George Hodgson Higgins (1853-1927), an English-born convert to the Church and a Salt Lake physician, heard the news that Arthur Conan Doyle was coming to Salt Lake to speak. Doyle was scheduled to speak in the Tabernacle in May, 1923, on his belief in spiritualism, and later would meet with community leaders, including James E. Talmage and Levi Edgar Young.
His spiritualism was not what interested most of his listeners, of course. Most were more interested in Doyle as the creator of Sherlock Holmes … whose first adventure, “A Study in Scarlet,” had been set partially in Utah and involved murderous Danites and a fleeing damsel and plenty of everything offensive to Mormons.
The Still Small Voice
By George H. Brimhall
The still, small voice to the Prophet said,
Speak, speak, speak,
Proclaim the power of God o’er head,
Speak, speak, speak.
The still, small voice to the poet said,
Sing, sing, sing,
Before thy voice despair hath fled,
Sing, sing, sing.
The still, small voice to the scientist said,
Seek, seek, seek,
Bring forth the truth from its curtained bed,
Seek, seek, seek.
The still, small voice to the artist said,
Make, make, make,
Let comfort’s car be onward sped,
Make, make, make.
The still, small voice to the teacher said,
Teach, teach, teach,
By children’s needs let man be led,
Teach, teach, teach.
The still small voice to the statesman said,
Plan, plan, plan,
For freedom’s ever forward tread,
Plan, plan, plan.
The still, small voice to the toiler said,
Rise, rise, rise,
Let labor proudly hold up its head,
Rise, rise, rise.
The still, small voice to the wealthy said,
Help, help, help,
That all may earn, be clothed and fed,
Help, help, help.
The still, small voice to the nations said,
Peace, peace, peace,
Let gods of war no more be fed,
Peace, peace, peace.
The still, small voice to the peace world said,
Grow, grow, grow,
O, tree of joy with branches spread,
Grow, grow, grow.
This letter by Venus to her mother recaps the part of her diary that we have read in recent installments of the Sunday series. The stories will be familiar if you’ve read her diary thus far; because she was writing for someone who wasn’t as familiar with Tahiti as Venus had become, the letter sometimes provides explanatory details that help us understand Venus’s experiences better — it’s a good place to jump into her story if you haven’t been reading.
Venus keeps adding to her letter at various times over two months, until she finally has an opportunity to mail the letter.
Hikueru, Tuamotu, S.I., Saturday, Sept. 18, 1915.
Here we are, on a tiny island of coral five hundred miles from Tahiti. It is one of a chain of small islands that are really nothing more than a coral formation that has grown high enough up out of the sea to be called an island. At its highest point it does not extend any more than six feet above the water. Cocoanut trees and a few bunches of salt grass are the only living vegetation to be seen, and I wonder that even that grows here for there is absolutely no soil, only the bare white rocks scattered over in places with pure white sand. There is no water except the rain water that runs off the roofs of the houses into an iron tank. This is used for washing and culinary purposes, but for drinking the pape haari or rather the fluid from the young cocoanuts is used. I did not like them at first, but now they taste better than any ginger ale I ever tasted. They have just as much nip to them and are as cool, in their thick husk and shell, as the water is at home.
From the Relief Society Magazine, June 1940 –
A Problem of Unity
By Irva Pratt Andrus
Nan Beckenridge was an average mother; she scolded some, loved a great deal and hoped everything for her family of three.
Joyce was the eldest, a lovely little girl who often caused Nan to catch her breath in wonder at the happiness of having such a dainty, wee fairy all her own. Joyce was one of those children who, even when very small, dislikes anything soiled. She was like spring sunshine.
Charles had arrived three years after Joyce and seemed to have brought with him an over-developed love for all that was distasteful to her. He preferred clothes misshapen by expert misuse; pockets bulging with a varied assortment of things, useless but interesting, were his specialty; washing was his Waterloo; noise was his delight. In short, he was an excellent example of what people have come to call “a real boy.”
