Thursday, October 31, 2013

When You First Went to The Salt Lake Mission Home ...

      The Church history Library today sits near where the old Mission Home was.

BACK in the olden days, departing LDS Missionaries (English speaking), first went to the Mission Home in Salt Lake City.
There was NO MTC in those days.
From 1925 to 1970, missionaries first went to 31 N. State State Street, where the first such "Mission Home" was used. This was a two-story, red brick home, with a white porch. Missionaries spent up to two weeks there for training.
Later, they slept in nearby residences, or by the 1960s (due to overcrowding), if they lived in the Salt Lake area, many often went home at night and returned the next day.
Starting in 1971, the old Lafyette School, 75 E. North Temple, was used for five days of English speaking mission training.
(Foreign language missionaries went to the Provo LMT, later the MTC.)
Myself, I spent 5 days in late June 1973 at this Salt Lake "Mission Home."
It was a whirlwind of training and pep talks. I recall bars on the bedroom windows, which seemed strange at night as I looked out at the Salt Lake Temple.
We ate at the not-yet-dedicated, new 28-story LDS Church Office Building. The Deseret Gymnasium was across the street, but except for Saturday afternoon -- when many missionaries were receiving last ditch haircuts -- we didn't get to use it otherwise.
Missionaries at the time received a solemn assembly meeting in the Salt Lake Temple with the Church Prophet, Harold B. Lee.
President Lee even opened it up to a Q&A by missionaries. The only question I recall of several being asked was "Where are the lost Ten Tribes?"
President Lee quipped, "Now Elder, if we knew where they were, then they wouldn't be lost now, would they?"
In later years, missionaries would only receive a solemn assembly by a General Authority. And, by 1977, it was usually the Salt Lake Temple President who was at the solemn assembly.
Finally, not only had parents and family said "goodbye" to missionaries as they began their 5-day mission home stint, but in that era, they also returned to the Salt Lake Airport to say bye-bye all over again as missionaries flew out.
By the fall of 1978, this mission home was replaced by the Provo MTC.
The old school was demolished soon after and there was just a parking lot there until the new LDS Church History Center was built in the 21st Century.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

First Vision Date: Sunday, March 26, 1820?

Official records and scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints state that Joseph Smith's historic "First Vision" happened in the Spring of 1820.
Every full-time missionary knows that in particular.
However, why isn't there an exact date?
That loophole is simply because exact records were not kept.
(There is also no exact date for the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood either.)
Two LDS researchers, working apart from each other, have checked various calendars, weather records and the usual dates for maple tree production in New York State -- and both have found that Sunday, March 26, was the likely date for Joseph Smith's First Vision.
Based on Joseph's own description of the weather, that's the only date that fits the bill.
John P. Pratt and Dr. John C. Lefgren both came up with that same March 26, 1820 date.
Lefgren in particular, found that April 6, 1820 was cloudy and freezing weather that day. So, it could not have been on that date.

-A detailed account of Dr. Lefgren's weather research was previously published in the Meridian on-line LDS Magazine.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are the author's conclusions and opinions only.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Assembly Hall: Why 24 spires, including 2 flat spires?

This 2009 photograph shows the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, with its distinctive 24 white spires,  temporarily peeking through to First South Street. The City Creek Center is now located in this line of sight, as City Creek  was under early construction when this picture was taken.

                           The front of the Assembly Hall, 2014.

By Lynn Arave

THE Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City represents a marvelous work of pioneer craftsmanship.
Using primarily leftover blocks from the construction of the Salt Lake LDS Temple, this edifice was directed to be constructed by Brigham Young, just weeks before his passing.
It was built from 1877-early 1882.
I've always had questions about the magnificent white spires on the Assembly Hall.

                                        Note the flat spire, center.

First question: Why are two of the spires flat?
Answer: Because that's where the original fireplace vents were. And, when the building was remodeled, they stayed true to the design and left those two spires as they were.
The only modern change to the spires is that since 1983's remodeling project on the building, they are now covered with fiberglass.

