A Book of Mormons
by Richard S. Van Wagoner and Steven C. Walker
1899. March 28: Born Harold Bingham Lee in Clifton, Idaho. In 1923 he married Fern Lucinda Tanner; they had two children. She died in 1961, and a year later he married Freda Joan Jensen.
“There came some tests when a loved one was taken from me and my life was crushed. A part of my life was buried in the cemetery, and I wondered, Here I was struggling to help others. Why? Then I theorized that maybe this was a great test, and if I could survive it, maybe there would be no other test that I wouldn’t be able to meet. Just as I was recovering from that sorrow a daughter died suddenly, leaving four little children motherless. That was difficult. It is still difficult to understand. But the ways of the Lord are righteous, and sometimes we have to go through experiences like these in order for us to be prepared to face the issues of today’s world.”
1916. At seventeen, he taught at Silver Star School near Weston, Idaho. In 1917 he became the principal of a four-room school at Oxford, Idaho.
1920. Following a mission in Denver, Colorado, he worked as a school principal in Salt Lake City.
1929. Called at the age of thirty to serve as president of Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Stake—the youngest stake president in the Church at the time.
Father of the Church Welfare Program
1932. With nearly half the adult members of his stake unemployed, President Lee instituted programs to provide fuel, bedding, clothes, and food for approximately 2,500 people hardest hit by the Depression. The stake also helped its [p.152]members find jobs in private enterprise; others were put to work renovating chapels and cutting wood for church stoves.
Goods donated to the stake were stored in the old Bamberger electric train warehouse and then given to the needy or sold to purchase other necessities
Lee’s self-sufficiency programs were so successful that the Church allowed tithing revenues to remain within Pioneer Stake. His stake programs provided the first step in the creation of a worldwide Church welfare program.
1935. While serving as a Salt Lake City commissioner, he was called to the first Church Security (Welfare) Committee. In 1937 he became its managing director, traveling with Melvin J. Ballard to institute the new Church welfare program worldwide.
“There I was, just a young man in my thirties. My experience had been limited. I was born in a little country town in Idaho. I had hardly been outside the boundaries of the states of Utah and Idaho. And now to put me in a position where I was to reach out to the entire membership of the Church, worldwide, was one of the most staggering contemplations that I could imagine.”
1941. Called to the Quorum of the Twelve by Heber J. Grant after the death of Reed Smoot. An excellent pianist, he often played for Quorum of the Twelve meetings.
In 1960 the First Presidency directed the General Priesthood Committee, which Elder Lee chaired, to provide “more coordination and correlation between the activities and programs of the various priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations and the educational system of the Church [and] … to formulate policy which will govern the planning, the writing, co-ordination, and implementation of the entire Church curriculum.” Lee became chairman of the Church Correlation Committee in 1961.
In 1970 he became president of the Quorum of the Twelve and first counselor to President Joseph Fielding Smith.
[p.153]Eleventh President of the Church
1972. On the death of President Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee became, at age seventy-one, the youngest president of the Church in more than forty years. He selected as counselors N. Eldon Tanner and Marion G. Romney, both cousins of his first wife. He was the only Church president except Heber J. Grant to have served as stake president.
As Church president, he also became chairman of the board for such businesses as Zion’s First National Bank, Hotel Utah Corporation, Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, ZCMI, and Bonneville International.
He counseled men against becoming workaholics in their Church assignments: “I find some of our brethren who are engaged in leadership positions justifying their neglect of their families because they say that they are engaged in the Lord’s work. I say to them, ‘My dear brother, do you realize that the most important part of the Lord’s work that you will do is the work that you do within the walls of your own home? That is the most important work of the Lord. Don’t get your sense of values mixed up.”
