My Life in Zion

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

Archive for the tag “Utah”

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.)


Utah Names

A friend shared this with me the other day in an email and I am still laughing.

After watching it about thirty times, I am pretty sure that girls from Panguitch and Hurricane aren’t laughing. Being from Alabama though, I would gladly be friends with anyone that sounded like Ms. Panguitch Utah.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

This is where nightmares come from.

If you’re into the whole Twitterverse, you can follow the makers of this video @mormongirlssay

The Priesthood and Relief Society Manual for 2013: Teachings of Lorenzo Snow

The cover of the Priesthood and Relief Society Manual for 2013. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow

Each year I get giddy as we draw close to the end of our church manuals, because it means that soon we get to start a new one! – Yes, I realize I’m a nerd. – This year is no different from times in years past though.

The first time I ever saw a Priesthood/Relief Society Manual was when I was a young recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My grandma, who had lived next door to me my entire childhood life in Redmond, Utah, was what many would refer to as a “less active” member of the Church. By the time I was a young man she probably hadn’t attended an LDS church meeting in nearly 50 years. However, she was anything but unkind to the Church. Despite my various family members who would always bash “the Mormons” or decry their “evil monopoly of Utah State Government” (my family’s words, not mine), my grandma was always kind to Mormons. It was her kindness that helped me to accept baptism into a church that was foreign to me and had given me great grief as a Lutheran boy growing up in central Utah. Her home teachers were stalwart high priests who never missed a month. And in December of 1997 I was visiting my grandma when those two wonderful men brought her a Christmas gift: “The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young”.

It was a thick, softcover book with a large picture of President Brigham Young covering most of the front cover. There was a brown edging around the portrait itself, and a fanciful cropping of what looked like swirled turquoise and browns surrounding the covers edges. The portrait of Brigham looked stern, yet inviting and friendly. Having grown up with a grandfather (on the other side of my family) who had taught me that Brigham Young was a womanizing, alcoholic, murdering, money-laundering felon, it surprised me that even though I was new to the Church, I felt a great warmth for the man whose image was emblazoned on the cover of that book.

Once my grandma’s home teachers left that cold December day the book was quickly hidden away out of sight in a cupboard located in the bottom of her grandfather clock. The clock, located tightly beside her couch and in the corner of her living room drew little attention, and the cupboard located in the bottom of the clock drew even less attention. It was a Christmas gift that was soon forgotten, but one which brought me tremendous, and secret joy each time I went next door to visit my grandma. Her house held a ubiquitous huddle of uncles, aunts, cousins, and continual scattered family nearly 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. But in the rare moments when nobody was around, and nobody would see me, I would casually sit on the edge of my grandma’s couch, reach down into the forgotten cupboard, and pull out that manual and read of my new found Mormon faith.

I loved that book. And I have read it many times since.

At the age of 17, having moved far from central Utah to Jasper, Alabama, I was called as my small ward’s sole priesthood quorum advisor. It was in this unique calling that I reveled in the opportunities I had to teach from a similar book, the teachings of Harold B. Lee. Perhaps it was my boyish zeal, or my complete inept innocence, but there was nothing I looked forward to more than studying those priesthood lessons throughout the week and then going to teach my brethren in Christ. As the only young man in my ward we never separated, and without a sufficient number of elders or high priests, we were one large mash up of conversion, testimony, and opinions on the lessons, but it was a thrill all the same. As I prepared for my mission and the manual changed to a blue book with the image of John Taylor on the front, our lessons grew more spiritual, and I’ll never forget a profound sabbath during which our aged stake patriarch bore a beautiful testimony of the things we had just read.

I love the Church manuals.

When I found out a couple of months ago that the coming year’s manual would be the teachings of President Lorenzo Snow I felt even happier than usual, because President Snow is a man for whom I have a great affinity.

Perhaps as we draw closer to the new year and the change in manuals I will share some of my favorite Lorenzo Snow stories. But for now, sit back and enjoy a sneak preview of the great things to come.

Below is the Table of Contents for the coming year’s Priesthood and Relief Society lessons. And following that is a link at which you can download a PDF copy of the manual onto your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

I hope you’re as excited to hear from President Snow as I am!

Table of Contents: “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow”

Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v

Historical Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ix

The Life and Ministry of Lorenzo Snow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

1 Learning by Faith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

2 Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

3 Lifelong Conversion: Continuing to Advance in

the Principles of Truth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

4 Strengthened by the Power of the Holy Ghost. . . . . . . . . . . 71

5 The Grand Destiny of the Faithful. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

6 Becoming Perfect before the Lord: “A Little Better

Day by Day”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93

7 Faithfulness in Times of Trial: “From the Shadows

into the Glorious Sunshine”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107

8 “Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart”. . . . . . . . . . . . . 117

9 Sacred Family Relationships. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127

10 “Come into the Temples”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137

11 “I Seek Not Mine Own Will, but the Will of the Father”. . . 147

12 Tithing, a Law for Our Protection and Advancement. . . . . 157

13 Relief Society: True Charity and Pure Religion. . . . . . . . . . 167

14 “With God All Things Are Possible”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175

15 Faithful, Energetic Service in the Kingdom of God. . . . . . . 183

16 “That We May Become One”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195

17 Priesthood—”for the Salvation of the Human Family”. . . . 205

18 Church Leadership and Selfless Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215

19 Missionary Work: “To Reach Every Human Heart”. . . . . . . 225

20 The Kingdom of God Moves Forward. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237

21 Loving God More Than We Love the World. . . . . . . . . . . . 249

22 Doing Good to Others. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257

23 The Prophet Joseph Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

24 Reflections on the Mission of Jesus Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277

List of Visuals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285

Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287

Click below to download a PDF version of “The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow”.

Tests and Trials

This evening I saw this video and just wanted to take a moment to share it with y’all.

I hope you’ll take a few moments out of your busy schedule to learn from the example of this truly amazing family.

