March 10 — What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?
I don't believe religion played a big part in too many of my ancestors' lives. My sisters have told me that they did go to a few churches when they were growing up in both Kentucky and West Virginia. Mom did mind them going, but she drew the line when it came to visiting a snake handling church. That was off-limits in her book.
Again, I quote from mom's journal:
"So now I have grown older now and have started to go too church by my self and with neighbors to the church nowon as the Jesus only church. And there where I met my husband to be I was 16 year old when I met him we all went to church at the same place he was baptized at one time in the Jesus only church before we were married my mom & dad didn’t wants us to get married for I was the only girl at time that had and very younge I had several girls friends and was very happy Just staying at home and helping my mother with house work."
Church was a place for socializing. It was a place to commit oneself to the Lord. But, mom knew there was something missing in her life.
In 1948, two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knocked on my mother's door, and her life was changed forever. She read the Book of Mormon, had some very spiritual and sacred dreams, and made her decision to be baptized with my three sisters, who were 9, 12 and 14 years old.
They were baptized in the Guyan River near Logan, West Virginia. The above picture shows them attending church at Mud Fork close to the time they were baptized.
Dad wanted nothing to do with the church. He also felt the missionaries were getting a bit too pushy with him. So, on New Year's Day of 1950, he moved the family to Mansfield, Ohio. He found a better job, better educational opportunities for his girls, and...no Mormon church.
Four months later, the area opened up for missionary work. Mom and my sisters were found, and the beginnings of the church in Mansfield began.
Dad joined two years later.
In 1948, women didn't usually strike out and do something like my mother did. But, she realized what was presented to her was the truth, and she wasn't going to run from it.
She changed the lives of her family, her ancestors, and me - who came along in 1955.