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Summer School at BYU is an exciting blend of 
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BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY 

Provo, Utah 84601 





On the Cover: 

This month we commemorate the 150th 
anniversary of the First Vision, which 
was experienced by the boy prophet, 
Joseph Smith, in the spring of 1820 in 
western New York. There, after gaining 
confidence in the declaration of James 
— "If any of you lack wisdom, let him 
ask of God" — the 14-year-old youth 
turned to prayer in his quest to know 
"which of all the sects was right." The 
beautiful painting reproduced on our 
front cover is used widely by the 
Church Information Service in visitors 
centers throughout the world. The 
artist is Ken Riley. 

Of special interest is the photograph 
below of President Joseph F. Smith, 
nephew of the Prophet and father of 
President Joseph Fielding Smith, as he 
visited the Sacred Grove in the early 
1900s. 





The Voice of the Church April 1970 Volume 73, Number 4 



Special Features 



2 Editor's Page: "For Thus Shall My Church Be Called," President Joseph 

Fielding Smith 
4 Eight Contemporary Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision: What Do 

We Learn from Them? Dr. James B. Allen 
16 The House Where the Church Was Organized, Dr. Richard Lloyd 

Anderson 
26 Elder Howard W. Hunter, Church Historian, Jay M. Todd 
28 A Festival of Mormon Art 

31 How Far Is Heaven? Sadie H. Greenhaigh 
38 I Knew Courage, Jean Hart 

64 A Happier Marriage, Part 2: Enjoy Your Marriage Moments, Dr. J. Joel 

and Audra Call Moss 
68 The Message, Dwane J. Sykes 
79 A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price: Part 11, The Sacrifice of Sarah, 

Dr. Hugh Nibley 

Regular Features 

54 Presiding Bishop's Page: The Presiding Bishop Talks to Youth About 

Success, Bishop John H. Vandenberg 
56 Today's Family: Jessie Evans Smith: the Wife of a Prophet, Eleanor 

Knowles 
61 Research & Review: Achievements of Latter-day Saint Women, Dr. 

Leonard J. Arrington 
66 The LDS Scene 
70 Buffs and Rebuffs 
72 The Church Moves On 

75 These Times: Organization, Dr. G. Homer Durham 
96 End of an Era 
13, 71, 73, 74, 80 

The Spoken Word, Richard L. Evans 

Era of Youth Marion D. Hanks and Elaine Cannon, 

42 What It's Like to Be Young in Norway 

45 ! Had to Find Out for Myself, Val Stephens 

46 If I Were a Junior in High School, I'd ... , Dr. Lynn Eric Johnson 

47 Thoughts of the Newest Deacon, Steve Barrett 

48 Make the Ideal Real, Elaine Cannon 

49 Do We Need the "Shock" Troops? From Newsweek 

50 The Present Is Here, Thomas Lee Monson 

52 You Cannot Run Away From Law, Owen Jacobs 

Fiction, Poetry 

32 Dickie Bird, I'm Sorry, Mickey A. Goodwin 
25, 71, 72 

Poetry 

Joseph Fielding Smith, Richard L. Evans. Editors; Doyle L. Green, Managing Editor; Jay M, Todd, Assistant Managing Editor; Eleanor 
Knowles, Copy Editor; Mabel Jones Gabbott, Manuscript Editor; Albert L. Zobell, Jr., Research Editor; William T, Sykes, Editorial 
Associate; G. Homer Durham, Hugh Nibley, Albert L. Payne, Truman G. Madsen, Elliott Landau, Leonard Arrington, Contributing 
Editors; Marion D. Hanks, Era of Youth Editor; Elaine Cannon, Era of Youth Associate Editor; Ralph Reynolds, Art Director; Norman 
Price, Staff Artist. 

W. Jay Eldredge, General Manager; Florence S. Jacobsen, Associate General Manager; Verl F. Scott, Business Manager; A. Glen 
Snarr, Circulation Manager; S. Glenn Smith, Advertising Representative, 

©General Superintendent, Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1970; 
published by the Mutual Improvement Associations. All rights reserved. 

Entered at the Post Office, Salt Lake City, Utah, as second class matter. Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided 
for in section 1103, Act of October 1917, authorized July 2. 1918. 

Subscription price $3.00 a year, in advance; multiple subscriptions, 2 years, $5.75; 3 years, $8.25; each succeeding year, $2.50 
added to the three-year price; 35c single copy except special issues. Thirty days' notice required for change of address. When 
ordering a change, please include your address label from a recent issue of the magazine; address changes cannot be made unless 
the old address, as well as the new one, is included. 

The improvement Era welcomes contributions but is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts. Manuscripts must be accom- 
panied by sufficient postage for delivery and return. Payment is made upon acceptance. 

Advertising: The Era is pleased to carry advertisements of interest to readers, but doing so does not imply Church endorsement 
of the advertiser or his product. 

Official organ of the Priesthood Quorums, Mutual Improvement Associations, Home Teaching Committee, Music 
Committee, Church School System, and other agencies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 

The Improvement Era, 79 South State, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 



The Editor's Rige 




"ForThusShall MyChurch Be Called 



99 



By President Joseph Fielding Smith 

• April 6 marks the 140th anniversary of the organiza- 
tion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
in this the dispensation of the fulness of times. 

People often ask why the members of the Church 
are called saints. The Latter-day Saints should be all 
that their name implies. They should live free from 
sin; their lives should be in strict harmony with the 
principles of the gospel. They should live "by every 
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." 
(Matt. 4:4; Deut. 8:3.) Thus they are commanded. 

However, in accepting the title of saints they are 
not arrogant, pretentious, or self-righteous. They did 
not choose the name; it was given them by divine 
commandment. It is the Lord who said: "For thus 
shall my church be called in the last days, even The 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." That 
the members might be properly impressed with the 
significance of this title, there follows this admonition: 
"Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that 
thy light may be a standard for the nations." (D&C 
115:4-5.) 

In accepting this title. Latter-day Saints are con- 
forming to the custom that prevailed among the people 
of God in past ages of the earth. The members of 
the Church in the days of Peter and Paul were called 
saints. "And it came to pass, as Peter passed through- 
out all quarters, he came down also to the saints 
which dwelt at Lydda." (Acts 9:32.) Paul wrote: 
"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be 
saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, 
and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. 1:7.) It is clear, 
then, that the members of the Church today are con- 
forming to the custom of former times, for they are 
called in these last days by commandment "to be 
saints," members of the Church of Jesus Christ. 



The officers of the Church will gather for sessions 
of general conference beginning Saturday, April 4, 
and continuing through Monday, April 6. We desire 
to have you share in the knowledge of the proceedings 
of those days, through attendance at the Tabernacle 
in person, through hstening to or viewing the proceed- 
ings by radio and television, or through reading the 
reports of the conference published in the Era and 
elsewhere. We invite your faith and prayers in behalf 
of the general conference. 

One hundred and forty years! As you know, I have 
been involved for many years in keeping the history 
of the Church. It is a thrill to reread the records con- 
cerning the humble beginnings of this church. The 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was or- 
ganized at Fayette, Seneca County, New York, at the 
home of Peter Whitmer, Sr., on April 6, 1830, with 
six members: Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, 
Hyrum Smith, Peter Whitmer, Jr., Samuel H. Smith, 
and. David Whitmer. These six members, who had 
previously been baptized, were baptized again on the 
day of the organization. 

"Having opened the meeting by solemn prayer to 
our Heavenly Father," wrote the Prophet Joseph 
Smith, "we proceeded, according to previous command- 
ment, to call on our brethren to know whether they 
accepted us as their teachers in all the things of the 
Kingdom of God, and whether they were satisfied 
that we should proceed and be organized as a Church 
according to said commandment which we had re- 
ceived. To these several propositions they consented 
by a unanimous vote. I then laid my hands upon 
Oliver Cowdery, and ordained him an Elder of the 
'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'; after 
which he ordained me also to the office of an Elder 



of the said Church. We then took bread, blessed it, 
and brake it with them; also wine, blessed it, and 
drank it with them. We then laid our hands on each 
individual member of the Church present, that they 
might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and be con- 
firmed members of the Church of Christ. The Holy 
Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree- 
some prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord, and 
rejoiced exceedingly. . . ." (Documentary History of the 
Church, Vol. 1, pp. 77-78. ) 

That day a revelation was given to the Prophet 
commanding that records be kept. In this revelation 
also, it was made known that Joseph Smith, Jr., was 
to be called a seer, translator, prophet, and apostle of 
Jesus Christ, and an elder of the Church. (D&C 21.) 

The first conference of the Church was held some 
three months later, on June 9, 1830, at Fayette, The 
officers present were Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cow- 
dery, David Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba 
Peterson, each of whom held the office of elder in 
the Church. At this conference Samuel H. Smith was 
ordained an elder; Joseph Smith, Sr., Hyrum Smith, 
and Martin Harris were ordained priests, and Hyrum 
Page and Christian Whitmer, teachers. At the close of 
this conference there were in the Church seven or- 
dained elders— including Joseph Smith and Oliver 
Cowdery— three priests, and two teachers. The total 
membership of the Church was 27. 

Oliver Cowdery was appointed to keep the Church 
records and conference minutes until the next confer- 
ence, which was held September 26, 1830. There it 
was reported that the membership had grown to 62. 

David Whitmer was appointed to keep the church 
records until the third conference, which was held at 
Seneca January 2, 1831. 



Then the Church moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where 
conference was convened in June 1831. There the 
first high priests in this dispensation were ordained. 
At this conference Edward Partridge, who had pre- 
viously been called to the bishopric, chose as coun- 
selors, or assistants, John Corrill and Isaac Morley. 
Those three brethren constituted the first bishopric 
of the Church. 

The Prophet was sustained and ordained president 
of the high priesthood at a conference held at Amherst, 
Ohio, January 25, 1832. On March 18, 1833, the First 
Presidency of the Church was organized, with Joseph 
Smith as President and Sidney Rigdon and Frederick 
G. Williams as counselors. Joseph Smith, Sr., was 
ordained as patriarch on December 18, 1833. 

The first apostles and seventies of the dispensa- 
tion were ordained at Kirtland in February 1835, after 
the return of Zion's Camp. The apostles were chosen 
by revelation and ordained on February 14, 1835, by 
the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon; the first 
of the seventies were ordained two weeks later. 

From those early days the Church has grown 
rapidly in strength, notwithstanding the trials and 
hardships that it and the individual members have 
had to endure. 

To all members of the Church throughout the world 
I would like to say that this church has a divinely 
appointed mission to perform under the direction and 
leadership of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and that nothing 
will stop his plans pertaining to it. It will fulfill the 
designs of our Father in heaven. I hope the Saints 
throughout the world daily thank the Lord for being 
members of his church and for the mission of the 
Prophet Joseph Smith in restoring the gospel for our 
joy and happiness. O 



Era, April 1970 3 



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Illustrated by Jerry Thompson 



Eight Contemporary Accounts 
of Joseph Smith's First Vision - 

What Do We Learn from Them? 

By Dr. James B. Allen 



One hundred and fifty years ago this spring, 
a lJ).-y ear-old hoy named Joseph Smith, Jr., per- 
plexed about questions on religion, walked on a 
"beautiful, clear day" to a wooded area where he 
had been cutting wood, approximately a quarter 
mile from his father's house, and knelt in earnest 
prayer. The answer to that prayer, known now 
as the First Vision, has changed the course of 
the world and marked with brilliant surety the 
opening of the dispensation of the fulness of times, 
a period of preparation for the heralded and oft- 
prophesied second coming of Jesus Christ. With 
this vision came a divine call to young Joseph, 



loho "save Jesus only" was destined to do more 
"for the salvation of men in this world, than any 
other man that ever lived in it." (D&C 135:3.) 

For the past 150 years, the story of the First 
Vision has been repeated on the street corner and 
from the pulpit, and has borne testimony to suc- 
ceeding generations at the family hearthside. It 
has made the heart of the poet and musician sing, 
has sparked the mind and imagination, has been 
studied diligently, and has been submitted to the 
unrelenting light of research. 

Here printed for the first time is a report on 
eight different accounts of the First Vision. 



Dr. James B. Allen is associate professor of history at Brigham Young University and a higli councilor in tlie BYU Fifth Stal<e. 



• In 1965 a graduate student at Brigham Young Uni- 
versity presented a gentle surprise to Mormon scholars 
when he included in his master's thesis a heretofore 
unknown description of Joseph Smith's First Vision.^ 
What made the new discovery significant was the 
fact that most writers had supposed that the Manu- 
script History of Joseph Smith, formally begun in 
1838, was the place where the Prophet first com- 
mitted his remarkable experience to writing. Paul 
Cheesman's find demonstrated that the story of the 
First Vision had been dictated as early as 1831-32.- 

Recently both Mormon and non-Mormon historians 
have shown new interest in Joseph Smith's testimony. 
Not long after the 1831-32 narrative was discovered, 
a second version that also predated the Manuscript 
History was brought to light.' Scholars also began 
to examine the setting of the vision, seeking to de- 
termine the extent to which the events described by 
Joseph Smith can be verified by other contemporary 
sources.^ In fact. Mormon historiography has entered 
an exciting new era as more sources are becoming 
available for research, fresh approaches are being 
taken by Latter-day Saint writers, and many outstand- 
ing scholars are publishing the results of their research. 
(One of the most significant recent publications was 
the Spring 1969 issue of Brigham Young University 
Studies, in which ten Mormon writers presented the 
results of recent research on "Mormon Origins in New 
York.") 

Apparently Joseph Smith did not relate his First 
Vision very widely during the early years of Church 
history, for neither Mormon nor non-Mormon pub- 
lications of the 1830s carried accounts of it."^ Although 
contemporary literature included several allusions to 
the idea that Joseph had beheld Deity, none of 
these brief references gave details of the vision.'' Be- 
cause of the absence of the vision from early publica- 
tions, one hostile writer suggested in 1945 that Joseph 
Smith did not even "make up" the story until 1835 or 
later.^ 

Nevertheless, it can now be demonstrated that 
the Prophet described his experience to friends and 
acquaintances at least as early as 1831-32, and that he 
continued to do so in varying detail until the year of 
his death, 1844. We presently know of at least eight 
contemporary documents that were written during 
his lifetime. 

1. The 1831-32 account. This important document 
was written when Joseph Smith was 25 or 26 years old. 
The Church was hardly more than a year old, and 
Joseph had only recently been impressed with the 
importance of keeping such historical records.^ Pre- 
served in the handwriting of Frederick G. Williams, 
it was probably written as it was being dictated by 



the Prophet. It is doubtful that the manuscript was 
being prepared for publication, at least in the unpol- 
ished form in which it survives. It seems, rather, to 
have been an early, crudely written, but fervent effort 
to express for Church members the Prophet's religious 
feelings, and to record the powerful spiritual impact 
that the vision had upon him. 

2. The 1835 account. On November 9, 1835, Joseph 
told of his early experiences to a visiting Jewish min- 
ister. Warren Cowdery, the Prophet's scribe, recorded 
the interview as part of the Prophet's daily journal. 

3. The 1838-39 account. The third account is from 
Joseph Smith's Manuscript History and is the source 
for the version of the First Vision published in the 
Times and Seasons in 1842 and later in the Pearl of 
Great Price." The Prophet began this history in 1838, 
but the present version was written or copied by James 
Mulholland in 1839.1° ^ jg evident that the Prophet 
intended this narrative to become the basic source 
for Church literature and that he had a special pur- 
pose in mind that does not seem as clear in the earlier 
renditions. Long the object of almost merciless public 
abuse, he now told his story "so as to disabuse the 
publick mind, and put all enquirers after truth into 
possession of the facts. . . ." With such a public pur- 
pose in mind, it is likely that this account would be 
more carefully considered than either of the first 
two. 

4. The Orson Pratt account (1840). Orson Pratt 
of the Council of the Twelve published in England in 
1840 a missionary tract entitled Interesting Accounts 
of Several Remarkable Visions and of the Late Dis- 
covery of Ancient American Records. Elder Pratt had 
obviously been close to Joseph Smith and had heard 
the account of the First Vision from him. His narrative 
was similar to Joseph's 1838-39 account, except that 
it elaborated upon several details. Whether these were 
given to him by Joseph or whether he was using liter- 
ary license is not known, but some of his additions 
seem to be verified by other sources. 

5. The Orson Hyde account (1842). Another mem- 
ber of the Twelve, Orson Hyde, published a mis- 
sionary tract in Germany in 1842 entitled Ein Ruf aus 
der Wuste, eine Stimme aus dem Schoose der Erde 
(A Cry From the Wilderness, A Voice From the Dust 
of the Earth). It contained an account of the vision 
similar to that of Orson Pratt, much of it, in fact, hav- 
ing been copied directly from the earlier publication. 

6. The Wentworth Letter (1842). In the same year 
that Joseph Smith's Manuscript History began publica- 
tion in the Times and Seasons, the Prophet prepared 
a brief history of the Church and a discussion of 
Church doctrine for John Wentworth. The letter was 
published in the Times and Seasons on March 1. 



11 



Era, April 1970 5 



7. Neio York Spectator (1843). In the summer of 
1843 the editor of the Pittsburgh Gazette visited Joseph 
Smith in Nauvoo. His account, which included the 
First Vision as related to him by the Prophet, appeared 
in the New York Spectator on September 23. 

8. A personal diary (1844). An entry in the personal 
diary of Alexander Neibaur illustrates that the Prophet 
sometimes told the story to small, rather intimate 
groups. Neibaur, a German immigrant, had been 
brought to Nauvoo to teach German to the Prophet 
and others. On May 24, 1844, Joseph told his sacred 
experience to Neibaur, who recorded it in his diary 
in the sincere, unpolished style that one would expect 
from a humble man not used to writing in English. At 
present, this is the only contemporary diary known to 
Mormon scholars that contains such an account.^^ 

Whenever new historical information is published, a 
host of questions demand answers, and the disclosure 
that Joseph Smith told his story more than once has 
been no exception. Scholars have asked whether the 
Prophet's description of his experience squares with 
other known historical events, to what degree the 
various accounts are consistent with each other, and 
how one might explain the differences. Several factors 
undoubtedly affected the over-all nature of Joseph 
Smith's narratives: (1) his age and experience at the 
time a particular account was given; (2) the circum- 
stances under which he gave each account, including 
any special purposes he may have had in mind; (3) 
the possible literary influence of those who helped him 
write it; and (4) in the case of versions written by 
others, the fact that different points would impress 
different people, and therefore they would record the 
story somewhat differently. One would hardly expect 
to find every account to be precisely alike, but it is 
fortunate that these eight reports come from a wide 
variety of circumstances, thus accentuating the signifi- 
cance of the consistency that does exist. 

Actually, the differences between the accounts may 
be grossly overemphasized, for the truth is that there 
is wide and general agreement in detail among all of 
them. Another impressive fact is that the 1831-32 ver- 
sion, which was the first to be recorded, is actually 
the most comprehensive of all. This early narrative 
includes all the essential elements of the more carefully 
prepared Manuscript History and contains more addi- 
tional details than any other source. When all the 
accounts are combined, only two areas appear that 
may need some explanation : ( 1 ) the time of the vision 
and (2) the fact that the fir^t account appears to 
make specific reference to only one personage. A brief 
explanation of each of these areas seems appropriate. 

1. The time of Joseph's early religious quest and of 
the First Vision. There are two questions involved in 




the question of timing: (a) when did Joseph Smith 
first begin to search for religious truth, and (b) when 
did he have his vision? 

It is only the 1838-39 narrative that gives any detail 
about the religious excitement that stirred young 
Joseph's interest ( although the Neibaur diary mentions 
it ) , and the question has arisen as to whether a general 
religious movement of the proportions described by 
the Prophet actually took place in those years men- 
tioned and whether his description squares with the 
known facts. It has been argued, for example, that 
no such movement took place in the town of Palmyra 
in the spring of 1820.^^ Joseph said that the excitement 
began "sometime in the second year after our removal 
to Manchester," which could mean almost any time 
in the year 1819 or 1820. Further, his narrative does 
not specifically state that such a movement centered 
or even began in Palmyra. The Smith family, by 1819, 
lived outside the village of Palmyra, on a farm that 
was actually in the township (not village) of Man- 
chester.^* The phrase "in the place where we lived" 
could easily refer, in context, not to any town but, 
rather, to the general area. 

In addition, Joseph referred to the "whole district of 



Leit: Lane approaching the Sacred Grove, from an old 
photograph by Daniel B. McRae. Below: View inside the 
Sacred Grove, taken by George Edward Anderson in the 
early 1900's. Page 10: Distant view of Sacred Grove from 
the yard of the Joseph Smith Sr. home, also by Anderson. 




country" affected by the awakening, and this could be 
interpreted very broadly. Professor Milton Backman 
has demonstrated conclusively that there v^^as con- 
siderable religious excitement in the general area in 
1819 and 1820, and that "spiritual quickenings" were 
particularly intense in 1819.^"' Joseph had ample op- 
portunity to know of and become involved in camp 
meetings and other religious activities in the vicinity 
of his home during 1817, 1818, or 1819, and none of 
the accounts of his vision are inconsistent with these 
facts. 

Joseph Smith reached his fourteenth birthday on 
December 23, 1819. In the earliest account of the 
vision, he said he had pondered his religious concerns 
from the age of 12 to 15. In 1835 he said that he was 
"about 14" when he began to reflect upon the im- 
portance of a future state. His use of the word "about" 
indicates that the validity of his history did not hinge 
on a precise date, and it is significant to note that both 
Orson Pratt and Orson Hyde merely wrote that he was 
"somewhere about fourteen or fifteen" when his 
spiritual awakening began. In the earliest narrative 
Joseph Smith said that he was in the sixteenth year of 
his age (that is, 15 years old) when the vision took 



place, while in the 1838-39 statement he said it was 
in the early spring of 1820, which would have made 
him 14. Later in the same account he said "I was an 
obscure boy only between fourteen and fifteen years 
of age or thereabouts."^'^ 

What all of this seems to suggest is that Joseph 
Smith's main interest, as far as time is concerned, was 
merely to explain that these things happened in his 
early teens. But it would not be inconsistent with any 
of the accounts to suggest that he became involved 
in the religious excitement of the time during the 
summer or fall of 1819, while he was still 13 years old; 
that his concern worked on him for many months; and 
that it was, indeed, sometime in the spring of the fol- 
lowing year that he finally decided to pray. If in his 
preliminary effort to record the story in 1831-32 he said 
he was 15 instead of 14 when the vision occurred, he 
simply made a slight correction in his more carefully 
prepared history. 

2. Was it one personage or two? All accounts of the 
First Vision but one specify that two heavenly person- 
ages appeared to young Joseph, and three ( Wentworth 
letter, Orson Pratt, and Orson Hyde) state that these 
personages exactly resembled each other. There is 
no doubt that the Prophet intended to convey the mes- 
sage that they were the Father and the Son. 

In the earliest narrative Joseph Smith simply said, 
"I was filled with the spirit of God and the Lord 
opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and 
he spake unto me saying Joseph my son thy Sins are 
forgiven thee. . . ." When relating his experience in 
1835, Joseph first told of one personage appearing in 
the "pillar of fire." Then: "another personage soon 
appeared like unto the first." The latter gave him the 
all-important message. The idea that the personages 
appeared one after the other is repeated in the New 
York Spectator, as well as in Neibaur's diary. 

While the other narratives do not describe the 
event just that way, nothing in them precludes the 
possibility that he may have seen one personage first, 
and then the other." The main point of emphasis, 
especially in the official 1838-39 account, was that "I 
had actually seen a light and in the midst of that light 
I saw two personages, and they did in reality speak 
unto me, or one of them did." Remembering that 
the 1831-32 manuscript is a rough, unpolished effort 
to record the spiritual impact of the vision on him, 
that this was probably the first time Joseph Smith had 
even tried to commit his experience to writing, and 
that in the other narratives the important message 
was delivered by the Son, it is probable that in dictat- 
ing to his scribe the Prophet simply emphasized "the 
Lord" and his message. Obviously, the various versions 
of the event do not contradict each other in this one 



Era, April 1970 7 



essential point, even though they emphasize different 
ideas and details. 

We believe that Joseph Smith was telling the truth 
each time he related his experience, and that the 
scribes recorded his ideas as accurately as possible. 
Thus, a study of the combined accounts presents some 
fascinating new insights into the experience and per- 
sonal development of the young prophet. Not only do 
we discover more details about what may have hap- 
pened both before and after he entered the Sacred 
Grove, but we also gain valuable insight into how 
these events affected him personally and helped him 
in his spiritual growth. While space does not permit 
the full republication here of all the accounts, they 
may readily be found elsewhere.^" What follows is 
an attempt to weave them into a composite story of 
Joseph's sacred experience in order to show their 
value and their consistency. 

In the year 1819 young Joseph Smith and his par- 
ents and brothers and sisters lived in what is now 
Manchester township in western New York. This 
region has been dubbed the "burned-over district," 
because of the intense outpouring of religious enthusi- 
asm that characterized it in the early nineteenth 
century.^" Itinerant preachers, camp meetings, intense 
spiritual experiences, and conversions all were common 
in the area, and in 1819-20 some sort of revival activity 
took place in at least ten towns within a 20-mile 
radius of the Smith home.-" 

With all this religious activity going on, young 
Joseph Smith found himself influenced in many ways. 
He undoubtedly attended some of the revival activities, 
and he saw some members of his family join the 
Presbyterian Church. ^^ He naturally thought about 
his own salvation, and many questions came to his 
mind. According to his earliest statement, he became 
seriously concerned for the welfare of his soul, and 
this led to an intensive searching of the scriptures. For 
two or three years, in fact, he tried to evaluate the 
different denominations and found that they did not 
agree with what he saw in the scriptures. i 

He also became concerned with the "wickedness 
and abominations" of the world, as well as his own 
sins. He became almost overwhelmed with the awe- 
someness of the eternities,^- and finally, as Orson Pratt 
recorded, he began "seriously to reflect upon the 
necessity of being prepared for a future state of 
existence : but how, or in what way, to prepare himself, 
was a question, as yet, undetermined in his own mind: 
he perceived that it was a question of infinite im- 
portance, and that the salvation of his soul depended 
upon a correct understanding of the same." He also 
desired the emotional experience he had witnessed 
in others, for he later told Alexander Neibaur that in a 



revival meeting "he wanted to get Religion too [and] 
wanted to feel and shout like the Rest. . . ."^^ 

These concerns quite naturally caused him to look 
at the various denominations, probably with the intent 
of joining one of them. Here, however, as recorded 
in practically all the accounts,-* he became disillu- 
sioned, especially with the fact that the ministers 
would contend so bitterly for converts. It became so 
bad, he wrote in 1838, that "great confusion and bad 
feeling ensued— priest contending against priest, and 
convert against convert; so that all their good feelings 
one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely 
lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions. "^"^ 

At this point the young prophet became even more 
confused. He still wanted to join a church, and he 
actually began to favor the Methodists. When he 
finally decided to make it a matter of prayer, he had 
in mind specifically that he wanted to "know what 
church to join."^" In looking at all the churches, he 
said in 1835, "I knew not who was right or who was 
wrong but considered it of the first importance to me 
that I should be right." 

At the same time, young Joseph had begun to suspect 
that perhaps none of the churches were right. The 
first time he recorded the vision he declared that in 
searching the scriptures he "found that mankind did 
not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized 
from the true and living faith and there was no society 
or denomination that built upon the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ as recorded in the New Testament. . . ."^'^ 

Later he explained liis feelings this way: "I often 
said to myself, what is to be done? Who of all these 
parties is right? Or are they all wrong together?"^® 
His youthful mind apparently still clung to the hope 
that one of the contending sects was "right," but at 
the same time he could not ignore the disturbing pos- 
sibility that "the true and living faith" no longer 
existed. Orson Hyde went so far as to write that "he 
gave up hope ever to find a sect or party that was in 
possession of the pure and unadulterated truth."^® 

Amid this war of words and feelings the Prophet's 
mind was drawn especially to James 1:5. "If any of 
you lack wisdom," he read, "let him ask of God, that 
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and 
it shall be given him." Said Joseph Smith, "Never did 
any passage of scripture come with more power to 
the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It 
seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of 
my heart. I reflected on it again and agaiu, knowing 
that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did. . . . 
At length I came to the conclusion that I must either 
remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as 
James directs, that is, Ask of God."^° 

Young Joseph decided then, for the first time in his 



8 



life, to pray vocally about the matter. After months of 
struggle, he finally knew the course he must follow, 
and sometime in the spring of 1820 he went to a 
familiar spot in the woods near his home to make the 
attempt.''^ The months of anguish had resulted in 
obvious spiritual maturity, and he had at least three 
serious questions on his mind: (1) He was concerned 
for his ovwi salvation and sought forgiveness of his 
sins; (2) he was concerned for the welfare of mankind 
in general, for, he said, "I felt to mourn for my own 
sins and for the sins of the world'V- (3) he wanted 
to know which, if any, of the churches was right, and 
which he should join. 

No one knows how long young Joseph remained in 
the grove, but it is clear that before the object of his 
prayer was accomplished he had a long, desperate, 
and perhaps almost fatal struggle with the forces of 
evil from the unseen world. His first effort to pray 
was fruitless, for, he said, "immediately I was seized 
by some power which entirely overcame me and had 
such astonishing influence over me as to bind my 
tongue so that I could not speak."^^ He later told his 
friends that his tongue seemed swollen in his mouth, 
so much so that he could not utter a word.^^ "-i. 

As he struggled to pray, several strange things hap- 
pened. Unwanted and distracting thoughts ran 
through his mind, and one of his close associates later 
wrote that "he was severely tempted by the powers 
of darkness. . . . The adversary benighted his mind 
with doubts and brought to his soul all kinds, of 



improper pictures and tried to hinder him in his efforts 
and the accomplishment of his goal."^^^ 

At one point, Joseph said, "I heard a noise behind 
me like some one walking towards me. I strove again 
to pray, but could not; the noise of walking seemed 
to draw nearer. I sprang upon my feet and looked 
round, but saw no person, or thing that was calculated 
to produce the noise of walking."^*^ During the struggle 
"thick darkness" seemed to gather around him, and he 








felt that he was "doomed to sudden destruction" and 
must abandon himself to the power of "some actual 
being from the unseen world."" 

In spite of this alarm, he was able to gather enough 
inner strength to continue his fervent prayer and call 
upon God for deliverance. It was then that he saw 
overhead a "pillar of light," which seemed to shine 
"above the brightness of the sun at noon day."^^ It 
seemed gradually to descend, even increasing in bright- 
ness so that "by the time it reached the tops of the 
trees the whole wilderness, for some distance around, 
was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant man- 
ner. He expected to have seen the leaves and boughs 
of the trees consumed, as soon as the light came in 
contact with them. ... It continued descending slowly, 
until it rested upon the earth, and he was enveloped 
in the midst of it."^^ 

As soon as the light appeared, he felt himself freed 
from his spiritual enemy, and as the light rested upon 
him he was "filled with the spirit of God."*'° As de- 
scribed later, "When it first came upon him, it pro- 
duced a peculiar sensation throughout his whole 
system; and, immediately, his mind was caught away 
from the natural objects with which he was sur- 
rounded; and he was enwrapped in a heavenly 
vision. . . ."''^ He then saw within the light a per- 
sonage, who was soon joined by another personage,*^ 
and the two exactly resembled each other in features 
and likeness."*^ They seemed to be standing above 
him in the air and their own "brightness and glory" 
defied all description.** 

The messages and information received by Joseph 
as the vision progressed were all that a boy with his 
concerns could ask for, and more. He received a 
knowledge of the reality of Christ, as one of the per- 
sons called him by name, then pointed to the other 
and said, "This is my beloved Son, Hear him."*^ He 
was also told, "Joseph my son thy Sins are forgiven 
thee," and the Savior declared, "Behold, I am the Lord 
of glory; 1 was crucified for the world that all those 
who believe on my name may have Eternal Hfe."*^ 

Young Joseph was undoubtedly astonished at all 
that was happening, but as he gained possession of 
himself, he asked which of all the sects was right and 
which he should join.*' He was informed that he 
should join none of them, for, he said, they "told me 
that all religious denominations were believing in in- 
correct doctrines, and that none of them was 
acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom. And 
I was expressly commanded to 'go not after them.' "*^ 

The personage who was speaking warned him 
further that certain professors of religion were "all 
corrupt, that they draw near to me with their lips 
but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doc- 




trines the commandments of men, having a form of 
Godliness but they deny the power thereof."*^ He was 
warned a second time against joining any of the 
churches, and he was given the promise that "the 
fulness of the gospel should at some future time be 
made known unto me."°° In addition, he was told 
"many other things" that he was unable to write,^^ 
and he saw "many angels" in his vision.^^ 

According to scripture, it would be impossible for 
man to behold Deity with his natural eyes.^^ Joseph 
Smith made it clear that this profound experience 
transcended his physical senses and had an exhaust- 
ing effect upon him. "When I came to myself again," 
he wrote in 1838, "I found myself lying on my back 
looking up into Heaven," and he told Alexander 
Neibaur that he endeavored to rise but felt feeble. 

The effect of this vision on the mind of the youth- 
ful prophet was great. After all his earlier confusion, 
he now felt comforted, and his mind was left in "a 
state of calmness and peace indescribable."®* Accord- 
ing to his earliest account, "my soul was filled with 
love and for many days I could rejoice with great joy 
and the Lord was with me." 



10 




This expresses as well as anything could the tender 
feelings that must have overwhelmed him. It is little 
wonder that he should wish to tell his experience to 
friends and acquaintances, and one can sense his 
profound disappointment when, as he stated in the 
same account, he "could find none that would believe 
the heavenly vision." Later he described in detail 
the immediate unfriendly reception he received upon 
telling of the vision. He was particularly disappointed 
at the surprising reaction of a Methodist preacher who 
"treated my communication not only lightly but with 
great contempt, saying it was all of the Devil, that 
there was no such thing as visions or revelations in 
these days, that all such things had ceased with the 
Apostles and that there never would be any more of 
them.""'^ 

It seemed to him that he was being attacked from 
all sides, for, as he wrote in 1838: "I soon found, how- 
ever, that my telling the story had excited a great 
deal of prejudice against me among professors of 
religion and was the cause of great persecution which 
continued to increase and though I was an obcure boy 
between fourteen and fifteen years of age or there- 



abouts and my circumstances in life such as to make a 
boy of no consequence in the world. Yet men of high 
standing would take notice sufficient to excite the 
public mind against me and create a hot persecution, 
and this was common among all the sects: all united 
to persecute me."^° 

There is no contemporary evidence (i.e., documents 
from the 1820s) to show that Joseph Smith told his 
story very widely in 1820; and it is not clear, even 
from his own accounts, how long he continued to tell 
it. With the reception he apparently received, it was 
probably not very long. The lack of evidence is not 
surprising, however, for even if certain ministers 
warned people not to believe young Joseph, they were 
also preoccupied with many other things that to them 
were more important. Since this was a time when 
many were claiming spiritual experiences, the claims 
of a 14-year-old boy were hardly something the 
ministers would record. Nor would such a youth have 
much likelihood of finding his way into the newspapers 
or diaries of the time, even though he later said that 
all the "great ones" were against him. To a young boy, 
the rejection of such an experience by those whom he 
respected would have been most frustrating, and he 
would tend to emphasize this frustration as he told 
of the experience in later years. 

A possible clue to the nature of whatever criti- 
cism was made is seen in the recollection of a certain 
Mrs. Palmer, a non-Mormon, who apparently grew up 
in the vicinity of Joseph Smith's home and later settled 
in Utah. As an elderly woman, she recalled "the 
excitement stirred up among some of the people over 
the boy's first vision, and of hearing her father con- 
tend that it was only the sweet dream of a pure- 
minded boy." According to the reminiscence, she also 
heard certain church leaders criticizing her father for 
his friendship with the "Smith boy," and saying that 
he must be "put down."^' 

All of this does not presume, of course, to provide all 
the details of what happened at the time of Joseph 
Smith's First Vision. Nor does it presume to answer all 
the questions that may be raised about the meaning 
and implications of the vision. It has simply demon- 
strated that the account was repeated several times 
and in several different ways, even by the Prophet, 
and that although each narrative emphasizes different 
ideas and events, none is incompatible with other 
accounts. There is a striking consistency throughout 
all the narratives, and if one wishes he may combine 
them into an impressive report that in no way contra- 
dicts any of the individual accounts. Moreover, the 
descriptions given of events related to the vision but 
that happened outside the grove are consistent with 
our knowledge of contemporary events. 



