Project Zion Podcast

333 | Cuppa Joe | Historic Site Foundation Summer Lecture Series | Barb Walden

December 18, 2020 Project Zion Podcast
Project Zion Podcast
333 | Cuppa Joe | Historic Site Foundation Summer Lecture Series | Barb Walden
Project Zion Podcast
333 | Cuppa Joe | Historic Site Foundation Summer Lecture Series | Barb Walden
Dec 18, 2020
Project Zion Podcast

Project Zion Podcast is bring you follow up interviews with the presenters of the Historic Sites Foundation Summer Lecture Series. Today we have Barb Walden  to share about her lecture, "The Life and Legacy of Marietta Hodges Walker ."

You can find Barb's  original presentation here and be sure to keep an eye out for more episodes from the presenters from the Summer Lecture Series. 

Host: Karin Peter
Guest: Barb Walden 

Show Notes Transcript

Project Zion Podcast is bring you follow up interviews with the presenters of the Historic Sites Foundation Summer Lecture Series. Today we have Barb Walden  to share about her lecture, "The Life and Legacy of Marietta Hodges Walker ."

You can find Barb's  original presentation here and be sure to keep an eye out for more episodes from the presenters from the Summer Lecture Series. 

Host: Karin Peter
Guest: Barb Walden 

 333 | Cuppa Joe | Historic Site Foundation Summer Lecture Series | Barb Walden

Josh Mangelson  00:17

Welcome to the Project Zion Podcast. This podcast explores the unique spiritual and theological gifts Community of Christ offers for today's world.


Karin Peter  00:33

Welcome to Project Zion Podcast. This is Cuppa  Joe, where we explore restoration history. And I'm your host, Karin Peter. Today's episode is a collaboration with Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation, as we interview the presenters from their 2020 Historic Sites Summer Lecture Series. And these lectures can be found at And we'll give you that again at the end of our podcast. Our guest today is Barb Walden. Barb is the Executive Director of the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation. She has all kinds of history credentials, so let's go through some of them. She's got a Master of Arts and Museum Studies. She is part of the Community of Christ Church History Team. She's an author. She's a past president of the John Whitmer Historical Association, and has served on the Mormon History Association Board of Directors and on the editorial board for the Journal of Mormon history and John Whitmer Journal. So we have thoroughly established your history credentials, and as they say, your Mormon history credit. So let's talk a little bit about your lecture and the Historic Site Summer Series is titled "The Life and Legacy of Marietta Heidi Walker." So first off, who was Marietta Walker? 


Barbara Walden  02:04

Well, first, Thank you, Karen, for giving me the opportunity to sit with you on this fine afternoon. It's always a joy to cross paths with you and to have the opportunity to talk about the infamous Marietta Walker. How can anyone pass up that opportunity? So who was Marietta Walker you ask? Oh, Marietta is famously known in Community of Christ circles, for her generous donation of farmland for the establishment of Graceland University. You can't attend Graceland without hearing the name Mariana Walker. But her story is so much more than her gift of Iowa land. She was such a multi fascinated person, her life bobs and weaves throughout the first 100 years of church history. She was a writer, a poet, an entrepreneur, a fundraiser an inventor and editor, a mother to three daughters, and an all round resilient woman, President FM Smith, who she had a rather rocky relationship with. He once said that, "No one has done more work in the reorganization than Mariana Walker." And I think he might be right. She was quite the woman. 


Karin Peter  03:14

So we might even want to add feminist in there after watching your lecture and learning a bit more about her and so you have to kind of, "Yay Marietta!" as we walk through her life. 


Barbara Walden  03:27



Karin Peter  03:28

So you talk about how her story bobs and weaves through 100 years of restoration history, it's almost like her family followed the restoration trail or maybe the restoration story just kind of follows the history of her family but let's talk a little bit about that about her family and and how that coincides with what we understand is the restoration trail. 


