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Amasa Lyman
Full name Amasa Mason Lyman
Born March 30, 1813(1813-03-30)
Place of birth Lyman, New Hampshire
Died February 4, 1877 (aged 63)
Place of death Fillmore, Utah Territory
LDS Church Apostle
Called by Joseph Smith, Jr.
Ordained August 20, 1842 (aged 29)
Ordination reason Excommunication of Orson Pratt[1]
End of term October 6, 1867 (aged 54)
End reason Stripped of Apostleship for repeatedly teaching false doctrine
Reorganization at end of term No apostles ordained[2]
LDS Church General Authority
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by Joseph Smith, Jr.
Start of term August 20, 1842 (aged 29)
End of term January 20, 1843 (aged 29)
End reason Dropped from Quorum due to an excess of apostles occasioned by the readmission of Orson Pratt to the Quorum
Counselor in the First Presidency
Called by Joseph Smith, Jr.
Start of term February 4, 1843 (aged 29)
End of term June 27, 1844 (aged 31)
End reason Dissolution of First Presidency upon the death of Joseph Smith, Jr.
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Start of term October 6, 1845 (aged 32)
End of term October 6, 1867 (aged 54)
End reason Stripped of Apostleship and position in Quorum for repeatedly teaching false doctrine

Amasa Mason Lyman (pronounced /ˈæməsə/) (March 30, 1813 – February 4, 1877) was an early leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and was an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He was also a counselor in the First Presidency to founder and president of the church Joseph Smith, Jr.

Contents

Early life and conversion

Lyman was born in Lyman, Grafton County, New Hampshire, the third son of Roswell Lyman and Martha Mason. In the spring of 1832, Lyman met two traveling Latter Day Saint missionaries, Orson Pratt and Lyman E. Johnson. He was baptized a member of the Church on 27 April 1832 by Johnson. On 28 April, Lyman was confirmed by Pratt.

After becoming a Latter Day Saint, Lyman traveled 700 miles to Palmyra, New York, where he hoped to meet Joseph Smith and Martin Harris. (Smith and Harris had lived in the Palmyra area when the Book of Mormon was published and the Church was organized in 1830). When Lyman arrived in Palmyra, he discovered that Smith had moved to Ohio the previous year, and that he was currently away from his Ohio home on a visit to Missouri.

Determined to join the Latter Day Saints in Ohio, Lyman found temporary employment on the farm of Thomas Lackey, who had bought Harris' farm when Harris sold it to raise money for the publication of the Book of Mormon. After working for two weeks, Lyman had earned enough money to take a ship from Buffalo, New York to Cleveland, Ohio. From Cleveland, Lyman walked the forty-five miles to Hiram, the town that he had been told Smith and his family were then living in. Upon meeting John Johnson, the owner of the home where the Smiths were living, Lyman discovered that Johnson was the father of the missionary who had baptized Lyman just weeks before. Excited to meet one of his son's converts to the Church, John Johnson invited Lyman to live at his house and work on his farm. Lyman did so from 5 June until August 1832. Lyman met Joseph Smith on 1 July, when Smith returned to Hiram from his Missouri visit.

Missionary service and church leadership

In August 1832, Joseph Smith told Lyman that "the Lord requires your labors in the vineyard."[3]. Lyman immediately agreed to serve a mission for the Church. On 23 August, Lyman was ordained an Elder of the Church by Smith and Frederick G. Williams. On the following day, Lyman and Zerubbabel Snow departed together as missionaries for the church. Lyman served with Snow and William F. Cahoon in the Eastern States, preaching as far east as Cabell County, Virginia, in present-day West Virginia. During his missionary labors, on 11 December 1833, Lyman was ordained a High Priest in the Church by Lyman Johnson and Orson Pratt, the same elders who had taught and baptized him in 1832

Lyman returned to Church headquarters in Kirtland, Ohio in May 1835. At a Conference of the Church in June, Lyman was called by Joseph Smith to be a member of the newly-organized First Quorum of the Seventy; he was ordained a Seventy of the Church by Smith, Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon. In 1836, Lyman received the so-called "Kirtland Endowment" in the Latter Day Saints' Kirtland Temple. Lyman married Maria Louisa Tanner in Kirtland in 1835.

Lyman served several additional missions for the Church, preaching in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Tennessee. In 1838, Lyman followed Smith to Far West, Missouri when Smith decided to relocate the headquarters of the Church there. Lyman was a participant in the Battle of Crooked River, a skirmish between Latter Day Saints and a Missouri state militia unit from Ray County, which occurred on 25 October 1838

In 1839, Lyman again traveled with the Latter Day Saints to their new headquarters, this time to Nauvoo, Illinois. In 1841 Lyman was appointed regent of the newly organized University of Nauvoo. On 20 August 1842, Joseph Smith called Lyman to serve as an Apostle of the Church. Lyman filled a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that was created by the excommunication of Apostle Orson Pratt. Just five months later, on 20 January 1843, Pratt was rebaptized and restored to his former position in the Quorum of the Twelve. As the most junior and "thirteenth" Apostle, Lyman was excluded from the Quorum. On 4 February, Joseph Smith called Lyman to serve as an additional Counselor in the First Presidency. Due to the turbulence of the years 1843 and 1844 for the Latter Day Saints, Lyman was never sustained at a Conference of the Church to this position.

