This year, 2014, marks significant anniversaries in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These anniversaries range from the births and deaths of important LDS Church leaders to events that affected church members as a whole.
While not all-inclusive, the following are some of the notable anniversaries of the LDS Church in 2014.
Eliza R. Snow was born Jan. 21, 1804. She joined the church in 1835 and moved to Kirtland, Ohio, soon after.
She was the older sister of Lorenzo Snow, fifth president of the church. She became the second Relief Society president in 1866 and died in Salt Lake City on Dec. 5, 1887, according to her biography on lds.org.
Emma Hale was born July 10, 1804. During her life she played a significant role in the early history of the LDS Church. She married the Prophet Joseph Smith on Jan. 17, 1827 and stayed by his side until his death in 1844.
Emma organized the first book of hymns for the church, and on March 24, 1842, she was called as the first Relief Society president, according to her biography on lds.org.
This year also marks the 135th anniversary of Emma’s death on May 30, 1879, in Nauvoo, Illinois.
Lorenzo Snow was born April 3, 1814. He joined the church in 1836 and served missions both in the United States and abroad.
He became an apostle 165 years ago on Feb. 12, 1849. He became a counselor in the First Presidency in 1873 and later became the fifth president of the LDS Church on Sept. 13, 1898, according to information on lds.org and "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow."
In his presidency, President Snow focused on the principle of tithing. He died Oct. 10, 1901, in Salt Lake City.
Daniel H. Wells was born Oct. 27, 1814. According to josephsmithpapers.org, Wells' involvement with the LDS Church began before he was even baptized.
He lived in Commerce (later Nauvoo), Illinois, and served as the justice of the peace prior to the arrival of the Saints in 1839. Wells respected the church and Joseph Smith, but did not join the church until August 1849.
He moved with the Saints to Utah and became the first attorney general of the territory of Deseret. He became a second counselor to Brigham Young on Jan. 4, 1857, and served as the first president of the Manti Utah Temple.
He died March 24, 1891, in Salt Lake City.
After the disappearance of the 116 manuscript pages, Joseph Smith struggled to translate the Book of Mormon.
The Lord promised him that help would come, and that help came in the person of Oliver Cowdery. Cowdery and Joseph Smith met on April 5, 1829, according to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism online at eom.byu.edu.
Two days later, translation of the Book of Mormon continued with Cowdery as scribe. The work from then on continued at a rapid pace until the translation was completed in June 1829, according to lds.org.
On May 15, 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery went to the banks of the Susquehanna River near Harmony, Pennsylvania. They prayed to know more concerning baptism, and their prayer was answered when John the Baptist appeared and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood. John the Baptist directed Joseph to baptize Oliver and then for Oliver to baptize Joseph (see Joseph Smith-History 1:68-72).
Later that summer — the exact date is unknown — Peter, James and John conferred upon the two men the Melchizedek Priesthood (see "The Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods," by Larry C. Porter, Ensign, December 1996).
In one of the darkest periods for the church in general, and for Joseph Smith personally, the prophet and other church leaders, including Hyrum Smith, were imprisoned in Liberty Jail for more than four months. During this time, the Lord spoke comfort to the prophet and taught him valuable lessons, which can be found in sections 121-123 in the Doctrine and Covenants.
The prophet and his companions were finally allowed to escape during a change of venue on April 15, according to history.lds.org.
After their expulsion from Missouri, many of the Saints who had fled to Illinois settled in Commerce. The area was little more than a swamp and many of the Saints became infected with malaria, according to "Church History in the Fulness of Times."
Joseph Smith, too, became ill, but on July 22, 1839, the prophet was prompted to rise and help others. Wilford Woodruff described the scene as a “day of God’s power,” in which the prophet went from tent to tent blessing and healing the sick.
During the summer of 1839, members of the Quorum of the Twelve, as their circumstances permitted, left Nauvoo for a mission to England.
Many of the brethren suffered hardships as they left, according to "Church History in the Fulness of Times."
Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball were so sick that they had to be helped into a wagon in order to depart. Their families were equally sick and as they drove off, Kimball suggested they give their families “a cheer.” They arose and shouted, “Hurrah, hurrah for Israel” three times. Their families rose from their beds and came to the door. This sight gave the men comfort as they departed.
The apostles converted thousands of people to the gospel before most of them sailed for home in late April 1841.
In June 25, 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith entered Carthage Jail on charges of treason.
"Church History in the Fulness of Times" recounts how, on June 27, Joseph and Hyrum, John Taylor and Willard Richards were in the jail when, a few minutes after 5 p.m., a mob of men stormed the jail and began shooting.
The prophet and his companions did their best to block the door and used their canes to try to deflect the muskets that were poking through.
A bullet fired through the panel of the door struck Hyrum in the face, killing him.
John Taylor fled to the window but was shot multiple times. He survived the attack and would later become the third president of the church.
Joseph ran to the window, likely in an attempt to save the other men in the room, and was shot four times before falling out the second-story window.
John Taylor, in a tribute that would later become the 135th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, stated that Joseph Smith "lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and … has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated."
Samuel Smith, the younger brother of the prophet, was the first missionary in this dispensation.
Samuel was one of the first Saints in Carthage following the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, according to "Samuel H. Smith: Faithful Brother of Joseph and Hyrum" by Larene Porter Gaunt (Ensign, August 2008).