Three sentences from these exemplary Saints especially touched me. The first reminded me of the importance of having an eternal perspective.

“God has a plan for you, and you can spend your life fighting against it, and what your mission or your job is here on earth. Or, you can help. You can help the Lord complete what He brought you down here to do.”

– Sterling Wyatt

The second personally moving sentence came from Sterling and Christian’s grandfather.

“In our ancestry we’ve had people that joined the Church and gave up inheritances and came across the plains, and walked and struggled to get here. And I’ve looked back at it and thought, ‘What will I tell those people when I meet them if I didn’t do it?’ – That it was too hard, or I was too busy, or it cost too much money?”

– Paul Wyatt

And the final sentence regarding eternal perspective and family.

“It…makes us realize what’s important and that we are an eternal family, and no matter what difficulties or challenges we have we can work together, and we might have to carry some of them part of the way, but we’re gonna make it together.”

– Amie Wyatt

Yes, we all have tests and trials in our lives, but I’m thankful for the fine examples of every-day people like the Wyatts who remind us that we can all make it through anything with faith and by holding onto the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are not alone, and as a family of Saints we may have to help carry others to the finish line, but what is important is that we all make it there together.

I look forward to seeing each of you there.

Your pal,


There Is Only One Way

A conveniently placed street sign that sits directly west of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple in South Jordan, Utah.

Thursday afternoon I logged onto my computer and perused through my usual list of websites. It’s a ten minute sweep to usually cover all of the new Church happenings posted online, gloss over the major media headlines about us crazy Mormons, and make sure Facebook is still there and Apple is making money. I stopped cold in my tracks though as I checked my usual database for Mormon headlines. In my clicking I saw a headline from a prominent newspaper entitled “A Look At the Mormon Endowment Ceremony”, and my stomach turned over. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought to myself as I clicked the link and discovered my fears to be true.

A reputable news organization had not only wrote in detail about the holy Endowment ceremony, but they posted links to the entire text of the ceremony, and also posted links to illegally made audio recordings of the ceremony. I was mortified that a supposedly unbiased and professional paper would stoop to such a level to simply draw in readership. The brief article’s writer began by saying,

“I was talking with my ex-Mormon friend about Mitt Romney’s presidential nomination. He shared with me a copy of the Endowment Ceremony which members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), including Romney, take part in once they are deemed worthy to enter the temple.”

That right there should be a warning sign to any and all readers of the rest of the article. However, most will gloss over the “Ex” part and simply assume that this ex-Mormon wised up and cut himself free from such a group of weirdos.

The article then went on to share the links I told you about, and summarily making Latter-day Saints sound like a secret society of whackjobs. The author ended the article by saying,

“The Endowment Ceremony is interesting and concerning to me as a citizen. The more I learn about Mormonism the more strangely fascinating it is and the crazier it sounds.”

I am sure that to outsiders it does seem crazy. But I would like to share just a few short thoughts on the subject, which I am sure will not due the subject full honor, but may help in putting the thoughts of this article’s author into perspective.

That the Endowment ceremony can be found online by anyone at any time is not a big secret. It’s not like like a quick Google search won’t turn up exactly what people are looking for. What bothered me most about the article though was the lack of respect for the sacred. And, if not for respect for what other people at least believe is sacred, at least not publicly mocking it and calling it crazy.

I don’t believe in the tenets of Islam. However, I don’t go around calling Muslims crazy because they believe Allah spoke to Mohammed. That’d be kind of a jerk move. I like to be respectful. And, as a practitioner of the Golden Rule, I sometimes think that all people should abide likewise. Sure, write about my sacred stuff, but don’t call it crazy.

As to the temple ceremony being found online, it brings just one thought to mind: Milk before meat.

The Apostle Paul said,

1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Why do the things which we do in the temple seem odd to most of the world? Because they don’t understand it. It is a symbolic teaching experience, a true endowment and gift from God, not to be understood by any except they are pure in heart and desirous of His will.

In June of 2003, just a month before entering the MTC, I was in Utah visiting some of my family there for the final time before leaving for my mission. One evening my family packed together and we drove to Manti to attend the annual Mormon Miracle Pageant performed on the temple hillside there. As is usual for the event, there were protesters and “real Christians” in abundance shouting the Good News of Christ and the follies of Mormonism. There was even a group of young teenage girls dressed in pioneer costumes walking around telling everyone about how they were married to Ol’ Joe Smith. – Real classy stuff.

As I herded my mom and dad (a less-active Mormon and a non-believer) carefully through the crowds one man stood out among the rest of protesters. Standing directly in the center of the intersection in front of the pageant was a loud preacher condemning the ceremonies of the temple. Shoving his pamphlets into people’s hands, I flatly rejected it as we brushed past his pavement pulpit. Because seating for the event is limited to the first 20,000 or so, we had gotten there hours early to make sure we got good seats. We eventually found good seats in the middle of the field of chairs. As the hours passed and I repeatedly passed by the loudest of the protesters in my travels, I found it harder and harder to not step forth and share my own feelings. As the sun set lower in the west and the time for the pageant to begin grew closer, our born again friend only grew louder. Thousands of people streamed by him eyeing his towering erect figure as he waved his arms in the street. But nobody stopped to challenge his tenacious tirade against the holy.

Eventually I had enough though. I said a short but sincere prayer, and stepped up to him as calmly as I could as folks continued to pass by. He smiled, obviously glad to have lured in a young Mormon. I extended my hand cordially and casually and said, “Kind of hot out here isn’t it?” He grasped my hand, still smiling, but obviously not expecting that introduction. Still firmly gripping his hand in mine I said, “It’s nice to meet you, I’m Stan.”

