Saturday, November 16, 2013

The American Flag

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1.      Of the cities listed below, which one did not have a first American flag raising by a member of the Church?

a.      Salt Lake City

b.      Tucson

c.       Los Angeles

d.      Chicago

2.      The only person to act as a proxy for the American flag was a Latter-day Saint. Who is this person?

a.      Donny Osmond

b.      Marie Osmond

c.       Steve Young

d.      Sharlene Wells

Yesterday’s answer:

B   Their prayers

The following by Mormon Battalion member H. G. Boyle:   When the billows of persecution and mobocracy had swept through those portions of Illinois where the Latter-day Saints were located and it became necessary for our people to sacrifice their lands and homes and flee before their enemies into the wilderness, and when the Pioneers and the leading camps had reached the Missouri River, a call or requisition was made by the government for five hundred volunteers from the “Mormon” camps to enlist as soldiers to serve in the Mexican war. In response to this call, President Young advised all the young and able-bodied men to hold themselves in readiness to enlist. In order to comply with this request, I secured board and lodging at Colonel Sarpy’s, on the east side of the Missouri River, at Council Point, as Bishop George Miller’s camp (with which I had traveled from Nauvoo) had crossed the river and moved on westward.  

   On the 7th of July, 1846, while I was waiting at Colonel Sarpy’s for the Battalion to be organized and mustered into service, a stranger, Colonel Thomas L. Kane, arrived at the Point and obtained board and lodging at the same place. After gaining an introduction to me, he soon entered into an animated conversation relative to our people, their history, religion, etc. I found him to be a very pleasant and affable gentleman, and easy and fluent in conversation. However, at first, I was a little cautious in my replies to some of his questions, as the Colonel was a government official, and it occurred to me that he might be “spying out our liberties.” This he soon noticed, and produced a letter of recommendation from Brother J.C. Little, saying at the same time that Brother Little was the first “Mormon” he had met with and that I was the second. It was but a short time until I fully understood his spirit and motives. I soon found that his sympathies and good feelings were all in our favor. 

   From this time on, I was greatly inspired in all my conversation with him I enjoyed much light and liberty in teaching to him the first principles of the gospel. He seemed to comprehend readily and to receive the truths that were taught, and to take great interest in the same. During the two or three weeks we spent together, he often expressed his wonder and surprise that an obscure and unassuming, beardless boy could impart such a vast amount of light and truth, and point out Bible proofs for all, which he, who had been brought up in the great wealth, education and position could afford, had failed to discover. He acknowledged, too, that he had learned more about the great truths of the Bible in a few days while with me than in all his life before from the most learned divines of the day.

   Our travelling camps had begun to locate for a rest and to recruit their teams, etc. One of these camps (Bishop Miller’s, as before mentioned had crossed the river and encamped at the “Cold Springs,” four miles west, which many were stationed in the timber on the Missouri River bottoms, on the eastern shore. The greatest bulk of our camps, though, were located ten or twelve miles east of the river out on the bluffs. While we were thus situated, the Colonel would often propose visits to some of these camps on the bottom, and during these visits I introduced him to many of our people. He seemed to take in, and understand our situation, our motives and aspirations. He appreciated and praised our heroic resignation to the inevitable, and our determination to meet and overcome every obstacle and to bear uncomplainingly every trial. He noticed our simple trust in God, and our noble resolve to be happy amid the severest hardships and privations.

   The Colonel often proposed a moonlight stroll through the woods. And during these walks he delighted to converse about our people—what they had done and were enduring, their high aim, and their uncompromising determination to succeed. During one of these rambles, we heard one of our men praying in secret in the skirt of the woods in the rear of one of our camps. Although we were not near enough to distinguish words or sentences, it seemed to affect the Colonel deeply and as we walked away he observed that our people were a praying people, and that was evidence enough to him that we were sincere and honest in our faith.

   Not long after this, when taking another walk, following a narrow path through a thicket of undergrowth, we came suddenly within a few feet of a man who had just commenced to pray. As we wore on our feet Indian moccasins, we made no perceptible noise, and the man evidently thought himself alone and praying in secret. At the time, I was in the path just in the rear of the Colonel, who, on hearing the beginning of the man’s supplication, halted, and, in doing so, turned half around, with his face in the bright light of the full moon, and in such a position that every feature was plain to my view. 

   I never listened to such a prayer, so contrite, so earnest and fervent, and so full if inspiration. We had involuntarily taken off our hats as though we were in a sacred presence. I never can forget my feelings on that occasion. Neither can I describe them, and yet the Colonel was more deeply affected than I was. As he stood there I could see the tears falling fast from his face, while his bosom swelled with the fullness of his emotions. And for some time after the man had arisen from his knees and walked away towards his encampment, the Colonel sobbed like a child and could not trust himself to utter a word. When, finally, he did get control of his feelings, his first words were, “I am satisfied: your people are solemnly and terribly in earnest.”

   About a week from the time of the Colonel’s arrival at Council Point, he asked me to accompany him to the camps out on the bluffs, as he desired greatly to see President Brigham Young. I complied with his request, and, after procuring a horse and saddle apiece, we started on our visit.

   About half-way out we came upon Brother Orson Pratt’s encampment by the side of the road, where he had halted to noon. I introduced the Colonel to Brother Pratt, who was so favorable impressed with his new acquaintance, that he returned to the Bluffs with us to “Brigham’s Camp,” as it was called.

   The Colonel was there introduced to President Young and five others of the Twelve. The interview was of the most pleasant nature, so that the Colonel talked of nothing else during our ride of ten miles back to Council Point.

   The Battalion was organized an mustered into service, soon after which we received the order to march, at which time I took my leave of one of the most pleasant men it has ever been my lot to meet. In parting, with tears in his eyes, he besought me to remember him in my prayers.

   In 1858, when our people were environed and threatened with a hostile army, I met him again, at Cedar City, February 20th, 1858, as a messenger of peace coming to our rescue. And when I wondered at his knowing me so readily, he replied, “I would have forgotten my mother as soon.” Continuing, he said; “Soon after you and I parted on the banks of the Missouri River, I was taken sick, and grew worse and worse till I gave up to die, when an old man” (Father John Smith) “came  to me and laid his hands upon me, and prayed for me, and said I should live and not die, and that I should return in health and safety to my home in Philadelphia, and after that I should marry me a wife and she should bear unto me a daughter, and after that a son and other children, and that I should live to do a great work in the earth; all of which had been fulfilled to the letter, except the great work, of which I always had my doubts.”

   When the waves of persecution and opposition were coming up mountain high, and when in the halls of Congress there prevailed a spirit of determination to pass proscriptive, special and unconstitutional measures against the people of this Territory, I again met the Colonel, also his wife, come again on an errand of mercy, with words of encouragement and sympathy. This last time he came to us marred and scarred and maimed from the battle fields of the rebellion, but still the same heroic messenger of peace and good will.

Preston Nibley, Faith Promoting Stories (Salt Lake City, Bookcraft, 1977), 109-114.

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