This photo was taken at a 1904 reunion, in Salt Lake City, of missionaries who had served in Tahiti. (I need to have the mission record in front of me before I struggle to decipher the names. If one of them is your grandpa, though, you no doubt can read his name anyway.)
Around the turn of the 20th century, the Church was faced with adapting from its frontier patterns to the needs of Latter-day Saints in a changed world. The most obvious evolution was the transition from polygamy to monogamy, but there were many others: In the small, almost self-contained world of 19th century Utah, tithing paid in kind (cattle, hay, wheat, vegetables, eggs) could always be put to good use – but in the 20th century, with members flowing out from the Mormon heartland, cash became far more needed and useful. Fasting and meeting on Thursdays, which had been the norm for decades, became impossible for members who worked for non-Mormon employers or who had only a short dinner break to clean themselves up, get to Fast meeting, and return to work. Growing awareness of modern hygiene brought about a call to change from the shared Sacrament cup to individual cups. My list of such small (well, most of them are small) and incremental steps between the frontier Church and the modern Church continues to grow.
Here’s another one:
At the turn of the 20th century, your Church membership could and usually did remain with your home ward when you were temporarily away from home, even if that temporary absence grew to years. That is, if you left Provo to go to school at any of the Eastern or Midwestern universities, you retained your membership in the Provo 3rd Ward, and you generally didn’t attend Church with the local Saints of Chicago or Ithaca or Cambridge. You could if you wanted to, but you generally did not, and nobody faulted you. If you paid your tithing, you sent it back home for credit on the books of your own ward – you didn’t pay it in the local branch or even send it to the mission president.
Look, I would be as happy as the next Mormon to have men come into the Quorum of the Twelve, or the First Presidency, from backgrounds other than the western United States. President Uchtdorf is one of my favorite General Authorities – and while I hope that favor is based chiefly on more important factors, I cannot deny that part of his charm is his accent.
But let’s not forget what the role of the Quorum of the Twelve is. The Quorum is not a congress, and the apostles do not represent constituents. Their position is not an inward-facing one, they are not tasked with delivering the concerns and hopes of members in the stakes and missions for discussion and solution in the centers of ecclesiastical power.
An apostle is “one who is sent” – not from the people, bearing petitions, but from the Lord, bearing witness. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” Send them forth. Apostles don’t represent or speak only to the people from which they spring; they represent the Lord to all peoples: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” In this dispensation, the Lord instructed his apostles that “Whithersoever they [the First Presidency, not the people] shall send you, go ye, and I will be with you.”
By Celia A. Van Cott
On the Trail of the Killer
Billy lay rigid and still. The creature sniffed around him, blowing his hot breath across Billy’s face. After a while it moved quietly away on its soft padded feet only to return after a short interval to snuggle close by his side.
Billy stiffened with fright. He tried to scream but his voice seemed paralyzed and would not come. The hot breath of the animal fanned across his face and down his neck. It seemed hours before a pale shaft of silver light filtered through the tops of the trees.
Someone in camp stirred. Billy heard footsteps coming toward his bed. Uncle Christopher awakened Jed, then turned his flashlight on Billy and laughed aloud.
“Did you choose Renard for a bed partner to keep you warm last night, or did he break his leash and choose you?”
Shirley Young Clawson (1881-1929) and Chester Young Clawson (1883-1962)
Brothers; grandsons of Brigham Young
Pioneer Mormon Movie Makers
Ogden 13th Ward
Bean Field Fundraiser
By Helen Baker Adams
This is the birthday of one whose eyes
Were quietly closed in timelessness
Before this home was born.
Yet here by the fire is the rug she wove,
And there hangs the cup with her name in gold,
And her little black Bible lies worn.
Her fern fronds green to greet this day
And my own small lad with her winsome smile
Mocks the grim meaning of mourn!
While some Church doctrines and practices may come as clear mandates from heaven (I’m looking at you, Ten Commandments), others come in response to prayerful requests (the Word of Wisdom, say), and still others develop as we try to understand the word of God (what does it mean to “Honor thy father and thy mother” today?) or respond to events of our time (what is marriage post-Obergefell? should misbehavior by missionaries in some corner of the world affect rules for missionaries world wide?) We don’t often hear the names or know the stories behind all our practices, especially as those stories fade into the past and the practices become habitual.
I have run across one story, though, that may have played a role in the development of one important Mormon behavior, though. It may not be the only reason for this aspect of who we are, but it is at least one of those reasons.
Charles Roseberry Rogers was born in Pima, Arizona, in 1888, the son of a bishop who died just after Charles’ 18th birthday. Charles was the oldest child left at home, and left school to work in the mines to help provide for his father’s two widows and the youngest of his father’s 20 children. Perhaps because of his mother’s need of his services at home, Charles had turned 24 before he was called on his first mission, to the Northern States. That call, he said, “was a complete surprise to me, as no one had discussed it with me” prior to issuing the call.
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By Celia A. Van Cott
At the Rodeo
A bright ribbon of yellow sunlight was streaming across Billy’s bed when he awakened. He looked across the room to find that Jed had already dressed and gone. He bounded out of bed annoyed that he had overslept, burning with curiosity.
Downstairs Marie met him with a cheerful smile. “Mr. Cavell say after breakfast come to corral queek,” she told Billy.
When he turned the corner of the milk house he saw Jed cantering about the yard on a pretty sorrel horse with Buck running along by his side. Uncle Christopher was astride the corral bars watching the excited boy with a happy smile on his face and holding the bridle of a pinto pony that was pawing the ground with its forefoot.
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