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Elder John Russon, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sent the ERA an invitation to attend a special conference of the Latter-day Saints, in Milwaukee, on Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11. Among those who were present were 'resident German E. Ellsworth, of the Northern States mission, Elders Hyrum M. Smith and Charles H. Hart, of Salt Lake City; President John Russon, of the Wisconsin conference, and twenty-four traveling missionaries from Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Canada. Some splendid musical numbers were on the program, including "O my Father," "Home Love," "There is Plenty to Do," "School thy Feelings," "One Day Nearer Home," "I Need Thee Every Hour," by the Milwaukee Quartet Club. Other songs were a solo by Mrs. Margaret Soule, a violin solo by Elder F. M. Mortensen, and a select solo by Elder E. A. Paxman. Public meetings were held Saturday evening at 7:30, and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Elder Samuel O. Bennion, of Taylorsville, has been appointed to succeed Elder James G. Duffin as the president of the Central States mission, with head-quarters at Kansas City. The mission was turned over to Elder Bennion on November 1. President Duffin with Elders Hyrum M. Smith and Chas. H. Hart, held conference at St. Johns, in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana, at Kelsey, Tex., and in Kansas City, during the month of October. Good instructions were given, and the Spirit of the Lord was poured out in rich abundance in all the meetings. Elder Duffin, who has presided over the mission for six and one-half years, which does not include six months that he labored in the state of Texas as a traveling elder and president of a conference before taking charge of the mission, returns to his home in Provo, Utah, with the love and confidence of every missionary who has labored under him during this long time, and with the best wishes and love of the Saints of that mission, and the good will of the men of the world with whom he had business relations. A brief partial report of the mission during his incumbency is found in another column.
Elder John Nash, of Brisbane, sends the following message to the ERA:
Aside from the benefits arising from the performing of a mission in preaching the everlasting gospel to those who are in darkness that comes to all, there are, I believe, benefits derived from a mission to Australia that are not had in any other mission in the world. This is a broad statement, yet I believe it to be true. In the first place, there is a reluctance in going so far away from home, which, when overcome, brings a blessing in a richer outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the head of the young elder who has had the courage to accept the call, and not ask to be transferred to some place nearer home. Then there is the long distance, and the varied modes of traveling. The splendid palace cars with which he commences his journey from Salt Lake City, the ocean palaces that are to be his home for three weeks or a month, (a time never to be forgotten) of which he grows so tired; then the little cooped up trains in which he concludes his journey, after spending a few days in Sidney, if he feels he has had enough water; or the little rough coast steamers by which he reaches his field of labor, if he prefers to travel by water. All these are times never to be forgotten, and develop in the
young missionary an appreciation for the conditions that surround his mountain home. Before he has reached his field of labor he has had the privilege of crossing the torrid zone and to land in a place as far south of the equator as his home is north. In passing the different islands he has seen the varied plant life and productions of the tropical regions, and, if he is energetic and watchful he has procured samples and curios from these parts that will ever bring up in remembrance the scenes through which he has passed. He has met with different races of people. In fact, a trip to Australia, and a sojourn for several years in that land, brings him in contact with nearly every race on the globe, unless it be the Eskimo. He has learned more or less of their habits and characteristics, and again appreciates the fact of being blessed in birth and religion. When he arrives in his field of labor, he has an abiding faith in the gospel which he represents, and believes it to be true, with all his heart; yet he hasn't the least idea what the world really believes, or how to defend his doctrine from the arguments of man-made systems of religion. On his first day's round of tracting, he meets some one who is ready to do him battle for religion's sake, and he returns home that day "a sadder but a wiser man.' There is a sort of pre-occupied air about that young man for several days, a deep delving into books, especially the Bible, and when the next week comes around and he again goes over his district, he returns with satisfaction written on his face. He has met his first opposition, and has come off victorious. He has learned that there is another religious system in the world, and what its principles are. So, day by day, he meets new doctrines, and sees, as he compares the one he represents with the others, how grand, gracious and ennobling are the truths of the gospel of the Son of God. In Australia he will meet nearly every doctrine taught in the world, and therefore gains a broader understanding of religion, and proves to himself that the true gospel will withstand every argument brought against it. Then, again, he is so far away from home that there is no use of getting homesick, no chance to get home until released honorably, or money comes from home to pay his passage, and he will die first, rather than show the white feather, so he goes to work with zeal and energy immediately, and continues steadfastly in his labors until he is surprised to find his time is up and an honorable release is in his hands. He has put his whole trust in his Heavenly Father, and has been abundantly blessed. He finds that he is among a broad-minded people, who, as a rule, are religiously inclined, and as a rule, do not condemn him unheard, yet will not accept his message unquestioned. He returns home a broad-minded, liberal-hearted man, willing to accord to every man the right to believe as he may wish, thoroughly grounded in his faith, and with an unfaltering trust in his Heavenly Father. He is ready now for the battle of life, an honest, sober, upright man, one whom the Lord delights to own and bless.
IN LIGHTER MOOD.
Mr. Hopeful "I'm quite a near neighbor of yours now. I've taken a house by the river."
Miss Golightly-"Oh, I hope you'll drop in some day."
Cora-"Jack proposed to me this morning when we were automobiling.' Edna-"Oh you mustn't mind. He's excusable. He only bought the machine yesterday, and didn't know what he was driving at."
