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Heber J. Grant on Facebook

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 30, 2016

I’ve opened a page on Facebook to post short clips from the writings and biography of President Heber J. Grant. For Keepa’ninnies who may not hang out on Facebook, I’ll repost those clips here. There may be some delay, and I wont’ post comment threads that might develop there, but you won’t be left out.

thru 8 January 2017

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“The head of the health department, Dr. Beatty, has requested me to say to the Latter-day Saints that there are more injurious ingredients in coca cola than there are in coffee, and particularly when some of the good people say: ‘Give me the double shot.’ I say to the Latter-day Saints, and it is my right to say it – because you have sung, since this conference started (whether you meant it or not I am not saying) –

‘We thank thee, O God, for a prophet,
To guide us in these latter days;
We thank thee for sending the gospel
To lighten our minds with its rays;
We thank thee for every blessing’
Bestowed by thy bounteous hand;
We feel it a pleasure to serve thee,
And love to obey thy command.’

“Now, if you mean it – I am not going to give any command, but I will ask it as a personal, individual favor to me, to let coca cola alone. There are plenty of other things you can get at the soda fountains without drinking that which is injurious. The Lord does not want you to use any drug that creates an appetite for itself.” (1922)

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Guest post by John A. Widtsoe, from 1922 (three years into Heber J. Grant’s administration):

“President Grant is developing marvelously. The fine qualities of his character are being sharpened and refined under, as I believe it, the inspiration belonging to his office. He has always been a helpful lover of humanity, and today I believe his sympathies are greater and wider than ever. I believe the Church is safe under his guidance.”

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“I suppose our government is not exempt from having fools in office.” (1921)

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“Several of the gentlemen whom I met to-day at the Palace Hotel, and who have heard the organ and heard Brother Ensign sing at my request, say that they would sooner hear one song in the Tabernacle than any number in a smaller building. They say the Tabernacle itself and the choir is the attraction to them.” (San Francisco, 1901)

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“I felt grateful to the Lord for the freedom of speech I had in bearing my testimony at the close of our meeting. There is nothing for which I am more grateful than that the Lord has seen fit to give to me an abiding testimony of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged, and that he has also given me the ability to speak in a clear and convincing way to those who are seeking for the truth.” (1937)

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“Since I passed my seventy-fifth year I have learned to take the doctor’s advice and when I have a cold or other slight indisposition I rest it out rather than try to wear it out as I used to do.” (1939)

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[Regarding the prospective 1940 film _Brigham Young_:]

“I should be very happy indeed if our friends of the Twentieth Century-Fox Studios would see fit to have our friends write the scenario for the picture of the life of Brigham Young, but, alas, they chose a great novel writer, and I am living more or less in anticipation of a fine picture, but I should not be surprised, when they are so anxious to have the box receipts grow, if there might be some sensational matter in it that we would wish were out of it. However, up to date it looks as though we are going to have a very fine picture. I spent a full day with Mr. [Louis] Bromfield [screen writer]. I took him up to the capitol building, and a short ride up City Creek Canyon, then I took him over Little Mountain in Emigration Canyon, down Parley’s Canyon, then up Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. We were together from eleven in the morning until five o’clock in the afternoon. When we returned we visited the Church Welfare building here.” (1939)

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“The fact that the Church has often aided industries to get started, which is something as a rule that Churches do not do, has given rise to the idea that the Church exercises ‘Paternalism’ in its method of development while as a matter of fact all that they have done is to aid individuals to establish industries and at the same time allowing these individuals to conduct their business as they might see fit.” (1905)

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“I rejoice with you in the testimony that you possess of the divinity of this work and that you are engaged in the service of the Master. To know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ, and that the Gospel has been restored in this dispensation through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith, brings to one an unspeakable joy and satisfaction.” (1928)

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“We congratulate you on your success in placing the responsibility of administering the affairs of the branches on the shoulders of the local brethren. We feel that this is a wise move and that much good will come to the brethren thus appointed and also to the mission in general.” (1934)

