Sweden Here I Come!

Sweden Here I Come!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


     It was 20 years ago today that Blaine Milne rescued my heart forever, however, it was a few months prior to this that the initial rescuing took place.  I remember the day very well,  it was a sunny, Fall day - October 29, 1993 to be exact.  I was attending Southern Utah University and was nearing the completion of my bachelor's degree in communication.  My mind and heart was filled with a flurry of mixed emotions.  I had been visiting with the dean of my department, Dr. Frain Pearson, about graduate school.  He had a colleague and friend who was the dean of the communication department at Purdue University.  He told me he was quite certain he could get me into Purdue along with a teaching assistant ship, for this I was grateful and excited!  However, I still felt some hesitation and trepidation about this prospect.  On this particular day (October 29th) I was feeling quite melancholy.  My head was telling me that Purdue would be an incredible experience, but my heart was telling me otherwise.  My heart was lonely and somewhat empty.  I vividly remember sitting on a bench under a shade tree just outside the SUU administration office.  I was choking back tears as I uttered a prayer (or rather a plea) under my breath.  It went something like this:  "Heavenly Father, my heart is so heavy, I am so tired of being alone.  I just don't think I can go on much longer like this".  Pretty dramatic - huh?  Anyhow, I truly did feel that way.  Well it turns out that Heavenly Father heard my pathetic plea and answered it much quicker than expected. 

     It was that very night that I met Blaine.  I knew of Blaine in High School.  He went to Pine View High School here in St. George, and I attended Beaver High School in none other than Beaver, Utah.  Beaver's athletic teams during my high school years were quite competitive so we took opportunities to play the bigger Southern Utah schools.  It was actually my best friend Holly Robinson that pointed Blaine out one Friday evening while playing PVHS in a basketball game at Pine View.  He was indeed handsome, but not wanting to make waves with my best friend I supported her in her crush.  We helped her write letters to him, and we even called his house once and spoke to his dad.  We were elated when PVHS came to the little town of Beaver to play basketball.  High School girls are so silly, especially cheerleaders!  Holly and I were cheerleaders, and we could hardly maintain our composure when Pine View came out on the floor.  There he was, Blaine Milne from Pine View High School.  Surely he must have had a girlfriend but we didn't care.  As fate would have it Beaver lost the ball out of bounds right next to the cheerleaders (us)!  And better yet, Blaine was the one throwing the ball in.  My heart was beating a million miles an hour - he was right next to me.  I patted him on his sweaty shoulder and told him "way to go Blaine".  Victorious!  His sweat was now on my hand!  It was as if I had won the lottery!  Holly was jealous, but we laughed and laughed!  The last time I saw Blaine in high school was at a Sterling Scholar competition at SUU the end of our Senior year.

   That was 1987...  Fast forward to October 29, 1993.  I had not seen Blaine since Spring of 1987, so when he asked me to dance with him at the institute Halloween dance that night, I did not recognize him.  I was wearing a witch costume and he was in normal clothes.  I do not recall ever seeing him on campus, so I figured he was probably a college Freshman.  I had been dancing with Freshmen all night and was feeling rather old.  When he introduced himself as Blaine from St. George I stopped in my tracks and said, "are you Blaine Milne from Pine View High School?"  He lifted up the rim of my black witch hat and said, "Natalie Black what are you doing here?  And why aren't you married?"  I think we were both very surprised!  Unfortunately that was at the end of the dance so we were only able to dance two songs.  He asked for my number but didn't write it down, so I thought there is no way he is calling me.  Well, he did and the rest is history.  Here we are 20 years, three kids, and many gray hairs later.  He is and always will be the love of my life!  Thank you Blaine for rescuing me that day.  You truly do have the heart of a rescuer!

Happy 20th Anniversary!
     You may be wondering what this has to do with Elder Milne's Blog.  I am getting to that.  Yesterday I was in Deseret Book to buy Blaine his anniversary present.  I had so much fun!  I couldn't believe the treasures I was finding.  I will share them with you so this post will make more sense.  Here is what I bought for Blaine:

This bronze statue is called "Rescued" it is in memory of men like Ephraim Hanks who risked their lives to rescue the members of the Martin and Willey handcart company.  I knew Blaine really liked this statue, and I truly do believe that Blaine has the heart of a rescuer!
     After finding the statue I continued to browse.  My  mind was caught up in the whole "rescued" theme.  It reminded me of President Monson's autobiography "To the Rescue".  While we were living in Minnesota my mom sent Blaine this book for his birthday, knowing the love Blaine has for President Monson.  It arrived during a very difficult time for Blaine.  This book really did aid in rescuing Blaine.  He was in a very demanding oral surgery residency that was causing him incredible stress.  There was a lot of uncertainty in our lives at this time.  The stories we read were so uplifting and inspiring.  If you haven't read it I highly recommend it!

