The Last Wagon

"To Them of the Last Wagon" by Lynn Fausett

In honor of Pioneer Day, here is a talk given in 1947 by J. Reuben Clark that has always touched me.  I think of it fairly regularly, especially when I find myself in a position of following others whose opinions or ideas just do not seem to make much sense to me.  I am reminded of my duty not to murmur and to do what I can and have the faith that the rest will just work out.  I just need to do the very best I can in the realm I life.  The caravan/wagon train moves on.

“At the near close of this one hundredth year of the entering into these valleys of your fathers and your mothers, some of yours and mine, I wish to speak a few further words of humble tribute and thanksgiving to them, and especially to the meekest and lowliest of them, those great souls, majestic in the simplicity of their faith and in their living testimony of the truth of the restored gospel, to those souls in name unknown, unremembered, unhonored in the pages of history, but lovingly revered round the hearthstones of their children and their children’s children who pass down from generation to generation the story of their faith and their mighty works, and the righteousness of their lives and living, those souls who worked and worked, and prayed and followed, and wrought so gloriously.

“I would not take away one word of praise or gratitude, honor or reverence from the great men who led these humble ones of ours. They were mighty men in brain and brawn, in courage and valor, in honesty and in love of truth, living near the Lord—Brothers Brigham and Heber and Wilford and Willard and Charles, the two Orsons and Parley, and John and George and Erastus and Lorenzo and Daniel and Joseph and Jedediah, and a host of other giants, each and all richly blessed with the Lord’s divine love and with that gift of the Holy Ghost that made them leaders truly like unto Moses of old. I yield, we yield, to no one in our gratitude for them and for their work of directing the conquest of the wilderness and of saving men’s souls. Their names shine lustrously on those pages of history which record only the doings of the makers of epochs—those choice spirits, chosen before the foundation of the world, to be the leaders and builders of dispensations of God’s dealings with men; and these leaders of ours to be the builders of that dispensation which of old was named the Dispensation of the Fulness of Time. Unnumbered eternities will remember and honor them.

“But I should like now and here to say a few words about those who trod after where those giants led, some in the same companies that the Brethren piloted, some in later companies following that year and the years after, some in the fateful handcarts with their unexcelled devotion, heroism, and faith, all trickling forward in a never-failing, tiny stream, till they filled the valley they entered and then flowed out at the sides and ends, peopling this whole wilderness-waste which they fructified, making it to fulfil the ancient prophecy that the desert should blossom as the rose.

I would like to say something about the last wagon in each of the long wagon trains that toiled slowly over the plains, up mountain defiles, down steep, narrow canyons, and out into the valley floor that was to be home—this last wagon: last, because the ox team that pulled it was the smallest and leanest and weakest, and had the tenderest feet of any in the train; it was slow starting, and slow moving; last, because worn and creaking, it took more time to fix and to grease, for young Jimmy generally had trouble in getting the wagon jack under the “ex”; last, because its wind-rent cover was old and patched and took hours to mend and tie up to keep out the storm; last, because the wife, heavy with child, must rest till the very moment of starting; last, because sickly little Bill, the last born, poorly nourished, must be washed and coaxed to eat the rough food, all they had; last, because with all his tasks—helping little Bill, cooking and cleaning up the breaksfast,—Mother was not able to help much—Father took a little longer to yoke his cattle and to gird himself for the day’s labor; last, because his morning prayers took a few more minutes than the others spent—he had so many blessings to thank the Lord for and some special blessings to ask the Lord to grant, blessings of health and strength, especially for his wife, and for little Bill, and for the rest, and then the blessings for himself that his own courage would not fail, but most of all for the blessing of faith, faith in God and in the Brethren who sometimes seemed so far away. For they were out in front where the air was clear and clean and where they had unbroken vision of the blue vault of heaven. The Brethren had really visioned the glory of the Lord, who walked near them, put his thoughts into their minds; his spirit guided and directed them, petitioned thereto by the thousands of Saints who were back in Winter Quarters, back in Iowa, back in the States, and beyond, even across the waters, for the faithful poured out their souls in fervent prayer to Almighty God that the Brethren should be inspired. The Saints buoyed up the Brethren out in front with encouragement, with praise, and sometimes even with adulation. Knowing the Brethren were prophets of God, the Saints gave them full confidence, daily, almost hourly, expressed. The Brethren lived in a world of commendation from friends and the tried and true Saints. Rarely was their word or their act questioned by the faithful Saints. This was as it should be and had to be to carry out the Lord’s purposes.

“But back in the last wagon, not always could they see the Brethren way out in front, and the blue heaven was often shut out from their sight by heavy, dense clouds of the dust of the earth. Yet day after day, they of the last wagon pressed forward, worn and tired, footsore, sometimes almost disheartened, borne up by their faith that God loved them, that the restored gospel was true, and that the Lord led and directed the Brethren out in front. Sometimes, they in the last wagon glimpsed, for an instant, when faith surged strongest, the glories of a celestial world, but it seemed so far away, and the vision so quickly vanished, because want and weariness and heartache and sometimes discouragement were always pressing so near. When the vision faded, their hearts sank. But they prayed again and pushed on, with little praise, with not too much encouragement, and never with adulation. For there was nearly always something wrong with the last wagon or with its team—the off ox was a little lame in the right front shoulder; the hub of the left front wheel was often hot; the tire of the hind wheel on the same side was loose. So corrective counsel, sometimes strong reproof, was the rule, because the wagon must not delay the whole train.

“But yet in the last wagon there was devotion and loyalty and integrity, and above and beyond everything else, faith in the Brethren and in God’s power and goodness. For had not the Lord said that “not even a sparrow falleth unnoticed by the Father, and were they not of more value than sparrows?” And then they had their testimony burning always like an eternal fire on a holy altar, that the restored gospel was true, and that Joseph was a prophet of God, and that Brigham was Joseph’s chosen successor.

