A Schoolmarm All My Life
Joyce Kinkead, editor
Lucinda Lee Dalton
[p.58]An outspoken feminist for 1876, Lucinda Lee Dalton did not mince words when she called women a “more respectable class of society” than men. In spite of this exalted position, she observed that women were doomed to become “drudges” for men. Unlike her contemporaries caught up in romance and courtship, Lucinda carefully regarded the path these young women took on the road to marriage. High expectations often ended in unhappy marriages, hard work, difficult childbirth, and early death. Adoring beaux may put their dance partners on a pedestal, but they put their wives on the floor scrubbing or in the field chopping cotton.
Lucinda, at age twenty-nine, wrote the following letter to Emmeline B. Wells, second editor of the Woman’s Exponent (Mormon women commonly addressed one another as “Sister”) at Wells’s request. This autobiography outlines not only her life but also her stance on women’s rights. None of her attitudes would have surprised her feminist sisters as she published poems, editorials, and essays on these same issues from the inception of the Exponent in 1872, when it was still under the editorship of Louisa Lula Greene Richards. In one of these poems, “Woman,” Lucinda noted many female qualities, among them, “First to seek knowledge, the God-like prize,/Last to gain credit for knowing” (in Anderson, 141).
Thanks to the influence of Lucinda’s father, education was prized in the Lee home, and he tutored her at home until she could attend public school at age six. Finding a school was not easy as the Lee family moved during Lucinda’s childhood. Born in Alabama in 1847, Lucinda left two [p.59]years later when her parents—John Percival Lee and Eliza Foscue—converted to Mormonism and joined a group in DeWitt County, Texas; from there, they made the Utah trek the following year, moving on to San Bernardino, California, in 1851 where they remained until 1858. This was a troublesome time for Utah as President James Buchanan had just sent troops west to settle what was rumored to be a Mormon rebellion against the United States. For Lucinda, school consumed her as she found a sympathetic teacher who called her a “diamond in the rough.” School days were short-lived as she moved from pupil’s desk to teacher’s podium when only twelve to assist her father in a school he opened. Although younger than the teenaged girls attending the school Lucinda exceeded them in knowledge. Four years later she began teaching in an infant school, followed by a stint in a common school with older students.
Teaching in Beaver, Utah (1868), enabled her to be independent and to continue her own education as she studied, keeping just ahead of her students. She took particular pleasure in the writings of Fanny Fern (pen name of Sara Payson Willis Parton), author of Ruth Hall (1855) and first woman newspaper columnist in the United States. In tandem, she wrote for the Woman’s Exponent on her favorite theme: the innate nobility of women. She became a suffragette for the nation and for her own territory (Mormon women had the vote from 1870 to 1887, regaining it in 1895). Her numerous journals and letters are lost, most likely destroyed by this intensely private person (Anderson, 150).
Lucinda was a woman of high standards, but it is doubtful her personal life ever lived up to them. Although the following autobiography details her attitudes on marriage and her own marriage to Charles Wakeman Dalton in 1868, she fails to mention that the marriage was a plural one. She met Dalton, nineteen years her senior, when she was twenty (Anderson, 145); his first marriage took place about the time Lucinda was born. As his fourth wife, Lucinda had six children. Three years after their marriage, Charles took Lucinda’s sister Emma as his fifth and final wife; at the time he was father of twenty-five children. Emma apparently had second thoughts not only about plural marriage but also about Mormonism, divorcing Charles four years later as well as leaving the church.
Entering into a plural marriage might seem paradoxical for a feminist, but Lucinda Dalton supported the concept. She acknowledged that [p.60]she would have preferred to remain single but was swayed by the “logic” of Charles Dalton and the Mormon concept of heaven. Lucinda wanted to achieve the highest level of heaven in the afterlife, but to do so, she must marry. Thus her motivation for marrying was spiritual; Charles appeared to be an acceptable mate who recognized her intellect and argued his case rationally.
