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This is a timeline of major events in Mormonism in the
January 25: The U.S. Congress votes to not admit
B. H. Roberts, who had been denied a seat since being elected in 1898, because of his practice of polygamy. [1 ] April 19:
Reed Smoot is ordained an apostle.
Reed Smoot, an apostle, is elected by the state legislature to the 58th congress as a U.S. Senator. Controversy over his election arises immediately. February: Despite allegations and controversy, Reed Smoot is allowed to be seated in the Senate.
March: Reed Smoot takes the senatorial oath and formally becomes a member of the senate.
Brigham Young Academy becomes Brigham Young University. [9 ] November 5: The LDS Church acquires
Carthage Jail, to be used as a historic site. [3 ] [10 ]
Samoan edition of the Book of Mormon.
January – Reed Smoot submits carefully prepared rebuttals to allegations against him and his church.
March – The
Reed Smoot Hearings begin, evaluating whether Reed Smoot should be allowed to be a senator. April 6 – Joseph F. Smith issues the "
Second Manifesto," which reinforces the 1890 Manifesto and prescribes excommunication for those who continued to practice plural marriage. April 14 - The LDS Church purchases 25 acres in
Independence, Missouri, originally part of the 63-acre Temple Lot from 1831. Church leaders intended this to be the site for a temple in Zion, fulfilling a prophecy of Joseph Smith. [10 ]
January 10: The LDS Church becomes debt-free.
[3 ] February 20: After more than two years of hearings, the
Smoot Hearings are resolved by a vote. The republican majority overturns objections to his seating. Reed Smoot serves another 26 years. June: The
Smith Family Farm is acquired for the LDS Church. [3 ] December 7:
Charles W. Nibley becomes the Presiding Bishop and brings financial reforms, including tithing payments only in cash, no longer taking donations in kind. [3 ] December 14: Converts in Europe are advised to remain in their home countries instead of
gathering to Utah. [11 ] Zion's Printing and Publishing Company is started at
Independence, Missouri by the LDS Church. [3 ]
April 8: The General Priesthood Committee is created.
November: The First Presidency issues an
official statement regarding questions concerning the Creation of the earth and the theories of evolution and the origin of man. LDS Church purchased property in
Far West, Missouri, including the former temple lot. [3 ] LDS
priesthood meetings begin to be held weekly. [3 ]
Japanese translation of Book of Mormon, the first in an east Asian language.
A Victim of the Mormons
, which ushered in a number of sensationalist anti-Mormon films.
June 30: "The Father and the Son," an official declaration from the
First Presidency, discusses the identities of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. [3 ]
Laie Hawaii Temple first outside continental United States, and thus also arguably first outside North America and first in Polynesia. LDS Church membership reaches 500,000.
December 2: Apostle
David O. McKay and Hugh J. Cannon, editor of the , are set apart for a year-long tour of Improvement Era LDS missions and schools across the world. As the most widely traveled general authority, [19 ] McKay retains a vision for worldwide church growth. [20 ] [21 ] The LDS Church closes its system of
academies. [3 ]
removed from Lectures on Faith Standard Works. New programs for young adults are created, called M-Men and Gleaners.
[3 ] Joseph Fielding Smith's
Essentials in Church History is published, an influential book of devotional LDS history which remained in print for more than 50 years. [22 ]
October 23: The
Arizona Temple is dedicated.
Good Neighbor Policy adopted. The reforms were primarily intended to remove from church literature, sermons, and ceremonies any explicit or implicit suggestion that Latter-day Saints should seek vengeance on the citizens or government of the United States for past persecutions of the church and its members, and in particular for the death of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.
April 2: A new emphasis is placed on
Word of Wisdom observance, especially in tobacco abstinence. [3 ]
Harold B. Lee, a stake president and future LDS Church president, is called to create the church's Welfare Program. [3 ] June 21: The Hill
Cumorah Monument is dedicated, with a golden statue of the [11 ] Angel Moroni, on the site where Joseph Smith said he was led to the records of the . Book of Mormon [29 ] August 22:
Gordon B. Hinckley, a newly returned missionary and future LDS Church president, begins works on the church's Radio, Publicity, and Mission Literature Committee. [3 ] A pageant is first performed in
Palmyra, New York, which would become the Hill Cumorah Pageant.
