George Albert Smith, Jul 29, 1947

-- Jul 29, 1947
Quorum of Twelve letter to general Relief Society presidency states that women should seek blessings of health from priesthood leaders and not from other women. This officially ends more than a century of women's anointing and sealing blessings of health on other women and sometimes on men. (1)

-- During July, 1947
Centennial message from the First Presidency-- pp. 422-433, July, 1947.


On July 24, 1947, it will be one hundred years since the first group of Utah Pioneers entered Salt Lake Valley, designated by their inspired leader, President Brigham Young, as "the right place."

That little band of weary-worn travelers gazed upon a barren landscape so uninviting and desolate that one of the three women in the company out of sheer disappointment and hopelessness broke down and wept. Truly to her, and to others of the company, it must have seemed impossible that in such a desert place could be fulfilled the prophecy of their great leader, Joseph Smith, that the Saints "would become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains."

The Centennial year sees that prophecy fulfilled. Brigham Young said:

"God has shown me, that this is the spot to locate his people, and here is where they will prosper; he will temper the elements to the good of the Saints; he will rebuke the frost and the sterility of the soil, and the land shall become fruitful, . . . and we shall build a city and a temple to the most high God in this place."

As that small group of pioneers looked upon what appeared to be a sterile desert, so today the Church faces a world lying in moral lethargy and spiritual decline. A sense of responsibility to build up the kingdom of God inspired the founders of the Church, and with pride we look in retrospect upon achievements wrought. That same sense of responsibility should be and is in the Church today. "If Mormonism is able to endure unmodified until it reaches the third and fourth generation," said Count Leo Tolstoy, "it is destined to become the greatest power the world has ever known." With that same faith and invincible resolution manifested by the Pioneers a century ago must the Church face the re-spiritualizing of a spiritually decadent world. In this gigantic task this people may seem as insignificant, misjudged, and impotent as did the Pioneers when they faced the barren wastes bordering the great inland sea, and orchards supplanted sagebrush and sego roots; cities and towns form
ed a western commonwealth. So may people declining toward godlessness be lead toward a nobler civilization, for there is inherent in the restored gospel the greatest spiritualizing power ever revealed to man. To be true to our heritage, we must face, with fortitude and unflinching courage, the great duty that is ours-the spiritual rejuvenation of mankind.

To participate in a century celebration is the event of a lifetime. No one can look, however imperfectly, upon the aspirations and accomplishments of the men and women who founded this Western Empire without being profited thereby. They are "flowing light-fountains of native, original insight, of manhood and heroic nobleness; in whose radiance all souls feel that it is well with them."

In pageantry, drama, music, sculpture, recreation, and literature, literally thousands of capable men and women in these various fields of art are putting forth their best efforts fittingly to commemorate the sacrifices, heroism, and achievements of the Pioneers who built so well for the generations to follow them.

That which made the Utah Pioneers truly worthy of the homage now paid them, and which will enhance their greatness in future years, is not the mere fact that they endured persecution, suffered privations, subsisted in a wilderness, and that the vanguard made a thousand-mile journey across the plains without a death or even a serious mishap-achievements, it is true, worthy the praises of posterity-but what made them truly great is the fact that no matter how intense their suffering, or how dark their foreboding, they ever cherished as beacon lights unchanging truths fundamental to human peace and progress.

First and foremost was their unwavering faith in the existence and nearness of God their Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Every day of that toilsome journey was begun by prayerful devotion. "At five o'clock in the morning," said the instructions, "the bugle is to be sounded as a signal for every man to arise and attend prayers before he leaves his wagon." To foster reverence is to develop in man his noblest virtue.

To be prepared for any eventuality was a second fundamental requirement. Theirs was physical danger, and "every man must carry his loaded gun or else have it in his wagon where he can seize it at a moment's notice." "Wagons must be kept together and not separate." After arriving in the valley, adobe "forts" and stockades were built as precautionary measures.

The youth today face enemies also-false ideologies and immoral practices "glossed over" and "seasoned with a text." Sound preparation to meet these enemies is as imperative now as when the Pioneers moved toward desert, wild animals, and stealthily skulking Indians.

Reverence, frugality, industry, and a willingness to serve their fellow men were ideals taught and practiced in the daily lives of the Pioneers.

Ours is a rich heritage. The wealth inherited must neither be buried nor squandered, but should be handed down to posterity with a tenfold increase.

Only they who are specially trained or gifted can produce the best in histrionic art, literature, pageantry, song, or athletic contests, and we are informed that what is now being presented throughout the state in these fields of endeavor merit the highest commendation. State officials, the state legislature, Church and civic organizations are all unitedly desirous that only the best can adequately pay tribute to those who in deprivation suffered uncomplainingly that others might live in joy and comfort. Most surely even the best is inadequate to do them honor.

While committees and participants are striving for the highest in artistry, let us ever keep in mind that the most worthy element in this Centennial will be a manifest desire on the part of their descendants to emulate the virtues and spiritual aspirations that made the Pioneers worthy the tributes that the country now pays them. Only by adherence to these can a people or a nation become great, and the destiny of the Church can be fulfilled. GEO. ALBERT SMITH, J. REUBEN CLARK, JR., DAVID O. MCKAY, First Presidency. {1947-July-Improvement Era, Centennial Issue,} (2)

1 - On This Day in Mormon History,
2 - Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)

LDS History Chronology: George Albert Smith

Mormon History Timeline: The life of George Albert Smith