Thursday, January 24, 2013

Letters - from a Father & Grandfather whose son has left the RLDS church

       (The author of this letter, Winfield Gould, is my paternal great-great grandfather, who is saddened and disappointed that one of his many children, Leon (previously an elder in the RLDS church) has decided to leave for the Church of Christ (TL) - "All our lives since we obeyed the gospel Ma and I have hoped and prayed that we with all our children might be an unbroken family with the redeemed and loved ones that have passed on to the other side, and we shall continue to pray for that cherished blessing." 
Leon is the only child who leaves the RLDS church in this family (following an experience and conversation which his son Eugene had with the Lord), which is referred to as a sad fact in the book "Trek of Faith" by Peggy Tucker. However, history bears out that this loving father Winfield was actually mistaken, as he predicted the failure of the church Leon belonged to, and predicted the RLDS to remain faithful and true (this church is now in fragments, and the main body is no longer the RLDS church of the past - it is now called the Community of Christ and unlike the previous organization. It is interesting to look back now, with gratitude to my great-grandfather and his family, who had to go against the rest of their kin in following the leadings of the Holy Spirit - I am very grateful to have been simply "born into" the Church of Christ. Winfield makes some references to the Doctrine and Covenants, which were actually altered from the original revelations. - C. (Gould) Berwick                                                          

                                                                                Independence, Mo., March 1934
 Dear Leon and Family:
During the past winter I have spent a good deal of time reading the scripture, and other written works in regard to this Latter Day Work. And when I think of the course you and your family have taken in regard to the church I feel like writing and telling you how I look at some of these things.

    In your sermon, Earmarks of Apostasy, on Page 6, you say in regard to the restoration of the gospel in these last days that God, through his messenger divine again bestowed upon men the right to officiate as ministers in his church, to carry the gospel to the world, to organize the church, to make the same promise of knowledge through obedience and of gospel gifts to men, and that those promises were fulfilled to obedient thousands.

     Well, I have believe all this ever since I obeyed the gospel, and as I read it in your sermon the blessed Spirit that I have often felt bore witness to the truth of it. Now I think you will agree with me that the man referred to as the one who was given power to organize the church was Joseph Smith, and that the divine one who gave him the right and power to organize the church was the angel who cam and ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Now let us turn to the record and see how he organized it.

    In Book of Covenants, Sec. 19:1, in a revelation given the day the church was organized, the Lord speaking to Joseph Smith said, "There shall be a record kept among you and in it though shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and elder of the church through the will of God the Father and the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof and to build it up unto the most holy faith; which church was organized and established in 1830 on the 6th day of April."

    About five months after this in a revelation given September, 1830, speaking to Oliver Cowdry the Lord says: "Behold, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith Jr., for he receiveth them even as Moses." A little further along in the same verse the Lord says to Oliver, "You shall not command him who is at thy head and that the head of the church." Now see how plain all that is, and yet you have joined a church that rejects it and says that the twelve apostles are the head of the church and are the ones to receive commandments and revelations to guide the church.

    In Section 104:12 the Lord says the Twelve are a traveling, presiding high council to officiate in the name of the Lord under the direction of the Presidency of the church, agreeably to the institution of heaven to build up the church and regulate all the affairs of the same in all the nations, first unto the gentiles and secondly unto the Jews..
Now this plainly shows that the Twelve are to labor under the direction of the Presidency, or the head of the church, for the Presidency is the head of the church, if they are living and teaching according to the written law, as given by the supreme law giver.

    There is a passage in the Bible that says the feet must not say to the head that we have no need of thee, but that is just what the Temple Lot Church are teaching when they say they have no need of a Presidency. And so we read all along through the Book of Covenants how God directed Joseph Smith how to organize the church.

    Then on page 7 and 8 of your sermon you tell of the great wickedness that crept in to the church in 1844 and how many began to withdraw from the church and form into factions and elevate men to be their leaders, never designed of God and contrary to his word.
Then on pages 8 and 9 you tell us how God began to reconstruct his work, how he came by his Spirit to a people who had not elevated any man to be their leader, but to a little band who were loyal to God, and said unto them, "As I said unto Moses my servant, see that you do all things according to the pattern. Behold the pattern is before you."

   And now, Leon, I want to ask you how was the pattern before them? Why they had it right in the Book of Covenants just as God had given it to Joseph Smith.

    Again I would ask you, why this people had not chosen some man to be their leader? It was because God had given them the assurance by the power of his Holy Spirit that he would raise up one from the seed of Joseph Smith to lead the church.

    And now read in the Third Vol. of Church History, page 254 to page 264 how plainly this man who God said he would raise up to the lead the church was shown by vision and by the Spirit of revelation just what God wanted him to do. See how he was directed to go to that very people who had received the promise by the Holy Spirit that God would raise up from the seed of Joseph Smith a Prophet, to lead the church. See how God told him that the Saints reorganizing there were the only organized portion of the church that he accepted, that he had given them his Spirit, and that he would continue to do so while they remained humble and faithful. Then read on page 265 that when young Joseph and his mother in 1860 came to this people and met with them in a conference how the whole of them wept with joy because it was in fulfillment of what God had promised them.

    Now notice one thing: Joseph did not come there to lead a faction nor a branch, but came as the successor of his father to lead the church, having been directed by the Lord to do so. Notice what he said to them. "I come not here of myself, but by the influence of the Spirit. For sometime past I have received manifestations pointing to the position I am about the assume. I wish to say that I have not come here to be dictated by any man or set of men. I have come in obedience to a power not my own, and shall be dictated to by the power that sent men." Third Volume Church History page 247.

    Now in speaking of this event in your sermon on page 9, you say: "With this little handful of Saints in Wisconsin the work of reconstruction went on apace as God opened the way, until the hearts of the saints were thrilled with the hope that Zion was about to put on her beautiful garments, and men and women by the thousand again bore witness to the truthfulness of the Saviour's promise. They were given a knowledge of the truth and their faith confirmed by the signs following."

    And now, Leon, I want to say that you Father and Mother and Grandparents, also Alice's Father and Mother were among those thousands that head and obeyed that glad message of the gospel and were confirmed in the truth of it by many signs and blessings they received.

