Andrew Kimball Smith, a son of President Joseph F. Smith and Alice Ann Kimball, was a young missionary in Germany in 1912. His president, Hyrum W. Valentine, selected him as one of the elders from that mission to attend a conference of the Netherlands-Belgium Mission along with elders from Scandinavia. The conference – with its twelve meetings! – kept him “busy digesting good advice and counsel,” he wrote to his mother. “I returned to Leipzig with many new ideas, and also many resolutions.”
Andrew distilled those resolutions into ten “Articles of Determination”:
1. I intend to rise at 7 o’clock in the morning, or before, regardless of the time I retire.
2. I intend to eat regularly and moderately, and never break the Word of Wisdom.
3. It matters not whether I distribute three or seventy-five tracts; I intend to do two hours of conscientious tracting a day, for five days in the week.
4. I do not intend to visit my room between 9:30 a.m. and 9 at night, except upon extraordinary occasions.
5. I intend to be punctual at every meal, invitation, and meeting.
6. I intend to study my bible-class lesson, Sunday school lesson, brothers’ meeting lesson, Priesthood meeting lesson, etc., as faithfully as any other missionary and Saint in the branch.
7. I intend to obey in spirit and letter all instructions and admonitions of those placed in authority over me.
8. I intend to season my work with determination, enthusiasm, conscientiousness, happiness, humility, and prayerfulness.
9. I intend to be prepared at all times with interesting and well prepared subjects to speak upon, but nevertheless be susceptible to the spirit as to which I shall choose.
10. I intend to love god, the missionaries, and the Saints, and honor my father and my mother by honoring myself in private and in public. ‘To thine own self be true, and it will follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.’
“These are my ten articles of determination,” he concluded. “There are two great factors which have made my ideals in life, and have strengthened my determination to succeed. They have been my father, who has been my inspiration, and my mother, who has been my guardian angel.”
I don’t know how well Andrew kept his “determinations,” but I suspect that many of them were good ones for him to work toward … the year before, Andrew had dropped out of Brigham Young University due to bad grades and cutting classes.
One evidence of his missionary determination is the level of skill he developed in his mission language. In 1917 Andrew enlisted to serve during the First World War. He was posted practically on his own doorstep, at Fort Douglas on the bench above Salt Lake City, where he worked with the German POWs held there, and censored their outgoing mail.
Here’s to missions that help good young people get back on track!