Plural marriage

In April 1844, Joseph Smith taught Lyman the principle of plural marriage. "As he warmly grasped my hand for the last time," Lyman later recalled, "[Joseph said] brother Amasa, go and practice on the principles I have taught you, and God bless you."[4]. Shortly thereafter, Lyman married his first and second plural wives, Diontha Walker and Caroline Partridge. Lyman eventually married a total of eight plural wives.[citation needed]

Follower of Brigham Young

Lyman was in Cincinnati, Ohio and on his way to Boston, Massachusetts in July 1844 when he learned that Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum had been killed by a mob at Carthage, Illinois. He arrived back at Nauvoo on 31 July. When Apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, and Lyman Wight arrived in Nauvoo on 6 August, Lyman sided with the group of Latter Day Saints who supported the leadership of Young and the Quorum of the Twelve as opposed to that of Smith's First Counselor in the First Presidency, Sidney Rigdon.

Under the leadership of Brigham Young, Lyman was restored as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on August 12, 1844. In 1846, Lyman married four additional wives: Eliza Partridge (a 25-year-old sister to Lyman's wife Caroline who had been one of Joseph Smith's plural wives), Pauline Phelps, Priscilla Turley and Cornelia Leavitt. In 1847, Lyman and his seven wives and children traveled with the Saints who followed Young to the Salt Lake Valley in present-day Utah. In 1851, Lyman married his eighth and final wife, Lydia Partridge, a sister to his wives Caroline and Eliza.

Heresy and excommunication

In 1860, Church President Brigham Young appointed three of the twelve Apostles — Lyman, Charles C. Rich, and George Q. Cannon — to be the presidency of the Church's European Mission. On 16 March 1862, Lyman preached a sermon in Dundee, Scotland, which all but denied the reality of and the necessity of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the central tenet of the LDS Church. This incident was apparently overlooked for a number of years, for it was not until 21 January 1867 that Lyman was brought before the Quorum of the Twelve to answer for his heretical speech. Lyman confessed his error and apologized to the Quorum personally and to the Latter-day Saints in a letter in the Deseret News. However, just months later, Lyman again began publicly preaching the substance of his 1862 Dundee speech. As a result of his failure to live up to his confession and apology, the church stripped Lyman of the Apostleship on October 6, 1867; he was excommunicated from the church for the same reason on May 12, 1870.

Lyman died at Fillmore, Millard County, Utah Territory. He and seven of his eight wives were parents of 38 children. Although Lyman never returned to the church after his excommunication, under the direction of Church President Joseph F. Smith, Lyman was posthumously reinstated as a church member and an Apostle on January 12, 1909.

Notable descendants

Amasa M. Lyman's posterity includes his sons Francis M. Lyman and Platte D. Lyman , both of whom became president of the European Mission of the LDS Church. Francis M. Lyman and his grandson Richard R. Lyman, became apostles in the LDS Church. While Francis remained steadfast through his life and eventually became the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Richard—like his grandfather—was removed from the apostleship and excommunicated. James E. Faust, who served as an apostle for 29 years and as second counselor in the First Presidency of the church from 1995 until his death in 2007, is a great-great-grandson of Amasa M. Lyman.

Chart: the eight wives

- # - Year of
Marriage
Name Her Age His Age # of
Children
- 1 - 1835 Maria Louisa Tanner 17 22 8
- 2 - 1843 Diontha Walker 27 30 0
- 3 - 1844 Caroline Partridge 17 31 6
- 4 - 1846 Eliza Partridge Smith 23 33 5
- 5 - 1846 Pauline Phelps 19 33 7
- 6 - 1846 Priscilla Turley 17 33 6
- 7 - 1846 Cornelia Leavitt 21 33 2
- 8 - 1853 Lydia Partridge 23 40 4

Notes

  1. ^ Pratt was rebaptized and readmitted to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 1843-01-20. After this occurred, Lyman was dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve and joined the First Presidency as a counselor to Joseph Smith, Jr.
  2. ^ Joseph F. Smith was added to the Quorum of the Twelve after Lyman was removed from the Quorum, but Smith had previously been ordained an apostle on 1866-07-01.
  3. ^ Amasa M. Lyman, "Amasa Lyman's History", Millennial Star, vol. 27, no. 31 (Aug. 5, 1865), p 487
  4. ^ Amasa M. Lyman, "Amasa Lyman's History", Millennial Star, vol. 27 no. 35 (September 2, 1865), p. 553

References

External Resources

Religious titles
Preceded by
Lyman Wight
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
August 20, 1842–20 January 1843
August 12, 1844–October 6, 1867
Succeeded by
Orson Pratt
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