In any event, the marriage was a disappointment. Charles drank, and if her essays in the Exponent are indicative of her personal life, she found him to be insensitive to her feelings. Instead, she found satisfaction in her children. After Charles’s death in 1883, Lucinda was encouraged by church authorities to cancel her marriage as he had fallen out of favor with the church. Teaching kept Lucinda’s family clothed. As Ida Hunt Udall noted during an 1885 visit to Beaver,
She is the same good noble woman she always was. Is teaching school in the Beaver Central, to support her family of four children, being a widow now. Her salary is exceedingly low considering her ability as a teacher, but they have the same class of trustees in Beaver as of yore. They consider the sex and not the qualifications of the teacher (in Anderson, 170).
From Beaver, she moved to Manti and continued teaching, dying on 24 November 1925. Lucinda lived a long life and saw many changes during her seventy-eight years, but probably none impressed her more than the national suffrage of women.
Dear Sister: I prefer giving the brief sketch of my life, which you have asked of me in the form of a letter to yourself and although I leave you at liberty to do with it just as you please—to abridge to prune—yet I think I would prefer to have you treat me in the third person, still reserving to you the right to make extracts from my own words.
I was born in the year 1847 on a plantation in Alabama. Early in 1851, my parents went to California1 with the company led by A. M. [p.61]Syman and C. C. Rich;2 remained here seven years and returned to Utah in the winter of 1857-58. They were so poor that sometimes we wanted bread; but in my tenth year, a small patrimony of my mother’s relieved the case a little. But during the deepest of his poverty, my father, determined that his children should not be ignorant—as well as poor, at the close of his day’s work patiently taught us, while yet too young to attend the commons school. So effectual was his care of me, that when, according to law I completed my fifth year and entered the public school, I found myself in a class of great, untaught girls entering their teens. My mother, too, was so energetic in the matter of sending us to school, though having many small children and being under the necessity of taking in work for the sake of what she could thus earn, she kept the older ones in school so resolutely that I only remember losing half a day in several years. I was 11 years old when we returned to Utah and though I did not then know, I now know how she sat by her candle far into the night while I slept, to keep up with woman’s everlasting work so that she could still spare me, her eldest daughter (her mother’s right hand) to attend school. I was not ungrateful even then for I loved my books and came to know the head of the class as my rightful place. My parents desired to give me especially every opportunity at their command, hoping that afterward I would be able to teach my younger brother and sisters. But the mixed and ill-regulated schools of new countries, such as S. Calif. and Ute were 20 years ago, are not capable, even when supplemented by diligence, of giving that thorough and methodical training which is great object of school life. Scattered information is certainly better than none, but in my opinion for the purposes of life, it compares with systematic training much like a weak crutch with a strong leg. I keenly feel this great defect in my merely common school education, but such was the best then to be had.
The first teacher whose instruction I enjoyed in Utah—bless him! [p.62]seemed to think me a sort of rough diamond and compassionating my ravenous hunger for knowledge, gave to my instruction many noontide hour when other children played and others went home to dinner. He introduced me to a few of the elements of common philosophy, gave me a few simple lessons in botany and some other branches of natural history, and led me through some of the enchanted vales of poesy; and his criticisms in elevated and maudlin sentiment in poetry are still my guide;—and the love of music was truly the master passion of my soul. On his authority I have the temerity to say that I had a genius for music; but alas and alas! it is dying of hunger. His rudimentary instruction, the village choir, and an accordion limit my musical advantage and attainment …
At the age of 12 years, this beloved tutor and friend began training me for a teacher; but a few more months later my father opened a private school and took me to assist him, and from that time on I was a pupil no more. I worked with him the greater part of time until about 16 years old when I was installed teacher of an infant school. I followed teaching as a profession several years during which time the infant school resolved itself into a mixed or common school and I found myself under the necessity of applying myself to my books or acknowledging myself vanquished by some industrious boy or girl. Many an evening I faithfully fathomed the few pages in the Arithmetic which the first pupil would be likely to achieve during the following day; and the knowledge that it must be done, so sharpened my wits that I never failed and seldom had any serious difficulty.