“When the train moved forward in the early morning sun and the oxen with a swinging pull that almost broke the tongue got that last wagon on the move, the dust in the still morning air hung heavy over the road. Each wagon from the first stirred up its own cloud, till when the last wagon swung into line, that dust was dense and suffocating. It covered the last wagon and all that was in it; it clung to clothes; it blackened faces; it filled eyes already sore, and ears. The wife, soon to be a mother, could hardly catch her breath in the heavy, choking dust, for even in the pure air she breathed hard from her burden. Each jolt of the wagon, for those ahead had made wagon ruts almost “ex” deep, wrung from her clenched lips a half-groan she did her best to keep from the ears of the anxious, solicitous husband plodding slowly along, guiding and goading the poor dumb cattle, themselves weary from the long trek. So through the long day of jolting and discomfort and sometimes pain, sometimes panting for breath, the mother, anxious only that the unborn babe should not be injured, rode, for she could not walk; and the children walked, for the load was too heavy and big for them to ride; and the father walked sturdily alongside and prayed.

“When in the evening the last wagon creaked slowly into its place in the circle corral, and the Brethren came to inquire how the day had gone with the mother, then joy leaped in their hearts, for had not the Brethren remembered them? New hope was born, weariness fled, fresh will to do was enkindled; gratitude to God was poured out for their knowledge of the truth, for their testimony that God lived, that Jesus was the Christ, that Joseph was a prophet, that Brigham was his ordained successor, and that for the righteous a crown of glory awaited that should be theirs during the eternities of the life to come. Then they would join in the songs and dancing in the camp, making the camp’s gaiety their own, as much as Mother’s condition would permit.

“Then the morning came when from out that last wagon floated the la-la of the newborn babe, and mother love made a shrine, and Father bowed in reverence before it. But the train must move on. So out into the dust and dirt the last wagon moved again, swaying and jolting, while Mother eased as best she could each pain-giving jolt so no harm might be done her, that she might be strong to feed the little one, bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh. Who will dare to say that angels did not cluster round and guard her and ease her rude bed, for she had given another choice spirit its mortal body that it might work out its God-given destiny?

“My mother was one of those babes so born in 1848, ninety-nine years ago.

Another morning came, when courageous little Bill, who, with a hero’s heart, had trudged through long days of hot sun and through miles of soggy mud in the rain, his little body drenched, little Bill, weak and wan, must be crowded in to ride with Mother, for he was sick from a heavy cold. Months before, on that cold winter’s night when they had fled Nauvoo for their lives to escape the fiendish wrath of a wild mob, Bill became dangerously ill with pneumonia, which left him with weak lungs. This old illness now returned. He grew worse and worse. The elders came and prayed he might get well. But the Lord wanted little Bill with him. So a few mornings later a weeping mother and a grief-stricken father and that last wagon swung into place in the line, leaving beside the road, under some scrub brush a little mound, unmarked save for heaped-up rocks to keep out the wolves, a mound that covered another martyr to the cause of truth.

“So through dust and dirt, dirt and dust, during the long hours, the longer days—that grew into weeks and then into months, they crept along till, passing down through its portals, the valley welcomed them to rest and home. The cattle dropped to their sides, wearied almost to death; nor moved they without goading, for they too sensed they had come to the journey’s end.

“That evening was the last of the great trek, the mightiest trek that history records since Israel’s flight from Egypt, and as the sun sank below the mountain peaks of the west and the eastern crags were bathed in an amethyst glow that was a living light, while the western mountainsides were clothed in shadows of the rich blue of the deep sea, they of the last wagon, and of the wagon before them, and of the one before that, and so to the very front wagon of the train, these all sank to their knees in the joy of their souls, thanking God that at last they were in Zion. “Zion, Zion, lovely Zion, beautiful Zion, Zion, City of our God.” They knew there was a God, for only he could have brought them triumphant, militant, through all the scorn, the ridicule, the slander, the tarrings and featherings, the whippings, the burnings, the plunderings, the murderings, the ravishings of wives and daughters, that had been their lot, the lot of their people since Joseph visioned the Father and the Son.

“But hundreds of these stalwart souls of undoubting faith and great prowess, were not yet at their journey’s end.

“Brother Brigham again called them to the colors of the kingdom of God, and sent them to settle the valleys, near and remote, in these vast mountains of refuge. So again they yoked their oxen and hitched up their teams, and putting their all in the covered wagon, this time willingly, unwhipped by the threat of mob cruelty and outrage, they wended their slow way to new valleys, again trusting with implicit faith in the wisdom and divine guidance of their Moses. The very elements obeyed their faith, faith close kin to that which made the world.

“These tens of thousands who so moved and so built were the warp and the woof of Brother Brigham’s great commonwealth. Without them Brother Brigham had failed his mission. These were the instruments—the shovelers, the plowers, and sowers and reapers, the machinists, the architects, the masons, the wood-workers, the organ builders, the artisans, the mathematicians, the men of letters, all gathered from the four corners of the earth, furnished by the Lord to Brother Brigham and the prophet leaders who came after, that he and they might direct the working out of His purposes. These wrought as God inspired Brother Brigham and the other prophets to plan, all to the glory of God and the upbuilding of his kingdom.

“Upright men they were, and fearless, unmindful of what men thought or said of them, if they were in their line of duty. Calumny, slander, derision, scorn left them unmoved, if they were treading the straight and narrow way. Uncaring they were of men’s blame and censure, if the Lord approved them. Unswayed they were by the praise of men, to wander from the path of truth. Endowed by the spirit of discernment, they knew when kind words were mere courtesy, and when they betokened honest interest. They moved neither to the right nor to the left from the path of truth to court the good favor of men.

“So for a full hundred years, urged by the spirit of gathering and led by a burning testimony of the truth of the restored gospel, thousands upon tens of thousands of these humble souls, one from a city, two from a family, have bidden farewell to friends and homes and loved ones, and with sundered heartstrings, companioned with privation and with sacrifice even to life itself, these multitudes have made their way to Zion, to join those who were privileged to come earlier, that all might build up the kingdom of God on earth—all welded together by common hardship and suffering, neverending work and deep privation, tragic woes and heart-eating griefs, abiding faith and exalting joy, firm testimony and living spiritual knowledge—a mighty people, missioned with the salvation, not only of the living, but of the dead also, saviors not worshipers of their ancestors, their hearts aglow with the divine fire of the spirit of Elijah, who turns the hearts of the fathers to the children and of the children to the fathers.

