Monday, June 30, 2014

Jesse N. Smith

Jesse Nathaniel Smith (1834-1906)
by Joseph W. Smith (a Son)
The subject of this brief sketch commenced his earthly pilgrimage in Stockholm, St. Lawrence Co., New York, on Dec. 2, 1834.  He was the youngest child of his father’s second marriage, and traces his lineage thus on the paternal side: Silas Smith and Mary Aikens; Asahel Smith and Mary Duty; Samuel Smith II and Priscilla Gould; Samuel Smith and Rebecca Curtis; Robert and Mary French.  Robert came to America from England in 1638 and settled at Topsfield, Mass. in 1648.

His lineage on his mother’s side is: Nathaniel Aikens and Mary Tupper; Solomon Aikens and Dorcas Whitcomb, whose parents came from England.  Both of his grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary War, and his father fought his country’s battles in the War of 1812 as captain of militia.

Asahel Smith was a somewhat visionary man.  He predicted that something would come forth in his family that would transmit his name with honor to posterity.  When near his death (in Stockholm) in 1830, he was visited at Silas’s home by his son Joseph (the Prophet’s father) and grandson Don Carlos, having with them the Book of Mormon and the tidings of the restored gospel.  He received with gladness the testimony of his son, and remarked that he had always been expecting the coming forth of the true gospel.  Asahel died a few days later, being over 86 years old.

Jesse N.’s father, Silas Smith, was baptized in the summer of 1835 by Hyrum Smith.  He was ordained first an elder, and afterwards a high priest.  Mary Duty Smith moved to Kirtland, Ohio with her son Silas and family in 1836, but died soon after, being 91 years of age.

Silas moved with his family from Kirtland in April, 1838, bound for Far West, Mo., but was turned back at Huntsville by some who were fleeing from their homes and bearing Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs’ “extermination order.”  He died on Sep. 13, 1839 at Pittsfield, Illinois, where he had been appointed president of a branch of the Church.  His widow moved to Nauvoo where she was kindly received by relatives, and where she taught school for a subsistence.  From her Jesse received teaching, not only in the rudiments of education, but also the principles of the Gospel.  He readily absorbed both.

Jesse was baptized Aug. 13, 1843 by his Uncle John Smith, who also confirmed him.  He was acknowledged as “friend” by the Prophet, who made him welcome and presented him with a copy of the Book of Mormon (first edition).  He was familiar with the stirring events of Nauvoo, played soldier with the boys in the spirit of the Nauvoo Legion, was present and heard the speech of Gov. Thomas Ford on the day of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, and saw the bodies of the Prophet and Patriarch when they were prepared for burial. 
His cousin William Smith tried hard to dissuade Mary A. Smith and her two young sons from going off in the great exodus with Brigham Young, but they all expressed their purpose of doing so.  With his mother and brother Jesse passed the summer of 1846 in Iowa across the Mississippi from Nauvoo, until they were picked up by the Church teams which came from Winter Quarters (afterward called Florence, Neb.), where they arrived Nov. 30.  In the spring he was engaged in felling trees for the stock to browse on the swelling buds, before the grass started to grow.

The family started west in Perigrine Sessions’ company of 50 wagons on June 30, 1847, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley on Sep. 25, 1847.  Although only 12 years of age, Jesse drove Uncle John Smith’s two yokes of oxen in making the arduous journey.
With his mother and brother he tried farming in what became Davis County.  Then, in the fall of 1851, they were called to go to Parowan and help build up and strengthen that locality.  It thus appears that while he was not yet 17 he was counted among the strong men.  He bore his full part of the hardships of the Indian war in 1853-54, and while on guard at Chimney Springs suffered a painful accident in the misfire of his companion’s rifle.  The accident almost cost him the sight of his right eye.  It was not entirely blind, but the sight was so dim that it was very little use to him.

In less than a year from his arrival in Parowan, Jesse became a married man.  He eventually became the husband of five good women, all of whom had great respect for him; and each of them bore him children.  He marred Emma Seraphine West, May 13, 1852 who bore him nine children.  He married Margaret Fletcher West, her sister, Jan. 27, 1856, who bore two children.  He married Janet Mauretta Johnson, Oct. 9, 1866, who bore 13 children.  He married Augusta Maria Outzen, June 3, 1869, who bore him 11 children.  He married Emma Larson, Oct. 28, 1881, who bore nine children.  He was not yet 18 years old when he married the first, and he was nearly 47 when the last wedding occurred.  And when his youngest child was born–the 44th–he was 69 years of age. 

He was essentially a Church man, although he was very active in civil positions as well.  At 16 he was ordained an elder on July 6, 1851 by John Smith in Salt Lake City.  Joseph Young ordained him a Seventy on March 12, 1854, and he became a member of the 9th Quorum.  When the Parowan Stake was organized by Brigham Young on April 23, 1855, he was ordained a high priest and became a counselor to Pres. John C. L. Smith.  After the death of Pres. Smith, the stake was reorganized by George A. Smith with William H. Dame as president and Calvin Pendleton and Jesse N. Smith as counselors.  Jesse was also appointed to preside over the high priests of the stake.