Barbara Walden  03:51

Sure I think you're right on I think her family the Hodges do shadow that restoration trail. Mariana was the last of 13 children that were born to Lucy and Curtis Hodges. I her parents learned about the restoration about the early church while living in Bath, New York. The family felt that old call together to Ohio were a church community was being established in Kirtland in the early 1830s at the time, and it's an Ohio where Marietta was born in the spring of 1834. So keep in mind, this is two years before the dedication of Kirtland Temple, and it's a pretty exciting time in the life of the church. Her father appears in the Kirtland High Council minutes and one of her brothers join Zions Camp in 1834 that heads from Ohio to Jackson County. At some point the Hodges family leaves Ohio and they relocate to Northwest Missouri in the 1830s. The late 1830s. Just like so many other church families do during this time. When tension starts to rise between church members and the Missourians. Her family members were right there in the thick of things. Her father was injured in the Battle of Crooked River. Her sister Sarah's home was broken into and searched out, actually while she was in bed recovering from giving birth nonetheless, and the Hodges family lost their land and church members were forced to leave the state. It's a very personal side to church history when you're reading about Marietta. Her parents, and some of her siblings resettle in Nauvoo and attempt to rebuild in the 1840s, just like other church members. One of Marietta's childhood memories was going with her father to Joseph and Hyrum Smith's funeral procession at the Mansion House and Nauvoo in 1844. She would have been 10 years old at the time. After the succession crisis, Marietta's family scatters like so many other church families. She goes with their parents as they follow Sidney Rigdon to Pennsylvania in the early part of 1844. Some of her older siblings stick around and Nauvoo. She has a sister that goes on to St. Louis and other sister eventually ends up in Texas. It's fascinating how much of her early family history history shadows, that traditional trail of the church in 1830s and 40s.


Karin Peter  06:14

So her family of while we're talking about them they have had, by the time we go through her life, they had some real difficult time that she really struggled to kind of make sense of. In her own life with her brothers, you want to share just briefly about that. 


Barbara Walden  06:32

Her life was filled with tragedy, not only as a child but into her adult years, which is part of the reason it makes her so resilient and you can't help but admire her strength. Well after she had her parents leave Nauvoo in 1845. I mentioned that she has some siblings to stick around Nauvoo in the summer of 1845, her brother's, four of her brothers die. It's such a fascinating and painful period in the Hodges family story, you can easily do a three hour podcast on it alone. Her Sisters Emmeline and Eliza Jean and her brothers Irvin,  Amos, William, and Steven remain behind Nauvoo. Emmeline and Eliza Jane would have lived together. Emeline was a young widow, her husband passed away the year before and Eliza Jane I'm sure it was a welcomed roommate at the time. There's a historian named Bill Shepard fantastic historian and he's a former president of the John Whitmer History Association. He has spent years researching what happens with Marietta's brothers in the summer of 1844. And what from what Bill can tell before brothers were involved in a gang that traveled up and down the Mississippi River. At times they were referred to as the Gadianton Robbers referencing the Book of Mormon of course, and other times they were called the Bandeanie of the Prairie. Bill suspects they're less than moral behavior, their life of crime could be traced back to the horrors they experienced in Missouri, and they may have what we would call PTSD from that period. Nevertheless, they appear to have chosen this life of crime in 1840s. And in the summer of 1845, William and Steven are accused of murder and they're judged guilty in a court of law. While they're in prison, Irvin is murdered in a cornfield near Brigham Young's home and Nauvoo, while Amos goes mysteriously missing and is murdered as well. Both brothers were likely killed by members of their own gang out of fear that they would confess to the authorities. However, the family long speculated of a church conspiracy behind the death of all four brothers. In the meantime, their brothers who were found guilty of murder William and Steven, their lives ended in a public hanging I mean, this hanging was a huge spectacle at the time, river boaster advertising day packages for guests to attend the hanging. around 8,000-10,000 people attended the hanging, and it was described in newspapers all over the region. It's really the saddest story. Marietta's sister, Emmeline, who would have been 17 or 18. At the time, witnesses hanging and was responsible for bringing her brother's bodies back to Nauvoo. One of the brothers dies instantly and the other in the hanging the other brother, William really struggles in the hanging. He doesn't die in some instantly, he dies of suffocation. I mean, it's just awful when newspaper says a woman passes out, and it was believed to be a sister Emmeline. I mean, it's just horrible what's taking place here for the Hodges family. Emeline brings the bodies back to Nauvoo. The brothers are buried in the Nauvoo cemetery, but the church leaders at the time, Brigham Young john Taylor, they ordered that the bodies be removed from the cemetery and placed somewhere else as the Mormons wanted no association with the Hodges brother. They were coming cerned about the surrounding militias, the surrounding communities coming after them. So they wanted to make it clear the Hodges were not with us, which was terribly upsetting for the family. There's so much more to the story. It's really fascinating. I would just say, to the listeners, check out Bill Shepard's published work on the topic is well worth the read. Long story short, this was a traumatic episode for Mariana and Hodges family. Marietta rarely spoke about the scandal involving her brothers, even with her own family members. Her daughter speculate that Marietta's published church history was written under his surname, Francis, out of fear that she would be somehow connected to the Hodges brothers and they're hanging in their life of crime, you know, along the Mississippi. 


Karin Peter  10:47

So sometimes I'm thank you for sharing that. Because sometimes when we look at personalities from church history, we take them out of context. And we look at them simply in light of what they have to tell us about the greater story of the church. And we forget that each of these individuals, each of these families, have their own stories that were impacted by their participation in the church in different ways. And Mariana Walker is a really good example of that of this bigger story that happened in her life, and that the church was a part of that.


Barbara Walden  11:22



Karin Peter  11:23

Very interesting. So you talked a little bit about her sister. And that kind of ties into this next aspect I wanted to talk about, you shared that Marietta was a writer and educator and editor. She was very involved in different aspects of work in the church. And all of that kind of comes from the importance of education in her life. It had been a foundational aspect of her formation. And her sister, and her brother in law played a part in that, but can you tell us a little bit about that?


Barbara Walden  11:57

Sure. Um, Emmeline, her older sister there was about seven years difference between those two, she's just about as fascinating as Marietta. As I mentioned, she marries and widows at a very early age, she was only 17 when her first husband, Darius Campbell, passed away in 1844. She ends up leaving Nauvoo after the horror of what takes place with her brothers. The sister that she was living with a rather Eliza Jane was living with her. During the brothers trial, Eliza Jane takes off with a married man to Texas, leaving Emmeline there by herself, so you can understand why she would want to relocate to Pennsylvania to be with their parents, as well as Marietta. She makes it to Pennsylvania and while she's there, she needs a convert to the church name Elijah Banta. Elijah grew up in Indiana and converted to Sidney Rigdon's church. He was ordained in Sidney Reagan's church. He and Emmeline mary and they eventually go back to Indiana where Elijah's family farm was located. Elijah begins managing the farm while Emmeline is there, and she welcomes multiple sisters and her mother to live with her for a number of years Marietta lives. For a while. Her and Elijah were more or less support from a Hodges family for a lot of time. The band has eventually joined the reorganization and move to sandwich where Elijah gets involved in church leadership and Emeline partners with Marietta to have the first women's organization the Society of Gleaners in the 1860s. Well, Elijah and he's another one we could talk for hours about, he's a fascinating guy. When he was growing up living on a farm in Indiana. He desperately wanted to pursue an education in law, but his father wouldn't financially support at all. So when he became old enough, he'd left home left Indiana lives a life on his own in Iowa and various places. But when he comes back to Indiana, and Marietta is living with them, in some ways, it's like he begins living his life through Marietta where he couldn't get an education. He's bound and determined to help her get that education. And Emmeline and Elijah give this gift of education to Marietta. They support her, her work at the Oxford College for Women, which is just across the Indiana border in western Ohio. She gets an education there, which really lays the foundation for her and her educational pursuits. Later her and Elijah and Emmeline hook up and work on a number of projects together not only in organizing women, but later in Lamoni. She's publishing a number of items focused on the education of children and really people of all ages within the church and I don't think she could do nearly what she did without the support, especially the financial support of Emmeline and Elijah. And when it comes to advocating for women well, Elijah was not only in the Indiana General Assembly while he was living in Indiana. When he moves to Iowa, he becomes elected to the Iowa legislature. And while he's serving in the legislature, he begins advocating for women's rights to vote, among other progressive measures in agriculture and business. So, Marietta and advances are very close. And education was of supreme importance, I think, between Marietta and Elijah.