    Now turn to Church History, Vol. 3, page 294 and read young Joseph's first call or message to the scattered Saints and all the inhabitants of the earth. It reads as follows:
"In the name of the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob I now call upon all the scattered Saints on all the broad earth to arise and shake off the sleep that has bound them these many years, take on the armour of the Just, calling on the name of the Lord for help, and unite once more for the emancipation of the honest in heart from the power of false doctrines and the shackles of sin. In the name of bleeding Zion I call upon all those who have been wandering in by and forbidden paths and have been led astray by wicked and designing men to turn from their scenes of wickedness and sins of convenience, to turn from their servitude to Satan, in all his seductive devices from vice in every phase and from the labor of sin, the wages whereof are even death, unto their true and delightsome allegiance to the principles of the gospel of peace, to the paths of wisdom, to the homage of that God that brought the children of Israel out of bondage, to turn and remember the Book of Mormon, to lay hold anew upon the rod of iron which surely leads to the tree of life: and to remember that those who live to the Lord keep his commandments and that the promises are to the faithful and the reward unto those that endure unto the end. And in the name of the Lord of Hosts I call upon all the inhabitants of the earth to repent, believe, and be baptized, for the time cometh when the judgments of God are to be poured out upon all nations, and the besom of God's wrath shall smoke through the land; when men shall know that there is a God in Israel and he is mighty to punish or save; and that the prayers of those under the altar have been heard and a swift retribution is to come, when the despoiler will be despoiled, and when those who denied justice shall be judged, and the measure meted unto others shall be meted unto them, when the prisoner shall go free, and the oppressed be redeemed and all Israel shall cry, Glory to God in the highest be given, for he that is long suffering and slow to anger has arisen, and shall bring again Zion. Amen and amen."

    Oh I do not see how anyone can read that message and not feel the thrill of the good Spirit bearing witness to the truth of the call of the man through whom it was given.
And now while thousands of scattered Saints and many new converts gave heed to the call and received the witness of God's Spirit to the truth of it, what did the Temple Lot Faction do? Did they receive and rejoice? No, they rejected it as a Faction and clung to the man that they had chosen as their leader.

    In the Book of Covenants we have this statement from the Lord in Section 100:2. "But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour, unto the counsel which I, the Lord, their God, shall give unto them. Behold, they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour, and by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet; and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it for ever and ever. But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them, for they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviour of men; and inasmuch as they are not the saviours of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."

     Now with this statement of the Lord before us, let us cast our minds over the past sixty or seventy years and see what these two organizations claiming to be the church have done.
The followers of young Joseph, as he was often called, were organized with a First Presidency to preside over the church, just as the law in the Book of Covenants directs, and they sent their missionaries into nearly all parts of the world preaching the gospel as restored in these last days, and according to history, and according to your sermon, as stated on Page 9, men and women by the thousand received it and bore witness to the Saviour's promise. They were given a knowledge of the truth and their faith confirmed by the signs following.

    You see this church could be compared to a city set upon a hill. They let their light shine and in the hands of God became the saviors of thousands who obeyed the gospel and remained faithful until the end.

    But how about the Temple Lot Church, who rejected young Joseph as a prophet to preside over the church. They dwindled down to one small branch and remained so until 1925. Were they like a city set on a hill whose light could not be hid? Did they prove to be the saviors of men? Or were they like salt that had lost its savor?

    In Sec. 42:12, the Lord says, "Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law, to govern my church; and he that doeth accordingly to these things, shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned, if he continues."

    That is a plain statement in regard to those who accept the law to govern the church and do govern it according to law. The promise is that they will be saved. And it says just as plainly that those who do not do it shall be damned if they continue.

    The Reorganization accepted the law in regard to the organization of the church and the Temple Lot church rejected it. Is not the fact that the tens of thousands who received the gospel as taught by Young Joseph Smith and testified that God bore witness to them of the truth of it a proof that he had it organized right?

    Joseph the martyr and also young Joseph both claim to have been sent of God to lead the church and to have held the office of President over the high priesthood, but the Temple Lot church rejects them and says there is no such office in the church. Can't you see that they had to come out and discard the Book of Covenants or else give up they were wrong?
I was in their meeting here when they were discussing the question as to whether they should reject the Book of Covenants or not. James Yates spoke against giving it up and he said, "We can't give up all those revelations," but the majority voted to discard the Book. I have often thought of the statement he made in that meeting when reading what he claims he received by the Spirit here in Independence. The spirit asks him if he will obey if my word shall conflict with  your thoughts and belief. Then the spirit tells him that the Lord has rejected the Reorganized Church and that the church on the Temple Lot is the chosen one to carry on the Lord's work. And so Yates decides to obey the voice of this spirit even if it does conflict with his thoughts and former belief.
    Now we have the two churches before us. Also the law that God gave to govern his church in our day, and in that law, Section 104, we are told that the church is to be presided over by a President of the High Priesthood and two counselors, but the Temple Lot church says there is no such officers in the church but that the Twelve apostles are to preside over the church. You can read all through the revelations given through the martyr, also through young Joseph how God called men to the office of high priests and tells what their duties are in the church, but the Temple Lot church claims that there is no such officer in the church.

    There are many passages of scripture in all three books that show how necessary it is to keep the whole law. In the Book of Mormon, first Book of Nephi, Chapt.11. I cannot quote it all here, but read how a messenger appeared to Lehi and showed him a beautiful tree loaded with white fruit and he also saw a rod of iron that extended along a narrow path and led to the tree, and he saw multitudes of people pressing along that path, clinging to that rod of iron, and as many as clung to the rod of iron reached the tree and partook of the fruit but those that let go of the rod wandered away and were lost.

    And in Chapt. 3, Verse 49 it tells how an angel showed Nephi that the rod of iron which Lehi saw was the word of God which led to the tree of life. This shows plainly that those that believe and do as the law of God tells them to will reach the tree of life, while those that reject it will be lost. And the Bible tells us we are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

    If what the Temple Lot church tells us was true in regard to the Presidency and high priests not being in the church, then the martyr and young Joseph were both guilty of giving false revelations to the church and were not true prophets.

    The angel that came to Joseph Smith told him that his name should yet be known among all nations for good and for evil, and so it has been wherever throughout the world this gospel has been preached. Those that accepted it called him good, and those that rejected it called him a false prophet and a deceiver. The Utah people accused him of being in polygamy, thus branding him as evil, and now the Temple Lot church joins in with the wicked people of the world and the Utah church and accuses him of giving false revelations and organizing the church right, but the Lord tells us in Section 1, Book of Covenants, in verses 4 and 5, I will only quote in part but you will find it all in the two verses. The Lord says that he called upon his servant Joseph and spake unto him from heaven and gave him commandments and also gave commandments to others that they should proclaim these things to the world, and in verse 5 he says that he gave Joseph Smith power to translate the Book of Mormon and also those to whom these commandments were given might have the power to lay the foundation of this church and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth with which I the Lord am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually.

    And in Book of Covenants, Sec. 19:1, the Lord speaking to Joseph Smith says, "Behold there shall be a record kept among you, and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof and to build it up unto the most holy faith which church was organized and established in the year of your Lord, 1830, and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April." And in the Book of Mormon, Second Book of Nephi Chapter 11, Verse 18, the Lord speaking of this same seer says, "Behold, that seer will the Lord bless and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded."

    Now, Leon, the above scripture that I have quoted was accepted by the church in the martyr's day and also by the Reorganized Church as the word of the Lord. Can you feel safe in rejecting it and putting your trust in some men that tell you that Joseph Smith and those other men that God called in their day to organize the church and build it up all went wrong, and did not organize it right, and that he gave false revelation to the church.
In Jeremiah 17:5, the Lord has said, "Cursed is the man that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."

    Christ also said, "He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him. The words that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day for I have not spoken of myself but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak and I know that his commands are life everlasting." St. John 12:48,49,50.

   The words that Christ has spoken and what he taught are found written in the scriptures and that is what we are to be judged by when we stand before God to be judged and not by what some man has told us.

    The Temple Lot church claims that the Twelve Apostles are the ones to stand at the head of the church, but the history of the church shows that the twelve apostles were not called nor ordained until nearly five years after the church was organized. See Church History Vol. 1, page 540-541 and 542. If the claim of the Temple Lot is true, then the church was without a head for nearly five years. Now read on pages 542 and 543 and several of the following pages and learn what the duties of the twelve apostles are. Read in those pages the charges given the twelve by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. See how they were told that their calling was to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations; not one word about their being called to preside over the church as its head. I don't see how you can read the charge and warning given them and not feel the witness of the good Spirit bearing witness to the truth of the charge and warnings given them. And if they had been faithful to the charge and warnings given this church would have a different history than the one it has.

    And now, Leon, when I read in your sermon referred to in this letter, the one you believe you were inspired to preach, on page 7 you say that the time came at Nauvoo when men began to withdraw from the church because they could no longer sanction that which was carried on in secret, and others began to elevate men to places not desired of God and contrary to his word, and it puzzles me to see how you could go and join one of those factions who rejected the man who God called to succeed his father as a prophet and leader of the church. And when he made that God-given call to all the scattered saints and factions of the church it was their duty to have heeded the call and united with the church, but many of them rejected the prophet and his message and continued to follow leaders they had chosen instead of the one God had chosen, and not one of those factions has ever proved a light to the world.

    And now I want to say that although I believe the Reorganized church has made mistakes and has suffered for it and is still suffering for it, yet I believe God has a people among them and that the authority is among them to carry on God's work, and that the faithful ones among them will assist in carrying on this great latter day work. And I would much rather have seen you and your family among the faithful ones that to see you unite with a faction that rejects much of the word of God and will surely prove a failure.

    All our lives since we obeyed the gospel Ma and I have hoped and prayed that we with all our children might be an unbroken family with the redeemed and loved ones that have passed on to the other side, and we shall continue to pray for that cherished blessing. I am now past 82 years of age and we both feel the infirmities of old age pressing upon us and know we cannot remain here longer. May God help us all to be ready when the call comes.

                                                                                        As every your Father,
                                                                                           W. W. Gould.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Letter - Dear Mother, The Lord did something twenty hundred years ago

                                                                                         Bemidji, Minn., Oct 22, 1930

Dear Mother,-
Your letter received and duly digested; can’t say it makes us exactly happy, and there is so much else in the world to be unhappy over too. Bro. Day thinks we ought to all be joyous and should for joy contineually—poor man and only one of his step-children pays any attention to the latter-day work, his boys drinking and carousing, and into things too naughty to mention in a letter. One of them said there was nothing to look forward too now, but just to die; and yet George thinks there is nothing in the world to grieve over, because the Lord showed him twenty years ago that the gospel was true, and so this church is the only true church—no matter what it does, or where it goes to. Well, that is exactly what the Saints said who were in the church in the Prophet’s day, and followed Brigham Young to Utah.

     The Lord had shown them that the church was true, and so no matter what it did it must always be true, and no matter where it led they must always go with it, and go they did, into the depths of apostacy, shouting glory, hallelujah! I know this church is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that Brigham Young was his legal successor. They had nothing to grieve over, except when some of their children backslid, and went into the Reorganization, which they looked upon as being nothing but a set of apostates, who legally action had been shorn of church membership and all priesthood authority, by action of the only true church.

    Strange isn’t it how a people could be so blinded, and yet they blinded themselves. At some time they had all of them deliberately shut their eyes to wrong, or voted to sustain that which was not right, knowingly, that thereby they might retain their prestige, and be good fellows with those in charge; or had failed to raise their voices against wrong, for fear they would loose their official position or their family allowance. It was only the few who had backbone enough to denounce the evils, and defy the evil-doers that the Lord could use to reconstruct his work.

    Well the same thing is happening in our day, and the same causes will produce the same condition of blindness, and eventually lead to the same depths of apostacy. There is no other recourse, except repentance and humility, and that of course is unthinkable.

    You say you are looking for a change in the church soon. Mother dear, what change do you look for in the church? What change can you possibly look for? No one dares to say anything about the necessity of a change, in Conference; and hardly dare to whisper it in private especially if it would jeopardize their place or position or their job. And under the rule of dumb and throttled silence, what change can there be but a change from bad to worse.
Do you think that the Lord is going to reach down and shake Fred M. out of his breeches? Why, if he did, what would a cowed and groveling people do with their liberty? They haven’t the least idea what should be done in an emergency of that kind, any more than had the Saints at Nauvoo. And never will have till freedom of thought and speech, and of the press is restored to them, and they begin to do some thinking on their own account.
You are looking for a change in the church soon; for the Lord to do something? Just how many, mother, do you suppose whould note the change and accept it, and would recognize his hand when he did do something?

     The Lord did something twenty hundred years ago, in fulfillment of prophecy. A virgin conceived and bore a son, heralded by angelic hosts, and by the wise men. He grew up in the midst of his people, counfounded the doctors of law and of divinity with his wisdom, wrought a world of miracles by his almighty power, put tempters, critics and faultfinders to silence with a single answer, established his church, spake as never a man spake, but as one having authority; suffered on the cross, rose from the dead, inspired his ministry to carry on his work--- and those who were looking for a change soon, and for the Lord to do something, never saw the change, never knew the Lord was doing anything; don’t know it yet, are still looking for their Messiah, and his second coming is at the door. They’ve lost two thousand years of growth and development in the kingdom of God, WAITING FOR THE LORD TO DO SOMETHING. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. He dared to tell them of their wickedness in plain and unvarnished, but forceful language, and they said he had a devil.

    And so many were looking for a change soon, at Nauvoo, and for the Lord to do something. And how many saw the change, and recognized his hand when he did do something? Just the few who had refused to worship at the shrine of priestcraft, who had the courage to denounce evil and stand for the truth at whatever cost; to whom truth meant more than prestige and priestly emolument. And it was said that they had a devil. “The God that I worship,” said one, “told me they were led by a spirit of deception.” But the Lord could use them, and did, to reestablish his work. At his bidding they denounced and cast off all who claimed to be leaders but were living in idolatry. They denounced them and their works in plain and unvarnished language, but forceful; and because of this they were possessed of a devil. And we have lost a good part of a hundred years waiting for leaders of the church to get through fiddling with Masonry, so the Lord could do something.

