It has been said that none of us can truly know who we are until we know where we came from and the heritage that we have inherited. For this Father’s Day, please consider the following from History of the Saints.
Mount Tambora and the Year Without A Summer
April 10, 1815 Mount Tambora on the island of Sumbawa in the Indonesian Archipelago erupted, explosively, ejecting some 38 cubic miles of material 27 miles into the stratosphere, and blacking out the sun for two days at a distance of 370 miles.
Tambora was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. The explosion blew more than 4700 feet off of the top of the mountain and left a crater more than 4 miles across. It was heard 1600 miles away.
The pyroclastic flow spread out 12 miles in all directions and buried the village of Tambora; freezing in time all the inhabitants thereof beneath some 10 feet of material.
Tsunamis caused by the volcano reached a height of 13 feet and slammed into the surrounding islands, killing thousands.
In all it is estimated that Mount Tambora killed 71,000 people, some 11-12,000 were killed directly by the eruption.
Explosions and aftershocks continued for years afterward. High altitude ash was carried on the prevailing winds around the globe causing varied optical phenomenon; prolonged and brilliant sunsets, stunning twilights, sunspots, and red fog.
In the aftermath, the summer of 1816 became the year without a summer. The ash circled the earth filtering the sun’s rays. On June 4, the northeastern United States, were gripped by a killer frost. Snow fell up to a foot in some places. The terrible cold lasted throughout the summer and ruined most agricultural crops. The 1810’s became the coldest decade on record.
Tambora disrupted the lives of millions across the globe, destroying crops, intensifying diseases, causing famines, riots, and countless deaths.
Among those families whose lives and livelihood was shattered by a lone mountain across the world was a rural farm family in Vermont. Having lost his own prosperous farm, the family patriarch was reduced to being a tenant farmer. Three times that summer he planted his crops, and times they failed. He was ruined. He had had enough of the rugged mountains of Vermont, and would seek his fortune in newly opened land to the south and west. Accordingly he moved his family to a new settlement called Palmyra in the State of New York. By so doing, he brought his young son, Joseph Smith Jr. to live near a hill that would come to be called Cumorah, where Joseph would one day unearth a sacred record that we call today, the Book of Mormon. Truly the Lord works by means to accomplish His purposes.
This story and many more that reveal the beginnings of Church History are available in the 4th season of the acclaimed television series from History of the Saints, Joseph Smith and the Foundations of the Restoration. Thirty episodes explain the complete story of the Church’s beginnings from the birth of the Prophet Joseph to the organization of Church in April 1830. Scholars take us behind the scenes of those familiar stories and share the latest research findings. For any and all who want to know the details of our history, this easily watchable series is a must. It contains 30 episodes on DVD, or more than 11 hours of revealing and inspiring Church History, presented by some of the most reliable and reputable scholars in Mormonism.Click here for more information.