Archives for August 2008

Jake’s Missionary Meeting

Jake outside the church where he spoke today.

As is customary for departing and returning LDS missionaries, Jake spoke in sacrament meeting today.
Here is what he said, taken from my rickety notes:


I will speak about testimony today. Preach My Gospel defines testimony as a spiritual witness. A priest is a lot different than an elder. On a service project priests have there hands in their pockets and lean against the wall. They have to be told what to do. An elder works through the spirit.

Graciela didn’t want to be baptized even though she had been to church. I like to baptize everyone I take to church. She didn’t recognize the need to repent.  My testimony wasn’t good enough to convince her. After seven months of teaching her my testimony was finally sufficient. She got baptized. She didn’t care about all my knowledge, just my testimony.

[Read more…]

Utah Temples Tour

Utah Temples on Google Maps
Utah has eleven temples with two more under construction. I am planning a road trip to visit all the Utah temples, including those under construction. By the time I get going perhaps the temples being built will be finished. I am considering going through a session at each temple, except of course those under construction.

[Read more…]

Past Pictures: Temple Site

The Temple Lot

In 1979 I visited the United States for the first time. This photograph was taken with my camera while I was in Independence. Independence is an interesting place to visit. The most fascinating spot is the Temple Lot, mostly because of its history. There is nothing on the two-acre site except grass with a church building on it and the sign you see me standing by. The building is the headquarters of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).


On July 20, 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith received another revelation with more details about the temple site. Joseph Smith who originally dedicated the temple site in 1831, and his followers, were evicted from Missouri in 1839 before a temple could be built on the Temple Lot. In 1847, the city of Independence formally incorporated with the Temple Lot. The Church of Christ Temple Lot returned in 1867 and purchased the temple lot properties, including the dedicated site for the temple. In 1891, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sued in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri to take possession of the property. It won in lower court but lost in the Court of Appeals on the basis that it had waited more than 20 years to make a claim. The United States Supreme Court refused to review the case. Ground was broken on April 6, 1929, for the construction of a temple, with instructions that the temple was to be completed within seven years. The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) never completed construction of the temple.

The Temple Lot Today

The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) maintains a visitor’s area on the lower level of the church. They have stated that they will not cooperate with other Latter Day Saint organizations in building a temple, nor will it sell the Temple Lot.

Cove Fort

Ira Hinckley's Coalville cabin relocated to Cove Fort shown as two stitched photographs

Ira Hinckley's Coalville cabin relocated to Cove Fort shown as two stitched photographs

While in southern Utah, Jill and I visited the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Mountain Meadow Monument, and Old Iron Town. On our way home we visited Cove Fort. Click on the images to enlarge.

Cove Fort

Cove Fort

Cove Fort

Cove Fort is located on Cove Creek a mile northeast of the I-15 and I-70 junction in Millard County, Utah. It was founded on 29 April 1867 by Ira Hinckley at the request of Brigham Young. Ira Nathaniel Hinckley is the paternal grandfather of Gordon B. Hinckley. Other workmen were called to the site, including Ira’s brother, Arza Erastus Hinckley. The fort is made of volcanic rock and dark limestone, rather than the wood used in many mid-19th century western forts. Lumber, mostly cedar and pine, was used for the roof, twelve interior rooms, six on the north and six on the south, and the massive doors at the east and west ends of the fort. The fort is 100 feet square, 18.5 feet tall, 4 feet thick at the footings, and 2.5 feet thick at the top.

The site for Cove Fort was selected by Brigham Young because of its location approximately half way between Fillmore, then the capitol of the Utah Territory, and the nearest city, Beaver. It is the only fort built by the Latter-day Saints in the 19th century that still stands.

Safe Shelter

Jill by the north wall of Cove Fort

Jill by the north wall of Cove Fort

It provided a way station for people traveling the Mormon Corridor. The abandonment of Fort Willden in 1865 left travelers without shelter from hostile Indians during the Black Hawk War or from severe weather conditions. In addition, it was also necessary to afford safety to carriers of the U.S. mail, operators of the Deseret Telegraph, agents of the stagecoach line, and freighters.

A town would have been constructed at the Cove Fort site, but the water supply was inadequate to support a sizable population. Another key factor in the selection of the site was the prior existence of a wooden-palisade fort, Willden Fort, which provided shelter and safety for the work crews who constructed Cove Fort. Willden Fort was erected by the Charles William Willden family in 1860.

