Margaret Thatcher on Socialism

On 3 May 1979 I voted for Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom general election. The next year I emigrated to the United States. The two events were not connected as I very much admire Margaret Thatcher, the United Kingdom’s and Europe’s first female head of government.

As Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, she earned her nickname the “Iron Lady” with strict conservative policies, a tough stance against trade unions, and militant rhetoric in opposition to the Soviet Union.

Thatcher emphasized deregulation, flexible labor markets, the end to state ownership of, and subsidies to, companies.

In May 1980, 26 hostages were held by six terrorists in the Iranian embassy. Thatcher’s popularity was boosted six days later when the siege was ended by a successful raid by SAS commandos.

On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory. Thatcher authorized an amphibious and ground combat operation to retake the islands. Argentina surrendered on 14 June and with the British victory came increased support for the Thatcher government.

The Iron Lady spoke often and forcefully against Socialism. Here are a few of my favorites.

Leader of the Opposition

Leader of the Opposition, 18 September 1975

If a Tory does not believe that private property is one of the main bulwarks of individual freedom, then he had better become a socialist and have done with it. (“My Kind of Tory Party”, Daily Telegraph, 30 January 1975)

And I will go on criticising Socialism, and opposing Socialism because it is bad for Britain — and Britain and Socialism are not the same thing. (Conservative Party Conference speech, 10 October 1975)

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. (Interview for Thames TV This Week, 5 February 1976)

I hate extremes of any kind. Communism and the National Front both seek the domination of the state over the individual. They both, I believe crush the right of the individual. To me, therefore, they are parties of a similar kind. All my life I have stood against banning Communism or other extremist organisations because, if you do that, they go underground and it gives them an excitement that they don’t get if they are allowed to pursue their policies openly. We’ll beat them into the ground on argument… The National Front is a Socialist Front. (Hornsey Journal Interview, 21 April 1978)

Socialism’s results have ranged between the merely shabby and the truly catastrophic – poverty, strife, oppression and, on the killing fields of communism, the deaths this century of perhaps 100 million people. Against that doctrine was set a contrary, conservative belief in a law-governed liberty. It was this view which triumphed with the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. Since then, the Left has sought rehabilitation by distancing itself from its past. (“Well Done Tony! You’ve Given William His Chance!”, London Daily Telegraph, 1 Oct 1999)

Margaret Thatcher visiting Ronald Reagan at The White House

Visiting Ronald Reagan at The White House, 29 September 1983

The fourth threat to the West is very closely linked to educational failure: it is the systematic attack on the traditional family.

Of course, the family has also been attacked in unsystematic ways. In both our countries, and under parties of both left and right, the effectively unconditional supply of social benefits to those who were thought incapable of coping undermined the incentive to work and provided an alternative and seemingly endless income from government. It thus undercut the family unit. It promoted habits of idleness and delinquency. It permitted single-parenthood to become a financially sustainable, alternative way of life. By undermining the self-respect of so many of the most vulnerable members of society — the respectable poor struggling for decency against the odds — the dependency culture poisoned and weakened society as a whole.

Then on top of all that there has been a full-scale and deliberate assault on the institution of the family itself. The exaltation of violent and explicit sex increasingly coarsens the content of films and books and–eventually and inevitably–life itself. This is not progress. It is not liberation. It is decadence. We conservatives are not, most of us, saints: but even as sinners, we have a duty to fight — as whole-heartedly as our enemies promote — the attack on the family that threatens the West at its foundations. (Speech to the First International Conservative Congress, Washington DC, 28 September 1997)

What we should grasp, however, from the lessons of European history is that, first, there is nothing necessarily benevolent about programmes of European integration; second, the desire to achieve grand utopian plans often poses a grave threat to freedom; and third, European unity has been tried before, and the outcome was far from happy. (Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, p 327)

Margaret Thatcher White House cabinet room talks

White House cabinet room talks, 26 February 1981

The choice facing the nation is between two totally different ways of life. And what a prize we have to fight for: no less than the chance to banish from our land the dark, divisive clouds of Marxist socialism and bring together men and women from all walks of life who share a belief in freedom. (Speech in Perth, Scotland, 13 May 1983)

Socialists cry “Power to the people”, and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean — power over people, power to the State. (Conservative Central Council speech, 15 March 1986)

