Sunday, February 22, 2015

More Nauvoo Missionaries--Finally! Finished the Book of Mormon Again--What next?

The first of our new missionaries arrived this week. What a relief. Every other month or so for the last six months, a few missionaries have left and none has taken their place until now. Our responsibilities on the sites have grown almost beyond tolerable so now we can reverse that trend.

 Above is Sister Brinley and her ghost busting outfit--either that or something else.
What do you guess?

I have had a few months break from the sewing room. Now, we're back at it-- sewing for new missionaries. Above is the first completed costume I made for someone else. I suspect it will be the first of many. We are expecting 68 new missionaries in the next few months. Almost half of that number are elders, and the sisters will need at least 3 dresses, and 3 aprons each not to mention hats, and collars. The men will each need site vests and Rendezvous shirts, ties, and vests all from the sewing room.

Sister Jones, Veenker, and Robison were warming up for a musical number above and I stole a picture. Elder Johnson sang a solo in todays sacrament meeting. It was bea-uuu-tiful.

Since we received our call to the Illinois, Nauvoo Mission, I've read the Book of Mormon twice. The first time I underlined every scripture that either mention the name of Deity or described His character or behavior.

 The second time I read it, I underlined every doctrine or principle of the gospel. 
Both books are quite red with underlining.

I've started the book again. This time I'm reading it along side a Spanish Book of Mormon. It's amazing how different things jump out at you depending on your focus and time in your life.

May I offer you my testimony of the Book of Mormon. It is the word of God. It's contents are the happenings of real people in real life events. The principles are from our loving Heavenly Father for the purpose of helping us return to Him. It's purpose is to teach us of Christ and testify of Him and His atonement.

Will you read the Book of Mormon--again if you have read it already or for the first time if you haven't?

For those of you who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons are studying the New Testament this year in Sunday School. 
Here is a cool link that describes the characteristics of Christ.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sister Sarah Bailey and Valentines

 As Sarah Bailey watched all six of her older siblings serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she longed for the opportunity to serve her own mission.
 Sarah was called to the Illinois, Nauvoo mission this year for February 2nd through February 9th. Sarah has a strong testimony and loves to serve. 
 Since Sarah served primarily in the Family Living Center where Elder Johnson and I serve as Site Leaders we had the privilege of working with her most of the week. She demonstrated her love for music as she sang the hymn, "Be Still My Soul."
Sarah also helped give tours bearing testimony of her love of Jesus Christ.

 Sarah is a talented bread maker. 
She made bread for us in the evening on her own time. It was delicious.
 Sarah told us that she even has her own business at her home in St Louis, Missouri making and labeling loaves of bread.
 One task that Sarah helped us with was assembling a jig saw puzzle of one of the Nauvoo Sites. 
Sarah used some puzzle glue to make the picture permanent, and on her last day, 
 presented the finished art work to President Gibbons.

Happy Valentines Everyone!
 Elder Johnson and I were in charge of the February 14th missionary activity. 
We titled it "Kick Up Your Heels and Parlor Games."
We started in the Family Living Center with food and line dancing.

 Choloate dipping was a favorite.

 We ended the night with the choice of dancing on the third floor of the Cultural Hall where Joseph and Emma Smith most likely danced or staying in the Family Living Center and playing games with President Gibbons. With 115 missionaries all with different abilities and passions, choice was good.

Reports of the evening's events were favorable and we are now ready for our next project.
Looks like we may be learning parts to a different vignette in Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo.

We had a Relief Society lesson today from a manual called Teachings of the Prophets of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson (1999-1994). (For those of you who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Relief Society is a world wide women's organization.) 
We read quotes from Ezra Taft Benson on the importance of choosing to be happy.

Here are a few notes that I wrote down as women gave their two bits.
1. When it comes to being happy, fake it until you make it.
2. When someone says they don't want to do something that you need them to do, ask them to change their mind.
3. You can go just about anywhere you want to by walking fast and looking happy.
4. Happiness like faith is as much a choice as it is a feeling.
5. Sunshine all the time makes a desert.
6. Growth comes from adversity. However, it helps to think of adversity as merely an inconvenience.
7. An optimistic way to face financial struggles is to respond with the words, "Good thing we're rich." (Since we're all blessed with many wonderful things, we're rich even if our bank account is low.)
8.You are never fully dressed without a smile. (Name that movie.)

I always like to leave you with an invitation. This week I hope you'll strive to be happy and child-like as Christ invited us to do. Remember, child-like is not the same as childish :) .