    And to-day, there are hundreds looking, as you are, for a change soon, and for the Lord to do something---admitting the necessity of it, for why look for a change if there is no need? But how many will see this change, and how many recognize the hand of the Lord when and where he is working? Only the few! Only the few who have the courage to follow Christ, even though it means the loss of place and position and priestly appointments. Only those who have the backbone to denounce the encroachments of evil, who stand upon their feet and cry aloud as watchmen upon the walls of Zion, in plain and unvarnished by forceful language. And those who hear say they are possessed of a devil, as you said of Long.
    That has been my experience too. Let me tell you some of it. The Sunday after I knew for a certainty that Fred M. had joined the Masons, I declared against the evil in no uncertain terms, as well as against those who, while before hand they were mightily opposed to masonry, now began to hedge, and say, Well, if Fred M. has joined it must be all right. And I said it was too bad that we were not all named Smith, then we could do as we pleased and it would be all right. That was in Sunday-school. Well, some went home from the Sunday-school, and meeting others warned them to stay away from the church, that Leon had gone wild and was ranting.

    And when I took the stand to preach, I was filled with that unquenchable fire that loosened my tongue, and enabled me to speak as only in my dreams I had ever been able to speak before. At the close, my wife—the first and only time—came up to the stand, grasped my hand and congratulated me upon the effort. The rest went home and said I was possessed of a devil.

    I was filled with much of the same spirit when I preached earmarks of Apostacy; but there was a spirit of resistance operating in the audience that destroyed my liberty in part, and yet with enough power so that one man sat up with eyes wide open, whom I had never before seen in a service, except with eyes closed as if asleep. How many who have read “Earmarks of Apostacy,” and have testified that the Spirit of God came to them as they read it? If their testimony is true, isn’t it a little strange, that the Herald Editor being supposedly guided by the Spirit of truth should turn it down; while the editor of the Torch being supposedly benighted by the spirit of Apostacy should ask to publish it?

    And so, with one that I preached sometime before “Earmarks” and one last spring, that I told you was given me during the stormy night when I stayed in the basement of the Postoffice, I was blessed with more than usual liberty and power in presenting them; but because they were a voice of warning, and a portrayal of our perilous condition, they were not received by those who heard.

    So I have experienced the feelings the Savior must have felt, when trying to warn and reach those whom he loved, to save them from great sorrow and loss, and they rejected his message and accused him of being the tool of Beelzebub, the prince of devils.
    And so the change you are still looking for, mother, will be seen and known only by those who have the courage to stand for the right; the will become old bottles, filled with traditions of various kinds, with no capacity to receive and contain the over new wine of the gospel.

    I’ll be glad to read Bro. Greene’s sermon. Send it along. If it is as good as one he preached at Conference, in 1907, it is surely good. But if it was indicted by the Spirit, the Herald won’t want it; but the Torch would. The sermon at Lamoni, in 1907 was a short one, but to the point. Perhaps you never read it. The Herald never published it. I will quote it here entire:
Speech by U.W.Greene, April 13, 1907
“I believe I am opposed to the substitute, and in favor of the original motion. And I am in hearty accord with the last speaker when he said that this motion has not been discussed from the proper standpoint. I believe it. Having had just a few years experience on the inside as well as the outside of some of these organizations, I think that if we turn a little light upon the question under consideration this afternoon, it may be of benefit to us.
“The last speaker laid considerable stress upon the statement that one can not be a member of OUR CHURCH AND BELONG TO SOME OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS. He repeated that over and over. I believe it to be true. I DON’T BELIEVE THAT THERE IS ANY MAN OR WOMAN IN THIS HOUSE, IN THIS TOWN, IN THIS STATE, IN THIS COUNTRY, THAT CAN TAKE THE OATHS THAT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE AS THEY KNEEL AT THE
“Fifteen years ago I began the investigation of secret societies. I continued to study from the inside for a series of years. And the very first night that I entered the lodge-room and knelt at the altar, I was asked to take oath, bloodcurdling in its character. Let me quote part of it to you; for I dare not quote it all, because I am bound by that obligation. But I was asked that night to subscribe to certain conditions, under no less penalty to have my throat cut across. What do you think of that? And do you think that you can take oaths of that kind, AS MINISTERS OF GOD? Young men came to me at the close of the meeting last night and stated that because of speeches made they felt that they would be at liberty to join some of these organizations.
“I was, as a fellow minister for Christ, this afternoon TO PLACE MYSELF ON RECORD to urge you not to do it; and if you are a member of one of them to urge you to take your demit and withdraw. My observations and individual experience for fifteen years has taught me that those who follow the lodge-room soon lose the Spirit of God. And when for a period of years I knelt at the altar as an officer in the lodge, the Spirit of my calling left me, and I wondered what was the matter. And it led me to make a rigid self-examination, and I reached the conclusion that if I would be a servant of Christ, I must renounce that which I had taken.
“Now, again, I was asked to subscribe to obligations that made me swear under no less penalty than to have my breast torn open, my heart plucked out, and that my bowels be burned to ashes. What was it that I covenanted to do? That if a man came to me and whispered in my ear, with his foot to my foot and his knee to my knee, and his breast to my breath, and told me that had ravished my neighbor’s wife, I must say nothing about it. If the had stolen, I must not turn them over to the law of the land. If they had committed crimes that would send them to the penitentiary, I must observe their secrets as my own, under no less penalty than to have my body cut in two and buried down at low tide in the rough sands of the sea, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in every twenty-four hours. And I tell you that THERE IS NOT A MAN WHO CLAIMS TO BE A MAN OF GOD THAT CAN SUBSCRIBE TO OATHS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THAT CHARACTER, AND BE A PROPER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST. And I want to impress upon these young men this afternoon, as I urge you to stand by that resolution for I think it ought to be adopted,-- I want to urge you to hold yourself aloof from institutions of that character, from the obligations that are contrary to the covenant of the gospel, that are in secret and in the dark. I want to say to you that when you enter these organizations you do so hoodwinked. You can not see what is going on, and you know but a little until you are compelled to take those dreadful obligations there. And let me say, Ladies and Gentlemen, that the various organizations of this country that are based one upon the other go back to the original mother organization that claims to date its origin back to the building of King Solomon’s temple. Now that is not true. I know that from study; but that is the claim, and their oaths and obligations are similar. You let them alone. And I think it is time to place ourselves up on record; therefore I am in favor of the original resolution. I think it is stronger. I believe it is time to act, and to stand for what I believe to be God and his truth, and the right. That is why I favor the original as opposed to the substitute.”

   The original resolution was so worded as to make it prohibitory to belong to secret societies.

   The substitute, which was eventually passed, provided that we discourage membership in secret societies. It was brought in by friends of the lodge, to prevent the more drastic resolution from passing.

    If the original had passed and been put in operation the Reorganized Church would be a clean body and fit to build the temple, instead of the mess it is in now. But the lodge followers didn’t even keep faith with the substitute, which they themselves sponsored; but in secret violated their own act, and betrayed the confidence of the Saints.

   If Bro. Greene is still standing true to his sermon of 1907, I would be glad to read his sermons now; but if he has gone back on that, I wouldn’t give a picayune for one now.
If his statement of conditions in the lodge is true (and there is plenty of evidence to establish the truth of it), then it is self-evident that his conclusions are true, when he said:
Now listen to this from the Book of Mormon:
“This is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly, to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily,… for whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if
(missing part Samii S. Gould) n is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and

Letters - I still believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Your loving son.