His presidency was noted for dramatic changes in Church administration. He emphasized priesthood in youth programs, restructured auxiliary general boards, and created internal and external communication committees for improving the Church’s public relations. He is perhaps best remembered for stressing Church programs for the single adult members of the Church: “We are endeavoring to reach those for whom we have had no adequate programs. Man wasn’t made for the Church, to paraphrase what the Master said, but the Church was made for man.”
Regarding changes in Church policy, he said, “Now brethren of the priesthood, if you knew the processes by which these new programs came into being, you would know that this just didn’t come out of a brainstorm, the figment of somebody’s imagination; this was done after some of the most soulful praying and discussing that I believe I have ever experienced. We know, and we have announced when it was given that this came from the Lord.”
1973. December 26: His death from a heart ailment at age seventy-four cut short Harold B. Lee’s administration to only seventeen months—shortest term of all Church presidents. Buried in the Salt Lake Cemetery.
Deseret News, 27 December 1973.
Conference Reports, October 1961, October 1973.
Improvement Era, July 1953.
Lee, Harold B. From the Valley of Despair to the Mountain Peaks of Hope. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1971.
_____. My Kingdom Shall Roll Forth. Salt Lake City: Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980.
1812. September 12: Born John Doyle Lee in Kaskaskia, Illinois. He married Agatha Woolsey in 1833 and eventually married eighteen plural wives, including three sisters and their widowed mother. Lee fathered sixty children. He gave his youngest wife a divorce so she could marry one of his sons by another wife. Eleven of his nineteen wives left him.
Lee was Brigham Young’s brother-in-law and his “adopted son” by sealing.
1838. Lee and his wife were converted by missionaries in Illinois and were baptized in Far West, Missouri, where he joined a paramilitary group called the “Danites.” When Lee and other Mormons tried to vote in Gallatin, Missouri, they were prevented by local toughs. After one Mormon was knocked to the ground, Lee saw John L. Butler give the Danite sign of distress (“placing the right hand to the right temple, the thumb behind the ear”), and heard him yell, “Charge, Danites!”
In the ensuing fight, the eight Danites “knocked down and laid open, in a frightful manner, the skulls of several citizens with a bludgeon.”
William Swartzell, one of the eight, recorded that the Danites began foraging the countryside for “honey which they called sweet oil, hogs which they called bear, and cattle which they called buffalo.” Lee admitted looting, but denied killing anyone or burning any buildings.
1839. Ordained a seventy, Lee served a short mission to Tennessee, where he baptized twenty-seven persons, including Bill Hickman. During the next four years he filled four additional short-term missions, including one to his hometown of Kaskaskia, Illinois.
1843. Like many former Danites, Lee served as a city policeman in Nauvoo and guarded Joseph Smith’s home. He was also wharfmaster, major in the Nauvoo Legion, and general secretary of Nauvoo seventies.
1844. Campaigning for Joseph Smith’s presidential candidacy, Lee said he was told of the Prophet’s death by an angelic visitor: “Instead of electing your leader the chief magistrate of this nation—they have Martyrd him in prison—which has hastened his exaltation to the executive chair over this generation.”
Council of Fifty Member
1845. March 1: Became one of the first men admitted to the Council of Fifty following the death of Joseph Smith.
1848 Settled in Salt Lake City.
1850. Brigham Young called Lee to accompany George A. Smith in colonizing Iron County. Lee offered to donate $2,000 instead, but Young insisted, “Bro. George wants you to go with him so do I.”
For the next twenty-five years Lee tirelessly “converted the raw wilderness into profitable farms, developed large herds of cattle, sheep, and goats, experimented successfully with many new agricultural products, including silk and cotton, founded settlements, built fences, dug irrigation ditches, erected saw-, grist-, and sugar-cane mills, played the role of explorer, dealt sternly or kindly with the Indians as occasion required, [and] established and operated a ferry across the isolated, silt-laden waters of the Colorado.” He served as a Parowan alderman (1851), as Washington County’s probate judge (1856), and Utah legislator (1857-58).