“And thousands upon thousands of these tens of thousands, from the first till now, all the elect of God, measured to their humble calling and to their destiny as fully as Brother Brigham and the others measured to theirs, and God will so reward them. They were pioneers in word and thought and act and faith, even as were they of more exalted station. The building of this intermountain empire was not done in a corner by a select few but by this vast multitude flowing in from many nations, who came and labored and wrought, faithfully following their divinely called leaders.

“In living our lives let us never forget that the deeds of our fathers and mothers are theirs, not ours; that their works cannot be counted to our glory; that we can claim no excellence and no place, because of what they did, that we must rise by our own labor, and that labor failing we shall fail. We may claim no honor, no reward, no respect, nor special position or recognition, no credit because of what our fathers were or what they wrought. We stand upon our own feet in our own shoes. There is no aristocracy of birth in this Church; it belongs equally to the highest and the lowliest; for as Peter said to Cornelius, the Roman centurion, seeking him:

“… Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

“So to these humble but great souls, our fathers and mothers, the tools of the Lord, who have, for this great people, hewed the stones and laid the foundations of God’s kingdom, solid as the granite mountains from which they carved the rocks for their temple, to these humble souls, great in faith, great in work, great in righteous living, great in fashioning our priceless heritage, I humbly render my love, my respect, my reverent homage. God keep their memories ever fresh among us, their children, to help us meet our duties even as they met theirs, that God’s work may grow and prosper till the restored gospel of Jesus Christ rules all nations and all peoples, till peace, Christ’s peace, shall fill the whole earth, till “righteousness shall cover the earth even as the waters cover the mighty deep.” Let us here and now dedicate all that we have and all that we are to this divine work.

Advertisements

Sharp-Stoker Wedding

Milo Sharp, Archie Richardson, Mary Ann and Ethel Sharp, Roy Richardson

William Stoker and the late Emma Eames Stoker are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Mary Ann to Milo Riley Sharp, son of William Sharp and Mary Ann Sharp.  They were married in at the Episcopal Church in Plain City, Weber, Utah on 11 May 1879.

Milo is currently a farmer in Plain City.

The couple will make their home in Plain City.

Just trying to write these first three paragraphs was not easy with this family.  So many twists and turns with each individual name makes it difficult to find the proper wording and fashion to form the sentences.

I struggled on whether to call Mary Ann by her other known name, Lillian Musgrave.  After marriage, she was known as Lilly M Sharp.  Mary Ann was born 24 February 1861 at in Reading, Berkshire, England.  The family was likely living at 18 Albert Street within St. Mary’s Parish.  She was the fifth and last child (some show her as the 6th of 7 children though) of William Stoker, a journeyman saddler working in Reading, and Emma Eames.  Emma contracted tuberculosis (listed as phthisis on the death certificate) and passed away 28 April 1863 at the same address after a year struggle with the disease.  Mary Ann never knew her mother.  Her father and older sister (Alice) joined the LDS church 27 May 1863.  Her older brother, William Thomas, eleven years her senior, had joined 5 December 1860.

The family wasted no time in gathering to Zion.  The Stoker family departed from London on a ship called “Amazon” 4 June 1863.  George Q Cannon dedicated the ship which was entirely of Saints (880+) headed for Zion.  It was this same ship that Charles Dickens wrote that the Mormons were not taking misfits and scoundrels, but the “pick and flower” of England.  Even George Sutherland, future U.S. Supreme Court Justice was on this ship.  Here is a link to the story by Charles Dickens: The Uncommercial Traveller.  The LDS church also tells of the story that day at this link: Amazon Departure.  The ship sailed to Liverpool before finally heading out for America.  Elijah Larkin, who would help found Larkin Mortuary, noted that on the 16th and 20th of June, Thomas Stoker was administered to due to a sickness since leaving Liverpool.

The “Amazon” landed at Castle Gardens, New York, New York on 18 July 1863.  The Saints took rail to Albany, Albany, New York and then to Florence, Douglas, Nebraska through Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.  From there they hoofed it on to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory arriving 3 and 4 October 1863 (depending on which of the two companies), just in time for General Conference.  Several of the company wrote of Brigham Young coming out to greet them and giving them advice.

William moved almost immediately to Ogden, Weber, Utah and set up shop working with leather.  William wasted no time in remarrying to Eliza Sinfield in Ogden 18 May 1864.  While Mary Ann is listed as a child for William and Eliza on the 1870 Census, she was actually living with George Augustus and Victorine Jane Dix Musgrave.  She is listed with their family on the 1870 Census as well.  Additionally, the other children from this first marriage were also being raised by other families.  Family lore indicates that William and Eliza could not afford to raise these older children and farmed them out to families that could afford to take care of them.  Other evidence points that they were not all that poor, but it is not likely we will ever really know.  Here are three of the sisters later in life.

l-r: Mary Ann Stoker Sharp, Jeanette Stoker Rogers, Henrietta Stoker Weston

Mary Ann was raised by George and Victorine Musgrave.  She knew who her real father was, but had no real childhood memories of him.  George Musgrave was a school teacher and musician in Plain City.  George and Victorine were unable to have children and Mary Ann was probably a welcome addition in their home.  Victorine had also been adopted.  Although not formally adopted, George and Victorine called her Lillian Musgrave, but she grew nicknamed Lilly.  The rest of her life she went by Lilly and took the Musgrave as her middle name after she married with the obvious middle initial “M”.  Here is a picture of Victorine Jane Dix Musgrave.  Her son, Austin, even lists his mother’s name as Lillee Musgrave.

George and Victorine knew music and taught school.  Naturally, Lilly was taught the same.  She ended up participating in the second dramatic association in Plain City.  Some of their shows put on were, “Mistletoe Bough,” “Mickle Earl,” “Maniac Lover,” “Fruits of the Wind Cup,” “Streets of New York,” “The Two Galley Slaves,” “The Rough Diamond,” “Earnest Mall Travers,” and “Ten Knights in a Bar Room.”