                                                                                           Bemidji, Minn., Oct. 8, 1929

Dear Father,
Your letter was received with feelings of thankfulness, and some amusement too, when I found how frightened the girls had been of my little sermon. As soon as I can I am going to make a copy for the Herald. Not that I think they will publish it, but to give the editors a chance to consider some of the things presented. When I picked it up and read it after give it no thoughts for months, the same spirit comes to me that was with me at the time, and confirms the truth of it to my soul. But I know that very few will heed, or even read it, if they have the opportunity.

    We were reading the Herald today, of the most wonderful reunion in Ohio; and almost breathless we waited for the telling of what made it so wonderful. The first was that a hundred and seventy-five sat down to a grand banquet: the next was that they voted to give one hundred percent support to the administration, and the church program. That seemed to be the thing that made it the most wonderful reunion ever held. I wonder how many who voted had the least inking of what the program was. But we read so much of that wind of stuff in the Herald, placing so much emphasis on banquets and other purely external and physical features of reunions and other gatherings that it makes the marrow in our bones seem to turn to water. The Herald is getting to be more and more like the Catholic Sunday Visitor; a suger-coated exterior surface for the especial benefit of the unsuspecting public.

    We have read Bro. Curtis’ book on temple building, and note that he makes some very good points, and some mighty poor ones also. I am afraid Fred ought to take him to Kirtland, and give him another secret endowment. You know, Pa, I can’t help but believe that the secret endowment is an outcropping of apostacy. We find it in Utah, where no one is allowed in their temples but those who go through to take their endowment, and their endowment ceremonies as testimony to, in the Smoot investigation at Washington, are nothing but a perverted form of the Masonic oaths and obligations. I was reading them one time from the record of the Smoot investigation in Washington, and one man in the congregation leaned over and whispered to another, “That’s Masonry.” He ought to know for I heard him say after that that he had been far enough in Masonry to know all that could be known of the inner workings. So I think that the secret endowment is nothing but one of the traditions that mark the encroachment of apostacy. I can’t remember of any passage of scripture that even hints that endowments are to be in secret, or the people barred from the temple. The endowment at the Kirkland temple was a public one, participated in by the congregation. The endowment on the day of Pentecost was done not in a corner, but in public; when they were all gathered together with one accord; and people from every nation under heaven witnessed it. No hint anywhere that Peter, or James, or whoever presided, haled them off in a corner one by one and administered the Masonic oath to them. But that is what the secret endowment has done for latter day Israel in every instance where it has been practiced to any extent; at Nauvoo, Utah, and Clitheral and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see it become and important feature of the present apostacy.

     I still believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and I am not going to support secret endowments in the Reorganization, or anywhere else. Paul preached the gospel of an open endowment; and didn’t talk very kindly of even an angel from heaven that would preach otherwise.

    Our potatoes were pretty good considering that they had to grow all summer with never a rain that wet down to the roots from the time they were planted till the vines were ripe. They made better than a hundred bushels to the acre, with ninety percent of the salable. I got my vacation during haying time and put up fifty loads of hay in good shape. The best hay we’ve had for years. Our beans are good. None to sell, but a few bushels for our own use. We didn’t have any grain or corn planted this year, except sweet corn. Quite a lot of that got ripe and we have saved see, and will have a lot to feed.

    I suppose you’ve heard of Arlo getting shot through the leg with a 32 which laid him up for awhile; but he gets around now, all right, although does not work very hard yet; but he threw his crutches away a week or so ago… I don’t know just how it happened; but some carelessness in handling a fool pistol that the boys don’t say much about. Anyway they traded it off for a shotgun right away; so we feel safer now. A shotgun doesn’t point at everyone on the premises at the same time anyhow.

    Well, if the Hedrickites start rebaptizing and reordaining, it will be conclusive evidence that they are hopelessly in apostacy. If their priesthood and baptisms so far are not authentic, a thousand rebaptisms and reordainations by a ministry whose ordinations and baptisms up to date and invalid, would avail nothing but to advertise their apostacy.

    I am writing this in the dark so will probably have to rewrite it with a pen before you can read it. Am laid up with a lame back for a few days, so will not do much but run a typewriter. Have written a piece for the Herald to refuse, and will send it out tomorrow. Hallie may get to see it; but maybe wouldn’t read it, so will send a copy to you now. It expresses my feelings exactly on the temple building. I do hope the Lord will never let Fred M. have anything to do with building the temple till he repents of Masonry at least.

    As I said before, Curtis makes some good points against the Hedrickites but he has left himself wide open on a number of points where they will come back at him equally as strong, so it will stand six to one and half a dozen of the other, and where does that get us? He goes on record as being present when Mcgregor and his wife told of the direction they had to sink that oil well, and money would be received from it to help building the temple. It’s a bit strange, if they said that. They were then looking with all expectation for the Reorganization to build the temple. Now that the well is producing oil, which perhaps Curtis doesn’t know yet, and if it should actually make expenses and furnish some money for the temple, how will Curtis’ testimony stand? In favor the Hedrickites and the temple they are building, won’t it? He heard them say it, and its coming to pass, “Oh, that my enemy had written a book!”—Job
Well, maybe their temple-building is all hoax; but even at that, if it is pure deception from top to bottom; people are better off putting their money into it than they are should for the Auditorium and incidentally loading a burden of fifteen hundred thousand dollars, and then some on their great grand children to pay off. (bonds and interest). The temple at least is to be built without incurring debt for poverty-stricken posterity to suffer under. Which is acceptable to the Lord? I wonder!

    I’ve talked with a man who was on the spot and tried to get work time and again on the auditorium; and even when they were advertising for fifty more men, he couldn’t get work, and neither could other members of the church get work on it; but non-members, and Negros were given work. He just simply dug into the matter till one of the members who was working told him why. That was, that anyone who wouldn’t kick in to their petty overseer, two to five dollars every week, were let out. They hired Negros and outsiders because the could give them to understand that their job depended on slipping their boss a bonus every Saturday night, and most latter Day Saints were so blasted unsuspecting and innocent that they couldn’t take the hint strong enough, without making it so broad they might get hauled over the coals for it, so that the poor dud would have to take the hint, and at the end of the week he was 1st out. One brother who had been out of work for months, with his family actually suffering, just wept because he couldn’t work there, when outsiders were being put on, and this brother didn’t have the heart to tell him why he was left out; his confidence was so implicit. He was an elder too. He told me that he stood there one day and heard his nibs the subcontractor curse and swear and damn Fred M. right to his face, and that wasn’t the only swearing going on around; but he heard expressions as “This is the damn Mormon temple,” made by workmen when passersby asked them what they were doing.
Is that the way Fred M. would build the temple? And is that the program the Ohio people voted to support one hundred percent?