[p.158]Mountain Meadows Massacre Leader
1857. In the midst of confusion over the advancing Utah Expeditionary Force, a wagon train of approximately 140 California-bound emigrants headed south from Salt Lake City. Some of the men boasted of possessing a gun which had “shot the guts out of Old Joe Smith” and claimed they would return from California with an army to wipe “every damn Mormon off the earth.”
Indians accused the emigrants of poisoning springs, causing the death of several Indians and cattle. The emigrants also had the misfortune of being from the state where Apostle Parley P. Pratt had just been murdered—Arkansas.
Sunday, September 6, the train stopped at Mountain Meadows—eighty-five miles west of Cedar City—for a few weeks of rest before crossing the desert westward. Two days later a large band of Indians attacked the company. When word of the attack reached Cedar City, local Church leaders met and asked Lee, who was the Church’s liason with the Indians, to “manage” them. A rider was dispatched to Salt Lake City for instructions.
President Young sent the messenger back, “urging him to spare no horse flesh”: bloodshed was to be avoided. But before the messenger reached Cedar City, local Church and military leaders held a priesthood prayer circle and ordered the destruction of the emigrant company.
Under a flag of truce, Lee persuaded the emigrants to surrender their weapons. The wounded were loaded into Lee’s wagon; their guns were placed in another wagon with the children. Each adult male emigrant was ordered to march single file beside a Mormon militiaman. At a prearranged signal—”Do your duty!”—each Mormon turned and killed the man he was guarding. Indians rushed from their hiding places and fell upon the defenseless women and older children. Lee personally killed the wounded men in his wagon. Accounts of the number of dead vary, but more than a hundred people were killed. Only the eighteen children under age ten survived.
The affair was first reported to Brigham Young as an Indian massacre. When the truth became known, sus-[p.159]pected Church leaders in Cedar City were released and advised to remain quiet. Three were excommunicated. Many moved to Arizona under assumed names.
1870. Brigham Young advised Lee to leave his home at Harmony to build a sawmill with Levi Stewart in the pine forests of Lower Kanab. Two weeks after the mill was completed, Lee was astonished to receive a terse notice of his excommunication. When Brigham Young came to Saint George for the winter, Lee “asked him how it was that: I was held in fellowship for 13 years for an act then committed & all of a sudden I must be cut off from this Church. … He replied that they had never learned the particulars until lately. … I declared my innocence of doeing any thing designedly wrong; what we done was by the mutual consent & council of the high counsellors, Presidents, Bishops & leading men, who Prayed over the Matter & diligently Sought the Mind & will of the Spirit of Truth to direct the affair.”
A week later an unsigned letter in the handwriting of Apostle Erastus Snow warned Lee, “If you will consult your own safety & that [of] others, you will not press yourself nor an investigation on others at this time lest you cause others to become accessory with you & thereby force them to inform upon you or suffer. Our advice is, trust no one. Make yourself scarce & keep out of the way.”
1874. A federal grand jury indicted John D. Lee, former Stake President Isaac Haight, and seven others for complicity in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. When Lee, who had been hiding out at his ferry on the Colorado River, visited one of his families in Panguitch, he was captured and tried. After nine months in the Beaver, Utah, jail, Lee was acquitted. But he was remanded to the territorial penitentiary in Sugarhouse to await yet another trial. In 1875 he wrote:
Old Mormon Bull, how came you here?
We have tuged and toiled these many years,
we have been cuffed and kicked with sore abuse
[p.160]and now sent here for penetentiary use.
We both are creatures of some Note.
You are food for Prisoners and I the scap goat.
1876. September: Charges against everyone but Lee were dropped. He was convicted of murder. The verdict was upheld by the Utah Supreme Court.
1877. March 23: Returned to Mountain Meadows to be executed, Lee was given a moment to speak: “I have but little to say this morning. Of course I feel that I am on the brink of eternity, and the solemnities of eternity should rest upon my mind. … I am ready to die. I trust in God. I have no fear. Death has no terror. … I ask the Lord my God, if my labors are done, to receive my spirit.”
