Among the converts to the Church who settled in Cedar were
William Dix (Uncle Bill) and his wife Elvira. They had several children. They
emigrated from Wales, from
Uncle Bill had not been a coal miner in Wales but
worked a good deal in the coal mines here.
Sister Dix was an invalid most of her life here. She had
heart trouble. She was a very beautiful and lovely woman with clear, white
skin, long black hair, and clear black eyes that sparkled with good humor. She
was never able to get out much here, but she was a beloved woman by all the
people, and especially the Welsh people of Cedar among whom were my father and
mother. They often went to see her.
William and Elvira had come to Utah for the Gospel’s sake, but she of the
two, was the most sincerely converted. She was so anxious to get well enough to
go to the Temple
before she died, and she kept pleading with Uncle Bill to get himself ready to
they could go if ever an upturn came in her health. But Uncle was careless. He
smoked a pipe and liked a drop of Dixie wine,
and he worked at the coal mine with men of the same habits. So it was easier
for him to be careless.
At last, Elvira, despairing that she would never be well
enough to go to the temple, extracted a solemn promise from Uncle Bill that he
would go as soon as possible after her death and have their sealing done.
Elvira did not live long after that. She gave up trying to
get well, but every day she kept reminding Uncle Bill of his promise and plead with him never to forget it.
After she was gone it was harder than ever for him to change
his ways. His sorrow depressed him, and his little family worried him and his
friends consoled him with their wine and their sympathy. For a long time Uncle
Bill kept recalling his promises to his dead wife, and he would resolve to do what
was necessary to keep them, but his will to do it grew weaker and time passed
into years. His living habits put him farther and farther away from the Church.
Then something happened to Bill that changed his life in one
thrilling hour. He was digging coal with Tom Williams and Tom Dutton. They were
working together in the same room. Noon came and they sat down right where they
were working and ate their lunches. Then Tom Williams stood up and said, “Let’s
go outside and have a smoke before we go back to work.” Dutton stood up and
said, “Yes, let’s all do that.” Bill said, “You fellows go out and have your
smoke and get a little fresh air. I will sit here and have a nap until you come
The two Toms went out and Bill leaned comfortably back
against the wall to rest. Suddenly the room lighted and Elvira was standing
before him. She looked youthful and radiant. She said, “William (that was what
she always called him), William, get up and go out.” He was too thrilled to
notice what she said. He started to scramble to his feet, and he said, “Elvira,
oh, Elvira, is it you?” He moved toward her and she vanished. He slumped back
on the floor, thrilled with the thought that he had seen her and heard her
Suddenly she appeared again and said, “William,” get up
and go out.” Again, what she said did not register. Again he said, “Elvira,
oh, Elvira, you are so beautiful,” and he moved toward her and she vanished. He
sat back against the wall, thrilled that he had seen his wife and she was truly
She came again the third time and said firmly, “William, I
told you to get up and go out, now get up and go out, at once.” Then she
vanished. This time her words registered, and he arose and walked slowly out,
marveling at what he had seen. A few yards from the entrance he met the other
men coming in. One of them said, “You decided to come out did you, Bill?” Then
Williams caught sight of Bill’s face. He said, “What’s the matter, Bill? Are
you sick? You’re as white as a ghost.” Bill answered, “Elvira came and told me
to get up and go out. I saw her as plain as I ever saw her, and it was natural voice.”
Suddenly there was a great crash and a roar in the back of
the mine. Then a stiff puff of dust-laden wind came out. The men hurried
outside and waited there for several hours. Then they went cautiously inside to
see what had happened. They found that the whole roof at the end of the mine
where they had been working had caved in. Their tools and lunch pails and
jackets were under thousands of tons of rock.
Bill thought he knew why Elvira had come to save his life. He
had not done the work he had promised to do.
It changed Bill’s life. He straightened up and went as soon
as he could to the temple and had their work done.
He told me this story himself, and I am giving it as nearly
exact as I can. I was impressed by his earnestness and evident sincerity. It
was my pleasure later, as stake president, to sign his temple recommend.