No theory of government was ever given a fairer test or a more prolonged experiment in a democratic country than democratic socialism received in Britain. Yet it was a miserable failure in every respect. Far from reversing the slow relative decline of Britain vis-à-vis its main industrial competitors, it accelerated it. We fell further behind them, until by 1979 we were widely dismissed as “the sick man of Europe”…To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches. (The Downing Street Years)

Gracious…I haven’t paid my bill. Good Conservatives always pay their bills. And on time. Not like the Socialists who run up other people’s bills. (General Election, May 2001)

Margaret Thatcher with George Bush at Aspen press conference

With George Bush at The Catto Ranch, Aspen, 2 August 1990

It is a great night. It is the end of Socialism. (General Election, 9 April 1992, The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume Two)

Imagine a Labour canvasser talking on the doorstep to those East German families when they settle in, on freedom’s side of the wall. “You want to keep more of the money you earn? I’m afraid that’s very selfish. We shall want to tax that away. You want to own shares in your firm? We can’t have that. The state has to own your firm. You want to choose where to send your children to school? That’s very divisive. You’ll send your child where we tell you.” (Conservative Party Conference speech, 13 October 1989)

Make no mistake. These communist regimes were not some unfortunate aberration, some historical deviation from a socialist ideal. They were the ultimate expression, unconstrained by democratic and electoral pressures, of what socialism is all about: state ownership at the expense of private property;government control at the expense of individual enterprise; the pursuit of equality at the expense of opportunity for all … in short, the state was everything and the individual nothing. (Speech, Four Seasons Hotel, Washington DC, 8 March 1991)

For every idealistic peacemaker willing to renounce his self-defence in favour of a weapons-free world, there is at least one warmaker anxious to exploit the other’s good intentions. (Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, p 50)


These brief exchanges took place during Margaret Thatcher’s last speech in the House of Commons on 22 November 1990.


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100 Years Ago: Exile, USS Utah, Elections

Battleship Utah

U.S.S. Utah, circa 1911

The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of December 1911.


The November 1911 Improvement Era reported that a minister named P. Aslev, under an old and obsolete law, succeeded in banishing four missionaries from Sweden. The cause of their banishment is that they are Americans with no visible means of support, and that they preach “Mormonism.”

The December 1911 Improvement Era followed up the story by writing that the exile “has roused the liberal press of Sweden to sharp opposition. They see in it danger to religious liberty.”

Here is a characteristic selection from [the newspaper] Arbetarbladet, Gefle, September 23, 1911:

It is which and t’other with religious freedom here in the land. This is shown, in part, by the recent exile of the “Mormon” missionaries. It was believed that this action was taken because of the agitation carried on by the missionaries in encouraging emigration to Utah, but this seems not to be the case. The exile, according to the testimony of the actors themselves, is meant as a direct blow at the “Mormon” propaganda as such.

We have therefore to deal with blows against religious freedom itself, and against this and like things the liberal press must turn with all energy. It isn’t a question here as to whether one favors or disfavors the “Mormons.” We may just as well say that we consider this so-called religion especially distasteful, if not infinitely worse than Waldenstromism* and other spiritual epidemics.

But the question at issue is the right to religious freedom, even for those who may happen to be imbued with the teachings of Joseph Smith. It is a question also of opposing the officers who have taken upon themselves the task to carry into effect the driving of the “Mormons” from the land, for these same authorities may at another time turn themselves against the members of other religious organizations.

If the fight against “Mormonism” really is so necessary as it has been taken for granted, then it must at least be definitely demanded that it shall be carried on by legal means. The adoption of an unprejudiced and honorable educational campaign is the only method that can be unqualifiedly recommended.

But this educational campaign must not be handled or directed by the official coterie of religious intolerants in this our land, for in such case it will be immediately subject to question. It is just because of this situation that one can scarcely rejoice over the anti-“Mormon” propaganda which is at present developing in Sweden, through the efforts of the imported American pastor Aslev. It has always been considered a questionable tactic to drive out the devil with Beelzebub.

[P. E. Aslev was called to a pastorate in the Swedish state church in 1911 to counteract Mormon propaganda. Aslev had served as a pastor in Utah and had written a report suggesting that the Swedish government banish all Mormon missionaries.

*Dr. P. Waldenstrom, professor of theology, editor, and member of the Swedish Parliament, created consternation in religious circles by declaring that the death of Christ was no atonement, no vicarious suffering, but simply the death of a martyr.]