All was not well in Zion during these years in Plain City.  Family lore has it that when a Bishop (Lewis Shurtleff, branch president 1870-1877, bishop 1877-1883) extended himself beyond what the members felt was right, these families made sure it was known.  The final straw came when Bishop Shurleff started telling the members what they would give as tithing.  These were not just on the fringe members, but good standing members of the church in the area.  William Sharp (Lilly’s future father-in-law) began construction on St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in 1877 for many of these disaffected members (Still standing today and owned by the Lions in Plain City).  For whatever reason a significant group of members were excommunicated between 1877 and 1882.  Many of Plain City’s leading members were excommunicated.  Excommunicated 31 January 1879 were William Sharp (the same who built the new church), Mary Ann Sharp (William’s ex-wife, divorced in 1876, Lilly’s future mother-in-law), William Skeen, Edwin Dix, George Musgrave (Lilly’s adopted father), Thomas Musgrave, Thomas Singleton, Thomas Davis, George W Harris, Jonathan Moyes, John Moyes, Winfield Spiers, James Wadman, Robert Davis, John Davis, and Thomas Robson.  These lists also have “and wife” as well as “and family” which seems to indicate that this list may have included spouses and families.  Mary Ann Sharp (Lilly’s future mother-in-law) is the only woman, but perhaps because the rest were representing their families, where with the recent divorce she was not represented by William.  Many of these families returned to the church after time away, some individuals never did.

While Lilly’s name is not on the list, she was probably classified with the Musgrave family.  We do not have any record of her baptism, but she was with the Musgrave family attending the newly established St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  Although it seems Victorine Musgrave was excommunicated, she continued active with LDS Relief Society (or she was not excommunicated).  It was during this time, Lilly also come to fall in love with Milo Riley Sharp.  William Sharp, with the assistance of Milo, had also helped build the Musgrave’s new home.  In St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, J. S. Gellogly married Milo and Lilly on 11 May 1879.

 

Milo Riley Sharp

 

Milo Riley Sharp was born 23 Jul 1857 in Lehi, Utah, Utah.  He was the fourth of six children born to William and Mary Ann Bailey Sharp.  Mary Ann did have a child, Lorenzo Padley, from a previous marriage in which she was widowed.  William and Mary Ann Sharp immigrated to Utah in 1853 after joining the LDS church in 1848 and 1846 respectively.  At first they were sent to Lehi but had a number of issues with range for the cattle and some other minor squabbles.  Water was also not found to be very dependable in the Lehi area.  William learned of land north near Ogden that was going to be opened up from some of the Saints passing through Lehi (abandoning Salt Lake City before the arrival of Johnson’s Army).  These Lehi Saints were told of ample land and good water that was available west of Ogden.  A scouting expedition went to search out the area in the fall of 1858 and visited with Lorin Farr who told them of the available plain to the west.  You can read more of his parents at: Sharp-Bailey Wedding.

The Sharp family left with other Lehi Saints on 10 March 1859 to travel to this new area.  The group arrived 17 March 1859 at what is present day Plain City.  William Sharp put his carpentry and masonry skills to work making adobe brick and helping build the first homes in Plain City.  In one of these first adobe brick homes is where Milo Riley grew up.  William served in the Plain City band, the Plain City Z.C.M.I. board, a builder, and a city leader.  Milo’s little sister, Evelyn, was the first girl born in Plain City in October 1859.

Milo’s mother, Mary Ann Bailey Sharp, moved out on Christmas Eve 1875 and refused to come back to William.  William sued for divorce and Franklin D. Richards granted the divorce (in probate court) on 19 May 1876.

Milo Riley Sharp as a young man

As mentioned earlier, the Sharp’s also had a falling out with the LDS church and were excommunicated the same day as the Musgrave family.  Since there were not loads of people in Plain City, Lilly and Milo knew each other.  The conditions in the community, their respective families excommunication, probably help to forge the commonalities they had and led to their marriage.

Milo kept busy working with his father building homes and other masonry and carpentry work.  He also had time to play first base at baseball and played on Plain City’s first baseball team.  The team could beat all the other northern Utah teams except Salt Lake.

The marriage of Milo and Lilly eventually produced a quiver of 12 children.  Milo Ray on 29 February 1880.  George was born 2 August 1881 and passed the same day.  Effie was born 6 June 1882 and died 6 September 1883.  Delwin arrived 30 June 1884.  Ernest and Austin came 7 Jan 1886.  Edward William appeared 25 October 1887.  Victorine showed 23 November 1889 and later married Fredrick Lawrence Hunt.  Mary Irene materialized 26 June 1892 and married Oscar “Os” Child Richardson.  Edith dawned 4 February 1895 and married Clements Richard Martin.  Ethel was born 9 April 1898 and I have written of her at this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.  Emily appeared 5 April 1900 and quickly extinguished 31 July 1900.  Nine of the children lived to adulthood and 8 of those married and had children.

Mary, Lillie (Mary Ann), Ethel (baby), Victorine, Edith (in front) Sharp

Milo built a new home for the family early on so the family had room to grow.  He added to it as more room was needed as you can see in this photo.  We do not know the year it was originally built, but we know the children after 1888 were born in this home.  The home’s address is 2897 N. 4200 W. in Plain City.

Milo successfully farmed all of these years.  He kept busy with civic affairs.  He was elected constable of Plain City on the Republican ticket in 1891.  In 1893, he sat on a committee to investigate the incorporating of Plain City, although it was not incorporated until 1944 with grandson William Albert Sharp serving on the town board.  Milo and Lilly were singers and continued to play in the Plain City bands.  Lilly was also well-known for her poetry.  In 1911, Milo finished building a new home, pictured below (address is 2771 N. 4200 W. in Plain City).  Milo farmed hard until he caught influenza and eventually pneumonia passing away at the early age of 59 at 9:30 a.m. 24 June 1916 at his sister’s home, Victoria Maw, who lived at 5 Warren Court (which I believe may now be Warren Row or Lane in Ogden).  His funeral was held in the little church he helped his father build, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on 27 June 1916.

Lilly lived in this home until she passed away in 1935.  Her son, Ernest Sharp, never married and helped take care of her and then lived the rest of his life in the home (he died in 1967).  Milo James Ross, Lilly’s grandson, purchased the home at that time and later transferred it to his daughter, Caroline.

Lilly kept a clean home.  The grandsons were taught to stop by every time they passed, especially to and from school.  This permitted dishes to be washed, wood to be hauled, and wood to be split.  Lilly had a strict regimen for cleaning pots, dishes, and pans (especially bedpans).  This included the outdoor pump station, even with lye to remove odors.  The boys knew to take special care not to make a mess when carrying fire wood or in any other way on entering the home.  The gate was always to be closed, whether coming or going.  While this might seem stern, she always opened the door for those coming and going and gave them a warm smile.

