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Hello. Welcome to my new blog...'Between the Jackets'. What's it about? Life. Everything that happens between the jackets of birth and death. The real story. It's about people of all shapes and sizes, different personalities, unusual struggles, and funny situations. This also includes children, animals, crawling, creeping, and swimming creatures.

Let's face it, some days life serves you a big plate of worms. Not very tasty in my opinion. Other days it's a 'picture perfect' stuffed turkey next to a crystal dish filled with cranberry sauce. Yum! And please don't forget there are going to be those 'cheeseburger and fries' days, which essentially boils down to the funny, awkward, and in between moments of day to day living. Because life is pretty much unpredictable, I'm going to do my best at getting it right. Some days I know I won't. The best books and stories ever written come from personal experience and the struggles we face every day. These struggles we eventually overcome and, oftentimes, laugh about. They are the hidden treasures that make up the space 'Between the Jackets' and are well worth remembering.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Angel Rolls Stone Away?

Dominic, one of my grandson’s, came home from Young Men’s one evening in Francis, Utah and told his mother and I a very strange story indeed. Fortunate enough to be staying the night, I was able to listen in on the good juice.

Nic walked into the house looking puzzled, and asked his mother if what his teacher had told him was true about a pioneer man named, Brooks. Becca looked as confused as Nic. I didn’t remember a pioneer with that name either, so no help was coming from my side of the fence.

“Who was he?” she asked him.

“Our teacher told us a weird story tonight about a giant rock and a man who martyred the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was buried over one hundred years ago in the Peoa Cemetery,” he told her. “A few years ago a boy scout wanted to do an Eagle Project and didn’t know what to do. Someone in his ward gave him the idea of putting a grave marker on the grave of Brooks, who had been laid to rest in an unmarked grave near a tree. It seems that one night a giant rock rolled down the steep hill near the cemetery and came to rest directly of top of the grave of Mr. Brooks. The rock was left where it rolled.

“The scout thought it was a worthwhile project and took care of getting a plaque made that would mark Mr. Brook’s grave. When the plaque was ready, the boy talked a local farmer into moving the stone from the grave. The plaque would be placed on the grave when the boy could arrange it. However, the next morning the residents of Peoa, along with the boy and farmer, got a BIG surprise. Someone or something had rolled the stone back on top of the grave during the night. The giant rock was left where it had been rolled, and the plague that marked the grave of Mr. Brooks was attached to the top of the rock. Supposedly, it’s still there. So is it true?” Nic asked us. “Because it’s a really cool story.”

Neither Becca nor I had the answer to that one. Both of us loved the story though, as it was right up our alley. We love the paranormal…anything that goes bump in the night is irresistible and interesting, especially a giant rock that might have been rolled back on a martyr’s grave by an angel of God. Who else would have done it? The stone had left those involved with a silent but strong message. “Leave the stone alone! It’s right where God wants it.” Obviously Nic, and the rest of the boys the teacher talked to that night, ate it up.

Each of us went to bed that night marveling a bit over the story. Was it exaggerated? Did the grave and the giant rock with the plaque really exist?

The next morning we dropped Becca’s children off at their schools and drove to the local gasoline station to buy our morning diet cokes and bag of goodies. “Becca?” I asked. “Where is Peoa from here?”

Becca gave me the kind of look that told me she was one hundred percent on board. “I don’t think it’s far…you drive past Oakley and keep going until you run into Peoa.” She pointed north, or at least, that’s what it looked like to me.

“Why not go see if the grave and the rock are in the cemetery in Peoa?” I asked her. “We have the time. If the story is true…the rock will still be there.”

“How will we find the rock?” she asked.

“It’ll be the biggest one.” I really didn’t know if that was a correct assumption. When you shoot from the hip, your best guess is all you’ve got sometimes.

Off we went, two women in a suburban on a mission to find the truth. We kind of reminded me of Sherlock Holmes and Doc Watson, only more feminine. The famous investigator and his sidekick never took children on a case. We had Becca’s two little girls with us, watching Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny cartoons in the back seat of her car. Becca let me drive. She was our designated scout and official direction giver.

We followed the road and within several minutes were driving into Peoa. If we had blinked, we would have missed it. An antique red brick schoolhouse to the left of the road confirmed we were in the right place; the Peoa name built into the framework of the historical building so many years ago still hung above the old door.  We slowed down but kept driving. The Peoa Cemetery wasn’t much further down the road to our left.

The pioneer graveyard was larger than I imagined. I pictured maybe twenty graves, but there many many more, and it was still in use. Modern gravestones dotted the ground, intermixed with the old. It was surrounded on three sides by hills—two sides steeper than the side on the north. Interesting place! Where was the giant rock? I drove through an open gate. “Keep your eyes open,” I told Becca. Snow and ice covered most of the graves. The road was icy dirt, wet and muddy from melting snow. And then I saw it…a giant rock loomed in the distance to my right. “That’s it!”

“Mom! Oh my gosh!”

We turned right, drove down the road a ways, and stopped the car. The girls continued to watch cartoons, momentarily, while we opened our doors and ran to check the rock. It was slippery outside and cold. We’d just be a minute. Sure enough…the metal plaque was there, complete with Mr. Brook's name and his greatest contribution to history. It read: Brooks—Participant in the Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Becca used my cell phone and took several pictures.

Nic’s story was true!

Did an angel move the rock? Who knows. Your guess is as good as mine.

Becca went home and did some research after that. She found a site with more information about Brooks…just in case you want to read more. We certainly did. The link is below. 

Click here for more about Mr. Brooks. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=36526063.  

Here is a link if you would like to know more about The Fate and the Persecutors of Joseph Smith: Transmutations of An American Myth by Richard C. Poulsen (an assistant professor of English at Brigham Young University).

Here is a link if you are interested in the book, "The Fate of the Persecutors of The Prophet Joseph Smith," by N. B. Lundwall (Editor), John A. Widtsoe


  1. What a story!!! You never hear the other side of things. Thanks for sharing.

  2. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=36526063

    If you go to the above link there is more information on Mr. Brooks, and his life was very sad indeed! Just copy and paste the address into your browser window and click enter.

  3. I don't think that Brooks had a first name, did he? Or, at least none on record. Hence, why it only says Brooks on his grave stone.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I'm the one who furnished the Brooks memorial on Findagrave. Please visit it for further research conclusions. If my research is correct a possible mistake has occurred. Hundreds may had witness last bullet and not been actual participant... Probably not a 13 to 14 year old... My research is continuing...