SALT LAKE CITY — It took 40 years to build and was the fourth temple dedicated in Utah, yet today the Salt Lake Temple stands as one of the most recognized symbols of the LDS faith.
April 6, 2018 marks the 125th anniversary of the Salt Lake Temple's 1893 dedication by President Wilford Woodruff. 85 years later, on June 9, 1978, it was announced that a revelation had been received that all worthy males members of the LDS Church would be eligible to receive the priesthood.
These are just two of many noteworthy LDS Church history anniversaries for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2018, while others are nothing more than interesting facts.
The following list, which draws from the 2013 LDS Church Almanac timeline and history.lds.org, is not all-inclusive. Some of the events mentioned collaborate with events discussed in the book, "What You Don't Know About the 100 Most Important Events in Church History," by Susan Easton Black, Mary Jane Woodger and Casey Paul Griffiths, professors of church history at Brigham Young University. Quotes from the book have been used to supplement six of these dates.
Angel Moroni visits Joseph Smith
On Sept. 21-22, 1823 — 195 years ago — the Angel Moroni visited 17-year-old Joseph Smith multiple times and told him about the gold plates that he would later translate into the Book of Mormon, one of the most widely distributed books in the world with more than 168 million copies published in 110 languages, the Deseret News has reported.
In February 1828 — 190 years ago — Martin Harris, who assisted Joseph during the translation process, took a transcript and partial translation of the Book of Mormon to professor Charles Anthon of Columbia College and to Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell of New York. In June, Harris borrowed and lost 116 manuscript pages.
"The loss of the manuscript remains one of the most dramatic and emotional episodes in the story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon," the trio of authors wrote in "100 Most Important Events." "It highlights the inexperience and poor judgment of Joseph Smith but also his sincerity and humility. The events of the episode are themselves a testament of the reality of the translation process."
Word of Wisdom
On Feb. 27, 1833 — 185 years ago — the Prophet Joseph received the revelation later known as the Word of Wisdom, a code for healthy living. In the early days of the church, this revelation was viewed more as a suggestion than a commandment and it wasn't until 1902 that President Joseph F. Smith instructed a bishop in Farmington to refuse a temple recommend to any blatant violators.
"The Word of Wisdom has become one of the key measures of Latter-day Saint faithfulness and is a signature practice in the church," the three authors wrote.
Name of the church
On April 26, 1838 — 180 years ago — The name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was given by revelation, according to Doctrine and Covenants 115.
On July 8, 1838 — also 180 years ago — a revelation on the law of tithing was given, according to Doctrine and Covenants 119.
On May 4, 1843 — 175 years ago — the first full endowments, a sacred ceremony performed in LDS temples, was given in Nauvoo, Illinois.
Miracle of the gulls
In May 1848 — 170 years ago — millions of crickets descended into the Salt Lake Valley and devoured the pioneers' crops. "The miracle of the seagulls" devoured the crickets and saved what was left of the crops, allowing the pioneers to survive.
Great Salt Lake City drops the 'great'
On Jan. 29, 1868 — 150 years ago — The name Great Salt Lake City was changed to Salt Lake City.
On Aug. 25, 1878 — 140 years ago — the Primary Association, founded by Aurelia Rogers, held its first meeting at Farmington. At that time, Rogers was a 44-year-old mother of 12 who was concerned about the delinquency of young boys. The movement spread rapidly and a churchwide program, with Louie B. Felt as the first general president, was organized on June 19, 1880.
"The work of Aurelia Spencer Rogers suggests that the course of church history can be affected by the sincere efforts of one Latter-day Saint working outside the center to influence the greater whole," the three authors wrote.
On May 17, 1888 — 130 years ago — The Manti Temple, the third temple in Utah, was dedicated in a private service by President Woodruff of the Quorum of the Twelve; a public service was held May 21.
In June of 1888 — also 130 years ago — the Church General Board of Education sent a letter instructing each stake to set up an academy for secondary education. From 1888 to 1909, 35 academies were established in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, Mexico and Canada. The academy in Rexburg, Idaho, later became Ricks College and then BYU-Idaho.