[p.160 photo left: John D. Lee (with neckscarf) sitting on his coffin, firing squad in the background. p. 161 photo right]
[p.161]Lee shook hands with those in attendance, had his picture taken sitting on his coffin, gave away articles of his outer clothing, and instructed the firing squad to aim for his heart so as not to mutilate his body. He was shot while sitting on the edge of his casket. He was sixty-five. His body was taken by the family to Panguitch, Utah, for burial.
1961. Reinstated in the Church by authority of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.
Brooks, Juanita. John D. Lee. Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1972.
Cleland, Robert Grass, and Brooks, Juanita, eds. A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D. Lee 1848-1876. 2 vols. San Marino, California: Huntington Library, 1955.
Deseret News, 21 April 1894.
Lee, John D. Mormonism Unveiled. St. Louis: Bryan, Brand, & Co., 1877. Salt Lake City, Utah. LDS Church Archives. John D. Lee Journals.
1813. March 30: Born Amasa (“Amacy”) Mason Lyman in Lyman, New Hampshire. He married Louisa Maria Tanner in 1835, Caroline Ely Partridge (1844), Eliza Maria Partridge Smith (1844), Cornelia Eliza Lott (1844), Dionita Walker (1845), Paulina Eliza Phelps (1846), and Lydia Partridge (1853). The three Partridge wives were sisters—daughters of Bishop Edward Partridge. Lyman was the father of thirty-seven children, including Apostle Francis M. Lyman, father of Apostle Richard R. Lyman.
1832. Converted by Lyman Johnson and Orson Pratt, Amasa went to meet Joseph Smith in Kirtland. “Although there was nothing strange or different from other men in his personal appearance,” Amasa later said, “yet when he grasped my hand in that cordial way (known to those who have met him in the honest simplicity of truth), I felt as one of the old in the presence of the Lord; my strength seemed to be gone, so that it required an effort on my part to stand on my feet; but in all this there was no fear, but the serenity and peace of heaven pervaded my soul, and the still small voice of the Spirit whispered in its living testimony in the depths of my soul, where it has ever remained, that he was the man of God.”
Soon Amasa Lyman and Zerubbabel Snow were sent on a mission to Ohio and Virginia. Lyman later served missions to New York (1836 and 1839), northern Illinois and Wisconsin (1841), Tennessee and southern Illinois (1842), and Mississippi (1847). In 1860 he was named president of the European Mission.
1835. Having served in Zion’s Camp, Lyman was called to the First Quorum of Seventy.
1838. Lyman, Joseph Smith, and other leaders were arrested in Far West, Missouri, and charged with “high treason [p.164]against the state, murder, burglary, arson, robbery, and larceny.” Lyman was released six days later.
1842. Called to the Quorum of the Twelve by Brigham Young after the excommunication of Orson Pratt. When Pratt returned to the Quorum in 1843, Lyman was called to be a counselor in the First Presidency, but he was not sustained in a general conference, either as apostle or counselor, during the Prophet’s lifetime.
1847. A member of the Council of Fifty since 1844, Lyman was selected to travel in the Brigham Young pioneer company.
1850. After three years in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young called Lyman and Charles C. Rich to colonize California. They purchased a large ranch and founded San Bernardino, which within four years had a population of 1,400. San Bernardino became a gathering place for California Mormons, a resting and supply station for missionaries, and the disembarking point for immigrants from the Pacific missions. The colony was disbanded in 1857 when the Saints were called to Utah to defend the territory against the federal Expeditionary Force.
1862. Called to colonize Fillmore, Utah: “President Young said he wished me to sell my real estate and settle in Fillmore and gather my family to that place, to make them a home and to educate my children, which I could not do for them in their present scattered condition. … I have commenced building a home, having been thirty years without one.”
