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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Does Anyone Read the “Church News”? » Does Anyone Read the “Church News”?

Does Anyone Read the “Church News”?

Don - August 3, 2006

The latest issue for the week ending July 29, 2006 was all about the Church’s different 24th of July celebrations. I was surprised to read “Life-changing youth handcart treks” by associate editor John L. Hart. In the article is a picture of two girls pulling a handcart. The caption under the picture reads “Women’s pull, reminiscent of pioneer women who had to make overland trek without their husbands and brothers who were with the Mormon Batalion…”

Does anyone else see the problem here? How can a somewhat educated member, let alone and associate editor of the Church News not know that this doesn’t make sense? The Mormon Batalion left in 1846 and arrived in California in 1847. The 10 handcart companies were from 1856-1860.

Just an observation….or maybe we should have the guy fired for not paying attention.


  1. More importantly, why is battalion being spelled with one “t”?

    Comment by Ryan — August 3, 2006 @ 7:55 pm

  2. Having lived in Iowa City for 5 years, half a block from the Mormon Handcart Park, I finally started putting together the pioneer pieces myself. I think most Church members just hear about pioneers leaving Nauvoo and then pioneers crossing the Plains with handcarts and they assume they’re all the same group. Not so!

    Of course the Nauvoo Saints left in 1846 and did not even have handcarts. And the handcart pioneers never saw Nauvoo nor had they even reached America until 1856 and later, heading straight to Iowa City where the railroad ended at the time.

    This doesn’t excuse the Church News editor, but I don’t think he’s making a false statement, either. Those who organize these handcart treks often don’t have the history straight themselves. So they plan a “women’s pull” which helps the youth appreciate that part of the Nauvoo Saints’ journey west when so many men were absent. (Can you see how it can work?)

    Still, the event organizers and the associate editor could do more to understand and then educate the general Church membership on these fine points!

    (By the way, I noticed in the Church News articles on the Handcart Sesquicentennial events in June that they kept claiming the Handcart park was located in Coralville, Iowa. It borders Coralville, but I can guarantee you it indeed lies within Iowa City borders. I LIVED RIGHT NEXT TO IT. Not that I really cared. But you brought up the topic, so I thought I’d help you hash it out.)

    Comment by Amy — August 3, 2006 @ 7:57 pm

  3. My view is that CN is mostly fluff-pieces, but there is at least something worthwhile and uplifting in every issue. And there is usually some news that’s actually newsworthy in every issue too.

    My favorite part is reading how young the stake presidents are in the foreign stakes.

    Comment by Bookslinger — August 5, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

  4. Don,
    I just got my Church News. I think you’re inferring too much from the caption. “Reminiscent” does not mean it is a re-enactment. It just means “causing to recollect”. Though the women of 1846-47 did not use handcarts, I think it is an appropriate or sufficient parallel to draw between the “women only” group of these handcarters and the women who crossed the plains without their husbands in 1846-47.

    Comment by Bookslinger — August 7, 2006 @ 2:55 pm

  5. No. Nobody reads it.

    Comment by a random John — August 14, 2006 @ 8:02 pm

  6. Does anyone else see the problem here?

    The problem is that all of the hand cart re-enactments have a dramatic moment where they have the guys stand aside and watch the girls move the carts alone up a steep hill. It ties in the MB and other events for drama.

    It appears that the writer had confused the manufactured moment with reality. You should take this post and the comments and mail them to the Church News.

    BTW, when my daughter’s group hit the hill, the slugs they had in their group had not been participating anyway, so doing without them wasn’t any trial, and they hit the hill and crossed the peak at a run.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — August 17, 2006 @ 4:42 am

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