This is the paper I gave at the Mormon History Association this past weekend. I wish I could record it rather than posting the bare script — I get a kick out of teasing laughs from the audience by the style of delivery. What can I say? I’m a ham.
“A Disturbance at the Mormonite Chapel”: 19th Century British Hooliganism and the Latter-day Saints
It will be news to exactly none of you that 19th century Mormon missionaries were not welcomed by many of the communities they entered. That dislike often varied according to the community: Nowhere else in the world were elders whipped and shot as they occasionally were in the United States. In the German states, elders were frequently banished, sometimes being imprisoned briefly before banishment. In the Scandinavian countries, elders were also banished, but my unverified impression is that those banishments were linked to imprisonment more frequently than in Germany.
In Great Britain elders were sometimes pelted by eggs and mud; halls rented as Mormon meeting places sometimes had their windows broken. But Great Britain’s special claim to missionary harassment took the form of hooliganism. Sure, rowdies in America did often throw stones at buildings where elders were preaching, and even shot through the walls on occasion – but the English raised hooliganism to a fine art, unrivaled elsewhere.
Wed. Jan 19.
Thurs. Jan 20.
Ironed and received our mail from America. The boys commenced painting the parlor walls changing it from a hideous blue to a light tan color.
“If you do not close that window, waiter, I shall die from the draught,” said a lady diner.
“And if you do close it I shall die from the heat in this hot weather!” exclaimed a stouter lady.
There was a giggle amongst the diners at the dilemma of the waiter, when a literary gentleman said: “My good fellow, your duty is clear; close the window and kill one lady; then open it and kill the other.”
From the Relief Society Magazine, March 1946 –
The Best Little Shrub
By Mabel Harmer
Aline Mortensen arose briskly from the luncheon table and started putting leftovers back in the refrigerator.
“What’s the rush, Mother?” asked her husband mildly, reaching for another of the fresh sugar-coated doughnuts. “Are Tidwells having another remnant sale?”
“It’s my day to go visiting teaching and – Henry!” she exclaimed, stopping short in the midst of scraping the jelly dish, “that’s at least five doughnuts! Is that what you call watching your waistline?”
A half dozen of you have kindly sent in post ideas or photos or other materials, which needed just a little work by me — looking up something in a Primary manual, formatting photos to something the blogging software will accept, doing just a bit of research about a missionary. I’ve done part of that work in some cases, but I’ve had so many other deadlines that I haven’t finished yet. (Heck, I even forgot to post something this morning until after 8:00! You’d think I’d be in the habit now, after five years.)
I appreciate the things you’ve sent in, and realize you’re probably anxious to see the results. They haven’t been misplaced — I’ll finish and post them as soon as I can — but please forgive the delay for a few more days.
Now I’m off to the Mormon History Association meetings …
It may help to understand some remarks in these minutes by remembering that these meetings took place at the end of the Utah War, and that thousands of people from the northern parts of Utah had evacuated to the area south of Provo, including Spanish Fork, while waiting to learn what the federal troops would do.
23 May 1858
Meeting at the Bowery called to order By Bp Butler. Singing by the quoir. Prayer By elder J.S. Fullmer.
Bishop Butler arose and spoke on the necessity of taking care of the stock that the grain may be preserved and exhorted the Brethren to carry out the council from the Authorities that are placed over us.
Bro Coltrin spoke on the same subject and exhorted the Brethren of the High Priests quorum to attend to their stock and set an example for others to follow.
Their Separate Ways
By Berta Huish Christensen
There are two selves in me who sometimes meet,
And smiling pass, then go their separate ways.
One is a thrifty maid and all her days
Are duty measured, scheduled, and discreet.
She pins her thoughts to charts and daily needs,
To ruffled curtains, clean and neatly tied.
She counts her rows of bottled fruit with pride
And labels every can of flower seeds.
With oven hot and biscuits feather-light,
What can she care if poets never write!
The other, envious of hours that grow
In duty’s patterned groove, would mark the ebb
And flow of seasons by the jeweled web
Of spider lace in gardens and by snow.
She scents the first spring blossom in the air
And fills a wintered heart with early roses;
She knows the hour when the moon-flower closes
And knits a scarf of dawn-mist for her hair.
how can she care – who lives in each return
Of blade and bloom – if sometimes carrots burn!
Returned Missionaries, in the service at Fort Ord, California
(front row, left to right:) R.D. Kelly (German-Austrian,’32-‘36), Leo Merrill, H.E. Larsen (South African’38-‘40), James Unopulos, Dr. A.C. Sessions (president, Watsonville Branch), Sister A.C. Sessions, Hugh B. Brown (Church-Army coordinator), Sister Reuben E. Curtis, Chaplain Reuben E. Curtis (Central States,’26-‘28), George S. Walker (British Mission; now president of Pacific Grove Branch), Richard Crandall (California Mission)
(second row:) Philo E. Henricksen (Danish, ‘36-‘39), L. Thomas Long, Charles Wright(California, ‘35-‘37), M.P. Gunnell (British Mission,’30-‘31), Zemmeth Hale, M. Jensen, J.W. Harper, L. Noyes (Western States,’35-‘37), E.W. Nielsen (San Juan Stake, ‘39-‘41), J. Harold Call (Spanish-American,’37-‘40), R.S. Wilcox (California Mission)
His father dead and his mother remarried, Bill felt alone. Now his father’s old horse was missing, and Bill was determined to find him and bring him home.
From the Relief Society Magazine, March, 1951 –
By Dorothy Clapp Robinson
Skeets heaved himself up the last two yards to the top of the hill. Safely there he stopped to blow. Bill shifted in the saddle as his glance went swiftly, then carefully, over the pageantry unfolding about him. The undulation of hills, spotted with jack pine and seamed with canyons, moved majestically among shifting cloud curtains. Nothing in sight. He reached for the glasses that hung on his saddle horn and lifted them to his eyes. Still nothing, except those warning curtains.
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I’ve recently found the answer to a question that has been raised on Keepa … but now I can’t find where we’ve talked about this before to link to it.
The question was about the change in vocabulary from “Conference” to “District,” referring to the organization of missions. The answer is found in a 1927 letter:
March 12th, 1927
Presidents of Missions:
Please be advised that the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles have recently made a ruling to the effect that the word “District” shall be substituted for the word “Conference,” when referring to a territorial division of a Mission.
We shall be pleased therefore to have you conform to this change in the future.
Sincerely your brethren,
Heber J. Grant
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