Here’s another essay in our collection of early 20th Century writings that defined the characteristic “Mormon standards” of that new era, and that have influenced the markers of Mormonism for the last century.
In most ways, this 1912 editorial is no different from earlier ones we have seen. It speaks almost worshipfully of the square dances of the sainted pioneers, and condemns as prostitution the then-current dances of youth. It is liberally sprinkled with exclamation points to underscore the writer’s horror at what he sees.
That writer was David O. McKay, then an apostle and not quite 40 years old. Elder McKay would lead the Church for almost another six decades, when “Mormon standards” were as key to what it meant to be a Mormon as doctrine and ancestry ever were.
(a tribute to the missionaries)
(By Evelyn Elizabeth Vesterfelt
My door was open but my heart was shut
Tighter than Shylock’s fist against your word;
And yet … I bade you welcome to my house,
I could not judge a man untried, unheard!
You spoke of God; you bowed your head in prayer
And told of Saints in these, the latter days;
Sskeptic at first, I listened silently,
Loath to discard the old familiar ways.
“What are your teachings? Whom do you worship then?”
“Why should I take your word these things are true?”
I questioned them … before my wondering eyes,
The Book of Mormon opened pathways new!
Peace which I ne’er possessed has laved my soul;
Oh, there is much to teach and more to learn,
If I would number with God’s very own,
If I would tread his path without return!
Thou art God’s chosen teachers, this I know;
And ere you journey to your homes again,
Grant me these words to speed you on your way.
“You did not knock upon my door in vain!”
Sutter Ward, Sacramento, California
From the Relief Society Magazine, February 1952 –
The House with the Blue Roof
By Hannah Smith
Marian tried to keep her voice down so that Bill’s mother, resting on the cot in the dining room, couldn’t hear her. But in spite of herself, her tone climbed, shrill and trembling on the edge of tears. Bill, as infuriatingly calm as always, leaned against the sink, his brown eyes sympathetic, but shaking his head already because he knew, of course, what it was she was going to say.
“Look!” Marian said in a taut, querulous half-whisper, “just look at this room! There’s nowhere to put another thing! And the rest of the house is even worse. Oh, Bill, with just a little more space I could stand it, but …”
Too much has already been said about Elder Devin G. Durrant’s conference address … so of course I’m going to say more. If I’m repeating what someone else has said, I apologize, but I have not seen anyone make this point yet.
Elder Durrant began his talk with this statement:
By profession I am an investor. By faith I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In my business practices, I embrace sound financial principles. As I live my faith I strive to follow spiritual principles that will help me become more like the Savior.
There is the substance of his talk. All the rest merely illustrates and supports this brief thesis statement.
As an investor, Elder Durrant obviously understands the value of regular deposits into one’s stores, whatever those stores are. He invited us to make two investments in our own future. One was a financial investment – save a little money each week – and springs from his profession. The other was a spiritual investment – think about a little bit of scripture each week – and springs from his faith as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
By Clarence Edwin Flynn
I’m working on a project
That should enrich my purse:
A gear for clocks and watches
To put them in reverse.
So many gray-haired people,
With faded, weary eyes,
Have asked me to complete it.
“Hurry,” they say, “time flies.”
No, do not be too sanguine.
In candor I confess
I’ve not yet been rewarded
With any great success.
LDS SUNDAY SCHOOL IN BEIRUT, LEBANON
“The LDS Sunday School in Beirut, Lebanon, is held in two different languages because its membership consists of two Armenian and three American families. Brother Joseph Ouzunian is branch president and Enos Jacobs is Sunday School superintendent. Dr. and Mrs. Clawson Y. Cannon and Mr. and Mrs. Darwin H. Jepsen and their six children and Maud Pearson are the Americans in attendance. Six non-members shown in the picture have been attending Sunday School regularly.” — Instructor
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I don’t know who Jean Brown was, or why the Young Woman’s Journal published her article in 1914, but I do know that I’m grateful that President Nelson’s talk from this past weekend was fresh in my mind when I read this:
The New Freedom for Women
By Jean Brown
Until forty years ago, 1874, the doors of our great educational institutions were closed to women. Prior to that time the majority of American women were uneducated, or were trained only to dabble in art, music, literature and various other so-called cultural subjects, in order that they might be accomplished, and thereby render themselves more pleasing and charming companions to men. It was doubtless true that this condition caused thousands of women, of great intellectual capacity, to go through life with their minds undeveloped, because the way that leads to the acquirement of knowledge was closed to them. So the woman of but one generation ago was suppressed and stultified in her intellectual life or found expression only in the pursuits of a dilettante. Such being the case, it is not at all strange that when the doors of universities were opened to them, all the eager, ambitious young women of the nation flocked to these sanctuaries, entrance to which had so long been denied them. Considering the long period of the intellectual suppression of women it is not at all strange that they should suddenly become over-intellectual, over-desirous of rights for individual development, over-eager to promote the movement of feminism or the emancipation of women, over-eager to rush into new fields of employment and to do everything which heretofore had been done by men alone.