He was elected district attorney by the legislature, and officiated as clerk of Iron County.  During the winter of 1854-55 he taught school.  In August he was elected as representative to the territorial legislature.  In the winter of 1856 war broke out with the Utah Indians, and as Jesse was in Salt Lake City, Gov. Young sent word by him to abandon the smaller settlements in Southern Utah, and consolidate them in larger settlements.  He did missionary work and taught school during the following winter.  He was with the White Mountain exploring party from May 21, 1857 until the party came in.  He, with a few companions, explored the valleys at the headwaters of the Sevier and Virgin Rivers, and made a report thereof to the Church Historian.  He was elected mayor of Parowan in February, 1859, and in the spring he helped in making a settlement at Minersville in Beaver County.

There, while harvesting wheat in his field the next year, he received a letter from George A. Smith informing him that he was called on a mission to Europe, and that the company of elders would leave Salt Lake City on the 25th.  As it was Sept. 12 when he received this word, quick action was required if he were to get there on time.  Therefore he immediately set about arranging his affairs, and the following morning he started for Parowan, moving his family.  Here he turned over his business to his brother, Silas, S. And left for Salt Lake City on the 17th, where he was informed that his mission was to Scandanavia.

He was given an Elder’s Certificate, a blessing by the apostles, and left on horseback with some 50 elders going to various parts of the world.  Among them were Orson Pratt, Erastus Snow, and George Q. Cannon.  It took them 40 days to reach Florence, Neb., where they sold their ponies.  They traveled by boat and railway from there to New York.  Jesse reached Copenhagen Jan. 11, 1861, having suffered considerably from the cold during the latter part of the journey, as lack of money compelled him and his companions to travel third class.

On March 16, 1862 Pres. John Van Gott of the Scandinavian Mission announced to a conference of about 1,000 Saints that Jesse N. Smith (then age 27) had been appointed by President Young to become president of the mission.  During the next two year he revised the Swedish hymn book, with the assistance of Elder Jonas Engberg, and published a new edition.  He labored earnestly to have the missionaries and members refrain from the use of strong drink and tobacco, and assisted 1,778 members in emigrating to America.  He also paid off an indebtedness of the mission, and turned its accounts over to his successor without a deficit.
After his release he reached home Oct. 22, 1864 and found his family in extreme poverty.  It had taken everything that he possessed for their support during his absence, and it barely sufficed.  He rented some land, worked hard, and did every honorable things he could for the next four years to recuperate his fortunes.  Among other things, he assisted in organizing a cooperative store in Parowan.

He was again appointed county clerk, and also was appointed regimental adjutant of the Iron Military District.  In January 1866 he was elected probate judge for Iron County.  During that year a state of war again existed with the Utah Indians, and the Sevier River country, including all of the settlements south of Gunnison, was organized into what was known as the Piute Military District, of which he was appointed colonel.  The duty of organizing the militia was assigned to him.  During that period he was engaged in six military expeditions, furnishing his own horse, arms, and outfit, and serving without pay from any quarter. 
In 1868 he answered a second mission call, and was “set apart” in Salt Lake City to preside a second time over the Scandinavian Mission.  He attended in Liverpool a conference of the leading elders, at which he strongly advocated sending the emigrating Saints on steamships, thereby saving many lives that might be lost by being longer exposed in sailing vessels from sea-sickness, contagious disease, and other dangers of sea travel.  During the next two years 1,100 adult converts, beside children were emigrated from Scandinavia.  He filled a very good mission and started home July 15, 1870 in charge of a company of emigrants numbering nearly 600, besides nine returning elders.  It made a very successful journey, both by sea and land.  Just before reaching Salt Lake City he was met and welcomed by the First Presidency of the Church, the Presiding Bishop, and other leading citizens.  He made his report of his mission in the “old Tabernacle” on Temple Square, speaking in English and Danish.

On the invitation of President Young, Jesse and his brother Silas joined him and his party (including Army Major John Wesley Powell) on an exploring trip to the Paria region on the border of southern Utah and northern Arizona.Back home, Jesse was instrumental in organizing the Parowan Cooperative Co.  He again officiated as county clerk and as justice of the peace.

A new chapter in his career was opened when in 1878 he made a trip of exploration into Arizona with Erastus Snow, who had supervision over the Mormon settlements which were beginning in that area.  Upon his return he reported to Pres. John Taylor, and subsequently was called and set apart as president of the Eastern Arizona Stake.  He then moved his family from Parowan to the location of his new “mission” in two stages–the first in December, 1878 and the second in April, 1880.  Having been elected previously, he also served in the Utah legislature in the winter of 1880.

In Arizona he performed a distinct service in assisting to incorporate and organize irrigation companies for St. Joseph, Woodruff, Snowflake, and Taylor, and he labored enthusiastically to locate and build dams and reservoirs for the storing of flood waters.  He thus became a pioneer in the practice which has now become so popular and essential in the nation, the building of storage reservoirs.  He also assisted in organizing a grist mill and cooperative herd in Taylor and Snowflake Wards.  To provide means of subsistence for the people he, in company with John W. Young and Ammon M. Tenney, took a small railroad contract for grading near the continental divide in New Mexico.