                                      Closeup of a flat spire.

(Now, there is some folklore that has said that the two points of the spires fell off when two General Authorities of that era went apostate. This incorrect tale was widespread enough so that today it is even part of Utah State University's folklore collection.)

Second question: Why does the Assembly Hall have 24 spires?
Answer: No one seems to know for certain. I've asked church historians and other Temple Square employees that over the years and have never received an answer why.

However, I now have a plausible theory: since Brigham Young said the Assembly Hall was needed for regular meeting space for the Salt Lake Stake of the church -- that was its original purpose.
And, in 1899, the Salt Lake Stake had 51 total wards, including 24 wards in Salt Lake City.

That 24th Salt Lake City ward was created in 1898, so I'm leaning towards that the 24 spires were to represent what number of S.L. wards there could and might be in that stake in the near future.
Until someone gives me a better answer, that's the best I have for now -- not 12 spires (like Twelve Apostles or Twelve Tribes, as symbolism often used in the church), but double that...
--Anyway, the Assembly Hall is located where the original bowery, used by the pioneers for meetings sat. This was a poles and braces building only, with branches and greenery on top to block out the summer sun. 
All in all, the Assembly Hall is a very Gothic looking building and has the Star of David and other symbolism on its exterior.

Third question: Why was the Assembly Hall built?
The primary reason was more than just that the Salt Lake City Stake of the Church needing its own meeting place.
According to the Salt Lake Times newspaper of May 16, 1890, the Salt Lake Tabernacle was too large to be adequately heated during its early decades of usage.
Thus, the smaller, more easily heated Assembly Hall was built. Decades later in the 20th Century, heating systems had advanced enough that heating the Tabernacle was not a problem.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

LDS Church Administration Building: A Stately History of Leadership

Although often overshadowed by the much taller LDS Church Office Building, the stately, Grecian-looking LDS Church Administration building, 47 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City,  has a fascinating history of its own.
The building, now just more than 96 years old, was opened on Oct. 2, 1917, during the administration of President Joseph F. Smith, sixth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Previously, the "President's Office," built in 1852 by Truman O. Angell, LDS Church architect, and located between the Beehive and Lion houses on South Temple, served church leaders.
Like the Salt Lake Temple, the Administration Building is composed of granite, taken from the same area in Little Cottonwood Canyon, but with a key difference. While all the stone for the Salt Lake Temple was taken from loose granite boulders in the canyon, stone extracted from the canyon walls is what was used for the Church Administration Building.
This building, sometimes abbreviated as "CAB," measures 101 feet and 11 inches wide on the front and 165 feet by 3 inches in depth.
It was built on land originally owned by Brigham Young, is some 80 feet high and required three years to build (1914-1917).

Located between the Lion House and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, the style of the Church Administration Building is Grecian Ionic. It features 24 Iconic stone columns around its rectangular shape. A massive entablature, with numerous carvings, rests on the columns. The building is composed of a total of 4,517 granite stones — the largest of which is in the southwest corner and weighs 8 tons. The entire stone work collectively weighs more than 6,200 tons.
A prominent U.S. flag regularly flies atop the front of the building.
Inside, Utah marble and onyx, plus rare wood from the U.S., Honduras and southeastern Russia add special beauty.
Originally it housed the offices for the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, the First Council of the Seventy, the Patriarch to the Church, the church secretary, the trustee-in-trust offices and clerks, the Historian's Office and library, the Genealogical Society, the General Church Board of Education, the Deseret Sunday School Union, the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, the church commissioner of education, and the church architect.
Until the Church Office Building opened in 1972, it also housed the missionary department on its fourth floor.
Today the five-story Church Administration Building, plus a basement, houses offices of many general authorities of the church.
While this historic building used to offer public access and even received tourists, today it does not and has restricted access. Its first floor reception hall is often where the viewings for late church presidents have been held, most recently with President Howard W. Hunter in 1995 (President Gordon B. Hinckley's viewing in 2008 was moved to much larger the Conference Center).
On Feb. 8, 1978, the Administration Building was rededicated after substantial remodeling. Then, a seismic upgrade on the building was performed in the summer of 2008. Jacobsen Construction orchestrated a month of double shifts, six days a week to complete the seismic work in a single month, to accommodate church leaders' schedules.
--The first two LDS Church administration buildings in Salt Lake:
— The First Office Building for church leaders was built in 1848 by Daniel H. Wells, superintendent of public works. It measured 18 feet by 12 feet and had a slanting roof covered with boards and dirt. Its exact location is unknown, but it was church headquarters for two years.
— The "White house" or "Mansion House" came next. It was constructed between 1848 and 1850 and was the home of President Brigham Young, on East South Temple Street, where the Elks Club building now stands,