    The church accepted the revelation to build the sanitarium as being of God. Why didn’t they carry it out? It provided that Bro. Luff should be consulted, in the building, and put in charge when completed? Was it done? If it had been, we should have had an entirely different institution. Bro. Luff took up the study of medicine because he was directed to. When he asked the Lord which school of medicine he should study, he was told the Homeopathic. But when the sanitarium was completed, a Mason was put in charge, who held to the Allopathic school of medicine, making an institution exactly opposite what it would have been. Have you heard the Lord commending the sanitarium since then? It is now a place where women go for criminal operations. O yes it is, I’ve talked with an individual who worked there and saw what was going on; and his mother roomed people who came there for these operations, and roomed their friends and relatives who stayed near the sanitarium while they were confined there. And his mother told him of various ones, who roomed with her after the operations, while convalescing; and of the way their friends raved who also roomed with them, or called on them. And even the elders called on to administer to one of them rebuked her of having shed innocent blood.

    Is this the program the Ohio people were voting to support one hundred percent?
Moreover when arms and hands and legs were amputated, the rule required these amputated members be given a decent burial; but he saw many a time the outline and form of hands and arms and limbs, in the furnace, where they were burned to ashes. And when he went to the head nurse about it she said, O well, these was so much infection in them it was just as well stick them in the furnace.

    I think before we vote to support a program one hundred percent we ought to have at least a shadow of an inkling what the program is. And everything is kept under cover that the people ought to know in order to vote intelligently. The can be no common consent with a common knowledge. And if all things in the church are to be done by common consent, the effort should be to make the knowledge of facts and conditions universal, instead of keeping it hid.

    When and where was the Insurance Department of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ authorized? As advertised in the Herald. Insurance, a feature that has absolutely no part in the Lord’s plan; no need of it under the law of equality. And in fact, without interest, rent, and profit, there could be no insurance company in the world? Premiums paid by policy holders alone could not keep them up.. Instead of getting closer to equality, step by step, we are getting farther from it, and forming departments and starting enterprises that will make it harder to ever realize it. We will have to give Fred M. credit for meaning what he said, when he said the Saints would have to get idea of equality out of their heads. He evidently doesn’t intend to have equality in his church. If that the program the Ohio people are supporting one hundred percent?

    In Minneapolis the authorities hauled Galdys Anderson (Ross’ sister) over the coals for not letting them baptize her seven year old girl, to help them reach the quota of baptisms allotted their branch. But she absolutely refused to let her be baptized. Is that part of the program the Ohio people are supporting one hundred percent.

    But then why pay any attention to the revelations to baptize children at eight years, when no attention is paid to the one in regard to the sanitarium; and the General Conference never had the guts to ask the authorities for an explanation. It the program to ignore the revelations what the Ohio people voted to support one hundred percent?

    We are certainly following in the footsteps of the Catholic Church, where everything from insurance companies to theatres and dances must be made to pay tribute to the church. They don’t care how the money is earned or gotten, just so it finds its way into the coffers of the church. And we are going to support it one hundred percent.

    Do you know anything about the rumor that Fred M. has a big firm in Canada stocked with choice cattle? I have heard that a member of the church sat behind Fred M. in a railroad car and heard him talk to a big business man sitting with him, and telling him that he was on his way to Canada to inspect his big stock farm. I think it might have been one that belonged to the church, and Fred spoke as if it was his, and didn’t think it necessary to explain minutely to the businessman, but when I think of how he even fooled Elbert with his secretism, I can’t help but wonder how much else is going on in secret, that even Elbert doesn’t know.
Well, you needn’t bother the girls with all this stuff. They don’t like their peace of mind disturbed. They won’t want to read “Keep viggling” either, unless perhaps the first two pages.

    All well, but me. Ross’s family are staying with us yet. He and Pertha were at Oxrow, Canada; taking a honeymoon trip and looking for a location where they can start a home again. We don’t know how soon they will send for the children; or whether they will come back here for the winter, yet. It makes a shack full here; but they certainly get along well, packed as we are like sardines. We had good meetings Sunday. We do have them once in a while. 

    The best meeting we every had in this branch was the Sunday after we got back from Minneapolis when the conference sat on our anti-masonic resolutions, and we didn’t sit down to a swell banquet, either; nor vote to support the program 100%. The Spirit was there in such power that some of us were literally immersed in it; and even power given to cast out devils, and the Saints were so moved that they couldn’t keep their seat; but spoke two or three times, and one after another got up and pledged themselves to a more consecrated life. Just showed what a little unity would do. Other elders as well as myself looked upon it as a direct rescue of the united action upon the resolutions; but soon after disintegration began to set in, and lack of unity; and many of the pro-slavery element were not there, and wouldn’t believe we ever had such a joyful time; and we’ve never reached that plane of unity since, and probably never will again. It is too bad, but it can’t be helped.

    I don’t believe the Lord has deserted the members of the Reorganized Church. I even think it would be possible to recover that which has been lost; but I am afraid it is not probably. I do not even think that the elders who have kept themselves free for the innovations that have crept in have lost their authority, not are their ministrations invalidated. And regardless of the spread of apostacy everyone who is faithful to the covenant made in baptism, and set their faces against the evil and corrupting influences that are at work, are as safe and as much recognized of God as they were in 1844, and we can stand serene and unshaken amidst all the upheavals that will yet occur.

    Would like to see you all. Don’t know when I can manage a trip down there.

    I sometimes wonder to just what extent we may become old bottles, and partake so much of the traditions that always have and always will perhaps begin to creep into the church with the second and third generations, that we are not fitted to take part in a new movement to recover the church from apostacy. The Lord puts new wine into new bottles, that both wine and bottles may be preserved. Undoubtedly some of the old bottles, even though the wine be mixed with traditions are worth preserving, and so it may be better for them to stand as they are than take chances on being lost. Every move the Lord has made has been invariably with new bottles. It may be necessary to do so again.

Well, I must close and rest my back, With love to all. Tell the girls I am glad they took their courage in their hands and read my sermon. I don’t think it will hurt them any.

                                                       Your loving son, Leon

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Letters - I love you mamma Darling, with all my heart

                                                                                                                               Stewartsville, Mo.
                                                                                                                                  June 8, 1903
Dearest Alice;-
I received your letters yesterday; and as you may imagine, I have been very distressed in mind and sad of heart at the news of affliction and trouble, which you are suffering. I felt so bad for a while that I did not know what to do, and my faith -- --- the Lord’s watchcare -----(chewed - much is impossible to read now)----- humanity ---- ---- Sometimes I am afraid ----- I shall turn out a ------ after all, and become a castaway. I can’t see why it should be that as soon as I leave home, sickness should come along and pick out our home to lodge in. I had been ---- ---- for a day or so, but now I have about forgotten that in worrying over my sweet girl.

       We intended to start for St. Joseph at 6 A.M. but our train is 7 hours late so we won’t go till 1 P.M. and it will probably be some later than that. I am anxious to get there, for I want to hear from my Darling again as soon as possible. One result of your letter is that Uncle Alex is inclined to ------- home the later part of ------; and that pleases ---- ------ I think I shall con---- --------, and if you need ----- sooner, send a telegram to this address.

