Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog

Julie, Right Way Pilot

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 12, 2015

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.



“A Gift for Each”: The View from 1965

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 12, 2015

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.”


In Our Ward: Lesson 2: “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 11, 2015

Lesson 2: “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord”

Luke 1
Matthew 1

Purpose: To help class members develop greater faith in Jesus Christ through a study of the lives of Elisabeth, Zacharias, John the Baptist, Mary, and Joseph.

Lesson Development

1. John the Baptist is born to Elisabeth and Zacharias
2. Mary and Joseph learn that Mary will be the mother of the Son of God.

Scripture Discussion and Application

I’m going to read to you four very short excerpts from recent General Conference talks and ask you to identify the speakers. (more…)

Saturday Remix, 1945

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 10, 2015


Judge (to prisoner): “What, you here again?”

Prisoner: “Yes, sir.”

“Aren’t you ashamed to be seen here?”

“No, sir! What’s good enough for you is good enough for me!”


Pretending Garden

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 09, 2015

From the Relief Society Magazine, July 1959 –

Pretending Garden

by Helen H. Trutton

Laura stood watching the young child rollicking among the flowers, occasionally picking a choice daisy, or chasing a bright-winged butterfly. The hillside had been Darlene’s playground, Laura thought with resentment. Darlene should be there now – not a stranger.

Apparently the little girl, dressed in a plaid dress that blended so harmoniously with the many colorful flowers surrounding her, was not aware of anyone’s presence, for she danced gaily among the wild flowers, her blond curly head bobbing up and down, her childish laughter a merry sound on the silent hillside.

“I could almost pretend it was Darlene again,” Laura breathed. “But I mustn’t dream.”


A Short 1949 Booklist

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 09, 2015

From the Improvement Era, 1949 –


When You Are Eighty

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 08, 2015

When You Are Eighty

By Peter Gottfredson

If the years before have been lived aright,
Your legs will be nimble, your eyes will be bright,
And you will be loved, though your hair may be white,
When you are eighty.

But should it be, you are faded and worn
By battles you’ve fought and the burdens you’ve borne,
By a smile you’ll win more than by looking forlorn,
When you are eighty.

If you plant with care and good seed you sow,
You’ll have pleasure ahead in the crops that grow.
The things I am telling you are things I know,
Because I am eighty.


Happy New Year, 1921

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 08, 2015

This is the New Year’s greeting sent out by Mormon artist J. Leo Fairbanks at the opening of 1921:



The Things We Know: A Picture of Jane Manning James

By: Amy Tanner Thiriot - January 08, 2015

Until I saw the entry on the Church History Library Catalog the other day, I had no idea there was any uncertainty about the identity of the woman in the following photograph, but the catalog identifies the picture as “a black woman, possibly Jane Manning James.”

Possibly Jane Manning James CHL PH 5962_b0001_f0025_i0008_00001 crop small


These Were Their Questions

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 07, 2015

The other day I invited you to guess what kinds of questions Church members in the first half of the 20th century wrote to ask Church leaders – what was on the minds of Latter-day Saints of that era? While I haven’t kept anything like a statistical record, here is my subjective impression of the most frequently asked questions in the correspondence collections I have surveyed:

(It’s worth noting that many people wrote simply desiring to know the answer to their question, whatever the answer happened to be. Very often, though, it’s clear that some people had become embroiled in arguments in their families or wards and were looking for ammunition in the form of an endorsement from a General Authority, less for genuine information than for winning the argument. And in a small but significant number of cases, people really did try to set Church policy by calling on leaders to adopt and teach the letter writer’s personal philosophy.)

Without question, Word of Wisdom-related questions were the most frequently asked.

Sometimes these were simple requests for explanations (“What are ‘hot drinks’?”); other requests concerned the history of our understanding of the Word of Wisdom (“Section 89 doesn’t mention tea and coffee – why are they forbidden?”)


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