Strengthened by the Storm: The Early Mormons of Harkers Island, NC, by Joel G. Hancock.
Fishers of Men
And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)
MISSIONARIES IN NORTH CAROLINA
In December of 1895 John Witt Telford left his home in Bountiful, Utah, to serve The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a missionary in North Carolina. Some twenty months later, William Hansen said goodbye to his family in Logan, Utah, for the same reason and headed in the same direction. On Friday, November 19, 1897, these two met for the first time at Redford’s Crossroads1 in Johnston County, North Carolina.
The occasion for their meeting was a gathering of missionaries serving in the North Carolina Conference of the Southern States Mission of the Church. The assembly had been called by the Conference President, Ezra C. Robinson. In attendance were fifty-four missionaries, President Robinson, President Elias S. Kimball of the Southern States Mission, and Elders Francis M. Lyman and Matthias F. Cowley of the Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles. After spending the next several days in conference sessions, visiting with the other missionaries, and listening to the counsel of their leaders, Elders Telford and Hansen were assigned to serve together in opening a new territory for the teaching of their gospel message.
The new area was Carteret County, North Carolina. In his journal entry of November 19, William Hansen noted that “… this county bordered on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and was some hundred and fifty to sixty miles from where we had been holding our conference.” Early the 2 next morning they set out together on foot for their new field of labor.
Four months later, they left Carteret County and returned to Redford’s Crossroads for another missionary conference. Once again they were assigned new companions and new communities. Those four months of service together on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean left lifelong impressions on these young missionaries from the Rocky Mountains. Throughout their lives they remained close personal friends. But far more important and dramatic was the influence of their visit upon the people among whom they had spent those few months. Especially among the people of the small fishing village of Harkers Island, the names Telford and Hansen would be venerated for generations to come. More importantly, the seed they had planted would sprout and grow, and eventually flourish amid the sandy but fertile soil of that coastal community, and change forever the spiritual landscape of that small world.
THE NEW RELIGION
The gospel preached by the Mormon Elders might have appeared on the surface as much like the traditional Protestant faith that predominated in the rural South. But there were differences, and though they may have been subtle, they were nonetheless profound. Their teachings were, in fact, unique among all the many Christian denominations. To appreciate those distinctions it is necessary to have some understanding of the origins of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its subsequent development.
The Church is, in the words of its adherents, a modern “Restoration” of the one true Church that had been established by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry. Joseph Smith, Jr., the Church’s founder and first Prophet, based his assertions on Heavenly visitations and ancient records given him by an angel. The new Church was organized as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on April 6, 1830, in Palmyra, New York. The Prophet and his followers eventually were driven by persecution to Kirtland, Ohio, and to Jackson County in Missouri.
After they were forcibly evicted from Missouri, they appeared finally to have found safe haven in western Illinois where they established the city of Nauvoo. But there too, their warm welcome eventually turned to resentment and persecution. Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were murdered in nearby Carthage by an angry mob in 1844. Once more the Saints, as they prefer to be called, were forced to undertake a hasty exodus.
Brigham Young, Joseph Smith’s successor, eventually led his people to the Salt Lake Valley in what was then part of the northern territory of Mexico. The Mormons thrived in their new homes and literally made the desert “blossom as a rose.” Free from the direct interference of former opponents, the Church prospered and grew and sent out hundreds of missionaries to every corner of the world.
In addition to the Bible, Latter-day Saints rely on three other books of scripture. One, the Book of Mormon, was translated by Joseph Smith from “golden plates” to which he was directed by an angel. Like the Bible, it is a record of the Lord’s dealings with a branch of the House of Israel through descendants of Joseph who left Jerusalem just prior to Judah’s fall to the Babylonians (c. 600 B. C.). It chronicles the rise and fall of Lehi’s descendants in their new home on the American continent as they heeded, and later ignored, the counsel of their spiritual leaders.