Update on Exodus Commemoration

Apparently, a news reporter from Fort Madison, Iowa was at our Exodus commemoration. My picture along with Sister Huffaker ended up on the front page of the Fort Madison Democrat.

Does that mean I'm famous?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Facts behind the great Mormon Exodus to the Salt Lake Valley

Okay, so here are my thoughts on the expulsion of the latter-day saints along with quotes used at the Exodus memorial. It is a bit long, but bear with me. I think you’ll be enlightened.

Most of us have experienced being bullied at least to a small degree don’t you think? Many of us have also found ourselves being overbearing to the point that you could say that we were exercising unrighteous dominion over others. Can you agree with that? However, if you look at history, few have undergone the extreme bullying of mob action resulting in such persecution that an entire community of twelve thousand law abiding citizens was expelled in the bitter winter from their city, their state even their country.  Then to top it off, the whole community moved some 1,300 miles away in 1844 before modern means of travel and still survived to tell their tale.

It is ironic that this atrocity took place in a country that espoused freedom of religion more than any country at anytime in the history of the world.

Wow! How could that have happened and why? Well, from what I’ve gathered the past ten months while serving in Nauvoo, it was clearly the result of the Adversary using natural man to accomplish his designs. True followers of Christ have always endured persecution at least to some degree and many times while in full force. With the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in 1830, it was clearly no different. I believe that the enemy of all that's good used his full force to agitate, irritate, and eventually try to exterminate his competition.

Here are a few facts to support my theory:

1. John Taylor was one of the witnesses who went before a judge in Carthage to try to explain their actions taken against the Nauvoo Expositor printing press. Remember, the whole City Council had been tried twice for their behavior and been acquitted both times. When it was over, John Taylor expressed his deep frustration when his side of the story was not even considered. He claimed that the background noise to everything he said was encased in accusations of lies. (Interesting that the very thing of which the mob was guilty—overt and extreme falsehood, was what their opponents were accused of.) John Taylor’s demise was precisely the experience of the Latter-day Saint community at large. The good people were not given a trial at all let alone a fair trial.

2. History now paints Governor Ford of Illinois in 1844 as a neutral unbiased man trying his best to avert a civil war in his state. However, he clearly did nothing to protect Joseph and Hyrum Smith from certain death. In fact it appears that he cooperated at least in part if not fully with the bullies that stormed the Carthage jail on June 27, 1844. To top it off, the governor was sitting in Joseph’s chair in his home in Nauvoo speaking with his wife at the very moment of Joseph’s execution. It was again ironic that this incident had immediately followed the unabashed declaration to the citizens in Nauvoo that they were scoundrels who should act like saints if they were going to call themselves saints. From my perspective, Governor Ford was a man without spine. Again, the behavior of Governor Ford was indicative of government leaders throughout our country who made no effort to intercede.

Here is how it played out:

The Latter-day Saints’ epic evacuation from Nauvoo, in 1846, may be better understood by comparing it to a three-act play: Act 1, the winter exodus, was President Brigham Young’s well-known Camp of Israel trek across Iowa from March 1 to June 13, 1846 involving perhaps 3,000 Saints. The original plan was for spring departure, a well-organized preparation of wagons, supplies, livestock, etc. with appointed captains of companies of wagons. The winter was to be devoted to this necessary preparation. However, by the end of January, 1846, disturbing threats of attack, arrests, destruction of the Temple, stealing of wagons and even the Governor sending in troops to enforce arrest warrants forced the Church leaders to insist on immediate departure. This broke up the previous plan of organization, and what was expected to be a small, orderly group soon swelled to an unwieldy size. The winter departure caused family separations.

“We bade our children and friends goodbye and started for the West” wrote midwife Patty Sessions.

On February 4th, Nauvoo resident Charles Shumway ferried across the Mississippi River, starting the winter exodus. For three weeks, while temperatures plummeted, wagons ferried across, often dodging ice chunks, and then scores crossed on solid ice after Charles Rich walked across the Mississippi on February 25th.

Campfires burned constantly. “The wind blows, one can hardly get to the fire for the smoke,” Patty Sessions noted.