Mary Ann Stoker Sharp

Mary Ann Stoker Sharp

Lilly often made bread, keeping her own live yeast, often from warm potato water.  She had her own milk separator and used it.  The boys helped make butter and she treated the boys to buttermilk and warm bread.  She would also warm apples in the oven to share or dried fruit.  She kept a full root cellar with homemade cured meats, dried fruits, and bottled vegetables.  The Sharp family had onions that could be used to flavor soups and other needs.  Many of the family still grow these onions even until today.  Many mushrooms and water crest were gathered too.

Lilly often had kind words and a warm, gracious smile.  She kept a small table in the pantry where she brushed her teeth with salt, baking soda, and a bar of soap.  The bucket was always there with a drinking cup and a ladle to draw water.  She was thin and tall.  She wore long dresses from her neck to her feet with shoes that went up about six inches.  She kept her hair rolled in the back of her head held with a comb with long teeth.  If she was not thin enough, she wore a corset to make her look even smaller.  She was very neat and proud in her appearance.

She kept a spinning wheel in the home for the times when she would spin wool into thread.  She also had the grandsons help turn her mattress from time to time.  She did not leave the house much in her later years unless she had a ride, but even then did not stay long before going home.  It was clear she enjoyed watching her grandchildren.  The last decade or so of her life, she had to use a hearing tube to hear.  Some of her grandchildren joked that it was like using the telephone, just you could see who was on the other end.

Lilly passed at 10:55 p.m. at her daughter’s home, Victorine Hunt, 6 May 1935 of hypertension with chronic major carditis and pneumonia.  She had remained faithfully active in the Episcopal Church until she could not get around very much.  Later in life she needed assistance as she could not walk very far.  Her funeral was held in the Plain City LDS chapel with Rev. John W. Hyslop officiating on 9 May 1935.  She was buried with Milo in the Plain City Cemetery.

Raymond Draper, Caroline Ross Gallegos, Milo Ross

Walkden, England

Just a quick and short update.  I uploaded photos from Scotland this morning.  I hope you find them interesting.  We will see how many more photos it will let me upload for the month.

We are now staying with the Gore family in Walkden.  We arrived later than anticipated after a day of visiting in Runcorn.  We attended church in the Runcorn Ward at the local community center since their building burned down a while back.  It was good to see so many people and that we received such a hearty welcome.  We did go visit a number of families while there.  A couple of which include the Campbell (and Young), Fleming, McWilliam, Johnson, Byrom and more.  A couple of families were not home so we did not visit with them.  It was sure good to be back in Runcorn, despite the fact that you have to drive around in circles to get anywhere you want to go.  Busways might be spectacular, but at the sacrifice of the drivers!

Saturday we made another trip into Liverpool.  The only thing really to mention is that we got lost and had lunch with Gheorghe and Claire Simion family.  Gheorghe was one of my mission companions.  We spent nearly four hours with him and his good wife.  It was convenient he lives in Liverpool now as he was originally from Romania.  It was a great meeting.

We are off to Hyde and Disley today.

Chester, England

Some of you have already noticed, but I uploaded a whole lot of photos yesterday.  About 250 actually were in the batch.  It includes the rest of the photos from Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France.  I did not upload any photos from Scotland or England.  They will have to wait for the next chance I get.

We are now staying with the Byrom family in Runcorn, England.  Today we went to Chester and walked the walls.  We went through the cathedral and went down the main shopping streets.  It was a beautiful day for what we were doing.  We quite enjoyed ourselves.  We each had a pasty and a vanilla finger.  She liked it but it was too much.

We stopped by Ellesmere Port on the way home at a outlet mall.  We picked out a couple of suits and bought them.  However, we were not convinced we had the best deal so we took them back.  For as much money as we were paying, I didn’t absolutely love the suits.  With our buyers remorse, we took them back.  Interestingly, on the way out, we stumbled upon another store.  I found better quality suits that were on sale for almost half of the cost for the other two suits.  Hands down, Amanda and I both liked the second store over the first.  Now I have some new suits, one of the reasons I wanted to come back to Europe.

We had dinner this evening, some amazing lasagna.  Rose has always made great lasagna.  Afterward, Rose, Amanda, and I went to visit an older lady I taught on the mission.  She was such a sweet soul and she proved to be the same.  We have all aged, but the sociality has not diminished or changed with time.  I think Amanda quite enjoyed Jane Young and her quaint little home in the English countryside.

Yesterday, we had dinner with Jack and Brenda Millington from Howe Bridge.  Jack used to cook us as missionaries some wonderful homemade pot pies.  Visiting with him on Sunday, he offered to make me and Amanda one.  We agreed and met with them yesterday.  The pot pie was as wonderful as ever, boiled cabbage, and homemade trifle.  We really had some good laughs.  Jack even sent us off with a couple of parting gifts.

There are so many people that nearly 10 years have changed nothing.  We don’t always remember each other’s names, but the feelings are still the same.  Memories seem to come back quickly, surprisingly.  What will heaven be like?