J. Reuben Clark calls for church educators to focus on building students' faith in his speech "The Charted Course of the Church in Education," which became a classic text influencing the mission of CES. [31 ] August 14:
Deseret Industries is started. [3 ] November: The
Genealogical Society of Utah (now called FamilySearch) begins to microfilm records of genealogical data. This grew into a massive collection from around the world, which is being digitized today. [3 ] Local church education boards are replaced by the new General Church Board of Education.
Richard R. Lyman
, the most recent apostle of the LDS Church to have been excommunicated.
October: The LDS Servicemen's Committee is created, headed by Apostle
Harold B. Lee. [3 ]
LDS Church apostle
Richard R. Lyman was discovered to be cohabitating with a woman other than his legal wife, in a relationship which he defined as a polygamous marriage. Lyman was excommunicated on November 12, 1943 at age 73, on grounds of a violation of the law of chastity, which any practice of post- Second Manifesto polygamy constituted. He was later rebaptized and died in the church. He is the most recent apostle to be excommunicated.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs at funeral of Franklin D. Roosevelt. May 14:
Heber J. Grant, the last LDS Church president to have practiced polygamy, dies. May 21:
George Albert Smith becomes the eighth president of the church. September: Following the Japanese surrender, ending
World War II, new mission presidents are called to reopen missions which were closed during the war. [3 ] September 23: The
Idaho Falls Temple is dedicated. November 3: New LDS Church president
George Albert Smith and U.S. president Harry S Truman meet and discuss sending humanitarian supplies to war-torn Europe. [3 ] The publication of
, by No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith Fawn Brodie. Brodie's most notable Mormon critic, Brigham Young University professor Hugh Nibley, published a scathing 62-page pamphlet entitled No, Ma'am, That's Not History, asserting that Brodie had cited sources supportive only of her conclusions while conveniently ignoring others. Brodie considered Nibley's pamphlet to be "a well-written, clever piece of Mormon propaganda" but dismissed it as "a flippant and shallow piece." Brodie's book becomes a best seller, and has not got out of print yet. Raid on the
Short Creek Community, prefiguring that of 1953.
George Albert Smith is said to have petitioned the Lord to lift the ban on blacks receiving the priesthood. He claims he is denied. The ban was not lifted until 1978.
This is the sign at the entrance to the Deseret Cattle and Citrus Ranch in Florida.
, a journal for LDS scholars, commences publication. BYU Studies
Entrance to The Polynesian Cultural Center.
January 1: The
Home Teaching program replaces Ward Teaching, and is placed under Melchizedek Priesthood quorums as part of the LDS Church's [11 ] correlation effort. [40 ] January:
Priesthood Executive Committees and Correlation Councils are launched at the ward level. [3 ] February 17:
Centro Escolar Benemérito de las Américas, an LDS preparatory school in Mexico, holds its first classes. [41 ] April 22: At the
1964 New York World's Fair, the LDS Church opens the Mormon Pavilion and debuts the short film . Man's Search for Happiness October 3:
Family Home Evening is reemphasized, with a new manual and training, and increasing from once per month to one night per week (which became Monday in 1970). [11 ] [42 ] November 17: The
Oakland Temple is dedicated in California. [43 ]
Joseph W. B. Johnson, in Ghana, claims he was told by Jesus to preach the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith story to the Ghanaians. Over time, he converts 1,000 people, all who cannot hold priesthood in the church until the revelation received in 1978. [44 ] [45 ]
Independent Latter Day Saint congregations in Ghana develop in response to ban on black priesthood.
, Ensign , and New Era magazines are first published; several publications are discontinued. Friend February:
released by One Bad Apple The Osmonds reaches No. 1 in Billboard's Hot 100 Chart and stayed there for five weeks; it also reached No. 6 on the R&B chart. The members of the Osmonds are devout LDS, and their religion was discussed in many popular media outlets. [53 ] June 8: The
Genesis Group is formed. It becomes an official church auxiliary dedicated to serving the needs of black members, who cannot hold the priesthood at this time. September 1:
Relief Society dues are dropped and all LDS women are automatically enrolled. [11 ] November 1:
Richard L. Evans dies. December 2:
Marvin J. Ashton is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Church building provided in Jerusalem for large numbers of LDS tourists.
February: Agricultural missionary work is introduced in
South America. [3 ] April 7: The Welfare Services Department is created by the
Priesthood Correlation Program, combining existing services, including the Welfare Program. [3 ] June :
, a concept album by The Plan the Osmonds is released. Although it is not one of their more successful albums, it explicitly deals with Mormon theology, including the plan of salvation. December 26: After serving for little more than a year as president,
Harold B. Lee dies. December 30:
Spencer W. Kimball becomes the 12th president of the LDS Church.
