Monday, June 26, 2017

They Have the Right

In a letter sent from Missouri Governor Dunklin to the Church in 1833, he stated that the Saints had a right to do what?
a.                  Religious freedom
b.                  To move to another state, but just get out of his
c.                   To resided in the newly appointed counties designated for the Mormons
d.                  To worship Joe Smith if he were God himself
Yesterday’s answer:
A.                    Air travel
In reference to the Taylor Stake in Alberta:   Visits of General Authorities have always been a great comfort to the Stake. On one occasion, in the first Stake building, Apostle John W. Taylor said, “The Lord expects you who are homesick and want to go back to Utah, to remain here and make this your home. Some of your will live to see the day when you can eat your breakfast in Raymond, your dinner in Salt Lake City and return home to do your chores in the evening.”

A History of the Mormon Church in Canada (Lethbridge, Alberta: The Lethbridge Herald Co., 1968), 103.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Going Out on a Limb

Prophecy has always been alive and well in the LDS church. Sometimes those things prophesied hardly seem possible at the time of the prediction. Heber C. Kimball’s prophecy of street prices in Utah being cheaper than those in St. Louis comes to mind. What did Apostle John W. Taylor promise the people of Raymond, Alberta in the late 1800’s?
a.                  Air travel
b.                  A Temple
c.                   Flourishing crops and livestock
d.                  Massive church growth
Yesterday’s answer:
(C)   The Relief Society
Speaking about the Utah War, Brigham Young rhetorically asked the nation, “Have you counted the cost?” The war is sometimes portrayed as a bloodless conflict with no lingering affects, but that simplistic view is mistaken. Hundreds of lives were lost during the conflict (most tragically at Mountain Meadows). The war interrupted tens of thousands of lives throughout the territory and also affected the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah Territory, and the nation.  
   Most Utahns lived a hardscrabble existence and could ill afford the economic costs that accompanied the war. This was especially true for families who were dislocated during the move south. Militia military assignments removed fathers from families. Crops were not planted, livestock died, schools were closed, and wartime inflation squeezed many settler budgets to the breaking point.   
   For nineteenth-century Latter-day Saint leadership, managing a growing worldwide organization before the arrival of the telegraph and railroads was challenging enough, but doing so from the middle of Utah Territory increased the challenge under the best of circumstances. The Utah War made Church administration even more difficult. Work on the Salt Lake Temple ceased. Missionary work and new Church publications slowed to a trickle. Church meetings were cancelled for several months. Tithes and offerings went uncollected. The “Tabernacle was closed, no public meetings were held, and the members of the First Presidency retired and were seldom seen. Heber and others routinely provided an armed escort for President Young when it was necessary for him to appear in public.” And the Church’s Relief Society, only recently reorganized, was suspended.
   The war fundamentally changed Utah Territory. Plans for new settlements were abandoned or delayed. The growth of many existing settlements was hampered as settlers were called to return to Salt Lake City. On 5 September 1857 for example, 450 Saints loaded 123 wagons and began a two-month journey from Carson Valley (in present-day Nevada) to Salt Lake City—arriving on 2 November. Postal communication, a continuing trial to early Western settlers, was seriously interrupted by the war. Immigration slowed between 1858 through 1860—a lagging effect of the war. Demographic changes initiated by the Utah War affected the Saints profoundly. And as Brigham Young succinctly observed before the army’s arrival, “You might as well tell me that you can make hell into a powder-house as to tell me that you could let an army in here and have peace.” In northern Utah, violence, prostitution, and drunkenness increased. Life in Utah never returned to the pre-war status quo.
   The Utah War cast Utah and the Mormons onto a national stage like never before, and the view most Americans held was distinctly negative. Utahns and Mormons—inextricably linked in the public mind—were principally viewed as disloyal and un-American. In 1858, the New York Times reported that the “general feeling of the people of the Union in all sections, and of all sects and parties, is so decidedly adverse to the Mormons, that the Government is not likely to be held to a very strict account for its acts towards them, even though they should be utterly exterminated, or driven from their present resting-place.” That distrust played out in multiple ways for more than half a century following the Utah War. For example, shortly after the Civil War ended the in 1865, the New York Times suggested that “in the Spring of 1861 South Carolina was more loyal to the Union than Utah is today.”

