The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will mark several notable dates in 2017, including the 175th anniversary of the organization of the Relief Society, the 125th anniversary of the dedication of a building that has become a Utah County landmark, and several milestones in LDS Church missionary work, among others.
Drawing from timelines in the 2013 LDS Church Almanac and on history.lds.org, the Deseret News has compiled a list of several notable dates related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to watch for in the coming year. This list is not all-inclusive.
The gold plates
On Sept. 22, 1827 — 190 years ago — Joseph Smith obtained the gold plates from the Angel Moroni at the Hill Cumorah in upstate New York.
International missionary work
On July 19, 1837 — 180 years ago — Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Willard Richards, Joseph Fielding and others arrived in Liverpool, England, on the first Mormon mission outside the United States and Canada. Within two weeks, nine people were baptized in the River Ribble at Preston. They became the first converts to the church in Great Britain. By December, there were 1,000 Latter-day Saints in England.
Articles of Faith
On March 1, 1842 — 175 years ago — the Articles of Faith were published for the first time in the Times and Seasons in Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith wrote the articles in response to a request from John Wentworth of the Chicago Democrat.
On March 17 of the same year, Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society for female church members in Nauvoo. His wife, Emma Smith, was named as president. The society's mission was to look after the poor.
In July 1882 — 135 years ago — the Relief Society was behind the opening of the Deseret Hospital, the first church hospital in Salt Lake City.
On Oct. 12, 1892 — 125 years ago — the Relief Society became known as the National Women's Relief Society. In 1945, the name was changed again to the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The trek West
In 1847 — 170 years ago — President Brigham Young's company left Winter Quarters, Nebraska, in April and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24.
The Salt Lake Tabernacle
On Oct. 6, 1867 — 150 years ago — the church conducted its first general conference in the newly completed Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square, although the building wasn't formally dedicated until eight years later in 1875.
St. George Temple
Less than six months before his death, 76-year-old President Young dedicated the St. George Utah Temple on April 6, 1877 — which was 140 years ago.
Brigham Young Academy
On Jan. 4, 1892 — 125 years ago — the new Brigham Young Academy building was dedicated in Provo.
The Improvement Era
In November 1897 — 120 years ago — the Improvement Era, a monthly magazine, became the official publication of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association. It continued as the official voice of the LDS Church until 1970 when it was replaced by the Ensign magazine.
In 1907 — 110 years ago— the LDS Church purchased the 100-acre Smith farm near Palmyra, New York, including the area known as the Sacred Grove.
In September 1912 — 105 years ago — the church's first seminary class took roll at Granite High School in Salt Lake City, marking the beginning of a released-time weekday education program for young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As the seminary program grew, church leaders phased out church involvement in academies (church-sponsored high schools or junior colleges).
100 years ago
There are two noteworthy dates from 1917. As the church opened its 87th annual general conference, the United States declared war against Germany and entered World War I.
On Oct. 2, the Church Administration Building located at 47 E. South Temple was completed.
Mesa Arizona Temple
On Oct. 23, 1927 — 90 years ago — President Heber J. Grant dedicated the first temple in Arizona, located in Mesa. The dedicatory services were broadcast by radio.
Hill Cumorah Pageant
In July 1937 — 80 years ago — a pageant, "America's Witness for Christ," premiered with an outdoor stage on the side of the Hill Cumorah in upstate New York.
World War II
In March 1942 — 75 years ago— the First Presidency announced that for the duration of World War II, only older men who had been ordained high priests or Seventies would be called on full-time missions.
In April of the same year, because of limitations on travel, April general conference was closed to general church membership and confined to general authorities and presidencies of 141 stakes. The First Presidency also closed the Salt Lake Tabernacle for the duration of the war. Conference sessions were in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square and in the assembly room of the Salt Lake Temple.
In July, church welfare leaders urged members to plant gardens, bottle as many fruits and vegetables as they could, and store coal.
1 million members
On Jan. 1, 1947 — 70 years ago — LDS Church membership reached the 1 million mark.
Ogden and Provo
On Jan. 18, 1972 — 45 years ago — President Joseph Fielding Smith dedicated the original Ogden Utah Temple.
Less than a month later, on Feb. 9, President Smith also dedicated the Provo Temple.
35 years ago
In 1982— 35 years ago — as church membership reached 5 million members, then-Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a member of the scriptures publication committee, announced a subtitle would be added to the Book of Mormon: "Another Testament of Jesus Christ."
In October of the same year, a visitors center and historic site opened at the three-story Grandin printing building in Palmyra, New York, where the first copies of the Book of Mormon were printed in 1830.
On July 15, 1987 — 30 years ago — the genealogical library celebrated the conversion to computer of the last card from its card catalog.
On Aug. 15, the church's Genealogical Department was renamed as the Family History Department.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir8 comments on this story
On Dec. 26, 1992 — 25 years ago — the Mormon Tabernacle Choir left on a tour of the Holy Land and later performed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa in Israel.
20 years ago
On June 1, 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the 50th operating temple of the LDS Church in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Vernal Utah Temple became No. 51 when it was dedicated by President Hinckley on Nov. 2. The building originally served as the Uintah Stake Tabernacle and was dedicated 100 years earlier in 1907.