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THIS WEEK IN CHURCH HISTORY

Dispatches announcing the death of David Whitmer arrived at the Deseret News on Jan. 26, 1888. The Book of Mormon witness had died a day earlier at age 83.

On Jan. 30, the Deseret News printed the report of Whitmer's death from the Richmond Democrat in Richmond, Mo., where Whitmer had been a prominent citizen.After reporting Whitmer's part as a witness to the Book of Mormon, the writer noted that, "While describing this vision to us, all traces of a severe cold from which he was suffering disappeared for the time being, his form straightened, his countenance assumed almost a beautified expression and his tones became strangely eloquent.

"Although evidently no studied effort, the description was a magnificent piece of word painting and he carried his hearers with him to that lonely hill by the old farm and they stood there with him awed in the divine presence. Skeptics may laugh and scoff if they will, but no man could listen to Mr. Whitmer as he talks of his interview with the Angel of the Lord, without being most forcibly convinced that he has heard an honest man tell what he honestly believes to be true."

Quotes from the past

"Each one of us has the right given to him by God to think as he wishes, to believe as he wishes. But when we come to teaching others, and particularly when we come to teaching the youth of Zion . . ., we then move into a position of responsibility in which we must be sure that we teach only that which has been revealed from the Lord. I feel that I have no right to try to impart to others some abstract theory of mine, some explanation of mine which lies outside of the revealed will of the Lord, and I may say I have a lot of fancy ideas, but they are too fancy for me to try to give to others." - President J. Reuben Clark Jr. of the First Presidency, delivered Jan. 22, 1936, at BYU.