Era, April 1970 11 



In the last analysis, the First Vision becomes truly 
meaningful in a personal way only when one seeks, 
as Joseph Smith sought, to reach God through private, 
earnest supplication. O 

FOOTNOTES 

1 Paul R. Cheesman, "An Analysis of the Accounts Relating to Joseph 
Smith's Early Visions" ( Master's thesis. College of Religious Instruction, 
Brigham Young University, 1965 ) , Appendix D. 

2 Dean C. Jessee, "The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision," 
Brigham Yoting University Studies, Vol. 9 (Spring, 1969), pp. 277-78. 

3 This document, discovered by Dean Jessee, was first printed in James 
B. Allen, "The Significance of Joseph Smith's 'First Vision' in Mormon 
Thought," Dialogue, Vol. 1 (Autumn, 1966), pp. 40-41. 

1 Wesley P. Walters, "New Light on Mormon Origins from Palmyra 
(N.Y.) Revival," Bulletin of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 10 
(Fall, 1967), pp. 227-44. Milton V. Backman, Jr., "Awakenings in the 
Burned-Over District: New Light on the Historical Setting of the First 
Vision," Brigham Young University Studies, Vol. 9 (Spring, 1969), pp. 
301-20. Wesley P. Walters, "New Light on Mormon Origins from the 
Palmyra Revival," Dialogue, Vol. 4 (Spring, 1969), pp. 59-81. Richard 
L. Bushman, "The First Vision Story Revived," Dialogue, Vol. 4 (Spring, 
1969), pp. 82-93. 

5 Allen, op. cit., pp. 30-32. 

6 As early as June 1830, a revelation alluded to something like the 
First Vision: "For, after that it truly was manifested unto this first 
elder, that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled 
again in the vanities of the world. . . ." Book of Commandments (Inde- 
pendence, Missouri, 1833), Vol. 24, pp. 6-7. Cf. The Evening and the 
Morning Star, Vol. 1 (June 1832), and D&C 20:5. There are some 
slight variations in the latter references, including the dating of the 
revelation as April instead of June. An 1831 revelation read, "Where- 
fore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the 
inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph, and spake unto 
him from heaven, and gave him commandments. . . ." Book of Com- 
mandments 1:4. Cf. D&C 1:17. In February 1831, Obadiah Dogberry, 
publisher of the Palmyra Reflector, reported on news of the Mormons in 
Ohio, where, according to his correspondent, Joseph Smith's followers 
were affirming that he "had seen God frequently and personally." The 
Reflector, February 14, 1831, p. 102. 

7 Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History (New York: Alfred A. 



Knopf Company, 1946), p. 25. 

s In April 1830, a revelation required that a record be kept in the 
Church. In March 1831, John Whitmer was appointed to keep a his- 
tory. See D&C 21:1; 47:1; 69:2-3. 

'.) There were a few minor changes between the original Manuscript 
History and the publication in the Times and Seasons. There have been' 
a few additional changes in the account found in the Pearl of Great 
Price. The reason for these changes is not always clear, although in some 
cases it was probably simply a matter of improving grammatical style. 
In any case, the essential details and meaning of the account have not 
been changed, and the changes are not significant enough to discuss in 
the text above. 

10 Jessee, "The Early Accounts," pp. 277-78. 

11 Essentially the same material was published in I. Daniel Rupp, 
An Original History of the Religious Denominations at Present Existing 
in the United States (Philadelphia, 1844), pp. 404-405. 

12 An excerpt of the diary, which is housed in the Church Historian's 
office, says: "Br Joseph told us the first call he had a Revival Meeting 
his Mother, Br & Sister got Religion He wanted to get Religion too 
wanted to feel & shout like the Rest but could feel nothing, opened his 
Bible & the first Passage that struck him was if any man lack wisdom let 
him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally & upbiaideth not went 
into the Wood to pray kneels himself down his tongue was closet cleavet 
to his roof could utter not a word, felt easier after a while— saw a fire 
toward heaven came near & nearer saw a personage in the fire light com- 
plexsion blue eyes a piece of white cloth drawn over his shoulders his 
right arm bear after a while a other person came to the side of the 
first Mr. Smith then asked must I join the Methodist Church— No— they 
are not my People, They have gone astray there is none that doeth good 
no not one, but this is my Beloved son harken ye him, the fire drew 
nigher Rested upon the tree enveloped him comforted Indeavoured to 
arise and felt Uncomen feeble— got into the house told the Methodist 
priest & said this was not a age for god " to Reveal himself in Vision 
Revelation has ceased with the New Testament." Note that the only 
exception to the idea that the Son delivered the important message of the 
Vision is found in this account, but Neibaur could easily have become 
confused on the chronology of detail by the time he got home and wrote it 
in his diary. 

13 Walters, in both articles referred to above. 

li Actually, Professor Milton Backman has found that this area was 
called Farmington town when the Smiths moved there, but the name 
was changed to Manchester township a few years later. 

15 Backman, op. cit., especially pp. 305ff., where he shows what was 
hajjpening to the Methodists. This is important because of Joseph's 
assertion that the excitement he remembered began with the Methodists. 



The Various Elements of Joseph Smith's First Vision, 
As Recorded or Clearly Implied in the Eight Contemporary Accounts 





1831-32 


1835 


1838-39 


Pratt 


Hyde 


Went- 
worth 


Spec- 
tator 


Nei- 
baur 


Religious excitement of 
the period 
















,-.;.-. 


Joseph's concern for his 
soul (or future state) 








• 


• 








Disillusionment with various 
denominations 


m 












.>a^ 




Joseph's concern for mankind 
in general 


m 
















His quest for forgiveness of 
sin 


• 
















His quest to know which church 
(if any) was right 








^ 


(tt.. 








His searching the scriptures 


i 


fe 


• 


m 










His prayer 


<i> 


A' 


(*, 


«■■ 










The strange force of 
opposition 






• 


• 


• 






# 


Appearance of the light 


'j 


'■*?1^- 


>ir..". 












Appearance of Deity 




4 














(Two personages) 


















The message: 

1. Forgiveness of sins 


















2. Testimony of Jesus 


• 
















3. Join no church (all were 
wrong) 


• 




m 












4. Gospel to be restored 


















Joseph filled with love 


# 
















Unsuccessful effort to get 
others to believe the story 



















12 



iG The words "or thereabouts" were not included in the Times and 
Seasons account, April 1, 1842, p. 748, nor are they in the present Pearl 
of Great Price. It is significant, however, that the Prophet should 
put them in his manuscript as he was preparing it. 

17 In later years, at least one other person who had known Joseph 
Smith wrote of hearing him describe the appearance of one person 
before the other. See Cheesman, op. cit., p. 30. 

IS The three manuscript versions (1831-32, 1835, and 1838-39) are 
in Jessee, op. cit., and the Wentworth Letter (1842) follows that article. 
The Pratt and Hyde versions are reproduced in Cheesman, appendices C 
and G. The New York Spectator report is in Preston Nibley, Joseph Smith 
the Prophet (Salt Lake City, 1946), p. 31. The Neibaur version is in 
footnote 12 above. 

ly For a full account of the period, see Whitney R. Cross, The Burned- 
over DistxiiH (Ithaca, 1950). Chapter 8, "The Prophet," deals with the 
Mormons. 

20 Backman, op. cit., pp. 312-13. 

21 1838-39 Manuscript, and Joseph Smith 2:7. 

-2 The 1831-32 manuscript is full of poignant expressions indicating 
the depth of young Joseph's feelings: "my mind became exceedingly dis- 
tressed for 1 became convicted of my Sins . . ."; "I looked upon the sun 
the glorious luminary of the earth and also the moon rolling in their 
magesty through the heavens and also the stars shining in their courses 
and the earth also upon which I stood and the beast of the field and the 
fowls of heaven and the fish of the waters and also man walking forth 
upon the face of the earth in magesty . . ."; "and when I considered 
these things my heart exclaimed well hath the wise man said it is a fool 
that saith in his heart there is no God my heart exclaimed ... all 
these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotent and omnipresent 
power . . ."; "I cried, unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else 
to whom 1 could go. ..." 

23 Neibaur journal. 

24 Except Neibaur, and this account clearly implies the same thing. 

25 Cf. Joseph Smith 2:6. 

26 New York Spectator account. Cf. 1838-39 manuscript and Joseph 
Smith 2:10. 

27 1831-32 manuscript. 

28 1838-39 manuscript. Cf. the Wentworth letter and the Orson Pratt 
account. Joseph wrote to Wentworth: "I determined to investigate the 
subject more fully believing that if God had a church it would not be 
split into fractions." Orson Pratt wrote; "The great question to be 
decided in his mind, was— if any one of these denominations be the 
Church of Christ, which one is it?" The common point in all these accounts 
is the possibility that none of the churches could be correct. 

29 At this point an interesting problem occurs with respect to the 
1838-39 manuscript. After telling of his asking the heavenly visitors 
which of all the sects was right, Joseph added, in parenthesis, "(for at 
this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)." While 
this seems somewhat inconsistent, it may actually reflect the real con- 
fusion of the 14-year-old Joseph, who did not want to believe, deep in 
his heart, that there was no "true" church, even though his mind already 
asked the obvious questions: "Who of all these parties are right? Or are 
they all wrong together?" The confusion within the account, then, 
might reflect the actual experience of a young man who had thought 
the unthinkable and yet had not let it sink into his soul (or heart), 
because it was not what he wanted to believe. Certainly the deep, 
personal emotions described in nearly all the accounts could lead to a 
desire to join some church, and hence Joseph's hesitancy to believe that 
all were wrong. Cf. Times and Seasons, April 1, 1842, p. 748, and 
Joseph Smith 2:18. The words in parentheses were published in the 
Times and Seasons as well as in all editions of the Pearl of Great Price 
down to 1902. In the new edition of that year, and in all subsequent 
editions, it was deleted. 

30 1838-39 manuscript. Cf. Joseph Smith 2:12-13. 

31 He told an editor, as reported in the New York Spectator account, 
that "I immediately went out into the woods where my father had a 
clearing, and went to the stump where I had struck my axe when I had 
quit work, and I kneeled down, and prayed." 

.32 Both of these concerns Hre clear in the 1831-32 manuscript. 
.33 1838-39 manuscript. Cf. Joseph Smith 2:15. 

34 1835 manuscript. Cf. Neibaur journal. 

35 Orson Hyde account. 

36 1835 manuscript. 

37 1838-39 manuscript. 

38 1831-32 manuscript. The "pillar of light" has been variously de- 
scribed as a "pillar of fire" (1835), a "very bright and glorious light" 
(Pratt), and "a fire toward heaven" (Neibaur). 

39 Orson Pratt account. Cf. Neibaur journal and 1835 manuscript. 

40 1831-32 manuscript. 

41 Orson Pratt account. 

42 1835 manuscript. New York Spectator, and Neibaur journal. 

43 Wentworth letter. Cf. 1835 manuscript and Pratt and Hyde accounts. 

44 1838-39 manuscript. 

4.5 Ibid. Cf. New York Spectator. 

46 1831-32 manuscript. Cf. 1835 manuscript and Orson Pratt account, 
both of which confirm the statement that his sins were forgiven. 

47 1838-39 manuscript. Cf. Neibaur, who wrote that Joseph asked, 
"Must I join the Methodist church?" 

48 1835 manuscript. Cf. Orson Pratt account, this part of which seems 
to have been copied almost word for word from the 1835 statement. Cf. 
also the New York Spectator and the 1838-39 manuscript. 

49 1838-39 manuscript. Cf, Neibaur journal. 
30 Wentworth letter, Pratt and Hyde accounts. 

51 1838-39 manuscript. 

52 1835 manuscript. 

53 See John 1:18. Cf. Moses 1:2; D&C 67:10-13; 32:30. 

54 Pratt and Hyde accounts. See also Neibaur journal. 

55 1838-39 manuscript. See also Neibaur journal. 

56 1838-39 manuscript. Cf. Joseph Smith 2:22. 

57 This document is reproduced, in part, in Truman G. Madsen's pro- 
logue to the Spring, 1969, issue of BYU Studies, p. 235. As Madsen points 
out, we do not know enough yet about the document to rely on its com- 
plete authenticity. It is quoted here simply as an interesting document that 



may well prove to be genuine as researchers continue to probe the sources. 
Joseph's own testimony on this subject is corroborated by that of his 
mother, as well as by accounts of non-Mormon writers who knew him as 
a young man. Richard L. Anderson's incisive article in the same issue of 
BYU Studies carefully analyzes some of these writers, including Mother 
Smith, and presents convincing verification for Joseph's claims with 
regard to what was happening both before and after his experience in 
the Sacred Grove. 




"The Spoken Word" from 
Temple Square, presented 
over KSL and the Colum- 
bia Broadcasting System 
January 25, 1970. ©1970. 



"How could I face my children . . ." 

By Richard L. Evans 

This was heard from a wonderful, forthright 
grandfather. He had just talked with a young 
grandson — one of those searching sessions 
when a child asks direct, innocent questions — 
when a child with steady eyes and innocent honesty 
could make a man earnestly examine himself to 
see if he detects any deception within his own soul. 
And then this honest, grateful grandfather asked a 
simple question: "How could I face my children, my 
grandchildren, and tell them I had done wrong?" 
Don't try to hide your heart from a boy. "Boys," 
wrote Emerson, "know truth from counterfeit as 
quick as a chemist does."' Too often we hear of 
abuse of children: cruelty, corruption. One can 
scarcely conceive of this being so, and it reminds 
us of this sobering indictment from our Savior: 
". . . whoso shall offend one of these little ones . . . 
it were better for him that a millstone were hanged 
about his neck, and that he were drowned in the 
depth of the sea."^ It is something to think of. 
Children come here clean and sweet and teachable, 
from the Father of us all. Innocent they come, and 
innocent they are, until environment or example is 
otherwise. "The mind," said William Ellery Chan- 
ning, "like the body, depends upon the climate it 
lives in, on the air it breathes."^ Heaven help those 
who abuse or neglect or corrupt, or are cruel to 
children, or who are indifferent to the environment 
that takes their innocence from them. Children have 
a right to be protected from exploitation and from 
evil influence. "I have commanded you to bring up 
your children in light and truth. ""^ "How could I 
face my children — anyone's children — and tell 
them I had done wrong?" Lord, help us to live to 
feel clean and comfortable with honest, innocent 
children, and with others also, and with our own 
souls inside. 



'Ralph Waldo Emerson, Education. 

'Matthew 18:6. 

^William Ellery Charming, On the Elevation of the Laboring Classes 

'Doctrine and Covenants 93:40. 



Era. April 1970 13 



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The HouseWhere the 



This article commemorates the lJ^Oth anniversary of the or- 
ganization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On 
April 6, 1830, a day that had been previously appointed by revela- 
tion as the day for organization, six young men gathered in the 
one-and-a-half story log house of Peter Whitmer, Sr., in Fayette, 
New York, to meet the numerical requirements of the state in 
organizing a church. Present were 2^-y ear-old Joseph Smith; 
Oliver Cowdery, 23; Samuel H. Smith, 22; Hyrum Smith, 30; David 
Whitmer, 25; afid Peter Whit'tner, Jr., 20. By September member- 
ship stood at 62; it was in the hundreds a year later. By 1840, the 
membership was 30,000; 60,000 in 1850; 80,000 in 1860; 110,000 
in 1870; 160,000 in 1880; 205,000 in 1890; 268,000 in 1900; 613,000 
in 1925; 1.1 million in 1950; and in 1970 it is near 3 million. How- 
ever, numerical growth alone is an inadequate index of the great 
truths, progi'ams, influence, and accomplishments of the Church 
and its members that have blessed mankind since April 6, 1830. 
The day was an important one — and the events of it will forever 
be cherished in the hearts of millions of persons as "the only true 
and living church upon the face of the tvhole earth, with which I, 
the Lord, am ivell pleased. . . ." (D&C 1 :30) 



By Dr. Richard Lloyd Anderson 

• There are both benefits and Hmi- 
tations in touring historical sites. 
Ornate shrines at supposed loca- 
tions of Christ's life in Palestine 
hardly bring one closer to the Lord. 
Yet tourists, being by nature ama- 
teur historians, may judge the 
authenticity of the spiritual events 
at Latter-day Saint restoration lo- 
cations by the care with which are 
presented historical matters. Hence, 
Latter-day Saint leaders have con- 
stantly sought "authentic findings" 
(a phrase of President David O. 
McKay) in telling the restoration 
story on the farms of its founders 
in New York.^ 

Maximum benefit in visiting 
these areas is obviously gained by 
understanding what to look for. 



16 



Excavators in 1969 located evidences 
of Inabitation at tiie site of the Peter 
Wliitmer log house, west of present-day 
house used as visitors center on the 
Whitmer farm. 



Mrs. George Albert Smith and German 
E. Ellsworth, in 1907, stand on the site 
of the original Peter Whitmer home. 
Barn in background was built by other 
owners of the property. 



One-and-a-half story log house, similar 
to the Peter Whitmer, Sr., home in 
which the Church was organized in 
1830, is still standing. This particular 
house, built about 1836, is 18 by 24 
feet and has an upper story with inside 
stairway and log construction resting 
on stones. (Photograph courtesy of 
John S. Genung) 





Church Was Organized 



Dr. Richard Lloyd Anderson, pro- 
fessor of history and religion at 
Brigham Young University, is a 
Sunday School teacher in the 
Pleasant View First Ward. 



Otherwise, one may be in the situ- 
ation of Emerson's traveler (who 
visits ancient locations for status 
and not study ) : "He carries ruins 
to ruins." 

Under the leadership of Elder 
Mark E. Petersen of the Council of 
the Twelve and the direction of 
Elder Marion D. Hanks, Assistant 
to the Council of the Twelve, the 
Church Information Service has 
sponsored a careful reinvestigation 
of the houses on the farm of Peter 
Whitmer, Sr., where the Church 
was organized.* This project cli- 
maxes investigation reaching back 
80 years, in which the competent 



"Information that the present-day so-called 
Peter Whitmer home was not the home in 
which the Church was organized was printed in 
Carter E. Grant, "Peter Whitmer's Log House," 
Era, May 1959, p. 34-9. 



studies of John D. Giles and Carter 
E. Grant 'Stand out.- The latest work 
has deliberately involved experts in 
various disciplines: historians, ar- 
chaeologists, architects, and even 
economists. With the gathering of 
new evidence and testing by pro- 
fessional standards, the findings of 
these earlier studies are basically 
confirmed. One may now conclude 
with assurance that the present 
home on the Whitmer property is 
not the place of Church organiza- 
tion. 

New informaiton also better de- 
scribes the actual house that was 
standing at the time of the great 
events of 1829-30 and furnishes an 
aproximate date for the erection of 
the present home. 



A detailed study of the home that 
was Church headquarters in the 
founding years is of no small value. 
History of eternal significance was 
made in or near that house: the 
completion of Book of Mormon 
translation; the appearance of the 
angel displaying plates to the three 
witnesses; the first successful mis- 
sionary work and resulting bap- 
tisms; the formal organization of the 
Church April 6, 1830; and the re- 
ception by the Prophet of almost 
two dozen revelations. To research 
the Whitmer home is to relive 
modern miracles. 

Persons present during those 
events never forgot them; hence, 
their vivid recollections are a main 
source for incidental descriptions 



Era, April 1970 17 




of the home. For example, Sidney 
Rigdon was converted in Ohio in 
September 1830 and soon traveled 
to western New York to meet the 
Prophet of the new dispensation. 
At the peak of Church success at 
Nauvoo, Rigdon looked back upon 
a particular New York meeting: "I 
recollect in the year 1830, I met the 
whole church of Christ in a little 
old log house about 20 feet square, 
near Waterloo, N.Y. . . ."^ 

The Whitmer home stood some 
two miles south of Waterloo, in 
Fayette Township, a geographical 
area, not a village. Although Presi- 
dent Rigdon referred only to meet- 
ing "near Waterloo," it is clear that 
the Whitmer home was intended. 
Early sources agree that he did not 



arrive there until December 1830.^ 
Since he remembered meeting "the 
whole church" in the log home, one 
must locate a conference, not an 
ordinary gathering. Official min- 
utes of that period list the second 
conference as September 26, 1830, 
at which time Rigdon had not yet 
arrived, and the third as January 2, 
1831. The latter is the only possible 
conference of his New York stay, 
and it was held at the Whitmer 
home. (Orson Pratt remembered 
both meeting there and the pres- 
ence of Rigdon. ) Therefore, Sidney 
Rigdon refers to the Whitmer resi- 
dence as a small "log house . . . 
about 20 feet square." 

Orson Pratt had also been con- 
verted in September 1830 (though 



Picture taken in 1907 shows relation 
of original Whitmer log house (left of 
barn) to the barn and present-day Greek 
Revival home. 

in New York) and made the same 
pilgrimage as Rigdon to see the 
Prophet and learn his duty before 
God. Speaking about the power of 
the 1830-31 events in the Whitmer 
home, he said: "I well recollect 
when I was a boy of nineteen visit- 
ing the place where this Church 
was organized, and visiting the 
Prophet Joseph, who resided at that 
time in Fayette, Seneca County, 
New York, at the house where the 
Church was organized."^ 

Elder Pratt recalled meeting 
Christian, David, and John Whit- 
mer; recalled his personal revela- 
tion of November 4, 1830; and 
especially recalled the January 2, 
1831, conference, attended by Sid- 
ney Rigdon, "having just arrived 



18 



from the West, where he embraced 
the Gospel. . . ."'^ This "Httle confer- 
ence" contained "pretty much all the 
Saints who lived in the State of 
New York,"' in actual number "less 
than one hundred."^ Orson Pratt 
usually referred to the place of 
meeting simply as the Whitmer 
house, identifying it frequently as 
the organization home of the 
Church. But his earliest known 
comments furnish simple descrip- 
tions: "In one small room of a log, 
house, nearly all the Latter-day 
Saints, (east of Ohio) were collected 
together."" Undoubtedly referring 
to the same house, the historian- 
apostle recalled that "all who be- 
longed to the Church at that time 
might occupy a small room about 
the size of fifteen feet by tioentij ."'^^ 
Thus Sidney Rigdon and Orson 
Pratt agree on both the type of 
home and its approximate dimen- 
sions. 

David Whitmer also mentioned 
his father's home in a few of the 
eighty-odd interviews preserved 
from him. A reporter who visited 
with "members of the family" (but 
not David ) wrote, "the house of the 
senior Whitmer was a primitive 
and poorly designed structure. . . ."^' 
It is not likely that the interviewer 
would make such a statement ex- 
cept on the basis of family informa- 
tion (and David's wife knew the 
home as well as he). The present 
house on the Whitmer property is 
certainly not a "primitive structure." 

Some have objected to a log 
home as not being large enough to 
hold the entire Whitmer family, to- 
gether with Joseph, Emma, and 
Oliver, during the Book of Mormon 
translation— and the first three 
conferences of the Church. But the 
1830 census lists the Christian and 
Jacob Whitmer families as separate 
households from that of Peter Whit- 
mer, Sr., a possible indication of 
other small residences on or near 
the Whitmer property. David Whit- 



mer's most specific comment on the 
house, however, mentions about 60 
people assembling on April 6, 1830, 
for the organization meeting of the 
Church. Edward Stevenson re- 
ported, "David's father's two rooms 
were filled with members. . . ."^- 
Such a meeting would be imprac- 
ticable in two rooms unless they 
were on the same floor. The first 
conference (June 1, 1830) con- 
sisted of "about thirty," according 
to the Prophet, who mentions that 
many were so overcome then "that 
we had to lay them on beds, or 
other convenient places."" One 
would assume a close proximity to 
the main meeting for these beds. 
So the "two rooms" of David Whit- 
mer's description were probably 
adjoining on the first floor and one, 
a bedroom, was perhaps that in 
which Lucy Smith waited for the 
return of her son and the three wit- 
nesses, and the place of their elated 
reunion.'^ 

Where did Peter Whitmer's house 
stand? That question, together with 
further insight into its structure, 
was answered by Andrew Jenson 
on the basis of personal investiga- 
tion in the neighborhood. Given 
the mission of gathering informa- 
tion still available, Andrew Jenson, 
Edward Stevenson, and Joseph S. 
Black visited the chief scenes of 
LDS history. They arrived at 
Fayette October 2, 1888, and joined 
in reporting their findings in a 
letter that was evidently composed 
by Andrew Jenson. (In several 
later writings, he repeated the same 
phraseology in describing the 
event.) Just before locating the 
Whitmer farm, they "came to the 
house of an aged gentleman by the 
name of John Marshall, who had 
attended meetings in Whitmer's 
house when a boy and had heard 
Joseph and a number of other early 
elders of the Church preach."^^ Mar- 
shall's biographical sketch shows 
that he was in a position both to 



know and to recall later his contact 
with the Whitmers. Marshall spent 
his "boyhood days" in rural Fayette, 
was 15 or more when he attended 
the meetings in the Whitmer house, 
and was apparently keen of mind 
to his death, at which time he was 
serving as a trustee and deacon in 
his Presbyterian congregation. ^° 

After leaving Marshall, Jenson 
and his party went directly to the 
Whitmer farm and talked with the 
tenant farmer, Chester Reed. He in 
turn was a source of information 
on the old home, since the Jenson 
letter mentioned him as "the present 
occupant" who "rents" the farm. 
Although born as late as 1836, Reed 
can be clearly traced in vital rec- 
ords as living in Fayette to the turn 
of the century. Since Reed showed 
Jenson the remains of the Whitmer 
house in 1888, this farmer un- 
doubtedly had personal knowledge 
of what it looked like earlier. Even 
before Reed farmed this land, the 
location of the Whitmer home and 
its background were well known. 
One proof of this is the advertise- 
ment offering the property in 1869: 
"THE MORMON FARM FOR 
SALE!"^' In sum, the Jenson party 
talked to one who attended meet- 
ings in the Whitmer home in 1829- 
30 and another who knew the 
building from later observation. 

From this identifiable local 
knowledge, the 1888 investigation 
reported: "The old Whitmer house, 
in which the Church was organized 
. . . was a one-and-a-half story log 
house. It was torn down many years 
ago, but the site on which it stood 
is well known and was pointed out 
to us. The old family well is still 
there; also several of the logs which 
once constituted a part of the 
building, lay along the fence half 
decayed."^^ 

Edward Stevenson, who ap- 
pended his name to the foregoing 
statement, recorded his agreement 
with it. His handwritten journal 



Era, April 1970 19 



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contains the following entry: "The 
old well still stands there, but only 
a little of the IV2 story log house 
remains in ruins. We eat apples in 
the new house. . . ."^^ Stevenson's 
description is doubly significant, for 
he had spent more time with David 
Whitmer than any other known in- 
terviewer, talking with him at 
length in 1877, 1886, and 1887 
about early Church history. There 
is strong probability that Stevenson 
knew about the old house indepen- 
dently by talking with David, who 
had died in the beginning of 1888. 

The most graphic picture of what 
the three visitors of 1888 saw was 
recorded in Bishop Joseph S. 
Black's notebook: "Sept. 28th, 5:20. 
I am now sitting on a rotten log, 
which once formed part of the 
Whitmer house, in which the 
church was organized. It was a 
double log house, 1% story and is 
now torn down, and some of the 
logs lie by the well, which is a little 
northwest from the house and is 
good yet. They have built a new 
house a little to the northeast of the 
old location on a little higher 
ground. The place where the old 
house stood is now covered with 
beautiful clover."^° 

It is now possible to complete an 
interior description. A "one and 
one-half story log house" obviously 
had space upstairs. In one of his 
most detailed interviews, David 
Whitmer related a story about the 
Prophet's translation of the Book of 
Mormon to show the need of con- 
stant humility. Joseph was out of 
patience with Emma on a house- 
hold matter. David related: "Oliver 
and I went up stairs, and Joseph 
came up soon after to continue the 
translation, but he could not do 
anything." Only after "he went 
downstairs, out into the orchard" to 
pray, and then made reconciliation 
with his wife, could he continue the 
translation.^^ A story of great spiri- 
tual significance, it incidentally 



describes the Book of Mormon 
translation as going on in the upper 
story. 

A remarkable Latter-day Saint 
source does the same. In 1829 
Sarah Conrad was an unmarried 
housekeeper in the Whitmer home 
and was converted through, watch- 
ing the unusual process of transla- 
tion. Oliver B. Huntington met her 
at an old folks outing in 1897 and 
recorded her story in his diary : 

"I conversed with one old lady 
88 years old who lived with David 
Whitmer when Joseph Smith and 
Oliver Cowdery were translating 
the Book of Mormon in upper room 
of the house, and she, only a girl, 
saw them come down from the 
translating room several times, 
when they looked so exceedingly 
white and strange that she inquired 
of Mrs. Whitmer the cause of their 
unusual appearance. . . ."^^ 

Obviously the spiritual power of 
the inspired servants of God was 
what bewildered 18-year-old Sarah 
and impelled her to investigate. 
But once again an occupant of 
the household fixes "the translat- 
ing room" as an "upper room of 
the house." Sarah Conrad Bunnell 
stressed both points as she told the 
same story to her granddaughter, 
Pearl Bunnell Newell, who at 86 
vividly remembers her grand- 
mother's description: "And she said 
they would go up into the attic, 
and they would stay all day. When 
they came down, they looked more 
like heavenly beings than they did 
just ordinary men."^'' 

These descriptions help the stu- 
dent of Church history visualize 
other spiritual events. Orson Pratt 
remembered the place of the 
Prophet's revelation November 4, 
1830: "He retired into the chamber 
of old Father Whtmer. . . . John 
Whitmer acted as his scribe, and I 
accompanied him into the chamber, 
for he had told me that it was my 
privilege to have the word of the 



Lord. . . ."-* It is apparent that this 
"chamber" was a private place, 
away from the traffic of the main 
room. One older meaning of 
"chamber" was an upstairs bed- 
room, and Lucy Smith in 1845 
refers to the upper story of their 
similar 1830 house as "the cham- 
ber."-'' One of the notable occur- 
rences of that period was "the voice 
of God in the chamber of old 
Father Whitmer, in Fayette. . . ."^^ 
These revelations probably came to 
the Prophet in the same upper-story 
room in which much of the Book of 
Mormon was translated. 

One main question concerning 
Father Whitmer's house has been 
raised but not answered— its precise 
location. For this we must return 
to Andrew Jenson. He evidently 
kept the location of the old home 
in his mind without reducing it to 
writing. John D. Giles talked with 
Andrew Jenson about this. He also 
conferred with Samuel J. Ferguson, 
for many years branch president of 
Palmyra and district leader in the 
area. Ferguson had visited the 
Whitmer farm with Andrew Jenson 
in the 1920s and was "shown by 
Brother Jenson the place which he 
had visited in 1888 when he, Ed- 
ward Stevenson and Joseph Black 
had seen some of the logs of the 
old house in their original posi- 
tions." Giles and Ferguson prepared 
a joint statement identifying the 
location that Andrew Jenson re- 
membered: 

"Brother Ferguson took me to the 
place which had been pointed out 
by Brother Jenson and which is the 
same that Brother Jenson told me 
was the location of the old house. 
The location indicated is near the 
southwest corner of the large barn 
on the Peter Whitmer farm."^'' This 
large barn stood some 70 yards di- 
rectly west of the present home on 
the property. Though it is now torn 
down, its location is known through 
photographs and its relationship to 



Era, April 1970 21 



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the still existing silo footings. 
Therefore, the Jensen location 
passed on to Giles and Ferguson is 
identifiable. 

The Jenson-Stevenson investiga- 
tions of 1888 are verified by two 
other historically significant visits 
to the Whitmer home at the turn of 
the century. Two missionaries 
stayed in nearby Waterloo during 
the winter of 1896-97: W. F. Brim 
and Theodore T. Burton, the father 
of Elder Theodore M. Burton, As- 
sistant to the Council of the Twelve. 
They met another individual with 
personal knowledge of the Mormon 
meetings in Fayette in 1829-31: 
"That person was an old man 
named Joseph Alleman, now aged 
84 years, who knew Peter Whit- 
mer and had heard the Prophet 
Joseph Smith preach."^^ Since 
AUeman's actual birthdate was Jan- 
uary 1814, he would have been 15 
or more at the Mormon preaching 
in Fayette. He surely knew the 
Whitmer meeting home, for his 
land was in the neighborhood, and 
"in boyhood years" he "attended the 
district schools of Fayette."-^ Theo- 
dore T. Burton's diary details many 
visits with this "regular old timer." 
The two missionaries also went to 
the Whitmer farm area more than 
once and wrote about what they 
learned. The Burton diary has the 
following entry dated December 14, 
1896: 

"Bro. Brim and myself went down 
to the old Peter Whitmer farm, now 
known as the Deshler farm, owned 
by Jesse Snook of Waterloo, and 
stood on the spot where the church 
was organized. The old log house 
has been torn down for a number 
of years, but the old well which 
stood in front of the house is still 
there. . . ."^*' A letter to the Deseret 
News from both elders says the 
same thing in slightly modified 
language.^^ 

As stated, one source of their 
knowledge was Joseph Alleman, 



22 



who heard the Prophet preach, pre- 
sumably in the Whitmer home. At 
the Whitmer farm they undoubted- 
ly met Chester Reed, the same 
tenant farmer who gave information 
to Jenson and Stevenson. The 
county directory of two years prior 
to the Burton-Brim visit hsts Ches- 
ter Reed, who "works on shares for 
Jesse Snook, of Waterloo, farm 
100," the latter figure being the 
proper acreage for that land.^" 

The most significant visit to con- 
firm the Jenson-Stevenson findings 
was that of Elder George Albert 
Smith of the Council of the Twelve. 
He purchased for the Church the 
Smith farm at Palmyra in the sum- 
mer of 1907. Intensely interested 
in historical questions, he took his 
wife and mission president German 
E. Ellsworth on a side trip to the 
place of Church organization. His 
journal for that day reads in part: 
"We got our automobile and went 
to old home of Peter Whitmer at 
Fayette, where the church was or- 
ganized April 6, 1830. . . . Chester 
Reed now lives on the Whitmer 
farm. The old house is torn 
down. . . ."^^ 

Later, Carter E. Grant, teacher- 
historian and an ordained patri- 
arch, took down the recollections 
of President Smith's traveling com- 
panion. German E. Ellsworth re- 
membered that the party made 
their visit "with the purpose in 
mind of locating and photograph- 
ing the exact spot where once stood 
the old Peter Whitmer log home." 
Before the visitors took pictures, 
there was considerable discussion to 
satisfy them that the site pointed 
out was authentic. Specifically, it 
was reached by "going around the 
south end" of the large barn, and 
the party stopped "about fifty feet 
or so back of the barn."^^ The 
photograph then taken by George 
Albert Smith confirms the site and 
agrees with Andrew Jenson's identi- 
fication, "near the southwest corner 



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Part of an 1852 map showing the ing Schott and Jolley homes, from 
L-shaped John Deshler home on the which came early members of the 
Whitmer property. Note also neighbor- Church. 



of the large barn on the Peter Whit- 
mer farm." 

It is important to realize that the 
person who identified the decaying 
logs for Jenson-Stevenson in 1888 
was the same individual who 
showed the log house site to Smith- 
Ellsworth in 1907. Ellsworth re- 
membered his comment, "The old 
log house was torn down many 
years ago, but this is the exact spot 
where it stood. "■^''' Because Chester 
Reed lived in the vicinity and on 
that land while the remains of the 
older house still existed, he spoke 
in 1907 with knowledge."" 

Rocks are more durable than logs, 
and two former caretakers of the 
Whitmer farm are still alive who 
remember what was evidently the 



stone foundation of the old house. 
West of the bam there was a rock 
outcropping, all the more noticeable 
because "on the Peter Whitmer 
farm there is hardly a rock avail- 
able big enough to throw at a 
bird."" 

