The Milk & Strippings Story, Thomas B. Marsh, and Brigham Young

Thomas B. Marsh and his wife Elizabeth were baptized on September 3, 1830, and were therefore among the earliest members of the church. (Dan Vogel calculates that they were the 55th and 56th members, preceding all the future apostles save for William Smith and the Pratt brothers).[1] Marsh became an important early church leader and when the Council of the Twelve was organized in 1835, he was called to be one of the original members. Because he was the oldest original apostle, he became the quorum’s first president. And yet today, among Mormons, Thomas B. Marsh (if he is remembered at all) is remembered only in a story where his wife was jealous over the division of some “milk and strippings,” the fallout of which led the couple into apostasy.

History is somewhat different than the fable. Marsh was loyal to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in the crises of 1837, which saw the collapse of the church in Kirtland, and Marsh led efforts to expel potential troublemakers (Oliver Cowdery and the Whitmers) from their leadership roles in the church in Missouri. However, just a few months later, during the events of the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, Marsh did voluntarily leave the faith, (along with fellow apostle Orson Hyde who soon returned). As Marsh explained in his October 24, 1838, affidavit, he left because he was alarmed that his fellow coreligionists had formed mobs, expelled all the non-Mormons from Daviess County, stolen their property, and burned their homes and towns to the ground.

Although the Mormons at the time were steeped in Gideon’s mythic defeat of the Midianites (Judges 7-8), where God required only 300 men to defeat 120,000, the danger in escalating the violence — in fighting mobs with mobs and in answering pillaging with pillaging — was extreme. The Mormons were as hopelessly outnumbered as Gideon. As much as the Saints eventually suffered after their defeat, even worse results were quite possible. The massacre at Haun’s Mill might just as easily have been replicated en masse at Far West, and the trial of Joseph Smith and other leaders may well have been a court martial and summary execution, (however illegal).

Whether or not one agrees with Marsh’s conviction that the acts committed by the Saints in northwestern Missouri were immoral and impious [2], I think we can at least agree that this seed of his apostasy from the faith was no small thing. Rather, it was a big thing. Thus, while the moral the Thomas B. Marsh fable, i.e., that faith can be shattered over something inconsequential, is true enough, it would probably make sense to tell a different, more appropriate fable to illustrate that moral.

Even more unfortunate, the “Milk and Strippings” fable is commonly told to teach a second moral. Because Thomas B. Marsh suffered many personal losses after 1838 — his wife left him, he had a stroke and became prematurely aged, and he became a pauper — he is seen as an object lesson that the fruit of apostasy is bitter. This precept is part of the “gospel of prosperity”: the righteous are blessed (here on earth) and the wicked are punished (here on earth). The problem is that we all know that it rains on the righteous and the wicked alike. It may be comforting when you’re prosperous to believe that prosperity is a sign of your righteousness, but it’s quite another thing when suffering some inadvertent hardship to be additionally burdened by the belief that this is punishment for your wickedness. For every Thomas B. Marsh who left the faith in apostasy and died a pauper, there’s a John C. Bennett who left, lived a successful life, and died prosperous. How many faithful Saints died of hardship, poverty, and disease on the trek west? This teaching is both senseless and pernicious.

Which brings me to Brigham Young. In 1857, Thomas B. Marsh, now infirm, aged, alone, and destitute, made his way across the plains to be reunited with his former fellow apostles and coreligionists. This was potentially an extremely happy reunion. The early apostles Peter and Paul were great rivals with different visions for Christianity. Paul saw a universal religion that transcended Jewish law. Peter’s vision of the church looked back to its origins as a Jewish sect. The two walked different paths but, according to tradition, they both ended their lives in Rome. If Peter’s path had gone astray and if had come to Rome, infirm, destitute, and seeking forgiveness, how do we expect Paul would greet his former rival? Would he have spat in his face? Or would he have played out the role of the father who welcomed back the prodigal son with open arms in the parable of Jesus?

We can’t know what Paul would have done because that scenario never happened, but we can know what Brigham Young did. He invited Marsh to address a large congregation in the Salt Lake City Bowery, gathered on September 6, 1857, and there Marsh made an earnest plea to be forgiven and accepted as a member of the LDS Church. Ascribing his apostasy to his own hubris, jealousy, wrath, and hypocrisy Marsh asked:

I want your fellowship; I want your God to be my God, and I want to live with you for ever, in time and eternity. I never want to forsake the people of God any more. I want to have your confidence, and I want to be one in the house of God. I have learned to understand what David said when he exclaimed, “I would rather be a door-keeper in the house of God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” I have not come here to seek for any office, except it be to be a door-keeper or a deacon; no, I am neither worthy nor fit; but I want a place among you as a humble servant of the Lord.[3]

After the congregation voted to allow Marsh to be baptized, Young offered this assessment of his predecessor as president of the Quorum of the Twelve:

I presume that Brother Marsh will take no offen[s]e if I talk a little about him. We have manifested our feelings towards him, and we know his situation. With regard to this Church’s being reconciled to him, I can say that this Church and people were never dissatisfied with him; for when men and women apostatize and go from us, we have nothing to do with them. If they do that which is evil, they will suffer for it. Brother Marsh has suffered….

He has told you that he is an old man. Do you think that I am an old man? I could prove to this congregation that I am young; for I could find more girls who would choose me for a husband than can any of the young men. Brother Thomas considers himself very aged and infirm, and you can see that he is, brethren and sisters. What is the cause of it? He left the Gospel of salvation. What do you think the difference is between his age and mine? One year and seven months to a day; and he is one year, seven months, and fourteen days older than brother Heber C. Kimball. “Mormonism” keeps men and women young and handsome; and when they are full of the Spirit of God, there are none of them but what will have a glow upon their countenances; and that is what makes you and me young; for the Spirit of God is with us and within us.

When Brother Thomas thought of returning to the Church, the plurality of wives troubled him a good deal. Look at him. Do you think it need to? I do not; for I doubt whether he could get one wife. Why it should have troubled an infirm old man like him is not for me to say.[4]

Despite this uncharitable welcome, Marsh did rejoin the faith. He died a pauper in Ogden nine years later.

