Logan revisited

Later this year will be our 10 year anniversary.  Ten years since we were married in the Logan LDS Temple in Cache County, Utah.  Since we were down with the kids in Logan for a reunion, we made a stop.

Hiram, Aliza, Amanda, and Lillian Ross

Hiram, Aliza, Amanda, and Lillian Ross

The day turned out to be beautiful despite being the middle of October.  Other than the angle of the sun, you might never have known it was October.

We took a picture in one of the doorways that we also took pictures 10 years ago.  Time flies.

Amanda, Lillian, Hiram, Paul, and Aliza Ross

Amanda, Lillian, Hiram, Paul, and Aliza Ross

Of course I have heard multiple comments on my neon toes!  Thank you to my in-laws for making me push my boundaries and wear toed shoes.

On the way home I asked the kids their favorite part of the trip.  The quick response for both was the temple.

I have always felt a strong family connection to the Logan Temple.

John Nuffer and Eva Greiner, my 3rd great grandparents were sealed here 123 years ago in 1892.  They were married 25 July 1867 in Neuffen, Esslingen, Wuerttemberg.  You can read of them here.

Olle Christiansen and Constance Jorgensen, my 3rd great grandparents were sealed here 122 years ago in 1893.  They were married in 1874 in Norway (and have yet to find the exact date and location).

John Wanner and Anna Schmid, my 3rd great grandparents were sealed here 117 years ago in 1898.  They were married 6 June 1870 in Holzgerlingen, Boblingen, Wuerttemberg.  Read more about them at this link.

John Wanner and Regina Nuffer, my 2nd great grandparents were married and sealed here 117 years ago on 31 August 1898.  Read of them with this click.

Herbert Coley and Martha Christiansen, my 2nd great grandparents were sealed here 115 years ago in 1900.  They were married 1 December 1896 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah.

Joseph Jonas and Lillian Coley, my great grandparents were married and sealed here 99 years ago on 6 September 1916.  Read more of their marriage here.

Paul Ross and Amanda Hemsley, us, were married and sealed here 10 years ago on 20 December 2005.

This is just the sealing ordinances.  This does not include endowments, baptisms, or second washings and anointings for my ancestors.  I received my own endowment here with my father on 1 September 1998.  Who knows what future ordinances for my family may take place in Logan.

All I know, I miss the days of attending the Logan temple.  I miss learning in the House of the Lord for Stake instruction.  I miss the fill the temple sessions where we would work in the temple all night long.  I miss going to the temple with roommates.  I miss doing endowment sessions on a regular basis with my wife, we often feel guilty leaving our kids with others for that long (and the drive).

One thing I know, and I hope my family history work proves this, I know the temple blessings are real.  I see them in my life and feel them on a regular basis.  I am grateful for my ancestors who went before and provided an example of what, and what not, to do.

Aliza kept asking if she could go inside the temple.  I told her she would have to wait until she was at least 12.  I am glad Aliza and Hiram also feel the draw to the temple.  Hopefully those covenants are already beginning to find the way into their little hearts.  Great promises and responsibilities come from the temple.  That is my testimony.


Last weekend, I went fishing with my in-laws to Flaming Gorge.  I thought I had a couple of fish photos that I might share.

I believe this is one of the first pictures I have of me fishing.

Fishing Young 1

Here is another of a series, but this is the most modest.

Naked Paul Ross sitting in lake at camera

That is my foot, not some other anatomical body part!

Here is one where I actually caught something.

Paul Ross fishing mid 80's

That does not necessarily mean I am a fisherman.  I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about fishing.  But I still enjoy it.  I will have to post some of the pictures from our fishing trip last week as soon as I get the pictures.  Obviously I did not take pictures of myself fishing.  But here are some pictures I took on the trip.

After filleting a fish, Derek Hemsley, my brother-in-law posed for this gruesome picture.  This was in the home we were staying in Manila, Daggett, Utah.

