Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog
 


Purple Heart

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 30, 2014

Purple Heart

By Alma Robison Higbee

A symbol of his bravery, they said,
But I remember him with laughing eyes
And see the meadow where his feet have sped
As he and his dog played under these peaceful skies,
The little black dog that will ever be a part
Of the boy who fought … and won a purple heart.

No longer a need to wait for the postman’s call;
I shall not write that the little brown wren is back,
And yet, I wait for his footsteps in the hall
Though the house has grown as sad as each day’s lack,
For purple hearts are lonely, useless things
for eager boys whose youthful dreams had wings.

(1953)

Heber J. Grant Recalls Two Excommunications

By: Amy Tanner Thiriot - July 30, 2014

The following recollections come from a 1937 letter of President Heber J. Grant to the family of John Morgan (1842-1894), a Civil War veteran and one of the Presidents of the Seventy. Paragraphs have been added for readability.

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HeberJGrantLDSCES07-117-2
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In early days the Bishops with their counselors were permitted to have trials and excommunicate men from the Church. One of my nearest and dearest and best beloved friends was excommunicated by the Bishopric of his Ward, and I considered it nothing short of an outrage. I desired to be present to testify in his behalf, but was not permitted to be at the meeting. I sat on the outside of the meeting house on the top of a high post. A fence was being built around the meeting house and the boards of the fence had not been put on, but the posts were set up and I climbed on top of one of these posts and could see and hear the people in the second story of the meeting house, and I heard the whole proceedings. (more…)

What Kirby Got Wrong This Time

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 29, 2014

Welcome to what is shaping up to be a regular feature here: “What Kirby Got Wrong This Time.”

Once again Facebook friends are sharing and liking a recent Salt Lake Tribune column by Robert Kirby. This time it’s about answers to prayer.

He dodders on for a few paragraphs of what must be intended for humor, about getting or not getting answers to prayer. Whatever. Then comes this:

“Prayer is a deeply personal thing. The times when I feel like I’ve gotten an answer are rare and I tend to keep that stuff to myself. I wish other people would.”

Yes, prayer is a deeply personal thing, and direct, recognizable, immediate answers may be rare enough. If you don’t want to share your experiences, fine. Picking the right audience for sacred narratives helps keep them sacred and not profane.

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Hollyhock Dolls

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 29, 2014

Hollyhock Dolls

By Helen Hinckley

My grandmother has the nicest back yard
Where hollyhocks fill a big space.
Just a bud for a head and a flower for a dress
With a toothpick to hold them in place.
At times we have made most a dozen nice dolls.
We play they are fairies and elves.
But the thing we like most about the whole game
Is picking the flowers ourselves.

(1931)

Your Young Men’s Reading Assignment, 1914 –

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 29, 2014

From the Juvenile Instructor, January 1914 –

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On Evaluating Too-Good-To-Be-True “Quotations”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 29, 2014

Overnight someone emailed me asking for help in finding the source of a remark attributed to Brigham Young. He had been unable to trace the quotation earlier than an account published within the past ten years, and he hoped I could help him find a citation to the original source. Because so many of us are confronted with “quotations” attributed to major political or religious figures, whether through Facebook memes or emails from Crazy Uncle Fred, I thought perhaps it would be useful to suggest how I evaluate those things.

When I’m suspicious of the legitimacy of a quotation, I Google key phrases and see where it has appeared before. If the quotation is cited to printed publications (preferably pre-1990), and those publications are scholarly rather than obviously polemical (not merely to a political speech, or in the publications of a hate group), then I tend to accept it as a legitimate quotation. But if Google returns hits only for Internet usage (compilations of unsourced quotations, or blog posts, or news sources), I peg it as a false quotation and am unwilling to spend another moment researching the source.

Think about it: What are the odds that a blogger, or a journalist, or your Crazy Uncle Fred, has access to legitimate and previously unknown writings of Thomas Jefferson or Brigham Young or Winston Churchill? No chance at all. None. The accepted, trustworthy sources of the words of notable historical figures are either the papers and articles published by scholars, or, perhaps, speeches or interviews of those historical figures published at the time the words were spoken – which almost always means that those words would have been discovered and published by scholars anyway.

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Elsie Birdsall Taylor (Cora’s Sister)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 28, 2014

I don’t have a photograph of Cora. This is a picture of Elsie Birdsall Taylor, Cora’s younger sister, taken sometime in the 1890s. I have no idea how strong a family resemblance there was, but I imagine Cora looking not too differently from her sister.

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The Lantern in the Tower: Chapter 4

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 28, 2014

The Lantern in the Tower

by Elizabeth Cheatham Walton

Previous chapter

Chapter 4

Andy strode into the room.

“What’s going on around here?” he demanded.

The man with the raised fist dropped it halfway to his side. The men stopped shouting, some of them in the middle of words. Everyone stared at Andy. A dark haired fellow cleared his throat, then stammered out.

“How did you get here?”

(more…)

The Happy Family Drinks Together

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 28, 2014

From the Improvement Era, February 1954 –

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The Trials of Cora Birdsall: part 8

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 28, 2014

The last installment left Cora, excommunicated, suicidal, irrational to the point of believing herself already dead. Only the apostles, she claimed, could make things right. Neighbors and local Church leaders pressured her to deed her 40 acres of meadowland to James Leavitt, who had prevailed in the Church courts – her stake president went so far as to tell Cora’s mother, Mary, that Cora was under the control of “an evil power” that could only be relieved by complying with the judgment and signing a deed. At Cora’s insistence, and in fear of Cora, Mary took her to Richfield, where they stayed at the house of Elsie Taylor, Cora’s widowed younger sister. They learned that a stake conference would be held at Richfield that weekend and, realizing that she could not take Cora all the way to Salt Lake City by herself, Mary hoped that the visiting authorities could do something to help. During the several days that Cora stayed at Elsie’s house, she did not eat, drink, or sleep.

Mary did her best to care for Cora at Elsie’s house. One evening when a local Church leader came to talk to Cora, Cora tried to leave the house. “I [Mary] hurried past her to stop her, and she tried to shove me aside to get out. She said, ‘Let me out of here, let me out of here.’ Of course I tried to detain her. She struck me with her fist and cut my lip on my teeth. She gave me another lick that knocked me down. That was unnatural in Cora; she was always of a very kind disposition.”

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