In 1884 he was appointed on a committee of five to purchase lands in Mexico where Saints (being persecuted under the anti-polygamy statutes) could make homes.  In the discharge of this duty he labored in Mexico for nearly a year in the states of Sorona and Chihuahua.  In the spring of 1889 he was called by the First Presidency, in company with Brigham Young Jr., to go to New York City and negotiate a purchase of lands from the Aztec Land and Cattle Co., who had ordered the Mormon people to vacate their lands and would have broken up the settlements on Silver Creek and Show Low.  Through his aid the purchase was successfully made, and he, with the help of E. M. Webb, made a careful survey and platted the lands.  His survey he recorded, and it is the guide and the standard of description in the conveyance of all transfers of real estate in this locality (Snowflake).  In all his duties as president of the stake, and they were numerous, none was of greater benefit to the whole people than what he did in this connection.

In other civic duties, he was appointed probate judge by the governor of Arizona Territory, and was elected a member of the house and served in the 19th session of the legislature.  As a businessman, he helped organize and serves as president of the Arizona Cooperative Mercantile Association.

Jesse N. Smith’s life of 71 years was full of activity.  As a pioneer, a statesman, and officer in court, in field, or office, he was ever industrious, painstaking, dignified, and honorable.  He gave prestige to every activity that he undertook.  As a missionary he labored for the saving of souls.  His preaching had the ring of righteousness.  It never echoed of hypocrisy.  

The record might warrant our referring to him as a scholar and a gentleman; but probably his greatest accomplishment was in rearing a family.  Any man who has lived harmoniously and finished a life successfully with one wife has done well and is to be commended; but here we have one who goes him five times better!  He was a good disciplinarian, and with the hearty cooperation of his good wives, he reared 44 children, all but two of whom reached maturity.  They were obedient in the home and became dependable, useful citizens; not a criminal, nor an imbecile in the bunch.  In my judgment, a man’s success in life is primarily measured by the development of his family.  So, considering the great number, their character, and all, he has here a fine testimonial.

In conclusion, let me say Jesse N. Smith was true to his friends; he never betrayed a trust; and he discharged capably and faithfully every commission that was properly placed in his hands.  

[Jesse N. Smith died at his home in Snowflake, Arizona on June 5, 1906, and was buried in the Snowflake Cemetery.]
 Editor’s Note: The foregoing article was written in 1934 for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jesse N. Smith by his eldest son.

Asael and Mary Duty Smith


Written and compiled by Lavona F. Richardson
June 28, 2014

The family proclamation states that “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.  The Book of Mormon is a story of families.  I am grateful to belong to a family who was instrumental in restoring the Gospel again upon the earth.   I share a common ancestor with Joseph Smith.   Asael and Mary Duty Smith are grandparents for many families strong in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  During their lives they worked to create a strong sense of family togetherness. 
 Asael and Mary Duty might be considered the first generation Mormon, although they did not actually join the Church.  Asael died just six months after it was organized. Mary Duty did come to Kirtland and met her prophet  grandson.  She planned to have him baptize her but died before she was able to be baptized.  She lived only for ten days after arriving in Kirtland and is buried in the cemetery next to the Kirtland Temple.  Joseph Smith’s extended family believed in the Church that Joseph Smith was an instrument in restoring and was always very supportive to their nephew and cousin.

Asael prophesied of his grandson Joseph Smith’s destiny.  Asael said, “It has been borne in upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith”    Of this prophecy Joseph Smith later said, “My grandfather, Asael Smith, long ago predicted that there would be a prophet raised up in his family, and my grandmother (Mary Duty) was fully satisfied that it was fulfilled in me.  

Asael Smith was not the only American revolutionist who felt a conviction that the true church would one day be restored to the earth. In 1820, the year Asael's grandson Joseph the Prophet, received his first vision, Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, in denouncing the sectarian priests, declared, "The genuine and simple religion of Jesus will one day be restored, such as it was preached and practiced by Himself..   Very soon after His death it became muffled up in mysteries, and has been ever since kept in concealment from the vulgar eye”

 In the small township of Topsfield about twenty miles north of Boston, Massachusetts there were five generations of our Smith grandparents. (It was Asael who made the move to another state, Vermont).  While living at what is now referred to as the Smith farm site, in Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, on March 7, 1744   Samuel Jr. and his wife Priscilla had a son, whom they named Asael.   He was the youngest of five children.  Asael’s mother died   when he was only six months old and he was raised by a step mother.  He said that he never felt the love of a mother. 

Asael was tall of stature, his body was well proportioned and powerful and he was capable of handling with ease two ordinary men.
Asael was affiliated with the established religion in New England, the Congregationalists, but he later became skeptical of organized religion. To his thinking the teachings of established churches were not reconcilable with scripture and common sense. His belief in God and the government of his day is indicated in this quotation: “For my part, I am so willing to trust the government of the world in the hands of the Supreme Ruler of universal nature, that I do not at present wish to try to wrest it out of His hands, and I have so much confidence in His abilities to teach our senators wisdom, that I do not think it worthwhile for me to interpose, from the little stock of knowledge that He has favored me with, in the affair either one way or the other. He has conducted us through a glorious Revolution and has brought us into the promised land of peace and liberty, and I believe that He is about to bring all the world into the same beatitude in His own time and way; which, although, His ways may appear never so inconsistent to our blind reason, yet may be perfectly consistent with His designs.”

