Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Amasa M. Lyman Amasa M. (Mason) Lyman

1813 - 1877

  • Born 1813 Lyman, New Hampshire
  • Baptized 1832
  • Ordained Elder 1832
  • Ordained High Priest 1833
  • Zions Camp 1834
  • Ordained Seventy and called to First Quorum of Seventy 1835
  • Ordained Apostle and placed in Quorum of Twelve 1842
  • Removed from Quorum of Twelve and made Counselor to First Presidency 1843
  • Returned to Quorum of Twelve 1844
  • Removed from Twelve 1867
  • Excommunicated 1870
  • Died 1877 Fillmore, Utah
  • Blessings restored after death

    Amasa Mason Lyman was born in the township of Lyman, Grafton county, New Hampshire, on the 30th of March 1813. He was the third son of Boswell Lyman and Martha Mason. His father died when Amasa was about eight years of age, and some time later his mother remarried. Thus he was reared in the home of his grandfather on the maternal side, Perez Mason, until he was eleven years of age. Perez Mason then retired from his farm to live with his eldest son Perley Mason with whom also, according to the wishes of his mother, Amasa lived during the next seven years.

    When young Lyman was in his eighteenth year he became thoughtful on the subject of religion and earnestly sought the favor of the Lord by righteous deportment, though without connecting himself with any of the religious sects. About one year later Elders Orson Pratt and Lyman E. Johnson passed through the section of New Hampshire where young Lyman lived. He believed the message proclaimed by the missionaries and was baptized on the 27th of April, 1832 by Elder Lyman E. Johnson, and confirmed on the following day by Elder Orson Pratt.

    In consequence of the ill feelings which arose in his uncle's family owing to his joining the Church, Amasa departed from the home of his kindred and set out on foot for the gathering place of the saints in Ohio. After a journey of some seven hundred miles, in which he endured many hardships--for much of the journey was made on foot and with but scant means of subsistence--he arrived at Hiram in portage county, and engaged to work for Father Johnson at ten dollars a month.

    It was at this time that the Prophet was making his home at Father Johnson's though on the arrival of young Lyman at Hiram he was absent in Missouri. About the first of July, however, Joseph returned from his western journey, and Amasa had the joy of meeting the Prophet of the new dispensation. Of that meeting and the impressions it produced, he said: "Of the impressions produced I will here say although there was nothing strange or different from other men in his personal appearance, yet when he grasped my hand in that cordial way (known to those who have met him in the honest simplicity of truth), I felt as one of old in the presence of the Lord; my strength stand on my feet; but in all this there was no fear, but the serenity and peace of heaven pervaded my soul, and the still small voice of the spirit whispered its living testimony in the depths of my soul, where it has ever remained, that he was the man of God." ("Autobiographical Sketch of Amasa M. Lyman", Millennial Star, vol. vii, p. 173.)

    Amasa M. Lyman was ordained an Elder in August of 1832 under the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was ordained a High Priest Dec. 11, 1833, by Lyman E. Johnson, assisted by Orson Pratt. During a brief suspension of Elder Orson Pratt from the quorum of the twelve, 1842, Elder Lyman was ordained an apostle by Brigham Young assisted by Heber C. Kimball to take Elder Pratt's place; this on 20th Aug. 1842; but Elder Pratt having made satisfaction to President Smith was restored to fellowship in his quorum, Jan. 1843; this let Elder Lyman out of the quorum of the twelve, still an ordained Apostle. Elder Lyman was taken by President Smith into the first presidency (History of the Church, Period I, vol. v, pp. 255-6); but he was never formally presented to the people in that capacity. After this appointment, however, Elder Lyman was always honored by the twelve both before and after the demise of the Prophet, as one of the leaders of the church; and some time later--Aug. 12, 1844--was received again into the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

    In 1860 President Brigham Young appointed three of the twelve apostles, Elders Amasa M. Lyman, Charles C. Rich, and George Q. Cannon to be the presidency of the European Mission.  Elders Lyman and Rich departed at once for their field of labor, where they arrived on the 27th of July, 1860, accompanied by eleven other elders from Utah.

    While in Europe Elder Lyman developed some strange ideas. He delivered a discourse in Dundee, Scotland, on the 16th of March, 1862, which virtually denied the necessity of, and the fact of, the "Atonement of Jesus Christ." No satisfactory explanation appears why this matter was allowed to pass apparently unnoticed until the 21st of January, 1867. But it was not until then that Elder Lyman was brought before the Council of the Twelve for his heresy.

    "The Quorum of the Twelve" says the account of the meeting, "were horrified at the idea that one of the Twelve Apostles should teach such a doctrine." When interrogated upon the subject Elder Lyman avowed that such had been his views--that is, that men were not saved through any atonement made in the death of the Christ. Each of the quorum then spoke against the views of Elder Lyman. Elder Woodruff said, "that he felt shocked at the idea that one of the Twelve Apostles should get so far into the dark as to deny the blood of Christ, and say that it was not necessary for the salvation of man and teach this as a true doctrine, while it was in opposition to all the doctrine taught by every prophet and apostle, and saint from the days of Adam until today. The Bible, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants teach, from beginning to end, that Christ shed his blood for the salvation of man, and that there is no other name given under heaven whereby man can be saved. And I can tell Brother Lyman that his doctrine will send him to perdition if he continues in it, and so it will any man; and furthermore, such a doctrine would send this church and kingdom to pieces, like an earthquake. There never was and never will be, a saint on the earth that believes in that doctrine, it is the worst heresy man can preach.

    After the Twelve were through speaking Elder Lyman was very much humbled "and asked forgiveness." The council repaired to President Young's office, where the matter was presented to him. The president sustained the views of the Twelve and emphasized them, "and required Brother Lyman to publish his confession and make it as public as he had his false doctrine." To this he evidently consented for a most humble acknowledgment of his error was published in the Deseret News!

    Unhappily, however, Elder Lyman did not adhere to his confession of error, but in a few months reaffirmed his conviction of the accuracy of the principle of his Dundee discourse against the necessity of, and the fact of, the atonement; and as a result of this course, after an investigation by three of the apostles, Elder Lyman was removed from the Quorum of the Twelve and deprived of his Apostleship by action of the Twelve apostles in a council meeting at St. George, May 6th, 1867; which action was ratified by the general conference of the Church on the 8th of October following. Apparently even this was not enough to cause him to repent, as he was excommunicated May 12 1870.

    Amasa Mason Lyman died February 4, 1877 at Fillmore, Millard County, Utah. His blessings were restored in 1909, many years after his death.

    Lyndon W. Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.266
    Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p.96
    Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1
    Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, p.285
    2005 Church Almanac, p.60

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