Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Let's take the time..."

About 10 years ago, Mark came home from work one day and made a comment I’ve never forgotten. He was doing an internship for the LDS Church Archives—commuting from Logan to downtown Salt Lake, which has got to be one of the world’s most horrifically life-threatening commutes, with a long drive down a twisting and icy canyon. Turns out, that little internship has been a crucial key to launching Mark’s career, and in retrospect we see it now as an another example of God guiding us along the path that would lead us to where He wanted us to be.

Mark had safely made it home one evening, and described his view on a workplace debate as, “Let’s just take the time to hammer this out nice and straight.” I jotted this down on a scrap of paper and kept it on the fridge for months. This could be Mark’s life motto. In all things, big and small, he wants to take the time to lay out every strand. Fortunately he’s in a career where obsessive attention to detail is generally a virtue.

Yesterday he enjoyed some fruits of his geeky labor. Over the last few years he’s been championing the use of multi-spectral imaging to examine Joseph Smith’s journals in order to see layers of ink and decode changes and alterations to the next. This would help determine the answers to fascinating questions such as, When Joseph Smith’s scribe changed “wroth” to “worth,” did he make the change immediately or sometime afterwards?

Yesterday the world’s multi-spectral imaging experts focused their fancy machine on a journal page Mark had flagged. They discovered that under the visible words was a page entirely covered with two columns listing names of Caldwell County residents. Apparently the original list of names had been washed (yes, you could do that with the ink used at the time) and written over. No one ever knew those names were there. But now we do. Thanks to Mark.

He and his friends clustered around, highlighters and archival spatulas bristling from their pockets, to admire this revelation.


  1. "It's all worth it!" My husband said delightedly last night.

    "What?" And he proceeded to tell me all about it, excitement oozing out of every word...which just doesn't happen very often with Rob. How the money they were spending on his multi-spector imaging was so well spent after finding these names.

    Anyway after he finished, I said, "You know what, I bet Mark's telling Angela this story right now, and is just as excited as you are." This was at 6:30ish.

    Pretty great stuff/very nerdy!

  2. It's such a neat thing what Mark can do for the church.
    Hopefully the day will come for Joe that he can say "it's all been (wroth) worth it"

  3. I believe the phrase was "Let's take the time to HAMMER this out nice and straight." And hammering sounds more manly than ironing, does it not? And yet there is a spatula in pocket.

  4. Hammer man

    What causes this to be something that is remembered?