With Warmest Good Wishes and Greetings of the Season
To my friends, my brethren, and to all good men everywhere
There will be no card this year from me – and so, will you, each and all of you, accept this as my personal greeting. My love and my blessings come with it.
For many years I have sent out cards, books and booklets – thousands upon thousands of them. I don’t know how many. One year recently as many as ten thousand cards went out; and one Christmas, not so long ago, I sent out as many as three thousand copies of one book – and many others besides – and through the years there have been maybe tens of thousands, most of which I have personally inscribed. But no matter how many have gone, there have always been so many more I would like to have remembered – and this year there are so many so far away, to whom I would like to send greetings, and whom I cannot reach – and so I use the Era to reach you all, and would like you to know that it is as though we had clasped hands and spoken greetings to each other.
From the Improvement Era, December 1939 —
Unexpectedly finding himself still alive after completing his abridgment of the Jaredite record, Moroni used his time to record a few more items for the benefit of those who would one day receive the record. These precious “extras” include a sermon given by his father before the destruction of the Nephites.
“Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.”
Mormon spoke, then, to people very much like most readers of Keepapitchinin: Most of us are of the Church, and are peaceable followers of Christ, and have our future hope in Christ.
Mormon made that judgment about his brothers because he had seen their “peaceable walk with the children of men” – he knew them, and judged them by their actions. “If their works be good,” he said, “then they are good also,” and this goodness comes from listening to God and turning away from the devil.
As war in Europe seemed more and more likely in the fall of 1939, the Church made plans for what leaders hoped would be an orderly and non-emergency evacuation of missionaries, even from neutral countries where missionaries had remained at work during the earlier World War. If you had been an elder in the Swiss Mission, you would have received this letter at the end of September:
From the Relief Society Magazine, November 1962 –
The Little Blue Bag
By Helen C. Warr
“Hurry, Mama, they will go without me.” Margaret had been too excited about the Christmas shopping trip to touch her breakfast. Now she could not wait to put on her galoshes or fasten the scarf about her neck. Her mother held up one of the red, knitted mittens, and Margaret pushed her hand into it, then repeated the movement with the other hand.
“Oh! My money!” she exclaimed.
“Here it is, dear,” Mrs. Haskell smiled at her young daughter. “I have tied it in the corner of your handkerchief.”
By Lucy May Green
In thy service, Heavenly Father, we thy children meet today.
Bless us with Thy Holy Spirit, aid us in our work, we pray.
We are thankful for thy gospel, for thy blessed truth and love.
May we ever be found faith, never from the pathway rove.
Purify our hearts, our Father, as we promise unto thee
All our life, our time, and talents, until death shall set us free.
May our lives be pure and holy; may we never go astray;
Ever strive to do our duty, walking in the narrow way,
Until life on earth is over. Faithful to the end may we
Dwell with thee in heavenly mansions, throughout all eternity.
Vanguards were Teacher-aged boys, between Scouts and Explorers —
Community has always been more important than the individual in Mormonism. From the nineteenth century to the present Mormons have bound themselves together in biological and adopted families, sealed themselves across time and space to their kindred dead, and replicated the familial structure on a congregational level with “ward families.” As Sam Brown puts it in his wonderful new book, First Principles, “our relationships matter as the fundamental building blocks of the cosmos” (p. 104).
It is within this context that I was deeply saddened this week with news of a dear “sister’s” diagnosis with terminal cancer. My wife and I both cried as we reflected on the way in which this particular bright light in our ward cosmos has impacted our lives over the past nine years. I know similar stories play out in Mormon congregations across the globe. For me, these relationships are the best part of my life as a Mormon.
“Sister P’s” diagnosis gave me good reason to reflect on my relationship with her and to type my thoughts in a letter. I share it here in the hope that Sister P’s light and legacy might spread a bit of cheer this holiday season and beyond.
From the Improvement Era, December 1921 –
Mother’s Christmas Decision at Windrift
By Elizabeth Cannon Porter
Mrs. Davis finished wiping the breakfast dishes, surreptitiously wiped her eyes, and stole away to her room to read the letter again, as if every phrase were not already burned into her brain.
The letter which she took out of the front of her black dress was from her dead husband’s sister, and was characteristic of Myra, who was proud, selfish and childless. At the funeral of John Davis two months before, Myra had intimated to the widow that she would do something for the little family. At the time, she had sent an expensive floral offering and furnished three automobiles.
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Mulek of Zarahemla
By J.N. Washburn
The war dragged on, and every nerve became raw from sacrifice, danger, and anxiety. transportation was slow; communication, almost non-existent; and for weeks, and even months, families would receive no word from loved ones in dangerous places.
Then came a development which replaced the war as a topic of discussion, as a cause of worry, as a source of heartache. The trials of the king-men began in deadly earnest. Many a home was desolated; many a heart was broken. Justice struck where it was necessary; tragedy, where it would. Many were the stricken mothers and fathers who wished sorrowfully, or thanked God devoutly, that their tall sons had fallen in the field of honorable battle.
The tribunals were impartial. Everything that could be urged in a man’s favor, together with that brought to condemn him, was heard and weighed.
Mulek’s turn came along with the others. He was taken from his barren room, the only home had had for a long time, and presented before the bar of justice. He was perfectly calm as he faced the tribunal.
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