Karin Peter  15:25

Not just education, but it sounds like support of progressive causes, especially for women, which people when we talk about Marietta Walker in Community of Christ, she's just revered for having done so much. So listeners might be surprised to learn especially that Marietta was a southern sympathizer, we're talking about a period of time during the Civil War. And she's sympathized with the South in this, so talk a little bit about that. Sure. So how does this Northerner and a southern sympathizer it's it's baffling. If you recall, after Nauvoo Marietta joins her parents in Pennsylvania, they follow Sidney rigdon. Her father passes away not long after being in Pennsylvania. Her and her mother moved to St. Louis where she has a sister living there. She becomes involved in a school they're in St. Louis. Then they moved to Indiana. Well, she's in Indiana just finishing up her, her degree I should say she's in Ohio finishing up her degree. When word comes that her sister Eliza Jane has passed away, leaving two young daughters and that she left those two young daughters in Marietta's care. So Marietta rushes to San Antonio, Texas to help raise these nieces of hers. While she's there, she meets Robert Faulkner and Robert was born and raised Virginian who entered the Civil War out of loyalty to his Virginian roots. He became terribly ill while serving in the war, and he made it home on furlough just before he passed away. Marietta's daughter said that Marietta believed in the southern cause did not support slavery, which is rather puzzling. I find this part of her life puzzling, but also another area where you can't fit her into a stereotypical mold. I suspect her loyalty was to Robert Faulkner, her husband, and her community in Texas during the war, more than it was necessarily connected to the southern cause. She was also no fan of Lincoln and blamed him for the division and bloodshed that took place during the war. However, she manages to assimilate back into the northern culture fairly quickly, after 1865. And it also seems that if she was pro slavery or viewed, you know, African Americans isn't equal to white Americans, she wouldn't have joined a church that was ordaining African Americans in the 1860s. But again, more research needs to be done on this part of Marietta's life. I will say, though, when she was in San Antonio, she was principal of the San Antonio Female College. So again, education pops up in her life. And it seems like that educational experience opens many doors in her life, both inside and outside of the church. So when you think about Emmeline and Elijah's gift of education to her, it creates a ripple effect for multiple generations of church members and builds this foundation for what would become you know, Graceland University. So one gift creates this ripple effect through the generations.  So she gets her degree in teaching and leading and other aspects of education. She also seemed to kind of criss cross the United States. It wasn't just Indiana and Ohio and Texas, she went some other places as well. And then somehow she ended up back in kind of this centralized area of the Reorganization. So how did that all take place? 


Barbara Walden  19:04

Yeah, she's all over the place. You described it. By 1865, a few of her family members join the reorganization and they moved to Sandwich Illinois, which is right next door to Plano where a church headquarters is in 1866. So by this time, Marietta is widowed, she's a single mother, raising her daughter, Lucy, who was around about three years old at the time, and she helps to join her family in Sandwich in the spring of 1865. Roy Cheville says she rushed to Illinois to talk to her family out of talk to them out of joining the Reorganization kind of just to stop them. What are you doing? There could be some truth to that. But I think she also longed to be with family, especially as a single mother. She was also learning that her own mother wasn't doing well. Had ill health and I think she wanted to be back with her family. Especially as her mother was looking towards the end of her life, 


Karin Peter  20:04

Well I think Cheville's statement about her rushing back to keep her families from joining, is given credence by the statement that she gave about joining the Reorganization. Can you share that with our listeners?


