Question: Lyman Royal Sherman is mentioned in the D&C 108. Who was Lyman R. Sherman and what special gift did he receive when he was baptized? What happened to his wife, Delcena, and their children when Lyman died at the age of thirty-four?
Answer: Lyman Royal Sherman was born on May 22, 1804 in Vermont. Lyman’s father passed away when Lyman was just thirteen years of age. Lyman’s brother-in-law, Benjamin Johnson, encouraged Lyman and his family to read the Book of Mormon. Lyman’s wife, Delcena, was a sister to Benjamin Johnson. Their reading soon led them to marvel at the simplicity and purity of what they read, and the spirit which accompanied it, bearing witness to its truth.
Lyman was baptized and blessed with the gift of tongues. Benjamin Johnson wrote, “The spirit came upon Brother Sherman in mighty power, and he opened his mouth in an unknown tongue, to the great surprise and joy of all...being the first known to have spoken in the gift of tongues by the power of God in this dispensation.”
In 1834, he joined Zion's Camp to provide relief to the saints who were suffering persecution among the mobs of Missouri. Lyman was ordained a high priest. He was also ordained a seventy on February 28, 1835, and served for a time as a President of the Seventies. Later that year he sought clarification from the Prophet concerning his duty. The resulting revelation on his behalf (D&C 108) provided counsel for his future service.
Lyman participated in the dedication of the Kirkland Temple in 1836. On January 8, 1837, he met with others in the temple to worship, and after the sacrament had been administered, according to Wilford Woodruff, “Elder Sherman sung in the gift of tongues and proclaimed great and marvelous things while clothed upon by the power and spirit of God.”
On October 10, 1837, Lyman was called to be a member of the Kirkland high council. In Kirtland, he defended the Church and its leaders. In 1838 Lyman moved to Missouri and became a member of the Far West High Council. From Liberty Jail, the Prophet sent a letter dated January 16, 1839, calling Lyman to the apostleship to replace Orson Hyde. At this time Lyman took cold and died before receiving his ordination into the Quorum.
He died January 27, 1839 at Far West. Heber C. Kimball concluded that it was not the will of God for a man to take Hyde's place in the quorum. He is buried at "Far West Burial Ground."
About the last of March 1839 due to the persecution, Lyman’s wife, Delcena, left Far West and crossed the river with the Saints, assisted by her brother Benjamin and her brother-in-law, Almon W. Babbitt. They crossed the river and settled at Quincy, Illinois. She then moved on to Nauvoo. On January 24, 1846 she was sealed in the Nauvoo Temple to her husband, Lyman Royal Sherman for eternity and was married to Almon W. Babbitt for time.
In 1849 in company with her mother, Julia Hills Johnson and other relatives and friends she left Nauvoo. They arrived in Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 11, 1849. Here she went through many hardships and much sorrow. Three of her children died in 1850, and also her beloved mother passed away on May 30, 1853. In 1854 in company with her two remaining children, her son Albey Lyman and her daughter Susan Julia, she in very poor health struggled across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley.
Delcena died on October 21, 1854 at the age of 48 in Salt Lake City and is buried there. Albey married and he and his wife had fourteen children. Susan Julia married and had eight children. They settled in Utah, bringing honor to their parents who sacrificed so much for the Gospel.
Source: Who's Who in the Doctrine & Covenants by Susan Easton Black; FamilySearch.org