This cartoon from an 1884 issue of Puck magazine may be condemning the easy availability of divorce … but it does so at our expense:
Anytime you’re angry or disgusted with 21st century press distortions of your faith and your people, take a deep breath and think sympathetically of your 19th century brothers and sisters. At least responsible people today recognize Bill Maher and Lawrence O’Donnell for the panderers they are; in the 19th century, even the most respectable journals routinely maligned us in every way – and bizarrely expected us to endorse their lies!
In 1860, the British publisher Richard Griffin & Co. was preparing a volume of contemporary biography – one- or two-page biographies of some of the most prominent men and women of the day – “a handbook of the peerage of rank, worth, and intellect.” They included Brigham Young among their worthies. Early in 1860, the company mailed a draft of their proposed biography (they called it a “memoir”) of Brigham Young to Salt Lake, asking him to revise the draft because, they assured him, they wished to publish a history of the “highest degree of accuracy.”
I have not seen the draft biography sent to Brigham Young … but I have seen Brigham Young’s response to it.
From the Relief Society Magazine, July 1941 –
Not What You Get
By Mary Ek Knowles
Rachel Andrews’ small veined hand, with the wide gold wedding ring on the third finger, held tight to the carved bedpost, and a feeling of anger, indignation and helplessness welled up inside of her.
“Charles, you can not back out at the last minute. You just can’t!”
Charles Andrews did not look at his wife, but stood by the bedroom window, a picture of obstinacy, his strong-featured profile clear cut against the background of white lace curtain, his feet wide apart, his tall form stooped. He thrust his lower lip out, and an exasperated, “Oh, dear!” escaped Rachel’s lips.
The “new” LDS edition of the scriptures came out just in time for me to carry them on my mission – 1979 for the Bible, and the summer of 1981 for the triple combination (I entered the MTC the following New Year’s Eve). The purpose given for the enormous work and expense of preparing that edition was often stated as “improving doctrinal scholarship” among Latter-day Saints. That edition, plus the timing of it to coincide with an intense period of scripture study in my personal life, lived up to its promise in my case.
Sometimes it was the simple things that helped: Having footnotes appear as footnotes, rather than in a central column between two columns of text, as in the layout of earlier editions, seems obvious but was revolutionary, making it clear which footnotes pertained to which verse. For the first time, the Bible and latter-day scripture were cross-referenced and intertwined in ways that unified them – my impression is that it did more to increase our use and affection for the Bible than for the other scriptures, because it tied the Bible to the “more trustworthy” latter-day scripture. It was also the first time that most of us had had much exposure to the Joseph Smith Translation – earlier called the “Inspired Version” — copyrighted by and available only through the RLDS church, it had been held in suspicion and was familiar to only a very few scholars. One of the first things I did with my new scriptures was to search the footnotes page by page; when I saw a reference to the Joseph Smith Translation, I drew a tiny green circle around the superscript indication in the text and a corresponding circle around the footnote designation. That was the only use of green in my marking system, so it instantly drew my attention as I studied.
It’s been a full generation now since that “new” edition, though, and my needs and habits have changed somewhat. I’ve been thinking lately what I would like in a “new new” edition, based on my lived experience with studying and with teaching the scriptures. Here are some of those points.
SPOILER ALERT: If you want to play along, please read Part 1 first: What was the reason James E. Talmage gave for not naming either of his first two sons “James”?
By George H. Brimhall
We were boys together,
Just little lads at play;
We were friends together,
And each one had his way.
We were youths together,
And camped in forests wild;
We were friends together,
Where maidens on us smiled.
We were men together,
In happiness and grief;
We were friends together,
And neither one was chief.
He passed beyond and left me;
Oft times I’m lonely here;
But Death has not bereft me
Of memories ever dear.
Late in 1891, future apostle James E. Talmage and his wife May Booth Talmage celebrated the arrival of a son, Paul. He was their second child; his older brother was named Sterling.
Several weeks later his Aunt Bessie (his father’s sister) wrote to Talmage to acknowledge Paul’s birth and to send a book as a gift. She asked Talmage why he hadn’t named either of his sons “James,” and reminded him that it was a longstanding Talmage family tradition to name a son for his father.
Talmage explained to his aunt why he had departed from that family custom (although he did give his third son, born in 1898, the name James).
Care to speculate what his reasons were? I’ll post again late this afternoon with what he told his Aunt Bessie, but it could be fun to see what potential reasons we can come up with.
From the Relief Society Magazine, July 1961 –
Stranger in Their Midst
By Jeanne J. Larson
The kitchen was warm and cozy, the yellow checked curtains in the breakfast nook picked up the glow of the noonday sun. The satisfying aroma of fresh bread pervaded the air.
“You’re getting to be a fine cook,” Bob said, as he buttered another hot roll. “I’m proud of you.”
Margaretta felt herself blushing at the unaccustomed praise from her reticent, unemotional husband. She felt almost like a bride again.
She looked at Bob with pride and love, this big farm boy with the auburn hair who had captured her interest the first time he tracted at her large home on the outskirts of Curityba, the prosperous German community in southern Brazil. He had captured her parents’ interest, also, because of his sincerity and his dedication to his missionary work. Because of the message which he brought them, one by one, the Mueller family had been converted, first by Bob Hillman, and then by subsequent missionaries who took his place.
Keepa’ninny Julie sends this photo, which a long-ago Primary teacher labeled for her as dating to 1969-70, when she was a Right Way Pilot. (I still need to pin down which years the classes went by which names — they seemed to have been in flux.) In any case, we think she is holding the class “compass,” a mock dashboard fitting the “pilot” theme of the classes.
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This essay, by Margaret Jean Russell Dudley, was published in the December 1965 issue of The Improvement Era. Please remember that posting doesn’t imply endorsement. With “The View From” series, I am only gathering examples of how we have presented the role of women in years past.
A Gift for Each
The other day as I was busy doing the dishes, my seven-year-old son came bouncing through the back door as only a second grader can. He was about to explode with knowledge. It seems that in his science class at school he was studying about bees, and he began to tell me all about them. He anxiously told me about the queen bee which is a girl bee and about the worker bee, a girl bee also. He then told me about the drone bee, which, he said, was the boy bee. This struck me funny and I poked a little fun at the male of the species by comparing him to the drone. I thought it quite a good joke, but as I looked at my son I could tell he didn’t see the humor in it. He looked up at me and said, “Oh, gee, Mom, I guess I should have been a girl.”
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