First sister missionaries
On April 1, 1898 — 120 years ago — Inez Knight and Lucy Brimhall were set apart to be missionaries in England, the first single, official proselyting sister missionaries in the church.
"The work of the first sister missionaries opened the door for a new era in missionary work, and a new era for Latter-day Saint women," the three authors wrote. "The brave pioneering efforts of these first sister missionaries laid the foundation for the work of the sister missionaries of our time."
On Nov. 5, 1903 — 115 years ago — the Carthage Jail, where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred, was purchased by the LDS Church for $4,000.
Vision of the redemption of the dead
On Oct. 3, 1918 — 100 years ago — President Joseph F. Smith was contemplating the meaning of Christ’s Atonement when he received a manifestation showing how after his crucifixion, Jesus Christ organized others to teach the gospel in the spirit world and offer redemption to those who died without knowledge of the gospel. His vision was published two months later and added first to the Pearl of Great Price then to the Doctrine of Covenants as Section 138 on June 6, 1979.
"The canonization of the vision of the redemption of the dead played a large role in moving forward temple work for the deceased," the three authors wrote.
Chicago World's Fair
On June 1, 1933 — 85 years ago — the LDS Church created a 500-foot exhibit in the Hall of Religions at the Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. Famed LDS sculptor Avard Fairbanks prepared the exhibit.
On Aug. 14, 1938 — 80 years ago — the LDS Church opened the doors of the first Deseret Industries in Salt Lake City. One of Deseret Industries' objectives was to give work opportunities for the elderly and handicapped.
BYU's Marriott Center
On Feb. 4, 1973 — 45 years ago — the Marriott Activities Center was dedicated on the campus of BYU. The new center's seating capacity of 22,000 was the largest for any such arena on any university campus in the nation at that time.
Revelation on priesthood
On June 9, 1978 — 40 years ago — the LDS Church's First Presidency announced that all worthy males members of all races would be eligible to receive the priesthood. The announcement became Official Declaration 2 in the Doctrine and Covenants.
"Few events have had greater effect on the church's worldwide expansion than the 1978 revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy males," the authors wrote. "For Latter-day Saints, the announcement became a moment of 'I remember where I was when I heard.'"
First temple in Latin America
In October of the same year — also 40 years ago — the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, the first temple in Latin America, was dedicated by President Spencer W. Kimball. Four decades later, there are 16 operating temples in South America, with another 10 announced, under construction or undergoing renovation.
Another notable event in 1978 — 40 years ago — took place on Sept. 16 when Latter-day Saint women and girls age 12 and over gathered for a first-ever special closed-circuit audio conference, similar to the priesthood session for men and boys during general conference. As of last October, the women and girls now have their own session of general conference on Saturday night during the October conference.
On June 27, 1993 — 25 years ago — the former Hotel Utah was refurbished, remodeled and renamed the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. In addition to serving as office space and meeting facilities for church employees, the historic building features a theater, the Nauvoo Cafe and reception catering and other events.
On April 4, 1998 — 20 years ago — President Gordon B. Hinckley announced in general conference that the church would construct 30 small temples that would lift the total number of operating temples to 100 by the year 2000. On July 26, President Hinckley dedicated the first small temple in Monticello, Utah, which became the prototype for these small temples, operated by local members in less populated areas. By the end of 2000, there were 102 operating temples.
Global leadership training
On Jan. 11, 2003 — 15 years ago — the church held its first-ever global leadership training via satellite transmission for priesthood leaders. The broadcast was transmitted to more than 97 percent of the church's priesthood leaders in 56 languages.
Passing of a prophet, calling of a new prophet6 comments on this story
On Jan. 27, 2008, — 10 years ago — President Hinckley, 15th president of the church, died at age 97 after serving for 13 years as church president. President Thomas S. Monson was sustained as the new president on Feb. 3.
'The single most significant historical project'
It was also in November of 2008 — 10 years ago — that the first volume of the Joseph Smith Papers project was published under the new Church Historian's Press imprint, ushering in a new era of transparency in church history. Elder Marlin K. Jensen, then a General Authority Seventy and Church Historian and Recorder, called the project "the single most significant historical project of our generation."