“Good morning,” chirped the telephone operator, “this is Williams, Jones, Brown, Spry, Thurston, and Black.”
“Oh,” said the startled voice at the other end of the line, “good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning, and good morning.”
From the Improvement Era, February 1940 –
By Francis S. Pounds
Will Sheppard often wondered how Con Kelleher did it. He couldn’t understand how Con, no better salesman than the rest of the group, had shot up to the top lately, while he himself had remained half-way to the bottom. Besides this, Con seemed to have so little need for extra money – except for having a good time in general – while he himself had so pressing a need to make good – to make real money for Grace’s sake. He had promised himself to be ready by spring to marry.
Selling automobiles is no sinecure. Still, Con Kelleher had done it, while Will Sheppard had not. That fact was a stern reality. It stood out too sternly. It kept Will guessing. Not that he bore any ill-will whatever toward young Kelleher. On the other hand, despite a wide gap in personalities, Con seemed to like him; liked him, perhaps, for qualities he lacked himself.
This is the back of an envelope postmarked 1937. There is no return address on the envelope — no mission home, no indication of any sponsoring Mormon organization. Just the back. But oh, the back!
Earlier this week, David G. at Juvenile Instructor shared a post titled Frank W. Warner and the History of Mormon Native Writing. He wrote there about the challenge of uncovering the experience of Native converts to Mormonism because those converts could not leave written records that were not filtered through the minds and attitudes of the whites who wrote down what records do exist.
The second generation of Native members sometimes had literacy skills that did allow them to record their experiences. David G. uses the example of Frank W. Warner, born Pisappih Timbimboo, a son of Sagwitch, who had been a two-year-old, badly wounded survivor of the Bear River Massacre. Frank was raised in a white family and received enough education that in young adulthood he taught penmanship at Logan’s Brigham Young College.
Frank Warner may have been the first Native American to receive a formal call as a missionary. As a very young man, he was called by John Taylor to teach at Washakie. Then in 1914-15 and again in 1917-18, he served as a missionary to the Sioux and Assiniboine in Montana and Canada.
David G. then shares excerpts from Warner’s mission diary of 1914-15 where Warner gives hints of what the Book of Mormon and a Lamanite identity meant both to Elder Warner and to those he was teaching on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Please read David G.’s post – I give this highly compressed summary only to frame my post here.
By J. Alfred Jacobson
I am only just a cigarette,
A tiny little thing,
And yet the pow’r I have o’er men,
Is mightier than a king.
I rule not with an iron hand.
I boast no kindly claim.
Yet thousands found in every land
Pay homage to my name.
I have no court around my throne,
No armies drilled to fight.
The secret of my pow’r be known,
‘Tis in man’s appetite.
When subject I would make of man,
I test his vertebrae,
And if he be too weak to stand,
Then I have won the day.
I bend his shoulders to a curve,
I hollow out his chest,
I play upon his every nerve,
I never let him rest.
I make a dim and bloodshot eye,
I stain his fingertips.
I make his lungs feel parched and dry,
I spoil his shapely lips.
I neutralize his natural will,
I blight his intellect,
And then I do him more things still,
I take his self-respect.
I leave a stench about his clothes,
A foul, distasteful smell,
I have him marked where’er he goes,
So everyone can tell.
I rob him of his richest dower,
Bring failure and regret.
Now can you see what mighty power–
A simple cigarette!
Rather than photoshopping a nice missionary suit or even a modest toga onto Michelangelo’s David, this is how the editor chose to present that work of art in a Church magazine in 1901. (Of course, five years later they were printing this).
Glen Nelson of Mormon Artists Group finds a fascinating story about a Mormon’s musical reaction to the world of Nazi Germany. You can sign up through the above link to have a newsletter with Glen’s articles delivered to your email box.
In 1930, an American Mormon student in Oldenburg, Germany shook hands and chatted with Hitler. Out of curiosity, Wendell Cannon Irvine of Salt Lake City, Utah had attended a large Fascist rally on a Saturday afternoon in October, and then he returned to his hotel. A few hours later, when he went down to supper, he learned that Hitler was staying in the same hotel, and jokingly, he mentioned that he’d like to meet “this Herr Hitler.” A few minutes later, Hitler strode through the lobby, and the hotel attendant interrupted the procession to introduce “a young American scholar.”
Irvine recounted the experience in an article that appeared in The Improvement Era the following November (all the Church’s early magazines have been scanned and are available for viewing at archive.org. Here’s a link to “Adolf Hitler: The Man and His Ideas”). The article is interesting for many reasons, but principally because it documents an early Mormon encounter with a terribly evil human being.
From the Relief Society Magazine, March 1961 –
Close to the Angels
By Norma A. Wrathall
“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalms 91:11).
Lisa Britton’s face was flushed as she took the large round lid from the sterilizer kettle, allowing a cloud of steam to billow into the kitchen. Some of it drifted into the dinette and settled on the cold window pane, where five-year-old Andrew was drawing with his chubby forefinger. Lisa’s thin arms tensed as she lifted out the rack of nursing bottles, still trembling from the heat. She placed the rack on the counter, and then laid the back of her wrist against her moist forehead.
“Andrew, dear, tiptoe ever-so-softly into the hall, and listen if baby sister is crying. Ever-so-softly, now.”
From 1915 —
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I ran across the autobiography of Annie Berry Chesnut Day more than 15 years ago, when I was researching the families of Piute County, Utah. I’ve never talked about it with anyone, and hope that many of you will feel free to comment on one aspect or another of her story.
It’s a little longer than the average post, and it will be difficult to read because I decided to post it as she wrote it, with the barest minimum of added punctuation. I predict that if you can struggle through the first screen, you’ll be hooked and want to know what happens next.
In discussion, please remember blog guidelines: Keepa is a community of believing members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and friends who are willing to respect our beliefs, including how we speak about our church and its leaders and doctrines. If you’re not a regular Keepa commenter, please moderate yourself … or I will.
Circleville, piute Co. utah. Well after 34 years, I have bin impresed by my feelings to try and write up a part of my life as neer as I can remember it and a nother thing I am not well and by taking up part of my time in writing may help me to regain my strength again. Annie E. Berrie
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