Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Year-End Report (or, Narcissism Run Amok)

Year-End Report (or, Narcissism Run Amok)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 31, 2008

While other blogs are marking the end of the year by choosing the most significant LDS news stories of 2008 or nominating a Mormon of the Year, Keepa chooses to gaze at its own navel and write its autobiography for 2008. Read on at your own peril.

You have been warned.

Keepapitchinin went live on May 7, 2008, with a Salutatory explaining the origin of its name and outlining its proposed course. The site was designed by J. Stapley, who has continued to tweak the appearance and answer technical questions — thank you, J.

This is Keepa’s 317th post.

Keepa has a stats program, but I don’t really understand what it measures and can’t tell you how many visitors have stopped by. I do know that the daily average of whatever it is counting is running at 300% of what it was when Keepa started.

The Akismet spam filter catches an average of ten — count ’em — ten pieces of spam for every post. While a few legitimate comments have been caught there (sorry, Mark B., I think it’s caught you the most), only four or five pieces of spam have appeared on-list.

Ten Most Viewed Posts

Charlotte Owens Sackett: Teaching the Sisters to Sing
Early Work by Arnold Friberg Discovered
“Scared Straight”: 1926 Mormon Edition
Latter-day Saint Images, 1931
Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Anytime Soon – Chapter 5 (Garments)
Priesthood Line of Authority
An Apostle’s Testimony in Soviet Russia, 1959
Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Anytime Soon – Chapter 3 (Racial)
The Winds and the Waves, 1903
Does a Tree Still Grow in Beijing?

Ten Least Viewed Posts

Tracting in Newark, New Jersey, 1905
Frances Swan Clark: A Kindness Remembered
Brigham Young’s Mailbag
God’s Acre
What Was Burned in the Privy Vault?
Righteous Gentiles
Technology in the Service of the Gospel, 1926
A Real, Live Mormon in Boston, 1879
Two Little English Boys
“A Country of Magnificent Distances” (Utah history)

Ten Most Commented Posts

From Our Exchanges: “The Mormon Concept of Mother in Heaven” (56)
Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Anytime Soon – Chapter 5 (Garments) (53)
Priesthood Line of Authority (47)
Family History Basics – Lesson 1 (45)
Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Anytime Soon – Chapter 3 (Racial) (40)
There was an old lady who swallowed a … lizard (39)
Administering the Sacrament (37)
Latter-day Saint Images, 1924 (35)
Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Anytime Soon – Chapter 4 (Sacrament Trays) (34)
What George Washington Didn’t Say about Barack Obama in the Relief Society Magazine, the Saints’ Herald, or Even the Millennial Star (34)
Liftoff! The Joseph Smith Papers Are Published (34)

This does not count the puzzle posts, where the comment count is artificially high.


The 20 regulars who have offered the most comments are named here, alphabetically rather than by number of comments — except that I’ll say that Ray is Keepa’s most frequent commenter. Anybody surprised by that? I didn’t think so. (Thanks, Ray!)

Bill MacKinnon
Mark B.
Mark Brown
Michelle Glauser

Whether you leave one comment or 73 (Ray, we’ve got your number), they’re all appreciated.

My Favorite Posts

In no particular order.

Carl Clifton Booth: The Good Shepherd of West Dallas
John Edward Rocha: Non-Mormon Champion of the Saints
Frances Swan Clark: A Kindness Remembered
Two Presidents Meet, 1919
Antonio E. Duran: Converted by the Book of Mormon
John the Baptist Gayler: “Come In!”
An Apostle’s Testimony in Soviet Russia, 1959
The Pied Piper of Dudley Port
“Here, kitty, kitty,” or, The Lions of the Lion House
Clifford F.D. Kangas, 1947-1967
Tsune Ishida Nachie: Preaching the Gospel, Redeeming the Dead
Pahoa a Tahiaroa: Returning and Reporting
“Only a little newsboy …”
Chaplain B.H. Roberts: Pleading for the Lives of His Men
“The Missing Members”: Reactivation, 1909
Pre-Correlation Art; or, They Just Don’t Illustrate the Kids’ Magazine Like They Used To
“When Baked Potatoes and Milk Are Needed” – 1945-46
The Winds and the Waves, 1903
“To Succor Their Fellow Men” (Utah history)
Jens Leslie Stevenson: Called to Serve

