Southwestern States Mission: The Courtship of Amelia Carling

By March 24, 2013

Sorry I?m late posting? critically analyzing someone?s marriage is sticky business and this post is three times longer than my average.

Four years ago I wrote (1, 2, 3) about the bigamous marriage of Mission President James G Duffin, age 42, and missionary Amelia B Carling, age 24, in August 1902, while she was a missionary under his supervision. At the time, I had only Duffin?s diary, which said little of the marriage and almost nothing of its origins. I now have a transcript of Carling?s diary for the first six months of her mission; it ends eight months before the wedding. Carling?s diary gives little new information about the wedding itself but below I will attempt to suss out something of the emotional character of the proto-relationship.

In particular, I would like to know how Carling felt about the whole business. Was she ?in love?? What did she think about (or know of) the first wife, Mary? How did she narrate the decision / experience religiously? How did she perceive the power asymmetry? And so on. The power asymmetry was, I think, pretty stark. One way to describe the match is:

Duffin, age 40, living 1,200 miles from his wife, Mary—also in her forties and the mother of his (at least) eight children—arranged for Carling, age 20, to be assigned to his mission where he, her ecclesiastical and institutional superior, assigned her to work closely with him. She, the tenth child of a polygamous, financially embarrassed family in Orderville, Utah, acquiesced to the advances of the politically and ecclesiastically prominent man and married him about two years after the first meeting. As near as I can tell, the marriage happened without the prior knowledge of the first wife.

Unfortunately, the diary tells us relatively little about how Carling felt; my attempt at a reconstruction is below. [i]

According to Carling, she and Duffin first met nine months before the start of her mission, in 1900 October, when two of her friends were assigned to work under Duffin. [ii] Six months later, Carling arranged a second encounter to get updates on her friends, at which time Duffin broached the possibility of a mission. It seems likely that Duffin then initiated the process of having Carling called as a missionary. [iii] She reached Kansas City on 1901 June 29 and ?[w]as met at the station by Prest. Duffin, who gave me a hearty welcome into the mission.? [iv]

And then? Carling and Duffin married fourteen months later, with nary a ?dear diary? along the way: Carling?s journal, which ends eight months before the wedding, contains nothing that requires and little that even suggests a pre-marital interpretation. [v] The strongest ?evidence? of when Carling and Duffin discussed marriage is that in December 1901 they took up Spanish lessons. [vi] At the time, Southwestern States missionaries neither lived nor proselyted among Spanish-speakers, so Spanish lessons suggest preparations to live in Mexico. [vii]

Whatever the timeline was, the diary does give some indications about Carling?s disposition and about the Carling-Duffin relationship. Carling comes across as social and confident, [viii] though she was, on occasion, ?not in a laughing mood.? [ix] If she was thinking about marriage, she made almost no mention of it. Once she noted some curtains she liked and ?hope[d] to make some similar when I get a ?little home of my own.?? [x] She also seems to have had a pre-mission understanding with an Elder Meeks and ?dreaded to meet him on account of having to straighten up matters with him.? [xi] Her father had two wives and Carling received a letter ?from Sister in Mexico.? [xii]

Carling seems to have enjoyed study and literature. She studied at Brigham Young Academy [xiii] and records reading various texts, especially for rest or when not feeling well. [xiv] She notes three instances of reading narrative poetry out loud with Duffin, sometimes late into the evening. [xv]

Along with her study, Carling self-consciously asserted a place for intelligent, capable women in the church and in society. While visiting a man recently returned from Utah, she asked ?about the condition he found in the freedom of the women of Utah as we hear about them being held in bondage? and seemed gratified with his response: ?I would to God that the women in all the states were as intelligent and well educated as the women of Utah.? [xvi] On another occasion, speaking with male church members ?opposed to women speaking in church,? she and her companion were pleased ?that we could find passages in the Bible to prove that women in those days, as well as in our own day, were helpers in the church.? [xvii]

Although she did not present it in a gendered context, she noted her developing ability to dispute:

?I am getting so I can give just as good slams as they send. I never thought I would talk as I have done, but when these old apostates get to defaming our gospel, and our people it makes a rightous indignation rise in my soul and I talk to defend that which is of more value than life to me.? [xviii]