Thus I advanced my knowledge of the common branches, but my great ambition to gain a liberal education is still ungratified. In the early days of Utah, struggle for bare sustenance was so severe that there was little time or opportunity for anything else; but I am thankful for every advantage I did enjoy and I truly wish I had improved them better; but there are tunes when my heart faints within me as I think of my God-given talents wasting away for want of polishing.
And I do believe there is no sin in coveting that which is my neighbor’s when I see others slight their privileges and trifle away those inestimable opportunities for which I have been almost consumed with longing. And it is most humiliating to see boys and girls yet in their teens acquiring grater proficiency than all my tedious years [p.63]of self-culture have enabled me to gain. But I am glad they are not limited to my meager opportunities, and I console myself for all that I lack, with the hope and determination that my children shall have a large part of that which I sought but never found.
From my childhood I have done considerable thinking and long years ago, pondered questions which puzzle me still. So long ago as I can remember I longed to be a boy, because boys were so highly privileged and so free. Thousands of things for which I heard girls gravely reproved met only an indulgent smile when done by boys. They could go when and where they pleased, alone or otherwise—without a thought of danger or impropriety. Education was offered to them accompanied with bribes, promises and persuasions, while doled out to girls, grudgingly as something utterly wasted, and expected to be of no further use. Well I remember my disgust when I asked a gentleman teacher if, in his opinion, I was sufficiently advanced in mathematics to study algebra with profit, and he replied that it would be a waste for me to study it—because I already had more than was necessary for a good housekeeper, wife and mother, which was a woman’s only proper place on earth. However, it is but justice to him and myself to say that he has since warmly commended my efforts at self-will and the good I have done here as a teacher.
Often have I winced under the unconcealed contempt for “female” expressed by masculines of all grades—the urchin pinafores to the finest scholars and ablest statesmen of the world. For these and many other reasons in my youth and “blissful ignorance” I longed to be a boy; but, like Fanny Fern “I am now thankful that I belong to a more respectable class of society.” Not for all their boasted “supremacy,” “superiority” and advantages would I have women come down to their low moral level. Intellectual acquirements, fame, power and even their self-conceit added, are as feathers in the scale against moral purity; and since undeniably there are more good women than good men on the earth who will dare decide that it would not be better for all potent Custom to allow two or more of these good women to marry one good man, than to condemn them whether they would or not either to live singly or to wed a man a thousand fathoms beneath them? I never could see a spark of justice in that rule unalterable as the laws of the Medes and the Persians, that unless, a woman passing to middle [p.64]age must be severely condemned, while there is so little in the conditions of matrimony and its male candidates to tempt a refined and noble-minded woman.
When I first entered “society” it did not take me long to perceive that the smiles and courtesies, the attentions and polite services which were showered upon me were given, not to me, but to my youth and personal appearance; while my mother whose noble soul and heroic self-sacrifice for her children’s good I knew to be so well worthy of respectful homage, was indebted for brief courtesy to the sole fact of being a sort of appendage to a young lady’s state. Even while polite attention from gentlemen were in themselves pleasant, I always felt a sort of guilt in accepting for my personality what I knew was tendered merely to abstract youth and beauty; and much disgust at the thought that my quick intellect, my honest heart, my high aspirations, all the sterling worth that was really of myself, were never considered in this glittering realm of pleasure to which I was beckoned. What girl has ever paused to think that she was caressed merely for her youth and freshness, things not the least due to herself and which advancing time will surely take from her, and that then she will surely be forsaken by this same society through no fault of her own, would ever become enamored of its fleeting pleasure and hollow praise.