"When I was starting in business in Cleveland," said John D. Rockefeller, "I had a bright little office boy whom I tried to keep busy, as a boy ought to be. "One hot August afternoon as I was starting out to collect a bill, I said to the little chap, 'Well, I suppose the bookkeeper has told you what to do this afternoon?'
"'Yessir,' piped the youngster; 'I'm to wake him up jes' as soon as I see you comin' back.'"'
A Boston minister once noticed a crowd of urchins clustered around a dog of doubtful pedigree.
"What are you doing, my little men?" he asked with fatherly interest. "Swappin' lies," volunteered one of the boys. "The feller that tells the biggest one gets the purp."
"Shocking!" exclaimed the minister. "Why, when I was your age I never even thought of telling an untruth."
"Youse win," chorused the urchins.
"The dog's yours, mister."
A new story relates that a boy said at breakfast that he knew the name of the beau sister had in the parlor last night. It was George Dont. He had heard her call him George Dont a dozen times or more.-Kansas City Journal.
The story is told of two Trenton men who hired a horse and trap for a little outing not long ago. Upon reaching their destination, the horse was unharnessed and permitted peacefully to graze while the men fished for an hour or two.
When they were ready to go home, a difficulty at once presented itself, inasmuch as neither of the Trentonians knew how to reharness the horse. Every effort in this direction met with dire failure, and the worst problem was properly to adjust the bit. The horse himself seemed to resent the idea of going into harness again.
Finally one of the friends, in great disgust, sat down in the road. only one thing we can do, Bill," he said.
"What's that?" asked Bill.
"Wait for the foolish beast to yawn!"-Outing.
M. I. A. FUND.
Envelopes for distribution to the officers of the Mutual Improvement Associations of the various stakes of Zion, have been sent to the superintendents of stakes. We trust that the superintendents will lose no time in distributing these envelopes to their ward presidents with the necessary instructions for the collection of the Fund. This should be done in ample time for the first collection during the first week in December, and the first week in February. All remittances for the fund should be sent to the superintendency of the stake, or the person designated by them to attend to this business. On receipt of the amounts from the wards, the funds should be promptly forwarded to the General Secretary with list of the wards, and amounts paid in each case. The envelopes sent will suffice for both collections, in December and February. The stake superintendents are urged to look after this matter, so that high a percentage as possible may be collected in their stakes for the Improvement Fund this year.
ABOUT THE ERA.
President Heber J. Grant has taken great interest in the circulation of the ERA, and has written a large number of letters to presidents of stakes and bishops, soliciting their assistance in obtaining subscriptions for the magazine to the amount of 5 per cent of their Church population in each stake. It will interest the brethren to whom he has written, and the readers of the ERA generally, to know his estimate of the value of the IMPROVEMENT ERA, and for that reason we take pleasure in printing the following letter written to the General Secretary. His good opinion is heartily endorsed by the Secretary, and will, we think, be endorsed by many of our readers. We trust that all will assist us in the circulation of our magazine:
Dear Brother Anderson:-I am enclosing a lot of letters to mail to presidents of stakes and bishops. I will send you some more next mail or the mail following. To tell you the truth, I am surprised that one has to call the attention of the leading brethren to the lack of support of the ERA. If the presidents and bishops knew just how valuable it is to their people to read President Smith's editorials,
and how much unity and support they would have from the saints if there were more ERAS taken in their stakes and wards, there would be no need of work to get an increased subscription.
Personally, I would not do without the valuable instructions in the ERA for ten times the price of the subscription. Many complain that they can get a larger eastern paper for less, but this only shows that they do not know how to estimate real value. Life eternal is the pearl of great price that we are after, and little if anything to aid us in securing it is to be found in the eastern magazines, if they do print more matter; but much is printed that will cause us to lose this, the greatest of all of God's gifts to man. If the ERA had done nothing but supply the elders in the mission fields with the magazine free, it is worthy of the support of all of the Saints. From 1,600 to 1,800 papers free to the elders per annum is no small matter, and the Saints should appreciate this, and support the ERA to show their appreciation. Once more sending love and best wishes, I remain, sincerely your friend and brother,
H. J. GRANT.
Liverpool, Oct. 10, 1906.
CONJOINT M. I. A. CONFERENCES.
The General Boards M. I. A., have named the following dates for the annual M. I. A. conferences throughout the Church. Superintendents of stakes are requested to make the necessary arrangements for holding these gatherings, and in case there is need to change the date, notification should be sent to the General Secretary immediately. The General Board will aim to have a representative at as many of the conferences as possible; but in case no member of the Board is present, the officers are requested to conduct the conference in the best manner that their experience may dictate. It is understood that the Young Ladies should be given an opportunity to occupy one-half of the time. The program should be prepared by conjoint officers meeting of stake officers, and should be indicative of the work of the associations, supplemented by music, reports, and general instructions.
Blanks have been sent to the stake officers, and they are requested to report the conferences upon these blanks, in case no representative of the General Board is present. The attention of the superintendents is called to the monthly reports, and it is hoped that they will insist upon their ward presidents reporting to them promptly each month on the blanks provided, and then report their stakes to the General Secretary.
M. I. A. CONJOINT CONFERENCE APPOINTMENTS FOR 1906-1907.
December 9-Emery, Juab, Malad.
December 16-Panguitch, South Davis, Beaver.
January 13-Oneida, North Davis, South Sanpete, Parowan, Hyrum.