Thursday, April 5, 2018

William Morley Black's News

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In 1849 non-member William Morley Black was bit by gold fever and left his family in Illinois for the California gold fields. He returned three years later and broke the news. What was his news?
a.                  That he was heading east on an LDS mission
b.                  That he had a successful gold claim that he shared with members of the Mormon Battalion
c.                   That he never made it to California but rather was baptized a Mormon in Salt Lake City
d.                  That a city named Nauvoo was abandoned and there was plenty of room for his family
Yesterday’s answer:
C   The number of unmarried women
Nevertheless, because women in the 1870s married on average three to four years later than they did during the late 1850s, the percentage of never-married women over the age of sixteen was about eight times higher in 1880 in St. George than in 1860 Manti. During the Mormon reformation, the intense religious revival in 1856-57, the number of new plural marriages was so large that Brigham Young wrote to President James Snow of Provo, cautioning him that he should discourage such aggressive promotion of plural marriages. Young probably could have saved his ink, because it is likely that by March 1857, when he penned his letter, most women of marriageable age were already married. “Nearly all are trying to get wives,” Wilford Woodruff wrote a month later, “until there is hardly a girl 14 years old in Utah, but what is married, or just going to be.” In that heated atmosphere, Latter-day Saints were surprisingly obedient to the counsel to marry, and in 1860 Manti, only 1.6 percent of women over the age of 16 had never been to the altar. Mormons, however, proved that their initial good intentions exceeded their ability to endure to the end. In the two years after the Mormon Reformation, the number of requests Brigham Young received for cancellations of sealing’s rose to its highest point during his presidency.

Davis Bitton, Val Lambson, Lowell C. “Ben” Bennion, and Kathryn M. Daynes, Probing the High Prevalence of Polygyny in St. George, 1861-1880, BYU Studies, Vol. 51, Number 4, 2012, 70.

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