Last night in the General Priesthood session of the October 2008 General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was discussing the need for Latter-day Saints to “Stand close together, and lift where you stand” (here), encouraging us not to aspire to callings, nor to shun them.
He recounted the story of John Rowe Moyle, a master of stonework who came west with the earliest handcart companies in 1846. He settled in Alpine Utah, which was nearly 22 miles away from downtown Salt Lake City. He was called to be a stone mason on the Salt Lake Temple. In order to fulfill his calling, and to be to work by 8:00 in the morning, every Monday Brother Moyle would wake up at 2:00 a.m., and begin his long walk over the hill, and through the valley to the temple of the Lord.
He would spend the week in Salt Lake, working on the temple, and then on Friday, at 5:00 p.m., he would start the long walk home, where he would tend to the duties of his farm over the weekend.
One weekend, while tending to his farm, he was kicked as one of his cows bolted while milking, resulting in a compound fracture to his leg. In the lack of any sophisticated medical help at the time, the only available solution for his injury was amputation. His family and friends removed a door from its hinges, and strapped him onto it, and then removed his leg with a hacksaw.
As soon as he was able, once he could sit up in bed, he took a piece of wood, and using his carving skills, carved an artificial limb for himself so that such a little thing like the loss of a leg would not prevent him from walking each week to work on the temple.
As soon as he was able to stand the pain from walking on his stub leg, he again journeyed to the temple, and resumed his work, which he did for many years to come.
Amongst other stone work, Brother Moyle was responsible for carving the “Holiness to the Lord” stone upon the east side of the temple (images below).
Here is a map of how far he walked. According to Google Maps, it says that drive (in a car, with a freeway) would take 55 minutes (click the map to view in Google Maps, with the ability to zoom, for better appreciation of scale).
(click image above for a larger view)
(Click image above for a larger view)
On Temple Square, there’s a sculptor of John Rowe Hoyle pushing a handcart with his wife (click for a larger view).
(Click image above for larger view)