Tag Archives: missions



Close friends of one of my daughters were murdered by a relative’s ex-husband.  It is tragic.  You never think about such things hitting so close to home.  It was a senseless, cruel, heartless execution of 6 innocent people, and it left behind many emotional scars on close friends and family — especially the lone surviving child of the family of 7.  (Deseret News article, click here)

I talked to my daughter who was clearly very upset and saddened.  She shared with me insights about the family and their relationship.

I won’t give the killer the satisfaction of even mentioning his name.  (And, I wish the media wouldn’t give such people so much attention.)  It is natural to place blame or make excuses for why something like this happens.  Personally, there is only one person to blame and that’s the killer himself.  Yet, already I’ve read posts on Facebook and media pages blaming gun control laws.  Shame, shame, shame on those who refuse to place blame on the culprit.  Others have placed blame on mental illness.  Of course he was mentally ill.  Sane people don’t do stuff like this, and mental illness is no excuse for such heinous crimes.  We can’t blame ourselves as a society; it was a tragic crime that nobody saw coming.


Tonight is the pageant’s dress rehearsal.  It is amazing that after a few days, they are ready for dress rehearsal.

Tomorrow is opening night.

Friends from California

Our friends Rodger and Diedra Mahaffey are here as pageant site missionaries and we tracked them down last night to say, “Hi.”  They had stopped by the house the other day when I was at Hill Cumorah, so I didn’t get to see them.  It was fun catching up on things.  The moved from Antioch to Utah, however, Rodger’s sister and her husband are here serving full-time missions.

copyright 2014 db walton

Diedra and Rodger

Speaking of which… all you friends in California and Utah, did you know you can come to Palmyra to serve a 2-week mission during Pageant?  That’s right, you can, like Rodger and Diedra, serve a short-term mission to help during Hill Cumorah Pageant.   Or, you can serve as a cast or support member for the Pageant.  Who knows… you could end being Alma, Sariah, or one of many (there’s over 600) roles.

Rodger and Diedra are serving as site missionaries.  Their job is to help people visiting the Smith Farm and the Sacred Grove.  When I met up with them, they were in the north west corner of the grove patrolling it. (Yes, it is sad to say we need missionaries back there to keep people on the trails and to help prevent vandalism.  “Vandalism?” you ask.  Yes, we have people attempt to carve their initials in the trees, and they need to be reminded not to do that.)

Wedding Preparations

My studio is located here at the Beckwith Estate. Aside from offering rooms to travelers (note, we are not a B&B – we simply rent rooms in the mansion), I also operate a photography studio.

When weddings come along, there is a lot of preparation that goes on behind the scene. I clean my lenses, camera sensors, charge batteries, reformat flash memory cards, organize my camera bag, and more. I often find it funny when someone says, “Why so much to photograph a wedding?” What they don’t see is for every hour I’m out photographing, behind the scenes I may work an additional 1-2 hours before and after the wedding.

As I tell people, being a full-time studio owner equates to about 10% behind the camera, and the other 90% is other stuff like marketing, bookkeeping, sales, etc. If I wanted to be taking pictures 100% of the time, I would have to go on welfare.

My cousins left this morning. They are heading to Kirtland, Ohio. It was sure nice to see them.

Todd Knowles and Family

Todd Knowles and Family

On my mom’s side, there was a generation split. Both my grandparents were married previously, and the children from their first marriage had children older than me. Of the children shared by my grandparents, I was the eldest. It kind of went like this….

Brent & Mark (me and my brother)
Jeff & John & Becky (cousins from my mom’s sister Shirley)
Todd & Eric (cousins from my mom’s brother Allen)

Yup, there were these pairs of boys. It was like me, Jeff and Todd, and then Mark, John and Eric. (Becky came along later and was younger than all the boys.)

My grandparents left a good legacy. All us boys served missions, as did our grandpa, and Uncle Allen. We’re now just starting to come in to the 4th generation of missionary age children. I believe my daughter Rebecca might have been the first in generation 4. (Cousins: You’re welcome to comment. It would be nice to hear who all has served missions and where.)

Of the rest of my grandparent’s children, my grandpa’s daughter Gwen had several children, but they were closer to my mom’s age. It was their children who are closer to my age. My cousin Keith’s kids were the one’s we played with, as Keith and his siblings were my mom’s age and OLDER!

On grandma’s side, there was Lorna and Virginia. Their kids were about older, and when I was little, I felt like they were a lot older. They were teenagers when I was a kid, and to a kid, that seems really old. My cousin Barbara watched (babysat) Mark and me when our parents would do things. The other kids, Ann and Allen (Lorna), and Frank and Greg (Virginia) seemed soooo much older when I was kid.

I have no doubt that Grandma and Grandpa K are smiling down upon us.