The box is about 2 inches by 3 inches, 1/2 inch deep, gift wrapped and beribboned. It’s a little the worse for wear, with one side flattened and the paper coming loose at the corners. It has a right to be somewhat shopworn, after having been carried in my coat pocket for months.
My mother gave it to me at the airport, as I waited for the airplane that would take me to the mission field in France and Switzerland, farther away from home than I had ever been before, or, indeed, than I have ever since gone. She didn’t need to tell me what it was – I recognized it from the “we’ve got a secret” look in her eye. It was a travel-sized version of the wrapped box she had given me a few years earlier when I went away to school.
It was a box of home.
By John Lyon
Come on, ye rich, with all your gifted store,
Give to the poor, and God will give you more!
Your feeling hearts, responsive to His call,
Will find His love and blessing best of all:
Yes, tenfold int’rest on the things you have,
And more than all your charities e’er gave!
Why should the rich not help the lab’ring poor?
Both are compell’d to knock at Mercy’s door!
As well the river scorn the stream and brook
From which it all its swelling greatness took;’
Or the great sea retain her liquid store,
Nor give one drop to quench the parched shore;
As Wealth withhold accumulated toil,
And say to Poverty, starve on the while!
Let richer Saints pour in their glit’ring gold,
‘Twill pave your way to Zion’s mountain fold!
Ten thousand hearts with prayerful ardour seek
The means to live, yet mourn from week to week,
Who could be blest through your beneficence,
To go where labour gains a recompense!
Oh, then! let love your names in sums record
What you will do for Zion and the Lord!
Ye poor who labour, learn with pure delight,
How much in value was the widow’s mite!
How farthings multiplied to pence make pounds,
And pounds to hundreds, thousands, have no bounds!
‘Till ev’ry Saint’s relieved, and sinner stunned,
Will shout, look here! at this Perpetual Fund!
Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible, by McArthur Krishan and Bethany Brady Spalding; illustrated by Kathleen Peterson, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2014. ISBN 978-1-60907-882-9. $17.99 ($16.19 at Amazon.com).
Michelangelo is supposed to have described his technique as something like finding the statue hidden in a block of marble, then cutting away every bit of stone that was not part of that statue. My search for personally meaningful Church history shares something of that technique: I want to know my role in the latter-day kingdom. When I look at how we’ve told our story, I tend to put to one side the tellings that are not part of that emerging personal vision.
For example, when I am looking for personally meaningful examples of women’s contributions to the kingdom, there are three specific models that I cut away:
The Wicked Witch – We have often used women’s lives as cautionary tales of what not to be: Mrs. Thomas B. Marsh with her milk strippings, and Emma Smith, in the era when we demonized her for keeping Joseph’s children out of the Church.
From the Relief Society Magazine, April 1949 –
Through the Darkness
By Hazel K. Todd
With an aching heart Rebecca watched the little girl playing with her doll. The child, with her good little left hand, tugged at the blanket she was trying to wrap around the dolly, then, because she couldn’t make it go the way she wanted it to, she held one corner in her mouth while she arranged it around the rubber infant. Never once did she so much as raise the little right hand that hung lifeless at her side, the small fingers curled around like tiny bird claws.
“Make your other little hand help,” Rebecca pleaded, but, as always, it was no use.
“I just can’t, Mother,” the little girl said, indifferently, and straightway left the room, carrying the doll in one arm while the blanket dragged behind.
In the spring and summer of 1905, Isaac Birdsall took steps to have his daughter Cora declared by the state court to be insane. When that declaration was made, Cora’s mother Mary, in company with the county sheriff, took Cora to the State Hospital in Provo, Utah, where she was confined. No records of her treatment there survive. An article in the 2010 Utah Historical Quarterly gives some idea of general conditions at the hospital. In particular, this photograph haunts me. It pictures a “Utica bed,” a cage-like bed meant to restrain combative patients – as Cora surely was – by restricting bodily movement and enforcing “rest.” Such was the state of medical treatment for the mentally ill in 1905.
One condition of Cora’s confinement was the determination by the state court that she was not indigent, meaning that she was responsible for paying the costs for her confinement and treatment in the hospital … which brings us to another, perhaps the primary, reason for Isaac’s efforts to have Cora declared legally insane: He sought to be named her guardian. As guardian, he would have control over her property, able to pay her bills to the State, and also to bring suit against James E. Leavitt to have Cora’s 1904 deed set aside and Cora’s land returned to her, through Isaac, as her guardian.
June 5th, 1842, Sunday Morning
A camp meeting was held at Bridge of Weir of the branches in the west. E.G., D. Weat, & E. McAulay were present on the occasion & prayer meeting opened by E. McAulay. He then gave an account of the rise & organisation & progress of the work of God.
E.G. Hamilton next addressed us & in connection with the rise of the work the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, showing from the scripture that the prophets spake of such a book coming forth for the purpose of gathering the children of Israel.
E.D. Wilken was next called upon to speak on the plan of salvation. He said that men can come to a knowledge of these things for themselves by obeying this plan according to the directions of Christ.
E.T. Jaap was called upon to speak on the gifts & blessings which follow them that go forth & obey this plan & how that the Saints rejoiced in those blessings in ancient times. The meeting then broke up till 3 o’clock that the Saints might have a refreshment.
“Laying” Down on the Job
The football soared through the air and fell in the barnyard right at the rooster’s feet. A look of wonder came into his eyes as he surveyed it from all sides. Then he gravely pushed the ball into the henhouse and faced his harem. “I’m not complaining, Ladies,” he said, with an all-inclusive bow, “but I just want you to see for yourselves the work that is being done in the other yard.”
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From the Relief Society Magazine, March 1956 –
The Ice-Cream Pie
By Florence B. Dunford
I am afraid I have always been the timid sort. “Do people like me?” seems always to be my question. And, “How much can I do for them?” And, “Do people really like you to do things for them?” Things like that. Matters of friendliness.
A couple of years before, we had moved to this new neighborhood. At first everyone made an obvious effort to be friendly, to get acquainted. But then the Jennings on the east of us seemed to find out that Tim and I didn’t really travel in their class after all. The neighbors directly across the street from us were a trifle old for me, I felt. Besides, she was a club woman and gone all day. And Dr. Walton was older even than his wife. By evening all he wanted was to settle down with TV.
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