It is a source of a great deal of pleasure to me to have the opportunity of meeting the Saints again in General Conference.
REPORT OF EUROPEAN TOUR As you are all aware, since our last Conference it has fallen to my lot to visit nearly all of our missions in Europe. We have had a very enjoyable time. Statistics are never interesting, but I feel that it is only fair to give you some information pertaining to our trip.
We left Salt Lake City, Sunday, June 13th, 1937, and sailed from Quebec on the 16th. Our party consisting of Hugh B. Brown, Joseph Anderson, and myself, arrived in Cherbourg, France, June 23rd, where we were met by President Richard R. Lyman of the European Mission, and President O. F. Ursenbach of the French Mission. We went direct to Paris, where I delivered a talk before the American Club in that city. This talk was received very favorably and nearly all of it was published in the Paris edition of the New York Herald
After our visit in Paris we went to Liege, Belgium, a part of the French Mission, at which place we visited three Sunday Schools, also held a meeting in Herstal, near Liege, where I dedicated a new building; and in the evening we held a meeting in Liege. The attendance at each of these meetings was very good indeed; in fact at nearly every meeting we held the attendance was in excess of what we expected it to be, and upon more than one occasion over one-half of all the people in our audience were non-members of the Church.
PROFITABLE MEETINGS IN SWITZERLAND We held a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 30th, one on July 1st in Neuchatel, Switzerland. The branches in all these places, that is, at Liege, Geneva, and Neuchatel, are a part of the French Mission. From Neuchatel President Ursenbach returned to headquarters in Liege, and President Philemon M. Kelly of the Swiss-German Mission met our party at Neuchatel, and accompanied us through the Swiss-German Mission.
We held a meeting in Bern, at which there was a large attendance, as I remember it, over 400 people. The following day a brief meeting was held at Interlaken, as we were passing through that city to take a trip on the cog railroad to see the wonderful Alps. Never before at any time have I been able to get such a magnificent view of the Alps as I did on this occasion. The clouds disappeared just before we reached the highest point on the railroad, and we could see five or six of those great towering mountains, covered with snow. When we made the return trip the clouds covered the tops of the mountains, so that we were unable to see them. We were very grateful for that wonderful, magnificent sight, second only of course to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.
On July 4th meetings were held in the morning and in the afternoon at Basel. Three or four hundred people attended each of these meetings. Tuesday, July 6th, we held a meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, and there were also over 400 people, as I recall it, at this service.
CORDIAL RECEPTION IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA Services were held in Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany, and there were more than 900 people in attendance at this meeting. This was the last meeting that we held in the Swiss-German Mission. From Frank furl we went to Prague, Czechoslovakia, by way of Nuremburg, at which latter place we were met by President Wallace F. Toronto, and we held a meeting with the Saints and friends in Prague. The hall in which we held the meeting was crowded, and many people were standing up during the entire session. While in Prague we visited the buildings that have been erected in that city for the benefit of feeble-minded children, those who are under-nourished, and the old people, and it was the most wonderful exhibit of fine, modern buildings and efficient work along the line of taking care of the unfortunate that I have ever had the privilege of visiting. The lady in charge spent three or four hours with us in visiting all of the places Of interest there. These homes are named after the first president of the Republic, Mr. Masaryk. We were received in a very cordial way by the officials of the Republic and they expressed regret that the President of the Republic was absent, also that President Masaryk, the founder of the Republic at the conclusion of the great World War, was away.
EVENTS IN GERMANY On the following day, July 10, in company with President Toronto and wife we left for Dresden, Germany, where we held a fine meeting, with over 600 people in attendance. Here we met Elder Roy A. Welker, the president of the German-Austrian Mission, who, by the way, has filled a most satisfactory mission, following the very successful presidency of Elder Oliver H. Budge, of Cache Valley. On July 14th we held a meeting in Breslau, and from Breslau we went to Berlin, in which latter city we visited three Sunday Schools, and in the evening held a meeting in a large auditorium, where there wereover 1,100 people present, and some of them stood up during the entire session. We were assured that over two-thirds of that audience were non-members of the Church. One thing that was very pleasing to us was that we had perfectliberty in the holding of our meetings in Germany, notwithstanding the fact that more than thirty different denominations have been prohibited from preaching there. I thought it was very remarkable that we should have the privilege of holding meetings with the people of Germany. I learned that upon one occasion our Elders were prevented by the officials from preaching at a meeting. The officials said: “You have no right here, you must not preach.”