Note, also, Carling?s devotion, which manifests throughout the diary. [xix] Part of her faith was that God intervened in daily life, a belief she shared with Duffin. [xx] They also shared an expectation about God?s coming judgments. [xxi] When Carling expressed admiration of Duffin in the diary, she emphasized spiritual virtues: ?O I never knew a more heavenly, pure man than Prest. James G. Duffin?; ?He is a very unselfish man, and does all he can for the missionaries.?  [xxii]

Duffin and Carling spent non-trivial time working, traveling, and relaxing together. [xxiii] In a few of those instances the diary specifies that visiting with Duffin was ?pleasant.? [xxiv] One such event sounds, to these twenty-first-century ears, well, rather more social than missionary:

?Sunday after S.S. Prest. Duffin and I went out to visit Sister Platts, took dinner with them spent the afternoon, then had a pleasant walk home. Stopped on our way at an ice cream stand and had a dish of ice cream. In the evening attended church and after, walked home with sister milligan and on our way home to the office, stopped at the ice cream parlor and had another dish of ice cream.?  [xxv]

In two instances lasting several days each, Carling and Duffin seemed to play the role of a de facto couple hosting mission visitors at libraries, museums, plays, street-car tours of the city, concerts, trips to Independence, parties, and attendance at church conferences. [xxvi]

So? can we draw any conclusions?

I don?t think the diary supports requires the idea of ?romance,? but Carling clearly admired Duffin and seems to have enjoyed his company. She also seems to have had a degree of self-assertion. It took me 1,200 words, but that?s as far as I?m willing to go.

A few weeks after her wedding, Carling wrote a letter defending polygamy (ht Andrea Radke-Moss). Maybe I?ll write about it later.



The ?Southwestern States Mission? series (homepage) examines mission life in (mostly) Texas around 1900.

[1] Some concerns: As I mentioned above, analyzing someone?s marital relationship is ?sticky?—it borders on dehumanizing the two individuals in the couple. I hope I have shown appropriate discretion and sensitivity to Carling and Duffin?s feelings and decisions. Second, in 1901 there was no ?typical? sister missionary, no ?routine? procedures, and other than generic prudence, charity, chastity, etc, no ?rules? about how Mission Presidents and Sister Missionaries interacted. Thus, it is problematic to go through Carling?s diary and divide interactions into ?normal? and ?not-normal? President/Missionary encounters. Third, as in the original series, I am ?reading like a conspiracy theorist.? I know Duffin and Carling married fourteen months after Carling began writing the diary. I also know that Duffin, and almost certainly, Carling, intentionally obfuscated the record of their relationship. I am interpolating, extrapolating, guessing, and just leaping with most of what follows.

[ii] ?While in Salt Lake City attending the General Conference in April 1901, I met Prest. James G. Duffin on the Tabernacle grounds on Sunday afternoon. I had met him the fall conference before, when Elders Meeks and Hoyt started on their missions, so I wanted to enquire how they were getting along, as he had just come from the Mission.? (Carling, p 1, prior to 1901 Jun 20 entry). Duffin makes no mention of Carling or the Elders (Duffin, 1900 Sep 29 ? Nov 12). Later, Carling says of Elder Meeks: ?Thursday the Prest. And I went over to St. John to conference. Here I met Alf (Elder Meeks) for the first time since coming to the mission. I had some queer feelings, a mixture of joy and pain. I was pleased to see him and especially to learn that he was doing good work as a missionary, but dreaded to meet him on account of having to straighten up matters with him.? (Carling, p 52, 1901 Sep [Carling frequently omitted the date and I have not yet gone through and figured out exact dates for each entry]).

[iii] ?Prest. Duffin asked me ?how I would like to take a mission?? He state that there was a nice work opening up in his mission for two lady missionaries.? Carling?s account then continues for 500+ words. It is reproduced here. It is, of course, possible that someone else had suggested Carling as a missionary and the Duffin was acting on a prior recommendation.

[iv] A few lines later in the entry: ?We took the street care [sic] in the depot and in a few minutes were at the Mission Headquarters and after introducing me to the Elders who were there, Prest. Duffin took me into the parlor, gave me a nice cold drink of lemonade and said ?now sister Carling, make yourself right at home [23] for you?r home now.? It caused a queer sensation, and a feeling of lonliness for a minute. Just to think of being the only Utah girl around and so many men folks here; but I soon felt perfectly at home. The Elders all treat me so kindly, just like a sister.? (Carling, 1901 Jun 29 Sat, p 22-23).