SOURCES:; Improvement Era, Nov. 1967; Ensign Magazine, Oct. 1975;
(-Originally written by Lynn Arave and published in the Deseret News, May 17, 2011.)

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

President Thomas S. Monson: Last of His Era

THERE likely won't be another like President Thomas S. Monson in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a very, very long time.
Check out the cover of this November 1966 Improvement Era Magazine.
Then Elder Monson is in the lower right-hand corner. He's the last living one of these 16 General Authorities of the Church, some 47 years later.
Called as a bishop at age 22, as a mission president at age 31 and as an Apostle at age 36, President Monson is a rare, veteran church leader.
No one else has 50 years of full-time church services as a General Authority, spanning 7 church presidents, until he himself was called as the Prophet.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Milestones in The LDS Church

Here's a limited chronological listing of highlights -- key, important dates --  in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

1820, spring: First Vision by Joseph Smith.

1823, Sept. 21-22: Angel Moroni visits Joseph Smith

1827, Sept. 22: Joseph Smith receives the Golden Plates and the Urim and Thummin.

1829, May 15: Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery receive the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist.

1829, May or June: Peter, James and John receive the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James and John.

1829, June: Book of Mormon translation completed. Three Witnesses are shown the Golden Plates by the heavenly messenger and later eight witnesses.

1830, March 26: Some 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon are printed.

1830, April 6: Church of Christ is organized.

1833, Jan. 22-23: School of Prophets begins.

1833, Feb. 27: The Prophet Joseph Smith receives the Word of Wisdom.

1833, March 18: First Presidency is organized.

1833, July 2: Joseph Smith finishes his retranslation of the New Testament.

1834, Feb. 17: The first Stake in the church is organized in Kirtland.

1835, Feb. 14: Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is organized.

1835, Feb. 28: First Quorum ("Council") of the Seventy is organized.

1835: The Doctrine and Covenants is issue (The forerunner "Book of Commandments ..." had been issued in 1833.) 

1836, March 27: First modern temple is dedicated, the Kirtland Temple.

1836, April 3: The Savior, Moses, Elias and Elijah appear to Joseph Smith and Olive Cowdery and restore the keys of their dispensation.

1838, April 26: Official name of the church is given by revelation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1838, July 6: The exodus from Kirtland commences to Far West, Mo.

1838, July 8: Revelation on the law of tithing is received.

1839, April 20: Final church members leave Far West, Mo. and soon after end what in what will become Nauvoo, Ill.

1841, Jan. 19: Baptism for the Dead revelation received.

1842, March 1:  Articles of Faith are published.

1842, March 17: Relief Society is organized.

1843, July 12, Eternal marriage revelation is received.

1844, June 27: Joseph and Hyrum Smith are murdered by a mob at a jail in Carthage, Ill.

1844, Aug. 8: Twelve Apostles are sustained as leading the church.

1845-1846, Dec. 10-Feb. 17: About 5,000 members receive their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple.

1846, Feb. 4: Migration from Nauvoo begins to temporary camps in Iowa and Nebraska.