John D. Giles located the site 
as pointed out by Andrew Jenson, 
the same place as the rock outcrop- 
ping occurred, as verified in 
conversations with Owen T. How- 
ard (caretaker from 1941 to 1946) 
and William Lee Powell ( caretaker 
from 1946 to 1952). In haying 
operations, the Powells ran equip- 
ment over this area and uncovered 
part of the foundation of a small 
building; "So my son and I com- 
pleted uncovering it, and we took 



Era, April 1970 23 



the measurements. It was 20 feet 
wide and 30 feet long."^'* 

These stones were subsequently 
removed in an attempt to preserve 
them, destroying the markers of 
the precise location pointed out by 
Jenson to Giles and by Giles to the 
caretakers of this property. How- 
ever, Irvin T. Nelson, Church land- 
scape architect, became interested 
in the knowledge of William Lee 
Powell, who returned and identified 
the location of the stone founda- 
tion. After his markers were 
removed to facilitate farming opera- 
tions, the Church Information 
Service authorized another trip this 
past summer for Brother Powell, 
who relocated the site of the rock 
foundation. 

The Church Information Service 
also sought to obtain any knowl- 
edge that archaeology might throw 
on the original Peter Whitmer 
home. Dale L. Berge, BYU faculty' 
member with considerable experi- 
ence in excavating Mormon homes 
in Nauvoo, brought a small crew to 
the Whitmer site in late summer 
of 1969. Other foundation stones 
were found on the site, together 
with remnants of human activity. 
These were confined to a location 
"approximately thirty by forty feet 
and nearly in the same area pointed 
out by Mr. Powell." Professor Berge 
found that objects, "including cob- 
ble stones, dramatically disap- 
peared" as trenches moved away 
from the supposed cabin site. 
Therefore, he concluded: 

"Some type of structure must 
have occupied this location. If it 
had been a barn, corral, com crib, 
tool shed, or any other type of farm 
structure, one would expect a com- 
pletely different assemblage of 
artifacts than was unearthed. We 
found bottle glass, glass dishes, 
porcelain, ironstone, shell car- 
tridges, drainage tile, square nails 
and coal. All of these artifacts re- 
flect a structure designed for 



domestic use."^^ 

When the tourist arrives at the 
Whitmer property today, he sees 
not the rustic house in which the 
Church was organized, but a white 
and columned Greek Revival home, 
which contains exhibits portraying 
the founding revelations of the 
Church. Obviously historic in its 
own right, this house brings in- 
evitable questions concerning its 
date of construction. Jenson and 
Stevenson were told in 1888 that the 
old house was torn down "many 
years ago," specified as 15 years in 
one statement. From this the con- 
clusion arose that the new home 
was built about 1873. But the primi- 
tive dwelling was not necessarily 
torn down at the time the modem 
one was built. Earlier homes were 
generally log, replaced by frame 
structures, but the older buildings 
frequently remained as barns or 
utility buildings. If the Whitmer 
log home was demolished about 
1873, in all likelihood the present 
dwelling was built many years be- 
fore that.-^-^^ 

New buildings cause increases in 
tax valuation, but the early assess- 
ment records in Fayette cannot be 
located. Even though sale prices 
and census estimates of worth exist 
for the farm, the nineteenth century 
dollar fluctuated, and inferences are 
a matter of probability.*'" Similar 
Greek Revival homes in the area 
reach to about 1840. Nauvoo 
Restoration architect Steven Baird 
recently examined the present 
Whitmer farm home and estimated 
its construction between 1840 and 
1850, but this again is only proba- 
bility." Yet one precise historical 
tool fixes 1852 as the latest date 
possible for the present home on 
the property. 

The collections of the Waterloo 
Library and Historical Society con- 
tain a large roll-type map ( approxi- 
mately 3' x 4/2') of Seneca County, 
published in 1852, which contains 



a plat of all properties and owners. 
The map is distinctive because it 
diagrams house shapes. The "Mor- 
mon farm" was then owned by John 
Deshler, whose house appears in 
the distinctive "L-shape" known to 
visitors until 1969, when remodel- 
ing added an east wing. The 1852 
map accurately pictures the outline 
and directions of the pre-1969 
house. ^" 

The discoverer of the above map 
was John S. Genung, prominent 
Waterloo businessman and historian 
of the society, without whose con- 
stant help LDS research in Seneca 
County would not have been pos- 
sible. Recently he and Larry C. 
Porter made a thorough check of 
about twenty houses built prior to 
1852, and their shapes all corre- 
sponded precisely to the 1852 
map.'^^ Such local correlation in- 
sures accuracy. Larry C. Porter is 
now field representative for the 
BYU Library in New York and has 
spent untold hours in Utah and 
New York to make the conclusions 
of this article sound. 

Since it is now certain that the 
present home was built by 1852, 
its builder was evidently John 
Deshler, who purchased the Whit- 
mer property in 1831. At that time 
Deshler ("late of the state of 
Pennsylvania") was a young mar- 
ried man of 25 with a two-year-old 
child. Six more children were born 
in the next dozen years. On a new 
farm, he would probably not have 
the means to build the Greek Re- 
vival home until sometime in the 
1840s.** 

Latter-day Saints visit the Whit- 
mer home to commemorate the 
spirituality of the infant church. 
They should envision the pioiieer 
home, a symbol of industry and 
simplicity of the God-fearing Whit- 
mers. Perhaps the known features 
of this early log house will provide 
a model for reconstruction to per- 
mit the visitor to "step into 1830." 



24 



Orson Pratt had strong feelings 
about the latter-day realities sym- 
bolized by the Whitmer home: 
"That house will, no doubt, be cele- 
brated for ages to come as the one 
chosen by the Lord in which to 
make known the first elements of 
the organization of His Kingdom 
in the latter days."*'^ O 

FOOTNOTES 

1 Letter of, David O. McKay to John D. Giles, 
January 28, 1946, Salt Lake City, Utah; Giles 
papers, BYIJ Archives. 

2 See Carter E. Grant, "Peter Whitmer's Log 
House," and "The Whereabouts of the Whit- 
mer Log Home," The Improvement Era, Vol. 
62 (May 1959), pp. 349ff., and Vol. 65 
(April 1962), pp. 250ff. His study was done 
for the LDS Historic Sites Committee under 
the direction of Elder George Q. Morris. 

3 Conference Minutes, April 6, 1844, Times 
and Seasons, Vol. 5 (May 1, 1844), p. 522. 
Although Rigdon refers to 1830, the actual 
meeting remembered was held two days into 
1831, as the next paragraph shows. 

4 The historical writings of Joseph Smith, 
Lucy Smith, and Newel Knight all give Decem- 
ber 1830 as the date of Rigdon's arrival in New 
York. 

5 Journal of Discourses (hereinafter JD), Vol. 
13, p. 356, speech of May 5, 1870. 

JD, Vol. 7, p. 372, speech of January 29, 
1860. 

7 JD, Vol. 17, p. 292, speech of February 7, 
1875. 

s JD, Vol. 17, pp. 104-5, speech of June 14, 
1874. Although Pratt made various estimates, 
most tend to small figures, and this context 
indicates that he had no definite figure in 
mind. 

9 JD, Vol. 7, p. 372, speech of Januarv 29, 
1860. Italics added. 

10 JD, Vol. 7, p. 176, speech of July 10, 
1859. Italics added. 

11 Chicago Tribune, December 17, 1885. 

12 Journal of Edward Stevenson, January 2, 
1887. Italics added. 

13 Times and Seasons, Vol. 4 (December 1, 
1842), pp. 22-23; also cit. History of the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
(Salt Lake City, 1946), Vol. 1, p. 85. 

14 Lucy Smith, Biographical Sketches of 
Joseph Smith the Prophet (Liverpool, 1853), pp. 
138-39. Joseph's parents "were sitting in a 
bedroom," waiting for the group to return. 
Downstairs is the more likely place, especially 
on a June afternoon. 

JSDeseret News. October 11, 1888; also cit. 
Andrew Jenson and Edward Stevenson, Infancy 
of the Church (Salt Lake City, 1888), p. 40. 

16 Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca 
and Schuyler Counties (New York, 1895), pp. 
382-83. Birthdate is January 10, 1814. 

n Seneca Observer (Waterloo, New York), 
October 29, 1869. Cf. the conveyance March 30, 
1871, _of William Hogan to John Tubbs of the 
land "known as the Mormon Farm." Seneca 
County Clerk's Office, Book 87, p. 561. The 
obituar>' of Chester Reed's father, John, indi- 
cated that he had been "a resident of that 
town [Fayette] for over seventy-five years. . . ." 
Waterloo Observer, February 23, 1881. 

18 Ref. at note 15. Italics added. 

19 Journal of Edward Stevenson, September 
28, 1888. Italics added. 

20 Diary of Joseph Smith Black, 1836-1910, 
BYU typescript, p. 74. Italics added. Cf. p. 72: 
"I will now make extracts from my notebook." 



Because Dean Jessee located Black's diary, it is 
appropriate to acknowledge his valuable as- 
sistance and that of his associates at the Church 
Historian's Office. The quotation follows the 
manuscript, not the typescript. 

21 Interview of William H. Kelley with David 
Whitmer, September 15, 1881, Saints' Herald, 
Vol. 29 (March 1, 1882), p. 68. 

22 Diary of Oliver B. Huntington, 1847- 
1900, Part II, p. 415 (typescript BYU). He is 
slightly in error on age, since her birthdate is 
September 19, 1810. Frank Esshom, Pioneers 
and Prominent Men of Utah (Salt Lake City, 
1913), Part II, p. 780. Early Provo records 
show that Sarah was also called Sallie, which 
the family confirms, 

23 Interview of Carma Rose Anderson with 
Pearl Bunnell Newell, February 10, 1970, trans- 
scribed by Kristin Bowman. The marriage no- 
tice confirms Sarah's residence in Fayette: 
"MARRIED ... Mr. DAVID BUNNELL of 
New Jersey to Miss SARAH CONRAD of 
Fayette." Seneca Farmer (Waterloo, New 
York), April 21, 1830. 

24 JD, Vol. 17, p. 290, speech of February 7, 
1875. 

2.') Lucy Smith, op. cit,, pp. 163-64. Her 
manuscript was completed by 1845. 

2GD&C 128:21. 

2 7 Statement of Samuel J. Ferguson and 
John D. Giles, July 26, 1950, carbon copy in 
Giles papers at BYIJ. 

28 Interview with W. F. Brim, Deseret News, 
June 2, 1898. Italics added. 

29 Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca 
and Schuyler Counties, New York (New York, 
1895), p. 408. 

30 Journal of Theodore T. Burton, December 
14, 1896, an entry appearing at the back of 
the book under Memoranda. 

31 Letter of Theodore T. Burton and W. F. 
Brim, January 19, 1897, Waterloo, New York, 
Deseret News, January 30, 1897. 

32 Hamilton Child, Reference Business Direc- 
tory of Seneca County, New York (Seneca Falls, 
New York, 1894), p. 82. 

33 Journal of George Albert Smith, June 12, 
1907. Italics added. 

34 Statement of German E. Ellsworth, Octo- 
ber 27, 1955, Salt Lake City, quoted in full 
in each article cited at n. 2, pp. 369, 282-83. 

35 Ibid. 

36 Cf. n. 17. 

37 Interview of Owen T. Howard by Larry 
C. Porter, May 7, 1969, typescript, p. 1. 

38 Interview of William Lee Powell by Larry 
C. Porter, July 26, 1969, typescript, p. 2. 

39 Dale L. Berge, "Excavations at the Peter 
Whitmer Home, Fayette, New York," report at 
the Nineteenth Annual Symposium on the Ar- 
chaeology of the Scriptures and Allied Fields, 
Saturday, October 18, 1969. Very minor 
changes in spelling and punctuation have been 
made in this quotation and other quotations in 
the article. 

:!9a Since the writing of this paragraph, Larry 

C. Porter reports an 1859 map (located in the 
Seneca County clerk's office) showing two 
homes then standing on the property. Map of 
Cayuga and Seneca Counties, New York (Phila- 
delphia, A. R. Z. Dawson, 1859). 

40 Larry T. Winimer and Carlton Infanger, 
economists at BYU, consider that construction 
of the new home between 1830 and 1850 is 
most likely, based on valuations by decades from 
1830 to 1870. 

41 Letter of Steven T. Baird to Elder Marion 

D. Hanks, October 10, 1969. 

42 Topographical Map of Seneca County, New 
York, made for J. Delafield by WUliam T. Gib- 
son, 1852. 

43 Letter of Larry C. Porter to Richard L. 
Anderson, January 30, 1970, Palmyra, New 
York. 

44 Information on Deshler comes from deeds, 
the 1850 census, and family genealogy. 

45 JD, Vol. 12, p. 88, speech of August 11, 
1869. 



Of Age 

By Virginia Scott Miner 

She filled the years too full 

To take the time to count them. 




If you're not sure, there's help available 
through the pages of LISTEN, a monthly 
magazine devoted to better living. 



Era, April 1970 25 




$4.00 



Information, 
facts, and people 
with real-life stories per year 
to tell. These can do more for your chil- 
dren than any amount of lecturing, plead- 
ing, and demanding. 

The first step is to subscribe to LISTEN 
— the nation's outstanding j'ournal with 
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T ICT^inW P-O- Box 11471 
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Please send me yearly subscriptions to 

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Note: Inquire about bulk subscriptions for 
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groups. 



Right Elder Hunter 

discusses ryew assignment 

as Church Historian. 

Far right: Elder Hunter examines 

old minute book in written 

records sect/on of library. 

Below: Lauritz G. Petersen, 

research supervisor, and Elder 

Hunter view painting 

by CCA. Christensen, one of 

many paintings and photographs 

in Church Historian's library. 





Elder Howard W Hunter, 
Church Historian 

By Jay M. Todd 

Assistant Managing Editor 

• The First Presidency has called Elder Howard W. with "preaching and expounding, writing, copying, 

Hunter of the Council of the Twelve to succeed Presi- selecting, and obtaining all things which shall be for 

dent Joseph Fielding Smith as Church Historian and the good of the church, and for the rising generations 

general Church recorder. Elder Hunter thus becomes that shall grow up on the land. . . ." (D&C 69:8.) 

the sixteenth man in this dispensation to be charged President Smith has served as Church Historian for 



26 



49 years, since 1921— the longest period served by any 
previous Church Historian. During his nearly half 
century as Church Historian, he has seen the historian's 
staff grow from 12 employees in 1920 to a present staff 
of 48. The holdings in the written records, manu- 
script, and library section are presently estimated at 
more than 260,000 volumes and about one million 
documents, pamphlets, photos, and recordings. 

"When I was called to a meeting of the First Presi- 
dency and they called me to serve as Church His- 
torian, I was taken so completely by surprise that 
I didn't at the moment feel the impact of the awesome 
responsibility of this assignment," said Elder Hunter 
in a recent interview. 

"President Smith had been the Church Historian 
for so many years that I could hardly visualize myself 
in that position. However, after further consultations 
with the First Presidency and having reread the revela- 
tions of the Lord that refer to the office, 1 am quite 
overwhelmed with its importance and responsibility." 

When asked about the overall charge of the office, 
Elder Hunter said, "As I read the revelations, there 
are definitely two sides of the Church Historian's 
responsibility. One is as an archivist, to collect and 
preserve those things that will be of value in the 
future. This encompasses writings of all kinds as well 
as objects of art, artifacts, and other things that have 
relevance to the Church and its organization, growth, 
and history. The other responsibility is to build the 
living side of the history by recording the events of 
the times. 

"Truthfully, the assignment as given by the Lord 
through revelation is tremendously challenging— both 
in fulfilling the task of collection and writing and 
in making the material of use to the members of the 
Church. 

"I think that most people have an interest in his- 
tory, and I, too, have had a very deep interest in 
history. I have a 20-volume work containing the his- 
tory of civilizations, which I have enjoyed reading 
and rereading. I believe that when we understand 
what has gone on in the past, we can make better 
plans for the future," Elder Hunter added. 

The new Church Historian was bom in Boise, Idaho, 
November 14, 1907. As a youth he was the second 
boy in Idaho to become an Eagle Scout. He liked 
music, and toured the Orient with his own band before 
moving to California to make his home. In 1931 he 



married Clara May Jeffs. After marriage he worked 
in banking until he completed his law studies in 1939. 

In 1941 he was called as bishop of the El Sereno 
Ward, and nine years later he became president of the 
Pasadena Stake. He was called to the Council of the 
Twelve in 1959. Five years later he was appointed 
president of the Genealogical Society. In this calling 
he has won for the Church immense respect and 
tribute, as the Genealogical Society has become world 
famous among professional organizations for its 
progressive record-keeping activities. 

Elder Hunter will continue to serve as president 
of the Genealogical Society; as supervisor of the mis- ' 
sions of the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand; 
as chairman of the Polynesian Cultural Center in 
Hawaii; as chairman of the New World Archaeological 
Foundation of Brigham Young University; as a mem- 
ber of the board of directors of Beneficial Life Insur- 
ance Company; and on several other Church-related 
boards and committees. 

The office of Church Historian and general Church 
recorder was one of the first established by the Lord 
when the Church was organized. Indeed, on the day 
the Church was organized, April 6, 1830, the first 
Church recorder was appointed. This was Oliver 
Cowdery, who was also sustained as Second Elder. He 
served as Church recorder for about one year. Follow- 
ing are the succeeding Church Historians, recorders, 
or clerks and their approximate lengths of service (all 
were assigned in one way or another to fill the charge 
given the Church Historian and general Church 
recorder ) : John Whitmer ( 4 years ) , Oliver Cowdery 
(2 years), George W. Robinson (3 years), John Cor- 
rill (1 year), Elias Higbee (5 years), Robert Blashel 
Thompson (1 year as Church clerk), James Sloan (2 
years as Church clerk), Willard Richards (11 years), 
George A. Smith (16 years), Albert Carrington (4 
years), Orson Pratt (7 years), Wilford Woodruff 
(6 years), Franklin Dewey Richards (11 years), 
Anthon H. Lund (21 years), and Joseph Fielding 
Smith (49 years). All who have served since and in- 
cluding Elder Willard Richards have been members 
of the Council of the Twelve. Six have been called 
to the First Presidency: Oliver Cowdery, Willard 
Richards, George A. Smith, Albert Carrington, Anthon 
H. Lund, and Joseph Fielding Smith. Two have been 
called as President of the Church: President Wilford 
Woodruff and President Joseph Fielding Smith. O 



Era. April 1970 27 






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Top left: 

"A Prophet," 

in bronze, 

by Larry Prestwich 

Top right: 

"The Iron Rod," 

in acrylic, 

by Robert L. Shepherd 

Above, left: 
"Laman," in plaster, 
by Award Fairbanks 

Above, right; 

"Old Nauvoo," in oil, 

by Dayid E. Garrison 



Left: "Scene at 
Nauvoo, Illinois: 
Mississippi River 
from Temple Hill,' 
in oil, by Ethel 
S. Paul 



-if #.* 



''mi^ 



A Festival of Mormon Art 



Reproduced on these pages are representative 
entries in the first Festival of Mormon Art, held 
last year at Brigham Young University. More 
than sixty artists from throughout the Church 
responded to the challenge to submit something 
"to contribute to the upbuilding of the kingdom 



of God on earth" and to express the messagfe of 
the gospel through art. Readers will note variety 
in style, message, and technique. 

When the Lord instructed Moses on Mount 
Sinai about erecting the tabernacle, he gave 
him the names of talented Israelite artisans who 




Top left 

"Moroni Instructing 
His Generals in 
the Fortification 
of Cities," in oil, 
by Gary Kapp 



Top right: 

"I See You, God," 

in acrylic, 

by James Christensen 



Left: "The Prophet 
Joseph Smith and 
the Plates," in 
oil, by Harold D. 
Petersen 



Right: "And t 

Saw Another Angel," 

etching, by 

Dennis Smith 




3 


4 
1* 


5 


4 

ti 




% 




% 




1 




■ 



were to create appropriate works of art for the 
structure. In so doing, he described these men 
in an interesting manner: ". . . and in the hearts 
of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, 
that they make all that I have commanded thee." 
(Exod. 31:6. ) This designation of "wise hearted" 
aptly fits the goal of Latter-day Saint artists who 
submitted original works to the Festival of 
Mormon Art. Certainly the description is a chal- 



lenge to all who desire to consecrate their 
talents to the upbuilding of the kingdom of God 
on earth. 

The 1970 festival began in mid-March and will 
continue through April. This year the festival 
includes music, drama, some forms of creative 
writing, and art. Representative entries from 
this second festival will be published in future 
issues. 



o 



Top left: "The Hill Cumorah," in oil, by Donald F. Allan; top right: "Moroni Depositing the Plates," in oil, by Larry Prest- 
wich; bottom left: "Heritage," in oil, by William J. Parkinson; bottom center: "Other Sheep," in wood, by Rodney L. Rowe; 
bottom right: "Ordination Day," in oil, by Trevor Southey 



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iitfiirilfiiniiffl Miniiiii 



How Far 
Is Heaven? 



By Sadie H. Greenhalgh 



• In Sunday School they talk about 
heaven. Sometimes it seems so far, 
far away. Sometimes it seems that 
it could be closer, but it isn't really. 

I like to think of the times, a long 
time ago, when on some days it 
seemed a little bit closer than it 
is now. 

When we bought our new house, 
I wasn't very big. I was big 
enough to tend my two little sisters 
and to know that Mama and Daddy 
were happy. 

I liked the big tree on the lawn, 
and one of the first things Daddy 
did was to make a swing. I used 
to think heaven might be right 
behind one of those pretty white 
clouds in the blue sky. I'd pump 
hard and go really high, trying to 
reach it. It didn't matter much 
then if I did or did not, because 
Mama was in the house getting 
dinner and Daddy would soon be 
coming up the road from work in 
the old truck. 

That old truck wasn't very pretty, 
but me and Daddy liked it. We 
worked on it lots of times. We used 
to go up in the mountains and look 
for arrowheads and rocks and 
things like that. 

I think that up in the mountains 
could be a little like heaven too. 
It's so still, with nobody hollering 
around. Wild flowers look more 
like God made them than fancy 
flowers in gardens with cement 



walks and mowed lawns. The 
water in the streams sparkles more, 
and it is so clear you can about 
see through it. It runs different 
than in city ditches, don't you 
think? 

When a new baby came to our 
house, that was a little bit like 
heaven too. Babies even smell like 
they come from heaven, and every- 
one in the house is so happy. I 
would touch its little soft fingers 
and toes and kiss its forehead. We 
would all be quiet when it slept. 

I am sure there will be grandmas 
and grandpas in heaven, because 
they, have so much love, and love 
has to be up there. I'm not sure 
about the horses on Grandpa's 
farm. They would make it happy 
up there, but maybe they have a 
heaven all their own— I just don't 
know about that. 

On days when I heard quarrel- 
ing, I couldn't think about heaven. 
When Daddy didn't come home 
and Mama cried, I felt like heaven 
was just a made-up story. There 
wasn't one anywhere. 

You can't think about heaven 
when days get sadder and sadder. 
You just cry at night so nobody 
will know about it. When you are 
the biggest, you don't want your 
little sisters to cry too. You pre- 
tend things are happy, but inside 
it hurts, and you know they are not 
happy. 



You try to keep saying your 
prayers and ask God to make things 
better, but I guess sometimes God 
hears all the prayers that aren't 
said. 

When it's dark and everything is 
black, you know there isn't any 
heaven anywhere. That's the way 
it was when Mama and us kids 
left our home and went away, 

I was glad there wasn't a swing 
at the new place. There were no 
mountains either, so even if Daddy 
had been there, we couldn't have 
gone hunting rocks in the old truck. 

Last summer it was a little bit 
like heaven once more. I went to 
see my daddy. He looked just the 
same to me. He said I was bigger 
in three years. His old truck had 
worn out, but he had made another 
one with a camper on it. When we 
went fishing and looking for things, 
we could even stay all night. Some- 
times I'd dream when we got home 
the next day that maybe, just may- 
be, there could be a miracle and 
Mama and my sisters would be 
there. Before we got there I quit 
thinking, 'cause I knew they 
wouldn't. Me and Dad would fry 
some meat and open a can of 
beans. We acted like we were 
happy, and we sorta were. 

Only now I know for sure heaven 
is a long, long way away— farther 
than it used to be when I had that 
swing. 

Sometimes in Sunday School I 
shut my eyes for a minute and just 
play that Mama is sitting on one 
side and Dad on the other. I pre- 
tend Mama is singing. She is a 
good singer. It feels a little bit like 
heaven would, but pretty soon I 
have to open my eyes. 

Yes, heaven is a long, long way 
off. It's always hard to get there, 
but you could make it if a mom 
and a dad and a big boy and some 
little sisters all had hold of hands 
and were climbing together. 

It's too far for a little boy to 
ever get there all alone, though. O 



Era, April 1970 31 




Dickie Bird, I'm Sorry 



By Mickey A. Goodwin 



• Being the father of five daughters is not an alto- 
gether easy task, I thought, as the attendants closed 
the doors of the big airliner behind me. Not an easy 
task, but it certainly had its rewards. Even with the 
rewards, however, I had never stopped watching boys, 
looking for those who appealed to me. Perhaps that 
was why I had anxiously anticipated the time when I 
would gain a son-in-law. When that time came, I told 
myself, I would at last have a son. 

Then, just a few weeks ago, Carol had clouded the 
anticipation of years with the announcement of her 
engagement to a perfect stranger. It disturbed me to 
have Carol engaged to a man whom I had never met, 
a man from the Midwest whose family I didn't even 
know. Negative thoughts crowded my mind, over- 
riding all the glowing descriptions Carol had written 
of him. 

Consequently I had planned this trip, not just for 
general conference or business, but, in reality, to meet 
Carol's fiance, Brian Birch. 

As far as I was concerned, I was sure she was mak- 
ing a mistake. He was not the man for my oldest 
daughter— even his name was undesirable. But that 
was probably because the only other Birch I had ever 
known was Dickie Birch, a boy from northern Cali- 
fornia who had little appeal to me and who had 
burdened me for life with a guilty conscience. I 
didn't need a son-in-law to remind me of him. 

Even though 14 years had passed since that Scout 
trip to the Sierras, I could still see Dickie Birch, his 
crumpled and faded uniform, his pale, freckled face, 
his intensely dark eyes, and his resolute chin. No, 
I didn't need a son-in-law to remind me of him. 

That had been a strange circumstance anyway— my 
having no sons, yet having been called to be the 
Scoutmaster. But with a good committee behind me, 
and the help of the parents, we had shaped those boys 
into a top-notch troop. 



We worked all year learning camp skills, earning 
money, taking overnight trips, with just one big dream 
in mind— a seven-day back-pack trip in July. Then, just 
three days before we were to leave, I received that 
phone call from the Primary president. 

She explained what she wanted without apology, as 
she matter-of-factly asked me to make arrangements 
for a nonmember neighbor boy to go with us to the 
mountains. I was stunned. Take an untrained 
stranger with us? 

"It's a real missionary opportunity, Kurt," she had 
said, apparently oblivious of my concern. "And I know 
you'll be good for Dickie," she concluded. I couldn't 
get out of it. Dickie Birch was going with us. I hung 
up the telephone sharply and stomped off to bed, 
muttering angrily about "officious meddlers." 



Mickey A. Goodwin, a mother of seven children and a 
member of the Omaha (Nebraska) Second Ward, is a 
part-time free-lance writer, strongly motivated to write of 
"our heavenly Father's love for all his children on earth." 



Illustrated by Jerry Harstor) 



32 





I was still resentful at 4:30 Monday morning as I 
drove into the parking lot to load the Scouts. When 
I saw him, I was sure my resentment was justified. 
Dickie Birch was the scrawniest little 12-year-old I 
had ever seen. 

"Great, just great!" I growled, as I stepped from the 
car. "We'll probably have to carry him and his pack." 

Dickie must have sensed what I was thinking, be- 
cause, as I looked at him, his eyes narrowed slowly, 
his mouth tightened, and his chin set. He'd show me 
he wasn't just a scrawny kid. 

"You guys met Birch?" I asked the noisy boys who 
were greeting me. 

"Who?" they asked. 

"Dickie Birch," I repeated, 

"Dickie Bird?" someone queried in mock disbelief, 




and laughter rolled quickly through the group. 

"Dickie Bird!" they all snorted. 

I glanced at Dickie. He gulped a bit, his dark eyes 
searching their faces. The edges of his mouth moved 
slightly, as if to smile, but there was no humor in it. 
We all knew the die was cast. Dickie Birch was going 
to have to fight to get in. He was like a stray in a 
kennel full of purebreds, I thought, and we were stuck 
with him. 

"All right, fellows," I said. "Let's get loaded." 

Dickie spent a long, silent three hours on the way to 
the ranger station at the base of the trail. He volun- 
teered nothing, and only Glenn Evans talked to him. 

We unloaded hurriedly, because the skies were over- 
cast and threatening, and I wanted to get the troop 
moving. I was making a last-minute inspection of the 
boys and their packs when I suddenly reahzed that 
Evans and Birch were still down by the cars. I 
stalked over to them angrily. 

"Come on, you two," I said as I reached them. 
"You're holding things up." Then I saw Dickie's pack. 
Glenn had obviously tried to do something with it 
before I got there, but it was still an amateurish mess. 

"Who packed your gear?" I demanded. 

"I did," Dickie answered without flinching. 

I took the pack, untied the strings, and dumped 
everything on the ground. With practiced precision 
meant to humiliate Dickie, I repacked his gear. I 
didn't even take time to tell him how it should have 
been done. 

Glenn waited while I put Dickie into his pack, and 
then we all moved quickly back to the others. They 
turned as we approached, silenced by the sight of 
Dickie, who looked smaller than ever under the moun- 
tain of his gear. He returned their gaze without 
blinking. 

"Who's going to carry the Dickie Bird?" one of the 
boys jibed, breaking the silence and setting the troop 
to snickering. 

I'll manage," Dickie answered evenly. And he 
did. 

I kept checking on him, hoping that he would need 
help so I could justify my feelings, but he never gave 



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Era.^A'prll 1970 33 



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me that satisfaction. I think he would rather have died 
in the rain on the muddy trail than to ask for 
assistance. 

The other adults and I pressed on ahead in the last 
mile, left our gear at the camp site, and went back 
down the trail to help the stragglers. 

Dickie and Glenn had pushed up to the middle of 
the group, but I could tell when I approached Dickie 
that he was nearly worn out. I even felt some com- 
passion for him, as he looked up at me^ from under the 
drippy poncho, his fingers grimy with mud, clutching 
the thick shoulder straps that clung to his thin frame. 

"Let me help you with that," I said, laying my hand 
on his harness. 

"I'll do it myself," he answered coolly as he went 
by me up the hill. 

I shrugged at the rebuff and went off with the 
other men to get the fellows into camp. Dickie and 
Glenn were the last ones to set down their gear. 

Glenn was older and had had no problems, but 
Dickie just sat limply on a wet rock by his pack. Glenn 
came quietly over to me, and we both turned to look 
at Dickie. Unconsciously he was wiping the back 
of his hands across his eyes and cheeks. It was the 
only little boy gesture I ever saw him make. 

"I guess he'd better bunk with me," Glenn said. 

"Yeah, sure," I answered. "Thanks." 

Well, I had been wrong about Dickie's endurance, 
but it didn't take long to find out that I was right 
when I called him green. There wasn't a single 
knot or lashing that he knew. His mistakes became 
the favorite camp jokes. 

Through it all, Dickie never lost his composure. He 
just kept his chin set with those youthful muscles 
tensing under his cheekbones. Glenn worked quietly 
with him, trying to cover for him wherever he could, 
but the taunts persisted. By late that evening, the 
kidding was so incessant that even I was glad when 
they were all in their tents. 

I was just settling down when I saw flashes of light 
coming from Glenn's and Dickie's tent. 

"So, Dickie's scared of the dark," I thought, as I 
pulled on my boots. "Just wait till the other boys 
find out that he has to sleep with his flashlight on!" 

When I neared their tent I saw that I had under- 
estimated Dickie again. He wasn't frightened at all, 
but was earnestly studying the Scout book with the 
flashlight propped beside him and a length of cord in 
his hands. He was practicing tying knots. 

I suppose no one has ever learned the fundamentals 
of camping faster than Dickie Birch did. He never 
made the same mistake twice. But by mid-afternoon 
the next day, the relentless Scouts found a weak spot 



that would bring Dickie to his knees— and the rest of 
us with him. 

It had been a beautiful day, quite a contrast to 
the preceding damp days. It was so warm that we 
had a hard time keeping the fellows away from the 
water until they finished their assignments and 
projects. When we did turn them loose, they whooped, 
tore off their clothing, and raced to the river. It took 
them quite a while to realize that Dickie was not 
with them. 

"Hey, where's Dickie Bird?" someone shouted. 

"He's probably writing a letter to his mama," a smart 
aleck retorted, and they all laughed at their own 
poor humor. 

"Hey, Glenn, go get him," another voice directed. 

"He doesn't swim," Glenn answered. 

"Did you hear that? He doesn't swim," someone 
cracked. 

"Of course, stupid, anybody knows that birds can't 
swim." 

"I saw a bird swim once," called another boy. 

"Oh, yeah? Well, let's go get the Dickie Bird and 
see if he can swim." 

With that, four of the boys climbed from the water 
and raced noisily to the camp to get Dickie. He re- 
mained sitting quietly beside his tent until they 
stopped at his feet. ' 

"Come on, Dickie Bird," they said. "We're gonna 
teach you to swim." 

Dickie didn't answer. 

"Yeah, we want to see if birds can swim," one of 
them said, as he grabbed Dickie's arm. 

Dickie pushed him aside. Another boy grabbed, 
and the scramble was on. There were arms and legs 
and pine needles and dust flying in all directions for 
a few moments. From the water came loud cheers 
of encouragement. Then, as suddenly as it had 
started, the fracas was over, leaving Dickie standing 
defiantly, his chest heaving, glaring at four Scouts 
who couldn't handle him. 

"Aw, lay off, you guys," Glenn called from the 
edge of the water, and the would-be abductors re- 
treated to the river. But I could tell by the expres- 
sions on their faces that they had not finished teaching 
Dickie to swim. 

That evening and the next morning the quiet hud- 
dles, punctuated with snickers, seemed to portend no 
good for Dickie. I knew he saw them, and I thought 
I sensed a new uneasiness in him that I had never 
seen before. 

The boys had only been in the water a few minutes, 
pretending at their water games, when one of them 
gave the cue. 



Er9, April 1970 35 



"Hey, don't you think it's time for swimming les- 
sons?" 

"I didn't know they gave swimming lessons up 
here," came the reply. 

"Oh, yes," chimed in another, "but they're only for 
birds." 

"Stop it, will you?" Glenn interrupted. 

"You want to stop us, Glenn?" someone asked. 

"Come on, let's go get him," the leader called, and 
they all scrambled up the bank to get Dickie. He 
didn't stand a chance that time, although he fought 
like a wildcat. 

They dragged and carried him to the water's edge. 
Their voices rang out together in a great "heave ho," 
and Dickie landed out in deep water. 

I had been sitting on the opposite bank wonder- 
ing how far they would go. I saw Dickie's face just 
before he hit the water. There was no composure left 
in it— he was scared. He really couldn't swim. 

Within seconds the boys realized how foolish they 
had been as Dickie came up once, and again, and 
then was suddenly caught in the current and swirled 
downstream. 

I plunged in behind him. 

The entire drama had taken no more than four or 
five minutes. We laid the Hmp, exhausted, humiliated 
youngster on the bank. He blinked at the group of us 
huddled soberly around him. We knew he would 



recover, but the Hght in his eyes and the set of his 
chin had changed. 

An hour later when we checked his tent, he was 
gone. When he wasn't back by dark we knew we 
would have to look for him. We searched that evening 
and all the next day without finding him, and to add 
to our distress, the rain returned to stay. 

By evening we were exhausted. We had accom- 
plished nothing, and we were wet and cold and 
burdened with guilt. The morale of the group 
couldn't have been lower. 

"His dad should have taught him some responsibility 
before sending him up here," I grumbled into the 
darkness. 

From somewhere on the other side of the fire came 
Glenn's quiet reply, "He doesn't have a dad." 