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Here is a picture I took along the side of the River Green below the Flaming Gorge Dam.

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It was cold, but hauntingly beautiful.  It was not cold enough for ice, but we did not wade into that water for terribly long periods of time.  Looking forward to next year!




Camping in Swan Valley

This fall, over Labor Day weekend, we went camping near Swan Valley, Idaho.  I thought I would post a few pictures from that trip.

We had to do some preparation on the trailer, like sewing up some rips in the canvas on the tent trailer.  This is Amanda’s handiwork.

Sewed Canvas Cover

We also replaced the elastic ropes in the canvas, the old ones were pretty shredded.

New Elastic Ropes

We are fortunate that the Tateoka Family is as sharing with their camp trailer as they are, otherwise we may have been sleeping in a tent again!  The Darrington Family let us trade pickups with them so we could all ride in the same pickup to Swan Valley together.  Thank you to both!

We set up at Falls Campground near the Snake River.  Enjoyed a couple of days there.

Set up at Falls Campground

Set up at Falls Campground

We really enjoyed the campground.  Some great fly fishing nearby in the Snake River, there were tons of fly fisherman everywhere we went.  We hiked over to the falls too.

View of Snake River near Swan Valley, Idaho

View of Snake River near Swan Valley, Idaho

We did take some time to drive over to Plano where the Hemsley clan had their start in Idaho.  There are multiple Richard Hemsleys buried there.

Hemsley graves in Plano, Idaho

Hemsley graves in Plano, Idaho

Here is a picture of the house Hemsley built.

Side of Hemsley House in Plano, Idaho

Side of Hemsley House in Plano, Idaho

Front of Hemsley house in Plano, Idaho

Front of Hemsley house in Plano, Idaho

We also stopped in Rexburg at the temple and in Ririe on the way back where I was coaxed out of a few dollars for some kid who was short of some cash.  I offered to pay the difference and somehow ended up paying for their entire goodie stash!

We had a great little campfire.

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We introduced Aliza to cattails.  We were regretting it later due to the mess it tracked everywhere.

Playing with cattails

Playing with cattails

We also gave them little containers to go find bugs.  Boy, they found plenty.

Inspecting bugs

Inspecting bugs

Drinking some soda

Drinking some soda

Walking down a country road back to camp

Walking down a country road back to camp


Little Robin Hood

Here is a little picture of Hiram.  He likes to go around with a hanger pretending he is Robin Hood.  Grandpa decided to make him a little bow and arrows from his latest tree trimmings.  Hiram of course ran with it, even finding himself a hat and feather.  I am glad I snapped this picture while he was playing.

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Guess who is 27?

Amanda in 1987

Amanda in 1987

Guess who is turning 27 this week?  I thought I would post a few pictures to wish her a Happy 27th Birthday Amanda Belle Hemsley Ross!

Pineview in 1987

Pineview in 1987

Look how dainty she is, even in mud!

Derek and Amanda 1989

Derek and Amanda 1989

Amanda and her little brother Derek.

Summer 1989

Summer 1989

Amanda and the dandelion.  Where is the dandelion?

Amanda in 1989

Amanda in 1989

Boy if this isn’t classic 80’s.

Apostolic Brush

Ruby and David Haight, Paul Ross, Rose and John Byrom

Ruby and David Haight, Paul Ross, Rosie and John Byrom

I stumbled upon this picture the other day and thought maybe it was time to share it.  This picture has an interesting story behind it.

On the far right are John and Rosie Byrom.  Rosie is mostly in the shadow so it is difficult to make her out.  I served in the Runcord Ward from around December 1999 to around August 2000.  John served as Ward Mission Leader and Rosie as a Ward Missionary.  (The Byroms have since separated and divorced).  I served in the ward for a long time and they remained in their callings for the entire time, so we built a friendship which, I feign to believe, still exists to this day.

I returned home from my mission in December 2000.  It was not long into 2001 that I learned the Byroms were planning on visiting Utah.  Of course, I invited them to spend some time in Idaho.

