Keepa’ninny Rachelle has written in with the story of the involvement of one part of her family with the Order of Aaron, mentioned the other day in this post featuring letterhead from that organization. She was sensitive enough to my preferences to send me her comment privately rather than simply posting it – thank you, Rachelle. And then when I thought it was important to correct my introductory comment on that post, she has allowed me to post this as a separate post rather than burying it in the comments of an aging post.
The correction is that I referred to polygamy as one of the tenets of this group. Jeffery Johnson challenged that last night, and Rachelle gives additional information to refute that charge. I’ve gone back to read my documents on this group and realize that my impression comes from the charges that were made at the time, in the mid-1940s, which Maurice Glendenning, leader of the Order of Aaron, disputed at the time. Rachelle’s history mentions an experiment in communal living; perhaps that, or vintage Latter-day Saint assumptions that all apostate groups must of course support polygamy, accounts for the charges made in 1945. In any case, those accusations came from people with some hostility to the Order of Aaron. We should let people speak for their own beliefs, and I apologize for my misunderstanding and misdirection. Plural marriage was not, from the evidence at hand, a tenet of this group.
Here’s Rachelle’s note:
Two Newspaper Women
Ruth M. Fox
Two women sat in the church one day,
One was shabby and bent and gray;
Why didn’t the old woman keep out of the way?
The other, they said, was a lady born,
Of gentle mien and lovely form;
She had fairly taken the city by storm.
One sat there alone, none called her name
Or gave her a smile — ’twas all the same —
She knew nothing better, the poor old dame.
One was surrounded by friends not a few,
Wealth and fashion made much ado;
Ah, I wonder if their hearts were true.
The tones of the organ lulled one to sleep,
For all day long her tired feet
Had traversed the pavement — the same old beat.
For the other, the melody rose and fell,
Thrilling her being with its spell,
Winging her soul to where angels dwell.
One wrote for the newspapers, winning fame,
Stirred men’s souls with her rhythmical vein.
The press of the country extolled her name.
The other sold newspapers for daily bread;
Such is life with its toil and dread;
Through heat or cold, it was tread, tread, tread.
She read that day that the lady fair
Would list to strains of music rare
In the far-famed church, so straightway there
She wended her way. On the lady’s face,
Lit up with intellectual grace,
She gazed and wondered, but kept her place
As a poor old newswoman always should.
She might be bad, she might be good;
Did any one care? Alone she stood.
Yet each walks the path marked by His rod,
‘Twas a lowly path the Master trod,
And each is owned — a child of God.
Bill Brinley didn’t exactly run away, but he did join the circus. Sort of.
For more than 80 years, the Connecticut native has been building a circus, in miniature. His hand-carved, hand-painted figures, built at the scale of 3/4 inch = one foot, recreate the Barnum & Bailey Circus of 1903, in more than 5,000 characters. The wheels on his carriages turn. The doors open on hinges. There are clowns and elephants and trapeze artists and a ringmaster for each of the five rings. Hopalong Cassidy rides his horse. His tents have the precise number of poles that held up the real thing, and his sideshow banners advertise real acts. It’s all made of wood and cloth and paint, and it covers some 1,400 square feet in the Barnum Museum today. 1,400 feet – that’s a display that runs for a hundred feet, 14 feet deep. Take a moment to comprehend that.
I ran across this letter in my files this afternoon while I was looking for something else. It made me laugh, so I share it with you:
April 26th 1889
I would like [to] come to Utah and join your Cociety Can a man get a chance to make a living will you be so kind as to give me all the information you can I unders[t]and Nurs[e]ry, Farming, store bussness, Floreist I can worke at any thing and can a man get a wife there
address David J. Worrell
Oregonia, Warren Co Ohio
P.S pleas give me some ladies address
The letter bears a clerk’s notation that some tracts were mailed to Mr. Worrell. There’s no indication that any ladies’ addresses were sent.
