I first got wind of this on the twangy-good "Trek" CD I got at Time Out for Women. But it's special to me because its author, Sarah Pea Rich, is my ancestor.
Here's the full text of her 1891 autobiography, addressed to her children. I think it is not too presumptuous of me to consider myself one of them.
And then here's the part that's been running through my mind ever since I heard it.
I know, dear children, that the principles of Mormonism, as it is called, are true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. How do I know it you may ask? I know it by hearing him prophesy what was coming, and have lived to see the things prophesied about come to pass. I have seen the sick healed by his administration; and in answer to his prayers, I have seen many miracles performed in this Church; have been nigh unto death myself, and have been healed by the power of the priesthood. I have seen some of you, my children, raised as it were, from death's door, by the power of the priesthood, by the laying on of hands by those who were in authority.
The Lord has established His work and His Church on the earth now in the last days never to be taken from the earth until He comes Himself to dwell with the Saints.
I want all of my children to do right and to keep the laws of God as revealed through those of His servants holding the power of communing with God our Heavenly Father. Never deny any of the principles of this the Latter-day work; live humble before the Lord; ask him for His Holy Spirit to teach you what is right and to keep you in the faith of this His latter-day work. Go forth and help to build up the kingdom of God on the earth. You, my dear children, if you do right, may live to see the wickedness swept off the earth and the laws of God set up in the land, never more to be torn down. Live so that you may gain favor in the eyes of our Heavenly Father; seek the salvation of your souls; and then live to help save others. This is the wish and constant prayer of your aged mother. ...
I pray for you daily and ask the Lord that you may all do right and be saved with your father in the kingdom of God. I have watched over and cared for you ... in all, my desire has been to see you all engaged in the work of the Lord. I have been a true believer in the principles taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and all the leading men of this church, I embraced that doctrine over fifty-six years ago. I still love those principles and know they are true. I know the Lord will bear off his kingdom triumphant in spite of all those who are opposed to his work.
Bless this woman! What did she endure for her faith? Persecution, financial losses, personal losses, polygamy, hardscrabble frontier living.
Shame on me if I can't weather a few bumps and a little confusion.