From 1855 to 1859 Lyman denied Christ’s special divinity and vicarious blood atonement in several conference sermons. A renowned orator, he told the Saints that Christ “was, simply, a holy man. … There was nothing about Jesus but the Priesthood that he held and the [p.165]Gospel that he proclaimed that was so very singular.”
To counter objections, Lyman argued, “‘Well,’ says one, ‘you do not think much of Jesus.’ Yes I do. ‘How much?’ I think he was a good man.” Lyman acknowledged that Jesus “died for the world,” but added, “and what man that ever died for the truth that he died for, did not die for the world? … Have we found redemption through them? … We may talk of men being redeemed by the efficacy of [Christ’s] blood; but the truth is that that blood had no efficacy to wash away our sins. That must depend upon our own action.”
1862. Finally charged with teaching false doctrine while in Scotland, Lyman apologized to the First Presidency, and signed a letter asking the Saints for forgiveness.
1867. Accused again of teaching the same doctrine, Lyman was dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve, disfellowshipped, and advised by President Young to find activities employing his head and hands so “health of mind and body will attend you.”
1869. Lyman joined the “New Movement,” organized to oppose the political and economic control of Brigham Young in Utah. New Movement leaders, attracted to spiritualism, named Lyman president of their Church of Zion.
1870. Excommunicated. Caroline Lyman left Amasa despite his pleading with her to stay. She was sealed to Joseph Smith. Her youngest daughter recorded that Caroline “felt she must have the protection and the security of the Priesthood in her and her children’s lives. … Evidently in her dire circumstances she felt that the Prophet was the only secure anchor to be sealed to.”
In the 1850s Lyman had secretly participated in seances and automatic writing with like-minded Mormons in San Bernardino. He openly embraced spiritualism during the last years of his life. His daughter Hilda often served as a [p.166]medium during his seances. “Such deceased relatives as his father, father-in-law, children and aunt delivered comforting messages from beyond the veil. Likewise former Mormon leaders Heber C. Kimball, Hyrum Smith, Jedediah Grant, Newell K. Whitney, and Joseph Smith himself paid occasional visits.”
1877. February 4: Died of pneumonia in Fillmore at the age of sixty-four. Buried in Fillmore Cemetery, wearing a black suit and black boots.
Posthumous Return to the Church
1898. Martha Lyman Roper, eldest daughter of Amasa and Caroline Lyman, had a “manifestation or dream wherein her father was calling for help. When she heard and saw him she had the impulse to run and embrace him but he warned her to beware and pointed out a great yawning chasm between them, over which she couldn’t go to him nor he to her. He requested Martha to appeal to his son, Marion, to help him for he was the only one in a position to do so. He also told her that he was very weary and tired of his black clothes and that he did so want to be with his family, his wives and his children whom he loved and longed for.”
1908. May 7: At Caroline’s funeral, Francis M. Lyman told “President [Joseph F.] Smith of my desire to do something for father. Told him of my dreams and my Sister Martha’s, how father had appeared to us and pied his cause. How President Snow told me that there was no doubt but that he could come out all right in the end.”
A short time later Francis M. told his son Richard, “This is one of the most important and happiest days of my life. In the temple today, President Joseph F. Smith placed his hands on my head, and by proxy restored my father to all his former blessings, authority and power.”
History of the Church, 3:209, 5:255.
Jenson, Andrew. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Historical Company, 1901-1936.
Journal of Discourses, 3:170, 7:299.
Lyman, Albert R. Amasa Mason Lyman. Fillmore, Utah: Melvin A. Lyman, 1957.
Lyman, Albert R. Francis Marion Lyman:Apostle. Delta, Utah: Melvin A. Lyman, 1958.
Millennial Star, 24:231, 27:473.
Salt Lake City, Utah. LDS Church Archives. Abraham H. Cannon Journal.
_____. Amasa M. Lyman Journal.
Times and Seasons, 6:664.
