The Mormon Settlers of Rural Arizona

Dec 14, 2023 626.8K Views 2.2K Comments

Removed from society in the high desert of Arizona is one of the original Mormon communities. Here live some of the descendants of Joseph Smith. Today we meet up with some of the seasoned Snowflake locals to get an inside look at what this community is all about.

► Order unique rodeo DVDs: rodeovideo.com
► Check out RodeoReed channel: youtube.com/@TheRodeoVideo
► Get the best Mexican food at La Cochina De Eva

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello

MUSIC USED IN THE VIDEO 🎵
► Headlund – Heart’s Reprise

♪ somber country ♪
[Peter] So Kieth, you’re related
to Brigham Young somehow, right?
-Well he was the one
who sent my great-grandpa from Utah
down here to Arizona.
In 1873 was the first excursion
and there was a number of men
that came down exploring
with my great-grandpa
and they went back and said it’s rough.
They said, “We don’t know
if there’s places in Arizona
where we can make a living,
where we can colonize,
where we can do anything.”
and within five years
then Brigham Young said, “I don’t care.”
He said, “This is what you’re going to do,
you’re gonna sell everything you have.”
so you’re not tempted to come back.
-You’ll have nothing to come back to.
-Okay.
-You’re going to go to Arizona
and you’re gonna find places to settle.
The word was to make the desert
bloom like a rose.
I don’t see any roses
but at least we’ve done a lot to develop.
-So the Mormon or LDS religion
is very strong in your family today?
-Yes.
-Does it feel special that you came from
the original stock let’s say?
-I think we try to be careful
to not overplay that.
-Okay.
-Because we want people
who are coming into the church,
first, second generation,
and we tell them,
“You’re the real pioneers.”
Because you’re the ones
that are changing your culture
and doing everything.
So you’re the pioneers.
Well our ancestors were pioneers.
-Okay.
You feel that pioneering spirit
still in you though
even though they’ve done
the pioneering work?
-Oh, I feel like I was born
a hundred years too late.
I should have been here
with the original colonizers in Arizona.
I don’t know, I guess it’s kind of…
We accept all the modern day convenience
but there’s some rugged individualism
that’s bred into us,
that’s genetic I guess.
Center is William J. Flake.
His father was a plantation owner
in Mississippi
when two Mormon missionaries came by.
He and his wife joined the LDS church,
they were called Mormons.
The extended family, neighbors,
ostracized them because of the fact
that they had done such a thing.
They moved to Nauvoo,
took three slaves that had been with them.
-Nauvoo, for those who don’t know
was in Illinois, right?
-Illinois.
-And that was supposed to be the Zion
but it didn’t work out there.
-Brigham Young came out here.
-Right.
-To the West.
-Right.
Because of political reasons
the church was driven forcefully
out of Nauvoo.
So he came to Arizona with his wife.
This is Lucy, my great-grandmother.
So William J. Flake goes back to Utah
and on the way
he meets one of the 12 apostles
of the church
coming to supervise the settlements,
Erastus Snow, and they banter
back and forth a little bit.
He says, “Let’s name it Snowville.”
“No, Flakeville.”
And they settled,
“No, it’ll be Snowflake.”
-And you’re Keith Flake?
-Yes.
And there’s a lot of flaky people
in this town.
-Okay.
-[Keith laughs]
-50% LDS, fair to say?
-I’d say more than 50% a little bit.
You know, William J. Flake
was a polygamist, he had two wives
and the house we’re looking at right now
was the daughter of his second wife
who was an aunt that I knew very well
and this was the home that she had.
-How has the LDS religion changed
since you were a kid until now?
You’re 75 now, right?
-The biggest thing,
first thing that comes to mind is growth.
-Okay.
-My goodness, we were…
We thought it was really something
when there were
a million members of the church.
-Okay.
-And now were 13 million and counting.
-Right.
-And of course
that becomes very important
because of the missionary work.
And I’m proud to say that I was
a missionary for two years in Mexico,
and of my family, seven siblings,
all of us filled missions
including my dad.
-Okay.
-Who said I’ll go anywhere in the world
but I don’t want to go to Mexico
and he was called to Mexico of course
and for the rest of his life
he loved everything about Mexico.
-Right.
-And became very important to all of us.
A log time ago…
And it was something
that had been anticipated for a long time
that the priesthood,
which is very important to us
was open to people of all races.
And that was important to me
because in my family
we honor Greame Flake.
Who was formerly a slave…
enslaved person.
Who came west and he was
given the priesthood by Brigham Young.
But politically, things changed
and because Utah needed to come
into the Union, one thing and another,
for a period of time black people,
our good friends, African Americans,
did not have the opportunity
to have the priesthood and now they do.
Which is very important to me.
My wife plays with the symphony,
she is the viola
and she was written musical numbers
with a full score for symphony.
So my wife is quite a musician.
-How many years have you been married?
-Twenty-six.
-Okay.
It’s, uh, first wife?
-No, I was divorced.
At the time I’d had eight children,
the last three adopted.
-Okay.
-And they all stayed with me
so I was a single dad for a while
with three children and I really needed…
-Ooh.
-I really needed somebody to help me.
-Right.
-So I found a lady.
Wonderful person, had six of her own,
and so I knew
she could be a good mother.
-Yep.
-And we married.
So we have a yours, mine, and ours,
with a total now of 15.
-Was she divorced?
-Yes.
-So in LDS you can do that?