Special Projects

Entirely as a result of reader suggestions, and with a great deal of help from Researcher and Edje, Keepa is working on our virtual recreation of the 1852 Utah Territorial Library assembled by John M. Bernhisel. Just this week, Researcher sent another long list of links that will take curious readers from the catalog posted on Keepa to the actual images of the library’s books on Google Books. When that project is completed, a link to our virtual library will be placed on the sideblog so that it is always easily found.

I’ve kept the Topical Guide up to date (a link appears at the top of the sideblog), to help you locate old posts. Carrying on the narcissistic theme of this entire report, I really get a kick out of hearing that readers have used this-or-that post to illustrate a talk or as the basis of a Primary sharing time presentation. I still hope to put together a more detailed index, but in the meantime the Topical Guide listing might help you find a story you kinda sorta remember.

Thank you for getting Keepa off on the right foot. Better things in 2009!

[Updated for Rameumptom’s sake — see comment #1:]



  1. Ardis, Congratulations on such a great blog. The Church’s history is so much more alive with the anecdotes you provide.

    And I personally don’t think this is narcissistic. To do that, you would have to provide a photograph of yourself. 😉

    Choosing my favorites would be difficult. It would definitely involve “Here Kitty Kitty and the Lion House.”

    Comment by Rameumptom — December 31, 2008 @ 8:40 am

  2. Rameumptom, this post is now officially narcissistic! {g} (Thanks for your kind words.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 31, 2008 @ 8:55 am

  3. What a year for Keepa! Seriously one of my favorite sites to visit, even when I don’t have any time to visit any sites.

    I don’t know how many people I have shared your Mormon coded messages posts with, but it is a lot.

    Comment by Ben — December 31, 2008 @ 9:31 am

  4. I’ll try to do better in the future, Ardis. I’m just naturally shy, but I’ll try. :)

    Fwiw, my favorite posts (excluding the ads and the funny bones) were the ones on Carl Clifton Booth and “When Baked Potatoes and Milk Are Needed”.

    You are doing a wonderful thing here. Thanks, officially, from a thankful fan.

    PS. Love the fact that you made the post officially narcissistic.

    Comment by Ray — December 31, 2008 @ 9:41 am

  5. This has become one of my most favorite blogs, even if I haven’t commented as much as I would like to lately (I don’t comment anywhere else as much as I once did; it’s been a busy 2008).

    Back in the conclusion of my BYU days (over a decade but not quite a score ago), I had a running dialogue with a certain professor in the Spanish department over whether or not there was intelligent content on what was then the beginnings of the web. This site still gives me hope. :)

    Thanks, Ardis.

    Comment by queuno — December 31, 2008 @ 9:53 am

  6. Awww, Ardis, how sweet. [The picture I mean.]

    I’ve had a quiet hour here and have been enjoying and laughing through all those old posts and commentaries. What a beautiful gift you’ve given us of all these amazing, wonderful stories.

    And if all it takes to have the great honor of being a “Keepapitchininny” is to comment from time to time on your excellent blog, I’ll certainly keep the comments coming!

    PS When are we going to have that First Annual Keepa Retreat? The weather is about right today for a camp-out at Valley Forge. :-)

    Comment by Researcher — December 31, 2008 @ 10:05 am

  7. Ardis, kudos on the shameless nude photo of yourself! Your blog has helped me to forget all the bad stuff about 2008 (my 401K becoming a 201K, etc), have some fun and learn a lot along the way. Too many good posts to name just one favorite (see below), but I have used some of your stories in talks and lessons this last year. I give you credit for keeping me from being just another boring high council speaker (feel free to edit for redundancy), but instead a boring high council speaker with some really interesting stories!

