Saturday, March 31, 2012

General Conference Generalities

April in Salt Lake City welcomes the robin's song, the bursting of blossoms of all varieties, excitement among the young, soon-to-be-graduate, and the inspiring messages of our leaders echoing in the ears of millions of Latter-day Saints around the globe. General Conference has a proud heritage, with it's beginnings in the Whitmer cabin in Fayette, New York on April 6, 1830. At the time there was only a handful of members, 6 to be exact; today we are over 14 million strong. At that first conference there were approximately 60 individuals in attendance; today 20,000 will throng to the Conference Center to view the proceedings live. Along the way, interesting events have taken place.

 For instance, where was fall conference held in 1847?
A) Beside City Creek
B) In the Tabernacle
C) Beside a haystack
D) In the cabin of Brigham Young

The first General Conference to take place on a river boat happened where?
A) On the Mississippi River at Nauvoo, Illinois
B) On the Missouri River at Winter Quarters, Nebraska
C) On the Big Blue River at Jackson County, Missouri
D) On Lake Erie near Fairport, Ohio (just north of Kirtland, Ohio)

What major event happened at the April 1844 General Conference?
A) Joseph Smith was nominated to the presidency of the United States
B) A temple was announced in Zarahemla, Iowa
C) Joseph Smith was officially recognized as prophet, seer, and revelator of the Church
D) It was agreed to send an expedition to the Great Basin

In my new and up coming book, The Hidden Stories in the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, I will share a number of more General Conference oddities.

Yesterday's answer:

B) From the book The First One Hundred Temples, we learn it takes 1.5 oz of gold leaf to cover an angel Moroni. Wow!

Friday, March 30, 2012

How much gold?

How much gold leaf is required to cover a seven-foot angel Moroni statue?
A) 16oz. (1 pound)
B) 1.5 oz.
C) 24 oz.
D) 5 oz.

Yesterday's answer:

A)  Only a couple of photographs exist of the original building [Nauvoo Temple]; none gave a view of all sides of the temple. For the architects, reconstruction was boosted by access to the original William Weeks plans, which had been given to the Church in an unusual turn of events. Vern Thacker, an LDS Missionary in he California Mission in 1946, came across the William Weeks architectural plans:
"While we were tracting on the outskirts of town one day, we both felt inspired to stop at a small home. A man named Leslie M. Griffin invited us in and told us that he was a descendant of William Weeks, the architect for the Nauvoo LDS Temple." The missionaries visited him several times to discuss the gospel. Nearing the end of his mission, Elder Thacker made one last visit to Mr. Griffin who "excused himself for a few minutes and went into the back part of his house. He soon  returned with a roll of what looked like poster paper about three feet long, ten inches in diameter, and secured with a rubber band. He explained that these were the original plans for the Nauvoo Temple and that they had been handed down in his family from his grandfather, William Weeks. He opened the bundle and showed the plans to us. The  largest of the papers was a side view of the Temple exterior. Rolled inside of this piece were several other smaller drawings showing various views of the Temple.He asked Elder Thacker if on his way home he would carry "these plans to the headquarters of the Church in Salt Lake." The plans were delivered to the Church Historians Office 28 September 1948, photographed and secured in "a steel-locked safe."
From the book Sacred Stone

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gold found during tracting

While tracting in California in 1946, missionary Vern Thacker and his companion came across what?
A) The original plans to the Nauvoo Temple
B) Brigham Young's cane
C) The Gold Plates
D) The original horizontal flying angel that graced the top of the Nauvoo Temple

Yesterday's answer:

B)  The Methodist minister in the story I'm about to share is none other than Ezra Booth, one of the first apostates in the Church. It was because of this healing that he decided to join the Church. But this isn't what makes this story interesting; rather it's the doctor's reasoning of why Joseph was able to heal Elsa Johnson. Philo Dibble relates the following in his autobiography:
"When Joseph came to Kirtland his fame spread far and wide. There was a woman living in the town of Hiram, forty miles from Kirtland, who had a crooked arm, which she had not been able to use for a long period. She persuaded her husband, whose name was [John] Johnson, to take her to Kirtland to get her arm healed.
"I saw them as they passed my house on their way. She [Elsa Johnson] went to Joseph and requested him to heal her. Joseph asked her if she believed the Lord was able to make him an instrument in healing her arm. She said she believed the Lord was able to heal her arm.
"Joseph put her off till the next morning, when he met her at Brother [Newel K.] Whitney's house. There were eight persons present, one a Methodist preacher, and one a doctor. Joseph took her [Elsa Johnson] by the hand, prayed in silence a moment, pronounced her arm whole, in the name of Jesus Christ, and turned and left the room.
"The preacher asked her if her arm was whole, and she straightened it out and replied: 'It is as good as the other.' The question was then asked if it would remain whole. Joseph hearing this, answered and said: 'It is as good as the other, and is liable to accident as the other.'
"The doctor who witnessed this miracle came to my house the next morning and related the circumstance to me. He attempted to account for it by his false philosophy, saying that Joseph took her by the hand, and seemed to be in prayer, and pronounced her arm whole in the name of Jesus Christ, which excited her and started perspiration, and that relaxed the cords of her arm."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The doctor had other ideas

When Joseph Smith healed Elsa Johnson's arm, there was a doctor present. The doctor was hardly convinced that it was Joseph who healed the arm, but rather attributed to something else. What was it?
A) Nothing was ever wrong with Elsa Johnson's arm-- she was faking the injury
B) When Joseph stretched out her arm, perspiration began to flow,
      causing the cords to loosen in the arm.
C) The power of Satan.
D) The doctor's prescription, given two weeks earlier, to rub tobacco leaves over the affected arm.

New Tibit on the new book Hidden Stories in the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants 
can be found under the book tab.

Yesterday's answer:

The only one that didn't apply was D). If you guessed the rest, then give yourself a pat on the back. The Union army did not use the Independence courthouse as headquarters. It's interesting that many battles were fought in western Missouri area. Later, I'll share a prophecy of the Prophet Joseph and its literal fulfilment during the Civil War. Until then, if you do visit Independence, be sure and drop in at the courthouse in Lexington, Missouri just a few miles away. Up high on one of the supporting pillars you'll see a cannon ball that was shot and hit the pillar on the courthouse and is still there today.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Courthouse curiosity

The first courthouse constructed in Independence, Missouri is noted for five things; what are they?
A) President Harry S. Truman held court in this building
B) It was constructed with 100% slave labor
C) It is the oldest Mormon dwelling west of the Mississippi River
D) It was the Union army's headquarters during the Missouri campaign of the Civil War
E) It is the oldest courthouse west of the Mississippi River
F) It's construction was supervised by Lilburn W. Boggs

Go ahead, choose five. You're bound to get at least four of them right.

Yesterday's answer:

C) The Joseph Smith Memorial Building

As early as 1902, the YMMIA General Board had recommended to the First Presidency and the Twelve that the Church construct a building honoring Joseph Smith on the corner where the Hotel Utah was later built. Apparently, the Smith family knew of the discussions, for in 1909 Joseph F. Smith expressed disappointment when the decision was made to build a hotel there. "The Utah hotel is being erected on the old Desert News corner, where we had for so long been given to expect that a Memorial building to the Prophet and grandfather Hyrum Smith was to be built," he wrote to his brother. "I cannot help but feel that the erection of this building on this corner is going to be a great big mistake--with a capital M.
Decades later, after it was decided that the Hotel would close, a decision had to be made on the future of the building. After learning about the earlier discussions, President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote, "I think it was inspiration, and I believe revelation, that came to me when I could not sleep one night, that the name of the building should carry the name of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building."