_______________________
[1] Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents, 5 vols., 5: 368.

[2] A committee of non-Mormons from Ray County appended their signatures to the affidavit, stating: “The undersigned committee on the part of the citizens of Ray County have no doubt but that Thomas B. Marsh & Orson Hyde, whose names are signed to the foregoing certificates, have been members of the Mormon Church in full fellowship until very recently when they voluntarily abandoned the Mormon Church & faith. And that said Marsh was, at the time of his dissenting, the President of the Twelve Apostles & President of the Church at Far West, and that said Hyde was, at that time, one of the Twelve Apostles. And that they left the church & abandoned the faith of the Mormons from a conviction of their immorality & impiety.”

[3] Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 5: 208

[4] Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 5: 210

Bookmark The Milk & Strippings Story, Thomas B. Marsh, and Brigham Young

Comments

  1. Wow – fascinating. So where does the milk & strippings story fit in (i.e. how well attested is it?) and how did it come to be the dominate narrative?

  2. dominant.

  3. Margaret Young says:

    Wow, John. What an important and beautifully composed post. Thank you!!

  4. Steve Evans says:

    DCL, the narrative comes to us as recounted by George Albert Smith. I am not sure whether or not it is factual. I doubt it.

  5. The milk story was taught in our Gospel Doctrine class Sunday, but nothing further was said about it; ie, the “gospel of prosperity” never came up.

    Brigham Young, what to do with him? A man of immense energy and talent, firm in his defense of the faith, yet still quick to criticize those who fell into his disfavor. He once said some pretty harsh things about the members of the failed 1873 mission to the Little Colorado drainage of Arizona, calling them “squaws”, and saying that “we should have sent the Relief Society”.

    Yet he is also the man who led the Saints across the plains, and maintained the church through the Utah War, and the increasing pressure over polygamy and economic uncertainty and shortage of resources. In short, he was a complex individual, not unlike most of us, called to fulfill an impossible stewardship, succeeding in so many things, yet in historical perspective, we find much to be wanting.

    Not unlike how most of us may be viewed a hundred years hence, I suspect. To the extent that Thomas B. Marsh removed himself from the church, he suffered for being outside of the covenant. What could he have accomplished, had he stayed in the church, and tried to effect positive change from within? It’s pretty certain that his counsel was discounted by those within the church after he left and signed his affidavit. He can be admired for following his conscience, and not accepting non-scriptural actions that escalated the violence, but by leaving, he perhaps reduced the good that he could have done.

    We admire Brigham Young and his accomplishments, in spite of his mistakes, but we mostly remember Marsh for a single mistake, ignore the bigger one, and forget most of the good he did while he served. Had he stayed, we might remember him more fondly.

    Great post, John.

  6. I have referred to Elder Kofford’s talk ( http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-19-32,00.html ) before. Its main theme bears repeating. “Keep each person’s name safe in your home.”
    I’d say the Thomas Marsh tale falls into the broad category of people whose good names we have besmirched in our storytelling. In the spirit of “keep[ing] each person’s name safe in our home,” it seems clear that someone with knowledge of the more complete stories of people mentioned for good or ill in Church history should look through the manuals and suggest places where someone’s name has become unjustly tainted. Our manuals should include the more complete stories, such as what Hamer has provided here.
    I was rather taken aback when I researched the life of Albert Sidney Johnston, who had been quite demonized in stories I had heard. He was a remarkable man. After the battle of Shiloh, where he received a mortal wound, he sent his personal physician to care for the wounded Union soldiers. Johnston was a Confederate.

  7. John Hamer says:

    DCL (1-2): As Steve (4) says, the milk and strippings story was popularized (possibly created) by G.A. Smith in Utah in the 1850s. In his telling of the milk and strippings story, Smith said that Thomas Marsh “immediately took an appeal to the High Council, who investigated the question with much patience, and I assure you they were a grave body.” However, we have the contemporary minutes of the High Council at Far West and there is no mention of any such case. Of course we can’t say there was no incident between Elizabeth Marsh and an unidentified “Sr. Harris,” but the fact that Thomas Marsh explained his motives in a contemporary affidavit that survives, gives his original account more credibility than Smith’s later reminiscence.

  8. Nice post, John. I always shift in my seat when this stories comes up in Sunday School or Priesthood, and try to explain nicely that George A. Smith likely just made up the story and that the reality is that Marsh’s decision to leave the church was far more complicated.

    The Smith quote comes from Journal of Discourses 3:283 (April 6, 1856) and Heber C. Kimball also referenced it in JD 5:28-29 (July 12, 1857). Someone with background in folklore methodology should do a study of all the stories Smith and others begin to tell during the 1850s about the 1830s.

  9. Remember the other day when we were singing George A.’s praises for saying that GA’s words not always perfect?

  10. Fascinating. What a world it would be if John Hamer were on the correlation committee. Marsh’s “return” speech is so similar to Cowdery’s it makes me wonder how much influence BY had on the content (or was this just standard apology speech for the time?).

  11. “When Brother Thomas thought of returning to the Church, the plurality of wives troubled him a good deal. Look at him. Do you think it need to? I do not; for I doubt whether he could get one wife. Why it should have troubled an infirm old man like him is not for me to say.”

    Brigham Young indeed. :)

  12. John Hamer says:

    I actually don’t have anything against folklore. But I do prefer folklore that is harmless and teaches morals that I like.

    For example, there’s no contemporary account of the story that women sacrificed and broke up their china so that the stucco of the Kirtland Temple would sparkle. And modern analysis of the old stucco (removed and replaced in the 1950s), did nothing to confirm the story. (It probably doesn’t make any sense; certainly already broken china and glass could be used in the mix, but whole china could have been sold to generate much needed funds.) Even so, I like the story because it paints a picture of something that is true: the early Saints sacrificed all that they had and more to build that temple.

    So I’m not saying anything against G.A. Smith now by debunking a fable he told well (any more than I was singing his praises on the previous thread; since that would have constituted an appeal to authority, which I endeavor never to do). Folklore, history, (and scripture too), may overlap, but they are all different things and they all have different benefits and limitations.

  13. I think it is critical, in regards to Thomas B. Marsh, to tell the story as best as we can with the extant historical data. While George Albert Smith, for instance, used Marsh’s apostasy to deliver a moral tale focused around the milk situation while overlooking the bigger picture, others seem to have a tendency to turn Marsh into a different sort of moral lesson; one that makes him into a hero of sorts who was misunderstood or even abused by the Church or Church leaders. In my current estimation of the historical data I see historical problems with both of these approaches; they both fail to do justice to the historical record, they both seem to fail to do justice to the people involved. I’m currently working on a full paper in regards to the Marsh story, the folklore, the situation, how it has been explained, what the historical records say (such as church court records, etc.) and the broader picture.

