Monday, December 21, 2015

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
 Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Glory of the Lord

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Wise men still seek him...


Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Utah Freedom of Information request

David James Cobabe
812 W 1340 S
Provo UT 84601

6 Dec 2015

Utah Department of Public Safety, Driver's License Division
4501 S 2700 W Salt Lake City, Utah 84114

Dear Sirs,
Under the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act, §63-2-101 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records of forms "Utah State DLD Standard Road Test" dating from 1 Jan 2008 to 4 Dec 2015. 
This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.
The Utah Government Records Access and Management Act requires that public records responses be made within at least 10 business days if the records are for individual purposes or within five business days if the record is meant to benefit the general public. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than this amount of time, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records. 
If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law. 
Thank you for considering my request. 
David James Cobabe 

And the State of Utah responds forthwith...

The Utah Department of Public Safety, Driver License Division (DLD) recently received your request for records dated December 6, 2015, in which your requested copies of public records of forms "Utah State DLD Standard Road Test" dating from January 1, 2008 to December 4, 2015. The release of records held by the DLD is governed by the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) found at Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-101 et seq.

            The DLD has determined there are six records that meet your request and that you are entitled to receive these records.  Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-203, provides that a government agency may charge a reasonable fee to cover the government entity’s actual cost of providing a record.  According the Department of Public Safety’s GRAMA fee schedule, the cost of providing a copy of the requested records is $5.00.  If you wish to obtain a copy of these records, please send a check payable to DLD in the above-amount to:

Driver License Division
Attn: John Fairbanks
P.O. Box 144501
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4501

Upon receipt of your payment the DLD will process your request and mail the requested records directly to you.

John Fairbanks
Utah Dept. Of Public Safety - Driver License Division

I have no idea what Mr John Fairbanks intends by his reply.  Obviously there are more than six records in the DLD database dating from between 2008 and 2015.  I will follow up on tendering the amount and find out what $5.00 is worth to the State of Utah.

More to come...

Today is 9 Dec 2015.  I sent two requests to the State of Utah for this information.  When they reply and need further elaboration I will next send four requests.  After that I will next send eight requests.  Following that I will send sixteen, then thirty two, then sixty four, then one hundred twenty eight, then two hundred fifty six, then five hundred twelve, then one thousand sixty four, and so on.  Each iteration will serve as practice to help me make more perfect the next round.  I have so much to learn about this process, and lots of time with nothing else to do.

Until I get it right...

As anticipated, the next non-response from the State of Utah Department of Public Safety, on 11 Dec 2015...

The Utah Department of Public Safety, Driver License Division (DLD) recently received your request for records dated December 9, 2015, in which your requested copies of public driver license test results recorded using form "Utah State DLD Standard Road Test" dating from January 1, 2008 to December 4, 2015. The release of records held by the DLD is governed by the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) found at Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-101 et seq.

Test results recorded using form "Utah State DLD Standard Road Test" are part of the driving record. These records are classified as Private, Utah Code Ann. Ann. § 63G-2-302, by the DLD and access is governed under Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-202(1). You have failed to demonstrate you are entitled access to private records under Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-202. Consequently, your request for these records is hereby denied.

As required by Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-205, this serves as notice to you, that you have the right to appeal this decision of denial within 30 days.  Any appeal should be directed to Commissioner Keith Squires, 4501 South 2700 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114.

John Fairbanks 
ManagerDriver License Division

Now I need to learn how "public" records are classified as "Private".   And exactly how I am required to "demonstrate" that I am entitled to use "private records".

My latest foray in email to bureaucrats...

David James Cobabe
812 W 1340 S
Provo UT 84601

9 Dec 2015

Utah Department of Public Safety 
4501 S 2700 W Salt Lake City, Utah 84114

Dear Sirs,
Under the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act, §63-2-101 et seq., I am requesting copies of public drivers license test results recorded using form "Utah State DLD Standard Road Test" dating from 1 Jan 2008 to 1 Jan 2015.

This information is not being sought for commercial purposes. 
It is not necessary to include personal data in the records I am seeking to access.  The name and driver's license number are not relevant and can be expunged.
The age of the driver is not critical to initial statistical ANOVA, but in the absence of other personal information reveals no private information. 
All other data recorded on the "Utah State DLD Standard Road Test" records is generated by public employees of the Utah Department of Public Safety, Driver's License Division, and is reasonably subject to being classified as public information.

This analysis of public records is intended to benefit the general public.

David James Cobabe

No doubt the State of Utah Department of Public Safety has the resources to perform exhaustive analysis of their public data.  The thing is, I have no reason to trust them.  This thing calls for an outside audit.  I am volunteering my time and service at no charge to the state.  When I get a database up and running, it will only take a short time to generate reports.  If there is a statistical basis for my concern, I will refer it to State of Utah officials.  If I find no statistical evidence, I will forget the whole thing and take to driving my rocking chair.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Driving Test

The most readily apparent problem with the above report is that the examiner labored just too hard to contrive failing results.  Nobody still living is really quite that bad of a driver.  Like winners of the Darwin Award, they all died in spectacular fiery crashes during an earlier driving test.

If I submit myself to this driving test again, the evaluation of my driving will necessarily be based on more objective evidence, not just the examiner's whimsical word.  I was naive in my expectation that "public service" employees would be somewhat impartial, even though that has not been my experience in the past.  Now that I understand that the State of Utah Drivers License Division is a hostile environment, I will not entertain such illusions again.

At the conclusion of the driving test on 20 Nov 2015, the examiner treated the occasion as a parochial scolding.  She never gave me a single opportunity to defend myself.  Instead she seemed more concerned about delivering a condescending lecture.  So I'll just post my refutation here instead...

Though it is boringly tedious and tendentious to look for objective evidence that directly contradicts the results of the driving test, I find little alternative.  I am entitled to defend myself from hostile attacks.

One of the details that was marked off on the test was (SL).  This is supposed to mean "stop line".  It seems rather odd to get checked off for violation when there is not a "stop line".

Since Drivers License employees presumably pass through the 800 N and 1370 W intersection multiple times every day, while they're serving as supposedly expert objective observers of driving behavior, I would think it reasonable to presume that they would be at least observant enough to know about this.  As it happens,  this particular absent "stop line" is just outside the examiners office window, but many other roads in Orem don't have any pavement markings at stop signs.

The Handbook brilliantly asserts that in the case of stop signs with no pavement markings, the driver must "stop before entering the intersection, but close enough to see traffic".  Of course I maintain that this is exactly what I did, simply because this has been my consistent habit since I was sixteen.

A good example of pavement markings can be seen at parking lot of the local supermarket.  But they're generally never found on public roads in Orem residential neighborhoods.  That would seem to make this particular "violation" cited by the examiner rather implausible.

Even casual perusal via the services of Google Earth provides an easy means to verify.

At the corner intersection of 1370 W, next to the Drivers License offices, the examiner reports that there was a "failure to yield" violation.  In fact the Google Earth view shows how unlikely this would be for this particular intersection.  The 800 N highway is effectively wide, has designated turn lanes for ingress and egress with the traffic lanes, and clear visibility for blocks.  The examiner could have picked a more plausible location for creating a "yield violation".

There is a Handbook illustration that is intended to show proper freeway entrance, but multilane highways should work the same way.  Stopping in the middle of the procedure is not one of the recommended steps.  Note that the sequence of instructions are, "plan", "speed up", "merge", "do not stop or slow down".  This is an apt description of the traffic manuver appropriate for entering a multilane highway, and the steps followed by this driver during the test.  Of course I initiated the process with appropriate complete stop at the stop sign, before beginning the turn. Perhaps the examiner saw something different.  Just like the pavement "stop line" violation she checked off.

One other "major" violation marked off is (SI), which is supposed to indicate that I neglected to operate turn signals properly, and this supposedly reflected my wanton disregard for safety.  From a twisted perspective, this may be the only marginally legitimate check-off on the failed test.

I tried to explain that for some operations like performing a U-turn, the hand controls and steering keep me busy.  In my judgement, I deemed that it would not be safe to take my hands off the controls at that moment to activate the turn signal.  In order to comply with the strict requirement for signalling while doing other things at the same time, I would have had to sacrifice control of the vehicle for a moment.  This situation was the rare exception.  In all other instances I signalled properly.

This goes toward the insensitive and dogmatic demeanor the examiner showed toward my handicapped status, in the rare instance where it did actually make a functional difference.  Okay, you're right, maybe once or twice, I didn't activate the turn signal, but only when it seemed somewhat more important to keep both hands on the controls.

The third major violation cited by the examiner was for consistently driving more than 10 mph UNDER the posted speed limit.  This makes a fascinating study, because the Utah Driver Handbook clearly states that the NUMBER ONE CAUSE of fatal crashes in the State is "speed too fast"!  In fact nearly half of crashes tracked by the State of Utah are attributed to driving TOO FAST!   The Handbook asserts further, "In Utah, there is a Basic Speed Law which states that you may never drive faster than is reasonably safe".  This particular driving test was conducted on a morning immediately following heavy overnight rainfall.  All pavement surfaces were wet, to the point of water running off.  One of the points listed in the Handbook where reduced speed is appropriate is "poor weather conditions".    But even though the Handbook asserts that reduced speeds would have been appropriate, driving too SLOW somehow paradoxically transformed into an egregious major safety violation.

Comment from the Orem Police Department...

"...Most drivers know they need to slow down when it's snowy or icy, but many don't recognize that even when roads are just wet, speed can have a serious negative impact on their safety."

Though this quote comes directly from a State of Utah Department of Public Safety publication, it would seem that the driving test as administered by the State of Utah Drivers License Division does not recognize it either.

Even if there had been ideal weather conditions, the Handbook does not specify any rule against traveling at reduced speed.  It doesn't seem to mention "speed too slow" as one of the primary factors that cause accidents.

Obviously, obstructing other traffic would be an appropriate basis for invoking this supposed "violation".  The Handbook advises, "do not drive so slowly that you become a source of danger on the road".  No such incident took place at any time during the driving test.  Fabricating a supposed violation out of casual driving that involves occasionally being in the traffic lane without instantly rocketing over the speed limit at every opportunity sounds like a rather ludicrous and inconsistent application of the speed limit rules.  In any case, if she had only let me know she was in such a big hurry to get somewhere, I would have been happy to speed up!

Prior to beginning the driving test, I told the examiner that due to the absolute constraints of my physical handicap, I was unable to effectively perform parallel parking.  She dismissed my assertion with casual unconcern, informing me breezily, "It's part of the test".  As if parallel parking contains some vital principle that informs safe driving.  After my protest I acceded to her insistence.  She penalized me anyway for failing to successfully perform the parallel parking test - as expected.

Other elements of the test are routinely omitted from the testing protocol out of consideration for known handicap limitations, but for some unknown reason the parallel parking exercise is mandatory and obligatory and cannot be omitted for handicapped drivers.

I suppose there may be some voyeuristic comic entertainment potential in forcing handicapped individuals to misperform.  I can only say that it did not appeal to my sense of humor.  In any case, I am perfectly willing to incur all the violation points that can possibly be mustered out of my failure to perform the parallel parking test, as long as all the other arbitrary restrictions, phony "requirements", and fabricated violations are withdrawn.  I would be happy to stipulate a restricted license that prohibits me from parallel parking, the Widowmaker Hill Climb, drag racing on State Street, driving to the top of Mt. Timpanogos, and any number of other things that I never attempt already.

The final point serves to emphasize - any particular principle that seems like a good idea can easily be dogmatically OVERemphasized to the extreme, beating it to death, to the point that it detracts from the very object it was intended to promote.  I hesitate to suggest that this phenomenon characterizes standard operating procedure of many government bureaucratic organizations, but in this case it seems unavoidable.

Specifically, the examiner indicates an "hc", a "head check" violation, in nearly every available little box on the driving test form - sometimes even more than once.  In fact she proudly asserted to me prior to the driving test that she fails 90% of her driving test candidates because they do not satisfy her demand to see their little swiveling heads constantly turning.

I see nothing unreasonable about the concept of the driver keeping aware of the surrounding traffic conditions.  But the ridiculous parody of drivers constantly swiveling their heads like an owl to survey 360 degrees is simply ludicrous, and the examiner gave the impression that nothing less was acceptable.

In fact there are many obvious cases where the "head check" - as described in proper Handbook protocol - would be totally ineffective and serve no purpose other than to distract the drivers attention from important priorities.  And in fact the Handbook cites "driver distraction" as one of the top causes of accidents on Utah roads.

One glaringly obvious example where dogmatic "head checks" would serve no purpose, and with which I have had years of personal operating experience.

Another example where no amount of "head check" will afford a clear view of surrounding traffic.  That's me on the right, sitting under the shade of the overhanging tank.   I drove this  5000 gallon water tender for the IVFD in Sanpete for several fire-fighting seasons.

Another common circumstance where an exaggerated "head check" is totally pointless.  I drove a pickup with camper for many years, on a regular basis.

In many cases, using mirrors is the only way to perform an effective "check".  This has been my habit for many years.

At this point I am no longer seeking a provisional or restricted driving privilege.  The driving test shows no objective basis for any of the arbitrary restrictions that I have accepted in the past.  I want to traverse the freeway and drive on highways, day or night, with the same freedom granted to "normal" drivers.  The State of Utah will need to show cause for any restrictions.

There are other objective evidences that could be raised, but I think this should suffice to support my suspicion that it is the examiner - representing official policy of discrimination by the State of Utah Drivers License Division - that really merits a failing grade.

And just exactly what institutional response should I expect to be forthcoming, prompted by such whining?  What I expect is more effective demonstration of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

As I understand it, filing a false report in the public records of the State of Utah is a Class B misdemeanor.

We must do something about this IMMEDIATELY!...


Among the restrictions listed on the provisional temporary license issued to me, I am prohibited from travel on roads with a posted speed limit over 40 mph.  This effectively makes it against the law for me to drive to my doctor's office, which is on University Parkway in Orem, and my hospital, Timpanogos Regional Medical Center, which is located on 800 North in Orem.   Interestingly, the provisional temporary permit also makes it illegal for me to drive to the State of Utah Drivers License Division offices, which are also located on 800 North in Orem.

When similar arbitrary and prohibitive driving restrictions were first imposed by the State of Utah Drivers License Division in Sanpete County, in 2009, they effectively prohibited me from driving beyond my own driveway. My rural home at the time was located on US Highway 89, where the speed limit is 55 mph. The nearest shopping and groceries were more than 15 miles away. The nearest medical facility was further.

When I raised this objection, they grudgingly modified the restriction so that I was permitted to legally drive to local shopping areas.

At the time I mistakenly thought this capricious bullying was originating from one specific person abusing her authority. Now, after similar incidents, I can see that it represents an institutional attitude.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

State of Utah Practices Institutional Discrimination against Handicapped

Discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing is perceived to belong to rather than on individual merit.  This includes treatment of an individual or group based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or social category, "in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated".  It involves the group's initial reaction or interaction going on to influence the individual's actual behavior towards the group leader or the group, restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making.

The State of Utah routinely discriminates against drivers with disabilities by subjecting them to unnecessary road tests and medical exams, and imposing arbitrary restrictions on their driving.

The Utah Drivers License Division applies its Medical Evaluation Program – meant to identify drivers with medical problems that might cause them to crash – to punish drivers who are capable and safe, but have a physical disability. The practice is based on stereotypes about people with disabilities, and it serves as a punitive imposition on those drivers, who must spend extra time and money proving they don’t pose a risk.
Presumed guilt unless and until they can prove innocence to the satisfaction of the State of Utah.

The State of Utah Drivers License Division presumes to interpret every possible evidence by their own privately held and arbitrary set of special rules. The propriety of their management of such concerns is not in question. The problem is a presumptive overreach that extends far beyond any reasonable measures. Such abusive bullying is clearly a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

Obviously, disabled people over the years have endured being subjected to this institutional prejudicial discriminatory attitude. Though the State treats them capriciously, and bullies them into fearful submission, almost all fear to complain, as the State routinely threatens to restrict or revoke their licenses in reprisal.

The State commonly cites medical conditions affecting a person’s ability to drive as the cause of automobile accidents. But there is no evidence to substantiate the claim that drivers with orthopedic impairments, or who use adaptive hand controls, present any increased accident risk.

The State of Utah mandates that health care providers report when patients in their care are treated for any of the health conditions iterated on their list of politically-incorrect conditions. Once a driver is forced into the Drivers License “medical review” program, he or she remains there forever, without hope of reprieve. While in the program, drivers are routinely required to undergo special medical testing, and forced to provide documentation from doctors and therapists disclosing personal medical information that is otherwise supposed to be protected from such government prying. Handicapped people are routinely subject to a set of totally arbitrary special restrictions placed on their licenses. The State is not required to justify or substantiate, and generally gives the impression that there is no possible appeal from their permanent punitive measures.

Among the unjustified restrictions imposed against me personally by the State:
  • Limit maximum operating speed to roads with speed limit of 40 mph or less
  • Distance from home I am permitted to travel must be within a radius of 15 miles
  • Restricted to daytime driving
  • Prohibited from travel on freeways and interstates
  • Prohibited from travel in areas with higher speed limits
  • Restricted to operation of my own vehicles only when accompanied by a fully licensed “normal” driver
The State of Utah has already revoked my driving license, so there is really nothing they can do to impose further additional punitive measures or implement additional arbitrary restrictions. They have to be satisfied with fabricating results from the “driving test” that fail to qualify for their standard of drivers license renewal. I suspect they enjoy the feeling of smug moral superiority that derives from such abuse of the public trust.

A good place to address this problem would be to put a stop to the routine discrimination against drivers with disabilities based wholly on speculation, stereotypes and generalizations. The State of Utah is not entitled to act based on their suspicion that a particular driver MIGHT be dangerous. Either I am, or I am not. Prove it.

Since the State of Utah Drivers License Division has demonstrated an ingrained, institutional predisposition to such behavior, it would be fair and appropriate for their records to be regularly subjected to routine audit by an outside independent and objective auditing agent. This auditing must needs be conducted at random intervals selected by the auditor and unannounced to the management, so that the Drivers License Division is unable to easily falsify or sequester appropriate documentation.

It might also be effective for the State to intervene with at least temporary qualified independent management oversight, since the abuse of public trust is apparently found through all levels of this bureaucratic institution. These discriminatory practices are obviously not the fault of any one particular individual, although I have met certain people who exhibit the greatest enthusiasm for pursuing the job of punishing handicapped people. Perhaps some of them fully believe that they are just doing their duty. And that is probably the most unfortunate aspect of all these problems.

The State of Utah publishes an elaborate and comprehensive summary showing numerous charts and statistics regarding all motor vehicle accidents.  There are no graphics or statistics to substantiate the prejudice against handicapped drivers, though there are other circumstances which are clearly related to the incidence of traffic accidents.

Apparently they don't really bother to read their own reports.

Overall, a general attitude seems to prevail in  the State of Utah Drivers License Division that is so aptly and succinctly characterized by one of their recent public service ad campaigns.

In my case there is an implied comma after the injunction.

They seem to be saying, we automatically assume a priori that the people we work for are stupid, and treat them accordingly.  And of course, that prejudice goes double for handicapped individuals.  The contemptuous and parochial posturing apparently informs this attitude and the institutional policy that formalizes it

More about the driving test results...

Apostasy Defined

For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? (Alma 5:59).

President Faust's frank discussion clearly defines the boundaries of apostate behavior.  There are no ambiguities.  This is not "secret information".

Free discussion and expression are encouraged in the Church. Certainly the open expressions in most fast and testimony meetings, or Sunday School, Relief Society, and priesthood meetings attest to that principle. However, the privilege of free expression should operate within limits...

Though this address was presented many years ago, in the October 1993 General Conference, in light of current events, it becomes even more appropriate as a voice of warning today.

Those men and women who persist in publicly challenging basic doctrines, practices, and establishment of the Church sever themselves from the Spirit of the Lord and forfeit their right to place and influence in the Church...

Whether or not a dissident member is subject to formal discipline by local Church authorities, it is a foregone conclusion that they have already effectively left the Church.  Many of the outspoken dissidents are indignant to find themselves caught in this compromising posture.  It is popular for them to then detail their grievous treatment at the hands of Church members, invariably identifying Church leaders or members as the source of their sorrows.   
There is a certain arrogance in thinking that any of us may be more spiritually intelligent, more learned, or more righteous than the Councils called to preside over us. Those Councils are more in tune with the Lord than any individual persons they preside over, and the individual members of the Councils are generally guided by those Councils...
In our desire to be broad-minded, to be accepted, to be liked and admired, let us not trifle with the doctrines and the covenants which have been revealed to us, nor with the pronouncements of those who have been given the keys of the kingdom of God on earth. For all of us, the words of Joshua ring with increasing relevance. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).  (Keeping Covenants and Honoring the Priesthood).

I am not suggesting to anyone that I feel it appropriate for me to presume to challenge them, or question their worthiness.  I myself am often surprised to find myself skirting the bounds of propriety. My object of pursuit is self-improvement, not intended as critical analysis reflecting on others.  As an imperfect and aspiring disciple of Jesus Christ, striving to keep Heavenly Father's commandments, I take these as opportunities to repent and try to do better.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Acts of the Apostles: The Martyrdom of Stephen

Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

They Have Their Reward

Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should follow popular societal trends; but take heed that ye do not your protests and resignation parties before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.
Therefore, when ye shall do your resignation celebrations do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the beer halls and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Choose You This Day

Choice about serving the Lord  is a simple binary decision.

Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.  (2 Nephi 10:16)

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 
And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;  (Joshua 24:15-16)

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)

If we are interested in the gospel in the least degree, we should live it wholeheartedly. There is no point in deceiving ourselves and becoming victims of our own indiscretion. It is a fact so simple that even a child may understand—that if we are to be saved in the kingdom of heaven, we must live its laws honestly, completely, and wholeheartedly. To be halfhearted about it is repugnant to the Lord. He has said to the lukewarm that he will spew them from his mouth! (Honesty, a Principle of Salvation)

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Days of Our Probation

Heavenly Father will see us safely through, if we keep the commandments
But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.  (Helaman 13:32-38)

And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened.  (Matthew 24:20)

God’s commandments are not given to frustrate us or to become obstacles to our happiness. Just the opposite is true. He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible. He has provided us with guidelines which, if we follow them, will see us safely through this often treacherous mortal journey.  (Keep the Commandments)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ferdinand Cobabe Family Immigration 1830-1880


Copenhagen Denmark
Sometime around 1850-1860, Ferdinand Frederick Ludwick Cobabe moved his family from the ancestral home in Malchow Prussia to Copenhagen Denmark.  Ferdinand was born in 1828 in Malchow  (German pronunciation: [ˈmalço])  a municipality in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district, in Mecklenburg-Western PomeraniaGermany.

I'm not certain how or why he travelled to Denmark.  It is possible to either cross through Hamburg and north, past Kiel, and into Denmark, or he may have crossed the Baltic in a ship or ferry.

Ferdinand raised his family for some years in Copenhagen Denmark until he came in contact with missionaries. apparently some time around 1860.  At some point in between 1828-1860, Ferdinand Cobabe moved from Malchow to Copenhagen. He was baptized 12 Oct 1862, and in 1864 the Ferdinand Cobabe family sailed to America with a company of Scandinavian converts on the sailing ship "Monarch of the Sea".

The infant daugther Caroline died en route to New York.

I note that the ships manifest for "Monarch of the Sea" lists "Ferdinand Cobabe        36     m   Weaver     Denmark".    If I recall correctly, the German language census that shows Ferdinand Cobabe residing in Malchow lists his occupation as "Tuchmacher" which translates a bit too literally into something like "Towel Maker".

Apparently the ships manifest indicates Ferdinand Cobabe's own declaration of his occupation, so it would seem that at least in his thinking, "Weaver" and "Towel Maker" are closely related, maybe even one and the same basic idea.

From a discussion of origins of Danish textile industries, primarily in and around Copenhagen...

The words dugmager and tøjmager can be confusing, since Dug and Tøj are both derivations from the German word Tuch, which originally had the broad meaning of tool, equipment or clothing.  In German, the combination Tuchmacher has the specific meaning of clothmaker, which has been transferred to Danish as Dugmager, designating a person who is producing fulled fabrics from wool. The word Tøj is also a derivation from Tuch, which originally had the same broad meaning (e.g. equipment), but has acquired the more specific meaning of clothing. Thus, Tøjmager means a weaver who is producing light, non-fulled fabrics from wool, flax or (later) cotton.
In the 1850s time frame, areas outlying Copenhagen became part of a growth industry mass producing textiles.

Presumably this new development was what attracted FF Cobabe there.  Prior to that time, generations of Cobabe ancestors in the area of Malchow, Prussia, were involved in the artisan trade of "Tuchmacher", working with raw wool in a process to create fabrics.  Up until that time, cotton fiber was not popular in Europe.  Everything fabric was either woven from wool or from flax fiber which was the basis for linen, or silk.  After this time the American Colonists began producing and exporting cotton, which marked the beginning of commercial production of cotton fabrics.

Copenhagen Watermill
The location around Copenhagen became popular in the 1850's because there was abundant watermill power available to automate cloth-making production.

Fabric fulling involves two processes, scouring and milling (thickening). Originally, fulling was carried out by pounding the woollen cloth with the fuller's feet, or hands, or a club.
These processes are followed by stretching the cloth on great frames known as tenters, to which it is attached by tenterhooks. It is from this process that the phrase "being on tenterhooks" is derived, as meaning to be held in suspense. The area where the tenters were erected was known as a tenterground. 
The second function of fulling was to thicken cloth by matting the fibres together to give it strength and increase waterproofing (felting). This was vital in the case of woollens, made from carding wool, but not for worsted materials made from combing wool. After this stage, water was used to rinse out the foul-smelling liquor used during cleansing.
Felting of wool occurs upon hammering or other mechanical agitation because the microscopic barbs on the surface of wool fibres hook together, somewhat like Velcro. 
From the medieval period, the fulling of cloth often was undertaken in a water mill, known as a fulling mill, a walk mill, or a tuck mill.  In these, the cloth was beaten with wooden hammers, known as fulling stocks or fulling hammers. Fulling stocks were of two kinds, falling stocks (operating vertically) that were used only for scouring, and driving or hanging stocks. In both cases the machinery was operated by cams on the shaft of a waterwheel or on a tappet wheel, which lifted the hammer. 
Driving stocks were pivoted so that the foot (the head of the hammer) struck the cloth almost horizontally. The stock had a tub holding the liquor and cloth. This was somewhat rounded on the side away from the hammer, so that the cloth gradually turned, ensuring that all parts of it were milled evenly. However, the cloth was taken out about every two hours to undo plaits and wrinkles. The 'foot' was approximately triangular in shape, with notches to assist the turning of the cloth.

I'm sure this is more about nineteenth century cloth making than anyone cares to know.  But I found it interesting to learn a bit about what my ancestors did.

In any case, Ferdinand did not pursue his trade of clothmaker after the family arrived in the US.

Maybe people just didn't use towels in Ogden Utah during those times.

Interesting to conjecture.

The company of 974 Saints sailed from Liverpool on 28 April 1864.  Elder John Smith, patriarch to the church, was in charge of the emigrants.  His counsellors were Elders John D. Chase, Johan P. R. Johansen, and Parley P. Pratt.  Jr. Master of the packet was Captain Robert Kirkaldy.

This company also represented many nations, particularly Scandinavia. Although the voyage of thirty-six days was quite pleasant, the death toll was unusually high -- forty-five according to George Q. Cannon and forty-one according to the passenger list. Most of those were apparently children who died in a ship-board measles outbreak. The ship arrived at New York on 3 June.

Sailing Ship-Monarch of the Sea

Liverpool, England to New York  3 June 1864


Excerpt from the list of all the passengers taken on board the Ship Monarch of the Sea where Kirkaldy is Master, from Liverpool, burthen 1979 tons.

168 Ferdinand Cobabe 36 m Weaver Denmark
169 Ane Christine Cobabe 34 f Denmark
170 Ferdinand Cobabe 4 m Denmark
171 Caroline C. Cobabe 3 f Denmark died May 28th
172 Anne M. Cobabe 2 f Denmark

It would appear that the young daughter of Ferdinand Frederick Ludwick Cobabe, Caroline C. Cobabe, probably died in a measles outbreak that spread through the more than 900 passengers of the ship "Monarch of the Sea".

Castle Garden

In the morning of June 3rd the 'Monarch of the Sea' arrived at New York.  Landing of the emigrants at the Castle Garden at once took place.  Castle Garden, today known as Castle Clinton National Monument, is the major landmark within The Battery, the 25 acre waterfront park at the tip of Manhattan.  From 1855 to 1890, the Castle was America's first official immigration center, a pioneering collaboration of New York State and New York City.

In the evening they boarded a steamer for Albany, New York, and from there they travelled by train to St. Joseph, Missouri, then by steamer up the Missouri River to Wyoming, Nebraska.   From there, most of the Scandinavian Saints were taken to the Salt Lake Valley by Church teams, of which 170 were sent out by the Church that season. Thus about four hundred Scandinavian emigrating Saints crossed the plains in Captain William B. Preston's company of about 50 Church teams, that left Wyoming, Nebraska, in the beginning of June, and arrived in Salt Lake City, Sept. 15, 1864.

The journal of Charles C. Bihler chronicles personal experiences during the travels of the Scandanavian Company across the plains and mountains.

I'm not sure how the Cobabe family ended up in Ogden, but eventually they did.

It's clear from historical accounts that the family traveled from New York to Nebraska by the means of modern transportation systems - steamship and trains.  When they arrived in Nebraska the Scandinavian group joined one of the immigrant covered wagon trains, and the Cobabe family traveled the rest of the way to Salt Lake City with one of the immigrant companies.

The 1864 journal account of Nils C. Flygare probably describes the same immigration route taken by Ferdinand Cobabe and family to reach Salt Lake.

Most of the pioneer immigrants crossed over to Salt Lake from Nebraska in wagon trains and handcart companies that had a well kept roster of names of all those in the company.  The Mormon immigrant companies were typically named after the Captain of the company who led them.   A Church web site on immigrants lists Ferdinand and family as members of the William B. Preston company of 1864.

Some of the immigrants who flooded in to the Winter Quarters area seem to have stayed in that neighborhood for quite some time.  I could not find any immigrant journal records or notes that chronicle the specific details of the Cobabe family journey, so I don't know exactly what may have taken place in that part of their travels.  Maybe they kept their distance when they camped, perhaps they just got tired of hanging around with all the Danish and Swedish guys, after a decade or so of living with them in Denmark.

Most of the Scandinavian immigrants seem to have settled in Sanpete County.  Maybe Ferdinand was tired of living with Danes, and just headed in the opposite direction.  If anyone has other ideas it would be fun to hear.

Then, a big surprise...

After he settled in Ogden, it appears that Ferdinand Frederick Ludwick Cobabe established himself as a "Saloon Keeper".  The 1880 Census lists F F and his household with this occupation.  I was indeed surprised to learn this, but it was also confirmed by several articles published in newspapers of the time.  I have no idea what was the preferred beverage in his establishment, but I suspect they didn't serve much lemonade.

The census further surprised me with the information that his household also included two wives, something I had not realized.

Trying to get some feeling for time and place, I looked more closely at the information for these two women.

Anna was born in 1830, and Caroline in 1831, so they were near the same age.

The first wife, Anna Frederika Dorthea Ochs, is identified as originating in Lütjenburg ("Lutzinburg" in FamilySearch records), Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, about 20 miles east of Kiel in Germany, right on the road to Denmark.


Lütjenburg is more than 100 miles northeast from Malchow, so it seems difficult to imagine exactly how the two met.  Ferdinand and Anna were married on 17 Mar 1854.  Ferdinand was 26 and Anna was 24.  Anna was baptized into the Church on the same day as Ferdinand, 12 Oct 1862, so they met some time prior to converting to the Mormon Church.

The other woman, Caroline Juliette Christensen, declares her origin to the census as Copenhagen Denmark, and her parents show in Family Search as Danish as well.   Caroline was baptized into the Church 22 Apr 1858, so presumably some time before she met Ferdinand.  Caroline and Ferdinand were married on 17 Mar 1866, the same day on record as when Ferdinand and Anna were sealed in the Endowment House, a few years after his joining the Church in 1862.  Ferdinand was then 38 and Caroline was 35.

Also interesting to note that the indexing of the 1880 Census pages with his household incorrectly tranliterated Cobabe into "Cobage" in the process.  Apparently the glasses of their Urim and Thummim were a bit smeared that day.

Ferdinand Frederick Ludwick Cobabe apparently became active in the Ogden Volunteer Fire Department during the 1865-1880 years.  I found several newspaper articles that mention his name, in the archived Ogden Herald-Examiner.  He is identified as the Secretary for the Fire Department, and though I found no evidence mentioning his part in putting out a single fire, it does seem to indicate that he was active in organizing an calling for occasional Fire Department Brass Band practices.

If you or anyone else finds some use for this stuff, go for it. Please.  It's all collected from public sources.  :)