Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith
Prophet, Seer and Revelator

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Brigham Young's Beard Napkin

Brigham Young was a backwoods boy from upstate New York. He tried to keep himself neat and tidy at meals so he wore a beard napkin to keep from spilling his dinner.

Our granddaughter when to a birthday party at the Lion House, Brigham Young's former home and they were given a beard napkin for a gift.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

John Taylor, Missionary

John Taylor had preached in some of the largest churches in Europe. During his mission to England and later to France, he spoke from any pulpit were the minister was agreeable. His courage was undaunted as he preached the gospel and converted many.

He had the privilege of dedicating the first working temple in northern Utah. He felt humbled and blessed to have that opportunity. Still thinking of missionary work, he said in his dedicatory prayer, "We dedicate [this house] that Thy servants may go forth to the nations of the earth endowed with power from on high . . . according to Thy word . . . that thy servants . . . may be saviors upon Mount Zion."

This servant of the Lord wore himself out in his service to his God.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

An Angel Flying Through the Midst of Heaven

When John Taylor was a young boy, he saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven, taking a message to all the earth. Of course this was when he was a child before he joined the Church, so he didn't understand who the angel was or what the message was. But he never forgot the dream, and years later after he became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he knew the message was everlasting gospel found in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The Angel Moroni brought the message of The Book of Mormon back to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Image of the angel found on the original Nauvoo Temple.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Stealing Watermelons

One of the reasons Aurelia Spencer Rogers wanted to start the first Primary was because many of the young boys in Farmington, Utah were caught stealing watermelons from farmers' fields. The girls were hitching rides on the back of wagons.

Sister Rogers was concerned that the young people were not as righteous as they should be. She and Bishop John W. Hess contacted Eliza R. Snow who discussed the matter with President John Taylor. From these humble beginnings today's LDS Primary organization was born.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pioneer Swim Suits

Swim suits in Brigham Young's day consisted of overalls for the boys and linsey woolsey dresses for the girls. The dresses were made out of heavy cotton and wool with pantaloons under the dresses.
Brigham used to take his kids out to the Great Salt Lake swimming. There is a big black rock out there and the boys used to change on one side and the girls on the other.

Try swimming in salt water in the heavy bathing suits they wore--quite an experience.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What Brigham Says Goes To The Heart

Brigham Young always said it was cheaper to feed the Native Americans than it was to fight them. Flour was less expensive than gun powder. He tried to return Chief Walkara's aggression (stealing livestock, burning settler's homes, etc.) with kindness.

One time the Chief came to Brigham, asking that he kill a person to walk to the afterlife with a sick Indian baby that was about to die.

Brigham blessed the sick child and it recovered.

Brigham tried to put positive energy into the world with his writings, discourse, and actions.

Peteetneet, brother of Chief Walkara, said about Brigham, “What the other white men say go in one ear and out the other but what Brigham says goes to the heart and stays there.”

I like to ask myself what I have done to contribute light today.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Brigham Young opens the St. George Temple early

Brigham Young knew he was getting old. He was very anxious to get his family's temple work done so he dedicated part of the St. George Temple January 1, 1877. The temple was finished and dedicated in it's entirety April 6 - 8, 1877.

At the January dedication Elder Wilford Woodruff spoke, then Brigham Young Jr. and President Erastus Snow.  Then a hush came over the Saints and everyone looked to Brigham. He struggled to his feet, and as he rose his face shown with light. Leaning on his cane, he made his way carefully to the pulpit. As he began to speak, his voice filled the room.

“When I think upon this subject [temple blessings], I want the tongues of seven thunders
to wake up the people.”

 “Can the fathers be saved without us? No. Can we be saved without them? No.” “Are you satisfied now that the temple is finished?” 

Brigham went on. “I am not half satisfied until I have whipped . . . the devils from this earth.” Brigham raise his cane and smash it down on the podium. Crack! When Brigham put his cane back on the floor, there were two dents in the pulpit from the knots in Brigham’s cane. Brigham's powerful testimony came through whenever he spoke about the Lord's work. 

After the dedication, he and his family performed much of the temple work for his ancestors, including his parents.

Read more in Texting Through Time, A Trek With Brigham Young

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

John Taylor, Defender of the Faith

John Taylor began his life in Milnthorpe, Westmoreland, England on November 1, 1808 as a child of British aristocracy—the second of ten children. In his youth, he roamed the hills where legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were born.

As a youth, John organized a prayer group with others in the furniture-making business where he apprenticed. Each day at lunch time he would lead his companions into the hills to pray. His friends came for a little while and then quit. John continued to draw close to God, becoming a Methodist preacher at age 17.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Don Carlos Young, From Truant to LDS Church Architect

Don Carlos Young, son of Brigham Young, skipped school as a young boy to hang out with the teamsters under his father's employment. When Brigham found out, he took Don Carlos out of school and gave him a pair of blind mules to drive. Don Carlos learned to maneuver the team around Salt Lake City in an admirable fashion, delivering ice and dry goods. Later his was trusted to take a load of wheat to Logan, Utah.

After a while, Don Carlos decided he would like to go back to school. This time he applied himself to his studied, graduated from the University of Deseret (now the University of Utah) and studied architecture in the east.

He came back to Utah to work on several successful projects. Because of his expertise, he was appointed LDS Church Architect by Wilford Wodruff, assigned to finish the Salt Lake Temple.

Brigham Young didn't have the advantage of child guidance books
available to us today, but he was wise in his discipline of Don Carlos, and aided his son in becoming the best he could be. Would that we could all be this wise.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Have You Ever Used a Draw Knife?

Have you ever used a draw knife?

We used them a lot several years ago to skin the logs to build our cabin in Idaho.

Brigham Young and other members of the first pioneer company used them to take the bark off the logs so they could lash them together tightly to ferry the wagons across the raging Platte River. Some of the streams were small enough they could float the wagons through the water, but the Platte was so high, the water dashed the wagons to pieces. They found some white pine to make a heavy raft, skinned the logs, lashed them together and got everyone safely across the water.

Hard work and perseverance got the pioneers west. What have you done today to persevere?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Brigham Young on Joseph Smith

What I have received from the Lord, I have received by Joseph Smith.
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Brigham Young, 345.

I feel like shouting Hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith, the Prophet whom the Lord raised up and ordained, and to whom he gave keys and power to build up the Kingdom of God on earth.
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Brigham Young, 343. 

Brigham Young Meeting Joseph Smith

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Brigham Young, Tired, Cold, and Hungry

Brigham Young's father owned a maple tree orchard.Early one spring, Brigham and Lorenzo were left to tap the trees for the sap while their father was out of town. The boys worked hard all day. When the sun began to set the boys  tramped toward home, tired, cold and hungry. They knew their was nothing in the house to eat--not even a bit of flour.

Brigham saw a small robin flitting from tree to tree. "Stay here, Lorenzo," whispered Brigham. That's our dinner. Brigham hurried home to get the gun. He shot the robin and they had watery bird broth soup for their dinner.

When the Saints came West, Brigham already knew what it was to be tired, cold and hungry.

Here's a picture from the book, Texting Through Time, A Trek with Brigham Young. Fun read about the prophet's life, including little known stories like this one.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Brigham Young the Homemaker

As a young boy, Brigham Young did a lot of the house work. Some of his older sisters had married and moved away. His mother was sick with tuberculosis so she was unable to do any of the work. Brigham learned to get the water from the water pump, milk the cow, bake bread and many other jobs.

Later in his life he told the women of the Church that he could bake bread as well as any of them, and he was probably right.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kids love Burned Cricket Paste--the Story, not the Food.

I love to do Primary Sharing Time and Activity Days. This is one of the stories the kids love to hear. 

The first winter the Saints were in the Salt Lake Valley, food was precious and scarce. The Indians brought John Taylor a sweet meal. The dark paste crunched when he ate it and tasted like honey.

John asked the Indians how to make it. He knew his children would enjoy the extra sweet delicacy. The braves led John to a field where the wheat had been harvested. Only the dried stocks were left.  Crickets were feeding on the wheat kernels that had fallen to the ground.

The Indians took dead pine branches, broke off several sticks, and started them on fire. They lit the wheat stubble into a blaze all around the edges field. As the plants burned toward the center, hundreds of crickets jumped up out of the fire and fell back into it, burning to a crisp.

When the fire died out, the Indians took their baskets and scooped up the dead insects.

“Why are you gathering dead crickets?” asked John.

“Good food,” said an Indian.

The Indian women ground the charred remains into a fine power and mixed it with honey.

By the time I've told this much of the story and girls are gagging and the boys are shuddering. They love the grossness of this tale. However, they are willing to think about how hungry they would have to be to eat this paste.

It’s a great lesson to help all of us remember the sacrifice the pioneers made to settle in the valleys of the mountains and make it a beautiful place for us to live.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

John Taylor's Courage to Rip his shirt open

After John Taylor’s conversion to the gospel, he traveled from Canada to Kirtland to meet the prophet Joseph Smith. On his return to trip, he encountered a group of people outside Columbus, Ohio, who asked him to speak to them.
People gathered around on the hillside to listen. As John stood on a wagon tongue to speak about the religious principles of his new found Mormonism, he could see men with tar and feathers lurking in the back of the congregation.
John began to speak, “Gentlemen, I know your forefathers fought for the freedom of all men in this country during the American Revolution. Many of them died for our freedom.”
 John paused momentarily, and then his voice rose in strength. “I understand you plan to tar and feather me for preaching. Is this the reason your father’s died in that great war—so you would have the right to tar and feather someone?”
John stood straight and tall. “Come on with your tar and feathers, gentlemen. I am ready.”
A hush came over the people, and every eye was on John.

He grabbed hold of his vest and shirt and ripped them open, ready for the tar and feathers. The buttons popped off and fell to the ground. Everyone stood very still—not moving or saying a word.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Missionary Courage

As John Taylor stood on the bow of the ship, sailing from Liverpool to America, waves crashed all around him. Lightening flashed across the sky. The boat rocked sideways. Salt spray spewed his face.  He shivered under the cold wetness.  Licking the salt from his lips, he declared: “I feel as calm as though I were sitting in the parlor at home.” He knew he would reach America.