Walker, Ronald, “The Godbeite Protest in the Making of Modern Utah.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Utah, 1977.
1872. February 9: Born Amy Cassandra Brown in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Amy’s father, John Brown, who had helped lead a group of Mississippi Mormons to Utah, was mayor and bishop of Pleasant Grove.
Of her mother, Margaret Zimmerman Brown, Amy said: “My mother was a partial invalid for a number of years due to childbirth complications, and during that time she directed the affairs of her household and in addition helped solve the social and economic problems of many of her friends We had more confidence in her ideas than we had in our own, and usually were willing to accept any plan she had for us without much argument. She was a woman’s woman and always maintained that girls should have equal opportunities and privileges with boys.”
Student and Teacher
1888. Amy left Pleasant Grove, where she “had plain living but high thinking,” to attend the Brigham Young Academy, where Karl G. Maeser, George H. Brimhall, Alice Louise Reynolds, and Dr. George W. Middleton made lasting impressions.
Graduating in 1890 at the age of eighteen, she immediately took charge of the primary department under Dr. Maeser’s supervision.
She boarded with the Maeser family, which had its disadvantages: “One great disappointment that I remember distinctly was when I was advised not to take part in a grand masquerade ball given in the Provo Theater by the society folk of the town. It was really the ball of the season, and all of my girlfriends dressed and masked for the occasion.
“I felt quite rebellious at being advised not to take part and argued the point with Brother Maeser. I told him that I had been held down all my life, and that I was tired of being a bishop’s daughter and a Church school teacher. I think I even shed a few tears about it. But I finally gave in, and sat in the front row of the dress circle—we called it bald-head row—with the older people. I watched my [p.169]friends enjoy all the fun that accompanies those masquerade balls.”
She taught elementary school in Salt Lake City from 1894 to 1896, when she married Richard R. Lyman; they had one son and one daughter. Lyman succeeded his father, Francis M. Lyman, as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1918.
Advocate for the Needy
1901. While Richard pursued a graduate degree in engineering at the University of Chicago, Amy took a course in social work from Dr. George E. Vincent. “It was at this time that I first became interested in social work and social problems. … Through a former Michigan classmate of my husband, who was then working in the Chicago Charities, I was invited to do volunteer social work in this agency. These experiences … were all profitable and started me on my way as a social worker.”
Eventually Amy Brown Lyman worked actively on behalf of the Salt Lake City Community Clinic, Utah State Welfare Commission, Colorado Conference of Social Work American Child Hygiene Association, Home Services Institute, National Conference of Social Workers, National Conference of Charities and Correction, National Tuberculosis Association, and the American Association for Mental Deficiency.
Relief Society Leader
While her husband taught civil engineering at the University of Utah, Lyman took courses in English and history, joined the Author’s Club, and read widely in history, American literature, and philosophy.
1909. Called to the general board of the Relief Society. Concerned that she was too young for an “old women’s organization,” she “shed tears of anxiety because of the responsibility such an appointment involved.”
1914. Named assistant business manager of the Relief Society Magazine, she became its editor seven years later. After [p.170]twenty-eight years with the magazine, she said, “It is a dearly-loved child to me.”
The Relief Society sent Lyman and four other women to Denver in 1917 for welfare training with the Red Cross and the University of Colorado. Two years later she became director of the Relief Society’s social services department.
1928. Named first counselor to newly selected Relief Society President Louise Y. Robinson.
1940. Called as general Relief Society president by Heber J. Grant.
1922. As a Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives, Lyman chaired the Public Health Committee and was a member of the Labor and Appropriations Committees. “I called attention to the fact that since leadership is always scarce and since the supply had been increased by the emancipation of women, we should look among women’s groups for new leaders, especially in certain fields; that women are a great asset to any humanitarian cause because they have a special and a different viewpoint which is based on their experience as mothers and homemakers; that their ability as directors and administrators is often apparent when they are left widows and therefore are required to manage their own business and family affairs; that they are especially needed in legislative bodies where the laws are made, because of their special knowledge of human needs and humanistic rights.”
