Story still available on yesterday’s 11th Day Question and Story post.
Congrats to 11th Day drawing winner, Luis Burgos, who won a Nauvoo Sunstone ornament!
(To be entered into today’s giveaway & FREE tour drawing, Comment & Share your thoughts of story below on Facebook or our blog.)
Many years ago, President Harold B. Lee recounted to me an experience of a President Ballantyne who grew up in Star Valley, Wyoming. This is harsh country. The summers are short and fleeting, while the winters linger and chill. President Ballantyne told of a special Christmas season from his boyhood days. He said:
“Father had a large family; and sometimes after we had our harvest, there was not very much left after expenses were paid. So Father would have to go away and hire out to some of the big ranchers for maybe a dollar a day, a little more than to take care of himself and very little to send home to Mother and the children. Things began to get pretty skimpy for us.
“We had our family prayers around the table. On one such night when Father was gone, we gathered together, and Mother poured out of a pitcher, into the glass of each one, milk divided among the children—but none for herself. I, sensing that the milk in the pitcher was all that we had, pushed mine over to Mother and said, ‘Here, Mother. You drink mine.’
“‘No. Mother is not hungry tonight.’” Mothers are never hungry in cases like that.
So he said, “It worried me. We drank our milk and went to bed. I could not sleep. I got up and tiptoed down the stairs, and there was Mother, out in the middle of the floor kneeling in prayer. She did not hear me as I came down in my bare feet, and I dropped to my knees and heard her say, ‘Heavenly Father, there is no food in our house. Please, Father, touch the heart of somebody so that my children will not be hungry in the morning.’
“When she finished her prayer, she looked around and saw that I had heard; and she said to me, somewhat embarrassed, ‘Now, you run along, Son. Everything will be all right.’
“I went to bed, assured by Mother’s faith. The next morning, I was awakened by the sounds of pots and pans being used in the kitchen and the smell of cooking food. I went down to the kitchen, and I said, ‘Mother, I thought you said there was no food.’
“All she said to me was, ‘Well, my boy, didn’t you think the Lord would answer my prayer?’ I received no further explanation than that.
“Years passed, and I went away to college. I got married, and I returned to see the old folks. Bishop Gardner, now reaching up to a ripe age, said to me, ‘My son, let me tell you of a Christmas experience that I had with your family. I had finished my chores, and we had had supper. I was sitting by the fireplace reading the newspaper. Suddenly I heard a voice that said, “Sister Ballantyne doesn’t have any food in her house.” I thought it was my wife speaking and said, “What did you say, Mother?” She came in wiping her hands on her apron and said, “Did you call me, Father?”
“‘”No, I didn’t say anything to you, but I heard a voice speak to me.”
“‘”What did it say?” she asked.
“‘”It said that Sister Ballantyne didn’t have any food in her house.”
“‘”Well, then,” said Mother, “you had better put on your shoes and your coat and take some food to Sister Ballantyne.” In the dark of that winter’s night, I harnessed the team and placed in the wagon bed a sack of flour, a quarter section of beef, some bottled fruit, and loaves of newly baked bread. The weather was cold, but a warm glow filled my soul as your mother welcomed me and I presented her with the food. God had heard a mother’s prayer.’”
Heavenly Father is ever mindful of those who need, who seek, who trust, who pray, and who listen when He speaks. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God’s gift becomes our blessing. May every heart open wide and welcome Him—Christmas day and always.
(To be entered into today’s giveaway & FREE tour drawing, Comment & Share your thoughts of story below on Facebook or our blog.)
