Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
“GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD...”
JOY TO THE WORLD!
THOMAS KARREN, Sandwich Islands [Hawaii], 1852--1855:
We are still in custody. Twenty of us. Spent the time in singing, praying and studying the language. It is what I crave and desire much, a knowledge of this language. The other [Calvinist and Catholic] missionaries are the ruling power here and do as they please. Went to take a walk but was ordered back by a guard. I was mad enough to have knocked his brains out with a rock, but for the sake of the flock of Christ who are newly begotten through the Gospel am willing to endure all things. I have done some sewing. My shirts and and pants wanted a little repairing. Being in confinement I thought it a very suitable time to do such a job as that, although rather beneath the calling of an Elder of Israel, but we have to act and do according to circumstances.
We crossed a large stream with difficulty. Hurt my foot considerable and came near loosing my shoes. Yesterday a company of men headed by a Catholic priest threw down the meeting house at Kapoleuka....I sometimes feel very lonesome, but through the grace of God can endure all things that I am called to pass through for the Gospel’s sake....Received letters from home -- I was grieved to hear the Indians were troubling them at home. There was a dish of grasshoppers nicely cooked and set before us. This is the first time in my life I set down and eat grasshoppers. We all ate considerable of them but did not relish them very well.
It is not ‘Going to Heaven in Golden Slippers’ preaching the Gospel on these Islands....In the afternoon we got the privilege to preach in a Calvinist Meeting House to quite a large congregation of natives. I don’t find it any different with the natives than any other class of people. They manifest the same spirit: some believe, and some fight and oppose it, and others obey it the same as it is among all people. We baptized three this afternoon....The Servants of God has to encounter many things to what they do in civilized nations. In order to get at this people you have to lay aside everything that we have been brought up to as respects the principles of decency and good manners practiced among civilized communities in order to get at the good feelings of this people. There is nothing but a realizing sense of the duty I owe to my Priesthood and Calling as a minister of Christ that would induce me for one moment to stay here and live in the manner that I have.
Commentary to “Henry William Bigler Journal” (USU Press, 1998):
By the end of the April conference, Karren had become “perfectly discouraged” at his seeming inability to learn the language and had returned to Honolulu. Bigler [his former companion] was sorry to see Karren go for, in Bigler’s opinion, Karren, also a Mormon Battalion veteran, was ‘zealous and good company.’...Before adjourning the conference, all the elders retired to a private room to hold a ‘blessing meeting,’ laying hands on one another’s heads in turn and petitioning God in each other’s behalf. Thomas Karren’s benediction upon George Q. Cannon especially impressed Bigler, who recorded its promise during the 1890 conference: ‘Brother George, the Lord has His eye on you and thou wilt be called to fill an important station in this Church of which you know not, yea a high office in the Church and kingdom of God.” At the same time, Bigler also recorded a dream Cannon had reported to him...in 1848. Cannon had seen himself in a room with Brigham Young and the Twelve Apostles, who were about to set him apart to an important calling. This promise was literally fulfilled when Cannon was ordained first an apostle in 1860 and a member of the First Presidency in 1873.
(A convert from the Isle of Man, Karren was among the first settlers of Lehi [then Evansville], serving as counselor and business partner [the original Lehi Roller Mills] to its first bishop, Bishop Evans. He had 18 children, 11 of them from his Liverpool sweetheart and first wife, Ann Radcliffe. Take it from there….)
TOM ROGERS, Thomas Karren’s great great grandson: Reflections from Siberia, Russia, November 2008:
During the day long Thanksgiving celebration in the mission home--with all the local missionaries feasting, playing Risk and watching a movie--I had arranged to sequester myself in an adjacent bedroom in a comfortable overstuffed chair and with a good reading lamp. Only three of the group were native Russians (or Ukrainian), and, as was inevitable, the fun and games were all in English. With my door open, I was clearly visible to those passing me and, as it turned out, drew two of the English challenged Slavs to me like a magnet. Both separately interrupted my reading and were as garrulous as I can ever remember such males ever being in my presence. I’d bestowed his patriarchal blessing on one of them a year ago, he reminded me, at the MTC. The other was not a missionary but a member of the Novosibirsk district presidency, and we had first met at the Stockholm Temple, he still a bachelor in his forties, especially invited for the celebration.
