Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Benjamin L. Clapp Benjamin L. (Lynn) Clapp

1814 - 1860
  • Born 1814 West Huntsville, Alabama
  • Married 1832 to Mary Schultz; later practiced plural marriage; twelve children
  • Mission to Kentucky 1838
  • Ordained Seventy 1844
  • Called to First Council of Seventy 1845
  • Excommunicated 1859
  • Died 1860 Liberty, California

    Benjamin Lynn Clapp was one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies, from 1845 to 1859. He was born Aug. 19, 1814, in West Huntsville, Alabama to Ludwick Lewis Clapp and Margaret Ann Loy. Brother Clapp was first married in 1832 to Mary Schultz. He later practiced plural marriage. His other wives included Ane Christine Diedrick, Elvira Randall, and Ann Bingham.He fathered twelve children of record.

    He joined the Church at an early day. He was ordained a Priest by Elder Wilford Woodruff on February 26, 1836  and ordained an Elder December 2 of the same year. He labored as a missionary in Kentucky in 1838. Elder Woodruff writes of one experience on a missionary journey with Elder Clapp:

    "While traveling in the night, with Brother Benjamin L. Clapp and others, a tremendous storm of wind and rain overtook us. We came to a creek which had swollen to such an extent by the rain, that we could not cross without swimming our horses; several of the company were females. We undertook to head the stream, to ford it; but in the attempt, in the midst of the darkness and the raging of the wind and rain, we were lost in the thick woods, amidst the rain, wind, creeks and fallen treetops. We crossed streams nearly twenty times. I was reminded of Paul's perils by water; but the Lord was merciful unto us in the midst of our troubles, for while we were groping in the dark, running the risk of killing both ourselves and animals, by riding off precipitous bluffs, a bright light suddenly shone round about us, and revealed our perilous situation, as were upon the edge of a deep gulf. The light continued with us until we found a house, and learned the right road; then the light disappeared, and we were enabled to reach the house of Brother Henry Thomas, at nine o'clock, all safe, having rode twenty miles, five hours in the storm; and we felt to thank the Lord for our preservation."

    Benjamin L. Clapp with his family was among the first company of saints to emigrate to Far West, Missouri, from Kentucky. This company left Terrapin, Ky., Sept. 19, 1836. In Far West he passed through severe persecutions, and after participating in the Battle of Crooked River  he, together with others fled into the wilderness in order to escape their enemies. They traveled through the northern part of Missouri, and the southern part of Iowa and finally reached Illinois in safety.

    At a political meeting held at Nauvoo Feb. 2, 1843, Elder Clapp delivered a speech, in which he said that The Prophet Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith had attempted to take away the rights of the citizens at a late municipal election. Two days later he made a public confession to the effect that he was wrong in his accusation. When Joseph was arrested at Dixon, Ill., in 1843, and an attempt was made to kidnap him to Missouri, Elder Clapp joined the expedition which rescued the Prophet.

    Soon after this he departed on a mission to Alabama, on which he had been called at the previous April conference. Upon his return, Elder Clapp reported that he left Nauvoo on the twenty-third day of October, 1844, on a special mission to collect tithing throughout the southern states. He returned, having held many meetings, baptized fifteen persons and collected one thousand and forty-seven dollars which he delivered to the Trustee-in-Trust. We find his letter of report to Wilford Woodruff in the Times & Seasons.

Dear Sir:
    It is not with an ordinary degree of satisfaction that I embrace the present opportunity of writing a few lines to you, to let you know where I am and what I am doing.  I left home on the 12th of August last; came down the river to Vicks Burg; travelled into the county about forty miles; preached a few times; was taken very ill, and remained unable to preach for about four weeks.  I then got better and began to preach as soon as I felt able.  In company with Elders Hewet and Gully, I started for Alabama, travelled about 140 miles and came into Kemper county, where I am now. The weather being rainy, and the waters high, we commenced preaching the everlasting gospel.  Large congregations turned out to hear and many soon began to believe.  The waters still continued high and I continued to preach in this and the adjoining counties, until I, with the help of my brethren, have succeeded in organizing two branches of the church consisting of 6 and 7 members.  The spirit of the Lord has been poured out, and some have spoken in tongues while others have rejoiced in the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant.  I have not yet been to Alabama; the waters have continued so high that it has been impossible to get there.  It happened pretty much by chance, a few days ago, that I got hold of one of the late numbers of the Times and Seasons, in which I discovered an article on the necessity of a more extensive spread of your very valuable paper, upon which I determined to use what influence I could in that way, and feel still determined, with the help of the Lord, to be the means in the hands of God of spreading this work as far as I can, both by preaching and obtaining subscribers for both the Times and Seasons and Neighbor. -- Brother S. Gully, the bearer of this, will hand in the names of some ten or twelve subscribers, with the pay.  The brethren here have subscribed liberally for the papers, in a general way.

    I have seen many ups and down in this world since I first heard the gospel by your mouth; but the circumstances which transpired in those days are still fresh in my mind and well do I remember the many times that I repaired to the silent grove and poured out my soul in mighty prayer to God, that I might receive authority as a minister of Jesus Christ, and little did I realize the importance of the calling.  But I chose it, not because I was eloquent, not because I was learned, nor yet because I was desirous of obtaining vain glory; but because I could not bare (sic) the idea of God's people being gathered and not to have a hand in it; believing that God was able out of weakness to bring strength and with weak and foolish things to bring to nought the strong and wise in the things of this world.

    May the Lord, in his mercy, direct me in all things that I may follow the spirit of truth and the council of the church of Latter -day Saints.

    Pray for me that the Lord may bless me and keep me in the right way.  Write to me, if you please, and give me such instructions as I need, and you will confer a great favor on me.

    I am your brother in the bonds of the new and everlasting covenant,


    Elder Clapp was ordained and set apart as one of the presidents of the eighth quorum of Seventy Oct. 20, 1844, under the hands of Joseph Young and Levi W. Hancock, and set apart as one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies Dec. 2, 1845, under the hands of Apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, and George A. Smith. Elder Clapp filled a vacancy occasioned by the death of Elder Daniel S. Miles.

    He came west in the general exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo, Ill., and after residing for several years in Salt Lake City he removed his family to Ephraim, Sanpete County, where he had some difficulty with Bishop Warren S. Snow who referred the matter to the First Council of the Seventy. After investigation before the Council of the Seventy, he was dropped from his position in the council and finally excommunicated for apostasy at the general conference held in Salt Lake City April 7, 1859. Elder Jacob Gates was called to fill the vacancy left by Elder Clapp.

    He died in Liberty, California in the year 1860, with a firm conviction of the truth of the latter-day work.

   LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 1, p. 195
   Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1
   History of the Church, Multiple citations; see index
   2005 Church Almanac, p. 71

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