ON the morning of January 1st, 1847, a cannon was fired over the settlement at Winter Quarters betokening the arrival of a new year. It was a clear cold day. The thermometer registered two degrees below zero. But the Saints were holding their own against the elements and the health of the community generally, was better than it had been for some time. Brigham took occasion to write a letter to Elder Charles C. Rich who was in charge of the Saints at Mount Pisgah. Part of this letter I have copied as follows:
“Our Council met at Christmas and decided to send on a Pioneer company as early as possible, with plows, seeds, grain, etc., and make preparations for eatables at the foot of the mountains on this side and when the grass starts we will follow as many as can go. . . . Your name is among the number and we want you to go with us. . . . Gird up your loins, Brother Rich, put on your armor, cheer up your heart, and being filled with Almighty faith, prepare for the battle as fast as possible. If you are sick, be made well. If you are weak, be made strong. Shake yourself like a mighty man; make the forest echo to the sound of your voice and the prairies move at your presence. Teach the Saints wisdom and knowledge, that they may come to understanding, and exercise themselves in faith, patience, meekness, brotherly love, kindness, hope, charity and endurance unto the end and they shall be saved, and whether they remove from hence, this season or next, it mattereth not, for if they abide counsel it shall be well with them.”
In this wonderful letter the true Brigham Young is made manifest. “Shake yourself like a mighty man.” What a thrilling command, and how it would inspire its recipient. Also let the reader note the splendid injunctions which Brigham gave for teaching the Saints. How well he knew the necessary precepts which he should put forth as leader of the Church.
Ezra Taft Benson
Halloween brought out the mischief in Ezra. On Halloween he and his friends were known to press their luck to the limit. He and his pals daringly moved outhouses from where they belonged, scared other Whitney children with sheets over their heads, and once left a farmer’s buggy on top of a nearby hill. Ezra seemed to know how to have fun without losing the respect of others. Late one holiday night, he and his friends slipped into the watermelon patch owned by the local sheriff (who was known to be somewhat timid). Hearing noise in the patch, the sheriff shot his revolver into the air. One of the boys, who was carrying a six-shooter, fired back into the air. Immediately the sheriff yelled, “Shoot in the air, boys. That’s what I’m doing.” “That’s about the closest we ever came to any real friction,” Ezra insisted.
Henry Ballard (a courageous LDS pioneer):
Henry played a different kind of trick on Halloween. The trick was to get out of town without being detected by the deputies causing anti-Mormon troubles so he could depart on his mission to England. He writes on Halloween night 1886:
…started after Dark going by team to Salt Lake City[.] my son Henry Wm taking his team…
We drove all night in the worst storm I have ever seen. Wind was terrible and the rain and hail blinded us until we couldn’t see the road. Thunder shook the earth and the lightning nearly blinded us. Then there was a heavy fall of snow. We had to trust our faithful horses to keep the road.
Earlier in the evening officers of the law lined the roads… Father and his companion had shaved off their beards and disguised themselves as foreigners. The storm proved a blessing to us for the roads were now deserted and not a soul molested us. We drove all night to Bountiful without a stop. Here we stopped only long enough to eat breakfast and then drove on to Salt Lake.”
James E. Faust
Recalling one of his boyhood Halloweens: “One Halloween, as some of the kids in the neighborhood went about tipping over privies, Jim and Newell took some toilet paper and went over to Highland Drive, where they stretched the toilet paper across the street and held it up about three feet high as cars approached. “The idea,” Jim says, “is that they would think there was some kind of barricade and slam on their brakes. The thing I remember about that is we seemed to have to wait about half an hour for a car to come by. Now, I’m sure it wasn’t that long—we were impatient young boys—but it was amazing how little traffic there was back then.”
He then adds, “In my own defense, I can’t remember ever tipping over a privy.”
Spencer W. Kimball
Pres Kimball served a mission in the Central States. During that time of Halloween 1914 he writes the following in his journal while in Independence Missouri:
Thur. 29. Worked hard all day on Zion. I considered it quite a privilege to work on building up some of the building in Zion. I often thot of this being the ancient “Garden of Eden” where Adam walked & talked with God. Went to bed early. Had a cold.
Fri. 30. Worked hard all day on sidewalks & grounds of the L.D.S. church here. Just a week since I landed here. A week of pleasure. To bed early again.