[v] To sketch a timeline of the Carling-Duffin courtship with the available evidence requires such prodigious leaps of imagination that I?m calling it ?flying? and sticking it in a footnote. My ?methodology? was to put a ?relationship spin? on everything I could think of, put them in a list, and use lots of scare quotes. I conjecture, nay, conjure out of ether, that

  1. within a month of Carling?s arrival, perhaps sooner, Duffin began thinking of Carling in a marital context;
  2. within two months Carling was consciously reciprocating;
  3. within three months Carling and Duffin were explicitly discussing polygamous marriage;
  4. within five and a half months they were actively preparing for her to live in a Mexican polygamist colony.

The ?case? for this timeline is:

(1) Two weeks after Carling?s arrival, Duffin visited the polygamist colonies in Mexico, his first such trip. I conjecture that he returned thinking of pursuing Carling. He might even have left with the thought in mind: the July 08 warning (?Prest. Duffin had to remind me that I must be more guarded in my associations with the Elders as I was acting a little too much like I was at home?), might have been motivated by jealousy.

(2) Throughout the diary Duffin and Carling spent non-trivial time working, traveling, and relaxing together. Shortly after Duffin returned from Mexico, Carling described what sounds like a date: ?Sunday after S.S. Prest. Duffin and I went out to visit Sister Platts, took dinner with them spent the afternoon, then had a pleasant walk home. Stopped on our way at an ice cream stand and had a dish of ice cream. In the evening attended church and after, walked home with sister milligan and on our way home to the office, stopped at the ice cream parlor and had another dish of ice cream.? (Jul 28). Carling had no companion for the first five months of her mission.

(3) Duffin and Carling shared an interest in poetry and enjoyed spending time together. Carling records more than once having ?pleasant? conversations with Duffin as well as reading poetry together so late into the evening that it interferes with her work.

(4) Duffin and Carling also shared a commitment to the Gospel and the Church, a millenarian outlook, and faith in an interventionist God intimately involved in their day-to-day experiences. They both expected to live, in some ways, at radical odds with the secular world.

(5) Of August 24, Carling wrote ?also something else that evening made me extremely happy. I pray God  to give me strength to live worthy of His many blessings.? I conjecture that by this point the relationship has become explicit and, thus, on September 12, Carling met ?Alf (Elder Meeks) for the first time since coming to the mission? and broke up with him: ?I had some queer feelings, a mixture of joy and pain. I was pleased to see him and especially to learn that he was doing good work as a missionary, but dreaded to meet him on account of having to straighten up matters with him.?

(6) Of September 28 Carling wrote, ?O I never knew a more heavenly, pure man than Prest. James G. Duffin? and when he left for a month, ?Sad and joyous was the parting. ?but what brought the most joy to my soul was the thought of what we hoped would be the result of Prest. D?s. visit to S.L.C.? (Sep 30). The following day, she wrote, ?The last two days have been some of the most trying of my life?s experience? (Oct 01) and then was not well for a couple of weeks. October 18 she ?received a letter from S.L.C. which made me feel much encouraged? and when he returned, ?O how nice it seemed to have him back again? (Nov 05). I conjecture that Duffin was asking permission in Salt Lake to take a polygamous wife. I don?t know what the result was.

(7) Carling?s companion arrived in November, and she and Carling moved away from headquarters to proselyte. After about a month Duffin recalled them to headquarters. (The diaries don?t specify a reason, but the Sisters spend the next few months working on the SWSM edition of the Book of Mormon.)

(8) In December Carling and Duffin began getting up early to study Spanish together, presumably in preparation to live in a colony in Mexico.

[vi] Carling specifies that they studied together while Duffin makes no mention of Carling; in the original series I buried Duffin?s effort in a footnote. ?Thursday December 12, I arose at half past six and after preparing my toilet, Prest. Duffin and I took our first Spanish lesson as we [87] had decided to arise an hour earlier and devote that time to the study of the Spanish language.? (Carling, 1901 Dec 12 Thu, p 86-87); ?I have now taken up the study of the Spanish language : to not interfere with my other duties, I arise an hour earlier in the morning for this study.? (Duffin, 1901 Dec 16 Mon). From ?Reading Like a Conspiracy Theorist, 2?: ?fn18: ?A few other tidbits mesh with the idea of a polygamist Duffin. He was close with Apostles Woodruff, Taylor, and Cowley, all post-Manifesto polygamists. (There are several instances, e.g., 1905 Feb 18?Mar 04, 1905 Nov 25). In 1901 Duffin went to Colonia Juarez, staying with Anthony Ivins, another prominent polygamist, and in December of that year took up Spanish, possibly suggesting a planned future in the colonies (1901 Jul 21; this trip was a month after Sister Carling arrived, but I don?t see any evidence to support specific plans for Carling; 1901 Dec 16).?

