Remembering Elder Joseph Standing

Monday, August 5, 2019
A memorial service was held in honor of Elder Joseph Standing, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who was killed by a mob near Varnell, Whitfield County, Ga. 140 years ago on July 21, 1879.  
 
Tony Ingle, former Dalton State College basketball coach, who now serves as Bishop of the Dalton ward/congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presided over the service.  Ron Shinnick, public affairs specialist for the Dalton ward, planned and conducted the event.  Local Chattanoogan, Phil Smartt, paid tribute. 
 
Officials said, "In 1878, Elder Standing was called to serve in the Southern States Mission.  His companion, Elder Rudger Clawson, was called in 1879.  They served without purse or script, and spread the good news and glad tidings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in accordance with the law.  Standing was 24 years old, and from Salt Lake City, Utah.  Elder Clawson was 22 years old."
 
"Nine days prior to his death, Elder Standing had written to the governor of Georgia, Alfred H.
Colquitt, explaining 'the injustices heaped upon the missionaries” and “the activities of armed mobs in Whitfield County,' noting that 'the laws of Georgia are strictly opposed to all lawlessness and extend to her citizens the right of Worshipping God according to the dictates of conscience…. A word or line from the Governor would undoubtedly have the desired effect.  Ministers of the Gospel could then travel without fear of being stoned or shot,'" Elder Standing stated.
 
Through his secretary, Governor Colquitt replied, stating, “The Governor directs me to say that your statement is entirely correct [regarding the laws of Georgia and religious faith]” and he would “instruct the State Prosecuting Attorney for the District to inquire into the matter, and if the report be true, to prosecute the offenders” (see wikiepedia/Joseph Standing).   
 
According to historians, as recounted by Seferovich (see Master’s Thesis, 1996, scholarsarvhive.bye.edu):
 
On July 21, 1879, “a rowdy twelve-man mob apprehended Elder Standing and his companion, Elder Rudger Clawson, on a public road.  After a few hours of derogatory exchanges, violence erupted and Standing received a bullet in the face, leaving him unconscious but alive. A short time later, Clawson was finally allowed to leave to find help for his wounded companion.  In his absence, the disorderly crowd emptied their guns into Standing’s body, no doubt attempting to protect the individual murderer by implicating the group.  When the case came to trial three months later, the Georgia jury returned a verdict of not guilty.”
 
Elder Standing was the first missionary to be murdered in the Southern States Mission.  Five years later, two more missionaries were killed in Cane Creek, Tennessee.  Another missionary was killed in Mississippi in 1898.  
 
Elder Clawson accompanied Elder Standing’s body home to Salt Lake City, Utah after “washing the bloody stains from the missionary’s body and preparing it for the long train ride home” (Hoopes and Hoopes, The Making of a Mormon Apostle,1990).  More than 10,000 attended Elder Standing’s funeral services.  Elder Clawson returned to Georgia to testify against the mob at trial.  Although the mob was acquitted, Elder Standing is remembered.  
 
In 1880, a monument of Italian marble was placed over Elder Standing’s grave in Salt Lake City.  The marker was replaced in 2001.  In 1952, Church President David O. McKay dedicated a monument to Elder Standing in Whitfield County, Georgia.  The property is maintained by the Church and open to the public at Standing Road, Tunnel Hill, Georgia. 
 
At age forty-one, Elder Clawson became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the second-highest governing body of the Church.  He was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for forty-five years, serving as president of that quorum for twenty-two of those years.  
 
In Dalton, Georgia, 12 miles south of Varnell, a congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established in May 1978.  In 1983, a temple, the first in the South, was dedicated in Atlanta, Georgia.  Some 150,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days now reside in Georgia and Tennessee.  Georgia is also the location of the Church’s area offices “where first response disaster aid is shipped throughout the South.”  Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a worldwide membership of over 16 million members with more than 65,000 missionaries serving in major cities and small communities around the globe.

"How Do We Get Ready For This Baby?" Is Sermon Topic At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

Steve Ellison: It Is Surely Coming

"The Gift Of The Ordinary" Is Sermon Topic At Metropolitan Tabernacle Church On Sunday


Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced on Tuesday that Pastor Mitch McClure will lead a 'Celebration of the Victory in Jesus Christ' on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The ... (click for more)

Ahaziah, son of Ahab and Jezebel, reigned for about two years as the king of Israel. Ahaziah was a worshipper of Baal and a doer of wickedness just like his parents. Apparently, he was very, ... (click for more)

This Sunday Pastor Reita Ball will preach "The Gift of the Ordinary" at Metropolitan Tabernacle Church. The public is invited to come and enjoy a cup coffee with the pastoral staff before ... (click for more)


Church

"How Do We Get Ready For This Baby?" Is Sermon Topic At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced on Tuesday that Pastor Mitch McClure will lead a 'Celebration of the Victory in Jesus Christ' on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Celebration will include a special musical presentation by the church choir, and a message, "How Do We Get Ready For This Baby?" by Pastor Mitch McClure. This Celebration is a result ... (click for more)

Steve Ellison: It Is Surely Coming

Ahaziah, son of Ahab and Jezebel, reigned for about two years as the king of Israel. Ahaziah was a worshipper of Baal and a doer of wickedness just like his parents. Apparently, he was very, very wicked, because Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, had his work destroyed by the Lord simply because he had made an alliance with Ahaziah. One day Ahaziah was in his upper room in his palace ... (click for more)

Breaking News

6 People Escape Early Morning Fire In Walker County; 4 Transported To Hospital; 1 Has Critical Burns

Six people escaped a burning home early Wednesday morning at Rock Spring, Ga., thanks in part to working smoke alarms. Officials said 911 received a call at 3:31 a.m. reporting a structure fire with entrapment at 533 Worthington Gap Road. When Walker County Fire Rescue arrived, everyone inside had escaped the blaze. Emergency crews transported four of the family members ... (click for more)

City Council Approves "Transformational" Project At Alstom Property With 20-Story Skyscraper

The City Council on Tuesday night approved rezoning for a "transformational" project at the former Alstom property, including allowing one building to be as tall as 20 stories. Victor Dover, who is leading the planning for The Bend on over 100 acres, said the original request was for the 20-story "signature" building near the riverfront, along with several 12-story buildings. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Who Speaks For Teachers?

Much will be said about the joint meeting between the Hamilton County Commission and the Hamilton County School Board. But one thing is clear under the law for collective bargaining in Tennessee. The duly authorized representative of teachers is the Hamilton County Education Association and their bargaining representatives. The law was established this way so there would not be ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Bless-ed Christmas Gift

It was back in April when I read a wonderful story on one of the websites I scan during My Morning Readings. It had a story that caught my soul. The website is “Little Dumb Man” and, because I am most certainly one of those, it is a continuous joy for me to visit. The story was entitled “15 Signs That Show Someone is a Real, True Friend.” I read it and printed a copy off to save ... (click for more)