During the majority of time I served in Runcorn I had a companion by the name of Brad Hales.  Also in our district was a senior sister companionship of Meriel Peterson and Patricia Kleinkopf.  We were all native Idahoans and were in close proximity of each other.  It was natural that the Byroms also wanted to visit each of them while they were in Idaho.

This particular day we drove to Oakley, Idaho to visit Sister Peterson.  We had an enjoyable breakfast and conversation.  Sister Peterson decided she wanted to give us the tour of Oakley because there were some architectural gems that she thought the Byroms would enjoy.  I grew up near Oakley so I was familiar with many of these local landmarks.

We all piled into my little Camry and away we drove.  We had not made it very far driving down some of the streets of Oakley when Sister Peterson announced, “Wait, David is home, he will want to meet you!”  She had me turn around and we pulled into a little home in Oakley.

I had no clue who David was and I was not familiar with the home we were now pulling into the driveway.  We all exited the car.  In the yard there was a man trimming his hedges with a large straw hat and a large set of sunglasses that you only see old people wear.

Since Sister Peterson indicated that David would want to meet the Byroms because they were from England, I remained at the front of my car in the driveway and leaned back against it in the hot, summer, morning sun.

I have to give a little bit of background on the month prior.  We are in the latter half of July 2001 at the point of this picture (I recollect it was the 21st, but may be wrong).  I had just spent considerable time in Hawaii with family at the beginning of the month.  During that time I picked myself up a shirt and a shell necklace among other items.  As you can see in the picture, I am wearing my red shirt (not the blatant Hawaiian design you regularly see).  For years I thought I was in a pair of board shorts too, but this picture corrects my memory on that tidbit.  But I had continuously wore my new puka shell necklace since the trip to Hawaii.

Back to the story, I am leaning on the front of my car watching the Byroms enter the back yard through the hedge and approach this old man in a large straw hat and holding an electric hedge trimmer.  The man stopped trimming and turned to greet his trespassers.  Curiously, after what was a short couple of moments, probably no more than 20 seconds of conversation, this man leaves the Byroms and Sister Peterson and headed my direction.

My first reaction was that I was doing something wrong so I looked around to see my misstep.  Alas, not seeing I had done anything wrong I approached the man and met him near his hedge.  He had set down his trimmer before arriving to me and he pulled his hand out of his glove to shake my hand.  I shook hands with him and he with his free hand reached up and took of his hat and glasses and asked me my name.

My first thought was something along these lines, “Boy, this David fellow sure looks familiar.”  He asked my name and I gave it.  He asked about my Ross name and whether or not it was Scottish.  I informed him it was my name but not the name of which my ancestors carried.  He then informed me that Ross was a common name in Scotland where he had served as a Mission President.

He then grew quiet and he sidled up closer to me and put the hand with the hat and glasses in the small of my back while still holding my other hand in a handshake.  He was now close enough that his face was in my shadow (and he was considerably shorter than me).  He then broke the handshake and with that hand reached up and touched my puka shell necklace.

“What is this?”

“My necklace?”

“I am disappointed that you have fallen from the principles of the gospel that we teach as missionaries.  We teach than men and women have separate and distinct roles and this is confusing the two.”

My first impression was, “How did you know I served a mission?”

This man then turned to walk away back to the Byroms and Sister Peterson.  As he walked away, the thought occurred, “You have just been rebuked by an Apostle.”

Then it dawned.  David was David B Haight, one of the twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This was an individual I recognized as a Priesthood Leader and on my first meeting with him, I had been rebuked.

I stood there reeling from what had just happened.  It stung.  David went to the back door of his house and summoned his wife Ruby.  Ruby appeared and they all stood 25 feet away from me chit chatting about England, Scotland, and whatever else they were talking about.

