Edward Stevenson : biography
Edward Stevenson (May 1, 1820 – January 27, 1897) was a prominent Mormon missionary of the 19th century. He also served as a general authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as one of the seven presidents of the Seventy.
He is also notable for writing a memoir of Joseph Smith in 1893, which ended up being the earliest surviving documentary source supporting the story of Joseph Smith having taught prior to 1836 that he had seen God and Jesus Christ as two separate beings in his First Vision.
He is the author of the self-published Reminiscences of Joseph, the Prophet (1893). A large collection of Stevenson's journals are still available and have served as a significant historical resource. They are kept at the Special Collections department of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.
One of the buildings at the LDS Church's main Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah is named the Edward Stevenson Building, and his portrait hangs in the lobby.
LDS Church service
Stevenson also made six missionary journeys, for up to five years at a time. These included three missions to Europe, two missions to the southern United States, and one mission to Mexico. He is recorded as having traveled the most miles under his own expense of any missionary in the history of the LDS Church.
Stevenson settled in Salt Lake City with the first group of Mormon pioneers in 1847, and spent the first five years there getting established, and traveling Utah with Brigham Young and other church authorities to help oversee the establishment of several new settlements, before leaving on one of his missions in 1852.
Stevenson also served as the co-leader of one of the Utah pioneer teams in 1855, and served as the leader of a second one in 1859.
Like most prominent Mormon leaders at the time, Stevenson practiced plural marriage, eventually marrying seven simultaneous wives, including two sets of sisters. He had at least 24 children.
Stevenson was born in Gibraltar to British parents. His family moved to the United States when he was young. As a young man, he was living in Pontiac, Michigan when he was contacted by a group of Latter Day Saint missionaries, including Joseph Smith, Jr., who were on a return leg of a trip to Upper Canada. Stevenson joined the Latter Day Saint church and relocated to its headquarters in Kirtland, Ohio in 1834. He later relocated with the main body of Latter Day Saints to Missouri, then Nauvoo, Illinois, and finally Salt Lake City, Utah Territory.
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