Picking up on my slight southern drawl he said, “Nice to meet you Stan.” He then gave me his name. “You’re not from around here, are you?” I laughed and told him that he was correct in his surmise. I told him I was in Utah on vacation with my family. “Oh,” he said. “Then you’re not Mormon then?” His towering erect body frame seemed to ease at his stating this. “I’m glad there’s some Christians here from as far away as Alabama!” he continued in his booming voice. Obviously he felt comfortable among the kinship of a non-Mormon amongst the masses.

I looked deep into his eyes and smiled, waiting a few seconds to see if I might feel the Spirit guide me in where this conversation might go.

“Yep, I’ve been a born again Christian ever since I was baptized Mormon a few years ago,” I said smiling broadly as the sun gleamed in from the west. I said it loudly and noticed that a couple of passerby were now standing still watching our middle-of-the-street-exchange.

My new friend’s smile faded, but quickly reappeared as he realized he’d found someone he could teach “the truth“. I was thinking in the back of my mind that perhaps I had been young and foolish enough to enter a debate I wasn’t prepared for. My silent prayers became quick and feverish as my friend began discussing Romans Chapter Six with me.

What happened next though was surprising and something which I will never forget.

For the next twenty or so minutes my friend would postulate a theological question citing a New Testament scripture. I would answer to his satisfaction and then pose my own question citing only Biblical verses. With each passing question his voice grew louder and higher in pitch. When he tried to pin me into a theological corner from which he thought I could not escape, I would merely use the Savior’s approach and rephrase the question to my advantage towards him. As the minutes passed his smile was faded. The crowd watching our conversation had filled the street. The niceties and politeness of speech he’d originally used were now gone, and the “wives of Joseph Smith” had even come into the peripheral edges to see what was happening. I recognized I was answering questions I did not naturally know the answers to and quoting verses I hadn’t read in some time, but I knew it wasn’t me speaking.

As the conversation grew to its precipice over the subject of baptism for the dead and the Plan of Salvation, and I quoted 1 Corinthians 15 to this gentleman, he finally snapped and went carte blanche in his approach. He was done toying over interpretation of scripture. Lifting his left arm to his side he pointed sharply at the temple on the hill above us. “I know what you do in there! It is not of God! It is not of Christ! You cannot profess to be Christians because of what you do in there!” He was nearly screaming the words as he gritted his teeth. Each syllable came off of his tongue like he was choking on vile vinegar he hadn’t intended to spew forth. The crowd watched, nearly silent in their stares. There was a circle gathered around us, the size of which I hadn’t truly noticed until this point. I looked around and felt the collective prayers of my fellow Saints. And I began to feel nearly as overcome with emotion as the preacher before me. As he panted in hatred I saw the setting sun’s fiery glare burn behind his head, and tears formed in my eyes. I felt complete compassion for this man.

The silence was palpable.

In almost a whisper I asked, “How do you know what happens in there? Have you ever been inside of a temple?” I felt an overwhelming love for this man as our eyes locked with one another, and he lowered his pointing arm.

“No.” His voice had lowered nearly as soft as mine. “But I’ve read every single word of your temple ceremony on the internet, and I know what you do in there.”

And then, feeling my words guided, I bore my simple testimony. I told the man he had no idea what happened in the temples of God because he had sat alone in a room reading holy words off of a computer monitor. The Spirit of God had not been with him when he had done this because he wasn’t pure enough in heart or pure in his purpose in reading them. Yes, he knew what was said inside of our temples, but he didn’t know what happened there or what the Endowment ceremony was because the Holy Spirit had not taught him like it had taught me. I told him that by the same Spirit that testified to the ancient Apostle Peter that Jesus was the Christ, I knew that Jesus was the Christ. And it was that same Holy Ghost which testified that The Book of Mormon was true, that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was God’s one true church on the earth. I told the man I loved him as a fellow Christian, and that I knew he was only trying to do the right thing, but all he was doing was driving a wedge between fellow Christians over doctrinal differences he hadn’t prayed enough about. I was simple, but bold, and I never looked away from the man’s eyes.

When I finished I wasn’t sure what to say. It was as if there were hundreds of us frozen in some scene from some movie, and none of us knew the next steps to take. After the longest of pauses, he put out his hand to shake mine, and as I stepped forward extending my hand he embraced me. As he pulled me into his large arms he said softly, “Thank you. No one has ever said it like that.”

Our brace lasted for perhaps ten seconds. He then stepped back, picked up his pamphlets from off the ground, and walked out of the north end of the circle of people that had gathered. As if on cue the crowd melted back into a passing mass and a couple of people stepped forward to shake my hand and say kind words.

But I was speechless and the world seemed in a blur. As I stood there pondering what had just happened, I realized that Heavenly Father had taught me perhaps just as much about the temple as He’d taught the preacher whom I’d stepped forth to talk to. In an indelible and new way I knew that the ceremonies of the temple were of God and were the only way by which we might again regain His holy presence.

An “endowment” is defined as a gift, an inheritance, or a continual source from which your needs can be met. I testify that the Endowment ceremony performed in the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are truly that. However, it is sacred, and cannot be understood unless you are prepared, worthy, and seeking God’s will fully in your life.

As I read the newspaper article on Thursday my heart was saddened. My friend from a street corner many years ago in Manti came to mind. And I felt true compassion for the gentleman who wrote the article. “Of course we sound crazy,” I thought to myself. “You just don’t know the truth.”

If you are reading this, whether endowed Latter Day Saint or curious Christian, I implore you not to take lightly the things of God. Something that is truly sacred, even a pearl of great price, has been placed online for anyone and everyone to read. The Endowment ceremony is more than words on a computer screen though. Reading them in such a manner is treating them as a thing of naught, and when you do so you truly trample upon things which are of of God. The temple ceremonies are not secret, only sacred, and true spiritual meat that cannot be understood if you have not supped long enough upon the milk of the Restored Gospel of Christ.

As the Church comes forth out of obscurity there will doubtlessly be an increasing amount of questions and even attacks against our faith. However, we as Latter Day Saints must stand true to the faith and testify in simple boldness to the truths which we know. We must show the love of Christ and pray for those who revile us and our beliefs.

