Saturday, August 05, 2023

First Vision Stained Glass

 Stained Glass in Utah's Churches

This stained glass depicting the First Vision is located in the LDS Church Museum in Salt Lake City.

This magnificent stained glass artwork portrays a moment of great historical significance: Joseph Smith's First Vision. The event took place in 1820 when a young Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees near his home in upstate New York to pray and seek guidance on which church to join. However, what he experienced during that prayer altered the course of history forever.

In response to his sincere prayer, Joseph was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ. They conveyed to him that the fullness of the Gospel would be revealed to him at a future time. As a result, God restored the true Church of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith. This restoration brought forth additional scripture, such as the Book of Mormon and the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants. The authority to act in God's name, known as the priesthood, was also reinstated on earth. Furthermore, temples were established, allowing families to be sealed together for eternity. All these blessings became possible because of the profound impact of the First Vision and its subsequent events.

Joseph F. Smith, the sixth President of the Church and nephew of Joseph Smith, described the First Vision as the most significant event in the world since the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

During the early 20th century, there was a resurgence of interest in stained glass within American church architecture due to the Arts and Crafts movement. As a result, the subject of the First Vision became a popular theme for art glass windows in Latter-day Saint places of worship. One such example was a 12-foot window commissioned by the First Presidency for the Salt Lake Temple's Holy of Holies in 1892. Many other First Vision windows were also commissioned from different artists for Latter-day Saint meetinghouses.

The specific window in question was created in 1913 for the Adams Ward chapel in Los Angeles and is an example of the stained glass work from that period. The scene is painted on the back side of the glass, and along the bottom are the words of the Father to Joseph: "This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!" While stained glass is no longer as popular in Latter-day Saint meetinghouses today, this artwork serves as a beautiful reminder of the pivotal moment in history - the First Vision, which remains a cornerstone of Latter-day Saint faith.


Old photo of stained glass of the First Vision commissioned for the Salt Lake Temple.
Color photo of the First Vision stained glass in the Salt Lake Temple.


Church of Jesus Christ or Latter-day Saints. (n.d.). The First Vision Stained Glass.

Bridger Talbot. (2017, February 12). Latter-day Stained Glass: Part 2 - First Vision Stained Glass Depictions. Historic LDS Architecture.

Lehi Fourth Ward

 Stained glass in Utah's churches

The focal point of the stained glass is a beehive.

Between 1912 and 1913, the original Lehi Fourth Ward building was erected. The congregation decided to commission a sizable stained glass window, which was initially installed at the rear of the chapel. This Gothic arched window prominently features a beehive at its center, surrounded by two vases of flowers. Elaborate vegetal patterns and lines embellish the top and bottom sections of the window, adding to its beauty.

Unfortunately, in 1985, the original meetinghouse was demolished. However, the cherished stained glass window was not lost, as it found a new home in a newly constructed building just a few blocks away. The relocation ensured that the window's intricate craftsmanship and significance remained preserved and appreciated by the community.


Originally the stained glass was at the back of the chapel. 

The original Lehi Fourth Ward was located at 880 North 700 East. The stained glass taken to a new building several blocks away where it is now located.

Sources: Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

Bridger Talbot. (2016, June 30). Historic LDS Architecture: Lehi Fourth Ward.

Murray First Ward

Stained Glass in Utah's Churches

Stained glass window depicts the Savior with outstretched hands.

Built in the popular Neo-Gothic style and completed in 1907, the Murray First Ward chapel stood proudly at 184 East Vine St. Its creation was made possible by contributions from members of the first ward, most notably Mary Jean Gardner Miller and Margaret Gardner Miller. These two individuals played a significant role in commissioning a magnificent stained glass window, portraying the Savior with outstretched hands. This window serves as a memorial to honor the Miller sisters' late husbands, James and Ruben, whose names are etched at the bottom of the glass.

Although the building was sold in 1970, the cherished stained glass was not lost. Instead, it found a new home in a newly constructed chapel nearby. Today, the window can only be viewed from the exterior of the building, where it is beautifully illuminated from behind during the night. Inside the chapel, a large pipe organ now covers the window.

A pipe organ covers the stained glass so it can't be seen from inside the chapel.

The stained glass can be backlit at night showing the stained glass from the exterior of the building.

Cathedral of the Madeleine

Historic Buildings of Utah 

The Cathedral of the Madeleine is situated at 331 East South Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was constructed over a nine-year period, starting with the acquisition of the land in 1900, under the guidance of The Right Reverend Lawrence Scanlan, the city's inaugural bishop. Architects Carl Neuhausen and Bernard Mecklenburg blended Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, resulting in an impressive exterior and interior. The entire construction project cost $344,000. In 1991, a significant renovation commenced, amounting to $9.7 million, which greatly improved and reinforced the structure. The renewed cathedral was rededicated on February 21, 1993, and it holds a place on both the Utah and national registers of historic places.

