Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas, Kanesville, Iowa 1847

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Brigham Young scheduled a conference at Kanesville, Iowa from Dec. 24-27th, 1847. The main order of business was to set in place a prophet to lead the church. On December 23, a day before the conference, Brigham Young did what?
a.                  Sent a proclamation to the world
b.                  Dressed up as Saint Nick for the children
c.                   Handed out treats to the children
d.                  Practiced in a choir that would provide the Saints with the holy songs of Christmas
Yesterday’s answer:
(D)   Come, Come, Ye Saints
The first Christmas in the valley [Salt Lake] was one of thanksgiving and prayer. Supplies and food were scarce. Most of the people; lived in the Old Fort. The weather was mild which helped the men continue building homes and completing other outdoor tasks. It also helped relive some of the intense suffering these pioneers were experiencing. While there were no gifts as we have today, some tried to provide a modest toy or article of clothing for the little ones to show that Father Christmas, or St. Nicholas, had found them in their new desert home. Everywhere there was a spirit of helpfulness and sharing.
An elderly lady, who was a young girl on that Christmas day in 1847, told the following story. Though her name is unknown, her account is repeated over and over.
“I remember our first Christmas in the valley. We all worked as usual that day. The men gathered sagebrush, and some even plowed, for though it had snowed, the ground was soft and the plows were used nearly the entire day. Christmas came on Saturday. We celebrated the day on the Sabbath when all gathered around the flag pole in the center of the fort and there held a meeting. What a meeting it was! We sang praises to God; we all joined in the opening prayer, and the speaking that day will always be remembered. There were words of thanksgiving and cheer; not an unkind word was uttered. The people were hopeful and buoyant because of their great faith in the work they were undertaking. After the meeting there was hand shaking all around. Some wept with joy. The children played in the enclosure and around a sagebrush fire, and that night we gathered and sang ‘Come, come ye saints, no toil nor labor fear, but with joy wend you way.’ That day we had boiled rabbit and a little bread for dinner. Father had shot some rabbits, and it was a feast. All had enough to eat. In the sense of perfect peace and good will, I never had a happier Christmas  in all my life. That was the Christmas of ’47.”

International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Museum Memories (Talon Printing: Salt Lake City, 2011), 3: 216.

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