We love President Monson!
     While thinking about this book I came across this for Dallin:



     Elder Milne is also on a rescue mission!
     I continued browsing, and I could not believe the next treasure I found:

If you look closely you will see that this is a child's locket - this wasn't what caught my eye!  It was the name en scribed above.... Mary Elizabeth Rollins.  This is my great, great, great grandmother.  Just above her name it says:  "Honored for risking her life to save some of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants."  Below I will share the story of how Mary Elizabeth and her sister Caroline helped save what was believed the first 160 pages of the Book of Commandments which were revelations the Prophet Joseph Smith received that would later become the Doctrine and Covenants.

This is an artist's rendition of Mary Elizabeth and Caroline.  It is used in the LDS Gospel Art Kit to teach children this amazing story of courage.

This is Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner in her later years.
She too had the heart of a rescuer!
Below are some stories about Mary Elizabeth:

A Girl of Great Faith, Part Two: Courage in Independence
By Hilary Watkins Lemon
(Based on the life of Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner)
Part 2: After a few short, happy years in Kirtland, Mary Elizabeth and her family moved to Independence, Missouri, in the fall of 1831.0767_000_013
     Mary Elizabeth breathed deeply as she walked down the streets of Independence. Though she missed her uncle’s store in Kirtland, she admired his new red brick store on the corner of two of the widest, loveliest streets in Independence. She enjoyed the excitement of building up Zion.
     After a few months in Independence, Mary Elizabeth felt lucky when a man named Mr. Boggs hired her to work as a seamstress. She was only 14 years old, and the extra money she earned would be a blessing for her family. And besides, she liked to sew! The Boggs family lived just a short distance away from Mary Elizabeth’s new home. Mr. Boggs had just been elected to an important political position in the state of Missouri, and he needed new clothes for official occasions. One of Mary Elizabeth’s assignments was to sew Mr. Boggs’s shirt collars.
     Mary Elizabeth liked the Boggs family with their many children. She was especially fond of one of the little girls. The Boggs family liked her too. Often Mrs. Boggs sewed with Mary Elizabeth for hours at a time.
One day Mrs. Boggs asked, “Mary Elizabeth, you know we are not Mormons as you are, don’t you?”
“Yes, Mrs. Boggs,” Mary Elizabeth said.
“Mary Elizabeth, your church is wrong,” Mrs. Boggs said. “Being a Mormon will only bring you pain and disappointment.”
Mary Elizabeth sat silently.
“I have spoken with my husband,” Mrs. Boggs went on. “We like you. My husband has power and money, more than your people do. We want to take you in as one of our own. We will provide for you and educate you. You will be one of us.” Mrs. Boggs smiled hopefully.
“I am sorry, Mrs. Boggs, but I cannot abandon my faith or my people,” Mary Elizabeth said. “But thank you for your kindness to me.”
     A few months later, things indeed became more painful for the Saints in Missouri. Mobs were starting to attack more frequently. They were even destroying crops and buildings.
     One day Mary Elizabeth and her younger sister Caroline were near Brother Phelps’s printing office when a mob began destroying the press and dumping large piles of printed paper out the window. Mary Elizabeth recognized the paper right away. The men were destroying the Book of Commandments!
“Caroline, we must save those papers,” Mary Elizabeth whispered. “Follow me.”
“They will kill us,” Caroline said. “But I will come.”
     Waiting until the men had turned away from the girls, each sister grabbed a large armful of papers and began running toward a cornfield. The men saw the girls and began to chase them, yelling at them to stop. The girls ran into the tall corn, laid the papers on the ground, and lay on top of them to protect them. The sisters could hear the men crashing through the corn stalks nearby. Mary Elizabeth and Caroline’s hearts pounded, but to their relief, the girls were not found.
     After waiting in the corn for a long time, the sisters carried the papers back to the printing office. They were grateful to be safe and that they had helped the Lord’s work.