  14. In short: blaming Marsh’s apostasy on the milk episode is clearly faulty. To then dismiss the milk story as false is likewise faulty, and I plan to check more closely what the historical record we have says, and go from there.

  15. BHodges–I’m really eager to see your paper when it’s finished. Will you post or just present?

  16. John Hamer says:

    Hawk (10): I don’t think there’s much that connects the returns of Cowdery and Marsh. Marsh returned a pauper and threw himself totally on the mercy of Brigham Young. That’s the kind of reconciliation Young liked best.

    By contrast, Cowdery’s reconciliation was apparently planned as a precursor to forwarding his own claims to a leadership role in Mormonism. As Cowdery asserted at the time in a letter to David Whitmer, the two of them had essential keys that were superior to those held by Brigham Young and the Twelve. After his rebaptism, Cowdery traveled to Whitmer’s house and soon died of illness. I speculate that if Cowdery had lived he would have made some overture to Young about some trade of legitimacy: Cowdery and Whitmer would give Young legitimacy in exchange for some prominent role. Young would then have either dismissed the offer out of hand or accepted the legitimacy while reneging on giving Cowdery any position. Either way, I think it’s unlikely Cowdery would have died a Brighamite. In the event, he died in communion with Whitmer and his wife and daughter continued to be Whitmerites after his death.

  17. John Hamer says:

    BHodges (13-14): I didn’t actually offer any interpretation of Marsh’s acts. I just listed what he said his motives were at the time. Like Margaret (15), I look forward to what you dig up. Keep us posted.

  18. I haven’t decided yet but it might just wind up as a blog post, depending on how much new information I can dig up. Since the Marsh story gets repeated in conference or in manuals, as well as other places like BCC, we could really use a more definitive historical look at the circumstances. I’ve got a lot more archive work to do, but I’ve found a few interesting bits so far. :)

  19. Ah, thanks, John. I think I misunderstood your comment that said “So I’m not saying anything against G.A. Smith now by debunking a fable he told well.”

    I thought you were calling it a fable. I’ll let you know what I find. So far, it seems the story has truth to it, but it also seems GAS was certainly overlooking significant things that led to TBM’s apostasy.

    Hey, what do you know? The original “TBM”!

  20. John Hamer says:

    BHodges (19): Ok, I misunderstood your comment about offering interpretations. I thought you were saying that I was among those who “turn Marsh into a different sort of moral lesson; one that makes him into a hero.” Which I don’t believe I did in this post.

    However, I certainly was interpreting the G.A. Smith story to be a fable/folklore. (I did occasionally throw around weasel words like “possibly” and “likely,” which is the accurate way of saying it, since there’s nothing conclusive, as I say above.) That said, if I hear evidence to the contrary, I will revise my interpretation.

  21. John–

    Well, as long as we’re all confessing misunderstandings, then I will say that my (9.) and referenced in (12.) was not meant to imply anything negative about the post or your intent. Rather, I just thought it was wonderfully ironic that, in the matter of a few short days, we have a post with George A. talking about half/non-truths that GA’s have said, and also a post with George A. telling a half/non-truth.

    Good stuff.

  22. John Hamer says:

    As long as we’re making confessions, I’m surprised that no one ever calls me out on referencing all scriptures using the Brick Testament (my preferred translation of the Bible).

  23. A Lego Charleton Heston? I’m sold.

  24. Randy B. says:

    Great post, John. This past week, my wife was also supposed to teach the milk strippings story in GD. Thanks to a prior write up of yours, the class got to hear the more complicated picture usually omitted. Again, great stuff.

  25. Scott,
    There are (at least) two different George A Smiths. I believe the one from last week was of the twentieth century variety, no?

  26. Kinda O says:

    Scott, I think we are talking about two different people:
    –19th century apostle George A. Smith in this post, and
    –the post-WWII president, George Albert Smith in the post you linked to

  27. Didn’t Paul H. Dunn save Marsh from marauding Japanese soldiers during WWII?

  28. even given the fuller understanding of these events, the ‘lessons’ of the fable seem to provice continued importance. evidence Bednar’s Oct ’06 talk “And NOthing Shall Offend Them”

  29. Great write-up, John. This is very much needed context.

    I do believe there are at least Nauvoo era discussions of the millk story, but I am not in a place to look it up, so can’t say. Either way, it doesn’t matter, for the reasons you point out.

  30. Suppose instead Thomas B. Marsh had left because he thought the Priesthood Ban immoral. Would he have been rehabilitated in 1978? Or was his sin one of apostasy, independent of whether he were ultimately right? (Assuming it was man and not God who changed his mind in 1978… which was it anyway?)

    Do they not also serve who vote with their feet (and conscience), if the result is that God is moved by the loss of such righteous men to reveal righteousness in their defense. After all, it worked for Lot.

  31. John C.–
    By golly, you’re right. I’ve crossed my George Albert Smiths.

  32. J. Stapley: Yes, there are Nauvoo era discussions on it. Further, there is more to Marsh’s story that need to be taken into account before making posts like Dan Weston’s above, which seem to make Marsh into a morality tale much like GAS’s account does, contrary historical evidence notwithstanding.

  33. John, very interesting indeed (Loved the Brick Testament and it will be my translation of choice. I think I just spent an hour reading it. I loved Revelations especially!

    Also this line: ‘“Mormonism” keeps men and women young and handsome’ is relevant to Margaret’s post.

    What do I believe about our illustrative stories designed to teach a moral? Just don’t tell me the seagull and cricket story isn’t true.

  34. There is a Church history video that portrays the cause of Marsh’s leaving the Church differently from the milk story. The video is discussed http://www.millennialstar.org/church-video-on-thomas-b-marshs-apostasy/

    I am one of those who questions the milk story. David Keller came up with some evidence that the story was around much earlier than George Albert Smith’s telling. You can read some of my comments and Keller’s responses and citations and quotations at http://www.millennialstar.org/richard-dutcher-leaves-church/

  35. John Hamer says:

    Re: The seagulls… Oh dear, Steve (33). Just cover your ears!!!

