Dedication recalls momentous 1847 meeting

On Dec. 5, 1847, at the home of apostle Orson Hyde, the First Presidency was reorganized by the Quorum of the Twelve with President Brigham Young being named the second president of the Church in this dispensation.

That event 150 years ago was observed Dec. 5 when Pres. E. Louis Butler of the Omaha Nebraska Papillion Stake dedicated the Orson Hyde Park at historic Kanesville, in present-day Council Bluffs.The park, on the site where Elder Hyde's home likely stood, is not far from the recently reconstructed Kanesville Tabernacle. The original log tabernacle was the location where, on Dec. 27, 1847, the general membership of the Church sustained Brigham Young as prophet, seer and revelator, and president of the Church. That event will be observed on Dec. 27 in the reconstructed tabernacle

At the Dec. 5 dedication, Pres. Butler recounted the events of that day 150 years previously. President Young had returned from the Saints' new settlement in the Salt Lake Valley to Kanesville, where the bulk of the Church membership was still located. Nine of the 12 apostles met at Elder Hyde's home, where it was proposed that Brigham Young be sustained as Church president. Elders Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards of the Twelve were chosen as counselors.

Also on that occasion 150 years ago, Henry Miller was commissioned to build the tabernacle, wherein the Church members could meet in solemn assembly to sustain the new First Presidency. It was completed in three weeks.

President Butler expressed appreciation that the Brethren, with all the burdens they had to shoulder, would come together to properly organize the Church in accordance with the Lord's commandments.

The stake president observed that even to this day, there is a peaceful spirit about the area where the Orson Hyde Park is located. "People are kind there," he added. "I get a feeling of comfort and peace when I visit there that tells me that our Heavenly Father is aware of that place and what took place there and has blessed those who are still in that area."

A monument had been placed on the site a month earlier by the Pottawatamie County Mormon Trails Association, largely composed of volunteers who are not Church members, said Miriam Beck, Church director of public affairs in Council Bluffs. The volunteers, she said, have determined the location of a schoolhouse, log cabins and two dugouts in the 1847 community that comprised about 200 log cabins. The stone memorial is located near the site where many believe Elder Hyde's cabin stood in the original settlement.

The dedication began a season of Christmas celebration on the grounds of the reconstructed tabernacle. It includes Christmas lighting, a Christmas village, caroling, a performance by the Omaha Symphony Chamber Ensemble and a performance by the Kanesville Tabernacle Choir, culminating with the sesquicentennial observance of the 1847 sustaining of the First Presidency on Dec. 27.

That observance will be part of "A Day with Brigham Young" that will include brunch at 9 a.m., with the celebration in the tabernacle to take place at 11 a.m.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed