Home community Laurie Anderson is Guest Speaker at Morgan SUP

Laurie Anderson is Guest Speaker at Morgan SUP

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The Morgan Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers held it’s monthly dinner meeting on March 18, 2018 at Larry’s Spring Chicken Inn.  Mark Walker gave the Member/ Pioneer of the Month Report.  Mark reported on his great-great grandmother.  At 18 years old she worked in the Nottingham Lace Factory in England.  The year was 1847.  As she walked home from work one day she noticed a young man standing on a soapbox in the town square, not dressed like the preachers of the day, but like a laborer.  Being intrigued, she stopped.  Because she stopped and listened to this preacher on a soapbox, thousands of people’s lives were changed, starting with hers.  The young man, whose name was Elder Les, was talking about a restored religion.  She immediately knew that what he was teaching was true.  She was 18 years old, unmarried, and on the 8th of September 1848, became one of the first baptisms in Nottingham.  Her name was Margaretta Unwin Clark.  For the next 8 years she worked and saved every penny she could to immigrate to America.  Eventually she was able to book passage on the Huzon leaving from Liverpool on May 22.  She was now 26 years old and still unmarried.  The first few days at sea, many of the passengers became seasick.  To overcome Margaretta’s seasickness, they lashed her to the front of the ship for a day.  She was a strong woman who had some training as a nurse.  The journey was 5 weeks and 3 days across the Atlantic Ocean, six days by train from New York to Iowa City arriving at the Mormon encampment on the 8th of July 1856.  She was assigned to the Martin Handcart Company.  This young girl from England with no husband, no association of family was anxious to get to Salt Lake City to join the Saints.  She has worked for almost 9 years to get to this point.  When the members were asked to vote to leave now or in the spring, she voted to go now.  By the time they reached Devil’s Gate, the group of 600 now numbered about 400.  Barely alive and near starvation, they could go no further.  In Salt Lake City, Brigham Young called for a group of men to go rescue the trapped pioneers.  One of the men who answered the call was Anson Call.  After finding the stranded Saints and while loads were being arranged, a half starved, thinly clad woman from England waited in a wagon gnawing a frozen squash, which Anson Call had intended for his horses.  When he saw through the back of his wagon, he knew the young woman was freezing to death.  In his rough vernacular acquired in the west, he told her of her condition, and she replied in her English accent, “ Oh no sir.  I have been quite cold but I am comfortable now”.  When he took her by the hand she said, “Old on sir, my hand is a bit sore and you urt it”.  Anson took her from the wagon and with another man’s help, ran her up and down in the snow to revive her and restore circulation.  She rode in his wagon to Salt Lake City and a year later they were married in the Endowment House by Brigham Young.  Margaretta lived in Bountiful the rest of her life and had six children.  She was a stalwart pioneer.  She died at 80 and is buried in the Bountiful cemetery.

Guest speaker was Laurie Anderson.  Laurie Anderson is a native of New Zealand, born in Hamilton.  He is a convert to the Church and served a mission in the North Western States Mission.  He and his wife, Carol, live in Milton.  He worked in the Church Education System as a Seminary Teacher in several areas.  He has taught in Morgan for about 18 years.  He is a sincere student of the scriptures and has helped many people in the valley through his service.

New Zealand is made up of two major islands and one smaller island.  It is 104 thousand square miles, about the same size as Colorado.  It is made up of mostly Māori people and Pākehās, New Zealander’s of non-Māori descent.  In 1852, Brigham Young called missionaries to go to India and all different parts of the world, including Australia.  New Zealand became a part of the mission of Australia.  In 1854 the Mission President of Australia, August Farnum, took two missionaries, William Cook, a recent convert to the Church in Australia, and Thomas Holder to Wallington, New Zealand.  In 1855 there were ten baptisms, but most new converts moved to America at that time.  The New Zealand Mission was organized in 1879 and by the end of 1880, 133 people had joined the Church and seven branches were established.  Ninety percent of new converts were Pākehā.  Joseph F. Smith, the sixth president of the Church, announced that the gospel was to be taken to the Māori people.   In 1880, Mission President William Bromley sent two elders, Alma Greenwood and Ira N, Hinckley Jr. to the Māori people.  By the end of the next year the Church grew to 1076 members.  By the year 1900 there were over 4000 members, 790 branches, with about 9o percent being Māori.  One contributing factor for the growth of the Church was that four Māori chiefs had given prophecies that the Church would come.  One in particular was Paora Potangaro.  The people in the tribe came to his and asked him how they would know when the true church comes and he told them to wait for a while.  He then, after having fasted and prayed for three days, called the tribe together and told them, “When they come, they will come in twos.  When they come, they will come from the east.  When they come, when they pray they will raise their hands high.  In the east they have a place that is sacred that is surrounded by a wall, and you will know the true church when it comes”.  When the missionaries came and started teaching the people, buy the 1920s, ten percent of the Māori people were LDS.  Another significant event for the Māori people was the translation of the Book of Mormon. Ezra F. Richards and Sondra Sanders, assisted by Henare Potae, Te Pirihi TutokohiIn, and James Jury, local Māori members, did the first translation of the Book of Mormon.  The Church later authorized a second translation.  In 1919, 17-year-old Mathew Cowley was sent to New Zealand on a mission.  He, because of his doctrinal knowledge of the gospel and unusual skill in the Māori language, along with Stuart Meha and Wiremu Duncan completed the translation, along with the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

Because many Māori converts lived in outlying areas with no schools for their children, the Church established schools in local branch meetinghouses as early as 1886.  In 1907, the First Presidency of the Church authorized the then Mission President, Rufus K. Hardy, to the Māori Agricultural College in Korongata, Hastings. In 1914 the Church purchased additional land and built a boarding school.  This school operated from 1914 to 1931.  The school was then shut down and soon after destroyed by an earthquake.  In 1962 the land was divided amongst members of the Church who lived there.   A large subdivision was built which is now Bridge Pa, Hastings.  In 1949, President Gordon C. Young was assigned to find a place to build the Church College of New Zealand at Temple View, near Hamilton.  The school was dedicated in 1958 and continued until 2009 when it was torn down and the land divided for LDS people to live.

Anderson pointed out the contrast of early missionaries to New Zealand.  Early missionaries slept on mats with straw for covers.  They waded through creeks, wet and miserable.  Fleas were everywhere.  Mathew Cowley wrote that the fleas were his best companions because they “stick to me so close”.  The missionaries would sleep and stay with the Māori people and ate eels and potatoes.  So much has changed. There are 30 stakes organized in New Zealand today.  Seventeen of them are in Auckland and four are in Hamilton where the Temple is.  There are now 112 thousand LDS people in New Zealand.

Anderson closed by sharing his own conversion to the Church.  His mum was a single mum; having divorced while Anderson was a child.  His mum moved home and he was raised with his nana and granddad.  There was no religion.  When he was 6 years old, his mum remarried and moved to Hamilton where the Temple was to be built.  His stepdad was a violent man.  One day in 1956/57 he was walking down a dirt road he felt something bad was to happen in 1960.  They moved back into town and his stepdad committed suicide.  That’s when he met a boy named John Paritan, who was a Mormon who invited him to church.  When his mum moved away he moved in with the Paritans.  He attended the Church College of New Zealand as a non-Mormon. He was taught by the missionaries and was eventually baptized into the Church in February of 1960.  A year later he received his Patriarchal Blessing.  He was interviewed to go on a mission in Te Kuiti and received his call to the Oregon, Washington area of the United States.  He then attended BYU and married his wife, Carol.

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