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The Diaries of Anthony Ivins

Anthony Ivins

Anthony Ivins

Anthony Ivins was an LDS apostle from 1907-1934.  He was the cousin of Heber J. Grant, and served in the First Presidency with Grant from 1921-1934.  Signature Books has recently come out with Cowboy Apostle:  The Diaries of Anthony Ivins 1875-1932 (the Kindle version is only $20.)  Ivins is notable for a few reasons:  (1) a monogamist, he performed many plural marriages AFTER the 1890 Manifesto in Mexico, (2) following the Second Manifesto in 1904, he became an ardent supporter of excommunication for those who entered plural marriage, (3) he was a prominent democrat in largely republican Utah.

The book contains 8 of Ivins diaries.  The first dealt with his mission to Mexico, and contained a lot of mundane information about his travels.

{December 26, 1875; Sunday}  Bro. [Helaman] Pratt and myself went on ahead of the party to low rand of mountains to see if we could kill a deer.  That night he killed an antelope and I a fine buck.  We were till about Ten Oclock getting to where we had left our animals.  The next day the brethren came up and we moved on to Rolston [Ralston] a distance of 32 miles.  Rolston was once quite a flourishing mining [town] but now it is almost deserted.  The mines here are said to be very rich but on account of the scarcity of water and timber they have been deserted for the present.

Since I blog at Wheat and Tares, I thought this reference was a bit interesting.

{May 2, 1897; Sunday}  It is fast day.  I have spent the day arranging to go to Kaibab and gather the cattle sold to [Abram] Fotheringham and [John M.] Murdock.  They have mad[e] an advance payment of 10,000.00 and are to pay the balance as the cattle are delivered.

Fast meeting.  Testimony borne by a German, a Scotchman, a Dane, or Norweigan, an Englishman, and American.  Jesus in the exact image of his father.  Personality of God.  Saints commanded to meet in worship often.  Wheat & Tares grow together.  Keep His Commandments & teach others so to do particularly children.

There was an interesting entry concerning the change of bishopric, and it was interesting to peek inside these confidential conversations.

{Feb 9, 1899; Thursday}  …

We reached Oaxaca on the 11th stayed with Bro. Jno. [John] C. Naegle who always makes us welcome at his house.  In the evening Bishop [Frank] Scott came in and we talked with him in regards to conditions in the ward.

There is a strong feeling against Bishop Scott and his counselors, Bros. N[athan] H. Terry and J[ames] H. Langford and looks to us as though the ward will have to be reorganized.

{Feb 12, 1899; Sunday}  …

In the evening a priesthood meeting was held at which the brethren present were asked to express themselves regarding the bishoprick.  P[atrick] C. Haynie first spoke.  He thought there should either be a change of policy or a change in the Bishoprick.

D. C. Naegle thought a change in the bishoprick would be beneficial but would sustain the existing administration if retained.  Bro Clemens would sustain the bishoprick but thought there should be a change in policy.

F[ranklin] D. Haymore could not sustain under the circumstances. James Mortensen could not sustain the bishoprick.

E[missiah] S[age] Nichols could sustain the bishoprick.  Was satisfied with them.

…[he documents many other comments]

The next day’s entry seems to document what the issues were.

{February 13, 1899; Monday}  Bro. [Helaman] Pratt and I met the bishoprick at Bishop [Frank] Scott’s.  The following questions were propounded and answered.

Where public roads go through private lands should the owner of the land be reimbursed.  Answer.  Private parties should not refuse to permit necessary public roads through their lands, but where damage is done the owner of the land should be reimbursed.

Is it the right of the Bishoprick to call boy[s] together and counsel them to observe the rules of good order which govern in the colonies.  Yes.  Not only the right, but is their duty.

Should ward teachers visit families who have no recommends and have not been received as members of the ward.  Yes.

Should dancing parties be permitted in private houses.  Dancing in private homes should be discouraged, but if people insist in having parties in their houses it cannot be prevented.

{entry continues}

We returned to Oaxaca and in the evening held meeting with a large attendance.  Before meeting I met Pres Jones and Adrian Haymore and advised them to attend this meeting and make acknowledgment of their wrong doing and ask the forgiveness of the people for it.  This they did and were freely forgiven by the people.

I then announced that Bishop Scott had tendered his resignation.  I referred  to his long and faithful service as bishop.  His resignation was accepted.

Bro. Pratt talked to the people after which slips of paper were distributed among the brethren and each was requested to write the name of the man he prefered for bishop.  The ballots were collected and I looked them over.

The results was a follows. [Ivins lists results.  George C. Naegle earns 16 of 35 votes.  Three other men received 3 votes.]

It being evident that George C. Naegle was the choice of the better element of the ward I asked all who would sustain him as bishop to manifest it.  The vote was una[ni]mous.

Bro Naegle not being present Peter C. Dillman was appointed to take charge of the ward until an organization could be effected.

It was quite interesting to me to see a vote on the new bishop.  Is that how new bishops are called now?

There are some other interesting stories, and it is interesting to hear me Ivins discuss meeting with other apostles.  One of the biggest treasure troves of information was the appendixes.  As I mentioned earlier, Anthony Ivins was a well-respected monogamist, and following the 1890 Manifesto, he thought polygamy was gone.  However, when called to be a mission president in Mexico, he was asked to perform plural marriages.  Appendix A details these marriages.  Among those for plural marriages were Mitt Romney’s ancestors.  Miles Archibald Romney was sealed to Francis Turley on September 25, 1898.  Less than a month later, he was sealed to Lilly Burrell on October 23, 1898.  Both ceremonies were performed in Colonia Juarez.  Sixty sealings were documented, the last between Heber Erastus Farr and Rosemilda Ranguelda Bleuth married on March 29, 1904.

Appendix B contains an essay by H. Grant Ivins the discusses “Polygamy in Mexico as Practiced by the Mormon Church 1895-1905.”  Grant Ivins was the son of Anthony, and it was written in 1970.  This is the type of book that will probably be attractive to scholars more than the general public, but if you’re into that sort of thing, this will be an interesting addition to your book collection.


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