Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
"In the fall of 1831, in company with [Church leaders] and their families, mother and myself, my brother, Henry, and my sister, Caroline, under the guardianship of [my uncle]...left Kirtland [Ohio] for Independence, Jackson Country, Missouri...Uncle Gilbert opened a store of dry good and groceries...A two-story printing office was also erected...One evening [Church leaders] came to Uncle's house to converse upon the revelations that had not been printed as yet, but few had looked upon them, for they were in large sheets, not folded. They spoke of them with such reverence, as coming from the Lord; they felt to rejoice that they were counted worthy to be the means of publishing them for the benefit of the whole world...I felt the spirit of it in a moment.
Terrible were the threats against our people; we were too much united to suit the inhabitants of Missouri, and they did not believe in our religion, or our way of doing business; [and] we did not believe in slavery, and they feared us on that account...Soon a mob began to collect in the town and set fire to the grain and haystacks in the yard of Bishop Partridge. All were destroyed. Then they began to stone the houses, breaking the doors and windows. One night, a great many got together and stoned our house...After breaking all the windows, they commenced to tear off the roof...amidst awful oaths and howls that were terrible to hear...Soon after, I saw Bishop Partridge tarred and feathered. From that time, our troubles commenced in earnest.
But just before these troubles began, I went to work for Peter Whitmer, who was a tailor by trade...and Lilburn W. Boggs offered him a room in his house, as he had just been elected lieutenant governor, and wanted Peter to make him a suit for his inauguration ceremonies. Peter did make them, and I stitched the collars and faced the coat. Mr. Boggs often came in to note the progress of the work. As I was considered a good seamstress, he hired me to make his fine, ruffled bosom shirts...I worked for [Mr. and Mrs. Boggs] for some weeks; during that time they tried to induce me to leave the Church and live with them; they would educate me, and do for me as if I were their daughter...but their persuasions were of no avail with me.
The mob renewed their efforts again by tearing down the printing office...They brought out some large sheets of paper, and said, "Here are the Mormon Commandments." My sister, Caroline, and myself were in a corner of a fence watching them; when they spoke of the commandments I was determined to have some of them. Sister said if I went to get any of them, she would go too, but said, 'They will kill us.'"
While their backs were turned, prying out the gable end of the house, we went, and got our arms full, and were turning away, when some of the mob saw us and called on us to stop, but we ran as fast as we could. Two of them started after us. Seeing a gap in a fence, we entered into a large cornfield, laid the papers on the ground, and hid them with our persons. The corn was from five to six feet high, and very thick; they hunted around considerable, and came very near us, but did not find us...They got [the pages we saved] bound in small books and sent me one, which I prized very highly."
Today commemorates the 160th anniversary of the event this painting depicts. The two courageous young women represented in this image saved stacks of precious pages of sacred text from a bloodthirsty mob hundreds strong. In honor of the day (and with Pioneer Day coming shortly), we thought readers might enjoy just a few highlighted entries from Elspeth's extensive painting log kept during the painting process in 2011: 9 August.
I had a very successful photo shoot with the models for the Book of Commandments painting... Read more »
I Will Uphold Thee by Elspeth Young is the newest oil painting to be added to the new Western Pioneer Collection of original artworks from Al Young Studios. Seventeen fine-art print styles and sizes of this new image are now available at www.alyoung.com, ranging in price from $4.50 (4x7 poster print) to $658.00 (full-sized reproduction giclee canvas).
Click here to see a larger copy of the new painting, read the artist's commentary, and look at the selection of available prints.
Based on an instance of religious persecution (on the American frontier in the 1830s), the image features the heroism of two young women who braved mob violence to save pages from the first printing of a scriptural text... Read more »