Monday, July 13, 2009

Overdue Promise

A long while ago I promised to post the story of Bodil Mortensen. I am lucky enough to be able to perform with The Jenny Phillips' Choir. We perform music about the pioneers. When I heard this story from the fireside it changed me. It is Pioneer Day next Friday. Our family is doing a 10 day Spiritual Trek and I have some stories to go along with our "journey". Here is Bodil's story and the lyrics that follow are from one of Jenny Phillips' songs about Bodil. I hope you all can come to a fireside soon. I'll post the locations as they come along. Our next fireside is in Lehi. It's on July 26th. When I read this story I think of my 10 year old and what faith it would take to let her go ALONE to another country because of religion. We CAN have that kind of faith. In order to have that kind of faith we need to be praying for it and I know that Heavenly Father will bless you. Because in these perilous times we HAVE to have this kind of faith. It's the only way to take a stand against what is wrong. Her faith changes me too!

Bodil Mortensen
Many of those who crossed the plains were only children. One of those children was Bodil Mortensen, age ten, from Denmark. Bodil Mortensen came alone, before her family to join the saints in Salt Lake City, her older sister traveled a year before her and was in Salt Lake. Bodil joined the Willie Handcart Company with a family from her country Denmark. Winter storms began early that year and slowed the travel of the company. Rock Ridge was a long hard journey for the children. The distance was about 15 miles, including a two-mile stretch in which the trail rose more than 700 feet in elevation. It took some of the children 27 hours to reach the camp. The snow was already more than a foot deep, a blizzard was raging, and the temperatures were freezing. A howling October snowstorm blinded ten-year-old Bodil Mortensen as she climbed with several other younger children, shivering and hungry, up the snow-covered slope of Rocky Ridge. Bodil was exhausted and weak, the young girl struggled on her way, hoping to reach Salt Lake City to be with her sister. Bodil was apparently assigned to care for some small children as they crossed Rocky Ridge. When they arrived at camp, in the wee hours of October 24, she must have been sent to gather firewood. All she could find was twigs of sagebrush. The next morning she was found leaning up against the wheel of a handcart, twigs clutched in her hands, frozen to death.

Bodil (lyrics from Jenny Phillips)
Only nine Leaving behind your home
What faith to leave all you know
So far to go
You are cold
Shivering through the storms
Your little fingers never warm
Always one step more
You didn’t know Your journey would end
Before you’d see the valley
But you left such a legacy
You didn’t know
That your faith changes me
I can’t feel my feet (Your faith changes me)
There’s nothing left to eat (Your faith changes me)
Vocal by Jenny Phillips & Chloe Mueller


Alynda said...

Thank you Tami.

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