USS Utah

The Battleship “Utah,” turned over to the government by the builders, the New York Ship-building Company, on August 30, was placed in commission at the Philadelphia Navy yard on August 31, with Captain W. S. Benson in command. It joined the Atlantic fleet soon as supplies were put on board. “Utah” is the fifth of the all-big-gun type to be launched, is 551 feet long, and has a displacement of 21,825 tons. It developed 21.63 knots on the speed test. It has ten 12-inch guns mounted in five turrets.

The silver service for the ship, provided largely by the children of the state, was on display at Leyson’s in Salt Lake City until the middle of October, and there was no objection by the Navy Department to receiving it. On Monday, November 6, the service was formally presented on board the vessel by Governor William Spry, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. There were some five hundred Utah people present, including the Tabernacle choir of two hundred voices. Captain Benson, in accepting the service said: “We appreciate the honor shown us by the people of Utah, and we hope they will feel as proud of our ship as we are of this silver service. The service represents the state of Utah, and we mean to defend to our utmost the honor and good name of that state.” The choir sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “Utah we Love Thee.”

[Details of the amounts collected for the silver service were reported in the August 1911 Improvement Era. An official first state flag for Utah, was given to the Battleship Utah, as reported in the April 1911 Improvement Era. Follow the link for additional details about the USS Utah.]


The City Elections in Utah were held Nov. 7, under the new nonpartisan law. The result was quite satisfactory, the new law being generally pronounced good. In Salt Lake City, a non-partisan Commission, with Samuel C. Park, as mayor, was elected, and the “American” party domination was overthrown by a substantial vote, which ranged from 4,146 majority for Park over Bransford, the “American” candidate, to 6,459 majority for W. H. Shearman, non-partizan candidate for Auditor, over Kimball, the “American” candidate. The motto of the non-partizan candidates is “Peace, progress and reform,” which, being greatly needed, let us hope we may get.

[In 1911, a State law changed the form of government for cities of the First and Second Class in Utah from the old Council form to the Commission form of government. This form of government was again reversed in 1981. The American Party, also known as the Anti-Mormon Party, was formed in Utah in 1904 to counter the influence of the LDS Church. The party performed disappointingly in the 1911 elections and was disbanded that same year.]

Adapted from: “Passing Events”, Improvement Era, Vol. XV. December, 1911. No. 2.

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Christmas Letter 2011

Paul and Megan's wedding reception in Driggs, Idaho

Paul and Megan's wedding reception in Driggs, Idaho

Hi Friends and Family,

This is our fourth annual Christmas Letter blog post. We will send the URL to this page to friends and family with their Christmas cards. We have added a few events that happened too late in the season to be included in last year’s letter.

December 2010

Missionary Dan returned home from his mission. He came bearing gifts from afar and reported his mission in sacrament meeting.
A day after Daniel returned he attended Jake and Rachel’s marriage in the Bountiful Temple.

United States Capitol, Washington D.C.

United States Capitol, Washington D.C.


Daniel got a cool new girlfriend.
We had The Best Easter ever.
Toured the Carl Bloch: The Master’s Hand exhibition and the Model Railroad Festival.


We took a few local hikes, for example Ford Canyon and Shepard Creek Trail. We also camped at North Fork Park.
Checked up on the Spiral Jetty.
Went to the obligatory parades.
We took our grandchildren to the zoo to see the dinosaurs.
Took a trip to the Mesa Easter Pageant and the Grand Canyon. Jill really enjoyed her trip, as did we all. Daniel and Jill toured Washington D.C. with the Kent Ward family.
Rick surprised Jill with an anniversary trip to see The Little Mermaid at Tuacahn.
Paul and Megan were engaged. They married in the Rexburg Temple.


Jake and Rachel moved into their new home.

As we celebrate what really matters this Christmas season, we share with you some of James Tissot’s paintings to illustrate the birth of Christ, along with scriptures from Matthew and Luke.

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas,

Rick and Jill

Jake and Rachel at the Bountiful Temple

Jake and Rachel at the Bountiful Temple

Photo Credits
U.S. Capitol: Susan Ward
Paul and Megan wedding: Rowsell Photography
Jake and Rachel wedding: Still Timeless Photography

100 Years Ago: House Seat, Reciprocity, Liquor

New York City Prohibition

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach, right, watching agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of prohibition

The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of October 1911.