He contracted a fever, which grew worse, and he died July 30, 1844 — just over a month after the death of his brothers.
After the death of Joseph Smith, many of the LDS Church members did not know where to turn.
In a meeting to decide who should lead the church on Aug. 8, 1844, according to "Church History in the Fulness of Times," Sidney Rigdon declared that no one could take the place of Joseph Smith, but that he should be appointed guardian of the church.
Brigham Young, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, then spoke and, according to Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon and many other Saints, his voice and appearance changed so that he resembled Joseph Smith.
This transfiguration convinced the majority of the Saints that Brigham Young and the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve had been chosen by the Lord to lead the church.
After the initial pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, many Saints joined them in the years that followed. Some of the Saints were poor and didn’t have enough money to get farther than Iowa.
In the fall of 1849, according to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, the brethren instituted the Perpetual Emigration Fund. The idea behind the fund was that those Saints already in Utah would contribute to a fund and the Saints coming to Utah could borrow money from the fund and then pay it back as they became settled.
The program was a success, with about $6,000 raised initially and 2,500 people able to come to Utah with the help of the program in its first year.
The Young Women program as it exists today began as the Cooperative Retrenchment Association in November 1869.
President Brigham Young founded the association with his daughters as charter members, according to the Mormon Channel's series on the history of the Young Women organization.
By 1870, every ward had its own similar program.
On April 6, 1889, the Relief Society held its first general meeting in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake, according to the LDS Church Almanac.
More than 20 stakes were represented at the conference. Sister Zina D.H. Young was the Relief Society president at the time.
Almost two years after the death of President John Taylor, on July 25, 1887, Wilford Woodruff was sustained as president of the church on April 7, 1889, according to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
During his time as president of the church, President Woodruff issued the Manifesto, officially ending the practice of plural marriage.
President Woodruff was a diligent journal writer from the time he became a member of the church until his death on Aug. 2, 1898. His journal accounts contain important details about some events in church history that would be lost otherwise.
In May 1899, the church was heavily in debt, largely due to persecution.
President Lorenzo Snow was prompted to visit the Saints in St. George who had been plagued by drought, according to "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow."
President Snow received a revelation about tithing while speaking to the members of the church gathered in the St. George Tabernacle.
After delivering his sermon in St. George, President Snow traveled and spoke to 24 wards in southern Utah and on the trip back to Salt Lake City, preaching about the principle of tithing in every sermon he delivered.
The Saints renewed their efforts at paying tithing and, because of their renewed diligence, the Saints in St. George received temporary relief from the drought when it rained almost three inches.
In addition, the church was able to pay off all its debts within five years of President Snow’s revelation and has never been in debt since that time.
Due to questions about the creation of the world and the church’s stance on evolution, President Joseph F. Smith and his counselors, John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund, released “The Origin of Man,” an official response that expresses the church’s position on these matters.
It was reprinted in the February 2002 Ensign.
Adolf Hitler’s aggressive military actions in Europe caused concern not only for the political leaders of the nations but also the leaders of the church.
Mormon missionaries had been temporarily evacuated out of Germany in 1938, but returned after European leaders negotiated a truce, according to "Church History in the Fulness of Times."
The truce did not last, however, and on Aug. 24, 1939, the First Presidency ordered the evacuation of all missionaries from Germany to neutral countries.
Later, missionaries were instructed to evacuate Europe. The last group arrived in New York on Nov. 6, 1939.
The LDS Church’s presence at the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York was “One of the most unique and effective missionary efforts in (church) history,” according to President David O. McKay (see "Legacy of the Mormon Pavilion" by Brent L. Top, Ensign, October 1989).
More than 50 million people attended the fair, and nearly 6 million visited the Mormon Pavilion. In addition, nearly 1 million referrals were obtained, about 5 million church tracts and pamphlets were handed out and close to 100,000 people bought copies of the Book of Mormon, according to "Legacy of the Mormon Pavilion."
The Church History Museum — formerly the Museum of Church History and Art — opened on April 4, 1984.
The museum contains important documents and artifacts from church history, including original pages of the manuscript of the Book of Mormon as Joseph Smith translated it, an original Nauvoo Temple sunstone, the watch that saved John Taylor’s life in Carthage Jail and pioneer artifacts.
The museum also has exhibits about the presidents of the church and paintings highlighting the life of Jesus Christ.
After 8½ years of leading the church, President Ezra Taft Benson died in Salt Lake City on May 30, 1994.
Six days later, on June 5, President Howard W. Hunter became the 14th president of the church, according to his biography on lds.org.
He chose as his counselors President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson. President Hunter died March 3, 1995, serving less than nine months as president of the church, the shortest tenure of any president, according to the LDS Church Almanac.
During President Hunter’s tenure, the church reached 9 million members.
In his closing remarks at the end of general conference on April 4, 1999, President Gordon B. Hinckley made the announcement that the Nauvoo Illinois Temple would be rebuilt.
The temple was dedicated on June 27, 2002.
The October general conference of 1999 was in the Tabernacle at Temple Square for the final time.
The Tabernacle had been the site of general conferences since 1867. All general conferences since that time have been in the Conference Center.
In November 2004, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve introduced “Preach My Gospel,” a comprehensive program designed to strengthen and prepare missionaries and prospective missionaries.
“The booklet is considered the most complete, orchestrated effort in the history of the church to unify the missionary effort,” according to the LDS Church Almanac.