I never was. Although the metrical movements of the dance in time to the rhythm of sweet music were very pleasant I could grow tired as of any kind of exercise, but I have seen girls who professed never to tire of dancing. I have often looked on while the beautiful girls radiant of youth and happiness, with their devoted partners, whirled through the dream waltz or sprightly cotillion and mused on the possibility of one of these lovely and carefree maidens, become a woman and perhaps wife of one of these adoring youths; wearing out not only her youth but her very life, drudging from morning till night to keep his house in order, and from night till morning with his ailing baby, only to be looked on by him as an inferior being, designed by nature to serve him. He will also think her a lucky woman to have won so superior a man as himself to take care of her; and he will talk about supporting her as if she did not perform more actual work and do more real contriving in twenty-four hours than her lord and master in a week. I wondered how any man could have the effrontery to ask, or any [p.65]woman the supineness to lay down the scepter and crown of girlhood to assume the yoke and burden of wifehood. My prayer was then as now that the time may come speedily when women will know and hold themselves at their true worth; when their eyes will be opened to the degradation of wasting their spotless lives on worthless and depraved men; when by the extent of their knowledge of life as it is and as it should be by the depth of their contempt for men who lead unholy lives, and by the firmness of their resolution and the dignity of their self-respect, they shall compel men to come up to their standard of morality and with them seek something still better, or to outcast from the Eden of man’s association. Since there is nothing in Nature to prevent women from sharing all the good things of this world, I am proud and thankful to see her beginning to burst the bands of that iron-handed Custom which has so long warned her not to touch and asserting her co-heirship with her brother man. I am not so unjust as to make no exceptions to all the sweeping assertions I have been making. I know all women are not good and true, nor all men tyrannical and unjust. I could mention the names of several men pledged heart and soul to the latter day work of woman’s emancipation from her long bondage; and one at least of my acquaintance is a far more ferocious antagonist of woman slavery than I. From him, I received the first antidoric draught to cure my misanthropy and disgust of life. He it was who first showed me wherein Religion is not leagued with woman’s oppressors; who first assured me with a man’s life that woman has as good a right to her individuality and her free agency on the earth as her brother man. So you see, my dear friend, that for his sake, did I never know another liberal minded, large heart
I am religious by nature; and in behalf of my religion I will bear witness that it had upheld me through many a bitter trial, and comforted me in grief when nothing else could. I was early taught to pray and for the greater part of my life never closed my eyes for sleep without prayer. I do not recollect ever attending a ball or place of amusement without asking God to keep me from all ill or unbelieving [p.66]thought, words or deeds, and from accidents or harm of any kind. During the entertainment, I often recalled the prayer and I can truly say that my prayers were answered. Few young girls ever met with fewer little mortifying mishaps, or moved amid giddy pleasures with less danger of becoming enamored of them.
I was baptized at eight years old with the understanding from my parents’ teaching that this ceremony and covenant, entered into willingly, entitled me to all the privileges and blessings of a beloved child of our Father until I should arrive at years of discretion; when it would become necessary for me either to ratify or repudiate the covenant. Looking back, I see multiplied manifestations of grace which should have comforted and strengthened and satisfied me. But, from reading and tradition, I was so deeply imbued with the mystical idea of a sudden and entire change of heart that I was blind to my own sweet experience of the grace of God and sought mourning for that which was already mine. Where can be the need for a change of heart if one’s heart is already at the feet of Christ? And what could convince one of being accepted by God, if not such an experience as this: When I was about sixteen years old, a beloved baby brother was very sick and sinking so rapidly that we had great fear that he would die; but I felt, in all humility, that I had lived near to the Lord, had tried to do his will and was entitled to claim the promise “Whatsoever ye ask in my name in faith that ye shall receive.” Unknown to my parents, I fasted and prayed with intense fervor that the little one’s life might be spared. I could not fail to see that he no longer grew worse, but neither did he grow better; but just remained at one point, which was a point of deep distress. For several days he lingered thus, while I felt like I had lifted some heavy weight just to the edge of a place of rest but lacked the one ounce of power necessary to deposit it thereon. Coming at one time suddenly into the room, I saw my mother wring her hands and cry in anguish: “Why, oh why! must my innocent baby suffer so much. If it is God’s will to take him away, oh, let his great sufferings end!” My heart smote me guiltily. Perhaps thought I, it is God’s will to take him—perhaps my shortsighted wishes stand between the beloved and his rest. I hastened away and with streaming eyes fell upon my knees crying, “Thy will, O Lord, not mine be done!” As soon as I was calm enough to re-enter the sick room I did so and was struck to the heart [p.67]by the change in the precious one’s face; and that same evening he died.
