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Luke S. Johnson: Wikis


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Luke S. Johnson
Full name Luke Samuel Johnson
Born November 3, 1807(1807-11-03)
Place of birth Pomfret, Vermont
Died December 9, 1861 (aged 54)
Place of death Salt Lake City, Utah Territory
LDS Church Apostle
Called by Three Witnesses
Ordained February 15, 1835 (aged 27)
Ordination reason Initial organization of Quorum of the Twelve
End of term December 31, 1837 (aged 30)
End reason Resignation from the church[1]
Reorganization at end of term No apostles immediately ordained[2]
LDS Church General Authority
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by Three Witnesses
Start of term February 15, 1835 (aged 27)
End of term September 3, 1837 (aged 29)
End reason Disfellowshipped and removed from Quorum

Luke Samuel Johnson (November 3, 1807 – December 9, 1861) was a leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1835 to 1838. He served in the Quorum with his younger brother, Lyman E. Johnson and Orson Hyde, his brother-in-law.

Johnson was born November 3, 1807, in Pomfret, Vermont, a son of John Johnson and Elsa Jacobs. He wrote of his family in an autobiographical sketch:

"My grandfather, Israel Johnson lived in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, and was much respected by his neighbors for his honesty, integrity and industry. My father, John Johnson, was born in Chesterfield, New Hampsire, April 11th, 1779. He followed the occupation of farming on a large scale, and was noted for paying his debts and living independently. He moved from Pomfret, Vermont, to Hiram, Protage county, Ohio. He was connected with the Methodist church for about five years previous to receiving the Gospel. My father was satisfied in regard to the truth of "Mormonism" and was baptized by Joseph Smith, Jun.(sic), in the winter of 1830-31, and furnished him and his family a home, while he translated a portion of the Bible." (see Ludlow, p. 357)

Johnson was an educator and a physician. He married Susan Harminda Poteet on November 1, 1833. This marriage produced six children, Elisa Mary, Fanny, Eliza, Vashata, James and Solomon. After Susan's death, on September 20, 1846, he married America Morgan Clark, on March 3, 1847, in the Kirtland Temple, and had additional children. This family included Susan Marinda, Orson Albert, Mark Anthony, Charlotte Elizabeth, Lovinia Ann, Phebe W. and Luke.



Church Membership and Service

Luke Johnson was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on May 10, 1831 by Joseph Smith, Jr. By October 1831, he had been ordained an Elder and went on a mission to southern Ohio with Robert Rathburn. Later in 1831, he joined Sidney Rigdon in preaching the gospel in areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Their efforts brought about fifty new members into the young church, including Elder Rigdon's mother and other members of the Rigdon family.

Johnson was ordained to the office of high priest by Joseph Smith, Jr. on October 25, 1831. With Seymour Brunson and Hazen Aldrich, he served as a missionary in Ohio, Virginia, and Kentucky in 1832-33, baptizing more than a hundred persons on their journey. He was a member of the Kirtland high council which was formed on February 17, 1834. On June 26, 1834, Johnson marched with Zion's Camp, suffering with cholera on the journey. At age 27, Johnson was chosen and ordained one of the original members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles on February 15, 1835. Shortly after the Council was formed, the new Apostles were sent on missions. Johnson served in the Eastern United States, New York and Upper Canada. He returned to Kirtland, Ohio in late 1836.

Luke Johnson defended the Prophet Joseph Smith from criticism on several occasions. But, in 1837, he became alienated from Joseph Smith, perhaps because of financial losses suffered in the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society. He was disfellowshiped at Kirtland, Ohio on September 3, 1837. Johnson was later received back into fellowship for a short time, but was excommunicated and dropped from the Twelve at Far West, Missouri on April 13, 1838. After leaving the Church, Johnson moved to Cabell County, Virginia, where he taught at Marshall University and then studied medicine, ultimately setting up a medical practice in Kirtland.

In 1846, after the death of Joseph Smith, Johnson requested permission to address an assembly of the saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He said: "I have stopped by the wayside and stood aloof from the work of the Lord... But my heart is with this people. I want to be associated with the saints, go with them into the wilderness and continue with them to the end." Johnson's brother-in-law, Apostle Orson Hyde rebaptized him into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 8, 1846. However, he never again served in the higher councils of the LDS Church.

Johnson traveled with Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff to Utah, serving as a captain of ten, as part of the first group of 143 Mormon pioneers in July 1847. He also served as a Captain of Fifty in the Daniel A. Miller/John W. Cooley Company (1853), while traveling with members of his family. Johnson settled in St. John, Tooele County, Utah where he served as Bishop of a local LDS congregation. He is the only man in the LDS Church that served as a bishop after having served as an apostle. He died December 9, 1861 in the home of Orson Hyde.

Grave marker of Luke S. Johnson.


  1. ^ Johnson was disfellowshipped and removed from the Quorum of the Twelve on 1837-09-03. However, Johnson remained an apostle until he denounced the church and Joseph Smith, Jr. in the last week of December 1837. Johnson was rebaptized into the church in 1846, but he was not reinstated to the apostleship.
  2. ^ The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles did not have twelve apostles again until 1841-04-08, when Lyman Wight was ordained. Between Johnson's resignation and then, John E. Page, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards had been ordained and added to the Quorum to replace apostles who had been excommunicated or killed.


External links

Religious titles
Preceded by
Parley P. Pratt
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 15, 1835–3 September 1837
Succeeded by
William Smith


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