What seemed like an eternity was likely only a minute or so, if that.  I remember reaching up and taking the puka shell necklace off and holding it in my hand.  I dwelt on what was really an unintended and probably unwanted visit that was a bother to me and this old man.  Sister Peterson just commented he was home and a few lines of dialogue just ended up potentially effected my eternities.  According to him I was already on the path, so I guess it did not matter what he said except to correct my backsliding ways.

Next thing I knew, the distant conversation between the Haights and Byroms had stopped and this Apostle was returning to me.  He again held out his hand as if to invite another handshake. I held out my hand with the necklace in it and he cupped his hand to receive whatever I was offering.  I dropped the necklace into his hand and once he realized what it was he let it drop to the ground.

He held out his hand again inviting mine in a handshake and I clasped his.  He sidled up close to me again, put his other hand in the small of my back, and was close enough to be in my shadow and that I could smell the salt in his old man sweat, and he continued…

“Where did you serve your mission?”  (I remember thinking that was an ironic question since the Byroms were from England, Sister Peterson served in England, and he asked where the fourth member of the party served his mission?)

“England Manchester Mission”

“How long have you been home?”

(After a quick mental tally) “Nine months”

“Elder, you hold the Priesthood.  You have a duty to uphold that Priesthood.  You should have been married by now.”

He released my hand, pulled his hand from the small of my back, turned, and walked away.  Maybe 4 steps later he turned around and said, “When it happens, I want to know about it.”

He returned to a conversation with Ruby, Sister Peterson, and the Byroms.

I stood there while they chatted for a few more minutes.  I do not recall hearing anything of the conversation between them, even if I was close enough to have heard.

Rosie had a picture taken of the occasion.  Sister Peterson sacrificed herself in the moment to take the photo that now memorializes this occasion.

I shook hands again with Elder David Haight and Sister Ruby Haight and we headed on down the road to see some other homes.  I ended up driving many more hours that day to Boise, Idaho City, Stanley, and elsewhere chauffeuring the Byroms through some of the sights of Idaho.  Rosie Byrom teased me about the moment the rest of the time I was with them.  After all, it is not every day that you get rebuked by an Apostle.  I cannot recall if they overheard the conversation or if I told them about it.  I cannot imagine that they overheard the conversation due to the close proximity in which David and I spoke that day.

Oddly enough, it weighed on me for a long time.  It became the butt of jokes as time went on, especially as David continued to age.  He was already over 95 at the time of my meeting him.  Roommates and friends would indicate that I better hurry or else I would not fulfill the rest of my duty to let David know when it happened.  I will not lie, it became a great story to tell people.  People loved to hear about my rebuke by an Apostle.

I regularly tell the story to individuals I am close to and that wear a necklace.  Missionaries I worked with I regularly told the story, especially if they wore a necklace.  I admit, I never wore a necklace or bracelet of any type since that date.  I know a number of missionaries who have “fallen from the principles we teach as missionaries” and forsaken their evil ways.  Honestly, I do not know that the story is one that should be heeded by others.  But for the deep effect it had upon me at the time and the power in which he spoke to me, I recognize it was for me.  Others should be careful about applying revelation of others to themselves.  But I do believe there is a principle here that we can learn, I just don’t know that I can very clearly articulate it.  I know the principle clearly for me, but don’t know how narrow or general to make it in application to others.

I remember Rosie reminding me that if I properly repent, I would be married within another 9 months.  Boy if that did not apply a little pressure!

As a side, I did pick up my little puka shell necklace and ended up giving it to a friend when I returned to Missouri later in August.  I don’t believe she has any clue what that little necklace meant to me.

There is more to the story.

On the following Monday, I believe 23 July 2001, I was in Salt Lake City with the Byroms.  After an endowment session, Rosie announced we were to go to the Church Administration Building.  She did not tell us why and I thought she just wanted to see the sights from the Church Office Building.  We walked in the Church Office Building and after Rosie talked to the man at the desk, she said we were in the wrong building and we needed to go to the Church Administration Building.  I informed her that the Church Administration Building was not really open to the public.  Rosie announced that we had an appointment.