But the greatest spiritual manifestation ever vouchsafed to me was in relation to my marriage. I had seen in the married state so much that was disagreeable and humiliating to woman, that I was Firmly resolved to remain single. I knew I was quite able to provide for myself and lay up a competence for age without any man’s assistance; and although I loved children, I could not bring myself to believe that bearing children was the only way in which woman could serve the Lord acceptably. I knew that in my own profession of teaching I could do more to mould the moral nature of the young than any one mother in the privacy of her home. Moreover there are few who yearn for children who cannot find some poor, motherless lamb of the fold needing shelter; and though I never tried to cheat myself into the belief that any such could ever be quite like one’s own flesh and blood, I believed then as Firmly as I do now, that it is the good we do rather than the personal pleasure in doing it, which brings on joy hereafter. I was quite willing that those who chose that manner of serving the Lord might marry; but I was determined to choose the “better” way according to St. Paul. But as I gained “here a little, and there a little” knowledge of the religion I professed, and especially when after much meditation, study and prayer, I, in my twentieth year, willingly renewed my covenant and enrolled myself a responsible member of the church, I learned that in the highest glory of Heaven, none are single. One man or one woman is but haft a perfect individual, and we must bid adieu to reason itself when we try to suppose that anything short of absolute perfection will attain to the highest glory. The highest heaven had always been my goal; this little, insurmountable piece of reasoning was worse than gall and wormwood to me, for in my pride of heart, I had determined to win my soul’s salvation alone. I did not want a co-worker, forgetting that the best and bravest of us are only too happy to be acknowledged co-workers with Christ. It took some time to reconcile my hard heart to this fact; I even told myself I should prefer to become handmaiden to some sanctified woman than what I termed chief servant in a gentleman’s household. I had been told in express terms by some blind leaders of the blind that the Kingdom, here and hereafter, belonged only to man; and that woman enjoyed its gifts and blessings [p.68]only in sufficient degree to make her man’s efficient servant; and that looked to me not worth striving for.
It was in this state of mind that I became acquainted with [blank]; who, after a time, intimated to me that I would make a most desirable wife. I resented the thought; and told him that the man who thought I would be a meek, obedient, unobtrusive servant was very sadly wrong. When he comprehended my bitterness and my position on the subject, he mildly reasoned that to be a servant is not always a degrading thing, but the reverse. The greatest service ever performed on earth was that done by Christ for the whole human family, and which left us all deeply his debtors. A gift conferred produces a corresponding obligation on the part of the one benefitted. Between husband and wife there is need of mutual service; and whichever fails in discharging this obligation falls thus far under condemnation. The wife is much more bound to follow the husband’s advice than he hers; but when advice is really good, either would lose by outdoing so.