1847, April 5: First pioneer company heads west.

1847, July 22-24: First pioneers arrive in Salt Lake Valley.

1847, July 28: Brigham Young dedicates Salt Lake Temple site.

1847, Dec. 5: First Presidency reorganized in Kanesville, Iowa, by Council of the 12, with Brigham Young as prophet.

1849, Feb 14: Great Salt Lake City divided into 19 wards.

1849, Dec. 9: Sunday School begins.

1851, Jan. 26: First stake outside Salt Lake, the Weber Stake in Ogden is organized.

1851, Nov. 11: The University of the State of Deseret (now University of Utah) begins.

1852, Aug. 28-29: The practice of plural marriage, for the first time ever,  is publicly acknowledged as happening in the church. (Previously it was privately practiced.)

1853, Feb. 14: Ground is broken on the Salt Lake Temple.

1855, May 5: The Endowment House is dedicated.

1867, Oct. 6: First Conference in the just finished Tabernacle is held.

1869, May 10: Transcontinental railroad is completed at Promontory Summit, Utah.

1869, Nov. 28, Young Ladies Retrenchment Association, forerunner to Young Women's Mutual Association, is organized.

1875, June 10: Young Men's Mutual Improvement organized begins.

1877, April 6: St. George Temple is dedicated.

1877, Aug. 27: Brigham Young dies at age 76.

1878, Aug. 25: Primary begins.

1879: The Book of Mormon is divided into chapters and verses, with references.

1884, May 17: Logan Temple, the church's second, is dedicated.

1897, February: The federal Edmunds-Tucker Act seizes all church property. (This is not rescinded until 1893-1896.)

1889, April 6: First Relief Society General Conference is held.

1890, Sept. 24: "Manifesto" is issued.

1893, April 6: Salt Lake Temple is dedicated.

1895, June 9: The first stake outside the U.S., in Cardston, Canada is organized.

1896, Jan. 4: Utah is made a state.

1896, Nov. 5: Fast day is now the first Sunday of the month, rather than the first Thursday.

1898, April 1: The Church's first-ever full-time sister missionaries are set apart.

1899, May 8: The payment of tithes is stressed at a St. George conference. (The church was in deep debt and had issued bonds 7 months earlier.)

1900, July 24: The Brigham Young Monument is unveiled in downtown Salt Lake City.

1902: The first volume of History of the Church is published. (The last and 7th volume would not be added until 1932.)

1902, Aug. 4: A limited visitor booth opens on Temple Square.

1907, Jan. 10: The church announced it is totally free of debt now.

1911: The Boy Scout program is adopted by the church.

1912: The first seminary in the church opens at Granite High School.

1912, Nov. 8: Church creates a Correlation Committee.

1915, April 27: The Family Home Evening program begins.

1917, Oct. 2: Church Administration Building opens.

1918, Oct. 2: President Joseph F. Smith receives a revelation that will become D&C 138 in 1979.

1919, April: General Conference is not held, due to a flu epidemic.

1919, November: There is no public funeral for President Joseph F. Smith, because of the continuing flu epidemic.

1920: Ward chapels and cultural halls are from henceforth designed to be connected.

1924, Oct. 3: Church enters the broadcast age as General Conference is broadcast on the radio.

1925, Feb. 3: The church dedicates its first "MTC," a home at 31 N. State Street.

1929, July 15: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir begins a weekly broadcast, destined to be the world's longest continuing broadcast program.

1931: The Utah Legislature passed a bill approving the transfer of LDS-owned Weber College and Snow College to the state collegiate system. 

1936, April: The church begins a formal welfare program.

1938, Aug. 14: The first Deseret Industries store opens in Salt Lake.

1942, March 23: The church began using only older men, who were high priests or seventies, for full-time missionary work, until World War II ends.

1942, April: The Tabernacle is closed to the public duringWorld War II and all general conferences during that time are open only to leaders. (This continues until Sept. 1945.)