[vii] Furthermore, Duffin could expect several more years in the mission, had no significant commercial dealings with Spanish-speakers, and neither Duffin nor Carling?s pre-mission residences had many Spanish-speakers. Missionaries in the Southwestern / Central States Mission were beginning to move into areas with significant populations of Spanish speakers, but for living arrangements and proselyting, most non-English efforts were in German. Duffin eventually requested German-speaking missionaries. ?I also made request for a number of German speaking elders to labor in the Central States Mission [36] as there are large numbers of Germans to whom our elders cannot present the gospel, not being able to speak the language.? (Duffin, 1906 Mar 03 Sat); ?Elders report fair progress being made, but in some parts many German people with whom they could not converse on account of them not understanding the language.? (Duffin, 1903 Mar 01 Sun); etc.

[viii] Evidences of Carling?s amiability and sociality are pervasive in the diary and should be apparent from citations throughout. Furthermore, soon after her arrival, Duffin reminded her that social expectations were different for missionaries: ?That day Prest. Duffin had to remind me that I must be more guarded in my associations with the Elders as I was acting a little too much like I was at home. O how badly it made me feel to think I had been indiscrete and the President had to speak to me about it. I was as inocent [sic] as could be and he said he knew it, but we must be more guarded, that we were not at home and it is quite different out [29] here in the world. It almost broke my heart, although he gave it in such a kind brotherly way, and I took it in the manner which he gave it but, it made me feel badly to think I had acted in such a way as to make such advice necessary. It has, however made me a more thoughtful girl.? (Duffin, 1901 Jul 08 Mon, p 28-29).

[ix] ?The folks in the kitchen were having a noisy time. Sister Giles said I missed half of my life by not being in there but I was not in a laughing mood? (Carling, 1901 Dec 06 Fri, p 83). On a few occasions Carling seemed to avoid social contact, though it?s not always clear why. ?In the afternoon, some of the Elders wanted a young lady, who came to see me, and myself, to go down town to have ice cream, but I thot it best not to go?.? (Carling, 1901 Jul 04 Thu, p 25-27). See also the first week in October (Oct 01-08, p 54-56).

[x] Carling, 1901 Jul 19 Fri, p 32-33. Carling later put/cleaned curtains in the office. ?Friday I laundried [sic] the curtains for the Office and also my own clothes.? (Carling, 1901 Sep 06 Fri, p 51). Duffin noticed: ?During my absence Sister Carling and two of the sisters, Sisters Brown and Bletts have cleaned the office building and put up low curtains, which makes the office more comfortable.? (Duffin, 1901 Sep 11 Wed).

[xi] As noted above, the ?straightening up? with Meeks might indicate the formalization of the Carling-Duffin pairing. ?While in Salt Lake City attending the General Conference in April 1901, I met Prest. James G. Duffin on the Tabernacle grounds on Sunday afternoon. I had met him the fall conference before, when Elders Meeks and Hoyt started on their missions, so I wanted to enquire how they were getting along, as he had just come from the Mission.? (Carling, undated text before 1901 Jun 20, p 1). ?Thursday the Prest. and I went over to St. John to conference. Here I met Alf (Elder Meeks) for the first time since coming to the mission. I had some queer feelings, a mixture of joy and pain. I was pleased to see him and especially to learn that he was doing good work as a missionary, but dreaded to meet him on account of having to straighten up matters with him.? (Carling, 1901 Sep 12 Thu, p 52).

[xii] ?In the evening I received letters from papa and the dear ones at home, also from Sister in Mexico?.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 24 Sat, p 45-46). It is not clear to me who ?Sister? is. Carling sometimes omitted the name, even when there was more than one sister present: ?After breakfast was over Sister fired the chicken and I baked a cake.? (Carling, 1901 Nov 27 Wed, p 70-71). I haven?t looked into the genealogy in detail, but a John Henry Carling, who appears to be Amelia Carling?s half brother, lived in Mexico with his family.

[xiii] I have not checked enrollment records. At the time of her call she lived in Provo, had been ?gone from home nearly a year,? and had a close relationship with Inez Knight, dean of women at BYA, ?and Our Theology Class and the lady teachers of the B.Y.A.? (Carling, undated text before 1901 Jun 20, p 4; undated account of trip to Kansas, p 17-18).

[xiv] ?There was no one on the train whom I knew so I spent the time reading, and I finished a hdkf.? (Carling, 1901 Jun 20(?), p 6); ?In the evening we [probably Lucy (?) and Carling] read until about eleven o?clock, then we took a moonlight walk in our white wrappers (nightgounds) just around the yard. It was a pleasant evening and we enjoyed ourselves together.? (Carling, 1901 Sep 03 Tue, p 49); ?Sunday I was not feeling well so I did not leave the house. I had a hard time to controll [sic] my thots, to keep them from wandering far away to Utah. I read most of the day.? (Carling, 1901 Oct 06 Sun, p 55); ?I was not [56] well enough to go [to Independence] so I stayed home and spent the afternoon in reading.? (Carling, 1901 Oct 08 Tue, p 55-56); ?So I had the rest of the day al by my self. To be ?alone with my thots?. Spent part of the time in reading some of my letters. also read some in ?Kathrena? a beautiful poem by Holland. [¶] This Sunday was spent just as I like to spend the Sabbath. In reading, talking and resting.? (Carling, Probably 1901 Oct 20 Sun, p 58); ?I had been up late for some few evenings, so I spent the rest of the day until church, in reading and resting. I felt that it was a great blessing that the Lord had given us a day in which both body and mind could be relieved of the cares of this world and the mind could dwell on His goodness and blessings towards us.? (Carling, Probably 1901 Oct 27 Sun, p 60); ?In the afternoon Jimmie and I took our Bibles and hymn book and went out in the woods west of Sister Brown?s, sat in the shade of the huge Oak trees and sang songs and read from the scriptures, studied our S.S. lesson for the next Sunday.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 02 Fri, p 37); ?So I had the rest of the day al by my self. To be ?alone with my thots?. Spent part of the time in reading some of my letters. also read some in ?Kathrena? a beautiful poem by Holland.? (Probably 1901 Oct 20 Sun, p 58; Probably Kathrina: Her Life and Mine, in a Poem by Josiah Gilbert Holland, 1868.) ?The afternoon was spent in writing my essay for Mutual Sunday evening. After supper we helped sister Adams churn, wash dishes and read news papers until bed time.? (Carling, 1901 Nov 28 Thu, p 73); ?After supper Elder Judd and brother Hasty consented to wash the dishes. I went in the other room and read the news paper.? (Carling, 1901 Dec 06 Fri, p 82).

[xv] ?Sunday morning arose late as I was so sleepy. Prest. Duffin and I had read ?Enic Arden? after coming from meeting Sat. eve.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 18 Sun, p 43). ?Enoch Arden? is 916-line (7,220 words) narrative poem published by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in 1864. ?After meeting Prest. Duffin commenced reading ?Maurine? to me. It is a very beautiful poem. It pictures an ideal woman.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 25 Sun, p 46-47). Probably ?Maurine? (13,000+ words), published by Ella Wheeler Wilcox in 1888. ?After our evening?s work was finished Prest. Duffin commenced to read ?Lalla Ruke.?? (Carling, 1901 Dec 13 Fri, p 87). Probably ?Lalla-Rookh,? published by Thomas Moore in 1817.

[xvi] 1901 Aug 12 Mon, p 40-42. I think, but am not certain, ?Uncle Andy? is a member of the church. ?Uncle Andy, wife and Lucy have just returned from a visit to Utah, and in talking to me about his trip he made the remark that ?when he mingled with the people and saw their works, he said to himself, Is it possible that this people of whom we have heard so much bad are so much ahead of us? He also said he had traveled in 19 of the United States, and had been a close observer and says he ?I would to God that the women in all the states were as intelligent and well educated as the women of Utah.? This statement was made in reply to my question about the condition he found in the freedom [42] of the women of Utah as we hear about them being held in bondage.?

[xvii] ?The evening was spent very pleasantly spent conversing, singing, and best of all we proved to Bros. Stevens and hasty who were opposed to women speaking in church, that we could find passages in the Bible to prove that women in those days, as well as in our own day, were helpers in the church. We gave the referances in Philopeans IV 3, Romans XVI 3, Acts XVIII 26. They had never heard the passages before, but they had heard the one in I Cor. XIV 3-2 [maybe 32] where Paul says [79] it is a shame for a woman to speak in church. They admitted that we were right and according to the Bible we had a perfect right to teach, so they were in favor of lady missionaries after that proof from the Bible. So we felt repaid for our long walk.? (Carling, 1901 Dec 03 Tue, p 77-78).

