Shirley was raised in America, but as a young mother she willingly uprooted to settle in Australia. Her story, #67 in their book, is an inspiring account of faith and family, and closely parallels my cause to create a new musical program entitled, "A Great and Marvelous Work."
Shirley & Kaye Starr Thompson, 1951. We were the best of playmates, and felt very loved by our parents and three older brothers. Mama loved to wave our hair, and even made our dresses seen in the picture below. It's important to me that you, the reader, understand the loving bond that we had developed as little girls.Shirley and Kaye Starr, 1953, holding our rabbits on our farm. Our parents sang duets, and on Sundays our family would harmonize in the car while riding many miles to and from church. We also offered rides to non-members, which gave us many memories of happy friends.
1956: Kent, Shirley, Kaye Starr, Daddy (Karl R. Thompson), Gale, Glenda, Mama (Maudie Mae Hull Thompson). We were all elated when our little sister, Glenda, was born in Santa Cruz, California. At the time, I was ten years old and Shirley, eight. Roger, our oldest brother (not shown), was at BYU in Provo, Utah. Glenda gave our family much pleasure and fulfillment, since we had lost a baby sister the year before Glenda was born.
These were happy times, yet hard times for our family. Kent had contracted a kidney disease, and Daddy was blinded soon after this picture. As a family, we fasted and prayed for better health and improved finances. In the process of seeking help from our Heavenly Father, we drew even closer together. This is a very important factor as I explain the loving bond that existed in our family.
1960: Shirley, age 14 and Kaye Starr, nearly 16. Our parents sacrificed so that all of us kids could take music lessons. Through the years we were sought after in church because of our piano, singing and acting skills. Shirley also played the violin. Music and church activity played an integral part in our family heritage on both sides of the family.Karl Kent Thompson, 1961. Another time of sorrow came when our brother, Kent, died in 1962 because of his kidney disease, which brought our family even closer to the Lord, as well as closer together. Mama (Maudie Mae Thompson), Shirley, Joan Redzich (fiance of our brother, Roger), and Kaye Starr, 1963. We continued to be very active in missionary work, parties and friends.
Six years later, Shirley, with two infant daughters, arrived as Australian immigrants in Brisbane, 1971. She was called to many positions of church leadership, as can be seen in this 1992 photo: Shirley (in blue), Brisbane Stake Relief Society President.
Meanwhile, back in Utah, I was busy with my family duties and was also composing music. I formed a choir called "Promise," pictured here in 1992. These singers were loving volunteers who desired to promote the Book of Mormon through my music.
The Hardmans travelled 21,000 miles (35,000 kilometres) and interviewed hundreds of people on their mission. Their book is awe-inspiring, and contains stories about people from very remote areas of the world who remarkably found the gospel of Jesus Christ.
While on their mission in 2006, they made their way to Salt Lake City for a couple weeks to review some historical records. We were very happy to see them again. Shown is (Standing in back): Shirley, Mama, (Front): Kaye Starr and Glenda.
Mama, Shirley, Pam Hardman Hansen (Reg's sister living in Utah), Kaye Starr. We, sisters and mother, were very happy to get together to chat and relax. Yummy, what fun!
Stories #87, #100, #50. #95, #116 were written by Alex and Irene Boulton, pioneers from Australia. Here they are seen visiting the Hardman's in 2006 while the Boulton's were living in their home located in Ogden, Utah. I, also, had the privilege to personally hear their stories, which are very inspiring!
The turning point of this amazing sisters' story takes place when Shirley and Reg met some folks from Southern Australia, shown below. (Left): Murray and Cynthia Hull, Shirley Hardman and Robert (a Hull relative). Shirley learned something incredible about our ancestry: we have a direct relative who also relocated to Australia...a young LDS pioneer who moved there in 1851! His name was Adam Hull, our great-grandfather's brother, and he has descendants living all over the country, but mostly in South Australia. Shirley was very pleased to learn that her family tree had roots in two continents!
She relates: "There's a peculiar story about Murray Hull, one of Adam Hull's great-grandsons. In 1977, while living in Perth, he was awakened in the wee hours of the morning and saw a terrifying vision of an old lady. For some reason, the dream caused his heart to research his family tree. Several years went by and, while visiting relatives on a genealogy trip to the States, Murray saw an old lady's picture on the wall of a museum in Idaho. Abruptly, with shock and surprise, he declared the lady depicted was the same old woman who had terrified him in his dream!" Her name was Mary Benson Hull.
Shirley and I believe that there were special reasons for Murray's unusual dream of the old woman. We feel that perhaps his dream has something to do with the importance of researching our kindred dead. Shirley concludes: "Murray has since given us many family names for temple work. Even though there is a wide ocean between distant Hull cousins, the powers of the priesthood are now bridging our families together."
The Hardman's New Book:
It's no wonder that the Hardman's chose a picture of the Brisbane Temple to grace the cover of their new book. It is here, in one of five temples in Australia, and over 120 in the world, that through the powers of the holy priesthood, family members are sealed together forever.
Shirley's profound account of finding our Hull relatives on the other side of the earth prompted me to connect my music to those stories of faithful Australian pioneers.
The cover page of my program, "A Great and Marvelous Work," using 10 stories from Reg and Shirley's book, is shown below. Please click on the picture and read what it contains.
The song I chose to illustrate the importance of Family History Research, so beautifully exemplified by Murray and Cythia Hull, is entitled, "We'll Sing a Song for Them."
How can I explain it? I now appreciate, in a more profound way, the importance of Shirley's move to Australia and her life's mission over there. I've been able to connect with many of her friends and associates, and they are blessing my life, also. Oh, Shirley and Reg, our whole family is very happy with your accomplishments, and we're still so very close!
Thompson Family Reunion 2007: Roger, Glenda, Shirley, Kaye Starr, Gale, with Maudie Mae and Jim Bradley in front.