Tuesday, October 24, 2017

John Rowe Moyle the Stone Cutter

John Moyle Stone Cutter Story


From the Primary Manual #5 Lesson #44:

"John Moyle was one of the stonemasons who worked on the temple. Every Monday morning he walked twenty miles from his home to the temple site. He worked on the temple all week, and then on Friday he walked twenty miles home to take care of his farm. Brother Moyle was injured in an accident and his leg had to be removed, but he made himself a wooden leg. He practiced walking on the leg until he could endure the pain it caused. Then he walked on his wooden leg to Salt Lake City to continue working on the temple. He carved the words Holiness to the Lord on the east side of the temple."      (Underlines and highlighting added)

Commentary:  
There is no question that John Moyle was a valiant pioneer, a hard worker and a gifted stone cutter.  
The problem I have is that the LDS Church cannot help but twist a great story and make into a lie.  Either that, or they need to check their facts. 

20 Miles or 26.3 Miles?
The lesson says that Moyle walked 20 miles to get to the temple.  Walking 20 minutes / mile that would take 6 hours.  OK Maybe.  

A Deseret News Article says Moyle walked 22 miles, leaving at 2:00 AM to arrive at work at 8:00 AM.  If it is 22 miles in  6 hours that is about 16 minutes and 20 seconds per mile.  OK....  Walking pace for someone super fit.  

But the 22 miles is "As the Crow Flies". The reality is that using today's roads, the shortest distance to the Salt Lake Temple it is 26.3 miles.  Just more than a marathon.  When you look at the photo above showing the Draper Temple, you realize why you can't to a straight path.  Alpine is on the back side of that mountain.  The area is super mountainous, and today is a mountain biking havenSee image at the bottom.

So why does the lesson manual say 20 miles when it's really 26.3 miles?  20 miles is perhaps digestible over mountain roads, across creeks, over dusty paths, but 26.3 miles is not.  They are avoiding investigation.  26.3 miles in 6 hours would be 13 minutes 30 seconds / mile.  This for a 50 - 70 year old, who then would work a very physical 8 hour day.  

Wooden Leg Story
Again, there is no question that John Moyle was a tough guy.  A classic pioneer in every way, but the lesson tells about his leg being broken and then implies that he kept working in the same way he always had.  

A talk by Elder Dieter Uchtdorf in 2008 said, " In spite of the crude surgery, the leg started to heal. Once John could sit up in bed, he began carving a wooden leg with an ingenious joint that served as an ankle to an artificial foot. Walking on this device was extremely painful, but John did not give up, building up his endurance until he could make the 22-mile (35-km) journey to the Salt Lake Temple each week, where he continued his work. "  according to this article he was 77 years old at the time.  

Is Uchtdorf really saying that at age 77 that Brother Moyle made the 22 miles (26.3 mile?) journey to the temple on a crude wooden leg?

The Timeline
John Moyle was born in 1808.  He turned 77 years old in 1885.  Not only is it extremely unlikely that a 77 year old with a crude peg leg could walk 26 miles, it is even stranger that nobody thought to loan him a horse or buggy or that the LDS church didn't provide transportation for him.  By 1872 (15 years before his peg-leg adventure) there was a railroad going from Lehi to Salt Lake City.  Source  Why didn't he walk the 8 miles from Alpine to Lehi and catch the train?
Conclusion
John Moyle seems like a great man.  He did so much, provided for his family and left a great legacy of faith.  Unfortunately embellishments have made his story seem like a myth and diminish his greatness upon inspection. 

Edit:  The Wheat and Tares site did some additional research on this work and for the most part confirmed my conclusions.  You can read their work here.  


More Sources

Wikipedia - John Moyle

Great - Grandson - Henry D. Moyle

Deseret News - John Moyle


Primary Lesson # 44 - S.L. Temple

Trail Map Between Draper and Alpine

LDS.org - Temple Walk Challenge

Great Story - Wise Question





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