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“On June 17th, I had lunch at the Worlds Fair and visited part of the exhibits there. The next day, [a large party] visited Milwaukee and dedicated a very splendid chapel, costing something over $36,000. It is fully the equal of some of our buildings at home that have cost double this amount. We held three meetings. I spoke at all of them and after the night meeting shook hands with those present, administered to some sick people, and it was after eleven o’clock before I reached the Hotel, and had a fine night’s rest.” (1933)

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“I returned two weeks ago tomorrow from a very enjoyable trip of thirty three days. The trip was a very enjoyable one, being the first I have taken I believe without taking a typewriter with me or a secretary. I only wrote one pen letter during my absence.” (1926)

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“I have been exceedingly busy every moment since my return, barring the time I have taken to play golf. I decided on my eastern trip that unless there was something almost as important as a funeral to take me away from the golf links that I was going to take exercise by playing golf every day. I was impressed to do this when seeing the condition of health of Senator Reed Smoot whom I feel is overworking. I hope to magnify my calling as the President of the Church and I think one of the best ways to do it is to take care of my health, and I believe that golf does this better than anything else at the present time.” (1926)

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“Nearly all of our missionaries are very young. Yesterday we had recommendations come to our desk for young men to go on missions who are only eighteen and nineteen years of age. It is very seldom that we get a recommendation where the party is more than twenty three or twenty four years old.” (1926)

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Regarding the discovery that HJG had left a pair of pants at a mission home he had visited: “There is no hurry about the extra pair of trousers; it will be satisfactory for you to bring them with you when you come to Conference. I merely take the extra pair with me to wear while I am having the others pressed. I can put my overcoat on at such times but cannot very well get along without trousers.” (1934)

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“When I got home from New York I found in my vest pocket a fountain pen that did not belong to me. I must have borrowed this pen from someone, and I am wondering if it belongs to you or someone in your office. The pen is a rather heavy one, and the point of the pen is not very fine. It is a Waterman and was filled with green ink. If it belongs to you or you know who the owner is I shall be pleased to forward it to you upon hearing from you to that effect.” (1934)

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“Brother [J. Reuben] Clark is a very wonderful man. I have watched his progress for years. I had some people in New York tell me – and they were among the biggest men there – he was the best international lawyer in the United States.” (1933)

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“One of the great blessings of the gospel is that we continue to grow in it and to appreciate it more and more as the years come and go. Here I am nearly seventy-seven years of age, and I don’t believe I was ever more anxious to comprehend and appreciate the true spirit of the gospel and more desirous to be energetic and faithful from day to day and to try to accomplish more. I am grateful beyond all my power to express my gratitude for the splendid health I enjoy.” (1933)

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“Winifred Graham [a popular English novelist] certainly must be making money, and undoubtedly her book “Even the Elders” will sell well. Lies seem to be quite profitable to some people.” (1924)

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“When my loved ones pass away I only grieve because of the loss of their society. I always think of my dear mother, who almost idealized the Prophet and Patriarch, as having joy in visiting with them and with my father who died when I was only a baby nine days old. I think of my wives who have passed away as having the happiness of associating with their parents and loved ones who have gone on before. Never do I think of such a thing as that they are in the graveyard. There is something in the Gospel of Jesus Christ which causes death to entirely lose its sting, and I am always grateful for a perfect and absolute knowledge of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged, but never am I so grateful as when death enters the family circle and takes a member therefrom. Then is the time when the gospel is more precious than at any other time.” (1933)

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“I am very glad to know that the little books “Up from the Hills,” reached you all right, and I am sure the elders will thoroughly enjoy reading them. It is a pleasure to me to personally present these books to the missionaries. I feel that inasmuch as I have done very little missionary work in my life I ought to do something by way of encouraging the missionaries.” (1924)

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“I congratulate you on having four sons in the mission field, and would be grateful if I had one. Having no sons of my own does not decrease my interest in the sons of my dear friends.” (1905)