Barbara Walden  20:19

Yeah, I'll never forget when I ran across that statement, my immediate thought was, "What a woman! What a woman!" So just a bit of historical context, she moves to Sandwich Illinois and moves in with the Banta of family, which happens to be a home that is bustling with Reorganization leaders throughout the week. So there was no way she could avoid the church if she tried living in the Banta home. She's surrounded by this Latter Day Saints Church, and it's one being led by her old Nauvoo classmate, Joseph Smith III. Marietta was resistant to joining another church, but a beautiful thing happens and that she's loved into the church through personal relationships with old friends and new friends. And these friends in many ways helped soften her heart towards Latter Day Saint religion. Eventually just dismissed the third invites her to consider being baptized. And her response is what you're asking about. She says, quote, "I'll accept your proposition, I'll be baptized. And if I receive a testimony of the truthfulness of this work, I will do all in my power to further the interests of the church. But if, on the contrary, I do not receive it, I will work just as hard in opposition to it." End quote, I think that statement captures Marietta Walker. Like, I'll do this, and I will give everything that I have to this. But in the contrary, if it is not what you profess it to be. I will, I'll be a nightmare. 


Karin Peter  21:54

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And looking at the contributions she made to the organization, we can positively say that she did receive some confirmation in her own life that this is where she needed to be because there are so many contributions to the Reorganization that came from her work in as a writer, as an editor, resource developer, it just seems unending, and she continued to be a vocal advocate for the inclusion of women in the church, which may or may not have been what got her into hot water with some of the Reorganization leaders, but let's talk about her work there, in the early Reorganization. 


Barbara Walden  22:35

Yeah, she had a long history of swimming in deep waters and hot water. Um, you know, she was a seeker and she was searching for truth in this new religious movement. And I think she finds it. I think she finds that light and truth and works passionately for the rest of her life. So after she joins the Reorganization, she helps with editorial projects at the Saints Herald, she teaches church classes. She organizes the first women's group called this the Society of Gleaners, I think, and takes a pretty active role in the reorganization. She even organizes a group of women who make a pretty good scene of the 1868 conference, arguing for the right to vote on church issues. She felt that the women's involved in the church was just as important in the men's. Why can't they contribute to the discussions happening at these general conferences. She was a voice for single women, especially single mothers, and I think this was important at this period. In her personal life. She eventually marries and moves to Nevada for a short period of time, before relocating again to Lamoni. And by the 1880s. After three daughters are grown and living on their own, she has a resurgence of passion and energy for the church. She services women's voice as an editor, she helps produce a number of educational resources for people of all ages. She's the author of the Mother's Home Column, which is a regular column in the Saints Herald for decades, that offers advice on a variety of issues, along with advocating on a variety of women's issues. Although the audience was meant to be women, I understand it was fairly popular column for the men as well. She uses her platform to raise money for missionaries and their families. She raises money for the Emmanelia boat used in French Polynesia. Roy Cheville has this great quote about Marietta. He says, "She made things happen." And we definitely see this throughout her life, but especially in her senior years, and so often when it comes to advocating for women. 


Karin Peter  24:39

I actually have a column from her from the Autumn Leaves. No, maybe it was the other one that she wrote for women. And I saved it I used it periodically. When I share with people it tells family tells women how to host the missionary elders when they come to your town. Everything from greeting them at the train and carrying their suitcase, they might be tired, etc, etc. It's really delightful to read. But it really shows that she took hospitality seriously. She considered that part of ministry.


Barbara Walden  25:10

Yeah, when one of my favorite back and forth from her come shortly after she joined the church in the 1860s. She's writing about women's role as mother in raising their children. And a woman writes in and says, Well, you forget about the role of the father, the father needs to be helping with these responsibilities, which is an important voice to be said in the early church in the 1860s. And Marietta writes back and says, I write from my experience, and as a single mother, there is no father in the picture. So I'm writing from my own perspective. And I really admired that, that she didn't fall into the traditional male/female roles. But here she's writing of her experience as a single mother and raising the value of that perspective within a church publication like the Saint's Herald. 


Karin Peter  26:01

We talked about Marietta's contributions to the reorganization, it goes beyond resources for women and resources for children. She did some other things as well. So let's talk about some of her other contributions to the Reorganization. 


