Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Weakness on My Part

Like a moth to the flame, I am drawn to people who not like the rest, the ones who seem to be cut from a different cloth. Misfits, rogues and people who just can't help but to do things in their way all catch my attention. After some study there are some I like and some I do not. the commonality of the ones I like is because they do it because they are hard-wired to do so; not to get attention.

One such person that is the top of my "like list" is Orrin Porter Rockwell.

Porter Rockwell was a legend in his own time. He lived like he wanted, he was fiercely loyal to his friends and greatly feared by his enemies. He had a dead-eye shot, rode as a Federal Marshall, and lived a life full of adventure purportedly killed more outlaws than Wyatt Earp, Doc Holladay, Bart Masterson, and Tom Horn combined...while living as a Mormon in Utah!

He had a taste for whiskey and the ear of Prophets.
He was the friend of pioneers, farmers, and ranchers yet respected by gunslingers, ruffians, and outlaws.

Controversy surrounded the man when he lived in the 1800's and controversy still surrounds him still today, over a hundred years after his death. It is hard for people to get a bead on how he really thought, how he made his judgments, and what made him tick. The lines that separated the good from the bad were very much different in his head and hard to negotiate within our modern day minds and politically correct values. But I sense that he always tried to do what he thought was right. I understand and respect that.

As a soul-searching Mormon, it is hard to find people in our history who are people to which I can relate; someone not blinded by devotion or driven by rebellion. Porter Rockwell was someone, however, who felt a strong sense of loyalty to the faith, but an unwavering desire to blaze a solitary trail. A goal I find refreshing and honorable, and without pious.

Individualism has its price. Even to Porter's last day, there were many who hated him, his faith, and his history. But they could not stop him. They could not kill him. They could not silence him. Porter lived in the face of all who opposed him and no one could ever claim to better him. Even the paper added to his obituary that "the gallows were deprived" of hanging him. Despite it all, Porter's name lives on and those who were against him have disappeared in time.

To those who question whether Porter is worthy of my admiration I would them to one little event and quote. At his funeral, his eulogy was given by yet another Prophet- Joseph F. Smith. His remarks were: "He had his little faults, but Porter's life on Earth, taken altogether, was one worthy of example, and reflected honor upon the church."

That works for me.

He was laid to rest in a beautiful site in Salt Lake City and upon his head stone monument, he even defied them all in his epitaph.

He was brave & loyal to his faith,
true to the prophet Jos. Smith,
a promise made him by the
prophet thro. obedience it was
fulfilled.
If you don't understand- you don't know Porter, but it's quite a story.

1 comment:

LdsNana said...

Who could not love a man of such fierce loyalty to living prophets, as was exemplified in the life of Porter Rockwell. He was the bomb!

tDMg