  36. Dan,

    The answer to your question probably depends on who you ask, which is another way of saying that there is probably not a good answer at all. Although it’s a theoretically interesting question, my hunch is that in practice, it doesn’t come into play very often, because the scenario you suggest–i.e., a dispute with the Church leadership over a particular doctrine or policy–suggests that they question the leadership’s claim to revelation on that particular subject. Then, if the leaders eventually alter the disputed policy to be in harmony with the disputing individual’s prior beliefs, it’s counter intuitive that such a change would serve to increase the disputer’s faith in the leadership. Kind of a, “I thought you were wrong, and now I know you were, so what else are you wrong about?” situation. While counterexamples may exist, I can only imagine that they are not common.

    However, I would draw a distinction here between actual separation from the Church–actual apostasy, meaning no more membership, etc…–and simple inactivity in the Church, which is the route far more frequently taken over such disputes. Reconciliation in the latter case is almost certainly more frequent.

    My personal feelings on the subject are that God is very understanding of those with passionate feelings on difficult subjects like the Priesthood Ban and other topics we could name. Beyond that, I do not know.

  37. I just spent more than an hour looking at the Brick Testament… Wow. I had no idea… wow.

  38. I love the Brick Testament; I used it a while back on a post. Very fun indeed. The sculptor(?) has a great sense of humor in illustrating some of the stories.

  39. Good post John, however is Marsh would leave the church over Mormon Mobacracy, he would leave it even faster over sexual immorality.

    (5) kevinf Says:

    To the extent that Thomas B. Marsh removed himself from the church, he suffered for being outside of the covenant. What could he have accomplished, had he stayed in the church, and tried to effect positive change from within?

    Wow that statement is just amazing that in our times that someone would be so superstitious and callus to imply that faithful members are blessed and inactives or apostates are cursed in body and pocketbook!

    What secret sin was Hunter hiding that he didn’t even complete a two year mission as Prophet?

    Oh please! Help make change from within?

    There are just as many pedophiles, in the church as outside. Thousands of which are dead and deserve to be excommunicated posthumously, if for not other reason to give their living victims a sense of justice.

    This is a worthy cause that does good for the victims, and stops that cover up of the abusers.

    Feel free to start with my grandpa.

    Go ahead, work from the inside to get that change made.

    You self righteous…… (fill in the blank) inside the covenant…..

    I know it will sound like I am getting stories mixed up with O. Pratt, but I thought that Marsh left, because, someone made overtures to his wife while Marsh was out of town?

    That being true trumps both reasons to exit.

    I did not find conformation of that, but Todd C. ISL page 38 references an affidavit by Marsh, where Marsh is upset that JS never admitted to his affair with FA.

    While not the same as someone hitting on your wife while you are away on church business, but adultery and mobacratic retaliation to a person of high moral character could be more than they should put up with.

    If I were a betting man, and I am, I would bet that Marsh is on my side of the change from with in when it comes to posthumously X-ing Pedophiles.

    Perry

  40. This was an interesting post. Too bad an LDS version of Godwin’s law was invoked in #39.

  41. Perry,
    Wah? Also, be nice.

  42. $39 – If you know anything about kevinf, you know your description of him and your take on his comment is . . . how to say this charitably . . . wrong.

    As I look at both comments, I’ll take kevinf’s in a heartbeat.

  43. John Mansfield says:

    For any interested in Thomas B. Marsh, I would recommend those links that DavidH gives in comment #34; in the Dutcher thread the comments by DavidH, David Keller, and myself are mingled with other stuff, so keep searching through the text for “Marsh.” There was much that preceded the Mormon War matters that John Hamer discusses, and I won’t repeat it all here.

    John Hamer tells us that “History is somewhat different than the fable.” So is the present. A half year back my Elders quorum discussed apostasy during our Sunday meeting. Thomas B. Marsh and his differences with Joseph Smith that lead to Section 112 were discussed. One brother brought up the Mormon War matters that John Hamer discusses here. The milk strippings story was just one part of the story for us, and not the only thing for which Thomas B. Marsh is remembered by Latter-day Saints.

  44. Steve Evans says:

    John M., would be that the present were as uniformly wonderful everywhere – the lesson manual for Gospel Doctrine this year presents the milk & strippings story, sans context, with the clear moral message that Bro. Marsh left over some yogurt.

  45. John Mansfield says:

    Why is my comment regarding Lucinda Morgan Harris embargoed?

  46. John Mansfield says:

    From John Hamer’s comment #7: “Of course we can’t say there was no incident between Elizabeth Marsh and an unidentified ‘Sr. Harris,’ but” . . .

    In what sense is George Harris’s wife unidentified? Is there any reason to think “Sister Harris” was anyone other than Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris (Smith)?

  47. Michael says:

    #12: John –
    My late grandfather had a theory regarding “breaking the china to make the temple sparkle”.

    This was probably much more an attempt to create an equal society. Living on the frontier would be rough, but there would be things a family could own that would elevate their own status. Having a fancy set of china, brought across the plains as a family heirloom would have fit this bill. Take away the china, and you take away a great deal of one-upmanship. Thereafter, anyone who still had “Great-Grandmother’s willow pattern” didn’t really love Jesus, since they hadn’t given it for the Temple mortar. Additionally, you save yourself a great many inheritance fights down the road.

    Grandpa also figured that “Antiques Road Show” was going to eventually cause more family fights than anything else.

    Loved the post. I always wondered about this little snippet of a fable – it just didn’t sit right. I myself never repeated it when teaching – there always seemed to be better stories to illustrate the same point.

  48. John Hamer says:

    JohnM (46): Does G.A. Smith identify Sr. Harris as Lucinda Harris? I only meant unidentified in the sense that he didn’t identify which Sr. Harris was meant, not that we are unable to speculate. Re (43): I’m very glad to hear your EQ remembers that there was more to the story; sounds like a great discussion.

  49. “This precept is part of the “gospel of prosperity”: the righteous are blessed (here on earth) and the wicked are punished (here on earth). The problem is that we all know that it rains on the righteous and the wicked alike. It may be comforting when you’re prosperous to believe that prosperity is a sign of your righteousness, but it’s quite another thing when suffering some inadvertent hardship to be additionally burdened by the belief that this is punishment for your wickedness. For every Thomas B. Marsh who left the faith in apostasy and died a pauper, there’s a John C. Bennett who left, lived a successful life, and died prosperous. How many faithful Saints died of hardship, poverty, and disease on the trek west? This teaching is both senseless and pernicious.”

