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wine; all nonsense, ridiculous, they say; "could not walk on the water;" no, all nonsense; that the Almighty "could not do such things” any more than men could do them. I say again that there are just a few ignoramuses, "learned fools," if you please, who would make you believe, if they could, that Almighty God is limited in his power to the capacity of man. Don't you believe it, not for one moment.
They would make you believe, if they could, that the Father and Son did not come and reveal themselves to Joseph Smith, in person; that it was but the imagination of Joseph Smith. We know better. The truth is overwhelming to the contrary. The testimony of the Spirit of the living God bears record to the contrary, and it teaches men that these things are true, and that those who deny them are simply going outside of the truth into the fallacies and follies of the philosophies of men. They are not willing to abide in the solid, simple truth which God has revealed for the salvation of the souls of men. Beware of men who come to you with heresies of this kind, who would make you to think or feel that the Lord Almighty, who made heaven and earth and created all things, is limited in his dominion over earthly things to the capacities of mortal men. They try to make you believe that God is too busy and too great to trouble about earthly things. I am glad that there are comparatively few such characters in the world, and I hope that they will become more and more scarce until they are extinct.
ITEMS FROM STATISTICAL REPORTS FOR THE YEAR 1913
Now, I feel that I must not detain you too long. The Presiding Bishop's office has kindly provided a few interesting statements in writing, which I will read to you with, perhaps, some comment as I proceed.
During the year 1913, there was an increase in membership in practically all of the stakes of Zion. The following items culled from the statistical records of the Church are at once interesting and instructive. The figures refer to the organized stakes only, exclusive of the missions:
"Birth rate among the Latter-day Saints, in the stakes, is 37 to the thousand.
"The death rate is 9.3 to the thousand.
The average age of death
among the Latter-day Saints, is 38 years.
And these, especially the latter class, are members of the Church who need the care that the widow and the fatherless usually require from those who are abundantly supplied with the necessaries of life, for, as a rule, the widow and the fatherless are left practically destitute of this world's goods
"Persons over twenty-one years of age, and unmarried, are fifty-one to the thousand.
"The marriages were 15 to the thousand; of these marriages 8 to the thousand were solemnized in the temples, and 7 to the thousand were performed through civil ceremony outside the temples."
This condition, among the Latter-day Saints, so far as the latter statement is concerned, should be remedied as soon as possible. I presume the cause of it is that some of our young people are not properly trained, not properly instructed in their duties in the Church, and when they arrive at a marriageable age, some of them, at least, are not prepared to receive the indorsement of their presiding officers to go into the temples.
While the rate of marriage among the members of the Church is perhaps as high as that prevailing in any other civilized community, it should, nevertheless, be higher. Our young people should be encouraged to marry at the proper age.
This should be a text for every bishop and for every stake president. It is not good for man to be alone, and it is necessary that our young men and women should be properly taught the importance, the sacredness and the duty of marriage. Great evils occur among young people through neglect in teaching them these principles, and from failure to encourage them to the performance of their duties, in this respect.
"During the year, 427 members of the Church entered into marriages with non-members of the Church; and of these 427, it is noted that 398 were women."
So that, it appears distinctly that it is the young women who are most inclined to follow the outsider, and to become associated in marriage with non-believers, which is a pity.
"The number of members of the Church divorced during the year is 163; of this number 59 had been married in the temples, and 104 by civil ceremony."
I think that here is a point worthy of observation by the Latter-day Saints. Men and women who become united in the holy bonds of wedlock, according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, enter into that solemn relationship with better understanding of the duties and responsibilities of marriage than others do, because they are taught more fully the facts in the case.
"There were excommunicated from the Church, in the stakes of Zion, 55 persons."
Mostly, I suppose, for being carried away by every wind of doctrine. We have some foolish people who take up with any chimera, or foolish notion that anybody may advance to them. They are to be pitied.
"Baptisms into the Church, of children and adults, within the stakes, numbered 35 to the thousand.
"During the year there has been a greater proportion of baptisms of adults than for several years previous; this gratifying result is probably due to the more systematic missionary service within the stakes, in which excellent labor the Seventies have been prominent. Organized and well directed labor on the part of the Seventies has been conducted whereby the message of the gospel has been carried to many of our non-Mormon' friends who are fellow-members of the communities in which our people dwell. It is as surely our duty to preach the gospel to non-members of the Church with whom we dwell as it is to carry the message of truth to the nations of the earth. Responsibility for this home missionary labor rests upon the local authorities-the presidents and bishops,-under whose direction the Seventies residing in the several stakes and wards may be effectively engaged.
"It is gratifying to know, as the records show, that through the benefits of our local option laws, the saloon has been eliminated in communities wherein the Latter-day Saints predominate.
"A marked increase in the labors of the ward teachers is shown; and one of the direct results of this important activity is the increase in the attendance of the Latter-day Saints at their Sacrament meetings, and also a marked increase of enrollment in all the auxiliary organizations of the Church.
"In the Ogden Stake of Zion 93% of all the families in the wards were visited by the teachers, each month, during the year 1913. I is but fair to state that this is the best record in the Church.
"Great good has been accomplished by the regular visits of the ward bishoprics to the homes of the Saints. This has given the bishops a personal insight into the family organization and home life of the people of their wards; and it is pleasing to note that in all except the largest wards, the respective bishoprics have visited at least once during the year every family in their wards. In the larger wards, the bishoprics have very properly called to their aid experienced and influential brethren to assist in this annual visitation by going to the homes of the members, two or three together, as representatives of the bishopric. Approximately 60.000 families were thus visited, either by the bishoprics in person or by their specially appointed representatives, during the closing months of the year 1913."