The Elders said: “We have not been prohibited from holding meetings and preaching.”
The officers said: “We know better. You will have to stop and we will bring you the evidence that you are not permitted to preach.”
They came back and said: “We could not find the word Mormon nor the name The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the prohibited list.”
From Berlin our party went to London. Brother Richard R. Lyman was with us until the time when we reached Dresden, but as he was advertised to deliver a speech in London on World Peace, he returned to London and was not with us at the meetings held in Dresden, Breslau and Berlin. The various Mission Presidents were with us at the meetings held in their particular missions, namely: Presidents Kelly, Welker, Ursenbach, and Toronto, all of whom have made very fine records in presiding over the various missions on the Continent and have made friends of many leading officials in all of those countries, and stand well with them.
BUILDINGS DEDICATED IN GREAT BRITAIN On July 20th we held a meeting in Liverpool, England, at which I dedicated a building that we have purchased there that is to be remodeled and used as a chapel.
On July 21st we held a meeting in Burnley and I dedicated a Church building there.
July 22nd we held a meeting in the Bradford Branch, and I dedicated the meeting house. At this meeting there were between 300 and 350 people in attendance. They have a very nice Church building and quite a few of those who were present at the meeting were non-members of the Church. There was a very small percentage of non-members, however, in comparison with other meetings that we held.
Sunday, July 25, we held meetings in the London South and the London North Branches, and a Church building was dedicated in each of these places. We have a very nice, expensive dwelling in the South Branch, which has been remodeled to answer our purpose as a meeting place. In the North Branch we have a new chapel that we have erected that is very comfortable and answers our needs very well.
On the 26th of July we visited Wales and held a meeting at Merthyr Tydfil, where a little Church building was dedicated. The attendance at this meeting was approximately 100 people. There are very few of our people in Merthyr Tydfil, but those we have there were very grateful to have a little meeting house of their own instead of renting a hall.
CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION IN PRESTON AND ROCHDALE On July 30 our party visited Vauxhall Chapel in Preston, where Elder Heber C. Kimball and his associates delivered the first sermons that were preached in Great Britain in this dispensation. It was at that time that the Gospel was introduced in Great Britain.
We visited the place where the Cock Pit was located, although it has now disappeared and there is merely a hole in the ground where the Cock Pit once stood. The same afternoon services were held near the River Ribble, where the first British converts were baptized. Really and truly, I feel a good deal like the old lady who had been attending Fast meetings for twenty or thirty years but had never had sufficient courage to bear her testimony. Finally one day she got up and bore her testimony and when she came home she said: “We had the finest Fast meeting today that I have ever attended.” The question was asked: “Who spoke?” She answered: “I did.”
I feel a little that way myself. And I know that Brother Clark and I and the other speakers enjoyed talking to the Saints there assembled. We had really a spiritual feast upon that occasion, and there was no one who captured the audience more completely than did Sister Fox, the president of the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Associations of our Church.
On July 31 we attended a baseball game between the Rochdale team consisting of Mormon missionaries and a Liverpool team. About 3,000 people witnessed the game. The missionaries had a very easy time in winning over their opponents. Really it gave me a great thrill to watch the game. It took me back to my boyhood days when I played in the nine that won the championship of the Territory of Utah, and I have never played since. I decided to quit while my credit was good. It thrilled me to hear that audience cheering and shouting, “Saints! Saints! Saints!”
I confess I was greatly pleased. It is a good thing to have a fine lot of boys playing ball and making friends. The people who were present were principally non-members of the Church.
On the evening of July 31st there was presented a very beautiful pageant by the missionaries and Saints in the Town Hall of Rochdale. More than 800 people were present and hundreds were turned away. I assure you that it was a very creditable pageant indeed, a beautiful pres entation. I was astonished at the splendid way in which the pageant was presented, considering the fact that those who participated did not have the time to have a rehearsal.