See Stan Larsen, ed., A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic Diaries of Rudger Clawson (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993); Joseph F. Smith Jr. to Elder E. Wesley Smith, 18 August 1909; Gordon B. Hinckley to Calvin P. Rudd, 9 December 1993.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lets talk architecture

Image result for hotel utah
Hotel Utah
The Latter-day Saints are noted for their beautiful temples, buildings, campus's and grounds. Generally, property values increase when in the same locale as a temple. This is hardly a new phenomenon. In fact, it began with the Kirtland Temple and continued through to the Nauvoo Temple. Visitors from across Canada and the United States made efforts to view the fabled Nauvoo Temple. Awards have been presented to the Church which translates to a swelling of pride as we share temple grounds with our friends.

What was planned to be built on the current site of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in 1902?

A) The Mia Maid and Laurel House to compliment the Beehive House just up the street
B) An extension to the Salt Lake Temple
C) The Joseph Smith Memorial Building
D) Salt Lake City's first gas station

Yesterday's answers:

1. C) The night the Church was organized on April 6, 1830
2. B) Military Chaplin's
3. False

The following from the book Presidents and Prophets:  When U.S. president Warren G. Harding visited Utah, he and President Heber J. Grant played a round of golf at the Salt Lake Country Club against the Club's golf pros. According to Reed Smoot, who walked around with the players, "The two presidents won."

4. True

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Tidbits

Image result for lds christus statue
Most of what I posted up to now is generally attached to a story or additional information. There are some facts that stand on their own with very little additional material. These little tidbits of knowledge are fun and provide the same sense of pride or add to testimony as the longer stories.

Let's have some fun!

The stars on the rotunda of the North Visitor Center that surrounds the Christus on Temple Square are painted in the same position as the night sky of what historical event?
A) The night Christ was born in Bethlehem
B) The night America gained independence
C) The night of the organization of the Church April 6, 1830
D) The night the Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley, July 24, 1847

The sign of the cross is worn by which LDS members?
A) Elders tracting within a five mile radius of the Vatican
B) Military Chaplin's
C) Leaders or instructors entering State or Federal U.S. prisons
D) Any member touring the Vatican

True or False:

U.S President Warren G. Harding and Church President Heber J. Grant team up and lose to the two club pros at the Salt Lake Country Club?

True or False:

On August 27, 1938, LDS pitcher, Monte Pearson, pitched the first no-hitter in Yankee Stadium history?

Yesterday's answer:

James A. Garfield was born near the town of Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on November 19, 1831. Growing up a mere twelve miles south of Kirtland, which served as LDS Church headquarters for much of the 1830s, young Garfield had numerous contacts with the Mormons. As a boy, he became acquainted with prominent Mormon leaders Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt, had Mormon neighbors, and had LDS relatives, including cousin John F. Boynton, who was one of the original Twelve Apostles. Later, Garfield  attended functions at the Western Reserve Teachers Seminary and Kirtland Institute, which was housed in the Kirkland Temple for a year and later located a few feet north of the temple.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The President of the United States and the Quorum of the Twelve

U.S. President James Garfield

I began the week by asking four U.S. Presidents and their tie to the Church questions. It seems appropriate that I end the week with two more questions.

1.  What U.S. President is a cousin to which original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles?

A) Thomas Jefferson and Parley P. Pratt
B) James Garfield and John Boynton
C) John Tyler and John Taylor
D) Martin Van Buren and John Page

2. President Garfield graduated from what school?
A) Western Reserve Teachers Seminary
B) Ohio State
C) Harvard
D) Cleveland State

Answer to yesterday's question:

  The great-grandson of Lilburn W. Boggs, Alvah Boggs gives this testimony shortly after his conversion in 1956: "My brothers and sisters, I  indeed feel humble. I am just a recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to be exact, just one week. . . My great-grandfather should have done everything in his power to protect any group of people or persons who wanted to worship God in any manner that they cared to worship him. This he certainly denied The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I feel very remorseful for  my parental linage for that particular thing.   . . . I joined the Church because I  believe in my heart this is the Church of God."
Alvah Boggs, "Testimony, 1956," LDS Church Archives