Cove Fort Interior

The fort has two sets of large wooden doors at the east and west ends, originally filled with sand to stop bullets, and contains twelve interior rooms. The six rooms along the south wall were used for business, domestic, and social activities. The last three rooms along the north side of the fort served as a private residence for the Hinckley family.

Hinckley family residence

Hinckley family residence

Postal express riders delivered and picked up mail collected at the fort from nearby residents, ranches, and miners. One mail carrier, William Anderson, would leave Fillmore at 6:00 a.m. on Monday and arrive in Cedar City Wednesday evening near 6:00 p.m. He would average 47 miles a day.

As a daily stop for two stagecoach lines as well as many other travelers, Cove Fort was heavily used for many years, often housing and feeding up to 75 people at a time. In addition to providing a place to rest, a blacksmith/farrier resided at the fort who shod horses and oxen, and also repaired wagon wheels. With its telegraph office and as a Pony Express stop, it also acted as a regional communications hub.

Selling Cove Fort

In the early 1890s, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints determined that the fort was no longer required and leased it out, selling it outright on 21 August 1919 to William Henry Kesler, who had leased the land since 1903. In 1988 the Hinckley family purchased the fort and donated it back to the church. On 9 May 1992* LDS general authority Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the newly restored fort.

Ira Hinckley with one of his wives

Ira Hinckley with one of his wives

What has been done is a great and significant thing from the point of view of the Church, the state, and the nation. Once forts were found in abundance across this great land. Now there are very few left. Cove Fort is the only one of the pioneer Church forts which still stands in its entirety.
President Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, at the dedication.

The Church also transported Ira Hinckley’s Coalville, Utah cabin to the site, constructed a visitor center, and reopened the fort as a historic site.

It is our hope that Cove Fort will serve as a modern way station—not as a shelter from physical fatigue or protection from the elements. Rather, we hope it will serve as a spiritual way station where we can be reminded of the faith of our forefathers, where we can refresh our sense of sacrifice and obedience and our dedication to duty, where we can be reminded of the values of work, provident living, self-sufficiency, and family unity.
Elder Stephen D. Nadauld of the Seventy, at the dedication

* I read of two dates for the dedication: 9 May 1992 and 21 May 1994. If you know which of these is correct, please communicate through a comment.

Protect Marriage News

Yes on 8

Protect Marriage Pastor Calls

This morning approximately 2,500 pastors and church leaders gathered at 170 sites in California to participate in a Protect Marriage conference call/Webinar. On the call, pastors and church leaders of all denominations received information and resources to be used in garnering YES on Proposition 8 support from their communities and congregations.

Supporters of Same-Sex Marriage Ad

Backers of same-sex “marriage” have begun airing a new television ad. The Let Freedom Ring ad, which is now airing in California, doesn’t make direct mention of Prop. 8, nevertheless, its intent is clear — to encourage tolerance of same-sex marriage.

Prop. 8 Volunteers Visit More Than One Million Voter Households

Approximately 50,000 Prop. 8 volunteers took to their neighborhoods on Aug. 16 and 23 to encourage their friends and neighbors to vote YES on Proposition 8. By devoting just a few hours of their time, volunteers have reached more than one million households up and down the state in two days.

Advocates of Same-Sex Marriage Continue to Force Compliance

The Proposition 8 Campaign reacted strongly to the California Supreme Court’s ruling that California doctors who have religious objections to artificially inseminating same-sex couples can no longer refuse to treat them. The Court’s decision overturns a previous state Appeals Court decision which ruled in favor of the doctors in 2005.

This latest ruling proves that advocates of same-sex marriage are not simply seeking tolerance, but rather are pushing for compliance in every corner of California society. They will stop at nothing to chip away at the free speech rights and the rights of conscience of Californians everywhere, forcing individuals to accept their lifestyle even against a person’s personal or religious beliefs. It is a slippery slope against the individual rights of Californians.
Ron Prentice, on behalf of the Campaign.

The Supreme Court rejected a San Diego County fertility clinic’s right to refuse performing a procedure. North Coast Women’s Care in Vista declined to perform an intrauterine insemination for an individual, and referred the individual to another facility.

Knights of Columbus Catholic Organization

Just this last week, the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization, donated $1 million to Proposition 8. Throughout its history, the Knights of Columbus has been an effective advocate and defender of civil and religious rights for all.

Knights of Columbus spokesman Patrick Korten stressed that the importance of, “preserving marriage as the indispensable institution in which children are conceived, born and raised to adulthood by a loving father and mother is vital to a healthy society. It is also the most favorable environment in which to protect the rights and best interests of children.”