Eliza R. Snow wrote, “I was informed that on the first night of the encampment nine children were born into the world, and from that time, as we journeyed onward, mothers gave birth to offspring under almost every variety of circumstances imaginable, except those to which they were accustomed; some in tents, others in wagons—in rainstorms and in snowstorms... Let it be remembered that the mothers of these wilderness-born babes were not savages... Most of them were born and educated in the Eastern States—had embraced the gospel, and, for the sake of their religion, had gathered with the Saints and had a hand in making Nauvoo what its name indicated, ‘the beautiful.’ There they had lovely homes, decorated with flowers and enriched with choice fruit trees, just beginning to yield plentifully. To these homes, without lease or sale, they had just bade a final adieu, and had packed what little they could into a wagon and had started out, desert ward, for---where? At this time, the only response was, God knows.”

Sister Helen Mar Whitney, the mother of Apostle Orson F. Whitney, recorded with idealistic optimism: “I will pack away all my little ribbons, collars and laces, etc., for we are going where we cannot purchase them. We are going out from the world to live beyond where none others will wish to go. There will be neither rich nor poor among us, and we will have none but the honest and virtuous. Despite her optimism, her first three children died at or near birth—two of them during the exodus from Nauvoo.

Sister Bathsheba Smith recalled the evacuation of Nauvoo, she wrote: “My last act in that precious spot was to tidy the rooms, sweep up the floor and set the broom in its accustomed placed behind the door. Then with emotions in my heart I gently closed the door and faced an unknown future, faced it with faith in God.” She said, “I will not try to describe how we traveled through storms of snow, wind, and rain, how roads had to be made, bridges built, and rafts constructed; how our poor animals had to drag on day after day with scanty feed; nor how our camps suffered from poverty, sickness and death. We were consoled ... by having our public and private meetings in peace, praying and singing the songs of Zion, and rejoicing that we were leaving our persecutors far behind. We were further consoled by seeing the power of God manifested through the laying on of the hands of the elders, causing the sick to be healed, and the lame to walk. The Lord was with us and his power was made manifest daily.” Later in life, she became the fourth general Relief Society president.

Brigham Young captured the hardships endured by the Saints at this time when he said: “I might say something with regard to the hard times. You know that I have told you that if any one was afraid of starving to death, let him leave, and go where there is plenty. I do not apprehend the least danger of starving, for until we eat up the last mule, from the tip of the ear to the end of the fly whipper, I am not afraid of starving to death.”

Act II, the Spring Exodus. During April, May, and June of 1846, three times as many Saints left Nauvoo as went with President Young’s advance group. At least 10,000 evacuees left at this time. Economic, health, and family difficulties prevented these people from leaving sooner. Thousands had trouble obtaining adequate outfits and provisions.

Ethan Barrows wrote, “I could not sell my house and lot, nor any of my furniture.” The Leavitt family received only “a yoke of wild steers” for their “beautiful farm.” Amasa Lyman left in February, but his expectant wife, Maria, stayed behind, gave birth to a son, and left with her four children in June. People delayed, too, while waiting for relatives not ready, not willing to go, or not yet in Nauvoo.

News that Governor Ford would pull guard troops from Nauvoo on May 1st, leaving the Saints unprotected had caused “considerable excitement.” That report triggered a mass departure, the first of three large-scale evacuations that spring. On May 1st the temple was dedicated publicly by Elder Orson Hyde. In all, nearly 6,000 Latter-day Saints had received their temple ordinances in Nauvoo the previous winter.

In later months, Brigham Young would draw upon those temple experiences to help motivate the Saints during trying times. “Let the fire of the covenant which you made in the House of the Lord burn in your hearts, like flame unquenchable.” Elder White: On June 9th Saints were “rushing to the ferry in order to cross the river” because, as Lucius Scovil said, “the mob began to rage and threatened the Saints,” whipping some, shooting at others, and swearing at LDS herd boys. The regular and extra ferries were not “half enough” for the job. The mob gave the Saints a week to vacate Nauvoo.

 The typical outfit was a fully loaded covered wagon pulled by “two yoke of oxen, milk cows, two-year-old steers and heifers, and very few horses and mules.” Drivers “were of both sexes and comprised both the old and the young.” Wagons had few passengers. “The people who could walk did so, and many were engaged in driving loose stock... a daily challenge.”

Sometimes the camp “would meet in a sociable dance in the evenings, to drive dull care away.”

Act III: The Fall Exodus. By September only 700 to 1,000 Saints who wanted to go west were still in the city, some being new arrivals. Many lacked wagons and teams. Some were too ill to travel. On September 13, armed anti-Mormons attacked the remaining Nauvoo defenders and won what is called the Battle of Nauvoo. The Saints signed a formal surrender of the city three days later, whereupon victors drove them out at gunpoint. LDS refugees swarmed across the river to Montrose.

