Around the turn of the 20th century the Church began encouraging “missionary classes” for men – mostly young, but of any age – to prepare for full-time missionary service. Classes could even be taken by correspondence at one period. These classes focused on gospel principles and Church history that missionaries would need in the field, and also included general (secular) education and etiquette and other subjects that rural and frontier men may have missed in their youth, designed to help missionaries present themselves in respectable company.
The minutes presented here emphasize Church history. I’ve skimmed through the minutes for several years’ classes at the St. Johns Academy. The class read and discussed much of the Book of Mormon one year, and looked at a few New Testament parables another year. Perhaps 95% of the class material for these years, though, were Church history lessons.
5 January 1903
Song Redeemer of Israel. Opening Prayer by Fred Neilsen.
There being no lesson assigned at last class, Bro F.A. Hinckley made some explanations etc. Made arrangements for boys to go home to study. Changed time of class from 4 P.M. to 1 P.M.
Lesson assignment etc.
Benediction by Henry Jones.
6 January 1903
Song page 53 The Time Is Far Spent. Opening prayer by Jos. Burk.
Prophecy on the Saints being driven to the Rocky Mountains – T.R. Lee.
A Breathing Spell by Leroy Lesueur.
Joseph’s Anticipation of his Sacrifice – Henry Jones.
Many prophecies – Wm. Laney
Wrestling & Other Manly Sports – Thos. Adair
Teachings of the Prophet by J.E. Crosby
Attack on Nauvoo Charter – Wm Patten.
The Lull was Brief by John Earl
Benediction A.O. Schreeve
7 January 1903
Song p. 8. Come all ye Sons of Zion. Opening prayer E.I. Whiting.
Prophecy concerning move to Rocky Mountains (from Manual) given by Fred Nielsen.
Celestial Marriage (L.J.S.) Jos. Burk.
Eternity & Plurality of the Marriage Covenant by Fred Nielsen.
Revelation written and given to High Council by Elva Heap
Joseph, Hyrum & others obey it – J. Sorrensen
Benediction T.R. Lee
8 January 1903
Singing What Was Witnessed. Opening prayer by Prof F.A. Hinckley.
Bert Shreve spoke on Joseph Smith running for presidency of U.S.
Jas. McFate spoke on same subject.
Specific Address by the Prophet by Roy Lesueur.
The Work of Massacree by Wm Laney.
Looking to the West by John Earl.
Sublime Sermon by Jos. Burk.
Joseph Indicted for Poligamy by Wm. Pattin.
The above subjects were taken from Chap. 6 L.J.S. Apostates and their Work by Oscar Freeman.
Benediction by Wm Pattin
9 January 1903
Singing, O What Songs of the Heart. Opening prayer was offered by Thos. Adair.
The following subjects were treeted on from the 62nd Chap. (L.J.S.)
Josephs Dream by Thos Adair.
His Last Public Address by O.F. Lewis.
Conciousness of His Impending Fate by L. Maxwel.
His love for His Bretheren by Jessie Marbel.
The following subjects were taken from 63 chap (L.J.S.) Pontius Pilates Enterance upon the Scene at Carthage, by E.I. Whiting.
The Old Cry of “Crucify!” by Roy Lesueur.
Josephs Final Effort to Avert Danger from Noveau [Nauvoo], by Elva Heape, who also gave Lack of Faith and Suspicions of Cowardice.
A Fatal Blindness by J.F. Nielson.
Like Lamb to the Slaughter by Jas. Sorensen.
At Carthage by Oscar Freeman.
Bro. Hinckley spoke a short time on Spiritual Gifts.
Closed by singing We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet. Benediction by John Earl.
12 January 1903
Opened by singing “High on the Mountain Top a Ban[n]er is Unfurled.” Prayer by Jessie Marbel.
Henry Jones spoke on Return of O.P. Rockwell to Noveau (L.J.S.)
Some of the sayings of the prophet Joseph Smith were rehe[a]rsed by some of the members of the class.
Elva Heap spoke on The Conversation Between Joseph and Gov. Ford.
Singing Now Let Us Rejoice. Ben. By James McFAte.
13 January 1903
Opened by singing. Joseph Smiths First Prayer. Prayer by James Sorrenson.
Wm Pattin spoke on, Church under Brigham Young, Chap. 1. (B.H.C.)
Questions were ask[ed] and answered on above Chap.
Jessie Crosby put outline on Board.
Instructor B.F. Hinckley made outline on board of moves of Church from organization to expulsion from Ill.
Singing, “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet. Ben. Oscar Freeman.
14 January 1903
Singing, “Songs of the Heart.” Prayer by Wm Pattin.
The following subjects were treated as follows.
Sidney Rigdon’s claim to Presidency by Lorenzo Maxwel.
Church under Brigham Young Chap. 1 (B.C.H.) was reviewed by Joseph Burk.
Expelled form Ill. By Roy Lesueur.
Wm Laney put outline on board of mooves of Joseph Smith from 1825 to 1830.
Benediction by Jessie Crosby.
15 January 1903
Opened by singing, “Come, Come Ye Saints.” Prayer was offered by instructor F.A. Hinckley.
O.F. Lewis recounted some of the moves of the Prophet Joseph.
Jessie Crosby reviewed the Life of Joseph Smith from 1815 to 1825.
Wm Pattin continued with the review from 1825 to 1830.
O.F. Lewis reviewed yesterdays lesson. Also questions were ask[ed] and answered, on events hap[p]ening in year 1846 (B.H.C.) p. 105.
Jessie Crosby gave an account of Wm Smiths claim to first presidency
Singing, O Say What is True. Benediction by Wm Laney.
16 January 1903
Opened by singing, “Ye Elders of Iserael.” Prayer by E.I. Whiting.
O.F. Lewis recounted the moves of the Prophet Joseph from birth to 1830.
Wm Laney spoke concerning Joseph’s visit to Jackson Co. Mo.
Bert Shreve gave a account of Zions Camp.
J.F. Nielson spoke concerning Move of Ohio saints to Mo.
O.F. Lewis spoke concerning Expulsion from Clay Co.
Lorenzo Maxwel[l] concerning Move to Ill and Iowa.
E.I. Whiting traced moves of saints from organization to settlement in Noveau Ill.
Moves of the saints were traced by verious member[s] of the class.
Thos Adare reviewed some of yesterdays lesson.
Bert Shreve spoke concerning Pioneers and First Companys (B.H.C. p. 117.)
Questions were ask[ed] and answered on above subject.
Closed by singing The Time is Far Spent.” Benediction by Elva Heape.