Utah Gains House Member

Congress at the extra session passed the Congressional Reapportionment Bill, fixing the future House membership at 433 instead of the present 391. It provides for increased representation according to population, without reducing the membership from any state. This gives Utah one more member.

Before adjournment on Tuesday, 22nd August, Congress also passed the Campaign Publicity Bill, requiring the publication of all campaign contributions and expenses before elections.

A bill admitting Arizona and New Mexico was passed and signed by President Taft, so that these states will now enter the Union under certain conditions.

Among the big results of the extra session was the passing of the Canadian Reciprocity Bill.

[The number of seats in the House of Representatives is 435, and has been since 1913. Utah gained its first seat after the 1900 census, effected in 1903. The second seat was effected in 1913, after the 1910 census. After the 1980 census, Utah gained its third seat, effective in 1983. The 2010 census gave Utah its fourth congressional member.]

Canadian Reciprocity

Reciprocity suffered an overwhelming defeat in the Canadian elections held on September 21. The Liberal Party under Sir Wilfred Laurier led the fight for reciprocity, while the Conservative party, under R. L. Borden, led the opposition which won a decisive victory over the government, gaining a majority in Parliament of over fifty.

Borden will soon become the Prime Minister of Canada, and Sir Laurier will retire. The result of the election will be that the Fielding-Knox reciprocity agreement passed by the late extra session of the United States Congress will not be presented to the twelfth Canadian Parliament, which meets in October, and closer commercial relations between Canada and the United States will not be possible perhaps for years to come.

The Conservatives are committed to a closed door against the United States, and to a policy of trade-expansion within the [British] empire. President Taft was greatly disappointed at the result and believes the “annexation bogy” had much to do with the defeat of the measure in Canada.

[From 1867 to 1911, regaining reciprocity was an aim of all Canadian governments. The Conservative party, which stood publicly for nationalism and protectionism, succeeded in associating the Liberals with free trade, commercial union with the U.S., and continentalism, which smacked of absorption by the U.S.

From 1935-1980, a number of bilateral trade agreements greatly reduced tariffs in both nations.

Canada and the United States on October 4, 1988 signed The Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The agreement removed several trade restrictions in stages over a ten year period. With the addition of Mexico in 1994 FTA was superseded by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).]

The Liquor Question

The local election held in Bannock county on Wednesday, September 6th resulted in a victory for prohibition, and the county went dry by a majority of over 700.

The vote of a few of the leading towns are as follows: Pocatello, wet by a majority of 568; Soda Springs, dry 129, wet 116; Grace, dry 209, wet 44; Bancroft, dry 242, wet 44; Thatcher dry 176, wet 18.

[Idahoans approved state-wide prohibition in 1916. They ratified National Prohibition in January 8, 1919. It was widely believed that prohibiting alcohol would reduce crime, improve health, raise morality, and protect young people.

There was a strong demand for alcohol, and illegal operators quickly moved in to supply that demand. In order to operate, illegal alcohol producers and distributors routinely bribed law enforcement officers and others. Sometimes law enforcement officers themselves were directly involved in moonshining and bootlegging.

Those who couldn’t be bought off were sometimes threatened and intimidated. The frequent revelations of corruption turned many against Prohibition and lowered respect for law. Residents became increasingly concerned over problems created by Prohibition.

On October 17, 1933, by a vote of nearly 60%, Idaho called for the repeal of National Prohibition. Source: National Prohibition and Repeal in Idaho.]

Adapted from: “Passing Events”, Improvement Era, Vol. XIV. October, 1911. No. 12.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress
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100 Years Ago: Saloons, Tobacco, Amusements

The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of September 1911.

The editors receive many suggestions, criticisms and commendations, from the readers of the Improvement Era, of general interest to the public. Some of these good things, we are tempted to print from time to time:

Saloons Open More Than Churches

Have you ever noticed that the churches are open only when the saloons are closed, and that the saloons are open six days and most of each night a week, while the churches are open at the most six hours one day each week? And yet some people wonder why the church is losing influence. — A.

[In Utah in 2011 one must be 21 years old to buy or consume alcohol. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has regulated the sale of alcoholic beverages since 1935. Utah is one of 18 states that has a monopoly over the wholesaling and/or retailing of some or all categories of alcoholic beverages. In commercial facilities, the time at which alcohol may be served is limited, and alcohol may not be sold any later than 1am.

In 2011 saloons are still open more than churches.]