Friday, March 23, 2012

Yesterday's question is today's story

Lilburn W. Boggs

Yesterday I asked who sold land to Rebecca Hopper Peterson after she moved to Sonoma, California soon after her husband, Ziba passed away. Believe it or not, it was none other than ex-Missouri governor Lilburn W. Boggs. Yes, the same man who issued the infamous extermination order during the fall of 1838 to expel or kill the Saints residing in the state of Missouri. So you ask, how in the world did he end up in California? History is full of surprises. To prove it, try this. As the first vanguard company of Saints, led by Brigham Young were trudging their way to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, Lilburn W. Boggs was leading a group of people just two days on the trail ahead of President Young. It's this situation which led to a comical situation. When Lilburn and his group reached Fort Laramie in eastern Wyoming, he was quick to point out to the fort Commander, a man by the name of Bordeaux, that the Mormons were not too far behind and would soon be at the fort. The ex-governor made sure he warned Bordeaux that he had better keep a close eye on his horses and other livestock as the Mormons would steal them. The book, The Gathering: Mormon Pioneers on the Trail to Zion, reveals, "It was a hard accusation, borne of meanheartedness, but even harder for Bordeaux to take seriously because Boggs was having so much trouble with his own company. Fighting and contention among them had risen to such a pitch that many had deserted, and Bordeaux had told the ex-governor that no matter how bad the Mormons were, they could not be any worse than he and his men."

So now, the question: 
True or False; The great grandson of Lilburn Boggs joined the Church.

Yesterday's answer:

C)  In the Church News, November 10, 1962 we learn that after Rockwell's trial for the attempted assassination of Missouri's ex-Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, Porter Rockwell was found not guilty by the jury. Nevertheless, the same jury found him guilty of jailbreak. The judge sentenced him to five minutes (Yes, you read it right, five minutes) in jail.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Missouri tried, but they couldn't make it stick

Porter Rockwell

As hard as they might, Missouri couldn't make the attempted assassination charges against Joseph Jr. and Porter stick. Attempts were made to smuggle the Prophet Joseph Smith across the Mississippi River and into Missouri, but such attempts always failed. As for Porter Rockwell, well the evidence wasn't there to convict him. Not satisfied to let "Modern Day Samson" (Porter Rockwell) walk free, the jury found him guilty for another crime. What was his crime?

A) Walking in an up scaled St. Charles neighborhood with hair too long and unkempt
B) It was claimed that he cheated at a shooting contest in St. Louis
C) Jailbreak
D) Treason

Good luck. Wait till you learn the sentence to the crime tomorrow. I think Porter broke a world record on this one.

Yesterday's answer:

D) Dry Diggins, California      Ziba was one of the first converts to the Church and one of the first missionaries. After serving the mission to the Laminates, he continued preaching the gospel in southern Missouri. It was while he was serving in this part of the state that he met and converted his wife in Lone Pine. When the persecutions began in 1833, Ziba's testimony was not strong enough to with stand the on slaught created by the residence of Jackson County. He and his wife left the Church, moved to Lone Pine where he would teach school for a number of years. In 1848 he moved with his family to California where he was elected the sheriff. He was the first sheriff to supervise the first legal hanging in California. After the hanging of the three desperado's, Dry Diggins was dubbed Hangtown and with time renamed Placerville (I-80 takes you right through Placerville today). Ziba would die in 1849 and his wife would move to Sonoma. Who sold Mrs. Peterson the land she bought in Sonoma? I'll answer this tomorrow. You'll be more than a little amazed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whatever happened to him?

Image result for lds ziba peterson
The first mission to Kirtland and Missouri

In December of 1830 Peter Whitmer Jr., Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, and Ziba Peterson were called to serve a mission to the Laminates on the western borders of the United States, just west of Independence, Missouri.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

He married into the family


When the Saints entered the Salt  Lake Valley in July 1847, Kanosh was the head Pahvant Ute Chief.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What vacation destinations did Temple Square beat out?

