[Don’t let this post keep you from noticing the post just below it, new this morning and one of my favorites in recent months.]
The recent post on the Church’s gaining standing to perform marriages in Australia in 1923 drew a question about how the matter was covered in the Australian press. I have the following materials in my file — too many of them, unfortunately, are clippings without date or name of newspaper. I found the enclosed in a letter from Australia contemporary with the events.
Herald [Melbourne?, Australia]
15 October 1923
15 Minute Ceremony
“One Wife” Decree
A crowd so large it overflowed into the street, attended the first Mormon marriage in Australia on Saturday evening at the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints, East Melbourne. Though the church has seating accommodation for 300 persons, the guests not only filled every seat and all the standing room inside, but crowded on to the verandah and sidewalk.
Miss Elizabeth Sarah Darker Smith was the bride, and Mr. Louis Paul Kneale, the bridegroom. The Rev. Joseph Baxter Gunnell, an elder of the church, performed the ceremony, and later presented the bride with a Bible.
The memory of a story told long, long ago suggests that William Graves met the missionaries when he happened to drop by a street meeting being held in Oakland, California. We don’t know what appealed to William that day, or how he introduced his fiancee, Marie Benjamin, to the Church, but we do know that when William and Marie were married (a second marriage for both) in 1909, the officiator was a Latter-day Saint missionary, and one of the witnesses was that elder’s companion. Further evidence of the Graves’ apparently warm relationship with the missionaries is that the couple were not then members of the Church – their baptisms would not occur until two years later, in November 1911.
From the beginning, the couple participated actively in the Oakland branch. Two months after his baptism, William stood to bear his testimony in fast meeting. Two months after that, both William and Marie bore testimony. From then on, one or the other, or both, participated every month or two: “Sis Graves spoke of the Lord’s goodness to her, and enjoys the gospel more and more each day…” “Sister Graves .. bore [her] testimony to the truthfulness of the Gospel and the many blessings which [she] had received …”
Sometimes Marie requested that the congregation sing a hymn – “Guide Us, O, Thou Great Jehovah” was the first – to help her express her testimony. And from time to time, William spoke for the congregation when he was called on to close a meeting with prayer. The couple was fully involved in the life of their branch.
By Grace Ingles Frost
Dark chariots of conflict shall no more
Crush ‘neath their wheels what our travail has won;
No longer to the gruesome god of war
Will we pay tribute with a mate or son –
The throne of Thor, the Thunderer, must fall!
We speak – the women – the iconoclasts,
Whose will shall rend to shreds the sombre pall
That through the years, too long, deep shadow casts.
From the rude garner of war’s aftermath,
An oriflame of peace for land and sea,
We must create to safely tread man’s path –
A flag to wave throughout futurity.
The task is ours, a pagan god to quell –
His idols break and end war’s reign of hell!
My stake held conference a week ago, and by far the best talk of the afternoon was delivered by Asher Litchfield, a teacher:
Shortly after April Conference this year, Elder Oaks made an unexpected visit to our ward. When he sat in on our Sunday School class, we were sharing the things which had impressed us from General Conference. One of my classmates shared part of Elder Nelson’s talk about the Sabbath Day. When he finished, Elder Oaks said that we would be hearing a lot more about the Sabbath Day in the near future. He was right. And today you get to hear more about it from me.
In an ultra-orthodox community in Jerusalem, a Muslim man named Abu Ali has been hired as a “Shabbos goy.” He arrives at his small shed at sundown on Friday and stays until sundown on Saturday. If anyone in the community needs a light switch flipped, an air conditioner turned on, or a ride to the hospital, he’s the guy that does it – because for those in the Orthodox community to do any of these things, along with a long list of other things, would be breaking the Sabbath.
We don’t have a guy like that in our neighborhood, although sometimes we do borrow an egg from our neighbor on Sunday. There are lots of things we don’t do on the Sabbath Day, but I want to talk about the things we should do.
Jerusha Spends the Night
By Hazel K. Todd
Synopsis: Jerusha, who came to the Wilson home “to spend the night,” has become an integral part of the family. Amy has finally made up with Jerusha and the child has come to depend upon her and love her deeply, as have the rest of the family members, excepting Joe, who seems to become increasingly more belligerent, but Jerusha remains unswayed in her determination to win him over.
In the middle of the week Ruth Johnson called Jerusha to invite her to a quilting at her home. “A very special niece of mine, who teaches school in California has consented to spend the remainder of her vacation with us, and I thought it would be a good chance for her to get acquainted with some of my friends.”
Jerusha glowed with pleasure. “I am so happy you’d include me,” she said. “I’d just love to come.” And then something popped into her head. “And I’d love to bring a pan of fresh gingerbread with some whipping cream for lunch. I’ve been feeding it to the family, and they love it.”
“Wonderful!” Ruth said. “I might have known you’d come up with something.”
On the day of the quilting Jerusha made two pans of gingerbread, one for the family, and one for the party. She left her best wishes with Suzey. “It’ll do you good to be on your own once in a while with just your family,” she said. “Maybe you could put the hem in your dress we just finished. It’s all measured, you know.”
I posted a collection of related ads years and years ago, but that collection didn’t begin to exhaust the supply. Here’s another one, this time from the 1914 Relief Society Magazine:
Elizabeth Darker Smith was going to marry her sweetheart, and she wanted to be married in church. The 25-year-old Sunday School teacher, living near Melbourne, Australia, could not travel more than 5,500 miles to Hawaii to be married in the nearest temple. Still, even though it could be only a civil marriage for the time being, Elizabeth wanted to be married in an LDS chapel, by a priesthood holder who understood the importance of marriage.
But Elizabeth’s wedding to Louis Kneale, and that of Louis’s brother Raymond Kneale to his fiancee Elsie Parker, and those of three other Latter-day Saint couples engaged to marry in Melbourne in 1923, could not take place in LDS chapels, nor could an elder in the Church conduct the ceremony for any of them. The Church was not authorized under Australian law to perform marriages, so the only choice open to couples like Elizabeth and Louis was to marry in the registry office before a civil magistrate, or to marry in some authorized church before a clergyman of another faith. The same limited options were faced by Latter-day Saint couples in most places in the world outside the United States.
Lesson 35: “Be Ye Reconciled to God”
Purpose: To encourage class members to be true disciples of Jesus Christ through applying Paul’s counsel in 2 Corinthians.
1. Overcoming tribulation
2. Forgiving others
3. Feeling godly sorrow for sins
1. The “outward man” and the “inward man”
2. Ambassadors for Christ
Proof of the Pudding
“Shall I ask the new cook for references?”
“We can’t eat references – get her to submit samples!”
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Jerusha Spends the Night
By Hazel K. Todd
Synopsis: The night Jerusha was to spend with the Wilsons when her car broke down near their home has stretched into a permanent situation. She has been introduced to this new religion of theirs and is finding it interesting. Her presence in the home has already manifested itself in many ways, some of which are obvious to everyone. Joe still resents her presence and Amy avoids contact with her. Both situations she is determined to change.
“He just didn’t seem to be interested,” Mrs. Johnson said, answering Jerusha’s question regarding the Wilsons’ hiring a housekeeper. “Always said he thought they were getting along all right if anyone mentioned it to him.”
Jerusha chuckled. “I surely barged in and changed his mind, didn’t I?”
“For which we’re all very grateful,” Ruth said, patting Jerusha’s hand. “Oh, we did what we could, helping the children with their clothes and taking food over once in a while, inviting them to dinner.” She paused a minute. “He’s quite independent. It’s difficult …”
“He needs a wife,” Jerusha said.
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