Monday, June 18, 2018

Pioneer Story Quilt- Unseen Angels


Dear Children,

Here's a story I hope you will never forget.  James E. Faust shared it in General Conference many years ago: 
Some years ago president David O. McKay told from this pulpit of the experience of some of those in the Martin handcart company. Many of these early converts had emigrated from Europe and were too poor to buy oxen or horses and a wagon. They were forced by their poverty to pull handcarts containing all of their belongings across the plains by their own brute strength. President McKay relates an occurrence which took place some years after the heroic exodus: “A teacher, conducting a class, said it was unwise ever to attempt, even to permit them [the Martin handcart company] to come across the plains under such conditions.
“[According to a class member,] some sharp criticism of the Church and its leaders was being indulged in for permitting any company of converts to venture across the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart caravan afforded.
“An old man in the corner … sat silent and listened as long as he could stand it, then he arose and said things that no person who heard him will ever forget. His face was white with emotion, yet he spoke calmly, deliberately, but with great earnestness and sincerity.
“In substance [he] said, ‘I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here, for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited was there, too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that company ever apostatized or left the Church, because everyone of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.
“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’” He continues: “‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.
“Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.”
Sister Wendy Watson Nelson added this thought in an address to the women of the Church:
Can you imagine the effort it took those angels who pushed from the rear of handcarts as they helped the pioneers over the steep, snowy, windy, freezing, jagged terrain of Rocky Ridge? If angels can manage that, they can certainly help you and me over our present Rocky Ridges. We know the Lord gets His work done with the help of His angels. So could you use a little more help in your life? If so, keep your covenants with more exactness than ever before. And then ask for angels to help you with whatever you need.

Sweet children, the dark square in the center of this block is to remind you of those handcarts, and the white triangles are there to remind you of the angels who helped pushed the handcarts.  Those same angels stand ready to help you too.  Ask for their help.  And remember that it is usually through our most difficult struggles that we truly come to know God. 

I'll love you forever,

Mom


Monday, March 26, 2018

Pioneer Story Quilt- Unwavering Committment


Children,

Stars are a common theme in quilts.  I love this pattern called the "Ohio Star".  Stars represent something in our life that is so constant and unchanging that it can be used as a guide.

There is so much chaos and confusion in life.  You will need something to guide you.  The pioneers had their faith to guide them.  It helped them ignore or look past the day-to-day distractions.  Here's a story that's a good example:

George Cunningham was 15 years old when he left his native
Scotland with his parents and three sisters to gather to Zion.
George had begun working in a coal pit when he was only 7
years old to help support his family. He worked there for 6
years, sometimes for 12 to 14 hours a day. The air was bad in
the coal pit, and he sometimes wouldn’t see the sun except
on Sunday, his only day off. His family, who had joined the
Church shortly after George’s birth, was grateful when the
way opened for them to emigrate. George thanked God for
his blessings when he arrived in America, a country he had
been taught to believe was a “land of promise.”  
Twenty years after arriving in America, George wrote a detailed
reminiscence that included memories of his experiences
with the Willie company. He recorded that while the
company was crossing Iowa, “people would mock, sneer,
and deride us on every occasion for being such fools as
they termed us, and would often throw out inducements
to get us to stop. But we told them we were going to Zion
and would not stop on any account.” George, who was a
teenager at the time, didn’t allow the mockery to deter him.
“People would turn out in crowds to laugh at us, crying ‘gee’
and ‘haw’ as if we were oxen. But this did not discourage
us in the least, for we knew that we were on the right track.
That was enough.” 

Darling children, life will have it's challenges.  There will be times when others don't see what you see with your eyes of faith.  They might make fun or tease you for the choices you will make.  Mockery seems to be a favorite tool of our adversary.   Focus on your covenants and your faith, during the easy times and the hard times.  Keep your eyes on Jesus Christ and move forward with courage and determination.

