r By Benjamin Glazner
LDS Members, family, and community friends from the Santaquin Utah Stake, Goshen Utah Stake, and Santaquin Utah North Stakes celebrated the 100 year anniversary of their beginnings at a fireside at the Santquin Utah Stake Center, November 4, 2017.
The Tintic Stake was the 74th stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, created in 1917. Originally comprised of wards in Eureka, Elberta, Goshen, Mammoth, Dividend, Knightville and Silver city it was so named because of the mining influence which was so prevalent at that time in these areas. President Erastus Birch was the first stake president who served for 22 years when in 1939 the Tintic Stake boundaries grew to include Genola and Santaquin and it was renamed the Santaquin/Tintic Utah Stake.
As the church in this area grew in membership, it became necessary to divide the stake. In April 1999; the Santaquin Utah Stake and the Goshen Utah Stakes were formed. Philip Rowley, who served as the stake president at the time of the split, spoke at the celebration and described his experiences at the creation of the Goshen Utah Stake; furthermore shared that he had recommended to church headquarters that the new stake be referred to as the Goshen Valley Stake but was turned down.
One of the interesting facts he shared was regarding the historical panels that were in the original Santaquin Utah Stake Center, now referred to as the “Downtown Building.” Currently, one of the original panels is placed in the Santaquin and Santaquin North Stake Centers as well as the downtown building. He also reflected on the challenge and miracles he saw from the Molly fire in 2001 and the mudslides that followed in 2002. He spoke of fire tornadoes changing course to miss a house and how it was a miracle that no homes were damaged by the fire. He spoke of a specific sacrament meeting following the mudslide where members showed up in work clothes and when the brief meeting concluded, they all went out to clean up mud and debris from homes that had been affected by the mudslide. He described the concern the whole community had for each other and the unity that formed and has continued.
Another speaker, Brent Laker, who had served as the second stake president in the Goshen Utah stake spoke of admiration and love he had for President Allred, the first stake president who has passed away. President Laker spoke of moving to the Goshen area many years ago and while looking for a potential home in Genola; he found himself waiting at a stop sign for a long period of time as car after car passed by. Surprised by the large volume of traffic they were experiencing, he later learned that the Saturday session of Stake Conference had ended and they were stopped at that intersection as nearly the entire town of Genola returned home from attending that meeting. Impressed by the devotion of the faithful members in that town they decided to make that area home and spoke about the love and service he has seen throughout the years from the saints in that area. Brent Laker currently serves as the 1st counselor in the Payson Utah Temple Presidency.
Kurt Stringham (the current president of the Santaquin Utah North stake which was divided from the Santaquin Stake in April 2005) spoke about the service-oriented members in the Santaquin area. He shared an experience he had in 1994. While connecting his home to the new sewer system, he was working in a freshly dug trench to lay the pipe, Tom Hamilton watching from above, yelled at Kurt to get out of the trench but before he could escape the walls collapsed in around him burying him up to his shoulders. Many people from the town came and helped dig him out. He made the comparison that in this church, the members are going about our Savior’s work of rescuing, lifting and blessing others physically and spiritually.
The celebratory event was presided over by Steven Wood, current Stake President of the Santaquin Utah Stake who shared some closing remarks. He reflected on the original founders of this area, specifically, Benjamin Johnson who looking down at the emerald valley, was invited by Brigham Young to settle this area. Before making his way to Utah, Benjamin had been held at gunpoint and told to deny his Mormon faith or die. He would not, so the individual pulled the trigger but the gun did not go off. The would-be assassin commenced in telling all who were there that in the 20 years he had owned the gun, it had never misfired. He replaced the primer and tried again, but it still did not discharge. A bystander suggested that he clean the gun and try again, which he did. The gun was cleaned and reloaded, but when he pulled the trigger, the gun exploded killing the “ruffian.”
President Wood mentioned how Benjamin Johnson was protected, and eventually settled this area and many of his posterity are still here. He emphasized the impact of one person and influence of their actions. He emphasized that we are the beneficiaries of decades of work and sacrifice from the early settlers who prepared the area and have shaped and influenced what this community and Stakes are today. He paid tribute to past stake presidents, like President Carl Patten who served 25 years (1944 to 1969). He encouraged current members in these stakes to continue to build and grow these areas to benefit and bless lives and future generations.
Video presentations of interviews of “long-timers” and “newcomers” were shared throughout the celebration which consisted of a variety of members from the three current stakes, including past stake presidents. Those interviewed reflected on the changes that have occurred in this area, how they came to live here, memories of the Payson temple, and how the members in the stakes have influenced their lives.
The celebration lasted for about an hour and 45 minutes and many lingered afterward to mingle and view the many photos and memorabilia that were on display as they enjoyed ice-cream (from Santaquin’s own Rowley’s Red Barn). After looking back on the past, it makes one wonder what the next 100 years will hold for the people and stakes that had their humble beginnings as the Tintic Stake, 100 years ago.