At age twenty-three he married Mary Duty of Rowley, Massachusetts. They were married in the home of Mary’s parents, Moses Duty and Mary Palmer.  Asael and Mary were blessed with eleven children: Jesse (1768); Priscilla (1769), Joseph Senior (1771)   father of Joseph Smith (1771), Asael Junior (1773), Mary (1775), Samuel (1777), Silas (1779) my grandfather. John (1781) the father of George Albert Smith, Susannah (1783, Stephen (1785), and Sarah (1789).

At great sacrifice to himself and his family, Asael moved from Derryfield, New Hampshire, back to Topsfield where he worked for five years to liquidate the debts his father had been unable to pay before his death. He said that he would not have it said that he died insolvent debtor.  Despite the fact that the economy was in a depression and that he had eleven children of his own, Asael was able to pay off his father’s debts within five years.  The fact that he also supported his stepmother throughout this time period makes his accomplishments quite remarkable. Asael paid all the debts that was against the estate and left himself almost destitute of means to support his family.   Asael worked as a cooper and a farmer in Tunb ridge and eventually purchased more land.  

Asael served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  A letter to Jacob Town, dated Jan. 14, 1766, indicated he believed America was the promised land and that the stone is now cut out, as spoken by the prophet Daniel.  In 1779 he wrote an “Address to the Family” as a sort of “last words” to them, yet he lived for another 30 years.  I am grateful to have a copy of that letter.

Asael Smith began the document saying ,”My dear selfs”  It was his intention not to have it read until after his death, but its existence became known and it was read. The following information was taken from this address, which reveals the love he had for his family.
 This letter best depicts the sentiments and characters of our grandfather.  He first addressed his wife by expressing gratitude for her kindness and faithfulness. He reminded her that if she should marry again, she remember what he had undergone as a result of having a stepmother, and told her not to estrange her husband from his own children or kindred

 He encouraged his children to trust in God and to believe in immorality of their soul. .  He affirmed that religion was necessary that God is no respecter of persons that marriage is predestined, that children should help one another, that the Constitution of the United States was of God, and that Christ had the most important role in man’s foundation.

“Trifle not in this point; the soul is immortal; you have to deal with an infinite Majesty; you go upon life and death; therefore in this point be serious. Do all to God in a serious manner; when you think of Him, speak of Him, pray to Him, or in any way, make your addresses to His great Majesty, be in good earnest.”

His closing advice was for them to be grateful for the land of liberty and remain loyal to its objectives. This reveals a man of noble character and child-like humility. His faith and trust in God, in the American Government, in the family unit, is most admirable. Such ideals and attitudes are most significant in the shaping of the personality of his children.

 M. Russell Ballard in paying tribute to his grandfather Asael Smith said, “He consistently set an example of honesty and integrity in the face of adversity. His writings reveal a deep faith in Jesus Christ and His resurrection. An unwavering concern for his fellowmen is evidenced in his strong anti-slavery beliefs. In the last message to his family, he exhorted them to ‘Search the scriptures.’ These are qualities that would serve us well to emulate.”

B. H Roberts wrote that Asael was as “man of noble independence of mind, yet of child-like humility”

In 1793 Asael was chosen as one of three Selectmen who managed Tunbridge’s town affairs.  He occasionally served as moderator and highway surveyor.  He was a man of very liberal views, with thoughts in advance of his time. He was noted for having opinions of his own, which he would not yield, to bigotry or opposition. Some of his children were baptized in the Congregational church at Topsfield, but in his own religious views he was somewhat of a Universalist, holding to the truth that in America all men should have free and equal religious liberty. . . .

Asael was somewhat gifted with the pen and did considerable writing in his day. The documents he left shows his soundness of understanding, clearness in intellect, and refinement of nature. He was affable in manner, possessing a quaint and genial humor and a fund of anecdote.  Before Asael moved to Tunbridge, he expressed his humor by listing his taxable property in a poem.  It was later recovered among the “scraps on File’ in the town archives of Topsfield, Massachusetts.

To the Selectmen of Topsfield
                                    I have two polls, the one is poor,
                                    I have three cows and want five more,
                                    I have no horse, but fifteen sheep—
                                    No more than these this year I keep;
                                    Steers that’s two years old, one pair,
                                    Two calves I have, all over hair,
                                    Three heifers two years old I own,
                                    One heifer calf that’s poorly grown.
                                    My land is acres eighty-two
                                    Which search the records, you’ll find true.
                                    And this is all I have in store—
                                    I’ll thank you if you’ll tax no more

                                                                          Asael Smith

Asael was 84 years old when in the fall of 1828 he received a letter from his son, Joseph Smith Sr. which startled the entire family.  He stated that his son Joseph had received some remarkable visions.   Asael upon receiving the letter said that “he always knew that God was going to raise up some branch of this family to be a great benefit to mankind.”  In August of 1830, Joseph Jr. and youngest son, Don Carlos, made them a visit, bringing with them some Books of Mormon.  They had not seen each other for almost twenty years, so they rejoiced in being together.   Asael read the Book of Mormon through without the aid of glasses, exclaiming “It is of God”, before he died the 31of Oct. 1830.  

