My great grandmother Edith Smith Bushman compiled numerous stories of friends and family who helped settle the Arizonan high plains. She dedicated the stories to her descendants saying,


In the early days of Arizona many men and women, some of whom are your ancestors, gave the best that was in them for the Gospel’s sake. They endured hardships, privation and even tragedy, unmindful of themselves as they furthered our Lord’s work in this part of His vineyard.

I have gathered the following true stories from friends, neighbors, and relatives in hopes my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will read them and develop more faith in our Heavenly Father and thereby be better men and women.”


Father and daughter working on genealogy togetherMany of these people were my ancestors, as families merged through marriage. Great Grandma Edith’s son Elwin Bushman married Genevieve Tanner.


Grandma Genevieve shared the following story of her grandfather, Henry M. Tanner. My dad often told this story during my childhood, reiterating that not only when we serve others are we in the service of God, but as a reminder that we’re never authorized to judge other people’s journey or progression back to God. The Lord provides commandments and ordinances to help us progress on the path, but He alone stands as our ultimate Judge.


Vision of Henry M. Tanner by Genevieve Tanner Bushman


Henry M. Tanner with wife Eliza Parkinson Tanner

Henry M. Tanner with his wife Eliza Parkinson Tanner

Grandfather Henry M. Tanner stood at the gate to the Celestial Kingdom and an angel asked him if he wanted to enter. He said, “I’d like to see what it is like but I want to return to earth.”


The Angel took him in to show him around. They came to a big beautiful home and Grandpa asked, “Who lives there?”


“That’s Bishop John Bushman’s home, ” was the reply.


Then they saw a funny little house and Grandpa remarked, “That’s a funny house for the Celestial Kingdom.”


“Well, that’s all the material that was sent to build a house,” said the angel.


They saw other places. Grandpa was surprised at some of the people who had made it there. Then he asked to see a friend’s home but was told he had not made it to the Celestial Kingdom.


Then Grandpa saw another big beautiful home and asked, “Whose home is that?”


The Angel replied, “That’s Johnny McLaw’s home.”


“I didn’t think he’d make it here. He didn’t come to church often,” said Grandpa.


“You didn’t think he’d make it to the Celestial Kingdom? Why not?” said the angel. “Who was the first to visit a home when death came to a family? Who always made the caskets and then had his daughters line them and fix them up until they were beautiful for loved ones to be buried in? What was always willing to help others? That was John McLaw.”


Then the Angel imparted this bit of wisdom. “It’s the service we do for others that sends the material up here to build Celestial Homes.”


Henry M. Tanner served 28 years as a counselor to Bishop John Bushman of the St. Joseph (Joseph City, Arizona) Ward.

About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.

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