Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog
 


“I Take Up My Pen”: Provo Stake, 1902

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 16, 2014

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Review: Girls Who Choose God

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 16, 2014

Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible, by McArthur Krishan and Bethany Brady Spalding; illustrated by Kathleen Peterson, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2014. ISBN 978-1-60907-882-9. $17.99 ($16.19 at Amazon.com).

Michelangelo is supposed to have described his technique as something like finding the statue hidden in a block of marble, then cutting away every bit of stone that was not part of that statue. My search for personally meaningful Church history shares something of that technique: I want to know my role in the latter-day kingdom. When I look at how we’ve told our story, I tend to put to one side the tellings that are not part of that emerging personal vision.

For example, when I am looking for personally meaningful examples of women’s contributions to the kingdom, there are three specific models that I cut away:

The Wicked Witch – We have often used women’s lives as cautionary tales of what not to be: Mrs. Thomas B. Marsh with her milk strippings, and Emma Smith, in the era when we demonized her for keeping Joseph’s children out of the Church.

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Through the Darkness

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 15, 2014

From the Relief Society Magazine, April 1949 –

Through the Darkness

By Hazel K. Todd

With an aching heart Rebecca watched the little girl playing with her doll. The child, with her good little left hand, tugged at the blanket she was trying to wrap around the dolly, then, because she couldn’t make it go the way she wanted it to, she held one corner in her mouth while she arranged it around the rubber infant. Never once did she so much as raise the little right hand that hung lifeless at her side, the small fingers curled around like tiny bird claws.

“Make your other little hand help,” Rebecca pleaded, but, as always, it was no use.

“I just can’t, Mother,” the little girl said, indifferently, and straightway left the room, carrying the doll in one arm while the blanket dragged behind.

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“I Take Up My Pen”: London Conference, British Mission, 1916

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 15, 2014

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The Trials of Cora Birdsall: part 11

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 15, 2014

In the spring and summer of 1905, Isaac Birdsall took steps to have his daughter Cora declared by the state court to be insane. When that declaration was made, Cora’s mother Mary, in company with the county sheriff, took Cora to the State Hospital in Provo, Utah, where she was confined. No records of her treatment there survive. An article in the 2010 Utah Historical Quarterly1 gives some idea of general conditions at the hospital. In particular, this photograph haunts me. It pictures a “Utica bed,” a cage-like bed meant to restrain combative patients – as Cora surely was – by restricting bodily movement and enforcing “rest.” Such was the state of medical treatment for the mentally ill in 1905.

One condition of Cora’s confinement was the determination by the state court that she was not indigent, meaning that she was responsible for paying the costs for her confinement and treatment in the hospital … which brings us to another, perhaps the primary, reason for Isaac’s efforts to have Cora declared legally insane: He sought to be named her guardian. As guardian, he would have control over her property, able to pay her bills to the State, and also to bring suit against James E. Leavitt to have Cora’s 1904 deed set aside and Cora’s land returned to her, through Isaac, as her guardian.

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  1. Janina Chilton, “A Photographic Essay of the Utah State Hospital,” Utah Historical Quarterly 78:2 (Spring 2010), 134. []

Andrew Sproul, Missionary: June, 1842

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 14, 2014

June 5th, 1842, Sunday Morning

A camp meeting was held at Bridge of Weir of the branches in the west. E.G., D. Weat, & E. McAulay were present on the occasion & prayer meeting opened by E. McAulay. He then gave an account of the rise & organisation & progress of the work of God.

E.G. Hamilton next addressed us & in connection with the rise of the work the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, showing from the scripture that the prophets spake of such a book coming forth for the purpose of gathering the children of Israel.

E.D. Wilken was next called upon to speak on the plan of salvation. He said that men can come to a knowledge of these things for themselves by obeying this plan according to the directions of Christ.

E.T. Jaap was called upon to speak on the gifts & blessings which follow them that go forth & obey this plan & how that the Saints rejoiced in those blessings in ancient times. The meeting then broke up till 3 o’clock that the Saints might have a refreshment.

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Saturday Remix, 1936

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 13, 2014

“Laying” Down on the Job

The football soared through the air and fell in the barnyard right at the rooster’s feet. A look of wonder came into his eyes as he surveyed it from all sides. Then he gravely pushed the ball into the henhouse and faced his harem. “I’m not complaining, Ladies,” he said, with an all-inclusive bow, “but I just want you to see for yourselves the work that is being done in the other yard.”

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The Ice-Cream Pie

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 12, 2014

From the Relief Society Magazine, March 1956 –

The Ice-Cream Pie

By Florence B. Dunford

I am afraid I have always been the timid sort. “Do people like me?” seems always to be my question. And, “How much can I do for them?” And, “Do people really like you to do things for them?” Things like that. Matters of friendliness.

A couple of years before, we had moved to this new neighborhood. At first everyone made an obvious effort to be friendly, to get acquainted. But then the Jennings on the east of us seemed to find out that Tim and I didn’t really travel in their class after all. The neighbors directly across the street from us were a trifle old for me, I felt. Besides, she was a club woman and gone all day. And Dr. Walton was older even than his wife. By evening all he wanted was to settle down with TV.

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“I Take Up My Pen”: Ogden-Utah Knitting Co., 1932

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 12, 2014

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To LDS Servicemen in Italy: February 1945

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 12, 2014

Four LDS chaplains (Americans) in Italy toward the end of World War II – including Eldin Ricks, the chaplain who dedicated the Chapel Built by Cigarettes – issued an occasional mimeographed newsletter for the LDS servicemen in Italy as the war approached its end. Here’s the issue for 1 February 1945:

L.D.S. Headquarters
Italy

1 February 1945

Dear Brethren and Sisters:

At the time of this writing the war news looks better than it has at any time since 1939. The possibility of one day awakening to hear that war has ceased appears less remote than it did a month ago – though previous disappointments suggest that we be not too optimistic now. Whether the cessation of hostilities be soon or not it is well, when that long awaited day does arrive, that we keep in mind the counsel of the prophet and president, Heber J. Grant, and his councillors, J. Reuben Clark and David O. McKay, that the celebration at the end of the war be “of a character that would not grieve or wound the feelings of those whose mother country is one of the enemy states.” such a celebration is “essential” they have pointed out, because “the church is world-wide, with many thousands of our members citizens of the enemy country – members who deeply love their own homeland, and who individually are no more responsible for this terrible holocaust than we have been.”

–oOo–

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