Thursday I witnessed as a prominent newspaper lost journalistic integrity in my eyes. But all that matters is that I keep my integrity and hold sacred things sacred. I pray that we all might do so.

Your friend,

Stan Way

If you’re a Latter Day Saint and you have not yet been to the temple I would encourage you to do so. Speak with your local priesthood leader and do whatever you must do in your life to be worthy to enter the temple’s doors. There is nothing that’s not worth giving up to be endowed eternally by our Heavenly Father.

If you’re not a Mormon and you’ve stumbled upon this blog post, thank you for reading. But don’t stop here! I encourage you to click here and learn more about my faith and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Once you click that link you’ll be guided to countless resources to help you learn more, and you’ll even be able to chat with a real live Mormon if you have any questions. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

The annual Mormon Miracle Pageant draws thousands of viewers each night from across the world each summer. Beginning at dusk, it is one of the longest running pageants within the Church.

The Lord’s Protecting Hand

I will never forget the first time I could have died.

My mom, my aunt and uncle, and their son had all had the bright idea for us to go “for a ride” that winter night. That me and my second cousin, who was just six years old and was a year younger than me, had wanted to go along, seemed agreeable to everyone. For once no one seemed to mind us youngsters staying up so late into the night. My dear Grandma Roberts had thought it was a bad idea from the start though. “Don’t you think you should leave the kids at least?” she had said rather tersely as we all put on our coats in her kitchen. “It’s just not safe,” she repeated as we crunched over the snow in her driveway. And with her looking on, disapprovingly, we all piled in to my uncle’s ’73 Ford Bronco. My younger cousin and I used small coolers as our seats in the back, and we took off for a trip I would never forget.

As we had driven up the on-ramp to I-70 heading east out of Salina, Utah that night I remember my mom saying in a concerned tone, “It’s already snowing pretty bad. Are you sure we should keep going?” Two hours later we were sliding back and forth on a road I remembered traveling the previous summer. Even in the warmth of June and with dry dirt the road had scared me. I had actually ducked my head down just to not look out the window during that drive because I’d been so scared. Now, in the dead of winter, and knowing we were now sliding back and forth and that same road, I was doing the death grip on the back of my mother’s seat in the Bronco. To everyone else in the vehicle it had been a good time. Never mind that the roads we were riding on had cliffs reminiscent of an Indiana Jones movie. As we continued driving further, ascending higher, and encountering deeper snow, the mood in the vehicle quickly changed from jovial to tense. Finally my uncle, driving his Bronco, gave into the pleadings of my good aunt who seemed just as nervous now as I did. Upon reaching a small clearing and wide spot my uncle quickly turned the Bronco around and we began our descent down the mountain pass.

As I’ve grown older it has always struck me that I can remember nearly everything in the moments leading up to the event itself. The heater was blowing at full blast. My aunt, in the front passenger seat kept holding up her hands to warm them near the vent. My mom and older cousin in the back seat had gone from laughing to nervously peering left out the windows. And my cousin Nick and I sat in the back, far from the heater vents, and nearly freezing to death (or so it seemed) even with gloves and coats on. The snow was falling so fast it was nearly a white out, and as we jerked back and forth in the deep muddy ruts of the road everyone held their breath. Then my older cousin made the comment that was like the elephant in the vehicle, “If we slip off the side we’re probably all going to die.” My aunt reeled around and yelled at him for making such a comment. “You’ll scare the kids!” she said. – “Too late,” I thought rubbing my hands together and wondering if there was something to tie myself down with. – My uncle grabbed tighter onto the wheel, and my mom turned around and comforted me. The only joy I had was looking over and seeing Nick just as scared as I was. It brought a strange sense of comfort to me. Then no one spoke. We inched along, literally. The only sounds being that of the motor, the heater, and the muddy road and snow beneath us.

Then it happened, all in slow motion. We slid suddenly to the left, towards the cliff. I reached for my mom. Nick reached for me. My uncle jerked the wheel to the right and floored it. My aunt screamed a cry of terror, my mom grabbed onto the driver’s seat. My older cousin in front of me had a look on his face I’ll never forget. And I knew we were going to die.

Then, just as suddenly as we had started to slide, we stopped! Suddenly. The side of the Bronco hitting something hard, but firm. In our two seconds of terror we had only moved a few feet, but my uncle had managed to slam us right into the only tree standing on the left side of the road. We weren’t rolling to our deaths. Elation was immediate, but then subsided as my uncle said matter-of-factly, “The tree could give at any second.”

We collectively held our breath again, and as my uncle slowly applied pressure to the gas I remember thinking, “I will never forget this moment. I could have just died.” As we slowly inched down the rest of that mountain road that night I remember thanking Jesus repeatedly in my head for not being dead.

I was right about that night. I never forgot it. And as I went through my youth and young adult years it struck me amazingly how Providence always seemed to protect me from disaster. Whether it was not going when the light turned green as a teenager, or knowing exactly what to say to the man who had pulled his gun on me during my full-time missionary service, the Lord has reached down repeatedly in my life to protect me from disaster. God’s great love and kindness is something I am without words to express my true thanks.

As I was thinking about this the other day I was reminded of President Wilford Woodruff’s experiences when he was young. Often, when referring to President Woodruff, we speak of The Manifesto which ended the practice of plural marriage in the Church, or we talk about his meticulous journal keeping. As prophet he not only saw the Church through some of the most difficult of trying times, but he also led the Saints through jubilation as the Salt Lake Temple was finally dedicated and as Utah became a State. That he was a man raised up of God with a mission and purpose is without doubt for those who have studied his great life. And nowhere is that more evident than when you read his own account of his youth.

