Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Book Gone Viral


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It’s not the easiest thing to produce big numbers on a book that is geared to the LDS market, however, it has been done. What LDS book sold 1 million copies in the first ten months after it was released?

a.      The Work and the Glory

b.      Tennis Shoes Amongst the Nephites

c.       The Porter Rockwell Chronicles

d.      The LDS Hymnal

Yesterday’s answer:

D.   That he would return to Utah in worse shape financially when he left.

The following from the journal of B. F. Grant: My father died when I was only a few weeks old. Mother made moccasins out of deer skins, and sold them to stores at a very small margin of revenue to her. She did housework for different families when it was obtainable. When I was two years old, mother married outside of the Mormon Church. As she was going to Denver, Colorado, to live, grandmother persuaded her to leave me in her care. Grandmother was a cripple. It was difficult for her to care for a little boy and so after a time, she gave me to Beason Lewis, who lived in Richmond, Cache Valley. I remained with this family until I was between elven and twelve years old. About this time mines were discovered in Montana and trains passed through Utah buying Flour, butter, eggs, etc., to be carried to the Montana mines. One of these trains stopped at the Lewis place for a few months to make repairs to their wagons. I made arrangements to run away from home and go with this train to Montana. I remained there until I was 14. The terminus of the Union Pacific was located at Corinne, where the freight from Montana was delivered. I met one of the freighters, who, learning that I was a son of Jedediah M. Grant, invited me to go back to Utah with him. I returned to Salt Lake City when I was between fourteen and fifteen years of age. I went to work in a coal and wood yard.

   I had been in Salt Lake City only a short time when in some way President Young learned where I was and what I was doing. President Young’s son, Feramorz, and my brother, Heber, at the request of President Young, searched me out and informed me that President Young wanted to see me.

   The next day I called on him at his office, and he happened to be alone. I told him who I was, and he did not merely reach out his hand to shake mine, but he arose from his chair and gave me a father’s handshake. In so doing, he discovered that the callouses on my hands were hard and thick, and he remarked, “My boy, what kind of work are you doing?” I replied, “I am unloading coal and chopping wood.”

   He then resumed his seat and continued his inquiry regarding my past life and what I had been doing. He remarked, “Isn’t it pretty heavy work, shoveling coal and chopping wood, for a boy of your age?”

   I replied, “No, sir, I have been used to hard work all of my life.”

   He answered, “Wouldn’t you like to have something easier than your present work, for instance, a position in a store?”

   I replied, “I haven’t got sense enough to work in a store.”

   He said, “What do you mean by that?”

   I replied, “I can neither read nor write.”

   I discovered this good and great man’s heart was touched by this remark: I saw tears rolling down his cheek, and he took his handkerchief and wiped them off and said, “My boy, come and live with me; I will give you a home; I will clothe you; I will send you to school” and you can work during the vacation for me.”

   I accepted his kind offer. He became a father to me. He furnished a home; he clothed me; and provided an opportunity for me to attend school; and he gave me $5.00 a week for spending money, which was a very princely allowance in those days of hardship and trial. His own sons would laughingly tell me they thought I was their father’s pet.

   Soon after I went to live with President Young, I was given a team and was doing general work on his farm and performing other duties incident to Pioneer life. Many a time I have passed him on the road with a load of gravel, sand or other materials, and I don’t remember an instance in my life what this great man, if he saw me, ever failed to recognize me by waving his hand. I cannot help but think, where in the world could you find another man of his importance and busy life who would condescend to recognize or speak to a boy such as I?

   In addition to his large family at the time I was living with him, there were six orphaned boys and girls who were being cared for by him. I lived with one of his families and was treated most royally by all the members; in fact, I felt I was indeed a real member of the family so far as treatment was concerned.

During the vacation when I was driving a team, at times breakfast would be served a little late. There was a certain time when every team was supposed to be hooked up and going to its work. When breakfast was late I could not always be on time with my team. The foreman complained to me about this and I told him that I milked the cows and fed the pigs and did the chores, but could not go to work without my breakfast. One morning he became angry and told me if I couldn’t get out on time to quit. I, boy like, took his advice without calling on President Young, left, and went to work in the coal yard again.

   President Young was soon informed of this and sent for me. When I went into his office he shook hands and wanted to know why I left home. I told him the boss had discharged me.

   “Oh,” he said, “The Boss? Who is he?” I gave the foreman’s name.

   He laughed, and said, “No, my boy, I am the boss. Didn’t I make arrangements for you to come and live with me?”

   I replied, “Yes, sir.”

   He then said, “Remember, when you are discharged I will attend to it myself; now, go back, get your team and go to work.”

   I replied, “I don’t know whether . . . . . . . . . will allow me to go to work now.”

   “Never mind, my boy,” he assured me, “I’ll attend to it myself.”

   The next morning when I went to the barn to get my team I found there was a new foreman. I never did learn why this change was made, but I had a boy’s suspicion.

   On special occasions, I  drove President Young’s carriage, and I can assure you that when these  opportunities came I was all puffed up and thought I was some boy!

   The house where I was born stood where the Z.C.M.I. now stands. I helped to tear down the old home, and plowed the first furrow marking the place for the foundation of the Z.C.M.I., with President Young, cane in hand, pointing the line for me to follow.

   In those early days President Young established woolen mills, flour mills and other institutions to supply such much needed materials and food supplies. Men working for him received merchandise orders on his store for part of their wages. The Z.C.M.I.at this time was issuing what was known as “Z.C.M.I. scrip” or “orders” and the employees received these orders as wages.