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“I remember the fine work you [Hugh B. Brown] did when I was President of the European Mission and you were working under my direction. I do not forget the fact that I offered you a release on account of your ill health and you said you did not want a release, that the climate there was as good as that in Canada and you preferred to stay there and thought your health would be just as good as if you were to go home. As a rule, most of the Elders when offered a release on account of ill health or anything else, ‘jumped at it quick,’ as the old saying is. I always deeply appreciated your willingness to stay, notwithstanding your poor health.” (1944)

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“I do not know when I have enjoyed anything more than I did our trip to the Northwestern States Mission. Sister Grant and I and our nieces went to Oregon by train. I got off at Baker and held a meeting and was joined there by my sons-in-law, and their wives. Our party then traveled by automobile to Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Bellingham and Spokane, at all of which places we held public meetings and at nearly all of the places we held meetings with the missionaries. We thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. The trip down the Columbia River is one of the most beautiful rides that anyone can take.” (1927)

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“Am having a very delightful rest here, having enjoyed a game of golf every day except Sundays since I reached Santa Monica. Will not be able to play this morning as it has been raining very heavily and I am devoting the morning to catching up with neglected correspondence.” (1921)

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“I have always wanted to visit some of the spots where Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and others of our leaders have spent a part of their early lives. I have desired to go to Nauvoo, to visit the Sacred Grove at Palmyra, and other places of Church interest.” (1920)

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“The passing of Elder James E. Talmage of the Quorum of the Twelve, is felt keenly by us, as well as the membership of the Church. We have received many letters of condolence. Dr. Talmage was a noble and faithful servant of the Lord. He was a man of outstanding ability. His many accomplishments and energetic labors have brought honor and credit to himself, as well as the work of the Lord.” (1933)

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“When I realize that I spent three years in Europe and never got any publicity in the British Isles at all, that they would not even allow me to answer villainous attacks on the Church, I am very grateful for the wonderful change that has come about. The newspapers all over the country at the present time seem to be perfectly willing to give us any amount of publicity.” (1933)

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“I am as anxious that the sisters should have a chance to learn and do work in this land as I am for the brethren, and I know that they will be as abundantly blessed of the Lord in their work as the brethren if they work as faithfully and that they will do so I feel assured. Personally I feel that they have done wonderfully well as it is only ten months since they came to this home, and I feel that they speak and pray as well as could have been expected. As soon as they are out in the field I am sure they will get on very much faster.” (Tokyo, 1903)

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“I understand that the Dutch language is a very hard language indeed – much harder than either French or German, and while I feel that brother Baliff is thoroughly capable of presiding over this mission it is quite a question whether it would be fair to him, seeing that he is forty-four years of age, to ask him to learn the Dutch. I understand that notwithstanding brother Orson Pratt learned Greek Latin and Hebrew in his youth when he was between forty and fifty he made an utter failure in trying to learn a little German.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“The assumption of those people who appear to be determined to continue the practice of plural marriage has become more and more aggressive until now they assume [to mail] one of their publications out to our missionaries who are in the field, having by some means unknown to us obtained their proper addresses.” (1929)

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“I wish you to tell all of the brethren that they have my love and confidence and that I pray for them all the time, and that I have had you all in my mind for some days past and have longed to be with you in our regular conference of three days in the Temple, but I feel that I am where the Lord wants me to be, and so I am contented and happy.” (1901)

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“We cannot undertake to answer everything that is said about us that is not true or we should have nothing else to do.” (1936)

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“I am half inclined to ask the Ford people in Chicago to let me have one of their small Lincoln cars to drive on over to Dearborn. I took a trip in one of these cars to Ely, Nevada, to attend a conference there a week ago last Sunday, and I fell in love with it, and am almost tempted to buy one. It gets over the ground in fine shape and is wonderfully easy riding. I was able to read in it as easily as I can on a Pullman sleeper.” (1936)

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“I would like the two young sisters to have as good an opportunity to learn the Japanese language as possible. I feel that the sisters can do nearly as much good as the brethren, when they shall have mastered the language, and I can plainly see that they will progress much better if they are located with Japanese families or in a Japanese hotel.” (1903, Tokyo)