Both Asael Smith and his wife Mary Duty Smith accepted in full the mission of their grandson, Joseph, and rejoiced greatly in the restoration of the Gospel before their departure from mortal life.  Asael and Mary and eight of their children were still alive when the Book of Mormon was first brought to their home. Only his oldest brother Jesse and two sisters (Mary and Susan) failed to believe.  This is not to be confused with my Silas’s son Jesse who is my grandfather and who served in various leadership roles in the church throughout his life. Their son Joseph Senior is the father of Joseph Smith and was the Patriarch of the Church, John is the father of George Albert Smith, Asael Jr. and Silas.  Their posterity today has produced many hundreds of loyal church members today that have provided lots of church leadership.  

  I have a copy of the letter that Joseph Smith wrote to my grandfather, his Uncle Silas.  

“Kirtland Mills, Ohio, September 26, 1833.
”Respected Uncle Silas: — It is with feelings of deep interest for the welfare of mankind, which fill my mind on the reflection that all were formed by the hand of Him who will call the same to give an impartial account of all their works on that great day to which you and myself, in common with them, are bound, that I take up my pen and seat myself in an attitude to address a few, though imperfect, lines to you for your perusal. 

“I have no doubt but that you will agree with me, that men will be held accountable for the things they have done, and not for the things they have not done. Or that all the light and intelligence communicated to them from their beneficent Creator, whether it is much or little, by the same they, in justice, will be judged. And that they are required to yield obedience, and improve upon that and that only, which is given, for man is not to live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
“Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to understand, by anything heretofore revealed, that he had ceased forever to speak to his creatures, when sought unto in a proper manner, why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation?”

Another quote from Joseph Smith’s letter to his Uncle Silas, “If the saints, in the days of the apostles, were privileged to take the saints for example, and lay hold of the same promises, and attain to the same exalted privileges of knowing that their names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and that they were sealed there as a perpetual memorial before the face of the Most High, will not the same faithfulness, the same purity of heart, and the faith, bring the same assurance of eternal life, and that in the same manner to the children of men now, in this age of the world

He ends his long letter by saying, “I must now close this subject for the want of time; and I may say with propriety at the beginning; we would be pleased to see you in Kirtland and more pleased to have you embrace the New Covenant. I remain.  Yours affectionately, Joseph Smith Junior.

Sometime in 1838 after this letter from Joseph to Silas the Lord gave Hyrum Smith a revelation commanding him to visit his Uncle Silas, for he was ready to be baptized. When he found him he said, “Uncle Silas…the Lord has sent me t baptize you, for the Lord has seen the integrity of your heart but knows your fears with regard to your family, but you need not suffer any anxiety about them, for if you embrace the gospel it will be the means of saving them’   Silas answered that he had no doubt of the truth of the work and the only thing that hindered him from embracing it was that he was afraid that his family would be so much opposed to it that it would ruin the peace.  However, upon receiving this message he was baptized, but thorough much tribulation, being much opposed by his neighbors as well as his own family.”

These formative influences of the home, the religion, the education, the community, the progenitors, and the friends, all helped to shape the personality and character of members of the Asael and Mary Duty Smith family. The Smiths were as family of very strong convictions.  Their father, Asael Sr., had taught them as best he could by precept and example to defend whatever their opinion to be true, testing their belief with these two means of judgment: sound reasoning and scriptures.  So those who accepted these truths did so with whole hearts. 

Both Asael Smith and his wife Mary Duty Smith accepted in full the mission of their grandson, Joseph, and rejoiced greatly in the restoration of the Gospel before their departure from mortal life.  Asael and Mary and eight of their children were still alive when the Book of Mormon was first brought to their home. Only his oldest brother Jesse and two sisters (Mary and Susan) failed to believe.  This is not to be confused with Silas’s son Jesse who is my grandfather and who served in various leadership roles in the church throughout his life.  Asael and Mary Duty Smith’s children were all stalwart supporters of their nephew and cousin who was the prophet who the Lord called to be an instrument in restoring the church again on the earth .Their son Joseph Senior is the father of Joseph Smith and was the Patriarch of the Church, John is the father of George Albert Smith, Asael Jr. and Silas.  Their posterity has produced many hundreds of loyal church members today that continue to provide lots of church leadership.   

Asael was devotedly attached to his wife, his life-long companion who was at his side through over sixty-three years of wedded life.   The latter years of his life were spent at the home of his son Silas in Stockholm, St. Lawrence County, New York where he died October 31, 1830 at the age of eighty six.  

Mary Duty Smith outlived her husband Asael by six years. In 1836  when  their grandmother, Mary Duty Smith was 95 years old, , accompanied by Elias Smith, a missionary grandson, traveled  five hundred miles to Kirtland, Ohio, to join her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who had gathered there.   Joseph Smith states in his history, “My father, three of his brothers, and their mother, met for the first time for many years.  It was as happy day, for we had long prayed to see our Grandmother and uncles in the Church.” The meeting between the grandmother and her prophet descendant and his brother was most touching; Joseph blessed her and said she was the most honored woman on earth.” She completely accepted the testimony of her grandson and fully intended to be baptized. Unfortunately, her age and health prevented this.  She died peacefully on 27 May 1836, just ten days after arriving in Kirtland.  She was firm in her faith of the gospel that her grandson was an instrument in restoring again upon the earth.

