Archive for July, 2009

Several years ago (1995), President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency was in London, England being interviewed by a reporter from the British Broadcasting Company who asked him, “How do you expect people to listen to these callow youth?”

The reporter’s term callow meant immature, inexperienced, lacking sophistication.

Said President Hinckley, “ I replied to the reporter with a smile, ‘Callow youth? It is with these missionaries today as it was with Timothy in the days of Paul. It was Paul who wrote to his young companion, saying,  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity’ (1 Tim. 4:12).

“The remarkable thing is that people do receive them and listen to them. They are wholesome. They are bright, they are alert, they are upstanding. They are clean looking, and people quickly develop confidence in them.”

President Hinckley then addressed the conference audience:

“Callow youth? Yes, they are lacking in sophistication. What a great blessing this is. They carry no element of deception. They speak with no element of sophistry. They speak out of their hearts, with personal conviction. Each is a servant of the living God, an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their power comes not of their learning in the things of the world. Their power comes of faith, and prayer, and humility. As we have been reminded, the work is not easy. It has never been easy. Long ago Jeremiah said that the Lord would gather His people one of a city and two of a family and bring them to Zion and feed them with pastors after His own heart (see Jer. 3:14–15). In terms of the individual missionary, the harvest is not great in most instances, but in the aggregate it becomes tremendous. The work demands courage, it demands effort, it demands dedication, it demands the humility to get on one’s knees and ask the Lord for help and direction.”

End of quotes.

To me, one of the greatest miracles of the Church is the missionary. I have had a number of experiences over the years with our missionaries. One of them as a returned missionary taught and baptized me. The Lord blesses them beyond their capacity in their ministry. And in their post-mission life they are the strength of the Church as they earn their living, rear their family, and build the Church.

REFERENCE: Gordon B. Hinckley, “Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship,” Ensign, Nov 1995, pages 51 ff


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Parley P. Pratt

Parley P. Pratt


“Stu-boy, Stu-boy, Take Him!”       

  Missionary Escapes Large Bull Dog

This has been a favorite story of mine ever since I read PPP’s Autobiography after I joined the Church many years ago (in the 1945s). I thought you would enjoy reading it (perhaps again.)

Using his resources as a clever missionary Elder Parley P. Pratt was probably one of the first missionaries in this dispensation to be troubled by a dog.

Pratt, a 23-year-old convert, had been appointed in October 1830, by the Prophet Joseph Smith to travel with three other elders (including Oliver Cowdery) to Indian territory. Following a meeting with Native Americans they met Sidney Rigdon, then a devout Reformed Baptist, and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon.

Subsequent events resulted in the conversion of Rigdon and about a thousand others. This was in and near Kirtland, Ohio.

Pratt and his group were preaching when an officer presented Pratt with a warrant for his arrest for “a very frivolous charge.” There was a trial that evening with “false witnesses,” and Pratt was ordered to prison or a sum of money he did not have.

He was locked in a public house overnight, the prison being several miles away.

In the morning an officer (Mr. Peabody) took him to breakfast ready to conduct him to prison.

His companions stopped by and he told them to go ahead, that he would join them later.

Here are Pratt’s own words on what happened next:

“After sitting awhile by the fire in charge of the officer, I requested to step out. I walked out into the public square accompanied by him.

“Said I, ‘Mr. Peabody, are you good at a race?’ ‘No,’ said he, ‘but my big bull dog is, and he has been trained to assist me in my office these several years; he will take any man down at my bidding.’


“’Well, Mr. Peabody, you compelled me to go a mile, I have gone with you two miles. You have given me an opportunity to preach, sing, and have also entertained me with lodging and breakfast. I must now go on my journey; if you are good at a race you can accompany me. I thank you for all your kindness–good day, sir.’

“I then started on my journey, while he stood amazed and not able to step one foot before the other. Seeing this, I halted, turned to him and again invited him to a race. He still stood amazed. I then renewed my exertions, and soon increased my speed to something like that of a deer.

“He did not awake from his astonishment sufficiently to start in pursuit till I had gained, perhaps, two hundred yards. I had already leaped a fence, and was making my way through a field to the forest on the right of the road. He now came hallowing after me, and shouting to his dog to seize me. The dog, being one of the largest I ever saw, came close on my footsteps with all his fury; the officer behind still in pursuit, clapping his hands and hallooing, ‘Stu-boy, Stu-boy–take him–watch–lay hold of him, I say–down with him,’ and pointing his finger in the direction I was running.

   “The dog was fast overtaking me, and in the act of leaping upon me, when, quick as lightning, the thought struck me, to assist the officer, in sending the dog with all fury to the forest a little distance before me. I pointed my finger in that direction, clapped my hands, and shouted in imitation of the officer. The dog hastened past me with redoubled speed towards the forest; being urged by the officer and myself, and both of us running in the same direction.

“Gaining the forest, I soon lost sight of the officer and dog, and have not seen them since.”

NOTES: From Chapter 7 of Pratt’s Autobiography. Parley Parker Pratt was born in 1807 in Burlington, New York. While traveling in Western New York he came across a Book of Mormon owned by a Baptist deacon. He traveled to Palmyra, New York, met the Prophet’s brother Hyrum and was baptized by Oliver Cowdery in September, 1830. He baptized his younger brother Orson, then met Joseph Smith and went on the mission described above.

He was an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, ordained at age 27 in 1835.

While returning from a horseback missionary trip to the Southern States he was shot and killed at age 50 in 1857 and is buried in Alma, Arkansas, where a large monument has been erected. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parley_P._Pratt) for his many accomplishments in the Church and details of his death.


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The first time I became aware of a poetry excerpt by William Wordsworth describing the pre-mortal life I was in a poetry class at UCLA. I was so impressed by it that I asked the professor what it meant (mainly to see what he thought about it.)  His answer was that it was Wordsworth’s description of eternity


Here is the excerpt (5th stanza)

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Sparks notes on the Internet reads:  “Wordsworth  proclaims that human life is merely ‘a sleep and a forgetting’–that human beings dwell in a purer, more glorious realm before they enter the earth. “Heaven,” he says, ‘lies about us in our infancy!” As children, we still retain some memory of that place, which causes our experience of the earth to be suffused with its magic–but as the baby passes through boyhood and young adulthood and into manhood, he sees that magic die.”

No wonder the Lord taught the young prophet Joseph (age 26) the importance of childhood education in the Church. I recently came across this revelation:

And again, you shall be ordained to assist my servant Oliver Cowdery to do the work of printing, and of selecting and writing books for schools in this church, that little children also may receive instruction before me as is pleasing unto me. (Doctrine and Covenants 55:4)

We also remember the admonition to parents:

And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents. (D&C 65:25)

Church leaders have often quoted this stanza. What a beautiful explanation of the pre-mortal life!

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Matt and Erin

Matt and Erin

We had a wonderful Independence Day. Larry and Marie, Matt, Erin and Ellie, and Stephen, Jonelle and Carter came. Larry cooked sausages on our outside barbeque (first time we used it) and Marie cooked pancakes and eggs. We also had watermelon. Larry brought a tomato plant and placed it in the hanging (upside down) tomato plant container that son Steve gave me for Fathers’ Day.

We had a nice visit.

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