Thursday, November 20, 2014

They Who Tarry

In the Bible we learn that the Lord gave John the Beloved a special blessing:

"Peter seeing him [John] saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?

Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true." (John 21:21-24)

In April of 1829 the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery inquired of the Lord to understand the meaning of John's blessing, and they received further revelation:

"And the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you.

And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.

And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.

And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter: If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desired of me that he might bring souls unto me, but thou desiredst that thou mightest speedily come unto me in my kingdom.

I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire; but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done.

Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth." (D&C 7:1-6)
Peter, James and John Appear to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery

In other words, John the Beloved is still alive and ministering upon the earth.

But John is not alone in receiving such a peculiar blessing.  In the Book of Mormon we learn that there are at least three others who were permitted to tarry on the earth in order to bring souls unto Christ:

"And when he had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them: What will ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father?

And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto him the thing which they desired.

And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.

Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.

And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.

And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;

And the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and the Father giveth the Holy Ghost unto the children of men, because of me.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he touched every one of them with his finger save it were the three who were to tarry, and then he departed." (3 Ne. 28:4-12)

These same three Nephites later ministered to Mormon (3 Ne. 28:26) and his son Moroni (Mormon 8:11), and like John the Beloved, they continue their anonymous ministry (3 Ne. 28:25) on the earth today. 

Three Nephites Desire to Tarry

The question might reasonably be asked: "Have there been any sightings of the three Nephites or of John the Beloved?"  While at least these four disciples of Christ continue their ministry on the earth, they seem to be doing so, as the Lord's best ministers always have, very quietly.  

Nevertheless, in the April 1954 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Legrand Richards recounted the following miraculous event:

"A short time ago, when a committee was sent there by President Truman, they were told by Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, that it was their belief in a 'mystical force that would return the Jews to the land of Israel, that had kept them alive.

In the Jewish Hope, of September 1950, was an article by Arthur U. Michelson. I will not take time to read it, but he tells of a visit he made to Jerusalem, when he heard the experience of the Jewish army. They had only-one cannon, and were facing the Arabs with their well-trained and equipped army, and so when they used this cannon, they moved it from place to place so the enemy would think they had many, and every time the cannon was fired, they would beat tin cans in order to make a lot of noise so that the enemy would think they had many cannons.

I want to read what he said about what happened when the armies of Israel were about to give up:

'One of the officials has told me how much the Jews had to suffer. They had hardly anything with which to resist the heavy attacks of the Arabs who were well organized and equipped with the latest weapons. Besides, they had neither food nor water, because all their supplies were cut off . . .

'At this critical moment, God showed them that he was on their side, for he performed one of the greatest miracles that ever happened. The Arabs suddenly threw down their arms and surrendered. When their delegation appeared with the white flag, they asked, 'Where are the three men and where are all the troops we saw?' The Jews told them that they did not know anything of the three men, for this group was their entire force. The Arabs said that they saw three persons, with long beards and flowing white robes who warned them not to fight any longer, otherwise they would all be killed. They became so frightened that they decided to give up. What an encouragement this was for the Jews to realize that God was fighting for them.'

And then he told about another case when one man with a white robe and a long beard appeared, and they all saw him, and they gave up their arms. Now I do not know, but the Lord said that he would do something for the Jews in the latter days, and when he permitted the Three Nephites to tarry upon this land, he said:

And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not.

They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not.

And it shall come to pass, when the lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them (3 Ne. 28:27-29).

Whoever these persons were, they seemed to have 'convincing power' sufficient to cause a whole army to surrender.

In permitting these Three Nephites to tarry upon the earth until he, Jesus, should come in his glory, he must have had in mind some great things for them to accomplish in bringing about a fulfillment of his promises. Whether it was convincing the army of the Arabs to surrender, I do not know, but this I do know: That what is going on in the Holy Land should convince one that the Lord is moving rapidly toward restoring the Jews to the land of their fathers and is giving them that land and redeeming it from its waste condition, as the prophets have foretold." (Legrand Richards, The Word of God Will Stand)

Whether or not the three Nephites and John the Beloved were the beings who preserved the Jews in these particular battles is within the realm of speculation, and others have written at greater length on such topics.  

The lesson?  If translated beings with long beards and flowing white robes appear to you and warn you not to fight against Jews any longer, it would probably be wise to obey them.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Like a Lamb to the Slaughter

The Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith

"I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—he was murdered in cold blood." - The Prophet Joseph Smith, D&C 135:5

Don't be deceived. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How Rare a Possession

How Rare a Possession: The Book of Mormon
Have you ever seen the LDS film How Rare a Possession?  It is a classic.  Watch how the Book of Mormon has transformed lives over the centuries, from the prophet Moroni, to the apostle Parley P. Pratt, to the Italian pastor Vincenzo di Francesca, and beyond. 

Parley P. Pratt
Vincenzo di Francesca
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Greatest Modern Miracle

One of the Best Books for Understanding the Virtuous Character of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Now this will be a fireside worth attending!  This Sunday at 7:00 pm in the Sunset Heights Stake Center in Orem, Utah, Andrew Ehat (author of The Words of Joseph Smith) will be speaking on The Greatest Modern Miracle: Joseph Smith and The Book of MormonBe there, or be... a little less educated about the greatest modern miracle.

The Greatest Modern Miracle: Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon
Brother Andrew Ehat
November 17th at 7:00 PM
Sunset Height Stake Center, 1200 S 400 W, Orem, UT

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sacrifice of All Things

"Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life." - The Prophet Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, 6:7

It is Christianity to Do Good Always


Charles Dickens
"Remember! – It is christianity TO DO GOOD always – even to those who do evil to us. It is christianity to love our neighbour as ourself, and to do to all men as we would have them Do to us. It is christianity to be gentle, merciful, and forgiving, and to keep those qualities quiet in our own hearts, and never make a boast of them, or of our prayers or of our love of God, but always to shew that we love Him by humbly trying to do right in everything. If we do this, and remember the life and lessons of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and try to act up to them, we may confidently hope that God will forgive us our sins and mistakes, and enable us to live and die in Peace."--

- Charles Dickens, The Life of Our Lord, written especially for his children


Friday, November 7, 2014

Allow All Men the Same Privilege

The Prophet Joseph Smith
"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

- The Prophet Joseph Smith, Articles of Faith 1:11

If you are looking for an explanation of how this article of faith ought to play out in real life, you could definitely do worse than Professor Daniel Peterson's Mormonism, Islam, and the Question of Other Religions.  In fact, as far as statements on religious tolerance go, there are probably not many better.

Meddle Not With Any Man for His Religion


The Prophet Joseph Smith
"But meddle not with any man for his religion: all governments ought to permit every man to enjoy his religion unmolested. No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect, right or wrong. Every man has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet. If I show, verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety-nine out of every hundred professing religious ministers are false teachers, having no authority, while they pretend to hold the keys of God's kingdom on earth, and was to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood." - Joseph Smith

"It is good economy to entertain strangers—to entertain sectarians. Come up to Nauvoo, ye sectarian priests of the everlasting Gospel, as they call it, and you shall have my pulpit all day." - Joseph Smith

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Athens, Jerusalem, and Wherever You Are

Learning in the Light of Faith

What is the role of education in God's eternal plan? Are scholarship and discipleship compatible?  What is the relationship between reason and revelation?  What should we study and learn?  Why?

These are just a few questions that disciple-scholars of the past have frequently posed.  Here follows a brief selection of quotations, speeches, and articles that may be helpful in exploring the answers to such questions:  


Quotations:
  • "To be ignorant and simple now–not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground — would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered." - C.S. Lewis, "Learning in War-Time," in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses
  • "Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish." - Austen Farrer
  • "The LDS scholar has his citizenship in the Kingdom, but carries his passport into the professional world—not the other way around." - Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Speeches:

The Disciple-Scholar, Neal A. Maxwell

 

On Becoming a Disciple-Scholar, Elder Cecil O. Samuelson


Articles and Publications:




Revelation, Reason and Faith: Essays in Honor of Truman G. Madsen, Edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and Stephen D. Ricks



Reason and Revelation, Ralph C. Hancock 


Concluding Thought:

Finally, as Elder Neal A. Maxwell repeatedly emphasized, "Though I have spoken of the disciple-scholar, in the end all the hyphenated words come off. We are finally disciples-men and women of Christ (see  3 Ne. 27:27)." 

On Asking Questions

"Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask - half our great theological and metaphysical problems - are like that."

"Once you were a child. Once you knew what inquiry was for. There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them. Become that child again . . . You have gone far wrong. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth."




Monday, November 3, 2014

The Envy and Wrath of Man


"And as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; and for what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was ordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad. But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it." 

- epistle from the Prophet Joseph Smith to the Latter-day Saints at Nauvoo, Illinois (D&C 127:2)

 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Wrestling with Wrestling the Angel

"And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins." (Enos 1:2)
Recently I've been reading Terryl Givens' first volume in his two part series on the foundations of Mormon theology and practice, and I've almost reached Theosis (the last chapter in Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity).  In the unlikely event that while reading the last chapter I will be wrapped in the power and glory of my Maker, and caught up to dwell with Him, I have decided to begin writing a review immediately.

Various scholars have already summarized and analyzed Wrestling the Angel (see here, here, here, here, and here) with great precision and detail, and Givens' ambitious work certainly merits more careful scrutiny than I can possibly provide in one blog post.  Nevertheless, since my own apotheosis still appears to be at least as remote as the next time I open his book, perhaps I can contribute a brief exegesis of Givens' exegesis.

What stood out most to me, besides the most excellent chapter on our Mother God, was the value that a perspective informed by intellectual formation in the fields of comparative literature and religious studies adds to the world's collective understanding of intellectual history in general, and of the history of Mormon thought in particular.  Rumor has it that Givens' second volume will focus more specifically on Mormon praxis.  If that is the case, the trajectory of Givens' latest works seems to follow his earlier descriptions of the paradoxical nature of the Articles of Faith contained in Joseph Smith's Wentworth Letter:

"I want to add a fifth paradox to those I have surveyed. I would refer to it as a hallmark of the modus operandi of Joseph Smith—the twin imperatives of originality and assimilation, or revelation of what is new and syncretism based on what is already present. I see this duality beautifully enacted in the way Joseph Smith commences his exposition of doctrinal belief, the Articles of Faith." (Paradox and Discipleship)

This is not to say that Wrestling the Angel and its sequel are merely more elaborate re-articulations of Joseph Smith's original Articles of Faith, but that Givens' understanding of that which he calls Joseph Smith's "modus operandi" ("Joseph the syncretist; Joseph the Prophet.") plays a major role in his reading of the history of Mormon thought, especially as it pertains to the positioning of Mormon thought in the larger context of the Western intellectual and religious tradition.

Givens' Wrestling the Angel might not be a book that you would want to quote from during your next Primary class (if you are a Primary teacher), nor do I suspect that many missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will choose to distribute copies of Givens' book instead of pamphlets containing the original Articles of Faith, but it is definitely a book that should be read by anyone who has not yet reached apotheosis.  If there is still time, it would not hurt to read Givens' other books as well:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Meet the Muslims


There is far too little understanding of Islam in the West.  

I include myself in this indictment.  It is regrettable that so many of us know next to nothing about one of the world's great monotheistic religious traditions.  Furthermore, what we do know, or what we think we know, is too often informed by the consumption and regurgitation of sensationalized media reports.  If the recent film Meet the Mormons has helped in any way to shed light on the lives and beliefs of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which I think it has), I can only imagine what a film like Meet the Muslims might accomplish.  

But since, to my knowledge, such a film has not yet been produced, allow me to outline a few resources that may be useful in helping us to better understand Islam and the people who adhere to this widely practiced and vibrant faith.

Rules of Religious Understanding:
The Noble Qur'an
Qur'an and Hadith:


Verbal Description of the Prophet Muhammad
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
Latter-day Saint Perspectives on Islam:
A Few of my own Blog Posts on Islam:

Twin Pillars of Eternal Truth

Christ Stopped at Eboli

Carlo Levi's Memoir in Exile: Christ Stopped at Eboli
Soon after I received the call to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Southern Italy, my dad gave the book Christ Stopped at Eboli as a gift.  I read and enjoyed the book before my mission, but only after my mission could I appreciate it more fully.

Carlo Levi
In 1935, as a result of his political activism, the Italian-Jewish painter, writer, activist, anti-fascist and doctor Carlo Levi, was exiled to Lucania, one of the poorest regions of Southern Italy.  Christ Stopped at Eboli is a poetically written memoir of his exile, the title of which comes from an expression of the people of 'Gagliano' who said of themselves: "Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli."  Levi explained that this phrase "means, in effect, that they feel they have been bypassed by Christianity, by morality, by history itself—that they have somehow been excluded from the full human experience."

Of course Levi -who was also a friend of the Italian writer Italo Calvino- wrote his memoir in Italian, but it has been translated into English.  As an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University, I wrote a brief essay on Levi's memoir Cristo si è fermato a Eboli.  There is also a cinematic adaptation of the book that I recommend to anyone who might be interested.

The film adaptation of Levi's memoir

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Two Gospel Centered Conferences

A Trip to the Not So Local Library

The Vatican Library, Online Edition: https://www.vatlib.it/
Speaking of a time in which hidden things will come to light, it will soon be possible to instantly access more than 4,000 ancient manuscripts from the Vatican Library.  That's right.  The Pope's personal library:

"Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. It currently has 75,000 codices from throughout history, as well as 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula." (Wikipedia)

Look.  Here's an old Bible.  Here's Dante's Convivio.  Here's something on Petrarca, and Boccaccio.
 
Someday perhaps the "Secret Archives" will be available for all, not just the Holy See, to see as well.

Exchanging Gifts in the Vatican

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Mantle of Charity

The Prophet Joseph Smith
"It is one evidence that men are unacquainted with the principles of godliness to behold the contraction of affectionate feelings and lack of charity in the world. The power and glory of godliness is spread out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of charity. God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sinned, there must be allowance made for them. … The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. …

“… How oft have wise men and women sought to dictate Brother Joseph by saying, ‘Oh, if I were Brother Joseph, I would do this and that;’ but if they were in Brother Joseph’s shoes they would find that men or women could not be compelled into the kingdom of God, but must be dealt with in long-suffering, and at last we shall save them. The way to keep all the Saints together, and keep the work rolling, is to wait with all long-suffering, till God shall bring such characters to justice. There should be no license for sin, but mercy should go hand in hand with reproof." - Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:24

The Wise Lawgiver and Just Judge

The Prophet Joseph Smith
"The great designs of God in relation to the salvation of the human family, are very little understood by the professedly wise and intelligent generation in which we live. Various and conflicting are the opinions of men concerning the plan of salvation, the [requirements] of the Almighty, the necessary preparations for heaven, the state and condition of departed spirits, and the happiness or misery that is consequent upon the practice of righteousness and iniquity according to their several notions of virtue and vice. …

While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes ‘His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.’ [Matthew 5:45.] He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, ‘according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,’ or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. He will judge them, ‘not according to what they have not, but according to what they have’; those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will be judged by that law. We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right [see Genesis 18:25]." - Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:595–96

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So Shines a Good Deed

"How far that little candle throws its beams!  So shines a good deed in a weary world." - William Shakespeare



The Power of Kindness

K.I.N.D. = Know, Invite, Now, Do It

"Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind." - Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:23–24

"The best portion of a good man's life: his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love." - William Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads 

"I have wept in the night
At my shortness of sight
That to others' needs made me blind,
But I never have yet
Had a twinge of regret
For being a little too kind." - C.R. Gibson

"Kindness is powerful, especially in a family setting." - Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Loving Others and Living With Differences





 

Repentance

"Repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily transgression and daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in the sight of God." - Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:379

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Pioneer Ancestors

My Pioneer Ancestors

William Thomas Higginson
William Thomas Higginson (1835-1914):
  • Parents: Charles Wood Higginson and Mary Ann Bouncer
  • Relationship: William Thomas Higginson, father of George Taylor Higginson, father of Elmo Cassim Higginson, father of Julie Lynn Higginson, my mother.
  • Birth: November 1, 1835, Kenton Hall, Shifnal, Shropshire, England
  • Marriage(s): Elizabeth Jones (October 18, 1857), Christina Young (September 27, 1863), Hattie Jane Taylor (February 10, 1873)
  • Children: 13 - 8 (Christina Young), 5 (Hattie Jane Taylor)
  • Occupation(s): Jockey, Stable Boy, Farm Laborer
  • Fun Facts: His brother George was with Parley P. Pratt when he was killed.  By 1967 William Thomas Higginson had 13 children, 62 grandchildren, 246 great grandchildren, 537 great great grandchildren, 85 great great great grandchildren.
  • Pioneer Company: William B. Preston Company
  • Age at Departure: 27
  • Mission: Northern States, 1899-1900
  • Life Sketch and Other Documents: Short story, Letter Containing Testimony, etc., Same Letter with More Details, Same Letter Complete VersionMission Call from President Lorenzo Snow 
  • Trail Experience: Individual Information, Trail Excerpt 
  • Testimony: "The next morning after I got home, there lay some Milleneum Stars on the table. I
    William T. Higginson and Christina Young
    picked one up and on the front page there was a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph and these were the words I read; 'Thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph', and I asked myself the question, 'can I deny that'? And the spirit of the Lord said unto me, 'No you cannot deny it'. And from that time to this present moment I have never had no doubt in my mind as to Joseph Smith being a true Prophet of God. And after receiving that testimony I tended to the meeting at Astley and got acquainted with our father and mother and other Saints, yet I did not get baptized till July 1855, that was over one year after I received the testimony. I would have got baptized sooner but I was very bashful and did not like to ask for baptism, and as Father and were gong to a meeting we called at Tetley's and he was going to baptize a brother, so he asked me if I didn't want to be baptized. I told him yes, and so I was."
  • Death: November 29, 1914, Hatch, Bannock, Idaho, United States
  • Headstone

William Plummer Tippets (1812-1877):
  • Parents: John Tippets IV and Abigail Pierce
    William Plummer Tippets
  • Relationship: William Plummer Tippets, father of Abigail Eliza Tippets, mother of Mary Sophia Tippets, mother of Reba Marchant, mother of Jacquelyn Tebbs, mother of Ralph Cornel Hancock, my father.
  • Birth: June 26, 1812, Wilton, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States
  • Marriage(s): Caroline Tippets (July 30, 1835), Jeanette Stebbans (1837), Sophia Burnham Mead (January 1, 1842) 
  • Children: 10 - 1 (Caroline Tippets), 9 (Sophia Burnham Mead)
  • Occupation(s): Farmer
  • Fun Facts: The pioneer company that William Tippets traveled with transported almost 5,000 pounds of freight destined for Brigham Young and Newel K Whitney.
  • Pioneer Company: Edward Hunter Company
  • Age at Departure: 37
  • Mission: 
  • Life Sketch and Other Documents: Building a Log House, Incomplete History, History
  • Trail Experience: Individual information, Trail Excerpt
  • Testimony:
  • Death: March 29, 1877, Cause of Death, Typhoid Fever
  • Headstone
William Marks Miles (1828-1897):
  • Parents: Samuel Miles and Prudence Marks
    William Marks Miles
  • Relationship: William Marks Miles, father of Emmeline Emilia Miles, mother of Jeremiah Hatch, father of Lelia Hatch, mother of Julie Lynn Higginson, my mother
  • Birth: May 28, 1828, Attica, Genesee, New York, United States
  • Marriage(s): Orpha Ann Alexander (1853), Martha Jane Curtis (1859), Margaret E. Lawrence (December 11, 1859)
  • Children: 12 - 3 (Orpha Ann Alexander), 9 ( Martha Jane Curtis)
  • Occupation(s): Farmer, Stone Cutter, "It had always been my ambition to have a good farm and raise horses and cattle.  I, being twelve years old this year, was able to raise a garden and also hire out to do light work in many types of construction. I got what schooling I could along with working long hours to help make a living for my younger brother and sister." / "William Marks Miles, was a stone cutter by trade, even helping with the building of several temples. He was also called by President Brigham Young to be an Indian Interpreter and Peace Maker. The Indians learned to love William and asked him to wear a small bunch of whiskers on his chin to identify him, so that they would not kill him during any of the frequent uprisings. (Although it was customary to wear whiskers in those days, William was always clean shaven.)"
  • Fun Facts: William and his family knew the prophet Joseph. Smith and his contemporaries personally, and resisted mob persecution (his family was once held prisoner by the mobs), and they traveled to Adam-Ondi Ahman and Nauvoo.  He quarried granite from the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon for the construction of the Salt Lake Temple. William also helped build a rock dam in the Cottonwood river.  He was a friend of the Indians. 
  • Pioneer Company: Ezra T. Benson Company, Jedediah M. Grant-Joseph B. Noble Company
  • Age at Departure: 21 
  • Mission: Temple builder, Indian Interpreter and Peace Maker
  • Life Sketch and Other Documents: Autobiography of William Marks Miles, History of William Marks Miles 
  • Trail Experience: "I had gained much experience through my contacts with the captains and wagon masters and working and riding with the guides and frontiersmen the last few years. l learned a lot about the ways of the Indian and learned to talk their sign language. l had become quite handy at driving oxen and pulled many a family out of the mire that were driving horses."
  • Testimony: "Our farm joined that of Dr. Warren Cowdery, he and my father being brothers-in- law. His wife being Patience Simonds, a sister to Father’s first wife, Sarah Simonds, and being a brother to Oliver Cowdery. We early became acquainted with the rise of the church known as Mormons. It wasn‘t till the winter of 1833-34 that the Elders visited the town. Father learned of a meeting to be held in an adjoining town, Farmersville. Father and some of my older brothers attended the meeting held in Ira L. Hatch’s house. After the meeting closed, a few proceeded to a nearby stream where the ice was cut, it being mid-winter, and some baptisms were tended to. In a few weeks our town was visited by Elders John Murdock, Orson Pratt and others. A large branch was raised up. My parents were early baptized. Warren A. Cowdery was appointed and set apart as president of the Branch Other members included Hyman Hyde and family, Thomas Graven, Ira C. Hatch, the Cheaneys, the McPherson family, the Caulkins brothers, Lyman and Israel; Benjamin F. Wheeler and his wife, Eliza, my sister, Isaac Decker and family (they were baptized after moving to Ohio), also my brother. Joel. Mother's brother. William Marks, visited us at this time and attended our meetings. He became a convert to the truth of the gospel and was shortly afterward baptized... l was baptized in March 1836 by Solomon Warner. In April 1836 Father and Mother received their Patriarchal Blessings under the hands of Joseph Smith, Sr., who visited the branch."  His creed was: "Let your conscience be your guide."  
  • Death: July 7, 1897, Moreland, Bingham, Idaho, United States
  • Headstone
Thomas Henry Wright
Thomas Henry Wright:
  • Parents: Joseph Wright, Frances Green
  • Relationship: Thomas Henry Wright, father of Elizabeth Wright, mother of Earnest Wright Marchant, father of Reba Marchant, mother of Jacquelyn Tebbs, mother of Ralph Cornel Hancock, my father.
  • Birth: April 18, 1818, Woolwich, Kent, England
  • Marriage(s): Elizabeth Barrett (March 9, 1846), Caroline Eliza West (February 8, 1869)
  • Children: 20 total - 15 (Elizabeth Barrett), 5 (Caroline Eliza West)
  • Occupation(s): ? 
  • Fun Facts: He had some disagreements while crossing the plains, and he was even accused of murdering a man's wife, but she actually just died of cholera: "I Tho. H. Wright of the Church of Jesus Christ of L.D. Saints do charge Bro. Edward Middlemass With Falsly & Wantonly accusing Me of Killing his Wife & Makeing Me out to be a Murderer When it is Well known she died from the effects of a severe attack of Cholera." / A wagon wheel ran over his daughter's leg, but her leg did not break.
  • Pioneer Company: Seth M. Blair / Edward Stevenson Company
  • Age at Departure: 37
  • Mission: ?
  • Life Sketch and Other Documents: 
  • Trail Experience: Trail Excerpt, Trail Excerpt
  • Testimony: ?
  • Death: May 27, 1881
  • Headstone
Simmons Philander Curtis:

Robert Nish:
Robert Nish
Josiah Howe Call:
  • Parents: Cyril Call and Sarah Tiffany
    Josiah Howe Call
  • Relationship: Josiah Howe Call, father of Lydia Rosetta Call, mother of Alzina C. Loveland, mother of Elmo Cassim Higginson, father of Julie Lynn Higginson, my mother
  • Birth: August 12, 1821 Madison, Geauga, Ohio, United States
  • Marriage(s): Henrietta Caroline Williams (March 11, 1846), Christence Nielsdatter (January 14, 1856)
  • Children: 8 - 7 (Henrietta Caroline Williams), 1 (Christence Nielsdatter)
  • Occupation(s): Farmer, Collier, Sheriff, Alderman
  • Fun Facts: Although he was friendly with the Indians, he was killed by a hostile bunch of Indians.  He fought bravely, like a bear, to preserve his life, but the Indians showed him no mercy: "An Indian, wearing Grandfather's hat, came six months later to the home of my grandmother. Grandmother's six frightened children clung to her apron while he told the story. Grandfather begged for his life. He told them he had six little papooses and a squaw that he would like to go home to; that they needed him, He offered to trade them anything for his life. They refused him. When an Indian says he'll do a thing he usually does it. He told her they took his right arm as a sign of Bravery."
  • Pioneer Company: Allen Taylor Company
  • Age at Departure: 27
  • Mission: Pioneer, Settle Pauvant Valley (Fillmore, Utah), Bishop
  • Life Sketch and Other Documents: A Short Story of Josiah Howe Call, Tell Me a Story, Story by Granddaughter, Indian Massacre
  • Trail Experience: Individual Information, Trail Excerpt
  • Testimony: Josiah and his family heeded prophetic counsel: "Josiah had married Henrietta Williams, March lst, 1846 in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. Josiah and his brothers and families were part of the first 10 Wagons of Brigham Young's company. They traveled westward and they overtook a 52 Wagon company, and also overtook the George Miller company on the Platte River Where they received instructions July 22, 1846 to go no farther. There Josiah and the others erected 125 cabins to a fort. In February of 1847 Apostles arrived with instructions for these to return to Winter Quarters. Some of the them­ ­weren't in favor of returning te Winter Quarters; but the Call's heeded the instructions and returned to Winter Quarters."
  • Death: October 7, 1858 Chicken Creek Camp, Juab, Utah Territory, United States, Cause of Death: Scalping, shot by Indians, and right arm cut off
  • Headstone
Jeremiah Hatch:
Jeremiah Hatch
Michael Wheatley:
Michael Wheatley
  • Parents: John Wheatley and Sarah Moore
  • Relationship: Michael Wheatley, father of Heber Kimball Wheatley, father of Zina Maria Wheatley, mother of Lelia Hatch, mother of Julie Lynn Higginson, my mother
  • Birth: August 19, 1834 Dale Abbey, Derby, England
  • Marriage(s): Martha Anna Varley (February 24, 1851), Elizabeth Eliza Berrow (October 26, 1905)
  • Children: 2 - 2 (Martha Anna Varley)
  • Occupation(s): Coal Miner, Farmer  
  • Fun Facts: One of Michael's brothers died in a coal mine blast, and he himself had many narrow escapes from dangerous situations in the coal mines, his back was scarred from falling coal / 
  • Pioneer Company: ?
  • Age at Departure: ?
  • Mission: ?
    Michael and Martha Wheatley
  • Life Sketch and Other Documents: History of Michael WheatleyLife SketchObituary,  
  • Trail Experience: ?
  • Testimony: ?
  • Death: December 28, 1916 Calls Fort, Box Elder, UT
  • Headstone
Hezekiah Hatch:
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