Friday, March 02, 2007

Meg's Book - Chapter XXXI - Migrations

Trivia - Mormon settlements in the 1800's were based on 'assignment' rather than personal choice. Brigham Young was the master of this spreading of the Church to fill the intermountain west.

Foreshadowing the next chapter, Brigham was unapologetic that his Deseret was a theocracy. While folks in Washington were wrong to attribute malevolent motives to Brigham's behavior, it is true that Brigham was setting up a large swath of the west loyal to a religion of which he was head, separating the United States from the riches of California and the other ore-rich western states, and making full use of every fertile woman to produce baby Mormons at an appalling rate. It didn't help that there was some verbiage prophesying that one day the constitution of the United States would hang by a thread and Mormons would be there to save the day - a statement that was mere oral history until 1970 and that has been misinterpreted to imply that Mormons planned to overthrow the US government [e.g., in the introduction and much of the text of the anti-Mormon book "One Nation Under Gods" by Richard Abanes [2003]). I don't know that this misinterpretation fueled the decision by the ante-bellum United States to station a plurality of its armed forces in Brigham's territory, but it seems plausible.


daughterofheaven said...

Having mentioned the 'Hanging by a thread' thing, here is a more thorough followup from D. Calvin Andrus, 26 Oct 1996 (online at available 2 Mar 2007)


QUESTION: Who said, "The constitution will hang by a thread, and it will be saved by the Elders of Israel?"

SHORT ANSWER: These are Harold B. Lee's words based on John Taylor's extrapolation of Brigham Young's and Orson Hyde's expression of an idea originating with Joseph Smith.

LONG ANSWER: Joseph Smith gave a talk on 19 July 1840. The only known journal account of this speech was made by Martha Jane Knowlton. Her journal did not surface publicly until the 1970's. She records The Prophet saying,

"Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground; and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean; and they shall bear the constitution away from the very verge of destruction. " [spelling and punctuation modernized] (Dean C. Jessee, "The Historian's Corner" BYU Studies Vol. 19, No. 3, Spring 1979, p. 392)

Until the 1970's the only published accounts of the speech were given by Brigham Young and Orson Hyde, 14 and 18 years after the fact, respectively...

Pat said...

As usual I enjoyed your insight into what must be very obscure things. I found that when working with genealogy records much can be learned from simple things like names and dates. I did some demography studies at the Family History Center for a graduate course back in the 1980s on records from Jemez, New Mexico. After hours of transcribing names and dates of baptisms, deaths and marriages I began to form a fairly comprehensive picture of the people and their lives.

jg said...

I have read two of the last three chapters (I couldn't open the previous one) and much better!! Enjoyed them. I need to get some time to read the previous score and then discuss with you.

Black pearls sound like we are
spending too much!

ktb said...

I enjoyed the chapter very much. Jonathan's use of Elvira's face as a hand warmer brought back memories of my grandmother telling about when her Dad would come home from work in the winter on his carriage. His wife (my great grandmother) had died years earlier from pneumonia, so it was his kids that would line up inside at the door to greet him. My grandmother said that she had very long hair, and that he would come in and warm his hands on her head. She had good memories of him, and of his doing that.

In the third paragraph down, you might want to consider introducing White Sarah in a different manner. When I first read through that paragraph, I thought you might have meant 'while Sarah', but then caught on to the portion of the sentence noting White Sarah was Miles' first wife. The mind is a wonderful matched filter, but will often interpret without accounting for all the information if it is unusual or not expected.

daughterofheaven said...

Does this work?

"Elvira looked out the window at the snow covered ground. Jonathan had taken Sarah back down to the Weaver home in Provo to be with Miles’ other widow, and her four children. Like Ruth choosing to stay with Naomi. Except Miles’ other widow wasn’t Sarah’s mother-in-law. Miles’ own mother had died at Winter Quarters. But Miles had three brothers who might become Boaz to Sarah’s Ruth. Jonathan had promised he would speak with the brothers about caring for the two widows. The two Sarahs. Elvira had been horrified to learn that the neighbors called them ‘White Sarah’ and ‘Black Sarah’ to differentiate between them in conversation. But she had come to use the term “White Sarah” herself to refer to Sarah’s sister-wife."

ktb said...

Your book, so please do not let me write it, but if I were to modify it, I might do as follows: "Elvira looked out the window at the snow covered ground. Jonathan had taken Sarah back down to the Weaver home in Provo to be with Miles’ other widow Sarah, nicknamed White Sarah to avoid confusion, and her four children. Like Ruth choosing to stay with Naomi. Except White Sarah wasn’t Sarah’s mother-in-law."

jl said...

I am finally reading the last two chapters you sent....

I am a bit lost. Two Sarahs? Jonathan was taking Sarah back to white Sarah? Is this their daughter Sarah? When did she get married? Did I miss this? Is it implied? Or is this a totally different Sarah? Maybe it is clear and I am just not getting it. Sorry. How old is their daughter Sarah in this chapter? How old is John? He was just a toddler in the last chapter. Now he is going off to help settle an area?

Also, just to keep things straight: Elvira says she has four children with the fifth on the way: Sarah, John Hendrick (s) ( In one chapter he was John Hendricks and in the last, he was Hendrick), Phebe, Marietta, and then Emma. Correct?

I read the comments. I would agree that the White Sarah thing was interesting to read the first time, but I caught on instantly. I liked your version with white Sarah and black Sarah. When I was young, we had a White Mrs. Hall and and black Mrs. Hall at school. I think they both taught the same grade even. We had to come up with something to keep them straight.

daughterofheaven said...

Hi JL,

The 'four children' are John, Marietta, Phebe, and Josephine (who I need to mention more so you know who she is in the next chapter). Emma becomes her fifth 'live birth' and (at that time with Sarah married, Lucy dead, and John fostered in their home) the fifth child in their household.

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