Thursday, December 17, 2009

A letter from Joseph Bigham

While researching Elder Markham I found this letter in the LDS Southern Star printed on April 7th, 1900. Based on the content, it must be from Joseph Bigham, an early member of the Turkey Creek Branch.

Magnolia Tenn

Editor Southern Star:

If allowed a little space in your paper I would like to say a few words in regard to the “Mormons” and what I have learned about their doctrine.

In the year 1887, very late one evening two Elders D C Markham and Geo. W. Stranger, called at my father's house and asked for entertainment: informing us that they were traveling without purse or scrip. My father welcomed the Elders in and they soon were talking upon the gospel. I was a mere child, only years of age. The men and their doctrine were strange, yet their words seemed reasonable and satisfactory to my soul. Later I began to investigate the teachings, finding them to agree with the Bible. August 9, 1896, I, in company with my brother, S. A. Bigham, and Louisa J Beecham, were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints by Elder Henry A. Grover. I can say with an open heart and a truthful tongue that I have a testimony that the gospel is true, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God; Joseph Smith a true Prophet of God. How pleasing to me if every living soul could see the gospel in its true light, and be endowed with the Holy Spirit that leads into all truth. If they would but take upon themselves the cross of our Savior, for His yoke is easy and His burden light. It is true that the doctrine of Christ is not popular, yet we can rejoice when our name is cast out as evil: when we are scourged in the synagogues as I have been, only makes us more humble and prayerful. Yes, it makes us more tender-hearted and brings us to a unity of the saving faith.

Yours in the cause of Truth,



Velikye Kniaz said...

Thank you for the publication of Brother Bigham's letter. His is not the forst letter of this kind that you have published, and it speaks highly of the courage and fortitude that these southern brethren had in bearing testimony in the public press. Certainly these letters were seen by the local sectarian ministers as a shot over their denominational bows. Yet even with an awareness that such a public declaration might further estrange them from their friends and community, they went on and bore their witness. That certainly took courage, but then they chose to remain in their ancestral states and to built up the Church right there. Having served a mission in the deep south I only hope that their descendants
display equal devotion to the Gospel and the Cause of Christ.

BruceCrow said...

You are right. That is exactly how these letters were seen. Certainly by the editors of the LDS Southern Star. I'm not sure how many sectarian ministers saw them, but missionaries could passaround their copies to anyone willing to read them.

There are some descendants of these original converts still in the Church. Their devotion is no less inspiring.

Thanks for your comment.