Said he in summing up his own life a few years before his death,

From the beginning of my ministry in 1834 until the close of 1895 I have traveled in all 172,369 miles; held 7,655 meetings; preached 3,526 discourses; organized 51 branches of the Church and 77 preaching places; my journeys cover England, Scotland, Wales, and 23 states and 5 territories of the Union. My life abounds in incidents which to me surely indicate the direct inter-position of God whom I firmly believe has guided my every step. On 27 distinct occasions I have been saved from dangers which threatened my life. I am the father of 17 sons and 16 daughters. I have a posterity of 100 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.”

That Wilford Woodruff recognized the 27 occasions in his life in which the Lord’s protecting hand was over him says much about both the man and the importance of his mission. So what were these occasions, and how did they come to happen? Well, I shall share them here with you now, many of which you have probably never heard. I will warn you though, it will take a few minutes to read through this account of these truly miraculous experiences, but it will give you a greater love and appreciation for both this dear prophet, and for the Lord who protected him mightily through his life.


Chapter 2 – “A Chapter of Accidents” – From Wilford Woodruff: History of His Life and Labors by Elder Matthias Cowley

The journal of Wilford Woodruff contains a chapter which he designates as a “chapter of accidents.” It is given thus early in his biography as it reveals the purposes of an overruling Providence whose mercies and guiding powers are remarkably mani fested throughout a long and arduous career. He himself regarded his escapes from death as an evidence of a destructive power that sought to thwart that special mission in life so wonderfully revealed in the subsequent chapters of this biography. His life throughout discloses a constant struggle against obstacles which he had to overcome. They are manifested in every degree of dfficulty, and to less courageous natures many of them would have been insurmountable.

There are in his words which describe the misfortunes that overtook him no traces of envy, discouragement or despair. That others were born to an easier life did not awaken within him a spirit of envy or doubt. To his mind the joys or sorrows of this world were all subordinate to the will of an overruling Providence. While he did not complain, he did not ascribe his difficulties or dangers to fate. He was never so much concerned about the difficulty in surmounting an obstacle as he was about his ability through the goodness of God to do so. “Evidently,” he says, “I have been numbered with those who are apparently the marked victims of misfortunes. It has seemed to me at times as though some invisible power were watching my footsteps in search of an opportunity to destroy my life. I, therefore, ascribe my preservation on earth to the watchcare of a merciful Providence, whose hand has been stretched out to rescue me from death when I was in the presence of the most threatening dangers. Some of these dangers from which I so narrowly escaped I shall here briefly describe:

When three years of age, I fell into a caldron of scalding water and although instantly rescued, I was so badly burned that it was nine months before I was thought to be out of the danger of fatal consequences. My fifth and sixth years were interwoven with many accidents. On a certain day, in company with my elder brothers, I entered the barn, and chose the top of a hay mow for a place of diversion. We had not been there long before I fell from the great beam upon my face on the bare floor. I was severely hurt, but recovered in a short time, and was again at play.”

One Saturday evening,, with my brothers Azmon and Thompson, while playing in the chamber of my father’s house, contrary to his instructions, I made a misstep and fell to the bottom of the stairs, breaking one of my arms in the fall. So much for disobedience. I suffered intensely, but soon recovered, feeling that whatever I suffered in the future, it would not be for disobedience to parents. The Lord has commanded children to obey their parents ; and Paul says, ‘This is the first commandment with promise.'”

It was only a short time after this that I narrowly escaped with my life. My father owned a number of homed cattle, among which was a surly bull. One evening I was feeding pumpkins to the cattle, and the bull leaving his own took the pumpkin I had given to a cow which I called mine. I was incensed at the selfishness of this male beast, and promptly picked up the pumpkin he had left, to give it to the cow. No sooner had I got it in my arms than the bull came plunging toward me with great fury. I ran down the hill with all my might, the bull at my heels. My father, seeing the danger I was in, called to me to throw down the pumpkin, but (forgetting to be obedient) I held on, and as the bull was approaching me with the fierceness of a tiger, I made a misstep and fell flat upon the ground. The pumpkin rolled out of my arms, the bull leaped over me, ran his homs into the pumpkin and tore it to pieces. Undoubtedly he would have done the same thing to me if I had not fallen to the ground. This escape, like all others, I attribute to the mercy and goodness of God.”

During the same year, while visiting at my Uncle Eldad Woodruff’s, I fell from a porch across some timber, and broke my other arm.”

Not many months passed by before I was called to endure a still greater misfortune. My father owned a saw mill in addition to his flour mill, and one morning, in company with several other boys, I went into the saw mill and got upon the headlock of the carriage to ride, not anticipatng any danger; but before I was aware of it my leg was caught between the headlock and the fender post and broken in two. I was taken to the house, and lay nine hours before my bones were replaced. That time was spent in severe pain; but being young, my bones soon knitted together, and in a few weeks I. was upon my feet as usual, attending to the sports of youth. During this confinement my brother Thompson was my companion. He was suffering from typhus fever.”

Shortly after this, upon a dark night, I was kicked in the abdomen by an ox ; but being too close to the animal to receive the full force of the blow, I was more frightened than hurt.”
It was not long before I made my first effort at loading hay. I was very young, but thought I had loaded it all right. When on the way to the barn, the wheel of the wagon struck a rock, and off went the hay. I fell to the ground with the load on top of me; this was soon removed, and aside from a little smothering I was unhurt.”

When eight years of age, I accompanied my father, with several others in a one-horse wagon, about three miles from home, to attend to some work. On the way the horse became frightened, ran down a hill, and turned over the wagon, with us in it. We were in danger, but were again saved by the hand of Providence. None of us were injured.”

One day I climbed an elm tree to procure some bark; while about fifteen feet from the ground, the limb upon which I stood, being dry, broke, and I fell to the ground upon my back. The accident apparently knocked the breath out of my body. A cousin ran to the house and told my parents that I was dead, but before my friends reached me I revived, rose to my feet, and met them on the way.”