There are about 6,000 people in the British Isles belonging to the Church, and there is many a stake–in fact sometimes two stakes adjoining each other, here at home, in which there would be more than twenty thousand people, who do not produce pageants that are better than was that one. It was a great credit to the people.
There was such an appeal from those who could not get into the building to see the pageant that it was repeated Sunday night, although somewhat abbreviated.
The meetings that were held in the Town Hall in Rochdale on Sunday were very wonderful indeed. The Lord was very good to all those who spoke. The speakers at these meetings, in addition to myself, were President Clark, Elder Richard R. Lyman, Elder Joseph J. Cannon, Elder Hugh B. Brown, Elders George D. Pyper and Arthur Winter, Sister Ruth May Fox and others. The same afternoon we dedicated a small chapel at Rochdale.
On the following day, August 2nd, some auxiliary meetings were held.
VISITS HOLLAND On August 7th we visited the Scout jamboree in Holland. The party consisted of myself, my daughter, Mrs. Lucy G. Cannon, Joseph J. Cannon and wife, Elder Richard R. Lyman, and Joseph Anderson. We left London on August 6th for Holland, and were met at Rotterdam by Brother Franklin J. Murdock who is the President of the Netherlands Mission. At the Scout jamboree we were very cordially received by Chief Scout Executive James E. West. Since returning home I have received a letter from Mr. West, expressing the deep appreciation of himself and associates for our having lent them, as they put it, part of the time of Brother Oscar A. Kirkham, who did a very fine work, and had an important position at the jamboree.
Sunday, August 8, we held a meeting in Amsterdam, and in the evening of the same day held a meeting in Utrecht. On August 11th we held a meeting in Rotterdam. All of these meetings were very well attended, and among those present were many non-members of the Church. We subsequently authorized by telegrams signed by myself and Brother Richard R. Lyman, the sale of our mission headquarters in Rotterdam for 14,000 guilders, and the purchase of a building at the Hague for 12,000 guilders. Our new quarters are on a very fine residential street, and the property cost something more than 40,000 guilders. The building is in a very fine state of repair. It was built by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and is a creditable place for our mission headquarters in Holland, for which we are very grateful.
Our party went from Rotterdam, Holland, to Hamburg, Germany, where we were met by Presidents Philemon M. Kelly, Thomas E. McKay and Alfred C. Rees. A meeting was held in Hamburg the night of August 13th, at which there were more than 600 people in attendance.
EXPERIENCES IN SCANDINAVIA We held meetings in Esbjerg, Denmark, Sunday, August 13th, at which in the afternoon, the Esbjerg Branch’s new Church building was dedicated. At all three of the meetings held in Esbjerg the attendance was large, particularly in the evening. While in Denmark the party was accompanied by President Alma L. Petersen of the Danish Mission. Sister Clarissa Beesley joined us at Esbjerg, and accompanied us on our tour of the Scandinavian Missions.
We held a meeting in Copenhagen, where there were nearly 500 in attendance. Brother Oscar A. Kirkham was also present at this meeting and at Stockholm. During our tour of the Swedish Mission we were accompanied by President Gustive O. Larson.
The first meeting was held in Malmo on August 19, and there were between two and three hundred people in attendance. Meetings were held in Stockholm Sunday, August 22, which were very well attended, nearly all present being our own people. There were between three and four hundred people present at each of these meetings. We then held a meeting in Goteberg, Sweden, where our party was met by President A. Richard Petersen of the Norwegian Mission, who accompanied us on our tour of Norway. At the meeting held in Oslo, on August 26, there were nearly 500 people present.
In Bergen on Sunday, August 29, we held two meetings, one in the morning and one in the evening, and at the evening meeting there were more than 600 people in attendancefully two-thirds of those who were present being non-members of the Church.
I am sure that there were in the building fully 100 people who could not get seats and they remained standing, as far as I could judge, without any of them going out during the entire service. After the close of the meeting the choir sang three very beautiful selections. One was particularly beautiful; I cannot recall the name of it, but we all decided that the singing of it on this occasion was better and sweeter than we had ever heard it sung before.