Stake conferences are changed from quarterly to semiannual. [3 ] April 1: The name extraction program is announced for local members to identify deceased persons from vital records and prepare their names for proxy temple ordinances.
[62 ] [63 ] June 1: Spencer W. Kimball receives confirmation and revelation after supplicating the Lord regarding blacks and the priesthood. Moved by the exceeding faith of the Genesis Group, and moved by the dedication and perseverance of the mulattos in
Brazil in building the São Paulo Brazil Temple, he takes the matter before the Lord, as many previous presidents of the church have done. June 9: Spencer W. Kimball, after receiving the revelation, and discussing the matter with the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Quorum of the Seventy, announces that the ban on blacks receiving the priesthood has been lifted, and all males may receive the priesthood according to their worthiness, regardless of race. Despite previous understanding that blacks were not to receive the priesthood until the millennium, the members of the church receive the announcement with jubilation and it gains worldwide press attention.
Joseph Freeman, Jr., 26, the first black man to gain the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, went in the Salt Lake Temple with his wife and 5 sons for sacred ordinances. Thomas S. Monson, a member of the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles, conducted the marriage and sealing ordinances. This event shows that blacks not only are able to gain the priesthood, but are able to interracially marry in the temple with the church's blessing. ( Salt Lake Tribune, June 24, 1978) August 19:
Delbert L. Stapley dies. September 9: The
Missionary Training Center opens in Provo, Utah, replacing the Language Training Mission and also the Mission Home in Salt Lake City. [59 ] September 17:
first airs on American television. It is produced by church member Battlestar Galactica Glen A. Larson, and he incorporated many themes from Mormon theology into the shows. September 30:
N. Eldon Tanner reads Official Declaration—2 in General Conference, and it is unanimously adopted as the word and will of the Lord. This is the declaration released publicly earlier in 1978, allowing blacks to receive the priesthood. September 30:
General authority emeritus status is introduced for those above age 70, with the exception of the First Presidency and the Apostles. [3 ] October 1:
James E. Faust is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. October 30:
São Paulo Brazil Temple opened, the first in South America, Latin America and in Brazil.
, an official church lesson manual, is released. Gospel Principles LDS Church membership surpasses four million.
March 2: LDS Church meetings are consolidated into a "block" schedule on Sundays, containing
Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, Primary, Young Women, Young Men, priesthood, and Relief Society. [11 ] April 6: The LDS Church celebrates its sesquicentennial, and during
General Conference Spencer W. Kimball dedicates the reconstructed log home where the church was founded in 1830. [66 ] May 3: The discovery of the original
Anthon Transcript is reported in the . Church News It is later revealed to be one of the early [67 ] Mark Hofmann forgeries in the 1980s. October:
Tokyo Japan Temple opens, the first in Asia, and in Japan.
April 3: The "Three-fold Mission of the Church" (Perfect the Saints, Proclaim the Gospel, and Redeem the Dead) is declared at
General Conference by church president Spencer W. Kimball. [11 ] May 5: The LDS Church releases a statement opposing the placement of
MX missiles in Utah, leading to a reversal of the Air Force plans. [68 ] June 25: The LDS Church announces plans to install
satellite dishes at its stake centers, for the purpose of receiving worldwide church programs, such as General Conference. July 23:
Gordon B. Hinckley is called as third counselor in the First Presidency, due to the physical weakness of Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney. Hinckley is referred to in the press as the "acting president of the church" because Kimball, Tanner, and Romney are largely out of the public eye. July 23:
Neal A. Maxwell is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, filling the vacancy left by Hinckley's call to the First Presidency. September 26: New revised editions are published for the
Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. They include new sections added to the Doctrine and Covenants, as well as new cross-references, footnotes, index, and other study helps. [59 ] Russian & Polish editions of the Book of Mormon.
April 2: Local congregations are now only required to fund 4% of building their new meetinghouses, with the remaining 96% paid by the LDS Church's general fund.
[3 ] June 1: Ground broken for construction of the
Triad Center on June 1, 1982 by Essam Khashoggi, chairman of Triad America. October 3: The subtitle
Another Testament of Jesus Christ is added to the LDS Church's recently revised edition of the . Book of Mormon [59 ] October 30: The
Grandin Print Shop opens as an LDS historic site in Palmyra, New York. [3 ] November 27:
N. Eldon Tanner dies. Consequently, Marion G. Romney is named as First Counselor, and Gordon B. Hinckley is named as Second Counselor. December 31:
, an anti-Mormon film by The God Makers Ed Decker, is premiered, finding screenings in evangelical Christian churches. Its popularity results in books and sequels, and impacts public perception of the LDS Church, although its claims and tone are strongly criticized, even by opponents of the church, for misrepresenting or defaming Mormonism. LDS Church membership surpasses five million.