Sat. 31. Halloween day. Worked extra hard all day on walks and yards, awfully tired. Attended a party here given by Sisters Quinn and Tuckfield. Ghosts galore. Beautiful original decorations and unique games. I sang “Till the Sands of the Desert grow cold,” on request of Pres. Bennion.
The Mission Experience of Spencer W. Kimball, BYU Studies, vol. 25 (1985), Number 4 - Fall 1985 114.
Sheri L. Dew, Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 27 - 28.)
Susan Arrington Madsen, The Lord Needed a Prophet [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 209.
James E. Faust and James P. Bell, In the Strength of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 24.
Douglas O. Crookston, ed., Henry Ballard: The Story of a Courageous Pioneer, 1832-1908 [Utah, 1994], 146.)
Congrats to 6th Day drawing winner, Cecily Jenkins, who won a set of Christmas cards depicting the Nauvoo Mansion house at Christmas!
Pres. George Albert Smith (a member of the 12 at the time) was asked to take care of all logistics for a trip to Vermont marking the 100th anniversary of Prophet Joseph Smith’s birth where a monument was to be unveiled. See the entire story below.
“Elder Smith received an unusual and rewarding assignment. He and Lucy were invited by the president of the Church to accompany a group from Salt Lake City to Windsor County, Vermont, where a monument honoring Joseph Smith was to be unveiled and dedicated on December 23, 1905, the hundredth anniversary of the Prophet’s birth. The party consisted of Church leaders and their companions, including the other members of the Smith family who were General Authorities. Since George Albert was the junior member of the clan in length of service, he was appointed to supervise all physical arrangements before and during the trip.
His task was simplified by chartering several Pullman cars, which avoided the inconvenience of checking and transferring baggage. His main duty, therefore, was to see that the pantry on board was well stocked with provisions and to oversee the work of two porters, Seth Young and Bud Price, who had been assigned by the railroad to prepare and serve the meals and to take care of the other personal needs of the passengers.
The train left the Salt Lake City depot on December 19 for the three-day transcontinental trip. En route, the party followed a relaxed routine. Singing, visiting, sight-seeing, and religious discussions were interspersed with checker playing, President Joseph F. Smith’s favorite diversion.
On December 22, the party arrived at South Royalton, where it found a typical white and frigid Vermont winter. Horse-drawn sleighs took the travelers to nearby Tunbridge, where they were able to check the town records for genealogical data about the Smith and Mack families before attending an evening reception at the quaint Tunbridge hotel. Here they were welcomed by civic officials and assorted residents who were curious to meet the leaders of the Church whose founder had bestowed such vicarious fame on their community. For months they had watched with interest as the 38 1/2-foot granite shaft had been put in place on the old Solomon Mack farm. It marked the site where Joseph Smith was born a hundred years before, and its height was symbolic of his short but action-filled life span of 38 1/2 years.
Early on December 23, the visitors, whose breathing etched miniature clouds on the icy air, loaded into sleighs to be driven to the farm site. There, in brief services, the monument, standing stark and tall against the rock-ribbed Vermont hills, was dedicated in memory of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
In returning home, the party stopped in Massachusetts so the Smith clan could trace and savor their family roots. At Topsfield, they visited the ancestral home of Asael Smith, the father of Joseph Smith, Sr., and Uncle John. At the town cemetery, they paid homage at the gravesite of Robert Smith, the first member of the clan to reach American soil. There they also found a monument erected in 1873 to the memory of Robert Smith and the first and second Samuel Smith. What unexpected distinction had come to the progeny of these three who bore such an undistinguished name!
From Massachusetts the chartered train traveled to Palmyra, New York, where the passengers visited the farm once owned by Joseph Smith, Sr., whose son and namesake had received the remarkable vision that opened the drama of the Restoration. A meeting was later held at the nearby Hill Cumorah, where President Joseph F. Smith offered a prayer of gratitude and benediction. Contacts made during this visit with Avery Chapman, the owner of the Joseph Smith, Sr., farm, and Pliny T. Sexton, the owner of the Hill Cumorah, culminated eventually in the Church’s purchase of both of these historic properties. George Albert Smith would later play a key role in these acquisitions.