He knew of no such obligation which was not equally binding on earth. This was new light on a difficult problem. This was speaking from reason and common sense instead of vaguely hinting at some foggy superstition about man’s being created first and consequently best, noblest, and supremest. These were arguments at once indisputable and satisfactory. No true woman wishes to evade her just obligations, but she scorns to enter into a contract which binds only herself. While mutual service is pleasant and desirable, one-sided service is better and detestable; the one is truly ennobling, the other degrading. I began to see that artificial rules had superseded natural ones in this matter, but that because most people arrived at a false conclusion by taking a false starting point, I had no need to do the same. With a husband who is willing, a woman may easily preserve her individuality—even after marriage—always provided she has any to be preserved, and that I considered I did have. Here, thought I, is a man who does not think that merely because he is male he stands a whole light of stairs higher in creation than a woman—and, believing him to be honest and true as well as liberal minded, I could see that it would be easy to love him. At this new hydra rose up before me in this shape: “Who are you and how did you become so wise as to dare choose with whom you will pass not only this brief life but the countless ages of eternity?” [p.69]I felt that I did not dare; for had not thousands of wiser and better women than I made mistakes which wrecked not only their own happiness here and hopes for the hereafter, but entailed misery, disgrace and ruin on innocent children? For time, alone, as the people of the world marry, I could not and would not, because I considered that in a woman’s case, the burdens and trials of matrimony far exceed its benefits and blessings. Only for the sake of its expected joys in eternity, could I endure its trials through time; but that cherished “free agency” which gives a woman the choice with which of her fellow beings she will undertake to find eternal happiness, began to look far more like a burden and a snare than a privilege or a blessing. I thought and dreamed about it. I fasted and prayed about it; I grew pale and hollow-eyed over it but found no conclusion. I was at last willing to love a man, but dared not assume the responsibility of becoming his wife. Getting no answer to all my prayers, in very despair—and in deep humiliation because I was impressed so to do—I called on him to pray with me on the subject. I knew he was startled by the demand and felt it like assuming a great responsibility, but he hesitated only long enough to learn that there was no shadow of trifling in me. He knelt down first, and I placed myself beside him and laid one of my hands on one of his; and as I did so, I felt a thrill through every fibre [sic] of my being and I knew he felt the same. I was utterly crushed under the knowledge that within a few minutes a question would be settled which would shape and determine my destiny forever; and cowardly, I dreaded to meet the decision. The prayer was short, simple, and unassuming, but direct, earnes,t and sincere; and at every word uttered, a huge stone of my mountain load of doubt and fear rolled from my heart. My stony pride and bitter humility were alike softened; a peace sweeter than joy took possession of my soul; I felt that we were in the presence of the hosts of heaven; and a direct incontrovertible testimony was given me that it was the will of God and not my will that I should accept this man for my yokefellow. He knew as well as I what the decision was; and in awe-struck, solemn silence we left the spot. To this day it is to both of us a most precious and solemn recollection, and is never mentioned between us except with deepest reverence.
Early in my married life, one day my mother was sitting with me in my own house, and I was embroidering a delicate muslin robe for [p.70]my expected child. After much pleasant conversation, she inquired half playfully, how I felt doing such pretty work for a child of my own. A most natural and innocent question, but, my mother thought, most direful in its effect; for throwing down the work and bursting into hysterical weeping, I wailed: “Oh Mother, I feel like I were sewing on a shroud.” She was alarmed for my safety, and urged the necessity of self-control, and begged to know if she had said anything wrong. When I was sufficiently recovered, I explained. For months a haunting dread had hung like a great black cloud over me, that my child would die in infancy. I had tried to smile at it; I had refused it admittance to my thoughts; I had fought it like a deadly foe and barred the doors of my soul against it; but still it lay in wait, and my mother’s unexpected question suddenly flung wide all those barred doors and gave the enemy full possession. Lying, as I may say, a bound and helpless captive at the feet of my foe, I confessed my secret grief. As in duty bound, even had she not fully believed it, my mother argued that I had mistaken nervousness for presentiment and assured me that by the time I had borne half a dozen children, I should be able to discriminate better. I sobbed forth, “I wish you were right, Mother, but my child will live six months, a year, or possibly two years, but not longer.”