   An amusing incident happened to me with my first pay day. I received these orders but not being able to read or write I did not detect that  part of the orders were on his store for cloth and flour and other supplies used in a home, and jumped to the conclusion they were all on the Z.C.M.I. I went to the store, bought some things and passed my order out.

   The clerk looked at it and remarked, “This order isn’t any good.”

   I said, “Don’t you take your own orders?”

   He replied, “Yes, can’t you read? This order is on President Young’s store.”

   I said, “I guess they have made a mistake.”

   I went back to the bookkeeper and told him they had made a mistake and given me the wrong orders.

   “No,” he remarked, “That is what we all receive.”

   “Well,” I said, “I can’t use the B.Y. order.”

   He replied, “If there is any change made, President Young will have to make it himself, I can’t.”

   I then went to the President’s office and explained to him what happened. He smiled and said, “I guess, my boy, you could not use them.” He arose from his chair, went from his office into the main business office and instructed the bookkeeper to pay me in cash. From that time I did not receive any more orders, but it became a sort of a “hiss and a byword” with the bookkeeper and others in the office, who made this significant remark in my presence: “He’s the only one who received all cash”—which was a fact.

   During the holidays and cold winters, many a time I was sent with my team to President Young’s store where my wagon was loaded with cloth, flour, coal and vegetables. Then I was given a list of widowed women and told to deliver the goods to these women with President Young’s blessing and kind remembrance. At times when his storehouse was depleted, I was sent to the  general tithing office where I obtained such supplies as they had in the way of vegetables and other food stuffs and delivered them to these widowed mothers and their families. Some people who, I am sure, were not possessed of the spirit of giving, and lacking proper information, made the remark that President Young was kind to the widows but it was with the general tithing fund that did not belong to him. I desire, out of respect for this good man and the sympathy in his heart for widows and orphans, to say that never, during the time that I lived with him, did I ever receive one single, solitary article form the tithing office without getting a memorandum of all goods I received, and this ticket was delivered by me in the business office of President Young to be checked with the one coming from the general tithing office.

   Having a great desire to get out and see something of the world, I conceived the idea of going to California, where I had a friend about my age. He informed me that by working in the saw mills in the summer time and the placer mines in the winter time there would be steady employment, and that they were paying $100.00 a month in gold. At that time currency was worth from 65 cents to 75 cents on the dollar. At this time I was just starting in the grammar grade in the school. Not realizing the importance of continuing at school, I decided to go to California.

   I called on President Young and explained to him what I intended doing.

   He replied, “My boy, haven’t you had enough ups and downs in life to know that the most important thing for you to do is to remain in school? You should know from your past experience that in this cold world no one will have any personal interest in you. Remember, that I am your friend, and you had better remain with me.”

   After this kind, fatherly talk and advice, I decided to remain; but it was only for a short time. I was receiving letters from my boy friend in California, telling of the wonderful opportunities for making money in the mines and sawmills. I again went to President Young and told him I had changed my mind and was going to California. He tried, I believe with more persistency than most fathers would use with their own boys, to explain to me what a mistake it would be to leave school and the home he had provided for me; but I was determined to go. When he saw this, he arranged for his wife Amelia and myself to meet him in his office. There he explained to her that I was going to leave home, and told her to go with me to the Z.C.M.I. and buy whatever she thought I would need and have them send the bill to him.

   I went with Mrs. Young to the Z.C.M.I. and she certainly fitted me out royally. She started with a trunk and had it filled with wearing apparel and all that could be crowded into it. I have no idea what the cost was but it must have been quite a considerable amount for those days.

   I remember the night before I was leaving for California. Family prayers were held in the Lion House, and on this particular occasion special care was taken to notify the boys and girls that I was going to leave for California and for them to be present at the evening prayer service. At that time I did not understand the object of this meeting. President Young took occasion, I can now see, to talk to me in the presence of his boys and girls, and impress upon them what it would mean for a boy or girl to leave home. I never listened to another such talk in my life, nor do I expect to hear another like it. There was not a dry eye in the room, and I am sure it must have made a lasting impression on the hearts of his children, as it did on me. But with all that it did not change my plans to leave the next day for California.

   He told me before leaving to come into the office and bid him goodbye. I did so, and he gave me another of those kind, fatherly talks, with advice suited to a boy in my condition. His last message to me was, “Now, my boy, you are going out into a cold world, and you will meet with many hardships and rebuffs. You will go to California and then return. You will return worse off than when you go, but remember if you want to come home and haven’t the money, write to me and I’ll send it to you.”

   When he shook hands with me, he left a $100.00 greenback in my hand. I broke down and wept. He put his arm around me as he would one of his own sons, and said, “Goodbye, God bless you, my boy.” That was the last time I ever saw President Young. He died while I was in California.

   His words that I would go to California and return, were literally fulfilled. I went and returned some years later, owing my step-father $300.00, and I did not owe a soul in the world a penny when he made this prediction at the time I left Salt Lake City for California. 

   My recollection of President Young, was that he had two great outstanding personalities; one a very stern and positive way of saying and doing things, and at other times he had a kind and loving way that would be worthy of a loving mother for her child. However, he was possessed of that wonderful spirit of discernment that it seemed to me, at all times he was able to decide which of these attitudes to use in order that justice and right should prevail.

   With this narrative of my remembrance and experiences of and with President Young, I can only say in conclusion, that I would to God I had the ability and words to express my great appreciation and love for this great Pioneer who led his people, under the inspiration and direction of Almighty God, from the Missouri River, over an almost trackless plain to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.

   God bless his memory and posterity to the last generation of time.

Preston Nibley, Faith Promoting Stories (Salt Lake City, Bookcraft, 1977), 146-154.

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