When twelve years old I was nearly drowned in Farmington River. I sank in thirty feet of water, and was miraculously saved by a young man named Bacon. The restoration to life caused me great suffering.”

At thirteen years of age, while passing through Farmington meadows, in the depths of winter, in a blinding snowstorm, I became so chilled and overcome with cold that I could not travel. I crawled into the hollow of a large apple tree. A man in the distance saw me, and, realizing the danger I was in, hastened to where I was. Before he arrived at the spot I had fallen asleep, and was almost unconscious. He had much difficulty in arousing me to a sense of my critical condition, and promptly had me conveyed to my father’s house, where, through a kind Providence, my life was again preserved.”

At fourteen years of age I split my left instep open with an ax which went almost through my foot. I suffered intensely from this injury, and my foot was nine months in getting well.”

When fifteen years old I was bitten in the hand by a mad dog in the last stages of hydrophobia. However, he did not draw blood, and through the mercy and power of God I was again preserved from an awful death.”

At the age of seventeen I met with an accident which caused me much suffering, and came nearly ending my life. I was riding a very ill-tempered horse, which, while going down a very steep, rocky hill, suddenly leaped from the road and ran down the steepest part of the hill, going at full speed amid the thickest of the rocks. At the same time, he commenced kicking, and was about to land me over his head among the rocks, but I lodged on the top of his head, and grabbed each of his ears with my hands, expecting every moment to be dashed to pieces against the rocks. While in this position, sitting astride the horse’s neck, with neither briddle nor other means of guiding him except his ears, he plunged down the hill among the rocks with great fury, until he struck a rock nearly breast high, which threw him to the earth. I went over his head, landing squarely upon my feet almost one rod in front of the horse. Alighting upon my feet was probably the means of saving my life; for if I had struck the ground upon any other part of my body, it would probably have killed me instantly. As it was, one of my legs was broken in two places, and both my ankles put out of place in a shocking manner. The horse almost rolled over me in his struggles to get up. My uncle saw me, and came to my assistance. I was carried to his house in an armchair. I lay from 2 o’clock in the afternoon until 10 o’ clock at night without medical aid and in great pain, when my fathef arrived with Dr. Swift, of Farmington. The doctor set my bones, boxed up my limbs, and that night conveyed me eight miles in his carriage to my father’s house. I had good attention, and although my sufferings were great, in eight weeks I was out upon my crutches, and was soon restored to a sound condition.”

In 1827, while managing a flour mill for Aunt Wheeler, in Avon, Conn., I was standing upon one of the wheels, clearing away the ice. A man, not knowing I was in that position, hoisted the gate and turned upon the wheel a full head of water. The wheel started at once, my foot slipped, and I was plunged head foremost over the rim of the wheel into about three feet of water, my weight had drawn my legs out of the wheel, or I would have been drawn under a shaft and crushed to death.”

In 1831, while in charge of a flour mill at Collinsville, Conn., I was standing upon one of the arms inside of a breastwheel twenty feet in diameter, clearing off the ice. A full head of water was turned on suddenly. The wheel started instantly. I dropped my ax and leaped about twenty feet to the bottom of the wheel. As I struck the bottom, I rolled out against a rugged stone, with only two feet of clearance between the stone and the wheel. The latter caught me and rolled me out into the water below, where I found myself, much frightened, but thankful to Providence that no bones were broken.”

The day that I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — December 31, 1833 — my horse, with newly calked shoes, kicked the hat off my head. If he had struck two inches lower, doubtless he would have killed me instantly. Ten minutes later, while driving the same horse and another hitched to a sled with loose boards on the bottom and no box, the boards slipped forward under the pole and struck the ground. This at once threw the boards up endwise, and pitched me forward between the horses. I held on the lines; the horses, frightened, ran down the hill, dragging me under the sled behind them. The road, however, was smooth, and I escaped without injury.”

In 1834, while traveling in Zion’s Camp to Missouri, a rifle was discharged accidentally. The ball passed through three tents with a dozen men in each, and lodged in the axletree of a wagon, without injury to anyone; it passed within a few inches of my breast. Many others escaped quite as providentially as I did.”

A few months later a musket, heavily loaded with buckshot, and pointed directly at my breast, was snapped accidentally; but it missed fire, and again the Lord preserved my life.”

In April, 1839, in Rochester, Ills., I was riding upon the running-gear of a wagon. I sat upon the front axletree. The bolt came out of the coupling-pole, separating the wheels, the front from the rear; and my weight upon the front bolster and tongue turned the coupling-pole over on the horses’ backs, turned the stakes upside down, which shut me between the bolster and tongue, but in such a manner that my head and shoulders dragged upon the ground. The horses took fright and ran into an open prairie. They dragged me for about half a mile, and notwithstanding my awkward position I managed to guide them so as to run them into the corner of a high worm-fence, where we landed in a pile together. I was considerable bruised, but escaped without any broken bones, and after one day’s rest was able to attend to my labors again.”

On the 15th day of October, 1846, while with the Camp of Israel building up Winter Quarters, on the west side of the Missouri River (then Indian country,) I passed through one of the most painful and serious misfortunes of my life. I took my ax and went two and a half miles upon the bluff to cut some shingle timber to cover my cabin. I was accompanied by two men. While felling the third tree, I stepped back of it some eight feet, where I thought I was entirely out of danger. There was, however, a crook in the tree, which, when the tree fell, struck a knoll and caused the tree to bound endwise back of the stump. As it bounded backwards, the butt end of the tree hit me in the breast, and knocked me back and above the ground several feet, against a standing oak. The falling tree followed me in its bounds and severely crushed me against the standing tree. I fell to the ground, alighting upon my feet. My left thigh and hip were badly bruised, also my left arm; my breastbone and three ribs on my left side were broken. I was bruised about my lungs, vitals and left side in a serious manner. After the accident I sat upon a log while Mr. John Garrison went a quarter of a mile and got my horse. Notwithstanding I was so badly hurt, I had to mount my horse and ride two and a half miles over an exceedingly rough road. On account of severe pain I had to dismount twice on my way home. My breast and vitals were so badly injured that at each step of the horse pain went through me like an arrow. I continued on horseback until I arrived at Turkey Creek, on the north side of Winter Quarters. I was then exhausted, and was taken off the horse and carried in a chair to my wagon. I was met in the street by Presidents Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, and others, who assisted in carrying me to the wagon. Before placing me upon my bed they laid hands upon me, and in the name of the Lord rebuked the pain and distress, and said that I should live, and not die. I was then laid upon my bed in the wagon, as my cabin was not yet done. As. the apostles prophesied upon my head, so it came to pass ; I did not die. I employed no physician, but was administered to by the elders of Israel, and nursed by my wife. I lay upon my bed, unable to move until my breast-bone began to knit together on the ninth day. In about twenty days I began to walk, and in thirty days from the time I was hurt, I returned to my laborious employment.”