Many, like the Stillman Pond family, crossed Iowa on their own. Along the way the Ponds suffered from malaria, buried four children, including a baby born during the trek. Stillman was so sick he had to drive the wagon by lying on his stomach, peering through a knothole in the front board, and holding reins with one hand over the board.

Hyrum Smith’s widow, Mary Fielding Smith, left about the time of the Battle of Nauvoo. Her daughter Martha Ann, age 5, recalled, “We bid goodbye to our dear old feeble grandmother (Lucy Mack Smith). I can never forget the bitter tears she shed when she bid us goodbye.”

Soon after this final exodus, Colonel Thomas L. Kane visited Nauvoo and described the abandoned city: “The town lay as in a dream, under some deadening spell of loneliness, from which I almost feared to wake it. For plainly it had not slept long. There was not grass growing in the paved ways. Rains had not entirely washed away the prints of dusty footsteps ... The spinner’s wheel was idle; the carpenter had gone from his work-bench and shavings . . . as if he had just gone off for a holiday. The quiet was ... such that I heard flies buzz. If I went into the gardens, clinking the wicket-latch loudly after me... and draw a drink with the water sodden well-bucket and its noisy chain... no one called out to me from any open window, or dog sprang forward to bark an alarm. The doors were unfastened; and when at last I timidly entered them, I found dead ashes white upon the hearths, and had to tread a tiptoe, as if walking down the aisle of a country church to avoid rousing irreverent echoes from the naked floors.”

Poem by Susan Easton Black Durrant
“Gone but not forgotten are the days of Old Nauvoo,
Days when prophets bid saints and sinners adieu.
Home and shops, the temple, the saga does tell,
Nauvoo, the Beautiful, in ruin, Farewell.”

Why would a God of love allow this atrocity if these people were indeed His followers? My observation is that the predicament in Nauvoo served as a testing ground for many victims of extreme hatred to prove their faith and love for the Savior and His gospel. It was also a test for those who disagreed with gospel principles outside their own beliefs. How far would they go when intolerant for others' religious differences.

Now posterity remains from both groups. Can it be different this time? Can we put our differences aside and learn to get along and even love each other? Truly, that's how we'll overcome the destroyer of good don't you think?

May I offer you my testimony that God lives. He loves all his children which includes you. There is more to life than to merely live and then die. It is indeed a testing ground for each of us. How will we respond in any given situation? Ultimately, the choices we make will determine what type of character we will become.

I invite you to do as I will try to do this year—Be a little kinder avoiding any sort of bullying and therefore be a little more like our Savior.
Cameramen shooting the parade
(It was friendly shooting this time. :)  )

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Commemmorating the Exodus of the Mormons in 1846 leaving Nauvoo--out of the US and into the unknown, Nauvoo Mission Anyone?

First of all Happy Birthday and congratulations to our granddaughter, Avry Johnson. She turned 8 years old today and was able to be baptized on her Birthday in Florida. We love you and are so proud of you!!!!

What an amazing week we've had. So amazing that I'm going to only give you a taste of the excitement and then post again midweek in order to give the topic justice.

Saturday, February 7th and Sunday the 8th were big days for us. People from the surrounding community came to help us celebrate. The other big state we heard mentioned often was guests coming from Utah.

We started with a continental breakfast in the Family Living Center which was our home away from home this week.
 There must have been 300 people crammed in the site. I'll give you an accurate number after our training meeting on Wednesday.
After feasting on free food provided by the missionaries, we had a short program. Elder Johnson and I sang with a choir.
Then the Shultz's and the Brinley's gave us the history on what transpired during those trying days starting February 3, 1846 and ending with the Nauvoo War in the fall of that year and the final expulsion.

From the Family Living Center, we paraded down Parley Street. Elder Johnson marched with a brigade representing the Nauvoo Legion. We didn't quite have 3,500 men, but perhaps 35.
Horse drawn wagons carried some guests but primarily we walked the mile or so to the Mississippi River where the families in 1846 waited to cross the river.

Some famlies were pulled by their fathers in a handcart.
We passed by the blacksmith shop where many of the 3,000 wagons were assembled.
Most of us wore tags with names and stories of ancestors who walked these very roads. I wore three names: Charity Arms, Eleanor Kountz, and Lodes Ann Roberts. There were others but we were limited to three. Elder Johnson walked for his great great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Johnson. I'll talk more about him later too.
At the end of the trail, President Gibbons talked and we sang, Come, Come, Ye Saints.