Barbara Walden  26:17

Well, one of the things that she does well, she's living in Sandwich, Plano area in 1860s, not long after she was baptized. And the reorganization is she joins editorial forces with Mark for skin and helped prepare a manuscript for print for the Joseph Smith Biblical Revision or what we called the Inspired Version for a number of decades. If you remember that was not published in its entirety during Joseph's lifetime. Emma kept the manuscript after his death. She kept it in her possession until she gave it over to her eldest son, Joseph Smith, third sometime in the 1860s. A church conference decides in 1866, that they're going to appoint a committee and that they're going to publish this inspire version. And it's that committee that Mark Forscutt, a very talented musician and an excellent writer, and Marietta Hodges Faulkner at the time, later Walker said to edit this manuscript. It wasn't your typical editorial job though, I should be clear, the manuscript was like patchwork, large share. The work was designating chapters and verses answering tons of questions about punctuation and grammar. It was really piecework putting this together. The scriptures were finally published in 1867. But it was one of the first major contributions that Marietta Walker makes to the reorganization. 


Karin Peter  27:45

So former church historian Richard Howard wrote the book Restoration Scripture, and it gives this detailed account of how the inspired version came to be and Marietta Walker's participation in that so I would point our listeners to that if you find a local Community of Christ congregation and wander into what we would call their pastor study, you will find an old copy of that text. Almost guarantee and most, most congregations 


Barbara Walden  28:13

So true. 


Karin Peter  28:14

So there was this period of time in Marietta's life after she joined the Reorganization, but before she found herself back in the Lamoni Iowa, where she, according to your words, met her match with an individual named Samuel Walker. So tell us a little bit about Samuel. Samuel, her second husband is just about as fascinating as Marietta is. He's born in Ohio as well. He traveled the country as an adult pursuing all sorts of different occupations. He was a farmer in Iowa miner out west, a rancher in Nevada. He worked in a carriage shop in New York. He was a teacher in Ohio, you name it, he seems to have done it. And like Marietta he pursues an education as a young adult that led him to these endless pursuits, and life and travel experiences. He was a poet and he authored a number of books. There's one that's still available today. He even helped found the Lamoni Gazette and served as one of the senators for about four years. I think he was her intellectual match, and he shared her restless energy. His name was Samuel Walker, and he definitely challenged her just as she challenged him.  So after his death, she finds herself in Lamoni, Iowa and you mentioned earlier as an empty nester, her kids were grown and gone. And she had all this energy and she focused it literally on the church, on this mission that she had, and continue to advocate for the inclusion of women as she had done before. Even takes matters into her own hands to fundraise for resources, social service programs, missionary work, all kinds of things. So tell us about the many causes that she supported in the church.


Barbara Walden  30:09

Sure she's unstoppable in her senior years. She appears to be, as I mentioned earlier, once the children are on their own, she sells the dairy farm in Lamoni and it's like a fire is lit. And she's this force for the next three to four decades. Her husband dies in 1889. The same year that Elijah Banta dies, which I imagine was a very rough year for her and her family. Her years there in Lamoni and I were spent serving as an editor of Zions hope, which was a children's resource that was again in Plano. She starts a magazine called Autumn Leaves, which is the resource for young adults. She serves as an editor for the Autumn Leaves for 17 years. She works to create the Zions Religio Literary Society for youth in 1893. She helps published Stepping Stones for junior age kids, along with a number of books for church members of all ages, including a book on church history, which I think is called "With the Church An an Early Day." So as editor of Autumn Leaves, she corresponds with women all over the church encouraging them to send in articles she convinces a woman living in Palestine, to author a regular column called Leaves from Palestine where she shares news from the Holy Land around the turn of the century. When you talk about fundraising, she raised funds for the Children's Home and Lamoni a place for the orphans of the community. She raises awareness for a home for the elderly in the community, maybe because she's one of those elderly members that would later become the Saints Home, she convinced women to make donations to the church on their birthday, where it would be, I think, one penny for every year of their life. She created a Christmas offering that was for the youth of the church to send money to the bishop, she's raising money for missionaries in their families. She's creative, and just unstoppable during this period in her life, and And I should mention too, she's not alone. Lamoni seems to be a history of strong women. And she's surrounded by women with shared personalities and shared ambitions. So you have people like Cassie Kelly, and Audencia Anderson and others who are right there, raising the importance of the Children's Home or the Saint's Home, or creating the Mites Society. I mean, when you think about our history, Lamoni history is estrogen inspiring. So Marietta isn't alone in raising women's voices and the importance of assisting in the community or what we would call Abolish Poverty and End Suffering. 