A member of the National Council of Women for many years, Lyman became a national executive committee member (1925), recording secretary (1925-1927), auditor (1927-1929), and third vice-president (1929-1934).
Between 1933 and 1943, Amy Brown Lyman suffered [p.171]numerous personal tragedies, ranging from the loss of a kidney and her husband’s bout with ulcers, to the death of a daughter-in-law who left an eight-month-old baby, to the suicide of her son.
After five years as general president of the Relief Society, she requested a release due to health problems and personal difficulties related to the 1943 excommunication of her husband, Richard R. Lyman, for “violation of the Christian Law of Chastity.”
1959. December 5: Died at her daughter’s home at the age of eighty-seven while recovering from a fall. Her husband, who had been rebaptized in 1954, died in 1963. Both were buried in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Gardens in Salt Lake City.
Deseret News, 13 November 1943.
Hefner, Loretta L. “Amy B. Lyman.” Sister Saints. Edited by Vicky Burgess-Olson. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1978.
Lyman, Amy Brown. In Retrospect. Salt Lake City: General Board of the Relief Society, 1945.
Provo, Utah. Brigham Young University. Harold B. Lee Library. Amy Brown Lyman Papers. Transcript of KSL Radio interview with Amy Brown Lyman.
1840. January 12: Born Francis Marion Lyman in Goodhope, Illinois, to future Apostle Amasa Lyman and Louisa Maria Tanner.
At seventeen, he married Rhoda Taylor (“My modesty made me a long time in solving the problem”). He married Clara Caroline Callister in 1869 and her sister Susan in 1884. Father of seventeen children, including Apostle Richard R. Lyman.
1855. As a fifteen-year-old freighter, Marion “took to drinking, and found that I really liked it … though it was miserable stuff, and I wonder we were not poisoned by it. … Freighters generally do their praying, if any, before they leave home or after they return, so nothing of that kind takes their attention while on the road.”
“I had the pernicious habit of smoking cigarettes fairly well fastened upon me. It gave my father and mother very much concern lest one bad habit should be followed by another. The Mexicans of that [Mojave Desert] region were expert smokers, and would pass volumes of smoke out by the nose which, to such boys as me, appeared to be a very great accomplishment, and I strove to do likewise, or like-foolish, and succeeded. … I attempted to break my habit of smoking, and father, to stimulate my undertaking, offered me a number-one horse and saddle and outfit if I would persevere to succeed, but I failed.”
1856. Ordained an elder. “I was sixteen years old, six feet one and a half inches high, and weighed 184 pounds. I was notorious for my strength among the boys and small men. I was boisterous but not wicked.”
Lyman was called on a mission to Europe with his apostle father, but the approach of the Utah Expeditionary Force cancelled all missions. The following year, he married Rhoda Taylor.
[p.174]1859. As a nineteen-year-old husband and father, Lyman decided, “I could no longer be a Latter Day Saint in a manner satisfactory to myself without attending to my family and secret prayers.” He learned to pray before his mission, and gave up tobacco at age twenty-five and alcohol at twenty-six.
1860. As Amasa Lyman was preparing to leave for another mission, Brigham Young learned that Marion was planning to manage the family farm in his father’s absence. President Young declared he “would not leave him home for the price of a farm.” As a newly-ordained seventy, Marion Lyman left for Europe with his cousin and close friend, Joseph F. Smith.
1863. Brigham Young called Marion to assist his father, Amasa, in colonizing Fillmore, Utah, where they jointly built the O.K. Flour Mill.
During his fourteen years in Fillmore, Lyman served as county recorder, superintendent of schools, prosecuting county attorney, officer in the Nauvoo Legion, and member of the Utah legislature.