I am very pleased to tell you that Evan Stephens’ anthems were sung in nearly all of the places we visited. They have been translated into the various languages and we enjoyed them very much, indeed. In one conference three of Brother Stephens’ anthems were sung. I feel that we owe a very great debt of gratitude to men like Evan Stephens, George Careless, Ebenezer Beesley, Joseph J. Daynes, and others who have furnished us the music for our beautiful hymns. I rejoice in listening to these musical selections.
Brother Joseph J. Cannon, who has just been released from the presidency of the British Mission, after having filled a very fine mission and was succeeded by Brother Hugh B. Brown at the time we left on this trip to visit Holland and the Scandinavian countriesto our astonishment was able to speak the Swedish language to the people, and they assured us that he spoke good Swedish. We thought this was very remarkable, seeing that it had been about 35 or 38 years since he first went there and filled a mission of nearly three years.
We held a number of M. I. A. meetings in addition to the regular meetings, and I met with the missionaries many times in the different missions where only the missionaries and the mission presidents were present.
The party returned by steamship from Bergen, Norway, to London by way of Newcastle, leaving Bergen August 30. The weather was all right but the ship rocked a little and I enjoyed lying in my bed during the trip from Bergen to Newcastle.
We sailed for home on September 4, arriving here on Sunday, the 12th, just 13 weeks from the Sunday we left on our trip.
IMPRESSED BY CHANGE IN ATTITUDE The thing that impressed me more profoundly on this mission than anything else was the marvelous change that has come about in the attitude of the people regarding the Latter-day Saints. When I was in Europe 30-odd years ago it will be 31 years on Christmas day since I returned–during my entire three years in the British Isles I never succeeded in getting a single solitary article published in the newspapers. Some of the vilest, most wicked, obscene, terrible things were published regarding us, but those in charge of the press positively refused to listen to anything we had to say.
I was assured while on this trip that we had favorable newspaper notices in Germany, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, in Holland and in Belgium. No criticism of any kind or description, just fine notices regarding our meetings, and in some cases the notices in the papers in the British Isles were of such a character that if we had had the privilege of writing them ourselves we could not have written anything that would have pleased us better. As near as I could judge not a single article was written during our entire trip but what was intended to give a fair, honorable and splendid report of our people. I rejoice in these things. It is such a marvelous change from the spirit of animosity and almost hatred that I found among newspaper men that I came in contact with over thirty years ago.
As one illustration, I received a letter from the managing man of Ramsden and Company, way back in the early days before the White Star steamships were built I have forgotten the name of the steamship line but the Ramsden people had entire charge of itand Mr. Ramsden was one of the most loyal friends of our mission presidents that I think we ever had in any part of the world.
STORY OF INTERVIEW WITH EDITOR I remember John Henry Smith telling me of a letter that President Joseph F. Smith wrote to Mr. Ramsden thanking him for his very splendid treatment while he presided over the European Mission. Mr.
Ramsden said he would not sell that letter for a thousand dollars or more, that he prized it more than any other letter he had ever received. President Smith told Mr. Ramsden in this letter that the very wonderful treatment he had received from him and others was such that he dared not call on him to bid him goodby, but waited until he was on the steamship before doing so, as he was almost afraid that he might break down and make a baby of himself if he had called in person to thank him.
The manager of Ramsden and Company gave me a letter of introduction to the editor of a London paper, and said he felt that the paper would publish anything I wanted published. When I reached the newspaper office I was told that the editor was out of town, but that his assistant, a Mr. Robinson, would receive me. The assistant asked me what I wanted, and I told him I would like very much to tell him the truth about our people, that what he had published was not true.
“That is all right,” he said, “we have published the right thing about you Mormons.”
“Well,” I said, “when a man calls another man a liar, he naturally thinks that he has done the right thing of course, but that does not make him a liar. I know absolutely that everything you have published in your paper is a falsehood. I come to you with a letter from the firm that has done business with us for over fifty years, and that vouches not only for my honesty and integrity, but for the honesty and integrity of every man who has served as president of the British and European missions of the Church for fifty long years. I defy you to get a certificate of character in favor of any one of the people who has furnished you the lies you have published in your paper.”
“Never mind, we do not propose to publish anything you say.”