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“Italy and Greece have never yielded any fruits of the gospel worthy of the name. What we do in these countries, it seems to me, will have to be done with those who speak English, and if there are ever any conversions to the gospel whatever, use the converts who understand their native language to do work there.” (1928)

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“Our April Conference was a spiritual feast and the attendance was as large, if not larger, than on any previous occasion, this notwithstanding the fact that a great many of our people “listened in” over the radio in their home towns, many going to the local meeting houses for that purpose.” (1927)

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“I feel that the greatest preaching that any of us can do is to live a life worthy of the Gospel.” (1914)

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“I have found out since this case came up, that the people simply laughed when [H] was called on a mission, saying, any person could be called on a mission if he could. I have not language to express my feelings of condemnation, where Bishops recommend immoral young men to go out and preach repentance from sin. Perhaps in the provinces of the Lord this case may do some good and prevent humiliation and disgrace in many cases in the future.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“Nearly all of our Elders have been banished from Germany, several having been banished after I met them and before my arrival home. Notwithstanding the banishments the work seems to be progressing very well in Germany, and through the cottage meetings and the interest that the local Saints take in inviting their friends, many honest hearted souls are being brought to a knowledge of the Gospel.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“A week ago Sunday while services were being held at Finsbury Town Hall a crowd of several hundred was being harangued outside the building, the speaker trying to excite his audience to violence. Our meetings have been crowded. Some could not even get standing room. We feel that the agitation is doing us good.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“When I realize that there had to be fourteen deaths before I could come to the presidency and that since I became an Apostle there have been thirteen changes in the Presidency and Apostles of men who have come in since I was made an Apostle, I am beginning to feel like ‘the last leaf on the tree.’ But I am grateful beyond all my power of expression for the splendid health that I have and that I am enjoying to the fullest my labors among the people.” (1937)

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“I do not see the “Tribune,” but judge from the editorials in the ‘News’ that the former paper is making a very severe fight, indeed, against all Church institutions. I have no doubt as to the final outcome. The Editor of the ‘Tribune’ [Frank J. Cannon] is dishonest, immoral and drunken, and it is only a question of time when his influence will amount to nothing. I realize that he is a very brilliant writer, and that many lack the ability to detect his hypocrisy. Pres. Lincoln once said ‘You can fool all of the people part of the time and part of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’” (1905, Liverpool)

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“My acts should have no bearing upon your devotion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is true or it is not, and it is worthy everything or nothing, and I beg of you not to allow your prejudices to interfere with your progress in the Church and in doing your duty and earning life eternal in the life to come.” (1933)

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“I returned yesterday from a trip to Chicago where we organized a new stake. We had a very successful organization. There is an abundance of material there to officer the Stake.” (1937)

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“I am several months behind with my journal as I have tried of late to keep up with my correspondence, but it seems to grow upon me, as I have so many friends and so many Elders who write to me. It is a pleasure to talk with friends and the Elders in the field and it is really a burden to me to write up in a journal what I have already done.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“I told the [homesick] elders I would like them to work faithfully for a month or two and then I would let them go, and without exception those who worked faithfully got over their homesickness, and after their mission was finished, with tears in their eyes thanked me for encouraging them to stay a little longer. At the same time we must never encourage any of our elders to stay longer if the climate does not agree with them.” (1927)

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“No words of mine can express the gratitude of my heart for the Gospel, when loved ones are called by death.” (1921)

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“I have read part of the proceedings in the Smoot case at Washington and earnestly pray that good may result from the same. I find among some of the Saints here quite a strong feeling that it is our duty, those of us who are in plural marriage, to obey the law relating to cohabitation. I do not anticipate any serious trouble from this feeling on the part of the Saints as I know the same feeling has been entertained by people at home until they gave the matter more thought and then they realized the utter absurdity, if not criminality, that should be attached to a man who would cast off his wives and fail to treat them as such.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“I was only home a few days when I returned to the Coast again and had a rest there of eight days and played golf on seven of them, and would have made it eight, only one day was Sunday.” (1936)

