Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ephraim Hanks - True to the Prophet


Ephraim Hanks had known Brigham Young since the Nauvoo days. Ephraim's loyalty to the Brethren and his willingness to obey strictly the counsel of the prophet on any matter caused him to be much beloved and trusted by President Young...

On a fall morning in 1848, President Young drove to where Ephraim was building an adobe house inside the Old Fort. Looking over the completed foundation, he inquired as to the thickness of the rock wall. "Eight inches," replied Ephraim. "Tear it down and build it twice that thick," suggested Brigham, who then promptly drove away before Ephraim could answer. To rebuild meant hauling more rock and doing twice the work they thought was necessary.... Nevertheless, they widened the foundation to sixteen inches according to the leader's instruction. Ephraim was fitting the rafters on the house a month later when a heavy rain began falling, ultimately causing widespread flooding and considerable damage in parts of the valley. Ephraim's reinforced walls stood firm against the resulting deluge, however, thus preventing a possible collapse of the entire structure. Others were not so fortunate. From then on when Brigham talked, Ephraim listened.

Not long following this incident with Brigham Young, Ephraim met this Mormon leader at a dance in Salt Lake City. Again he counseled Ephraim. This time Ephraim was to go home and shave his face. Like many men of his day, Ephraim wore a beard almost to his waist. Somewhat puzzled, he left the social and rode home, pondering the unusual request. In an hour, however, he returned to the dance without a beard, but still wearing a mustache which he hadn't shaved. Still not satisfied with his appearance, Brigham Young indicated with a sweep of the hand across Ephraim's face that he wanted a clean shave. Excusing himself a second time, Ephraim complied by shaving his entire face. It was perhaps this type of obedience to counsel that prompted the Mormon Church President to later say of Ephraim that "Here was a man always ready to lay down his life for the authorities of the Church as well as for the cause of Zion and her people."

Because of his obedience to counsel and his loyalty to the Brethren, Ephraim Hanks became a spiritual giant in his own right and was able to render significant service to the Church and to his fellowmen...

- Richard K. Hanks, "Eph Hanks, Pioneer Scout," unpublished master's thesis, BYU, 1973, pp. 26-27. Quoted in "Follow the Living Prophets", Topp, Dahl & Bowen, p. 156-7

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