[xviii] Carling, 1901 Sep 05 Thu, p 50-51. She was speaking with ?another of the old apostates from our church (a Josephite). He also abused our people and told of the ill treatment he had received in Utah when a boy.? In the same entry she reports ?I also had a talk on the old subject (polygamy) with Mrs. Rosen.?

[xix] Carling?s feelings were perhaps enhanced by being near Missouri, with its historical and prophetic significance: ?As we sat there in the shade, on the green grass, I thot of the prophet when he went out in the woods to pray. and a fervent prayer ascended from my heart that I might help in rolling forth the work here in the Center Stake of Zion, which was commenced by our prophet Joseph Smith.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 02 Fri, p 37). ?O it seems that my advancement is so slow in the way of expressing my thots and in explaining the principles of the gospel. I study hard but still my advancement seems so slow. I would very much like to have the gift of expression and humbly pray if it is in accordance with His will that I may be able to explain in plainness the glorious principles of the gospel. [¶] The Lord blesses me so abundantly I feel very unworthy, but I am trying to do my duty before Him.? (Carling, 1901 Nov 03 Sun, p 60-61); ?The folks thot [sic] it pretty hard to have me leave so soon after being gone from home nearly a year, but it must be as the call had come for me to go to the service of the master and I must not delay.? (Carling, undated text before 1901 Jun 20, p 5-6); ?On our way home we had a pleasant time, discussing the topics of the meeting which made us more fully appreciate our own glorious religion.? (Carling, 1901 Nov 26 Tue, p 68-70).

[xx] ?When she bade me good bye she also left a dollar in my hand. [¶] The promise that the Lord would open the way if I would put my trust in him, is being fulfilled every day, and each day my faith is being strengthened.? (Carling, undated text, 1901 Jun 20-29, p 16); ?Of course I give [18] the Lord just credit for impressing them to do this, but it also shows unselfishness in Sister Knight and Our Theology Class and the lady teachers of the B.Y.A. who were the ones who worked for that purpose.? (Carling, undated text, 1901 Jun 20-29, p 17-18); ?At 6 15 p. m. took train for Little Rock where I arrived at about 9 p. m. Intended to take train by way of H. Smith and Claremore for Jones City, Okla., but by mistake, in the hurry got on wrong train and was brought to Pine Bluff. from here I will have to return by way of Little Rock to-morrow. Doubtless there is a providence in this which I will see later.? (Duffin, 1901 Sep 05); ?This afternoon while sitting in my room at the hotel, between four and five o’clock I had a very uneasy feeling. Since I have heard of the shooting of Prest. McKinley I have wondered if this was the cause.? (Duffin, 1901 Sep 06).

[xxi] ?Well I am getting my eyes opened to some of the ?ways of the world.? The lady I was rooming with shocked me, and oh how it made my heart turn sick. I had felt uneasy there, but thot [sic] it only nervousness, but this morning I went to the door of the room I knew she was in, to speak to her. The door being left ajar, I happened to glance in and saw she was in bed with a man, one of her roomers. When I called at her door she came out as unconcerned as could be. She having just told me the day before of her being a widow, and of her husband?s death. It farely [sic] made me heart sick. O what a condition this wicked world is in. I wonder how long it will continue thus.? (Carling, 1901 Jul 01 Mon, p 23-24); ?On our way home, Elder England took me thru the Beer Garden just to let me see what was going on there. At hundreds of little tables, were seated ladies and [32] gentlemen drinking beer. It made me shudder to see this, but is thought nothing of here in the ?world.? As I get more acquainted with the world, and its ways, my heart grows sick at the sights and I feel like I would to god that the people could understand the worth of the gospel.? (Carling, 1901 Jul 17 Wed, p 31-32; it is not clear whether this paragraph belongs to the Tuesday entry or the Wednesday entry). ?During my speaking I felt led to prophecy that before many years. the judgments of God would be poured out upon this city and land? (Duffin, 1901 Sep 11 Wed).

