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Sons of Utah Pioneers gather for monthly luncheon

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Forty-two members of the Morgan Chapter of the Utah Sons of Pioneers gathered together on Jan. 15, for their monthly meeting held at Larry’s Spring Chicken Inn. 

Eldon Jensen gave the Pioneer of the Month report.  Jensen related a humorous story from his wife’s side of the family concerning how Frederick W. Cox was married. 

Frederick was a young man of, in his words, 18 going on 30 when his family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on Sept. 18, 1852.  They had departed Kanesville, Iowa, on June 20 with two heavily loaded wagons pulled by three yoke of oxen. 

After arriving, they were assigned to a group that was going south to settle in Manti.  In Manti, family that had settled there previously welcomed them.  They lived with family until spring. 

Their father had six wives and 36 children to provide for, so all worked hard.   Frederick courted several young women until he found the one he would ask to be his wife. 

After he has selected Mary Ellen Tuttle, his problem was to inform the other girls of his decision. On April 20, 1857, there was to be a dance.  He purposely did not ask anyone to attend with him, hoping he could tell each girl quietly as he danced with her. 

Lucy Allen would be the most difficult.  On occasion, she had thrown herself at him, causing him some embarrassment.  He invited her to walk outside when it was time for the intermission.  As they walked, Lucy informed him that she had decided to go up north in the summer to work.  She held her breath, waiting for a response, and then said, “unless something happens to keep me here.”

Frederick then saw Bishop Warren Snow approaching them.  When he reached them, he made a comment about the young lovers taking advantage of the moonlight.  He then asked when the two young couples were getting married. 

Frederick became tongue-tied when Lucy said, “He hasn’t asked me yet.  If he doesn’t make his mind up soon, I’m going to think he doesn’t want me.” Bishop Snow replied, “How about it, Fred, shall I perform the ceremony right now?” 

Lucy said she would like that and held Fred’s arm.  Fred told himself he should be a good sport about it and go along with the joke.  So he said, “Sure, why not.” To the tune of the rolling water below them, Bishop Snow said, “Do you Lucy Allen, take this man Fred W. Cox Junior to be your husband till death do you part, to love honor and obey?  Lucy said, “I do.”  Bishop Snow repeated the same words to Fred.  There was silence.  “Well do you?” the Bishop prompted.  “Sure,” Fred answered quickly.  “You may kiss the bride,” Bishop Snow replied.  Fred brushed her cheek and then walked her home. 

Lucy went to Provo to work, believing she had a strong hold on his heartstrings.  Fred was relieved, because now he could pursue Marry Ellen without any interference. 

In the fall, he and Marry Ellen went to Bishop Snow for permission to travel to Salt Lake to be married in the Endowment House.  Bishop Snow paused and then asked Marry Ellen is she was sure she wanted to enter into polygamy with Fred and was Fred financially able to take another wife so soon.  Fred and Marry Ellen gaped at each other.  Marry Ellen asked why he was asking those questions because they didn’t apply to the two of them.  He then turned to his book and said that Fred Cox married Lucy Allen on April 20, 1857.  Fred said he did it in jest; Marry Ellen burst in tears and left the room.  All three sets of parents went to the Bishop, but he would not reverse his decision. 

During the next conference, Fred and his father met with Brigham Young to explain their situation.  Brigham listened intently, asked questions.  After some time of pacing he turned and said, “Brother Cox, you are a married man.  I would advise you to go home and make the best of it.” 

On the return home, they stopped in Provo to take Lucy to Manti to assume the role of Mrs. Cox.  They lived in the Cox home until they moved to White Pine, Nevada, for work.  When they returned, they built a home where they raised their family.  Fred said that he couldn’t say their life was one of complete matrimonial bliss, but they made the best of it.  They had 12 children, six girls and six boys.  Marry Ellen Tuttle married and was the mother to 15 children.

Next to speak was Kent Allen. Allen is a native of Morgan, growing up in Milton.  His dad and his grandfather were professional trappers, as is his brother.  Allen is married to Susan Buxton and has three children and seven grandchildren.  He is a therapist by profession and has been involved with LDS missionary work for years.  He currently works with the missionaries in the United States and Canada who return home because of mental issues. 

As a young man of 28, Allen was a bricklayer.  One of his last jobs as a foreman was to work on the Milton church house. At 4:30 on a Saturday morning he received a phone call from the executive secretary to the stake president of the college stake.  The following Sunday, Kent and his wife went in to visit with the president, Fred Baker.  President Baker called Kent to be a bishop of the singles ward.  As he began his calling, he realized that the youth were about his age.  After five months, he had is wife stand up in a meeting and told the young men that if anyone else asked his wife out for a date, he would have to excommunicate them. 

As he counseled these young people, he would ask them to read their patriarchal blessings.  One night while driving down the road he asked himself when was the last time he read his own blessing.  When he read his blessing again, he noticed one line that said, “You will counsel the people of the earth.”  The feeling came to him that he was not doing what Heavenly Father wanted him to do.  He realized that the calling to be a bishop was to change his life. 

A number of years later, he was working in the temple and he had several sleepless nights.  He had the strong feeling that he should go to the temple president and ask to be released.  The president said that was interesting because about 4:30 that morning he received a strong feeling that Allen should be released.   Two months later the stake president called him to be the High Priest Group Leader. 

The following Thursday Kent received a call inviting him to have lunch with Elder Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  The next day he went into the Church office building in Salt Lake, where a gentleman took him to a conference room in the Missionary Department, where there were 13 or 14 other therapists like himself sitting there, and he knew them all.  The one thing that made him different from the rest is that they were all retired.  He was not. 

Elder Cook then took them on a tour of the Missionary Department and then to lunch in the formal dining room.  They then returned to the conference room, where they were told they were going to be called on a mission.  It would require 15 hours a week at the Church Office building. 

For the next 15 years, Allen worked in the Missionary Department of the Church.  He has counseled missionaries suffering from pain as they become depressed, or anxious, or suffer from other medical illness.

His office was a converted janitor’s closet.  One afternoon, then Elder Hinkley and Dr. Doty, who was over the Missionary Medical Department, went to President Hinkley’s office, where they discussed an alarming trend of missionaries returning early from their missions.  Statistics indicated that 91 percent of missionaries returning early do not return to church.  They gave Allen the assignment to figure out how to save the missionaries who come home early. 

Allen pointed out that with all of the missionaries currently going out, only 2.2 percent come home.  When they come home, his committee calls the stake president, the bishop, the parents, and the missionaries to teach them what they need to do to stay active and be pro-active in their feelings.   

Today, the vast majority returning accept callings in their ward or in the temple.  They serve as Young Service Missionaries. They remain active and productive. 

In closing, Allen reminded the group that in their age, 10 percent of them may have experienced depression and been on medication.  Statistics show with today’s young adults, 50 percent of them will become depressed, anxious and be placed on medication. 

All of the research points to use of electronic devices.  Youth get on social media, where they see everybody else is perfect.  They compare themselves.  They don’t know how to talk.  They don’t know how to solve problems.  He suggested three things:  1.We need to tell our youth that we love them and are proud of them.  Pat them on the back.  Recognize their successes.  Build them up.  2. We need to teach them how to converse.  We need to spend time with them and talk with them. 3.  We need to teach them how to solve problems.  Teach them, show them and then let them solve problems.  This is the only way we can reverse the current trend.

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