I said: “Good-by. I have met your kind from London to Tokyo.” Thirty-odd years ago in England the way one dressed had quite an effect on people, and we had to wear “stovepipe” hats. When the boy who came downstairs to meet me told me that the editor was out, and that the assistant editor would receive me, that the assistant editor’s name was Robinson, I thought to myself, after he dismisses me I will refer him to Phil Robinson.
After the assistant editor had refused to grant my request, I stepped to the door, put on my two-story hat, and then turned around and took it off again and said:
“By the way, as I remember it, the boy said that you are not the editor, that the editor was out, and you are only the assistant editor, and your name is Robinson. Is your name Robinson?” “Yes.”
I said, “Are you related to Phil Robinson?” “No sir.”
“Do you know Phil Robinson?”
“Do I know Phil Robinson? Everybody knows Phil Robinson.”
“Well, I am glad to know that. Is he editing the Society and Court Journal here in London?”
“Was he the correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph, one of the two greatest [I emphasized “greatest” because his paper was not one of the greatest] London newspapers during the Boer War?” “He was.”
“Would you believe anything he said?” “Anything he said, fully.”
“One hundred cents on the dollar?”
“Fully one hundred cents on the dollar,” he answered.
“All right. Buy his book entitled ‘Sinners and Saints’, it will cost you only a couple of shillings, and if you cannot afford the money I will buy it and give it to you. You will find that everything you have published in your paper is a falsehood.”
Phil Robinson came to Utah and he traveled from Cache Valley on the north clear down to Orderville and St. George and other places on the south, and wrote a book giving statistics and showing that eighty per cent of the population did not anywhere near furnish as many inmates of the city jail and the territorial penitentiary as the eighteen per cent who were not members of the Church.
He said, “Why, you astonish me.”
I said, “Oh, you are not the only man who has been astonished when he has run up against the Mormon question.” “Write me half a column.”
I said, “Thanks. Small favors thankfully received, large ones in proportion. Ten columns of lies, and a half column of refutation. You shall have it within a few hours.”
I sent it to him. He kept it the usual two or three months, and then sent it back with the usual printed slip which I have read many times: “The editor regrets that he cannot find space for the enclosed manuscript, which is returned.”
I never get one of those statements but I think of the humorous expression: “Polite lying is a gentlemanly accomplishment, lubricates business, varnishes unpleasant facts, promotes friendship.”
Instead of the editor’s statement impressing me with his real sorrow, it impressed me with the fact that he was guilty of falsehood.
Today we find the exact opposite, in that country, and in fact all over the United States. We are getting more favorable notices today on account of our Security Plan than we have ever had before, and I am sorry that we are getting more credit than we are entitled to have.
IDLENESS NOT TO BE ENCOURAGED I took the trouble this morning to read in the D&C regarding the idler, and we have some idlers in our midst. We find in Section 75 of the Doctrine and Covenants:
Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the Church, except he repent and mend his ways.
I referred yesterday to the people who were assembled in this building, and the Tabernacle was nearly as full (excepting the gallery) of our good sisters yesterday as it is of people today. Let me tell you that where there is one idler among the sisters there are about twenty-five idlers among the brethren. I think that is about a fair average.
In Section 88, we read:
Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.
Please remember that these are not the statements of Heber J. Grant, but they are the statements of the Lord:
And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord.
Now I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.
Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.
We now are trying to take care of the worthy poor, and in about eight cases out of ten the “worthy poor” who apply for help are not and have not been full, honest, conscientious tithepayers.
Behold, they have been sent to preach my gospel among the congregations of the wicked; wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, thus: Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known.
I want to tell you we found, by inquiry, that a great many of our missionaries were idling away their time, and we tried to encourage them to be more faithful. I heard a statement that I quoted here yesterday I hope it is not truethat a man who had often borrowed money from one of our country banks on a crop mortgage came to the bank and wanted some money. The banker said: “Certainly, we’ll be glad to let you have some money. Just bring us a crop mortgage.”
“Ah,” said he, “I am not raising any crops now. The government is giving me more money for not raising crops than I could get otherwise. I will give you an order on the government.”
Let us hope that that spirit of independence that was with our pioneer fathers may be reawakened in us, and that none who are Latter-day Saints holding the Priesthood of God will be guilty of being idle. Let us work early and let us work late.
