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.

We do Family History and Temple work for the very purpose of uniting and healing families. I mean, I've got no better source than the Apostle Paul:
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
We do the work we can, the individuals in our family retain their agency to choose, and the Lord waits with open arms as we all will rise to meet Him. You don't even have to believe me. Just be assured that He and many of us will be there when you may need us.

Sensing some of my frustrations and learning of my swearing at the Utah State Archives that were unexpectedly closed yesterday, my good friend at sent me a copy of a wonderful letter written by Brigham Young relating to those troubled times and the Carson Valley in particular:
                     G.S.L. City, May 15, 1860.

Elder Dwight Eveleth,
San Francisco, Cal.,

    Dear Brother: – 
    Some from here are travelling west this season, and will probably stop in Carson valley and in different places in California.  Many of them do not feel to apostatize, and are pretty good men and intend to be, but are a little uneasy and desire a change of locality for a while.  Some have recommends from their Bishops as men who have paid their tithing helped the poor, and been good citizens.  I wish you, as far as convenient, to look after those going from here, if you become acquainted with them, and as much as in your power encourage them to do good, preserve their faith, and hold meetings whenever consistent.
    They are mostly men who came here very poor, but have been blest in gathering property which seems to have bewildered them a little.  As they again become reduced in this world’s goods, it is very probable that many of them will begin to more earnestly remember their God and strive to walk more closely in accordance with His requirements.
    May God bless you, Your Brother in the Gospel

            Brigham Young
Having been compelled to be humble at many occasions of my life, my heart breaks a little to read that as I hopefully turn my heart to the Lord and my fathers and mothers who went before. My hope is to be humble and turn my heart with pure charity as the doctrines of the Priesthood distill upon me as the dew of Heaven.

I don't worry about apostasy.

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