Saturday, September 27, 2014

Brigham Young and a Letter on Apostasy

Some may be wondering with John Lewis lying dead on the floor of a gold-rush saloon. And we are not fully convinced yet, but are pursuing some pretty good leads that Jane (1827) remarried Abednego Johns in Jacks Valley, Nevada and joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And there is some indication that Elinor Jenkins Vaughan Hulet may have been with her, died between 1860-62, and was buried there. But the RLDS baptisms did not occur until at least 1865, after the Civil War.

1862 US Survey of Jacks Valley, Nevada. Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Managment, US Dept. of the Interior.
Abednego John's patent was for the S 1/2 of the NE 1/4 of Sec. 22, and the S 1/2 of the NW 1/4 of Sec. 23.
The surveyor, while getting all the land features pretty well (doncha just love these old surveys?) marked A. Johns's house as "A. Johnson."

There were a lot worse things than the RLDS Church (now "The Community of Christ). They had the Book of Mormon, a good part of the Doctrine & Covenants, the Holy Bible and a commitment to the Prophet Joseph Smith (w/o plural marriage). If you had landed in Utah in the midst of the Mormon Reformation, a very bad winter, and the upcoming Utah War, Springville was about the second worse place to be. I don't blame anyone for leaving. It's not my responsibility to judge. And it's not like we've not ever had anyone else in the family choose less activity in the church.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Not So Jolly Ending . . . But

The good news is that California, along with Utah, has a great digital newspaper archive. You can find Utah's at and California's at the less obvious url: They are a wonderful resource even when they bring bad news.

So, here it is:
BY STATE TELEGRAPH. Murder In Sierra County: Forrest City, Sierra County, October 15th.— A saloon-keeper, named John Lewis, at Alleghany, was stabbed in the right side, on the 13th inst. by a man named Frank Taylor, and died immediately. The assassin was arrested this morning, and after an examination was committed for trial.
That's from the Daily Alta California, 16 October 1867.


Time to play that game again!

One of these things is not like the others.
Three of these things are kinda the same.
Can you tell me which one's not like the others?
Now it's time to play our game!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Faith without Welsh Is nearly Dead

Dan Jones, Amazing Missionary to the Welsh
On my quest to learn Cymraeg (Welsh), one of the first things I did was to go to the LDS Distribution store just a few blocks from our house and purchase a copy of the Book of Mormon in Welsh. Reading it in Portuguese helped me learn that language. And I still have scriptures memorized in Portuguese from my mission that bounce around in my head that will apparently be there forever.

The main challenge was, the Welsh edition of 1853 has not been updated except for the cover. So, the word Arall is pretty easy as "Another" because "Testament" and Iesu Crist are obvious along with Llyfr Mormon which etymologically isn't that far off from O Livro de Mórmon in Portuguese. I see a Latin root in there -- or Indo-European?

But then I looked inside, In 1853, the book hadn't even been divided into chapters and verses as we are now familiar. That was a process that culminated in English in 1920 with Elder James E. Talmage -- even if the "most correct book" still gets occasional corrections back to the original transcript from Joseph Smith's prophetic translation.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Nevada and the Jolly Welshmen

Maybe Brigham knew the folk song. The Five Welshmen knew it even if it might have been self-deprecating to reference the humorous exploits of the bumbling Sons of Gomer. And the original number is three for the "Jolly Welshmen." So it's interesting that two of our five appear to have stayed in Utah and three seem to have gone to bumble their exploits in the Sierras.

The tune of "The Five Jolly Welshmen" is unknown to me and I don't seem to find it on "YouTube." There is another tune I can't get out of my head that I will now curse you with. I was always fascinated by the opening theme of the TV show "Bonanza" with the map of the Ponderosa Ranch straddling the California/Nevada line bursting into flames for some reason.

It was the Old West at its finest or at least for a boy who had been on family vacation to Virginia City, Reno, and Lake Tahoe. And I have always loved maps. Here's a version of the fictional Ponderosa map that is at least somewhat properly oriented:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blanding Conspiracy Theorists Charged for Trespass on Public Lands

See any evil here? I don't
Work-related. Caveats in place. Not talking about inside information. And, I haven't yet been invited to secret Agenda 21 meetings to destroy truth, justice, and the American Way because such meetings simply don't exist. In fact, if more people actually believed in truth, justice, and the American Way and practiced them, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

I am not directly working on the four-wheel trespasses on public land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for the multiple use of US Citizens (and even foreign visitors) under law, regulation, and the US Constitution. I wasn't going to comment at all until I saw the hand-held poster of one of the riders in an article of the Salt Lake Tribune. Check out the photos. The guy trying to hold on to the poster about Agenda 21 is also attempting to hold on to a young child. It is not clear which will slide off the moving vehicle first, the guy riding side-saddle, the poster, or the young child. I try not to go pejorative on the blog, but . . . .

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Wife and I Are Tenth Cousins!

The Relative Finder program developed by the BYU Family History people has given me a lot of great connections. It works for anyone who uses Family Search including many non-LDS people. Our good bishop set up a group to allow us to see our relationship to any person in our ward. Everybody is connected somehow with fewer degrees of separation than one might think. This does not directly lead to family names for Temple work, but it does cause a lot of excitement with fun and interesting connections made.

So it turns out that my wife and I are tenth cousins! The program puts it out in this format:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

HOPE in World Peace and Collective Security

We went pretty hard on the President last night. So today I further reveal my idealism which some find pollyannish to the max. But it's who I am. "And I'm not the only one. I hope some day you will join us. And the world will be as one." (Thanks, John).

The President is so close to being right, I hope he doesn't blow it with a US go-it-alone policy. Congressman Chris Stewart spoke at my son's high school yesterday and said that the US has a duty to be the world's policeman. I told my boy that I think our Congressman wants to have you all as soldiers. "I kind of got that idea," was my youngest's response. We have to stop people like Chris Stewart.

You may find it surprising, but my ideal for international intervention is what George H. W. Bush did. Sadam invaded Kuwait. US went to Security Council. US lead a true coalition of a multinational force for a limited objective of removing Iraq from Kuwait. Iraq suffered devastating military loss and left Kuwait. Iraq lobbed missiles at Israel for no good reason except to break up Arab states in coalition. US & others destroy Iraqi missile capabilities. Multinational force went home. (Except we didn't quite go home. We set up military bases in Saudi Arabia with Saudi consent. And that helped triggered the brutal plan for 9/11 in bin laden's warped brain.)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Please, President Obama, No More Crusades!

Anonymous D expressed some hard truths the other day:
Getting tired of the "Obama threw away victory in Iraq" thing. There was never "victory" in Iraq. The conservatives, neo-cons and Fox News enthusiasts who blew up the world never admit to the mess they made--That it can never be put back together again--That the idea that democracy would flourish in this region was simply not true. It's a nice rhetorical device to blow something up and then blame the guy after you for not being able to fix it.
Let's face it,  Iraq will require a 50 to 75 year commitment. It will eat up men, women, and treasure. That should have been stated up front instead of 10,000 men or whatever the Neo-Cons thought. We will be there long after we're dead, and probably our children.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

So I Am a Smart Aleck

Somebody had to help out in Welsh class this evening. I was glad to see a verb tree go up on the board which also works to frame pronouns of various purposes. The Wikipedia version is close enough:

We have two adjunct professors and the grammar/speaking one (the other is for culture/history) was bogged down in the conveying and student comprehension of the formulaic system. Sensing my opportunity to provide a mental connection for the other eight students, I said, "That must be where they got the "Knights who say 'Ni' (pronounced "nee") meaning 'We'." Some students twittered and the teacher looked at me with a confused look. I made brief reference to Monty Python and said it didn't matter so she went on. And I hope some fellow students make that connection and will never forget the 1st person plural.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Authentic and Uplifting - Elder Russell M. Nelson

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
I can't help it. It was authentic and uplifting - a smile much like the one above. 

First, third, and fifth Fridays are now my assigned nights for Bountiful Temple service. My Thursday nights are all taken up by Welsh class now. I was there last night and saw Elder and Sister Nelson coming down the stairs from the Celestial room. I was already smiling and just a glance of recognition in the eyes from me curled up Elder Nelson's mouth into a flash of a smile back. He knew I knew who he was. It was a warm smile that quickly went back to serious concentration with the rest of his face to continue helping his wife down the stairs.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

President Obama in Wales!

Just as Jonah of old . . . No! Not whales. There is a real country called Wales in English and Cymru to the Welsh or Cymry. Wales is not England but like England is one of the four countries in the United Kingdom consisting of Wales, England, Scotland (at least 'til next week), and Northern Ireland. This should be known to most people in world, but you'd be surprised.

Anyway, I found this picture of the President with some Saxon lady.

President Barack Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the NATO Summit at the
Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales, Sept. 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Interesting that the NATO Summit in Cardiff, Wales has its participants staying at a resort in Newport on the River Usk just below my ancestral lands.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Geraint Fychan dwi" - Welsh Class, Day One

Twmpa as seen from Blaendigeddi Fawr - Cymru Fach
Nine years ago Labor Day Weekend, I was fixated on the Weather Channel watching Katrina spin backwards pushing Lake Pontchartrain back on New Orleans against the Mississippi levees. I accurately predicted that disaster when all the news was exclaiming how lucky the city was that it did not get a direct hit. I also had to meet some W Bush politicos that Tuesday who threw me out of my job in Albuquerque for their nefarious purposes. What a difference nine years make.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Descendant of Llewelyn Fawr

As excited as I am to start my Welsh class tomorrow evening, it's making me a bit nervous with the anxieties of an older middle-aged man not sure about starting a college class after 30 some years. The young tend to jump into life-changing ventures like college, missions, and even marriage more excitedly than anxious.

Then I was playing around with BYU's great ancestral connections program (Which Norton seems to think an unsafe site linked as it is to family history information). And I discovered something grand. OK, it's good enough to be a direct descendant of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine even if through the "lacklanded" son. But it was the next few generations that stir my blood - as direct descendant of Llewelyn ap Iorweth - Llewelyn the Great and the Lady Joan, illegitimate daughter of King John. And their daughter Elen who connects to me down through English nobility until, surprisingly, my Welsh Vaughans marry into their descendants in Northern England, Yorkshire and Durham.

Thanks, Mom

We had a pleasant visit with my parents today. I've been thinking a lot recently about a place that was special to my mom and me, Rhododendron Park, Kenmore, Washington:

Amazingly huge and near wild (feral?) Rhododendrons in Kenmore, Washington.
from a nice family blog from Japan (no apparent copyright restrictions)
I worked one Spring and Summer in college at a plant nursery in Orem, Utah (Utah Valley). It almost pained me to help unload plants off of big semis from Oregon. The plants were screaming, "Where are we?!! Who left us in this desert wasteland?!" On some occasions, I feel the same.