In light of my experience a few days before, I was not really thrilled about our appointment in the Church Administration Building.  We walked around to the front door of the Church Administration Building and walked in.  As we approached the man at the security desk he asked,

“Are you the Byroms?”

Rosie responded, “Yes.”

“We have been waiting for you.”  (Never a very heartwarming phrase, whether the morgue, jail, CIA, bank, or Church Administration Building)

The man then responded, “You will need to leave your bags here, take the elevator to the fourth floor, take a right, and it is the last door on the left.  I will let them know you are coming up.”

We entered the elevator and headed to the fourth floor.  Rosie then turned and commented to me, “John helped provide security and drive for Elder Ballard while he (Elder Ballard) was in England for the Preston Temple Dedication.  He told us that if we were ever in Utah to stop and pay him a visit.”

Suddenly the realization came to me that I was going to visit with my second Apostle in less than a week.  I am a fairly laid back guy but felt some apprehension after the experience just days before.  We turned the corner and there stood M Russell Ballard in the doorway.  He invited us in to his office, introduced us to his secretary, and then ushered us into his office.  Across from his desk, I think, there were two nice wing-backed chairs.  Another chair was already there for me, or we pulled up a chair.  Elder Ballard left the office for a moment and then reappeared pushing a little chair toward me.  We were already all seated and he asked,

“Where is your wife?”

“I am not married.”

“Oh, that is something you will have to fix.”

He turned to push the little chair back out the door.  I heard Rosie chuckle and comment, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses…”

Elder Ballard returned and took his seat and we had a nice conversation that probably did not take more than 15 minutes.  Once again, Rosie had a picture taken.

Paul Ross, Rosie and John Byrom, Elder Ballard

Paul Ross, Rosie and John Byrom, M Russell Ballard

That was the extent of the interaction and I felt some sting from the second witness of my duty to uphold the Priesthood.  But it was a pleasant experience.  Rosie reminded me often after that, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”

Well, time passed and eventually Elder David B Haight did pass from this veil of tears at the end of July 2004, three years after our encounter.  Fortunately, Elder Haight and I did have an opportunity to talk again regarding our first interaction that lessened the blow of the occasion.  Nevertheless, roommates and many friends called after Elder Haight’s passing to let me know how dire my situation was now that the revelator had passed and I had not fulfilled my duty.

Rosie commented to me that I could fulfill my duty by reporting my marriage to Elder Ballard when the time came.

Well, forward a few more years and I became enamored with a little red-headed girl from Kaysville, Utah.  She came to enjoy her time with me and after a while we would end our walks with a little dancing on the porch of the Alumni House at Utah State University.  It became a regular thing to end our walks and evenings out with a dance and closing conversation on the porch of the Alumni House.  I dare say we danced on the porch of that building more than 60 times.  It was on the porch of this little Alumni House that I made an unofficial proposal to Ms. Hemsley.  It just seemed like the right place.

Months later, Amanda and I returned to Logan under the guise of visiting some friends.  While on the campus I took her to that little porch of the Alumni House and there after midnight, now on 4 July 2005, I fell to my knee and proposed to her.  Of course she said yes and we danced and kissed there on the porch of the Alumni House.  Interestingly, before we left that night, I caught sight of a huge portrait hanging inside the doors that open to the porch that had become an important part of our courtship.  As I looked closer, I could see the familiar sight of a man whose face I knew.  As I got a little closer to see in the dark the portrait lit only by fire escape signs it dawned on me it was a portrait of David B Haight.

If that was not a little coincidental, and perhaps a little creepy, I do not know what is.  Elder Haight’s portrait had actually witnessed some of the most personal moments of my courtship.  The building I had only known as the Alumni House is properly named the David B Haight Alumni Center.  Somehow it seemed the whole experience had just came full circle.

