Monday, December 15, 2014

Local variations of church policy

Much has been said about how policies are dictated from Salt Lake City and that the level of obedience expected in the Church is abnormal. I'm not interested in a discussion on obedience. It was never my strong suit anyway. Local leaders are often given considerable latitude when it comes to making policies. Sometimes this manifests as a case study in righteousness one-up-man-ship that anyone who served a mission will recognize. Other times it manifests as a creative way to get members to understand and live a sometimes-neglected aspect of the gospel. Perhaps what makes a policy change manifest into one or the other depends on how each ward chooses to respond.

Sunday, December 7th, 2014, our Bishop read this over the pulpit. It was described as coming from the Nashville area coordinating council, which is made up of several stake leaders in and around Nashville. It is led by Elder Meredith of the Seventy, whose name was also on the letter. The text below came after the words "To be read:"

The Nashville Temple Presidency and the stakes in the temple district have a goal to work toward having all ordinances in the Nashville Temple be performed using family file cards.
Members are encouraged [to] seek the information needed and then use family-file cards to perform the saving ordinances for their ancestors. Each ward should have a Family History Consultant who can assist in this effort.

If you don’t have family-file cards, you are strongly encouraged to help other members of your ward or stake complete the temple ordinances for their ancestors. Their family-file cards may be available directly from ward members or they may be obtained in the top-left-hand drawer in the cabinet just inside the waiting area of the Nashville Temple.

Each ward has an envelope arranged by stake in the referenced drawer where members from most wards have placed family-file cards to be available for others to help them complete the needed ordinance. If your ward envelope is empty or does not have a card or cards for the ordinance you are planning to perform, then please take a family-file card or cards from one of the envelopes for another ward from your stake.

In order to make it more convenient for patrons to select a family-file card or cards, the temple presidency has ordered a new cabinet that will be located in the foyer where patrons will pass it as they go to the dressing rooms. This cabinet is designed specifically to hold family-file cards and should be available early next year.

The scriptures make it clear that we cannot be saved without our kindred dead for as we read in D&C 128:15 – “For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers – that they without us cannot be made perfect – neither can we without our dead be made perfect.” We and our ancestors will be blessed as we do this work.

How would you respond if this was your temple district? Is this already being tried in other areas of the church, or are we the first? Is it working elsewhere, and if so what has made it work?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Jacob F Miller - Flynn's Lick in June 1883

[A continuation of my GGGrandfather's missionary journal in Tennessee. For all his entries posted so far look here -bcrow]

Other than a few houses and farm buildings, this sign was the only indication that I had reached Flynn's Lick
Flynns Lick June 12, 1883 Left word to have appointment for meeting made for Sunday July 1st at 10 A.M. in the grove, near the mouth of Wolf Creek. Mr. Peyton Gill, a young man who spoke warmly in our favor at the time we were excluded from using the Baptist Church, spoke to me about using the grove as a place of meeting. I believe the grove alluded to is owned by one M. Axham an uncle of Mr. Gill. Stopped last night at John Jones. We visited Mrs. Welch last evening and this morning.  Reached Samples today and found mail awaiting us. Pres. Jackson writes in approval of the course taken here. Elder Hunter reached his field of labor May 24th and Elder Joseph next day. Hammond Hendricks and Crandoll have taken a railroad contract together.

Flynns Lick, June 14, 1883 Still stopping at Sample's. Went to the office yesterday and found papers awaiting me, among them five copies of the Denver Republican of April 5th giving an account of the Utah and Colorado countries. Receive letter from my father. All well.

Flynns Lick, Friday June 15, 1883 Spent last evening with Mr. Carter, a Brother-in-law of Mr. Samples. He and his family seem much interested in Utah affairs.

Flynns Lick, Monday June 18, 1883 Held meeting here Saturday evening and again at Chestnut Grove Sunday. About fifty or sixty in attendance at each place. I spoke a little over an hour at the first place and about 45 minutes at the second. We went home for dinner with John Brown and were invited to call whenever convenient.