REVELATION TO HYRUM SMITH As I was looking for these passages that I have quoted, I thought of a very remarkable and wonderful revelation that was given, as I remember it, eleven months before the Church was organized, through the Prophet Joseph Smith to his brother Hyrum. It is a remarkable revelation:
Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God…
Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be done unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.
Few men have ever lived that have done more good than Hyrum Smith in his generation, and he has left a posterity that is among the staunchest and most powerful in all the Church. One of the most splendid men that ever lived was his son the late President of this Church, Joseph F. Smith.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be unto you; and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.
That was the desire of Joseph F. Smith, and he did it.
Say nothing but repentance unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.
* * *
Behold, this is your work to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.
Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea the power of God unto the convincing of men.
* * *
Behold, I speak unto all who have good desires, and have thrust in their sickle to reap.
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world.
I am the same who came unto mine own and mine own received me not; But verily, verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name.
My brethren and sisters, I am not reading to you my words, but I am quoting to you the words of Jesus Christ our Redeemer and Savior. While upon this mission one thing that thrilled me was to read the book by Richard L. Evans giving a history of missionary work in Great Britain. Fifty thousand, as I remember it, of the staunchest, finest of all the people of Great Britain have helped to build this Church by emigrating to this country. A marvelous work.
Wilford Woodruff baptized over 2,000 people, and Orson Pratt nearly the same number. Heber C. Kimball, Lorenzo Snow and others did marvelous and wonderful work there also.
President Heber C. Kimball was inspired in the most marvelous and wonderful way in opening up that mission. I had great joy in contemplating these things.
THE EUROPEAN SAINTS TO HAVE MORE ATTENTION It melted my heart to find how anxious the people who are in those countries are to hear the Authorities of the Church, how their hearts swelled with gratitude when President Clark, myself, Brother Lyman and others were with them. I feel really and truly ashamed of myself that I have neglected so long returning to that part of the flock. They are just as much a part of this Church as you are, and the Lord helping us, they shall not be neglected in the future as much as they have been in the past. They are a part of the work of God, and they are entitled to visits every year or two from some of the leaders of this Church. We have taken care of our people here at home, and we have sadly neglected those fine people over in those countries. Pardon me, but I do feel in my heart condemned that I did not take the time to go back there sooner, and if the Lord spares my life I am not going to wait very long before going back again
I think I have reasonably well covered the ground in reporting my mission to you.
A FINANCIAL SAVIOR I want to say a little about a subject that so many Latter-day Saints say they are sick and tired of. Why are they sick and tired of it? Because they are not doing their duty. No mortal man who is living the Word of Wisdom is ever sick and tired of hearing it preached. It would be the financial savior of the whole world if they were to live the Word of Wisdom. It would solve all their financial problems, there would not be, as I remember it, about 160,000,000,000 or 170,000,000,000 cigarets smoked in a single year a soul and body-destroying weed.
I remember reading years ago (I had a number of statistics in a little book, which I regret I have lost), a statement to the effect that for fifty long years in Harvard no young man who smoked tobacco had ever graduated as the star student of his class, and yet there were five times as many boys smoking tobacco as there were who did not smoke. A soul-destroying and body-destroying weed.
When I read in the newspaper a few days ago of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that we are taking in in our state through the sale of liquor, millions of dollars being wasted a yearworse than wasted I felt sad. Would you think much of a man who would set fire to millions of dollars worth of property? That is what is being done when we drink liquor and when our young people learn to smoke cigarets. Let each and every one of us fathers and mothers set an example of keeping the Word of Wisdom; then there will be no reflection upon us if our children do not follow our example. Let us as a people change the law in this country and not let a lot of whiskey selling people direct us. Let us at least have prohibition in Utah.
Think of the millions of dollars expended here in Utah alone for the use of liquor. There was not a tithe of the amount of liquor now consumed used when we had Prohibition. Millions of dollars of money was expended to bring back liquor. The whole United States has surrendered to the lies that were told to the effect that there was more drunkenness and more crime when we had Prohibition. No greater lies were ever published.