    Some of my favorites, though, include Pre Correlation Art, Two Presidents Meet, Carl Clifton Booth, and the Ads We’re Not Likely to See Again Except at Keepapitchinin.

    Have a great 2009!

    Comment by kevinf — December 31, 2008 @ 10:34 am

  8. I’m probably biased because I love the author and she writes about things I love, and I have said this before, but this is the Lord’s work. It is mighty and strong.

    You aught to seriously consider collecting a bunch of these into a fun reader.

    Comment by J. Stapley — December 31, 2008 @ 10:53 am

  9. Congrats on a great first year, Ardis.

    Comment by David G. — December 31, 2008 @ 11:04 am

  10. 317 posts since May? Take a bow, but remember that your productivity is making the rest of us look bad. I think it is high time for the shop steward at Keepapitchinin to institute a work slowdown.

    And even more impressive than 317 posts is the uniform high quality of those posts and the work and time that went into making them substantive and worthwhile. Take another bow.

    p.s. I have a question. Can this post and the one about pre-correlation gospel art be viewed on the network at church HQ?

    Comment by Mark Brown — December 31, 2008 @ 11:21 am

  11. Ardis, you babe, you! Cute picture! :-) ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — December 31, 2008 @ 11:24 am

  12. Count me in as another grateful reader. In addition to the consistently trustworthy content, Keepa has developed quite a nice style! It’s an enjoyable experience to visit. In sum, Keepa has become one of my daily “must-read” blogs.

    Having said that, though, I’m also hopeful that the crazy pace you set in 2008 doesn’t burn you out in 2009. Eek!

    Comment by Hunter — December 31, 2008 @ 11:32 am

  13. I am shocked, Ardis, absolutely shocked. 317! Congratulations on your accomplishments.

    I have to agree with J. This is the Lord’s work. I’ve told you many times how delightful your posts are, but I don’t think I’ve ever told you that they strengthen my testimony. You’ve even sanded down some of my splintery dislike of Brigham Young. Thanks.

    Comment by Jami — December 31, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

  14. Thank you, all. The thinly disguised trolling for compliments has paid a rich dividend! 😉

    My plan is to keep up the posting rate as much as possible, except when paying work or other obligations intefere (drat that interruption of real life).

    While I don’t feel any sense of personal burnout, I do worry a little that the novelty will wear off for readers, that another collection of Saints’ group photos or another look at the state of the church in some specific month will begin to seem repetitious to you. Any suggestions for new features will be eagerly welcomed — I may not have the background to implement them all (I’m still trying to do something with an early suggestion to look at the architectural styles used for chapels, for instance), but I’ll try.

    Mark asked about the viewability of images: The church’s filter here at the library has never interfered with Keepa. It is either entirely text based (it does interfere when I try to follow sideblog links at other blogs, sometimes), or else it doesn’t recognize the, um, disproportional amount of exposed skin in black and white photos.

    One of these winters Real Soon Now, we really *are* going to have to gather at Valley Forge. Researcher’s treat.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 31, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

  15. Congrats on a job well done, Ardis. I appreciate the effort you put into the site, and have learned quite a bit from your many posts. Keep up the excellent work (if you can call it work).

    Comment by Christopher — December 31, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

  16. Congrats Ardis! I’ve always thought we need more cute pictures of nude babies to put your blog over the top.

    And, so long as I’m getting stuck in the spam filter, I think I’ll have to start spicing up my comments. Tomorrow!

    Happy New Year, Ardis! And may next year bring another flood of interesting, inspiring, amusing, shocking and wonderful posts!

    Comment by Mark B. — December 31, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  17. First: Congrats on 317! and many more!
    Second, do you ever take requests? I’ve hit a dead end on a Utah historical angle in my genealogy (it involves the forebears of my Piute County Ancestors) and though I spit and struggle, I have a hunch that all y’all (Southern Utah, after all) would put me to shame with how fast you’d provide bucket-after-bucket of linky goodness!

    Third: Happy New Year to you and Keepa! Long live the Queen!