The Book of Mormon also tells of the visit of Jesus Christ among these people after he completed his mortal and post-resurrection ministry among the Jews. The Latter-day Saints therefore refer to the Book of Mormon as “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”
Two other books of Latter-day Saint scripture are the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. The former contains the revelations of Jesus Christ to his Latter-day Prophets concerning the restoration and organization of His Church. The latter is Joseph Smith’s own account of the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ in these days, along with a compilation of ancient revelations to Moses and Abraham made available anew through the modern Prophet.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims the same organization as the primitive Church described in the New Testament. There are no professional clergy or preachers. Instead, Church affairs are administered by lay members who serve free of charge for as long as their services are needed. At the head of the Church stands a living Prophet under the literal direction of Jesus Christ, himself. The Prophet is assisted by a Quorum of Twelve Apostles and a Quorum of the Seventy. All officers of the Church, both local and general, hold the Melchizedek, or higher Priesthood. Each Church official is called of God by revelation and traces his Priesthood authority through a direct line of ordinations to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and ultimately to Jesus Christ.
There is also a lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, generally reserved for young men of the Church. Aaronic Priesthood holders are allowed to baptize, officiate in the sacrament, and to assist holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood. But those called to serve as missionaries usually were ordained as Elders, the initial office of the Melchizedek Priesthood, before they left home to fulfill their call.
The Latter-day Saints teach that the coming forth of their Church is in fulfillment of ancient prophecies and that it is the “fullness” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That assertion entails a responsibility to carry their message to all the people of the earth. Since the earliest days of the Church, members have volunteered two years or longer to missionary service. They have always served at their own expense in areas specified by the Church leaders, not of their own choosing. In addition, many of the early missionaries already had been married and started their families. Leaving wife and children at home, they dedicated their efforts for two years or longer entirely to the service of the Lord.
The missionaries labored under the supervision of a Mission President, with each mission divided into several smaller “conferences.” Each conference was directed by senior Elders as designated by the Mission President. Traveling “two by two,” the missionaries preached their message among the various communities in a specified locality until directed by their leaders to move elsewhere.
The Elders each were charged with carrying forth the Gospel proclaimed by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Based upon revelations and scriptures revealed to the Prophet, they asserted that God, the Father, and Jesus Christ are separate and distinct “personages”; that many “plain and precious truths” lost to the world after the deaths of the original apostles are restored with clarity; and that the power to act in behalf of Jesus Christ, the Priesthood of God, also is restored, as are saving ordinances of that Priesthood which were lost for many centuries.
Among the more unique tenets they taught was the Latter-day Saint doctrine of the eternal nature of families. They asserted that through the powers of the Holy Priesthood, family units could be sealed together and perpetuated eternally. No other concept was accepted more warmly by those who listened. Especially in the rural South where family bonds were so intense, the idea of having one’s parents, spouse, children, and posterity as eternal companions struck a responsive chord.
Latter-day Saint theology proposes definitive answers to the basic questions of the ages, namely; where does man come from, why is he here on earth, and where will he go after death? It maintains that each individual had a premortal existence as a spirit child of God, the Heavenly Father. Mortality is a testing ground that will determine each individual’s position and rewards in the postmortal eternities. A “universal resurrection” is seen as the common birthright of all who dwell on the earth. This “salvation” is a free gift made available by the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ and the grace of God.
But Latter-day Saints also stress a higher redemption, called “eternal life,” made possible by the Savior’s “atonement” and available only to those who repent of their sins and follow the teachings of Christ. In this “plan of salvation,” faith, works, and sacred ordinances all are viewed as vitally important as each individual works out his or her own exaltation. Mormon theology thereby gives meaning to every aspect of human existence, whether extraordinary or mundane. Such explanations proved especially attractive to families and individuals for whom the recent past had been inconstant and unsettling.
Early Latter-day Saint missionaries had no prescribed lessons to use in their proselyting efforts. Rather, each Elder was dependent upon his own knowledge and testimony, and taught each individual and congregation as he was prompted by the spirit. Journal entries from the period recorded such sermon topics as; “Faith and Works,” “Eternal Rewards and Punishment,” “The Kingdom of God on the Earth,” and “The Great Apostasy.” Yet the most frequent subject for their discussions with potential members and their theological discourses were the twin topics of “The Atonement of the Savior,” and “The Mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
Nattily attired in their Prince Albert coats, carrying their scriptures by their side, the Mormon Elders were quite distinctive wherever they served. Their upright character and impeccable manners were appreciated by almost all who received them, even those who did not believe their teachings. But it was the message they left that was of lasting and vital significance. For, once that message had been heard and accepted, it changed forever the lives of those who had received it.
