The Living and the Dead Shall Hear the Gospel

by Amanda J. Nile, Hartlepool Branch

I present this story as told by my ancestor George Budd for faith-promoting purposes, and hope that all who read it will be impressed, as I have been, with the necessity of living members of the church doing work for their kindred and not leave it for someone else at a later date. It's a God-given duty and one that cannot be shifted to others - we cannot escape the responsibility the Lord places upon us individually in this matter.

A Personal Experience


George Budd (1846-1924)
George Budd (1846-1924) Photograph: Family Search

My father, George Budd, millwright and contractor, was born on the 21st of February 1846, at Hyde (near Beeding, Sussex, England), son of Charles and Louisa Capelan Budd. When about eight years old his parents moved to Newcastle on Tyne, England, from where he came to America with the Maycock family, in 1859 when thirteen years of age. When a little over fourteen years of age, he was given a job in a ‘mail camp’ on route to California.  His job was to care for mules used in transporting mail.  One day, while thus engaged, a mailman came into the camp and said: “Boy, change the mules and drive to the next camp; I am too sick to go further, but the mail must go.”  My father replied, “I can't do that as I do not know the way and I do not know how to drive the mules.”  The mailman said: “Put these mules in the stable, put fresh ones on the wagon and get on the seat; I'll put the reins between your fingers and all you have to do is give the mules their head and they know where the next oat sack is.  I'll stay here until you get back.”


My father did as he was told and was soon on the way, filled with excitement and wonder and not a little fear, due to the stories he had heard about highwaymen taking mail from the drivers.  But he let the mules have their head and on he went out into the desert. Suddenly a man stepped into the wagon, while it was moving, sat down beside my father, and said: “This is a beautiful day.”  My father replied, “Yes, it is a beautiful day,” and wondered if this man would prove to be a highwayman.  He looked at the man and said to himself, “No, he is too kind a man to be one of that type.”  The man said, “Young man, you were born in a little village in the south of Sussex, England.  In that village, there is a history of your family.  Some day you or some of your children after you will go there and get that history, and when you do, remember there is a work to do.  Good day.”  And he was gone.  “He did not wait for the wagon to stop, just off and disappeared.”

As my father drove on, he became curious and concerned.  However, he did not feel alarmed, since the man proved to be quite different to what he first suspected.  He reached the other camp, said nothing to the boy there, changed mules, exchanged mail, and started back.  As he proceeded, he was thinking about what had taken place and much to his surprise the same man again stepped onto the wagon, sat down beside him and started to talk about the village in southern England, relating the same story, and telling him three times that he or some of his children would go there and get their genealogy.  My father kept this matter to himself.  He asked the Church in Salt Lake for a Book of Mormon and became a real student of it.  He could quote it on almost any subject and finally made up his mind that the man who had visited him was one of the three Nephites and had a purpose in that visit.

In September 1896, I was called on a mission from the Nineteenth Ward, Salt Lake Stake, and had to report to the old Historian's office on a certain day to receive my appointment.  Apostle George Teasdale and President George Reynolds of the First Council of Seventy were present.  Apostle Teasdale, who had never met me before, looked at me so strangely that I became nervous and all I could think of was “islands”, which meant “cannibals” and that meant danger.  He finally said: “What mission would you prefer?”  I replied: “I have no choice”.  He looked again and waited for my further reply, but I did not speak.  Then he said “Oh, I know every boy has some choice.  What is yours?”  I was still fearful of “island” but said, “I feel that I would fill a better mission wherever you send me.  If I choose a place and things went wrong, I might feel that I was in the wrong place.”  Brother Teasdale sat there for some time, and occasionally looked at me and smiled - then I would think “islands” again, with a lot of cannibals.  He finally looked up from what seemed a deep study and said: “You go to England and get your father's genealogy.  Does that suit you?” I thanked him and said, “Yes, very well.”

Now let me say here, Apostle Teasdale did not know that my father came from England and had no way of knowing that my father's genealogy was over in England.  So, I always thought that he was most certainly inspired when he said, “Go to England and get your father's genealogy.”

The call suited my mother and when my father came in from the mining camp, where he was building a mill, he said the call was alright.  He then made arrangements to go to Delmar, Nevada, to build another mill and was to leave two weeks before I was to leave for England.  I went to Short Line Station to see him off and since it was his habit to go early to cover any emergencies, we had some time to talk together.  He took this occasion to tell me the above story and said it was the first time he had ever mentioned it to a living soul.  He said, “You'll get that genealogy when you get over there.”  His train whistled and I got off and he went on his way.  I walked home thinking about that story and the possibility of finding that information.

Well, the 19th day of September 1896 arrived and with a group of missionaries, I started on my trip.  Sometime later we landed at Liverpool, and there stood Joseph W McMurrin, of the mission presidency, a man I had known all my life.  At the meeting at mission headquarters, I was assigned to the Sheffield Conference, where my mother's brother was labouring.  Elder A B Call of Mexico was the conference president and he appointed me to the Chesterfield District to labour with Elder Able Roper.  Some months afterwards I was sent to Barnsley, Yorkshire; the conference headquarters was moved there.  One day, after doing the housework, while the other missionaries were out working, I had a strong impression to go to London.  I could not drive away the words that came into my mind, “Go to London tonight.”  When President Call arrived at the house I said, “I have an impression to go to London tonight.”  President Call replied, “Why don't you wait until there is an excursion, and save some money?”  I said, “I don't know, but the impression says, ‘Go tonight.’”  “All right,” said President Call, “go tonight.”  I went downtown to get some things I thought I would need and one of the first things I saw was, “Cheap trip to London, tonight, six and sixpence.”  Just what I needed, so I went to the station and bought my ticket and was soon on the way to London.