    Its unfortunate that this “senseless and pernicious” teaching is such a dominant theme in the book of mormon.

  50. John Hamer says:

    Michael (47): That’s a very nice way to tell the story. (Of course, the people in Kirtland didn’t have to bring their china across the plains, elevating its cost, but the moral about one-upmanship over vain things would be the same.)

  51. Not that anyone here needs the reminder, but I think it’s worth noting that whatever George A. Smith’s faults (this story and his small and ancillary role in the MMM come to mind), he was integral part of the church’s early growth, and one of the most interesting of the early saints from an historical point of view. From Zion’s Camp to colonizing Utah, he was critical to many early church programs. Maybe not a sine qua non of the early church, but not far from it.

    Again, though, I’m not indicating that anyone is casting aspersions at him as such, but I just want to be certain we all don’t judge him by this one event alone.

  52. Perry, # 39.

    Yikes! I didn’t get around to this thread again yesterday after I made my post. So, you said…”Wow that statement is just amazing that in our times that someone would be so superstitious and callus to imply that faithful members are blessed and inactives or apostates are cursed in body and pocketbook!”

    I’m not generally superstitious, but I do have calluses on my guitar fingers. Having recently read some things about Marsh’s leaving the church, John’s post got me to thinking. I’ve got a couple of friends who were excommunicated for a time, and are now back inside the church, and I think that they would tell me that they suffered during their time out of the church, primarily in spiritual terms.

    I don’t think that I was defending the “gospel of prosperity”, or pedophiles, for that matter. I’m not sure where that came from, anyway.

    As to the ultimate reasons Marsh left the church, we’ll never know for sure. I was primarily responding to the statements by Brigham Young, who was as quick with the harsh word as the kind gesture, apparently. Something you appear to be familiar with, as well.

    As to your claim that there are just as many pedophiles within the church as without, assuming a random distribution of pedophiles both within and without the church and a world population estimated at 8 billion, then there would be around 98.3% of all pedophiles outside the church. I would anticipate similar numbers for zombies, or Nazis. Take your pick.

  53. I thought about this post–especially Brigham Young’s quote above–last night while I was struggling to fall asleep. In the wee hours of the night, inspiration finally shone down upon me, and I was privileged to see that, contrary to all the assumptions here, Brigham was not berating Thomas B. Marsh at all. Nope.

    Rather, this was the very first incidence of the Friar’s Club. Brigham was simply roasting Thomas B. Marsh. Calling the man ugly? Saying he can’t get the ladies? Talking himself up? It’s pretty clear to me that, if we had audio of this discourse, the audience would be rolling in laughter, with TBM sitting center stage with a robe around his shoulders and a plate of fried zucchini and a glass of ironport in front of him. Right?

    (sigh)

  54. Good one, Scott B.

  55. i>If Peter’s path had gone astray and if had come to Rome, infirm, destitute, and seeking forgiveness, how do we expect Paul would greet his former rival? Would he have spat in his face? Or would he have played out the role of the father who welcomed back the prodigal son with open arms in the parable of Jesus?

    As I see it, Brigham Young, playing out the role of the judgmental older brother, spat in the prodigal son’s face. By warmly welcoming Marsh into the fold just prior to his death, however, the Josephites played out the role of the loving father, wiping the (Brighamite) spit from the prodigal son’s face before falling on his neck, kissing him, clothing him, and throwing a feast in his honor.

  56. John Mansfield says:

    I understand arguing with George A. Smith’s (and Gordon Hinckley’s and David Bednar’s) analysis of the causes of Marsh’s apostasy, but several commenters seem to have been left with the impression that George A. Smith was making up stuff in 1856. Smith previously mentioned the milk incident briefly on December 21, 1845 (link):

    Sometimes mere trifles destroy the confidence which each ought to have in the other. This prevents a union of faith and feeling. The apostacy of Thomas B. Marsh was caused by so small a thing as a pint of strippings and his oaths brought the exterminating order which drove us all out of Missouri.

    Also, Henry William Bigler wrote in his journal after the fact that he had been present at Sister Marsh’s trial before Bishop Partridge (link).

  57. John Mansfield says:

    I’ll try again to leave a link to a short summary of Lucinda Morgan Harris. The elements of her life would make her many a Mormon history fan’s dream girl.

    http://www.hollandlandoffice.com/Lucinda_Morgan.htm

  58. John Mansfield says:

    I’ve tried a couple times to leave a link to a short summary of Lucinda Morgan Harris, but the website rejects my comments with that URL. The elements of her life would make her many a Mormon history fan’s dream girl.

    What does BCC have against the Holland Land Office Museum?

  59. Peter LLC says:

    several commenters seem to have been left with the impression that George A. Smith was making up stuff in 1856. Smith previously mentioned the milk incident briefly on December 21, 1845

    So did he make stuff up in 1845 then?

  60. John Hamer says:

    Thanks for the reference, JohnM (56). I don’t know what was wrong with our autofilter (58). As Stapley (29) points out, even if it’s first told a decade earlier, G.A. Smith’s reminiscence remains significantly less credible than Marsh’s contemporary statement about his own motives. I didn’t mention G.A. Smith in my original post because I didn’t want this discussion to focus on Smith’s motives for telling this story the way he did. I think G.A. Smith comes off best in this when he’s not mentioned at all, and I think the best way to protect his reputation is to cease repeating his milk and strippings story.

  61. wow, how UNLIKE Joseph Smith was Brigham Young… the two could not be more polar opposites.

  62. Brigham Young was a good man — a better man than most, but not perfect. No purpose is served by exaggerating his differences from and minimizing his similarities to Joseph Smith.

  63. John Mansfield says:

    Thoughts:

    1) It isn’t very historically-minded to send G.A. Smith’s story to the memory hole even it were thought to be fabricated.

    2) If the 18-year lag in the formal recording of a story is a weakness in its trustworthiness, then why wouldn’t a similar story with a 7-year lag be more trustworthy?

    3) Was Bigler making up stuff too, writing himself into G.A. Smith’s made-up story?

    4) G.A. Smith had a limited ability to know Marsh’s motives, but Marsh, as all of us, also had a limited ability to judge himself. Our own interpretations of our motives are not necessarily the most correct. If Marsh actually had been stewing over a church court involving his wife and a trivial disagreement, it would have been difficult for him to recognize that as a motive at the time he left the church. It certainly would not have had any place in his affidavit.

