Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Few Minutes at Kofu, Japan, 1909
 


A Few Minutes at Kofu, Japan, 1909

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 15, 2013

See here for explanation.

3 January 1909

Sunday School convened as usual at 10:00 A.M. Nearly all that attended at Fujikawacho came to our new home. This was very gratifying.

Sacrament Meeting commenced at 1:00 P.M. Elder William R. Fairbourn presided. Opened by singing, “Beautiful Day Of Rest.” Invocation was offered by Elder Wm R. Fairbourn. Continued by singing, “For Our Devotions Father.” The Sacrament was administered by Elders J.H. Stimpson and E.C. Taylor.

Elder Wm R. Fairbourn was the first to speak telling all to speak if they felt in the spirit of so doing and then warning all present to be careful of boasting. We should never think that God is under obligation to bestow his blessings upon us for he is not and if we think so we are on dangerous ground. He bore his testimony of the truth.

Elder J.H. Stimpson then spoke saying he was pleased to have had the privilege to be born of “Mormon” parentage who had taught him the gospel from childhood he thereby having gained a testimony when very young. Every saint should try to bring up the children correctly.

Elder E.C. Taylor expressed his joy in bearing his testimony wherever he was and then admonished the saints to teach their children the plan of life and salvation.

Brother Maraji Yoneyama spoke next. He is happy to have a testimony and hope to live much better during the coming year than he has done in the past.

Sister Hana Yoneyama was the last speaker she bearing a humble but brief testimony desiring to live better hereafter.

Closed by singing, “Our Everlasting Friend.” Benediction was pronounced by Bro Maraji Yoneyama.

The elders spent the afternoon conversing with saints and investigators.

-ooo-

Preaching Meeting commenced at 7:10 P.M. 12 Japanese were present. The Opening song was, “God Is Love.” Invocation was offered by E.C. Taylor. Song, “Do What Is Right.”

Elder Wm R. Fairbourn spoke on regeneration. In every function of life there is a time for rest, he said, and the spirit is not excepted. Inasmuch as the New Year is just beginning, we should examine our past and make resolutions to improve over the same. Especially should we guard our lips as words cut deeper than the sword. We should not worry, nor think it a honor to have noted ancestors. Be better than they. We should obey the golden rule, as we will find it will bring us great joy. In order to have our sins remitted, we must do as Christ says, be born of the water and the spirit, John 3. In doing this we regenerate and receive new life. We are here to progress and therefore regeneration is essential. Earth can be made a heaven or hell just as we strive to do.

Closed by singing, “Come Hither All Ye Weary Souls.” Benediction was offered by Elder J.H. Stimpson.

10 January 1909

Sunday School convened at 10:00 A.M. with a very large attendance. The boys class was organized with Elder W.R. Fairbourn as teacher.

Sacrament Meeting commenced at 1:15 P.M. Elder Fairbourn presided. The Opening song was “O My Father.” Invocation was offered by Elder E.C. Taylor. Song, “While Of These Emblems We Partake.” The Sacrament was then administered by Elders J.H. Stimpson and Wm. R. Fairbourn.

Bro. Yoneyama was called to speak but he asked to be excused as he could think of nothing on which to speak.

Elder Fairbourn then spoke briefly, reading Ephesians 6:10-18 and telling what the saints require to build them up in faith and works.

The Closing song was, “Come Listen To A Prophet’s Voice. Benediction was pronounced by Elder J.H. Stimpson.

-ooo-

Japanese Bible Class was held at 3:00 P.M. by Elder Wm R. Fairbourn. Baptism being the subject, a very interesting session was held. Eleven Japanese were present.

-ooo-

Preaching Meeting commenced at 7:05 P.M. The opening song was, “We’re Not Ashamed To Own Our Lord.” Prayer was offered by Elder J.H. Stimpson. Singing, “See The Mighty Angel Flying.”

Elder Wm R. Fairbourn spoke on Revelation. Paul’s conversion was related in detail. He received the gospel through revelation and not from man. Adam saw and talked with God. Noah and family were saved by obedience to a revelation from God. Revelations have been given in every dispensation according to the needs of the people. The revelation to Noah is practically useless to us. The teachings of Christ were given through the power of God. Man today is spiritually far behind the people of antiquity. We should not tempt God for a sign. The Church is founded on Revelation and Joseph Smith had the privilege of seeing God, receiving many important revelations. Many things will be revealed in the future as in the past, and always to the chosen ones of God.

The closing song was “The Spirit Of God.” Benediction was offered by Elder E.C. Taylor.

17 January 1909

Sunday School was held at 10:00 A.M. there being about 90 in attendance. A new cook came quite early and settled herself in the house.

-ooo-

Sacrament Meeting commenced at 1:00 P.M.

The Opening song was “Join The Children Of The Lord.” Prayer was offered by Elder Joseph H. Stimpson. Song, “Tis Sweet To Sing The Matchless Love.” The sacrament was then administered by Elders Wm R. Fairbourn and E.C. Taylor.

Elder Joseph H. Stimpson spoke of the philosophers and prophets that have lived on the earth showing how Christ was the greatest he being the Son of God and by giving his death for mankind’s sake, brought salvation into the world. The philosophers teach many truths but Christ’s teachings include all truth.

Song, “Parting Hymn.” Benediction was pronounced by Elder E.C. Taylor.

-ooo-

Bible Class was held at 3:00 P.M. by Elder Wm R. Fairbourn. The lesson was taken from John 4: where Jesus talked with the woman of Samaria. 6 Japanese were present.

-ooo-

Preaching meeting commenced at 7:00 P.M. 26 Japanese were present. Opened by singing, “Improve The Shining Moments.” Invocation was offered by Elder Wm R. Fairbourn. Song, “God Is Love.”

Elder Wm Fairbourn took up a great many of the teachings of Christ and deliberated on the same. Christ taught the plan of salvation by example as well as by precept and when we practise his teachings, we can make this earth a heaven. The resurrection was mention[ed] briefly. We should be careful to be not deceived as there are many false prophets in sheep’s clothing about and not all who say “Lord, Lord,” will enter the Kingdom Of Heaven. We must obey God’s laws to obtain salvation as we cannot climb a fence to enter heaven. Song, “Marching Homeward.” We should be careful not to make light of God nor his teachings as he is kind to all.

The Closing song was “Let The Holy Spirit Guide.” Benediction was pronounced by Elder E.C. Taylor.

24 January 1909

At 10:00 A.M. Sunday School convened, there being a good attendance in each class the lessons of which were interesting.

Sacrament meeting began at 1:00 P.M. under the direction of Elder Wm R. Fairbourn. No Japanese saints were present. Meeting was commenced by singing “Beautiful Words Of Love.” Invocation was pronounced by Elder Wm R. Fairbourn. Continued by singing, “Jesus Once Of Humble Birth.” The Sacrament was administered by Elders J.H. Stimpson and E.C. Taylor.

Elder E.C. Taylor read a piece on “Education” from Vol. 6 #24 of the “Liahona, The Elders Journal.” Song, “Join The Children Of The Lord.” Benediction was pronounced by Elder J.H. Stimpson.

-ooo-

A very interesting and instructive bible class was held by Elder Wm R. Fairbourn at 3:00 P.M. 11 Japanese were present and all took an interest in the lesson which was John 5:1-35.

-ooo-

Preaching Meeting commenced at 7:00 P.M. 22 Japanese attended. Opened by singing “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer.” Invocation was offered by Sister Iso. Song, “See The Mighty Angel Flying.”

Elder J.H. Stimpson spoke on the apostacy from and restoration of the gospel. He explained the organization of the church set up by Christ plainly showing that it was greatly different from those of the modern Christian Churches. The apostacy and restoration were seen by the prophets of antiquity and Christ and his apostles were continually warning the saints of the apostacy. We need only to study history to find that the prophecies have been literally fulfilled. The angel seen by John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos appeared to Joseph Smith in answer to his humble prayer and through his instrumentality the gospel was restored with all its former perfectness which is being preached unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Joseph Smith was led to ask God for wisdom because of the many differences of the Christian churches.

