In our final conversation with author Darren Parry of the Bear River Massacre, we’ll tie up some loose ends and trace his family history back to Chief Sagwitch. We’ll also talk about the first non-English sermon in General Conference.
GT: So Yeager was there for the massacre. Your grandmother Mae heard about the massacre directly from him.
Darren: From him, her grandfather, Yeager.
GT: Her grandfather.
Darren: He lived to be really old. In fact, one thing a lot of people don’t know about Yeager, he was called out of the audience in the 1918, General Conference, and was asked to bear his testimony from the pulpit.
Darren: In conference, and he went up there, and he spoke Shoshone. His Bishop was the translator. The funny thing is, when I met with the Presiding Bishop earlier last year, to talk about the massacre and our Interpretive Center, the Church Historian, was there, Elder Snow.
GT: Steven Snow.
Darren: Yeah. So Steven Snow was there. He said, “I’ll bet you can’t tell me what was the first language spoken from the pulpit, at general conference, other than English?” I said, “I know what it was.” The Presiding Bishop didn’t know, nobody knew. A lot of them thought it was probably a Scandinavian, because a lot of those people join the church. I said, “I know what it was. It was Shoshone.” He said, “You’re right. How did you know?” I said, “Well, it was my great-grandfather that gave the talk, gave his testimony.
Darren: One thing he said in his testimony that I just think is funny–I’ve got a copy of this talk and his testimony, but he said one thing, “The gospel has changed my life in a way that I no longer have a desire to kill the white man.”
Darren: I thought that was awesome. I thought, “I can just see farmer Joe on the first row of the tabernacle being, half asleep, hearing that from the pulpit.” I thought, “That’s awesome. That’s classic.”