If I ever write the biography that I think Brigham Young deserves, I will present Brigham the man – not merely Brigham the pioneer, Brigham the polygamist, Brigham the manager, Brigham the thunderer. I will present Brigham in the midst of his family, working and playing with his friends, and serving with those who knew him best. I will include the little details that have either not been noticed by prior biographers, or else were discounted as too trivial to take up space better filled by speculations on despotism and violence.
I would write about Brigham’s first real mission, in the winter of 1832-33, a year after he had been baptized. Brigham and his brother Joseph were assigned by Joseph Smith to travel to Canada. Joseph Young had earlier worked in Canada as a preacher of Methodism, and the Young brothers were assigned to work in the same area where Joseph Young had earlier preached, and, if possible to convert a man named Artemus Millet (they did – Millet was baptized in February 1833).
While I haven’t verified the weather report for early 1833, winter along Lake Ontario, where the Young brothers walked more than 500 miles, is normally a cold, snowy, windy, miserable place to be outdoors on foot. How did they keep up their spirits?
A Prayer for Men at Conference Tables
By Floyd T. Wood
God of all nations, great or small,
Let them not into error fall;
Cast out the things that make them blind:
The narrow soul, the narrow mind
That faith dishonors; will not see
The peace of right that ought to be.
What matters shade of outer skin
If souls are clean and white within?
Is strangeness, by its nature, wrong?
Is justice only for the strong?
So as they gather to repair
A frightened world, please, God, be there.
The Trailbuilders (three oldest boys’ Primary classes) in the late ’30s and early ’40s wore beanies as well as bandlos as a uniform. Each year’s class symbol was added to the back of the cap as the boys moved from class to class.
Some people are just more observant than I am.
The Improvement Era issue for January 1951 contained this two-page spread, a talk apostle John A. Widtsoe had given on a radio program. Billed as “A message for the New Year … a word of hope to a confused and fear-filled world,” the talk is illustrated by a picture of a farmer on some horse-drawn piece of equipment and the assurance that “the needs of men will be supplied by Mother Earth”; there is also an uncaptioned photo of a young man, in a suit coat and tie, his chiseled jaw the epitome of resolute courage. The page also features a couple of pull quotes: “Men who lay aside fear become the masters of the day,” and “History reveals that in every struggle evil has gradually been defeated and at length has been beaten down.”
From the Relief Society Magazine, 1959 –
Granny Will Be Waiting
By Betty Martin
Amy Willis poured some warm milk in the old mother cat’s bowl and stood watching the cat lap up the milk hungrily. “It is a lonesome old life isn’t it, Tessie, old girl?” Amy mused, half to herself and half to the cat.
Amy was a short, slender woman in her early sixties with shiny gray hair that waved softly back from her face emphasizing her gentle, delicate features. her kindly blue eyes and her sparkling smile were evidence of her lovely countenance. All who knew Amy loved her and sought her friendship.
The opening of an LDS Institute building near the campus of the University of Wyoming was A. Big. Deal. as evidenced by these two programs: President Heber J. Grant was there, as were the presidents of nearby missions and universities, the governor of Wyoming, and other dignitaries. The cooperation of the wider Christian community in Laramie appears in the participation of the Ministerial Alliance at the opening, and the attendance of Institute members at a Union Service in the Baptist Church later in the week.
By Helene MacArthur
Here in the West when the sun
Sinks down behind the purpling hills,
And the twilight creeps
Up the eastern steeps
And all grows calm and still,
Love’s golden star
’Bove the sunset bar
Shines clear through the tender blue.
Then my heart awakes with a thrill and takes
Me away, dear heart, to you.
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.
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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.
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