Song, “the Spirit of God.” Elder E.C. Taylor pronounced the benediction.

31 January 1909

Sunday School convened at 10:00 5 children being present.

Sacrament Meeting commenced at 1:00 P.M. No Saints. The Opening song was, “O My Father.” Prayer was offered by E.C. Taylor. Song, “We’ll Sing All Hail to Jesus’ Name.” The Sacrament was administered by Elders J.H. Stimpson and W.R. Fairbourn.

Elder E.C. Taylor spoke briefly on the subject, “As man is, God once was, As God is, man may become,” using Luke 6:40 for his text.

Song, “Come Hither All Ye Weary Souls.” Benediction was pronounced by Elder W.R. Fairbourn.

-ooo-

9 Japanese attended bible class which commenced at 3:00 the subject being the feeding of the 5,000. All enjoyed it.

-ooo-

Preaching Meeting began at 7:00 P.M. 28 Japanese were in attendance. All sang, “O Say What Is Truth.” Prayer was offered by Elder Wm R;. Fairbourn. Song, “Though Deepening Trials.”

Elder Wm R. Fairbourn spoke on death. He went on to prove that Adam’s sin was no detriment but a blessing as everything must die before bearing fruit. If we obey God’s commandments, death should have no sting as Christ died for us thereby winning the victory over death. Paul wrote a great deal on the subject death the speaker reading Cor. 15th chapter. In order to gain the benefit of Christ’s atonement, we must acknowledge him and obey his laws. Death has no sting to the faithful for they know that the departed person is only separated for a short time and that they are living in a much better place than this earth.

Song, “Guide Me To Thee.” Elder J.H. Stimpson offered the benediction.



16 Comments »

  1. Thanks, Ardis. Reading these is the next best thing to being there–in fact it may in parts be better than being there!

    I’m impressed with Bro. Yoneyama’s honesty on January 10. How much would our meetings be improved if more people who have nothing to say would decline the invitation to speak.

    But the real question I’d like an answer to: Why Kofu? Even now it’s a relatively small city–about 200,000 after some recent consolidation with neighboring towns. A century ago it was probably less than a quarter that–so what led the missionaries to that small town in the mountains?

    One other thing I noticed: they sang “Let the Holy Spirit Guide” on 17 January. But that couldn’t be the same hymn that is now in our hymnbook, since the text for our hymn was written by someone born in 1939.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 15, 2013 @ 6:55 am

  2. I have no clue to the hymn, but I halfway remember a part answer to the “Why Kofu?” Before reaching this point, I read a discussion by this group of elders with their mission leadership about where their work might be most effective, and everyone seemed to agree that the people in smaller towns, not the big cities they had been focusing on, were more open to new ideas, less bound by social position, and more willing to talk about religion. So I don’t know “Why Kofu?” In particular, but that’s why towns *like* Kofu in general.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 15, 2013 @ 7:17 am

  3. FWIW, Kofu is also up in the mountains, which might have made these Elders feel a little more like home. I’ve never been, but the Saints in the Yamanashi region are rock-solid. They also have incredible grapes up there.

    I wish there had been more detail as to who some of the attendees were. I understand why there wasn’t, but one can wish. God bless Bro. Yoneyama.

    Comment by Chad Too — March 15, 2013 @ 8:08 am

  4. I’ll have to see if there’s anything in Alma Taylor’s journal that sheds some light on the question.

    I’m with Chad, Too. I’m wishing for more detail. Where was their new “home”? And why did they move from Fujikawa-cho (which, by the way, is just west across the Fuji River (in Japanese, “Fujikawa”)), and were they now within Kofu city?

    Did the missionaries live in the same building they used for meetings? It wasn’t uncommon–in fact, in Okayama in 1973 we lived in two rooms at the back of the old house that had been slightly renovated for use as a church. The shower was downstairs (by way of an only partly enclosed staircase) and through the kitchen, which made for a slight problem the Sunday morning we all overslept and realized when we got up that the members were already arriving for meetings. I wonder if they noticed that we were all unshaven and unwashed that morning.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 15, 2013 @ 8:45 am

  5. I’m not a big expert on Japanese culture even if sending a son there on a mission in a couple of months (Nagoya) but Elder Wm R. Fairbourn in the Jan. 3 meeting, intentionally or not, seems to have hit some themes that might have resonated with the Japanese Saints culturally as he

    “spoke on regeneration. In every function of life there is a time for rest, he said, and the spirit is not excepted.”

