From the Relief Society Magazine, January 1943 –
All That Glitters
By Norma Wrathall
“Wanted: At once. Women between 18 and 40 to work in war plant cafeteria. Wages, $80 per month. Transportation and one meal furnished. Apply at …”
The newspaper slid from Emily Merrill’s hand: “Wanted … $80 per month …” Her eyes sought out the worn linoleum, the scuffed chairs, the kitchen curtains, which in spite of frequent laundering refused to stay crisp. She looked down at her thin red hands, idle for once in her lap. How long had it been since she had had money to buy anything she really wanted? Somehow it had taken all they could scrape from the farm to meet expenses and make payments on the mortgage. She sighed. Of course, Jack was working at the plant himself, but he said that every cent they didn’t have to use on absolute necessities must go on the debt; now was his chance to “get out from under” as he put it. Well, all the more reason she should earn a little. She folded the ad page and put it carefully in the cupboard drawer. Why, it was wonderful, that’s what it was; it was her golden opportunity. She hummed a tune as she prepared the evening meal.
Sometimes we think of the English novelist Charles Dickens as being friendly to the Mormons, or at least having some respect for Mormons. Dickens visited the Mormon emigrant ship Amazon in 1863, and published an account of that visit in his magazine The Uncommerical Traveler, speaking somewhat favorably of the Mormons’ cleanliness and literacy and organization aboard the outbound ship — but he also betrays his continuing disdain for Mormon belief and the travelers’ unenviable future.
What is in store for the poor people on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, what happy delusions they are laboring under now, on what miserable blindness their eyes may be opened then, I do not pretend to say. But I went on board their ship to bear testimony against them if they deserved it, as I fully believed they would; to my great astonishment they did not deserve it; and my predispositions and tendencies must not affect me as an honest witness. I went over the Amazon’s side feeling it impossible to deny that, so far, some remarkable influence had produced a remarkable result, which better known influences have often missed.
Lesson 36: “Beloved of God, Called to Be Saints”
Purpose: To remind class members that they are children of God and to encourage them to live worthy of their divine inheritance.
1. We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ.
2. We can be reborn and become joint-heirs with Christ.
3. We should live as becomes Saints.
Scripture Discussion and Application
Last weekend, of course, was General Conference. What are the purposes of General Conference? [Among many acceptable responses, emphasize that Conference doesn’t necessarily teach us anything that we haven’t been taught before, but it reminds us of what we know, and maybe something old strikes us in a new way and we recommit to living some aspect of the gospel.]
Continuing the missionary diary of Evelyn Taylor, of Salt Lake City, serving in the California North Mission —
Saturday, August 23, 1947
I haven’t written in here for a week so I’ll try to write down what has happened.
Sat. 16th we washed and cleaned house – that was about it. Sunday there were 30 to Sunday School – we usually have 20. I was the speaker and talked about the Covenant Race and our need to keep the commandments. There was a meeting called for 2:00 when Pres. Ferrs said he was going to put it up to the members as to whether or not they wanted a branch. The Handys, Lewises, Sis Clausen and Bro. Jensen were the only members there besides Ferris. The District Presidency was there and after Pres. Ferris said a few words he turned the meeting over to them. They each spoke a few words. Then Pres. Ferris asked the members if they wanted to say anything – Sis Lewis got up and started it off. They all told what was bothering them, but it really didn’t accomplish anything. We couldn’t have told them what was wrong with the Branch, they wouldn’t have understood. Pres. Hawkes tried to, they, that is Sis. Handy, asked him directly what the missionaries reported to him. The Handys and Lewises just use church for a club and criticize the authorities.
Ii the evening we made ready for our Fireside but no one came. The Ferrises would have brought Audrey but there was no one else here so they didn’t. We had bought a watermelon to serve so filled up on it – finally eating it hanging over the sink with it running down our chins.
Yes, I’m shouting, right from the title onward.
I’ve deleted my first two drafts of this post, trying to pretend to be respectful of others’ efforts. But the truth is, people who don’t know what they’re doing, who believe in their magic powers to discern truth in flat contradiction of what the rules of historical evidence support, actually make the work of historians harder. They reintroduce falsehood into the public domain, without anything but wishful thinking to support their dirty work.
In this case, it’s the Scannel daguerreotype, that image donated long ago to the Community of Christ, investigated every which way, and left languishing under the verdict that “there is no reason to believe this is an image of Joseph Smith.” Shannon Michael Tracy’s book flaunting his silly and flawed tests and promoting a painting made from the daguerretotype, has been dug from the dustbin. The unsupported – unsupportable – discredited claims are making the rounds again, and naive wannabe historians are saying “Look at this picture! It looks just like Joseph! It must, therefore, be Joseph!”
I attended the “Black, White and Mormon” conference sponsored by the University of Utah’s Tanner Center, Thursday night and all day Friday. You can find writeups just about everywhere:
Salt Lake Tribune (Being Black at BYU)
Salt Lake Tribune (Black Women)
Salt Lake Tribune (Elder Sitati’s talk)
Deseret News (Lester Bush’s talk)
so I won’t try to summarize the conference in any sort of journalistic way.
There is one personal observation I want to make, my takeaway from the conference that I hope will remain fresh in my mind and heart forever:
Miss Brown, a young and enthusiastic fourth grade teacher prided herself upon knowing by sight the parents of all her pupils.
One day she boarded a crowded street car and believing she saw one of the parents, she called out a cheery, “Good morning, Mr. James.” The gentleman addressed turned and she found that he was a stranger. Blushing rosily, she attempted an apology.
“I – I beg your pardon,” she stammered. “I thought you were the father of one of my children!”
From the Relief Society Magazine, February 1943 –
By Blanche Kendall McKey
With more certainty than she had ever felt before, on that late July afternoon, Sheila admitted to herself that she was old. It wasn’t because she felt weak or defeated, judging herself as an actor in the life she had led. Rather, it was the realization that she had never been truly herself, and now it was too late. For sixty years she had heard the song of the untouched West with its inscrutable mountains, but she had never tried to sing or paint or write it. She had not used what was finest within her; in fact, she had never been an artist at all. And now she was old.
Here’s another essay in our collection of early 20th Century writings that defined the characteristic “Mormon standards” of that new era, and that have influenced the markers of Mormonism for the last century.
In most ways, this 1912 editorial is no different from earlier ones we have seen. It speaks almost worshipfully of the square dances of the sainted pioneers, and condemns as prostitution the then-current dances of youth. It is liberally sprinkled with exclamation points to underscore the writer’s horror at what he sees.
That writer was David O. McKay, then an apostle and not quite 40 years old. Elder McKay would lead the Church for almost another six decades, when “Mormon standards” were as key to what it meant to be a Mormon as doctrine and ancestry ever were.
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(a tribute to the missionaries)
(By Evelyn Elizabeth Vesterfelt
My door was open but my heart was shut
Tighter than Shylock’s fist against your word;
And yet … I bade you welcome to my house,
I could not judge a man untried, unheard!
You spoke of God; you bowed your head in prayer
And told of Saints in these, the latter days;
Sskeptic at first, I listened silently,
Loath to discard the old familiar ways.
“What are your teachings? Whom do you worship then?”
“Why should I take your word these things are true?”
I questioned them … before my wondering eyes,
The Book of Mormon opened pathways new!
Peace which I ne’er possessed has laved my soul;
Oh, there is much to teach and more to learn,
If I would number with God’s very own,
If I would tread his path without return!
Thou art God’s chosen teachers, this I know;
And ere you journey to your homes again,
Grant me these words to speed you on your way.
“You did not knock upon my door in vain!”