|Vol. 6, No. 1 - Mar. 2008
Joseph F. Buchanan
The clouds of error disappear
Before the rays of truth divine;
The glory bursting from afar,
Wide o'er the nations soon will shine.
The Gentile fulness now comes in,
And Israel's blessings are at hand.
Lo, Judah's remnant, cleansed from sin,
Shall in their promised Canaan stand.
Jehovah speaks! Let earth give ear,
And Gentile nations turn and live.
His mighty arm is making bare
His covenant people to receive.
Angels from heav'n and truth from earth
Have met, and both have record borne;
Thus Zion's light is bursting forth
To bring her ransomed children home. - Parley P. Pratt
We, who are the product of generations in the Gospel, perhaps cannot see the power that the restoration of the gospel brought to the lives of our ancestors. We live in homes where the prayer of faith and the power of the priesthood grace our lives, for the most part. Most important, though, is the blessing of clarity and truth that comes because of the restoration of the gospel, the priesthood and the Book of Mormon. This edition of the family newsletter is dedicated to our ancestors who realized the incredible blessing of the restoration of the gospel and the power it had in their lives and its potential in the lives of their posterity. We benefit from their sacrifice and dedication.
As Elder Pratt so eloquently described it, the world was in darkness at the time of the "light bursting forth" and as "The morning breaks," the "clouds of error disappear." I recently read in a book describing the turmoil and confusion of the fourth century when Christians tried to make sense of their religion that was so confused at that time.
After the Resurrection of the Savior and the eventual death of the Apostles, the plainness and beauty of the Gospel was not just lost, it was destroyed. By the beginning of the 4th century, A.D., the people having rejected the apostles, the priesthood and revelation, they floundered in trying to make sense of their beliefs, hanging on to prevailing philosophies in the attempt to define who and what God is and how Jesus Christ could be understood. They so much wanted to have their Greek philosophies in their religion that they refused to accept the clarity and truth that was in their own scriptures - which contained details of the true nature of the Godhead. They rejected the necessity of ongoing revelation, though it was desperately needed. They saw flesh as abhorrent. They could not fathom a God who could be contained in flesh. They did not want to be as the pagans having more than one god and therefore could not accept the fact that the Father and the Son could be distinct from each other. They fought brutally among themselves over various interpretations of their philosophies and what "Christianity" meant and finally through great debate and violence came to rest upon creeds that obscured the truth and left mankind with the mere hope and expectation that things would be better in the afterlife, and even such a condition depending on the whims and desires of their unknowable god. (For a good reference, see: "When Jesus Became God," by Richard E. Rubenstein.)
This is the Christianity that existed as our ancestors struggled to make sense of their own lives and challenges. As they individually were introduced to the light of the restored gospel, they saw the great blessing of it and embraced it, usually at great sacrifice. Following in this article is a summary of each of the ancestors and a little of their testimony and dedication to the restored gospel. I hope this helps us to better appreciate what we have.
Since I know that we all have different sets of ancestors, I recommend that you research your other ancestors' conversion stories. Here I include the ancestors of Archie Earl and Florene Buchanan.
At the time, the Roundy family lived in Spafford, Onondaga County, New York. The first missionary to come into this area was Jared Carter. The following description can be found at the website: http://www.saintswithouthalos.com/b/carter_j.phtml .
"[In] January 1832 [, Jared Carter is the] first missionary to Spafford, New York, where John Gould ministers to the Free Will Baptist church. Zera Pulsipher built the meetinghouse. Shadrach and Uriah Roundy are members of the congregation. A Book of Mormon circulates in the fall of 1831 and in January 1832 Jared Carter, the first missionary to visit, baptizes the Goulds, Pulsiphers, Roundys, and others."
Renee Mounteer records Jared Carter's words in her recent book:
" 'Continued my labors in the ministry with them, [meaning the people of Benson, VT] until about the 15 of January 1832... After it appeared that my work was done in this place, for the present, I went on to the west to Spafford, a town in York state, Onondaga County, where I commenced laboring in the ministry. The Lord began immediately to bless my labors and there was 12 Baptized into the Church of Christ, while I was there, and an number of others convinced of the truth of the work. There was some displays of the healing power of God, in this place, while I was here. There was many threatenings from the wicked but the Lord preserved me from their wicked hands.' - Jared Carter, 'The Journal of Jared Carter,' typescript. [Provo, Utah: L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, 7-8.]
"Shadrach must have been one of those 'convinced of the truth of the work.' However, he still felt a need to visit with Joseph Smith, for he travelled to Kirtland, Ohio, to visit with the Prophet. During this time, the Prophet was residing at the John Johnson farm in Hiram, Ohio, which is located about 30 miles south of Kirtland. ... After this visit, he must have been convinced of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel and the Book of Mormon, because on 30 January 1832, William E. McLellin baptized Shadrach in Kirtland, Ohio. [Note: In footnote 12 of this chapter of Renee Mounteer's book (page 88), she outlines the details of Shadrach being baptized on January 1832 rather than January 1831, which is family tradition.]" - From "Shadrach and Betsy Roundy: " by Renee Mounteer, pp 75-76, 88
Renee Mounteer records that within a few days he bought land in Ohio [*correction] and within about a month returned home to New York and then sold their property in New York on March 30, 1832. On May 16th, Shadrach was ordained an Elder, in Spafford. On May 20th Betsy was baptized (as recorded by Samuel H. Smith).
In the Kirtland High Council minutes, 18 Dec. 1832, it is recorded that Shadrach says that "his object in coming here was to get council, as he had previously been ordained & having a witness of the spirit that it was of God and was willing to go forth and proclaim the gospel, but stated to the council that his family stood in need of his labor for their support if no other way could be devised." - Mounteer, p 79.