Granville has all the appearance of being a seasonal resort town complete with shops selling frozen custard, taffy and fudge; all closed for the season during my visit.
Flynns Lick, June 19, 1883 Took dinner at Joseph Perseleys yesterday. Went to Granville and by invitation held meeting in the Presbyterian Church there last night. Stopped overnight with Mr. Cross. There was an attendance of about forty. The people are, I think very much prejudiced at Granville and I understand that Elders Adams and Jackson were unable to obtain a Church there to hold meetings in. We visited the Cumberland River this morning. Today I saw a reaping machine at work, the only one I have seen this year or in Tennessee.

Flynns Lick, Wednesday June 20, 1883 Went to Wm. Lambert Jr. for dinner yesterday. Stopped over night there were treated very courteously and invited to call again. Also received invitation to visit Mr. Lambert's father and a neighbor named Harris. Came back to Joseph Sampler today.

Flynns Lick, June 22, 1883 Went to the post office yesterday. Received photographs of my Uncle Nathan Cheney and his wife. There was a severe storm last night.

Flynns Lick, Saturday June 23, 1883 Went to Chestnut Grove last evening expecting to attend a Methodist meeting but the preacher was not present.

Chestnut Mound sits on a ridge south of the Cumberland River. Today about 600 people live there.
Flynns Lick, Monday June 25, 1883 Held meeting at Chestnut Grove yesterday. An attendance of from forty to fifty. Several other meetings close by at the same hour. Took dinner with James Union. It rained yesterday and is raining today.

Flynns Lick, Tuesday June 26, 1883 Stopped last night here with Joseph Perseley. Had conversation on religious subjects with Mr. Perseley and with Mr. John Samples. Mr. Samples again bantering me to baptize him as a believer in Christ.

Flynns Lick, June 27, 1883 Went to John Samples' yesterday for dinner and stopped over night at his place. Mr. Samples was telling us of one James Carter who had been talking of mobbing us out of the country and wished us to pay him a visit. Had some talk today with Mrs. Sarah Carter who had declared that she never wished to see my face again but talked very sociably today.

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Visit to the Modern Lebanon Ward

Last week I stepped outside my comfort zone. I am an introvert. In general I avoid crowds of people I don't know. I'm not, however, shy. It's not the same thing. Meeting and talking with strangers is a chore, one that I can do but which comes at a cost. For me it is exhausting. I can get up on stage or stand at a podium and, well, put myself out there, but I have to have a reason. Being a historian, even an amateur one, gives me that.

So last week I harnessed that reason and took myself on a trip 75 miles away. My stake was having Stake Conference and my ordinary responsibilities at church were not required. For a few months I have been working on a history of the Baird's Mill Branch in Wilson County Tennessee, and I thought "why not go visit the modern local ward in the Wilson county seat of Lebanon?"

Yes, I know. It was a gloomy day; overcast and drizzling rain, and I was running late. Lebanon is further away than I remembered. I arrived during the rest hymn, and sat in the foyer. I didn't ask but I would have guessed there were a little over 100 people in attendance. As the service ended I got up and walked into the chapel and found a seat. I correctly surmised that Gospel Doctrine Class (the Sunday School class for adult members) would be in the chapel next. As I watched people visit, talk and socialize (all extrovert activities) I was approached a few times and asked to introduce myself. Good thing too. There was no way I was going to approach anyone myself. 

"Yes, I'm a member" "No, I'm not moving into the area" "My great great grandfather served in Wilson County from 1883-1885." "His name was Jacob F Miller", "No, he was not one of B. H. Roberts' companions" Usually by then people lose interest in history and the conversation goes on to other things. 

One person persisted. He was the first president when the branch was formed in 2002. It is now a Ward, with a new building that is just 5 years old. I was also able to get the name of one person (who attends another ward) whose family were members in Lebanon years ago. Maybe that will turn into something. It wasn't long before my introverted self had had enough. The members of the Lebanon treated me well. "Its not you. Its me."as the saying goes. 

As I pulled out of the parking lot I decided to drive by Baird's Mill and take a quick photo. Little exists of the original community. No post office, no furniture factory and no saw mill. The lake which was fed by ground water and helped grow Baird's Mill over 100 years ago is long gone. I'm not sure I could conclusively pinpoint where it was, but I have some theories.  Names, however, are oddly persistent. This modern sign marks a housing development less than half a mile from the original. After taking the photo, I turn my car around and head home.

See my other Wilson County posts on.....