I love you,

Mom

Monday, March 19, 2018

Pioneer Story Quilt- Patriotism

 

Children,
So many difficult things happened to the early saints after they joined the church.  They were persecuted, driven from their homes, beaten and threatened.  Elder Packer reminds us what happened next:
"the Lord told the Saints to seek redress from the judges, the governor, and then the president. 
Their appeals to the judges failed. During his life, Joseph Smith was summoned to court over 200 times on all kinds of trumped-up charges. He was never convicted. 
When they sought redress from Governor Boggs of Missouri, he issued a proclamation: 'The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the state, if necessary for the public good.' That unleashed untold brutality and wickedness. 
They appealed to President Martin Van Buren of the United States, who told them, 'Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.'"
The situation became so bad that the Lord led the saints across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley.  On the second anniversary of their arrival they celebrated their freedom.  Elder Packer continues telling their story:
"And so on that day of celebration in 1849, Elder Phineas Richards came forward... He spoke of the need for them to teach patriotism to their children and to love and honor freedom. After he briefly recited the perils that they had come through, he said:
'Brethren and friends, we who have lived to three-score years, have beheld the government of the United States in its glory, and know that the outrageous cruelties we have suffered proceeded from a corrupted and degenerate administration, while the pure principles of our boasted Constitution remain unchanged…As we have inherited the spirit of liberty and the fire of patriotism from our fathers, so let them descend unchanged to our posterity.”
May the "spirit of liberty and the fire of patriotism" burn brightly in your hearts.  There will be politics you won't agree with, candidates you didn't vote for, and even corruption in government.  Neal A. Maxwell said, "Patriotism is not just paying taxes or serving in the military. It is living so that we create a better country for future generations."


Vaughn J. Featherstone said: "We are the nation's watchmen, no other people collectively love the Constitution and honor it and hold it as a divinely inspired document as do the Latter-day Saints."

I hope when you see this quilt square you will remember the early pioneers who worked to create a better country for us.  It is now our responsibility to do the same for those who will come after us.  We must work, first in our homes, next in our communities, and then in our country to create an atmosphere where freedom and peace can flourish.

Love you forever,

Mom



Monday, March 5, 2018

Pioneer Story Quilt- Still Moving



Kids,

When you look at this quilt square can you see the white blocks like steps through the darker squares?  I hope it will remind you of footsteps, placed one in front of another. 



The story I hope you'll remember when you see this quilt square was shared during General Conference by Gayle M. Clegg.  
My husband’s great-grandfather Henry Clegg Jr. was a finisher. He joined the Church with his family when the first LDS missionaries went to Preston, England. Henry had a view of his destination in his mind as he and his wife, Hannah, and their two young boys immigrated to Utah. Henry left his older parents, who were too feeble to make such a long and arduous journey, knowing he would never see them again.  
While crossing the plains, Hannah contracted cholera and died. She was laid to rest in an unmarked grave. The company then moved on, and at six in the evening, Henry’s youngest son also died. Henry retraced his steps to Hannah’s grave, placed his young son in his wife’s arms, and reburied the two of them together. Henry then had to return to the wagon train, now five miles away. Suffering from cholera himself, Henry described his condition as being at death’s door while realizing he still had a thousand miles to walk. Amazingly he continued forward, putting one foot in front of the other. He stopped writing in his journal for several weeks after losing his dear Hannah and little son. I was struck with the words he used when he did start writing again: “Still moving.”
There will be days in your lives when you will feel like you can't keep going.  As a mom I wish I could protect you from those days.  When you come to one of those days I hope you'll remember to keep moving forward. 

Image result for if you can't run then walk
Buy this poster here
In scripture words always moving forward is described as "enduring" or "enduring to the end".  

But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, 
whether in life or in death, 
for they shall inherit eternal life.