From the Relief Society magazine, July 1942 –
All of Hers and Half of His
By Caroline Eyring Miner
Mrs. Benson dragged up from the garden a large bake-tin full of husked corn, three yellow squash, and four tomatoes. On the top of the full bake-tin was an aluminum bowl filled with string beans that she was supporting against her ample breast. “I’ll have to get at those weeds or I’ll get lost out there,” she half muttered to herself, “It’s not much of a garden, but it’s better than none. If only Henry would help me with it a little bit, or even take an interest in it the way most men do.” She came face to face with Henry, who was pushing the heavy milk cart with its full cans of milk up the incline that led to the milk room. “Look, Henry, what we’ve got from our garden. Now that’s worth a lot.” (Surreptitiously she was trying to interest him in the garden, baiting him to fertilize it another year, or at least to see to its getting plowed without so much nagging.) “Now you see,” she went on, “corn at fifteen cents a dozen would make this worth – one-two-three-four-five,” she counted rapidly, and then estimated liberally, “well, about fifty cents anyway, and there’s squash and beans besides. Why, Henry, you surely can see a garden is worth-while – and to think how I have to nag and scold to get it plowed; and it never gets a bit of manure on it with a whole world of it out there.” She pointed to the corral with its fertile yards. “It just makes me sick, Henry, and every year it’s the same thing.”
The House of Aaron or Order of Aaron was/is an apostate group whose major tenets included the supremacy and independence of the Aaronic Priesthood,
polygamy, and dream mining, with activity at Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Spanish Fork in the mid-1940s. They still exist today, mostly in Millard County, Utah. (My brief description here is based upon primary records from the 1940s that I have read in the original; it differs from the publicly announced current beliefs, especially in the matter of polygamy, which it is now denied was ever believed in by the House of Aaron. Another difference between “then” and “now” is that the group has denied from its beginning that it now or ever was a part of the Restoration movement (the very letter from which this letterhead was copied is such a denial); but 1940s records show unequivocally that this organization was an apostate offshoot of Mormonism, with doctrine, hymnology, teaching, and leadership adapted from Mormonism and targeting Latter-day Saints for membership.)
UPDATE: A guest post by Rachelle, with family connections to the Order of Aaron, offers corrections and further information about the Order of Aaron. I retract my incorrect assertion that polygamy was ever a tenet of this group.
Marie Fox Felt certainly had Mormon credentials: She was even born on Pioneer Day (1900), and was the granddaughter of long-serving Young Women’s MIA President Ruth May Fox. She was interested in kindergarten work, a new field when Marie came of age, and she earned a degree in kindergarten and primary education at the University of Utah, then becoming a teacher in the Salt Lake schools. She married a little late, at age 31, to Joseph H. Felt, an auto parts retailer with a warehouse and shipping center in downtown Salt Lake; Marie eventually became the bookkeeper for his auto supply business. She also served for 35 years as a member of the Sunday School General Board, writing many of the lesson manuals for children’s classes, and publishing teaching aids, like flannel board stories, in The Instructor. Marie had no children.
In the spring of 1938, early in her bookkeeping career, Marie stood at the open loading bay of the warehouse.
As I stood at the door, enjoying the first breath of spring air, two little boys walked up this narrow street. As they neared the door, David spoke.
“Hello,” I said, returning the greeting. “And where do you boys live?”
I’m starting publication of a new missionary diary, with posts every Sunday morning. This time it’s the journal of my aunt, Evelyn May Taylor, who served in the Northern California Mission from late 1946 through mid-1948. You’ve already met her: she’s the Sister Missionary of these posts:
Arrival in the Field
and the woman who kept a decades-long private record of her tithes and offerings:
A Tithepayer’s Secret Record
Her mission journal:
Nov 29, 1946
My first day in the mission field. I arrived in San Francisco this morning about 8:30. Elders Hadfield & Burton met us at the station and took us to the Mission Home. The home is very beautiful.
Next Page »
Safe for Democracy
“Halt!” cried the young rookie on his first sentry-go. The major halted.
“Halt!” the rookie cried again.
“I’ve halted,” snapped the major. “What of it?”
“Well,” faltered the rookie, “in the manual, it says, ‘Say halt three times, then shoot’!”