Saturday, March 29, 2014

Claiming the Legendary Teapot and Colander

There's a story circulating for some time now picked up by Stake Pioneer Trek websites about an elderly woman who walked all the way to Salt Lake City in 1856 with a teapot and colander tied to her apron strings. There was a strict weight limit for personal items in the handcarts. This woman found a way around that. Another woman in the first company carried a hat box, but she died along the way. These stories were recounted in the Ensign of July 2000. However, in the Ensign, the teapot is covered by ellipses. . . .

With some pretty good circumstantial evidence, I am prepared to claim the woman with the teapot and colander as our ancestress, Elinor Jenkins Vaughan. I think I know who the lady with the hat box was too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Our Bishop Is Revolutionary

And inspired! Oh, I hope I don't get him in trouble, or even my wife. For me, I'd prefer to be in just enough trouble to avoid certain callings in the church - like Hugh Nibley used to wear one black and one brown dress shoe to keep him out of the bishopric. My wife won't even let me go to church if my socks don't match!

It has been the strangest thing but I'm just now seeing the beauty of it. My wife has been Relief Society President for some time. And last November, we were called in to see the Stake Presidency (all three of them which is enough to set off plenty of alarms) and they called me to be High Priest Group leader. That's a comparable position to Relief Society at least for half, or so, of the men in the ward. We have quite a few, actually, being an older ward. And I love those guys! I was tempted to call them my "groupies" the other Sunday (it's called a "High Priest Group" because the Quorum is in the Stake with the Stake President as President of the Quorum) but I figured that wouldn't be good on several levels.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

British Mission Elders 1855

Maybe other history seekers have seen this, but I'm still an amateur and find it AMAZING! I've seen a lot of mission conference pictures. There are some from Brazil that have me in them. This has historical significance as this 1855 photo of British Missionaries includes the captains of four of the five experimental handcart companies of 1856. Three of the experiments came out pretty well. The last two, not so much. And those last two captains are all the more famous for that.
Back Row, left to right: Edmund Ellsworth, Joseph A. Young, William H. Kimball, George D. Grant, James Ferguson, James A. Little, Philemon Merrill. Middle Row: Edmund Bunker, Chauncey G. Webb, Franklin D. Richards, Daniel Spencer, Captain Dan Jones, Edward Martin. Front Row: James Bond, Spicer Crandall, W.C. Dunbar, James Ross, and Daniel D. McArther. From The Improvement Era, Vol. XVII, No. 1, September, 1913
Edmund Ellsworth was the Captain of the first ever handcart company in which my 4th Great-Grandmother, Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan, also traveled to Zion. One of her daughters, Jane Vaughan Lewis, with her husband John, and son, John Samuel, were on the journey. In July of 1854 Ellsworth had preached and baptized in Abergavenny across the Usk River from Llanfoist where Eleanor lived when she joined the church in 1841. He may have been a family friend.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pain In the Neck!

This isn't a plea for sympathy or a chance for whining on my part. We all have challenges. Some are more obvious than others. And we all could use more charity which is best when given to others, not when we're worried about what we're not getting. So I keep trying to do some good in the world.

I just thought it would be fun and maybe educational in between politics, religion, and the general miscellany of life that gets blogged here, to start up an ongoing series of what it's like to have some medical issues.

My sources for information are my doctors & their staffs, mostly at the University of Utah Medical System. I think they came up with at least one artificial heart, so they are world-renowned and really good. When I do my searches on the web I stick to, other University websites, the Mayo Clinic, UK, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian government web sites because of their good, national health. I stay away from the anecdotal medical forum communities (why I don't want to invite one here), herbal remedies, and chiropractors - to each his own.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Live (or delayed) Blogging of Precinct Caucuses in Centerville/Farmington

It all depends in my daughter, who is half-time teacher other half district science mentor for Davis Co. Schools will give me the wireless code for Farmington Jr. High. (Don't tell anyone!) The best part is that she mentors her mom who went back to teaching Jr. High Science a couple of years ago! They have a great time.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

All for a Good Cause!

TurboTax and I were busy today with only minor cussing. That was me, TurboTax was all socially inept, "Congratulations! Now let's deal with your better half's W-2!"

We apparently owe some this year. Unfortunately our little deductions have about all flown the coop and the last one here won't even get us a credit because our income is  now too high. But that's OK because he just turned 17 anyway. So I have to claim fewer deductions and decrease my withholding. 

I do find it a patriotic honor to pay my taxes. I think taxation with representation is great! I do not begrudge the good cause it is to serve our government of, by, and for the People - all the people! I hope we can get the corporations under control a bit. They and the inordinately wealthy should not have the power to control and benefit from the government with their extremely high returns and little regard for the burden on the poor and middle class who helped provide the labor, spending, infrastructure, and taxes to get them where they are. Corporations themselves are a creation of the government of, by, and for the People, so it's certainly appropriate for the people to control them with reasonable regulation rather than a corporate "person" controlling the real people's government.

Some Just Want Hell

Two things in Mormon History & Doctrine just struck me. I think they make a connection.

I'm still finishing up the really good history, Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith's Ohio Revelations, by Mark Lyman Staker. The author makes a compelling case with contemporaneous sources and later reports from first-hand witnesses that the motivation for the mobbing, tar & feathering, and near murder of Joseph Smith in March 1832 had absolutely nothing to do with any form of polygamy or sexual impropriety of any kind. It seems Fawn Brodie carried over a mistake in history that the Eli Johnson involved was the son of John Johnson concerned about his sister's honor when he was actually John Johnson's brother, uncle to Marinda Johnson, who was opposed to Mormonism on doctrinal grounds. Several others in the mob were disaffected or former Mormons, even former leaders. The revenge motivation of speculative psychology dissipates and the only thing left may be religious persecution.

It's the chronology closely following The Vision, now known as Doctrine & Covenants, Section 76 that nails it. The mobbing in Hiram, Ohio happened just a week or so after The Vision became public. The controversy was the new doctrine with its near Universalism, dispensing with the either/or of heaven and hell in mainstream Christianity of that day. Well, just read The Vision and think about it for yourself. Some with interests in the Disciples of Christ, the Baptists, or having left Mormonism, took offense at the new doctrine and their religious fervor, resentment, and fury may have led them to violence.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Media Savvy

You have to hand it to FOX News for knowing their market. I've been trying to come up with an acronym for them, something like OWG&AYWWSS (Old White Guys & Attractive Young Women With Short Skirts), but I haven't quite worked it out. I don't think they actually have the young-women demographic, just the ones they can pay enough to wear the short skirts and sit with the old men. They do have the old white men watching. Kinda creepy when you really think about it.

On the other hand, we have the most media savvy President ever. He can't win with the above-referenced demographic even if he has enhanced a few careers on their network. So he takes on new venues:

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Great War Redux?

You do all know how WWI started, right? We're coming up on the Centennial. Let's not commemorate by starting up again.

Competing nations were building navies and armies for advantage in world commerce, particularly in controlling colonies around the world. A game of treaties went on. Then, some Serbian Nationals (ethnic Slavs, remember) shot the Archduke of Austria which ruled the Balkans in those days.

Talk about dominoes - The Austro-Hungarian Empire cracked down on its little Serbia, Russia defended its cousin Serbs against Austrian aggression, the Kaiser was allied with Austria-Hungary, France was allied with Russia to help protect it from Germany, England was the protector of little Belgium and allied with France against the Prussian ruling Germany. And we had the war that didn't quite end all wars.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bandaging in Heaven & on Earth

Waking up yesterday, the theme of my Sacrament Talk today came to me. I've had it prepared for some time with the scriptures and quotes I want to use which are the only parts I type out to quote right. The rest is organized in my head and just seems to come out as the Spirit directs.

The thought that came to me was that the word "sealing" could easily be replaced by "healing" and the binding in Heaven and on earth could easily apply to the bandaging of wounds through the Atonement of Jesus Christ by the authority of the priesthood ordinances. This is made available to all, living and dead to seal or heal families to be together through the eternities.

Yeah, we've been on these themes before and I won't give up. Here are the scriptures:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Let's Not Charge Lightly into a Crimean War

As proud as Palin is on her Putin prediction, let's not follow the rest of the FOX mentality by rattling our sabers for silly self-gratification. The worst of it are the US Conservatives joining Putin in his criticisms of our President. Let's call them "Jane-Fonda-Patriots."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mountain Meadows and the Other

Drove by Mountain Meadow Sunday. The dark gray clouds, remnants of Californian deluge, added to the depressive mood I always feel there. Having some pioneer ancestors in Utah's Dixie, I've wondered if any were involved in the massacre. So far, none show on the lists. The real problem is, it could have involved almost anyone. Humans have the capacity of great good and abject evil. While most of us shift around in the middle, well, I don't like thinking about it because of those clouds.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Modest Proposals on St. David's Day

The Welsh National Holiday of St. David's Day has two official flags, the flag with St. David's cross:

And the official Welsh National Flag, Y Ddraig Goch [the Red Dragon]:

Poor Wales, being a conquered nation (d--- saxons!), has a culture, language, and identifiable borders now recognized by the United Kingdom (being one of those united). The Nation has been establishing more autonomy with its own parliament and government institutions.