Well, Cora herself may not have had this question, but somebody at the general Church level was certainly responding to Cora’s case when this appeared in the Juvenile Instructor in the summer of 1903, six weeks after Cora’s excommunication.
Church Courts and Land Disputes
Question: Has a Bishop’s court authority to try cases involving land disputes?
Answer: Before our lands were surveyed by the government, settlements had been formed and boundaries clearly established. After the survey was made it was found that, as a general thing, the lines of a quarter section would run through the lands of more than one settler; and in order that every man might have title to that which belonged to him, one of the interested parties would comply with the provisions of the law and obtain the title, and after doing this he would deed to the others such portions of the homestead entry as belonged to them; and it was not an uncommon thing for our Church courts to settle disputes arising under those circumstances. But since the government survey it has not been customary for church courts to entertain complaints involving the title to lands, and the same may be said with respect to water. All disputes involving legal titles must be adjudicated by courts of competent jurisdiction. The point is this, Church courts must not undertake to interfere with the legal rights of any member.
President Young held that when any person secures title to land from the government, part of which has been occupied and cultivated by others, he or she should respect the rights of such persons by being willing to deed to them the land they have improved, provided that they pay their share of the expenses incurred in securing the government title, and also a fair remuneration to the pre-emptor or homesteader, for the loss of his or her pre-emption or homestead right in proportion to the amount of land which the various parties received.
In addition to the timing of this Q&A, one more tiny detail points squarely to its being in response to Cora’s case: Church magazines do not normally use “he or she” in writing like this, especially when it involves the traditionally male sphere. They add “or she,” because it’s a “she” whose case they have in mind!
From the Relief Society Magazine, April 1955 –
Steak for Thursday
By Rosa Lee Lloyd
Cristeen McCarthy put Tommy in his high chair and tied a bib around his neck.
“Mulk!” he crooned as his little hands went around the cup she handed to him. He gulped rapturously.
“Just like your daddy,” she observed, glancing at Tom as he sat contentedly eating his bacon and eggs. “Give your daddy enough to eat and a place to sleep, and he crows with delight. He likes to live in a rut. Even when he has a chance, he won’t get out of it!”
Tom put his fork down with a little sigh. The smile went away from his thin, Lincolnesque face.
Campaign to support Primary Children’s Hospital, February 1959 –
In anticipation of Daniel Berghout’s upcoming lecture at the Church History Library on August 14, 2014, Keepapitchinin will be featuring a selection or two from long-time Tabernacle organist, hymn writer, and German immigrant Alexander Schreiner (1901-1987).
Twelve years before the Church published the most recent edition of the LDS Hymnbook, Alexander Schreiner put out a call in the Ensign for new hymns. “The task and challenge before us now and during the next few years is to produce a body of one or two hundred new hymns that will reflect the talents of our finest and most spiritual poets and our best musicians.” (more…)
By Solveig Paulson Russell
A centipede sat on a tumbling weed
And cried till the ground was wet,
“Because,” said he, “shoes come in pairs
And not in hundreds yet!
And so my feet are bare, bare, bare,
And my toes are cold indeed,
Oh pity the sorry, sorry plight
Of a trembling centipede!”
Along through the air came an oven bird
And he heard what the poor bug cried,
So he gobbled him up and said with a smile,
“He’ll be quite warm inside!”
President George Albert Smith breaks ground for construction of Primary Children’s Hospital, 1 April 1949 –
In April 1900, about a year after Cora Birdsall won the patent for the land she had homesteaded, Reed Smoot was called to be an apostle. In March 1903, just after Cora’s trial in the bishop’s court, and while she was waiting for word from the First Presidency about her (premature) appeal to them of the decision of that court, Reed Smoot was elected by the Utah legislature to represent Utah in the United States Senate.
Smoot took his seat in the Senate, but almost immediately there began what was to become a four-year battle to expel Smoot from the Senate. Opposition to Smoot was ostensibly on the grounds that the election of an apostle violated the principle of separation of church and state. The Senate committee organized to inquire into that question initially focused on Smoot’s personal fitness for office – Was he a polygamist? (No, he was not and never had been.) Did any oaths he had taken in the Latter-day Saint temple render him unable to uphold his oath as a Senator to serve under the U.S. Constitution? (No, not without grossly exaggerating the terms of temple oaths and their practical effects on a Latter-day Saint’s public behavior. [Note: We’re not going to discuss temple oaths at the moment, either in this post or in comments.])
What began as an inquiry into Smoot’s personal qualifications quickly became an inquisition against the Church itself, with scores of witnesses called to give testimony into every facet of Latter-day Saint doctrine, history, and activity. Some witnesses came willingly, others grudgingly, and still others (notably, two members of the Quorum of the Twelve) evaded service of the summonses that would have compelled them to attend. Even President Joseph F. Smith was required to go to Washington and be grilled on the details of his family life; he was later charged and fined for violating the law against unlawful cohabitation – that was still on the books, despite the Manifesto, and despite the granting of Utah statehood.
From the Relief Society Magazine, 1957 –
Florence B. Dunford
“I’m all right, everything’s fine,” Rose Bennett said.
“You’re sure?” That was Walt, wanting the impossible, wanting to be assured of the impossible.
Rose’s gray eyes met his. Everything’s wrong, it’s terrible, you know it’s terrible! She could not help the silent accusation. Still, it was not all Walt’s fault. Perhaps he had done the best he could with the small amount of money, the time he had.
But couldn’t you, her heart cried out, have found a better house than this? Something at least respectable? Something that wouldn’t degrade the children, stamp them all, before they had a chance to prove themselves?
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