Today, Sunday, we ended the celebration by reciting untold stories. Approximately, 25 of the missionaries prepared and memorized a story of one of their ancestors who lived here in the 1840's. I'll relate some of their inspiring tales in a few days.

Elder Johnson and I were selected to sing, "Gather to Zion", a beautiful song recommended by my Aunt Mary Marble written by Kathleen C. Waite quoting her relative Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt who was part of the Nauvoo exodus. The song was recently written for the Daughter's of Utah Pioneer song writing competition. It was a very nice addition to the program, but I'm grately relieved it is over. Elder Johnson has a beautiful and mesmorizing voice. I just sing--mostly on key, but nothing special. Therefore, I will sleep well tonight. There weren't as many people tonight as at yesterday's events, but there was probably 275. I pretended that they were all my grandchildren.

So, until I finish the story in a few days, here is something to think about. Have you ever thought you'd like to come to Nauvoo on a mission but assumed you'd never be chosen? Well, President Gibbons told us at our training meeting last week, that there are still about 15 slots open for missionary couples-- two of which need to be teamsters. Is that you? We're having an amazing experience--exhausting, but sooooo fun.

We never dreamed that our life could pull together long enough to make this happen but if you trust in the Lord and show some faith, it's amazing what can transpire.

Here's all you need to do. Apply with the availability date of April of this year. You'd also need to commit for 18 months. Mention Nauvoo in the notes but of course, you'll be called according to inspiration. Anyway, you'd have a good chance of getting in if you applied right away. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nauvoo skies, Warsaw, and the Christ-like quality of virtue

Isn't this the most beautiful sunset you've ever seen?
I am regularly awe struck how beautiful it is here. 
If Nauvoo in the winter is not on your bucket list, you better add it.

This picture was taken last month by the son of a missionary couple here. He has some other amazing shots. Nauvoo Website

Check this out
Eagle on a mission--get out of the way! It was taken in Keokuk, Iowa near where we shop at Wal-mart.

Warsaw and more of the story
I've had requests to explain more of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, and since we took a tour this week along the Martyrdom Trail as we call it, I can add a few more details.

Remember, in my post titled Charity and Joseph, I explained in simple terms some of the events that led to Joseph's incarceration in Carthage Jail. See that post if you're confused.
Thomas Sharp, was the editor of the Warsaw Signal that flagrantly and consistently distorted facts about Joseph Smith to stir people up and sell news papers. When the Mormon's didn't retaliate as expected, the slanderous print was taken to a new shop in Nauvoo under the name of the Nauvoo Expositor.

Side note--Thomas Sharp was also head of the Anti-Mormon political party in the 1840's.
Well, the pictures above show what's left of the infamous print shop in Warsaw. It was resurrected in 1987 as a museum hoping to bring in a little funding for the dwindling city. However, infamy doesn't always have much of a draw especially for the LDS crowd and it was closed in 2008 due to little patronization. The remains of the museum are what you see above.

Military or civilian clothes?
Some people are concerned that Joseph is shown headed to Carthage Jail in both his military uniform and in his regular clothes. Here is more of the story.

Joseph agreed to show up in Carthage on a charge of rioting since he was the mayor who agreed with the Nauvoo City Council to deem the Nauvoo Expositor a nuisance and had the press destroyed. It was all done legally as I explained before, and the entire City Council and Joseph had been acquitted of the charge twice. None-the-less, Joseph agreed to come with the Council to avoid mob action directed at citizens in Nauvoo. Joseph was promised a fair trial and safety by Governor Ford if he would come voluntarily.

So, when Joseph left Nauvoo at 6 AM on Monday, June 24, 1844, he was in his military uniform as mayor of Nauvoo and head of the Nauvoo Legion. He also came with 18 of the City Council and there were others who were asked to come. In all, there were about 38 men.

They traveled by horse back from Nauvoo to Carthage which in 1844 was an 18 mile trip. However,when the men arrived at Albert Fellows farm and stopped to rest the horses, Captain Dunn of the  Augusta Illinois Militia, met up with the group.
Captain Dunn and his militia of 60 men had orders to march into Nauvoo and disarm the Nauvoo legion of their state given arms. Joseph warned Captain Dunn that the Nauvoo Legion would not likely relinquish their arms willingly, having  memories of Missouri and the blood and horror that took place after giving up their weapons just 7 years earlier.
This is the location of Albert Fellow's farm. The original farmhouse is gone, of course, but this is the same location about 4 miles west of Carthage and 14 miles from Nauvoo.

