My great-great grandfather was John D. Lee. He was excommunicated from the Church and executed for his role in the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857.
This story is about his grandson Arthur Lee, who is my grandpa.
Arthur was born in 1892 and lived much of his early life under the stigma of his grandfather’s excommunication and execution. Many members of the church looked down on the Lees during that time period. Some even refused to let their children marry into the Lee family. The story is also told of some Lees getting beat up by some members of the church because they were descendants of John D. Lee.
These circumstances caused Arthur, who was a baptized member of the church to be totally inactive. He swore, drank and caroused around.
That is until he met a beautiful young lady, Amy Valine Butler.
Amy was smitten with young Arthur even though he was a Lee. Arthur was in return quite in love with Amy and asked her to be his wife.
Amy was adamant that she would accept only if Arthur would give up his drinking and carousing and someday take her to the temple.
He solemnly promised he would.
Not long after their marriage Arthur went on a hunting trip with some of his buddies. This had been a tradition for years and he always looked forward to it. After setting up camp his buddies began to drink which, was also a tradition.
Soon his friends began to notice that Arthur wasn’t drinking and urged him to do so. He refused citing his promise to his wife. At first that answer sufficed but as his companions became more intoxicated they became more insistent. Finally they became angry and offended that he wasn’t drinking.
They decided that they were going to force him to do so. Three or four of them grabbed and wrestled him to the ground. They tried to force his mouth open so they could pour the liquor down his throat.
He refused to open his mouth, clenching his teeth tightly.
Finally one of his buddies became so angry that he went over to their truck and retrieved a tire iron with a sharp pointed end. He brought this over and was determined to force it through Arthur’s clenched teeth and pry his mouth open.
At this critical point Arthur suddenly blurted out.
“Boys, Boys If I take one good drink will you let me alone and never bother me again about it?”
His companions agreed.
“If you take one good drink we will never bother you again” they said letting him up.
Arthur, dusted himself off, picked up his tin cup, went over to their supply of water, dipped the cup in, lifted it to his mouth and took a drink.
“Boys” he said. “That is what I call one good drink.”
Stunned at first they gradually realized that he had outwitted them. Nevertheless, they held to their promise and never bothered or pressured him again to drink.
“Neither,” said my grandpa in relating this story, “did I ever go hunting with them again.
Only because my Grandma was determined to marry someone that would keep the commandments did my Grandpa make the promise to her.
Only because my Grandpa was determined to hold to his promise did the Lord provide a way for his escape.
Only because they both kept their promises and covenants are there hundreds of descendants active in the church today.by Myron Lee