Jewish Jerusalem

There is one subject that always draws the attention of any Christian, well one that knows any Old Testament and New Testament history is the restoration of the Jews.  For the most part, restoration has ceased to be a naughty word in our generation.  While most Christians now use the term ‘revival’ it has a similar meaning.  But the restoration of the Jews is one most Christians are well aware.  They and we know that the Savior’s second coming will come after their restoration to Jerusalem.  It is one of those signs we are supposed to know.  Accordingly, most have watched for the day and have even done what they could to expedite the process.  In that vein, here is a scripture I find revealing in the Book of Mormon.
“But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.  Wherefore, because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations” (2 Nephi 10:5-6).
There is little debate this part of the sermon by Jacob has taken place.  They have surely known destruction, famine, pestilence, and the most horrid bloodshed.  The latest of which took place in the past century.  Even before then, the scattering was well under way.  If it were not for the scattering, Hitler probably would not have had so many opportunities to shed their blood.  We see the Crusades and innumerable other attacks on Jerusalem from a variety of people. Christians through the ages have recognized the need of the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land.
Over the centuries attempt after attempt has been made to relocate them back.  The Crimean war is a great example.  The French and Russians claimed it their prerogative to convert them and protect them. The Latter-day Saints recognized a different responsibility upon their shoulders.  They were to gather in Israel.  However, the Jew was to be last.  2 Nephi gives us another twist on the take from normal Christianity.
“But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance” (vs 7).
An interesting question arises here.  Who, or which of their fathers was this covenant made to?  What is more interesting is that this restoration is not supposed to start until they shall believe in Christ.  How much do they have to believe?  How many have to believe to start this gathering?  Who will start this process?  They don’t appear to believe yet, so have we really seen much of a gathering yet?
Then comes something more instructive, “And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance.  Yea, the kings of the Gentiles shall be nursing fathers unto them, and their queens shall become nursing mothers; wherefore, the promises of the Lord are great unto the Gentiles, for he hath spoken it, and who can dispute?” (2 Nephi 10:8-9).
They shall be gathered in from their scattering by the nations of the Gentiles.  America and Britain definitely fall into this category.  Indeed, the leaders of these Gentile nations shall nurse them because the Lord has so abundantly blessed these nations.  What an interesting observation.  We certainly know many nations have aided in the return of the Jew to their inheritance lands.  How much has this been completed?  We do not know.
On a tangent, Jacob then goes on to say there will be no kings over this nation or land, and that this land is the decreed land of Zion.  None, Jew or Gentile, shall fight against this land and prosper.  A most interesting light considering the scriptures where different nations may lead this land, but there will be no kings, and nobody will ultimately conquer it.  He also states how the seed of Lehi will be afflicted in the land. Anyhow, back to the Jews, I cannot help but think of some comments by Brigham Young.
“The decree has gone forth from the Almighty that they cannot have the benefit of the atonement until they gather to Jerusalem, for they said, let His blood be upon us and upon our children, consequently, they cannot believe in him until his second coming.  We have a great desire for their welfare, and are looking for the time soon to come when they will gather to Jerusalem, build up the city and the land of Palestine, and prepare for the coming of the Messiah.  When he comes again, he will not come as he did when the Jews rejected him; neither will he appear first at Jerusalem when he makes his second appearance on the earth; but he will appear first on the land where he commenced his work in the beginning, and planted the garden of Eden, and that was done in the land of America.  When the Savior visits Jerusalem, and the Jews look upon him, and see the wounds in his hands and in his side and in his feet, they will then know that they have persecuted and put to death the true Messiah, and then will they acknowledge him, but not till then.  They have confounded his first and second coming, expecting his first coming to be as a mighty prince instead of as a servant.  They will go back by and by to Jerusalem and own their Lord and Master.  We have no feelings against them.  I wish they were all gentlemen, men of heart and brain, and knew precisely how the Lord looks upon them” (JD 11:279).
The restoration of the Jews had not commenced yet when Brigham stated those words.    They will return to rebuild Jerusalem before he will return.  The Gentiles will take them back, but their conversion will not start.
“Jerusalem is not to be redeemed by the by the soft still voice of the Preacher of the Gospel of Peace.  Why?  Because they were once the blessed of the Lord, the Chosen of the Lord, the promised seed.  They were the people from among whom should spring the Messiah; and salvation could only be found through that tribe.  The Messiah came through them, and they killed him; and they will be the last of all the seed of Abraham to have the privilege of receiving the New and Everlasting Covenant.  You may hand out to them gold, you may feed and clothe them, but it is impossible to convert the Jews, until the Lord God Almighty does it” (JD 2:142).
“This American continent will be Zion; for it is so spoken of by the prophets.  Jerusalem will be rebuilt and will be the place of gathering, and the tribe of Judah will gather there; but this continent of America is the land of Zion” (JD 5:4).

Tribulations contemplated….

An excerpt of an e-mail with friends about tribulation and the different ways people deal with it.

After thinking about excommunicated Bishop Young, your Steve, and Uncle (that is what I will call him, your friend’s uncle) this is what I have come up with.  I think I hinted at some of it.

“And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father.  And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them” (1 Ne 2:12).

People murmur because they know not God.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” (Philip 2:14).

“And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; belessed be the name of the Lord.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:21-22).

The Lord gives, and he takes away.  Nowhere am I aware that the promise is given that our family will not wander.  It is not given that they have not their agency or the natural course of events don’t take place.  All people get sick, all have sufferings, all have difficulties; no matter how faithful they are.  Look at Christ, look at Joseph Smith, look at Joseph of old, look at Job, and the list goes on.

So I have been thinking about this quite a bit, obviously as I e-mailed you about it.

“And when the people complained it displeased the Lord; and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp” (Num 11:1).

In reading the whole eleventh chapter of Numbers I think of these people I know.  They want meat, they want water, they want this, and they want that.  It just never is good enough for them.  Then when something goes wrong, they are the first ones to point a finger.  It doesn’t seem like it is God to me.  Seems like it is the person.  I mean, we are talking of Israel here, keeping the law of Moses here and very strict.  Even they in the midst of obedience seems to have something awry and still struggle.

I have come to personally believe that being righteous does not remove bad things from happening.  It in a sense takes you above the low, mean, and doggerel.  It gives the buena vista, the grand picture.  Bad things still happen.  Not that I am righteous by any means, but look at my life.  Look at my family.  Not that we are saints, but we are no more sinners than the rest, but we have our share of woes.  Don’t we all.  It is all how we view them.  Do we live by faith?

If we don’t know or understand the Lord’s way, then we complain and murmur.  It is just a given.  When we seek the Lord and his ways, then we live by the comforter, and knowing all will workout.  Peace innervates our lives.

This hit home tonight in reading the scriptures.  “His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.  From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.  For thus saith the Lord – I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.  Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.”

So, those who are faithful and serve God, they will have their reward, and will be filled with peace and light.  What is more is how the Lord continues.  “And to them shall I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.  Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.  And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.  For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will – yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man” (D&C 76:3-10).

I think that is easily applicable to Bishop Young, Brother Steve, and Uncle.  Those who are faithful and serve God (faithful and serve!) will be filled with peace and light.  They will know the mysteries, and I think that includes the mysteries of their family.  FOR MANY GENERATIONS, their wisdom shall be great.

