Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Dialogue: Vol 14 No 4
Mary Fielding Smith: Her Ox Goes Marching On
MARY FIELDING SMITH: HER OX GOES MARCHING ON Lavina Fielding Anderson I should preface these remarks by establishing two things. First, I am no blood relation to Mary Fielding Smith, although, like all of you, I proudly claim her for a spiritual sister; second, my subject is not Mary Fielding Smith herself but what she represents: the process by which women of church history are turned into heroic role models for women of contemporary times. Why did I choose her? Before the age of eighteen, I would guess I knew the names of only three historic Mormon women: Emma Smith, Eliza R. Snow and Mary Fielding Smith. In terms of biography, I knew nothing about Emma except that she was Joseph Smith's wife and the first president of the Relief Society. I knew that Eliza R. Snow had written "O My Father." But I knew a lot about Mary Fielding Smith: I knew she had an ox raised from the dead. I knew that the captain of her company tried to persuade her not to come to Salt Lake because she would be a hindrance, and that she announced she would beat him to the Valley without asking any help from him—and made it. I knew that when her oxen were lost, the men hunted for them unsuccessfully, but she, after praying, went directly to the thicket where they were entangled, disregarding a herdsman who told her they were in the opposite direction. I also knew about the tithing clerk in Salt Lake Valley who tried to tell her that a poor widow like herself shouldn't pay tithing and whom she rebuked because she needed the blessings. Lavina Fielding Anderson received her Ph.D. in American literature from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1974; her thriving interest in women's history began flourishing after she moved to Salt Lake City and became acquainted with Leonard Arrington and his associates. She is now president of her own editing and writing company. Copyright 1980 by Lavina Fielding Anderson. This paper was originally delivered30 January 1980 at the Fifth Annual Women's Conference, Brigham Young University, and published in Blueprints for Living: Perspectives for Latter-day Saint Women, ed. Maren M. Mouritsen, vol. 2 [Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1980], pp. 2-13. 91