Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog

The Call of the Land

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 15, 2015

From the Relief Society Magazine, 1933 –

The Call of the Land

By Agnes Just Reid

When Barbara Wentworth was left alone with four small children, people wondered what she would do. There was no insurance, for never in his life had Nat Wentworth been considered a safe risk for the insurance companies. In war time he had only gone as far as the training camp, to be told what he already knew, that his heart was likely to play out almost any minute. So, after nine years of anxiety, interspersed with much happiness, the blow had fallen and Barbara was alone.

“Poor Babs,” everyone said, “will have to go back to teaching school; and who will rear those babies for her?”


Symbol of Thrift

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 15, 2015

From August, 1948 —


A Few Minutes with the Kanab Stake Security Program Committee, 1937

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 15, 2015

The “Security Plan” was soon renamed the “Welfare Plan” of the Church. Here’s a glimpse at its earliest functioning in one stake, in Southern Utah —

25 April 1937

At Stake Union Meeting at Kanab Apr 25, 1937. Stake Security Program Committee met at 3:45 P.M., Pres. Chas. C. Heaton presiding. Bsp. Quimby Roundy conducting, chairman.

Bishop Roundy suggested that steps be taken to obtain long term leases on land donated or turned over to the Stake Security Program, in order that they may be properly improved with the idea of getting the most out of them. It was suggested that in many cases work or caretakers could be furnished for these tract of land by men with families, who would care for and cultivate these tracts of land for their clothes and food. It would of course be understood that if they could obtain better employment from other sources, making them self-sustaining, that they would be released from these projects, if they so desired.

The following persons were selected to act as a Committee to investigate and purchase a tractor, to be used in our Stake for the Security program. This committee was also instructed to consider other projects feasible for our stake and take the matter of commencing them up with Brother [Harold B.] Lee immediately. Among those considered were the Power project in Long Valley, a Central Storehouse in Long Valley, a storage plant in Kanab, on the old Mill Site, purchasing or leasing the Alton Creamery from Floyd Heaton, or encouraging the raising and producing of milk to help this creamery to operate, thereby furnishing an outlet for milk in the Stake and bringing in a little cash.

It was motioned by President Carroll that this committee consider all projects to be self liquidating.

It was recommended by Pres. Heaton that immediate action be taken on the projects for our Stake, especially where farming is concerned.

Projects committee appointed: President Woodruff Rust, Bishop Rulon J. Carroll and Bishop Quimby Roundy.



Saturday Remix, 1894 (2)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 13, 2015

Prisoner at the bar, to magistrate: “Your worship, would you mind hurrying up my case a little? It’s almost twelve o’clock, and if I’ve got to go to jail, I’d like to get there in time for dinner.”


It was that most cruel and distressing occasion – an examination. The examiner was the principal, a rather severe looking gentleman, who concealed his heart most successfully. “If,” he began, in a very serious tone, “your mother gave you fifty cents and sent you to the store to buy six pounds of codfish at eight cents per pound, how much change would you take home?”

The small boy to whom this question was put responded at once, “Not any.”

“Not any? Would the codfish cost fifty cents?”

“No, sir: forty-eight.”

“Would there not be some change?”

“Yes, sir; two cents. But I would buy candy. I would not take any home.”


By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 12, 2015

Don’t be afraid to read this, mamas.

From the Relief Society Magazine, May 1953 –


By Blanche M. Hollingsworth

The rain still beat against the windowpane. Only this morning she had said in her cute two-year-old way, “What’s ‘at?” and I had answered, “It’s the rain on the window. It looks like tears. I guess the sky is crying.” Very seriously she had watched the drops of rain hit the top of the window and slowly trickle down the pane.

Now, as I wandered alone through the house, I felt almost lost in my own home. Everything I looked at reminded me of her. In the living room four little finger marks were visible on the door just under the knob where plump fingers had held on, waiting to wave goodbye to Earl as he drove away to work this very morning.


Tabernacle Interior, 1880

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 12, 2015

Tabernacle acoustics have not always been as perfect as the stories of pin-dropping suggest. That loopy cable, whatever material it is made of, is just one of several early attempts to improve acoustics by hanging things from the ceiling (I don’t understand the principle). That is a water fountain you see in the middle of the seating; it was installed for the Sunday School Jubilee in 1880 and is probably the reason this photo was taken. I don’t know when it was removed — it stayed in place for several years, and once in a while you run across a reference to the cooling properties of fountain. It is surrounded by four stone lions. And of course, the organ looks a little odd because it had not yet been expanded to its current configuration with those huge iconic pipes on either side, crowned with carved woodwork.



