Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Few Minutes in Menan, Idaho: 4 August 1907

A Few Minutes in Menan, Idaho: 4 August 1907

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 30, 2014

SUN. AUG. 4TH, [1907,] FAST DAY

Meeting commenced at 2:30 P.M., bishop John W. Hart presiding. Choir sang hymn, “Do what is right.” Prayer was offered by Elder Robert A. Green. Choir sang hymn, “Hail to the brightness of Zion’s glad morning.” Sacrament was administered by Elders Gilbert M. Green and Warden Jones. Infant son of Austin R. Green (Austin Clement Green) was blessed, Coun. O.W. Green being mouth.

Bishop Hart arose and spoke of its being fast day and of the few who attended meeting. Thought that the size of meeting on earth would not be an indication of the size of meetings in the hereafter, as we would all be clamoring for front seats there. If we devote 51 Sundays to visiting it will not be profitable; or if we devote the entire time to financial affairs it will not be profitable; or if we devote all our time talking about our neighbors, it will not have a tendency to profit us, but if we spend some of our time in spiritual things it will be better.

Did not think we should spend all our time in spiritual things, but should devote some of our time to financial affairs to provide for our families, to build temples &c. But it was also necessary that we spend some of our time in spiritual things, so as not to grow up one sided and be heavier on one side than the other.

If we would bug give these things consideration, we will not find our future disappointing. I am satisfied that a young man or woman who does not receive a spiritual education will not be as well off as one who does. We find when we leave this stage of action that these things will be those most required. If we do not have these qualifications we will have to step aside and let some one else take the place.

If we are farmers we like to have our farms look well and take care of the land. We do everything to make our farms a success; if we devote our time to be a school teacher, or physician we try to work for success. It should be our desire to succeed in spiritual matters. It is not very hard to attend to spiritual duties.

We sometimes become slothful and neglectful, we have good farms and homes and literary privileges &c, and care for these to the neglect of our spiritual affairs. There is something wrong with these things; we should try to find out why we are here, where we came from and where we are going and the reason of our mission.

We will find if we devote our time to these lines, we will be better able to cope with the things of this world.

I have thought of the gospel in various ways, to find flaws, have compared the scriptures with the work and teachings of the Prophet Joseph and find they all harmonize. If I do not live up to the light I have, it is not your fault and you will not suffer for my misdeeds. God is a just being and will deal out justice to his children, we will all get the reward we merit. God always told his children they would be rewarded for their work. This being the case we should attend ot our duties, the gospel plan is a personal consideration. I hope God will have mercy on us in our dilatory ways; may we have power to cope with the adversary and discern his evil ways, and gain an exaltation in His presence, amen.

G.M. Green said the remarks of the Bishop reminded him of missionary experience: the Bishop spoke straight gospel truth. Told of a lady, in the old country who had a brother, preacher in America, who wrote her that he could not preach plain gospel from the Bible; he had to go around and tell stories to entertain his congregation. Paul prophesied that men would arise and preach false doctrine. The spiritual food we get is genuine; these truths will make us perfect if we follow them out. Latter day Saints have the Gospel and all its ordinances, the world do not have these things and do not tell us to be governed by the law of the gospel.

We have the law of baptism and then have the Holy Ghost to seal the ordinance.

R.M. Poole said he believed the gospel and believed it to be the truth. Remarks of previous speaker showed us that we all should see our own faults. Thought we should all pay more attention to the gospel.

O.W. Green spoke next; said the more we read the gospel the better we feel, because they are elevating, if we live up to them we will be better men and better women. The Lord has promised blessings, among them are tithing; we ought to pay our tithing. No one will get poor by paying tithing. No one will apostatize if they pay tithing, as the Lord will bless us. There is lots for us to do.

Would like to see more of the choir. We have 40 or more good singers and ought to have a good choir. The choir is not so much to blame as the leader. Good singing is 1/2 of the meeting. The Lord is pleased with good singing.

Bishop said the committee having in charge the 24tgh of July celebration had turned over to him $22.80. Some thought it ought to be divided among the various ward organizations; but he thought it would be better to send it to our missionaries. By unanimous vote it was decided to do this.

Said V.S. Raymond, war ward clerk, and choir leader had moved to Rexburg, but had not taken a recommend to join a ward there. The duties of these offices must be attended to, we must have someone to do it.

Elder Raymond was therefore released and a vote of thanks tendered him. have decided to present the name of John H. Yearsley for ward clerk. It is necessary to have someone with pride enough to attend to these things and be competent. (Yearsley sustained as ward clerk).

I also present the name of N.C. Geisler as choir leader. (Geisler sustained as choir leader).