You can get divorced, remarry?
-Yes.
We’ve really worked
to not have that happen.
We see it as something to be avoided.
-Okay.
-And we really strive
but in today’s modern day society
things happen that are irreconcilable
and we make an extra effort.
Because we believe that families are…
We say families are forever, or eternal.
And that’s a big part of the…
We don’t want to get run over here.
…of our looking forward
to the life to come
is that we will be together as families.
And I’m gonna tell you more about it
when we go to temple.
Because that’s what
the temple is all about.
-Okay, yeah.
Can we go there next, the temple?
-Sure.
-Yeah, that’d be great.
[Keith] Twenty-five years or so ago
this was kind of a pointed little hill
but the president of the church,
Gordon B. Hinkley, at that time
came down to pick a place for a temple
and he said, “I think we can
knock the top of this hill off
and have a beautiful location
for a temple.”
and you’ll see that there’s
quite a few people because this–
-Yeah, it’s Thursday, right?
-It is closed on Sunday and Monday
because the temple
is different than a meeting house.
The meeting house
is where we have Sunday services
and most notably our sacrament service.
Which is the emblems
of the last supper of Jesus.
A typical sacrament service
would be about an hour long
and the most important part
is where bread is broken
in remembrance of the last supper.
-Okay.
-And the body of Jesus Christ,
and the bread, and the water are blessed,
and then passed around to everyone
to take a little.
-Some people think
what goes on in LDS churches
is somewhat behind closed doors.
I think one reason is non-LDS members
can’t go into services, right?
Like is there…
-We invite and encourage
Sunday attendance with anybody.
-Oh, I could go in?
-Absolutely.
-Huh…
-But the temple is a little bit different.
-The temples different, that’s what it is?
-I can tell you
that’s where you’d have the idea.
-[women] Hello.
-[Keith] Hi, how are ya?
Okay, this building was visited
by many thousands of people
until it was dedicated.
When it was dedicated then we see it
as being a very holy sacred place
and even among we,
who are members to go in,
we go in with a recommend
that says we have committed ourselves.
-It’s like a card, right?
-Yes.
-Mm-hmm.
-Okay.
-Which would be
a commitment to trying harder,
working toward the things
that we learn in church.
-Okay.
-And then also some very important things.
One would be called…
Well first off, baptisms and confirmations
for those who have passed on.
-Hmm.
-Because we believe that every person
who has ever been born on this earth
will have an opportunity at some point
to understand what it takes
to accept what Jesus Christ did for us
and to have every blessing that we have.
In order for that to happen
we do ordinances
for people who have passed on.
Thousands, millions of ’em.
And that can be done in the temple.
Our young people come
and they’re baptized
in the name of their relatives.
And we say there’s nothing secret
about the temple.
I can tell you basically all of the things
about the temple
but there are things that are sacred.
-And that you can’t talk about?
-And so even when we come here
to attend an instructional meeting
everyone who comes would dress in white.
Which makes us all feel equal,
when you come to temple,
we’re all the same.
In fact, the important thing
with the location of the temple here
is we’re located between
the Navajo reservation on the north…
-Oh yeah, right out there.
-…the Apache reservation to the south,
And when President, and our prophet,
Gordon B. Hinckley picked this location
he wanted it specifically to be in a place
where the Native Americans
could come and attend.
Many of them are members of the church
and because of that
periodically there are sessions
held in this temple
totally in Navajo.
-Oh wow, that’s cool.
-And the people who teach,
teach in Navajo,
the people who
receive their commitments…
Because here, we make promises
of how we’re going to live,
what we’re going to do.
-You call the natives Lamanites, right?
Isn’t that the term?
That’s a term,
comes from the Book of Mormon.
I don’t know which ones
are Lamanites and which are not
but it means that we treat them all.
I think the church has always had
a special interest in Native Americans.
William J. Flake, he got along great
with the Apaches because of horses.
That was their common denominator.
-LDS religion is an American religion
and so they have respect
towards the natives
because they’re the originals?
-Is that correct, fair to say?
-Yes.
Well the Book of Mormon
is scripture that came from the Americas.
Because Jesus Christ,
after he was crucified
made a visit to the Americas.
He promised he would
to the people in the Bible.
And when he came here
his teaching are enclosed as a part
of the Book of Mormon.
-Mm-hmm.
-Which took place in the Americas.
-Where in the Americas? I don’t know.
-Mm-hmm.
Step inside of here, it’s a little warmer.
-This is a waiting room?
There’s that little card scanner,
is that your temple recommend?
-You go in and scan it?
-Yes… Yes.
-So that’s like a nationwide
or worldwide system with the LDS church?
-Yes.
A couple weeks ago my wife and I
were in Boston, we said,
“Let’s go to the Boston temple.”
So we took our recommends,
we attended the Boston temple.
When I was young there was a time
when there were 12, 13 temples
throughout the entire world
and the prophets then said there will be
temples in all of the countries.
-Yeah, how many are there now?
Does anyone know?
-I’ve lost track but I believe that
announced and operating would be over 250.
-Temples in the world?
-Yes… Yes.
-There’s one in Snowflake, right?
-Yes, and this one
is the second one in Arizona.
-There’s now five in Arizona.
-Oh.
-But we felt very special
to receive the second one.
-I bet because you’re only,
what, 10,000 people?
-But we have people–
-No, you’re 6,000 people,
the town, Snowflake.
-And Taylor but this temple
would be designated for Northern Arizona.