Great was my surprise and delight when, instead of the puny, wailing little skeleton I had expected, my child was a great, lusty boy who seemed the very impersonation of good health, high spirits and precocious intellect. Nothing ever seemed to hurt him, and in the pride of my heart, I laughed my former fears to scorn. I told my mother she was right, and I was tempted to give up my believe in presentiments entirely. But in his Fifteenth month, I found myself compelled to wean him; and it was with a sinking heart that I took him from my breast and began the old warfare anew. He pined from that day and in spite of all care, all weeping and praying, he died in my arms on the second anniversary of his birthday, and we buried him in the embroidered dress I had once called a shroud. A strange and sad experience truly, and my mother lives to testify to its truth; but the warning which was once my torture and foe, is now my comfort and friend; because it assures me that it was not my ignorance of the laws of life and hearth which deprived the world of so noble a soul, but the will of God.
In the year 1874, I think, one of my intimate friends lost her hus-[p.71]band to death. She was a woman of weak nerves and frail health, and it was a heavy blow to her. I visited her in her bereavement and thought she found comfort in my visits. One night a few months after when alone but for my second and only living child, I was awakened suddenly, but without any shock or fear, with a vivid impression or consciousness that my friend’s dead husband was present. I opened my lips to say, “Are you here Brother and what can I do for you?” when the thought, “Who are you and what were you to him that you should receive communication from the dead.” I checked the words upon my lips. But the answer was given that the husband dared not approach the wife because it would endanger her life and it was necessary that she should yet live and that she would believe my word just as implicitly as a direct communication. At this point a pang like grief reflected from another personality smote my heart and I knew that the presence was gone. Sorely then did I repent my wicked humility, and with a sense of guilt I felt that I had lost an opportunity of doing good. After a very few weeks, my friend’s youngest child, an angel on earth, died after only a few hours of languid discomfort—which could hardly be called sickness. When I looked on the lovely, smiling face and dimpled hands, in all but color a picture of blooming life and health, and beheld the frantic grief of the mother, my sense of guilt was almost more than I could bear. Soon afterward, I attempted to ease my mind by relating to the stricken one my incomplete experience, hoping she would utterly refuse to credit its genuineness. So far from doubting, she asked, “Oh, why did you not tell me even when you could. Do you think that had I known even that much, when my little girl came to me, as she did only the day before she died, kissing and petting me, and saying so earnestly and so lovingly, ‘Oh, Ma, what makes you be so good? I say do you think anything on earth could have hindered me from returning her sweet caresses and precious words of love, instead of saying as I did say,—shame on me!—turn away, dear, I am busy now?’ Do you think I could have been so busy as that had you told me even a little?”
Thus did that self-distrust which many are pleased to call modesty, become in me a sin; and such do I repent it.
These are not all of my spiritual experiences, but suffice to be here related. I acknowledge my comparative ignorance of the things of God and the laws of spiritual progression here and hereafter; but what I do [p.72]know I know. I bear my testimony that God has stretched forth his hand to redeem his people; that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and Brigham Young his rightful successor; that the whole contents of the records from which the “Book of Mormon” was translated have not yet been revealed but will be in the own due time of the Lord, at which time all who love him will rejoice. Blessed be this most holy name. Amen.
(Signed) Lucinda Lee Dalton
P.S. Dear friends: Even after “rising in the night” I have overstepped the limits I gave myself, but truly I have done my best. My husband’s full name is Charles W. Dalton, and you may insert it where I have left it out if you think best. I hope I have not been tedious and that my story may do some good. I think you should send me a proof-sheet. Received your postal card too late. Sent a letter too just before. “By” unimportant. Please write as soon as you read this ms. In love and haste, L.L.D.
1 Originally the Mormon kingdom in the west included not only Utah, but also parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming. The colony in San Bernardino in California was founded in 1851 but deserted in 1857 because of the Utah War (Arrington and Bitton, 118).