1942, April 18: The "superintendents" term for church auxiliary leaders disappears and is replaced with "presidents."

1946, May 2: The Sacrament is now to be passed to the presiding authority first.

1947: The church reaches the 1 million member mark.

1949, October: General Conference is broadcast for the first time on television.

1952, April: General Priesthood meeting is sent to chapels outside the Tabernacle by new telephone technology.

1953: The Cub Scout program begins in the church.

1953, March 25: Full-time missionaries now report to their local stake leaders, instead of the First Presidency.

1954, July: The Indian Placement program begins.

1954, Aug. 31: Priest and teacher ordination age is lower to 16 and 14, vs. the former 15 and 17.

1955, Dec. 27: The first college wards are created in the church, at BYU.

1956, Oct. 3: The Relief Society Building is dedicated.

1957, October: General Conference is canceled because of a flu outbreak.

1959, April 6: The "every member a missionary" program begins.

1960, July 21: Young men can now serve full time missions at age 19, without certain education and military service requirements.

1961, November: BYU established a language training center for missionaries.

1963, December: The Granite record vaults in Little Cottonwood Canyon are completed.

1964, January: Home teaching replaces ward teaching.

1969, January: Two months of language training is now the norm for foreign speaking missionaries.

1970, January: A computerized tithing system begins.

1970, October: Monday is now the designated Family Home Evening night. (Previously wards could choose a night.)

1971, January: The Ensign and New Era magazines begin.

1971, September: All LDS Women are not automatically enrolled in the Relief Society and dues for the group end.

1972: Church sports programs end at the regional level now, instead of going all-church.

1974, June 23: MIA is discontinued as the name for church youth programs.

1974, Sept. 6: The church divests its 15 hospitals into a non-profit organization.

1975, July 24: The 28-story Church Office Building is dedicated.

1978, March 31: Stake conferences are to be held twice a year now, instead of quarterly.

1978, June 9: Worthy Black males can now hold the priesthood, as new revelation was announced.

1978, Sept. 9: An MTC in Provo now replaces the Salt Lake Mission Home. (This also means missionaries no longer have a "Solemn Assembly" with the Prophet in the Salt Lake Temple, as part of their training.)

1978, Sept. 16: A Young Women's conference is now held each fall.

1978, Sept. 30: Emeritus status for some general authorities begins.

1979, Feb. 18: The church's 1,000th stake is created in Nauvoo, Ill.

1979, Sept. 29: A new King James Bible is released by the church.

1980, March 2: Block time meetings begin.

1981, Sept. 12: The less costly Sage design chapel is announced.

1981: The church discontinues the historic Delta Phi Kappa Fraternity, as the last chapter holdout, Weber State, closes.

1981, Sept. 26: The church releases a new triple combination set of scriptures.

1985: A new LDS Hymn book is published,the first in 37 years.

1986, Oct. 4: Seventies quorums in stakes are discontinued.

1987: The Hotel Utah closes, to be renovated to a chapel/office structure.

1989: The Second Quorum of the Seventy is created.

1989, May 16: The BYU Jerusalem Center is dedicated.

1989, Nov. 25: Stake and ward budget assessments end. The costs for all full-time missionaries are equalized.

1995: Area Authorities are announced, as a new calling.

1995: The Family Proclamation is released.

1996, Feb. 28: The majority of church members now live outside the U.S.

1996: The church begins a humanitarian fund.

1997: Third, Fourth and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy are announced.

1997: A commemorative wagon train reenacts the pioneer trek to Utah 150 years earlier.

1997, June 1: Priesthood and Relief Society lessons will be the same starting in 1998, comes an announcement.

1997, November: Church membership surpasses 10 million.

1999, Oct. 2-3: The last General Conference is held in the Tabernacle, as the Conference Center opens next year.

2000: The 100 millionth copy of The Book of Mormon is published, as well as its printing in its 100th different language.

2001: Ricks College is renamed BYU-Idaho.