Elder M Russell Ballad in his tribute said, “Asael left a great legacy to his family and the (LDS) Church. He consistently set an example of honesty and integrity in the face of adversity. His writings reveal a deep faith in Jesus Christ and His resurrection. An unwavering concern for his fellowmen is evidenced in his strong anti-slavery beliefs. In the last message to his family, he exhorted them to "Search the scriptures." These are qualities that would serve us well to emulate."

.Both Asael Smith and his wife Mary Duty Smith accepted in full the mission of their grandson, Joseph, and rejoiced greatly in the restoration of the Gospel before their departure from mortal life.  I am grateful for the legacy that they left me and their posterity.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Miracle Medicine for Marlene

Miracle Medicine for Marlene

We had just moved from Pennsylvania and before that Chicago, back home to Arizona.  We lived in downtown Tempe, and Daddy practiced dentistry in Phoenix.  Our family consisted of Dad and Mom and three little girls, Miriam, Marlene, and Rauna.  I was about three years old when I developed Idiopathic Thrombocytic Purpura, a disease of the bone marrow.  The main symptom was easy bruising, and I developed bruises all over my body. 
We were in a brand new ward, Tempe 1st ward, and really didn’t know anyone yet, to help us with this awful dilemma.  But the Relief Society took care of Miriam and Rauna while I was getting treated.  Daddy gave me a special blessing of healing.  Then the doctor told Daddy and Mommy of a wonderful new drug that had just been developed for Purpura, a real miracle drug.  They felt that it was the Priesthood Blessing that led them to the cure.  I was given this and though I had been a very sick little girl, I soon healed completely.  Though I still bruised somewhat easily for a time, I have been so blessed to live a healthy, normal life.

"Our Legacy" by Garry Flake

Our Legacy
by Garry Flake

The great-great grandchildren of  Bruce and Irene Flake are the Eighth Generation members of The Church of  Jesus Christ of  Latter-day Saints.  Great personal sacrifices were made to accept and remain faithful as members.

James Madison Flake and his wife, Agnes Hailey Love Flake lived in northern Mississippi.  In the
winter of  1843-44, they opened their door to Elder Benjamin Clapp.  They learned his message was of the gospel of  Jesus Christ.  They learned and felt the Spirit testify of  the truth.  Their relatives turned against them.  They became outcasts when they were baptized.  They gave up their good land, their quite prosperous conditions, freed their slaves and joined the saints in Nauvoo.

They remained in Nauvoo less than two years before crossing the Mississippi, driven out by the mobs, beginning their trip west in February 1946.  Three of  their six children died before they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1848.  Two years later, in 1850, James was called to leave his family and go with an exploratory party to find locations where the Saints could settle in California.  He was thrown from his mule in the San Joaquin Valley and died.  He was wrapped in a blanket and buried at the side of  the trail.  He gave his life in the service of  God having always remained faithful to the decision he had made to join the Church just six years earlier.

In 1851, Agnes and her three remaining children went to San Bernardino, California fulfilling the assignment she and her husband had received.  It was a difficult time for them.  With the Gold Rush, her brother came to California.  He visited Agnes and told her if  she would return back to North Carolina with him, she have a nice home, good land and education for her children.  However, there was one condition, she had to give up Mormonism.  She said to him, “You don’t think you are asking much do you?”  “No,” he replied, ‘very little.”  She replied, “I would rather wear my nails off  on the wash tub to support my children than to take them away from the Church.  I know it is true.”  In 1854, ten years after joining the Church, Agnes passed away leaving three children under the age of fifteen.

Her final words to her eldest son, William (our direct descendent) was, “I will hold you responsible for your every act.  You must set an example for your brother and sister, worthy of  your standing.” 

James and Agnes knew the Church was true and always stayed faithful despite the challenges.  They gave their lives. William and Lucy kept the trust as did James and Martha following them then, in their turn, Bruce and Irene did the same. Will we pass the same legacy to the next generation?  Are we worthy of  our standing?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Baby Brothers