In the next year we find an interesting reference:
Oct. 8, 1833 - Joseph Smith, Freeman Nickerson, Sidney Rigdon (enroute to Canada) stay the night at Shadrack Roundy's home in Elk Creek [Ohio]. - http://www.saintswithouthalos.com/n/gaz_pa.phtml
History shows the dedication of the Roundy family through the many years that followed. Many generations have been blessed by the life and example of Shadrach Roundy and by his embracing the truth of the restoration of the gospel.
(Taken from "Archibald Waller Overton Buchanan and Family" by Golden Buchanan, p 11.)
"In the years 1832-34, missionaries were sent from the Church Headquarters to preach the gospel. Some of them went west and finally came to Tazewell County, Illinois. There they found the family of John Buchanan and taught them the gospel. Emmeline, the fourth child of the family was the first to join the Church. She was baptized in February of 1834. John Buchanan was baptized 23 March 1835 and his wife Nancy Ann Bache and his oldest daughter, Jane Buchanan, were baptized 8 Sept. 1835. It is to be noted that some of the older children who were old enough were not baptized at that time, but did come into the Church later. In fact, every member of this big family did join the Church."
In a previous issue of this newsletter (Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007), I give details of the stalwart testimony of Nancy Ann Bach Buchanan in support of the gospel and the church.
Archibald Waller Overton Buchanan, who was baptized 9 Feb 1839 at the age of 9, had a firm testimony. Here is an excerpt, as recorded by Golden Buchanan:
"Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Through him God restored his church, and it will never be destroyed or taken from the earth. Now, my boy, remember what I say. I, your grandfather, was 14 then, and I was there."
(from the history of Samuel Parrish)
"It was here in Stark County that the Parrish family met the first Mormon Missionaries whose message was just what they had been looking for. Jane Parrish Lindsey, a daughter, said "It was in the little school house which father had built that he and the others first heard the message of the restored gospel as taught by the Latter-day Saints." Samuel and his wife said, "from the first time we heard the message, it made a profound impression on our minds." They were baptized in the month of June 1840 in Stark County, Illinois. At the earliest opportunity, Samuel went to Nauvoo where he met the Prophet Joseph Smith.
"(Jane Parrish Lindsay said) I recall vividly the time of the martyrdom of the Prophet and his brother Hyrum. I saw the bodies of these splendid men lying in state in Nauvoo. I remember they looked as if they were asleep in the mortal life. There was the same sweet smile upon their faces. It was awful,' she continued, 'the way the people felt at the time. Oh, we did love the prophet. He was a noble man nobody can tell or explain how wonderful he was. My brother Joel worked with him on the temple and they would often play ball together. Oh we did love the prophet. When Brigham Young first presided after the Prophet's death, I recall he was sitting on the right where I could see the mantle of Joseph Smith fall upon him. His looks changed, as did his voice also. The people felt that Brother Brigham Young was the right man in the right place.' "
Mariah was born into the Church of England to parents of strong religious convictions on April 15, 1833. They were Henry and Martha Davies of Carmarthen. The family's faith was shaken in their ancestral faith, however by the preaching of Mormon Elders travelling throughout Wales in the 1840's. They accepted this new and unpopular religion as did their children.
(From John Johnson Davies autobiography/journal)
"myself was baptized on the 10. of Janury 1852. into the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saind. by Abednego Jones. The Names of the family of Father Davies is. Henry, the father, Martha the mother, Mariah, the daughter and William the son. The nex day was Sunday. we whent to meeting and we was confirmed by the Elders. nex Sunday the 18. i whent to meeting. and i was ordained a priest in this meeting. and was sent out with two of the Elders to bear testimony to the people. I traveled a good deel with the Elders to help them with the singing. and to bear testimony. i know that the preaching and singing of the latter day saints. as an influence. that the world dont have. i know that this is true. "
John Johnson Davies wrote this poem about his joy of receiving the restored gospel:
I Was Made Glad
It was in Wales my Native land
that i obeyed. the Lord's command
And when i heard. the Elders preach
I knew twas truth that they did teach
I was glad in the days of my youth
to here the principles of truth
The same truths. the Savior unfould
to the jews and the Nations of old
And when i first heard them proclaim
That the gospel. of truth once again
has come to the Earth to restore
the gifts of the gospel once more
No says the priest. we know the way
And we shall not. lead you astray
but will show you. the right road
And also. the ways of the Lord
I know that they have gon astray
And they will not retres their way
I know that they. have not the plan
to teach and save. poor fallen man
That was a great and glorious day
When Joseph Smith the unlearned boy
Reveled the plan. to save all men
Then let us praise the Lord Amen, J. J. Davies
(From the history of Hans Sorensen)
"They were living at the time at Shalau (Shagels), near the city of Copenhagen. In about 1860 they moved to Jutland (Jyland) thinking they could get away from persecution, but as the Church grew, persecution grew with it, so the Sorensen family endured much those first years."
"Hans Hendrik Sorensen was ordained to the office of Elder and he worked and preached faithfully in his native land for many years."
"In the year 1865 or 1866 the family was living about four miles from the city of Aarhus, close to the beautiful woods. The Elders came often to the Sorensen home and were always welcome. Finally the Elders prevailed on the family to move into the city of Aarhus and live at the Church headquarters there. This they did and grandmother kept house and cooked for the Elders faithfully and well for five years. Grandfather was faithful to his callings in the Church. The entire family enjoyed the sweet spirit of the Gospel, although some of the members had to leave home to work to help make a living for the family."