Sunday, May 19, 2013

Book Review: Church History in the Fulness of Times

This book is put out by the Church Educational System to go with the class on church history.  I was looking at it with the goal from finding information for Isaac's history.  It was lacking in its discussion of the handcart companies.  However it did give some idea as to life in the early settlements:
Many of the unsung heroines of the colonization effort were the women who went to the new outposts.  In most Latter-day Saint communities there was an almost equal balance of men and women.  Women colonists did nearly as many traditionally male jobs as they did domestic chores.  The sisters labored next to their husbands building homes, laying chimneys, chinking cracks, mudding the outside of log houses, and plastering and painting the inside.  Women dug immigration ditches, plowed, planted, harvested, chopped wood, stacked hay, and herded and milked cows.
In general, social life centered around the ward.  Ward socials, dances, and dramas, and even some music clubs, contributed to the feeling of community among the Saints. … The bishop supervised both temporal and spiritual activities in the community.  Preaching meetings were held each Sunday, and fast meetings were held one Thursday each month with members asked to contribute money saved by fasting.  Block teaching was inaugurated.  Block teachers were either adults form the Aaronic Priesthood or acting teachers from the Melchizedek Priesthood who visited the families in the ward and exhorted them to good works.
As part of the aim for economic self-sufficiency for the Saints, Brigham Young directed the building of tithing houses or bishops’ storehouses in every community.  These served as supply sources for most goods needed by the Saints.  Many people donated one day of labor in every ten toward various Church projects.  Most common, however, was the payment of tithing “in kind.”  Farmers brought chickens, eggs, cattle, vegetables, and home manufactured goods to the tithing houses.  About two thirds of the tithing donated at local offices went to the general tithing office in Salt Lake City for general Church needs.  
It also gave some insight as to family conditions when Isaac went on his mission.  Isaac oldest son was almost twelve:
Often Mormon women carried a heavier load than other western pioneer women because their husbands, father, and brothers were frequently away on missions or other Church assignments, and the managing of the family resources fell to the women and the older children.  All of this was in addition to their normal duties of cooking and canning, drying fruit, grinding wheat, washing, ironing, quilting, sewing, darning, spinning, weaving, making soap and sugar, preparing for weddings, attending funerals, maintaining and beautifying homes, raising children, and attending to Church duties.  … The sisters cooperated with each other in the settlements, since few homes were totally self-sufficient. 
My father's family always loved to attend general conference.  I remember seeing many of my great-uncles there.  I would think this tradition started with Isaac:
General conferences were held semiannually in Salt Lake City and the Saints often traveled hundreds of miles to attend.  Conferences were a time of reunion and socializing and became one of the important symbols of Latter-day Saint unity.  These conferences were held in the Old Tabernacle, which was dedicated on 6 April 1852 by President Willard Richards. 
It also gave greater insight into the Utah War:
On 7 September, Captain Stewart Van Vliet of the Quartermaster Corps arrived in Salt Lake City to arrange for food and forage for the incoming army.  He tried to assure Church leaders of the army’s peaceful intentions.  Van Vliet was the first official contact the Saints had with either the military or the government since the problems had arisen.  … Van Vliet became convinced that the Mormons were not in rebellion against the authority of the United States, but that they felt justified in preparing to defend themselves against an unwarranted military invasion.
Forty-four “Mormon raiders,” a unit of the Nauvoo Legion under the direction of Lot Smith, were sent to eastern Utah (now western Wyoming) to harass the oncoming troops.  
For this “move south,” the Church was divided into three groups, each with a specific mission: (1) Those living in southern Utah were not to move, but were instructed to send wagons, teams, and teamsters to northern Utah to assist in the move.  (2) The young and vigorous Saints living in northern Utah would remain behind to irrigate crops and gardens, guard property, and set fire to the straw-filled homes if need be.  And (3) some thirty-five thousand Saints living north of Utah Valley were to actually make the move.  Each ward was allotted a strip of land in one of four counties south of Salt Lake County.  Provisions were to be moved first and then the families.
It also talked of Utah involvement during the Civil War:
With the federal troops gone from Utah, the overland mail and telegraph needed protection from Indians who were reportedly were becoming more hostile and had destroyed several mail stations between Fort Bridger and Fort Laramie in Wyoming.  In the spring of 1862 war officials contacted Brigham Young (though he was no longer the governor) with a request that he organize a cavalry to give 90 days’ service on the trail until other U.S. troops could arrive. 
Governor left, Camp Floyd vacated, Colonel Conner to Fort Douglas.  
Lastly it talks about the British influence in the early church:
By 1860 there were 8,200 people in Salt Lake City; by 1870 there were 12,800.  According to the 1870 census, 65 percent of the population was foreign born.  Most were from the British Isles.  (389)

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