Wilford Woodruff Emery (1889-1954) was president of Samoan Mission at the outbreak of World War II. He wrote of a harrowing wartime experience in the South Pacific:
While in the Samoan Mission Sister Emery and I had been over to the island of Tutuila for a visit. We had completed our work and prepared to return to Upolu, our headquarters. We were late leaving the harbor of Pago Pago and it got dark on us almost as soon as we reached the open sea. We headed westward for our destination and then made ourselves as comfortable as possible. We lay on the hatchway in preference to the small, ill-smelling bunks inside the cabin. If it should rain we would take to the cabin to keep from getting wet. It was a beautiful night, although pitch dark. The few passengers and two or three of the crew also made themselves comfortable on the hatchway, using their lifebelts as pillows for their heads.
The Relief Society has published several songbooks at various points in history. The Relief Society-centric songs published in the 1927 songbook include this piece with words by Susa Young Gates and music by her son, Brigham Cecil Gates. I can’t speak to its musical merits (the poetic merits, meh), but I do like the idea of having more than one piece available that addresses the specific mission of members of the Relief Society.
This amuses me for some reason. I trust by now that the editor has learned that much more than “the happiness and prosperity of the nation” was at stake in countless “paltry affairs” like the one referred to.
The Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser (Leeds, England)
17 October 1840
A discussion between a Wesleyan Methodist, and one of the Elders of the Latter Day Saints, on the validity of the book of Mormon, took place in the Carpenters’ Hall, on Wednesday, the 7th inst. Mr. Berry, Wesleyan minister, engaged to prove that the book called the Book of Mormon was not true; and likewise that water baptism, or baptism by immersion, is not essential to salvation. The Elder, in reply, was to prove that the Book of Mormon is true; and that baptism in water is a gospel ordinance, and essential to salvation. We were rather amused to see what great interest was taken in this paltry affair, as though on the settling of such a frivolous point depended the happiness and prosperity of the nation. We hope the people of Manchester, and more especially those who have to procure a living by the sweat of their brows, will be on their guard, and not be again duped out of sixpence each for admittance to hear such senseless jargon, and likewise to make such bad use of their precious time.
William Carlyle Olson (1899-1982) of Ovid, Idaho, was serving as president of the Alabama Conference of the Southern States Mission in 1921, when he took advantage of unusual circumstances to preach the gospel:
“I’m going to tell you of the best open-air meeting I have ever held or attended. Elder Ivan R. Howell and myself arrived in Scottsboro (the county seat of Jackson County) Monday night. We learned that the next day there was to be an aeroplane exhibition.
“The people came to town just like it was a circus. The plane appeared at 10 a.m. and did a few stunts, then retired to a field at 11o’clock, to reappear at 2 p.m. Here was our opportunity. We went to the mayor and received permission to hold a street meeting. As the majority of the people were gathered on the Court House Square we decided that it would be the proper place to hold forth. So, mounting the steps of a small tower, we commenced our meeting. By the time we had finished the second song, over 500 men, women and children had gathered on all sides of us. And for an hour we spoke on the first principles of the Gospel. I don’t think I ever felt better in my life. After the meeting, we sold 11 small books, two Books of Mormon, and passed out 500 tracts.”
I often run across tantalizing reports that I’d love to flesh out into Keepa stories … but there just aren’t enough details (no names, no identified places) to allow me to do any research. Here’s one such teaser from 1943:
An interesting story comes to us from a lady convert to the Church who lives in an isolated part of New Jersey. Her non-member son is with the armed forces in North Africa and has had very little contact with the Mormon people. One evening, while in camp, he was playing his mandolin and as he sought for familiar tunes, he plucked out the strains of “O My Father,” a melody retained in his mind from hearing the song sung at cottage meetings held in his home by missionaries a year or two ago. As he played, a companion exclaimed, “That’s a Mormon song. I used to go to their meetings in Connecticut.” Neither of these boys knew the words to this beautiful hymn but their desire to learn them was strong enough to prompt the one young man to write his mother for the little book, “Songs of Zion,” and especially the words to “O My Father.”
If I only knew the names and places, I could do so much with the germ of a post like this one!
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This handbill was posted in or near Hetton, in North Yorkshire, advertising a lecture to be given by 53-year-old missionary Joseph Benjamin Walton, of Alpine, Utah. (The bill itself isn’t dated, but Elder Walton is known to have been giving other lectures in that area during April 1897.)
I’m going to throw up several minor bits this morning that hardly count as a day’s post individually … but maybe altogether they’ll amount to something.
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