Great Story. Wise Question. (Re-post)

Note:  For some unknown reason, a whole bunch of readers have looked at this post today.  It is from over 2 years ago, so I figured it was time to share it again.
John Rowe Moyle
First the story, then the question.
One of the classic inspirational stories in church history is the story of John Moyle. A couple years back, President Uchtdorf retold this story in his talk “Lift Where You Stand” as quoted below.
“This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Rowe Moyle. John was a convert to the Church who left his home in England and traveled to the Salt Lake Valley as part of a handcart company. He built a home for his family in a small town a valley away from Salt Lake City. John was an accomplished stonecutter and, because of this skill, was asked to work on the Salt Lake Temple.
Every Monday John left home at two o’clock in the morning and walked six hours in order to be at his post on time. On Friday he would leave his work at five o’clock in the evening and walk almost until midnight before arriving home. He did this year after year.
One day, while he was doing his chores at home, a cow kicked him in the leg, causing a compound fracture. With limited medical resources, the only option was to amputate the broken leg. So John’s family and friends strapped him onto a door and, with a bucksaw, cut off his leg a few inches from the knee.
In spite of the crude surgery, the leg started to heal. Once John could sit up in bed, he began carving a wooden leg with an ingenious joint that served as an ankle to an artificial foot. Walking on this device was extremely painful, but John did not give up, building up his endurance until he could make the 22-mile (35-km) journey to the Salt Lake Temple each week, where he continued his work.
His hands carved the words “Holiness to the Lord” that stand today as a golden marker to all who visit the Salt Lake Temple.”
It is a remarkable story of a dedicated man, with a consecrated heart, that bears repeating.
Here’s the question…
One Sunday, as we were listening to this story, my insightful EC leaned over and whispered to me:
“I think this story is really sad. You mean to tell me there wasn’t one person in the whole Salt Lake Valley that could lend this poor man a horse or a mule? Didn’t he have a home teacher, or someone in his quorum that could help? Where was his Bishop? It seems like a missed opportunity for service.”
— You need to understand that my EC is wise like that – always looking for ways to help. I need to remember that if I fail to care for those around me, someone’s suffering might become their legacy, and it probably won’t get talked about in General Conference.



  1. I think sometimes we are prompted not to help.. I’ll bet plenty of people have similar stories where they received help but we don’t hear about it. As it should be, they are rewarded in Heaven. As long as we don’t ignore promptings, I think that is the key. Whether or not we understand why.The hardest prompting for me to obey was one that I had to do nothing. I could have done so much, but that’s not what the Lord wanted for me or the other person. To this day, I don’t know why…it doesn’t matter. I obeyed. Your EC is a keeper (not news to you)

  2. Your EC brings up a very good point. Another possibility is that he wanted to do it this way and not accept charity of the idea of being crippled.

  3. As I sat in the Priesthood session when this talk was given, I sat next to an older man from my ward, a man who’s probably more at home on a ranch. When the part of the story of the man losing his leg came up, my neighbor whispered to me, “Why didn’t he just get a horse?” I admit, I chuckled…

  4. We tend to assume that everyone else has or should have a life perspective similar to our own. Perhaps getting a horse would have got Br. Moyle to the temple, but without a leg, would he have been able to do the work he was assigned? I don’t know, and without him here to tell us, we are speculating from a vantage point that is not the same as his was at that time.

  5. Makes me think of something my mom said after hearing Elder Christofferson talk about his mother.
    That goes to the talk where he tells the story about his mother not being in so much pain when ironing because of cancer and surgery she had. So, Elder Christofferson’s dad went without lunch for a year to be able to afford a fancy machine that would do the ironing.

    My mom said, “Well why didn’t he just do the ironing for her?!!!”

    Now, I do realize that back then everything had to be ironed, it took loads of time to do, and he may not have had the time to do it. Maybe his wife wouldn’t let anyone help. But still…it’s a good question.

  6. I bet the minute his leg was sawn off, John Moyle was determined he’d walk again.

    He could have asked people to drive him or let him borrow a buggy, but I bet he walked those 22 miles because he was focused on proving he could walk it and conquer his affliction. I bet every one of those miles was a celebration to him.

  7. The story mentions that he used to walk to the temple site before the accident, so he must have either enjoyed the walk from the beginning and/or never had access to a horse anyway.

    Back in those days before all the roads, houses, buildings, oil refineries, etc. the Salt Lake valley must have been a nice place to go for a walk. Unlike today where you have to look over your shoulder every couple of minutes to make sure you’re not about to get ran over or jimmy-wacked.

  8. Seriously, I’m “Team EC”. I’m teaching a lesson on R.S. tomorrow in R.S. I’m also giving a talk IN Sacrament ON the Sacrament (or as my grandson calls it, “snackrament”). His accomplishment over the door of the temple is diminished relative to the lack of service rendered in his behalf. Now, THAT said, he could have refused to accept any offerings of help…but yikes, then we have issues of pride. Either way, it’s a story that is more disturbing than enlightening. Love your blog. It makes me thing, laugh, and enjoy life just a little bit more. Best. Thing. Ever.-outside of the gospel and family. 🙂

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