      Ira Burdick came up Friday night and is going to work for Plin. Delia is building a new house at Indep. and is waiting for that to be finished before she comes. I am at Plin’s now. Our train was 7 ½ hours late. Plin fed me some ice cream, which tasted very fine as I was nearly melted. I will have to don lighter clothing soon, or roast. Darling --- I love you, I love you. --- --- now that I ---- --- the latter --- --- the week, as we inte----- leave St. Joseph before long. Don’t mail any letters after Tuesday unless you hear from me. We may not --- -- Thursday or Fri. so if you want to communicate send a telegram. Hope and pray you are all getting along better than when you wrote.

     If I don’t get a letter tomorrow shall be disappointed. I love you mamma Darling, with all my heart. I am so anxious --- get back and be with ----- babies that I can ----wait. Sweetheart girl, --- ----

                                                                                        your Husband

Friday, January 18, 2013

Letters - Dearest Husband, afraid I won't have a penny left

                                                                                                         Lamoni, Iowa
                                                                                                          April 14, 1903
Dearest Husband,-
I intended to write to you last evening but by the time evening came it seemed to me I was so tired I just couldn’t get up energy enough to write so put it off. I cleaned house yesterday, gave the bedroom a regular spring cleaning, moved everything out and mopped and cleaned.
That was the cause of my being so tired, you see, but the room smells quite fresh and clean last night.

     Coral came about six o’clock for me to dictate for her but the children were so cross and I was so tired that we didn’t think it wisdom so gave it up. It is the first time she has been here since you left. She is working in Sis, Wick’s milliner shop now so doesn’t get much time to practice shorthand. She says they haven’t had their allowance yet this month either. Oh I tell you, she is down on this missionary allowance business. She wouldn’t marry a missionary for anything. I have been having another sort of blue streak today., you know people are that way sometimes, whether they have any reason for it or not. I hope it won’t be reflected in my letter too much for I wanted to be able to kind of cheer you up in this letter if possible for I thought you must have been kind a discouraged when you wrote last. The letter with the dollar bill in.  

     Of course Darling, your petition was all right; who ever thought it wasn’t? I’m sure I didn’t. And now if they don’t take some action on it and make things more satisfying for you boys why I think you would be justified in quiting the business. That would show them that you really meant something when presenting the petition. I don’t hardly believe I would go on, the same as I did before now that the petition has been presented. I suppose Uncle Alec does feel kind a sore but I don’t see how he can blame you. It can’t be very pleasant to you either to have him acting cross-grained over it. I am sorry for you, Dearest, wish I might comfort you. I love you Darling and pray that the Father will guide and direct, and comfort you. Well I hope the Bishop will remember us after Conference if he couldn’t before, but maybe they are plumb out of funds. Lute hasn’t had his salary for last month either. So it goes. Seems like if we didn’t have to worry so much over financial affairs we could get some time to think of something else, but whether we would put our time in at anything better is hard telling.

    Thanks for the dollar. It will come handy towards getting milk, butter and oil. I haven’t had a thing from town but that meat last Monday since you left but am afraid I shall have to go to the store before long.

    Bertha has another Sunday off next Sunday. I wish it were so we could all go to church but I dare not take Leona yet. I believe she is getting some better now again but is bad enough yet. Phyllis and I are well and hope you are.
     But Oh! Dear I am so sleepy I shall have to give up. Friday after four and I must try to finish this and send it out. We’ve had no rain this week, but it’s been cloudy some today especially and my but the wind is cold from the N.W. However I have tried to do some gardening today. I plowed out those rows, hoed them and have plated five rows and half (single rows) by resting some between times but I tell you its hard work just that little, and makes my back ache. Its pretty soft yet too, but I hope I’ll be able to finish the job tomorrow I fancied once today that I saw some peas coming up.

     Your letter kind of surprised me this morning for I really tho’t the Patriarchs would do something for you now that you had presented a petition looking for something more definite. I am sure I don’t know what would be best for you to do. It almost seem like you had better quit especially feeling as you have about it, but I don’t want to advise you wrong. I hope and pray that the Lord will direct us. Of course it will mean a hard pull for us, for a while at least, if you do quit and might necessitate your being away from home for a while until we were able to move where your work was but its going to be a hard pull anyway the way things are going. I’m afraid I wont have a penny left, for payment if I don’t get my allowance pretty soon.

Well I see I have used my last sheet of paper so must wait till I send for some more before I write any more.

I love you Darling, I love you dearly and I hope we may be wise and put our selves into such a condition that we can leave the Holy Spirit to guide us in our moves.

                                                                               I love you,
                                                                            your own Alice.
(transcribed by Samii S. Gould)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Letters - longing to see my darling, I haven't forgotten that her lips were made to be kissed

     ("Uncle Alec" or "Uncle Alex" refer to Alexander Smith, son of Joseph and Emma, who was the Presiding Patriarch of the RLDS church -  Grandpa Leon was his secretary.)
                                                                                                                              May 27, 1902
                                                                                                                          Honolulu, Hawaii Ter.
My Darling Mamma-wife;-
We got on terra firma again about 10 o’clock today. Bro. Waller met us, and took us to his place. He also handed me a letter from my blessed mamma girl which game me much comfort; but made me still more anxious to hurry home and be by her side. I love you, I love you Darling.

    Bro. Kaler and family also landed and came here for dinner; but the boat has departed and they are now on their way to San Francisco. We found the General Conference news today and have eagerly devoured the same. It is a blessing to read of the blessing imparted to others.

    This island is mountanious like Tahiti and much like it in many respects, It has the same fruits; but seems to be a little colder. It is quite cool today, most too cool for my linen suit.

    I think I shall have a chance to mail this in a few days on the Canadian boat as it left Sydney 5 days after we did and stops here. Then about June 6 (11 months from the day I had my last wife kiss) we expect to start on our last water journey this trip.

    Well, well, the daily paper has just come and we find that instead of the 6th of June, the boat comes the 11th., so that we are destined to wait 5 days longer than we want to. So that we will not reach S.F. until 18th or 19th and that cuts me out of attending the reunion of the Saints; but Dear One, when I do get home, whenever that is, which I cannot now hope will be before the days of June. Good things are a long time in coming; but how we shall rejoice when the good time does come. Now, I shall have to wait three weeks ere I can receive another letter from you; for, I suppose I did not ask you to send but one letter here. I was glad to get your letter and know that you and the baby were well, for I had worried about you. I am such a hand to worry, anyway. There is one thing I would like to do, to learn, and that is to drop all office worry, and just be a jolly papa with my wife and baby-ies. So if I should get a streak of blues I wish you would remind me that I don’t want to worry.

