Vienna Jacques, one of only two Latter-day Saint women to be mentioned by name in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 90), lived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1830, a seeker of religious truth and of a church which she could feel embodied the characteristics of the New Testament. She obtained a copy of the Book of Mormon, read it, and received a confirmation of its divine nature. In 1831 she traveled – alone – from Boston to Kirtland, and was baptized. She then went back to Boston, and in 1833 returned to Kirtland. From then until her dying day, she remained with the body of the Church, donating her hard-won savings to the Church to buy land in Jackson County, moving to Nauvoo, crossing the Plains, and settling in the ward where I now live. She didn’t age well, according to some accounts, becoming a lonely and somewhat difficult old lady; nevertheless, she remained faithful. I’ve visited her grave in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, marked by a small, flat stone nearly buried in the grass.
Because of the Word
By Hazel M. Thomson
Synopsis: Ruth Ann Barker, who lives, in the early 1830s, with her widowed father, a farmer in the Naumkeg Valley of New England, dislikes farm life and cannot decide to marry Victor Hall, a neighboring farmer. Ruth Ann goes to Boston to visit her cousin Claire Mayhew, and meets Quinton Palmer, a suitor of Claire’s, whose declares that he has fallen in love with Ruth at their first meeting.
The air was strained between the two girls as Ruth Ann prepared to leave the next morning. On the long ride home in the coach, she had time to think of many things she could have done.
The name Chaney means “oak” in French (chêne). The oak is not the tallest, not the largest, not the longest-lived, not the strongest tree. It is not the most notable in any category but one: it specializes in not specializing. Oaks are all-around hardworking, reliable trees, widely distributed throughout the world, a valuable food source in olden times, and building blocks of civilizations.
Utah pioneer Chaney was, like an oak, not the most notable of the early black pioneers to Utah — names like Jane Manning James and Green Flake come more quickly to mind — but she is remembered as a faithful family servant and member of the Church in the early Mormon settlements. (more…)
By Ruth May Fox
On a glorious Sabbath morning in the ages long ago,
In the most delightful garden ever armed by summer’s glow,
Where the roses, pinks and lilies and the modest violet vied
With the graceful waving pampas and the dahlia’s stately pride,
Where stood trees all richly laden with fruits of every kind,
Where sweet aromatic odors floated softly on the wind,
That gently stirred the leaflets as the sunbeam’s shimmered through
Showing figs all ripe and luscious and the citrons dainty hue.
Not a weed was in the garden nought to mar the charming scene,
While rippling through this centre was a placid silvery stream
And birds of brighter plumage gaily flitted to and fro
Chirping, twitting, sweet songs singing on that morning long ago.
In this paradise enchanting roamed a stalwart noble man
In the image of his Maker, comprehend it if you can,
By his side a lovely woman for a helpmeet unto him,
Not his slave nor yet his servant ham’ring every foolish whim,
Not his cook, O happy woman! it was theirs to pluck and eat,
Not his seamstress, for their toilet nature’s garb made all complete.
But with him to hold dominion over every living thing,
On the earth, beneath the water, and the birds of varied wing.
Together they held possession of this highly favored land,
Together they stood and listened to the Father’s grave command,
Together received His blessing and the promise of His care
If they would try to serve Him and remember Him in prayer.
And together we must labor gentle woman, earnest man,
For the lifting up of nations and restore the ancient plan
And together have dominion and make this earth an Eden,
For know to make a perfect man, you must have Eve and Adam.
George Albert Smith, breaking ground for the Primary Children’s Hospital, 1 April 1949:
Some of Keepa’s readers are struggling with faith – a recent anonymous commenter said, “I’m having a tough time, but I’m hopeful.” I’m glad you’re here, I’m humbled that something brought you to Keepa, I hope you hang on and find reasons for “the hope that is within you.” I think it would help to have made life worthwhile if sometime I learned that Keepa had helped someone hang on, or come back.
Several of my favorite Keepa readers left the Church long ago, but read because it is a comfortable and fun way to reconnect with the Church of their childhood, recalling memories of loved grandparents or pleasant hours with the Children’s Friend, or other nostalgic moments. I’m glad you’re here, and grateful for what you contribute.
Most Keepa readers seem to be believing, practicing members of the Church, or, if you’re not currently active for whatever reason, you still consider yourselves Latter-day Saints and feel a connection to the Church. Plus, you all have some interest in Mormon history.
This post is aimed mostly at the third group – the believers and practicers – and if you’re not a member of that third group, please don’t take offense. This is not meant as a slight to you.
From the Relief Society Magazine, 1961-62 –
Because of the Word
By Hazel M. Thomson
The brightness of the oaks and maples tried vainly to cheer Ruth Ann Barker as she completed her farm chores. Her eyes looked often toward Boston, a day’s journey to the east, where living had become very gracious in the early eighteen hundreds. It vexed her that her father insisted on remaining in the Naumkeg Valley which was practically the same as living on the frontier.
There were no Indians, that was true, but the land itself had proved almost as hostile. The back-breaking work had taken its toll. Many times Ruth Ann had blamed it for her mother’s early death.
“I know nothing but farming,” her father always answered to her pleas. “I could not earn a living in Boston.”
“We could get along. Uncle John would help us.”
Sometimes a 21st century Mormon will pick up a Primary or Sunday School songbook from long ago and discover a small selection of music (usually music only, without lyrics), labeled “Marches” and jump to the conclusion that Mormon children of past decades were drilled in marching in some kind of creepy Hitler Youth-like mindless inculcation of obedience. Around the block, or up and down church hallways, armies of children marching in lockstep … That has been suggested here on Keepa in years past.
Here’s what’s really behind those marches in our historic songbooks.
The preliminary or opening exercises [of Sunday School] are intended to prepare the mind and soul of the pupil for the reception of the lesson which follows; and an orderly separation into classes will do much to preserve the spirit of worship and tranquility in the boys and girls, whereas a helter-skelter rushing to class rooms often robs the class – both teacher and pupil – of the possibility of giving and receiving the gospel truths which the lesson period might otherwise bring.