Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Few Minutes in Ricks [Rexburg], Idaho, 1885

A Few Minutes in Ricks [Rexburg], Idaho, 1885

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 16, 2013

See here for explanation.

1 February 1885

Sunday 2 1/2 P.M. Feb 1 – 85

Bp T.E. Ricks jun Presiding. Choir sang 168. Prayer by A. Anderson. Choir sang 218. Sacrament administered by A. Leatham and T.L. Nave. Choir sang 403 page.

Home Missionaries J. Pincock & J. Barrell from Wilford spoke on the gifts of the Gospel. Reade portions of fulfilled prophecy from Isiah and Book of Mormon.

A.S. Anderson and Alexander Leatham also addressed the saints on their duties as members of the Church of Christ. They showed that the laws of God must be complied with. The United States of America have become a covenant breaking nation. They guarranteed free liberty to worship God in the Constitution, yet had passed laws curtailing beleif in religious matters.

Choir sang 292. Benediction by A. Anderson.

Charlotte Barber (mother) Lora & Lotta Barber and John Barbe[r] were received by vote from Logan 4th ward.


Evening Session Feb 1 – 85 – 6 1/2 P.M.

President T.E. Ricks Sen on the stand.

Choir sang “Tradition and Error. etc.” Prayer by A. Hinckley. Choir sang “Rock of my Refuge.”

J.W. Cook said we had a great deal to do in caring for and training the children. The Sunday School Exhibition last night under the management and direction of Brother Phineus Tempest was a great work. It was full of thought, labor and effect. The children must be taught pure principles while they are young. They will have plenty of sin to contend with when they grow to more mature years. You as parents should see that there are teachers both good and true in the Sabbath Schools. The Saints should be alive to the proper training of the young.

James Hanson – Was no preacher – Felt well in the Gospel.

R.S. Hopkins – Depended on the prayers and faith of the Saints for a few words. Knew this to be the work of God – Knew that Joseph Smith, John Taylor are prophets, of God. Felt well in doing something to help the cause of God. It requires Deacons, workers and preachers. The sisters had work to do in their Societies of Relief and Mutual Organizations.

John Paul. Asked the prayers of the Saints. There was plenty to do for all. Desired to do his duty at all times.

Brigham Ricks felt well in attending meetings. Always felt paid for attending his duties.

Joseph Ricks. Often desired to speak to the young men of Zion in a convincing manner. A Deacon should commence to improve his intellect to fit him to better prepare himself for the fulfi[ll]ment of his duties.

Choir sang “Oh what songs of the heart.”

President T.E. Ricks Sen Remarked upon the able manner in which the S.S. Concert of last night was conducted. Thanked the brethren and the children for doing their duties. Hoped the Teachers would be at their post on Sundays. The brethren should respond to the call of the S.S. Superintendent who calls for Teachers. Be prompt and punctual in all of your deals and labors of all kinds. I am pleased with your labors. Be useful men and women. Our enemies struggle to over come us as a people.

Choir sang “The Iron Rod.” Benediction by J.L. Roberts

8 February 1885

Sunday eve 6 p.m. Feb 8/85

President Ricks Presiding – Choir sang Hymn 132. Prayer by J.L. Roberts. Choir sang “O My Father thou that dwellest.”

President Wm F. Rigby addressed the saints. He preferred always to speak to audiences of the Saints rather than to companies of unbeleivers. The subject of Celestial Marriage is of world wide interest. It is more absorbing to the people of God than to the world. I beleive in the authority and power of the bible; I also beleive in the sayings of living Apostles and Prophets. Their words are not needed to be translated into dead or unknown languages to be made plain as the bible was. Their words are pure and unadulterated. – The words of the living are better understood than the written words of others in other tongues and nations. Few thoughts can be expressed in two languages with the same beauty. John the Baptist was the person who took the Melchisedek Priesthood away; he was the person who returned it to the earth to Joseph Smith & Oliver Cowdery. – Peter, James, and John was the Presidency of the former day Saints. – All the authority of former dispensations have been conferred at various times to the latter Day Saints.