Additional Information

Information for this post came from a Protect Marriage campaign update. For more information see Protect Marriage.

Epic Excerpts: Horatio Nelson

Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, by Lemuel Francis Abbott
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, born in 1758, was a British flag officer made famous in the Battle of Trafalgar. In this decisive British victory he lost his life. Nelson had the ability to inspire and bring out the best in his men and would heroically cut through the enemy’s lines. He ranks as one of the greatest naval commanders in military history. Many consider him to have been one of the greatest warriors of the seas. By the time of his death in 1805 Nelson had become a national hero, and he was given a State funeral.


Westminister Abbey, or victory!
(In the battle off Cape St. Vincent, giving the order for boarding the San Josef. Life of Nelson Vol. I, Ch. 4)

A Glorious Victory

May the Great God, whom I worship, grant to my Country and for the benefit of Europe in general a great and glorious victory; and may no misconduct in anyone tarnish it; and may humanity after Victory be the predominant feature of the British fleet. For myself, individually, I commit my life to Him who made me, and may His blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my Country faithfully. To Him I resign myself and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen. Amen. Amen.
(Dispatches and Letters of Horatio Nelson: a diary entry on the eve of the battle of Trafalgar)

England Expects

England expects that every man will do his duty.
(Life of Nelson: A signal to the British fleet at the battle of Trafalgar)

Gain the Victory

First gain the victory and then make the best use of it you can.
(Before the battle of the Nile)

Ship before the Enemy

When I am without orders and unexpected occurrences arrive I shall always act as I think the honour and glory of my King and Country demand. But in case signals can neither be seen or perfectly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.

Further Reading

Missionary Jake Returns

Welcome Home Jake: sign on our fence

Waiting For Jake

Today Jake was returning from Mexico after two years. We all climbed into our rickety old van and went to the airport to greet him. Parents and siblings were all there along with an aunt and cousin. It is indeed a happy day. After two years of weekly emails and a thirty minute phone conversation every Mothers Day and Christmas Day we were ready to talk to him face to face.

Connie and Susan joined us in the airport to wait for Jake's arrival The boys were fascinated by the Tombstone Deep Dish Pizza machine at the airport Jill is the first to greet Jake at the airport. Daniel, Sarah, and Jill are happy to see Jake.

Jake by the Mexican Flag

Jake Finally Arrives

He was very skinny and had lost weight — no doubt because of the constant missionary labor. This is our third son to return from a mission so we are getting used to the routine. Except it is never routine to see your son for the first time in two years. We had the usual sign that read WELCOME HOME ELDER WILLOUGHBY. A sign that has been stored and recycled for each of our three missionaries. And there is yet another Elder Willoughby readying himself for an October entry into the MTC and two years hence be a recipient of our aging, yet still colorful, welcome sign.

The boys occupied themselves at the airport with a Tombstone Deep Dish Pizza vending machine. Even though they would be eating shortly (their mother reminded them) they had to try out the machine by buying a pizza. Of course their sister provided the dollars to feed the machine. The boys could not be drawn away so we took our photograph amongst the food machines.

Released From His Mission

We left the airport to eat at The Olive Garden in Layton as per Jake’s request. I tried to get him to eat at each Mexico restaurant along the way but for some reason he didn’t want to. Adelaide, Steven’s wife, joined us at the restaurant. Afterwards we went home and at 7pm went to the Stake Center to meet with the stake president. Jake was released from his mission and after visiting awhile at home he left with his brothers to go on a hike.
Jake with his Stake President after being released from his mission.

Old Iron Town State Park

Ruins at Old Iron Town State Park
On our way back from Mountain Meadow Monument Jill and I stopped by Old Iron Town State Park. There is a sign located along highway 56 about 20 miles west of Cedar City. At the sign we turned south and traveled on a gravel road for approximately five miles to the ruins. The park is free and open year round during daylight hours. It appears that Old Iron Town is also referred to as Iron City and Little Pinto. I will just call it Iron Town.
Jill standing by the remains of the furnace.

Earlier Iron Works

Lack of iron was a major concern to pioneers who began settling in Utah in 1847. When iron deposits were discovered in southern Utah, Mormon leader Brigham Young called for volunteers to colonize the Iron Mission area. A site near Coal Creek, now Cedar City, was selected in November 1851 for the iron works but the foundry was eventually closed in 1858.