Remember, those who know the dealings of that God who created them will not murmur.  So, if they were living the above, not only would they know concerning their family, but they would know the mysteries of God and not be murmuring and complaining to begin with.  Their family’s apostasy/inadequacies would be viewed in the proper perspective.

What is more, don’t forget this promise, “Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance” (Alma 26:22).

It seems to me that if we are faithful, repenting, and praying continually without ceasing, our family would not go astray.  However, if they did, we would have the mysteries revealed unto us, at least that all would be well and we are doing what we can.

Divorces take two, so it may not have been his fault he was divorced.  It may not have been his fault that his children divorced.  But if he really had a burning testimony, his covenants would have kept him from leaving the church.  Perhaps this was his trial to test his faith.  “Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son” (D&C 101:4).  It seems Uncle lost his chastening and trying, for when he came to offer up his family on the altar, he fell away into forbidden paths and was lost.

I am surprised how many people seem to be outwardly doing what they are supposed to, but then don’t do the basics.  Like the whole praying and scripture study.  “They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble” (D&C 101:7).

Your friend recited off his accomplishments like they were credits to be raked in for the redemption when needed.  That is not the way it works.  It is what we become, not what we have done.  The Lord tests us when we have nothing to rest on.  The church exacerbated the problems, that shows he and her family were not viewing this with an eye to faith.  Doesn’t matter which church for that matter.  “Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men” (D&C 3:3).  He seems a little frustrated in his work, who was he working for?  If he was working for God, he obviously wasn’t in constant communication otherwise he would have known for what purpose, or that this was the Lord’s purpose.  How narrow sighted to blame the loss of his own eternity on the church or his family.  The Lord giveth and he taketh away.  The promise is that we may have these things in eternity, I know nowhere the promise is that we have the promise to keep them while in this life.  “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matt 19:29).  We have to be willing to give them all up at any time.

So, now that I have thoroughly torn the person apart, what does an outsider say?  Well this seems the given of missionary work.  What do we say to anyone anywhere?  “And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers.  And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost” (D&C 19:30-31).  “And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.  Amen” (D&C 15:6).

Why is it that we feel we have to convince people of the truth?  Why do we feel we need to coax people into repentance?  Isn’t that the Spirit’s job?  Aren’t we to work by the patterns of the spirit?  Just tell it like it is?  He needs to repent and come back to the Savior.  Back to the Lord’s supper table, the Sacrament.  He needs to return and keep the covenants he made, or make them.  He needs to believe the gospel and walk in its light.  Who cares if his wife and family go to hell.  That is their choice.  We can only do so much.  We can warn them and carry the spirit to them as well.  That is between the Lord and them.

“Verily, I say unto you that ye are chosen out of the world to declare my gospel with the sound of rejoicing, as with the voice of a trump.  Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom” (D&C 29:4-5).  We are to raise our voice and declare it.  How many missionaries ruined a convert by trying to convince them?  Get the Spirit to manifest to them, then you have got something.  Then the fun things happen.  “If it be some other way it is not of God”

Anyhow, it seems obvious what it is we must do.  Live and continue to be examples of the Savior.  That is it.  The issue is on his side.  The church, the prophets, the scriptures, the word (Spirit, revelation, even Christ) have been neglected in these individual’s lives.  “And all they who receive the oracles (this is more than just a person, it is the instruments, the wisdom, the whole apparatus of the church) of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house (and the family in the house)” (D&C 90:5).

Let our friends be our lesson.  Let us learn from their example.  Let us do what they have not done, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness, shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more” (D&C 78:19).

“Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering out of the hands of their enemies (which he has promised to some extent); softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.  And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him” (Hel 12:2-3).

Not so much that the difficulties don’t come and go, but more our recognition of their passing.  Are we Teflon individuals spiritually, or do they increase and increase our drag until we fall to the earth from our lofty spheres of flying with angels?  The rugged terrain is always there, just how we endure it.

So what must we all do?  Live the gospel.  Read daily.  Pray morning, noon, and night.  Attend our church meetings.  Keep the Sabbath.  Maintain and keep the Spirit.

The old cry comes up incessantly, “it is so hard to do!”  Well, as long as we are that weak in faith, that is how long we will continue with the struggles and not have the mysteries continually lain before our eyes.  It is our decision.

One last thought that just popped in.  Uncle needs to be careful that he is doing his part with the Lord, and not just leaving the rest to family, friends, and ward members.  Perhaps part of the problem is he left the Lord out too much in his dealings.  “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; and enquired not of the Lord; therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse” (1 Chr 10:13-14).

We must be careful we do not do the same thing.  We can discuss this all the day long, but we must make sure we are keeping the word of the Lord, and seeking our counsel first to the Lord.  Then to our friends.  This applies to us, and to Uncle.

Good night.

27 Aug Talk

Since there are those who wish to know about the talk on Sunday, here you go. This is the outline of quotes I had on Saturday night. I completely reordered and changed emphasis of the talk after Sunday morning prayers. I used the scripture, Jacob 4:6-8, for the scripture and about continuing revelation. The power that comes to us through the word. That power is to be used in the mission of the church, including the three part break down of that mission, and then moved into the role that priesthood has in it. So hand in hand, I only gave 1/3 of what is here in the outline, and it was by no means all at the beginning. Due to time constraints, at about the 20 minute mark I was only getting into the priesthood part, and had to end. So, I really only spoke about faith, power, and the mission of the church, with a few hints at the role of the priesthood, but by no means whatsoever doing it justice. In fact, I don’t feel I even tied in the priesthood because of my trying to insert it and end. Throughout the talk I emphasized parts of Jacob 4:6-8 (which was quite powerful because I had it memorized) and finished with it as well.Perfecting the Saints/Priesthood

D&C 19:31-32 “And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but hou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost. Behold, this is a great and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter, for this shall suffice for thy daily walk, even unto the end of thy life.”

D&C 6:9 “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.”

D&C 15:6 “And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.”

D&C 19:4 “And surely every man (or woman) must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless.”

D&C 29:49 “And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent?”

President Ezra Taft Benson, “The grand mission of the church is accomplished by proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead”

Often wondered, can one be done with the exclusion of another? These are all parts of the mission to bring souls to Christ. We cannot achieve the whole, without doing all the parts.

James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

D&C 50:28 “But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin. And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.”