I have not now a lame limb about me, notwithstanding it all. I have been able to endure the hardest kind of manual labor, exposures, hardships, and journeys. I have walked forty, fifty, and, on one occasion, sixty miles in a single day. The only inconvenience I am now conscious of is that if I overwork, or take a severe cold, I feel it more sensibly in my breast and left side than I did before my last injury. I have given considerable space in recounting the foregoing peculiar circumstances which I have experienced in life. A summary of what is here given may be briefly stated thus : I have broken both legs, one of them in two places; both arms, both ankles, my breastbone, and three ribs; I have been scalded, frozen, and drowned; I have been in two water wheels while turning under a full head; I have passed through a score of other hairbreadth escapes. The repeated deliverances from all these remarkable dangers I ascribe to the mercies of my Heavenly Father. In recalling them to mind I always feel impressed to render the gratitude of my heart, with thanksgiving and joy, to the Lord. I pray that the remainder of my days may pass in His service, in the building up of His kingdom.”

When one stops to reflect upon the character of the accidents and the manner of escape, he is impressed by the thought that they came along as part of the remarkable incidents of his life. They are marvels to be sure, but the whole life of Wilford Woodruff is a marvel. He was on the spot when the danger arrived. He never seems to have been disconcerted by it. He was so serene in his faith that he always had an assurance that all would end well, and he, consequently, is never found in a complainly mood, even when undergoing the severest pain. His patience, therefore, was a powerful factor in bringing to his life a large measure of confidence in the ultimate goodness of an overruling Providence.

(End of Chapter)

I echo the sentiments of both President Wilford Woodruff and Elder Cowley, who summarized his experiences, when I say that the Lord’s protecting hand is over His saints. I know it to be true. Whether or not you have ever personally had such remarkable experiences as those named here does not matter. What matters is that God has saved you for these days, for this part of this Dispensation for a reason, and you have a mission to fulfill.

I will never forget riding in a ’73 Ford Bronco and nearly plummeting to my death when I was just seven years old. Nor will I forget the other sacred experiences when I have witnessed the Lord’s almighty and protective hand save me and my life. I am grateful to know that Providence is so near to all of us, and that He is saving us for whatever His purposes may be.

I testify that it’s true.

Your friend,

Stan Way

Daniel Tyler’s Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith

My closest friends know of my great love and passion for Church History. Nearly every day I find myself in some conversation or another in which a friend will ask, “Where did you learn that?” At which point I make reference to a book that has been out of print since 1932 or some random old article I have read from somewhere. With that passion at the root of my daily studies, over the past few days I have been sharing some of my favorite little articles from Church publications of long ago. Seeing that I have received positive feedback – although those commenting ON THE BLOG ITSELF seem to be few in number; Hint. Hint! – I think I’ll keep up with posting something old and usually un-found to the general readers of Church History. I hope that you continue to enjoy them as much as I do.

This article comes from The Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 27 No. 3. (As you can see above. Don’t ya just love those cool old magazine covers?!) I share this article today for three main reasons.

  1. Daniel Tyler is an amazing figure in Church History. An early convert to the Church, he sacrificed personally to help build the Kirtland Temple, and he knew the Prophet Joseph Smith personally up until the time of the prophet’s death. Afterwards, he served in the Mormon Battalion, and did scores of other amazing things to help build the Kingdom. The guy is a Gospel Stud (and that’s not a term I throw around lightly!).
  2. Brother Tyler shares a vision which his mother had before ever meeting the Prophet Joseph Smith. I love his recounting of this sacred experience in and of itself for two reasons. First, because of the sacred nature of the vision and what we can learn from it in many caveats. And second, because it goes to show that the “spiritual gifts” of the Primitive Church were just as much alive when Dispensation started as they were in the days of Christ Himself, or as much as they are today.
  3. Near the end of this brief article we can learn the eternal importance of following the prophet. The Haun’s Mill Massacre would have never been a painful stain in our Church History had good Brother Haun simply heeded prophetic admonition.

But I’ll let you read that for yourself.

So without any further delay, I present to you:


ELDER DANIEL TYLER, who now resides at Beaver, Beaver County, Utah, has furnished us with a number of items concerning the Prophet Joseph, — not only incidents in his life, but some of his doctrines and interpretations of scripture, which are valuable to our young readers. Brother Tyler was born in Semproneous, Cayuga County, New York, November 23, 1815. He joined the Church in Springfield, Erie County, Pa., January 16, 1833 At this place he first met the Prophet, who came there to his father’s house. His impression of the Prophet’s character was, as he states, ” That he was a meek, humble, sociable and very affable man, as a citizen, and one of the most intelligent of men, and a great Prophet.” This testimony he also bears concerning him: “My subsequent acquaintance with him more than confirmed my most favorable impressions in every particular. He was a great statesman, philosopher and philanthropist, logician, and last, but not least, the greatest prophet, seer and revelator that ever lived, save Jesus Christ only.”