The duty of the choir is to be here to sing and rehearsal whether there is a dance somewhere or not. It is a privilege to belong to the choir, you get a musical education. It ought to be your ambition to have the best choir in the stake. We have the ability and hope those who belong to the choir will have this idea in mind. If this organ is not good enough we will get a new one.

The missionaries put their mind to their work and do not think of dancing &c and 99% of them succeed. The Lord requires us to use our talents and it is the Lord’s law to hold us responsible for the use of them.

Choir sang hymn, “How firm a foundation”. Benediction by A.R. Green.

J.H. Yearsley
Clerk, pro tem.



  1. This congregation got an earful on August 4, 1907! Good for the clerk, in taking such detailed minutes.

    I know I’m quoting it out of context, but this line made me chuckle: “The choir is not so much to blame as the leader.” In my experience, this is almost always true!

    Comment by David Y. — January 30, 2014 @ 7:56 am

  2. Raymond, war clerk, and choir leader had moved to Rexburg, but had not taken a recommend to join a ward there.

    Nowadays with computer systems membership is handled pretty seamlessy, but this shows a little bit of how they handled it back then. Also, I wonder what the war clerk was supposed to do.

    Comment by Seth — January 30, 2014 @ 9:22 am

  3. Okay, I fixed the typo.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 30, 2014 @ 9:59 am

  4. Ardis, These seem to be pretty comprehensive minutes. From the other minutes you’ve posted, I’d assume that this level of detail is unusual. How about for other meetings in Menan during this time period?

    Also, I can’t help wondering about the accuracy of such detailed minutes. I doubt the clerk ran the minutes by the speakers to correct/confirm the accuracy of them. What’s your take on this question of accuracy?

    Comment by Gary Bergera — January 30, 2014 @ 11:00 am

  5. I keep coming back to this ward because of the comprehensiveness of minutes — I’ve never seen anything like them elsewhere, other than formal stenographic reports, so it feels more like *being* there than the usual minutes. The minute book I’m using is for the general ward meetings. The auxiliaries had their own minutes and minute-takers, and although I haven’t yet looked at them, I’d be surprised if the auxiliary minutes are at all like this; I’d expect them to be just like all the others we’ve looked at. The sacrament meeting minutes in the same book, both before and after J.H. Yearsley, are the usual brief form — I think these minutes are a gift to us purely from J.H. Yearsley, who apparently felt that his job mattered, and should be done to this degree.

    As for accuracy, I’m no better judge than Keepa’ninnies as a whole. The minutes weren’t read, corrected, and approved, so they represent Bro. Yearsley’s understanding. Since he paid so much attention to detail, I would expect them to be at least as accurate as the average, although perhaps his summaries of talks and testimonies would be idiosyncratic, representing what he heard and understood even if that isn’t the way the speaker would have summarized them. Don’t you get the feeling, though, that in many places he is recording the actual words, even if only in occasional phrases, that were being spoken? I feel so much like I’m in the congregation that I think I’m responding to the genuineness of the minutes.

    What’s your take?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 30, 2014 @ 11:25 am

  6. I love to read this minutes from Menan and so appreciate your posting them. It gives me a chill to read the clerk’s writing the words of my great grandfather, John W. Hart. My grandfather would have been about 9 years old and I’m sure sitting in the congregation. Thank you.

    Comment by Julie K — January 30, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

  7. You’re welcome, Julie K! Thanks for letting me know how you feel about this. Lots more to come.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 30, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

  8. I’m not necessarily suggesting Yearsley’s minutes are inaccurate simply because they’re detailed. In fact, I confess to considering, whether warranted or not, that more detail may be an indicator of greater reliability. That said, I’m also starting to wonder if I’m being naive in thinking so. For example, when someone quotes someone else 10, 20, 30, etc., years after the fact, I find myself increasingly skeptical. I’ve read quotes attributes to me in some minutes of meetings and wonder who actually said the words attributed to me, especially in the way they’re expressed. Anyway, this is probably a discussion for another time.

    Comment by Gary Bergera — January 30, 2014 @ 1:59 pm

  9. I thought it was a great question. You always have to consider the reliability of any record you use, no?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 30, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

  10. Not an atypical testimony meeting from what happens today. More sermons than testimonies.

    Comment by David R — January 30, 2014 @ 4:27 pm

  11. Were the meeting minutes of exiting clerk V.S. Raymond this complete?
    It does not sound like he was much appreciated as choir director!

    Comment by Stephen Taylor — January 31, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

  12. Nope, nothing like these. Bro. Yearsley was one of a kind.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 31, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

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