     The Book of Commandments was a collection of revelations that later became part of the Doctrine and Covenants. With the pages Mary Elizabeth and Caroline saved, the Church was able to bind a small number of copies of the Book of Commandments. Oliver Cowdery sent one of the small books to Mary Elizabeth to thank her for her courage.
A Girl of Great Faith, Part Three: Strength in Far West
By Hilary Watkins Lemon
(Based on the life of Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner)
Part 3: Mary Elizabeth Rollins loved her home in Independence, Missouri. She worked as a seamstress and remained faithful to the Church. Then mob violence in Independence became too great, and Mary Elizabeth and the other Saints had to flee to another part of the state.
     Huddled together on the freezing ground, Mary Elizabeth and her family camped on the banks of the Missouri River and waited to be ferried over to freedom. While they waited, the Saints found out that among all the families, they did not have enough money to ferry everyone.
“Some families will have to stay behind,” one of the men said.
"Whoever stays behind will be killed!” a woman cried.
“Maybe the ferryman will let us pay in fish,” one of the men suggested.
     A few of the men went to the shore and set up fishing lines. The rest of the Saints prayed in the cold rain for help from the Lord. The lines stayed out all night and into the next morning.
     When the men checked the fishing lines, they rejoiced to see they had caught some small fish and one very large catfish. Mary Elizabeth watched while the men cleaned the fish. When they cut open the catfish, everyone fell silent. To her amazement, Mary Elizabeth saw three bright silver half-dollars inside the fish, just the amount needed for all the Saints to cross the river to safety. Mary Elizabeth joined the other Saints in a prayer of gratitude for the Lord’s protection.
     Several years passed after that cold night on the river’s shore. In 1835 Mary Elizabeth married Adam Lightner. A few months later, the couple moved to Far West, Missouri, where many other Saints were living.
     Mary Elizabeth and Adam lived in Far West for two years. It wasn’t long before mobs began to fight against the Saints in Far West, just as they had in Independence.
     One day a mob came to Far West and set up cannons to attack the town. Some men from the mob approached Mary Elizabeth’s house. They carried a white flag to show that they came in peace. The men asked to speak to Mary Elizabeth, Adam, and Adam’s sister and her husband. They gathered outside Mary Elizabeth and Adam’s house.
     One of the men was a general in the Missouri military. “Governor Boggs has given me orders to remove your families from Far West before we destroy the town,” he said. Mary Elizabeth used to work for Mr. Boggs and his family in Independence. The Boggs family had liked Mary Elizabeth. Now Mr. Boggs was governor of the whole state, and though he disliked the Mormons, he wanted to save her.
“Will you let all the Mormon women and children leave before the fighting begins?” Mary Elizabeth asked.
“My orders are to spare only these two families. Everyone else must be destroyed,” said the general.
Mary Elizabeth stood tall and said, “If that is the case, then I refuse to go. I am a full-blooded Mormon, and I am not ashamed of it.”
    The general tried to persuade her to leave and save her children’s lives, but Mary Elizabeth stood firm. The general became angry. Suddenly a man rushed over. It was Heber C. Kimball, one of the Twelve Apostles! He helped defend Mary Elizabeth and her family from the angry general.
“Sister Lightner,” said Brother Kimball, “God Almighty bless you. I thank my God for a soul that is ready to die for her religion. Not a hair of your head will be harmed. I will protect you.”
“So will I,” said a voice. Brother Kimball was joined by Hyrum Smith, the Prophet Joseph’s brother. Other Church leaders came forward to support Mary Elizabeth and her family.
     Even though the mob was ready to attack, the Saints in Far West were not harmed at that time. Mary Elizabeth took comfort that her faith in the Lord had made her strong.
     Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner eventually moved with her family to Minersville, Utah. She passed away in 1913 at the age of 95. Mary Elizabeth personally knew many early leaders of the Church and stayed true to her testimony throughout her life.

1 comment:

  1. I'm just loving your blog. I know you will too when you print it into a book. TREASURES for sure. I loved your wedding picture--beautiful and handsome. The story that goes along with it is wonderful--Resue! Keep up the good work and here's to another 20 years!