Following are some of the recollections of the Prophet which Brother Tyler mentions: “A short time prior to his arrival at my father’s house my mother, Elizabeth Comins Tyler, had a remarkable vision. Lest it might be attributed to the evil one, she related it to no person, except my father, Andrews Tyler, until the Prophet arrived, on his way to Canada, I think. She saw a man sitting upon a white cloud, clothed in white from head to foot. He had on a peculiar cap, different from any she had ever seen, with a white robe, underclothing, and moccasins. It was revealed to her that this person was Michael, the Archangel. She was sitting in the house drying peaches when she saw the heavenly vision, but the walls were no bar between her and the angel, who stood in the open space above her.

“The Prophet informed her that she had had a true vision, and it was of the Lord. He had seen the same angel several times. It was Michael, the Archangel, as revealed to her.

“During his short stay he preached at my father’s residence, an humble log cabin. He read the 3rd chapter of John, and explained much of it, making it so plain that a child could not help understanding it, if he paid attention. I recollect distinctly the substance of his remarks on the 3rd verse — ‘Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ “The birth here spoken of, the Prophet said, was not the gift of the Holy Ghost, which was promised after baptism, but was a portion of the spirit, which attended the preaching of the gospel by the elders of the Church. The people wondered why they had not previously understood the plain declarations of scripture, as explained by the elders, as they had read them hundreds of times. When they read the Bible it was a new book to them. This was being born again, to see the Kingdom of God. They were not in it, but could see it from the outside, which they could not do until the Spirit of the Lord took the vail from before their eyes. It was a change of heart but not of state ; they were converted, but were yet in their sins. Although Cornelius had seen an holy angel, and on the preaching of Peter the Holy Ghost was poured out upon him and his household, they were only born again to see the Kingdom of God. Had they not been baptized afterwards they would not have been saved (see Acts, 10th chapter). Explaining the 5th verse, he said ‘To be born of water and of the Spirit’ meant to be immersed in water for the remission of sins and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost thereafter. This was given by the laying on of the hands of one having authority given him of God.

“His discourse was, I think, entirely on the first principles of the gospel, and he quoted many passages of scripture, but I do not recollect any other so clearly defined as those I have quoted. I have given his exact language, as near as I can recollect it, after a lapse of over fifty years — nearly sixty years. The joy that filled my juvenile soul no one can realize except those who have had a foretaste of heavenly things. It seemed as though the gates of heaven were opened and a living stream flowed directly to the holy man of God. It also filled the house where we were sitting. To this day, when I think of it, which is quite often, and always when I hear those scriptures referred to, a thrill of joy and of testimony permeates the inmost recesses of my soul.

“About the time the doctrine of re-baptism for members in the Church was first revealed in Nauvoo, Joseph, the great seer and revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made some remarks on the subject. On one occasion he read, among other scriptures, Hebrews, 6th chapter, 1st and 2nd verses, as follow:

Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection ; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

“The Prophet said the first verse should read:

‘ Therefore, not leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, etc’

This explanation not only made the entire subject of the two verses clear but reconciled them with other scriptures. Notwithstanding Paul is made to say “leaving,” etc., the inference is clear that if the foundation of repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands should be relaid they would have to perform those works over again, as every careful reader of the text must see. This also corroborates a revelation to the Church of Ephesus: ‘Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works.’ All latterday Saints know that the first works after repentance are baptism and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. Here we find a presiding elder of a branch or ward of the Church commanded to perform these works over again, under pain of removal if he failed to obey the divine behest. Many more passages might be quoted to the same effect, but these are sufficient for my purpose. Joseph’s translation not only reconciles the text with itself, but also with other scriptures, as already shown, and as was explained by the Prophet.

“Everyone has probably heard or read of the terrible martyrdom at Haun’s Mill. At this late date some may be led to inquire why did not the Prophet foresee this and avert the terrible calamity. The older Saints, or those of long standing in the Church, understand all of the particulars, but there are our young folks and future generations who, not understanding some unpublished facts, would be liable and almost certain to marvel, as some already do. This is not strange, as the history of the Church shows that the man of God was in Far West, only about twenty miles distant.

“Well, my young brethren and sisters, the following are a few of the facts: Brother Haun owned the mill, a grist mill, which took his name. From two to four days prior to the the massacre the citizens of the little settlement assembled in a mass meeting, and appointed Brother Haun a committee of one to go to the city for advice to know what to do. The whole country was under arms and excitement. The Apostle David W. Patten, with Brothers Gideon Carter and O’Banion, had already sealed their testimony with their blood. Under these circumstances it was quite natural that small settlements should begin to inquire what was best for them to do.

“Brother Haun repaired to the city, and as the Prophet was but a private citizen and minister of the gospel, in the legal sense, he first went to Captain John Killian, of the Caldwell County militia, informed him of his appointment, and inquired what he and his brethren should do.

” ‘Move into the city was the prompt reply.

“Brother H.—’What! and leave the mill?’

“Captain K.—’Yes, and leave the mill.’

“Brother H.—’What! to the mob?’

“Captain K.—’ Yes, to the mob.’

“Brother Haun then left the Captain and went to ‘Brother Joseph,’ as the Prophet was familiarly called. He asked him the same questions, and received the same answers, word for word.

” ‘But,’ responded the selfish mill-owner, ‘Brother Joseph, we think we are strong enough to defend the mill and keep it in our own hands.”

‘”Oh, well,’ replied he, ‘if you think you are strong enough to hold the mill you can do as you think best.’

“What more could he say? His method had always been when his counsel was asked to give it freely and leave parties to receive or reject it. He could not, nor would not if he could, take away people’s agency.

“Brother Haun returned and reported that Brother Joseph’s counsel was for them to stay and protect or hold the mill. The rest the reader knows, or can become acquainted with by reading the published account of the terrible tragedy. The foregoing facts I had from the late Captain Killian in person.”


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