Iron Town

Iron Town, founded by Ebenezer Hanks, was Iron County’s second attempt at mining iron. The town had an iron furnace with a 2,500 pound capacity and was operated from June 1868 to 1877. There was a brick schoolhouse, machine shop, blacksmith shop, pattern shop, molding shop, erastra (grinding device), and two charcoal kilns. By 1871 a post office, boarding house, butcher shop, and general store were added. While Iron Town seemed prosperous at the time, it only operated for nine years, closing because of the lack of sufficient transportation to Northern Utah for the iron ore and the money panic of 1874.

[Read more…]

Mountain Meadows Massacre

Directions to Mountain Meadows Monument

Read about our visit to the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre

Read about our visit to the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre

While visiting the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Jill and I left the drama and tragedies behind for a morning to visit a site of much greater drama and tragedy. We have never visited the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre though we have passed by on I-15 numerous times. From the Cedar City I-15 exit it is approximately 50 miles to the monument. There is very little traffic on highway 56 as we ride to Newcastle. There are no signs here to guide the way and we don’t see one until we are one mile away from the monument. We head down Newcastle’s main street and connect with highway 18 to Enterprise. We follow 18 to reach the monument. This place is in the middle of nowhere but well worth a visit.

Mountain Meadows Association Monument

There are two monuments. We visit the Mountain Meadows Association Monument first. There were not many visitors, in fact just Jill and I. A short 220 yard walk gets us to the top of Dan Sill Hill where the monument overlooks locations of interest. On the walk up the hill are two information markers. Rather than have you read plain text I will show the photographs for you to read from. They have been vandalized a little such that “The local indians joined in the slaughter” has been partly scratched out on one marker and an offensive word has been etched on another. “Some mothers do ‘ave ’em,” as my grandmother used to say.

Mountain Meadows Massacre Information

Mountain Meadows Massacre Information

Information about the burial sites.

Information about the burial sites.

Carleton Grave Uncovered

Carleton grave plaque marking the burial vault

Carleton grave plaque marking the burial vault

In the plaque above, at the end of the second paragraph, do you see where it says “…the remains recovered from that grave were re-interred in a burial vault inside the new wall.” I found a small plaque over at the second monument erected by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is easy to miss because you have to look over the left side of the wall as you come through the gate. However, there is more to see before we go to the second monument. On the top of the hill there is a fine memorial that has been constructed which lists the names of those killed and some explanatory markers.

Names Etched in Stone

Jill ponders events at the Mountain Meadows Massacre Memorial Site

Jill ponders events at the Mountain Meadows Massacre Memorial Site

In the photograph below, click on the five sections to see enlarged photographs of the names.

Far left of monument. Near left of monument. Center of monument. Near right of monument. Far right of monument.

Mountain Meadows Views

There are two viewing aids. The one of the left is aimed at the grave site where the LDS Church built a monument. You cannot see much because a hedge is obscuring the view. The one on the right shows the massacre site. We did not go there, it appeared that one of the routes to it was a private road. There is an informational plaque in the center. Click on the plaque and the viewing aids to enlarge.

View No. 1: Camp Site. Plaque describing the two views. View No. 2: Massacre Site.

There is a map showing all the sites relative to your position at the monument. Also another informational marker. This completes the visit to the first monument.

The Old Spanish Trail and the California Road

The Old Spanish Trail and the California Road

Area site map

Area site map

Grave Site Memorial

We drove to the Mountain Meadows Massacre Grave Site Memorial. I will simply show you the photographs without any commentary from me. At the end I will add a few thoughts.

Jill with the Grave Site Memorial in the background

Jill with the Grave Site Memorial in the background

Rick and Jill at the Memorial

Rick and Jill at the Memorial

Grave Site Memorial Dedication Plaque

Grave Site Memorial Dedication Plaque

Grave Site Memorials List

Grave Site Memorials List

The original rock memorial

The original rock memorial

Final Thoughts

It was worth the drive to be able to see the actual memorials, take some photographs, and ponder the events that happened here a long time ago. As an adult convert to the Church I have read a little about the massacre and have made some observations over the years. A few who are disaffected with the Church would dearly love to pin the blame on Brigham Young. Clearly the Mormon settlers were looking for direction from him but word came too late. So why the eagerness to implicate Brigham Young? Because that would imply that the current prophet could give a similar order and it would be obeyed. But Brigham Young did not give the order. It was local leadership that made that decision. Even if the current prophet did give such an order it would not be obeyed. Today there are far too many members who are independent of thought and earn their livelihood from employers with no connection to the Church. In closing, remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ heals all wounds. May peace be with us all, both the living and the dead.
Rickety signature.