May 25

May 25

1856 - The ship Horizon leaves Liverpool, England, for Boston, Massachusetts, carrying 856 Saints led by Edward Martin. Most of this company would later become part of the ill-fated Martin and Willie handcart companies that suffered so much on the plains of Wyoming during the trek to Utah.

May 24

May 24

1999 - The Church launches the FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service.  It is considered to be the most significant advancement in family history since the invention of microfilm.  It received over forty million hits on its first day.

May 23

May 23

1844 - The Prophet Joseph spent much of the afternoon with the Sac and Fox Indians that were visiting the city of Nauvoo.  They told the Prophet about how they had been robbed of their land by the Spanish, French, English, and now the Americans and how they had been cruelly treated.  The Prophet in turn told them that he “knew they had been wronged” and “advised them not to sell any more land, but to cultivate peace with the different tribes and with all men, as the Great Spirit wanted them to be united and to live in peace.”  He then told them about the Book of Mormon.  The Indians performed music and dancing for “about two hours” and “the Saints took up a collection to get the Indians food” (History of the Church,

May 21

May 21

1842 - The Prophet Joseph speaks to the Saints in Nauvoo.  “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women—all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there.  Thus, I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty” (History of the Church, 5:401).

May 20

May 20

1843 - The Prophet Joseph writes in a letter to the editor of the Times and Seasons about the meaning of the word Mormon.  He concludes his letter by stating “The word Mormon, means literally, more good” (History of the Church, 5:400).

May 19

May 19

1838 - The Prophet Joseph Smith and his party continue their travel north from Far West until they reach the Grand River.  They traveled up the Grand River for eighteen miles and arrived at Colonel Lyman Wight’s home.  Brother Wight lived at the foot of Tower Hill, named by the Prophet for “an old Nephite altar or tower that stood there.”  About half a mile away they chose a site for a city to be built on a hill called “Spring Hill.” The city was named Adam-ondi-Ahman by revelation from the Lord received by the Prophet Joseph on this date and recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 116. 

May 18

May 18

1843 - The Prophet Joseph Smith, while dining with Judge Stephen A. Douglas in Carthage, Illinois, prophesies that the judge would aspire to the Presidency of the United States, saying: “Judge, you will aspire to the presidency of the United States; and if ever you turn your hand against me or the Latter-day Saints, you will feel the weight of the hand of Almighty upon you; and you will live to see and know that I have testified the truth to you” (History of the Church, 5:394). Judge Douglas later slanders the Saints and loses the Presidential election to Abraham Lincoln and dies shortly thereafter.

May 15

May 15

1829 - John the Baptist confers the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, thus restoring the Priesthood to the earth.  While translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph and Oliver went into the woods by the bank of the Susquehanna River near their home in Harmony, Pennsylvania, to ask concerning baptism.  While praying, John the Baptist appeared and ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood and then commanded them to go and baptize each other in the river.  See Doctrine and Covenants 13 and Joseph Smith–History 1:68-73.

May 14

1831 - A group of Saints from the Fayette, New York, area led by Lucy Mack Smith, arrive in Ohio at Fairport Harbor on Lake Erie.  A group of Saints from Colesville, New York, led by Newel Knight, also arrive at Fairport Harbor.  They are now 11 miles from their new home and gathering place in Kirtland, Ohio.

1834 - Zion’s Camp continued their journey and “passed on to Belle Fontaine.”  The first signs of discontent in the camp was expressed by Sylvester Smith, “who expressed great dissatisfaction because we were short of bread” (History of the Church, 2:65-66).

1839 - After settling his family in Commerce, the Prophet Joseph returns to Quincy to conduct business and encourage the Saints to begin to move to their new gathering place, soon to be called Nauvoo.

1842 - In meeting with the Nauvoo City Council, the Prophet Joseph asked for a city ordinance against “houses of infamy” in the city that were “disposed to corrupt the morals and chastity of our citizens,” which ordinance was passed.  He also asked that the ordinance of licensing businesses in Nauvoo be repealed, “desiring that this might be a free people, and enjoy equal rights and privileges.”  The ordinance was repealed.  Word reached Nauvoo that ex-Governor Boggs, who had signed the Mormon Extermination Order, had been shot in Missouri. (History of the Church, 5:8)

1843 - The Prophet Joseph spoke in the community of Yelrome, Illinois, not far from Nauvoo.  He spoke on salvation through knowledge, saying: “The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation.  This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned.  The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.”  He also taught that as there is a variety of people on the earth, there is a variety of spirits in the pre-earth life.  “Some seek to excel.  And this was the case with Lucifer when he fell.  He sought for things which were unlawful.  Hence he was sent down . . . and the greatness of his punishment is that he shall not have a tabernacle.  This is his punishment” (History of the Church, 5:387-388).

Josiah Quincy, Jr.jpg

1844 - Charles Francis Adams wrote in his journal on this date: “As we went on it became very necessary that we should settle upon our course. Quincy [Josiah Quincy Jr., Adams' traveling companion] wished to stop at Nauvoo, the city of the Mormons and see something of Joe Smith, the prophet.”  (See also May 15)

1945 - President Heber J. Grant dies in Salt Lake City, Utah, at age eighty-eight.  He served more than sixty-two years as a General Authority, over twenty-six years as President of the Church.

1972 - First stake organized in Tahiti.

1994 - The Polish Genealogical Society of America presents the Wiglia Award to the Church for its efforts to microfilm eastern European records in areas that once belonged to the Polish Commonwealth.

1998 - The Church receives formal recognition from Russia, and receives a certificate allowing the Church to continue its missionary and humanitarian efforts in the country.

May 13

May 13

1857 - Elder Parley P. Pratt is murdered in Arkansas and buried near the town of Alma.  He was traveling through the southern and eastern states visiting the Saints and teaching the gospel.  It is reported his dying words were: “I die a firm believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith. . . . I am dying a martyr to the faith” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, xxvii).

May 12

May 12

1843 - Half of the steamer Maid of Iowa was purchased by the Church to run as a ferry between Montrose and Nauvoo.  Bishop George Miller arrived at sunrise with a raft of 50,000 feet of pine lumber for the Temple and Nauvoo House from the pinery on the Black River in Wisconsin.

May 11

May 11

1847 - After the days travel, Appleton Harmon spent the evening under William Clayton’s direction making the odometer according to the plan given them by Orson Pratt.  William Clayton was anxious to get it completed as he had become weary of counting the revolutions of a wagon wheel to measure the distance traveled each day.  The original pioneer wagon train was now following along the north bank of the North Platte River. 

May 10

May 10

1869 - The first transcontinental railroad was completed with the driving of the golden spike at Promontory, Utah.  This ended the pioneer period of Church history as converts, missionaries, and Church leaders could now travel much faster by train instead of with horses or oxen and wagons.

May 9

May 9

1891 - United States President Benjamin Harrison arrives in the Utah Territory on a visit.  The Saints cordially receive him despite the long years of persecution by the federal government over the issue of plural marriage.  There was a huge flag and welcome banner draped over the unfinished Salt Lake Temple.

May 8

May 8

1899 - While visiting St. George, Utah, President Lorenzo Snow receives the revelation placing renewed emphasis on the payment of tithing by members of the Church who had been neglecting it for some time.  He stated, “the time has now come for every Latter-day Saint . . . to do the will of the Lord and pay his tithing in full” (Messages of the First Presidency, 3:312).  The result was the deliverance of the Church from the debts and financial problems that had plagued the Church as a result of the polygamy persecutions of the previous five decades.