Both brothers reflected to me their keen awareness of the many other particularly young men who, though once active, were no longer with us and that the effort to remain active and faithfully build up the Church here is slow and arduous--’two steps forward and one back,’ as Lenin himself titled one of his famous speeches. They in turn reminded me of just how lonely and heroic the effort really is: if, like the local clergy and their sumptuous cathedrals, our members and missionaries wore special garb and were clearly identified with imposing historic structures, they’d be a far more established and accepted part of the local scene with a ready audience--though mostly elderly women. But would they then any more or nearly as much be radically instrumental in affecting and changing the lives of occasional elect individuals and sometimes whole families? I doubt it. That’s the trade off: numbers vs. the saving and truly transforming intervention here and there that can so profoundly bless those who have ears to hear: “And the whole world lieth in sin....And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me” (D&C 84:49--59).
On my last day in Novosibirsk--blessings to a group from Barnaul, three hours distant, among them two more particularly impressive young men--Denis Zhelinsky and Artyom Kuchinskas, clearly of Lithuanian extraction--the former a twenty-one year old lawyer, planning to serve a mission, the latter since birth severely neurologically damaged: he walks and speaks haltingly but is otherwise very lucid and perceptive, though the butt of his peers and he and his mother abandoned by his father because of his condition. He too wants to serve a mission.
What about these two young men was so striking and deeply touching was the purity of their souls, the degree to which they had totally absorbed the restored gospel and wish to live and serve according to its precepts. They have both managed to withstand the spiritually debilitating influence of adolescent peers and avoid the pattern of other formerly active members their same age. They are not unlike their double image--the identical twins Artem and Andrey Danilin--in Omsk and another recent convert there, Zhenya Melnichenko, since, thanks to a recent area youth conference, already engaged to a sister from Ekaterinburg.
In Irkutsk, yet two more such youths--one of them, Sergey Antamanov, twenty and like the equally impressive Misha Nikolaichev in Novosibirsk (son of their remarkable district president: the father tells me the portrait I did of him in Sweden still hangs in his home, while I was privileged to seal his lovely daughter Nadya--a former missionary in St. Petersburg--to the likable Lituanian former Scottish missionary, Denis Grenichevus [“Green Apple Juice”] and last year was their dinner guest in Vilnius, abiding the intense, precocious Maksim Rogers-like presence of their little boy Timofey)--already a valuable counselor in his branch presidency. The other, Sasha Mutyyanov, also age twenty. In an intense conversation, Sasha almost struck me as too good to be true--even spacy, but I was later assured that he’s the real item. When asked why he addressed us in a whisper--did he have a cold?--he said it was out of reverence for where we were (the chapel). Did he hope to go on a mission? Yes, but most of all he wants to go to the temple. Three years ago, his mother, an alcoholic, had been murdered. As with the others, the restored gospel has afforded him a spiritual foundation from which to chart the course of his unusually intense and unfettered spiritual aspirations. He and the others are truly budding Alesha Kramazovs whom we’re going to hear more of in the future.
If all men had their angelic natures, there would be no dysfunctional families, no corruption of any kind, no wars. I felt in their presence, as I had in that of severely handicapped sisters in Ukraine, that I too was transformed and a better person than before I met them:
June ‘07: MOSCOW & ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
August ‘07--VLADIVOSTOK, YUZHNOSAKHALINSK & KHABAROVSK, RUSSIA
September ‘07--RIGA, LATVIA; VILNIUS & KAUNAS, LITHUANIA; & TALLIN, ESTONIA
November ‘07--SOFIA, PLOVDIV, VELIKA TRNOVA, VARNA & BURGAS, BULGARIA
February--March ‘08--KRASNODAR, ROSTOV & VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA
April--May ‘08--YEREVAN, ARMENIA & TBLISI, GEORIGIA
July ‘08--SAMARA & SARATOV, RUSSIA
September--October ‘08--DNEPROPTROVSK, POLTAVA, ZAPOROZHYA, SEMFEROPOL, YALTA & SEVASTOPOL, UKRAINE
November--December ‘08--OMSK, NOVOSIBIRSK, KRASNOYARSK & IRKUTSK, RUSSIA
SETH DUNSHEE, Thomas Karren’s great great great great grandson, Santiago Chile, October--December, 2008:
I had a real spiritual experience this week. I gave a blessing to a sister who had been sick for a very long time. I felt impressed to tell her that when we finished the blessing her pain would go away. When i said “Amen,” she was crying and told me that she didn’t have any more pain. But the crazy part is how she told me after the blessing that I was gonna be a patriarch after the mission. I said, “Why?” And then she told me that during her blessing I said a few sentences from her patriarchal blessing, word for word. It was weird and cool and really strengthened my testimony of the priesthood.