    Comment by Chad Too — December 31, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  18. Thanks again — this all sounds like we’re raising toasts. To Keepa! to 2009!

    And guess who just walked across the library to introduce himself? BruceC! It’s always a lot of fun to meet people you’ve come to know on the blogs — it isn’t usually quite this unexpected, though.

    (Chad, I’m willing to tackle your request, with no guarantees. I only blog about my successes, you know, not the dismal research failures … )

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 31, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  19. Happy New Year, Ardis, and may Keepa’s 2009 be just as good.

    Comment by Kaimi — December 31, 2008 @ 7:32 pm

  20. Mark Brown wrote: And even more impressive than 317 posts is the uniform high quality of those posts and the work and time that went into making them substantive and worthwhile.

    I, too, am amazed at the consistant quality of you posts, day in and day out. We all love you Ardis!

    Did you ever post all of your blurbs on women that you wrote a few years ago for your ward RS?

    Comment by Maurine — December 31, 2008 @ 8:22 pm

  21. Happy New Year, Ardis! Keepemcomin at Keepapitchinin, please. I’m proud to begin logging my second year as a keepapitchininny.

    Comment by Tatiana — December 31, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  22. “Keepapitchininny”

    That’s good, Tatiana.

    Comment by Hunter — December 31, 2008 @ 10:04 pm

  23. I guess that makes all of us Keepapitchininnies. See what you started, Ardis.

    Comment by Maurine — December 31, 2008 @ 11:26 pm

  24. Ardis, many congratulations! Here’s to many more years and thousands of posts to come!

    Comment by Jared T. — December 31, 2008 @ 11:45 pm

  25. Hunter, I didn’t invent it, I think Ardis did. I’m not that clever. =)

    Comment by Tatiana — January 1, 2009 @ 2:03 am

  26. I can’t imagine you’d ever have a research failure, Ardis!

    I’ll contact you off-blog.

    Comment by Chad Too — January 1, 2009 @ 7:26 am

  27. Well, Ardis, since you solicited comments about maintaining reader interest, I woke up this morning thinking about how my absolute favorite posts are the personal anecdotes (the ones you call “Latter-day Lives” in the Index). I understand that those type of posts can probably take a lot of time, but they are so wonderful, I had to comment.

    I also very much enjoy the “guest” posts of lesser-known writings by church celebrities/well-known figures (Sister McKay, J. Reuben Clark, etc.)

    Also, I love all the images you include in your posts, but again, I understand that that takes more time.

    Comment by Hunter — January 1, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  28. I do worry a little that the novelty will wear off for readers, that another collection of Saints’ group photos or another look at the state of the church in some specific month will begin to seem repetitious to you.

    I can’t imagine ever getting bored of those posts – nor of the Funny Bones and the Ads You’ll Never See Again. Each of them offers a slice of history, and I think they are invaluable.

    Comment by Ray — January 1, 2009 @ 9:55 am

  29. One reader (Researcher, maybe?) referred to him- or herself as a ninny for some reason. I joked that he must be a Keepapitchininny. That tickled Tatiana, who said she was proud to be a Keepapitchininny, and that name has been tossed around every once in a while since. So like most good things around here, the nickname was a collaborative effort.

    Maurine, yes, I did post all those, eventually. Most were posted at Times and Seasons, but I’e included links to all those in the Topical Guide.

    Hunter and Ray, I’m glad to know that the old features haven’t worn out their welcome. If you or anyone else does think of a particular kind of story, or a question from church history that might be presented in a different format, I’m eager to hear that, too.

    Thanks again for the supportive comments here, and Happy New Year.

    (I’m having trouble connecting this morning and am typing this on an old laptop without a “T” key. I may not be able to stay connected today.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 1, 2009 @ 10:57 am

  30. Congrats on the blog Ardis. Definitely gets my vote for one of the best new blogs of 2008. It’s one of the few I consistently read every week.

    Comment by Clark — January 1, 2009 @ 11:12 am

  31. I sadly cannot take credit for inspiring the name for your commenters. I remembered it as being Tatiana. Sadly, I don’t have time today to read through all your old posts and comments to find the real culprit. :-)

    Best wishes staying connected to the internet, and Happy New Year!