2002, Feb. 8-24: Salt Lake City hosts the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. More than 10,000 visitors a day visit Temple Square.

2003, Jan. 11: The first-ever satellite transmitted priesthood leadership meeting is held globally, reaching more than 97 percent of all leaders.

2004: The Sixth Quorum of the Seventy is created.

2004, November: The "Preach My Gospel" missionary program premieres.

2005, April: The Seventh and Eighth Quorums of the Seventy are created.

2005: Plans for a new Church History Library are announced.

2007: The Salt Lake Tabernacle closes for extensive renovations and to meet seismic codes. Seating capacity is reduced by about 1,000.

2008: The first volume in the Joseph Smith Papers series is released.

2012, October: The age for young men to serve full-time missions is reduced by one year to age 18. The age for young women to serve is lower from 21 to age 19.

2013: The Church's membership exceeds 15 million.

SOURCES: Church News Almanac, Google, personal notes.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

LDS Church Programs Have Evolved Over Time

 Changes in programs and policies for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have occurred periodically during its 180-plus -year history, as conditions, circumstances, technologies, membership numbers and needs changed. 
For example, meetings weren't always in a three-hour block; "fast day" wasn't always on Sunday; teachers and priests weren't always ordained at ages 14 and 16 respectively; missionaries didn't begin full-time service at age 19; and chapels didn't always include cultural halls.
Some of the changes are announced at general conferences such as the one taking place this weekend.
Among the many changes over the years:
Buildings — LDS chapels and classrooms, previously separate structures, were joined beginning in 1920 through the use of a cultural hall and foyer. During President David O. McKay's tenure in the 1950s, cultural halls were linked to chapels by sliding curtains.
Also, basketball courts were standard in new LDS Ward buildings by the mid 1940s.

Family Home Evening — This program was first announced in 1915 by the First Presidency. Monday became the designated night church-wide in 1970.
Fast Day — Starting in 1896, Fast Day was set on the first Sunday of the month, instead of the first Thursday.
Genealogy — Local wards and stakes begin to establish on-site genealogical facilities in 1964. The Genealogical Department was renamed the Family History Department in 1987. FamilySearch software was released by the church in 1990.
General authorities — The First Presidency announced a new leadership position, assistant to the Twelve, in 1941. Emeritus status came along in 1978. The Second Quorum of the Seventy was created in 1989. General authorities stopped serving on boards of directors for businesses starting in 1996. Area authority seventies were called beginning in 1995.