Karin Peter  32:49

If you want to learn more about some of those women, Barb did an episode previously on project science, where we look at some lives of some women who had significant contributions to the Reorganization. And you can find that on the Project Zion website. So she's in Lamoni, is she's active in so many different things. It's almost like she just didn't take no for an answer and so many different ways. She always found a creative way to get something done. But one of her really major lasting legacies you talked about as we began, and that was what is now Graceland University. So share a little bit of that story with us. 


Barbara Walden  33:28

Well, as your listeners can probably tell maryada was passionate about education, and believe that the youth of the church needed a place where they could receive that education, but also a place where they could share in a forum of open dialogue and discussion. Lamoni I was pleased to do this. And she generously donated her dairy farm is the site for the school. She's involved in the church conference, the general conference that makes the proposal for the church to sponsor a liberal arts school.


Karin Peter  33:58

 Which many of our listeners have either attended or gone to Community of Christ seminary, which is part of Christian university or plan on sending their kids to Graceland University. So we're very grateful for her contribution. You also mentioned something I want to revisit here. Now, she did seem to have a very good relationship with Joseph Smith, the third, the first president of the Reorganization, not so much with Fred M. So why not? What happened there and share a little bit about that. And, and even in light of that, Fred M spoke at her memorial service when she died, so let's kind of talk about that relationship with it. 


Barbara Walden  34:46

Sure. You know, nowadays you have this Boomer, you know, somebody say something and, and immediately a millennial will look at them and say, whatever, Boomer, I think that was a relationship she has with Fred M. I think Fred M was the one calling her a boomer over and over again,


Karin Peter  35:03

Just a generational disagreement. 


Barbara Walden  35:05

That's exactly it. Yeah. Um, she was really close to Joseph Smith III the third, she seemed to serve as like an unofficial counselor at times. And she had Joseph fear often, her daughter suspects those two had the opportunity to be more than friends in the late 1860s. But they chose to marry other people. Somebody needs to do some research on that, I find it rather fascinating. Unfortunately, your daughter doesn't say anymore. She just kind of plants a seed and walks away. However, her relationship with the third president of the church, Joseph the third's son, Frederick M, was not nearly as intimate or as friendly. Frederick didn't know her as a former classmate like his father did. She was his former teacher who he said, struggled to understand them even as a child. It's, it was a chilly relationship. When Frederick took over from his father, he ran things so much different from Joseph the third. And I think Frederick was also ready to do away with the old guard and Marietta was considered one of those old leaders. She saw a Fred M was ambitious and power driven. Whereas she saw his father as a pragmatic guy, and willing to listen to those who offered a different perspective. I think the fallout between the two really takes place over supreme directional control. That was what eventually does Marietta in, she spoke poorly of Fred and other church leaders and word spread to Fred M. And he was really hurt by this. He was troubled that Marietta was not agreeable to his way of doing things about them. And he reaches out to her with a sincere letter towards the end of her life, asking to repair this relationship, you know, asking her to explain to him what it is that he's done that she disagrees with, or that upsets her so much. And I don't know if Marietta ever responded to them. In the end, he, like you said preaches one of two funeral sermons for her. And when you read the sermon, you would never have guessed that these two had a falling out or any disagreement or hard feeling. He really reveres her, when I mentioned in the very beginning about him, saying nobody has done more work for the Reorganization and Marietta Walker, that comes directly from his funeral sermon. I think he admired her but also miss misunderstood her, just like she misunderstood him. 