Quoted from Revelation given through John Taylor, Salt Lake City. Oct 13 – 1882. To show that no one has authority to preside over a priesthood except they abide the law of Celestial Marriage. – Read from Book of Mormon, Jacob 2 chap. 26th verse to show that that book teaches the principle of Celestial Law. The world read to the 30th verse and quit. They should read further. The speaker referred to the action of King David in placing Uriah in the front of the battle to show God would not accept promiscuous cohabitations without His authority. The Israelites took strange wives while in captivity in Egypt, and Ezra plead with God in their behalf, but to no purpose. They were compelled to divorce all strange women before they could enter the Holy of Holies. “For if I will” saith the Lord, “I will command this people, otherwise they shall hearken until me.”

Quoted Journal of Discourses. President Taylor said “take away Celestial law of marriage form our religion and you put away our religion altogether.” This sermon is well worth reading through and studying. Doc & Cov on Revelation on Celestial Marriage was here quoted “see 40th verse” to show God gave Joseph Smith authority and “all things.” Quoted to 48th verse. The nations of Turks, Hindoos, Mexicans Persians and American Indians all practice polygamy but “without authority.” The effect is they are not a white and delightsome people. They need Gods authority. The intention to practice Celestial law must be of a pure order, not with lust.

The longevity of the human race is enough to stagger us. At one time men lived near a thousand years. Today the average length of mans life is but a little over thirty three years. The early settlers of America viz the Puritans – They were of a hardy race and of pure practice. They are degenerate today to an ap[p]alling extent. When the records of Divorces in four New England States for ten years from 1870 to 1800 – 27482 divorces. In New York alone 496 Houses of ill fame existed in 1882. Many other statistics were quoted to prove the degeneracy of life from upwards of 900 years to thirty three years.

Choir sang “Glorious things are sung etc.” Benediction by A.S. Anderson.

15 February 1885

Sunday 2 p.m. Feb 15 1885

Bp T.E. Ricks Presiding – Choir sang from page 33. Prayer by Elder Joseph Ricks. Choir sang “We thank Thee O God for a Prophet.” On account of the Deacons Quorum neglecting to bring the Sacramental Wine in time Elder A. Leatham spoke to them (the Deacons) a few words of instruction in regard to their duties.

Sacrament administered by Elders T.L. Nave and C. Ayling. Choir sang “spirit of faith come down.”

Home Missionary Hans Jensen felt well in his labors; kept learning a little. Wished to be faithful to the end.

[Blank] Strathan spoke a few words for the first time in his life to an audience of L.D. Saints. Felt well. Wished to do right and ever be found faithful.

Elder J. Watts believed when God gave laws he expected those laws should be observed strictly. We should read Doc & Cov. Study good books. Become better posted in our duties. – Dont be found asleep in these times. – These are eventful times to us. If we live as we ought to, we are entitled to the Spirit to give us light. – The Prophet Joseph Smith prophecied in Gods name of many important events to occur in these last days. The late civil war is not ended. The Northern and southern Methodists will not meet to worship together. If the nations will flee to Zion for safety we must be prepared. Let us pile up our grain. Scarcity of food will occur in those times. I am Home Missionary and labor in my calling. Feel well in my labors.

