|September 2011: Last month a reader, Tom Jenson, commented that when he came across my note in TMD Vol. 1, which explains that having received my complaint, the Church removed an untrue statement about Zina D. H. Young from her official biographical sketch, he checked on line and found it was still there. This I found quite interesting as I knew the offending sentence had been removed from the lds.org web site. Before reviewing the outcome of further investigations into this, let’s first look at what I claimed in TMD Vol. 1:133-34. This is an extract…
In evidence of the way the Mormon Church continues even now, to lie and cover up the difficult and embarrassing aspects of its outrageous history, the following is from the official Church website. It is the ‘Biographical Sketch’ of Zina, appearing because she was General Relief Society President in her later years in Salt Lake City, from 1888 to 1901, the year in which she died.
Zina D. H. Young, a midwife and an educator, worked closely with Eliza R. Snow in the Relief Society. In 1870 Brigham Young called Sister Young to promote silk production among the women of the Church as part of the Church’s emphasis on home industry and self sufficiency. During her presidency the Relief Society affiliated with the United States National Council of Women and campaigned for women’s suffrage. Sister Young continued the Relief Society’s emphasis on health care, grain storage, education, and compassionate service. Widowed by her first husband, she raised two sons from that marriage, one daughter from her later marriage to Brigham Young, and four of Brigham Young’s other children. (Zina D. H.Young Biographical Sketch. Available at: http://www.lds.org under the heading of ‘Relief Society’). (Emphasis added).
The official Church sketch clearly states that Zina was widowed by her first husband. He actually died in 1886, nine years after Young, who died in 1877. It says she raised two sons from that marriage, with the clear implication that she did so after Henry had died. They were actually aged forty-four and forty years old respectively when Henry died. It says Zina had a daughter from her later marriage to Brigham Young.
They had married in 1844 and in the Temple in 1846, forty years before Henry died, whose death was, as mentioned, nine years after Young died. Zina’s daughter by Brigham Young, Zina Presendia, was born 3 April 1850. Make of the sketch what you will; in one sentence, there is a complete fabrication of the truth, with the facts altered dramatically in order to create a modern day lie and cover up the real and embarrassing truth ofthe past. That lie is available to view on the Church web site today, where the Church incredulously creates the warm and fuzzy out of the dark and devious.
Note: Since writing the above, in a communication with an apostle of the Mormon Church, dated 28 May 2008, I questioned why they still include such lies in their propaganda and suggested that integrity demands they remove it. Whilst I did not receive a response or even an acknowledgement of the correspondence which included that comment, I note that the offending sentence: “Widowed by her first husband, she raised two sons from thatmarriage, one daughter from her later marriage to Brigham Young, andfour of Brigham Young’s other children” has now been removed, as of September 2008, and the statement ends with the word ‘service’. I am pleased that the Church has done so, but the question remains: why was it there in the first instance? It would have been nice to have received a response confirming receipt of my letter, noting they were going to accept the criticism and remove the lies. All other RS Presidents listed, continue with the mention of a husband, but despite the first few being plural wives, no mention is made of their husbands’ other wives. Zina now appears as the only one without mention of a husband other than by inference, referred to throughout as ‘Sister Young’.
The link that Tom discovered was not to the official bio, but actually a 2004 ‘poster’ of Relief Society Presidents and it does indeed include the complete original bio for Zina, just as recorded in the above extract, retaining the offending sentence. Subsequently, when preparing this for posting and rechecking the links – the entire bio has been completely changed to a more accurate account in a 2009 version – the year I made my complaint. It seems they forgot to remove the original poster. This is the original link Tom found:
http://lds.org/pa/images/RSPresidentsPoster2004web.pdf [Archived Here]
This is the updated link. The new text is below.*
http://lds.org/pa/pdf/rs/RSPresidentsPoster2009web.pdf [Archived Here]
The official Church page for Relief Society Presidents is at this link:
Click on Zina, or use this direct link to her bio which has been changed:
Zina’s bio was here in full before my complaint but the final statement has since been removed, as discussed in TMD Vol. 1. Discovery of the existence of the online poster made it interesting as we now have visual evidence of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ position, thus verifying the sentence that has been deleted from the official bio. However, it has now been completely removed from the poster in a new edition and replaced with the following text. As long as the 2004 version exists we have verification of the facts. This is the 2009 version.
Zina D. H. Young was a nurturer and a healer within and beyond her family circle. She married Henry Jacobs (with whom she had two sons), was sealed to Joseph Smith, and later married Brigham Young (with whom she had a daughter). She also reared as her own the four children of Clarissa Ross Young, who had died. A competent midwife, she delivered hundreds of babies and ministered to the sick with faith and compassion. She traveled with Eliza R. Snow to strengthen Relief Society women and programs, supervised women’s participation in Utah’s silk industry, supported medical training and suffrage for women, and visited branches of the Relief Society in the Sandwich Islands, New York, and Canada. As the society’s general president from 1888 to 1901, she helped build bridges to women of other faiths by attending women’s congresses at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and supporting Latter-day Saint women’s membership in the National and International Councils of Women. She assembled women for the first general conference of the Relief Society and exhorted them to gather often to strengthen the bonds of sisterhood.
Who would have thought that we would catch the very moment (2009) the Church changed the bio and became just a little more (although not entirely, as they still don’t admit to the polyandrous marriage) honest about the past. My thanks to Tom for locating the 2004 poster.