The last stop on the traveler’s itinerary was at Kirtland, Ohio, where they visited the temple and the homes of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Four days later, on December 31, as they sped across the plains of Nebraska, the travelers held a service aboard the chartered train. Each member of the party bore testimony about the reality and goodness of God and the joys of the trip then coming to an end. Following this meeting, “a resolution was passed,” wrote George Albert in his diary, “thanking me for my care in looking after the party. It was signed by every member of the party.” Elder Smith’s official duties ended the following day when, after seeing that his friends were safely off the train with their luggage he tipped the porters thirty dollars each for their attentive service.”
Taken from: Francis M. Gibbons, George Albert Smith: Kind and Caring Christian, Prophet of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 51 - 52.
With warm thanks for your patronage & sincere wishes for a happy holiday season, we present to you 25 days of Christmas Past!
Get into the spirit of Christmas and be entered into our drawings to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend our 7 day Missouri to Nauvoo to Winter Quarters Church History Tour, as well as other fabulous prizes. Keep this grand prize for yourself or give it to someone else for Christmas. This tour travels during the incredible Nauvoo Pageant, some of the most delightful Pioneer entertainment imaginable!
All you have to do is “like” us on Facebook and your name will automatically be put into the Grand Prize Tour drawing. Then to increase your chances of winning this incredible trip, and to put your name into our daily prize drawings, “follow” us on our Facebook page from November 29th - Dec 23rd. Each day a question regarding something from Church History’s Christmas Past will be posted - anything from hymns to accounts about prominent church history individuals. For those who do not have a facebook account and are not interested in setting one up, you can comment your answer on our blog under each day’s post.
Each day that you answer our Christmas Past post, your name will be entered into our grand prize drawing and all those with the correct daily answer will be put into a separate drawing for holiday prizes awarded each day. “Sharing” our posts with others will earn you another grand prize daily entry. Answers and the daily winner will be posted on our Facebook page the following morning before the next question is listed. The accounts behind our Christmas Past answers will be found on our blog. See below for more information and rules.
Click on this link http://www.mormonheritage.com/ to see our blog and to join us now on Facebook!
Our hope is that this activity will help us all to slow down to appreciate the Christmases of simpler times, learn something new to inspire us this holiday season, and to thank you for another wonderful year. Joining us on Facebook and following our blog will continue to benefit you as you will continue to receive inspirational thoughts and can stay informed of all our latest tour information (we are planning some exciting things for 2012!). Tell all your family and friends about this unique way to spend this holiday season.
We wish you a very Merry CHRISTmas!
MHA Staff and Guides
25 days of Christmas Past Rules:
Everyone who has “liked” us on our Facebook page will automatically be entered into the grand prize drawing to be held on the evening of Dec 23, 2011. One additional entry per person per day will be entered into the grand prize drawing for posting a “comment” regardless of multiple daily comments. A second grand prize entry per person each day will be entered for a “share” of our post on your own Facebook profile. There is potential of receiving a total of 51 entries per person for liking then sharing, and commenting each day. Daily prize winners and grand prize winner need to provide their address for mailing their prize OR prizes could be picked it up at MHA offices Mon-Thu 10am-2pm or by arrangement. MHA ensures privacy with all contact information. Grand prize is one seat on MHA tour M71 - Missouri to Nauvoo to Winter Quarters July 21-27, 2012 and includes one person’s roundtrip air transportation from Salt Lake City (or equivalent airfare from another city) with all taxes & fees as quoted at booking, all meals (except any at the airport), lodging, deluxe charter bus, tickets to scheduled events, and expert MHA guide services (bus driver tip and possible air fuel surcharges not included). Daily prizes will be announced when drawing winner is posted each morning. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
Big news regarding our September 19-30 2011 Grand Tour! A few seats have become available for this exciting tour visiting sites from Palmyra to Kirtland with Missouri to Nauvoo to Winter Quarters. Seats are first-come, first-served with payment.
