Henry W. Bigler was my great-grandfather on my mother's side. I copied, several years ago, his marvelous journal which the Church had put on microfilm. My mother remembers when, in the 20's or 30's, either the Smithsonian or some other group (she could not remember) came to the old house is SLC and "bought' his original diary. Henry was a quiet giant who joined the Church in about 1836 in what is now West Virginia. He,his father and brothers traveled west to Missouri following the Saints, to Nauvoo, and on with the Mormon Battalion to California. He was one of the four battalion members working at Sutter's Mill when Marshall discovered gold. It is from his diary that the correct date and circumstances of the discovery were revealed. He served 4 missions to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) and never got to SLC until into the 1850"s due to the first mission. His last two decades were spent working in the Temple in St. George where my grandmother Eleanor Bigler (later Eleanor Bigler Heppler) was born in 1880. Henry was a stalwart saint, a champion journal keeper, and a man who knew and loved all the prophets from Joseph through Lorenzo Snow, president when Henry died in 1900.
I live in Nampa, ID and can be contacted by Bigler relatives at 208-230-4209.
Bro Moon, I see that you plan to show this journal in Provo. I am a descendant of Henry W. Bigler. Will you show this journal in any other locations? California? I would love to see it.
I enjoyed the article. Thanks!
I don't believe that Bigler identified the "beardless boy" in the Mar. 1, 1892 issue of the JI. https://archive.org/stream/juvenileinstruct275geor#page/150/mode/2up. Perhaps Brother Moon has misread the citations in Andrus and Andrus, "They Knew the Prophet." In addition to citing the JI, Andrus and Andrus cite a "Life Sketch of Henry William Bigler."
It's unclear what Brother Moon means by "lost" or "discovery" here. The sermon was lost to whom? And who discovered it?
Henry Bigler sounds like a very interesting man. What else have you found in his journal? Hopefully you will do more stories from his journal.
Very enlightening! I look forward to reading more about Henry Bigler in future articles.
Bro. Andrus and Bro. Madsen both knew about this saying of Joseph Smith's at least and used it so to me it doesn't sound like a new discovery. I think the Bigler Diary would make a great addition to the Library!
I'm the author. I would like to answer a couple of questions. Yes, Henry W. Bigler later identified the "beardless boy" as Erastus Snow (Juvenile Instructor, March 1, 1892). And yes, plans are already in place for the Church History Department to digitize the Bigler journal later this summer. Also, the journal will be on display, and available for scholars to review, at the Mormon History Association Conference in Provo, UT June 5-6, 2015.
I'm the author. I would like to answer a couple of questions. Yes, Henry W. Bigler later identified the "beardless boy" as Erastus Snow in the "Juvenile Instructor" (March 1, 1892). Scholars and other interested parties will have access to the Bigler journal at a later date. Arrangements are already in place with the Church History Department to have this journal digitized (probably Summer-Fall 2015). The journal will be on display at the Mormon History Association (mormonhistoryassociation.org) annual Conference in Provo, UT June 5-6, 2015.
Bigler was a member of the Mormon Battalion. Was he also at Sutter's Mill? I think so. At any rate, returning to Utah he went over the Sierras and saw Lake Tahoe, which originally was called Lake Bigler.
Wonderful! I have always had an idea there must be more to the story of what the stone was. Thank you for sharing this - it helps to understand it.
I wonder if this is the same experience that the future Elder Erastus Snow of the 12 had. He related, according to a talk by Truman Madsen, "Erastus Snow was corrected by the prophet once after he gave a sermon and spoke of the "stone cut out of a mountain without hands" that would roll forth and fill the earth. His sermon was essentially that it would crush all other kingdoms. The prophet said, "No brother Snow. No. It will not be by sword or gun that this kingdom grows. It will be like a spinning wheel, centrifugal in influence, reaching farther and farther throughout the world.". That reference is found in a book by Hyrum Andrus, They Knew the Prophet, p.100 SLC Bookcraft. Erastus Snow would have been 20 years old at the time.
A great story, unfortunately Henry Bigler's journal would be better preserved and used by scholars and relatives if given to the LDS Church Historical Dept. in Salt Lake City where controlled conditions are available. My wife is also a descendent of Henry Bigler and would have better access to this treasure there.
Thank you for sharing that. It is a different perspective on the stone rolling forward until it fills the earth than I've ever had, but it is so much easier for me to visualize and it makes so much more sense to me. The stone rolls in place and gathers in size...that is how it grows. I love it! Stones rolling down a hill tend to have pieces break off rather than grow. This is a different vision. It feels right to me.
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