Shocked silence fell upon the men and boys gath- 
ered there. 

"Brother Thomas, do you think we should all kneel 
here together and pray?" Glenn asked soberly. 

We arose from that prayer to a new silence— quite a 
different group from the arrogant men and boys of 
a few nights before. 

We had brought Dickie Birch to his knees, and he 
had unwittingly pulled us down with him. We had 




humiliated him, but he had humbled us. How small I 
felt! How desperately I needed forgiveness! 

Suddenly we seemed to turn in unison toward a 
sound at the edge of the trees. There stood Dickie. 

"Birch," the fellows shouted. Not "Dickie Bird." 
They had said "Birch." He had won. 

How long had he been there? Had he heard us 
praying for him? I never knew, but our trip was 
finished. The rain increased during the night, and 
the skies the next day were dark and wet. There 
was no sign of relief, so we broke camp and started 
down the trail. 

When I reached home, a transfer was waiting for me. 
We moved to southern California two weeks later. I 
never saw Dickie Birch again, but his set chin and 
his bright eyes still haunted me. How could I have 
been so hard? Why hadn't someone told me he didn't 
have a father? Even so, ignorance was no justifica- 
tion for treating him badly, or for allowing the other 
boys to abuse him. . . . 

As the plane touched down in Salt Lake City, I 
sighed again the sigh of a man who had not yet found 
forgiveness. Someday, I thought, someday I may be 
forgiven. 

A few moments later I had Carol in my arms, happy 
to hold her again. 

"Oh, Daddy," she said breathlessly, "this is Brian. 
Brian, this is my father." 

"I'm glad to meet you, sir," he said, as he stuck his 
hand out to me. 

As I clasped it, I began to look him over, this man 
who intended to marry my daughter. He was taller 
than I had expected him to be, cheerful, intense, ob- 
viously intelligent, and, in spite of myself, I liked him. 

"Daddy," Carol broke in upon us, "Brian and I just 
discovered the most wonderful thing! Remember 
when you were the Scoutmaster in northern California? 
Well, Brian's brother went with you on that Scout 
trip. Do you remember him?" 

"Come on, Dickie Bird. 
We'r^ gonna teach you to swinn" 



"Not Dickie Birch?" I asked, amazed. 

Brian grinned. "Yes, sir. Richard Nelson Birch the 
third. Do you remember him?" 

"But I thought you were from the Midwest." 

"We moved to Nebraska to live with my grand- 
parents just a few months after you moved." 

"What about your membership in the Church?" I 
asked, my guilty feelings surfacing again. "How did 
you happen to join?" 

"If you remember Dick's determination, you know it 
wasn't an accident. He decided on that Scout trip 
that he was going to become a Mormon. My mother 
said he couldn't, and my grandfather said he couldn't— 
but he did, and he brought all of us into the Church 
with him. Right now he's the branch president back 
home, and my grandfather is his first counselor." 

Did I remember Dickie's determination? I shook 
my head in disbelief. The world couldn't be that 
small! 

"Dickie Birch," I muttered. 

"Yes, sir," Brian broke into my thoughts. "And we 
sort of owe it all to you, because you let him go on 
that Scout trip, even though he didn't know much 
about Scouting." 

Because of me? In spite of me was more correct. 

I looked again at Brian carefully. He was much like 
Dickie, and I liked him. 

I smiled as we started for the terminal, relieved to 
have at last found some small hope for forgiveness. 

"Cast thy Dickie Birds upon the water," I said half 
aloud. 

"What was that, sir?" Brian asked. 

"Oh, nothing," I answered, not wanting him to know. 
"But I would like a drink of water." 

Dickie Birch will always haunt me, and, if I'm wise, 
he will always remind me of my frailties. But forgive- 
ness is coming, and who knows— if I'm lucky, I may 
even have a grandson who will remind me of Dickie 
Birch. O 

Illustrated by Jerry Harston 





Era, April 1970 37 






A mother recounts 
the last days with her dying son 





I Knew 
COURAGE 



.>W- 



By Jean Hart 

lUustraXed by Bill Whitaker 



• The hot pain in my chest burned in sharp con- determined to work even harder than before. 

trast to the cold fear that iced my heart. Here, in With his running, instead of the usual practice of 

the vast, lonesome, black, interminable night, I lay training only during track season, Greg trained the 



trying to make myself face the possibility that I had 
cancer. 

As days and fearsome, sleepless nights of pain 
followed, I found myself constantly thinking about 
what it would be like to die. But it was another 



year around. He severely denied himself every food 
or activity that he felt would impair his running. He 
spent summers working for his grandfather on his 
cattle ranch. After spending a full, hard day in the 
hayfields, he' would care for a large vegetable garden, 



drama, a year earlier, that made this thought more which he had insisted on planting, and then go for 



poignant. It wasn't until now that a true realization 
of the depth and breadth of Greg's courage came to 
me, 

Greg was a big, handsome, clean-cut 17-year-old, 
and a fine runner. When he had announced, five 



long runs in the nearby foothills. 

Everyone pleaded with him to stop demanding so 
much of himself, worried about the rigorous schedule 
he set for himself, but to no avail. He was a per- 
fectionist and had decided this would give him the 



years before, his decision to follow a family tradition strength and stamina in running he needed. 



of competing in the mile run, my heart sank. He was 
poorly coordinated, and I could foresee nothing but 
heartbreak for him. His life had been full enough 
of this already, I felt. He had always had to do 
things the hard way; events conspired against him, 
making everything he desired an uphill struggle. 
Instead of quitting, however, he always seemed more 



When he returned from the ranch to begin school, 
he didn't look well and always seemed tired. Since 



Jean Hart, first counselor in the Bountiful (Utah) Stake 
Relief Society, is the mother of six children and wrote 
this true story of her son, "believing that courage 
stimulates courage, and hoping that his experience 
could lift others." 



38 



he had had rheumatic fever as a child, we watched 
his heart rather closely. To allay our worry, we 
had him undergo a cardiogram and complete physi- 
cal examination. But all tests indicated he was well. 
We knew he had driven himself too hard all summer 
and supposed this accounted for his looking and 
feeling poorly. 

Cross-country racing began, and Greg went on 
driving himself unmercifully. After school each day 
he would come home, change into old clothes, and 
sit on the kitchen hearth to chat for a few minutes 
about how the day had gone, while he laced up his 
heavy hiking boots. He ran daily in the mountains, 
wearing those heavy boots to build his strength and 
stamina. He joked about how good it seemed in 
competitive racing to run in track shoes after run- 
ning in heavy boots. There was more to running in the 
mountains; he loved nature and depended on that 
time in the mountains to replenish his soul while 
training his body. 

This October afternoon Greg looked unusually tired 
and commented on the soreness in his upper left 
leg. He wondered what he had done to injure it. 
However, it wasn't unusual for him to have stiff 
muscles. Runners seem to have lots of these, so I 
was used to it. But what was unusual was for him 
to allow me to dissuade him from running that day. 

Not many days later a race important to the 
school was scheduled. Though he admitted wishing 
he didn't have to further strain his sore leg, he in- 
sisted on participating. During the race, the leg 
completely failed, and he was in an agony of pain. 
When we took him to the doctor, Greg told how his leg 
had given way during the race. The doctor said he 
could feel a torn muscle and further told him it 
would continue to be painful; it would take a long 
time to heal, and it probably meant that Greg couldn't 
run again. He had to walk with crutches. 

As always, Greg reacted with a determination to 
find a way through and build back the leg so he 
could someday run again. 

The doctor had told him to come back for a 
checkup. At school someone kicked the crutch as 
he was going down stairs and he fell the full flight. 
The pain was intense, but Greg thought it would just 
be a matter of being careful and giving the muscle 
time to heal again, so he didn't go back to the doctor. 
He steeled himself to suffer it through, but each day 
he looked worse and he lost considerable weight. 
The suffering that spoke from his eyes and his 
wasted body told us how really excruciating his pain 
was. 

When we finally returned to the doctor, we dis- 



covered that Greg's "torn muscle" was osteogenic 
sarcoma (bone-origin cancer). His left leg was 
amputated near the hip. 

Greg faced the rebuilding of a shattered life and 
dreams. How does one convincingly tell a 17-year- 
old in December that there is a satisfying life left for 
him, a boy who in August had had his first date and 
danced his first dance; who was just learning to drive 
a car; who had just tasted his first success in sports 
and was a leading contender for the mile race 
championship; who at long last could see life going 
his way after heartbreaking struggles? 

Since it was necessary to amputate high, Greg 
was left with less than a four-inch stump — not much 
to which to fit a prosthesis. His legs were long, creat- 
ing a difficult problem in manipulating an artificial 
limb. 

It was some time before he found a way to get 
into the driver's seat of the car. Then a new problem 
loomed. Because Qf the short stump, his artificial 
limb would lose its suction when he sat squarely. So 
he sat on one hip, throwing his spine out of line. The 
resulting pain left him ill. He constantly feared the 
prosthesis would come loose when he was away 
from home. 

The doctors advised going back to school and 
being among people as soon as possible, but Greg 
was determined not to return until he could walk 
well. 

Does anyone ever stop to think how complex the 
simple procedure of walking is? Together we studied 
how one walks. I walked across the room and he 
followed, trying to imitate a natural leg swing with 
his artificial limb. Hour after hour, day after day, he 
practiced, stopped only by sheer exhaustion. 

Finally came the deadline we had set for his start- 
ing school, the beginning of spring term. He knew 
everyone was watching. Besides psychological ob- 
stacles, he faced new physical hazards, such as 
school ramps and stairs. 

Greg resented any efforts to be treated less inde- 
pendently than before the amputation. He didn't 
want special concessions, even though he desperately 
needed them. No one will ever know, I'm sure, the 
mental torment one in such a position endures. I be- 
lieve the physical pain is minor in comparison. 

Having to be driven everywhere he went, passing 
the track team out for practice as he left school each 
afternoon, and not being able to run in his beloved 
mountains were a few of the thorns that pricked him. 

I glimpsed the extent of his frustration and his 
complete mastery of it one day when he had pre- 
vailed upon me to drive him up by his mountain 



Era, April 1970 39 



haunts. The snow was deep there, but without his 
prosthesis he insisted on making his way up the hill- 
side on one leg and his crutches. He reminded me 
of a great and noble bird with broken wings still trying 
to fly. I wanted to run up the hillside screaming, 
vjby? why? why? But when he came back to the 



"I wanted to run up the hillside 
screanning, 'why, why, why?'" 



car, he calmly brushed the snow from his leg and 
said, "Shall we go, mother?" When we arrived home, 
he shoveled snow from the driveway and sidewalk. 

Greg made the adjustments as he had conquered 
all other obstacles in his life. No one had thought 
he could possibly do so well. Not content with this, 
he set about to out-swim and out-wrestle his friends. 

At the time of his amputation, we were told that 
his was a particularly insidious type of cancer that 
three out of four times attacks the lungs and is fatal. 
But one always thinks he will be the exception. 

Greg wasn't. When he went for his three-month 
X-ray check, the doctors discovered cancer in both 
his lungs. From the beginning, Greg had known his 
full hazard. Now he knew there was no possibility for 
cure, as it was not possible to perform surgery, and 
any treatment could merely hold the cancer at bay, 
if effective at all. 

Until now I had been able to build up his morale, 
but now I could find nothing to say. It was an insult 
to his honesty and forthrightness to say there was 
hope, when we both knew there was none. I felt 
abject desolation. 

Greg said little in the ten-mile ride home from the 
doctor's office. When we arrived home, Greg's best 
friend was there helping his small brother fly a kite 
in the March wind. By this time, the little brother 
had tired of the sport and run off, leaving the kite. 
Greg liked to see everything in perfect order, so he 
picked up the kite and let out the string, and it began 
to soar. Soon he sent for more twine. Higher and 
higher it soared. A second time he sent for another 
ball of twine. By this time the kite was only a speck, 
and we were all breathless at the dizzy heights to 
which it had flown. 

Greg turned to me and said, "A new high, mother." 
I knew he wasn't talking just about the kite. 

The weekend that followed was one of complete 



depression. By Sunday night when the rest of the 
family had retired and Greg, his father, and I were 
alone, our feeble efforts at cheerful talk finally bogged 
down in speechless grief and dejection. Finally 
Greg said, "I can't go on like this. I have to go on 
planning to live. There is always time for dying, but 
there isn't always time for living." 

And Greg went on "planning for living." He had 
an exercise set with which to rebuild his muscles. To 
the last, he exercised, however feebly, his one leg 
and arms. 

Unlike him, I was given a reprieve, and my chest 
pain proved to have been emotionally induced. But 
in the interim I was brought to a realization of Greg's 
true courage. His was not the fright-incited courage 
of battle heroics; rather, it was calm, calculated, 
raw courage. 

Yes, I saw Courage. I saw it in Greg, who kept 
a calm face when I told him, an outstanding runner, 
he had to lose his leg. I saw it when he defiantly 
climbed a mountain, hip deep in snow, with one leg. 
I saw it in his face, again calm, as the doctor told him 
he had only a few months before he would die of lung 
cancer. I saw it when he came home and, in the face 
of a death warrant, flew a kite to real and symbolic 
new heights. 

I saw Courage, as Greg lived nobly up to the final 
moment in hundreds of mundane words and ways, 
undaunted by the terrible pain and fear I now know 
were his to bear. 

He dictated to me a final entry for his journal, 
which is its own testimony: 

"Life has been good to me. Although I have had 
many disappointments, I have had many, many satis- 
factions. One of the worst kinds of torture I remem- 
ber is the mental torture ... the monotony of staying 
in the same place. Saturday, August 1, my soul was 
wrought up. It was extremely difficult for me to get a 
breath, and I hurt every time I tried. Now a feeling 
of peace has come over me, and I feel as though every 
night is Sunday night. [Sunday night was a special 
family night to us.] My prayers have been answered 
many times, and I am grateful to the Lord for 
his many blessings. Somehow, the mere physical 
sports, which I valued so highly before, seem as 
nothing compared to the tasks that I will soon embark 
upon. I bid the reader farewell, wishing the Lord's 
blessings upon him. I have no feeling of bitterness, 
no malice of any kind, for I know in my heart that 
this is the Lord's will. I know truly that the Lord 
does live. And I know that only through obeying his 
commandments can we be happy on earth." 

Yes, I knew Courage. o 



40 




Laura Dekker 
Craig Larson 



What It's Like to Be Youn 



Sister Rangh'ild Isaksen looks over her 
mission call to the British M/ss/on with 
her brothers. 




• Young people of Norway are similar in many ways 
to American youth. However, they seem to be more 
open, natural, unsophisticated in their teens, and 
less concerned about hairdos and clothes. In winter 
they all wear wool scarves and stocking caps, pulled 
far down on their heads to keep warm. They dress 
for the weather — fur-lined boots in winter and high 
rain boots in the rainy season — and carry their 
shoes to meetings or parties and change after they 
arrive. They have few clothes and think nothing 
of wearing the same "best" dress to everything. 

The Norwegian youth love traditions and cling 
to customs of the past. They enjoy wearing their 
native costumes, which are beautifully hand- 



embroidered. An embroidered costume (bunnad) 
sells in the Oslo shops for about $200, but loving 
grandmothers and mothers make them for their 
children for a fraction of this amount. Almost every 
young lady can knit, crochet, and embroider. 

People who live in the country are far removed 
from activities other than those that they create 
for themselves. The extreme change in the length 
of the day contributes to home busy-work projects. 
In summer in Oslo, each day has 13 more hours of 
daylight than in the middle of winter, and further 
north there is total darkness for part of the winter, 
so there are plenty of long winter nights to read, 
sew, and think. 



42 



Norway 



Norwegian youth enjoy 

competing, look forward to the occasions 

when the trophies are awarded. 




Youth enjoy sightseeing 
in Norway, too. 



An accomplished musician, 

Teri Pedersen is 

the first Norwegian 

to receive 

his Duty to God award 





Automobiles are not available for the youth to 
drive; often the family doesn't even own a car. 
Young people learn at an early age independence 
in getting to and from meetings, school, and activi- 
ties. Since few boys have cars, the girl either rides 
on the back of a boy's motor scooter or they meet at 
the trikk (streetcar) stop. 

Norwegian teen-agers love the out-of-doors, and 
they ski almost as soon as they walk. The country 
boasts some of the world's most spectacular scenery, 
and young people often go for walks, hikes, boating, 
or fishing for their dates. Usually large crowds go 
together, rather than couples, until the youths are 
about 18 or 19 years of age. The girl often pays her 



own way until the boy starts earning his own living. 
There are few school functions, but many private 
parties, and often formal attire is worn at these 
parties. An interesting aspect of their romantic 
life is that both boy and girl exchange wedding 
bands, which they wear on their right hands from 
the time they first become engaged. 

High school students must take big examinations 
periodically, and they must pass to be allowed to 
go on to the next phase of their schooling. There 
is practically no social life at school, nor student 
activities. The students attend school from 8:30 
a.m. to 2:30 p.m. six days a week. 

The Norwegian youth keep physically fit by 



Era, April 1970 43 




Folk dancing in authentic costumes is part of tt)e traditional intermission entertain- 
ment at MIA balls. Below: Soccer team that won honors at youth conference. 



skiing, skating, rowing, cycling, walking, hiking, 
running. They train regularly — running in the 
parks or along the sidewalks of the residential areas. 
They are extremely adept at kicking a ball and 
bouncing it off the toe, leg, head, or shoulders. 

There are not too many young people in the 
Church in Norway, and they have to be fairly se- 
cure, determined youth to resist the temptation to 
do what everyone else is doing. There are many 
youth club activities and all big sports events are 
held on Sundays, since this is the only free day. 
This makes church attendance difficult for sports- 
minded youth. The state church has a televised 
religious service that seems to satisfy their mem- 
bers who happen to be in the mountains or on an 
outing for the day. 

The youth in the Church in Norway find plenty 
of activity, and they take much responsibility, espe- 



cially in the smaller branches. Dating and marrying 
within the Church is sometimes difficult, but some- 
how most of the members seem to work it out — 
either converting their future mate or finding one 
in their own branch or a neighboring city. 

There is a great deal of musical talent in the Oslo 
branches. The members there enjoy classical 

music as well as lighter music. 

Their whole culture is founded on tradition and 
repetition: they seem to like doing things better 
the second and third time around. (In Oslo the 
youth presented the same MIA musical two years 
in a row because they had liked it so much the first 
year.) This difference in point of view of Europeans 
and Americans is perhaps the major difference be- 
tween the youth of these two countries; it affects 
attitudes, acceptance of new ideas, change, cre- 
ativity. O 



44 



I Had to Find Out for Myself 



". . . then do I remember what the Lord has done 
for me." 

— Alma 29:10 

By Val Stephens 

Junior at Brigham Young University 

• Often missionaries hear this statement from people who are not 
members of the Church: "Well, of course you believe your church is 
true. You were raised in it!" For those of us whose parents have 
always been Church members, our first reaction to such a statement 
is often defensive: "I didn't get my faith from my parents. I had to 
find out' for myself." And although that reply is true, how often I 
have wanted to say (if only nonmembers could understand) something 
like this: 

"I do know the Church is true, because I was raised in it. As a 
young child I learned from my family and Church to sing and under- 
stand the words, 'I am a child of God.' I prayed together with my 
family at church and at home and heard my parents call down bless- 
ings upon the heads of their children. My own father baptized me 
into this church and ordained me to the priesthood of God. I was 
taught in the Church to honor God's authority and the rights of 
others. 

"In the Church I saw teachers, advisers, bishops, and presidents 
serve tirelessly for my benefit without any material reward or 
promise. Virtue, courage, and brotherly kindness were exemplified 
with vigor in this church. I saw no hypocrisy. As a young man I 
offered prayers on the emblems of the Master's suffering and heard 
grown men weep for sharing their knowledge of the divinity of Christ 
and his latter-day work. I saw members of this church serve our 
family with food and consolation in time of need. 

" 'The glory of God is intelligence,' 'seek learning even by study, 
and also by faith,' and 'it is impossible for a man to be saved in 
ignorance' were the mind-tingling slogans heard in church. Eternal 
progression became as much a part of my thinking as the basic 
doctrines of faith and repentance, 

"At a young age I was called by the Church through a living 
prophet to serve as a missionary. It was in this service that I saw the 
gospel touch the hearts of others and received for myself the assur- 
ance — the unspeakable gift — that what I taught was true. 

"Is my witness only a belief? How can it be anything but a sure 
knowledge? I know because I was raised a Mormon, and how I thank 
my Heavenly Father for that privilege." O 



Era, April 1970 45 



If I Were a Junior 
inHigh SgIiooI, IB. . . 



By Dr. Lynn Eric Johnson 

Be glad I've completed my schooling this far. 

Plan to finish high school. 

Earnestly investigate several career possibilities, both college and non-college. 

Find out which schools or training locations will get me to my goal, and visit them. 

Maket sure I am making the right preparation now to qualify for the next steps by check- 
ing with my counselor and the prospective schools. ~ 

Have a long talk with my parents about my plans, their plans, and our plans. 

Get registered for and take the tests being offered to juniors. These include the Na- 
tional Merit Examination, American College Test, Scholastic Ability Test, General 
Aptitude Test Battery, as well as others required by certain schools or programs. 
Taking them now will clear the way to plan and apply for admission, housing, 
Scholarships, jobs. 

Do my best on all of these. 

Improve my grades, if necessary, since the last two years of high school are especially 
ifnportant. 

Take all the advanced work I can muster, especially in English, math, speech, and typ- 
ing, since these are needed in virtually all fields today. 

Try to get a part-time or summer job in one of my prospective career fields to see if I 
really like it. ' "" "~~ 

Apply for housing and admission if these are restricted at the college of my choice. 

Sit down and write out a tentative plan that will scan the next ten years. — — 

Take advantage of seminary and institute progams wherever I go. 

Write to the Church's Educational Information and Guidance Center, 212 Education 
Bldg., 500 North University Avenue, Provo, Utah 84601, if I need additional infor- 
mation. 



46 



Thoughts of the Newest Deacon 

By Steve Barrett 

• Charley Broderick loved his father. only Latter-day Saint boy in his class and only one 

One reason was that for the past month, every- of seven Mormon kids in the whole school — it was 

time the family went to sacrament meeting, hard, very hard! Those other kids would think he 

Charley's dad had made sure that they sat directly was a sissy if he didn't use their language. Was this 

behind the rows reserved for the deacons. Charley really a good excuse? 

hadn't told his father that he wondered about what The bishop smiled at Charley when he walked in 

he was supposed to do when he became a deacon the office door — it wasn't going to be as hard as he 

next week — it just seemed as though his dad under- thought! The first question was easy. "Do you 

stood. want to be a deacon?" Sure he did — didn't every- 

Charley was excited about graduation from Pri- body? Then the questions got a bit tougher, but 

mary. The Guide Patrol was okay, but he had his he could honestly answer them all, until finally, 

sights already set on Eagle, and besides, the troop "Do you ever use profane or vulgar language?" 

was going on a great camp-out up to Miller's pond. Instead of answering he looked at his shoes. What 

The stories the older kids told about Mutual, scout- should he say? What could he say? The bishop 

ing, and all the fun things to do sounded great — was waiting. . . 

even if you did have to dance with the girls once Somehow it was easy to tell the bishop; it was 

in a while! Getting to be a deacon was exciting too, even easy then to tell his dad later that day when 

but it was also a little scary. It scared him when the bishop got them both together. Both of them 

the bishop asked him to come to the office at two seemed to. understand. It even felt good — when it 

o'clock that afternoon. was all over! There was something to the bishop's 

What was he going to say to the bishop? Or advice, "You may be only one, but you are one." 

worse yet, what was the bishop going to say to him? Even the extra week that the bishop made him 

Boy! The time was really dragging — it was only wait wasn't so bad. It made him feel good when 

1:30, and he had been outside the door of the he could look the bishop and his father in the face 

ward for 25 minutes already! „ and tell them truthfully that he'd made it. He 

He hadn't told his mom where he was going, was going to be a deacon — the bishop had said so! 
because she'd have gotten all shook up about how In sacrament meeting the bishop had him stand 

he looked and what he was going to say. She'd have up by the pulpit and told the whole ward that 

quizzed him for hours, and he'd still not know what Charley Broderick had been found worthy to be 

to say or think. It was about time that he was on made a deacon. That was scary but the warm feel- 

his own anyway — there were some things that are ing inside made it worthwhile. 
just better done by yourself. The hands were on his head, and he heard the 

Was he ready to be a deacon? He was outside voice of his father ordaining him to the Aaronic 

the bishop's door now and heard the murmur of Priesthood. What was he supposed to do now? 

voices inside. What were all those things Sister What was his father saying? "Be honest — let the 

Stone had been talking about in Primary all year spirit help you in the tight spots." 
long? Authority, John the Baptist, laying on of At the sacrament table Charley's hands were 

hands, more power than anyone else in school — wet as he stood with his arms behind his back. He 

was that really true? Did that mean that he could hoped that he didn't trip walking down the aisle, 

knock that bully Sammy for a loop the next time His mother had warned him about that. He'd never 

he started calling him names? seen a deacon trip yet, but maybe he would be the 

Was he really worthy? It hadn't been hard for first. Right now he was more worried that his 

him to turn down the first offer of a cigarette. He new shoes would squeak as he walked. 
knew that was dumb. Some of the other things, He passed the sacrament with ramrod stiffness, 

though, hadn't come quite so easy. The last row was the toughest test of all. Without 

Was it important what you said? Swearing was smiling at the grins of his brothers and sisters, he 

one thing that troubled him right now. Was some picked up the try from his father, and as he 

angel really writing it all down? One of these days turned to go, with a sigh of relief, he felt the 

he was going to get caught by his mom or dad — approving clasp of his father's big hand on his arm 

then he'd be in a lot of trouble. He guessed it must and caught the wink and smile that was meant for 

be wrong if he felt this way about it. Sometimes, him alone, 
though, he excused himself, saying that he was the Charley really loved his dad, and it felt good. O 



Era, April 1970 47 



Make 

the 

Ideal 

Real 

By Elaine Cannon 

• They got their heads together. 

They talked off the top of 
their hearts. 

Then back they came into the 
auditorium to share the results 
of their workshop chatter with 
the entire group of delegates to 
the youth conference sponsored 
by the New England Mission, 
under the direction of President 
Paul H. Dunn. 

The question had been pre- 
sented in the form of a chal- 
lenge put forth by the keynote 
speaker: . 

"Hoiu do we make the ideal 
realf" The delegates ivere anx- 
ious to explore the issue on their 
own terms, so they divided into 
small groups. A group recorder 
kept notes, and a chairman di- 
rected the discussion. 

The youthful delegates con- 
sidered the ideal of Christian 
principles. They considered the 
realities of the world today. They 
worried their way through the 
possibilities of how Christian 




principles can be applied to the 
lives young students lead today. 

It seemed depressingly impos- 
sible at first. Did it really do 
any good to treat other people as 
you like to be treated, when "the 
other people" seem never to have 
kfiown or have long ago for- 
gotten this Christian teaching? 
They wondered if turning the 
other cheek is si7nply a quick 
ivay to leave this life altogether, 
in vieiv of the un-Christian be- 
havior of campus skeptics, dis- 
sidents, rioters, and drug addicts. 
Coidd a handfid of Mormons 
make a difference in the tvorld? 

But as the talk progressed and 
the problems ivere pointed out, 
they began to covmt their bless- 
ings. 

How marvelous to be urider 
the influence of the Church! 
How great to be given help in 
living the best kind of life! As a 
wave of positive direction spread 
over them, they began suggest- 
ing ways to make the ideal real. 



As we listened we were so im- 
pressed with their ideas that we 
decided to share them with you. 
These are their conclusions: 

1. Set an example. 

2. Keep active in the Church 
and associate with Mor- 
mons. 

3. Keep the gospel fresh in 
your mind by reading and 
striving. 

h. Find a hero; set high goals. 

5. Persevere to overcome. 

6. Use the priesthood; honor it. 

7. Stay open-minded; listen to 
leaders. 

8. Pray. 

9. Live the gospel every day, 
not just on Sunday. 

10. Be honest with yourself; be 
consistent. 

11. Be your brother's keeper; 
love and serve one another 
in and out of the Church. 

12. Radiate joy in living high 
standards. 

13. Be idealistic. 

li. Yield to the Spirit. O 



48 



Do 
we 

need 

the 
"Shock" 

Ik)ops? 




Reprinted by permission of Newsweek. 
Copyright 1969 by Newsweek, Inc. 



Anyone with a 

larynx 

or a pencil 

has a free choice 

to express himself 

any way he chooses. 

Some choose to use 

"shock" words that 

ceased to shock people 300 

years ago, though they may 

shock an occasional 

12-year-old today. 

Those w^ho continue 

to use words that 

were commonplace in 

the barracks of Gen. 

Hooker's troops, or 

appear in gents' rooms 

of fourth-rate 

establishments, can themselves be 

described in four-letter 

words : 

boor, 

boar, 

bore. 

If you want to parade 

four-letter words on 

your guitars, placards 

and pamphlets, try some 

of these : give, grow, love, 

live, work, warm, save, sirig, 

make, earn, duty. 

These are words 

society can 

grow on. 

What single act of 

human progress have 

self-appointed 

shock troops ever 

accomplished? 

Study the language of 

the great documents that 

have improved life. 

See what effective use their 

authors have made of 

four-letter words. 



Era, April 1970 49 



'hePastlsl 
Laarnfromit! 



^f 

"" ■^t? 



W 



■j'a>'.i*5i.', 



^^f. 



f 



ad 




**%««%■ 



Present 




m 



Live It! 



The Pres 



• Nearly three thousand years 
ago, a famous king of Israel, an 
ancestor of Jesus the Christ, 
even David' of old, wrote this 
beautifully simple prayer: 

"Teach me thy way, Lord, 
and lead me in a plain path." 
(Ps. 27:11.) 

Our world has changed since 
the time of David, but our prayer 
must be the same today. Though 
yesterday's paths have become 
today's super highways, they 
still lead to the same gate. To 
safely travel these roads of life, 
ive require well-placed signs to 
direct us to our destination. May 
I suggest three important road 
signs ? 

The past is behind — learn 
from it. 

The future is ahead — prepare 
for' it. 

The present is here — live in it. 

Examine our first road sign: 
The past is behind — learn from 
it. At times, progressive, eager 
youth frown on the possibility 
of learning from the past. But 
when one fails to learn from the 
lessons of the past, he is doomed 
to repeat the same mistakes and 
suffer their attendant conse- 
quences. Long ago the psalmist 
wrote: 

"It is better to trust in the 
Lord than to put confidence in 
man, 

"It is better to trust in the 
Lord than to put confidence in 
princes." (Ps. 118:8-9.) 



ent Is Here . Live It ! 



By Thomas Lee Monson, age 18 



One who learned this lesson 
too late was Cardinal Thomas 
Woolsey, who, according to 
Shakespeare, spent a long life of 
faithful service to three sov- 
ereigns and enjoyed wealth and 
power. Finally he was cut down 
by an impatient ruler. From the 
anguish of his soul, he cried: 
"Had I but served my God with 
half the zeal I served my king, 
He would not in mine age have 
left tne naked to mine enemies." 

One of the greatest of all les- 
sons can be learned from the 
Savior. How often, when we 
witness the suffering of one of 
our fellowmen, we are prone to 
question the mercy of our Father 
in heaven. We most frequently 
seek to enter our Father's king- 
dom without walking the path 
of pain. The past teaches us 
that the Savior of the world 
entered heaven only after great 
pain and suffering. We, as 
servants, can expect no more 
than the Master. Before Easter 
there had to be a cross. The past 
is behind — learn from it. 

As we travel life's highway, 
we wMst examine our rear-view 
mirror to learn what lies behind 
us. It is of equal importance to 
knoiv what lies before us. The 
future is ahead — prepare for it. 

Regardless of what others may 
say or think — those of too much 
timidity and too little faith — / 
venture to suggest that tomor- 
row will be a good time to be 



living. I believe it will be one of 
the most precious and privileged 
periods of all human history, a 
period of change and challenge 
and infinite promise. 

We must not restrict our 
thinking to today's problems. We 
must prepare for tomorrow's 
opportunities. We are taught 
that as man is, God once was, 
and as God is, man may become. 
Paraphrasing, wouldn't it also 
be true that "if man is to become 
as God is, he must now be what 
God was"? Let us prepare by 
living life as God would live it. 
Insurmountable problems await 
us only so long as we consider 
them insurmountable. The fu- 
ture is ahead — prepare for it. 

We learn from past life. We 
prepare for future life. But let 
us not lose life, searching for it. 
The present is here — live in it. 
The apostle Paul wrote: "He 
which soweth bountifully shall 
reap also bountifully." (2 Cor. 
9:6.) 

Today many are drifting on 
a sea of chance with waves of 
temptation threatening to en- 
gulf them. These men of little 
strength drift through the hours 
and coast through the years. 
Their more valiant brothers 
steer from this point to that. 

To successfully live in the 
present is to cope with difficulty. 
Problems are a normal part of 
life, and the great challenge is to 
avoid being flattened by them. 



One has to grapple with chal- 
lenge. Too often we dive for the 
cyclone shelter when a strong 
wind blows. By meeting and 
conquering our challenges, we 
will build a reputation in the 
eyes of men. However, a favor- 
able reputation alone is but a 
partial indicator of quality. Saul 
was a capable Israelite king until 
greed and lust for power became 
his downfall. Finally he was 
rejected by Israel, by Samuel, 
even by the Lord. Saul had 
reputation, but he lacked char- 
acter. Reputation is only what 
one has done; character is what 
one is. The present is here — 
live in it. 

The road we travel briskly 
leads out of dim antiquity, and 
ive study the past chiefly because 
of its bearing on the living 
present and its promise for the 
future. 

The heavy traffic on life's 
highway is detouring ever- 
increasingly from the strait and 
narrow way. The Lord's path 
may be frequently intersected by 
roads running away from the 
heavenly goal, but a wise trav- 
eler will follow the signs of 
safety. May we ever remember 
them: 

The past is behind — learn 
from it. 

The future is ahead — prepare 
for it. 

The present is here — live in 
it. O 



Era, April 1970 51 



You Can'tRun Away FromLaw 



By Owen S. Jacobs 





• A speaking assignment at a state penitentiary 
afforded me an opportunity to listen to and talk with 
many of the inmates. The one underlying thought 
many of them seemed to have was: "The law and 
society have not been fair with us. We would have 
had no need for punishment had it not been for 
some small or insignificant factor of the law." 

In the eighty-eighth section of the Doctrine and 
Covenants, the Lord explained why we cannot escape 
law: 

"And again, verily I say unto you, that which is 
governed by law is also preserved by law and per- 
fected and sanctified by the same. 

"That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by 
law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and 
willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, 
cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, 



nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy 
still. 

"All kingdoms have a law given; 

"And there are many kingdoms; for there is no 
space in the which there is no kingdom; and there 
is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a 
greater or a lesser kingdom. 

"And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto 
every law there are certain bounds also and condi- 
tions. 

"All beings who abide not in those conditions are 
not justified." (D&C 88:34-39.) 

We live in several kingdoms at the same time, 
such as the world, country, state, city, school, work, 
social, animal, mineral, and plant. There is no space 
without a kingdom, and no kingdom without space. 

This is the age of great technical advancements, 



52 





space travel, communication, and all manner of 
physical, mental, and technical achievements. Some 
choose to call it an age of lawlessness. But law is 
eternally operative. 

May we define law as the mandatory pattern of 
procedure, whether written, expressed, understood, 
or just operating, by which all existence is governed. 
Acceptance, growth, progress, and existence are de- 
termined by our relationship to law. Eternal law is 
truth in operation. It constantly adjusts with perfect 
precision the wheels of justice, which continually 
grind slowly and surely, progressively fitting us for 
the kingdom that our daily choices elect. 

As we flout law, we unwittingly fling ourselves 
into more restrictive and self-containing laws — like 
the convicts! Truly as we learn the truth and live it, 
we are made free. O 



Era, April 1970 53 





The FVesiding Bishop 
Talks to Youth About: 



• There are two words that carry 
most of us to the depth of despair 
or the peak of happiness. They are 
failure and success. People will 
do almost anything to keep from 
being branded failures in life. They 
will give all their time, talents, 
means. They will give their bodies 
and even their souls to succeed in 
a project or undertaking that they 
think is important. Therein, too 
often, lie the great tragedies of 
life. 

Success is not always a matter 
of accomplishing what we would 
like to do, but rather in accom- 
plishing what we ought to do. 
There are young people in our so- 
ciety who do not want to work, to 
put forth sustained, high-level 
effort. They withdraw from society 
and become irresponsible and non- 
productive. They drift, as does the 
tumbleweed in the wind. The more 



By Bishop John H. Vandenberg 



they do this, the more successful 
they feel they are in living life to 
its fullest. But anyone who stops a 
moment to think knows this is not 
so. Two axioms, based on years 
of experience, tell us the opposite 
is true: 

"The pursuit of easy things 
makes men weak." 

"If you want to make life easy, 
make it hard." 

An athlete who does not develop 
his muscles and condition them 
properly through training will 
never be a winner. He will only 
suffer defeat, shame, and pity. The 
work and effort it takes to prepare 
ourselves for our life's tasks are 
the basis for success and happi- 
ness. There is no easy way to make 
the most of life. The mature 
world, whether business, profes- 
sional, or technical, has no use for 
young people who enter it glorify- 




lllustrated by Dale Kilbourn 



ing their laziness, their unwilling- 
ness to give their best in every 
activity that is a part of their grow- 
ing years. The worst thing in life 
is not to fail; it is not to try to 
succeed; to live in the gray twilight 
that knows neither brightness nor 
shadow, neither victory nor defeat. 

The difference between those 
who succeed in fulfilling the pur- 
pose for which we have come to 
earth and those who fail to ful- 
fill life's mission lies in whether 
the defeats, hardships, and diffi- 
culties encountered in every life 
become millstones around their 
necks or milestones on the road 
of progress. We become strong by 
overcoming difficulties and turn- 
ing them into character-building 
experiences that give strength and 
moral fiber to our souls. 

The Prophet Joseph Smith went 
through hundreds of trying experi- 



54 



ences before he succeeded in 
establishing the Church so that it 
was strong enough that it could 
not be destroyed. After he and 
several companions had been in 
jail at Liberty, Missouri, for 
months, he reached what he felt 
was the breaking point, a point 
beyond which he and the Saints 
should not be asked to go. As a 
result, he went before the Lord 
and pleaded the case of the Saints 
and their leaders in the following 
words: 

"0 God, where art thou? And 
where is the pavilion that covereth 
thy hiding place? 

"How long shall thy hand be 
stayed and thine eye, yea thy pure 
eye, behold from the eternal heav- 
ens the wrongs of thy people and 
of thy servants, and thine ear be 
penetrated with their cries?" (D&C 
121:1-2.) 

Joseph went on to make an elo- 
quent plea for help for his people. 
Anyone who has read the history of 
that time will know that his plead- 
ings were based on the need for 
relief from mob rule and mistreat- 
ment so brutal that it is difficult 
to believe it could have hap- 
pened. 

But the Lord knew that our trials 
in life are necessary to prepare 
us to be the kind of people who 
are capable of being happy in the 
eternities. Success often comes 
upon the heels of what looks like 
certain defeat, as the Lord points 
out: 

"My son, peace be unto thy 
soul; thine adversity and thine af- 
flictions shall be but a small mo- 
ment; 

"And then, if thou endure it 
well, God shall exalt thee on high; 
thou shalt triumph over all thy 
foes." (D&C 121:7-8.) 

The rocky path that we travel 
when we try to prepare ourselves 
for a life of usefulness, a life that 
blesses all who come into contact 
with its fruits, is much better than 



the smooth, slippery path of in- 
dolence. 

Sailing ships do not progress in 
a calm; their sails flap helplessly 
against unstrained masts when 
there is no wind to be harnessed. 

The story is told of a fabulously 
rich gold mine in Africa. It re- 
ceived its name in the following 
manner: 

"The man who originally opened 
the mine dug a shaft some 200 
feet deep but failed to find any 
gold. He became discouraged, 
termed it 'bad luck' and quit. His 
more seasoned neighbors said he 
had shown the 'white feather,' and 
the mine became known by that 
name. He sold the diggings to an- 
other prospector for $50.00. The 
new owner, in one day's work, went 
one foot deeper in the diggings and 
hit a vein of gold which brought 
him a great fortune." 

One of Satan's favorite tools is 
discouragement — urging us to 
show the "white feather." Excuses 
for not working, for not "hanging- 
in there," for not giving your best 
in life, come ready-made. But 
those who would live on the peak 
of joy, the pinnacle of success, 
know there is no place for the 
"white feather." They know that 
true success is not succeeding in 
doing easy things; it is giving one's 
all in difficult tasks and projects 
where temporary failure may often 
be experienced. 

The great inventor Thomas Edi- 
son was asked whether he was 
discouraged because so many at- 
tempts to solve a problem failed. 
His answer was, "No, I am not 
discouraged, because every wrong 
attempt discarded is another step 
forward." Samuel Smiles said, 
"We learn wisdom from failure 
much more than from success; we 
often discover what will do, by 
finding out what will not do; and 
probably he who never made 
a mistake never made a dis- 
covery." o 



Era, April 1970 55 



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If 



women would be kind to their 
husbands, support them, and not 
grumble, they would have happier 
lives and so would their husbands." 
These words of Jessie Evans 
Smith describe her own marriage to 
President Joseph Fielding Smith, a 
marriage that is firmly based on 
love, respect, sharing of common 
interests, and supportive compan- 
ionship. Early risers in Salt Lake 
City have reportedly thrilled at 



seeing a demonstration of that love 
and mutual consideration: Each 
morning, as President Smith leaves 
their apartment home half a block 
from the Church Office Building 
and walks across busy State Street, 
Sister Smith stands on their balcony 
until he gets safely across the street 
and turns to wave to her. 

"A kinder man never lived, nor 
one who was more considerate," she 
declares. 



Life has become a bit more 
hectic and responsibilities weightier 
for President and Sister Smith since 
January 23, when he was set apart 
as the tenth President of the 
Church. But Sister Smith is deter- 
mined that their basically simple 
way of life will not change. As he 
leaves his office in the evening, 
President Smith returns to a com- 
fortable but unostentatious home 
that is filled with memorabilia from 



56 






BmTfLEk WASH,, WBDmiPAJ, JAMUAEY M. 1S26, 



Todays Family 




Jessie Evans 

Smith: 

theWife of 

a Prophet 



By Eleanor Knowles 

Editorial Associate 

Illustrated by Peggy Hawkins 



their many travels throughout the 
world, photographs and paintings 
of family members, book-lined 
shelves, and samples of Sister 
Smith's deft ability in needlepoint^ 
a home in which one immediately 
feels "at home." 

Jessie Evans and Joseph Fielding 
Smith have known each other, she 
recalls, "all my life. We were 
bom in the same ward, and when 
I was a young girl, he was one of 



the 'block teachers' assigned to us." 
Their friendship didn't blossom 
into love until much later, however 
—after she had had a successful 
career in music and he had traveled 
far as an apostle for the Church. 

Young Jessie's first public ap- 
pearance came when she was six 
years of age. She was invited to 
sing before a religion class (the 
forerunner of today's seminary pro- 
gram), and her selection was "I 



Think When I Read That Sweet 
Story of Old." 

"When I came to the words 1 
wish that His hands had been 
placed on my head,' I was so moved 
that I began to cry," she remem- 
bers. One of her brothers later 
refused to go hear her sing in a 
church meeting, because, he said, 
"she'll start bawling again." 

"Someday," her father told him, 
"you'll pay to hear Jessie sing!" 



Era, April 1970 57 



A Converts Tribute 

to President 
David 0. McKay 



A new edition in a husky covered 
"paper back" is coming off the 
Deseret News Press. It will in- 
clude as addenda some important 
incidents in President McKay's 
last few years. The author dis- 
cusses the world-wide recognition 
of our former beloved leader and 
prophet which burst forth on the 
news of his passing. The magnifi- 
cent tribute by all at the funeral 
is described in detail. 

The author's original and revised 
book (all reprinted in this paper 
back) found great favor with 
members. It contained many here- 
tofore unpublished anecdotes, 
with a brief but complete sum- 
mary of the highlights of Presi- 
dent McKay's career — things that 
all members should know. This 
book has also been used as a fine 
proselyting piece. 

The author, a mature, retired busi- 
nessman, says in effect "come 
on in; the water's fine," with 
proof in his own testimony on the 
benefits that came to him. How 
President McKay influenced his 
life and its relative values is ob- 
vious on every page. After read- 
ing you'll think it just the 
persuader to give that non-mem- 
ber friend. 

This new and extended tribute 
with paper cover, at the new low 
price of 75 cents plus postage 
and handling of 25 cents. Send 
$1.00 for your copy. Lower quo- 
tations for quantity. Excellent for 
Relief Society, building or fund 
raising projects. 

Mail your order to Deseret Book 
Co., 44 E. S. Temple, Salt Lake — 
or if in the East — F. Edwards, 111 
Fairway Drive, Princeton, NJ. 



She didn't cry the next time, she 
says, but the emotion, warmth, and 
conviction with which she sings 
even to this day were evident. ( Her 
brother did have to pay to hear her 
sing, she recalls now with a twinkle. 
When she was with the American 
Light Opera Company, he went 
to visit her on tour; she didn't have 
a ticket for him, so he had to buy 
his own for her performance! ) 

The Evans family enjoyed music, 
and each of the children sang and 
played an instrument. The five 
brothers (a sixth died in infancy) 
played, respectively, the violin, 
clarinet, cello, flute, and drums. 
Jessie, the youngest in the family, 
played the piano. 

In 1918, Jessie, by then an at- 
tractive young stenographer, joined 
the Tabernacle Choir, beginning an 
association of over half a century. 
A talent scout heard her sing in the 
Tabernacle in 1923 at a program in 
honor of President Warren G. 
Harding, and a contract with the 
American Light Opera Company 
resulted. 

During the four years that she 
toured with the opera company in 
the United States and Canada, with 
her mother as her traveling com- 
panion, she sang leading contralto 
roles in such operas as Bohemian 
Girl, The Chocolate Soldier, The 
Mikado, and Robin Hood. 

But while she enjoyed perform- 
ing before audiences coast to coast, 
she wasn't sure she wanted to make 
this her lifetime career. When a 
leading voice teacher in New York 
tried to persuade her to study 
seriously to prepare for an audition 
with the Metropolitan Opera, she 
prayed for guidance and turned to 
her patriarchal blessing, which told 
her that "every latent power within 
thee shall be brought into exercise 
in the service of your Master, and 
in helpfulness in the Church." 
Suddenly her decision was made: 
she would return home and devote 



58 



her talents to the Church. 

This decision opened even more 
doors for Jessie; she returned to 
the Tabernacle Choir, joined the 
Salt Lake City Civic Opera Com- 
pany, and sang at countless Church 
programs and funerals. ("I once 
thought I'd keep track of how many 
funerals I'd sung at," she recalls, 
"but after two months I decided the 
record was being kept in heaven, 
so I quit writing it down." The rec- 
ord has included a:s many as 28 in a 
single month.) 

During the 1930s Jessie Evans 
became a name that was well- 
known not only for music— but also 
for politics. While working in the 
city recorder's office, she decided 
to run for the position of county 
recorder. In a close election, she 
was given the initial nod, but lost 
by ten votes in a recount. She re- 
turned to her city job, but in the 
next election she ran again— and 
was elected. 

It was while she was serving as 
Salt Lake County recorder that 
Joseph Fielding Smith, whose wife 
had recently died, reentered her Hfe 
and changed its direction once 
again. 

"I had a document that needed 
to be signed by the Church His- 
torian," she says, "so I called his 
office and asked if I could bring it 
up to him. He said no, that he'd 
come to my office." 

Later that day, as she was going 
home from work, she stopped to 
chat with a friend on State Street. 

"Did Joseph Fielding Smith go 
to see you today?" he asked. 

"Yes, he did," she replied. "Why 
do you ask?" 

'T saw him go down the street 
today, and as he passed I had the 
strongest feeling that he was going 
to see you to ask you to marry him!" 

Just a few months later Joseph 
Fielding Smith did ask Jessie Evans 
to marry him, and the talented 
young career woman added a new 



dimension to her life. President 
Smith had 11 children, and all were 
living at home at the time^as well 
as the two small children of his 
oldest daughter (her husband was 
away at school that year ) . 

Sister Smith's mother had done 
most of the cooking and house- 
keeping for her daughter during 
the years Jessie was working, but 
it wasn't long before Jessie Evans 
Smith had organized her work in 
the spacious Smith home on Doug- 
las Street. One of her favorite 
recipes, which she still makes when 
she can find the time, was for a 
bread that takes just 90 minutes 
from start to finished product. 
When the Smith children were liv- 
ing at home, she made as many as 
six loaves a day. Sister Smith has 
consented to share this prized 
recipe with Era readers: 

Jessie Evans Smith's 
Ninety-Minute Bread 

4 cups warm water 

4 yeast cakes 

4 teaspoons salt 

8 tablespoons sugar 

4 tablespoons melted shortening 

7 to 8 cups flour 

Dissolve yeast in one cup of the warm 
water. Mix in rest of ingredients. Mix 
into a soft but not sticky dough. Cut 
into four pieces and let stand 15 min- 
utes. Using the handle of a butcher 
knife or other heavy mallet-like instru- 
ment, pound each piece of dough for 
1 minute. Form into four loaves, and 
put each loaf into a greased bread pan; 
let stand 30 minutes. Bake at 400° F. 
for 30 minutes. 

This homemade bread is a favor- 
ite food of President Smith. On 
Thursday evenings he traditionally 
has a supper of bread and milk 
with slices of nippy cheese. 

"My husband doesn't eat meat," 
Sister Smith says. "We eat lots of 
fruits and vegetables. On occasions 
when he attends luncheons or din- 
ners at the Hotel Utah, the waiters 
bring him a fruit salad with cottage 
cheese or sherbet. And he does 
like two kinds of pie— hot and 
cold!" 



Sister Smith has traveled widely 
with President Smith, and often she 
is Ocilled upon to speak and sing. 
Many times President Smith has 
joined her in singing a duet, a treat 
that has thrilled the Saints in Aus- 
tralia, South America, Europe, New 
York, Toronto, Los Angeles— wher- 
ever branches and missions, wards 
and stakes of the Church are found. 

A popular and gifted speaker, she 
has addressed many, many gather- 
ings of young people, sharing her 
testimony and encouraging the 
youth to remain close to the Church 
and to prepare for marriage in the 
temple. 

Sister Smith remembers how con- 
cerned her mother was about the 
young men she brought home. "If 
she didn't care for a particular fel- 
low, she'd tell me she didn't want 
him ever to come back," she re- 
members. 

"I'd say, 'But Mother, I'm not 
going to marry him!' 

"Mother would reply, 'Perhaps 
not, but if you don't tell him not to 
come back, I will!' " 

Great blessings have come to 
Jessie Evans Smith because she fol- 
lowed her mother's advice and 
stayed true to her own desire to 
serve the Lord and do his will. She 
has traveled widely with her hus- 
band as a devoted companion and 
helpmate. She enjoys a rich and full 
life of service to her fellowman 
through the sharing of a great tal- 
ent. She has found joy and happi- 
ness in her home and her family. 
She has been blessed with many 
honors and recognition. 

"Happiness isn't exactly doing 
what you want to do; it's doing 
what you don't want to do— and 
being glad you did." This is Jessie 
Evans Smith's motto. Her life is a 
testimony to the joy and sense of 
accomplishment well done that can 
come to one who does follow the 
will of the Lord and is glad for 
having done it. O 



Era, April 1970 59 




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—Heber J. Grant 



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An Improvement Era publication 



Research 
& Review 



Achievements of 
Latter-day Saint Women 



By Dr. Leonard J. Arrington 

Contributing Editor 



• As with their sisters in most cultures throughout the 
world, Latter-day women are making important con- 
tributions to the economic, political, and cultural ad- 
vancement of humanity. This is as it should be. 

Women were among the earliest persons baptized 
into the Church after its restoration in April 1830. 
Mary Whitmer viewed and Emma Smith handled the 
golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was 
translated. Three months after the Church was or- 
ganized, Emma Smith was favored with a revelation 
through her husband ( D&C 25 ) . Other wonlen partici- 
pated in the 1833 march of Saints from Kirtland to 
relieve their brothers and sisters who were in difficulty 
in Missouri ( Zion's Camp ) . Others served as cooks and 
laundresses for the Mormon Battalion as it marched 
from Winter Quarters to Leavenworth, Kansas, and on 
to San Diego, California, in 1846. Indeed, women have 
participated in all the moves and enterprises of the 
Church as it has sought to carry out the mandates of 
heaven. 

Of particular interest in this centennial year of 
woman suffrage is the historic role of Latter-day Saint 
women in the political life of the United States. One 
hundred years ago. Latter-day Saint sisters in Utah 
Territory were the first women in America to vote in 
municipal and territorial (or state) elections. The 
story of this achievement deserves retelling. 

From the time of the restoration, there was uni- 
versal religious suffrage. "No person is to be ordained 



. . . without the vote of [the] church." (D&C 20:65.) 
Women voted along with men on the acceptance of 
revelations and approval of church officers and poli- 
cies. "All things shall be done by common consent in 
the church. . . ." (D&C 26:2.) This was the practice 
among the Saints in New York in 1830, in Kirtland, in 
Nauvoo, in Winter Quarters, and in the valleys of the 
mountains settled by the Saints beginning in 1847. 

When the United States established Utah Territory 
in 1850, however, no provision was made for women 
to vote. Although American women had voted in 
certain school and other elections, they had been 
denied the ballot in the regular elections for local, 
state, and national office. Only in their religious 
convocations were Latter-day Saint women able to 
give expression to their agency in sustaining their 
leaders. 

In 1867 President Brigham Young was impressed to 
establish a church-wide Relief Society organization. 
Prior to this time, the Relief Society, having been 
founded by the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo in 
1842, had functioned primarily on a ward or settle- 
ment basis. Sister Eliza R. Snow, who was appointed 
to direct the groups, had firm beliefs in the desirability 
of women exercising the franchise on as wide a basis 
as possible. She and her associates began to train the 
sisters for the eventual exercise of this privilege. 

In 1869, as a means of granting Negroes the right to 
vote, Congress proposed the Fifteenth Amendment to 



Era, April 1970 61 



the Constitution, forbidding any state from depriving 
a citizen of his vote because of race, color, or previous 
condition of servitude. Leaders of the Church, as 
with others in the United States, saw here an oppor- 
tunity to extend the voting franchise to women. 

According to a thesis titled Woman Suffrage in Utah, 
as an Issue in the Mormon and Non-Mormon Press of 
the Territory, 1870-1887, by Ralph L. Jack (completed 
for Brigham Young University), there was an added 
rea,son for the Church to press for woman suffrage at 
this time. Representatives George W. Julian of Indiana 
and Shelby M. Cullom of Illinois had introduced bills 
on the floor of the House of Representatives providing 
for woman suffrage in Utah. The Congressmen seemed 
to have had the idea that Mormons were uncivilized, 
and that the women were being held in a form of* 
slavery. When Utah's delegate, W. H. Hooper, as- 
sured the House that Church leaders had no objection 
to a law granting suffrage to women, the Congress 
was astonished, and they failed to approve the Julian 
and Cullom bills. Anxious to attract women to its 
male-dominated territory, however, the legislature of 
the newly established Territory of Wyoming voted on 
December 10, 1869, to grant women the right to vote. 
"Some of the members [of the Wyoming legislature]," 
declared a contemporary judge, "urged [suffrage] from 
conviction, others voted for it thinking it would attract 
attention to the Territory, others as a joke, and others 
in the expectation that the Governor would veto the 
measure." {The Woman's Journal [Boston], January 29, 
1876, p. 36. ) ^ 

When the Utah Legislature "met in January 1870, 
there was immediate interest in considering a similar 
bill to grant suffrage to the women of Utah. On Janu- 
ary 27, 1870, Representative Abram Hatch of Wasatch 
County moved that the committee on elections be 
instructed to inquire into the propriety of such a bill. 
With John C. Wright of Box Elder County in the chair, 
the House considered the question the same afternoon. 
Representative Joseph F. Smith of Salt Lake County, 
the father of President Joseph Fielding Smith, moved 
that the committee be granted time to prepare a writ- 
ten report. The motion passed unanimously. 

The statute, as approved February 12, 1870, pro- 
vided that every woman of the age of 21 or older and 
who had resided in the territory six months preceding 
any general or special elections, who had been bom 
or naturahzed in the United States, or who was the 
wife, widow, or daughter of a native-bom or natural- 
ized citizen of the United States, might vote in any 
election in the territory. Since an election was held 
the very month of approval in Salt Lake City, and 
another for territorial officers in August of the same 
vear, Utah women were able to vote well in advance 



of the women of Wyoming, who cast their first ballots 
in September 1870. The first female citizen to vote 
in Utah— and therefore the first to vote in a regular 
election in the United States— was Seraph Young, a 
grand-niece of President Brigham Young. 

The Woman's Exponent, founded in Salt Lake City 
in 1870 by Louisa Lula Greene and other female 
leaders of the Church, encouraged women in the exer- 
cise of these political rights. And although the statutes 
still did not permit women to hold elective office, 
the sisters of the Church participated actively in party 
precinct meetings and in political conventions. Utah 
women continued to vote until 1887, when the National 
Congress, at the peak of an anti-Mormon crusade, 
passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which, among other 
things, removed the right of Utah women to vote. 

In the 1890s, in a more friendly mood, Congress 
passed an act permitting Utah Territory to become a 
state. In the constitutional convention that preceded 
statehood, Utah's lawmakers boldly inserted a provi- 
sion granting women the right to vote. This was over- 
whelmingly approved, and Utah women (as with the 
women of Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming) were able 
to vote many years before the Nineteenth Amendment 
to the U.S. Constitution was passed, permitting all 
eligible women in the United States to vote beginning 
in 1920. 

Latter-day Saint women have established other 
records in the American political scene. In 1896 Dr. 
Martha Hughes Cannon became the first woman 
elected to a state senate. Sister Cannon served two 
four-year terms in Utah's upper house and sponsored 
several bills that provided protection for the rights 
of women and children. Latter-day Saints were among 
the first American women to serve on boards of 
trustees of state colleges and universities. They were 
among the first to direct state eleemosynary and cor- 
rectional institutions. Sister Mary Howard was one 
of the first women mayors in the United States when 
she and four other Latter-day Saint sisters were elected 
to an all-woman city council in Kanab, Utah, in 1912. 
Utah women were among the first to serve as jurors 
and in state and county positions. 

This heritage of womanly accomplishment reminds 
us that Latter-day Saint women have served in recent 
years in important posts in Washington, D.C., London, 
the South Sea islands, and elsewhere in the world. 
Sister Belle S. Spafford, general president of the 
Relief Societies of the Church, this year serves as 
president of the National Council of Women, which 
is an outgrowth of the National Woman Suffrage Asso- 
ciation. 

May Latter-day Saint women be inspired to carry 
on this tradition of public service! O 



62 Era, April 1970 






'^mc^emJ^/i^ 



THE SEARCH 




CAROL LYNN PEARSON 



m^ 



/ 



BEGINNINGS, Carol Lynn Pear- 
son's first volume of poetry, has sold 
over 35,000 copies, bringing enthusi- 
astic responses from throughout the 
world, even from non-members be- 
hind the Iron Curtain. Her poems 
have been reprinted and used by 
every auxiliary in the Church, and 
have been widely quoted — from Sac- 
rament meetings to Stake and Gen- 
eral Conferences. 



TRILOGY ARTS Box 843 Provo, Utah 84601 
Sells for only $2.95 

Enclosed find $ for copies of THE SEARCH 

Name Street ' 



City 



_- State Zip 

Available at all LDS Book Stores 



Some people possess a blessed gift 
That must be heaven sent: 
They can make a treasured occasion 
Of even the simplest event. 

—Harry and Joan Mier* 



• We are busy and ofttimes foolish 
people. We wrap ourselves in a 
galloping world from which life's 
best often flashes by like glimpses 
from a speeding train. We see too 
little and sometimes too late into 
the world close at hand— yet we are 
told this makes us quite normal. 

But sometimes we get smart, and 
the message of the above verse 
rings in our ears. We may not have 
that heaven-sent gift, but our hap- 



to release our irritations and growl 
over our inconveniences. 

It was a Thursday. All morning 
I had gone through the routine- 
students, letters, files, meetings, lost 
papers. At 2:00 p.m., after no 
lunch, I called home and said, 
"Honey, let's put on a special din- 
ner tonight, okay?" 

"Wonderful idea," says she with a 
touch of disdain. "Shall I serve it 
on china or golden plates?" 

I was courting disaster by heap- 
ing a request for something special 
on top of the present irritation. But 
she agreed— somehow— to come up 
with a special fried shrimp dinner. 

"Thanks," I said. "I'm coming 
home early— before the kids get 
home— and we'll see if we can take 



I A Happier Marriage Hfert 2 

MarriaseMoments 



By J. Joel and Audra Call Moss 



piest moments come when we act 
as though we do. 

The very nature of this article's 
message suggests that it can best 
be related through personal experi- 
ences. Let us tell one of our best 
experiences: 

Some years ago we wisely caught 
a "moment to treasure." We had 
just moved west, and after a most 
pleasant trip across country, we 
entered our new abode— sans the 
arrival of our moving van! For two 
weeks we slept on the floor, eating 
from paper plates while the 
children settled into new schools 
and Dad wandered through the 
maze of a new office and a new 
job. Concern for our furniture and 
belongings mounted, and we began 



time out to make it a fun evening." 
She couldn't quite let that pass 
without one little side plug: "Early? 
Let's see— shall I expect you at six 
or seven?" 

I surprised her— and myself— by 
arriving home at three o'clock with 
the shrimp, gum, candy, and as- 
sorted little inexpensive items 
gleaned from the variety store. Two 
hours, later, the little items were 
hidden about the house. The bor- 
rowed card table was set, and by 
each plate (except mine) was a 
poetic offering, while from the 
kitchen tantalizing odors wafted 
through an empty house. It had 
been fun building clues for the 
great treasure hunt, but more fun 
sharing laughter and frustration in 



shaping up the rhythm of the poetic 
passages. 

"What smells so good?" rang a 
voice from the front hall. Quietness 
erupted into normal confusion as 
one and then another of the 
children poured in. 

"Surprise!" called my wife, with 
eyes aglow, "Hurry and get cleaned 
up. We have a special dinner!" 

Tired confusions of the day were 
forgotten as the children prepared 
for an evening that had suddenly 
taken on new life. 

We sat down at the table. "Sur- 
prise?" said my skeptical son as he 
eyed his plate and his surroundings. 
"All I've got is a piece of paper! 
Do I eat it or read it?" 

"Let's read them first," said mv 
wife. "They are part of the sur- 
prise." 

Silence reigned for a few seconds, 
then a girlish squeal hit high C. 
"I know! I know! It's a treasure 
hunt!" 

"Yes," said I, "and you can each 
explore your clues, but first we'll 
enjoy the lovely dinner." Even the 
skeptical son did a double take as a 
bowl of steaming rice made its 
appearance, followed by a heaping 
platter of luscious fried shrimp. 

A joyous moment of life, a 
pleasant dinner, a fun evening was 
enjoyed by all— in fact, a memorable 
evening! How do we know? By 
the many times that one or more 
of the children have initiated a 
similar treasure hunt all by them- 
selves, using their own money to 
buy the treats. Many times a child 
has confided to one of us, "We need 
a special dinner in this family." 

A man in New Mexico caught the 
importance of making special mo- 
ments. He and his wife were near- 
ing their twenty-fifth anniversary. 
When the anniversary arrived, he 
said to his beloved, "Honey, let's 
ride up in the hills and look out 
over the city." 

A short time later they sat look- 



64 



ing down at the lighted scene be- 
low. We don't know just what 
happened, but we have been told 
that a certain woman returned 
home radiant with joy and happi- 
ness. We later met this happy 
woman— a woman still thriving on 
the treasure of that moment, a mo- 
ment when her husband so sweetly 
proposed "continued" marriage to 
her as he slipped a new diamond 
ring on her finger. 

These are moments that stand 
out— moments when someone has 
applied the heaven-sent gift so well 
that it forever lives in our memory. 
There are other moments, just as 
beautiful, operating around us all 
the time. 

Notes can be helpful. Many men 



evening as he came, he would leave 
the bedroom light off, tiptoe into 
bed, give her a good-night kiss, 
and go to sleep. 

Deciding the moment needed a 
little "inspiration," one night she 
got out of bed and tucked pillows 
where her body should be. On the 
pillow, where her head should be, 
she placed a bowling ball. Moving 
into another room, she crawled 
into bed and slept. Her husband, 
true to form, came home late, 
crawled into bed, kissed her good 
night, and went to sleep. 

Next morning, the wife came in 
early and removed the bowling ball 
and the pillows so all looked 
normal. At breakfast time as they 
were talking, the husband suddenly 



feed their children early on occa- 
sion and then reserve a quiet dinner 
hour for themselves. Benjamin 
Franklin, in his autobiography, in- 
dicates his father was so adept at 
introducing delightful conversation 
into the dinner hour that often he 
couldn't remember what he had 
eaten after the dinner was over. 
Good conversation has a tremen- 
dous captivating power for satisfy- 
ing human desires. 

Make a treasured moment of even 
the simple events. It isn't neces- 
sary that it be too often, but do it 
continuously. Have you caught the 
message? Do you see what is 
needed if marriages are to move 
forward rather than fall behind? 

Marriages can be enriched if each 




are not very good at expressing 
tender feelings to their wives. Per- 
haps, though, we can use a little 
poetry or express our feelings in 
writing to her. Otherwise these 
feelings might pass by unnoticed 
and become a gray part of a gray 
routine of a gray living pattern. 

It is possible also to inspire the 
"touchy" moments so they may be 
dealt with a little more honestly 
and, perhaps, with a little more 
humor. The story is told of the 
lady who was a bowling widow. 
Each weekend, friends of her hus- 
band came from other cities to 
bowl, and he would return very late 
from the sport. She never knew 
when to expect him. He was a very 
thoughtful husband, though. Each 



said, "Honey, you must have really 
been mad at me last night, because 
when I crawled in and kissed ypu, 
you were sure hard-headed!" 

We are sure the rest of the con- 
versation must have been an "in- 
spired moment." 

A Nebraska friend spoke of the 
treasured moments of dinner as one 
of his marital joys. "When I come 
home," he said, "she doesn't trot out 
all the cares of the day and heap 
them upon my shoulders. She 
keeps them until later. At dinner 
she always has something to spark 
the conversation." 

We feel we have very much 
neglected dinner-table conversation 
in our modern world. We heartily 
recommend that married couples 



^^ Illustrated by Don Young 

partner can learn to enjoy and 
capitalize on the happenings of the 
moment. What a challenge this 
offers to us in our busy worlds. If 
we would meet it, we must be alert 
to what is around us, yet not too 
sensitive. We must look at the 
beauty within qur grasp. We must 
take time to inspire the moment and 
to express appreciation for that 
which someone else does to make it 
a treasured event. O 

Affection spoken only in words 
May like the real thing appear, 
But love's silent language is told 
In gestures only the soul can hear. 
—Harry and Joan Mier* 



"Harry and Joan Mier, Happiness Begins Be- 
fore Breakfast, Beverly Hills: Merit Publishers. 
Used by permission. 



Era, April 1970. 65 





Regional 
Representative 

Barry P. Knudsen, 
former president of the 
San Diego (California) 
Stake, has been called 
to serve as a 
Regional Representative of 
the Council of the 
Twelve. He has been 
assigned to the Pomona 
(California) Region, 
which includes the Covina, 
El Monte, Pomona, 
and West Covina stakes. 
Brother Knudsen was 
president of the San Diego 
Stake for 15 years. 




Los Angeles Temple 
President Named 

Myrthus W. Evans, 
patriarch of the 
Mt. Rubidoux Stake in 
Riverside, California, has 
been called to be 
president of the Los Angeles 
Temple. President Evans 
replaces President 
Benjamin L. Bowring, who 
has served since the 
temple was dedicated 15 
years ago. 
President Evans has 
been superintendent for 
22 years of an Indian 
school near Riverside. 



Chairman of Church 
Indian Committee 

Elder LeGrand Richards 
of the Council of the 
Twelve has been appointed 
by the First Presidency 
as chairman of the 
Church Indian Committee. 
Eider Richards replaces 
President Spencer W. 
Kimball, acting president 
of the Council of the 
Twelve, who has served 
as a member of 
the Indian Committee 
since shortly after his 
call to the Council 
of the Twelve in 1943. 



Work Progresses on 
Church Administration Building 

Work on the new 30-story 

Church Administration Building 

is progressing, as installation of the 

steel beams is well underway. 

The building, which will rise 430 feet 

above ground, will feature 28 

floors, a penthouse, and a service 

tower. It will house all Church 

auxiliaries except the Relief Society; 

the Genealogical Society, Church 

Historian's office and library, 

Presiding Bishopric's office, and 

other departments of the Church. 

Completion is expected in 

mid-1972. Offices of the First 

Presidency and other General 

Authorities will remain in the Church 

Office Building on the same block. 




66 




Mormon Youth Syrtiphony and Chorus Debut 

The Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus 
recently presented in the Salt Lake Tabernacle its first 
public concert. Directed by Dr. Jay E. Welch, 
assistant director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, 
the group consists of nearly 400 young 



musicians and singers between 18 and 29 years 
of age. Music of the symphony and chorus is 
featured on Church missionary radio programs 
presently aired in 46 states, Canada, 
and other countries. 




Advisers Announced for Auxiliaries 

The First Presidency recently announced the 

appointments of four members of the Council of the 

Twelve as advisers to the auxiliary organizations of the 

Church. Elder Marion G. Romney, chairman of the 

Home Teaching and Family Home Evening committees, 

will be one of the advisers of the Relief Society. 

This assignment will correlate the work 

of the Relief Society with the priesthood in the home 

teaching and family home evening programs. 

Elder Richard L. Evans, chairman of the Youth Correlation 



committee, will be adviser to the MIAs and Sunday 

School. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, chairman of the 

Children's Correlation Committee, will be adviser to the 

Primary and Sunday School. Elder Thomas S. Monson, 

chairman of the Adult Correlation Committee, will 

be adviser to the Sunday School and MIAs. 

Thus the chairmen of the various correlation 

committees are now advisers to the 

auxiliaries that serve members of corresponding 

age groups. 



Era, April 1970 67 







^ J i 



i * 







MESSAGE 



By Dr. Dwane J. Sykes 



• It was on a February evening 
several years ago in a small central 
Utah town that Brother Beck first 
picked me up in his blue Chevrolet 
coupe. I was 14 years old and had 
just been assigned as his junior 
companion for home teaching, or 
ward teaching, as we called it 
then. 

I was surprised when our first 
stop was in front of Mr. Weeks's 



brick home. For years I'd walked 
by there on my way to school, but 
I never knew that either old Mr. 
Weeks or his wife was a Mormon. 
I'd never seen them in church. We 
passed by the big front porch, 
walked around to the side of the 
house, and climbed the narrow 
cement steps to knock at the back 
door. 

"Hello, Mrs. Weeks. Got a min- 



or. Dwane J. Sykes, who grew up in Pleasant Grove, Utah, is now head of 
the Land Resources Department at the University of Alaska and is in the 
Fairbanks Ward bishopric. 



ute for your ward teachers?" 

We sat down in the kitchen, 
where they offered us the two 
kitchen chairs. On subsequent 
visits we always sat in the kitchen. 
Mr. Weeks would sit on a high 
wooden stool, and his wife would 
sit on a bench after first lifting a 
large wire basket of fresh eggs to 
the floor. There was always a 
basket of eggs on that bench. 

Promptly that first evening Broth- 
er Beck inquired about the current 
price of eggs, and for perhaps 15 
minutes we discussed various as- 
pects of eggs and poultry before 
saying good-bye. We always dis- 
cussed eggs with the Weeks. Some- 
times it was the price, sometimes 
the way that brown eggs seemed 
to be cropping up with greater 
frequency. Sometimes we dis- 
cussed the chickens, or repairing 
the chicken coops, or when the molt 
would start. And the Weeks seemed 
to enjoy our visits. Brother Beck 
never suggested that we have a 
word of prayer. In fact, we rarely 
mentioned the Church except per- 
haps for a fleeting reference to 
"your ward teachers" upon our 
arrival. 

Once I said to Brother Beck, "We 
always talk about eggs there. You're 
a school principal, but you seem 
to know an awful lot about eggs. 
Are you especially interested in 
eggs yourself?" 

"No, not especially," he replied, 
smiling, "but the Weeks are." 

Our next stop on my first teach- 
ing trip was at the home of the 
Clarks. Brother Clark was on the 
high council. We had hardly 
been seated before Brother Beck 
launched into a two-minute sum- 
mary of the message for the month, 
after which he and Brother Clark 
began quoting scriptures and doc- 
trine back and forth to each other 
concerning the lesson. Almost like a 
duel, they ranged from the Sermon 
on the Mount to the Doctrine and 
Covenants to Church history to the 



68 



Book of Revelation to last Sun- 
day's priesthood lesson, then back 
through the Sermon on the Mount. 
I sat with folded hands, watching 
them banter scriptures back and 
forth, turning my head from one 
to the other as if watching a tennis 
match. After half an hour Brother 
Beck left a note about next month's 
lesson, we had a prayer, and we 
took our leave. So it went, from 
month to month at the Clark home. 
On that first round of visits we 
next pulled up in front of old Mrs. 
Davis's tiny place. The naked trees 
and tangled shrubbery crowded 
close, blending with the archaic 
unpainted frame house. Without 
saying a word, Brother Beck opened 
the trunk of his car and brought 
out a snow shovel. Curious, I fol- 
lowed along behind as he shoveled 
the snow from the walk toward the 
house, noisily scraping across the 
cement. Though the snow was 
days old, I noticed that only one 
or two foot tracks had trodden the 
snowy walk before us. From the 
corner of my eye I observed a 
movement behind the old-fashioned 
lace curtains in the window. A head 
peeked out, watching suspiciously. 
Brother Beck knocked loudly at 
the door. No response. He knocked 
again. Slowly the door opened a 
few inches and the eyes of a little 
gray-haired lady peered out over 
a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles. 

"Sister Davis, I want you to meet 
my new teaching companion, 
Brother Sykes. He's LaMar's son," 
said Brother Beck loudly and cheer- 
fully through the screen door. 

There was a slight grunt in reply. 
I pulled the screen door ajar to 
gingerly extend my hand for a 
brief, limp handshake. 

Brother Beck had already turned 
and was halfway down the walk, 
banging the snow from his shovel, 
when he called back, "We'll see you 
again next month. And Sister Davis, 
don't let the snow pile up on your 
walk like this. You just give one 



of us a call and we'll take care of 

'J. " 
it. 

Driving away in the car, I asked, 
"Was that a ward teaching visit?" 
"Sure was. That is the only con- 
tact Sister Davis has with the 
Church— or with the outside world, 
for that matter. The first few 
months I started calling there, she 
wouldn't even answer the door. 
Never have made it inside— yet. But 
if you looked carefully underneath 
those disgruntled wrinkles, you saw 
that our visit actually tickled her 
pink. She'd feel terribly disap- 
pointed if we didn't come by every 
month to greet her through that 
dark opening in the door." 
We didn't disappoint her. 
Our last visit on that first evening 
was with the young Johnson fam- 
ily. Though he always saw the 
family in Sunday School, Brother 
Beck now inquired how they were 
getting on, about the health of the 
two youngsters, and how things 
were going with Brother Johnson's 
job. Everyone cheerfully partici- 
pated in a discussion of the month- 
ly message, including the new 
junior companion. After the prayer, 
we all made a trek to the basement 
to see the children's new baby 
hamsters. 

On a later visit, after learning 
that Brother Johnson had played 
a trombone in high school. Brother 
Beck, also a one-time trombone 
player in a local band, brought 
along his trombone as a surprise, 
and the two of them had a gay time 
puffing and tooting on their now 
little-used instruments. 

During those years I was a for- 
tunate companion to a teacher who 
had a message and knew how to 
deliver it. In a special way, appro- 
priate to each individual's char- 
acter. Brother Beck's message was, 
"We care. We care a lot— in any 
way that you will let us, as much 
as you will let us. Why? You're 
important to us. That's why we 
care." O 



Era, April 1970 69 



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Buffs 

and 

Rebuffs 



City Planning 

As a former planning and urban affairs 
writer for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, I 
especially appreciated your articles [De- 
cember] relating to Joseph Smith as a 
city planner and the iiifluence of his 
planning on communities in the Mountain 
West. You may also wish to know that 
the influence of Joseph Smith and his 
blueprint for cities is known in Hawaii 
in the Latter-day Saint community of 
Laie. Although the community is more 
than 100 years old, it is still considered to 
be the best-planned and laid-out town in 
the entire Aloha State. This is also true 
of other predominantly Latter-day Saint 
communities throughout the Pacific 
region. 

Alf Pratte 

Senate Minority Administrative 
Assistant 

State of Hawaii 

January Issue 

I am sure mine will be but one of many 
letters of thanks inspired by the power- 
fully moving issue you have produced for 
January. Superb hardly describes it. I 
am especially grateful for the tremen- 
dously enlightening article by Brother 
Hugh Nibley. I hope it will be recog- 
nized by all for what it brings to our 
eternal memories. The conference talks 
In December's issue were, as always, a 
showerbath to the soul. 

PFC Tom Stoker 
Fort Myer, Virginia 

From Israel 

I thought members of the Church might 
be interested to know that on September 
12, 1969, a Latter-day Saint group was 
officially organized in Israel under the 
direction of Swiss Mission President M. 



70 



Elmer Christensen. Sixteen members 
presently constitute the group, with Dar- 
rell L. Hicken presiding as group leader 
and David B. Galbraith assisting. A com- 
bined Sunday School and sacrament meet- 
ing is held every Saturday morning in 
Jerusalem in Brother and Sister Gal- 
braith's home and is often attended by 
several investigators. We are currently 
engaged in organizing auxiliary meetings 
and in trying to contact other members in 
Israel. 

Bonnie Y. White 
Jerusalem, Israel 

President McKay 

I just received my first issue of the Era. 
Oh, what a wonderful magazine! It was 
really beyond my wildest hopes of an 
inspirational publication. Reading of the 
wonderful things in the life of President 
McKay really strengthened my testimony. 
I'm a new convert. 

Michael R. McMahon 
Cottage Grove, Minnesota 

Stone Letters 

Referring to Mr. Carr's letter [February, 
"Buffs"], I know that there are stone let- 
ters on the hills of four mining towns in 
Arizona: Globe, Miami, Superior, and 
A]0. I lived in Globe 19 years and Ajo 
seven years. There are probably similar 
letters in Bisbee, Morenci, and Jerome. I 
doubt that any of these towns were 
founded by Mormons. However, I be- 
lieve that Woodruff, a Mormon town, has 
one. I was intrigued by Mr. Carr's theory. 
Did miners in Arizona borrow a Mormon 
tradition or custom? 

Norman D. Smith 
Freemont, California 

Thanks to the Parents 

For many years I have felt obligated to 
the missionary force of the Church, and 
as a serviceman I have felt the arm of 
friendship around my shoulder in many, 
many parts of the world. I think it is 
about time that I said my thank yous to 
the folks who work so hard to raise these 
wonderful young people and then, in the 
really worthwhile years, as it were, give 
them up in order that they may serve the 
Lord in the foreign lands of the globe. 

We of the mission areas are indeed 
thankful for the love and friendship that 
are offered so freely, and we owe so very 
much to the parents who have taught 
their children the gospel principles, put 
these into action in the home, and then 
so graciously shared their joys with us 
of other lands. 

My home is ever open to the mission- 
aries. My workshop is available for their 
broken gadgets and equipment, and yet I 
feel that we can never repay the parents 
who unselfishly bring us the blessings 
that come from working and playing with 
these choice people. May the folks at 
home know that we love and admire their 
sons and daughters. So many of us would 
not be members of the Church if it were 
not for the living testimony of the mis- 



Unanswered 
By Jane Merchant 

"What errand took a single bird 
Across the rainswept sky 
Of evening dusk?" one watcher mused. 
But no one made reply. 

To one who does not deeply know, 
The heart cannot explain 
The reason for a leisurely 
Lone flying in the rain. 



The 
Spoken Word 



"The Spoken Word" from Tem- 
ple Square, presented over KSL 
and the Columbia Broadcasting 
System February 8, 1970. ©1970. 



'The character of our country" 

By Richard L. Evans 

Some historians say there have been some nineteen civilizations rise 
and fall in human history, and the principal cause for downfall was 
moral decay. Civilization and survival, are, besides all else, matters 
of morals. If we have no sound moral foundation, we have no safety, no 
assurance for the future. "Let us," said Charles Sumner, "turn our 
thoughts on the character of our country."' Let us instill in youth 
decency, honesty, cleanliness in conduct. Let homes, parents, teachers, 
textbooks, entertainment, and all else that is offered them — all that 
goes to make the man— be shaped and fashioned in truth and dignity 
and decency, so shaped that they can and will sincerely say, "On my 
honor, I will do my best — To do my duty to God and my Country. . . ,"^ 
— to "be prepared, "2 — to keep the commandments. Except it be so, 
we shall find that what we are sowing will rot as it ripens. ". . . there is 
even now something of ill omen amongst us," said Abraham Lincoln. 
"I mean the increasing disregard for law . . . the growing disposition 
to substitute the wild and furious passions in lieu of the sober judg- 
ment of courts. . . ."^ "The world no longer has a choice between force 
and law," said Dwight Eisenhower. "If civilization is to survive it must 
choose the rule of law." "At what point then is the approach of danger 
to be expected?" Lincoln continued. "I answer. If it ever reach us it 
must spring up amongst us. . . . If destruction be our lot we must our- 
selves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must 
live through all time or die by suicide. "^ What then shall we say for 
the future — what shall we say of what some would call this twentieth 
civilization? It comes down, finally, to a question of character— ^the 
character of each of us— "the character of our country." "We — even 
we here — hold the power and bear the responsibility. . . . We shall 
nobly save or meanly lose the last, best hope of earth. 



"4 



sionary program. 



Hadley a. R. Murton 
Holyhead, Anglesey 
North Wales 



'Charles Sumner, "Oration on the True Grandeur of Nations," delivered in Boston, July 4, 1845. 
^The Scout Oath and Motto 

^Abraham Lincoln, Address before Young Men's Lyceum, Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838. 
'Abraham Lincoln, Annual Message to Congress, 1862. 



Era, April 1970 71 



Could you spare 
a moment for 

your boy? 

for your 

friend's boy? 




This could be the most 
important moment in 
your boy's life this year. 




What boy hasn't dreamed of 
caring for his own horse, 
wrangling white-face cattle, 
fishing in clear-flowing 
streams . . . and what parent 
hasn't wished this dream 
could come true . . . without 
flattening the family purse? 
Timber Creek Ranch may be 
the answer to both these 
dreams ... it spreads beneath 
the Big Sky Country of 
Montana. New concept of 
work and play keeps cost low. 
Owners are an LDS couple. 
Cliff and Lil Spencer, who 
believe boys belong on a 
ranch at" least once in their 
lives. Your boy will receive 
loving care in his never-to-be- 
forgotten adventure. Write 
today. 

Special arrangements for 
Scout and Explorer groups. 

Timber Creek Ranch 
Drummond, Montana 59832 



TIHEER 
GREEK 
RANCH 


Jk 


Btity^^ 



The Church 
Moves On 



February 1970 



The annual penny drive in behalf of the 
Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City 
is being conducted this month. In a door- 
to-door campaign, unique over the years in 
that not one cent is deducted for the ex- 
penses of the drive, people are being urged 
to be generously old as they contribute at 
least two cents for each of their years. 

mM Although recent storms have caused 
slippage of earth near the Oakland Temple, 
President Thomas 0. Call reports the temple 
itself is unharmed. "We have had no slip- 
page, no sliding. The temple is as solid as 
the Rock of Gibraltar. The problem area is 
located a block or two away from the tem- 
ple." Fourteen families living in homes along 
London Road, below the temple, have moved 
from their homes. There has been no dam- 
age to any Church buildings, 

Bl The appointments of Alice Rae Clark 
and Janet Kirton of Salt Lake City to the 
general board of the Deseret Sunday School 
Union were announced. 

Kil New stake presidencies: Alton L. Wade 
and counselors Raymond W. Ritchie and 
Herewini Katene, Hamilton (New Zealand) 



South Stake; Charles F. Cagle and counselors 
Travis T. Tynes and Mack Hayes, Jr., Shreve- 
port (Louisiana) Stake: Leo G. Stewart and 
counselors LeRoy C. Carlson and Lloyd E. 
Hansen, North Tooele (Utah) Stake; Lee K. 
Udall and counselors Wilbur Coombs Woolf 
and Joseph N. Skousen, Mesa (Arizona) 
South Stake. 



President Joseph Fielding Smith an- 
nounced the appointment of Elder Howard 
W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve as 
the Church Historian and recorder. Elder 
Hunter will continue to serve as president 
of the Genealogical Society as well. 



m 



New stake presidency: Barry I. Rusden 
and counselors Hugh A. Daysh and Mat- 
thew T. Chote, Auckland (New Zealand) 
stake. 



With the announcement of the appoint- 
ment of Barry P. Knudsen of San Diego, 
California, as a Regional Representative of 
the Twelve, it was also announced that 16 
new regions have been organized and are 
functioning in the United States. 

UU Anaheim (California) West Stake, the 
502nd now functioning, was organized by 
Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of 



/ 


"--* 




\ 


^•■ 


.•^- 




'■■w 




'I 




r 




-m.t 




Two Starkly Simple Verities 




By Evalyn Sandberg 


4 


A gentle 


A gentle 




but 'persistent rain 


but persistent habit 




can become 


can become 




a raging torrent 


a powerful catalyst 




that will carve 


that will carve 


^ 


new canyons, forge 


new patterns, forge 




new stream beds, and change 


new achievements, and transform 


the face of the land. 


a personality. ^^^'^ 


'fT:%: ■« 



72 



the Twelve from portions of Anaheim Stake, 
Hugh J. Sorensen is president, with William 
L. Walker, Jr., and C. Robert Jensen as 
counselors. 



01 



The First Presidency announced new 
advisers to the auxiliaries. Each serves on 
the Correlation Executive Committee. Elder 
Marion G. Romney, chairman of the Home 
Teaching and Family Home Evening com- 
mittees, will be an adviser to the Relief 
Society. Elder Richard L. Evans, chairman 
of the Youth Correlation Committee, will be 
an adviser to the Sunday School, YMMIA, 
and YWMIA. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, 
chairman of the Children's Correlation Com- 
mittee, will be an adviser to the Primary and 
Sunday School. Elder Thomas S. Monson, 
chairman of the Adult Correlation Com- 
mittee, will be an adviser to the Sunday 
School, YMMIA, YWMIA, and Relief Society. 

The First Presidency announced the ap- 
pointment of Elder LeGrand Richards of the 
Council of the Twelve as chairman of the 
Church Indian Committee. 

The First Presidency announced the ap- 
pointment of Myrthus W. Evans, presently 
patriarch in Mt. Rubidoux (California) Stake, 
as president of the Los Angeles Temple. 
He is to be installed at a special temple 
meeting March 8. 





■\ 




"The Spoken Word" from 
Temple Square, presented 
over KSL and the Colum- 
bia Broadcasting System 
February 1, 1970. © 1970. 



If we are running deeply 
into debt 

By Richard L. Evans 

There is a somewhat mundane matter that calls 
for comment because it concerns conscience 
and character, and certainly self-respect. We 
are referring to the down-drag of an over-due debt, 
and the self-respect of solvency. This in turn con- 
cerns some basic relationships of life. Many mar- 
riages run into trouble because of matters of money. 
Many people run out on responsibilities because 
of matters of money. Many people avoid other 
people because of matters of money. Many are 
worried, unhappy, deeply concerned because of 
matters of money. And if we are running deeply 
into debt, unless we change direction we shall run 
more deeply into debt. Good management in money 
matters is always important, not forgetting thrift, 
working, saving; and remembering, before we commit 
ourselves to pay something, that we shall, by all 
the means we can, do our best to see it through, 
and not incur a needless debt without some rea- 
sonable assurance of being able to meet it when 
it comes due. There is this searching question from 
the Master of mankind: "For which of you, intend- 
ing to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and 
counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to 
finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the founda- 
tion, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it 
begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, 
and was not able to finish."' The money we owe 
represents someone else's work, someone else's 
effort, someone's saving, someone's giving up some- 
thing he might have had. Whenever we don't pay 
a debt, we take something, somehow, from someone— 
and so we should always consider the ability to 
repay before borrowing. Sometimes situations ap- 
pear impossible, and the law gives relief; but we 
shouldn't use it lightly to escape our commitments. 
We ought to keep our word, to keep our credit, 
to keep our trust, to keep the confidence of others 
in us, to the best of our ability. "For which of you. 
intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, 
and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient 
to finish it?'" 



^^ 



'Luke 14:28-30. 



Era, April 1970 73 



Scientists Now Agree 
"Wheat" for Man! 




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POCKET, AND HEALTH ON YOUR 
TABLE? 

The new Lynco Wheat Mill is an all 
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Without a bulky flour bag, and being 
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"A DAY 
FOR JUSTIN" 

A true - to - life setting 
concerning a boy's re- 
lationship to his father, 
a member of a busy 
bishopric. The movie 
features Robert Peterson 
and Johnny Whitaker 



INSPIRATIONAL 
LDS FILMS 

Available from your 
nearest LDS Film Library 

BYU EDUCATIONAL 
MEDIA SERVICE 

Herald R. Clark Building 

Brigham Young University 

Provo, Utah 84601 




"The Spoken Word" from 
Temple Square, presented 
over KSL and the Colum- 
bia Broadcasting System 
January 4, 1970. © 1970. 



If we don't change direction 

By Richard L. Evans 

There is a simple axiom which says: "A straight 
line is the shortest distance between two 
points." There is another simple assertion, modi- 
fied somewhat for our present purpose, which, in 
substance, says: If we don't change direction, we will 
arrive at where we are going. This applies to people 
personally, to companies, to communities, to coun- 
tries. If we don't change direction, we shall arrive 
at where we are going. If, for example, we are 
running more deeply in debt, we shall continue to 
run deeper into debt — unless we change direction. 
If we are doing anything detrimental to health and 
happiness, if we don't change direction, we shall 
arrive at ill health and unhappiness. If our relation- 
ships with our loved ones are deteriorating, if we 
are moving toward less happiness in marriage, less 
happiness at home, sincerely we should search our- 
selves, and see what part we are playing in the down- 
hill process, before we bring heartbreak to ourselves 
and to the lives of our loved ones. If we are falsifying, 
if we are engaging in small degrees of dishonesty, 
taking things that belong to others and not to us, 
breaking the law, not being quite truthful or forth- 
right, not giving quite an honest day of effort — if 
persistently we are moving in such directions, we 
shall arrive at where they take us. If we are not taking 
the trouble to learn, to study, to apply ourselves, we 
shall arrive at wherever we're going, knowing less 
than we ought to know. Sometimes we live with the 
hope that something will happen to take us in a 
different direction. And it may be that something 
outside ourselves might do so. But even if someone 
else were to provide us with every opportunity, there 
would still have to be within us the will, the willing- 
ness to learn, to repent, to improve. The way to 
change is to change. The way to repent is to depart 
from former practices— to change direction, to turn 
to the right road. If we don't change direction, we 
will arrive at where we are going. 



74 



TheseTimes 



Illustrated fay Maurice Scan/on 

By Dr. G. Homer Durham 

Commissioner and Executive Officer, Utah System of Higher Education 



• On Friday, January 23, 1970, 
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith was 
sustained as the tenth President 
of the Church at a meeting in the 
Salt Lake Temple. President Smith 
chose as his first counselor in the 
First Presidency Elder Harold B. 
Lee. President Lee was sustained 
as the new president of the Coun- 
cil of the Twelve, succeeding Presi- 
dent Smith in that capacity. Elder 
Spencer W. Kimball was sustained 
as acting president of the Twelve 
in view of President Lee's service 
in the First Presidency. Elder 
Nathan Eldon Tanner was sus- 
tained as second counselor to 
President Smith. 

Upon the death of President 
David 0. McKay, Sunday, January 
18, 1970, the former First Presi- 
dency was immediately dissolved 
and the Council of the Twelve be- 
came the governing council of the 
Church, with President Joseph 
Fielding Smith as the presiding 



officer of that body. The smooth, 
orderly transition in reconstituting 
the First Presidency was a model 
for any organization. All systems 
generally encounter difficulties 
when the issue of succession 
occurs, whether families, corpo- 
rations, schools, churches, or 
governments. Succession in the 
presidency of The Church of Jesus 
Christ of Latter-day Saints follows 
a constitutional pattern set forth 
in the revelations contained in the 
book of Doctrine and Covenants 
and procedures that have carefully 
followed that pattern since the 
death of President Joseph Smith 
in 1844. 

Contemporary organizations, 
church or . otherwise, are con- 
fronted with many challenges and 
problems, simply as organizations. 
This is especially true when they 
acquire international character 
and embrace large-scale opera- 
tions. The U.S. Department of 



Era, April 1970 75 



Be 

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Gold Leaf policy 




You don't have to be big in oil or 
cattle to afford the Insurance you need. 
The Beneficial Life Gold Leaf term 
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but he's got the responsibility of 
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especially if anything should 
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Now, Beneficial Life's Gold Leaf 
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Age 


Initial Insurance 


25 


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25 


50,000 


30 


100,000 


30 


50,000 


35 


100,000 


35 


50,000 



less than 
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9.00 
19.00 
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23.00 
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It's a great policy. And Beneficial's a 
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great people are served by Beneficial. 
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Box 6132, Albany, Ca 94706 

(Calif, residents add $1.35 sales tax) 



Bishop: 

Is the Sacrament 

prepared or puddled? 




The sacrament water belongs 
in the cups, not puddled over the 
tray. 

Prepare the sacrament water 
with the Webster Water Filler and 
you will have: 

1. All cups filled quickly and 
evenly, with NO puddles on 
the tray. 

2. Convenient cup filling, even 
at the sacrament table. 

3. Option to use either pan or 
flat type trays. 

4. A foolproof, simple piece of 
equipment that will last 
indefinitely. 

For further information, write 
John U. Webster, 215 Douglas 
Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 



State is one such. Many studies, 
official and unofficial, have been 
made of the complicated offices, 
bureaus, overseas establishments, 
committees, and policy groups that 
have been established to admin- 
ister the foreign policies of the 
United States and to provide ad- 
vice to the President. The organiza- 
tion had become so large and so 
complicated by the time of John 
F. Kennedy's presidency that he 
created his own "little State De- 
partment" in the White House. 

Communication, to and from the 
field, is one of the persistent, per- 
plexing problems in large-scale, 
international organizations. Thou- 
sands of cablegrams, radiograms, 
and other messages flow in and 
out of the Department of State 
hourly. In its simpler days, Alfred 
P. Sloan attempted to direct Gen- 
eral Motors by means of finance, 
engineering and production, and 
marketing committees, with Mr. 
Sloan making weekly trips from 
the finance group in New York to 
the other groups in Detroit. Much 
earlier in this century, the papacy, 
headquartered in Rome, attempted 
central direction and communica- 
tion with more than 2,000 dioceses 
throughout the world by all normal 
management methods, plus the 
device of an ad limina visit of each 
bishop, from each diocese, to 
Rome about every five years. Thus 
the Pope, as Bishop of Rome, at- 
tempted to keep in understanding 
touch with the two thousand or 
more other bishops throughout the 
world. Jet planes, electronic com- 
munications, and data processing 
do not seem to make the organiza- 
tion problems of the contemporary 
world any simpler or easier. 

When the Chiurch was organized 
140 years ago, the First and Sec- 
ond Elders, Joseph Smith and 
Oliver Cowdery, could enjoy face- 
to-face communication with the 
other four members present on 



76 



April 6, 1830. Sections 20 and 
21 of the Doctrine and Covenants, 
however, outlined a constitutional- 
organization plan of unusual 
breadth. Section 21, given to guide 
the new church, set forth the im- 
portance of records and record 
keeping. Additional revelations in 
the next few years, especially Sec- 
tions 107 and 124, provided the 
constitutional basis that has suc- 
cessfully guided the Church from 
six members onward. 

Had President Joseph Fielding 
Smith come to an office of leader- 
ship in a large and powerful na- 
tion, with his background of 
experience, he could have been 
well-described by such a nation's 
commentators as "its leading con- 
stitutional historian." Certainly, 
no one has the detailed under- 
standing of the law and doctrines 
underlying the government of the 
Church, together with such an 
extensive experience with its juris- 
prudence and organization, wheth- 
er in its national or international 
setting, as has President Smith. 

As President Smith assumed of- 
fice, the organized stakes of the 
Church passed the 500 mark. 
Semiannual general, quarterly 
stake, annual ward, and other con- 
ferences are but one means of 
communication in the Church. 
Since 1830, the conference sys- 
tem, however, has been one of 
the remarkable organizational in- 
struments of an expanding Church. 
Our accountants, business and 
other administrators could quickly 
calculate that in 1970, more than 
500 stakes will hold more than 
2,000 quarterly conferences; that 
if a member of the Twelve went to 
a different stake every week, 40 
weeks of the year, and toured one 
of the 88 missions in some of 
the remaining weeks, he might 
get around to each stake and mis- 
sion about once every dozen years; 
that the Twelve, their assistants, 



the First Council of the Seventy, 
and the Presiding Bishopric (about 
36 men), if assigned to 46 con- 
ferences per year, could attend 
only some 1,650 of the more than 
2,000 quarterly conferences held 
by the stakes, and so on. 

But as President Brigham Young 
was fond of saying, "The Lord is at 
the helm." The growth to a thou- 
sand, or two, or ten thousand 
stakes will not overwhelm and suf- 
focate the organization. And from 
purely secular considerations, it is 
clear that activity in the Church 
produces large numbers of what 
current administrative literature 
could call "experienced orga- 
nization specialists." From home 
training, through the auxiliaries 
and quorums, both young men and 
young women learn to work with the 
niceties of organization and rela- 
tionships of people within and 
among organizations. 

President Joseph Smith, from 
1830 to 1844, directed printing, 
mercantile, educational, land-de- 
velopment, city planning, hotel, 
steamship, coal-mining, and timber 
operations and other enterprises 
while establishing stakes in Ohio, 
Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois, and 
missions throughout the then 
United States, Canada, England, 
and the South Seas. 

Assuming the presidency in 
1970, President Joseph Fielding 
Smith enjoys the heritage and 
knowledge of this extensive or- 
ganization experience, plus his 
intimate knowledge of what is 
much more important: the impor- 
tance of living in harmony with the 
commandments of God. The ma- 
chinery of organization, after all, 
is only a means. And however 
fascinating to students of manage- 
ment and administration the 
Church has been, now is, and will 
increasingly become, its greater 
marvels exist in its mission, not 
organization, in these times. o 



Era, April 1970 11 



"^innTiT^^TS^miyTnT^innyTTmnnn nTiTjnn nnnTxn^ 



3 



S 



FREE 

DISPLAY and DEMONSTRATION 

for your 
Ward, Fireside, Home or Food Club 

Eat, touch, smell, feel and taste powdered butter, 
powdered shortening, powdered syrup, powdered 
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EAT top quality corn, carrots, beans, peas, fruit 
blend, etc. 

WHEAT, RICE, BEANS 
and SPLIT PEAS 

ARE NOT ENOUGH! 
A Nutritionally Balanced Program 
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See what- a year's supply really looks like. 

Temperature and storage problems explained. 
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f 

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aKaE2nnE2EEQEaaEaQHB 



SOUTHERN UTAH STATE 

APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION 




IMPORTANT: Each first-time freshman must have his high school mail a copy of his high school record. Each applicant who has 
attended a college or university as a regular student must submit a complete transcript of all college credits earned. All transcripts 
must be mailed by the high school or college concerned. 



1-Full Name . 

2-lf you have used a different name while attending school, give name formerly used 

3-Permanent Address 

4- Local Address 

Street Ci« 

5-Date of Birth Place of Bir+i 

6-Are you a resident of Utah? 

gocial Security Number 

^ropriate spaces: Male Female _ 

hool graduate? wh 

Where is 

fcSfore? 

2''":iti 



COLLEGE IS MORE THAN A GAME • 

AND THAT'S WHY WE'D LIKE YOU TO GET TO KNOW US 



Southern Utah State is Utah's newest four year college - 
but we've been in the business of education for a 
long time. We're fully accredited and academically 
excellent. We offer degrees in nearly every major 
field. We're small, which is on asset for you. It 
means that you can participate and be involved. 
You're a person (with a name and identity) 
not just another number. Our facilities are 
excellent and our campus is beautiful. (We like 
trees and grass and rocks and all the things 
that create a natural atmosphere.) 

The IDS Institute program is big at Southern Utah 
State, and the clean, friendly environment is 
something we're proud of. 

We're close to some of nature's greatest 
masterpieces and fun spots. 

We honestly think that we have 
something special for YOU. 



Viease corivlete other side 




lonth and Year 



Degree, if any, 
and date awarded 



Te Veterans Administratior 



UTAH*S NE\A/EST FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE 
CEDAR CITY 



I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT SUSC 
Please Send Me: 
General Catalog ($1 .) Q 

Admission Forms |^ 

Financial Aids Information Q 

Housing Information [^ 

Student Employment Information Q] 

Name ..- 



Address 
City 



..State ...Zip. 

Mail To: SUSC Information Services 
Cedar City, Utah 84720 



The Sacrifice of Sarah 



A Fateful Journey: The history of 
Palestine has been to a remarkable de^ 
gree a story of "boom and bust," from 
prehistoric times down to the present; 
and that happy and unhappy land 
has never had a greater boom or a more 
spectacular bust than occurred in the 
days of Abraham. Hebron was a brand 
new city, bustling with activity, when 
Abraham and his family settled there."" 
Just to the east were the even more 
thriving Cities of the Valley, to which 
Lot migrated to improve his fortune. 
Preliminary rumblings and prophetic 
warnings of things to come went un- 
heeded by a populace enjoying unprece- 
dented prosperity (today this is called 
"nuclear incredulity"), but nonethe- 
less, the area was hit hard by a famine 
that forced Abraham to move out of 
Hebron after he had lived there only 
two years. Everybody was moving to 
Egypt and settling in the area nearest 
to Canaan and most closely resembling 
the geography and economy of the 
Jordan depression, namely, "the land 
of Egypt, as thou comest to Zoar," in 
the eastern Delta, where there had 
always been camps and villages of 
Canaanites sojourning in the land. 
Abraham settled in Zoan, the local 
capital, a city of Asiatic immigrants 
that was even newer, by seven years, 
than Hebron — practically a tent city. 
There the family lived for five years 
before they attracted the dangerous in- 
terest of Pharaoh.^^ 

The story of how Sarah ended up in 
the royal palace is now available in 
the recently discovered Genesis Apocry- 
phon, and the account is a thoroughly 
plausible one. Pharaoh's regular title 
in this document, "Pharaoh-Zoan, 
King of Egypt," shows him to be one 
of those many Asiatics who ruled in 
the Delta from time to time while 
claiming, and sometimes holding, the 
legitimate crown of all Egypt. The 
short journey from Canaan into his 
Egyptian domain is described in sig- 



By Dr. Hugh Nibley 

nificant terms: ". . . now we passed 
through our land and entered into the 
land of the sons of Ham, the land of 
Egypt," as if the family was definitely 
moving from one spiritual and cultural 
domain to another.^® This is interest- 
ing because the Book of Abraham lays 
peculiar emphasis on the Hamitic 
blood of this particular Pharaoh as 
well as his anxious concern to estab- 
lish his authority — always a touchy 
point with the Delta-Pharaohs, whose 
right to rule was often challenged by 
the priests and the people of Upper 
Egypt. In his new home, Abraham, 
an international figure in the caravan 
business, entertained local officials 
both as a matter of policy and from 
his own celebrated love of hospitality 
and of people. 

One day he was entertaining "three 
men," courtiers of "Pharaoh-Zoan," at 
dinner (G.A. XIX, 24, 27). Abraham 
would host such special delegations 
again, in Canaan: there would be the 
three heavenly visitors whom he would 
feast "in the plains of Mamre" (Gen. 
18: Iff), and the "three Amorite broth- 
ers" whom he would have as guests 
(G.A. XXI, 19-22; Gen. 14:13). The 
names of these last three were Mamre, 
'irmn, and Eshkol. Mamre and Eshkol 
are well-known place-names, and if 
we look for 'irmn it is a place-name 
too, for in the Ugaritic ritual-epic tale 
of Aqhat, it is "the man of Hrnmy" 
who hosts "the Lords of Hkpt" who 
come from afar.^'-^ If this seems to put 
Abraham's party in a ritual setting, 
its historicity is vindicated by the name 
of the leader of the palace delegation, 
who is called HRQNWSh. B. Z. 
Whacholder explains this as "an early 
transliteration of archones," designat- 
ing its bearer as "the archon, the head 
of the household," and obviously in- 
dicating Hellenistic influence. ^°° But 
Archones is neither a name nor a title, 
and the "early transliteration" leaves 
much to be desired. On the other 



hand, we find in Pharaonic times, in 
the employ of Sshmt.t, the divine lady 
of the Eastern Delta, the very district 
where our little drama is taking place, 
a busy official and agent bearing the 
title of Hr-hknw, "the Lord of Pro- 
tection," whose business was to police 
the area and keep an eye on foreigners, 
with whom he was Pharaoh's contact 
man; he is, in fact, according to H. 
Kees, none other than our old friend 
Nefertem, the immemorial frontier 
guard of the northeastern boundary, 
the official host, border inspector, and 
watchdog (or rather watch-lion) of 
the foreigners coming to Egypt — espe- 
cially from Canaan.^°^ Nothing could 
be more natural than to have this 
conscientious border official checking 
up on Abraham from time to time and 
enjoying his hospitality. And since 
it was his duty to report to Pharaoh 
whatever he considered of interest or 
significance on his beat, it is not sur- 
prising that a report of HRQNWSh 
and his aides to the king contained a 
glowing account of Abraham's dazzling 
wife. Her beauty had already caused 
a sensation at the customs house, ac- 
cording to a famous legend. ^°2 If noth- 
ing else, her blondness would have 
attracted attention among the dark 
Egyptians: the Midrash reports, in fact, 
that Abraham had warned her against 
this very thing: "We are now about to 
enter a country whose inhabitants are 
dark-complexioned — say that you are 
my sister wherever we go!"^"^ This 
admonition was given as the family 
passed from Abraham's homeland in 
northern Mesopotamia (Aram Na- 
haraim and Aram Nahor) into Canaan 
— clearly indicating that the people 
of Abraham's own country were 
light-complexioned.^°^ 

In reporting to Pharaoh, his three 
agents, while singing the praises of 
Sarah's beauty in the set terms of the 
most sensuous Oriental love-poetry 
(G.A. XX, 2-8), make a special point 



Era, April 1970 79 



of mentioning that "with all her 
beauty there is much wisdom in her" 
(XX, 7), lauding her "goodness, wis- 
dom, and truth" even above her other 
qualities {XIX, 25). They went all 
out in their description not only be- 
cause the subject was worthy of their 
best efforts, but because they hoped 
to put themselves in good with the 
king by both whetting and satisfying 
his desire.^ ""' The royal reaction was 
immediate. Asiatic Pharaohs were 
polygamous and aggressive: "Sarah was 



taken from me by force . . ." (XII, 14; 
XX, 11); without further ado the king 
"tdok her to him to wife and sought 
to slay me" (XX, 9). Josephus says 
that this Pharaoh deserved the punish- 
ment he got "because of his high- 
handed manner towards the wife of a 
stranger" (Ant. I, 8, 1). But as wc 
all know, Abraham was saved when 
Pharaoh was assured by Sarah herself 
that he was her brother and would 
thus not stand in the way of their 
marriage; instead of being liquidated. 



The 
Spoken Word 



'The Spoken Word" from Temple 
Square, presented over KSL 
and the Columbia Broadcasting 
System January 18, 1970. ©1970, 



''When your heart tells you things 
your mind does not know" 

By Richard L. Evans 

There is this phrase, cited by a thoughtful friend: ". . . when your 
heart tells you things your mind does not know."' All of us have 
impressions, promptings, a sense of warning sometimes; an in- 
tuition, an awareness, the source of which we do not always know; 
and we often have to trust our hearts, along with the facts we face. 
Life isn't merely a mechanical calculator or a slide rule situation. There 
is the spirit; the feelings; conscience, convictions; things we know are 
there; things we know are real; things we can't put in a test tube. Love 
is one of them. Faith is another; a sense of right and wrong; sometimes 
a sense of urgency; sometimes a sense of assurance. There is so much 
that can't be physically touched, so much that can't be mechanically 
calculated. Parents often have impressions pertaining to their children. 
And children often tease parents to let them do things that had better 
not be done: "Why can't I do this? Why can't I go there? Why? Why?" 
— questions that parents often cannot answer with full satisfaction, 
except that they feel it, they know it, with an inner sense of cer- 
tainty. As we live for it, wisdom comes from many sources, both with- 
in and outside ourselves. And children often have to trust parents, 
and know that their hearts tell them things their minds do not know. 
Parents are not perfect, not infallible, but overall, the inspiration, the 
guidance that comes with prayerful pleading, brings warnings, prompt- 
ings, impressions from beyond our sight and sound, which no one 
should stubbornly ignore. Beyond books, beyond all that we can weigh 
and measure, beyond all the tangibles that we can touch, there are 
influences and forces within and outside ourselves that we well would 
pay attention to. As Shakespeare said it: "There are more things in 
heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."^ 
And so, beloved young people, be patient with parents when they 
counsel, when they are concerned — when the heart tells them things 
the mind does not know. 



'Harold B. Lee. 
^Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act i. 



he was therefore, as the brother of the 
favorite wife, "entreated . . . well for 
her sake." (Gen. 12:16.) 

Sarah on the Lion-couch: Abraham 
was saved and Pharaoh was pleased 
and everything was all right except for 
poor Sarah. It was now her turn to 
face the test of the lion-couch! As we 
have seen, not only the royal altar but 
also the royal bed was a lion-couch. 
And this was to be more than a test of 
Sarah's virtue, for should she refuse, 
the king would be mortally offended — 
with predictable results for the lady. 
His unhesitating move to put Abra- 
ham out of the way had made it clear 
enough that His Majesty was playing 
for keeps. After all, three princesses of 
the royal line had already been put to 
death on the lion-altar for refusing to 
compromise their virtue (Abr. 1:11), 
and there was no indication that Sarah 
would be an exception. 

The story of Sarah's delivery from 
her plight follows the same order as 
the stories of Abraham and Isaac. 
First of all, being brought to the royal 
bed "by force," she weeps and calls 
upon the Lord to save her, at which 
time Abraham also "prayed and en- 
treated and begged ... as my tears 
fell." (XX, 12.) As he had prayed 
for himself, so the Patriarch "prayed 
the Lord to save her from the hands 
of Pharaoh."io5 

And though experience may have 
rendered him perfectly confident in 
the results, it was the less experi- 
enced Sarah who was being tested.^**^ 
The prayer for deliverance closely 
matches that on the first lion-couch: 
"Blessed art thou, Most High God, 
Lord of all the worlds, because Thou 
art Lord and Master of all and ruler of 
all the kings of the earth, and of whom 
thou judgest. Behold now I cry before 
Thee, my Lord, against Pharaoh-Zoan, 
King of Egypt, because my wife has 
been taken from me by force. Judge 
him for me and let me behold Thy 
mighty hand descend upon him. . . ." 
(XX, 12-15.) Even so Abraham had 
prayed for deliverance from the altar 
of "Nimrod": "O God, Thou seest what 
this wicked man is doing to me . . ." 
with the whole emphasis on the king's 
blasphemous claims to possess the 
ultimate power in the world: in both 
cases Abraham is helpless against the 
authority and might of Pharaoh, but 
still he will recognize only one king, 
and he calls for a showdown: ". . . that 
night I prayed and begged and said in 
sorrow ... let thy mighty hand descend 
upon him .. . . and men shall know, my 
Lord, that Thou art the Lord of all the 
kings of the earth!" (XX, 14f.) This is 
exactly the point of Abraham's prayer 
in the Maase Abraham and Abraham 
1:17, where God says, "I have come 



80 



down ... to destroy him who hath 
lifted up his hand against thee, Abra- 
ham, my son. . . ." 

So while "all that night Sarah lay 
upon her face calling upon God, Abra- 
ham "without the prison" also 
prayed^*^*^ "that he may not this night 
defile my wife." (G.A. XX, 11-14.) It 
was, as one might by now expect, just 
at the moment that Pharaoh assayed 
to seize Sarah that an angel came to 
the rescue, whip in hand: "As Pharaoh 
was about to possess Sarah, she turned 
to the angel who stood at her side 
(visible only to her) and immediately 
Pharaoh fell to the ground; all his 
house was then smitten with plague, 
with leprosy on the walls, the pillars, 
and furniture. . . ."^*'" Whenever 
Pharaoh would make a move toward 
Sarah, the invisible angel would strike 
him down.^°^ To justify such rough 
treatment of the poor unsuspecting 
Pharaoh, the Midrash explains that he 
was not unsuspecting at all: ". . . an 
angel stood by with a whip to defend 
her, because she told Pharaoh that 
she was a married woman, and he still 
would not leave her alone." (Gen. Rab. 
41:2.) According to all other accounts, 
however, that is exactly what she did 
not tell him, having her husband's 
safety in mind. The almost comical 
humiliation of the mighty king in the 
very moment of his triumph is an exact 
counterpart of the crushing overthrow 
of "Nimrod" at the instant of his su- 
preme triumph over Abraham. "His 
illicit lust was checked," says Josephus, 
"by disease and stasis — revolution" 
(Ant. I, 8, I), suggesting that his kingly 
authority was overthrown along with 
his royal dignity and prowess. 

What saved Sarah, according to the 
Genesis Apocryphon (XX, 16),- was the 
sending by El Elyon, the Most High 
God, of a ruach mkdsh or ruach bisha, 
which Avigad and Yadin render "a 
pestilential wind" and "a wind that 
was evil," respectively. Other scholars, 
however, prefer "spirit" to "wind,"^°" 
and while mkdsh is not found in the 
dictionary, miqdash, which sounds 
exactly the same, is a very common 
word indicating the dwelling place of 
God, so that ruach makdash suggests 
to the ear "the angel of the presence," 
such as came to rescue both Abraham 
and Isaac on the altar. Ruach b-isha in 
turn suggests to the ear "the spirit in 
the fire," reminding us of a number of 
accounts of a mysterious being who 
stood with Abraham in the flames 
when he rescued him from the altar. 
The confusion of the rescuing angel 
with the wind is readily explained if 
our Aramaic text was written from 
dictation, as many ancient documents 
were. 

The smiting of all of Pharaoh's 



house simultaneously with his own af- 
fliction is insisted on by all sources 
and recalls the "great mourning in 
Chaldea, and also at the court of 
Pharaoh" in Abraham 1:20. And just 
as the king in the Abraham story, 
when he is faced with the undeniable 
evidence of a power greater than his 
own, admits the superiority of Abra- 
ham's God and even offers to worship 
him, so he tells the woman Hagar 
when Sarah is saved, "It is better to 
be a maid in Sarah's house than to be 
Queen in my house!"^^° The show- 
down between the two religions is 
staged in both stories by the king him- 
self when he pits his own priests and 
diviners against the wisdom of the 
stranger and his God, the test being 
which of the two is able to cure him 
and his house. An early writer quoted 
by Eusebius says, "Abraham went to 
Egypt with all his household and lived 
there, his wife being married to the 
king of Egypt who, however, could not 
approach her. And when it came 
about that his people and his house 
were being destroyed he called for the 
diviners (manteis), who told him that 
Sarah was not a widow, and so he knew 
that she was Abraham's wife and gave 
her back to him."^^^ The first part of 
the statement is supported by the Gen. 
Apocr. XX, 17-18, which says that 
Sarah lived two years in Pharaoh's 
house, during which time he was un- 
able to approach her. During that 
time she was in no danger of his 
wrath, however, since as far as Pharaoh 
was concerned it was not her reluc- 
tance but only his illness that kept 
them apart. 

Though Pharaoh's doctors and sooth- 
sayers gave him useful advice, as they 
do "Nimrod" in his dealings with 
Abraham, it is the healing that is the 
real test: "And he sent and called of 
all the wise men of Egypt and all the 
wizards and all the physicians of 
Egypt, if perchance they might heal 
him from that pestilence, him and his 
house. And all the physicians and 
wizards and wise men could not heal 
him, for the wind [spirit, angel] smote 
them all and they fled." (G.A. XX,- 
18-20.) Just so the host of wise men 
summoned by Nimrod to advise him 
on how to get rid of Abraham were 
forced to flee ignominiously in all 
directions by the miraculous fire which 
left Abraham unscathed. All the wis- 
dom and divinity of Egypt having 
failed, Pharaoh's agent HRQNWSh 
went straight to Abraham "and be- 
sought me to come and to pray for the 
king and to lay my hands upon him 
that he might live." (XX, 20f.) To this 
request Abraham magnanimously com- 
plied: "... I laid my hand upon his 
head and the plague departed from 



Era, April 1970 81 




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him and the evil [wind-spirit] was 
gone and he lived." (XX, 29.) When 
the healing power of Abraham's God, 
in contrast to the weakness of his own, 
became apparent, Pharaoh forthwith 
recognized Abraham by the bestowal 
of royal honors — even as "Nimrod" 
had done when Abraham stepped be- 
fore him unscathed. ^^- 

That these stories are more than be- 
lated inventions of the rabbinic 
imagination is apparent from the 
significant parallels with which Egyp- 
tian literature fairly swarms. A 
veritable library of familiar motifs is 
contained in the late Ptolemaic Tales 
of Khamuas. They begin with 
"Ahure's Story," telling how an aging 
Pharaoh, in order to assure the royal 
succession, forces the princess Ahure to 
renounce marriage with her beloved 
brother Neneferkaptah and wed the 
son of a general, contrary to "the law 
of Egypt" but consistent with the 
practice of the Asiatic Pharaohs. ^^^ The 
damsel goes weeping to her wedding 
(III, 3), but at the last moment the 
old king changes his mind, the princess 
marries her true love, and the couple 
is showered with royal gifts and honors 
(III, 5-6). They have a child, but 
Neneferkaptah in his zeal for knowl- 
edge steals a heavenly book from Thoth 
and, as a result, first the child, then 
the mother, and finally the father pay 
for the guilt of Neneferkaptah by fall- 
ing into the Nile, all duly ending up 
"in the necropolis-hill of Coptos."^^* 
Years later the scribe Setne-Khamuas 
comes to the tomb of the lady Ahure 
to get the book for himself, but Nene- 
ferkaptah, rising from his couch, says 
he shall not have it unless he wins it 
in a game of "Fifty-two."^^^ Setne 
wins the book but is undone by an- 
other Lady of the Undenvorld and can 
only save himself by finally returning 
the book to Neneferkaptah. ^^'^ This 
Setne has a young son, Si-Osiris, whom 
he told of his marvelous visit to the 
other world — an adventure astonish- 
ingly like that of Abraham in the 
Apocalypse of Abraham.^^^ When an 
Ethiopian ambassador arrived in Mem- 
phis and challenged Pharaoh to read a 
letter he brought with him, without 
opening the seal, all the wise men of 
Pharaoh were abashed and Setne im- 
mediately went to fetch his 12-year- 
old son Si-Osiris to the palace, even as 
the wonder-child Abraham was taken 
by his father to the palace of "Nim- 
rod." The boy read the letter with 
ease: It told of a time long ago when 
three lords of Ethiopia by magic 
brought three years of blight on the 
land of Egypt, for which Pharaoh was 
punished nightly by being beaten with 
500 lashes. The king's wise men were 
at a loss to help him, and the beating 



was administered by Her, the Son of 
the Lady of Ethiopia. At Pharaoh's 
court, however, was another Hor, the 
son of the librarian Pa-neshe. He 
turned the tables and forced the Viceroy 
of Ethiopia to receive the 500 blows 
each night instead of Pharaoh. ^^* In 
desperation the false Hor, "the son of 
the Sow" (the pig being the Seth 
animal), undertook a mission to Egypt, 
being warned by his mother before- 
hand that he would never be able to 
match the magic of the Egyptians, 
though she promised to come personally 
to his aid if it was necessary to save 
his life. So the two Horuses con- 
fronted each other in a duel of magic 
at the court of Pharaoh, opening with 
the cry of the Egyptian Hor: "Ho thou 
impious Ethiopian, art thou not Hor 
. . . whom I saved . . . when ye were 
drowning in the water, being cast down 
from upon the hill east of On?" — 
recalling an earlier ritual contest at a 
"Potiphar's Hill" in Heliopolis."^ The 
contest begins when Pharaoh in great 
distress calls upon the good Horus to 
save him (63) — a reminder that Horus 
is always a hawk and that the rivalry 
of the two hawks goes back to very 
early dramatic texts. (Coffin Text, 
Spell 312.) Finally the Lady of 
Ethiopia has to come and rescue her 
son, who in return for his life swears 
an oath to Pharaoh that he will not 
return to Egypt for 1500 years. ^-° Such 
was the contest of the sealed letter, and 
having read it Si-Osiris announced that 
the 1500 years was now up and that 
he himself was the good Horus, son of 
Pa-neshes, while the ambassador who 
brought the letter was none other than 
the evil Ethiopian Horus returning 
for vengeance: "I prayed before Osiris 
in Amenti (the underworld) to let me 
come forth to the world again, to pre- 
vent his taking the humiliation of 
Egypt to the land of Nehes (Ethi- 
opia)"; his mission accomplished, he 
returns to the other world. ^-^ 

In these episodes one can hardly 
fail to recognize the legends of Abra- 
ham in Egypt: the true lovers separated 
by Pharaoh only to be reunited; 
father, mother, and son as sacrificial 
victims; the king paying for the blight 
on the land until a foreign substitute 
can be found; the humiliation of 
Pharaoh, whipped all night by an 
unseen hand; the rival kings and the 
final overthrow of the impostor; the 
two Horuses; the super-boy putting 
the king's diviners to shame, etc. Most 
significant, perhaps, is that these are 
consciously recurring motifs, with the 
same characters turning up in a suc- 
cession of episodes centuries apart. 
And the fictitious situations are not 
without historical parallels. Thus 
when the luxurious and much-married 



Amenophis III took to wife the beauti- 
ful Nefertiti, a princess of one of the 
tribes bordering on Abraham's home- 
land, she brought with her to Egypt 
the image of her patron goddess Ishtar 
of Nineveh to heal the old king of an 
ailment that had baffled the best 
Egyptian doctors. When the king's 
health actually improved (albeit for a 
very . short time) , the report of the 
miraculous healing powers of the 
foreign lady's goddess quickly spread 
throughout Egypt, opening the way for 
the successful propagation of her re- 
ligion throughout the whole land.^-'- 
Here we have a well-attested historical 
account of a Pharaoh who married a 
fabulously beautiful princess from the 
north who thought of herself as a 
missionary, and to whose religion the 
king was converted by a miraculous 
healing, showing us at the very least 
the sort of thing that could have hap- 
pened in Sarah's time. The healing of 
Pharaoh by the laying on of hands 
described in the Genesis Apocryphon 
is a thing which appears absolutely no- 
where else in any of the known rec- 
ords dealing with Abraham and should 
be studied with great care. Without 
the evidence of the New Testament, we 
should never suspect that there was any 
ancient and established tradition be- 
hind it: "The healing of the sick by 
expelling with the laying on of hand 
the evil spirits," writes Vermes, ". . . is 
unknown in the Old Testament, but a 
familiar rite in the Gospels. . . . the 
nearest Old Testament parallel is 2 
Kings VI, 11. "123 

That we are dealing here with 
ritually conditioned events rather than 
unique historical occurrences is ap- 
parent from the complete repetition of 
Sarah's Egyptian experience with an- 
other king many years later. Abimelech, 
the king of Gerar, a small state lying 
between Canaan and Egypt, also took 
Sarah to wife and would have put 
Abraham to death had she not again 
announced that he was her broth er.^-* 
Again Sarah prayed and again an angel 
appeared, this time with a sword, to 
save her.i-^ At the same time, accord- 
ing to one tradition, "the voice of a 
great crying was heard in the whole 
land of the Philistines, for they saw 
the figure of a man walking about, 
with a sword in his hand, slaying all 
that came in his way. . . ."^-^ This 
was "on the fatal night of the Paschal 
feast," i.e., at the time of the drama 
of the Suffering Servant, and the king 
became so ill that the doctors despaired 
of his life.i-'' Just as Pharaoh had 
done, the king summoned all his wise 
counselors and again they were help- 
less and abashed (Gen. 20:8); again 
Abraham's wife was restored to him 
(14), and again "Abraham prayed 



82 



unto God: and God healed Abime- 
lech." (Gen. 20:17.) 

What is behind all this is indicated 
in the nature of the illness that af- 
flicted the houses of both Abimelech 
and Pharaoh. As to the first, "the Lord 
had fast closed up all the wombs of 
the house of Abimelech, because of 
Sarah Abraham's wife." (Gen. 20:18.) 
The legends elaborate on this: ". . . 
in men and beast alike all the apertures 
of the body closed up, and the land 
was seized with indescribable excite- 
ment."^^^ In short, every creature was 
rendered sterile until Abraham admin- 
istered to Abimelech, whereupon "all 
his house were healed, and the women 
could bear children with no pain, and 
they could have male children"; at the 
same moment, Sarah, barren until then, 
became fruitful, "the blind, deaf, lame, 
etc., were healed, and the sun shone 
out 48 times brighter than usual, even 
as on the first day of creation."'--' To 
celebrate the birth of Isaac, all the 
kings of the earth were invited to 
Abraham's house, and during the fes- 
tivities Sarah gave milk to all the 
Gentile babies whose mothers had 
none, and "all the proselytes and pious 
heathen are the descendants of these 
infants."^^° As for Pharaoh, the com- 
mon tradition is that the plague which 
smote his house, whether leprosy or 
some other disease, rendered all the 
people impotent and sterile.^^^ 

That this was the nature of the 
complaint is implied in the tradition 
that Abraham's powers of healing the 
sick by prayer were especially devoted 
to the healing of barren women. 
(Midr. Rab. 39:11.) By emerging vic- 
torious from the contests with Pharaoh 
and Abimelech, both Sarah and Abra- 
ham by their mutual faithfulness 
reversed the blows of death, so that 
they became new again and had 
children in their old age.^^- As the 
Zohar puts it, Abraham received a new 
grade of knowledge and henceforth 
"begat children on a higher plane."^'^'' 

Here Sarah appears as the central 
figure in that ritual complex that marks 
the New Year all over the ancient 
world, and has been noticed in these 
studies in its form of the Egyptian Sed- 
festival. The theme of Sarah's royal 
marriages is not lust but the desire of 
Pharaoh and Abimelech to establish a 
kingly line. Sarah was at least 61 when 
she left the house of Pharaoh and 89 
when she visited Abimelech. Pharaoh's 
only interest in Sarah, Josephus insists, 
was to establish a royal line; or, as B. 
Beer puts it, "his object was rather to 
become related to Abraham by mar- 
riage," i.e., he wanted Abraham's glory, 
and that was the only way he could get 
it.' '^ Abimelech's interest is completely 
dominated by the fertility motif, for he 



contests with Abraham over "a well of 
water, which Abimelech's servants had 
violently taken away" (Gen. 21:25), 
even as Sarah had been violently taken 
away; and just as Abimelech sur- 
rendered and pleaded his innocence in 
the case of Sarah (20:9), so he pleads 
ignorance also in the case of the well 
and even chides Abraham again for 
not enlightening him: "I wot not who 
hath done this thing: neither didst 
thou tell me, neither yet heard I of 
it, but to day." (Gen. 21:26.) To com- 
plete the scene, Abraham concludes the 
episode by planting one of his groves 
in the land of the Philistines. (Gen. 
21:33.) If Sarah is the bounteous and 
child-giving mother, Abraham no less 
presides over the life-giving waters. 

That this is the ritual setting of the 
Abimelech episode is confirmed by 
documents probably as old as Abraham 
that describe the goings-on among the 
Canaanites on the coast to the north 
of Gerar. These are the famous 
Ugaritic texts from Ras Shamra, and 
the best-known of them is the story 
of Krt. The latest critical study of the 
Krt drama maintains that it is both a 
ritual and a historical document, "the 
subject of the first tablet" being "the 
rehabilitation of the royal house after 
disaster, with the wooing of Krt," while 
the second tablet describes the royal 
wedding and in the third we have "the 
illness and threatened eclipse of Krt 
(the ritual king), when his eldest son 
Ysb seeks to supplant him."^^^ The 
drama has a definite moral and social 
object, according to Gray, "such as the 
securing of a legitimate queen and the 
establishment of a royal line."^^*^ In 
the Krt story the powers of the old 
king are failing, and he is told by his 
youthful would-be successor: "In the 
sepulchral thou wilt abide. . . . Sick- 
ness is as thy bedfellow. Disease as thy 
concubine. . . ."^-^ Just so Abimelech is 
told that if he takes Sarah to wife, 
"thou art a dead man!" (Gen. 20:3-4.) 
After three months of sickness (Abra- 
ham spent three months in the palace 
of Pharaoh, according to R. Eliezer), 
"Krt is passing away, yea ... in the 
sepulchral chamber, like a treasure 
with a gate" — it is so much like the 
lion-couch scene in the Sed-festival 
that we are not surprised to learn that 
Krt is first frantically mourned and 
then revived by two ladies. ^^** The cure 
is effected by the lady Qudshu, whom 
we have already learned to know as the 
common hierodule of Egypt and 
Canaan.'-''* First she arrives weeping 
at the house of Krt, "shrieking she 
enters the inmost chambers"; but then 
she starts to revive the king, who is not 
completely dead yet,^*° and finally 
"she returns, she washes him. She has 
given him a new appetite for meat, 



Era, April 1970 83 



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a desire for food."''*^ The king rises 
from his bier, victorious: "As for Death, 
he is confounded; as for Sh'tqt, she 
has prevailed!" So of course there is a 
great feast as the king "returns to sitting 
upon his throne, even on the dais, the 
seat of government.""^ It is the lion- 
couch drama all over again, but the 
Abimelech elements are prominent too, 
as when the king's wise men and coun- 
selors all are summoned and asked, 
"Who among the gods will abolish the 
disease, driving out all the sickness?" 
Seven times the challenge is put, but 
"there is none among the gods who 
answers him" — the doctors are abashed; 
they must yield to the true god. El the 
Merciful, who says, "I myself will do 
it" — and he does.^*-' Of course, it rains 
and everything grows at last (Mot, the 
name of the adversary, means both 
death and drought); Krt on his bier is 
even called "Sprouts" — a vivid re- 
minder of the Egyptian "Osiris 
beds.""3 

The Ugaritic Krt Text gives strong 
indication that the adventures of Sarah 
with Egyptian and Palestinian kings 
follow the common ritual pattern of 
Palestine and Egypt; indeed, the point 
of both stories is that Sarah and Abra- 
ham resist and overcome powerful and 
insidious attempts to involve them in 
the very practices of the idolatrous na- 
tions which Abraham had been de- 
nouncing since his youth. It would 
be impossible to avoid coming face to 
face with such practices in any com- 
prehensive account of either Abraham 
or Sarah, and one of the best and most 
vivid descriptions of the rites is con- 
tained in the Book of Abraham. We 
are dealing here with a worldwide 
ritual complex of whose existence no 
one dreamed in 1912 and which is still 
largely ignored by Egyptologists.^*^* It 
is not only the idea of romantic love 
that is one of the special marks of the 
Patriarchal narratives, as Gordon 
points out; even more conspicuous is 
the repeated recurrence of a ritual love 
triangle in which a third party threat- 
ens to break up a devoted couple. Such 
is the story of Hagar, who sought to 
supplant Sarah in Abraham's household 
and was turned out into the desert to 
perish of thirst — always the water 
motif! Being in imminent danger of 
death, Hagar prays, "Look upon my 
misery" — which happens to be the 
opening line of Abraham's prayer on 
the altar — ^^^ whereupon an angel ap- 
pears and tells her, ". . . God has heard 
your prayer," promising her a son. 
(Gen. 16:6-11.) So here, to cut it 
short, we have Hagar praying for de- 
liverance from a heat death, visited by 
an angel, and promised the same bless- 
ing in her hour of crisis as was given 
to Sarah and Abraham in theirs. There 



is a difference, of course: by "despis- 
ing" and taunting her afflicted mistress 
and then by deserting her, Hagar had 
not been true and faithful, and the 
angel sternly ordered her back to the 
path of duty, while the promises given 
to her offspring are heavy with qualifi- 
cations and limitations. The issue is 
as ever one of authority, for as Josephus 
puts it, Hagar sought precedence over 
Sarah, and the angel told her to re- 
turn to her "rulers" (despotas) or else 
she would perish, but if she obeyed 
she would bear a son who would rule 
in that desert land.^*^ She too founded 
a royal line. 

In maintaining that "Abraham's 
marriage with Keturah (Gen. 25:1- 
6) can have no historical founda- 
tion, ""'^ scholars have overlooked the 
ritual foundation of the story, clearly 
indicated by the name of Keturah, 
which enjoys a prominent place in the 
Adonis ritual cycles of Phoenicia and 
Syria.^*' As Gray points out in his 
study of Krt, these ritual events could 
very well become history as well when 
the sacrifices and marriages were re- 
peated "at the accession of each new 
king" and "at royal weddings."^*^ The 
ritual content of the thing, far from 
discrediting it as history, is the best 
possible evidence for some sort of his- 
torical reality behind it. The ritual 
triangle is repeated when Bethuel the 
King of Haran tries to take the beauti- 
ful Rebecca (who, we are told, was the 
exact image of Sarah) away from 
Isaac's agent, Eliezer (who, we are 
told, was the exact image of Abraham) ; 
the wicked king was slain by his own 
treachery and the noble couple de- 
parted laden with royal gifts. ^^^ 

The Humiliation of the King: In this 
last story the real hero is Eliezer, while 
the bridegroom-to-be, Isaac, lurks ig- 
nobly in the background. Abraham 
likewise in the affairs with Pharaoh 
and Abimelech not only takes a back 
seat but appears in a rather uncompli- 
mentary if not actually degrading posi- 
tion. This is an indispensable element 
of the year-drama everywhere: the 
temporary humiliation of the true king 
while a rival and substitute displaces 
him on the throne and in the queen's 
favor. We have seen both Abraham 
and Isaac in the roles of substitute kings 
or "Suffering Servants," and now we 
must make room for Sarah on the 
stage, for the play cannot take place 
without her. The "Suffering Servant" 
is the true king during the period of 
his ritual humiliation, representing 
his death; at that time his place is 
taken by a pretender, an interrex, 
tanist. Lord of Misrule, etc., who turns 
out to be the real substitute when the 
time for his death arrives. Both are 
substitutes but in different capacities: 



the one king sits on a real throne but 
suffers a make-believe burial; the other 
sits on a make-believe throne but 
suffers a real burial. As we saw in 
the Sed-festival, the main purpose of 
all this shuffling is to spare the real 
king the discomfort of a premature 
demise: the true king is always vindi- 
cated in the end. If Abraham was 
rudely thrust aside by his royal rivals 
in Egypt and Palestine, and if Sarah 
was made the unwilling victim of their 
kingly arrogance, it was only to show 
who the real king was — they, as it 
turned out, were for all their pride and 
power the pretenders, claiming the di- 
vine honors that really belonged to 
Abraham. Abraham is the rival of 
Pharaoh and Abimelech, both of whom 
are ready to put him to death in order 
to raise up a royal line by Sarah.^^*^ 
That he is the real king, restored to his 
rightful queen in J;he end, is made per- 
fectly clear in the almost comical 
complaints of the two kings that they, 
who had contemptuously thrust the 
helpless Abraham aside, were actually 
the victims of his power: "And Pharaoh 
called Abram, and said, What is that 
that thou hast done unto me?" (Gen. 
12:18; italics added), while Abimelech 
echoes his words: "Then Abimelech 
called Abraham, and said unto him. 
What hast thou done unto us? . . . 
thou hast done deeds unto me that 
ought not to be done." (Gen. 20:9.) 
The roles of victim and victor are al- 
most ludicrously reversed. And just 
as Pharaoh-Nirnrod complained that 
Abraham had escaped the altar by a 
trick, so does Pharaoh-Zoan complain 
that Sarah has escaped his couch by a 
ruse: ". . . why didst thou not tell me 
that she was thy wife? . . . now there- 
fore behold thy wife, take her, and go 
thy way." (Gen. 12:18-19.) 

The Sarah story starts out with 
Abraham and Sarah alike at the mercy 
of the triumphant and irresistible king, 
and it ends up with the king humiliated 
by pain and impotence, humbly suing 
Abraham for succor and then acknowl- 
edging that superior power and priest- 
hood of his rival. There is no injustice 
here: Abraham does not invade their 
kingdoms or seek their thrones, but the 
other way around — they coveted his 
rightful domain and were properly 
rebuked. 

While the humiliation of the right- 
ful king before his return to the throne 
is a central episode of the great Year- 
Rites throughout the Ancient East,^^^ 
the queen plays quite a different role: 
she is ageless and immortal, the Mother 
Earth itself, taking a new spouse at 
each cycle of renewal and disposing 
of the old one.^^- This makes her the 
dominant figure of the rites, which 
have a distinctly matriarchal back- 



84 



ground-^as is clearly indicated in the 
Book of Abraham, where, moreover, 
the tension between the old matriarchal 
and rival patriarchal orders is vividly 
set forth: While Abraham is com- 
pletely devoted to the authority of "the 
fathers . . . even the right of the first- 
born . . ." (Abr. 1:3), Pharaoh was put 
on the throne by his mother (1:23-25), 
so that though he "would fain claim" 
patriarchal authority (1:27), "seeking 
earnestly to imitate that order estab- 
lished by the fathers" (1:26), the 
importance of the female line still out- 
weighed that of the fathers, as it 
always did in Egypt. The conflict 
between Pharaoh's would-be patri- 
archal rule and the claims of the 
matriarchy is further reflected in the 
putting to death of three princesses of 
royal blood who refused to play the 
game Pharaoh's way and compro- 
mise their virtue. (Abr. 1:11-12.) 
Abraham opposed the royal claims that 
his father ardently supported, in secure 
possession of "the records of the fathers, 
even the patriarchs, concerning the right 
of Priesthood," which records "God 
preserved in mine own hands. . . ." 
(Abr. 1:31.) And in return Terah 
volunteered his own son as a victim 
in the sacrificial rites. (Abr. 1:30.) 
This should be enough to explain how^ 
Sarah and Abraham get involved in all 
these very pagan goings-on. 

Recently Cyrus Gordon has demon- 
strated the singularly close parallelism 
between the stories of Sarah and Helen 
of Troy, the main theme of both being 
the winning back of the captive queen 
by her rightful husband: In turn each 
of the rival husbands is made to look 
rather ridiculous as the lady leaves 
first one and then the other.^^^ In 
the earliest Babylonian depictions of 
the year-motif we see the bridegroom 
hiding ingloriously in the mountain 
from which the bride must rescue and 
revive him,^^* even as Isis rescues and 
revives her husband and brother Osiris 
in the Egyptian versions. And so we 
have Abraham in an oddly unheroic 
role, gratefully accepting the presents 
and favors that Pharaoh bestows upon 
him as the brother of Sarah, the king's 
favorite wife!'^^ 

Brother and Sister: Still less heroic 
is the supposed subterfuge by which 
Abraham got himself into that un- 
dignified position. The best biblical 
scholars in Joseph Smith's day as well 
as our own have found nothing to con- 
done in what is generally considered 
an unedifying maneuver on the part 
of Abraham to save his skin at the 
expense of both Sarah and Pharaoh. 
"Abram appears to have labored under 
a temporary suspension of faith," 
wrote the most learned commentator 
of Joseph Smith's time, "and to have 



Era, April 1970 85 




Spec/a/ Attention 
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Stooped to the mean and foolish pre- 
varication of denying his wife . . . and 
had not the Lord miraculously inter- 
posed . . . Abram must have sunk under 
his timidity, and forfeited his title to 
the covenant."^^" How they all missed 
the point! Far from denoting a suspen- 
sion of faith, the turning over of his 
^\'ife to another required the greatest 
faith yet, and that is where the Book 
of Abraham puts the whole story on a 
meaningful and edifying footing. For 
it was God who commanded Abra- 
ham: ". . . see that ye do on this wise: 
Let her say unto the Egyptians, she is 
thy sister, and thy soul shall live." 
(Ahr. 2:23-24.) As to the "lie" about 
the family relationship of Abraham 
and Sarah, a number of factors must 
be considered. Technically, the Bible 
explains, Sarah was indeed Abraham's 
half-sister on his father's side. (Gen. 
20:12.) To this physical relationship, 
the Zohar adds a spiritual, reporting 
that "Abraham always called her 'sister' 
because he was attached to her in- 
separably. . . . For the marital bond 
can be dissolved, but not that between 
brother and sister" — so by an eternal 
marriage that the world did not under- 
stand they were brother and sister.^^'' 
More to the point, in Syria, Canaan, 
and Egypt at the time it was the com- 
mon custom to refer to one's wife as 
one's "sister," and "Abraham's life re- 
flects both the Semitic and the Hur- 
rian cultural and legal patterns," so 
that "Sarah was ... a 'sister-wife,' an 
official Hurrian term signifying the 
highest social rating."^^^ On the other 
hand, everyone knows that it was the 
custom for Pharaohs of Egypt to marry 
their sisters, and in the Egyptian love 
songs the non-royal lovers regularly 
address each other as "my sister" and 
"my brother." The same custom ap- 
pears in Canaan and even in the 
Genesis Apocryphon, the opening frag- 
ments of which show us the mother 
of Noah berating her husband Lamech 
for suspecting her virtue, but address- 
ing him throughout the scene as "my 
Brother and my Lord." Indeed, in 
Abraham's day "both in Egypt and 
Canaan," according to Albright, "the 
notion of incest scarcely existed. In 
fact, Phoenicia and Egypt shared a 
general tendency to use 'sister' and 
'wife' simultaneously."^^^ 

But whatever the reservation mentale 
behind the statement that Abraham 
and Sarah were brother and sister, 
the point of the story is that it was 
meant to convey to the kings that the 
two were not married — the sophistry 
of the thing would only render it more 
unsavory did we not have the real 
explanation in the Pearl of Great 
Price. 

Sarah on Her Own: By telling 



86 



Pharaoh and Abimelech that Abraham 
really was her brother, Sarah put the 
two kings in the clear. From then on 
they, at least, were acting in good faith. 
The Bible makes this very clear: the 
moment Pharaoh learns the truth, he 
lets Sarah go, saying to Abraham, 
". . . why didst thou not tell me that 
she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, 
She is my sister? so I might have taken 

her to me to wife " (Gen. 12:18-19.) 

"I did what I did," says Abimelech, 
"with perfect heart and pure hand," 
to which the Lord replies in a dream, 
"I knew that, and I forgave thee." 
(See Gen. 20:5-6.) So it is made per- 
fectly explicit that it is not the kings 
who are being tested — God honors and 
rewards them both for their behavior, 
which is strictly correct according to 
the customs of the times. 

It must be Abraham and Sarah who 
are being tested then. But Abraham 
too is out of it, for, as we have seen, 
the Lord commands him to ask Sarah 
to say he is her brother, and he obeys. 
But no one commands Sarah — the 
whole thing is left up to her as a 
matter of free choice. It is she and 
she alone who is being tested on the 
lion-couch this time. It is incorrect to 
say with Graves that "Abraham gave 
Sarah to Pharaoh,"^^*^ for he was in 
no position to do so: he was completely 
in Pharaoh's power — he had already 
taken Sarah by force — and Pharaoh 
was listening only to Sarah! The Rabbis 
who knew the ancient law say that 
only unmarried women were taken into 
the harem of Pharaoh, and that these 
could not be approached by the king 
without their own consent.^^^ It might 
mean death to her if she refused, but 
still to refuse was within her power, 
while Abraham was helpless to save 
her and Pharaoh was acting in good 
faith — throughout the story every cru- 
cial decision rests with Sarah and 
Sarah alone. 

Why do we say that no one com- 
mands Sarah? God commanded Abra- 
ham to propose a course of action to 
Sarah, but Abraham did not command 
Sarah- — he asked her humbly for a 
personal favor: "Therefore say unto 
them, 7 pray thee, thou art my sister, 
that it may be well with me for thy 
sake, and my soul shall live because of 
thee." (Abr. 2:25; Gen. 12:13. Italics 
added.) He explained the situation to 
her — "I, Abraham, told Sarai, my wife, 
all that the Lord had said unto me" — 
but the decision was entirely up to her. 
According to the Midrash, on this oc- 
casion "Abraham made himself of 
secondary importance ... he really 
became subordinate to Sarah." (Midr. 
Rab. 40:4.) Everything was done for 
her sake: ". . . the Lord plagued 
Pharaoh and his house with great 



plagues because of [Sarah]" (Gen. 
12:17; Gen. Apoc. XX, 24f); Abraham 
was given both life and property "for 
Sarah's sake," and the king "entreated 
Abraham well for her sake" (Gen. 
12:16). Sarah was legally and law- 
fully married to both kings and was 
thus the legitimate recipient of their 
bounty. Pharaoh, according to Rabbi 
Eliezer, "wrote for Sarah a marriage 
deed, giving her all his wealth in- 
cluding the land of Goshen. . . ."^^~ 
He "took her to him to wife and sought 
to slay me," says Abraham in the 
Genesis Apocryphon (XX, 9), ". . . and 
I, Abraham, was saved because of her 
and not slain" (10). From this Vermes 
concludes that "Abraham is indebted 
to Sarah for his life but not for his 
prosperity," having received riches in 
return for healing Pharaoh.^^^ But 
the verses on which he bases this view 
may be more easily interpreted as 
meaning that it was to Sarah rather 
than Abraham that the Pharaoh gave 
the treasures, the badly damaged lines 
reading: 

31. . . . And the King gave him a 
large .... the gift (?) much and 
much raiment of fine linen and pur- 
ple [several words missing] 

32. before her, and also Hagar [sev- 
eral words obscured] . . . and appointed 
men for me who would escort out 
[several words missing]. 

Now the Jewish traditions are quite 
explicit that it was to Sarah that 
Pharaoh gave the royal raiment and 
the maid Hagar. ■ Since Abraham is 
writing in the first person, it is not 
absolutely certain who the "him" is 
in line 31, but the "her" in the next 
line is certainly Sarah, and there is no 
indication that the gifts and Hagar 
were not for her. The Bible clearly 
states that Abraham came into posses- 
sion of Hagar only later when Sarah 
"gave her to her husband Abram to 
be his wife" (Gen. 16:3), i.e., Sarah 
gave more than permission to marry — 
she actually handed over her property 
to him, for Hagar was her personal 
maid (Gen. 16:1). And when Hagar 
behaved badly, Abraham, to keep 
peace, gave her back to Sarah again: 
"Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; 
do to her as it pleaseth thee." (Gen. 
16:6.) When Sarah sent Isaac forth 
to school (as she thought) or to the 
rites on Mt. Moriah, "she dressed him 
in the royal garments and crown that 
Abimelech had given her."^*''* Every- 
thing indicates that she was a princess 
in her own right — the gifts of her royal 
husbands did not so much bestow as 
recognize her royalty, for which they 
eagerly sought her hand in the first 
place, hoping to raise up kingly lines 
by her. Before her name was changed 
to Sarah, "Princess of all people," it 



Era, April 1970 87 




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had already been Sarai, "Princess of her 
own people," according to the Midrash; 
and before she ever married Abraham 
she was well-known by the name of 
Jiska, "the Seeress," either because she 
had the gift of prophecy or because of 
her shining beauty, or both.^'^'' 

The Rabbis have resented the su- 
perior rating of Sarah with its matri- 
archal implications, and attempted to 
cover it up. Granted that everything 
that Pharaoh gave to Abraham was for 
Sarah's sake (Gen. Rab. 45:1), the 
doctors must conclude that Pharaoh 
acted unwisely, and they hold up as a 
proper example the case of Abimelech, 
who, according to them, gave his gifts 
to Abraham rather than Sarah. Yet 
these same authorities report that this 
same Abimelech "gave to Sarah a costly 
robe that covered her whole person . . . 
a reproach to Abraham that he had 
not fitted Sarah out with the splendor 
due his wife" — it would seem that 
Sarah has her royal claims after all.^*^*^* 

Actually the idea of rivalry between 
Abraham and Sarah is as baseless as 
that between Abraham and Isaac when 
we understand the true situation, in 
which neither party can fulfill his or 
her proper function without the other. 
Having been commanded of the Lord, 
Abraham explained the situation to 
his wife and asked her whether she 
would be willing to go along. (Abr. 
2:25.) According to the Genesis 
Apocryphon, he did not like the idea 
at all — it was a terrible sacrifice for 
him: "And I wept, I Abram, with 
grievous weeping." (G.A. XX, 9-10.) 
Would he have wept so for his own 
life, which he had so often been will- 
ing to risk? Why, then, did he ask 
Sarah to risk her person to save him: 
". . . say unto them, I pray thee, thou 
art my sister . . . and my soul shall 
live because of thee"? Plainly because 
nothing else would move Sarah to 
take such a step. There was nothing 
in the world to keep her from exchang- 
ing her hard life with Abraham for a 
life of unlimited ease and influence as 
Pharaoh's favorite except her loyalty 
to her husband. By a special order 
from heaven Abraham had stepped out 
of the picture and Pharaoh had been 
placed in a legally and ethically flaw- 
less position, and Sarah knew it: "I 
Abraham, told Sarai, my wife, all that 
the Lord had said to me." Why is the 
brilliant prospect of being Queen of 
Egypt never mentioned as an induce- 
ment or even a lightening of Sarah's 
burden? Sarah apparently never thinks 
of that, for she was as upset as Abra- 
ham: "Sarai wept at my words that 
night." (G.A. XIX, 21.) Still, the 
proposition was never put to her as a 
command, but only as a personal re- 
quest from Abraham: "Please say you 



88 



are my sister for the sake of my well- 
being, so that through your ministra- 
tion I shall be saved, and owe my life 
to you!" (see Gen. 12:13); and so with 
Abimelech: "This will be a special 
favor which I am asking of you in 
my behalf. . . ." (See Gen. 20:13.) 
Abraham is abiding by the law of God; 
the whole question now is, Will Sarah 
abide by the law of her husband? And 
she proved that she would, even if 
necessary at the risk of her life. It was 
as great a sacrifice as Abraham's and 
Isaac's, and of the same type. 

The Cedar and the Palm, a Ro- 
mantic Interlude: Some famous episodes 
are associated with the crossing of the 
border into Egypt, such as Abraham's 
beholding Sarah's beauty for the first 
time as they wade the stream — "a 
beauty in comparison with which all 
other beauties are like apes. . . ."^^^ It 
was under like circumstances that 
King Solomon is said to have first be- 
held the beauty of the Queen of 
Sheba.^^" Again, Abraham concealed 
his wife's beauty by trying to smuggle 
her across the border in a trunk, on 
which he was willing to pay any 
amount of duty provided the officials 
would not open it; of course, they could 
not resist the temptation and were 
quite overpowered by this Pandora's 
box in reverse.^'^^ 

But the story of the cedar and the 
palm has the most interesting parallels 
of all: "And I Abram dreamed a drearrf 
in the night of our going up into the 
land of Egypt, and what I beheld in 
my dream was a cedar tree and a palm- 
tree . . . [words missing] and men came 
and tried to cut down and uproot the 
cedar while leaving the palm standing 
alone. And the palm tree called out 
and said, 'Do not cut the cedar! Cursed 
and shamed whoever [words missing]. 
So the cedar was spared in the shelter 
of the palm." (G.A. XIX, 14-16.) We 
have seen that Abraham was often 
compared with a cedar, and that the 
palm could be either Sarah or the 
hospitable Pharaoh.^^- But when we 
read in the Genesis Apocryphon that 
"for the sake of the palm the cedar 
was saved" (XIX, 16), we recall the 
unforgetable image of the mighty 
Odysseus, clad only in evergreen 
branches, facing the lovely princess 
Nausicaa, as in an exquisitely diplo- 
matic speech he compares her with the 
tall sacred palm standing in the court- 
yard of the temple at Delos. In return 
for the compliment, the princess dresses 
the hero in royal garments and conducts 
him to the palace. Later, when the two 
meet for the last time, the damsel makes 
good-natured fun of the way she had 
saved the mightiest man alive, but in 
return Odysseus solemnly tells her that 
it was no joke: "For you really did save 



Era, April 1970 89 



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my life, lady, and I shall never forget 
j^j"i7:! Here, then, the palm again 
saved the cedar. If scholars are now in- 
clined to compare Sarah with Helen of 
Troy, it is pleasanter and even more 
appropriate to compare her with the 
chaste and clever Nausicaa, the most 
delightful of ancient heroines. 

The humiliation of Odysseus, who 
appears first supplicating the princess 
while covered with dirt and leaves and 
then trails after her wagon publicly 
dressed in women's clothes, is a mo- 
ment of matriarchal victory, as is the 
humiliation of Abraham. The meeting 
ground of the two stories is appropri- 
ately Egypt, for in the Tale of the Two 
Brothers, in which scholars have dis- 
cerned the background of a wealth of 
biblical motifs, especially those of the 
Patriarchal stories, we meet the same 
strange combination of elements: the 
hero as a cedar tree threatened with 
destruction, the royal laundry ladies by 
the river, the trip to the palace, the 
humiliation of the king and his ulti- 
mate restoration, and all the rest.^'^* 
The felling of the cedar is also the 
fall of Adonis in the Attis-Adonis cult, 
related in turn to the Osiris mysteries 
and the cult of Sirius, according to C. 
Autran.^''^ Already in the Pyramid 
Texts Osiris is the king "who takes 
men's wives from them" — ^why should 
not Pharaoh be an Osiris in this as in 
other dramatic situations?^'^*^ What 
might be called "the palace scandal" 
occurs repeatedly in the Patriarchal 
traditions. Rebecca, like Sarah, was 
rescued from the clutches of a king, 
leaving the palace laden with treasure 
while her true spouse lurks ingloriously 
in the background.^'' Abimelech, who 
tried to take Sarah for wife, later at- 
tempted to take Rebecca in the same 
way.^''^ When Sarah died "hospitality 
ceased; but when Rebecca came the 
gates were again opened."^''^ In all 
these operations Rebecca, we are as- 
sured, "was the counterpart of Sarah 
in person and spirit," the living image 
of Sarah.^^° Sarah is thus the ageless 
mother and perennial bride: the whole 
point of the birth of Isaac is that she 
becomes young again — "Is any thing 
too hard for the Lord?" (Gen. 18:11- 
15.) Firmicus Materus informs us that 
the early Christians saw in the Egyp- 
tian cult of Serapis, the last stage of 
the Osiris mysteries, the celebration of 
the Sarra-pais, "the son of Sarah," with 
Sarah as the mother of the new king.^^^ 
Which may not be so farfetched, since 
that was exactly Pharaoh's intention 
in taking her to wife, according to 
Josephus. The story of the testing of 
the bride's moral fiber and the humilia- 
tion of the arrogant bridegroom is 
carried on down through the line of 
Abraham's female descendants: There 



90 



was Tamar and her strange affair with 
her two half-brothers, ending with the 
death of both and her marriage with 
her father Judah;^^^ and then another 
Tamar, daughter of David, who car- 
ried on with her half-brother (2 Sam. 
13:13) — a reminder that Abraham and 
Sarah were half-brother and -sister. 

Here it is in order to note that the 
legends of Abraham's birth and child- 
hood are dominated by the conflict be- 
tween matriarchy and patriarchy, with 
Abraham's mortal foe and rival, Nim- 
rod, as the arch-defender of the 
matriarchy. To forestall the birth of 
Abraham, foretold by the stars, he first 
attempts to bar all contact between 
men and women; then he orders all 
expectant mothers shut up in a great 
castle: when a girl baby is born, she 
and her mother are sent far from the 
castle showered with gifts and crowned 
like queens, while all boy babies are 
immediately put to death.^^^ And while 
Abraham's father supports Nimrod and 
tries to destroy the infant, his mother 
saves him by hiding him in a cave: her 
name, Emtelai, is a reminder that this 
is the age-old Amalthea motif. 

Breaking the Mold: Facsimile No. 1 
and the explanation thereof admonish 
the student not to be too surprised to 
find Father Abraham deeply involved 
in the abominable rites of the heathen. 
This, admittedly, is not a healthy situa- 
tion, but then the point of the whole 
thing is that Abraham is fighting the 
system, and his is a life-long struggle. 
In the process of meeting the foe on his 
own ground he finds himself in one 
unpleasant situation after another — un- 
pleasant and strangely familiar. The 
familiarity of the setting, as we have 
insisted all along, vouches for the au- 
thenticity of the tradition. The Abra- 
ham stories are poured into an ancient 
mold — but Abraham cracks the mold. 
One of the most striking examples of 
the shattered mold is the famous ro- 
mance of Joseph and Asenath, a 
reediting of the story of Abraham and 
Sarah in an authentic Egyptian setting. 

Everything in this romantic tale re- 
verses the order of the conventional 
Near-Eastern Romance. True, it be- 
gins with the maiden locked up in her 
tower, the proud heiress of the matri- 
archy disdaining all men and rejecting 
all lovers, according to the standard 
fairy-tale formula going back as far 
as the Egyptian romances of the 
Doomed Prince and the Two Brothers. 
Bxit presently she falls desperately in 
love with Joseph, of whose love she 
feels abjectly unworthy. G. von Rad 
insists that the Joseph stories are the 
purest fiction, "durch und durch 
novellistisch" and have no place in the 
Patriarchal histories. ^^* But he over- 
looks the all-important ritual element 



that places Joseph and Asenath in the 
long line of holy couples: Adam and 
Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and 
Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel, Moses and 
Zippora, Aaron and Elisheba, etc.^^^ 
The undeniable link between the 
Abraham and the Joseph romances is 
the key name of Potiphar; for just as 
the testing of Abraham takes place at 
Potiphar's Hill, so the triumph of 
Joseph over the practices of the heathen 
and the wicked Prince of Egypt takes 
place at Potiphar's castle, Potiphar 
being none other than the father of 
Asenath. While the Prince of Egypt 
attempts to seize and marry Asenath 
against her will (the Sarah motif), 
Joseph is so moved by her tears that 
he refuses even to kiss her and instead 
puts his hand on her head and gives 
her a blessing, telling her that in spite 
of her Egyptian parentage she is of the 
true blood of Abraham, "for whom she 
was chosen before the world was." 
(Joseph & Aseneth 8:8-9.) So here then 
is the basic issue of the rival dynasties. 
Weeping all night on her royal 
couch in the depths of humiliation 
amid sackcloth and ashes, the damsel 
prays for death, since she feels utterly 
unworthy of marrying Joseph. Just as 
she is at the point of death an angel 
appears and greets her as he had once 
greeted Abraham and Sarah in a like 
situation (14:11) — it is the old de- 
livery-by-an-angel motif. Instead of 
defending the lady's honor with sword 
or whip, the angel orders her to remove 
the veil from her head, because, he 
tells her, "thy name is written in the 
Book of Life; from this time on thou 
art created anew, formed anew, given 
a new life; thou shalt eat the bread of 
life and drink of immortality, and be 
anointed with the oil of incorruptibil- 
ity, and then become the bride of 
Joseph for all eternity." (15:4-6.) As 
the lady prayed on the bed that was to 
be her funeral couch, "the Morning star 
rose in the East ... a sign that God 
had heard her prayer" (14:1); it was 
the precursor of the sunrise and the 
resurrection, as well as the ruling 
luminary (the Shagreel) of the rites of 
the sacred marriage (the hieros gamos) 
throughout the 'ancient world. The 
angel instructed Asenath to change her 
black garment of death to a pure white 
wedding dress, "the most ancient, 
primal Wedding-garment," whereupon 
she kisses the feet of the heavenly 
visitor (who, incidentally, is in the 
exact image of Joseph!), who takes her 
by the hand and leads her "out of the 
darkness into the light." (15:10-11.) 
The two then sit upon her undefiled 
bed to partake of bread and wine sup- 
plied by the bride while the angel 
miraculously produces a honeycomb 
for a true love-feast in the manner of 



Era, April 1970 91 



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the primitive Christians. (15:14, 16:1.) 
If one compares this with the ''Setne" 
romance or the Tales of the Two 
Brothers of Foredoomed Prince, or with 
the stories of Aqhat or Krt, or numer- 
ous Greek myths, one will recognize 
at every turn the same elements in the 
same combination — but what a differ- 
ence! The heathen versions are full of 
violence and bestiality, with one 
brother murdering another and the 
lady deceiving and destroying her 
lovers: there is no better example of 
both the ritual and historical situation 
than the account in the eighth chapter 
of Ether where the throne is trans- 
mitted after the manner of "them of 
old" by a series of ritual murders super- 
vised by the queen. In the Sed-festival, 
Moret points out, the king's wife rep- 
resented the unfailing fecundity of the 
earth, while the Pharaoh was one 
whose failing powers were arrested by 
a sacrificial death, effected since the 
middle of the 4th Millennium B.C., by 
the use of a substitute. ^^^^ This is the 
sort of thing in which Abraham and 
Sarah become unwillingly involved — a 
desperate perversion of the true order 
of things. The first Pharaoh, being 
a good man who "judged his people 
wisely and justly all his days," had tried 
hard to do things right, would "fain 
claim" the right of the priesthood, and 
was always "seeking to imitate that 
order established by the fathers." (Abr. 
1:26-27.) But the best he could come 
up with was an imitation, being 
"cursed ... as pertaining to the 
Priesthood." Abraham, possessed of 
the authentic records (1:28), knew 
Pharaoh's secret — that his authority 
was stolen and his glor>' simulated — 
and refused to cooperate, turning to 
God instead for the knowledge and the 
permission necessary to restore the an- 
cient order (Abr. 1:2). For this he was 
rewarded and received the desire of his 
heart, but only after being put to the 
severest possible tests. Forced against 
his will to participate in the false 
ordinances, he resisted them at every 
step, even to the point of death. What 
breaks the mold is the sudden, un- 
expected, and violent intervention of a 
destroying angel, which puts an end to 
sacrificial rites and in their place 
restores an ordinance of token sacrifice 
only, looking forward to the great 
atonement. Neither Abraham, Isaac, 
nor Sarah had to pay the supreme price, 
though each confidently expected to, 
and was accordingly given full credit 
and forgiveness of sins through the 
atoning sacrifice of the Lord. In them 
the proper order and purpose of sacri- 
fice was restored after the world had 
departed as far from the ancient plan 
as it was possible to get. 
In their three sacrifices the classic 



92 



rivalry and tension between father and 
son, patriarchy and matriarchy are 
resolved in a perfect equality. On Mt. 
Moriah, Isaac showed that he was will- 
ing to suffer on the altar as Abraham 
had been; in Egypt it was made per- 
fectly clear that Sarah was Abraham's 
equal, and that he was as dependent 
on her for his eternal prpgress as she 
was on him. The two kings knew that 
without Sarah they could not attain to 
the glory of Abraham, but she knew 
that without Abraham her glory would 
be nothing, and she refused all substi- 
tutes. "Do this," says Abraham to his 
wife at the beginning of the story, "for 
the sake of benefitting me, [and] for 
your own advantage" — [le-ma'an yi- 
tavli ba'avurekh]. (See Gen. 12:13.) 
"Abraham and Sarah," says the Mid- 
rash, "kept the whole law from Alef to 
Taw, not by compulsion but with 
delight."^®' They kept the law fully 
and they kept it together. Why is it, 
asks the archaeologist A. Parrot, that 
we never read of the God of Sarah, 
Rebecca, and Rachael, but only of the 
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? The 
answer is given in Abraham 2:22-25, 
where Abraham obeys a direct com- 
mand from God, though he is free to 
reject it if he will, while Sarah re- 
ceives it as the law of her husband, 
being likewise under no compulsion. 
It is indeed the God of Sarah, Rebecca, 
and Rachel to whom they pray directly, 
but they covenant with him through 
their husbands. "If he guards the holy 
imprint," says the Zohar, speaking of 
the ordinances of Abraham, "then the 
Shekhinah does not depart from him" — 
but how can he be sure he has guarded 
it? "He cannot be sure of it until 
he is married. . . . When the man and 
wife are joined together and are called 
by one name, then the celestial favor 
rests upon them . . . which is embraced 
in the male, so that the female is also 
firmly established." (Lech lecha, 94a.) 
It was by their mutual faithfulness, 
according to rabbinic teaching, that 
Abraham and Sarah reversed the blows 
of death, so that they became new 
again and had children in their old 
ggg_i88 jyg^ 5Q^ when Asenath was 
anointed with the oil of incorrupti- 
bility, and then became the bride of 
Joseph," she was told, "from this time 
on art thou created anew, formed anew, 
given a new life. . . ." (Jos. & Asen. 
15:4-6.) When Sarah had passed 
through the valley of the shadow in 
order to save her husband's life, Abra- 
ham received "a new grade of knowl- 
edge," after which he "begat children 
on a higher plane." (Zohar, Veyerah, 
103b.) This is that measure of exalta- 
tion promised in Abraham 2:10-11: 
". . . for as many as receive this Gospel 
shall be called after thy name, and 



shall be accounted thy seed . . . and 
in thy seed after thee (that is to say, 
the literal seed, or the seed of the 
body) shall all the families of the earth 
be blessed, even with the blessings of 
the Gospel . . . even of life eternal." 
It was this doctrine that led to the 
discussions among the Jewish doctors 
on whether Abraham and Sarah were 
actually given the power to create 
souls.^^^ "Abraham obtained the pos- 
session of both worlds," says an an- 
cient formula, "for his sake this world 
and the world to come were created."i^° 
Abraham's covenant, as J. Morgenstern 
observes with wonder, "appears to be 
outside of time and space/'^^^ Or as the 
Prophet Joseph Smith put it, "Let us 
seek the glory of Abraham, Noah, 
Adam, the Apostles," naming Abraham 
first of all.192 

And Abraham earned his glory: "The 
sacrifice required of Abraham in the 
offering up of Isaac, shows that if a 
man would attain to the keys of the 
kingdom of an endless life, he must 
sacrifice all things."^^^ But Isaac was 
in on it too — the stories of Isaac and 
Sarah teach us that salvation is a fam- 
ily affair, in which, however, each 
member acts as an individual and 
makes his own choice, for each must 
decide for himself when it is a matter 
of giving up "all things," including life 
itself, if necessary. But "when the 
Lord has thoroughly proved him, and 
finds that the man is determined to 
serve Him at all hazards," only then 
"the visions of the heavens will be 
opened unto him," as they were to 
Abraham, "and the Lord will teach 
him face to face, and he may have a 
perfect knowledge of the mysteries of 
the Kingdom of God."!"-* If Abraham 
knew that "God would provide a sac- 
rifice," Isaac did not; if he was per- 
fectly sure of his wife, she was not and 
prayed desperately for help — husband, 
wife, and son, each had to undergo the 
terrible test alone. 

But every test is only a sampling: as 
a few drops of blood are enough for a 
blood test, so, as Morgenstern points 
out, the rite of circumcision demanded 
of Abraham expressed the idea that a 
token shedding of blood "redeems the 
remainder." "■'' Circumcision, then, is 
an arrested sacrifice. When one reaches 
a critical point in an act of obedience 
at which it becomes apparent that one 
is willing to go all the way, it is not 
necessary to go any farther and make 
the costly sacrifice. Abraham called 
the spot where he sacrificed Isaac 
"Jehovahjireh," signifying that God 
was perfectly aware all the time of 
what was going on and knew exactly 
where Abraham stood: "For now I 
know that thou fearest God, seeing 
thou hast not withheld thy son. . . "^^'^ 



Era, April 1970 93 



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He knew that Abraham would cer- 
tainly carry out the sacrifice, and he 
let him go as far as possible for the 
sake of his instruction, and then he 
had him complete the ordinance with a 
token sacrifice, which was to be re- 
peated by his progeny in the temple.^ ^' 
For since it is an individual as well as 
a family thing, each of the descendants 
of Abraham is required to make the 
same token sacrifice as Isaac.^^'' Cyril, 
the last "primitive" Christian bishop 
of Jerusalem, has left us a report on 
how the early Christians thought of 
this token sacrifice. The first step in 
becoming a Christian, he says, is to 
renounce all the idols (as Abraham 
did); next, one must escape the power 
of Satan, described as a ravening lion; 
then come baptism, anointing, and the 
receiving of a garment;^^^ the candi- 
date is then buried again three times in 
water, to signify Christ's three days in 
the tomb. "We do not really die," 
Cyril explains, "nor are we really 
buried, nor do we actually rise again 
after being crucified. It is a token 
following instructions (en eiponi he 
mimesis), though the salvation is real. 
Christ was really crucified and buried 
and literally rose again. And all these 
things are for our benefit, and we can 
share in his sufferings by imitating 
them while enjoying the rewards in 
reality. O how everflowing is God's 
love for man! Christ received the nails 
in blameless hands and feet, while I 
may share in the suffering and reward 
of salvation without the pain or suf- 
fering!"^^'' He goes on to note that one 
then becomes "a Christ," an adopted 
but nonetheless a real son of God, "re- 
ceiving the very form of the Christ of 
God."2oo 

He describes the priesthood stand- 
ing a circle around the altar ("leave 
the altar if thy brother hath aught 
against thee!"), the mutual embrac- 
ing "which signifies a complete fusion 
of spirits," and then "that thrill- 
ing hour when one must enter 
spiritually into the presence of God."-°- 
Throughout this ancient and forgotten 
discourse the emphasis is on the token 
or mimetic nature of the ordinances 
along with the quite real and neces- 
sary part they play in achieving salva- 
tion. Julius Maternus, describing the 
same rites, says that they match the 
Osirian mysteries very closely and he 
accuses the Egyptians of stealing their 
ordinances from Israel back in the days 
of Moses.^"- 

The important thing in the early 
Christian rites is that every individ- 
ual m,ust imitate the suffering and 
burial of Christ; this is the great es- 
sential of the ordinances, as it is 
the fundamental principle of all Jew- 
ish sacrifice as well. This we learn 



94 



from the sacrifices of Abraham, Isaac, 
and Sarah; each was interrupted and 
by the providing of a substitute became 
a token sacrifice, acceptable to God be- 
cause of the demonstrated intention of 
each of the three to offer his or her 
life if necessary. The perfect con- 
sistency of the three sacrifices is a 
powerful confirmation of the authen- 
ticity of the Book of Abraham. 

{To be concluded) 



FOOTNOTES 



97 Jubilees, 13:10; Genesis Apocryphon 
19 '23 

08 Gen. Apocr., 19:13. 

99 C. Gordon, Common Background, etc., 
pp. 159f. 

100 B. Z. Wacholder, in Hebrew Union Col- 
lege Annual, Vol. 34, pp. llOf. 

101 H. Kees, cited in Orientalische Literatur- 
zeitung, Vol. 53 (1958), p. 311, and in Aeg. 
Ztschr., Vol. 57, pp. 117-19. 

102 The story of Sarah in the trunk, Midrash 
Rab., LL 40:6. 

103 Ibid., 40:4. 

104 They held an auction, each trying to buy 
her in order to make a gift of her to Pharaoh, 
ibid., 40:5. 

105 S. ha-Yashar, 51-52; in Vermes, p. 113. 

106 Midr. Rab., 41:2. 

107 Beer, p. 25, discu.ssing sources on p. 128. 

108 P. R. Eliezer, Ch. 26; S. ha-Yashar, pp. 
51f. 

100 So E. Osswald, in Ztschr. f. A. T. Wiss., 
Vol, 71 (1959), pp. 15, 19. 
no Bin Gorion, II, 158. 

111 Eusebius, Praeparatio evang., IX, 17. 

112 Gen. Apocr. XX, 30-34, cf. Ginzberg, Vol. 
1, p. 203; bin Gorion, II, 97; Maase Abraham in 
Beth ha-Midrasch, I, 35, 41; Tha'labi, Qissas, 
p. 55; S. ha-Yasiiar, in Vermes, p. 73; Beer, 
pp. 18, 113. 

113 F. L. Griffith, Stories of the High Priests 
of Memphis (Oxford, 1900), pp. 16-19. 

114 Ibid., p. 27. 

113 Ibid., p. 31. The theme is the same as 
that of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. On 
the antiquity and importance of the Fifty-two 
game, H. Nibley, in Western Political Quarterly, 
Vol. 2 (1949), p. 337. 

no Griffith, op. cit., pp. 32-40. 

ll" Ibid., pp. 45-50; the moral tone of the 
Egyptian account is even higher than that of 
the Jewish version. 

lis Ibid., pp. 60ff. 

119 Era, March 1969, pp. 80, 82. 

120 Griffith, pp. 64f. 

121 Ibid., pp. 65f. 

122 H. Ranke, in Studies for F. L. Griffith 
(Oxford, 1932), pp. 412ff. 

123 Vermes, p. 115, n. 2. 

124 N. Avigad and Y. Yadin, A Genesis 
Apocryphon (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 
1956), p. 26, note that the Genesis Apocryphon 
version of the affliction and healing of Pharaoh 
"is actually much closer to Genesis \x, dealing 
with Sarah and Abimelech." 

125 Bin Gorion, II, 250. 

126 Ginzberg, Vol. 1, p. 258. 

127 Beer, p. 45. 

128 Ginzberg, loc. cit. 

129 Beer, pp. 46-47. 

130 Ginzberg, Vol. 1, pp. 262-63. 

131 Beer, p. 128; Ginzberg, Vol. 1, p. 224. 

132 F. Weber, System der altsynagog. Theol- 
ogie, p. 256. 

133 Zohar, I, Vayerah, 103b. 
i34josephus, Jew. Ant., I, 165. Sarah was 

ten years younger than Abraham. Cf. Beer, 
p. 25. 

135 J. Gray, The Krt Text in the Literature of 
Ras Shamra (Leiden: Brill, 1964), p. 2. 

136 Ibid., pp. 4-5. 

137 Tab. 4, Col. 5, lines 25, 33. 

138 Tab. 4, Col. 3, lines 83, 87. 

139 Era, Sept. 1969, p. 92; see J. Gray, 
The Legacy of Canaan (Leiden: Brill, 1965), p. 
25, n, 5. 

140 Krt Text, Tab. 4, Col. 5, lines 1-8, 10-13. 

141 Ibid., line 19. 

142 Ibid., line 21a. The word for "do" is here 
ehtrsh, meaning to perform an ordinance. 



Festivals 



143 Ibid., Col. 4, lines 4ff. 
1 J3a See C. J. Sleeker, Egyptian 

(Leiden: Brill, 1967), pp. 37-43. 

144 Ginzberg, L.}., Vol. 5, note 308; Maase 
Abraham, 

i45josephus, Ant., I, 188-90. 

146 So F. J, Foakes-Jackson, Biblical History 
of the Hebrews, p. 25, noting at the same time 
that Isaac "is not more than a tribe-name." 

147 W. F. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of 
Canaan (University of London, 1968), p. 128. 

148 J. Gray, op. cit., p. 10. 

149 Bin Gorion, II, 330, 332. 

150 Josephus, Ant., I, 165; bin Gorion, II, 
250. 

151 J. Gray, op. cit., p. 5. 
15 2 J. G. Frazer, The New Golden Bough, 

T. M. Gaster, ed., (New York: Anchor, 1961), 
pp. 172f; C. J. Bleeker, in The Sacral Kingship 

(Leiden: Brill, 1959), pp. 261-69. 

1.^3 H. Haag, in Ex Oriente Lux, Vol. 19, 
p. 517; C. H. Gordon, Ugarit and Minoan Crete 

(New York: W, W. Norton, 1966). 

154 E. D. Van Buren, in Orientalia, Vol. 13 
(1944), p. 15. 

155 Beer, p. 25. 

15G William Hales, A New Analysis of Chron- 
ology, etc. (London: 1830), H, 111. 

157 Zohar I, Vayerah, 112a. 

158 E. Speiser, in A. Altmann, Biblical Studies, 
pp. 14-18; J. L. Kelso, in Christianity Today, 
Vol. 12, p. 918. 

159 W. F. Albright, Yahweh b- the Gods of 
Canaan, pp. 111-12. 

160 R. Graves, King Jesus (London: Cassell, 
1950), p. 59. 

161 Discussed by B. Beer, L. A., pp. 126-27. 

162 P. R. Eliezer, Ch. 26, p. 190. 

163 Vermes, p. 114. 

164 Beer, p. 61. • 

165 Beer, p. 18; Barhebraeus, Scholion on 
Gen. 11:27. "Indeed, in prophetical power she 
ranked higher than her husband," Ginzberg, 
Vol. 1, p. 203. 

166 Ginzberg, L. }., Vol. 1, p. 260. 
"Footnotes 167-168 omitted. 
109 Ginzberg, Vol. 1, pp. 221f. 

170 Tha'labi, Qissas al-Anbiyah (Cairo, A. H. 
1340), p. 223. 

171 Beer, pp. 24, 127. 

172 Era, Vol. 72 (September 1969), p. 94, n. 
162: In a number of cases the hospitable lotus 
is identified with the royal palm, suggesting 
the palm -branch as a symbol of honorable re- 
ception. 

173 Odyssey, 8:461-68. 

174 The story has recently been made avail- 
able in paperback by W. K. Simpson (ed. ), 
Ad. Erman, The Ancient Egyptians (Harper 
Torchbooks, 1966), pp. 150-61. 

175 C. Autran, in Melanges Maspero, I, ii, 
531-32. 

176 A. Moret, La Mise a Mart du Roi, p. 13. 

177 Bin Gorion, II, 330, 332. 

178 Ginzberg, Vol. 1, p. 297. 

179 Bin Gorion, II, 330. 
ISO Ginzberg, loc. cit. 

181 F. Matemus, De errore profan, relig. 
13:1-2, in Hopfner, Pontes hist, relig. Aegypt., 
p. 520. 

182 Discussed by M. Astour, in Jnl. of Bibl. 
Lit., Vol. 85 (1966), p. 195, n. 58. 

183 Beer, p. 3, n. 18. 

184 G. von Rad, in Vestus Testamentum, 
Supplementband, Vol. I (1953), p. 120. 

185 L. Nemoy, Karaite Anthology ( Yale 
University Press, 1952), p. 300. 

186 Moret, Mise a Mort, pp. 51-52. 

187 M. Braude, Midr. Ps. 112:1. 

188 F. Weber, System der altsynagog. Theol., 
p. 256. 

189 G. G. Scholem, On the Kabbalah (New 
York: Schocken, 1965), pp. 170 ff, with 
sources. 

190 J. F. Moore, Judaism, I, 538. 

191 Cit. A. Caquot, in Semitica, Vol. 12 
(1962), p. 62. 

192 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 
p. 162. 

193 Ibid., p. 322. 

194 Ibid., pp. 150-51. 

195 J. Morgenstem, in Heb. Un. Col. An., 
Vol. 34 (1963), p. 39. 

196 Gen. 22:14, 12; Beer, p. 71, on the 
meaning of the name. 




197 Vermes, p. 195; 

198 Cj^ril of Jerus., 
Graecae, Vol. 33, cols. 

199 Ibid., col. 1081. 

200 Col. 1088. 

201 Col. 1112. 

202 Julius Matemus, 
12: 1031. 



bin Gorion, II, 307-8. 
in Migne Patrologiae 
1068-1074. 



in Migne, Patrol. Lat., 



Era, April 1970 95 



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End of an Era 



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96 Era, April 1970 



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