A Book of Mormons
by Richard S. Van Wagoner and Steven C. Walker
1856. March 18: Born in the Lion House in Salt Lake City, Susa Amelia Young was Brigham Young’s forty-first child. When told she was a girl, Susa’s mother, Lucy Bigelow, exclaimed: “Shucks.” “No!” cried midwife Zina D. H. Young, “It isn’t all shucks, it’s wheat, and full weight too!”
1869. At thirteen, she entered the University of Deseret, but her father soon banished her to Saint George for helping her sister Dora elope.
A few months later she recorded this self-portrait: “5’3″. 115 lbs. Dark blue or grey eyes, light ‘rather curly’ brown hair. I must confess my teeth are the only redeeming feature of my face.”
In 1877 Susa became the first person to be baptized for the dead in the newly completed Saint George Temple.
Returning to Salt Lake City, she mastered courses in telegraphy and shorthand. As Church recorder David W. Evans’s “star pupil,” Susa attained such proficiency that she occasionally served as her father’s clerk at conferences.
1872. Married Saint George dentist Alma Dunford. Sixteen years old at the time, she was psychologically unprepared for the intimacies of married life. Her husband’s drinking problem complicated their relationship. In 1877, while Dunford was serving a mission intended to rehabilitate him from alcoholism, Susa filed for divorce. He returned and raised their two children. Even on her deathbed more than fifty years later, she worried, “I hope I have not wronged Dr. Dunford.”
1880. Married Jacob Gates; they had eleven children, seven of whom died in childhood accidents or illnesses: Simpson Mark and Heber died shortly after birth, Joseph Sterling at the age of five. Jacob Young and Karl Naham died in Hawaii, where Elder Gates had been called on a mission, [p.91]of “diptheriatric croup.” Sarah Beulah was shot to death in childhood play. Three-year old Brigham died of dye poisoning from a candy wrapper. Baily Dunford, her eldest son was blown up in adulthood in a powder factory explosion in Butte, Montana.
The Thirteenth Apostle
1899 Though she “admitted to not having a spiritual conviction of the Gospel until her fortieth year,” Gates was called to the general board of the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association, and twenty years later to the general board of the Relief Society.
The only woman given an office in the Church Office Building at 47 East South Temple, she was jokingly referred to as “the thirteenth apostle.” She advised, “Provoke the brethren to good works, but don’t provoke the brethren while doing so.”
[p.91 photo][Susa and Jacob Gates with descendants.]
[p.92]Women’s Rights Advocate
1901. Delegate to the International Council of Women in Copenhagen and London. In England she presented a paper, “Scientific Treatment of Domestic Science,” and was invited to tea with Queen Victoria.
“In times past,” she wrote to her colleagues, “women have … done many improper things; and one of them is they often preferred men’s opinions to their own and even yielded points of conscience for the sake of pleasing them, until, very naturally, they are looked upon by men as shallow, weak, and contemptible. … A course of self-reliance and self-assertion will restore our credit.”
She organized the music department at Brigham Young Academy when she was twenty-two, and nineteen years later established the domestic science department. She served on the boards of directors of both the Brigham Young Academy and the Utah Agricultural College.
1904. As president of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Gates established the Hall of Relics. Acclaimed “founder of modern Mormon genealogical research,” in 1923 she became head of the Genealogical Society of Utah’s Library and Research Department.
Author and Editor
She founded the Young Woman’s Journal (1889), edited the Relief Society Magazine, and, under the pen name of “Homespun,” wrote many articles for the Deseret News, Juvenile Instructor, Woman’s Exponent, and Young Woman’s Journal.
She also wrote several books, including Lydia Knight’s History, John Steven’s Courtship, History of the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association, The Prince of Ur, Surname Book and Racial History, and, with her daughter Leah Dunford Widtsoe, The Life Story of Brigham Young.
1933. May 27: Died of cancer at the age of seventy-seven in Salt Lake City. Buried in the Provo, Utah, Cemetery.
Cornwall, Rebecca Foster. “Susa Young Gates: The Thirteenth Apostle.” Sister Saints. Edited by Vicky Burgess-Olson. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1978.
Cracroft, R. Paul. “Susa Young Gates: Her Life and Her Work.” Master’s thesis, University of Utah, 1959.
Gates, Susa Young, “The Editor Presumes to Talk About Herself.” Young Woman’s Journal 7 (1896):200-203.
_____. “Woman’s Power.” Young Woman’s Journal 1 (1890):442.
Jakeman, James T. Album Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and Their Mothers· Salt Lake City: Western Publishing Co. Inc., 1916.
Person, Carolyn W. D. “Susa Young Gates.” Mormon Sisters. Edited by Claudia Bushman. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Emmeline Press, 1976.
[p.424]Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah State Historical Society Library. Susa Young Gates, “Women and Their Sphere of Action.” In typescript of “The Life Story of Brigham Young.”
1833. June 26: Born William Samuel Godbe in Middlesex, England. In 1855 he married Annie Thompson; he later married plural wives Mary Hampton, Rosina Colborn, and Charlotte Ives Cobb. The last marriage, through which Godbe became a son-in-law to Brigham Young (Charlotte’s mother was a plural wife to Young), ended in divorce. In 1873, by mutual agreement with his wives, he returned to monogamy with Annie Thompson, providing financially for his other wives and his twenty children.
1849. Godbe was converted to Mormonism as an apprentice sailor in England. Before emigrating to America, he traveled in Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Germany, Africa, Brazil, France, and Denmark.
Arriving in America, he worked his way across the Great Lakes from Buffalo to Chicago, then walked to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he joined Thomas Williams’s wagon train to Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake Merchant
1851. He began as a store clerk for Thomas Williams, eventually established his own “states goods” importing company, and became one of the wealthiest men in Utah Territory. As a Latter-day Saint, he donated over $50,000 to the Church.
1868. Godbe served as a counselor to Bishop Edwin D. Woolley in the Salt Lake Thirteenth Ward, and was a member of the Salt Lake School of the Prophets. But, concerned about the economic and political control Brigham Young exercised over Utah Territory, he established the Utah Magazine with E. L. T. Harrison. Later he founded the Mormon Tribune, forerunner of the Salt Lake Tribune.
[p.95]The first issue of Utah Magazine declared, “For some years we have felt that a great encroachment of power was being made by the ruling Priesthood of our Church, beyond that allowed by the spirit and genius of the Gospel. We have also perceived that a steady and constant decline was taking place in the manifestation of the spiritual gifts, as well as in the spirituality of our system as a whole, and that as a Church we were fast running into a state of most complete materialism.”
1869. October 16: Disfellowshipped for “irregular attendance” at the School of the Prophets. Godbe and Harrison continued to argue for “the right of, respectfully but freely, discussing all measures upon which we are called to act. And, if we are cut off from this Church for asserting this right, while our standing is dear to us, we will suffer it to be taken from us sooner than resign the liberties of thought and speech to which the gospel entitles us.” They were excommunicated within the week for “apostasy.”
President George Q. Cannon editorialized in the Deseret News, “We could conceive of a man honestly differing in opinion from the authorities of the church and yet not be apostate; but we could not conceive of a man publishing those differences of opinion, and seeking by arguments, sophistry and special pleading to enforce them upon the people to produce division and strife, and to place the acts and counsels of the church, if possible, in a wrong light, and not be apostate; for such conduct was apostasy as we understood the term.”
1870. While on a business trip to New York, Godbe and Harrison claimed to have received divine instruction regarding the “future of Mormonism”: “At last the light came, and by the voice of angelic beings … we were each of us given personally to know that, notwithstanding some misconceptions and extremes wisely permitted to accommodate [p.96]it to the weaknesses of mankind, ‘Mormonism’ was inaugurated by the Heavens for a great and divine purpose; its main objective being the gathering of an inspirational people, believing in continuous revelations, who with such channels opened up, could at any period be moulded to any purpose the Heavens might desire.”
Godbe and others founded the Church of Zion, the religious element of the “New Movement,” or “Godbeitism,” which disavowed religious authoritarianism. The movement soon disintegrated.
1870. As a self-appointed emissary, Godbe traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby against the anti-Mormon Cullom Bill. In interviews with Vice-President Colfax and President Ulysses S. Grant, he “pleaded for kindly treatment of the Mormon people by the general government.”
According to Mormon historian Orson F. Whitney, “the result of all these movements was that the Cullom Bill, after its passage by the House of Representatives, died, like its predecessor, the Cragin Bill, in the Senate.”
Bankruptcy and Recovery
1871. The School of the Prophets voted “that those who dealt with outsiders should be cut off from the church,” and a few days later the boycott was approved at general conference. The School of the Prophets established Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution, and within two years Godbe “saw his 15 years of work evaporate and he was over $100,000 in debt.”
Determined to overcome all obstacles, Godbe vowed, “Though I well know that he [Brigham Young] can break me up for a time, I will show him that even in Utah, which he has so long carried in his pocket, I can leap out and walk without his let or hindrance.”
Brigham Young regretted his estrangement from Godbe, often commenting, “I loved William Godbe.”
[p.97]1873. With English financial backers, Godbe organized the Chicago Silver Mining Company, the beginning of mining ventures in Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada which reestablished much of his lost fortune.
As a patron of literature, he donated over $200,000 to support the arts during his lifetime. His own poetic works often had a spiritualistic theme:
Charms of the sensuous alluring and fair,
Fade from our sight as the clouds of the air,
Whilst spiritual beauty, like truth’s holy ray,
Shall shine forth in splendor forever and aye.
1902. August 1: Died of “cardiac exhaustion” at the age of sixty-nine, while vacationing in his cabin at Brighton, Utah. Buried in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City.
Arrington, Leonard J. Great Basin Kingdom. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1958.
_____. “Taxable Income in Utah.” Utah Historical Quarterly 24 (January 1956):21-47.
Deseret News, 2 August 1902.
Godbe, Hampton. Family Records.
Journal History, 19 September 1868, 3 October 1868.
Phrenological Journal, July 1871.
Tullidge’s Quarterly Magazine, October 1880.
Tullidge, Edward. Life of Brigham Young or Utah and Her Founders. New York, 1877.
Utah Magazine, 27 November 1869.
Walker, Ronald W. “The Commencement of the Godbeite Protest: Another View.” Utah Historical Quarterly 42 (Summer 1974):216-244.
_____. “The Godbeite Protest in the Making of Modern Utah.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Utah, 1977.
1856. March 22: Born Heber Jeddy Grant to Apostle Jedediah M. Grant and Rachael Ridgeway Ivins in Salt Lake City. He was first cousin to Apostle Anthony W. Ivins, son-in-law of Brigham Young’s Counselor Daniel H. Wells, and brother-in-law to Apostles Orson F. Whitney, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Reed Smoot.
Eight days after Heber’s birth, his father died of pneumonia. As a student in Brigham Young’s family school, his severe astigmatism and resulting headaches interfered with his early education. He overcame childhood taunts of “sissy” with determined efforts to play baseball: “I spent hours and hours throwing the ball at Bishop Edwin D. Woolley’s barn, which caused him to refer to me as the laziest boy in the Thirteenth Ward. Often my arm would ache so that I could scarcely go to sleep at night. But I kept on practicing… and eventually played in the nine that won the championship of the territory.”
1871. Grant began his business career as an office boy and policy clerk for H.R. Mann Company, selling insurance in his spare time.
1880. Formed a syndicate to purchase $350,000 worth of ZCMI stock. Later he served as assistant cashier at Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust Company; vice-president of the Salt Lake Herald Company; director of Provo Woolen Mills, Deseret National Bank, Oregon Lumber Company, and ZCMI; and president of the State Bank of Utah, Home Fire Insurance Company, Salt Lake Theatre Company, Co-op Wagon and Machine Company, and the Heber J. Grant Insurance Company.
1877. Married Lucy Stringham. In 1884 he married Hulda Augusta Winters and Emily J. Harris Wells. Lucy died in 1893, Emily in 1908, and Hulda in 1951. He was the father of twelve children.
After the Wilford Woodruff Manifesto of 1890, Elder Grant sought permission from President Joseph F. Smith to marry Fanny Woolley, but his request was denied.
1880. Called to be president of the Tooele, Utah, Stake at the age of twenty-four, Grant delivered a short speech because, “I ran out of ideas.”
Joseph F. Smith commented, “Heber, you said you believe the gospel with all your heart, and propose to live it, but you did not bear your testimony that you know it is true. Don’t you know absolutely that this gospel is true?”
“I do not.”
“What, you! a president of a stake?”
“That is what I said.”
“President Taylor,” said Smith, “I am in favor of undoing this afternoon what we did this morning. I do not think any man should preside over a stake who has not a perfect and abiding knowledge of the divinity of this work.”
To this Grant replied, “I am not going to complain.” “President Taylor,” Grant recalled, “had a habit, when something pleased him excessively, of shaking his body and laughing,” and he said to President Smith, “Joseph, Joseph, Joseph, he knows it just as well as you do. The only thing that he does not know is that he does know it. It will be but a short time until he does know it. He leans over backwards. You do not need to worry.”
1882. October 10: Called to the Quorum of the Twelve by President John Taylor after Orson Pratt’s death. He was only twenty-five, and the first native Utahn to serve in the Quorum.
[p.101]When Heber was fifteen, Eliza R. Snow prophesied in tongues and Zina D. H. Young interpreted: eventually Heber would be one of the leading men in the Church. On October 6, 1881, photographer Charles R. Savage told Grant “that within one year [he] would be a member of the Twelve Apostles”; one year and seven days later President John Taylor announced a revelation calling Heber J. Grant to the apostleship. During an 1883-1884 mission to the Moquis Indians in Arizona, Grant reported a vision in which he learned he had been called to be an apostle because his natural father J. M. Grant, and the Prophet Joseph [Heber’s father by sealing], had requested it.
Youngest and Last Member of the Council of Fifty
1882. October 10: Accepted as member of the Council of Fifty—its youngest member—just days before the revelation naming him as one of the new members of the Quorum of the Twelve.
So far as is known, the Council of Fifty never convened after its October, 1844, meeting. Grant was the last surviving member of that body.
Served in the Tooele City Council (1881-84), Salt Lake City Council, and the Utah Legislature (1884-85).
1896. His boyhood dream to become the first governor of the State of Utah seemed fulfilled when he received a telegram from the state Democratic convention: “Sixty percent of the convention in Ogden has agreed to vote for you on the first ballot, you are sure to be nominated. We believe it will be unanimous before we get through voting.”
He took the telegram to President Wilford Woodruff and asked him how he should respond. President Woodruff replied: “Haven’t you, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, sufficient wisdom to answer a telegram without bothering me?”
Grant responded, “Thank you, Brother Woodruff; thank you. Had you thought that I could do any good for [p.102]the people, you would have said, Heber, the Lord bless you. I hope you will be elected. I shall send a telegram that it will be a personal favor to me if my name never comes before the convention.”
Missionary to Japan
1901. The moment he heard President George Q. Cannon announce in general conference the decision to open a mission to Japan, Grant felt he would be called to preside. But when the call actually came in a meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, he was gloomy. “I was owing a little over one hundred thousand dollars. I had two wives, neither one having a home; my mother’s home was mortgaged at that time for three thousand dollars.”
After the meeting, John W. Taylor prophesied privately to Heber, “You shall be blessed of the Lord and make enough money to go to Japan a free man financially.” Through deft financial maneuvers, he “went to Japan a free man, financially.”
As mission president (1901-1903) Grant was unable to learn Japanese and saw only two persons baptized, both of whom soon left the Church. His sense of personal failure was assuaged only by the fact that a generation of missionaries had little more success in Japan.
In 1924 Church President Heber J. Grant closed the mission to Japan.
Seventh President of the Church
1918. From 1903 to 1906 he had served as president of the British and European Missions. In 1916 he became President of the Quorum of the Twelve, and on the death of Joseph F. Smith became seventh president of the Church. His term of almost twenty-seven years is second only to the tenure of Brigham Young.
President Grant ushered the Church into an era of prosperity and popularity. Missionary work increased dramatically and Church membership grew from under 500,000 to more than 950,000. In 1922 he became the first [p.103]Church president to deliver a gospel message by radio. He dedicated the Hawaiian Temple (1919), the Alberta Temple (1923), and the Arizona Temple (1927).
He regretted his inability to sing on key: “I have, all the days of my life, enjoyed singing very much. When I was a little boy ten years of age I joined a singing class, and the professor told me that I could never learn to sing. Some years ago I had my character read by a phrenologist and he told me that I could sing, but said he would like to be forty miles away while I was doing it. I was practicing singing a few weeks ago in the Templeton building, and the room where I was doing so was next to that of a dentist. The people in the hall decided that someone was having his teeth extracted.”
During the Depression, President Grant inaugurated the Church Welfare Program: “Work is what keeps people young … We should have an ambition, we should have a desire to work to the full extent of our ability. Working eight or nine hours a day has never injured me, and I do not believe it will injure anyone else. Work is pleasing to the Lord.”
1940. Due to a stroke, President Grant was a semi-invalid the last five years of his life. Despite a brief and dramatic recuperation, he was increasingly unable to attend public meetings. For several years he did not attend regular meetings of the First Presidency or the weekly temple meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve. Although John Taylor had been bedridden during the last months of his life, Grant was the first Church president to be physically incapacitated for years. He was informed of administrative developments at his home by Counselor J. Reuben Clark.
1945. Died of cardiac failure in Salt Lake City at the age of eighty-eight. Buried in Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Allen, James B., and Leonard, Glen M. The Story of the Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976.
Conference Reports, April 1900, October 1941.
Durham, G. Homer. Gospel Standards: Selections from the Writings of Heber J. Grant. Salt Lake City: Improvement Era 1941.
Gibbons, Francis M. Heber J. Grant: Man of Steel, Prophet of God. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1979.
Jorgensen, Victor W., and Hardy, B. Carmon. “The Taylor-Cowley Affair and the Watershed of Mormon History.” Utah Historical Quarterly 48 (Winter 1980):4-36.
Quinn, D. Michael. “The Council of Fifty and Its Members, 1844 to 1945.” Brigham Young University Studies 20 (Winter 1980):163-197.
_____. “Organizational Development and Social Origins of the Mormon Hierarchy, 1832-1932: A Prosopographical Study.” Master’s thesis, University of Utah, 1973.
Salt Lake City, Utah. LDS Church Archives. Abraham H. Cannon Journal, 8 April 1894.
_____. Heber J. Grant Correspondence and Journals.
Walker, Ronald W. Crisis In Zion: Heber J. Grant and the Panic of 1893.” Sunstone 5 (January-February 1980):26-34.
1816. February 21: Born Jedediah Morgan Grant in Windsor, New York. “Frontier schooling gave him only a shaky command of commas, periods, and the perplexing science of orthography; yet as a teenager he ambitiously read from such religious and philosophical thinkers as Wesley, Locke, Rousseau, Watts, Abercrombie, and Mather.”
1833. Baptized by John F. Boynton in water so cold his clothing immediately froze to his body when he left the water.
1834. Shortly after his eighteenth birthday, Grant joined Zion’s Camp. He later served missions in New York, North Carolina, Illinois, Virginia-North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
1835. Ordained a seventy by Joseph Smith.
1845. Called to the First Council of Seventy by Brigham Young.
1844. Married Caroline Van Dyke, who died crossing the plains in 1847. Grant brought her body to the Salt Lake Valley, where she was the first white woman to be buried.
Between 1849 and his death, Grant married six plural wives. He was the father of nine children, including Heber J. Grant, born just eight days before Jedediah’s death.
First Mayor of Salt Lake City
1851. Respected as brigadier general of the Nauvoo Legion (Deseret territorial militia), he was elected as the first mayor of Salt Lake City. Until his death, he served as both mayor and a member of the Utah Legislature.
[p.106]Apostle of the “Mormon Reformation”
“I am not one of that class which believes in shrinking; if there is a fight on hand, give me a share in it. I am naturally good natured, but when the indignation of the Almighty is in me I say to all hell, stand aside and let the Lord Jesus Christ come in here.”
1854. Ordained an apostle by Brigham Young, but never a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Grant served as President Young’s second counselor, succeeding Willard Richards.
As the instigator of the “Mormon Reformation,” Grant, with other Church leaders, stressed cleanliness of property and person, confession and repentance, and home industry. The keystone to the reformation movement was renewed commitment to the Church.
“The Church needs trimming up,” Grant charged, “and if you will search, you will find your wards contain branches which had better be cut off. The kingdom would progress much faster, and so will you individually, than it will with those branches on. … I would like to see the works of reformation commence, and continue until every man had to walk to the line.”
1856. December 1: After baptizing hundreds in the cold waters of City Creek, forty-year-old Jedediah M. Grant collapsed of exhaustion and exposure. He died a few days later of pneumonia.
At his funeral Brigham Young mused, “I was reflecting upon how many bands attended Jesus to the tomb; upon how many there were to lament when he went out of the world. … Suppose Brother Grant could speak to us this day. He would deprecate to the lowest degree the fuss and parade we are making. He would say: ‘Away with you! Stop your blowing of horns, beating of drums, and hoisting of colors.'”
Buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Hosea Stout eulogized in his journal,
[p.107]As a Major General he was buried in the honors of war
As a Master Mason he was buried as such
And above all as a Saint he lived, died and was
buried as such.
Brooks, Juanita, ed. On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout. 2 vols. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press/Utah Historical Society, 1964.
Journal of Discourses, 3:60-61, 4:85-87.
Judd, Mary G. Jedediah M. Grant. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1969.
Salt Lake City, Utah. LDS Church Archives. Wilford Woodruff Journal, 6 August 1847.
Walker, Ronald. “Jedediah and Heber Grant.” Ensign, July 1979, pp. 48-50.