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March 31

1834 – A young member of the Church, Ira J. Willis, 22, who had been driven from Jackson County, Missouri, with the Saints, returned to the County and saved a large herd of Mormon cattle by decoying the mobsters after him with a small group of cattle. While at the house of the justice of the peace, Esquire Manship, he was taken by several men led by Moses Wilson and whipped “in a most cruel and savage manner’ after refusing to reveal where the main herd had been taken. The Prophet Joseph writes, “all that know Mr. Willis can bear testimony that he is a young man, honest, peaceable and unoffending, working righteousness, and molesting no one. May God reward Moses Wilson according to his works’ (History of the Church, 2:46). The Prophet Joseph traveled to Chardon, Ohio, on this date, in order to attend the trial of Dr. Hurlburt who had threatened Joseph’s life.

1836 – A second session of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple took place on this date for those who were unable to attend the first dedication service.

1844 – The Prophet Joseph Smith reviewed and then signed two petitions to the United States Congress and one to United States president John Tyler that whom he had written to the previous day concerning raising a group of 100,000 men to protect the settlers in Oregon and Texas. (History of the Church, 6:282)

1845 – Brigham Young wrote a letter to Governor Ford asking for his advice on how to reorganize Nauvoo under the act for organizing towns and on the reorganization of the Nauvoo Legion militia that had been dissolved by the repeal of the Nauvoo City charter.

1864 – While trying to land at Lahaina, Maui, in the Hawaiian Islands, Elder Lorenzo Snow drowns when a boat he and Elders Ezra T. Benson and A. L. Smith are in capsizes. After an hour of prayer and artificial resuscitation, Elder Snow revives. He lives to become the fifth President of the Church.

1875 – The trial for George Reynold for breaking the Morrill Act of 1862 anti-polygamy law begins in the Third District Court. The First Presidency had asked Brother Reynold’s to submit to this trial to test the constitutionality of the Morrill Act. He was found guilty the next day which set the stage for several appeals that eventually led to the United States Supreme Court. The Court upheld the constitutionality of the Morrill Act, paving the way for several more anti-polygamy bills in the 1880’s.

1978 – President Spencer W. Kimball announces that beginning in 1979, stake conferences will be held semiannually instead of quarterly.

2001 – President Gordon B. Hinckley announces the founding of the Perpetual Education Fund to help members of the Church obtain education and job training through low interest loans.

2007 – The historic Tabernacle at Temple Square was rededicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley. The historic building has been closed for more than two years for seismic strengthening, renovation, and restoration. The Tabernacle was named a national historic site in 1970.

2018 – At the Saturday session of the 188th Annual General Conference the Church announced it had reached 16 million members. The 16 million Church members are organized into 3,341 stakes, 553 districts, and 30,506 wards and branches throughout the world.

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