Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Two First Additions, The King James Bible & The Book of Mormon

It’s not everyday that one get’s to see a true relic, a relic that has changed the world. Today in a corner room of the Church History Library together with a few of my associate docents (which included my Dad) we got to see an original, 1611 King James Bible, first edition. It was incredible. The cover had been taken off leaving the beautiful rag paper pages displayed for easy viewing. We could see how the archivists are repairing some warn pages with Japanese paper, a fibrous material that to me resembled interfacing used in garment making. I was surprised at how big the book was, this was no small item that someone would have carried around with them. It would have been cumbersome for a large man to move about. It was very large and thick, easily thicker and wider than the span of my hand. The beauty of the lettering stunned me, and the artwork that cradled the beginning letter of each chapter, surely it was something to behold in any age. It was a masterpiece of art not to mention the immeasurable gift of the written word that it brought to the world!

We also had the privilege of seeing a copy of the 1830 first printing of the Book of Mormon. On the inside of the cover in a bold cursive hand writing with dark wide ink strokes the book had been given to Vienna Jaques, and dated with the month and year 1833. Just below that in a different hand with petite, dainty penmanship small thin lines it described that Joseph Smith had given this book to her. What a wonderful gift, to be given a book that is signed by the man that translated it!

Seeing these two books in the same setting was not lost on me today. Both books were brought to the world only after great trials to the translators. William Tyndale died as a martyr after dedicating most of his life to translating the bible so that the simple and common folk could read the bible in their common tongue, English. He died with the great hope that his work would make a difference, and it did! The King James Bible was produced and the world was changed forever. Michael Wilcox said in his book Fire in the Bones,

“In 1523 Tyndale made this comment to a cleric:” If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough, shall know more of the scripture than thou dost” Tyndale’s words proved to be precisely prophetic. Because of his work, in 1820, the young Joseph Smith, a boy who “drove the plough,” read captivating words about prayer and faith from Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament.”

Joseph Smith did became a prophet and translated The Book of Mormon from an ancient record that is a second witness of Jesus Christ. He also was martyred after a life of trials. Both William Tyndale and Joseph Smith are mighty men in the eyes of the Lord and I'm so grateful to know about each of them.

It was a great gift for me to see these two books together in their first printings. Oh, what a day. God is good to me.

"I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. " Psalms 9:1&2

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

History is Beautiful

Two weeks ago I went to a meeting at the History Museum to listen to the new director. He was bold, brave talking of the changes he plans on making in the next several years. Making several statements that made some of the veteran docents squirm in their chairs, and me take out a notebook. Change is hard for many people, even when it is needed- this is a perfect example of that. I love change.

He ended his talk with this quote that I’ve heard before, but never in such a perfect setting: "The past is like a foreign country; they do things different there.” (by Leslie Poles Hartley, from the first line of The Go-Betweens)

It’s been such a pleasure to learn about the past over the last several months and I so agree with Mr. Hartley, at times it does seem very foreign and even exciting. John and I went on a little trek up to Heber City twice in the space of four days in the last week of July. We came home with many things to think about, one of which was a story about a rose bush that was hand carried from Scotland all the way across the plains and cared for ever since by someone in the family line. I brought the last bud of the summer home with me.

I think history is beautiful.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grand Fundament Principle

Currently I'm serving as the nursery leader taking care of the little tikes in our ward and relearning the lessons I learned so many times before. How to be kind to others, taking turns, trusting that your parents will pick you up, remembering to have joy in simple things. I love who I'm serving with, she is a gem. Jeanne and I are well matched and I'm grateful for the two hours a week we spend together. I do miss the two hours of instruction I had been getting however and so appreciate any feedback I get from family and friends from the meetings they attend. I received an email from one such friend this week- it is priceless because I relate to it so well.

In Gospel Doctrine class a couple of weeks ago, Bruce Stewart apprised us of this most interesting little gem: in sermons given in the summer of 1843, Joseph Smith said that "Friendship is the grand fundamental principle of Mormonism." Isn't that great?? The "grand fundamental principle" is not some black and white checklist of stuff, but rather, it is, simply, friendship. Additionally, he said that "Fuller fellowship among humans beings leads us to fuller fellowship with Deity..."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Heirlooms or Rubbish

I recently went to hear one of my hero's, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich speak at an "Evening at the Museum". She is one of my favorite authors ever since I read her book, "The Midwife's Tale". Mrs. Ulrich is a champion of women and what they do with their time, in todays and yesterdays world. She has studied history in the most intersting detailed way- through artifacts and diaries.

Laurel Ulrich suggests that each individual makes history by what they save- yes, by what objects or "stuff" you keep-that will be the history you will leave behind. They will be the sources, artifacts others will find after you are gone to represent YOU. "By caring for your things and the things of your ancestors, you contribute to a larger historic picture." To read an article about this go here.

This wonderful quilt was made by Rosella Calder Smith for me when I was a young child. I'm not exactly certian of when it was given to me but I do remember that my mother put it on my twin bed and one exactly like it was on my sister Kathy's bed that was right beside mine. Grandma Smith embrodried the darling animals, sashed the quilt in a bright yellow and quilted it with a wonderful backing fabric that is very typical from the 40's. It is self bound. I loved my "blankie". Kathy loved hers as well. She has a story about what happend to hers that she may want to tell on her own.

I want my childhood quilt from Grandma Smith to last long after I'm gone and be remembered as an heirloom, so I have labeled it and it will stay in a special place in my home. It is not rubbish even though the edges are mostly gone and it is worn out in several places, it is an heirloom. It reminds me that Grandma Smith had a boyant personality- as bright as the yellow in the quilt she made me, she worked all the time, even when she was sitting down her hands were busy, she loved me. She made me a hand made quilt for my bed. My Mom loved me because she let me keep the quilt on my bed and I wore it out holding it.

As Laurel Thather Ulrich said "Keep it, preserve it, cherish it, learn from it-- and keep the stories that go with it. As we walk the earth, we connect to one another, to the past and to the future through objects."