Glenn Rawson and Dennis Lyman ed., The Mormon Wars (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communication, 2014), 108-110.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Effects of the Utah War

Those that think the Utah War did little to change life in the Salt Lake Valley are mistaken. The Utah War definitely changed the lives of the members of the church, including the loss of lives.
What organization was suspended during the Utah War?
a.                  The Primary
b.                  The Young Men and Women
c.                   The Relief Society
d.                  The Sunday School
Yesterday’s answer:
(C)   Sold berries and firewood
Porter [Rockwell] was also forming a deep attachment for the young Prophet, who was eight years his senior—a loyalty that was to grow so firm and lasting that in later years he risked his life many times for the safety of the man he so learned to love. The attachment was already so strong that young Porter, after a day’s work on the farm was over, found himself picking berries by moonlight and selling them so that he could give money to the Prophet for the purpose of translating and publishing the Book of Mormon. When there were no berries to pick, he would gather wood, haul it to town, and sell it for the same purpose.

Lesson Committee, Chronicles of Courage (Salt Lake City: Utah Printing Company, 1995), 6:385.

Friday, June 23, 2017

His Gift to the Cause

Even though the Prophet Joseph Smith was eight years senior to Porter Rockwell, they were great friends and developed a strong bond. Porter wanted to help the Prophet in some way during the translation of the Book of Mormon. What did he do to help?
a.                  Acted as body guard
b.                  Gave Joseph one of his guns so Joseph could protect himself from the mob
c.                   Sold berries and firewood and giving Joseph the money from the sales
d.                  Offered to be Joseph’s scribe
Yesterday’s answer:
A.                  Brigham Young
How Sandy, Utah received its name:   The railroad was then extended as far as Dry Creek. Going south, the train stopped at about where the Sandy Depot now stands. The men got off the train, looked around, and talked awhile, then the train continued to Dry Creek. Returning north the train stopped at the same place as before. A ditch had been built to try to irrigate the land where Sandy City now stands. East of Sandy from where the ditch was built, the earth was so extremely sandy they doubted if it would carry water—they feared the banks would wash away. The ditch carried the water that washed part of the banks, depositing the sand with the water on the sandy soil. At the place where the train stopped, a great deal of sand had been washed onto the soil making it very sandy in this location. Brigham Young raked his cane in the sand and scraped his foot in the sand, then turning around he looked in every direction and then said, “Sand! Sand! Everywhere sand! We’ll call this place Sandy.”    
Lesson Committee, Chronicles of Courage (Salt Lake City: Utah Printing Company, 1995), 6:128.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

“Sand, Sand, Everywhere Sand! We’ll Call This Place Sandy”

Image result for sand

I’m sure most have heard of the south Salt Lake City suburb known as Sandy. The title to this Blog post tells you how the city of Sandy received its name, but who said these words?
a.                  Clara Decker Young
b.                  Brigham Young
c.                   Porter Rockwell
d.                  J. Golden Kimball
Yesterday’s answer:
A.                  A new suit
From the life of Daniel Spencer:   It was, however, his custom to give free quarters to preachers of all denominations. The “Mormon” Elder came; and his coming created an epoch in Daniel Spencer’s life. Through his influence the Presbyterian meeting house was obtained for the “Mormon” Elder to preach the gospel, and the meeting was attended by the elite of the town. At the close of the service the Elder asked the assembly if there was any one present who would give him “a night’s lodging and a meal of victuals in the name of Jesus.” For several minutes a dead silence reigned in the congregation. None present seemed desirous to peril their character or taint their respectability by taking home a “Mormon” Elder. At length Daniel Spencer, in the old Puritan spirit and the proud independence so characteristic of the true American gentleman, rose up, stepped into the aisle, and broke the silence: “I will entertain you, sir, for humanity’s sake.” Daniel took the poor Elder, to his public hotel, as was his wont with the preachers generally who needed hospitality, but he took him to his own house, a fine family mansion, and the next morning he clothed him from head to foot with a good suit of broad cloth from the shelves of his store. The Elder continued to preach the new and strange  gospel, and brought upon himself much persecution. This produced upon the mind of Daniel Spencer an extraordinary effect. Seeing the bitter malevolence from the preachers and the best of the professing Christians, and being naturally a philosopher and a judge, he resolved to investigate the cause of this enmity and unchristian like manifestation. The result came. It was as strongly marked as his conduct during the investigation. For two weeks he closed his establishment, refused to do business with any one, and shut himself up to study; and theer alone with his God he weighed in the balances of his clear head and conscientious heart the divine message and found it not wanting. One day, when his son was with him in his study, he suddenly burst into a flood of tears, and exclaimed: “My God, the thing is true, and as an honest man I must embrace it; but it will cost me all I have got on earth.” He had weighed the consequences, but his conscientious mind compelled him to assume the responsibility and take up the cross. He saw that the must, in the eyes of friends and townsmen, fall from the social pinnacle on which he then stood to that of a despised people. At mid-day, about three months after the poor “Mormon” Elder came into the town of West Stockbridge, Daniel Spencer having issued a pubic notice to his townsmen that he should be baptized at noon on  a certain day, took him by the arm and, not ashamed, walked through the town taking the route of the main street to the waters of baptism, followed by hundreds of his townsmen to the river’s band. The profoundest respect and quiet were manifested by the vast concourse of witnesses, but also the profoundest astonishment. It was nothing wonderful that a despised “Mormon” Elder should believe in Joseph Smith, but it was a matter of astonishment that a man of Daniel Spencer’s social standing and character should receive the mission of the Prophet and divinity of the Book of Mormon. The conversion and conduct of Daniel Spencer carried a deep and weighty conviction among many good families in the region around, which, in a few months, resulted in the establishment of a flourishing branch of the Church. This branch which he was the chief instrument in founding, and over which he presided, contribute its full quota of respectable citizens to Nauvoo and Utah.

Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1901) 1:287-288.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Free Rein on His Store

When a Mormon elder came to the vicinity of where Daniel Spencer lived, Daniel open his store to the elder by giving him what?
a.                  A new suit
b.                  Food
c.                   A new bible
d.                  A horse
Yesterday’s answer:
D.   268 million
“That the Mormons have overtaken such prominent . . . faiths [in the United States] as the Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and even the Lutherans must be one of the most unremarked cultural water-sheds in American history,” wrote non-Mormon sociologist Rodney Stark in the Review of Religious Research in 1984. On the heels of Stark’s published research finding, however, the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has become a topic of frequent remark in national and international circles, both among editors and pastors. (And according to Stark, LDS membership statistics are “extremely reliable. Is there another denomination that actually sends out auditors to check local figures?”) Yes the Saints’ “rapid growth had occurred in the face of much greater hostility than has been directed toward any Protestant sect and is thereby all the more remarkable.”
   Stark’s early research found the church growing at a rate exceeding 30 percent, and frequently 40 percent, a decade in its first century. Growth rates in the 1950s (52 percent), 1960s (73 percent), and 1970s (58 percent) were phenomenal. Using a straight-line projection (“it’s done this in the past, it should do this in the future”) through the conservative decades, Stark estimated there would be sixty-three million Mormons in the year 2080. He was eaten alive by critics and colleagues.
   Following receipt of “an amazing amount of counseling concerning the pitfalls of straight-line projections,” Stark reworked his figures and added a decade and a half of the latest growth figures (up to and including 1994) to his calculations. The critics were right: LDS growth was in fact varying from the 30 percent straight-line. It was more closely approximating a 50 percent line. In fact, Stark’s 50-percent-a-decade ten million members wasn’t supposed to happen until late 1999. It happened in November 1997.
   Additionally, he found that “Mormon growth is stimulated rather than curtailed by modernization,” presaging a comparable rise into the future. The revised straight-line shows 60 million Latter-day Saints in the year 2050—2.2 centuries after the church’s founding—and 268 million by the year 2080.

Coke Newell, Latter Days (St. Martin Press, New York City: 2000), 223-224.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Church in 2080