-So it’s a very special thing
to have a temple in your town?
-Yes.
-Especially a small town.
-Yes.
-It’s almost unheard of in a small town.
-Yes.
I think this was the smallest town
to have a temple at the time
but it’s been very busy.
Which just lets you know that
the people in this area are very devoted,
care about the temple,
because it’s busier than most.
-So Keith, you were saying in town,
in the afterlife,
you meet your family there again?
-Yes, and the temple
is part of that because
in order for that to happen we believe
that there needs to be a sealing
of husband and wife.
Which is different than a marriage.
-Okay.
-You have to be married
in order to be sealed.
But a sealing would be
a greater commitment to each other
and if you live worthy
then that sealing will be effective.
-Okay.
-And that’s another ordinance
that we do for those that have passed on.
So after my wife and I have been sealed,
which is done
at an alter in the temple,
then we can come back
and we might decide
that we are going to be sealed for…
What?
A fourth cousin that’s passed on
or someone else and so we go back
and we’re sealed for them.
-Okay.
-Helps us to remember
the commitment that we made.
-So to be a member of the church
you’re living for the now
or you’re just completely living
for the afterlife, the future?
-Both, because you can’t…
You have to live every day like you’re…
Life is to improve
and I like to think
that I have made some progress.
Albeit slow,
and I need a few more years to get ready.
But we’re being prepared
for something greater than this life.
So it takes away some of the sadness
of the parting from loved ones.
We know that we’re going to be
together again as families.
-And will you see everyone
that you’ve seen in this life
or only the ones
that are truly important to you?
-I think that we’ll see
more than you can imagine
and we’ll have an opportunity
to continue to make progress.
That’s one of the things
that we’re taught.
When we pass on
there’s still things to learn.
There’s still opportunities
and I hope to do all I can before that
but I’m not gonna be…
I’m a work in progress
and will be forever.
We believe in a preexistence
and that we,
as children of God the Father,
had an opportunity
to use our own free agency
to decide if we wanted
to come to this earth or not.
-Oh.
-And there were many of us who said,
“No, we don’t want that.”
and the principle one of them,
their leader, was Satan.
Who said,
“Let me go and will force them.”
Basically to do what’s right
“And I won’t lose anyone.”
-Mm-hmm.
-But that wasn’t the plan.
The plan was based on free agency,
that’s everything.
And so that’s why we’re criticized
a lot of times by other religions
when we say that Satan
is basically our brother.
-What do you mean exactly by that,
Satan is your brother?
It’s like your alter ego?
-We’re offspring of Heavenly Father
and he is too.
-Oh.
-But he’s…
He’s a wiley one.
-It’s a brother you have to deal with?
You mean like is that–
-Don’t we?
Don’t you have to deal with temptation?
-Okay, so it’s like your dark side?
Basically that’s the Satan
within all of us?
-Well we come with some rebelliousness.
-Okay.
-We come with things we need to get over.
We need to learn.
-We need to learn about ourselves.
-Mm-hmm.
-Satan would be happy for us to fail.
-So it’s our shadow self.
Right, so like if we don’t manage our life
or use our personal agency in a good way
Satan can take over us,
is that what that means?
-That’s right.
-Okay.
-He can influence us and I think
you see that in the world today.
-Are LDS members pacifists
in the sense of war?
You know, the Amish, for example,
they’re not gonna go off
to the front lines.
-Uh…
-The country’s attacked,
they’re not picking up guns.
They’ll help in other ways
but they’re not going to fight.
-An important tenant of our religion
goes back to the earliest days
is that we believe
to being subject to kings,
magistrates, political leaders,
just as Jesus said
render under Caesar what is Caesar’s.
So I think we probably participate
even more than normal
in things like supporting the military.
At the same time,
realizing that we have to be very careful
to not violate
the 10 commandments at the same time.
But we are not like the Amish people
in that regard.
-A lot of LDS members join the military?
-Yes.
-Okay.
-Because there are so many
young men in the church who…
There are 70,000 right now
that are full time missionaries
that are devoting two years of their time
from usually roughly ages, 19, 20, 21, 22.
-Yeah.
-To being full-time missionaries
and learning languages,
and for that reason in the FBI, CIA,
there is a big influence from the church
because of languages.
-I heard of that,
a lot of LDS FBI members.
-Yes.
[Keith] When William J. Flake,
my great-grandfather came in
this part of this building was adobe
and that’s where the rancher
that sold to him lived.
So when he moved here
this became the home base
and the only building in town.
-Come in.
-You have to help us and tell us about
originally this is where court was held.
-For Apache County.
-Yeah.
-Right.
So this was
the original settlement of Snowflake
and it looked like this when they arrived.
-This was…
-Okay, “1870”.
-1878, and that’s what they lived in.
-Where there Navajos here or Apache,
or who were the natives here?
-There were…
-With the ranch here, more Mexican.
They all spoke Spanish.
[Keith] At one time several hundred
Navajo kids came to school here
and lived in dormitories
sponsored by the government.
Because there weren’t adequate schools
on the reservation.
When I attended elementary school
two thirds of each class would be Navajo.
[Tammy] Boy, you’re old.
[all laughing]
My grandfather was LDS mission president
on the Navajo-Hopi reservation.
Made lots of very close friends
with Hopis, Navajos, that I have become
acquainted with, a couple of them
and have passed on…
He kept a very faithful journal
and it talks about
this friend of mine’s ancestors
that I’ve been able to pass on to her.
That is priceless to her.
It’s just really a neat thing.
So they’re very…
-It’s really
an interesting part of the country.
Maybe not for you guys
but as an outsider coming here
seeing the natives, Mexican influence,
pioneer influence, LDS influence.
-Mm-hmm.
-We’re in the middle of nowhere, sort of,
and it’s a huge mix.
Like it’s really quite a dynamic place
I would say.
-It is, there is something about
Snowflake, Arizona.
It has a personality all its own.
It really does.
-How do you know someone’s from Snowflake?
-We all look alike.
[laughing]
-You all come from Brigham Young?
-No, he was the one that called
the pioneers that settled this area,
my great-great-grandfather
and Keith’s great-grandfather
to come and settle Northeastern Arizona.
But there have… all these–
-I don’t know of anyone who settled here
that were descendents of Brigham Young.
-No.
No.
-But our great-grandfather Smith
was a cousin to Joseph Smith.
My grandmother was a Smith, so…
Who was descended from that.
So in our time
there was a person
who could say he knew the prophet
and that was one who lived here,
Jesse N. Smith.
And he talked with so much love and honor
about his uncle.
-You met him?
-No, he passed away before my time
but I’ve read the things he wrote.
-Okay.
-This is where the original family lived
although there were always people
staying here, rooming here, eating here.
[Tammy] This was so primitive
but it looked like heaven to them.
When they got here and saw a structure
that they’d been camping in wagon boxes
and living the hard life.
-And so when–
-Right, just like that, huh?
-So when they had somewhere to come
that was covered and sheltered
it was a blessing to them.
And like Keith was saying, this was
the meeting place for quite a while
for church and for government affairs.
-Do you think there’s still
that pioneering spirit
in people here in Snowflake?
A little more rough around the edges,
can handle things on their own,
or is that all sort of going away?
-I think it’s alive and well, really.
-Okay.
-I really feel like it’s right there.
-It’s right in front of us.
-You see this pioneer with the bruise?
[laughing]
-Hey, two weeks ago we were gonna
do this and then I had a little accident
and so Peter did not give a black eye
to the YouTube program.
He said he’d wait until it was gone.
-So I didn’t point that out.
-We never got the story of what happened.
-You may not ever.
And he promised to bring
his makeup person with him today
and he didn’t do it.
-I forgot my hair person also.
[laughing]
-You know what is wonderful
about Snowflake?
There are people that have kept journals.
So many people.
And so their stories
come down through the ages
and he has an older brother.
-Ralph.
-He’s 90…
-Two.
-Ninety-two.
Are you familiar with Ralph Flake?
-I know he’s a poet.
-He’s amazing, and he has a Facebook page
that he posts on every day
and tells old stories of Snowflake.
-Yesterday, I gotta interrupt
’cause it’s just interesting.
We were talking about Lucy.
That’s William J. Flake’s first wife.
Lucy Hannah White.
And this was 1891 that the two of them
and their two little boys
went to the valley
to do a special kind of work.
Actually he had a place down there
and he was gonna break 100 horses
for another man.
It took him nine days
to get from here down to Mesa.
And then when they decided to come home.
They came home
because Prudence was not feeling well.
She was the second wife,
she was desperately ill.
And as they started to come home
they had two feet of snow
and the sky was overcast,
they could not travel.
And so they just stopped,
it took them 18 days to come home.
But the funny thing which is
just personality I guess with Lucy
is she wrote a lot of things
in her journal and she said,
“Here they were in the snow,
plenty of wood, big fire,
and her husband and the two little boys
started singing at the top of their lungs,
the Mormon songs, ‘Come, Come ye Saints'”
and she looked around
and she made a statement
that embarrassed her greatly
that she had said it
because she used a swear word.
She said,
“If somebody came by right now
they’d say, ‘Look at those damn Mormons!'”
[laughing]
And then she was so shocked
that she had said that word
she expected her two little boys
to be shocked
instead they fell over backwards
in the snow, rolling in the snow,
laughing at their mama.
[dog barking]
[man] This county goes another
two hours, hour and a half that way.
-[Peter] Sheriff, Navajo County Sheriff.
-[David] Yes.
David Claus.
-Keith Flake.
-You guys are related?
-We are first cousins
but he’s two generations down
and that kind of dates me a little bit.
-First cousin, twice removed.
-Okay.
-Yeah.
-And Tammy is his aunt.
-That’s right.
-David’s grandfather
was a little older than me
and man, I idolized Glenn.
And he became the Sheriff
of Navajo County.
I though that he walked on water.
-Maybe he did.
-Maybe he did, that’s what I thought too.
-Sheriff, you’re LDS, right?
-Yes.
-I didn’t know that the first video
we made together until partway in.
-We talked about
law enforcement and reservations.
-[woman] I’m just a servant.
-[David] Most loved person in Snowflake.
-The housekeeper of town.
-How many years have you been here, Eva?
-Twenty-two.
-Is this your restaurant, Eva?
-No.
This is his restaurant, I work for him.
Are you LDS?
-No, praise the lord.
[all laughing]
But you believe?
-I’m a believer.
-Okay.
-That’s a difference, right?
-Okay.
-I’m coming.
[Peter] How’s Keith’s Spanish?
-[Spanish]
Hey, what do you want to drink, sir?
-Root beer.
-I have a son-in law
who is from Mexico City
and we’re talking about legality.
He’s just getting his green card,
done everything he can with an attorney.
Three years.
And during that time
he was unable to work.
So he wouldn’t mess up
And now finally… That’s too hard.
He’s a good kid.
-There you go.
See me, I was very fortunate.
It was called agriculture.
-Mm-hmm.
-When I came
my father had been working for many years.
I was able to get my write in card
and here I am.
I’ve been a citizen for 24 years.
-Congrats.
-I pay my tax, I had to learn that…
What’s it called?
Play-a-legion?
-Pledge allegiance…
-To the flag.
-You still remember it?
-Yes.
Every prayer I go and do it.
Whip it on us.
-Huh?
-Whip it on us.
-[Spanish]
[all laughing]
-Talking about generations of Flakes.
James Ham and all of his siblings
of course are gone.
James Ham had 24 kids, 25 kids,
they’re all gone.
I’m the next generation
and I’m almost gone.
He’s the generation after me.
-And I got a lot left to go.
-And then we have the sheriff.
-The next generation down.
And when you get down to his,
you’re talking…
I’m gonna guess probably 2,000
would fit into that category.
-Oh, wow.
-Not all the last name Flake
like he ended up, his mama was Flake
but he ended up with Claus.
-So is the religion holding on
as it goes down every generation?
The LDS religion.
-Kinda.
-There’s growth of course,
but yeah, I think not as…
-There’s always been, what?
People that leave, come back,
and that’s what… you know?
-Oh wow, thank you, ma’am.
-I think Reed and I have kids
that are not as faithful as we would wish
but someday they’re gonna make it back.
-Thank you.
-Sheriff, is it common for a lot of people
in law enforcement to be LDS?
Let’s say locally.
-Our area obviously has
a high concentration or high membership.
So here locally
in this part of the state, yeah you would.
-Okay.
-I think Arizona and Utah,
inner-mountain West you have a lot of…
You have a lot of members of the church
in several professions.
-Yeah.
-Got these guys raising cows.
-Reed, what else you doing?
-Rodeo announcer.
-Can you rip a little off
for us right here?
-You gotta have action,
I mean it’s a little bit tough.
-Sell this meal, we got a tortilla…
-You buck around the room right here
with the sheriff on your back
trying to buck him off
and I’ll announce it.
[laughing]
-Who else is in law enforcement?
-My son-in-law.
-Okay.
-He’s the chief of police here.
-And the sheriff is what relation?
-Cousin.
-So you’re pretty well–
-I’ve got diplomatic-type immunity.
In this county and in this town
I basically run the place.
I can do whatever I want.
[laughing]
-Is that how it works
in small town Arizona?
-No, ask my wife. She’ll tell you.
-She runs him.
-Yeah, she runs me.
-Does the faith
help you with your work, Sheriff?
Is that fair to say?
-Oh, absolutely.
Dealing with big decisions
and things that impact people’s lives.
So things like that don’t come lightly.
So you have to rely on…
Like anybody, you know,
you rely on your faith or your…
But more importantly I think is
law enforcement, first responders,
peace officers all across the country
are exposed to some of
the most horrific situations.
Crashes, deaths,
death notifications, domestic violence,
threats and stuff like that.
Some people don’t have
a way to cope with it
and you see suicide rates, alcoholism
within the profession.
Doesn’t have to be a member
of the church we are a part of.
It could be anybody with faith,
no matter any denomination
that they have a background
or if they have some sort of
foundation to their life.
You see that they’re more…
Less likely to have those…
-They can handle
the big situations easier?
-Yeah.
I think you appreciate too.
Your life at home too.
I mean you see the crimes committed
against kids and children and…
-You guys see all that stuff.
-You do, yeah.
-That’s heavy work.
I don’t think most people understand
how heavy that is
when you leave kids in the morning
and have to deal with society’s issues.
Maybe it’s better up here,
you’re not like in Metro Phoenix.
That would probably be harder, right?
-Yeah, I mean…
There’s no question about it,
we live in a great community
and it’s a safe community,
and it’s not because we have a…
We do have great law and obviously
I support all the law enforcement.
They do a great job.
This community is so strong,
or this county is
because of people like this
that want to live there
and they make it…
Like Reed said, he runs the place, right?
-Yeah, right.
-It is a good community
but we have the same type of issues.
Just look at our population
compared to Phoenix
and you see the proportion of it
to your population.
Crimes against kids
or those types of family violence,
it’s humans are humans,
no matter where the spectrum is.
Drug affiliated-type crimes,
people just trying to feed habits,
it’s the same.
-These guys get to see the worst in people
but they also get to see the best,
you know?
In people.
-Oh, for sure.
-I think as citizens,
we probably kinda just see the mediocre,
but these guys,
they see both ends of the scale I think.
-How do you see the best?
-People helping other people
on a scene or something like that.
I mean I think that’s where
you see the best.
-How are things in Arizona, 2023
as a law enforcement agent?
-They’re great.
You know why?
Because everywhere we go
you see strong support
for law enforcement.
You see strong support for people
that do this job ’cause they know.
We go to church together,
we go to school, you know?
They’re very supportive.
They don’t look at it as…
You know, there’s obviously
some angst and tension with government,
and federal government.
They don’t view it that way.
So you see a lot of support
for local law enforcement
but you also see
a lot of young men and women
still getting into the profession.
When you see larger municipalities,
Phoenix, those bigger cities
outside of Arizona, they’re not getting
the number of applicants they need.
-Hey, let me say this,
I announce rodeos
and some of my favorite openings
that we do…
Before we actually start the rodeo
we have prayer,
national anthem, and all that,
but then a lot of times
we’ll do first responder tributes
or law enforcement, or military,
and it’s amazing the response you get.
Say you’re doing a first responder,
you have a bunch of police officers
standing out there
and you ask the crowd of 10,000
how many of them are proud
of the police department, and police force
and what they do.
They all erupt with a round of applause.
I mean yeah, there are people around
that disrespect these guys
but I think by and large
that has changed over the last 10 years
and people respect them even moreso
now than I think they maybe did
and they’re vocal about it.
-Go to the national finals rodeo
and see what happens.
-10,000 people… No, 20,000 people
in that building.
There will not be one person
that will disrespect the flag
or not take off their hat.
-Stand up for the prayer.
-Take off their hat for the prayer.
[Peter] Is that just rodeo country living
or is that also LDS mentality too?
-Rodeo country living.
-Okay… okay.
-Probably some of both
but I mean, you know,
it’s the western lifestyle.
-Reed, where can somebody see
your rodeo announcements?
If they can’t show up in person?
-They can watch our channel,
it’s called Rodeo Reed
and not a lot of rodeo on there,
a little bit.
-But you’re firebombing it,
just super quick?
-If I’m announcing rodeo, yeah.
-Bob Tallman is maybe one of
the greatest announcers in rodeo
and he’s always off the cuff.
-Excuse me.
[laughing]
-Your favorite, right? Bob?
-A thing came along that there were not
enough contestants in rodeo.
So his off the cuff remark was…
This was up in the State of Washington.
He says, “Well heck, if we ever have
a shortage of rodeo cowboys
we’ll just call them Mormons
down in Utah and raise a few more kids.”
[chuckling]
-See ya.
-[Spanish]
And you always look handsome.
-Thank you for lunch.
-Don’t take forever to come back.
[Peter] See you soon.
[Spanish]
What are we going to a Blockbuster Video?
-This is Rodeo Video,
a business that we started.
You’ll meet Reed.
I think it was ’85 or ’86.
Back when rodeo was not as well publicized
as it is now.
-Okay.
-And we did a lot of programs
that were meant to instruct people
on how to participate in rodeo,
how to compete
using world champions.
Such as Kaycee Feild.
And here’s your fan, Angie.
-Hello.
-Hello, Angie.
How you doing?
-He said your name and I knew
exactly who he was talking about.
-Nice to meet you, Peter.
Oh, look at that old deck,
that’s an old… What is that called?
-Betacam or pneumatic.
-Wow.
-Back in the old days when Betacam
was the only way you could get
a third generation video and edit it.
-Are you filling an order right now?
-Yeah.
-It’s actually five or six of ’em.
-Oh, great.
It just prints out and…
[Keith] People still buying DVDs?
They have no choice.
-So they’re finding you guys online?
-Mm-hmm.
-A few years ago anyone
who competed in rodeo professionally
knew who we were
because of the business.
Because this is unique,
it was the only one that was really doing
lots of training tapes and event tapes,
and TV programing about rodeo.
-Who was doing the filming?
-I was the main one to film.
Reed, who was the main voice talent.
-I’ve edited some of the later NFRs
and helped with Reed’s YouTube.
-She is a genius.
She’s a genius on technology.
-You’ve produced a lot,
this is all your stuff?
-Oh yeah, hundreds of videos.
Some of it will one day kind of be
the archives of what rodeo was like.
Today there is Cowboy Channel
that a lot of people can follow and it’s
kind of taking over all of the media,
but there’s a period of time
that I hope some of this programming
will be valuable to go back to.
-Yeah.
-But we don’t stream.
So find us online
www.rodeovideo.com
-You sell posters too.
-Buy DVDs.
-Wow, so you do a lot.
-There is no way to make a living
on ranching unless you have
a place that costs $10 million.
I don’t.
So I’ve always had to do something else.
I was a boat builder, cell maker,
worked in the lumber industry
in the Northwest.
Trying to save up enough money
to have my own place.
-So you love ranching that much?
-Yeah.
Yeah, it’s what I always wanted to do.
-If you make no money at it, you’re good?
Just as long as you’re getting by?
-Yeah, and it’s been good, you know?
-What do you love about it?
Is it the cows? Being out in the nature?
-Yeah, being independent,
being able to call your shots.
Go do what you feel like most of the time.
Any rancher will tell you
there’s way too much office work now
with government programs, with leases.
-Just takes hours and hours.
-Yeah.
But if I could get horseback
or on a quad, I don’t care,
and get out and have a challenge
about what I’m going to do,
I love it.
Those are my two boys that are adopted
and part of my family.
-And he has now passed away.
-I’m sorry.
-So that’s why
I keep an extra picture of him.
-I’m sorry.
-We had an artist here that was Navajo.
Robert Redhair.
Who is now passed away but he did
a lot of artwork and this is one of his
about a couple of cowboys,
according to legend,
who roped and tied down the devil himself.
That was after a night at the bar
so I don’t know how accurate.
Couple videos that I’m gonna give you.
-Oh, thank you.
-One is a documentary
that we made about Snowflake.
-Many years ago.
-Great.
-And this is the scene
of the naming of Snowflake,
and the guy trying to be
William J. Flake there in the middle
with the better beard, is me.
But then later a cousin made this
about the town of Snowflake.
[Peter] Gonna go with Reed here.
Got a pretty serious Dodge truck.
-Jump in this Ram truck.
-Reed you a tint on your window
so you can’t see out of it.
Explain that to us.
-Just no glare off the hood.
Got just a little spot here
to look through, that’s all you need.
-As silly as this sounds,
I wasn’t thinking a guy like you,
rodeo announcer would be LDS,
and that’s ridiculous
now that I’m doing this, right?
I just sort of had this Salt lake,
you know, blonde hair image.
-This cookie cutter image.
-Yes.
But it’s cool to see this rural…
That’s why when I had this story
with Keith I was pumped
’cause I wanted to see the rural cowboy…
-Yeah.
-Also LDS person living a totally
different life but still same religion.
-Yeah.
You can be as involved
or uninvolved,
basically as you want, you know?
I mean you probably heard
the term or phrase Jack Mormon.
-Have you heard that?
-Yeah.
-They drink coffee.
-They drink coffee.
They take their religious beliefs
probably pretty casual, you know?
They may would fight for it, you know?
Some of them, they’ll be like,
“Hey, you don’t talk bad
about my religion.”
but they maybe don’t live the religion.
And yeah, you do have those
that go to the temple every day
or every week, or twice a week.
Would rather lose a limb
than miss church on Sunday.
I that right? I don’t know.
Is it wrong? I don’t know.
I miss plenty of church ’cause a lot of
rodeos that I announce are on Sunday
but I think being a good example,
being a good citizen,
doing right by others is…
You know, that’s kind of a religion
in and of itself.
I mean I guarantee people
in the rodeo world probably know I’m LDS.
-Okay.
-So… and I don’t hide it,
but I’ll tell them I am.
But I don’t announce it
from the microphone that I am.
You’ll meet my son right here.
-I don’t know if you want this on video.
-Yeah, why not?
He is not active in our church at all
but he will not tell you
that he’s not a member of the church.
-You don’t force him to go.
-No.
He’s 30.
-Okay.
-[both laugh]
-He doesn’t live here,
he’s just using my arena today.
-Okay, those days are over?
-Those days are over, you know?
Maybe when he was a kid
I forced him too much, I don’t know.
-But it’s not a problem
he’s not going to church for you?
-Oh, you know,
it’s like Keith was saying at dinner.
We’d like for him to
because we believe families are eternal
and I don’t know to what extent.
Maybe you don’t have to be active
in your church
to have an eternal family.
-I don’t know.
-What do you mean?
So eternal families means
in the afterlife you’ll all be together?
-Like my wife and I
are married in the temple
so we’re sealed for time and all eternity.
For time and eternity
we’re sealed together.
That’s not a free ride,
doesn’t mean we’ve got it made,
but if we live the covenants
that we’ve made in the temple
to honor and love each other
then we believe
that because of that sealing power
that was bestowed
or that we were married with
we’ll be together as a husband and wife…
-So does your family…
Instead of like,
you listen to a civil marriage,
and I’m not knocking it in any way
but what does it say in a civil marriage?
-Till… When they unite you.
-Death do us part.
-Till death do you part.
We don’t believe
that marriage ends at death.
Why would I spend…
You know, I’ve been married
to my wife for 42 years.
-Uh-huh.
-So not that it’s an investment in time
but why would I want to learn
so much about her
and her learn so much about me to…
I’m 63, so say I live 30 more years,
for our marriage union to be over?
You know?
-So it goes into the afterlife and then
family is sealed into the afterlife
but if somebody leaves the religion,
a child leaves the religion,
then are they in that or not?
-No one knows?
-I’ll tell you in 30 years. [laughs]
Or maybe longer ’cause my dad’s 92.
-So I may live to be…
-Okay, come back and tell me.
[Reed yelling] Hang on, don’t do it yet.
[Keith] Loggers logging loggers.
[man] If he bucks me off and hurts me
this place is worth a lot.
[Peter chuckling]
[metal clanking]
[hooves thumping]
-[Peter] That was quick, huh?
-[Reed] Yeah, that was quick.
[Reed] Come in.
Amy?
[Peter] Hey, how you doing?
-Peter.
-How are you?
Okay, we gotta go through ages,
this is quite impressive.
Keith.
-Seventy-eight.
-Sixty… almost one.
-Sixty-almost one? Wow.
-Just turned 63.
-Is it in the religion or the water?
What’s doing it?
What’s keeping you guys so young?
-I used to say
but probably not so much true anymore.
I used to say she looks so young
’cause living with me is so easy
but…
She would dispute that
and I would agree.
-Living with me is not easy.
-I’m enough older
that I’ve changed his diaper.
Fortunately it’s been a long time.
-Hey now he’s enough older that I might
get the chance to change his diaper.
[all laughing]
-So you edit Reed’s videos?
-Right.
I like to be in the background.
-My wife, the same.
-I don’t want to be
in front of the camera.
-She’s been editing in this house
all day long.
-Do you get enough Reed in your life?
You see him in person
and on the screen all day.
Double dosage.
-Go ahead, answer him.
[all laughing]
Say what you want.
She gets tons.
-It’s… We get lots of together time
but you know, it’s good.
-At the rodeos I announce,
she plays the music.
-So you play DJ also?
-She basically rodeo DJs, yep.
-What you said in the truck was very cool.
Which I like about LDS.
Most look at marriage for this lifetime
and you’re looking at marriage
for the afterlife.
-Right.
-Forever?
-Forever.
-It’s a done deal.
-Yeah.
-Done deal? Yep.