The Temple One-Year Rules

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 12, 2015

There are several “one-year rules” associated with temple attendance – practices that have no direct tie to the ritual, but merely to the administrative functions of the temple. These rules dictate that Latter-day Saints wait one year between Event A and Event B. This period seems arbitrary – the waiting periods could just as well be six months or five years. Latter-day Saints who do not understand the historical roots of these practices find them arbitrary in other ways – they sometimes don’t understand why any waiting period is mandated at all. In this post I hope to explain the historical reasons for those waiting periods.

This post will not be entirely satisfactory to anybody, including me. I cannot quote from material I have read, nor can I point to a specific date in any case to say “This rule was implemented on this day.” My understanding of these practices comes not from a single manuscript that documents these practices, but from my experience in reading tens of thousands of documents from the early 20th century – letters from Church members to Salt Lake authorities, minutes of meetings, discussions between leaders, circular letters sent to local officers, queries from mission presidents, correspondence between concerned people at all levels and throughout the world. I won’t try to convince the skeptical that I know what I’m talking about here – instead, I’m simply offering these ideas to readers as my best understanding of the conditions that gave rise to the policies.

One Year Between Baptism and Temple Attendance.

Like the other rules in this post, this one came into being to correct a problem that was only gradually recognized in the Church. In earlier days, local leaders could recommend temple attendance (subject to the approval of an apostle) whenever local leaders thought someone was ready. Very young teenagers, brand new converts, and others whom we wouldn’t expect today to hold a temple recommend were sent to the temple.


I Wish —

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 11, 2015

This little oddity relates to the annual campaign to raise money for Primary Children’s Hospital

“I Wish — ”

By Clayton Crawford

I wish that I could run and play
With all the other kids all day;
I get so tired lying here
With legs so gosh darn weak and queer!

Mother says if I could go
To hospital, they’d fix me so
I’d be as good as anyone.
And gee! how I would leap and run!

I’d not mind if it pained a lot;
I’d show what spunk and grit I’ve got,
But we’re too poor to pay, and, oh,
How mother cries; it grieves her so!

There is a place where kids, they say,
Can go and do not have to pay.
But mother says it’s far too small
And they can’t take me in at all,.

Oh, God, please help them right away
To make it big enough so they
Can take in all the kids like me
That lie in pain and misery.

For if I can’t grow big and strong –
If I’ve to drag my life along
Like this, and weak and cripplied lie,
Dear God, I pray that I may die!


“I Take Up My Pen”: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1920

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 11, 2015



A Few Minutes in the Ystrad Branch, British Mission, 1902

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 11, 2015

This set of minutes covers more meetings than I usually post in the “A Few Minutes …” series because it displays so well a phenomenon I’ve noticed about Church services “in the mission field”: This branch has a branch president (John Sparrow) who is a local member, not a missionary from Utah, at a time when most branches in the missions were directed by a constantly-changing parade of Utah men. Even so, the topics for sermons are virtually all drawn from a limited list of subjects with a missionary focus: The first principles, or a specific one of the first principles, the Great Apostasy, the Restoration. These are the subjects that missionaries are preaching to the general public; these are the topics they emphasize in their personal study, in preparation for doing their work as elders; these are the only topics local leaders have seen modeled in Church services once led by missionaries.

What might the Church experience have been like for members, especially ones who had been members for years, seldom to hear anything but the first principles? That is, you were obviously already converted to the necessity of baptism, and the form it takes in LDS practice. You understood baptism as well as any young missionary did. You had been baptized — what more could you do with the concept of baptism as it was being preached? Wouldn’t you have sometimes longed, whether consciously or subconsciously, to move along, to be taught the gospel in its fullness? Yet these people, so many of them, continued in their Church attendance and service, despite a constant diet of milk.

For me, this is one of the hardest, yet unremarked upon, aspects of the long delay in training converts to be leaders and allowing them to lead their own units. There will be sporadic attempts in the first half of the 20th century to turn branches over to local direction, but in almost all places and all decades, missionaries from Utah will continue to direct the branches until after World War II (I’m not speaking here of the occasional use of a missionary branch president even today; I mean when that was the default condition everywhere). This unwillingness or inability or unawareness or whatever it was, that resulted in mission presidents and missionaries clinging to the “but this is the way we have always done it” or “it’s just easier if we do it ourselves” outlook would cause some serious difficulties for the Church in the 1930s, not just in branches distant from Salt Lake, but even in branches a few hundred miles from “the stakes of Zion” in the western U.S., before Church leaders finally trusted local leaders in the missions to be as capable as local leaders in the stakes. But that’s for future posts. Just notice as you read these minutes how narrow the scope of teaching was in this branch in 1902:


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