General conference — The twice-yearly meetings were shortened from three days to two days in 1977. Until then, conferences were planned to include April 6, the anniversary of the founding of the church. Conferences were sometimes held on non-consecutive days.
Home teaching — "Ward teaching" was replaced by home teaching starting in 1964.
Institute — The church's first Institute began in 1926, not at Brigham Young University, but at the University of Idaho.
MIA — The Mutual Improvement Association was revised and renamed Young Men and Young Women starting in 1974. (Young Women's Mutual program was originally called "The Young Ladies' Retrenchment Association.") "M-Men and Gleaners" groups started in 1921 to serve young people ages 17-23, and continued until 1974.
Meetings — The "block time" began in 1980, replacing separate priesthood/Sunday school meetings and separate sacrament meetings with a single section of continuous meetings. (Before the block time, priesthood and Sunday School meetings were held in the morning and church members came back in the evening for an approximately 90-minute sacrament service.) Semi-annual stake conferences replaced quarterly gatherings in 1979. A network of satellite dishes at stake centers was announced in 1981.
Missionaries — Married men were serving full-time missions as recently as the early 1950s. The first standard missionary discussions were issued in 1952. Returned missionaries stopped reporting to general authorities in 1953 and only reported thereafter to their home stake presidency and high council. In 1961, a language training mission was established at BYU. The age for young men to serve a full-time mission was lowered from 20 to 19 starting in the early 1960s. The Missionary Training Center in Provo, previously the Language Training Mission, started training all missionaries in 1978. Missionary service was reduced from two years to 18 months for a two-year period, 1982-1984. Costs for full-time missionary service were equalized in all missions starting in 1990.
In  October 2012, the missionary age for young men was dropped by one year to age 18 and it was also lowered for young women to age 19. Also, the social media began being used in some areas for missionary contacts, more so than the old traditional tracting, door-to-door approach.
Plural marriage — The "Manifesto" was adopted by the church in 1890, declaring that the church would obey the constitutional law of the land and cease plural marriage. In 1904, President Joseph F. Smith reaffirmed the 1890 Manifesto.
Priesthood — Worthy men of all races could receive the priesthood starting in 1978.
Priesthood advancement — The First Presidency formally adopted the ages of 12, 15, 18 and 21 as ages for deacon, teacher, priest and elder advancement starting in 1908. The age was reduced for teachers and priests to 14 and 16, respectively, beginning in 1954, and the age for elders was lowered to 19 at about the same time. Seventies quorums in stakes throughout the church were discontinued in 1986.
Primary — Presiding officers of the Primary were called presidents, rather than "superintendents," starting in 1942.
Records — The presiding bishopric began keeping master membership records in 1941, eliminating the need for personal membership certificates. A computerized system for recording contributions went into effect in 1970. All membership records were computerized worldwide by 1991.
Relief Society — All women were automatically enrolled in the program and dues were eliminated as of 1971.
Sacrament service — The tradition of passing the sacrament to the presiding authority first began in 1946. Drip-proof sacrament trays first appeared in the late 1950s.
Student wards — The first appeared at BYU in 1956 and the practice expanded to other universities. By the 2010s, some "Mid Singles" wards were also operating.
Tithing/contributions — This practice of paying a 10th of one's increase was re-emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow in 1899. In 1908, the church discontinued "tithing script" and moved to an all-cash system. Meetinghouse construction costs were shifted to general church funds in 1982, ending local building fund campaigns. Stakes and wards no longer have budget assessments, starting in 1989.
Welfare — The church began its first formal welfare program to help the needy in 1936.

(Sources: Deseret Morning News Church Almanac, Mormon Encyclopedia, Desert Morning News archives.)

(-Updated, but originally published in the Deseret News, Oct. 3, 2006.)

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Bountiful, Utah Boasts Its Own 'Hill Cumorah'

THE famous Hill Cumorah, located just south of Palmyra, N.Y., is one of the shrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was here that Mormons believe Joseph Smith was divinely directed to find the buried Golden Plates that were later translated into the Book of Mormon, the cornerstone of the faith.
Bountiful, Utah, too, has a Hill Cumorah.
Bountiful, named after a city mentioned in the Book of Mormon, has its Hill Cumorah on the city's southeast side, east of Bountiful Boulevard at about 3800-4300 South in the Foothill/Summerwood Drive area. It's on the opposite side of town from the Bountiful LDS Temple.
The unofficially named Bountiful Hill Cumorah, some 2,300 miles away from the original, was first called that by Bountiful resident Wilford C. Wood, who owned property there.
"He thought the hill resembled the Hill Cumorah," Wilford W. Cannon, a grandson of Wilford C. Wood, said. Bountiful City officials in recent years have been referring to it as Hill Cumorah too. That may be a step toward the hill officially being named Cumorah.

"The city's slant on it is that it is a historical name and it is easily recognized by most of the city staff," Tom Hardy, Bountiful city manager, said. "We do have a water tank on the south side of the hill and we have informally called it the 'Cumorah tank,' although it is not an official designation."
The water tank is a 1.5 million-gallon, 110-foot diameter, concrete structure.
This Hill Cumorah is well known by residents who live in that area of town and by old-timers, but most others are likely unaware of it.