My Baby Brothers
by Marlene Richardson Ellingson
I was 10 years old when my baby brother Donald died in the hospital shortly after his birth.  I remember feeling such love for my mother, grateful that she was spared, along with the sorrow at the loss of this baby brother.  Dad warned us that Donald would be covered with bruises from the heavy breathing equipment that he’d had to use during his seven hours of life.  I saw Donald in that little casket all bruised, at the funeral services in our church building.  Then, after our drive to the cemetery in Virden, right before the burial, Dad lifted the lid of the casket one more time.  There on the back of the station wagon, I looked at him again and gasped with awe and wonderment!  This time he looked markedly different.  His little body was so white and beautiful, without a trace of any bruise!  We children received this as a testimony to us that Donald really was in heaven, with Heavenly Father.  I came to know for myself that Families Are Forever and that the temple sealing was real, that I would see him and my other baby brother Dale again. 
I was 12 when we got to bring Dale to our home.  A sickly little baby, Dale never really thrived, probably due to his birth mother being on drugs.  The day of his death, I had walked home from school and knew something was wrong just from looking at the house and feeling it.  It was a real blow, for we had each loved and cared for this little brother, praying for him daily.  There was an emptiness in our home.  Yet we were comforted that we’d had him three months and that he’d gotten to be our special Baby Jesus in our Christmas Nativity.  We were also comforted to find out that my mother was expecting another baby (Melvin), which was a miracle since she’d not been able to have more children earlier.
We were so blessed, because our friend and lawyer, Bernie Porter, continued with the adoption proceedings, even though the baby was dead.  This was entirely irregular, and must have been difficult to carry out.  Even so, the adoption was finalized, and our whole family was able to dress in white and go to the temple to be sealed to little Dale.  Later, we were sealed to Margie, Dean, and Amy too, all four times having a glorious experience in the Mesa Arizona Temple.  Each time, we would talk about wanting to all be together as a family someday, with our precious, perfect little brothers, in the Celestial Kingdom.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Classic talk: Dad's talk after their mission to Indonesia (A classic, I will never forget this talk)

Jay wrote the following about our Indonesian Mission.
(On my Mission to Indonesia)

                1. I have learned that the Lord's way is the best way, and that following the prophet, and the mission rules is the way to faster and more complete success in any endeavor.  

                2. I have learned that serving as a senior missionary is a special way to bring about special blessings, that never seemed to find a solution when we were home, for example a child who we wished would get married, or one who needed to turn his or her life around but couldn't find a way to leave undesirable friends.  We have experienced so many outstanding blessings for ourselves and our family, while we served in a foreign land, that we feel ever so much more deeply indebted to our Heavenly Father.

                3. I have learned how fortunate one is to have a good companion, who is strong where I am weak, who remembers what I forget who is not afraid of work, who is eager to go the extra mile to turn a stranger into a friend, or to keep an old friend, or let love sink into an investigator's heart, who is continually thinking of better ways to be effective missionaries, who loves the Gospel, and who thrills at reading the gems of wisdom found in the scriptures or church magazines, who never forgets t o remind us when a prayer is needed, who said from the very beginning how she wished we had been called on a proselyting mission, and then made that wish a reality by assisting in the conversion of two people and seeing them baptized and fellowshipped into the church, who became the branch's favorite grandmother and became known for the temple cakes she baked for children as they reached their eighth birthdays.

                4. I have learned that one of the better ways t o feel the Spirit is through music.  In Indonesia, everyone loves to sing, and they do so with lovely strong voices.  Many times I have been in a congregation in our little branch in Bogor, and some other branch and felt as though I was in the middle of a great choir.  Bogor Branch was asked to provide a choir to sing a number at our district conference.  There were about 25 members eventually who were in that choir and we sang a medley of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," and "Oh Holy NIght." With a director of some experience we practiced for 2 to 3 hours every Sunday for several weeks.  The performance went well.  With all of us singing at full voice, we gave it our best.  The Spirit fell on the Choir and the audience, which could not be denied or mistaken.  I had to stop singing three times from the overwhelming emotion and the Spirit that I felt.  After the choir had finished, there was not a sound in the whole chapel until the next speak commented on what had just happened.  After the closing prayer crowds of people approached the choir members and commented on what a lovely rendition it had been and how strongly they had felt the Spirit.  We still heard comments weeks afterward on that wonderful experience, when God heard our prayers through song and answered back with a manifestation of His Spirit to be with us, on that beautiful "day of Pentecost."

                5. I have learned that people who live in poverty are often more generous than those of us who are more well-to-do, who would spend their last few rupiahs to give us food or drink, who would give us sincere thanks for any small favor, and reward us with big, broad, and often toothless, smiles on the least bit of recognition shown to t hem.  I have learned that language or different color of skin or of religion is not a barrier to loving one's neighbor.  I have learned that severe suffering is often endured in complete silence.  And despite t he poverty widespread throughout the land, the people typically, when at all possible, will find a way to clothe their school-age children in very nicely laundered and pressed, required uniforms, and to present their children clean and neatly groomed.  You see, families are as important to Muslim as they are to Mormons.

                6.  I have learned that life goes on after terrorist bombings, one of them which happened on the same block a few doors down from where we had been just a few minutes before it happened.  But at no point in our missions did we feel unsafe from any kind of threats in a land that is something like 90% Muslims.  You see, there are all kinds of Muslims just like there are all kinds of Mormons.  And a very few of them have been linked up with the terrorists.  Those who are valiant in their faith are in no way to be confused with those who would flagrantly kill innocent people.  Good Muslims, like Mormons have endured persecution and have found it difficult to get an honest history written about themselves.  Yes, there are risks in going on a mission in a place like Indonesia, but nowadays there are risks anywhere in the world wherever you happen to be for a couple of minutes or up to a couple of years.  So we follow the precautions that are taught us, obey the rules and turn the problems over to the Lord and joyfully get on with our business as Saviors on Mount  Zion, wherever that mountain happens to be.

