There are lots of obscure, or forgotten tidbits in LDS Church history and policy. Here’s just a sampling of 8 things you probably didn’t know, gathered from a variety of sources:
1. The Church Office Building in Salt Lake City was originally envisioned to be 38 floors, to commemorate the 38 years of Joseph Smith’s life. (Smith was the Church’s first prophet.)
Of course, the 38 floors didn’t take off, or the structure would have been more than 500 feet high vs. today’s 420-foot-tall height.
Eight stories were first deleted from the plans to better meet mechanical requirements of heating and air conditioning.
Later, the height was reduced by two more stories, to 28 floors.
Housing departing missionaries across the street in an old school on North Temple Street, instead of in the Church Office Building as first planned, also meant less building space was needed.
In addition, Construction of the Granite Records Vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon equaled a need for less office space in downtown Salt Lake.
2.Twin Angel Moroni’s on the Salt Lake Temple?:
This was Truman Angell, Salt Lake Temple architect’s original plan -- one angel statue on the east side and another on the west.
However, only the east “Angel” became a reality. In the “Brigham Young” room at Cove Fort is an early drawing of the Salt Lake Temple by Truman Angell that clearly shows this early plan with angel statues on each end.
3. The first and original “This is the Place” Monument’?
A smaller and rather obscure marker overlooks the modern monument, several hundred yards to the northeast.
This 10-foot-high white obelisk was installed by the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association and dedicated by Church President Heber J. Grant on July 25, 1921.
“This monument was located here as the definitive answer as to where the event occurred,” the plaque near the original monument states.
However, even this 1921 marker is NOT the original “This Is the Place” monument. There was an earlier wooden marker, installed in 1917, by Elder B.H. Roberts and Boy Scouts. It was replaced in the same area by the 1921 marker.
The 1921 stone monument fell into obscurity after the July 24, 1947 dedication of today’s famed marker. It was “re-discovered” in the 1990s and repaired and rededicated on July 21, 1997, by President Boyd K. Packer.
4. Why 24 spires, including 2 flat spires, on the Assembly Hall on Temple Square?
No one seems to know for certain on the “24.” However, a plausible theory is that since Brigham Young said the Assembly Hall was needed for regular meeting space for the Salt Lake Stake of the church -- that was its original purpose. And, in 1899, the Salt Lake Stake had 51 total wards, including 24 wards in Salt Lake City.
So, the 24 spires might have been a key number attempt to represent the many wards which used the building.
Also, the two flat spires, located on the building’s north side, were where the original fireplace vents were. And, when the building was remodeled, the Church stayed true to the design and left those two spires as they were.
5.What happened to Elder J. Golden Kimball, without a doubt the most colorful of LDS Church General Authorities ever?
With his startling language and straight-forward approach, Elder Kimball’s legend has spawned many a great story and a fleet of books.
However, few seem to know what ever ultimately happened to J. Golden.
He actually died in a traffic accident on Sept. 2, 1938, 35 miles east of Reno, Nev.
Elder Kimball, 85, had been visiting his daughter, who lived in Reno, and was returning. Kimball’s son-in-law was driving the vehicle and lost control when he approached a detour sign.
Some others in the vehicle had broken bones, but Elder Kimball was the only casualty.
In that era, ambulances didn’t run. It was a passing Greyhound bus that transported the injured to a Reno hospital.
6.Mormons wearing crosses?
LDS Church members wearing crosses before the 1950s was OK and not frowned upon.
It was starting in the 1950s when both wearing crosses and having facial hair began to be shunned somewhat in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Crosses were originally shunned by Protestant Churches too, as recent as the early 19th Century, considered just a Catholic symbol.
However, those churches eventually mostly adopted the cross too, as a symbol of Christianity. The LDS Church, likely wanting to look different than other Christian churches, began to distance itself from the symbol.
7. Hypnotism for entertainment is frowned on by the LDS Church?
Yes, LDS Church members have been long counseled to only participate in hypnosis under professional supervision for the treatment of diseases or mental disorders , as determined by competent medical authorities.
Church members are advised not to participate in hypnosis for the purposes of demonstrations for entertainment.
8. There is another relatively obscure “LDS Church”?
The small “Strangite” church, mainly in the Wisconsin area, is a break off from the original LDS Church, but has legal rights to the title: “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”
Note there is no dash in Latter Day in their title, nor a beginning word “The.”
Go to: http://www.strangite.org/ to see an almost identical church title pop up.