I would like to interject here just a remark. We have had called to our attention, recently, the fact that some men who are of long standing in the Church-indeed, some of them born and reared in the Church, and who are occupying prominent positions in some of the quorums of the priesthood,-when their presidents or their bishops of the wards in which they live call upon them to visit the Saints, teach the principles of the gospel and perform the duties of teachers, they coolly inform their bishops that they have graduated from that calling, and refuse to act as teachers. Brother Charles W. Penrose is eighty-two years of age. I am going on seventy-six, and I believe that I am older than several of these good men who have graduated from the duties of the Lesser Priesthood, and I want to tell them and you that we are not too old to act as teachers, if you call us to do it-not one of us. There is never a time, there never will come a time to those who
hold the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when men can say of themselves that they have done enough. So long as life lasts, and so long as we possess ability to do good, to labor for the upbuilding of Zion and for the benefit of the human family, we ought, with willingness, to yield with alacrity to the requirements made of us to do our duty, little or great. I hope that my friends of the Seventies and of the High Priests, who have graduated from the duties of the Lesser Priesthood, will take to heart what I say to them, and learn better, and be more valiant in their duties. For it may just come to the point that we will have to deal with men who cease to do their duties, who have paid all the tithing they are going to pay, who have paid their tithing so many years that they have become old and opulent, having plenty of means, and can ride in their automobiles, etc. They can't afford to pay their tithing because they have graduated from it. I say, we may have to deal with some of these lofty, high-minded brethren, by and by, for their fellowship as members in the Church. We do not want to do it, because it is all free will anyhow; but when men cease to have the free will to do their duty as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they ought not to be hoisted into responsible positions where, by their influence, they will destroy the faith of others, and we must see that this is not done.
"As already indicated, the vital statistics of the Church in the estab lished stakes show a generally good condition among the people. As compared with the nation as a whole, our communities show a higher birth rate, a lower death rate, and greater average duration of life. It is strongly urged that strict attention be given to all sanitary requirements and rules of right living. In some of the sparsely settled districts. the people still depend upon wells or open streams for their drinking water. Stake and ward officers should put forth all proper effort to secure for their communities a properly safe-guarded water supply. Strict sanitary observance should characterize all communities. Among the greatest foes to human health are impure drinking water, poor sanitary conditions, and the common house fly."
Now, think of it! Cleanliness, it is said, is a part of godliness. No unclean thing-and I think that means cleanliness of person, cleanliness of body, as well as cleanliness of heart, and cleanliness of spirit-no unclean thing can enter into the presence of God. All of us should do our utmost to supply our homes with pure water for the use of the home. We should provide for our families, as far as possible, every convenience of a sanitary character, to preserve life, and health, and to avoid exposures to colds, to weaknesses and sickness, incident to frontier life, in our country homes. The idea of going into a home. where there are children, and where the housewife, together with the children, many of them, have to dwell, and where not even the most common necessaries of the home are sup
plied for the comfort of the family, and day or night, heat or cold they must take to the field or back yard, rods away, to meet the exigencies of nature, pardon the expression. I deplore the existence of such conditions. They are not found very commonly, but where they do exist it is deplorable, and men should think and care more for the welfare, comfort, safety and health of their wives and children, than to permit them to go on year after year in this comfortless way.
"The Bureau of Information, located on the Temple Block, has continued its splendid service, in affording entertainment and imparting information to the many tourists and transients who come among It reports that upwards of 200,000 visitors were received at the Bureau of Information during the year.
"And probably during the present year this number will be practically doubled, if not more than doubled, from now on until the termination of the great Panama Fair at San Francisco.
"The missionary work of the Church outside the stakes has been carried on with unabated zeal. The number of missionaries laboring in the several mission fields during the year approximated an average of 2000; of this number, over 800 went from home to the various mission fields during the year. Among the missionaries are over 100 women, located principally in cities and towns where their services can be most properly applied. The presidents of stakes should feel it their duty to have in the mission field not less than six to the thousand of their stake population, so that the labor and the blessing attendant upon this great latter-day work may be fairly distributed throughout the stakes."
I hope you will remember that.
"The following elders have been honorably released from their positions as mission presidents, and have returned from the field since the last October conference: Charles H. Hyde, from the Australian mission; Roscoe W. Eardly, from the Netherlands mission; Orson D. Romney, from the New Zealand mission; C. Christian Jenson, from the Samoan mission; Franklin J. Hewlett, from the South African mission; A. Theodore Johnson, from the Swedish mission.
The positions thus vacated by the brethren named have been filled by new appointments. The mission presidents now in office are as follows:
European mission, Elder Hyrum M. Smith, of the Council of the Twelve; Australian mission, Elder Don C. Rushton; French mission, Elder Edgar B. Brossard; Hawaiian mission, Elder Samuel E. Wolley; Japanese mission, Elder H. Grant Ivins; Mexican mission, Elder Rey L. Pratt; Netherlands mission, Elder LeGrand Richards; New Zealand mission, Elder William Gardner; Samoan mission, Elder John A. Nelson, Jr.; Scandinavian mission, Elder Martin Christopherson; South African mission, Elder Nicholas G. Smith; Swedish mission, Elder Theodore Tobiason; Swiss and German mission, Elder Hyrum W. Valentine; Tahitian mission, Elder Franklin J. Fullmer.
And within the United States: California mission, Elder Joseph E. Robinson; Central States mission, Elder Samuel O. Bennion; Eastern States mission,Elder Walter P. Monson; Northern States mission, Elder German E. Ellsworth; North-western States mission, Elder Melvin J. Ballard; Southern States mission, Elder Charles A. Callis; Western States mission, Elder John L. Herrick; Iosepa Colony, Elder T. A. Waddoups.