In anticipation of the April General Conference just passed the March 2011 issue of the Ensign magazine carried a sickly dull piece entitled How Well Do You Know Our Church Leaders? Alongside a list of the fifteen current leaders of the Mormon church was a list of asinine biographical facts and readers were challenged to match the fact to the man.
I cannot imagine anything so mind-numbing as trying to guess which General Authority moved to a dirt farm in Pocatello, Idaho when he was five, or which is known among his family as Hal. To be fair I can’t imagine many Mormons reaching for their pens to take this challenge except perhaps those who have two years food storage, their four generations completed and a picture of the Mormon leadership on the wall of their “family room.”
It did strike me as a good idea though, it just needed spicing up a bit. So here is a roll call of Mormon leaders past and more recent and some biographical data. The question is simple; How Well do you Really Know Your Mormon Leaders?
Which of these seven key Mormon leaders fit the facts? Some appear more than once:
Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Henry D Moyle, Joseph Fielding, Spencer W Kimball, David Whitmer, Gordon B Hinckley Heber J Grant.
As a young man he was tried in 1826 for imposture after deceiving people that he could find buried treasure on their land by means of a seer stone?
The Mormon Health law, the Word of Wisdom, was given in 1833 and forbade the drinking of alcohol. Ten years later this man had a bar built in his home and passed a law giving the mayor of Nauvoo authority to “sell or give spirits of any quantity as he in his wisdom shall judge to be for the health and comfort and convenience of [travellers]”
As a young General Authority he arranged to buy forgeries of original Mormon documents in 1985 from Mark Chapman, the Salt Lake City Bomber, including some, the originals of which, the Mormon Church already owned.
He was convicted in 1899 of “unlawful cohabitation” (polygamy) nine years after the Mormon Church had renounced the practice and in 1903 he fled the USA to avoid arrest.
He entered the Salt Lake Valley virtually penniless and died a millionaire.
He declared all previous covenants null and void and married other men’s wives.
He said that everything he preached was scripture.
He taught that the first man, Adam, had come to earth from another planet, was God and was the literal father of Jesus Christ.
When he died in 1945 he was the last leader of the Salt Lake sect of Mormonism to have practiced polygamy.
He introduced baseball baptisms in post-war Britain and Europe, a programme in which parents were asked to sign permission slips to have their children baptised, being told that they were nothing more than parental permission for their children to play baseball.
In 1837 in Preston, England, he preached in the pulpit of his brother, a Christian minister, and stole a large part of his congregation before his brother realised what was happening and barred him.
He said that within fifteen years of conversion he saw Indian people (Lamanites) change colour because of their righteousness, becoming “white and delightsome” (2 Nephi 30:6, pre-1981 Book of Mormon)
He was excommunicated in 1838, never to return to the Mormon Church.