  64. my apologies Ardis, but I keep getting more and more offended by him, the more I learn about him. As I was reading through John’s post here, I was on the fence in terms of what I should expect from Brigham Young. Part of me expected him to act rudely, while at the same time, part of my had hoped to see great appreciation that Marsh had come back into the fold. I was disappointed that it was the former and not the latter. Then again, as one commentator said, we might be missing the context because of the written word. This may have actually been a “roast” and everybody was laughing and having a good time. I don’t know. I have a hard time liking Brigham Young right now.

  65. #63–
    John Mansfield makes a good point, since according to the link he provided, Bigler did record the conflict over the strippings. It seems clear that the event happened. It seems equally clear that at the most, it was a contributing factor to Marsh’s leaving the Church, but only a small contributing factor. Does that sound fair?

  66. Steve Evans says:

    Ardis, agreed. Brigham was a great man. Demonizing him serves no purpose here. Pick your battles, Dan.

  67. I’m not demonizing him. I just get disappointed the more I learn about him. Can you guys like share more positive stories about him? :)

  68. belledame2 says:

    This is another reason why I take General Conference talks with a grain of salt and do research myself before believing anything that’s said by a GA (or Julie Beck) for that matter!

  69. Toads Hair Comb says:

    If one looks at other BY comments on Marsh and takes them as at least potentially true, perhaps Brigham was simply returning the favor. In 1847, when he was reminiscing about earlier periods, he complained about the way that Marsh (and other leaders) would criticize him. “I never opened my mouth when they lammed it on to me,” he said. There are one or two similar comments from the late 1840s. So when Marsh comes back, Brigham is now on top and gives him a taste of his own medicine. [I don't know if BY was accurate about Marsh's leadership, but if it's true, it helps explain the apparently cruel response]. Prophets are, after all, only human beings.

  70. John, is it possible that Thomas Marsh issued the affidavit for self-serving purposes? For which purpose did he issue it? Which authority sealed the affidavit?

  71. “I don’t know. I have a hard time liking Brigham Young right now.”

    Please, Steve, that hardly amounts to a demonization of Brigham Young. Words have meaning.

  72. Margaret:

    In addition to the sources JM provides, there are also some statements in the Marsh papers in the church archives that may tell more of the tale, in addition to some possible records of the church court trial. The trouble with that aspect, however, is jurisdiction, in regards to where the court would have occurred and what record would have recorded it.

  73. Hellmut, I believe this was the offending remark:

    “wow, how UNLIKE Joseph Smith was Brigham Young… the two could not be more polar opposites.”

  74. By the way, I think BY’s comments seem rather harsh, too. But compare them to how Marsh described himself when he returned, as well as the reasons given. Also consider the other aspects of Marsh’s apostasy that BY and others could have trumpeted but kept quiet about. There is much more to this story.

  75. Steve Evans says:

    Words have meaning!?!? Good heavens, Hellmut! I hadn’t the slightest. Here’s a word with meaning for you.

  76. I thought about this post–especially Brigham Young’s quote above–last night while I was struggling to fall asleep. In the wee hours of the night, inspiration finally shone down upon me, and I was privileged to see that, Young was buying into Marsh’s narrative. Marsh used the narrative that BY is quoted for over and over again in the course of his return to fellowship with the Saints.

    It became a part of the identity he used, just FYI.

  77. BHodges, Hamer and others–I really hope there’s more than a mere post about this important subject. At the very least, the D&C/Church History Sunday School manual must be revised so that teachers aren’t breaking a commandment and “bearing false witness” against Thomas Marsh when they teach “by the manual.”

  78. We should also note that others have recently posted about Simonds Ryder, who is also mentioned in the D&C/Church History lesson many of us got or gave last Sunday. http://said-he-she.blogspot.com/
    I’d like more of that story as well!

  79. That’s funny, Margaret, because after a quick pass through that discussion (and others) at He-She, I want NO more of it.

  80. **** I would love ANY information on the mormon crickets**** So far my best source of information is the journal of John Ray Young. I’m working on a children’s picture book related to this story and would love to be accurate.

    For curiosity’s sake, John’s father Lorenzo was Brigham Young’s brother. He came over in the first group with Brigham Young. He brought his second wife (who was pregnant)-this all much to BY’s annoyance. He also brought over his younger son and Harriet’s young son-the only boys of the group. Anyway John (10)and his brothers Joseph Watson Young (19) and Franklin Wheeler (8)young crossed the plains in the Grant Noble company. All of the three boys kept journals. Joseph scarcely mentioned the two younger boys. John wrote of how lonesome he and his brother felt (a bit dramatically IMO-as if my own 9yo wrote it). Does anyone have any information on this family-esepcially what Joseph was doing with himself? It appears from John’s writing that the two younger boys shifted for themselves, but that seems so unlikely.

    It is possible they were responsible for a wagon, to bring things over for their father. He had already brought over fruit trees and a cow with the first group (again to BY’s displeasure).

    I better stop before I ramble on forever

  81. Scott B. — Ouch!

  82. BiV, I love you and all, but the French Maid outfit discussion…

  83. # 41 John C. Says:
    Perry,
    Wah? Also, be nice.

    I was just as nice as BY was…. to Marsh, but not quite as nice as JS.

    Oh Ardis, do you think that JS was nicer than BY, he sure was nicer to Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner Smith Young, than BY was to her, never providing or her financially even when she was a widow.

    BTW who put you in charge of how we are suppose to reverence the dead. A spade is a spade.

    # 42 Ray Says:

    #39 – If you know anything about kevinf, you know your description of him and your take on his comment is . . . how to say this charitably . . . wrong.

    Perry> His past performance does not change his current statement “To the extent that Thomas B. Marsh removed himself from the church, he suffered for being outside of the covenant. ”

    That is a pretty big assumption that Marsh’s health and looks were the result of a curse for leaving the church.

    The biggest of those assumptions is that God acts that way and that there is no valid reason to leave the church?

    Do a self check and list 5 valid reasons for leaving the church, if spilt milk is one of them you are not taking this exercise seriously.

    Ray> As I look at both comments, I’ll take kevinf’s in a heartbeat.

    Perry> Your me too vote is duly noted. :^)

    If Marsh was justified in leaving the church, then God would have had no reason to curse him with bad health and/or bad looks. So if such did happen it was random, not divine.