According to research conducted by non-Mormon sociologist Rodney Stark in the 1980s, he developed a straight line projection of growth in the Mormon Church. Critics laughed at his projections, however, discovered fast that even though Mr. Stark’s projections were off, they under estimated the population of the church in 2080. I won’t be alive to see it, but how many members are projected to belong to the church 63 years from now?
a.                  54 million
b.                  102 million
c.                   178 million
d.                  268 million
Yesterday’s answer:
B.   The women
The following from French Botanist Jules Remy:   Remy realized that a large part of the outside world’s condemnation of polygamy was based on the assumption that the system was forced on unwilling women. There was condemnation for the Mormon men, pity for the Mormon women. He knew that if he could present the woman’s side of the matter, he would have the heart of the story and the kernel of interest. He had supposed that talking with Mormon women would be as difficult as conducting an interview in a seraglio. But to his amazement he found that once his identity was established and he was accepted, it was as easy to talk with Mormon women as with women in any other Christian society.
   He was even more amazed when he found that the greatest approval for plural marriage came from the Mormon women. He was fortunate in finding a wife of a prominent Mormon-some thought it was a wife of Brigham Young, though this is not disclosed—who was educated, very much aware of the world, and who freely talked things over with the visitor.
   “Why, then,” she said to me one evening when the conversation had recurred to this subject, “why should I blush to accept this dogma of our  faith which the majority of Christians reject with so much contempt and disdain. Have I not the Bible on my side? That Bible, which I have been accustomed to consider sacred from my childhood, does it not sanction polygamy? I there see, in that very Bible, that a man unquestionably holy, the friend of God—a man faithful in all things, and a man obeying God’s commandments, who is called in the New Testament the Father of the Faithful—in a work that  Abraham was a polygamist. That some of his wives were called concubines matters not; they were not for this the less his wives, and the difference in name does not alter the thing. And Jacob, his grandson, was he also a man according to God? Did not the Lord bless him? Was he not commanded to become a stern and to multiply? Now, Jacob, unless I am mistaken, had four wives who gave him a dozen sons and one daughter. Who will dare to say that God ever condemned these several marriages, and the fruits that came from them? The twelve sons which Jacob had by his four wives became princes, heads of tribes, patriarchs; and their names have been preserved throughout all generations.  . . . At a later period I find plurality of wives perpetuated, sanctified by the laws of Moses, and everything ordered in conformity with it. David the Psalmist not only had several wives, but as the Lord himself, speaking through the mouth of the Prophet Nathan, told him that since he had been guilty of adultery with the wife of Uriah, and had committed murder, he would take away all the wives he had bestowed upon him, and give them to one of his neighbors. . .
   “Consider if this fact be not conclusive: in this instance God blames and punishes adultery and murder, while he authorizes and approves polygamy.”
   Remy confessed that, while his faith in what he regarded as the Christian ethic of monogamy was not set aside by this onslaught, he found his teacher to be a very convinced and doubtless sincere zealot “whose natural beauty was enhanced by the fervor of her argument.” And hardly pausing for breath, she continued:   
   “The Polygamous law of God throws open a door to all vigorous, healthy, virtuous women by which they may become the honored brides of virtuous men, and the mothers of dutiful, virtuous , healthy and vigorous children. Let me ask you, Sir, what woman is there in the whole of France who would be inclined to marry a drunkard, a debauchee, a spendthrift, an idler, a man tainted with hereditary disease—what woman would ever consent to become a prostitute, or to pass all her life unmarried and in the deprivation of all natural affection, if the polygamy of Abraham, or in other words the patriarchal word of God, were adopted in your country and accounted by everyone honorable and sacred?
   “Behold the result of abandoning the sacred laws of marriage [polygamy] appointed by God; behold the consequences of the adoption of the laws of Rome which forbid marriage to Priests and Nuns, and do not allow others to marry more than one wife. This law compels a number of  women to pass their lives in single blessedness, without husband, without  children, without a friend to protect and comfort them; or still more, it  condemns them to a  life of poverty and loneliness, in which they are exposed to temptations, to culpable connections, to the necessity of selling themselves. Man, on the other hand, rich in means, is tempted to squander them in secret with his mistress and in a unlawful way, while the law of God would have given her to him as an honorable bride. All this engenders murder, infanticide, suicide, remorse, despair, wretchedness, premature death, and at the same time their inevitable accompaniments—jealousies, broken hearts, dissensions in the bosom of families.”

Robert Mullen, The Latter-day Saints: The Mormons Yesterday and Today (New York: Doubleday, 1966), 170-172.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

When the famous French Botanist, Jules Remy, visited Utah, he wanted to learn about polygamy. He knew to get to the heart of the issue that he must speak to whom?
a.                  Brigham Young
b.                  The women
c.                   The Editor of the Salt Lake Tribune
d.                  Heber C. Kimball
Yesterday’s answer:
B.   American culture
The pioneers danced as they crossed the plains to Utah. Each company had a fiddler who could call as well as play. Square dancing was popular, and all responded to “Swing your partner, curtsey right, back and forth, and promenade.” Dorothy Shaw, in her book Story of Square Dancing, wrote, “No group did a better job of carrying the best of American culture across the continent than the Mormons, and they hung onto it long and well.”

Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Chronicles of Courage (Salt Lake City: Utah Publishing Company, 1994), 5:255.