Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Brigham Young’s 1872 Birthday Present

What did the Relief Society give as a gift to President Young on his birthday in 1872?
a.                  The first bottled jar of tomatoes in Utah
b.                  They released the first copy of the Women’s Exponent
c.                   A quilt preserved from the Martin Handcart company
d.                  Green Jello and carrots
Yesterday’s answer:
(C)   The gold bible
In a letter now preserved in the Coe Collection at Yale, we have an early inkling of the excitement Mormonism was to create. On February 12, 1830, Lucius Fenn of Covert in upstate New York wrote an old neighbor in Connecticut about a curious book being published at Palmyra, some fifty miles away. It was said to be a bible which had been concealed in a stone chest in the earth for fourteen hundred years and which an angle had now revealed to a man named Joseph who could not read at all in English but who could read the book’s gold leaves. Along with Freemasonry, the temperance movement (which Fenn called “the cold sober societies”), and the considerable stir religion was making that winter in the lake country, the gold bible was the news of the day. “It is expected that it will come out soon,” wrote Fenn, “so that we can see it. It speaks of the Millenniam [sic] day and tells when it is a going to take place. . . . Some people think that it is all a speculation and some think that something is a going to take place different from what has been. For my part,” Fenn confided, “I do not know how it will be but it is something singular to me.” He could only hope that in a time of “general solemnity upon the people in these parts” there would be “a greater outpouring of the spirit than ever.”

William Mudler, The Mormons in American History (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1981), 13.

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