    Again no one picked up on how Mash was upset with Joseph’s morals, or lack of such.

    Page 39 In Sacred Loneliness:
    Apostle Thomas Marsh, in an affidavit-letter dated February 15, 1838, wrote “I heard Oliver Cowdery say to Joseph Smith Jr., while at Gorge W. Harris’ house, in Far West that he (Joseph) never confessed to him, (Oliver) that he was guilty of the crime alleged to him [adultery]. And O. Cowdery gave me to understand that Joseph Smith Jr. never acknowledged to him. that he [Smith] ever confessed to any one, that he [Smith] was guilty of the above crime [adultery].”

    But I digress, after all Joseph was nicer than Brigham Young, at least to other men’s wife’s.

    Perry

  84. Another really great post, John. Well written and poignantly express, as usual.

    I believe that there’s a more general point to be made about Thomas Marsh’s uncharitable, in-your-face reception at the hands of Brigham. Mormon culture teaches us to have an outward veneer of friendliness, but Mormons, as a people, aren’t really very friendly, in the sense of being engaging in a friend-like way. I’m describing what I see as a distribution, not a hard-and-fast rule, and several notable exceptions come to mind immediately: Margaret and Darius and you and Brad Kramer and John Dehlin. But Brigham Young’s treatment represents an all-too-common outlook among Mormons.

    But the gospel of prosperity that you discuss is a dominant cultural assumption among many mormons, and it is a doctrine of pride and of envy. I don’t think that real Christian love and charity is possible when it’s mixed with such an outlook.

    I know people who have spent their entire lives helping others, but as they get older and infirm, they cannot bring themselves to accept the help of others. What does this tell us of their opinion of the people they helped? Is that real Christian charity?

    All of our chapels say, “Visitors Welcome.” But they’re not, really. I have a gay friend who’s staunch Republican and conservative, which means that he doesn’t really fit in at church’s sympathetic to his lifestyle, and he doesn’t really fit in at church’ sympathetic to his political outlook. It’s too bad that he couldn’t feel comfortable at the ward that I attend. And what does it say about me that I go there?

  85. Kevin # 52 states:

    I’m not generally superstitious,

    To the extent that Thomas B. Marsh removed himself from the church, he suffered for being outside of the covenant.

    So your belief that people that are outside the convent, is a statistical fact or superstitious belief?

    Which is it?

    Kevin> I’ve got a couple of friends who were excommunicated for a time, and are now back inside the church, and I think that they would tell me that they suffered during their time out of the church, primarily in spiritual terms.

    I think you need a larger sampling.

    Kevin> I don’t think that I was defending the “gospel of prosperity”, or pedophiles, for that matter. I’m not sure where that came from, anyway.

    You asserted that members can change things from within.

    I gave an example of something that is clearly wrong, we go out and baptize and run dead people through the endowment without giving much thought to if they really want that work done, but then we do know of people (pedophiles) that are dead and not worthy for one second of temple blessings, but keep their temple status, when we KNOW they are not worthy.

    So Kevin go to your SP this weekend and suggest that change from within.

    Here is a more simple one, the 3 hour block is too long for children and adults. Most forget what happened in the first hour by the end of the 2nd hour let alone after the 3rd hour. So why not a more reasonable meeting schedule?

    It has been seen over and over again, if you don’t have a calling, it become way to easy to skip church from time to time and over time skip often.

    People that skip church a lot don’t pay tithing.

    So if you want the tithing money to keep at its current level you need to give everyone a job so they show up to church.

    The logical answer is to make more DIVINE investments to that the church is not dependent on tithing flow, and then shorten the 3 hour block.

    If you are going to armchair QB what Mash should have done, then I can armchair QB what you need to change from within that most normal people see as a weekly problem.

    Kevin> As to the ultimate reasons Marsh left the church, we’ll never know for sure. I was primarily responding to the statements by Brigham Young, who was as quick with the harsh word as the kind gesture, apparently. Something you appear to be familiar with, as well.

    I still find this statement appalling:

    “To the extent that Thomas B. Marsh removed himself from the church, he suffered for being outside of the covenant.”

    That has got to make non-members gag.

    Kevin> As to your claim that there are just as many pedophiles within the church as without, assuming a random distribution of pedophiles both within and without the church and a world population estimated at 8 billion, then there would be around 98.3% of all pedophiles outside the church. I would anticipate similar numbers for zombies, or Nazis. Take your pick.

    My friend works at the SLC rape crisis center and sexual assault of all kinds in Utah, is as high if not higher then most of the worse states….

    My new husband of my former spouse recent went to prison for child molesting. Two years ago he was in the temple attending my son’s wedding….

    May your daughter never live in the same house as a child molester, but if that ever happens to you, I would bet you would not be making wise cracks about “zombies, or Nazis”.

    Perry

  86. DKL: “Margaret and Darius and you and Brad Kramer and John Dehlin”

    WTF, man, where’s the love.

    Perry, you’re in the mod queue for acting like a weirdo.

  87. It isn’t an act, Steve.

  88. Thanks for pointing out the error, Steve. I meant to say:

    “Margaretand Darius and John Hamer and Steve Evans and John Dehlin immediately come to mind.”

    Actually, what’s more to the point is this: I didn’t mean to imply that anyone I excluded was a heartless SOB. I also, for example, didn’t mention any of my fellow perma-bloggers, but I think that they’re amazing and loving individuals, every one of them.

  89. And, for the record, I was both younger looking and more handsome when I was inactive.

  90. Steve Evans says:

    DKL, you may have not meant that implication, but it was a remarkably apt one nonetheless.

  91. Twily Spree says:

    Good post, John. Apparently, the “bitter fruits of apostasy” include a public emasculation at the hands of the Prophet.

  92. DKL (#89)–I believe that could not possibly be true. It would simply be mind-boggling. How could you be more handsome than you are now? (Of course, I am simply adding evidence to DKL’s claim that I am unusually friendly. Hoping for a niblet. But seriously, DKL is one good-looking young man. Looks young to me, anyway.)

  93. Thomas Parkin says:

    “And, for the record, I was both younger looking and more handsome when I was inactive.”

    Me, too. I also wore a lot more black. ~

  94. And Thomas Parkin is handsome too! I just met him. Makes me think of _It’s A Wonderful Life_. Clarence says of George something like, “He has a nice face. I like that face.”

