch John Smith writes of being scared "most to death" of public speaking. He said, "I have refused allmost every time Brother Brigham called on me to dismiss the conference."

May 31, 1879 - At the request of President John Taylor Zebedee Coltrin relates: "On our return home we got in conversation about the Negro having a right to the Priesthood -- and I took the side he had no right -- Bro Green argued that he had. . . . when we got home to Kirtland we both went into Bro Joseph's office together to make our returns and Bro. Green was as good as his word and reported to Bro Joseph that I had said that the Negro could not hold the Priesthood -- Bro Joseph Kind of dropt [sic] his head and rested it on his hand for a minute. and then said Bro Zebedee is right, for the Spirit of the Lord saith the Negro has no right nor cannot hold the Priesthood. He made no reference to scripture at all -- but such was his decision -- I don't recollect ever having any conversation with him afterwards, but I have heard him say in public, that no person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood . . .Bro [Elijah] Abel was ordained a Seventy. because he had labored on the Temple. (it must have been into the 2nd Quorum) and when the Prophet Joseph learned of his lineage, he was dropped from the quorum and another was put in his place -- . . . In the washing and anointing of Bro. Abel at Kirtland I anointed him. and while I had my hands upon his head. I never had such unpleasant feelings in my life -- and I said I never would again anoint another person who had Negro blood in him. unless I was commanded by the Prophet to do so."

May 31, 1889 - Abraham H. Cannon writes: "A sad affair is reported as having occurred in Provo a few days since. Joseph Smoot, a son of Pres. A. O. Smoot, who is wild and addicted to the use of liquor, went into a salon and after getting a glass of whiskey mockingly consecrated it, as is customary in the consecration of oil in the Church. No sooner had he finished this sacreligious act than he was struck with paralysis and fell helpless on the floor. His Gentile companions were horrified at his act, and its result, and carried him home where he has since laid in a very precarious condition. A horrible warning to scoffers!"

May 31, 1900 - In a meeting of the Twelve Apostles it is decided that Apostle Reed Smoot should try for a seat on the Republican National Committee.

May 31, 1901 - William Henry Smart writes in journal: "Went to Temple this morning presenting recommend which Pres. Snow gave me about 3 months ago. We had not come before for our second anointing as the baby was young, and because we desired to become settled in our new home. I was called to speak during the services of the temple. Dwelt principally upon the necessity of keeping awake during temple services and keeping awake in our duties. I consider this a very great honor to be called to speak in the House of the Lord. Bp [Second counselor in Presiding Bishopric] John R Winder annointed us and Elder Madsen instructed us. These are the greatest blessings that are bestowed upon man in the flesh. We were both melted in tears and I felt the patriarchal spirit of pure affection more than I have done before. The witnesses to the annointing were John R. Winder annointed. Adolph Madsen assisted John Nicholson Recorder."

May 31, 1935 - Dr. George W. Middleton and Heber Sears ask 'the opinion of the Church regarding sterilization of criminals, incompetents, etc." Heber J. Grant replies that "the Church had taken no stand whatever on this matter up to date."

May 31, 1978 - John Sorenson's reconciliation of Book of Mormon archaeology and Mesoamerican cultural geography, "An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon," is rejected for publication by BYU's Religious Studies Center because Elder Mark E. Petersen finds the topic to be "too touchy." The book is Published by F.A.R.M.S. the year following Petersen's death.

May 31, 1996 - Apostle Dallin H. Oaks marches in procession honoring Carolyn Tanner Irish's ordination as bishop of Utah's Episcopal diocese. Bishop Irish was LDS member until her Protestant conversion as adult. LDS president Gordon B. Hinckley tells general conference in October: "I know of no other organization [besides LDS church] which affords women so many opportunities . . . for holding positions of leadership and responsibility," even though Mormon women cannot be ordained to ecclesiastical office.

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