There are literally thousands of places to visit in this great country. Everything from zoo's, amusement parks, museums, malls, aquariums, beaches, National Parks, Forest, Monuments, Seashores, etc., etc., etc. One might wonder how Temple Square ranks in all this? Forbes magazine

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Presidential once and onlys.

The LDS Church has had a heated past with both the Federal and State governments. Plenty has been written on the subject, however it's the more stellar situations with U.S. Presidents and the Church that I wish to center my attention on.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

He astonished the mob!

The blackest days in Missouri were the days Far West was surrounded by thousands of State "militia" and the Saints giving up their weapons to avoid imminent slaughter.To be honest, it was more of a mob, as there was very little disciple or order among the troops.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Russian perspective

Leo Tolstoy

Not all share derogatory sediments toward the Church. In fact, my best guess is, among most of our non-member friends, we are respected and held in high regard.

Over a century ago, Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) said what about the LDS Church?

A) It's elders would rescue the Constitution of the United States.
B) He spoke of a Conference Center that would attract many from around the world and considered the largest of its kind.
C) It would become the greatest power the world has ever known.
D) Like Daniels interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar dream, it would fill the entire world.

Yesterday's answer:

A) Mark Twain.   The chloroform statement is just the tip of the iceberg. He had much more to say. In November of this year, you'll have the chance to read the remainder of his feelings in my new book, "The Hidden Stories in the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

They Said It.

Just as Moroni prophesied that Joseph Smith's name would be known for good or bad throughout the world, so too, the Book of Mormon has attracted the same positive or negative attention. Millions of people the world over can tie their testimony to this great book of scripture, whereas, on the other hand, this same book of scripture has attracted scorn and ridicule from the spiritually immature. The popular website members have placed the Book of Mormon 4th out of the millions of books that they have ranked. As great as that is, not all would be in agreement. One historical celebrity once said the Book of Mormon is "chloroform in print." Who was the celebrity?

A) Mark Twain
B) Charles Dickens
C) Sir Richard Burton
D) Missouri Governor, Lilburn W. Boggs

Yesterday's answer:

D) 60 feet. Orson Pratt was the design engineer, and Appleton Harmon the craftsman. Because of this odometer, we know that the Saints traveled 1,032 miles from Winter Quarters, Nebraska to the Great Salt Lake Valley.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pioneer odometer

Pioneer odometer

I imagine many of you have visited the Church History Museum across the street from Temple Square. My wife and I enjoy taking family and friends from out of town there, or on occasion take the grand kids for an excursion. If you've visited, then  I'm sure you noticed the wood contraption attached to the covered wagon wheel which served as an odometer, recording the mileage along the Mormon Trail.

Has it crossed your mind just how accurate this wood contraption was? Take a guess, how far was it out compared to the government surveyor replica made from more sophisticated equipment?
A) 49miles
B) 1/2 mile
C) 9 miles
D) 60 feet

Yesterday's answer:

C) Elder Hyde said that Moroni helped guide Christopher Columbus through dreams and visions, was in the camp of George Washington directing affairs by an invisible hand, and led our founding  fathers on to victory, "and all this to open and prepare the way for the Church and kingdom of God to be established on the western hemisphere, for the redemption of Israel and the salvation of the world."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Heavenly Influence.

The angel Moroni played a double role in the re-establishment of the Church in the last dispensation. Elder Orson Hyde referred to Moroni as the "Prince of America" and said that he "presides over the destinies of America, and feels a lively interest in all our doings."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nauvoo's newest addition.

After the Saints settled in Nauvoo, Joseph Smith felt it would be profitable to purchase a steamboat from the federal government which he christen Nauvoo. The Prophet realized entering into such a venture could bring favorable exposure to the city. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Angel Nephi?