Call our office 801-272-5601 for current air pricing and options (as always, the sooner the better!).
You won’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity to visit these sites with expert hosts who love this history and share it in a most inspiring way. The world is changing almost daily and we’ll discuss great, prophetic events that will shortly take place at these incredible sites. WE HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US!
June 12, 1831 – John Whitmer, called as Church historian, begins to write a history of the Church he calls the Book of John Whitmer.
June 1839 - The first house erected by the Saints in Commerce was raised by Theodore Turley.
June 12, 1847 – The advance part of pioneers reached the North Platte River crossing about four hours ahead of a wagon party of Missourians heading west. They built a raft and made some good money by ferrying the Missourians across the river.
June 12, 1983 – The first stake in Fuji is organized at Suva.
A beautiful & peaceful garden shielded by buildings and a steep escarpment from the noisy and vigorous city all around. Located a short block north of the Damascus Gate on the Nablus road, was discovered in 1895 by General Gordon while walking along the old city wall. General Gordon first noticed the distinctive skull features of Golgotha, the garden was subsequently discovered. A large in-ground water cistern and a wine press have also been found. These items suggest the ancient use of this property as a garden. Inside the area, is a chiseled-out tomb. Jewish tombs were often composed of two chambers; the first served as a vestibule, and in it the relatives congregated to mourn for the dead; in the second, on a shelf cut into the rock, the corpse was laid. The entrance to the monument was closed by a round massive slab, like a millstone, which rolled in a grove.
• Jesus was buried in a garden (Matt. 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:41-42)
• Jesus’ tomb was guarded (Matt 27:62-66)
• “Who shall roll us away the stone….?” (Mark 16:3-4)
• Mary Magdalene saw the resurrected Christ in the garden (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18)
• Peter and John raced to the garden (Luke 24:12; John 20:1-4)
• Jesus was resurrected (Matt. 28:1-15; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18)
• Nephi prophesied Jesus’ entombment (2 Nephi 25:13)
• Jesus was resurrected (2 Nephi 25:13; Ether 12:7; D&C 20:23)
In this garden, the Jerusalem Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in September 1972 by President Harold B. Lee, with David B. Galbraith as the first president of the branch. Of his visit to the Garden Tomb, President Lee said, “something seemed to impress us as we stood there that this was the holiest place of all, and we fancied we could have witnessed the dramatic scene that took place there” (The Ensign, April 1972, p. 6). [DWB p. 62.]
Today, the site is owned and operated by an association group of churches from Britain. The land was purchased “that it might be kept sacred as a quiet spot.” Since then, the Garden Tomb Association has been proclaiming the very heart of the Christian faith, the dying and living of the Lord Jesus Christ. A door has been hung in recent years at the entrance to the tomb and carries a sign inscribed with a verse from the Bible that touches the heart of Christ’s Gospel: He is not here, for He is risen…
Oxford is the site where many of the Bible Translators studied, and did actual work of translation. One significant Bible translator and martyr, William Tyndale, was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford (now part of Hertford College, Oxford). Tyndale was admitted to the Degree of Bachelor of Arts at Oxford University in 1512, the same year he became a subdeacon. He was made Master of Arts in July 1515, three months after he had been ordained into the priesthood. The MA degree allowed him to start studying theology, but the official course did not include the study of scripture. This horrified Tyndale, and he organized private groups for teaching and discussing the scriptures.
Highlights of the Oxford Bible Exhibition include:
A Martyrs’ Memorial is also located in Oxford and commemorates the 16th-century “Oxford Martyrs”.
The actual site of the execution is close by in Broad Street, located just outside the location of the old city walls. The site is marked by a cross sunk in the road.
For more information about other amazing Bible Translator sites, visit our England & Wale’s 400th Bible Commemoration Tour Page.