Friday, January 2, 2015

The Faith of a Non-member


When non-member and Mansfield, England resident, Elizabeth Beardall Mower (age five) became very sick with the Scarlett fever, her father remembered the Mormon elders preaching about healing. He sent for the elders and they gave his daughter a blessing. In the blessing she was told what?

a.      That she would join the Church and move to Utah

b.      That she would get better, but would never join the Church

c.       That she would never get better

d.      That she would join the Church and become a polygamous wife to John Taylor

Yesterday’s answer:

(C)   The California gold rush

Although the Deseret News was born a full year after the great California Gold Rush began, Church leaders quickly used it to help keep the Saints from dashing off to the gold fields, decimating the budding empire. Aimed at Mormons who might consider leaving, the second issue  of the News declared that San Francisco had more suffering and deprivation than had ever been known in New York or Philadelphia, that thousands were actually starving and unemployed, and that the whole of California was overcrowded with unsuccessful and disheartened miners.

   The News also invoked the power of the Church in support of its efforts to curb gold fever. A lengthy editorial “To the Saints” instructed bishops and local Church leaders to seek out those planning to abandon their farms, warn them against such wickedness, and, if they did not repent, cut them off from the Church. “For they that are not with us,” wrote the editor, “are against us, and the counsel is to all, raise all the grain you can, and promote domestic manufactures by all the means in your power, and quit your thirsting after gold or the gods of this world. . .  Do you want to become God-like?” asked the editor. “Then do as He has done, and think no more of going to the gold diggings . . . till you have made a printing press, a steam engine, and a cotton gin. . . .”

   Church historian B. H. Roberts praised Mormon decisions to remain in their humble pioneering settlements in a same-desert region instead of participating in the mad rush for riches outside Utah, saying it was “One of the marvels of those times, and will be in all time to come.” The News, though not solely responsible, played a major role in this achievement. Later it would be used to keep the Saints from abandoning their fields for Utah’s own mineral wealth.

Monte Burr McLaws, Spokesman for the Kingdom (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1977), 61-62.

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