1874. Joseph F. Smith and Marion Lyman served another mission to Europe. When he returned to Utah, Lyman brought three hundred immigrants with him.
1877. Supervised the colonization of Tooele, Utah, where he served as Tooele Stake president until 1880.
1880. April: Called to the Council of Fifty. “This appears to be one of the greatest steps in my life.”
October: Exploring southeastern Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona with Erastus Snow and others, Lyman learned he had been sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve when he read a conference report in the Deseret News.
[p.175]During ordination, the First Presidency and members of the Twelve “told me that Father’s robes had fallen on me, and their words so overcame me that I wept.” Amasa Lyman had been excommunicated in 1870.
1889. Lyman’s two years on the underground in Mexico and Canada produced wild rumors about the apostle. When he heard them, Wilford Woodruff thundered, “I might believe the report of a general earthquake, but the report that Francis M. Lyman is guilty of drunkenness and adultery, never, no never! That is something that can never be truthfully reported in heaven, on earth, or in hell.”
Lyman refused to compromise with the government on plural marriage. “How we are to be pitied when we cannot face bonds and imprisonment, persecution or death for our holy religion. Latter-day Saints must be made of better stuff. O that the Lord will let me die before I cower like a whipped cur and yield to the infernal lash. I would a hundred times rather hear of a good man’s death than to hear that he has yielded any principle of the gospel.”
Following President George Q. Cannon’s example, he surrendered to U.S. marshals and was fined $200 and sentenced to eighty-five days in the territorial “Pen.”
When a suit of stripes could not be found to accommodate his 280 pounds, Lyman had to settle for a mere “striped hat.”
Lyman served as a director of Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust, Consolidated Wagon and Machine, Home Fire Insurance, and the Heber J. Grant Company.
1893. When the federal government confiscated Church assets over $50,000, Lyman and other Church leaders signed personal notes to guarantee the Church’s credit:
“The possibility of losing all my earthly possessions by endorsing with the Church, troubles me only so far as it may hurt people I am owing … If it be necessary that I must be sacrificed, I do now and for all time to come acknowledge the hand of the Lord in taking it from me, as [p.176]freely as I acknowledged His hand in receiving it from Him. ‘The Lord giveth and Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord!'”
A few months later, Lyman exuberantly recorded, “President Cleveland signed the bill to return the personal property of the Church, $300,000 … This is a great blessing from the hand of the Lord for He has done it and not men.”
President of the Quorum of the Twelve
1899. When anti-Mormons began disclosing the names of men who had married plural wives after Wilford Woodruffs 1890 Manifesto, Lyman began a private campaign to discourage men from entering plural marriage, despite the encouragement they were receiving from other apostles. He made a public example of a neighbor who unwisely claimed to have entered into an authorized plural marriage: Lyman instigated civil and ecclesiastical actions which resulted in the man’s imprisonment and excommunication. As more plural marriages were performed by other apostles in Mexico, Canada, and the United States during the next five years, Lyman quietly tried to counter their influence.
1903. Became president of the Quorum of the Twelve, serving until his death thirteen years later.
1904. The disclosures of the Reed Smoot investigation (1904-07), Joseph F. Smith’s “second manifesto” (1904), and the resignation of Apostles John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley (1905) encouraged Lyman to intensify his campaign to stop new plural marriages. As president of the Quorum of the Twelve, he spearheaded numerous investigations and Church court actions against post-manifesto polygamists.
1916. November 18: Died of pneumonia at the age of seventy-six. Buried in the Tooele, Utah, Cemetery.
Lyman, Albert R. Amasa Mason Lyman. Fillmore, Utah: Melvin A. Lyman, 1957.
Lyman, Albert R. Francis Marion Lyman: Apostle. Delta, Utah: Melvin A. Lyman, 1958.
Salt Lake City, Utah. University of Utah. J. Willard Marriott Library. Samuel W. Taylor Papers.