Area Presidencies are filled by General Authorities, [70 ] who begin to live on-site later in the year. [71 ] [72 ] January 11:
Mark E. Petersen dies. April: The genealogy software
Personal Ancestral File is released by the LDS Church. [3 ] April 4: The
Museum of Church History and Art is dedicated, across from Temple Square in Salt Lake City. [3 ] April 5: The
RLDS Church votes to allow women to be ordained to the priesthood. After a failed repeal attempt in 1986, some opponents separate into independent [73 ] Restoration Branches. [74 ] April 7: Some new members of the
First Quorum of the Seventy are only called for 5 years of service, the first general authorities without a lifetime appointment. [3 ] April 12:
Russell M. Nelson is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. May 3:
Dallin H. Oaks is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. June:
Carol Lynn Pearson's estranged gay husband returns to live with her and their children after being diagnosed with AIDS, and she cares for him until his death. Her 1986 memoir, Goodbye, I Love You, is considered a landmark in discussions of homosexuality and Mormonism. [75 ] July 12: Broadcast house of
Triad Center opened. September:
Sydney Australia Temple, the first in Australia; Manila Philippines Temple the first in the Philippines. November:
Taipei Taiwan Temple, the first in a mainly Chinese speaking territory.
January 15: The novel
is published by Ender's Game Orson Scott Card, an active LDS Church member. The novel won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, and the [76 ] Hugo Award for best novel in 1986, considered the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. [77 ] [78 ] [79 ] Ender's Game was also nominated for a Locus Award in 1986. [80 ] January 17: An LDS Church-wide
fast for African victims of famine raises $11 million. [59 ] April 19:
Bruce R. McConkie dies. April 28: The
Salamander Letter is made public, describing folk magic in early Mormonism and causing much controversy. Purporting to be an 1830 letter written by [81 ] Martin Harris, it was later found to be a Mark Hofmann forgery. June 7: Groundbreaking for Triad 1 of the
Triad Center. It is not finished, but it would have been the highest building in Utah. June 29:
Freiberg Germany Temple opened in East Germany, the first and only temple behind the Iron Curtain, and the oldest in Germany. August 2:
New hymnal is published. [59 ] August 24:
Johannesburg South Africa Temple is dedicated, the first temple in Africa. The country is still under apartheid at this time, creating controversy. October 10:
M. Russell Ballard is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. October 15: Two
Salt Lake City residents are killed by bombs laid by Mark Hofmann, a forger of Mormon historical documents, as a distraction to buy time as his debts mounted and schemes began to unravel. October 23: The
Family History Library, near Temple Square in Salt Lake City, is dedicated. [59 ] November 5:
Spencer W. Kimball dies. November 10:
Ezra Taft Benson becomes the 13th president of the LDS Church. [59 ]
Stake quorums of Seventy are dissolved. [3 ] October 9:
Joseph B. Wirthlin is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Arabic edition of Book of Mormon.
Protests against BYU president in Jerusalem by Jewish groups, shouting slogans such as "Conversion is Murder!" and "Mormons, stop your mission now".
April 1: The
Second Quorum of the Seventy is created, its members being term-limited to 3–5 years. [83 ] May 16:
Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center dedicated. September 1:
George P. Lee, the first Native American general authority is excommunicated. He is the most recent GA to have been excommunicated. November 25: Announcement that local ward and stake budgets will be funded by general Church funds, from tithing, and will no longer have assessments.
[3 ] [84 ] LDS Church membership surpasses seven million.
Helvécio Martins becomes first black general authority. April 2: The release of
FamilySearch software, which allows Family History Centers to access the church's genealogical resources on CD-ROM. [86 ] April: Wording of
endowment and temple ceremony altered, and wording changed to remove penalty oaths. November 20: Costs are equalized for all missionaries, so all pay the same amount regardless of where they are serving, effective January 1, 1991.