We sent a wedding invitation to Elder M Russell Ballard with a short note explaining that due to Elder Haight’s passing I was sending the note and invitation to him to fulfill my duty.  He responded with a card thanking me for my note and invitation and suggested I consider my duty fulfilled.  He also apologized for not being able to attend our reception (which I am glad about, surely some further duty might have been laid upon me if he had!)

There is my story for the above photo with the Haights and Byroms.  Maybe some day I can tell my story about Elder Hales (the Apostle, not my missionary companion)…

Aliza’s Four Generations

Maybe it is a product of our day where people live longer, but Aliza is fortunate to have 3 of her great grandparents living at this time.  For family history purposes, I thought I might post these pictures of Aliza with her great grandparents.  Further, I thought I would post a picture or two that Amanda and I have with our great grandparents.

Here is a picture of Aliza with Amanda’s paternal grandfather, DeLece (“D”) Hemsley. This picture was taken at a party in Kaysville, Utah for Amanda’s brother, Derek, upon coming home from his two-year mission in July.  We took the opportunity for a couple of photos with family.

(l-r): DeAnne, D, and Bryan Hemsley with Aliza and Amanda

This is Amanda’s paternal grandmother, Shanna Thompson.  This photo was also at Derek’s party.

(l-r): Mel and Shanna Thompson; Paul, Aliza, and Amanda; Bryan and Jill Hemsley

Lastly, here is my paternal grandfather, Milo Ross.  We took these pictures, the day after at Derek’s homecoming party, at Grandpa’s house in Plain City, Utah.  I will post three pictures because I think they are good photos.  This first one shows a great smile on Grandpa, Aliza, and Amanda.  I also like the profile of Grandpa.

Grandpa’s first sight of Aliza

I like this one because Aliza looks as cute as she always does.  For being 90, Grandpa can sure pick her up and throw her in the air with ease.

Here is one we took of the four generations with my sister, Andra, and her son, Daniel. Grandpa has two of his great grandchildren in this picture (and Dad has two of his grandchildren).

Andra, Milo (Jr), Daniel, Milo (Sr), Paul, Aliza

Fortunately, Aliza has now had her photo taken with all of her living Great Grandparents.  Amanda was also fortunate to have such a photograph with all of her living Grandparents and Great Grandparents.  Even more, ALL great grandparents and grandparents are in the same photo!  Here is that photo from the day of her baby blessing in Kaysville.  LeRoy, D, Shanna, and Clara are all Amanda’s Grandparents.  Belle is D’s mother.  Walter and June are Shanna’s father and step-mother.

Back (l-r): LeRoy Holden, D Hemsley, Bryan, Jill, and Amanda Hemsley, Mel and Shanna Thompson. Front: Clara Holden, Belle Hemsley, June and Walter Hansen.

I had three Great Grandparents who were alive when I was born.  Unfortunately, I do not seem to have a photo in my possession with my Andra Great Grandparents despite the fact that I was 10 and 11 years old when they passed.  Oddly, I have pictures of my Great Grandpa and Grandma Andra that I was present when the photo was taken, like the one below.  This is my mother’s maternal grandparents about 1989.

Mary and Bill Andra

This is my mother’s paternal grandmother and some of the rest of the family at her sister’s funeral, Edna Coley Neilson.  My Great Grandma Lillian Bowcutt (remarried in 1953 after her husband Joseph Jonas died in 1932) is in the center of this photo and is the mother to the two ladies beside her and the four men in front.  I am more of a footnote in the photo, but at least I have one with Great Grandma Bowcutt in the same picture.

Far back (l-r): Unknown, Larry Talbot, Unknown (completely unseen), and Unknown. Middle: Jimmie Jonas, Hilma Jonas, Lillian Talbot, Lillian Bowcutt, LeReta Andersen, Lona Jonas, Colleen Elliott.  Front: Spencer Jonas, Joseph Jonas, Ellis Jonas, Evan Jonas, Paul Ross, Jackie Jonas, Andra Ross.