Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pioneer Day- "No toil nor labor fear"

     "On a fall morning in 1848, President Young drove to where [Ephraim Hanks] was building an adobe house inside the Old Fort. Looking over the completed foundation, he inquired as to the thickness of the rock wall. "Eight inches," replied Eph. "Tear it down and build it twice that thick," suggested Brigham, who then promptly drove away before Eph could answer. To rebuild meant hauling more rock and doing twice the work they thought was necessary. … Nevertheless, they widened the foundation to sixteen inches according to the leader's instruction. Eph was fitting the rafters on the house a month later when a heavy rain began falling, ultimately causing widespread flooding and considerable damage in parts of the valley. Eph's reinforced walls stood firm against the resulting deluge, however, thus preventing a possible collapse of the entire structure. Others were not so fortunate. From then on when Brigham talked, Eph listened...."

 It was perhaps this type of obedience to counsel that prompted the Mormon Church President to later say of Eph that "Here was a man always ready to lay down his life for the authorities of the Church as well as for the cause of Zion and her people."(Richard K. Hanks, "Eph Hanks, Pioneer Scout," unpublished master's thesis, BYU, 1973, pp. 26-27.)

Legend provides the humourous finish to this story: While others were hauling rock to rebuild their foundations,  Ephriam was shingling up the roof of his home, whistling "We thank thee oh, God for a prophet."

I love to see stonework so typical of old pioneer foundations. From the oldest homes in the Salt Lake Avenues to the Logan temple, Stonework is one of the hallmarks of the Pioneer spirit- a beautiful reminder of the early saints unstopable determination that bested every obstacle, and left a framework we still build on today.