Tobacco Consumption Up

Milk separator

Cream separator in Swedish museum. Whole milk is poured into the bowl. Turning the handle causes a centrifuge to spin and separate the milk into heavier cream and lighter skimmed milk, each coming out of a spout.

We make life strenuous by our extravagances and artificial wants, so that we have very little time to study on lines of spiritual development. Though the world is growing better in many things, the great mass of people is thronging the broad road to destruction.

When turning the separator this morning, I noticed the stream of cream was very small compared with the stream of skimmed milk. So it is with humanity. There is room in a very narrow road for the cream, but the skimmed milk needs a very broad road, and then it seems crowded.

I was told by a man the other day who was representing a tobacco house that the consumption of tobacco in this country had increased 40 per cent in the last year, and the use of intoxicants is also increasing.

I am thankful for the Word of Wisdom. It is a great blessing to all who obey it. I am very thankful that the Lord called me in my boyhood and gave me the knowledge of the way of eternal life. I am thankful for the good reports that come to us of the condition of the work of the Lord at home and abroad. May the great work continue to roll on. — Patriarch William Halls, Mancos, Colorado.

[According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 1911 in the United States 10.1 billion cigarettes were consumed, representing 173 cigarettes per capita of those 18 years or older. This was a 14.6% per capita increase from 1910.

In 2006 (last published figures) 380.0 billion cigarettes were consumed, representing 1,619 cigarettes per capita. This was a 1.5% per capita decrease from 2005. In 2009, 20.6% of all adults (46.6 million people) were smokers.

In 2011 the Word of Wisdom is still a great blessing to all who obey it.]

Too Much Amusement

If but a fraction of the time, talent, and energy now spent in exploiting amusement for our young people were utilized in devising means of useful employment for this same class of individuals, I do not hesitate to assert that we should have better, nobler, more useful and positively more valuable young people than at present.

As it is we rear a lot of assuming, expectant, demanding, dependent, leaners. Where are the lifters among our young people? There are some, but they are very few. Parents must furnish the sinews of war, be up early and late, scheme, plan and toil untiringly. Who assists them? As a rule not the young, strong, healthy and beautiful specimens of manhood and womanhood, their sons and daughters.

The children — grown men and women, brim full and running over with energy — must just now plan for excursions, arrange for parties, obtain books, papers and periodicals enabling them to provide games for every day in the year. And they must be “on” to every “stunt” in the field. The field that yields the golden grain? No; Pa can see to that. Ma can feed the calves and the pigs. That’s about the way it goes, my dear brother. Any wonder that the average thinking parent feels tired? — Dr. Charles L. Olsen, Murray, Utah

[In 2011 even Pa does not harvest the golden grain and Ma no longer feeds the calves and the pigs.]

Adapted from: “Editor’s Table”, Improvement Era, Vol. XIV. September, 1911. No. 11.

Photo Credit: Calle Eklund
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100 Years Ago: George V, Freece, Silver Service Fund

The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of August 1911.

King George V

King George V

George V in coronation robes, painting by Samuel Luke Fildes

King George V received the crown of his ancestors on Thursday, June 22, in Westminster Abbey, amid the manifestations of love and loyalty from the people on every hand. Without a hitch, and with every circumstance of historic pomp, the ceremony was consummated, and with thunderous cheers the great multitudes of Britain acclaimed their crowned and anointed sovereigns, and sang, “God Save the King.”

In the abbey were assembled dignitaries of the empire, foreign and colonial representatives, members of European royal families, peers, members of parliament and officials–about seven thousand people. The ceremony was substantially the same used for similar occasions for a thousand years. There was a brief sermon by the Archbishop of York, the king kissed the Bible and signed the oath, made his declaration of faith in its recently modified form, and was anointed and crowned, ascended the throne, and the queen took her seat beside, but below, her husband.

The following day the king and queen made their royal progress through the streets of London, being welcomed with demonstrations of enthusiasm by the people.

[George Frederick Ernest Albert, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936, was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India. George was a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

In 1917, because of anti-German public sentiment he renamed the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha the House of Windsor. It remains the family name of the current Royal Family. George V was plagued by illness throughout much of his later reign and at his death was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII.]

Freece the Agitator

Freece, the Anti-Mormon Agitator, has gone to Denmark, and met a cold reception. Elder A. J. T. Sorenson, president of the Copenhagen conference, in a recent letter, says that the priests are giving them blows from all sides, but the gospel, like as steel, becomes firmer in the hearts of the people the more it is pounded.

