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their lives and experiences while upon this earth. Aunt Mercy Thompson is a
that has rung in my own
ever since I can remember.
Shall I tell you what that name calls up mental vision ? An image of sweetest modesty, of deepest sanctity, of the noblest and purest gifts given to woman below. She is one of those few souls who do good by stealth, and whose left hand never is aware of the sacrifices made by the right hand. She is one of those rare spirits who shrink from being known in all her purity and goodness, as the tender mimosa shrinks from the contact of humanity. Hardly does her own soul recognize the high purpose and noble life which has been lived in mortality by the mighty if silent spirit. I would love to dwell on her life and character, for it is one that is deeply attractive to me, but the purpose of these sketches will not permit of this, and I shall have to wait for a future, which 1 trust and pray may give me the opportunity of presenting to my readers a glipmse of this beautiful
Beautiful, said I? How sadly Aunt Mercy would smile if her modest eyes were to rest upon those words. But I mean, truly mean it.
Her aged face is beautiful to me, and I gaze upon the lines of loving care and righteous endeavor which time and mortality have graved, and behind this thin veil looks out the lovely and loving spirit, clothed with effulgent light and
celestial beauty. I want you all to study the face, and if it takes you moments or hours, to what I see there, do not begrudge the time so spent, for it will be profitable for you to study the results of a god-like life written in poor, mortal ink, with a fragile temporal pen bearing the message of life eternal.
Sister Thompson was born on June 15th, 1807. Eighty-six years old, think of it! She was born in England, in a small village called Honeydon, in Bedfordshire. She came with one of her brothers to Canada to assist him in the care and cultivation of a gentleman's farm, and meanwhile to procure land for themselves. Hardly had they arrived when the gentleman died, and thus the two were left alone in a strange country. The young girl must then have possessed a sweet, attractive nature, for numbers of wealthy families opened their houses to her, and from one to the other on protracted visits she went until her brother had secured
farm to work upon shares. The terms were advantageous, and in a very short time, comparatively speaking, he and his sister were independent of other help.
The youth, and even the childhood, of this girl was full of religious light and inspiration. She speaks tenderly of the given name she bears, because of the circumstance connected with the bestowal of the
Her parents had been discussing the
choice of a name, and could not private lives through relationship agree upon any one, when an and association, she
very older sister came into the room intimately acquainted with the and remarked that she had been early history of the Church. She reading Bunyan's Pilgrim's Pro- received her endowments in gress, and she had become deeply Nauvoo in 1844. She went to attached to the name of Mercy. work in the Nauvoo Temple the Would they not choose that name very first day, November, 1845, for the tiny infant? It was at and worked there constantly until once accepted, and forth with the the work was over.
She had one ittle one entered upon her mis- child, a daughter, and she was sion suitably named and christ- obliged to take her with her. ened, with her great life mission She lived in the temple, the baby before her.
sometimes being in there for days She tells of the
dreams without ever seeing outside the and comforting testimonies she temple. She, Sister Mercy, worked received when a child and young as clerk the first week, until Sister girl, having always a deep devo- E. R. Snow came and relieved tion to the Bible and its holy her of that duty. She had charge truths. She would hear some- of the washing and ironing of thing in the night, a voice of clothes for the workers, a labor surpassing sweetness, addressing that often kept her up nearly all words of promise or consolation night. She also at one time had to her.
"I have loved thee with charge of the cooking department, an everlasting love;" or "Be until Sister Huldah Kimball thou faithful unto death, and I will relieved her, of that heavy duty. crown thee with everlasting life;" As Aunt Mercy says, she worked or, "Lo, I am with thee to the at one time or another in every end."
Her prayers were faith- department of work in the Nauvoo fully offered, and always received Temple. She, with the body of an answer from the God who led the Saints, left Nauvoo in Sepher youthful footsteps to the fount tember, 1846, and came with of everlasting truth.
them to the Valley. Her health Sister Mercy joined the Church has not been of the best, and of in Canada, in 1836, and went at late years, partly, through an accionce to Kirtland.
Here she was dent, she has been confined to married to Elder Robert B.
her room. She sits all day and Thompson, who was afterwards thinks lovingly and happily of the the private secretary of the pro- past, the waiting present, and the phet. Her sister Mary was mar- glorious future. She is always ried to the
Patriarch Hyrum engaged in reflections upon the Smith in 1837.
power and glory of truth, and it Being closely connected is like an odor of sweet herbs to with the Prophet's and Patriarch's visit the noble soul and to hear
WORKER IN THE ENDOWMENT
the gentle voice recount in simple
was set off on the language the hours she spends in spot now occupied by the old sweet meditation. God bless dear school house built by President Aunt Mercy Thompson.
