Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The New York Tribunes Fear

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During the 1840’s what did the New York Tribune state it feared about the Mormon Church?
a.                  That the Church would receive the same persecution in Illinois that it did in Missouri
b.                  That given enough time, it would convert the world
c.                   That the church would flee the bounds of the United States and become a strong people
d.                  That the church would ally with the western natives and destroy Missouri
Yesterday’s answer:
B.   Christ’s Apostles were considered low
From the life of Hannah Tapfield King:   It was Hannah’s decisions with regard to religion that ultimately determined the whole course and direction of their family’s life, when in 1849 she began to manifest an interest in the generally vilified creed of Mormonism. The initial catalyst for her change of religious orientation from High Anglicanism to Mormonism—a monumental, truly radical shift of direction in belief and worship—was a discussion one evening in September 1849 with her dressmaker, Lois Bailey, a working-class Cambridge woman:
“She [Lois Bailey] requested me to read one of the books, which I did with much prayer. She brought me ‘Spencer’s letters, the Book of Mormon, Pratt’s ‘Voice of Warning’ and ‘Divine Authenticity’. I read with the spirit and the understanding. I rejoiced daily. She alone was my teacher, my priestess. All went on in this way for fifteen months.  At last in September 1850, I met through her agency Elder Joseph W. Johnson, missionary from America. I talked with him in my own house, one whole day. I thought he was the first minister I had ever seen who came up to my idea of a man of God.”
King and her daughter Georgiana were baptized on November 4, 1850, an act that brought upon them the immediate and entire opposition of the rest of their family and subsequently of most others who know them. Daughter Louisa later wrote, “My Father nearly broken-hearted and our connections shamed and filled with grief—our old associates in life said ‘that the most merciful verdict they could give was that Mr. King and my sister had gone insane.’” King’s parents were equally shocked, as King’s journal was not slow to report:
“[Undated—later part of November 1850] Had a letter from My Mother full of complaints about changing my religion, ‘had I become a Roman Catholic she could have forgiven me—but these low people!—Was not the Savior and His deciples [sic] what the world would call low people no matter, he was the Son of God—and our Elder Br. And Redeemer!—What can you say to that mother.”
Despite this opposition, in the next few years all four of King’s children became convinced and joined her in her new faith.
With regard to the pressing imperative for nineteenth-century Latter-day Saints to leave home and emigrate to the new Zion in Utah territory, King’ situation differed somewhat from most LDS converts of the time. The vast majority of them –80 to 90 percent—were poorer, working–class people who hoped for an improved standard of living once they arrived in the New World. By contrast, the King family were well-to-do, with a capacious farmhouse, land, and elevated positon in society, and a well-established economic base generating an adequate income to provide many of the luxuries of life. In addition, King came from a particularly affectionate, close-knit family and had aged parents to whom she had extremely strong filial ties. Her brother was appalled by his sister’s change of faith and completely severed their formerly close relationship. Any move to emigrate would likely entail considerable financial loss and emotional upheaval, and Thomas King was entirely opposed to giving up the tenancy his family had farmed for generations. King, her children, and other Saints fasted and prayed that he would agree to emigrate. Under pressure from his wife and children to relinquish his farm and then being stricken with a serious illness, Thomas was “humbled and weakened as a child and gave consent to sell out and move to Utah.” When King informed her parents of her plan, she noted their reaction:
April 8th [1852] “. . . .My Father and Mother are apprised of our intended emigration, and my mother wrote to me this morning about it—such a letter!!!—Heighho! These letters cloud my Soul!—tho’ they do not bow me down quite as much as they used to do—that shews I am stronger—well I must leave all in the Hands of God—it is His business—I know I mean to be right, and Know that Right is the motto of my Soul!—and ever had been—tho’ of course I am not perfect.”
The family uprooted and embarked in 1853 (with King then age forty-five) on the hazardous and lengthy journey to Utah, and hardship, sickness, and death dogged their path: the trip took the best part of a year of continuous travel; the vessel on which they made their transatlantic crossing was nearly shipwrecked midocean; Thomas and Hannah’s thirteen-year-old son was reduced by illness to a near-death state while crossing the plains; and their eldest daughter died of mountain fever eight days after their arrival in Salt Lake City. Both of King’s parents passed away in England within two years of her arrival in Utah—her mother reportedly of a broken heart—and, as far as can be ascertained, the breach with her brother never was repaired.
Thomas bought a small house in Salt Lake City and started building a larger one; he also invested in farmland, but their funds dwindled over the years, and Thomas was unsuccessful in generating much income from farming in the challenging, arid climate. Throughout these upheavals and a complete reversal of fortunes in her life, King remained firm to the course she had chosen, uncomplaining and thankful for her lot:
“Janry 7th 1855 I have Journalized but little the past year—Time being at a premium with me here in this place, but I bear my testimony here in writing that I am rejoicing as Ever in the work of the Lord—I feel indeed and in truth and He has been my Father and my God, and never has the thought crossed my mind, that I wish I had not Given up my Home and come here for a regret that I have entered into covenant with him—no I rejoice that I had so much of His Spirit that I was enabled to see truth and embrace it, and tho’ I have daily laid  up the Alter of Sacrifice yet ‘All  is well’—and tho’ I have been afflicted in many ways and have lost those who were formally around and about me and who aided in making my Heaven yet he has surrounded me with the purest and truest friendships that have been my solace—and has made a ‘silver lining’ to the clouds that have hovered over me.”
Her dedication is evident in an incident during the Utah famine in 1856, when a failed harvest the previous year led to a severe dearth and a general shortage of food for settlers in the territory. Although King was suffering privations that only a few years before would have seemed impossible (“On my birthday 16th of March 1856—I had no breakfast, nor supper the previous night having no flour or bread”), she donated most of her inheritance from her late father’s will: “Apl 14th 56 Went to Br Young—and gave the Legacy my Father left me to the Church reserving a small portion to make presents to my children—he was a good man and his money had a blessing in it to all.” It is certain that King and her family needed his money desperately at this time. But in the same spirit of self-sacrifice for the latter-day gospel that had led her to leave her affluent situation in England, King, now in the days of her extreme poverty, demonstrated once more that she was willing to lay her all on the altar of her religious faith.

Leonard Reed, “As a Bird Sing” Hannah Tapfield King, Poetess and Pioneer, BYU Studies, Vol. 51, Number 3, 2012, 105-108.

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