John Telford was exceptionally mature and well prepared for the task that awaited him as he began his mission at twenty-three. He was somewhat older than most of his companions and already was well schooled in the doctrines and practices of his faith. His father, Robert Telford, had been among the Latter-day Saints who had weathered the stormy period of persecution in Nauvoo, Illinois. He had worked there in building the great Temple, and after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, had migrated to Utah with the other Saints. John Telford’s mother, Maria Spooner, had immigrated to America with her parents after they were converted to the Church in their native England.
Robert and Maria Telford’s marriage was happy and fruitful and eventually included six children. When John was only six years old, however, Robert Telford died and Maria was left alone to provide for the family. According to John Telford’s own account, his “… mother kept the family and, all things considered, did a very good job.”3 Her son’s performance while fulfilling his mission is compelling evidence of her success.
John Telford was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, July 31, 1881. At twelve he received the Aaronic Priesthood. In his early twenties he was ordained an Elder and began to assume a leadership role as a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood. He was ordained to the office of Seventy in that same Priesthood by J. Golden Kimball on December 6, 1895, just two days before leaving for his mission in North Carolina.4 But like every other Latter-day Saint male missionary before and since, and in spite of his recent advancement in Priesthood office, he was known by the title of “Elder” while serving as a full-time missionary.
John Telford’s assignment in November of 1897 to Carteret County was but the latest of a series of leadership responsibilities he would assume while on his mission.5 Shortly after arriving in North Carolina, he went to Duplin County with Elder Henry L. Kotter of Brigham City, Utah to open that area for Latter-day Saint missionary work. Their efforts proved successful and a Branch, the smallest independent unit of the Church, soon was organized. By the following November, after a three-month stay in Nash County, he became the senior companion to Elder William M. Wooley of Salt Lake City, Utah, with whom he initiated proselyting activity in Pitt County. John Telford remained there for eight months before being transferred to an area near Raleigh in Wake County, where he remained until he was assigned to Carteret County.
Two years of missionary experience had sharpened and refined John Telford’s talents. By the time of his assignment to Carteret County, he was renowned as a speaker, debater, and singer. Elder Hansen would describe his senior companion as, “. . . full of faith, meek, and truthful. [He was] very pleasant and very encouraging. [He was] always anxious that I [Elder Hansen] do my part of the responsibility, and yet [he] had no desire to overload me and thereby making me become discouraged.”
Elder Telford took the lead at meetings and could be counted on to entertain as well as educate and inform his listeners. His companion made record of a meeting held in Beaufort soon after their arrival in Carteret County. In the course of that meeting Elder Telford sang three songs, spoke for an hour and twenty minutes on “… the restoration of the Gospel and the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” and concluded by offering the benediction.
Secure in his faith and confident of his own abilities, John Telford was poised and ready for the responsibilities that stood before him. And, as events soon bore record, he was equal to the challenge. With the help of his companion, he succeeded in carrying the message of Mormonism to people who were humble, largely illiterate, and sometimes intolerant. Yet the people of eastern Carteret County had been uniquely fashioned and prepared to respond to that message. Unlike many others, they gladly opened their doors to the strangers from the West. After having opened their doors, they listened to the message the missionaries brought; a message that some of them recognized as having a “familiar spirit,” and eventually embraced.
In many ways eighteen-year-old William Hansen was the polar opposite of his senior companion. He had little experience in the affairs of the Church and did not receive the Melchizedek Priesthood until after arriving in the mission field. His family had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their native Denmark and moved to Utah when he was four years old. As a boy he was obliged to adopt a new language and culture even as he acquired a basic knowledge of the precepts and practices of his religious faith.
He was not completely confident as he entered upon his calling as a missionary. He seemed almost apologetic when in his journal he chronicled his early efforts to perform the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood and to pray, sing, or speak in public. He sometimes became discouraged and often felt much inferior to his more seasoned associates upon whom he was almost totally dependent.
