Sometimes I can't get enough of family history. I read stories and look at pictures - if this kind of smorgasbord was a meal, I'd need some peppermint and fennel :). I recently "unearthed" some information on a relative of mine. I COULDN'T STOP READING!!!
Mosiah Lyman Reed Hancock is the oldest brother to my Great-Great Grandfather Joseph Smith Hancock. Crazy as it sounds, I found one of his journals compiled on the internet! He was a young man when he knew the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was part of the "whistlin' and whittlin' band " in Nauvoo to help protect the prophet. He was a first hand witness to the terrible threatenings and acts the mobs (many of whom called themselves Christians) did to the saints. He was even beaten to death, only to be told by a personage in a white robe to return back to his body because his work was not done yet - so he DID.
The family that Mosiah grew up in sang songs of freedom. His father Levi, a song writer (among many other talents) wrote a song about freedom for the setting of the south east corner stone for the Far West Temple. His journal often mentions how the freedom of the saints was trampled on - one of the reasons was jealousy.
He said, "There were friends of the mobbers who would infringe upon the rights of we lovers of freedom. We rejoiced in building good homes, sheds, and corrals; and in teaching the proper rudiments, that all should be just and propitious to each other; and in teaching the principles of the Gospel to the children of men. We rejoiced in the prospects of a good education.... The Missourian generally lived in a house of unhewed logs with no roof to speak of and no yard for his stock. He seemed to have no education, and it made him jealous of the Saints because of the superior excellence of their minds." To me, this says something very strong about always being "anxiously engaged in a good cause" (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27).
One of the stories that stands out in my mind is when there was a mob of about 1600 men who were camped around Far West. A man named George Hinckle who was a friend of the prophet, betrayed Joseph and other brethren by telling the mob where they were. They were held in the town square for days without food or water after they had to give up their guns. The mobsters congratulated each other on their bravery. Really?? The few words that come to mind, aren't appropriate in a newsletter such as this... moving on...
During this ordeal, he also said, "One day about twenty women met in the home of the mother of Prophet Joseph Smith. Some said, "Now that the mob has taken our guns, what shall we do?" I remember part of the speech my mother spoke, "We can do as the Carthage women did when the Romans took the arms off their husbands; we can pull the hair out of our heads so the menfolks can make bowstrings." " I am so proud of my Great-Great-Great Grandmother saying this! Sometimes in a world of chaos, a voice of determination and reason (and maybe a little fire) can change fear to courage in an instant.
I'm sure any readers out there may be thinking, "Thanks for the history lesson, but is there a point to this?" Funny you should bring that up :). Here's my point. Sometimes it is easy to think that we as Americans ( or live in an American Territory - A little shout out to my PR buddies) no longer have freedom. We see our rights trampled on every day. It discourages us to see the way things used to be. These pioneers had family fight in the Revolutionary war! They fought under the direction of George Washington - and this is how they were treated because they wanted to freely practice their religion?
How much do we take the freedom we currently have for granted?
Ok, so here's the climax. This is incredible!!! I had heard this story, but was so excited to find it in his own words. Are you sitting down? Really Sister Lisa, are you sitting down? I mentioned before he was a good friend of the Prophet Joseph, even as a young man. This quote is directly from his journal: The next day the Prophet came to our home and stopped in our carpenter shop and stood by the turning lathe. I went and got my map for him. "Now", he said, "I will show you the travels of this people". He then showed our travels through Iowa, and said, "Here you will make a place for the winter; and here you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake! You will build cities to the North and to the South, and to the East and to the West; and you will become a great and wealthy people in that land. But, the United States will not receive you with the laws which God desires you to live, and you will have to go to where the Nephites lost their power. They worked in the United Order for 166 years, and the Saints have got to become proficient in the laws of God before they can meet the Lord Jesus Christ, or even the city of Enoch". He said we will not travel the shape of the horse shoe for there we will await the action of the government. Placing his finger on the map, I should think about where Snowflake, Arizona is situated, or it could have been Mexico, he said, "The government will not receive you with the laws that God designed you to live, and those who are desirous to live the laws of God will have to go South. You will live to see men arise in power in the Church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty. There will be two great political parties in this country. One will be called the Republican, and the other the Democrat party. These two parties will go to war and out of these two parties will spring another party which will be the Independent American Party. The United States will spend her strength and means warring in foreign lands until other nations will say, "Let's divide up the lands of the United States", then the people of the U. S. will unite and swear by the blood of their fore-fathers, that the land shall not be divided. Then the country will go to war, and they will fight until one half of the U. S. army will give up, and the rest will continue to struggle. They will keep on until they are very ragged and discouraged, and almost ready to give up--when the boys from the mountains will rush forth in time to save the American Army from defeat and ruin. And they will say, 'Brethren, we are glad you have come; give us men, henceforth, who can talk with God'. Then you will have friends, but you will save the country when it's liberty hangs by a hair, as it were".
There is so much in this quote to digest here in one email. I wanted to point out a few things to you. Some of these things have come to pass (like the people who moved to Mexico so they could protect their families during the time of polygamy). Some of these are currently happening. We can see how some of these are being set up to happen.
Tomorrow we will celebrate our country's Independence Day. For a brief time we will remember our freedoms in between the hotdogs, chips and fireworks. May we remember those who came before to show us what it is like when those freedoms are taken away. Sisters - let us be like Mosiah's mother, Clarissa and be the voice of valor when all seems to be crumbling around us.
Mosiah Hancock actually helped to settle the Gila Valley. He is buried in the Hubbard Cemetery overlooking Central and our Temple.If you are interested in reading more about his life, here's a link to get you started: http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-