I arrived early in the morning, at St Pancras Station, London, and walked up to the old mission house, rapped at the door and who should open it but a friend of mine, William Stoneman, from the Twenty-Second Ward back in Salt Lake.  He was so surprised that he could hardly speak; finally, he said, “Boy, what are you doing over here?”  I said, “I hardly know, do you?”  He said, “There is a cheap trip to Brighton today - two shillings.  Come with me.”  I said, “Guess that's alright, cheap trips seem to be what I'm looking for,” and we went.  At Brighton Station, Elder George Hilton, another man I had known all my life, met us and said, “Boy alive, what are you down here?”  I replied, “Don't know, cheap trip; maybe you know why.”  He looked rather serious and said, 'Yes, I think I do know why, and here it is.  The other day, I was ‘tracting’ and found a cousin of yours.  If you'll come along with me, I'll introduce you to her.”  He knocked at the door and a lady came, and he said, “This is your cousin, George, from America.”  She invited us in and requested me to stay with them while there, which I did.

One day my cousin said, “Let's go down the coast to Southwick and visit my mother and then go over to Hyde and see the house where your father was born.”  I said, “Will it be alright with you if I get up early and walk along the seashore and meet you at your mother's?  I like to walk, especially early in the morning.”  She hesitated, but finally said, “Yes, that will be alright if you prefer to walk.”  Well, to tell the truth, I was very short of pence, shillings and pounds and had to walk almost everywhere I went, so I started very early and was at her mother’s before she got there.

After lunch with her mother, we went over to Hyde and walked along the path between hedges on either side.  We then came to the house that my father had described to me.  We went in, looked around, took a picture of the house and took a piece of flint rock from the foundation.  We were leaving the village, when she remembered her cousin, William Budd, and said, “Let’s go call on him.”  We knocked at his door and an old grey-haired man came.  She said to him, “Cousin William, this is cousin George’s boy from America.”  I naturally expected him to say, “Come in, my boy, glad to see you,” or to say, “Get out,” as that was the way Englishmen treated me, either “come in” or “get out.”  But to my astonishment, he said neither, but stood there looking at me, looking until I got nervous, and at last said, “I have a history of our family of four hundred years.”  When I got my breath, I replied, “That is just what I am looking for.”  He said, “Come in; you can have it.”  Now, does that sound to you, as it does to me, as a very definite fulfilment of my father’s story of the man on the desert road?

Cousin William Budd was a warden of the Church of England and the minister of the church had copied this information from the parish records and presented it to him.  Cousin William said to the minister, “I don't know what I want with that information.”  The minister replied, “You may find a purpose or somebody else may have a reason to possess it.”  Cousin William gave me a nice room, fed me, and I stayed there and copied that record, covering four hundred years, and eleven generations.  I had no understanding of genealogy at that time, but I had got what the man on the desert road had said was in that village.

During the time I was copying the record, Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee was held, so I went up to London for that occasion, where I met President McMurrin and told him the story.  He told me to go back and if I never delivered another tract, get that genealogy.  “You can do more with that than you can with the living over here.”  I returned and completed my work, after which my cousin took me down to the church where the people had been christened and married.  We walked about the churchyard and among the headstones, and on the way back to the house he stopped quickly and said, “What do you want that stuff for anyway?”  I looked him over very carefully to discern what he had in mind and then thought it best to tell him the exact truth and take the consequences.  I said, “We believe that it is possible for a living person to do something for the departed who cannot now do it for themselves, and from which they will benefit hereafter.”  He laughed out loud and said, “You are as crazy as the old maid who used to come here, take names and dates off the tombstones, lay them on the altar and pray for them; if you are that crazy it's alright with me.”  I soon left that village and went back to my cousin in Brighton, where I wrote a letter to my father, telling him that I had the information just as he had told me I would get.

As strange as it may seem, my father wrote me a letter at the same time, telling me this story: he was up in City Creek Canyon prospecting, in company with Charles Evans, a son-in-law of Patriarch John Smith.  At noon Evans was face down on the grass asleep, and my father was looking up into the sky through the trees and his uncle, William Budd, father of my cousin William, appeared to him and said, “George, my son William is now giving to your son, George, the genealogy of our family, and when George gets home I want you to see that he does the work for me.”  Now my father was not visionary, he was not actively engaged in church work but would fight for it anytime and anywhere, so nobody can say this was not real.  Our letters crossed on the ocean; he received mine and I his and this all goes to establish the fact that he did really see that man on the desert road and that his uncle did really appear to him.


George H. Budd (1877-1946)
George H. Budd (1877-1946) Photograph: Family Search

I told this story to a member of the Board of Directors of the Boston Genealogy Society and he told me that he had never in his life listened to a story that proved a previous life and a future life as clearly as this story; if I had preserved those two letters with post office date marks it would be one of the finest articles on record and he would be happy to file it in the archives of that society.  Unfortunately, I was not experienced in such matters and the letters had not been preserved, hence are not available.  However, I have the record, just as I received it.  Every name that can be worked on, up to January 1st, 1946, has either been worked for or is now in the process of being worked for in the Salt Lake Temple.  I was impressed to complete this work and not leave it for someone else to do later.  So, I have prepared it, submitted it for checking at the Index Bureau, and they have or soon will transfer it to the Temple for endowment and sealing purposes.

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