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“I do not know how to swim, having been reared in Salt Lake, and so the treat of an ocean dip is not very tempting, but as it would be a first experience I may wish to try my luck.” (1903)

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“Let not the desire to baptize those with whom you labor become so intense that if they happen to reject the truth for a long time you will feel discouraged in laboring among them.” (1903)

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“I thank you for sending word that our beloved Prophet had passed away. While the news was a great surprise as we had heard nothing to give us the fear that he was soon to leave us, yet we feel to rejoice that he has been freed from the trials and sorrows of this life and gone to a glorious reward. The joy that will be his in meeting the Prophet Joseph, your father, Brothers Young, Taylor, Woodruff and scores of other faithful men, with whom he has been associated, cannot be told by pen or word.” (1901)

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“I had the privilege a few days ago of visiting American Fork Canyon with Sister Grant, Aunt Susie Bennion and a few other friends. The Stake Presidency invited the General Authorities to visit a new cave – a very remarkable cave that has been discovered, about two miles from the mouth of the canyon.” (1922)

(The cave is a part of the Timpanogos Cave complex, found in 1913 but with the location lost again until 1921)

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“I can only hope and pray that peace, happiness & prosperity shall be your portion through the journey of life and an eternity of joy in the life to come. I send you my heart’s best love and with all my heart ask God to bless you.” (on learning of his daughter’s engagement, 1901)

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“There is no ‘give up’ to an elder who is enjoying the spirit of his mission.” (1921)

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“I am thankful for the power of my voice, and am anxious so to order my life that it will never fail me. As long as I can be of use here I have no desire to go to the other side, notwithstanding my advanced age. But when I cannot work, and work with energy for the advancement of the Church of Jesus Christ which has been again established here upon the earth, I shall be very happy to meet my loved ones on the other side.” (1937)

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“I rejoice in the splendid reports which you have received from your Radio chapel service. It is remarkable that people in Montana, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska should have sent letters of appreciation. The radio, in the future, may be a very important agency in spreading the gospel.” (1924)

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“I will say that we are well and happy and that we have been in the very best of health and spirits from the day we left our homes to come on this mission. I do not feel that we have accomplished much, but at the same time I do not feel to complain as we have been doing something all the time.” (1901, Tokyo)

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“ I have had a very enjoyable trip to Omaha. I went there to attend a banquet given to President Carl R. Gray in honor of his seventh anniversary as president of the Union Pacific System. It so happened that I was the only director of the Union Pacific System that was there. I was very happy to receive more applause after my speech than did any of the others and they continued their applause until I got up and bowed and told one more story. I was congratulated the next day by some of the officials of the Union Pacific upon being the only speaker ‘encored.’” (1927)

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“I do believe that we ought to work up more or less of a trade here for rugs manufactured by the Armenians. I remember that I received one rug from there and that it has given splendid satisfaction. I am going to leave it to you to purchase fifty dollars worth of rugs for me and send them here. I would like you to use your own good judgment as to what kind of rugs to send. In fact I am going to wait and ask Gusta to write you a letter and make whatever suggestions she thinks best with regard to these rugs.” (To Joseph Wilford Booth, in the Turkish Mission, 1926)

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“It is wonderful what young men can do and how they grow to positions in the Church if given a chance.” (1921)

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“I have been endeavoring for the past few months to go to the temple once a week, and I have been thoroughly enjoying the sessions.” (1927)

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“If it were not for saving expenses of renting a hall for our meetings it would be more pleasant not to hold them in our residence. I find that the Sunday meetings at London, especially on Fast-day, are quite unsatisfactory. The people gather there and are offended if they are not invited to stop and partake of the hospitalities of the house.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“Typewriting has been a wonderful saving to me, particularly by the use of carbons. When Gusta and I were in Japan we would often write letters home and put in ten thin sheets of Japanese paper with carbons, and send a copy of the letter to ten different friends by not writing the address at the beginning of the letter but filling it in afterwards.” (1928)