Young. A few days passed, and
seeing so many children running SHETCH OF SISTER ZINA D. YOUNG, about with no chance for even
the rudiments of an education,
she could not content herself until The life and labors of this she had called them in from their noble woman are almost as fami- idle play and started a school, liar to the dweller in Zion as which work, with the care of her the sweet, mild features
and the housework, before us in the central figure of closely occupied her time. There
But so crowded with was another and most laudable incidents and experiences has object. The burdens upon the been her life, that pages might shoulders of President Brigham be filled of new and interesting Young in the care and support of material which has never been his large and growing family told.
were exceedingly heavy. If this The few outline details loyal, loving wife could do aught well known, but I will repeat to assist in bearing that financial them. Sister Zina D. Young was burden by earning a little herself born in Watterton, Jefferson Co., her heart and her hands were only New York. Her parents were
too anxious to assume that labor. raised in the faith of the Presby- How loyally and how lovingly terian Church, and were devout, Aunt Zina refers again and still faithful members of that Church. again in telling these incidents to Her childhood
life of the noble, generous care extended pleasantness and peace. The in- by Brigham Young to his family, cidents of her hearing and receiv- and
to his friends and ing the gospel will be related in acquaintances was stretched out a subsequent number of this the pavilion of his thoughtful JOURNAL Her life in Nauvoo was
The little room in the fort occuwork, care and anxiety. Yet so pied by Aunt Zina, secured for deeply had she drank of the foun- her by her brother, Dimick Hunttain of all truth that joy and ington, was not only school room blessed content filled her soul through the day to the children of with an infinite peace.
the fort; it served as a place of among God's people, and what night meeting, being used nearly mattered the rest?
every night for many of the minor Her brother Oliver drove the priesthood meetings. Here occateam with which she crossed the sionally the young plains, and on arriving here her called together by Elder Jedediah
M. Grant, and here they listened the Eighteenth Ward Relief to the wise and stirring admoni- Society during the years of the tions of that powerful speaker. Johnston episode, when the sisAlways a "Mary" at heart, with a ters wove and spun and clothed hungry love for the sweet, spirit- the defenders of themselves and ual things of the kingdom, Aunt the right. Notwithstanding all Zina sat in happy silence at all her duties, nothing but sickness these various meetings convened kept her from Sabbath and other in her room, proudly content that meetings.
Do you say
it It was no trouble for her to prepare little children proper care? Her for their coming,
to clean children and step-children, except after they were gone.
That work one, are all alive, and will bear was not work, it was pleasure. testimony in no uncertain tones She speaks of the
of of the tender, watchful love which Elder Grant to these young men provided creature comforts for with enthusiasm. “Aim high, the body while never neglecting young men, was one of his fre.
the far more important food and quent admonitions. Again, "You drink for the spiritual needs. Aun all make an atmosphere for your
a member of the first selves."
board of health ever organized in When the log row was built by this Territory President Young she moved into After moving into the Lion the part assigned to her. She House, in 1856, Aunt Zina began was always a tender-hearted girl to make caps, besides spinning, and woman, and no one in sick- weaving and knitting. Here, too, ness or trouble came for her as- began the afterwards heavy labor sistance in vain. I asked her which she was given of becoming when she began to go about nurs- a practical midwife. And until ing the sick. She replied smil- recent years this labor, with every ingly, she did not know, it was so sort of nursing and watching with long ago.
Certainly from her the sick and dying, has been early girlhood she never ceased most arduously carried out by in that labor: teaching school, Aunt Zina. And still she went going about nights if called on by to meetings. The organization the sick, taking good care of her of Relief Societies, Retrenchment own children as well as mothering Associations, and Primaries has Indian girls or others placed always found her active and will. under her charge for temporary ing to work in any and all fields. care, washing, ironing, spinning, In 1869 or '70, President Young weaving, cooking and cleaning, called upon her to assist in the this queen among
work in the Endowment House, found time to attend to all her and to that labor she was most meetings. She was treasurer of faithful until the house was finally
closed. She too bears a faithful ple, and on her first visit to that testimony to the wonderful gifts temple she felt a great yearning and healings made manifest in for some visible manifestation of that holy house. Many, oh many, the power of God. It was given have said to Aunt Zina that after her. As the services were beginblessing in the Endowment House ning she beheld a most radiant they have been entirely healed. and beautiful light, which shone She has been to the temple at St. with surpassing brilliancy even George three times, each time into her own
and then having the privilege of assisting gradually melted away.
She was in the ordinance work. While so happy to know that her own there she was seriously afflicted labors were thus accepted and her with the rheumatism, being longing not deemed unworthy of severely crippled therefrom. Go- gratification. ing into the baptismal font for
It would not be possible to her health, she came out perfectly
detail all the thousands of cases sound and well. She has been of marvelous manifestations and thus healed many times, not being healings of which the long experphysically a strong constitutioned ience of Aunt Zina has made her woman. But God and her own a participant in or of which she indomitable faith has kept her
has received a knowledge. Like alive and actively engaged in good
the rest of her sisters,
is works until the present day. striving to prepare herself, body
She was once called to assist in and mind, for the labor and blessstarting the work in the Logan ing soon to begin in our latest Temple. While there she received and most glorious Temple at Salt many manifestations of healing Lake City. and the power of God. She speaks of a Sister Devinish who SKETCH OF SISTER BATHSHEBA W. was a cripple and who threw away
SMITH, her crutches on entering the water, never to need them since, eight years ago. Also of a Sister SISTER BATHSHEBA W. SMITH, Moffitt, of Ogden, who was healed who was born May 3rd, 1822, was of cancer in the breast at the married on July 25th, 1841, to Logan Temple.
Brother George A. Smith, She heard the angels sing in cousin of the Prophet Joseph the Kirtland Temple, and while Smith. She came to the valley's working in the Logan Temple in 1849. She was closely assoher sister, Prescenda Kimball, ciated with the Prophet and his and four others heard the singing family for some years before the of angels in that beautiful edifice.
martyrdom, and since that time She was in Canada on duty at has had the most intimate friendthe dedication of the Manti Tem- ship with the later prophets and
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