                7.  I have learned again and again, that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that this is the true and living church, guided by a living prophet, that it has a special mission to perform among the peoples of the earth.  I learned also that other people and other sects have much that is true and desirable, and that we need to learn not to be puffed up in pride, for all people are the children of God.  He remembers them too, and from time to time he speaks to them through their members, their leaders, their founders, their reformers.  None of them have all of the truth, but such as they have of the principles of the Gospel are worthwhile, and are leading them to a position where, in this life or the hereafter, when they are able to hear the Gospel in its purity and its fullness, I believe it will sound familiar, and fulfilling, and the Spirit will be able, so much more effectively, to convince them to receive and to accept it.

                8.  I learned that there are close to one billion worldwide followers of a man named Mohammed, who are pure, saintly, generous and full of charity, and whom Sister Richardson and I count among our dearest friends.  They were our NGO's, who claim to be Muslims, and are followers of a religion called Islam.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jerome Jefferson Adams

Life of Jefferson Jerome Adams

Jefferson Jerome Adams was born February 7, 1835 or 1836 in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. He was the son of William J. Adams and Jane Eastwood. His father, William, was a trunk and comb maker by trade. He left home when William was a baby in arms to look for work, and was never heard from again. His wife supposed he had drowned. She was obliged to leave her baby with relatives so she could earn a living. When Jefferson was twelve years of age, he ran away from his relatives and started a life for himself. He was never afraid of anything in his life. One time he was in a corn crib while filling it. For some reason a man was angry at him and was going to come after him. Jefferson got a pick handle and waited for him, but the man didn’t come. At one time in his life he was running with a bunch of friends that formed a habit of going to town to get a drink of beer. William said “All at once he began to realize he wanted a drink of beer. Right then and there I didn’t go to town anymore with the gang, because I didn’t want to be a drunkard.” When he was a young man he worked for his future father-in-law, Samuel Frost, in Fremont County, Iowa as a farm hand. The first time he went into the house to eat, he saw his future wife, Mary, and said to him-self, “There is my wife.” When he finally asked her to marry him they had been snowed in for a week. He just sat there by the stove under her feet the whole time and never said a word, then abruptly asked her to marry him. When they went to be married the officer questioned Jefferson’s age. Jefferson had been away from relatives and didn’t know his correct age. His father-in-law went with them and pointed to Jefferson’s flaming red beard and said, “See that beard? That ought to be enough.” So they didn’t ask any more questions. Jefferson and Mary stayed in Fremont County, Iowa until they had four children. When they decided to come west he had the idea that if he could come to Utah and kill Brigham Young, he would be doing the most honorable thing that could be done. He bought a good stout rope to hang Brigham Young when he arrived in Utah. They were going to California in 1861, but it was so near winter when they arrived in Utah they decided to stay over and settled in Draper. A man he was working with invited him to a cottage meeting which he attended. When he returned home from the meeting his wife asked him what he had learned. He answered “Not anything new, but I just had not thought about it.” He was baptized July 3, 1862 at Draper, Utah and endowed in the endowment house February 23, 1867. After that time he was a faithful Latter-day Saint; lived strictly the teachings of the gospel; paid an honest tithe (the first and the best) all of his life. He was a man of few words, always thinking twice before he spoke. His children never heard him speak a word against anyone during his life. He was a great lover of music and was a member of a band when he died at 67 years. He was proud of his band, never missing a practice. He was very clean in person and dress. He took pride in being a gentleman. He was devoted to his family, and thought he had the best wife in the world. Although Jefferson was very poor, he obeyed every call given by the church. He was sent many different places to help pioneer new country which made it difficult to get ahead in life. He was first sent to settle Richmond in Cache County which was very cold. From there the church sent him to Muddy, Nevada. Next the family moved to Spring City which they enjoyed. In Spring City they lived in a one room adobe house built by Jefferson. In 1870, Jefferson took a small wagon, a single bed and a small team of horses and loaded the wagon with grapes from a vineyard he had planted. He told his family he would not come home until he could bring something back. He was gone for eighteen months and returned with teams and wagons and money. He brought with him beautiful clothes and furniture to make the family comfortable. He and his son, John, went into the freighting business for a while in Utah. In 1876, he was called to Northern Arizona to help establish the United Order. Later the order broke up and Jefferson and Mary took over the settlement trying to establish themselves, but could not. His last place of residence was in the Mexican colonies he had helped establish. He taught his children the principles of the gospel by example. His wife worked right along by his side giving him support in all his undertakings. She had a large family and taught her children to honor and respect their father. The children thought their father was perfect and never heard cross words between him and their mother. His humility and faith in God tempered his pride. Jefferson took an active part in the early days of Arizona. He was an older man in a community of younger men that looked up to him for advice and counsel. He was given the responsibility to assist in setting up the United Order and helped choose locations for settlements. When the call came for the people who were being persecuted for plural marriage to go to Mexico, it broke up the little settlement where they lived. Jefferson and two other men asked for the privilege to go to Mexico also even though they had not entered into plural marriage. He died there May 5, 1902. He had played in the band for a Mexican holiday then came home to do his chores. He ate his supper, said his prayers and went to bed and died. His wife, Mary A. Adams, lived seventeen years after him, but each minute of them was spent waiting to see her beloved husband again.