The thing about Kirtland that is most glossed over or not understood is all there is about the Savior. You being here? Oh, you’re welcome.
I have a few questions, and one of my first question is, why did you write these books about Kilted?
The two books that I wrote were both assigned by general authorities of the church president Ezra Taft. Benson wanted a book written about Kirtland, and that’s why I began the book, Joseph Smith’s Kirtland. The second book, which was the Savior in Kirtland, was written at the direction of elder Neil A.. Maxwell, a member of the 12. He said that there was a mother lode of Christology and Kirtland the church didn’t know about, and he wanted me to dig out my net, let it percolate and then write.
So the church understood all there was in Kirtland about the savior.
It’s interesting. Did you have personal goal by writing something by yourself in mind?
I wish I had something noble, but the it was really just to fulfill the assignments. And then once I got into writing, then I understood how little the church really knew about Kurland. And so the goal then began to be telling the church all there was in Courland that was really not generally known. So how have you done your research as well? The research that I’ve done, I have looked literally everywhere from libraries, the church history library, Brigham Young University Library.
I have an older brother who is a Richard Anderson and he is a very well known historian. And over the years, he collected a lot of things about general church history and he opened his files to me. I got a lot from their primarily journals of people who were here in Kirtland, probably constituted the most important source for research and journals.
But all in libraries are the owners of publishers books so that everyone could read it.
And yes, when I started out, many of the journals were not publicly available. But over the years they have become available and right now most are available over the Internet.
The next question is, what did you learn by writing this book? It’s probably a lot of new stuff you have learned or something.
Well, what I’ve learned through writing is how little I knew about writing, and that is it was much more difficult than I thought. And I I literally went to people who were skilled at writing and asked for help. I ended up hiring an editor and it was it was a labor of love, but it was very difficult for me to write. For example, I took my manuscript, my first draft to a friend who was an English teacher, and she said she’d read it and come back.
I went back, she said, let’s take one chapter. And she said, you only have three active sentences in this chapter. I said, Well, thanks, is that good? She said, no, it’s not good. And she literally went through sentence by sentence. And I she would say, what did you mean to say? I’d tell her. She said, now write that down so that that was probably the hardest part of it.
So what is your favorite story about Copelands history?
Well, I have many. Favorite stories, it’s hard to boil it down, but there are two that stand out to me. The first one has to do with Parley Pratt. Charlie Pratt was probably the most colorful early member of the church, and he was one of the initial members of the 12 apostles when they were called here and Kirtland. And he came to Kirtland to go on the first mission with the 12 and the Eastern states, and they were not ready to go.
And so he went up to Mentor, which is a town next to Kirtland, and he tried preachin door to door and they wouldn’t listen to him. So he went on the steps of the church there they CampbellI church and he started to preach and they there was a crowd that came to hear. But the persecution was such that pretty quick mob formed and they it turned out that it was in the form of a musical band and they would play the drums, the horns, and they were trying to drown him out from his preaching on the steps of the church.
And they would go around the building. And so he would just wait till they went around the back and they’d preach when they came to the front, then he would stop and that didn’t deter him. And so this group decided they go buy eggs and throw eggs at him. So they went and got 40 dozen eggs and purchased them, came back and threw these eggs at him. And he said he had egg whites and yolks just calming down his whole body.
And he then that did it. He headed to Kirtland. They were following them, laughing at him. And he said that when he got back to Kirtland, then his friends clean them up from the benevolence of this group. But the story didn’t end there because the leader of the mob was an antagonist of the church. And so partly Pratt took him to court and sued him for throwing all these eggs on this musical band that he had put together.
And the jury decided, the judge decided that since it was an organized group and this man was a leader, that he should be responsible and the judge find him. Forty seven dollars, which in that day would be worth probably two thousand dollars today, a very stiff fine. But Parly took him to court and won. But the story that I read, the other story that I like, that really it’s because of the application, I think. And that’s when the quorum of the Twelve first went to England.
Well, prior to that, Joseph Smith had a vision and he saw the 12 in a foreign land is how he described it. And their clothes were torn and tattered. Their feet were swollen. There were discouraged. They were standing in a circle and they were looking down and discouragement. And yet Joseph saw the savior standing above them in the air. The implication of that being, had they not been discouraged and looking down, if they had just been looking up, they would have seen the savior with them.
I like that because that has application in our lives. The savior is with us. We know in scripture given here in Kirtland that is that our right and and these are left. But if we’re discouraged and. Not positive, and we’re looking down, we’ll never know what it is with us or even feel his presence, which is a really good story. What do you think is the most misunderstood fact about Kilton?
Well, there are many misunderstood facts. I think primarily it’s that members of the church are acquainted with Palmira because we have to help Kamora. We’ve had a visitor center there for a long time. We have this sacred grove. We’ve got Faya where the church was formed. And so people relate to the whole Camorra and the sacred Grove and Fayette in. We have literally restored most of Narvo and people go there and they feel that somehow we went from Palmeiras to Nauvoo and have forgotten Kirtland.
Many recognize we built the temple in Kirtland, but they don’t understand the history. We were in Kirtland longer than anywhere except for Salt Lake. We were there longer than Palmira. We’re longer than Nauvoo. Yet the church somehow feels that we skipped over Kirtland and don’t understand it yet. It’s where our whole organization took place. Every one of our scriptures were impacted. The doctrine and covenants was printed. There are more revelations came in Kirtland than anywhere in our early church history.
Yet the church doesn’t realize that I think is interesting. The last question is posing the question. So when you look back in your life and all of these things, what you experience in life, so what advice do you have for me?
Wow, it’s probably difficult, especially I like this kind of questions because you’re learning from each other. Oh, yes. I think the most important thing is something that Joseph Smith said. So I’m going to borrow it from Joseph Smith. He said, when the Lord commands do it. And I think the important thing in life is to understand what the Lord wants you to do and what you know, what the Lord wants you to do. Then you go do it.
There are so many things that stand in our way of accomplishing. Things were just that simple statement. And Joseph Smith do it. I was one of President Kimball’s favorite slogans was do it that and find out what the Lord wants. And I look at what in Kirtland these early saints gave everything that they had. It’s amazing to me what the Lord can do with simple men and women of faith. And if we just go do and face what the Lord wants, we accomplish great things and he’ll work through us.
Thank you very much.