     I should like to have had the currant pie that you two widow women cooked And I might have tasted the chicken. Sr. Seaburg made a current pie for me the day before I left; she found out that I liked current pie. You’d laugh if you could see the way they make pies, and pie crust. It is thicker and tougher than Grandmother G.s ever was. But it was good anyway. I hope if you really do go to Bemidji that I shall be made acquainted with it before I leave S.F. for I don’t want to waste two or three days in getting to my family. I’ll look for some letters as soon as I get to S.F. Oh, I guess dad could make a living in B. if he wanted to work hard enough, but he might make it easier somewhere else. I hope he wont buy one of Albert’s farms unless he is sure he wants it. I wish he would not pay any attention to all people say, but just do just as he thinks best.

    May 28, Uncle Alex is using the ink so I shall have to pencil. A boat leaves today from China, the “Peking” so we shall have a chance to send letters today. I sent some by Bro. Kaler, which he was to mail on reaching S.F. I think this will reach you about as soon. Another boat (the
Canadian) leaves June 4 and another from China June 7, so you may expect letters in a week, and in 10 days, respectively after you get this. Our tickets are not good on either of those boats, another company you see, so we must wait till the 11th.

    Bro. Wallers place seems like a little Paradise, after our experience in Australia, and 2 weeks on water. He has lots of house room. His wife and children are in Cal. So we have things very quiet. It is on the sea-shore, and the house is in the midst of love shade trees, palms, and cocoanuts, with a well kept lawn, and fountain. I think I should like to spend a couple of years right here, with no one but my wife and baby-ies. My wouldn’t it be heaven on earth. Any place with my wife will be heaven enough; but this is an ideal place. The surroundings would harmonize so perfectly with our happy hearts.
Bro. Waller makes me think of Uncle Art. only he is taller than Art. He is much like him in the way he talks, and laughs, and blinks his eyes when he is thinking.

    Oh, your loving words, Alice, Dear, how I enjoy them. I love you my mamma darling. The spring air, the chiping of the birds, the smell of the green grass, is filling my being with thoughts of love and contentment as well as longing to see my Darling, and watch her happy smiling face and lovely eyes. I haven’t forgotten, mamma, that her lips were made to be kissed.

     Well, well, I should say Clitherall must be all agog over such a little bit of romantic history happening in its midst. I am mighty glad Will got a Norwegion girl instead of some other girl I know, mighty glad, I tell you. I long to be home and see baby, with her cute ways. I think you can understand, mamma, how bad I want to be home, better than anyone else. It will take nearly a month at the outside. Mamma Love, I do take pleasure in everything concerning baby that gives my wife comfort. I am glad she is a church going girl, for I believe it easier to accustom children to go to church from the time they are bleached than to break them in when they get to be three of four years old. I have no D & C so I shall be very thankful for the one you and Hallie got. When we get one for home use, lets get a large-type one.

Blessed Darling. I love you. I love you, Tell baby her papa is very homesick to see her. I love you my Darling Wife, I love you.
                                                                     Your own Husband

(Transcribed by Samii S. Gould)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Letters - Darling Girl, yesterday I preached my first sermon

                                                                                                       Hastings, Victoria
                                                                                                        April 14, 1902
Darling Girl,--
I thought surely I should find time to write some yesterday, but you see “the best laid plans of mice and men oft going aglee.” You see mamma, I did something yesterday that I never did before in my life. Of course you couldn’t guess, Dear, and I shall have to tell you about it,-- when I get home, or shall I tell you now? There isn’t much to tell so I think I will tell you now. Yesterday I preached my first sermon. Saterday a conference convened here, and at the close of the business meeting the other services were announced and I heard that I was to assist that evening, and preach the next morning at 10:30. Can you imagine how I felt, Dear? I just trembled all the afternoon and all night, and wondered what I could do to get out of it. I couldn’t see anything to do but jump in the ocean; and I wanted to see you, first, dear, and have a kiss. 

   Well the next morning I took my books and started with all the grit I could scrape together and that wasn’t very much, for my hands shook so I couldn’t scrape much, you see. Of course, I went out into the bush and told the Lord what a mess I was in, and that it wasn’t of my choosing, (for I had objected to it,) and that I knew as well as he did that I couldn’t preach unless he helped me; and I wasn’t joking with him either, my Pet, Well it is customary here to read a bible lesson, after the first song. That gives a weak kneed lad a chance to recover himself somewhat. The song was sung, then I read Is. 29;-10 to 19. When prayer had been offered, then a song sung, I got up and forged ahead. I talked twenty minutes, the longest speech I ever made in my life anywhere, before, and that was so much better than I expected to do, so far as time is concerned, that I feel fully satisfied. The Lord did not let me down, anyway, I am thankful for that, and am perfectly willing to give Him my all the honor for everything that was good in it, if there was anything good in it. I never head a sermon like it before, that followed the same line of thought, but I believe I have heard some that were no better. I can hardly believe yet that such a thing has really happened. Uncle Alex told me I did well for the first effort. After I quit the Prisedent of the District who was in the stand with me, went on with it and made a pretty good sermon out of it.

     Oh I love you, my precuious mamma wife, I love you dearly. In less than a month we will be starting home, my beautiful bright-eyed little wife; not really small, Pet, but little you know, a little the best girl in the world, much the best mamma. I love you, Darling Wife. I smile with pleasure and a heart full of joy, and peace, and love when I think of seeing my wife and baby again. We got to Melbourne, Thursday noon, came to Hastings Saterday morning. Uncle Alex is feeling better. A Sr. spoke in prophecy to him at the Sacrement meeting yesterday and told him that he would be given strength sufficient and be permitted to return again to his home and loved ones. 

    Two of the brothers were telling out fortunes and dispositions by our hands and heads yesterday, or saterday evening, it was, come to think twice. They told me I was capable of making money and would hang on to it when I got it, that I was arguementative and would argue a question all day, being a little inclined to be stubborn over it, said that I was orderly and not cross, yet I could say some very harsh things, if I chose , when angry., or displeased, that I would be somewhat jealous of my wife, but would have a
happy married life and a nice little family. I was fond of home, but lacked self esteem. I would take a back seat and let people go to the front that had not so much ability as I did have. I was fond of language, a good hand with tools and machinery, could understand it, and invent. That I would not take advice, and was firm in opinions. I had much power of thought, and was logical, though not fluent in speech, was a deep thinker, and would reason on every side of a thing, and that I thought too much, did too much thinking for my own good. I have a due amount of reverence for aged people, but not much spirituality.

April 17, We came up to Bro. Butterworth’s last night, he came from the U.S. 14 years ago, and married a young woman out here. He looks lots like Orison N. and his wife looks like Rosa Fletcher. I didn’t expect to find Orison and Rosa out here. I am afraid that I shall not get a letter from you in time to answer it in this mail. Its discouraging a little, but I shall be patient if I can in Australia is wearing away, and every day is bringing the time nearer. I suppose Bertha and Nett will go to Reunion again and try to get another beau on the string. I would if that’s all they go for. I love you my Darling. God bless you and baby. I love you.

                                                                              Your own Husband
                                                                                Leon A. Gould
(transcribed by Samii S. Gould)