When I was growing up, I always pictured the lakes in this story looking something like Saguaro Lake or Lyman Lake in Arizona, and like any unexamined early impression, I never quite shook that mental image until well into my 30s when I first visited New York State and actually saw the Finger Lakes, including beautiful Seneca Lake mentioned in panel 20.
I’ve never heard much about the mission to the Indians except as a precursor to the Kirtland period. Were any of these missions successful in terms of converts to the church? It was very interesting to recently read about the Southern States missionaries and their work with the Catawba Tribe of South Carolina, which, according to various sources, remains largely Mormon to this day.
Comment by Researcher — January 31, 2010 @ 12:03 pm
I don’t have any information to answer your question, Researcher, and hope somebody else will chime in.
The link to your material on the Catawba Tribe is interesting and very welcome. We’ve run into them earlier on Keepa in very tangential ways (the elders who served the South Carolina branch of which the Noblin family were a part also worked with the Catawbas, for instance), and Chief Blue was a staple of seminary faith-promotin’-stories when I was in high school, but I had never seen an overall account before. I think in my stock of as-yet-unpublished “Latter-day Saint Images” I also have a photo of a group of Catawba members standing in front of their meeting house.
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 31, 2010 @ 12:13 pm
The Church purchased some property on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake and has a camp there, just a few miles south of the likely spot where those early baptisms took place.
Spend a few warm spring days there and you’ll wonder how anyone could have thought that anyplace else could be the promised land!
A very good friend of mine from my college days is one of the Elders of the Catawba tribe here in SC and I have been doing some research over there in Rock Hill when I get the opportunity to visit them. It’s slow going, but I’m hoping to be able to add more to that fascinating part of the history of this area. (Pretty far removed from the Finger Lakes, though!)
Ardis, I’m VERY interested in the photo you have. Do you know if it was taken in Rock Hill?
Alas, no. I’ve grumbled before about the headquarters-centricity of Mormon records for most of our history (maybe even continuing today), and typical of that is that while missionaries are often identified, local members virtually never are.
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 31, 2010 @ 6:47 pm
Wow! That’s quite a tangent! And I’m not sorry for starting it. These stories of the Saints outside of the Mormon corridor are stories that need to be told, and kudos to Ardis and others for doing just that. I’d be interested to read anything more on the subject, Ardis and BiV.
Comment by Researcher — January 31, 2010 @ 7:22 pm
Researcher: I’d say that the over 1,000 converts in Kirtland were a direct result of the mission to the Indians. Had missionaries not gone on that mission to the Indians, missionaries would not have preached in Kirtland.
Heavenly Father often works that way, sending someone on an assignment with one apparent goal, but other purposes, sometimes even greater than the original assignment, often make themselves manifest. That way, the true purposes are kept hidden until the test of obedience is passed. Unfortunately, I too often flunk the test of obedience, and the possibilities of what could have happened are kept concealed.
The itineraries that the Lord gives us are not necessarily “efficient” by our standards. He has His own economy, which can only be seen through His overall and eternal perspective.
I think we’ve just read a chapter in Bookslinger’s autobiography. Anyone who follows “Flooding the Earth” (see my sidebar) has to recognize that.
And thanks, Researcher, for initiating the tangent!
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 31, 2010 @ 9:17 pm
I was just in Charlotte and crossed the Catawba River many times in the two week span I was there. The Reservation is just to the south.
I was working with a Methodist fellow who told me he didn’t think there were any Mormons in the area, but it wasn’t too hard to find the local chapel on Sunday. Steeples grow around there like weeds, so I suppose it is easy for one of our chapels to go unnoticed.
On the other hand I visited with a friend who had moved there recently who told me about the camp on the Res where the Young Men had their Father’s and Sons camp each year.
Comment by Eric Boysen — February 1, 2010 @ 8:31 am