[xxii] I?m sure there is a term more precise than ?spiritual virtues.? My point is that she doesn?t write in her diary about his appearance, wealth, administrative competence, etc. ?Monday I spent most of the day with Prest. Duffin and Sister Cannon, visiting with them. The visit was indeed a pleasant one. [¶] [probably 1901 Sep 28 Sat] Saturday night Prest. Duffin was talking to me and he said in speaking of some past experiences ?you will rise above it and you will be honored, respected and loved as few women are.? [¶] O I never knew a more heavenly, pure man than Prest. James G. Duffin.? (Carling, 1901 Sep 30 Mon, p 54); ?Tuesday morning Prest. Duffin returned from Utah. O how nice it seemed to have him back again and to hear the news from home. He brot us some of the loveliest grapes, nuts, and figs from his home, and we all had a feast. He is a very unselfish man, and does all he can for the missionaries. The time was spent at the office, very pleasantly until Thursday.? (Carling, 1901 Nov 05 Tue, p 61).

Note that missionary Josephine Cluff also admires Duffin: ?? He [Duffin] went out and got a melon which we ate in the kitchen and we had a good heart-to-heart talk.  What a noble and good man he is.  He is truly a man of God.  He spoke so well on Sunday night on the restoration of the Gospel.? (Cluff, 1905 Jul 25 Tue).

[xxiii] Carling had no companion for the first five months of her mission and, even after the arrival of Sister Sarah Giles in early November, Carling and Giles both worked closely with Duffin (On Giles arrival, Carling seems to say 1901 Nov 07 Thu, p 61; Duffin says 1901 Nov 09 Sat). Carling did office work for the mission, including writing for Duffin. After the end of the diary, she and Giles spend months in the office preparing an edition of the Book of Mormon. ?In the forenoon, I did some copying for Prest. Duffin.? (Carling, 1901 Jul 02 Tue, p 25); ?Monday I did some housework, and some writing for Prest. Duffin.? (Carling, 1901 Jul 08 Mon, p 28); ?Monday spent in writing.? (Carling, 1901 Jul 29 Mon, p 35); ?Tuesday was spent at the office studying and doing writing for the President.?? (Carling, 1901 Aug 13 Tue, p 42); ?Tuesday morning Prest. Duffin returned from Utah. O how nice it seemed to have him back again and to hear the news from home. He brot us some of the loveliest grapes, nuts, and figs from his home, and we all had a feast. He is a very unselfish man, and does all he can for the missionaries. The time was spent at the office, very pleasantly until Thursday.? (Carling, 1901 Nov 05 Tue, p 61).

Duffin and Carling also socialized and worked away from the office, as a duo or with others. The traveled on mission business, spoke at conferences, shopped, and visited members. ?Sunday I attended S.S. and after it closed, went home to the office with Prest. Duffin. I called in to see Mrs. [38] Cannon and she insisted that I eat dinner with her as she had killed the pet ducks on account of their going to move. The rest of the day was pleasantly spent in conversing with Prest. Duffin.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 04 Sun, p 37-38); ?In the evening President Duffin, Elders Hamilton and Bently came and spent the evening.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 06 Tue, p 39); ?Tuesday sisters Brown, Pletts and I cleaned the office building. In the evening Prest. Duffin returned from holding conferences in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Indian Territory, and we spent a pleasant evening at the office.? (Carling, 1901 Sep 10 Tue, p 52); ?Saturday I went down town after coming home to the office, with Prest. Duffin. To get my first pair of thick souled shoes.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 10 Sat, p 40); Weekend trip: ?Sunday Prest. Duffin and I went to Independence to visit the Saints there.? ?Monday morning we did not arise until late as we were sleepy from being up so late the night before. ?While we were doing the work Uncle Andy and Prest. Duffin went up town and brought back two very large melons, a water and a musk mellon. They were very good flavored both of them.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 11-12 Sun-Mon, p 40-42); ?In the evening Sister Milligan and I called to see Sisters Mc.Donald and Mcintosh. We went from here to town then out to Trust Park with Prest. Duffin to see the Passion Play.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 07 Wed, p 39).