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“I cannot tell you how nice it seems to meet in a room where everything is quiet and peaceful; no shouting from children playing in the streets or noise of wagons rattling over the stones. Our home here is just as quiet and pleasant as though situated near Liberty Park, a block or two away from a street car. When I wake up in the morning and look out of the window and see the green trees and grass and hear the birds singing I feel to thank the Lord for such comfortable and pleasant headquarters for our mission.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“I feel that the noble lives of the early settlers men and women should be preserved and I am sure that a record of the sacrifices and devotion which they showed for the cause of truth is sure to do good to those who will read the same.” (1903)

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“We have some students call who come for nothing but to practice their English, and who pretend to be interested in the Gospel but they stop coming as soon as the elders commence to explain the gospel in the Japanese language, but they keep coming as long as they can get explanations in English. I have been amused to hear Bro. Taylor talk an entire evening to a Japanese in the latter’s own language, and have the Japanese talk in English in reply to all that Bro. Taylor says.” (1903, Tokyo)

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“I recall when I thought 46 was a good age, and looked on Bro. Brigham [Young, Jr.] as an old man when we were together in Arizona and Mexico together. He was 46 and I was 26. Now he is gone and I am the old man, and I feel just like a boy, and that my experience is really too small to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ but I hope to keep at work and do my best. I feel to go on trying, and hoping and praying for aid from above.” (1903)

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“The baseball game was also very interesting, and the papers gave the boys a fine notice. Our boys won the game without any difficulty whatever. I have been harassed with doubts as to the wisdom of our boys playing ball but my doubts have all disappeared. I think it gives us the finest kind of publicity, as they announced that the boys neither drink liquor nor smoke.” (1937, London)

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“My train arrives at unearthly hour of two ten. I will get off sleeper at eight o’clock Thursday morning. Kindly meet me at the depot.” (1927)

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“You and every other man who pays tithing should do so because it is the law of the Lord, with certain blessings promised to those who obey it. No matter what I do or what any other man does it is no excuse for you or any other living man to fail to do your duty. There will never be anything charged to you because some other man did wrong. You are the architect as well as the builder of your own life.” (1932)

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“My trip upon the continent was a very enjoyable one indeed. I had the pleasure of meeting all of the German Elders, although I was not permitted to hold meetings with the Saints in a number of the places that we visited, it being thought unwise to do so. I regret very much that our Elders have to register as students and to carry on the work in a somewhat underhanded manner.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“The way is now open for elders to labor in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, which missions are especially in need of men of experience who have a knowledge of the German, French and Dutch languages. The Presidents of the island missions – Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga and Japan – are also making urgent requests for elders who have already labored in those fields. In fact all of the missions need men of experience.” (1922)

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“I hardly feel that I have done anything in this land, as I have given up the study of the language. I sometimes feel that I was greatly lacking in faith to have done so, but to look at it naturally the Lord would have had to work a miracle had I learned it, and I did not have the faith that He would do this for me, and to the end of my life I may feel that I have not done what He expected of me, and what I was sent here to do.” (1903, Tokyo)

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“I was not at the office for several days last week, on account of suffering with lumbago. I was there part of Saturday morning and in the afternoon felt splendid, and as we usually aim to take a half holiday, I went to see the baseball match and enjoyed it very much, particularly inasmuch as the Salt Lake team won.” (1924)

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“The London papers have been full and running over with sensational stories about the Mormons, some of them of a blood-curdling order. Our London mission house, two weeks ago, had a howling mob gathered outside the building during the services Wednesday evening. Some rocks were thrown at the house but no damage done.” (1904, Liverpool)

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“Your experience will help you to properly appreciate the principles of the gospel as I am sure you could never have done if you had not been called upon to defend them in opposition to the views of the people of the world. It is my opinion that there is no experience which is more valuable to an elder than that which he secures while on a mission.” (1901)

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