THE WORD OF WISDOM The Word of Wisdom is what the Lord has to say, not what man has to say, and although an old subject, I propose to read the Word of Wisdom. This is what the Lord says, and not what Heber J. Grant says don’t forget it. Let each and every one of us try to improve our lives and inspire others to improve theirs. No man or woman who is keeping the Word of Wisdom finds fault with it. Why? Because they know of the health they enjoy, they know of the peace, the joy, the comfort, the satisfaction that come to their hearts when they do what the Lord wants them to do.
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833 (over a hundred years ago) known as the Word of Wisdom. Abstinence from wine, strong drinks enjoined Moderation in the eating of meat Wholesome foods Promises to those who live according to these precepts.
A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the Church, and also the Saints in Zion
To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint
Some say, “Oh, that is how I get around it. It is not given by commandment or constraint.” What is it? I will tell you what it is but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God
When the Lord shows forth his order and his will, do not try to sing lullabies to your conscience, any one of you who is breaking the Word of Wisdom. in the temporal salvation of all Saints in the last days.
It would be the temporal salvation of the people of all the wide world if they would live the Word of Wisdom.
Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all Saints, who are or can be called Saints.
Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation
And can there be a more damnable design than advertisements showing the picture of a beautiful woman and by her a ring of tobacco smoke, supposed to be a wedding ring? A picture of a beautiful woman learning to smoke.
That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
And behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
And again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man
Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.
Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly.
And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground
Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
And all Saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
What a wonderful promise from God!
And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.
I believe as firmly as I believe that I am standing here before you today that, on three separate and distinct occasions in my life I would have lost my life had I not been an observer of the Word of Wisdom, but on account of the pure blood I had in my veins and the promise of God and the keeping of the commandments of God, my life has been spared.
It is no hardship to me to eat meat sparingly. I lived for several years, during the winter time, in the Utah Hotel and I am sure that not more than ten or a dozen times did I order meat, and then it was some small lamb chops; no pork, no turkey, no chicken, no veal of any kind did I ever eat during that time at the cafeteria.
JOY IN BEARING TESTIMONY I rejoice in the remarkable health I enjoy. It has been the joy of my life to testify of the good things that come to every man and every woman who lives up to the commandments of the Lord. I thank the Lord beyond all the power with which he has endowed me to express my thoughts for this Word of Wisdom, the temporal salvation of this people, if we only keep it.
I have had joy in my labors in the British Isles and on the Continent. It has been a real pleasure to me to bear my witness in all humility that I know that God lives; that I know that he hears and answers our prayers; that I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, the Redeemer of mankind. I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the true and living God and that he was inspired and directed by our Heavenly Father and that he received revelations from God and from Jesus Christ. It was my joy to bear that testimony in all these lands that I have referred to. Not only has it been my joy to do this, but I thank the Lord that for fifty-odd long years I have been able to bear that testimony and that day by day and year by year there have come to me constantly evidences, so far as the intelligence with which God has endowed me is concerned, to confirm my knowledge of the truth of this Gospel of Jesus Christ which has come to us.
With all my heart and soul, I pray God to help you and to help me and to help every One of the Latter-day Saints so to live that our lives will proclaim the Gospel; that our lives may be the influence that will make a good impression. Many young men think that if they are “a hale fellow well met”; that if the man that is employing them smokes and they smoke too he will think more of them. I tell you the day is here right now when many men will not employ a Mormon boy who is not living up to the teachings of his parents and observing the Word of Wisdom.
SUCCESS FOLLOWS KEEPING OF COMMANDMENTS The keeping of the commandments of the Lord gives us success in the battle of life. The money expended for liquor and tobacco is the difference between a young man making a success in life and making a failure.
I stood at the graves of two of my boyhood friends who lived long enough to be married and have children. Liquor had got the better of them and as I stood at their graves–one of them having been cut off the Church for having lost his virtue while under the influence of liquor I pledged my best to the Lord as I looked up into heaven, to labor with all the power that God gave me to fight whiskey and tobacco and I have kept that pledge.
I hope every Latter-day Saint within the sound of my voice today may make a pledge with God that he or she will not be an idler; that he or she will keep the commandments of God; that they may bring others to a knowledge of the truth, and this is my humble prayer, and I ask it in humility and in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.