Politiken, a leading liberal newspaper, recently defended the elders against an attack of Freece, the anti-Mormon, who had called a large meeting to denounce the Latter-day Saints. At a private meeting following, held with the reporters and priests, the elders were given an opportunity to defend their cause, and came out of it so well that the paper gave them a splendid defense. Among other things it counseled Mr. Freece to pack his grip, and return to America, where conditions are more fruitful for his class of agitation.

[Hans Peter Freece, the son of a Utah Mormon polygamist, openly supported anti-Mormon agitation and the drafting of legislation to ban the Mormon religion from being preached and practiced.]

Silver Service Fund

Contributions for the Silver Service Fund of the battleship Utah, have been received from 26,066 school children in Utah, aggregating $2,233.72. All the counties of the state and about 230 cities, towns and villages are represented in the donations.

The price of the service will be $10,000 on which account the contributions will be applied. The remainder will be paid by the State. Utah is 521 feet six inches long, draws 29 feet of water, is rated as a 22,000 ton ship, and will carry 940 men and 60 officers, when fully manned. The ship will be ready to go into commission August 10.

[USS Utah was attacked and sunk by a torpedo in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.]

Adapted from: “Passing Events”, Improvement Era, Vol. XIV. August, 1911. No. 10.

USS Utah

USS Utah

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100 Years Ago: Hotel Utah, Lawsuit, and Hatchetations

The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of July 1911.


Carry Nation

Carry Nation with her hatchet and Bible

Carry A. Nation, made famous because she began a campaign in Wichita, Kansas, December 17, 1900, against the saloons, by smashing furniture and windows with a hatchet, died in Leavenworth, Kansas, June 9. Carry Moore was born in Kentucky, in 1846, and in early life married a man who became a drunkard.

When he died, she determined to devote her life to the suppression of the liquor traffic and the tobacco habit. With her favorite hatchet she left a trail of ruined bar-rooms in the state of Kansas, wherever she unheralded appeared. She was married to David Nation, in Kansas City, who divorced her ten years ago.

[Official records say her first name was spelt Carrie. However, beginning with her anti-liquor campaign, she adopted the name Carry A. Nation mainly for its value as a slogan. Between 1900 and 1910 she was arrested some 30 times for “hatchetations,” as she came to call them. Nation paid her jail fines from lecture-tour fees and sales of souvenir hatchets.]

University of Utah Lawsuit

The University of Utah lost its suit, begun nearly four years ago, against the Montello Salt Company, in the United States Supreme Court, May 29, for title to large tracts of salt lands, under an act of Congress granting the state of Utah lands for university purposes. The district and state supreme courts had both decided for the University. The salt beds in question are said to be so extensive that had the suit been favorable to the state, the University would have been richly endowed.

Hotel Utah

Beautiful Hotel Utah opened its doors at 8 o’clock Friday morning, June 9. The structure complete marks an expenditure of two million dollars—$1,500,000 for construction, $300,000 in furnishings, and $200,000 for a light, heat and power plant. It is one of the great hotels of the United States, and signals a new era for Salt Lake City and Utah, in their relations to the traveling public.

[The Hotel Utah ceased operations in August 1987. A major remodeling and adaptive reuse project to accommodate both community and church functions was completed in 1993. Church leader Gordon B. Hinckley chose the name Joseph Smith Memorial Building when he observed that there were many monuments to Brigham Young, but none to Joseph Smith.]

Adapted from: “Passing Events”, Improvement Era, Vol. XIV. July, 1911. No. 9.

Joseph Smith Memorial Building

Joseph Smith Memorial Building, formerly the Hotel Utah

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100 Years Ago: Congressman, Stories, and Savings

Postal Savings Depository window

Postal Savings Depository window

The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of June 1911.

Another Congressman

On the morning of April 27 the House of Representatives passed a bill providing for the enlargement of the National House of Representatives from 391 to 433 members. The apportionment to the several states will be made on the basis of the population shown by the recent federal census. This bill is known as the Houston bill, and leaves the legislatures of the different states to re-arrange the congressional districts in their respective states on the basis of the new population, one member for each 211,877 inhabitants. Utah will gain one member.

