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النشر الإلكتروني
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Vol. XVII

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Peace, peace, throughout the wide world, peace.
Cease, cease, ye raving war gods, cease!
What mean these cries of blood and war,
These strikes, this turmoil near and far?
Look to the west and you shall see
The Dragon War King bend his knee,
While in the east, so clear and bright,
The Shepherd's star sends forth its light.

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MAJOR J. H. GILBERT

The principal compositor on the first edition of the Book of Mormon. He was born in Richmond, New York, in 1803, and died in Palmyra, N. Y., January 26, 1895, aged 92 years, 10 months. The photo was taken in his 91st year. See "Editors' Table," in this number of the ERA.

IMPROVEMENT ERA

VOL. XVII

MAY, 1914

Loud Laughter a Sin

PROF. N. L. NELSON, OF THE WEBER ACADEMY.

No. 7

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"Therefore, cease from all your light speeches; from all laughter; from all your lustful desires; from all your pride and light mindedness, and from all your wicked doings. * * Cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you. do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances; not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance."-Doc. and Cov., 88:121, 69; 59:15.

It is now forty years since I first read these passages and wondered that the Lord should condemn so innocent and, to me, so admirable a thing as hearty laughter. I am afraid that as a boy the meaning of "glad heart and cheerful countenance," which the Lord offers as a substitute, did not strike my attention, and certainly no one ever pointed it out to me. I fear also that, by the law of contrast, my mind jumped to the opposite extreme; interpreting as pleasing to heaven the groaning heart and the long, drooping countenance-like that of old Brother Moody and old Sister Gloom who, although they were among the first to accept "Mormonism," failed to slough and leave behind them in the old country the sour and solemn shams of sectarianism.

As a consequence, the years from twelve to eighteen, which mark the hoodlum epoch in my career, were years of rebellion and defiance. I had not read Milton's "L' Allegro," but had it come within my ken, I should certainly have approved this stanza:

"Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jolity,

Imps and cranks and wanton wiles,

Nods and becks and wreathed smiles, *

Sport that wrinkled care derides,
Laughter holding both his sides."

As it was, the hero of that silly epoch, the incarnation of my

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