Wm Hill (Home Missionary) referred to Moses the prophet of God, as to Moses’ weakness of speech. We must rely on the Lord for words to speak to be of the best benefit to the people. – We should read and study all good books, and God will refresh our memories at the proper time. – The weak of the earth are called, to show the strong their weakness. – These weak ones, with God’s help, do confound the learned of the world in innumerable instances. These weak ones who are faithful surprise themselves. The learned make laws to circumvent us as a people. Will we worship God and not fear man? – We covenant every time we partake of the Sacrament to keep Gods laws. Will we live them? — Referred to the Revelation of President John Taylor Oct 13 1882 regarding setting our houses in order. – God will preserve us in keeping this command. I am sorry some of the members in this Church deny some portions of the Revelations of God, and accept others. I say to such ones: Repent! “Get your Teachers to explain the Gospel to you. Abide in the Priesthood and in its power – It is our right. – This Priesthood is for power to guide the children of men. – Let us live closer to God. – These are perilous times. – We will try to be the children of God through all trials. – It is time we awoke up to our duties. I am impelled by the Spirit of God. – Be careful who you entertain. Strangers are prowling around to try to get evidence to imprison you.

Bro. [blank] Parker wished to do his duties at all times.

Benediction by Councillor J.L. Roberts


Sunday eve 6 1/2 p.m. Feb 15 – 85 –

President T.E. Ricks Sen on the Stand. Pres T.E. Ricks jr Presiding – Choir sang “Do what is right etc.” Prayer by C. Kepner – Choir sang “Hark the song of Jubilee.”

Bp G.B. Harris of Salem Ward addressed the saints on present duties. Under the guidance of the Holy Ghost we could realize our duties here on the earth. As a people we must help one another. We know our relation to God better than any other people on the earth – If we do these duties God will reward us for so doing. – We have much work to do for our dead – If we neglect so great duties and priviledges, do you think we shall receive as great glory as if we did them? I tell you nay. One week ago to day I attended the first sabbath school ever held in Salem Ward. – I encourage all to attend sabbath Schools, there is much to be learned in them.

Walter Paul sen said those who attended the meetings of the Saints were benefitted, while those who did not attend were the losers. The laws and law makers that are so odious and intense to abridge the liberties of us as a people we consider as blessings from God. We are not the only people who feel the hand of the lawless. The crowned heads of the world are uneasy from the known power and design of Nihilists, Dynamiters and Socialists – While they fetter the limbs of the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints they are forging their own fetters the stronger. God is guiding the good ship Zion. – We ought to be thankful as a people for the blessings of God given daily to us. – Let us attend our own business. – Do not encourage a prying tittle tattler no matter who they are. I have been with the Latter Day Saints for thirty years. I was in the Echo Kanyon war of Utah. – The advantages to be had among the Saints of God are many, such as Schools, Meetings, Societies of various kinds and the companionship of those of like faith. We can pray with more faith here than whilst in the world. All Quorum meetings should be well attended. The Teachers will attend to their visiting their Wards, and help those who need assistance.

Councillor J.L. Roberts felt well in the work. Had been profited much to day in meeting. There are many obstacles in the Saints way. It seems that no power less than that of the Almighty could overcome those obstacles. – Well such it is. Be diligent; prayerful. – We existed before coming here. We are here today; We shall have a being hereafter. Shall we have a choice of doing right or wrong in a future state. I say yes; because we had this right in our pre-existence. According to the deeds done in this life so will our reward be. Let us study our duties and live them. God will assist those who assist themselves.

President T.E. Ricks Sen was pleased to say that the saints in this Stake was on the improve. Hoped they will continue to improve. Attended Lyman Sabbath school today. Was pleased to be with them. I should encourage those who have a gift of singing to use that gift. Dont refuse to sing, anymore than you would refuse to speak when called upon.

Choir sang “Secret Prayer.” Benediction P. Tempest Clk.

22 February 1885




  1. First impression: all singing was by the choir! What’s up with that??

    Second: a lot of talk of plural marriage. The Idaho territorial legislature was virulently anti-Mormon, and hated plural marriage worst of all. No wonder there seemed to be a fortress mentality.

    Comment by Mark B. — April 16, 2013 @ 7:18 am

  2. Amen to what Mark said. Other things of remarkable interest here:

    “The United States of America have become a covenant breaking nation.”