    That sounds like an Asian concept they would understand. And then he referenced “noted ancestors” and how we should be “better than they.” He may have been referencing his Pioneers, and the Japanese may have been thinking of their cultural emphasis on ancestors.

    How challenging it is to fuse the positive aspects of a very different culture into a Gospel culture without Amercanizing it.

    Comment by Grant — March 15, 2013 @ 8:52 am

  6. Yes, Grant, it did seem that Elder Fairbourn might have been trying to speak to themes that would have resonated with the Japanese listeners.

    I wondered if Kofu might be far enough west to be in the Nagoya Mission–it’s not. But I found out that it’s in the Machida Stake–Machida is a city in Tokyo Prefecture, and the rest of the stake is clustered around Machida. Except Kofu, which is a two-hour train ride away. It seems that Kofu still doesn’t quite fit in.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 15, 2013 @ 9:45 am

  7. Mark, re your comment about the song: I’ve found a George Careless hymn in the LDS Psalmody (1889) with the first line “Let the Holy Spirit now shine forth in every heart,” which I suspect mat be the hymn sung. That supposes two things, that the minutes omitted the word “now,” and that I misread the handwritten “Shine” for “Guide,” which isn’t at all impossible especially if I were primed to see the more familiar hymn name. Someday I may call for the minutes again to doublecheck this, but not immediately.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 15, 2013 @ 11:13 am

  8. And, by the way, I’ve really enjoyed sitting back and reading the discussion by three returned missionaries to Japan!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 15, 2013 @ 11:14 am

  9. Ah, Lorenzo Snow makes an appearance in Japan:

    Elder E.C. Taylor spoke briefly on the subject, “As man is, God once was, As God is, man may become,” using Luke 6:40 for his text.

    Comment by David Y. — March 15, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  10. Thanks for this post, (Brother) Parshall. I served in the Sapporo mission, and this brought back so many wonderful memories.

    If only you were more scholarly in your approach to the secrets of the Gospel . . . *grin*

    Comment by Ray — March 15, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

  11. Good one, Ray. I saw that, too. Hopefully you-know-who doesn’t come over here to enlighten us with her extra-special knowledge.

    Comment by David Y. — March 15, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

  12. Although there were several Japanese people at the meetings, only the Yoneyama’s were named. So sad. As I have researched early Tennessee saints, I found missionary journals were my only source.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — March 15, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

  13. I wonder how many of those Japanese people had actually joined the church. My guess is that most of them had not.

    From the opening of the Japan Mission in 1901 until its temporary closure in 1924, there were only 166 converts in the entire country. Most of those attending in Kofu were probably not members of the church.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 15, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

  14. But if she does come over, we’ll have to pronounce her name in the Japanese manner–”Bento.” And it would only be right to give her an honorific, so she’ll become Obento.

    And then we’ll have her for lunch.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 15, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

  15. I’m wondering if the Yoneyamas might have been the only actual members of the Church in the area at the time, as they are the only Japanese mentioned as participating. But it’s amazing that they had so many people attending some of the meetings — 26, 28, 90 (!). That’s impressive.

    Kofu (and all of Yamanashi-ken) was part of the Tokyo South Mission, which was discontinued but will be re-activated this July. (I would assume the mission will take on its previous boundaries, which would include Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Kanagawa, and about 2/3 of Tokyo.)

    I visited Kofu once to pick grapes. It’s a very beautiful area.

    Comment by lindberg — March 15, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

  16. I notice that three hymns were sung twice during the five weeks of meetings: “The Spirit of God,” “God is Love,” and “O My Father.” Do you think the missionaries were not as familiar with other songs, or were these their favorite songs?

    Comment by Maurine — March 15, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI