My Life in Zion

The life and views of a Latter-day Saint in the 21st Century…

Archive for the tag “Alabama”

The Newly Called Alabama Birmingham Mission President: Stanford C. Sainsbury

A photo of Stanford Sainsbury from the Daily Herald upon his retirement in 2012. Photo by Jim Mcauley

A photo of Stanford Sainsbury from the Daily Herald upon his retirement in 2012. Photo by Jim Mcauley

With yesterday’s exciting announcement of 3 new missions being created in the world, the Church also publicly listed nearly all of the 168 new mission presidents who will begin service this summer with their wives.

Here in the great state of Alabama we will be welcoming Stanford C. Sainsbury and his wife Sister Melanee Sainsbury.

Living on a 50 acre farm in West Mountain, Utah (Payson/Spanish Fork Area), President and Sister Sainsbury will be leaving behind their lives and trading in the Rocky Mountains for Appalachian Hills for the next three years. Sainsbury, who turned 60 just last month, with his wife Melanee, are the parents of seven children. President Sainsbury spent his professional life as an employee for the city or Orem, Utah. After graduation from BYU and earning a law degree, Sainsbury spent 10 years as a city prosecutor for Orem city, then deputy city attorney. During that time he became a certified planner. He then spent his final 16 years of employment as the director of development services. He retired in December of 2012 after 29 years of service for the City of Orem.

A graduate of BYU, President Sainsbury served a full-time mission as a young man in Sweden under the direction of President Paul Oscarson. President Oscarson, who was only 29 years of age at the time of his call as mission president, was known for his youth and enthusiasm in the Swedish Mission. Perhaps President Sainsbury will bring some of the same vigor of his full-time mission as a young man to Alabama as the mission president. His wife, Sister Melanee Anderson, is originally from Manassa, Colorado. According to an online profile from President Sainsbury he enjoys “[spending] time visiting children, working in the yard and garden, farming, following BYU sports, spending time in the temple, ward callings, traveling, reading,etc.”

President and Sister Sainsbury have served in a variety of church callings throughout the years, including recently as a ward mission leader for President Sainsbury.

As members of the Church residing in the Alabama Birmingham Mission we will deeply miss President Richard D. Hanks and his beloved wife Elizabeth. However, we recognize that with the hastening of the work comes a hastening of the years, and we are thankful to be have been blessed with the acquaintance of such fine saints here in Dixie. President Sainsbury will have very large shoes to fill, both figuratively and literally, but we have no doubt that with the blessings of the Lord he will do so exceptionally.

President and Sister Sainsbury. (Picture from one of their personal blogs - they also blogged here for a period of time.)

President and Sister Sainsbury. (Picture from one of their personal blogs – they also blogged here for a period of time.)


Today I Will Be Taught the Word of God

President David A Bednar of BYU Idaho holding up his scriptures during a 2004 campus devotional.

President David A Bednar of BYU Idaho holding up his scriptures during a 2004 campus devotional.

Have you ever been invited to attend a church meeting by the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles?

Wouldn’t that be neat?! Imagine receiving an invitation from President Boyd K. Packer to attend some super awesome meeting where you’ll learn super awesome things. I know I wouldn’t want to miss a meeting like that.

And yet, so many of us often do.

In the Church’s Handbook 2: Administering the Church we find these words regarding stake conferences,

Each stake holds two stake conferences during the year as scheduled by the President of the Quorum of the Twelve. In most parts of the world, the stake president presides at one stake conference and an assigned Area Seventy or General Authority presides at the other.

In some stake conferences, a satellite broadcast may be incorporated into the Sunday general session. This broadcast will include instruction by General Authorities. When a satellite broadcast is used, that conference takes the place of the stake conference at which an Area Seventy or General Authority would have presided.

When a new stake president must be called before a regularly scheduled stake conference, a special stake conference may be held.

The primary purpose of stake conference is to strengthen faith and testimony. All talks and music should be planned with this purpose in mind.

Did you catch that first sentence? Let me quote it again.

Each stake holds two stake conferences during the year as scheduled by the President of the Quorum of the Twelve.


Well that’s pretty nifty then. And it is definitely something to think about the next time you consider skipping church because it’s not your usual block of Sunday meetings.

This week my stake will be holding its third, or seventh, or fifteenth (I lost count after the first two) stake conference since November. It seems like we’ve had a lot going on with a new unit being created here in the Bessemer Alabama Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then we had a new stake president called, two members of the former stake presidency being called as mission presidents, and other stake business occurring. Just last month we were honored to have Elder Shayne M. Bowen of the First Quorum of the Seventy come with Elder Fred A. Parker, an Area Seventy, to reorganize our stake and provide us with some tremendous training. As President Richard Holzapfel of the Alabama Birmingham Mission summed up on the mission blog, it was “Another Historic Day“.

This weekend will likewise be historic.

The Birmingham Alabama Stake, the Bessemer Alabama Stake, and the Montgomery Alabama Stake are all holding stake conferences this weekend. Sent from Salt Lake City, under the direction of President Boyd K. Packer, to preside at our meetings will be Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric.

I’ve written before about how it would be improper for me to share the amazing things these brethren will be sharing over the course of this weekend on this blog. I’ve heard both Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder David A. Bednar discuss how it is difficult to teach local stakes and units the things which they need to hear because they are afraid their specific teachings would be shared with the world via Twitter, Facebook, or a personal blog. So I will not be sharing sacred teachings which are meant specifically for my stake this weekend. But I will say this: The Lord is hastening His work.

This July there will be 405 missions of the Church throughout the world. There are 168 temples operating, in construction, or announced throughout the world. Recently we have seen an influx in the number of missionaries serving full-time. The new youth curriculum Come Follow Me has been released to entirely revolutionize the way we teach and learn throughout the Church. And so much, much more.

The Lord is hastening His work.

I’m a fan of Joel Osteen. There is much good that we can learn from other Christians outside of our faith. And I am specifically a fan of how he begins each and every one of his church services. He will pick up his Bible, hold it in the air, and invite his congregation to do the same. Then he invites them to repeat after him, saying:

This is my Bible. I am what is says I am. I have what is says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert, my heart is receptive, I will never be the same. Amen.

I love that.

As the new President of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho in the fall of 1997 David A. Bednar invited all of the students to begin bringing their scriptures to Tuesday devotionals. In his first address to the student assembly President Bednar said, “[Y]ou should have received the word to bring your scriptures. I would like you to hold them up if you have them. Now, please put them on your lap. You may want to get a small piece of paper and a pencil or a pen to jot down some of the thoughts that will come to your mind and the feelings that may come to your heart.” And then he began to teach clearly from the revealed words of the Lord through His prophets. This began a tradition at Ricks College, which would soon become BYU Idaho under President Bednar’s direction, of beginning each devotional with everyone holding their scriptures high in the air. Later President Bednar would say of this new tradition, “[It is] a new tradition we started at our first devotional…and it is a tradition through which we will continue to encourage all students and faculty to consistently study and use the scriptures. As I am sure most of you recognize, the real significance of this tradition is not merely bringing and holding up your scriptures every Tuesday in devotional. Rather, this simple act is but a reminder and symbol of our collective appreciation for, desire to learn from, and commitment to consistently and conscientiously study the holy scriptures.” (See Ricks College addresses from 9 Sept. 1997 and 6 Jan. 1998)

As President of that college and university the future Elder Bednar taught his students how to prepare to receive the word of God.

This weekend my stake, and two of our neighboring stakes, will hear the word of the Lord through three of His holy mouthpieces. These General Authorities are inspired men who have consecrated themselves fully to building the Lord’s Church and Kingdom. Their words will without a doubt be uplifting, inspiring, and direct. However, their words will have meant nothing if I haven’t prepared myself to receive what the Lord has in store for me.

Today and tomorrow many of us Latter-day Saints here in Dixie will be taught the word of God. But even more awesome than that, we will continue to be taught the word of God as we continue in our daily scripture study, service to others, and serving in the Church.

The Lord needs us to assist in the hastening of His work.

Stake conferences are an awesome time and sacred experience. As the Handbook says, “The primary purpose of stake conference is to strengthen faith and testimony.”

I have no doubt we’ll experience that this weekend.


Popular Christian Pastor Joel Osteen holds up his Bible before a service.

Popular Christian Pastor Joel Osteen holds up his Bible before a service.

First Black Mormon Stake President in Alabama Took Winding Path to Leadership

Peter M. Johnson, president of the Bessemer stake and the first black regional leader for Mormons in Alabama, recently sat down for an interview with The Birmingham News. (Photo by Greg Garrison/

Peter M. Johnson, president of the Bessemer stake and the first black regional leader for Mormons in Alabama, recently sat down for an interview with The Birmingham News. (Photo by Greg Garrison/

From the Birmingham News and

By Greg Garrison | 
on February 22, 2013 at 1:58 PM, updated February 22, 2013 at 2:14 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Peter M. Johnson took a winding path to become the first black Mormon regional leader in Alabama.

Johnson grew up in New York, was recruited to play college basketball for a Mormon university in Hawaii, later moved to Utah and worked as an accountant in Salt Lake City, before eventually taking a job at the University of Alabama.

Being chosen as the first black Mormon to serve as a stake president in Alabama caught Johnson somewhat by surprise.

“I realize it’s significant now,” said Johnson, president of the Bessemer, Alabama stake, who serves as a regional leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for an area that covers central-west Alabama from the Mississippi line to Birmingham.

“I had no knowledge that I would be the first black stake president in Alabama. My goal is to invite all to come into Christ.”

He’d never served as a bishop of a congregation, or a branch president, which is often considered a stepping stone to regional leadership.

“I was awed, overwhelmed,” said Johnson. “It was definitely unexpected.”

Read the rest of the article at by clicking here.

Preparing For Marriage

I hadn’t noticed until a friend pointed out the other day, but despite my best efforts to not turn into one of those deeply personal bloggers who bares his whole soul to the world, I have done just that. And obviously on numerous occasions. It appears that when I start thinking about marriage I just can’t help myself from getting all ooey gooey and becoming the sappiest of the sapsters and publishing my feelings to the world. (You can see evidence of my sappiness here, here, here, and here.)

“You might as well be a teenage girl crushing on Justin Bieber,” my friend said as we talked.

Justin Bieber?! Ouch. That cut deep.

So I rebutted in the best way I knew how.

“You’re mean. And you’re off the Christmas List,” I stated categorically. Yes, I really know how to punish people good.

“Face it Stan. You’re going to be 40, unmarried, and have a trailer full of cats,” he continued.

Oddly, the Justin Bieber remark seemed more hurtful. So I countered my friend’s good ribbing.

“Look, I’m only 28, I’m working on it. And I dislike both trailers and cats.”

Obviously it’s a good thing that I’m not a defense attorney.

My conversation with my friend was just another useful reminder that it’s time to get married. Truthfully it would be as easy for me to say it’s time to build a pyramid. Both statements present challenges for which I am ill prepared. I lack the most critical component needed when desiring a marriage, namely someone to get married to. And I lack 3 ton limestone blocks or skills to hoist them; so I suppose the pyramid idea isn’t going to get far off the ground. But I suppose either is possible if you’re looking for a miracle.

This is something I’ve put a lot of effort into lately. I’ve made a categorical study of marriage. The kind of man I need to be. The kind of woman I should be looking for. I’ve read my scriptures. I’ve pondered. I’ve fasted. I’ve prayed. I’ve gone to the temple and at times in the celestial room I’ve wanted to raise my hands to the heavens and say, “Hey! Yeah! It’s me again! I’m begging for some help here in the relationship department!” But each time I was about to get out the “Hey!” some elderly sister in white would give me that look that only a mother (or a temple worker) could give, letting me know that I need to keep it quiet.

Tonight I decided I was going to skip the marriage study though. – After all, you can only read about others’ eternal happiness so many times before you just want to chew on tinfoil to distract yourself from the fact that you’re single. – I figured I’d just read some Isaiah or something before falling asleep. So I got online and decided to waste a few minutes. After sitting down at my desk I opened my Google Chrome Window and decided that maybe I would browse for books at Deseret Book’s website. Christmas shopping is nearly here, and I figured I could maybe find a couple of good gifts for some people.

As soon as I got to the page I saw this:

I got excited because Elder David A. Bednar’s talks and writings have a profound way of touching and teaching me personally. I clicked on the advertisement, read a little bit, clicked on another page and ended up on a different page watching YouTube videos of Elder Bednar teaching groups of people. It was great. I was going through each video on the page individually until I saw the title of one…

Preparing for Marriage: An Invitation

And I knew I might as well give up.

I watched the video. And I was touched at how gracious my Heavenly Father is in trying to teach me, even when I’m a stubborn student.  Even when trying to run away from the lessons I need the most, the Lord had a different plan in store for my evening. It was a true tender mercy.

Yes, the Lord has been impressing upon me more and more lately that it’s time to get married. Or, if nothing else, at least time to work really hard at getting married. If you clicked the links at the beginning of this blog post you’ve already seen how sappy I can be. So here’s to hoping that I do find an eternal companion in the near future…

Because I’m afraid of what the next year’s worth of blog posts could be like if I don’t get hitched soon.

Stan Way

The Church Receives 7,000 Missionary Applications In One Week…Maybe…

A Popular LDS Meme shared hundreds of times today. – Meme courtesy of the LDS Memes Facebook Page.

Today was a typical Sunday in my small branch in Alabama. The talks in sacrament meeting were terrific and my Sunday School class passed by without anybody throwing rotten tomatoes at me. – Yes, I consider that a real measure of success. – During the brief intermission before priesthood started I took a glance at my phone. I responded to a text message and hopped on Twitter just because I love seeing what my fellow Latter-day Saints of the #Twitterstake (the unofficial group of Mormons on Twitter) were saying about their sabbath services.

And there I saw it.

Not just once.

But three times right in a row.

I almost couldn’t believe it, and I’m sure my mouth hung open as I stood beside my church’s water fountain so fascinated with what I was seeing that getting a drink had passed by my mind.

I started doing the math in my head…and it just didn’t seem possible. But there it was repeatedly on my Twitter Feed:

“The Church received 7,000 new missionary applications last week.”

“Silly internet rumors,” I said to myself as I finally stopped doing unrealistically large mathematical equations in my head and got a drink of water. I walked into the gym and sat down waiting for the third hour of our block of meetings to begin. “That’s just an unreal number,” I continued thinking. Deciding that it was probably just gossip I kept my mouth shut. Since I had just taught a Sunday School lesson on honesty, and we had spent a significant amount of time on the subject of gossip, I felt I should at least try to not spread gossip just mere moments after having taught about it. As our class began and the day went on the thoughts of 7,000 missionary applications being submitted in just one week quickly passed from my mind. Church ended and other meetings took place. I went with our missionaries to the hospital and to make a visit. After that I met with our branch presidency (a meeting in which I was once again invited to get married – the joys of being a YSA) and finally ended up getting home at 4:30. By the time I ate lunch/dinner I fell asleep in my recliner and didn’t wake up until later this evening.

When I finally looked at my phone and checked my Twitter Feed after waking up, there it was again, only this time by way of a popular Retweet.

Dale Cressman’s Tweet regarding the 7,000 missionary applications submitted this week to the Church.

At this point I felt like there might a little more substance to this “rumor” that was spreading so quickly via social media. After all, Dale Cressman did look like a rather handsome and honest LDS fella, and he even had a hint of perfect Romneyesque Hair. How could I not trust a Tweet from this guy? So I read some of the replies he’d gotten to his Tweet and an insightful response he provided as to his “source” for this “news”.

Mormons Tweeting in response to Dale Cressman.

I then did a quick Google search of my new buddy Dale Cressman and found that he’s actually a rather legitimate source for news. After all, how can I not trust a handsome LDS fella with perfect Mormon hair who is a Professor at the Y?! Now granted, I found out from his official BYU Directory Bio that he is a Canadian, and he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Utah in 2003 (nobody is perfect), but he’s also a former television news producer and newspaper reporter who now teaches media and journalism. So this guy checks out as legit.

“But,” I thought to myself as my Google Stalking Abilities were paying off, “this is just one guy and one stake president who was saying this earlier today. It could still be gossip.”

Then I looked at the time of Dale’s Tweet, and realized the Tweets I’d seen earlier this morning came before his, and from different friends across the State of Utah. A few minutes of Twitter searching and I quickly saw that multiple priesthood leaders had shared the exact same “news” of ridiculously large number of new missionary applications that had been submitted this past week.

However, it all became Facebook Official (like a real live relationship) once I signed into my Facebook account. There at the top of my timeline was the meme I shared at the beginning of this post.

“This will help me get to the bottom of this,” I thought to myself as I quickly clicked on the meme and its link. However, I soon found many others with the same reluctant thoughts as mine.

I enjoyed reading through many of the comments on the LDS Meme’s Facebook Page in relation to this “news”.

Now could this all be one giant LDS social media rumor? Of course it could be. If one animal quacks in the dark, you can safely guess that it could be a duck. But if dozens of animals begin quacking in the dark, and then hundreds of them, it’s probably safe to say that you’re dealing with a bunch of ducks. If it turns out not to be true, then I suppose we all need a good call to repentance. Those who have helped spread this rumor will be found to just be a bunch of quacks. But if the news shared on Twitter, Facebook, and from various pulpits in Utah today proves to be true, then we are seeing the Lord’s work and purposes coming to pass in truly awesome and powerful ways.

Personally, I hope that this “news” is true, and not just a faith promoting rumor. However, I’ll be the first to say that in our day and age it’s never been easier to see a rumor spread so rapidly.

In the press conference that followed the announcement on the change in missionary ages, Elder Jeffery R. Holland said that the Lord is “hastening His work”. Whether the Church truly received 7,000 missionary applications this week or just 50 it does not matter. This is the Lord’s Church. It is His work. He is the Lord of the vineyard, and He will prepare and call His laborers as He sees fit.

Ever since President Monson’s announcement regarding missionary work was made, this quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith has came to my mind repeatedly. He said in the the now famous Wentworth Letter,

“Our missionaries are going forth to different nations . . . the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

– History of the Church 4:540

Only time will tell what sort of increase we will see in the number of full-time missionaries serving. The only important thing is that we, as the Lord’s covenant people, live our lives in such a manner so as to be able to assist the Lord’s full-time servants in finding those prepared to hear His gospel. There are countless millions who are waiting to hear the message we have, but we have to invite them to hear it first. It’s important to remember that success as a member missionary isn’t always measured in seeing someone come all the way the waters of baptism. Success is inviting someone to meet with the missionaries and merely extending the invitation to come unto Jesus and His ordinances. If we simply invite others the Lord and His missionaries will do the rest for us.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on the math with the 7,000 applications and what kind of an increase that is. I’m from Alabama; so this could take a while. Once I run out of fingers and toes it becomes much harder for me to add this stuff up…

What do you think though? Could this news be true? Or do you think it’s just a rumor? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.

Stan Way

Update 22 October 10PM: The Real Number of Missionary Applications

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Welcome to Spring by Emmeline B. Wells

Emmeline B. Wells, journalist, editor, poet, women's rights advocate, diarist, and fifth General President of the Relief Society.

O, BEAUTEOUS SPRING! fragrant of leaf and bloom,
Nature with myriad welcomes hails thy birth;
Thou breath’st and lo ! a rich and sweet perfume
Rises like incense from the gladdened earth.

O, gentle spring; thy presence everywhere,
Renews the life-pulse, e’en in earth’s cold heart,
And from its bosom, buds and blossoms fair,
In rich profusion, all spontaneous start.

Whence come ye fairy- footed, gay with flowers?
Lightly ye tripped o’er mountain, hill and plain;
The song birds herald thee from Eden’s bowers
And sweetest music vishers in thy reign.

Birds trill their notes till answ’ring echoes ring
From wood, and glen, and fountain’s mellowed flow
And mortal hearts a silent offering bring,
And bathed in sunlight, nature’s landscapes glow.

And hope springs up afresh in saddened lives;
Dark clouds disperse and heaven again is clear
The tenderest trust and confidence revives,
For spring has come and beautified the year.

Thou com’st a harbinger from courts above,
That we may realize God’s promises are sure;
Thou scatterest blessing all replete with love,
And giv’st us faith earth’s trials to endure.

Hail, blessed type of morn, whose roseate light.
Shall bring the tidings of a holier birth —
The Resurrection, by which power and might,
The sleeping millions will be ushered forth.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

It has been said of Alabama weather, “If you don’t like it, just wait until tomorrow.” And that has been evident more than ever during the past month here in Dixieland. We’ve gone from humid and near 90°, to down near freezing and frigid with 35MPH winds. Today was a welcome respite though as the sun came out, the sky shined beautifully, and the temperature reminded me of everything I love about Spring in the South.

Yes, this part of Zion may be unique in every single way possible, but I love Alabama the Beautiful.

Not a cloud in the sky today.


My good pal Brigham. I wore him out playing fetch, or he never would have sat still for a photograph.

The above poem comes from Musings and Memories Page 28; Emmeline B. Wells, 1915, published by The Deseret News.

Keep The Old Love Burning

In perusing through old books and pamphlets tonight I came across this gem and felt it should be shared with everyone.

Charles A. Callis has always been a personal hero of mine. Born in 1865 in Dublin, Ireland, he and his small family (consisting of a widow mother and three siblings) joined the Church while living in England and emigrated to Utah when he was just ten years old. After serving as a missionary back in England, he was called again as a newly married young man to serve in the Southern States Mission of the Church (along with his wife and their two young daughters). After a faithful mission he and his family returned to Utah, only to be called immediately to return to the South. Then after just four months back in the mission field he was called as president of the Southern States Mission. He would serve in that calling from August of 1908 until his call as an Apostle in October of 1933.

Charles A. Callis at the Time of His Call as Mission President

Elder Callis loved the Southern United States and dedicated his life to building the Gospel and the Church here. It is of little surprise that on assignment to Jacksonville, Florida in January 1947 to organize the first stake of the Church in the South, Elder Callis died among his beloved brothers and sisters.

He was a true saint.

As mission president Charles A. Callis published a small booklet in 1921 to preserve the songs being written and sung by the elders in the South. The Preface to his booklet reads in part:

A few words relative to the origin and use of the “Old-Time Southern States Missionary Songs.” They were written by Elders during their missionary days in Dixie. In response to numerous requests these songs are now compiled and published…It is not intended that they be sung at religious services in lieu of the “strong, stalwart hymns of the present dispensation” which are in our hymn books.

Perhaps President Callis was making reference to Elder B.H. Roberts (former president of the Southern States Mission also) who had written in his then-popular “Seventies’ Course in Theology, First Year”,

Let the strong stalwart hymns of the present dispensation be practiced in the quorums, and not the namby, pamby, childish hymns that sometimes find their way into the repertoire of songs sung by our Elders in the mission field.

I am sure that President Callis didn’t want to upset his priesthood leader by having a “namby, pamby, childish hymn” sung by the Saints in their religious services. But included in his booklet in 1921 was this magnificent gem written by Elder Charles Franklin Steele of Coalville, Utah. It was sung to the tune of the popular World War I song “Keep the Home Fires Burning”. And I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Keep The Old Love Burning

We were called forth from the workshop,
We were summoned from the plow,
And the store and desk and factory
All miss our presence now.
With glad tidings of the Gospel,
Revealed from realms of light,
We have canvassed gladly all the day,
And sung this song at night.

Keep the old love burning and our mem’ries turning
Back to dear old Dixieland, we love her true;
Here we cry repentance, often hear our sentence,
Yet the gospel trump we sound, and it calls to you.

O’er the mountains of Virginia,
Alabama’s gulf-washed strands.
Mississippi’s swamps and branches,
And old Georgia’s fruitful lands.
From the hills of Carolina,
And Kentucky’s emerald fields,
To the balmy coasts of Florida,
This chorus proudly wheels:

Keep the old love burning and our mem’ries turning
Back to dear old Dixieland, we love her true;
Here we cry repentance, often hear our sentence,
Yet the gospel trump we sound, and it calls to you.

And Atlanta, queen of Dixie,
Crowning fair the Blue Ridge hills,
Is headquarters for the Mission,
And the cure for all our ills;
Tennessee takes up the chorus,
And the pure in heart obey,
Rejoicing in the wondrous light
That moves us all to pray.

Keep the old love burning and our mem’ries turning
Back to dear old Dixieland, we love her true;
Here we cry repentance, often hear our sentence,
Yet the gospel trump we sound, and it calls to you.

Hark! ye people of the southland,
To the Mormon Elder’s voice,
For Jehovah soon shall triumph
With the people of His choice.
Come, be born again and worship
With the favored Saints of God.
Throw off all your sinful shackles
And escape the tyrant’s rod.

Keep the old love burning and our mem’ries turning
Back to dear old Dixieland, we love her true;
Here we cry repentance, often hear our sentence,
Yet the gospel trump we sound, and it calls to you.

When our missions we’ve completed,
Our releases we have read,
Ate our last baked sweet potato,
Turnip greens and hot corn bread;
Then we’ll bid farewell to Dixie,
But we’ll long for her again,
And in Zion at reunions
We will sing this happy strain:

Keep the old love burning and our mem’ries turning
Back to dear old Dixieland, we love her true;
Here we cry repentance, often hear our sentence,
Yet the gospel trump we sound, and it calls to you.

I don’t plan on bidding Dixie farewell anytime soon, but I’m thankful for Elder Steele who penned these beautiful words, thankful for President Callis for preserving them for our day, and thankful to be able to build up this small part of Zion at this time in my mortal probation.

Wherever you are in your stakes of Zion tonight, I hope you are keeping the old love burning also.

Your pal,


P.S. Included for your ease and enjoyment is this rendition of “Keep the Home Fires Burning“. Please feel free to play it over and over a few times to enjoy the true spirit of Elder Steele’s song from long ago. Have fun singing along!

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