President Brigham Young: Some of you may ask, is there a single ordinance to be dispensed with? Is there one of the commandments that God has enjoined upon the people, that he will excuse them from obeying? Not one, no matter how trifling or small in our own estimation. No matter if we esteem them non-essential, or least or last of all the commandments of the house of God, we under obligation to observe them.

All parts of the mission of the church are constantly before us.

President Brigham Young: I never passed John Wesley’s church in London without stopping to look at it. Was he a good man? Yes, I suppose him to have been, by all accounts, as good as ever walked on this earth, according to this knowledge. Has he obtained a rest? Yes, and greater than ever entered his mind to expect, and so have thousands of others of the various religious denominations. Why could he not build up the kingdom of God on the earth? He had not the Priesthood; that was all the difficulty he labored under. Had the Priesthood been conferred upon him, he would have built up the kingdom of God in his day as it is now being built up. He would have introduced the ordinances, powers, grades, and quorums of the Priesthood. But, not holding the Priesthood, he could not do it (JD 7:5)

What is the Priesthood? Power of God given to man? What does that mean?

D&C 84:33, 35-39 “For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.”

When we receive this priesthood, we also receive the father’s kingdom, which means we receive his work. If we do not his work, we receive not his kingdom. The work of God is to bring the power of the atonement into the lives of his children.

President Joseph Smith: God imself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself.

President Gordon B. Hinckley: The cause in which we are engaged is not an ordinary cause. It is the cause of Christ. It is the kingdom of God our Eternal Father. It is the building of Zion on the earth. If we are to build that Zion of which the prophets have spoken and of which the Lord has given mighty promise, we must set aside our consuming selfishness. We must rise above our love for comfort and ease, and in the very process of effort and struggle, even in our extremity, we shall become better acquainted with our God.

We need to be humble!

President Ezra Taft Benson: God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble.

We need to put first things first!

President Brigham Young: Stop! Wait! When you get up in the morning, before you suffer yourselves to eat one mouthful of food…bow down before the Lord, ask him to forgive your sins, and protect you through the day, to preserve you from temptation and all evil, to guide your steps aright, that you may do something that day that shall be beneficial to the kingdom of God on the earth. Have you time to do this?…this is the counsel I have for the Latter-day Saints today. Stop! Do not be in a hurry…you are in too much of a hurry, you do not go to meeting enough, you do not read the scriptures enough, you do not meditate enough, you are all the time on the wing, and in such a hurry that you do not know what to do first…Let me reduce this to a simple saying, one of the most simple and homely that can be used ‘keep your dish right side up’ so that when the shower of porridge does come you can catch your dish full.”

We need to learn our duty!

President Joseph F. Smith: We expect to see the day, if we live long enough,…when every council of the Priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will understand its duty, will assume its own responsibility,…to the uttermost, according to the intelligence and ability possessed by it. When that day shall come there will not be so much necessity for work that is now being done by the auxiliary organizations, because it will be done by the regular quorums of the Priesthood. The Lord designed and comprehended it from the beginning, and He has made every provision in the Church whereby every need may be met and satisfied through the regular organizations of the Priesthood (CR, Apr 1906, 3).

We need to have the Spirit!

(Feb 1847) President Joseph Smith to President Brigham Young: Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach you how to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other Spirits; it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife, and all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness, and build up the kingdom of God. Tell the brethren if they will follow the Spirit of the Lord they will go right. Be sure to tell the people to keep the Spirit of the Lord; and if they will, they will find themselves just as they were organized by our Father in Heaven before they came into the world. Tell the people to be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord and follow it, and it will lead them just right.

We need to accept our callings!

President Brigham Young: Do you suppose that after a man has refused to fulfill his calling, he can maintain the Spirit of truth and stand? He cannot? They say they believe Joseph Smith was a prophet raised up to establish the work of the last days, and bring forth the Book of Mormon, and thus they deceived.

We need to recognize our Priesthood leaders and have a testimony of them!

President Brigham Young: I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way? Let every man and woman, know by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not (JD 9:150).

The Priesthood holds the power of eternity!

President Joseph Fielding Smith: There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith…no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God (DoS, v1, pg 180).

President Brigham Young: No man or woman in the dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith…every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith Junior as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are (JD 7:289).

President Brigham Young: Madam, I have this day examined the records of baptisms for the remission of sins in the church of Jesus Chrsit of Latter-day Saints, and not being able to find the name of Elizabeth Green recorded therein, I was saved the necessity of erasing your name therefrom. You may therefore consider your sins have not been remitted you and you may consequently enjoy the benefits therefrom.

President Harold B. Lee: Now…remember, that the most important of the Lord’s work that you will ever do will be the work you will do within the walls of your own home. Home teaching, bishopric’s work, and other Church duties are all important, but the most important work is within the walls of your home (Strengthening the Home movie text, pg 7)

President Hugh B. Brown: The very foundation of the kingdom of God, of righteousness, of progress, of development, of eternal life, and eternal increase in the kingdom of God is laid in the divinely ordained home (CR, 2 Oct 1966, pg 103-4).

Our family is formally extended through the duty of the Priesthood, not a calling, of home teaching!

President Harold B. Lee: Maybe the home teacher should be charged more clearly to describe his mission to watch over and to strengthen to see that members do their duty…They think themselves as teachers of the Gospel message only. Maybe we ought to be calling them home guardians or sentinels and to report their stewardship to the fathers of the ward. We must do something to change the emphasis from teaching to guardians, ‘watching over the church kind of concept.’ Until we get that into our minds, we are not going to do the kind of home teaching that is going to get results.

Spencer W. Kimball: Is it any wonder that the organization and work of the Church and its priesthood in this day are patterned after the keys it possesses? We are a missionary Church, participating to the fullest possible extent in the gathering of Israel. We are a Church founded upon families; a Church that takes care of its own, stressing the economic, intellectual, and spiritual development of its families and individual members in preparation for salvation in the kingdom of heaven. And we are a Church that is actively engaged in temple and genealogy work for ourselves and for the infinite numbers of our Father’s children who have the promise, but not as yet the opportunity, for the ordinances of salvation. This is a work that makes even more meaningful the great corresponding missionary work being carried out in the spirit world. (Ensign, Jan 1977, 3)