LDS Church President David O. McKay spoke at a special fireside on the meadow behind the Bountiful hill in the 1950s.
Best viewing options of the hill are at North Canyon Park on Bountiful Boulevard or from as far away as portions of 400 East in Centerville. A large residence now graces the south end of the hill, but Cannon said the north end is committed to remain an undeveloped park area.
Wood, who died in 1968, had a passion for historical sites. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was also instrumental in the church's acquisition of several key historical sites.
Among other purchases, he bought a portion of the Nauvoo temple lot on Feb. 20, 1937, on behalf of the church and also the Liberty Jail in Independence, Mo. He made the jail site purchase on June 19, 1939. Joseph Smith, the church's first prophet, and four other church leaders were imprisoned for more than four months in the jail, starting in December of 1838. The church now has a visitor center on the site.

(-Originally published by Lynn Arave in the Deseret News, July 25, 2003.)

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Some LDS Church Names, Terms Abandoned/Changed Over the Years

 The organization, magazine and business names within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have changed over the years.
For example, today there is the Young Women organization. But it wasn't always so. The group started as the Young Ladies' Relief Society. It was also referred to as the Young Ladies' Retrenchment Association, the Young Ladies' National Mutual Improvement Association, the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association and the Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women — all before today's title.
Today's Primary groups — nursery, Sunbeams, CTRs and Valiants — used to have a variety of nicknames.
Here's a partial list of some of the names and abbreviations previously used in the church:
A.C.M.I. — The Arizona Co-operative Mercantile Institution, the title for a short-lived Arizona version of ZCMI.
Beacons — This was a short-lived title for 8-year-olds in the primary, starting in 1953.
Bluebirds — These were 10- and 11-year-old girls, starting in the 1926 Primary organization. Later, they were just the 10-year-olds.
Children's Friend — Original name of The Friend, a church magazine for young children, from 1902 to 1970.
Co—Pilots — This was the title for Primary 7-year-olds in 1952.
Deseret Sunday School Union — Original name of the church's Sunday School program.
Firelights — In 1960, this was the 10-year-old Primary girls.
Gaynotes — The 9-year-old Primary girls in 1959 used this title, as part of the revised Liahonas (Little Homemakers) girls program.
Junior Sunday School — A standard church program for about 50 years, starting in 1933.
Juvenile Instructor
— The official publication of the church's Sunday School, from 1866 to 1930. The name was simplified to Instructor, until it ceased publication in 1970.

                                          Improvement Era Magazine from June 1964.

Improvement Era — The original name of today's Ensign magazine, from 1897 to 1970. There was also a Relief Society Magazine, from 1914 to 1970.
Larks — Primary girls, age 9, used this name in 1929.
Lihomas— This was an umbrella title for all older Primary girls in 1940.
M-Men and Gleaners — Young men and young women departments in the church's MIA program, for ages 17-23, that began in 1921.
Merrihands — Eleven-year-old girls in 1959 were called Merrihands.
Merry Misses — What 9-year-old Primary girls were once called.
Mi-kan—wees — Starting in 1929, this was the name for 12- and 13-year-old girls
Moonbeams —A past nickname for Sunbeams, the youngest Primary class.
— A former name for 6-year-old Primary children.
Stars — What 4- and 5-year-old primary children were nicknamed.
Seagulls — Use of the name began in 1922 for 12-and 13-year-old girls. Later, the Seagulls were 11-year-old girls.
Targeteers — A past nickname for 8-year-olds in the Primary.
Trekkers — Previous name for 10-year-old Primary boys.
Vanguards —
Part of the YMMIA program for boys, ages 15-16, from 1928 to 1933, until the Boy Scouts began an Explorers program and the church adopted that.
Ward teaching —
Original title for today's home teaching, until 1964.
Zion's Boys
and Zion's Girls — These were the 7- and 8-year-olds starting in 1928. They were also known as Zeebees and Zeegees for some 20 years.
SOURCES:; Deseret News Archives; 2008 Church Almanac; and Wikipedia.

(-Originally published in the Deseret News, Jan. 24, 2008, By Lynn Arave.)

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.