It was agreed that Joseph would return to Nauvoo to convince the Nauvoo Legion to give back any state owned weapons. Only one man went on to Carthage at that time to inform Governor Ford of the delay.

The men arrived back in Nauvoo about 2:30 PM. After complying with Captain Dunn's orders, Joseph spent a few hours at home with his wife, Emma, and children. When Joseph left the second time from Nauvoo about 6:30 PM that same day, he was in civilian clothes.

Charge of treason
Something else I want to explain better is the charge of treason. As I mentioned before, Joseph was never presented with evidence of treason before a judge. To me, it is obvious that the charges would not have stuck, which is why the judge didn't have both charges brought up at the same time. Only the charge of rioting was addressed and when bail was met and most of the men had headed back to Nauvoo, the second charge of treason was addressed. When Joseph appeared before the judge this time, the court room was empty since the judge had gone home early. None-the-less and without a preliminary hearing, Joseph was taken to jail to await trial for treason.

Okay, so maybe there wasn't proof of treason, but what reasons did they give for such a serious crime? Well, on 18th of that same month, the Warsaw Signal, wrote in their paper that Nauvoo would be attacked by an armed mob on the 19th of June. In response, Joseph as head of the Nauvoo Legion declared Marshal Law in the city of Nauvoo. Basically, that meant that no one could come or go from Nauvoo. Marshal Law was withdrawn a day later when the war was abated.

The charge of treason then was because Joseph declared Marshal Law. Why is that considered treason? Well, we'll all have to use our imagination on that one. Joseph wrote to Emma from Carthage Jail, "Don't worry about the charge of treason. There is nothing to it."
 This is the general spot that historians think the 200 men met and smeared their faces with mud and gun powder to hide their identities before attacking Joseph and Hyrum in Carthage Jail.

This is the sight of the old tavern in Warsaw where the murderers met after the terrible deed was done and where they drank and bragged. All the men were exhonerated before a judge in 1845. However, I'm quite sure that their fate in the next life hasn't turned out well.

The rest of the story
 It has been nearly 175 years since the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum and the exodus of the Mormons from the United States. Everyone involved is dead.  What remains?
Well, the thriving city of Nauvoo went from 12,000 population to less than 900 today and had a state military of 3,500 in the 1840's.
Warsaw grew from 500 to 3000 today that once had a military of 1,100.
Carthage had a town of 500 with 75 men in their militia of which most of them may have been part of the mob that attacked Carthage Jail. Today they have a population of about 2700.
All three towns are suffering with the financial collapse in America. Abandoned buildings are evidence up and down narrow streets with deteriorating sidewalks and little to no signs of prosperity.
Thomas Sharp couldn't sell many news papers once the Mormons were gone. He eventually went out of business, moved to Carthage and set up shop again. Some evidence suggests that he may have been successful in Carthage but truth is, he was a paraplegic the last three years of his life. That sounds pretty miserable to me.
Governor Ford was not a happy camper after the murders. He was not re-elected ever again. Both he and his wife died about 12 years later-- one of cancer and the other tuberculosis leaving his children as paupers. Both of his sons were hung by a mob accusing them of stealing horses. Evidence suggests that the boys were innocent.

The assignment we received from our mission president this week was to consider Christ-like characteristics and pick one to work on.

Both Elder Johnson and I chose virtue. So what exactly is virtue?

In a nut shell, here's what we discovered: Virtue originates in one's innermost thoughts. It is a set of thoughts and behaviors that is based on high moral standards. (It is what's lacking in much of society both in the 1840's and now.) Traits like honesty, integrity, being obedient to God's commandments, accountability for thoughts as well as actions are all fruits of virtue. What we do when we think no one is watching is a good measuring stick.

How are we going to be more virtuous? Well, I think it is easier to replace thoughts and behavior with better choices rather than to think I can stop doing something without putting a different behavior in its place (if that makes any sense to you). Therefore, if our mind is full of uplifting music and/or scriptures then negative and undesirable thoughts will have little room to affect our behavior. So, Elder Johnson and I plan to find more scriptures to put to memory, and have a few more uplifting songs on our minds.

Will you do the same? Let's make the world a little better with our efforts.