[The Reapportionment Act of 1929 capped the size of the House at 435 where it remains today, though Congress has the authority to change that number. Utah increased its Representatives to two in 1913 and then to three in 1983. As a result of the 2010 census, in 2013 a fourth Utah Representative will be seated in Washington.]

Mother Stories

Mother Stories From the Book of Mormon is the title of a nicely printed story book by William A. Morton, author of The Gospel Primer, Primary Helper, and the Children’s Life of Our Savior, etc. The volume consists of twenty Book of Mormon stories, suitably adapted and attractively told, and dealing with interesting incidents in the life of Nephi, Lehi, Zeniff, Sons of Mosiah, the Three Nephites, Samuel the Lamanite, two memorable battles, and Christ’s visit to the Nephites. Every mother in the land should find the contents of this book of great interest to her children as bed-time stories.

[President Hinckley said of this book: “As I thumbed through the pages, there came into my mind pictures of cold winter nights when we sat about the stove in our home, our mother reading to us about the great characters of the Nephite record. This was my first introduction to the Book of Mormon.” The book can be read at Google Books or Open Library.]

Postal Savings Banks

Postal savings banks in Utah are found in Provo and Bingham Canyon, and a new order makes Logan the third city in the state designated for a bank of this kind. The post office department at Washington has decided to have a bank in each second class city of the country, the postal bank idea having passed beyond the experimental stage, and been pronounced a success wherever tried.

[The United States Postal Savings System was established in 1911 and was discontinued in 1966. It offered account holders the post office’s convenient location and hours and the security of depositing funds in a federal institution.]

Adapted from: “Passing Events”, Improvement Era, Vol. XIV. June, 1911. No. 8.
Photo credit: Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

Postal Savings Certificate of Deposit 1941

Postal Savings Certificate of Deposit 1941

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100 Years Ago: War On Mormons Is Waged In Britain

The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of April 1911

Investigation of Mormon activity

Investigation of “Mormon” activity in England will be made by the House of Commons. On the 6th of March, Secretary Churchill stated that the attention of the government had been attracted to recent allegations that young girls were being induced to emigrate to Utah, and that the matter was causing deep concern. He therefore proposed to investigate the subject exhaustively, with a view to bringing out the exact facts.

Hans P. Freece

Hans P. Freece

President Rudger Clawson, of the European Mission of the Latter-day Saints, welcomes the investigation, as do his co-laborers in that country, for they are confident there can be no other outcome before a fair judicial tribunal than a complete vindication of the actions of the Church. It has nothing to fear from an impartial and honest investigation, for its emigration affairs, as well as its missionary work in Great Britain, have been conducted in a manner that will bear the closest scrutiny. The Church has nothing to lose and everything to gain by the action which the home secretary has recommended.

On the 6th of March a demented man broke the windows and door of the mission house in Liverpool, “for God’s sake,” he said.

War On Mormons

Meanwhile the New York Times was reporting the story thus:

War on Mormons Is Waged In Britain

The crusade against Mormons initiated by the International Reform Bureau at Washington is being actively pursued in Great Britain.

Hans P. Freece, the bureau’s special delegate, has arrived in London after a 10 weeks’ tour in Scotland and the north of England, during which he succeeded in locating about 100 Mormon meeting places and 325 American Mormons engaged in inducing young women to emigrate to Utah. He also collected the signed statements of parents whose daughters had been enticed to America, and is in possession of irrefutable evidence that the Mormon church is in the habit of paying for the transportation of converts from England to Utah in violation of the United States immigration law.

Mr. Freece entertains great hope of succeeding in getting a bill into Parliament prohibiting American Mormon elders from proselytizing in this country—in fact, the same law as that adopted by Prussia and Hungary not long ago.

Although Mr. Freece declared his mission to be unofficial, he said he believed that should such a law, cutting off British-Mormon immigration to America, be passed, the Mormons would lose the control of Utah and a Democratic Representative might be expected to be sent to Congress at the next election.

[Hans P. Freece, an apostate, lectured the people against the dangers of “Mormonism,” and sought to prohibit them from preaching in the United Kingdom. A number of those who attended the lectures expressed themselves as being very much disappointed in them. They expected to hear something new from this man, who claims to have been born in the Church, of polygamous parents, but instead he had only the same false stories that have been retold so many times by others.

The International Reform Bureau was founded in 1895 and was known from 1924 as the International Reform Federation. Today it supports those moral and social reforms on which the churches generally agree, focusing especially on drugs and the spread of legalized gambling.]


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