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An Artistic Aspect

In a 1917 Improvement Era article, A. Ray Olpin described how missionaries in Japan adapted their conversational styles and gestures to the host country’s customs of politeness as they went door to door with gospel tracts. Knocking on a door in Japan was simply not the same as knocking on a door in Europe or North America, he emphasized. “House-to-house tracting, simple though it may be in western countries, of necessity assumes an artistic aspect in this far eastern ‘Land of the Rising Sun.’”
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A. Ray Olpin, “The Art of Tracting in Japan,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1917, 41–44"
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Robin Scott Jensen relates the story of how the Whitmer family preserved the printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon.
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Gathering Chickens

One of Orson Hyde’s tasks as a child was to feed the chickens of the man he worked for. “When I poured the corn upon the ground, the fowls all came together en masse,” he said, “but after the corn was exhausted, and the stream [stopped], the fowls all turned away, [going] in different directions, each one singing his own song. So [it is] with religion,” he observed. “While God poured out the stream of revelation upon the ancient church, they were all united and ate the living bread; but when he withheld revelations in latter times, because of [the] unbelief of man, they turned and went their own course, and sang their own song.”

Joseph Smith, “History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834],” 161,
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A Gold Rush Stopover

Latter-day Saints in 1850s Utah, still scarred by persecutions in the eastern United States, sometimes felt threatened when larger numbers of non-Mormons began passing through the territory after the California Gold Rush began. But not all encounters were negative. In an 1854 letter to Brigham Young, L. A. Goodrich of Sacramento fondly remembered the “polite & kind reception” he and his family felt in their stopover in Salt Lake City on the way to California in 1849. His daughter Sarah still remembered being invited to dinner at the Young home. His son Jesse remembered a nice cap Mrs. Young had given him. And Goodrich himself wanted to know if Brigham Young still used a cane he had left as a gift at the end of the two-week stopover.

L. A. Goodrich letter to Brigham Young, Feb. 10, 1854, Brigham Young office files, Church History Library, Salt Lake City
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Ordained as Elders

Though Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James, and John prior to the formal organization of the Church, it wasn’t until the first Church meeting on April 6, 1830, that they were ordained as elders. Why? They waited for the consent of Church members before officially ordaining each other to the office.
Jeffrey G. Cannon, “Build Up My Church,” http://bit.ly/1Ra0Wtg
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Pioneer Ideas

Brigham Young sought ways to lower the tremendous cost of sending immigrants and freight across the plains. In 1860 he asked agents to investigate the idea of sending commercial boats farther up the Yellowstone River than they had ever gone before, perhaps within 400 miles of the Salt Lake Valley. He understood that this would be difficult because such boats would have to be able to travel in very shallow water—or, as Brigham Young put it, the enterprise would “require boats that can run where the ground is a little damp.”
Brigham Young letter to William H. Hooper, Mar. 8, 1860, Brigham Young Office Files, Church History Library, Salt Lake City
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Have them in circles
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If an Alien Came to Earth

Suppose that an alien were to come to earth from another of God’s planets, said John Taylor in an 1852 sermon. What would he think? “If things [were] governed upon correct principles there,” President Taylor suggested, “and he came here—saw nations confused, churches in array against each other, men in [conflict] with [their] fellow [men] and each one trying to tread upon [the] neck of another. . . . [He would] say [there was] not much of [the] order of God.”
“If he had been accustomed to correct government,” President Taylor concluded, “I think he would want to go back to his own planet.”

"John Taylor, October 10, 1852: Reflections on Government and War,”
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When the second edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was announced, it was to include seven new texts, including revelations and letters. However, on 27 June, two weeks after the announcement, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed. A tribute to the men, likely written by John Taylor, was added last minute to the volume in a smaller font to fit inside the limited space before the index.
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I know that Joseph Smith is an honest man, he is not perfect as a human, but he is a prophet of God. ♥
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Book of Mormon Study

After writing down most of the Book of Mormon as Joseph Smith dictated it, Oliver Cowdery did most of the work of copying the text again by hand so as not to risk losing the only copy at the printing office. In the process, he became the first person to reread the Book of Mormon (and one of very few who have ever handwritten the bulk of the text twice). A November 6, 1829, letter to Joseph Smith shows how the book’s message affected his thinking and seeped into his language.
“Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 6 November 1829,” http://bit.ly/1QQC8M6
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John Taylor on Imperialism

In an 1852 sermon, John Taylor gave his view on the rising tide of imperialism in world affairs. “The governments of [the] earth—to use the mildest terms—watch each other like bandit[s],” he said, “going abroad plundering each other like robbers.” The story of the Opium War between Britain and China, the Mexican-American War, and ongoing wars with American Indians boiled down to the same thing, President Taylor said. “Kings are making conquest to grasp possessions and wading up to the neck [in] blood to do it—and they die and are damned and don’t possess it.”
John Taylor, October 10, 1852: Reflections on Government and War,” http://bit.ly/1H3tV2A
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Making the Journey Possible

On an 1860 visit to Church branches in the eastern United States, Apostle George Q. Cannon found some faithful but poor Saints with “no earthly prospect” of equipping themselves to gather to Utah. Most of them wanted to make the trip and “express[ed] themselves willing to do anything or put up with any inconvenience if they can only have their heart’s desire gratified.” Elder Cannon proposed a plan: the Saints in Utah could send wagons filled with supplies to meet incoming wagon trains partway across the plains, allowing those companies to pack less flour and “haul its weight for some poor saint” instead. Brigham Young approved of the idea, and the following season, “down-and-back” wagon companies left Utah heading east to help bring more faithful Saints “home.”
George Q. Cannon letter to Brigham Young, Jan. 18, 1860, Brigham Young office files, Church History Library, Salt Lake City
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Just five months after the June 1978 revelation extending priesthood ordination to all worthy Latter-day Saint men, the Church sent two missionary couples to West Africa. The Mabeys and the Cannons found entire congregations prepared for Church membership. In many cases these faithful people had waited years for the Church to be established in their countries. The elders baptized hundreds and organized several branches in both Ghana and Nigeria. Priceless footage of these historic baptismal services was captured by the Mabeys on their home video camera.
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