One of many works of stained glass offset by pipe organ

Noteworthy features of the cathedral include:

  1. Baptismal Font: Fashioned from Carrara onyx and glass mosaic, the font incorporates a conventional upper font and a lower immersion area, which was used for adult baptisms through water pouring. The symbolism of the font includes the cross and its eight sides, representing the concept of eternity's 'eighth day.' This design harks back to ancient baptismal practices involving immersion.
  2. Confessionals: The two confessionals at the rear were enlarged in 1993, providing spaces for private confession and repentance.
  3. Shrines of Charity: Dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua (carved in 1918) and St. Vincent de Paul (carved in 1993), these shrines exemplify the church's dedication to serving the less fortunate.
  4. The Organ: Installed in 1992, the English-style organ features 4,066 pipes and stands within a Gothic case. It serves both liturgical services and concerts.
  5. Stained Glass Windows: Adorning the interior, these exquisite windows depict various classic Catholic themes, including the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Resurrection, Ascension, and Descent of the Holy Spirit.
  6. Stations of the Cross: Painted by Utah artist Roger Wilson in 1992 and 1993, these 14 stations adhere to a revised version directed by the Vatican in 1975. They blend traditional iconography with colors inspired by the American Southwest.
  7. The Altar: The centerpiece of the cathedral, the altar is constructed from Carrara onyx adorned with glass mosaic. It occupies a prominent position at the intersection of the cathedral's main seating areas. Notably, the altar holds relics of St. Gratus, Bishop of Aosta in Piedmont, Italy, who passed away in 457, symbolizing the call to sainthood.
  8. Blessed Sacrament Chapel: Located at the rear of the main chancel, this chapel is reserved for the sick or for private devotion. Adjacent to it is the Ambry, which holds holy oils. The chapel was added in 1993.
  9. Shrine of St. Mary Magdalen: As the patroness of the cathedral, this shrine and the large painting above it are captivating focal points. The painting depicts Mary looking up to Christ, who is positioned above her.

Friday, August 04, 2023

Jesse James Home

 How did Jesse James die?

The infamous outlaw Jesse James met his demise in his home at 1318 Lafayette Street in St. Joseph.Missouri on April 3, 1882. He was fatally shot by Bob Ford, a fellow member of the James gang, who shot him to claim the $10,000 reward offered by Governor Tom Crittenden.

At the age of 34, Jesse's lawless career spanned 16 years. During his final days, he was living with his wife and two children, and going by the name Tom Howard to evade capture.

On the day of the incident, Jesse was unexpectedly shot from behind while standing on a chair, trying to adjust a picture in his home. Following his shooting, his wife, two children, and his mother, Mrs. Zerelda Samuel, sought refuge at Patee House, known then as the World's Hotel, for the next two nights.

In 1995, forensic scientist James Starrs exhumed the outlaw's body in Kearney, Missouri, to perform DNA tests. The results of these tests indicated a 99.7% likelihood that the individual killed in 1882 was indeed Jesse James. 


The James Home serves as a museum dedicated to the life and death of Jesse James. Today, visitors at the Jesse James home can view various artifacts from the grave, including the coffin handles, a small tie pin worn by Jesse James on the day of his death, a bullet extracted from his right lung area, and a cast of his skull, revealing the bullet hole located behind his right ear.

Managed by the Pony Express Historical Association, the Jesse James Museum generates revenue through admission charges, which is then utilized to maintain both the James Home and the Patee House Museum.

The James Home was initially situated approximately two blocks north of its current position, situated atop a high hill with a view of Patee House. However, in 1939, it was relocated to the Belt Highway in St. Joseph to serve as a tourist attraction.

In 1977, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Keatley acquired the James Home and later generously donated it to the Pony Express Historical Association. Subsequently, the house was brought back to its original neighborhood and now stands on the grounds of the Patee House Museum.


Visit the Patee House Museum and Jesse James Home website.

Monday, July 31, 2023

How do ESL classes help immigrants and refugees adjust to life in America?

Theme: The United States takes a hands-off approach when it comes to integrating immigrants by teaching them English as a Second Language. Immigrants who speak English tend to have higher earnings and are more readily embraced by Americans. However, the United States falls short in providing an adequate number of free English classes for incoming immigrants. 

Summary: Immigrants' proficiency in English, whether justified or not, significantly affects Americans' perceptions of immigration. The majority of Americans hold the belief that to be considered truly American, an individual must be able to speak English. 

In the United States, there is a strong correlation between English proficiency and earnings. Immigrants constitute about one-sixth of the American workforce, and those who acquire fluency in English tend to have higher earnings primarily because they become eligible for better-paying positions. According to Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, a senior fellow at the National Skills Coalition, which promotes vocational-skills training, even learning basic English has a positive impact on job opportunities as the majority of entry-level jobs in the U.S. demand some level of English proficiency. 

According to Khazan (2021), Other developed nations actively engage in efforts to assimilate immigrants and refugees into their societies. For instance, in Sweden, foreigners receive unlimited Swedish lessons without any charge, and sometimes these lessons are incorporated into job-training programs. France, on the other hand, requires a brief indoctrination session on "French values" but then offers 400 hours of language instruction along with free child care. Similarly, Canada provides extensive free language classes to newcomers, some of which include free child care and transportation services. Canada adopts a proactive stance, aiming to leverage immigrants' skills in their labor market by ensuring they have the necessary English or French language proficiency. Regrettably, the U.S. lacks a national policy dedicated to aiding immigrants in becoming fully integrated American citizens. 

Application: I usually take a hands off position to government involvement in people's lives, but English language studies for new immigrants is one area where some government direction might be helpful. Even with minimal local government help to facilitate ESL, most of the teaching could be done by volunteers. What happened to the program where LDS Relief Societies were involved in teaching English? 

 Reference: Khazan, O. 2021,, June 4). Americans Say Immigrants Should Learn English. But U.S. Policy Makes That Hard. The Atlantic.

 For Better Jobs, Immigrants Voluntarily Line Up to Learn English ...