-If you choose it.
If we are compatible with each other
and if we’re kind to each other
then all those things have to line up.
You can’t say, “Oh, I choose you.”
and just grab Keith and say,
“We’re going.” and off we go.
It’s gotta be a mutual agreement
and you’ve gotta reward each other.
-What’s the secret?
43 years, that’s a good run.
-Um, being willing to forgive each other.
Work through your problems rather than,
you know, saying I’m done, I’m out.
-You think there’s
a lot of that these days?
I lot of I’m out,
I’m just gonna pull the rip cord on this?
-A lot of starter marriages is what
I hear people call it, “starter marriage”.
-Starter marriage?
-Yeah.
-You’ve heard that, doncha?
-Like a starter house.
-Round one?
-Yeah, round one.
-Okay.
-Wife one, two, three, four, whatever.
-Like if you go into it with that mindset,
I mean that’s probably what’s gonna…
-Right now for the first time
we are empty nesters.
[Peter] For the first time ever?
-Yeah.
-How is it being an empty nester?
-Oh, we love it. [laughs]
It’s kind of a big house for that.
[Peter] How you doing?
[Jodi] Good, how are you.
-Nice to meet you.
-Good to meet you.
-Thank you for
giving up your husband for the day.
-Well…
-She’s happy to do it.
-He’s a good soul.
-It’s been an awesome tour.
this is a very cool house you have.
-Keith is the builder.
[Peter] This is very cool.
It’s sort of got
a hacienda feel to it, right?
[Jodi] Yeah, kinda wanted to build a home
a little bit like he saw in Mexico.
-Where did you two meet? Here?
-Here in Snowflake, blind date.
-Ooh.
-Had a common friend who set us up.
-Celebrated 26 years yesterday.
-Yep.
-Fantastic, beautiful, congrats.
-Did he tell you though
that we are rivals?
Did he tell you anything about
my hometown, Taylor?
-Yeah, you’re a Taylorite.
-Taylor is another video.
I’m sorry, they will have to do their own.
-Taylor got the Walmart.
-[Jodi giggling]
-I know that.
-Oh, this is great.
I love the ceiling here, very cozy.
All of your children?
-Yeah, and most of them are married.
I think we have two out of the…
-These two are just together
because they have both left us.
They passed away, my son and grandson.
-Sorry.
[Jodi] Yeah.
[Keith] So they get that corner.
-Mm-hmm.
-You can see we care
about the temple, the Snowflake Temple.
-And you can go on down the road.
-Oh, wow.
-These are the grandkids.
-Is this a typical LDS home?
Seeing all these kids and grandkids?
[Jodi] I don’t think so because there’s
not that many that are blended families.
-Okay.
-They might have five or six kids.
But it’s unusual to have 15.
[Keith] We have 40 grandchildren
between us.
[Jodi] This is what they did,
the Mormonaires.
And so I think my dad is playing
the bass fiddle.
Which is so strange
’cause he’s a violinist
and so he…
His dad was a musician.
-He was a soloist
with the Burbank Symphony.
-When he was 17, yeah.
-At age 17 he was a fiddler
that provided music for some of
the old western movies in Hollywood.
-So my dad, he was a music teacher
for about 28 years.
Then I started as a music teacher
and my mom and dad brought me to
their house and had this little ceremony,
and my dad said,
“Now that you have
your contract to be a music teacher…”
He bequeathed his conducting baton to me.
And it was really sweet because it was
just a few months and then he passed away.
Thinking about my dad, at my dad’s funeral
Keith ended up writing a poem.
Because my dad, he went into World War II.
He was in the Marines at the end of it.
And then he came home
and he was playing with the symphony,
and because he was
playing in a band, you know,
he was always in the bars and everything.
What was the poem?
What was the whole gist?
-That doors move just on a hinge
and a hinge moment for him was
one day… when Sunday morning
rolled around
and he didn’t like
what he’d been doing on Saturday night.
And he thought, “I can change.”
And at that moment
he totally changed his life.
Which took a lot of faith in Jesus Christ
and depending on
the church and its leaders,
and then he became a missionary.
-He decided that
that was the life he wanted to live.
And then he ended up meeting my mom who…
Generations in the church.
And so we were raised in the church.
Keith’s family,
they’re generations in the church.
For me it’s just
a really wonderful way to live.
We just watched a movie about the Amish
and we’re not like the Amish. [giggles]
We have electricity and all these machines
but we have that peace
and that joy.
You know?
Of knowing that Jesus Christ
is our redeemer, our savior.
[Peter] Jodi, thank you.
Thanks for bringing us in.
Keith, appreciate it.
-Thank you.
-Yeah.
It was great to see your LDS perspective.
Ranching, living in the middle of nowhere.
Maybe you guys don’t say
middle of nowhere but it is.
-You don’t come to Snowflake
unless there’s a reason.
-Yeah.
But very cool collection of people
I met today.
Cool community.
So thanks for that.
-And they all love you immediately.
Which is why your vlog is so popular.
-I mean I was with you.
-You’re very fair.
-You’re very kind.
-Thank you.
I show the camera,
let people speak, and whoever’s watching,
they can agree, disagree,
whatever they want.
That’s their choice.
My job is to get into someone else’s world
and let them show everyone else.
-Keep doing it.
-Thank you, boss.
All right guys, until the next one.
♪ somber country ♪

If you’re interested in more content from around the WORLD visit these links below:

Be the first to see the next video