    “The nations of Turks, Hindoos, Mexicans Persians and American Indians all practice polygamy but ‘without authority.’ The effect is they are not a white and delightsome people.” (yikes!)

    “Today the average length of mans life is but a little over thirty three years.”

    “The crowned heads of the world are uneasy from the known power and design of Nihilists, Dynamiters and Socialists.”

    and finally . . .

    “Do not encourage a prying tittle tattler no matter who they are.”

    Thanks for sharing, Ardis! I’ll be chewing on some of this for a while.

    Comment by Andrea R-M — April 16, 2013 @ 9:47 am

  3. The speaker referred to the action of King David in placing Uriah in the front of the battle to show God would not accept promiscuous cohabitations without His authority.

    I’ve read that a couple of times now, and I’m still not sure if he is saying that David was justified in sending Uriah to his death, or something else.

    Also took note of the lumping of “Nihilists, Dynamiters, and Socialists” in the same breath. I’m sure he was overlooking the subtle differences…

    Comment by kevinf — April 16, 2013 @ 10:06 am

  4. Fantastic, Ardis. Thanks so much for your work here.

    So polygamy cannot and should not be practiced outside the LDS Church? Am I correct in my interpretation of these minutes?

    Really fascinating.

    Comment by Max — April 16, 2013 @ 10:07 am

  5. Thanks for posting these. I was hoping for a mention of the Ricks family, and got a bonus when “J. Pincock of Wilford” was mentioned. This is either James H. Pincock or his brother John E. Pincock Jr. (I suspect it’s the latter.)

    The references to plural marriage remind me that if the Church today struggles with reconciling past statements of leaders to current practice, that’s nothing compared to what these guys would be facing in another 5 years.

    Comment by The Other Clark — April 16, 2013 @ 10:21 am

  6. Thanks,all. You really get a direct glimpse into Mormon life of the past through the minutes, don’t you?

    kevinf, I’ve struggled with the same bit. It seems clear that the speaker felt that sending Uriah to his death was a consequence of “promiscuous cohabitation.” Beyond that — ? Perhaps he meant that crime (like murder) follows immorality, and that Uriah paid the price for David’s immorality; but I admit I have to bring my modern understanding of that story to bear, and that my tentative interpretation isn’t really in the words recorded here.

    Max, the Mormon view of plural marriage is that it is permissible only when God specifically authorizes it, through the prophet who holds the keys to the sealing ordinances. Even when it was authorized in the 19th century, men could not take plural wives without permission of church leaders (at different points, that permission could be given by local leaders; at other times, it required personal permission from Brigham Young or John Taylor). So in that sense, the only divinely-approved plural marriage could occur only within the structure of the LDS Church, and only when the man holding the keys authorizes it — which, of course, in this generation he does not.

    We survived the transition from plural marriage to monogamy, as a church and as a people, obviously,but not without some casualties. Minutes like these which show how deeply the practice was tied to faith suggest how hard that transition may have been for some.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 16, 2013 @ 10:41 am

  7. They were a little touchy about the government-plural marriage thing. I wonder how minutes from our sacrament meetings (at least those that actually put more than just agenda items in their minutes) will sound like to the modern reader 125 years from now and who the “Ardis” will be that will find them and publish them.

    Ardis: Let me add my thanks for sharing this and all of the other historical gems with us.

    Comment by David R — April 16, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

  8. Ardis: Are these minutes of a ward meeting or minutes of a stake meeting? I notice that President Ricks is presiding and they are having evening sessions. Should I know the answer to this question?

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — April 16, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

  9. Jeff, they’re ward meetings according to the cataloging — no reason that should be obvious.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 17, 2013 @ 12:01 am

  10. Good stuff, Ardis! It seems amazing that these notes even exist. Rexburg was founded in 1883; in 1885 it still would have been very primitive.

    Thomas E. Ricks is my great-great-grandfather; it’s fun to “hear” a little bit of his voice like this.

    Comment by lindberg — April 17, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

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