Luke S. Johnson

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Q: Luke S. Johnson is mentioned in three sections of the Doctrine and Covenants: D&C 68; 75:9; 102:3.  What role did Luke S. Johnson play in the early days of the Church?

A: Luke S. Johnson was born in 1807 in Windsor County, Vermont, the son of John Johnson and Elsa Jacobs.  Luke was baptized in May 1831 by the Prophet Joseph. The Prophet Joseph and his family moved into Luke’s father’s farm and home in Hiram, Ohio in September 1831, where Joseph enjoyed uninterrupted spiritual outpouring for six months.  Then on 24 March 1832, a mob attacked the home, and Joseph was tarred and feathered.  Luke’s father, John, tried to help, but was knocked down, and his collarbone was broken. David Whitmer blessed him, and he was immediately healed.  The family then moved to Kirtland, Ohio.

In November 1831, Luke Johnson was called, along with several others, to serve missions. Luke served a mission with Sidney Rigdon in Ohio, and later a mission to the southern states with Seymour Brunson.  In May 1834, Luke joined Zion’s Camp where he served as a scout. He was attacked by Cholera, but was blessed by Brigham Young and survived.  When the Camp dispersed, Luke returned to Kirtland, where he was chosen to be in the first high council of the Church.  In February 1835, Luke was ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

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In Kirtland, Luke was caught up in the financial turmoil of that time, and did not move with the Saints to Missouri or Illinois.  For eight years he had a medical practice in Kirtland and did not affiliate with the Church. Then in 1846, Luke returned to the fellowship of the Saints and was rebaptized by his brother-in-law, Orson Hyde on March 8, 1846.  

The family then journeyed to the Salt Lake Valley with the original company of pioneers in 1847.  He settled in Taylorsville, Utah before moving to Rush Creek in Tooele County.  The small community of Rush Creek was renamed Johnson’s Settlement, later St. John, in honor of Luke.  In 1856 he was appointed by Wilford Woodruff as the presiding elder, and in 1858 he was named bishop of the Church in St. John.  He is the only man in the church that served as a bishop after having served as an apostle.

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On December 9, 1861, while in Salt Lake City on business, Luke Johnson died at the home of Orson Hyde at the age of fifty-four and is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Source: Who's Who in the Doctrine & Covenants by Susan Easton Black