Today in the History of the Church

1896 – Utah was admitted as the 45th state. Although the State of Deseret was first created in 1849 with Brigham Young acting as the first Governor, it went through multiple changes  until it reached its smaller size and official induction to the United States of America.

History of the Gospel January 3rd

In 1521 – Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X as a result of Luther not retracting what the Church saw as 41 errors in this 95 Theses written in 1517. Two of the errors might have been used to give Luther a “taste of his own medicine” (so to speak) which were:

  • Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church.
  • Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them.

President Monson states why this act is important to the Church of Jesus Christ:

“The reformers were pioneers, blazing wilderness trails in a desperate search for those lost points of reference which, they felt, when found would lead mankind back to the truth Jesus taught.

“John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, Jan Hus, Zwingli, Knox, Calvin, and Tyndale all pioneered the period of the Reformation. Significant was the declaration of Tyndale to his critics: ‘I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou doest’ [see Roger Hillas, “The History of the Book,” Washington Post, Apr. 10, 1996].

“Such were the teachings and lives of the great reformers. Their deeds were heroic, their contributions many, their sacrifices great—but they did not restore the gospel of Jesus Christ.” —President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “They Showed the Way,” Ensign, May 1997, 51.

History of the Church May 12

1847 – William Clayton invented the odometer.


The “roadometer”
Clayton is credited with inventing a version of the modern odometer, during this trip across the plains from Missouri to Utah, with the help of Apostle and mathematician Orson Pratt. He was assigned to record the number of miles the company traveled each day. After three weeks, Clayton tired of personally counting the revolutions of a wagon wheel and computing the day’s distance by multiplying the count by the wheel’s circumference. After consulting with Pratt, he developed a design consisting of a set of wooden cog wheels attached to the hub of a wagon wheel, with the mechanism “counting” or recording by position the revolutions of the wheel. The apparatus was built by the company’s carpenter Appleton Milo Harmon. Clayton’s journal records: “About noon today Brother Appleton Harmon completed the machinery on the wagon called a ‘roadometer’ by adding a wheel to revolve once in ten miles, showing each mile and also each quarter mile we travel, and then casing the whole over so as to secure it from the weather. The “roadometer” was first used on the morning of May 12, 1847.

History of the Church April 22

“When Joseph Smith was incarcerated in Liberty Jail, with no prospect of release, an extermination order had been issued against the Saints. This made it necessary for Brigham Young to organize the Saints to move them from Missouri. The migration from Missouri in February of 1839 caused many to complain that the Lord had forsaken His people. Some of the Church members questioned the wisdom of once again gathering the Saints together in one location.”Crossing the Mississippi and pausing in some of the smaller communities along its banks proved to be a respite necessary for the membership to receive new direction from their leaders. The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote from Liberty Jail, encouraging the Saints not to scatter but to gather together, then build from centers of strength.”In April of that year, Joseph and Hyrum and their fellow prisoners were allowed to escape from the jail in Missouri. They arrived in Quincy, Illinois, on the 22nd day of April of 1839. The Prophet immediately went to work to find a place to gather the Saints. He found a spot on the banks of the Mississippi River that looked like it had promise. He named the city Nauvoo, meaning ‘beautiful,’ but at that time it was anything but beautiful. It was a swampy peninsula that had not been drained. Out of the swamp-infested land rose a city that could truly be called beautiful.”The first homes in Nauvoo were huts, tents, and a few abandoned buildings. Then the Saints started to build log cabins. As time and capital would allow, framed buildings were erected, and, still later, more substantial brick buildings were built.”The Prophet had a design to build a community of Saints. He had three major objectives: first, economic; second, educational; and third, spiritual.”Topic:
L. Tom Perry, “Building a Community of Saints,” Ensign, May 2001, 36

Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail

History of the Church April 14

“Upon my return from my visit to Sanpete County, I felt the desire to learn more about its early pioneers. I decided to spend a few hours in the new Church History Library and read a little about their history.”It was in the year 1849, just two years after they had arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, when Brigham Young, the great colonizer of the West, called a group of Saints to journey south and start building their homes and communities all over again in another desert wasteland. A short time after they had settled in Sanpete, President Heber C. Kimball, a counselor to President Brigham Young, visited the Manti community and promised them that on the hill overlooking the valley, a temple would be built using stone from the mountains to the east. . . .”The cornerstone was laid on April 14, 1879, some 30 years after they had arrived in the Sanpete Valley. There are many stories that could be told about the diligence of the workmen, who put their very best into the construction of this beautiful temple. President Gordon B. Hinckley said several years ago at the rededication of the Manti Temple, ‘I have been in the world’s great buildings, and in none of these have I had the feeling I get in coming to these pioneer houses of God’ (quoted in “Manti Temple Rededicated,” Ensign, Aug. 1985, 73). The Hinckley family has a very special connection with the Manti Temple. Sister Marjorie Hinckley’s grandfather lost his life from an injury sustained in its construction.”

L. Tom Perry, “The Past Way of Facing the Future,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 74

History of the Church April 9

David O. McKay was ordained as president of the church on April 9, 1951 (age 77)

David O. McKay