For the young missionary from Logan, the first months of his mission became a seminary and a school as well as a field of service. His companions proved to be worthy tutors, and the piney woods of eastern North Carolina served as a fitting classroom. The early pages of his journal are a diary of that learning process.
One week after arriving in North Carolina, near the town of Rocky Mount, he and his companion, Elder Robert W. King of Willard, Utah, were the guests of a L. H. Hicks and family. After Elder King had excused himself, Mr. Hicks inquired of Elder Hansen, “Young man, are the Mormon people supposed to be Christians?” The proud young missionary hesitated only briefly before boldly responding, “No sir, we are Latter-day Saints!” When Hansen later recounted the conversation to Elder King, the senior companion pointed out assertively that the Mormons indeed were Christians, “… the most strict kind of Christians. You sure played the devil!”
A particularly poignant example of his feelings of insecurity occurred on August 25, 1897, less than four weeks after he arrived on his mission. He and Elder King were en route to a special conference to be held later that week near Princeton, North Carolina, when they visited the home of a Church member, sixty-six-year-old Moses Green Todd. Moses Todd had been a Baptist minister for thirty-six years before becoming a Latter-day Saint. Soon after making his acquaintance, William Hansen was dubbed the “Baby Preacher” by his much older host. Eight other missionaries and the Conference President had stopped by the Todd home and a meeting was scheduled for that evening.
Elder Hansen was suffering from a snake bite that caused his foot to swell so large that he was unable to wear his shoe. His condition was made worse by a severe outbreak of “chiggers” and by having walked some seventeen miles that very day. The following is how the young missionary of eighteen, who was still very much a boy, described what happened during and after the special service:
… to my great surprise [Conference] President Robinson introduced me as the next speaker. With my sore leg paining me and not having given any thought to what I might say, I really was frightened. The first thing I did was to upset a glass of water on the table before me which troubled me also. My talk was very short. I did the best I could but disappointment was manifest on every face.
I felt so bad that after the meeting I went off to myself. Then came two of the Elders to comfort me and give me encouragement. Then up came Brother Todd. He then remarked about like this. “Elders, I think it’s a shame and a disgrace to the Church to send a young boy such as this (placing his hand upon my shoulder) to try and preach the Gospel. There was plenty for him to learn at home before being called on a mission. He will do more harm in two or three years while on this mission than ten of you Elders can build up. He is about the greenest of the green I have ever seen or heard speak. I sure recommend that Elder Hansen, the baby preacher, be sent home at once.”
With that I withdrew from all the Elders and Brother Todd, went back of the house and surely had a good cry.
When some of the Elders found me I begged of them to try and arrange that I be released and returned home. During my cry I also prayed to the Lord to show me what was best and to give me of his strength. I knew I had a testimony of the Gospel. I knew the Lord heard and answered prayers and so I asked him please not to forsake me now.
While thus crying and praying, Elders [John] Killpack and [Riley] Savage found me and came over to me. They gave me words of encouragement and advice and asked me to pay no attention to what Brother Todd had said. Elder Killpack promised me that as time went on I would confound the words of Brother Todd.6
There would be several more humbling experiences for the “Baby Preacher” in the coming months as he gamely struggled to become an effective missionary. Only two weeks later in the town of Smithfield he was told by several members who had heard him speak that, “… they didn’t believe I [Elder Hansen] would ever be able to preach, and suggested it would be well for me to return home and study and learn something about the Gospel. One man told me he didn’t think it was hardly right for me to come out here and practice on the people on the South in order to learn how to preach.”
THE SUNNY SOUTH
From his journal it is evident that William Hansen had more than just a superficial interest in the habits and customs of what he referred to as the “Sunny South.” The pages are replete with detailed descriptions of each peculiarity he observed. Among such novelties he included his first encounters with Negroes, “dipping snuff,” and eating watermelons and sweet potatoes. He was struck by the intensity of southern thunder storms on late summer evenings and the almost unbearable discomfort caused by “maditch” and “chiggers.”
He never complained about the rigors and regimen that were a part of missionary life. Like all other Elders he was “without purse or script” and entirely dependent on the generosity of strangers for meals and shelter. He often walked twenty-five miles in a single day, carrying all of his possessions in a small satchel called a “grip.” He was not unaccustomed to spending nights under the stars. He fasted every Thursday and Sunday and often on other days as he prayed for guidance.
His only laments were for the family he had left behind. Once, while suffering from a combination of insect bites and the “maditch,” he confided ruefully to his journal:
I have been quite “blue” and some homesick. Many times during my illness I have wished I were back home with my loved ones, and especially my dear parents where I could receive the treatment I am so much in need of. And yet along with this feeling came also the feeling that even if a chance were offered to return home, would I accept? My answer would indeed have been “No!” I have been called to fill a mission and come what may, I shall stay until the Lord says, “Enough!” Again sleep fell to my eyes as I was off to dreamland in the Sunny South.
CONFRONTATION AT LILLINGTON
Even as he described the early foibles of his life as a missionary, it was clear that William Hansen was rapidly developing in faith and spiritual talents. He soon began to develop the skills and the courage needed to complement the faith and the testimony with which he already was endowed. After having been healed of his nagging physical ailments by priesthood anointing and prayer, he himself was involved in performing such ordinances. His efforts at prayer and public speaking became increasingly successful, and he regularly assumed his full responsibilities as a missionary companion and minister of the Gospel.
Among his more memorable early experiences was attending a sectarian church service for the first time in Lillington, N. C., on September 10, 1897. He and his companion, Harvey C. Carlisle of Salt Lake City, Utah, had been invited to a Baptist meeting by the local minister and were even asked to participate in the service. It was requested that Elder Hansen offer the invocation after which Elder Carlisle, the senior companion, was to speak. Elder Hansen’s description of what followed is almost humorous in its irony.
I had no sooner started [to pray] when I heard someone say “Grant it Lord,” another “Amen,” and still another “Praise the Lord!” I hardly knew what to do but I continued my prayer as the Lord directed. I prayed for the President of the Church, Wilford Woodruff, the Quorum of the Twelve [Apostles], the missionaries, etc. My companion stepped on my heel which led me to believe I was doing fine and for me to continue on, which I did. Well, the result was that Elder Carlisle did not get a chance to speak and we were not invited back again.
Not all of the young missionary’s experiences were so trivial. The day following their arrival in the town of Lillington,7 he and Elder Carlisle were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace. When they inquired as to how they had disturbed the peace they were told that “… the people were afraid [of them] and especially the womenfolk, believing that we were there trying to get them to go to Utah with [them] …” Once incarcerated, the young missionaries were visited by the town’s mayor, the chief of police, the city judge, and the keeper of the jail. They were advised that they would not be released until they signed a paper denouncing their religion and agreeing to leave the city. The frightened Elders readily agreed to the latter demand, but steadfastly refused to deny their faith. Twice again the same day they were revisited and confronted with the same ultimatum. Each time they adamantly refused to renounce their testimonies. When finally Elder Hansen remarked that he would “… rather die than sign it,” the Judge responded, “Then you will die!” as the four left the cell block yet again.
Threatened with their lives and denied food and water for the rest of the day, the valiant young missionaries appealed to the Lord in prayer for deliverance. Finally the same group returned again, but this time:
… accompanied by one more man. He was a colored man, but a fine looking man and neatly dressed. He stood about six feet two or three inches. He was dressed in a dark suit and had on a derby hat. We could tell from his language that he was well educated. At first when we saw him we became more or less frightened, thinking they had employed the colored race to do us harm.
The door was unlocked and the five of them entered the jail. The colored man stepped toward us and told us his name was Williams. Then he asked, “Where do you men come from and what are you doing here?” We told him what our mission was and that our homes were in Utah. Then Mr. Williams asked us, “Do you know a man in Utah by the name of George Q. Cannon?” We told him we did and that Mr. Cannon was a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church. With that the colored man turned to the city officials and said, “Turn these men loose!”
The happy but somewhat astonished Elders soon learned that their benefactor was the town’s Postmaster. Upon seeking him out and asking the reason for his kindness, Mr. Williams told them the following story:
Several years ago I was asked to go to Washington D. C. to represent North Carolina on a matter concerning the people of my state. Walking down one of the halls in the Capitol a door was opened very suddenly which knocked my silk hat off my head and it fell to the floor. A gentleman picked up my hat, took his handkerchief from his pocket, wiped the dust off, and in a very polite manner handed me my hat. I said to this gentleman, “May I ask your name, and where you are from, and who taught you such manners as to stoop and pick up a colored man’s hat?”
This man informed me that his name was George Q. Cannon, that he was there representing his state [Utah], and that the Church of which he was a member taught … that we should respect all men, no matter what color or creed they were, as we are all the children of God. I thanked Mr. Cannon and told him if ever a time came that I could do him a kindness, he could rest assured I should never forget him, and that his kindness would always be remembered by me. In reply Mr. Cannon told Mr. Williams that he might not be able to do anything for him personally, but some day he would be able to do some kind act for some of his people. And when that time came, he hoped Mr. Williams would remember his promise.
Mr. Williams then said to us, “When I heard you were in jail, that you were two Mormon Elders teaching the same religion which taught Mr. Cannon to do what he did for me, I recalled the event that had happened in Washington D. C. many years ago. I felt the time had come when I could make good my promise. That is why I went to the County jail and demanded that you be turned loose.”
GROWING IN POISE
Elders Hansen and Carlisle did not tarry for long in the city of their incarceration. After thanking Mr. Williams and enjoying a supper that he provided, they “… left the little city of Lillington, N. C. in the hands of the Lord …” and quickly made their way back westward. Even as they walked, it was evident that the younger companion was growing in poise and courage. Though involved in a lengthy fast and worried about sad news he had received from his family in Utah, he took the lead in an impromptu meeting held the next evening. Commenting in his journal upon the affairs of that day, September 30, he noted, “this was really the first talk I have made since I arrived in the mission field that I was at all satisfied with. The Lord blessed me greatly to the end that I spoke for about twenty minutes. In fact, I really surprised my companion!”
The companion of which he spoke was himself a special agent of the Lord. Harvey Carlisle had nurtured the spiritual growth of William Hansen with care and affection. He had been an unwavering supporter as the younger missionary slowly overcame his initial fears and shortcomings. Indicative of his success at working with new Elders, and the esteem in which he was held by others, was his appointment as Counselor to Conference President Robinson the following April.8
There would be further incidents when the two missionaries would be challenged and threatened. The most notable was the night of November 1, 1897, near the city of Dunn, when they were forced by a mob to stand on rickety boxes as ropes were thrown over tree limbs and placed around their necks. They again steadfastly refused to deny their faith. While the drunken mob argued over whether to hang, horsewhip, or release their captives, the two Elders escaped into a thicket.
Each brush with danger only served to strengthen their conviction that they were engaged in a divine work. William Hansen gleaned much from his service beside Harvey Carlisle as he had from similar service with Elder King. Those lessons served him well through the remainder of his mission and in his later years of service to the Church.
ARRIVING IN CARTERET COUNTY
In four short months William Hansen had been exposed to a wide range of growing experiences and he would continue to learn much in the succeeding weeks. By December of 1897, he was ready to move forth boldly as a teacher and preacher of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those first four months proved to have been a “refiner’s fire” that had transformed an unskilled boy into a capable vessel for carrying out the Lord’s work at a special time and in a special place.
He had made mistakes and known bitter disappointments. His faith had been challenged and tested by opposing ministers, by misguided public officials, and by faceless, nameless, and ruthless mobs. Yet through these trials he had known the security of a divine protector. He had grown to know and love faithful members and had served beside valiant companions. All the while he adhered strictly to the counsel of his leaders with regular fasting, prayer, and personal sacrifice. Evidence of newfound maturity and confidence is found in his journal entry of November 20, 1897, the day he and John Telford set out for Carteret County: “Oh how I rejoiced in the fact that I had been called worthy to represent the great Church of Christ to the nations of the Earth. I was more anxious now than ever to bear my testimony and to show others the beauties of the Gospel.”
Having met his early trials and overcome them, William Hansen became a worthy companion to John Telford. He quickly grew to love, respect, and admire his new associate as they made their way toward their appointed destination. On December 11, 1897, after a final day’s walk of four miles, the two Elders crossed the line into Carteret County. There they retired to the woods to seek the blessings of the Lord on their efforts, and to dedicate their new area to the teaching of the special message they had been sent to proclaim.