Karin Peter  35:58

So she lived to the age of 96, which is when she passed away there in Lamini. And all her life, offered ministry to the church, even in her very old age, it seemed she was still participating and contributing there in Lamoni. From your perspective, now, as an historian, what's the most meaningful aspect of her legacy that Community of Christ can trace back to her?


Barbara Walden  38:03

Ah, that's a good question, Karin. Um, it's hard to say, Marietta seems to have her hand and everything. I think her passion for educating people of all ages was pretty significant. The resources she produced for the youth, the magazines, and the lessons, books on church history, and all sent a message that the youngest of the community had worth. Her fight for women's voices at the table, both in the saints Herald and a church conference leaves the legacy of what we would call All Are Called decades before its time as an enduring principle. She didn't take no for an answer, like he said, and she forged her own path for women, when a path was not as clear. I think that it's her ultimate legacy. She created her own position in the church, rather than waiting for one to be created for. I think she was empowering and she empowered other women. 


Karin Peter  39:03

So where do you see her imprint? Currently, in Community of Christ? Is there anything we could look at and go? Yep, that would be Marietta Walker. 


Barbara Walden  39:12

Well, I think there's little shades of Marietta Walker in the church today, her importance of education in Community of Christ. That always seemed to be emphasized while I was growing up, and even today. The importance of one's own sacred story and journey to community, another everyone takes the same path and that's okay. But there's this feeling that all are welcome. You look at Marietta past to the Reorganization, not everybody took that path, but I think she felt welcomed when she arrived. And I hope everyone feels that way when they arrive at Community of Christ today. Her generosity and supportive mission into these church I think is there she gave and she inspired others to give. I think lastly, I see in her in her words well, I see in her life, the words, All Are Called. It's discovering your calling and pursuing that ministry without boundaries so many times and Marietta's life, she could have given up and lead a quiet life, whether in Nevada or the rolling hills of Iowa. But she persevered. And it led her to do great things within our faith community.


Karin Peter  40:21

 Absolutely. So as we bring our conversation about Marietta, to a close, is there any last comments or anecdotal information you'd like to share with us about Marietta Walker?


Barbara Walden  40:34

 Oh, my gosh, I think I've shared more than plenty today. Um, thank you for the opportunity to share about Marietta's story. I hope her tail resonates for your listeners, especially during this challenging time. I think if there's only one thing that I'd like to add is that somebody needs to write a really good biography of her. We've just touched the surface of an absolutely fascinating life in this 19th and early 20th century woman, and I'd love to see a great big book on her available on our bookshelves. 


Karin Peter  41:07

Well, I appreciate her story, it does something that we don't often talk about. And that is, it links this early part of church history that we share with the LDS church, and the Reorganization history together because Mariana was a part of both. Her life encompassed the entire story, and so we get a more comprehensive perspective of the Restoration and Reorganization through exploring her life. So thank you so much for joining us today. And I'm hoping Marietta Walker is somewhere looking and going, "Yes, that was well done. Thank you very much." 


Barbara Walden  41:45

Or wishing she could defend herself. You never know!


Karin Peter  41:47

Perhaps, perhaps you'd like to explain that Fred M interlude there, maybe so or not when actually know that I think about her. So our listeners can watch our lecture could find your entire lecture on the site. And hopefully, we'll take a look at some of the other presentations from the summer series at the same site. And if you have questions or comments about Marietta Walker, or other aspects of this lecture, you can reach Barb at [email protected]  I think you can find her under the Contact Us place down at the bottom of that website as well. 


Barbara Walden  42:33



Karin Peter  42:34

So thanks again, Barb. This is Cuppa Joe. Until next time, when you visit us, again with more wonderful stories from our history. This is Project Zion Podcast and Karin Peter. Thanks so much for listening.


Josh Mangelson  42:56

Thanks for listening to Project Zion Podcast, subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, or whatever podcast streaming service you use. And while you're there, give us a five star rating. Project Zion Podcast is sponsored by Latter-day Seeker Ministries of Community of Christ. The views and opinions expressed in this episode are of those speaking and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Latter-day Seeker Ministries, or Community of Christ. Music has been graciously provided by Dave Heinze.