Facebook Twitter



"Out of small things proceedeth that which is great." (D&C 64:33.)

Referring to some of the great happenings that emerged from small beginnings, Elder David B. Haight of the Council of the Twelve cited this scripture as he addressed more than 650 people at a patriotic meeting June 30.

The meeting was among the final events of the Idaho Day Centennial Celebrations in Franklin. The celebrations began June 26. (See article on page 8.)Elder Haight, speaking from a podium area adorned by U.S. and Idaho flags, referred to that state's small beginnings. He spoke of a small band of six families who left Provo, Utah, to settle new territory to the north. He said they did not realize they were about to establish the first permanent settlement in what was to become a state - the state of Idaho - "with 83,564 square miles of some of the most inspiring, breathtaking scenic beauty on the Earth today, and now with more than 1 million people."

What they did know, said Elder Haight, was that a prophet of God had sent them to establish a new home in a land they had not seen before. Those men and women created a heritage of faith and self-reliance that reflects in the lives of Idahoans today.

Elder Haight said Idaho's early Mormon settlers brought the necessary skills to settle this land. They produced their own blankets, clothing and carpets from their own resources. They used wool from sheep, dyes from plants and made their own soap. But their most important possession was their faith.

He recounted an experience of Mary Young Mayberry in 1873. She saw a dark cloud approaching her grainfield and realized it was not rain but grasshoppers. "A woman of lesser faith might have wept in despair," said Elder Haight. But Mary knelt by her field and prayed that if her crops were spared, she would continually feed the poor.

"The grasshoppers rose as she prayed, and her crop was spared," Elder Haight said. "And she lived up to her promise till the end of her life."

From the early settlers who established Idaho's first pioneer community - termed by some historians as "the mother of settlements" - comes a heritage of faith. Elder Haight noted there are now 293,000 members in 94 stakes in Idaho, and two LDS temples.

"The saints in Idaho have continued the dedication to the gospel exemplified in those early settlers who answered their prophet's call," said Elder Haight. "They bring a heritage of faith and commitment to their own posterity.

"One of the marvelous present-day blessings of the Idaho heritage of faith would have liked to be with us here today - our living prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson. His mother, Sarah Dunkley, was born in Franklin. Her father, Joseph Dunkley, was in the first group of settlers called to settle Franklin.

Elder Haight said although President Benson could not attend the festivities as he wished, he sent his greetings. He quoted President Benson as having said, "I am grateful that the Bensons have their roots in this valley. This valley is home to me and it will always be home."

President Benson's message, sent with Elder Haight, added that from his family came the qualities of courage, thrift and cooperation, "all the ingredients of a strong character."

Elder Haight said, "President Benson comes from a great heritage of integrity, hard work, service to mankind, and testimony of the restored gospel. His father, George Taft Benson Jr., worked long hours overtime at the railroad to earn extra money so he could build a home for his future bride. They had a 40-acre farm about 1 1/2 miles northeast of Whitney. While his wife was expecting their eighth child, George Benson was called on a full-time Church mission, and sold part of his farm to help with finances.

"Twelve-year-old Ezra Taft Benson stayed at home, in charge of a dairy herd. He had learned at an early age to help out on the farm. . . . As I think of a 12-year-old young man helping to shoulder the responsibilities of the family farm, his father on a mission, again I recall the words written as the saints were preparing to go to Missouri in September of 1831: `And out of small thing proceedeth that which is great.' These wordsT are so appropriate in summing up the life of our beloved prophet, Ezra Taft Benson.

"We are gathered here in celebration of those small things, and those which are great. This state has been blessed beautifully over the past 100 years. It has a proud heritage, and leaves a magnificent legacy to those who are yet to come. It is a legacy of beautiful land, strong families, hard work, education and faith in God. May we strive to preserve this great heritage."