Welcome to February and the newest edition of the Trail Marker! I hope you enjoy reading its content. Let me start by reminding you of an upcoming National event. On February 26th we will be holding our annual Chapter President’s Council which will begin at 10:00 a.m. at National Headquarters. The National Executive Council, Area Vice Presidents and Directors, Chapter Librarian/Historians, and the following Chapter Officers: Presidents, Presidents- elect, treasurers, secretaries. Librarians/ historians and their spouses are invited. There will be a general meeting, breakout sessions for wives, treasurers, and secretaries. National is providing lunch. This is a great opportunity to share and to learn. Please plan on attending. We will be watching Covid policies closely to ensure it will be a safe event.
February is a month I have always cherished being the month of my birth. I prided myself on being born in the same month as two of my favorite and possibly greatest Presidents of the United States: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. We should take some time during the month to reflect on the tremendous impact they had on all that we are today in this great nation and focus on how we might be an influence for good in what they established. This is a covenant nation, and we should never lose sight of that and diligently work to ensure all its promises are fulfilled.
Here are some other things that occurred in the month of February:
In 1830 the Latter-day Saints were instructed to gather to Ohio (D&C 37:1, 3 and D&C 38:32). In early February, after leaving Fayette, New York, Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma (Hale) Smith arrived in Kirtland and met Newel K. Whitney at his general store. Thus began the settlement of the Latter-day Saints in northeastern Ohio. Kirtland was established as the headquarters of the Church from 1831 to 1838. Ohio also became the fastest-growing area of the Church.
Joseph received many revelations in the Kirtland area during February, including several in the Newel K. Whitney Store. It was during this time that Edward Partridge was called as the Church’s first bishop (D&C 41:9). On the 27th of February Joseph received a revelation known as the “Word of Wisdom,” which established the current health code for Latter-day Saints. This revelation advises against smoking and drinking and encourages eating proper foods (D&C 89).
On February 17th, 1834, the first stake in the Church was organized at Kirtland, with Joseph Smith Jr. as president. At that time the First Presidency serve as the Kirtland Stake presidency and the first high council in the Church was created (D&C 102).
After a special conference, the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, were asked to choose the individuals who were to be in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. On February 14th, 1835, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was organized and Lyman E. Johnson, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball were ordained. On the 15th Orson Hyde, David W. Patten, Luke S. Johnson, William E. McLellin, John F. Boynton and William Smith were ordained. Parley P. Pratt was ordained on the 21st, Thomas B. Marsh on the 25th, and Orson Pratt on the 26th.
On the 27th of February Joseph met with nine of the Twelve Apostles and stressed the importance of keeping records (HC2:198-200). I think that counsel should continue to apply to us concerning our ancestors and posterity. A day later, on the 28th, the First Quorum of the Seventy was organized. Both Kirtland and the month of February were very busy during this time period.
February was also a very active time in 1846. The Saints were being forced out of their beloved Nauvoo. Between December 1845 and February 4th, 1846, more than 5,000 of these Latter-day Saints received their sacred ordinances in the Nauvoo Temple. On February 4th, the westward migration began under the leadership of Brigham Young, who became the prophet and president of the Church, with the first wagons crossing the Mississippi River from Nauvoo on their way west to the Great Basin. It was also in February 1846 that the ship Brooklyn departed New York to sail with the Saints for what is now San Francisco, with the ultimate goal of meeting up with the Vanguard Pioneer Company in the Great Basin. What an amazing history each of these groups has to share with us! I am sure we will enjoy learning more about all the pioneer groups as we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley.
From all of us here at National Headquarters, we wish you the very best and happiest February and Valentine’s Day. Please know that we are constantly thinking about you and appreciate the privilege to serve you. May the Lord’s blessings ever attend you and all those you love.
Challenge: I hope you took last month’s challenge and found 2-3 stories regarding your mother’s mother to share with your family. I found several stories about Sarah Elizabeth Banks which I will share with my children. This month find 2-3 stories about your father’s grandfather on his father’s side (one of your two great grandfathers on your father’s side) that you want to share with your children. Write them and share them.
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