D&C 50:5

I love you,

Mom












Monday, February 26, 2018

Pioneer Story Quilt- Lucy Mack Smith

Children,

Lucy Mack Smith is the mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  She was a woman of great faith and courage.  One time she was responsible to lead 80 members by riverboat to join with the larger body of saints.  It was cold, and tensions were high when they were told that the ice was blocking the way forward.  In her own words in "History of Joseph Smith" she records:
‘Now brethren and sisters, if you will all of you raise your desires to heaven, that the ice may be broken up, and we be set at liberty, as sure as the Lord lives, it will be done.’ At that instant a noise was heard, like bursting thunder. The captain cried, ‘Every man to his post.’ The ice parted, leaving barely a passage for the boat, and so narrow that as the boat passed through the buckets of the waterwheel were torn off with a crash, which, joined to the word of command from the captain, the hoarse answering of the sailors, the noise of the ice, and the cries and confusion of the spectators, presented a scene truly terrible. We had barely passed through the avenue when the ice closed together again, and the Colesville brethren were left in Buffalo, unable to follow us.”

I made this quilt square to remind you of the water wheels on the back of the boat and of God's power to help you when you come up against walls of ice in your own lives.  Lucy Mack Smith knew God would help them. I want you to know that God will help you too. 

"Our soul waiteth for the Lord; He is our help and our shield."   
-Psalms 33:20

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pioneer Story Quilt- The Power of our Covenants

Darlings,

Your fourth Great Grandmother (Grandpa Bob's Great-Grandmother) was named Mary Daybell.  She and her husband Finity Daybell heard the gospel from early missionaries in England. Here is part of the record kept by her son William Daybell:
The Mormon elders came through that part of the country and they listened to the gospel as it was taught by those elders.  My father was the first one to believe in their teachings; my mother couldn't believe the gospel for a long time... The elders taught that they must gather to Zion and she had great dread of crossing the ocean.  
But they finally received the gospel at the time when they had one child, the year of 1844 they embraced the gospel.  The testimony that was given to my mother when she was baptized caused them to have a desire to emigrate to Zion.  When she came up from the waters of baptism fear of the ocean and of leaving her home had left her.  She, from that time, had a desire to go to Zion.
Mary Daybell was given power when she was baptized to do the important things God was asking her to do.  Making covenants with God always strengthens us.



When you see this quilt square I hope you will think of Mary Daybell crossing the ocean.  She was able to do this because of the power of her covenants.  You will have the opportunity to make covenants with God too- at your baptism, taking the sacrament, and in God's temples.  Each time you do I hope you will be aware of the power God is giving you- power to overcome your fears and do the work God will give you.

I love you.  God does too.

Mom
Picture of

Mary and Finity Daybell: Charleston Cemetery, UT

Monday, February 5, 2018

Pioneer Story Quilt- Heading Out and Bringing Home

Dear Children,

Late in the fall of 1856 Brigham Young was informed that hundreds of saints, pulling handcarts and traveling slowly, were scattered across the plains.  He knew that without the help of the saints in the Salt Lake Valley most of them would die when winter hit.

The next day in church he got up and addressed the saints:

“I will tell you all that your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the celestial kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains”

Do you know how hard this must have been?  The saints in the Salt Lake Valley were still getting their own farms and homes ready for winter.  He was asking for the food they were storing for their own families.  Their husbands and fathers would be away for weeks in increasingly cold weather.

Of course it was hard.  But they did it anyways, because our Father in Heaven loves all of His children.  Hundreds of cold, starving saints were picked up by the men who left the comfort of their homes to follow God's command.  They were warmed, fed, and carried by wagon into the Salt Lake Valley.
A painting by Clark Kelley Price depicting two pioneer women sitting in a blizzard while one of them encourages the other to go on.
Credit
In your lives God will call you to help others- to serve missions, to be a visiting or home teacher, to share your talents with the church, to sacrifice to raise a family.  There will be work only you can do.  It will be inconvenient.  It will require that you walk away from other good things you are doing.  It will be hard, but God will be with you as you do the work He asks you to do.


Can you see how the triangles in this quilt block look like they are pointing out and then back in again?  I hope you'll remember that God needs you to go out and bring others back into the safety of the gospel, even when it's inconvenient and difficult.  God and His angels will walk out and back with you.

Love you forever- Mom