During September of 1823, Joseph Smith was visited by the Angel Moroni three times in the evening and twice more the next day. Joseph was commanded by Moroni to meet him at the Hill Cumorah every September to receive his tutorial until September of 1827, at which time he would be given the plates. Fact be known, Joseph Smith was visited far more than by Moroni during these four years.

Check out Nana Kate's Kreations for some big news in our family!

If you go to my wife's site you will find out some big news with regards to our family.

I will be back later today for an update on yesterday's question.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Not too long ago I saw a political cartoon that caused me to chuckle. The cartoon depicted a huge ocean liner dubbed the U.S.S Government. In front of the ship was a decrepit raft, with a sole, frail occupant. In the middle of the raft was a small flag pole with a flag that read "tax payer." A man on the ship was yelling to the individual on the raft, "We broke down, can you give us a hand," all the

Friday, March 9, 2012

Political Polls; Love 'em or leave 'em

Image result for paddle wheelers

As the country nears closer to a Presidential election, it's common to read, see, and hear political polls. They're definitely not the gospel truth by any stretch of the imagination, but yet what they do is give an indication of what could be. Believe it or not, political polls were alive and well at the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith. In 1844, Joseph Smith announced his candidacy to the Presidency of the United States. A popular past time while folks traveled by Steam boats up and down the Mississippi River in 1844 was to poll those on board, asking essentially who they would vote for. These were called "Steamboat elections." Now the question, in the two polls recorded in History of the Church both polls came out the same. What was the order of the candidates?

A) Joseph Smith, Henry Clay, Martin Van Buren
B) Clay, Smith, Van Buren
C) Clay, Van Buren, Smith
D) Van Buren, Smith, Clay

Yesterday's answer:
B) Joseph Temple Bennett

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What's in a name?

Answer to yesterday's question:

C) Believe it or not, Dr. Denison's prejudices clouded his mind to the point that he participated in the tarring and feathering of Joseph Smith in March of 1834, 28 years after he delivered the Prophet into this world. He had a role to play at the tarring. It was the Dr. who supplied the poison that was administered to Joseph. Dr. Dennison was also to perform an "operation," but his hands were trembling to the point that he could not hold onto the knife.

The Saints waited many years for the completion of the Salt Lake Temple. As the day of the dedication drew near, Emma Bennett's desire was to attend the sacred ceremony. Living in distant Provo, her family and friends did all in their power to stop her, but to no avail. The fact that she was due to deliver a baby at any moment was not going to halt her from attending the dedication. Sure enough, her infant son entered this world within the walls of the Salt Lake Temple during the dedication ceremony. A week later President Joseph F. Smith (counselor to President Wilford Woodruff) gave the child a name and a blessing inside the Salt Lake Temple. What was the name the child received?

A) Joseph Smith Bennett
B) Joseph Temple Bennett
C) Porter Rockwell Bennett
D) Joseph Lake Bennett

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Did you know the answer to question #1?

The Answer:
Doctor Joseph Denison fumed, "If I had known what the little cuss would amount to, I would have smothered him!"
Early Doctors during the 19th century

Ironically, Joseph Smith and Doctor Denison rubbed shoulders many years later in Kirtland, Ohio. What is the circumstance that brought the Prophet and Doctor together again?

A) The birth of one of Emma and Joseph's children
B) Joseph teaching Doctor Denison the gospel.
C) Participant in the tarring and feathering of Joseph Smith at Hyrum, Ohio
D) Doctors convention at Kirtland, Ohio.

So let's get started.

Today I am going to post two facts

1. What did the doctor who delivered Joseph Smith say about him years later?
                                 Check back tomorrow to see the answer.

2. This is in reference to the dedication of the Kirtland temple.
     Presendia Huntington recalled an event that occurred during one of the meetings she had not attended. "A little girl came to my door and in wonder called me out, exclaiming,'The meeting is on the top of the meetinghouse!' I went to the door, and there I saw on the temple angels clothed in white covering the roof from end to end."