[xxiv] ?Pleasant? appears twenty-eight times in the diary, four in connection with Duffin. I have noticed no explicitly (or implicitly) negative descriptions of time with Duffin. ?The rest of the day was pleasantly spent in conversing with Prest. Duffin.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 04 Sun, p 37-38); ?Tuesday sisters Brown, Pletts and I cleaned the office building. In the evening Prest. Duffin returned from holding conferences in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Indian Territory, and we spent a pleasant evening at the office.? (Carling, 1901 Sep 10 Tue, p 52); ?Monday I spent most of the day with Prest. Duffin and Sister Cannon, visiting with them. The visit was indeed a pleasant one.? (Carling, 1901 Sep 30 Mon, p 54); ?Tuesday morning Prest. Duffin returned from Utah. O how nice it seemed to have him back again and to hear the news from home. ? He is a very unselfish man, and does all he can for the missionaries. The time was spent at the office, very pleasantly until Thursday.? (Carling, 1901 Nov 05 Tue, p 61). See also: 1901 Jul 28 Sun, p 35, discussed below.

[xxv] Carling, 1901 Jul 28 Sun, p 35. Milligan was the local Relief Society President. Note, however, that ice cream is a fairly regular treat for the missionaries in St John and that Elder Forsha and Sister Carling did something similar the week before (while Duffin was traveling; Carling, 1901 Jul 21 Sun, p 33). On other occasions Carling makes mission and social visits in a heterosexual duo. For example: ?In the afternoon Elder Allen took me out to ?Elmwood? Semetary to see the grand vaults and tomb stones. There are millions of dollars spent for show in these places and there are hundreds of people in this city who are realy suffering for food and shelter.? (Carling, 1901 Jul 04 Thu, p 25-27); ?Elder Forsha and I spent the evening in singing.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 31 Sat, p 47-48).

[xxvi] ?Hosting? is my word; it does not appear in Carling?s diary. I perceive ?couple-ness? because for some of the activities Carling and Duffin were the only mission representatives present and she wrote on Aug 20, ?we went to take?.? A Giles family visited from Aug 18 to Sep 09 (but Carling and Duffin only seem to have been closely involved until Aug 28; Sarah Giles, who later became Carling?s companion, was apparently part of this trip). From Sep 12 to Sep 30 Duffin and Carling, along with a three-person delegation from the General Relief Society Presidency, attended conferences in St. John, Jay, and Kansas City. In most of the entries Duffin is not explicitly included in the ?we?: ?Tuesday we visited the public library and museum and saw some beautiful works of art in painting and sculpture. In the evening we went to take the girls Elder Giles and Prest. Peterson to see the Passion play at Trust Park.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 20 Tue, p 44); ?Wednesday we went for a street car ride to view the residence part of the City. Out on the West Port line where the wealthy people live Armour?s ect [I can?t tell what the previous two words are intended to be; the writing is clear; ?ect? is ?etc?]. After our ride we went and took dinner and visited with Sister Brown, then went out to Fair Mount Park to hear the Rossa Band play.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 21 Wed, p 44); ?Thursday we visited Independence. Went upon the Court House tower and a view of the prettiest place I have yet seen in this part of the country.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 22 Thu, p 44); ?Friday we visited Swifts Packing House and the Stock yards also the beef canning department of Cudalray?s Packing House. It is wonderful to see the system they work by in these establishments. Each man has his special work and attends that only. [¶] We also visited the great manufactury and Wholesale house of ?Bernham, Hannah and Munger. This firm employes 1100 girls and Mr. Munger told Prest. Duffin that there was not one virtuous girl among them. In the evening we had a social for Sister Milligan, Elder Giles, and Bro. Nelson and the girls. We had a nice enjoyable time.? (Carling, 1901 Aug 23 Fri, p 45).

Article filed under Miscellaneous


Comments

  1. Wow, this is great reading. Not only are the details fascinating, but your process – and your discretion – are to be commended. I might assign this as an exercise/reading in historical conjecture and narrative for next semester’s methods class. It makes a nice little case study in what we can glean from sources, and what we cannot make them say. Nice work, Edje!

    Comment by Tona H — March 25, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

  2. Thanks, very much, Tona.

    If it would be useful to you, I can email a transcript of Carling’s diary. It’s about 15k words. Duffin’s diary is in the Mormon Missionary Diary database with images of the original and a transcript.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — March 25, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

  3. What a story. Since I am most familiar with just a small handful of post-Manifesto plural marriages, I’d assumed that most of them involved widows or other women in difficult circumstances, but now I wonder if that’s really the case.

    Thanks for pulling all this together.

    Comment by Amy T — March 26, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

  4. Amy: I’ve only run into a few post-manifesto polyg marriages (and all in the context of Carling/Duffin) and they were all relatively young, first marriages. Now I’m curious what the demographic profile looks like.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — March 26, 2013 @ 9:01 pm


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