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2022 Clark Family Tour

The Family File

A Message from Joseph S. Clark to the Clark family on the occasion of the Clark reunion held March 26, 1944 in honor of his 90th birthday.

My dear relatives:

I am very grateful for this occasion. I appreciate the honor you have paid me by calling the family together for a reunion in recognition of my having reached the 90th milestone on my life's journey.

I am happy to meet so many of you here today, and welcome you to this reunion. Many of you will remember how delighted our beloved father was to have us mingle together on such occasions as this, and how he hoped we would continue to do so to renew our love and friendship for each other and not only to cement more closely our family ties, but to renew our faith and loyalty to the Church which he held so dear and to which he consecrated so much of his life.

Ours I one of the first families in the Church. Our progenitors were among those who laid the foundation for the building up of the Kingdom of God in these the last days-the dispensation of the fullness of times. They early preached the restored word. They went through the drivings and the mobbings. They gave of their means and their lives to help build a Zion to the God of Israel who had revealed himself anew to the children of men.

Father, when but a boy, gave to the Prophet his last few dollars to help finished the Nauvoo temple and received from the Prophet the promise that he would never want for mans. He heard the Prophet speak his farewell words when he went as he said, "like a lamb to the slaughter." He saw the mantle of Joseph fall upon the shoulders of Brigham. And when doubt and uncertainty were in the minds of some, even members of his own family, as to where was the rightful leadership, where was to be found the right road to follow, father never faltered but declared "where you find the majority of the General Authorities of this Church, there you find the truth. I am going with Brigham Young and the Saints to the Valley of the Mountains."

And so after many trials and hardships he was able to fit himself out and early in the second year of the entrance of the Saints into this valley he came with his family. Here he set his feet firm in the conviction that this was the place. Here he established the roots of his family tree and became the patriarch and founder of the Clark family here in the west. Here he labored to transform a desert into fruitful fields. Here he mingled with the General Authorities of the Church, was a true and personal friend to many of them, had them frequently in his home, broke the bread of friendship with them, accepted gladly and willingly any call they made of him for service, was loyal to their wishes and faithful to their teachings. He was never found criticizing the Priesthood, he was never found complaining against the Church or the doctrines taught by the brethren. I have heard him say on more than one occasion that if there was any doubt in his mind about the acceptance of any principle advanced, he always reserved his judgment, waited patiently till time justified its truth. I pass that on to you, and particularly to you younger ones here, as a wise and judicious thing to do. If in your schooling or in your association with learned men there seems to be ideas advanced that appear to be in contradiction to the teachings of the Church, do not immediately denounce the Church or voice criticism of the Authorities who teach them, but reserve your judgment, wait patiently and future years will no doubt justify their truth and bring to you an inner satisfaction in such justification.

Being among the oldest of father's children, it was my good fortune to be associated with him for a long period of years. Ezra James, the eldest boy, was sent on a mission to Europe in 1865. Timothy, the oldest, who was a member of the Militia, was called South with his company to protect the Saints from the Indians. Naturally then to me fell the responsibility of aiding father in his labors to build up an inheritance in Zion. With him I went through much of the pioneering in enlarging his fields, in driving his stakes in new lands, in building up his flocks and herds. I knew of his ambition to create an estate that would insure his children an inheritance in Zion. With my older brothers I sacrificed much to make more comfortable the lives of the younger children coming on. Father wanted them to have an education to be prepared to give worthy and efficient service to their Church and to the community in which they lived. Many of you younger ones do not know much of the system under which we lived and labored, that of having nothing we could call our own but holding everything in common for the benefit of those who needed.

I would caution you all to be charitable to one another, to be helpful where help is needed. Father would have it so. We who labored that you might have would wish it so.

There is one thing I have in my heart I would like to talk to you about today. Father was very anxious about his genealogy. He had hoped when on some of his missions to be able to find out something about his progenitors, but he did not succeed in getting very much. At the time our son Lt. Oliver Clark was stricken with a fetal illness as a result of his service in the armed forces of the United States in what has come to be known as World War I, Maria, my wife, went East to take care of him. Our grandson, Joseph L. Robinson, had just finished his intern work after graduating in medicine and had taken over the health work of a big industrial plant in New Britain, Connecticut. Maria and Oliver went there hoping that Joseph could give them some help, but primarily to receive the services of a doctor who had been highly recommended as being an expert in the disease Oliver was stricken with. While there Maria found time to go to the library in Hartford and do some research work in genealogy. It was there, after almost giving up hopes of finding anything I the Clark line, that she came across a record written in longhand and filed away in the basement of the Library. It proved to be a history of two Clark boys, both by the name of George, who came to America in 1637 and who were of our direct line. Knowing of our father's desire and Maria's interest in genealogy, we were happy to accept a call in 1921 to labor as workers in the Salt Lake Temple. We labored there for many years. It was there in 1923 on the 100th anniversary of father's birth that the family gathered and did work for the hundreds of our kin.

At the time of finishing the Salt Lake Temple, an invitation was extended to prominent members of the Church to donate funds in order to complete the interior of the Temple that it might be dedicated on the fortieth anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone. Father responded liberally. He with others who had likewise responded were invited to attend a special meeting in the Temple just previous to its dedication. At the close of that meeting it was told me that father's testimony at the meeting that of seeing the mantle of Joseph fall upon Brigham Young proved to be the keynote thought of the meeting. He had a great love for and pride in the Temple. He had sent teams of oxen to haul stones from the quarry in Cottonwood canyon as well as donating freely to it. He hoped he would always have a representative there doing work. We have done fairly well. But we could do better. Brother E. B. has spent several years there now and also a grandson, Joseph E. Robinson, and his wife doing a fine work. I wish the family would give this matter of genealogy work special attention and also instill in your children faith in temple work and its ordinances; creating in their hearts a desire to make their marriage vows there and be sealed to each other for time and eternity.

And now in closing I bear you my testimony. In the ninety years I have lived I have seen the Church grow in strength and power. I know of a surety that it is the Church of Christ. That the Priesthood of the living God is held by its members, under whose administration the Kingdom of God will be established and the way made ready for the second coming of the Savior of the world. I admonish you and your children, and your children's children to live true to the faith of our parents. Serve the Church as they served it. Attend to your duties in the Priesthood and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities provided by the auxiliary organizations of the Church. Develop the gifts within you. If you do this I promise you, you will be happy in your family and community life. That you will be blessed and prospered in basket and in store. That many of you will come into prominent leadership in the Church, recognized as true and valiant men and women, worthy of the honor and respect of all en and the gratitude of us whose name you bear. God Bless You All.