Elder F. [his junior companion] and I are good friends, even though he sometimes gets real mad and frustrated and then doesn’t talk for the whole day. It’s horrible when that happens and really a test cause I can’t lose my temper with him, even when he is acting like a little baby. So I just love and serve him even more.
I’m getting really good at football (soccer). I’m one of the best gringos in Chile. Haha. However, my feet have been in extreme pain lately. It kills to walk like we do, but I’m not gonna stop working just cause my feet hurt....I'm really really really happy. I love waking up here in Chile, realizing that I have more than a year left to bring souls to Christ. My growing testimony of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ is what fuels me. I don't care if my blister filled feet hurt. I don't care if it's sometimes dangerous where I am. I don't care if I get sworn at, yelled at, or threatened every day. I know this Gospel is true. All of the trials I've passed through have already been experienced by Jesus. I know that he has conquered all and that if I do my part I will be with him again. I have witnessed the Gospel change my life miraculously. I say to my investigators, ''Let this simple, yet amazing message change your life too and you will find a happiness you never knew before. That's what happened to me." There are so many amazing earthly blessings that the Gospel brings and eternal life to gain.
(Last year Elder Dunshee gave up his role as composer and lead guitarist in a group of young musicians who had just received a lucrative offer to undertake a nationwide tour in order to serve his mission.)
Friday, August 29, 2008
-Playing Apples to Apples and Phase 10 with my nieces and nephews.
-All of the competitive Volleyball matches.
-Sitting back and cheering everyone on in the Ropes Challenge Course. What a confidence builder- Great job, guys!
-Listening to Andy's theories about bears getting into cabins.
-Listening to a symphony. . . (of SNORERS) and having to change cabins in the middle of the night so that I could get some shut-eye. Sorry, I'm a light sleeper.
-Seeing 2 little boys, a Senior Citizen, and a grown man simultaneously turn around every time somebody called for "Tom/Tommy/Thomas".
-Being a lone Ute in Cougar Country. As soon as I put my U of U Alumni hooded sweatshirt on I looked around me and noticed that about eight or nine people including the Noel kids, some Rogers kids, and Rod were all wearing BYU shirts. I forgot to take a picture of it!
-Mom turning to me with a wink after witnessing a number of "boos" and disappointed looks in my direction and saying, "Thank You for supporting my Alma Mater!"
The younger grandkids need to know that before Grandpa taught for years at BYU he graduated from the U as well. Too bad Will and Natasha weren't there to give me some additional Red support.
-Grandpa/Dad waking up sleeping members of the "teenage cabin" on Friday morning by holding a plate of french toast and scrambled eggs under their noses and exclaiming in a singy-songy voice "The Food Train is Leaving! Get On Board!"
-The grumbles and looks on the faces of those in the teenage cabin while being roused from their slumber.
-Learning how to play Quiddler. I'm up for a game anytime.
-Smores and Hot Chocolate!
Hopefully we can get some actual pictures from the reunion added soon.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Dear Descendants of John Toone (through Grace Merriam Toone Dickson). I am pleased to attach a PDF version of the invitation to a family recital featureing the Cello John Toone carried across the plains. I have included the text of the invitation in the body of the message for those who had difficulty reading a PDF.
If you know anyone from other branches of the Toone family, please share this invitation with them.
Hope to see you there!
You are cordially invited to attend a Toone Family Concert
cello of John Toone
and the talents of two descendants
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Salt Lake City Recital Hall
320 East 200 South
Salt Lake City, Utah
For questions, please contact
Julia Dickson Meredith
additional details are available at:
The concert is free and open to the publc,
seating is limited so please arrive early for the recital.
Donations are welcome.
A family meeting will be held at 5:00 pm at the Recital Hall. We will have scanning equipment available to scan any historical photos, documents, or histories you wish to share.
The recital features the talents of Kayson Brown and Douglas Dickson