Howard W. Hunter is taken hostage while preparing to speak at a fireside in the Brigham Young University Marriott Center. Cody Judy rushed onto the rostrum and threatened Hunter and the audience of 15,000–17,000, claiming the briefcase he held contained a bomb. Judy demanded that Hunter read a document over the pulpit, which Hunter refused to do. The audience spontaneously sang , during which students from the audience, and then security personnel, overtook Judy. We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet April 25: The
San Diego California Temple is dedicated. June 27: The
Joseph Smith Memorial Building is dedicated near Temple Square in Salt Lake City. [3 ] July 10:
Steve Benson publicly states that his grandfather, church president Ezra Taft Benson, is suffering from senility which is being concealed by church leadership. Later that year, Steve Benson publicly leaves the church. [93 ] September: The
September Six are excommunicated. They include the feminist Lavina Fielding Anderson and historian D. Michael Quinn.
Reenactments celebrate the Utah pioneer sesquicentennial.
Area authorities are to be ordained Seventies and organized into regional Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums of Seventy. [98 ] June 1: The
St. Louis Missouri Temple is dedicated and becomes the church's 50th operating temple. July 1:
Hong Kong is transferred to the People's Republic of China. This makes the Hong Kong China Temple the first temple on PRC territory (although there are still heavy restrictions on the church in other parts of China). Due to the disintegration of East Germany, it is the only temple in a Communist run country. July 24: The sesquicentennial of the arrival of
Mormon Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley is celebrated, including an overland wagon train reenactment across the Mormon Trail, [99 ] the opening of a new [100 ] Mormon Trail Center at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, conferences and celebrations throughout the church, [101 ] and a large scale media campaign by the church's Public Affairs Department. [102 ] [103 ] August 11:
Gladys Knight, the famous American soul singer, converts to the LDS Church. [104 ] October 4: New plan to build small temples in remote areas is announced by
Gordon B. Hinckley in General Conference. [105 ] October 23: The film
, a sex-comedy about an LDS missionary, gains theatrical release. Orgazmo November:
Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR) founded November: LDS Church membership surpasses ten million.
[3 ] November 2: The
Vernal Utah Temple is dedicated; it is the first temple to utilize a previously existing building.
See also [ edit ]
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Sources [ edit ]
Bitton, Davis; Alexander, Thomas G. (2009), , The A to Z of Mormonism Scarecrow Press, ISBN 978-0-8108-6897-7
Reeve, W. Paul; Parshall, Ardis E., eds. (2010), , Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-1-59884-107-7
Primary — Secondary *
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
15 million (2013), about 98% of Latter Day Saint movement – Utah-based
Joseph Smith, Jr.
presided 1830–1844 [a ]
Community of Christ
250,000 (2011), about 2% of Latter Day Saint movement – Missouri-based
Wallace B. Smith
Joseph Smith III
The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)
19,029 members (Dec.31,2012) – Pennsylvania-based
presided 1844–1847 [b ]
Church of Christ With the Elijah Message
over 12,000 members (1998) – Missouri-based
Apostolic United Brethren
approximately 10,000 members (1998)– Utah-based
John Woolley / Lorin Woolley
Council of Friends
( Short Creek Community)
presided 1918–1928 / 1928–1934
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
approximately 10,000 members (2011) – Utah-based
— Additional fundamentalist denominations —
RLDS/ Restoration Branches which have created the
Joint Conference of Restoration Branches
6,000–7,000 members (2010) – Missouri-based [c ]
— Additional Restoration Branch groupings —
Church of Christ (Fettingite)
2,000 members (1988); Missouri-based
Church of Christ (Temple Lot)
7.310 members (2013) – Missouri-based
— Additional Temple Lot – derived denominations —
^ While not considered a schism of the Church of Christ (Fettingite) and its founder Otto Fetting, the Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff accepted Fetting's revelations, but it did not immediately break with the Fettingites in 1929. Nerren and Long instead formed a separate sect in 1932, which was later joined by five other former Temple Lot congregations by 1941.
Minuscule, founded in the 19th century * †
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite)
300 members (1998) – Wisconsin-based
Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite)
approximately 12 members (2010) – Missouri-based
* Membership worldwide; generally church-reported; all sects are included in the ^ Book:List of sects in the Latter Day Saint movement
† Once larger ^
^ Organized the Church of Christ, the Latter Day Saint movement's original organization, of which multiple denominations currently believe themselves the true successor
^ See Rigdonite.
^ Members consider themselves as remaining adherents of the (historical) Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (As of 2011, litigation by the Community of Christ against Restoration Branch individuals and entities generally established CofC's right to both the full and abbreviated RLDS name.)