    Comment by Researcher — January 1, 2009 @ 11:20 am

  32. While the photos and such are reported to come thru just fine on the Church servers in SLC, I tho’t you’d like to know that they are indeed blocked within at the county courthouse in Boulder, Colorado.

    Comment by Coffinberry — January 1, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

  33. I was sitting down with one of the kids just now when I wondered if I had learned absolutely nothing from associating with Justin on your blog and other blogs over the past year.

    A few minutes with the master research aid (yeah…google) found this…

    Covered Wagon Days

    It seems to be the first recorded instance (in history) of the word “keepapitchininny.”

    Comment by Researcher — January 1, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  34. I also see “keepapitchininny” used in this discussion:

    The Word Made Visible

    with Ray happy to be called one and Mark B. balking at the term. (Dare I say, rather typical commentary from those two?) [Insert smiley here.]

    Tatiana also used the term in the Evans Brain Trust discussion back in October on another blog.

    And, once again (for the record!), I’m female! (I know that Ardis knows that, but my screen name is rather gender neutral.)

    Comment by Researcher — January 1, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  35. I’m proud to have helped give the name currency, even though I didn’t think of it. It calls to my mind a picture of tiny historians laboring in vast fields of musty paper, gleaning delicious stories for our enjoyment.

    Comment by Tatiana — January 1, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

  36. Finally managed to reconnect — fingers crossed that it will last —

    Thanks for tracking down the first mention of Keepapitchininny, Ms. Researcher (grammatically, my “he” in 29 had its antecedent in the undetermined gender of “one reader,” which still calls for the masculine pronoun in stodgy oldtimers) — I had been going to try to find that this morning when I was disconnected. So (drumroll), Tatiana wears the crown for both inspiration and an unforgetable image of said Keepapitchininnies mining the archival riches!

    Thanks, Clark, and everybody else I haven’t mentioned by name — your kind words haven’t been buried in the other discussion.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 1, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  37. dear aep
    we have voted your website as “Best LDS History Website”
    of 2008
    love the history of our lds people
    keep up the good work

    Comment by tjk — January 1, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

  38. Ardis,
    Do you know how many women send unsolicited, unclothed photos of themselves to me?

    Actually, yours was the first that wasn’t caught in my spam filter….

    So, to have your baby photo available for all to see was quite a fun experience for all of us. I’d dare not share my baby photos, as my uncles all called me “Buddha” back then – baby fat slopping over the top of my diaper and all.

    And I still don’t consider you narcissistic, as the photo definitely was not retouched, nor did you have any liposuction done prior to the picture.

    Looking forward to another great year of stories and photos….


    Comment by Rameumptom — January 2, 2009 @ 10:59 am

  39. Ardis,
    Awesome summary. Seriously, though, I feel like Keepa has been around longer. May it be around for many years to come (if, that is, it remains something you enjoy). :)

    My favorite post was the potatoes and milk one.

    You know I admire your abilities and your work. As someone whose brain doesn’t do history very well, I’m grateful for those who do, and for all you do to help others understand it.

    (Oh, and that reminds me that I also thought your family history helps series was a great idea! I’m still hoping for a live tour at the Family History Center (or whatever it’s called) someday!)

    Comment by m&m — January 3, 2009 @ 12:06 am

  40. As someone whose brain doesn’t do history very well, I’m grateful for those who do, and for all you do to help others understand it.

    Good grief. That makes it sound like there are other things my brain doesn’t do very well. Ha. I’m gonna blame it on post-holiday somethingoranother.

    I hope you know what I meant. :)

    Comment by m&m — January 3, 2009 @ 12:07 am

  41. It sure has been a great year. Thanks for all your research!

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — January 3, 2009 @ 4:17 am

  42. Enjoyed your comments this past year. I’d also like to tell the readers that I have enjoyed their comments as well. See you next year.

    Comment by Steve C. — January 4, 2009 @ 8:41 pm

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