This brief article reporting an LDS street meeting in Rochester, New York appeared in the Democrat and Chronicle, the newspaper of that city, in late 1925 (exact date not available). I love its description of the two missionaries – Andrew Selden Millward, of Berkeley, California (left), and Golden Kenneth Driggs, of Phoenix, Arizona (right) – in their personal appearance and physical movements, and the fair, interested tone of the writing.
Not many miles from the hill on which the founder of their sect, Joseph Smith, Jr., is claimed to have received the first visitation from the angel Moroni, two earnest young men this week are pleading earnestly for converts to the Mormon faith.
It was more than a hundred years ago that Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, dug up the golden plates on Cumorah hill, between Palmyra and Manchester, the translations from which were written into the Book of Mormon. A small Mormon colony was formed which, much troubled by religious persecutors, in time migrated west, to become established ultimately in Utah.
The young men who have come back to the country of the birthplace of their religion to attempt to win new converts spoke early in the week at Front and Main streets and their oratorical efforts, if not the philosophy of their religion, evoked considerable interest. There was something deeply tinged with the dramatic about the manner of the two young apostles of the faith that seldom failed to attract – and hold – an audience. They were fearless and unequivocal in their convictions, loud of voice and vigorous of gesture.
In appearance the young men did not resemble the average street corner preachers. Their clothes were of the “clever, college cut.” The hair of one was smoothed back with an ointment for such purposes popular with the young men of today; one wore a colored shirt with a quite Collegiate tie. They were fresh, clean-cut appearing young men, whose earnestness was beyond questions.
Moving about the fairly large circle, ringed by spectators, with the rapidity and vigorousness of a man shadow boxing, the first of the young preachers declared that his people, the people of the Mormon church, were the “most contented and happy people in the world.” His voice rang loudly into Main Street as he announced that they had “seen the light” and were content to follow the path of the great founder of their faith who, early in the last century, had received an immortal visitant on Cumorah hill. He gestured wildly, raising his hands above his head, leaned backward and then thrust his hands forward with a punching movement, implored with voice and gesture a tolerance for and a greater understanding of the sect he represented and when he finished, quite breathless and physically spent, he bowed his “comrade” into the circle, and the second speaker took up the chain of the argument and engagingly carried it forward for another fifteen minutes, while the luncheon hour of a couple of hundred rapt listeners slipped away.