By Keith Fisher
I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately. I didn’t intend to light the other end. It was lit for me. Now the middle of the candle is being held over another flame. Is it possible to burn a candle in three places?
Sound familiar? It ought to. Such is life in the 21st century. In doing a special project as part of my work recently, I discovered a story that can be a great inspiration to us all, especially to writers who long to see their name on the cover of a book. Those who work hard only to receive rejection after rejection.
There was a family living in Worcester, England in the middle nineteenth century. They were part of the group of United Brethren who Wilford Woodruff baptized. Right after they were baptized they had a son and named him John.
What a great blessing, to have a son, surely a gift from God for their obedience. During Elder Woodruff’s second mission to England they visited the aforementioned young family and spent the night. As mobs always do, they came calling after everyone had gone to bed. The young father, noticing the mob, went out to meet them, locking the door behind him.
The mob wanted the brethren, the man refused, he was beaten in his front yard until he was unconscious then he was left for dead. When the mob left the young mother went out and dragged him indoors and cared for his wounds. The next morning Elder Woodruff advised the father to immigrate to Zion as soon as possible.
They began the preparations and met opposition at every turn. Their crops failed for two consecutive years and they were forced to sell their home at auction. Then one day while taking goods to sell in town, the father’s horse spooked, causing a wreck that crushed the father’s leg. He remained in bed for a year then died in 1848.
In severe circumstances the mother worked long hours making clothes for men and John worked carrying bricks to help out. They were mobbed and beaten because they wouldn’t deny their faith.
Finally in 1856 they started their journey across the ocean. They became part of a company and after they landed the company proceeded to Iowa City to get a handcart and make their way across the plains.
It was the 15th of July when the Willie Handcart Company left Iowa City bound for Zion and this young family, with Mother leading them, fell in with the company.
After arriving in Salt Lake City, John’s mother was advised by church authorities to take her family to Salt Creek (Now Nephi, Utah) but John had to remain behind another year because his legs and feet were so frozen it took that long for them to heal.
Time passes and this same John was blessed with a very large family. He owned several mills including a plant up Salt Creek Canyon that manufactured plaster of paris. What truly great blessings he was receiving.
But as you may have already guessed John was a polygamist and he was a prominent man therefore a target of federal marshals. For safety and sanity sakes he accepted a call to move his families to Mexico and help built several colonies down there. They had a hard trip but they arrived safe in Diaz, Mexico in 1889.
In 1890 John returned to Nephi to sell everything. On the return trip, he built a house in Arizona for one of his wives and her family. He then continued on to Diaz. When he arrived, he was called on to help settle the Pacheco settlement. He moved several of his families to Pacheco and built grist and molasses mills and houses for his families. With that done, John became suddenly ill with pneumonia and died.
Now, before you think this is a tragedy. You must realize that John’s descendants are numerous and they equate his name with the word blessed. The families had to come back to Utah during the Mexican Revolution. His posterity is scattered all over. You may be one of them.
We all have trials and discouragement but if we keep our eyes focused on the goal we will attain what we seek. We must remember the blessings and relish them because it’s the memory of those blessings that can carry us through the trials. Keep writing and keep submitting