One-hundred years ago this month (February 2015) newlyweds Willard and Rebecca Bean moved into the Joseph Smith home near Palmyra, New York. President Joseph F. Smith had called and set them apart as missionaries. Their assignments were to
1. Make Friends
2. Farm the land
3. Preach the gospel
4. Baptize converts
5. Organize a branch of the church
They were set apart to serve for five years with a parenthetical “or more” attached to the call. Assignment number one, make friends, took nearly a decade. Before leaving their field of labor, they accomplished everything they were asked to do. The “or more” seemed prophetic when their mission stretched into nearly 25 years. They arrived in Palmyra as newlyweds and returned to Utah as grandparents.
More details about their extraordinary mission will be available this year when several books, including Willard’s autobiography, will be published.
As if making friends, farming the land, preaching the gospel, baptizing converts and organizing a branch of the church were not enough to keep him busy, Willard did some of the most detailed research into Book of Mormon geography that had been done up to that point in the church. With his co-author Cecil McGavin, he published the book “The Geography of the Book of Mormon”.
Wayne May, creator and publisher of Ancient American magazine, credits Willard Bean’s research with sparking his own interest in Book of Mormon lands in North America.
In this short video, Wayne talks with Lori Bean Henderson, a granddaughter of Willard and Rebecca. (4:13)
Watch for more information about Willard and Rebecca Bean here on Joseph Knew. We will keep you up to date on the publication of Willard’s books.
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Wayne May’s Ancient American magazine is available here.
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