SALT LAKE CITY -- For the next few weeks, people will be able to get a rare glimpse inside the lives of LDS Church presidents. Ever since the Church History Library opened just east of the LDS Conference Center a couple of years ago, the library has tried to put out a display around conference time, and this year is no different.
Public Program Specialist for the library April Williamsen said she and her committee discussed ideas for the Treasures of the Collection series and for the LDS presidents' display, with work beginning in January.
The collection details the lives of the prophets and shows a personal side to the well-known church leaders.
"We see them as fathers, husbands -- a look into their everyday lives," Williamsen said.
The display is different from the display of prophets at the Church History Museum, because the Treasures of the Collection is more document-based, with journals, diaries, letters and photographs from the prophets' lives. There are artifacts in the collection, but the display at the museum has more.
All of the documents are behind glass, but the display is clear and easy to see, she said.
There are many treasures to be seen, Williamsen noted, but what she enjoys is being able to see the inner workings of their everyday lives. For example, she talked about a letter from President David O. McKay to his wife when he was away doing church work. He signed the letter, "Affectionately, Dade." "Dade" is what his wife called him, Williamsen said, and it is delightful to see that interaction between the two.
Another notable piece in the collection is a journal entry from Lorenzo Snow on the day Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred.
"To see a glimpse of what he's thinking and feeling is quite touching. It reveals a side of a person you don't think about," she said.
Journal entries from Brigham Young relate how much he enjoys just relaxing by the fire with his wife. The original Book of Mormon that Young and his family were given when they were investigating the church is also on display.
Working on the project was extremely time consuming, Williamsen said. Five or six people on the committee focussed on putting the collection together, and they took months finding what they thought would be the most interesting documents for people to see. Williamsen said she feels confident they accomplished their goal.
The collection went on display Sept. 26 and will run until Oct.10. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.