    On a more serious note, it is sad to realize that Church authorities–not just in BY’s time–have not always restrained themselves from publicly humiliating someone they didn’t agree with. Actually, it’s sad to realize that others of us have or would behave that way.

  95. Thomas Parkin says:

    I just met Margaret, and I feel like a chubby middle aged man who has a 13 year old crush. So, Margaret, if I follow you around the naccle like a little puppy dog for the next few weeks, I’m sure you’ll forgive me. *smirk* ~

  96. Sounds like very gentle stalking to me, Thomas. Go for it.
    And thanks for the compliment. I’m actually old enough to be your mother, you know–if I had gotten pregnant very young. And as I told you at Benchmark, your words have always struck me as wise enough to come from a much older man.

  97. Holy, get a room!

  98. with your Bishop!

  99. I don’t mean to threadjack from the original post, which I love – I really like “the rest of the story” stories. I fell like I am in some secret little club.
    But to get at the positive BY stories, I remember from Leonard Arrington’s American Moses a story he shared from the Utah days. In trying to raise money for one of the church projects he sold Word of Wisdom exemptions for an annual fee of $100. Can anyone confirm if I am remembering that right? If so, that is awesome. I bet inflation adjusted, we could raise quite a bit of cash (mission are free!) if we brought that back – and pas the cappuccino.

  100. TStevens, that’s bogus.

  101. Aaron Brown says:

    TStevens, that’s bogus, but it sounds an awful lot like the annual tithing waiver my Bishop gives me each year for being so cool. Not that he flatly spells it out for me with words, but he gives me that “look”, if you know what I mean, and I am able to interpret it correctly via my impressive skills of spiritual discernment.

  102. I am confused. How does emulating Urban II get at the positive side to BY?

  103. you guys are failing me here…com’on…positive stories about BY please. :)

  104. Okay. Positive stories about Brigham Young:
    Presently, he is commonly perceived as a very racist man, though Armand Mauss says he was merely a run-of-the-mill racist, quite representative of his time. However, anecdotal history (memoirs or journals) suggest that Brigham Young often had Hark Lay (a slave in the vanguard pioneer company) sing for him, and that Green Flake’s children (Abraham and Lucinda) felt quite comfortable sitting on Brigham Young’s lap, as Green (also a slave in the vanguard company) was a frequent visitor in the Young home.
    What I know for sure, since I have copies of the actual letters, is that Brigham Young kept Green Flake from being returned to slavery when the widowed Agnes Flake requested (through Amasa Lyman) that Flake be sold and the proceeds sent to her in California. A buyer had even been arranged (Thomas Williams). Young said he didn’t know where Green Flake was, but that the last time he had seen him, Flake was ill. This was not quite the case. Since Young had given several acres of property to Green Flake, which Flake was taming, he knew very well where he was–and that he wasn’t ill.
    Also, in Nauvoo, Jane Manning was married to Isaac in Brigham Young’s home.
    So categorizing him as a racist doesn’t really accommodate these little details of his life. So much depends on focus.
    I’ve felt that I need to become better acquainted with BY (especially after Hamer’s post) if for no other reason than that someone I admire–Gene England–considered Young the most brilliant mind of his time. England wrote a book about Young. I’ve got to read that. And then someone needs to write the whole story of Thomas Marsh.

  105. What if DKL constantly discussed himself in a set of terms and then, others used the same set? Would we be more or less critical of them than we would if someone used the same set of terms to talk about Ray?

    With TBM, he had a narrative he used to discuss himself and his relationship to the Church. BY’s comments were in sync with that narrative, one that TMB repeated a number of times.

    I think that matters. I knew someone who would talk in Church about their sins and how they returned to the Church. While people normally would not talk about “X, who had a history of Y” they did about this brother. He invited and created the narrative people used to discuss his experiences and their meaning.

    So did TBM, which I think we tend to miss in these discussions. I should have been clearer when I mentioned this before.

  106. Kevin Barney says:

    So I’m watching Biography on A&E’s Biography. And they’re talking about Joe Perry leaving the band in 1979. There had been a lot of tension between Steven Tyler and Joe, and they had been heavily into narcotics. But the incident that sparked it all was after one show in Cleveland, when Joe Perry’s wife got into it backstage with Tom Hamilton’s wife. One of them was holding a cup of milk and threw it at the other. In retrospect, Joe Perry comments how the argument literally began over spilt milk.

    This reminded me of the whole milk strippings story.

  107. Don’t have time to read every post but several people have used the names George Albert Smith and George A. Smith interchangeably in this story.

    George A. Smith was the one who told the Thomas Marsh story; George Albert Smith is his grandson and Church President from 1945-1951 and the who responded to the Unitarian minister’s letter regarding “when the brethren speak the thinking has been done.” George A. was Joseph Smith’s first cousin and counselor to BY. John Henry Smith (not mentioned in this post) was George A.’s son and father of George Albert Smith.

    Sorry, those are family members and l like to keep the genealogy straight.

  108. If you read all of Marsh’s comments at JD 5:208, you’ll see that he’s not some random victim of a “prosperity gospel” imposed by the big, bad Brigham Young. Marsh himself stated very clearly that his troubles were largely the self-inflicted result of his own apostasy.

  109. SOrry it has taken me so long to respond, but I never wrote the reference down and I do not personally own the book American Moses. So I had to order it from the library and then skim it until I found it again.

    American Moses, Leonard Arrington, page 282
    Brigham kept up a steady campaign of request for contributions. “Come on you tobacco chewers,” he said. “Put your $1,000 into the Poor Fund and I will give you liberty to chew another year.” He himself donated extensively of his own wealth.

    Arrington gives the following for his reference;
    Remarks at conference, 8 September 1850, General Minutes, BYP.

    Maybe I am reading into that too liberally, but it does seem he slod one year exemptions to the WOW for a $1000 donation to the PEF.

  110. I just used this post (though without proper citation) to respond to the Sunday School lesson (it is still going right now).

    Thanks John

  111. This is really an interesting post. I think there is a lot more to the story than is told even here. While researching my ancestry I discovered that one of early church ancestors left Utah to return to Missouri and become a member of the RLDS. He influenced by Thomas B. March who spoke at a meeting of others who had done the same thing. So my question is, what was Marsh doing in Utah in the first place and what was were his actual intentions?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,861 other followers