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it seems to us, may safely be translated literally: "To Jehovah is Light.' That is to say, the Lord has indeed light to give to his servants who trust him and obey his word. It would be presumptuous on our part to speak authoritatively on the subject. But it will be admitted that if the conclusions here suggested are correct, the word Liahona has a very beautiful and significant meaning."
The location of the plant is important as being near the geographical center of the United States, and convenient for distribution of mails to all the missions; also as being the place of the Center Stake of Zion to which many of the Saints look with longing interest because of its past history, and the glorious promises of the future relating thereto.
The purpose of its publication, as outlined by the First Presidency, is to proclaim the gospel as revealed and promulgated by the Prophet Joseph Smith, to magnify the Book of Mormon, from which its musical name was taken, and to convey to strangers the significance and value of the great latter-day work. Historical, doctrinal, descriptive and ethical writings will fill its pages; and these will be supplemented with missionary experiences and testimonies of rare charm and value. News of the missions, and essays from leading writers of the Church will find place in its columns.
The editor is Elder B. F. Cummings, who has had long experience in newspaper work, and who has been a leader in genealogical work and research for many years.
The business men of Independence and the people generally have given cordial reception to the enterprise, none having shown or expressed any kind of opposition, and there is a spirit and good feeling that is most gratifying and encouraging. The movement will afford great satisfaction to the Latter-day Saints in all parts of the world. With the IMPROVEMENT ERA, which has done considerable missionary work itself and hopes to persistently continue therein, they wish the new paper permanent success; and, with us, also wish that it may be a great aid in the mighty work to be accomplished in the building and establishment of Zion in the latter days. May it be said of this light as of the ancient one: "Is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised
land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow, into a far better land of promise."
SOME CHURCH FOUNDERS.
In the first decade of the nineteenth century there were born into the world a number of men who were destined to take a leading part in the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among these were: Brigham Young, born June 1, 1801; Heber C. Kimball, June 14, 1801; John Whitmer, August 27, 1802; Willard Richards, June 24, 1804; David Whitmer, January 7, 1805; Orson Hyde, January 8, 1805; Joseph Smith the Prophet, December 23, 1805; Oliver Cowdery, October 3, 1806; Wilford Woodruff, March 1, 1807; Parley - Parker Pratt, April 12, 1807; Samuel H. Smith, March 13, 1808; John Taylor, November 1, 1808; Charles Coulson Rich, August 21, 1809; Peter Whitmer, September 27, 1809. The ERA takes pleasure in presenting the portrait of one of these noble founders in this issue, that of Parley Parker Pratt, with an appreciation of his life by one of his granddaughters. A celebration of his one hundredth anniversary will be held by his descendants. The ERA has also made arrangements with a grandson for a character sketch of Willard Richards, which will appear in the June number, with a portrait. The lesson which the present generation may learn from the past is that we, like the faithful among the founders, should live so that, like theirs, our children's children may honestly rise up and call us blessed.
MESSAGES FROM THE MISSIONS.
In the Swedish mission for the month of January there were 2,088 gospel conversations held by the 62 missionaries and 256 meetings, 4 baptisms, and 2 children blessed.
The ERA is in receipt of the Elders' Messenger, number one, volume one, dated January 31, 1907, published semi-monthly by the New Zealand mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is an eight-page paper, one
half printed in the Maori and the other half in the English language. The object of the publication is to furnish communication between the elders and Saints laboring and residing within its jurisdiction. It will contain the mission news. record the arriving and appointment of new elders, and also a monthly summary of the work of each conference. It will also serve as an incentive to the Maories to learn the English language. Mission President Lewis G. Hoagland is the manager and editor, and David P. Howells, assistant manager and editor. We wish the Messenger success.
During the month of January there were 18 baptisms in the Scandinavian mission, and 9 children blessed. The elders held 489 meetings, and 5,560 gospel conversations, and visited 28,817 strangers' homes. There were 138 missionaries laboring in Norway and Denmark. From the annual statistics of the Scandinavian mission, published in Skandinaviens Stjerne February 1, it appears that there are three conferences in Denmark, with a total of 67 missionaries, and a total mem bership of 1,461. There were 150 baptisms, 80 children blessed, during the year, 32,219 gospel conversations were held, and 3,066 meetings. In Norway there are three conferences with 70 elders, and a total membership of 1,527. There were 104 baptisms and 32 children blessed, 28, 113 gospel conversations were held, and 2,474 meetings. In the whole mission there were 184 emigrated, and a total number of baptisms of 254.
Secretary Marion B. Naegle, writing from the City of Mexico, March 1, says: "The Mexican mission is in the most prosperous condition now of any time since its organization, and with the help of the Lord we hope to do much for the spread of truth during the ensuing year. On the 16th and 17th of February a general conference of the Mexican mission was held at Cuernavaca, Morelos. Prest. A. W. Ivins and Helaman Pratt of the Juarez stake, Apostle Heber J. Grant and wife, H. S. Harris, president of the Mexican mission, ten elders and a large congregation of Saints and investigators, were present. On the 17th, nine were baptized and confirmed members of the Church. The conference was a success, and the people were very much animated. Another conference was held in Ozumba, on the 23rd and 24th.` This was much better attended, as the Chalco conference has a larger number of Saints. President Pratt remained with us and spoke several times during the conference. He gave the elders good counsel and advice regarding their labors. He was specially prepared for this as he spent four years in missionary work among this people, twenty years ago. Seven meetings were held, and at the close of conference an entertainment was given by natives and elders. President Pratt could hardly believe what he saw and heard. He hadn't dreamed that the young people had made such progress as was shown during the rendition of the program. It was really encouraging to see how readily they learn when given opportunity. The elders were assigned to their respective fields of labor as follows: To the Chalco conference, James E. Whetton and E. A. Richardson, N. W. Thayne and M. L. Black, and Charles H. Martineau and Zenos N. Laws. To the Toluca conference, Rey L. Pratt and Simon Y. Beck, N. C. Tenney and L. M. Coombs, and M. B. Naegle and Atherton Farr.
NOTICE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
Number 1, Volume X, IMPROVEMENT ERA, has been reprinted and mailed to every subscriber who had not received one. In case any subscriber has failed to receive number one, a postal card to this office will bring it by return mail.
ANNUAL M. I. A. FUND.
Officers are reminded of the importance of making remittance of the annual M. I. A. Fund to the General Secretary, 214 Templeton Building, Salt Lake City, before May 30, as any money received after that date can not be included in the report for 1907.
One of the stake superintendents, in his monthly report, strikes a keynote to progress that should awaken thought in the minds of all Mutual Improvement workers. He evidently thinks that there is more danger when officers of the associations find no difficulty, and when they think that everything is working just right, than when they are continually beset with perplexing problems. He says: "The chief difficulty reported is lack of interest, but the most discouraging report is from the wards that say they have no difficulties at all, when that, as well as every other item of their report, indicates that they are completely snowed under with difficulties that they do not appreciate."
Early in March a sufficient number of blanks for the annual reports of the Y. M. M. I. Associations for the wards and stakes, were sent with a letter of instructions to the stake superintendents, and the ward reports no doubt have been distributed to the presidents of the associations. Considerable difficulty has been experienced heretofore in getting prompt returns from the ward presidents. We, therefore, urge these officers and their secretaries to be more prompt this year in making out their annual reports and forwarding same as early in April as possible to the stake superintendents of their respective stakes. We urge the stake officers to report promptly early in May-no later than the 10th-to the general secretary. Officers generally are urged to make the reports as full and correct as possible, so that we may have a complete report for our annual conference in June.
EVENTS AND COMMENTS.
BY EDWARD H. ANDERSON.
The Case of Senator Smoot.-Since the Senate decided, on the 20th of February, that Senator Reed Smoot is entitled to his seat, there has been a complete change of front in the newspapers in regard to his case, and the national sentiment appears to be greatly in his favor, many of the leading eastern and southern papers declaring strongly for him. In doing so, they also give credit to the Latterday Saints as a people who are declared not nearly so bad as they have heretofore been held out to be. After the speech of Senator Knox, the venerable chaplain of the United States Senate, Rev. Edward Everett Hale, voiced the sentiments of many who have spoken after him, when he said of Knox's speech: "I listened with great interest, and thanked him for having made it. It presented the issue in proper form, and I agree with what he said. It is my opinion that an erroneous impression of the Smoot case has gone abroad, and that many good people have wrong ideas of it. I am glad Senator Knox corrected these mistaken ideas.”
Senator Foraker said of Senator Smoot: "No case whatever has been made that will justify us in either declaring the seat vacant or expelling the Senator from Utah. Reed Smoot has proved a better character than any other Senator here has a right to claim. He is so good a man that I almost doubt him. He has no vices. He does not drink, smoke, chew or swear, and he is not a polygamist.”
It is generally conceded that the memorials, petitions and applications hurled at the Senate were wretchedly out of place. For the years that the fight has been going on, thousands of women waxed furious against Senator Smoct for no other reason than that he was a "Mormon." Their petitions to the Senate can be called little less than a criminal contempt of the court, for it was only as a court that the Senate could consider the charges.
Among the many favorable notices for the Senator, containing biting sarcasm for these misguided, but perhaps in many cases, excellent women, this from a correspondent of the Atlanta Georgian is characteristic and must suffice. Among other things he says:
It probably has never dawned upon those good yet misguided citizens whose religious intolerance and zeal would aid in burning latter-day Cranmers and Latimers at the stake, that they have overdone the thing in their reckless handling of Reed Smoot.