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INSTRUCTIONS TO MISSIONARIES.
REPORTED BY THOMAS HULL, GENERAL SECRETARY Y. M. M. I. A.
[The remarks which follow were made at one of the meetings of the missionaries who were recently called to labor in the interest of the Mutual Improvement Associations throughout Zion. They are published to give the people generally, and the officers of each association particularly, a more thorough understanding of the nature and importance of the mission of these brethren who are laboring among them. These sermons, coming as they do from authority, are also full of helpful counsel and advice to every worker in the cause, and apply to local officers and to their missionary aids as well as to the general workers to whom they were first addressed.-EDITORS.)
REMARKS OF PRESIDENT LORENZO SNOW.
This mission which you have taken upon yourselves by the consent and approval of the First Presidency is high and important. There is something about it different from any mission ever undertaken by man. You go among the Saints, and I can scarcely think of any objects greater than those of these missionaries. We feel that you will make a grand success, because we sense and know that you have been called of God. The wisdom of man would never have thought of such a work as this. I am surprised when I think of its greatness. I can say that it is the very work that is necessary at this time: and I feel that you will enter upon it with your whole souls. Cultivate the Spirit of Jesus when he said he could do nothing except that which his Father gave him to do.
Never mind your difficulties and apparent losses; sink your own interests, and your success will be grand and glorious, and the whole Church will feel the effects of your labors.
Never mind the indifference of some of those amongst whom you
will labor, and the little disappointments you will meet with; the Spirit of the Lord will be upon you, and you will stir up the spirits of those to whom you minister, and conquer their indifference; and before you leave the wards you will be satisfied you have accomplished the work you have been sent to perform by the First Presidency of the Church and the General Board of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations.
You have the fullest authority conferred upon you, but you need not talk about this at all. You will discover that there is no need to talk about it; the Spirit of the Lord will confirm it, and the people will feel that you bear it, and this confirmation and feeling will be your authority.
You will find some that think they know more than you do, but if you will do your duty as suggested, before you leave them, they will feel that you have a little more than they have, and that you have blessed them and helped them. You will have no occasion to worry about entertainment and transportation: they may not always be just what you would like, but you will get along, and you will really have nothing to worry about. No danger of mobs or anything of that kind. It will be like traveling over a conquered field, or a path of roses; yet you will have some things not quite so agreeable as you might desire.
Try to make yourselves agreeable to those to whom you are sent. The humility you display and the Spirit of the Lord resting upon you, will show your fitness for the position you are called to occupy. Try to understand human nature and act accordingly, in order to make everyone happy and everything agreeable.
I remember an incident related by Brother Geo. A. Smith:
He was on a mission, traveling without purse or scrip. He had been turned away from several houses and badly treated. He had always told those to whom he applied for entertainment that he was a “Mormon," and after he had traveled some distance and the day was drawing to a close, he began to fear that he would obtain neither food nor shelter and perhaps be unable to accomplish his mission. In order to avoid this, he concluded to adopt another plan. Journeying a little farther, he came to a house and found the owner putting up a loom. Brother Smith went right to work and assisted him. After they had finished their task, he began to
talk to the man about his stock and his farm, and so forth. During the conversation, it began to rain, and Brother Smith, who all this time had not mentioned that he was a “Mormon," started to go, but the man insisted upon his staying to dinner, and would not permit him to leave his house that night.
There is a way to reach every human heart, and it is your business to find the way to the hearts of those to whom you are called on this mission.
I was once traveling in a strange country on a mission, and had been refused entertainment many times, and my chances for sleeping in a hay-stack were very good. Presently I came to a hotel. We usually avoided such places, but my affairs were desperate, and I approached the proprietor and told him that I was without means, preaching the Gospel, and asked him to give me entertainment. He replied that he was running his hotel to make money, and that I was very welcome to a room in his house and meals at his table upon payment of the regular prices for such commodities. I started to go away; but, upon a little reflection, returned to the man, and again told him that I was a humble elder of the Church of Christ, preaching the Gospel, warning the people aud calling upon them to repent and turn unto the Lord. I quoted to him the words of the Savior, recorded in Matt. 25, 31-46, where he tells of the coming of the Son of man in his glory, when he shall divide the sheep from the goats and shall bless those on his right hand because they ministered unto him, but shall cast out those on his left hand, because they ministered not unto him; and when those on his left hand shall ask when they saw the Son of man in want and ministered not unto him, he shall say unto them, "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these ye did it not to me.” After having quoted these things, and borne testimony that I was a humble disciple of Jesus Christ, I started to leave him, but he called after me, saying, "Where are you going? Come in here and eat, and stay as long as you desire." I returned and was well entertained, and no word was ever said to me about paying for the same.
President Taylor and myself were once traveling in the southern settlements. At one place, a meeting was called, and we expected a good turn out of the people, but when we reached the
meeting house there was no one there. By and by, an old lady came in, and after a little while a man and two or three children arrived. President Taylor went down to the door and acted as a deacon and ushered in a few more people, but the congregation was extremely slim. We had, however, a pleasant meeting after all; and, although you will sometimes find a touch of indifference, you may also have good meetings if you obtain the Spirit of the Lord.
I feel in my heart to say, God bless you. You will be set apart before you go, and we shall pray for you and shall take a deep interest in you. Be meek of heart and humble. When you look upon an audience, two motives may inspire you; first, that you may speak well and make a good impression upon the audience as an orator; and, next, the question will arise, what am I here for? To sow the seeds of life in the hearts of those who are in this audience; and the prayer should arise in your heart, "O Lord, may it be so; may I have power through thy Spirit to touch the hearts of these thy people?” That very short prayer is all that an elder needs to *make. It is all you need to make. “May I say something to save these souls?” This is what the First Presidency, the General Board and all your brethren want you to do.
God bless you, my young brethren; and he will bless you, and fill you with his Spirit, and this will be one of the grandest missions of any ever undertaken.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT JOSEPH F. SMITH.
When among the people in the stakes of Zion, if you meet with difficulties which you are unable to solve, it will not be very difficult on your part to apply to head-quarters, state the circumstances and conditions as you find them, and if there is any thing wrong, we have the power to correct it, and we will be on hand to aid you. If you are not received kindly by the presiding authorities of the Church, after taking up a kindly and diligent labor to get a good understanding, then report the matter, and we will labor with the Bishop or President of Stake, and help you.
This is a great labor; one of incalculable worth and benefit in Zion. In order to succeed, you must be on the Lord's side; you must have the co-operation of the Spirit of God. You must feel the importance of your mission, and that mission is to vitalize those
who are charged with the responsibility and care of the young men of Israel. Your duty is to teach them how to do their work effectively, and how best to accomplish the salvation of the young. Therefore, you must possess the spirit of this mission in your hearts; and, in order to do that, you must be prayerful and humble. Be genial and kind so that you may cope with all difficulties. Be not discouraged, but press on until all obstacles yield to your efforts.
This mission is important for the reason that we have here at home thousands of young men who are unacquainted with the first principles of the Gospel, and could not give one intelligent reason for the hope that is in them. I am frequently in receipt of letters asking the simplest questions, which even a child in the Gospel should understand.
Your duty is to educate the officers of the Mutual Improvement Associations in regard to the duties and labors devolving upon them by reason of their appointment to their positions, and to help them to be efficient in their work. It was discovered that something of this kind was necessary. Many of the officers did not know enough about their work, so we are going to try to educate them. This I conceive to be a very important labor. We have thousands of officers, and the task will be a great one for you.
In relation to the authorities of the Church, I desire to say that the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations are not part of the Church organization; they are auxilliary. They have sprung up from the necessities that have arisen, and are now as essential in their sphere as the quorums of the Priesthood; and yet if all these quorums were performing their duty as they should, there would be no necessity for these organizations. Being auxilliary only, it is not proper for us to assume ecclesiastical authority. We are subject to the Priesthood, and must honor it. You must not ignore the local authorities, but you should set an example to the people in this respect. But if you find some that are indifferent and cold, don't complain about them, but labor diligently to bring them to a correct understanding of your mission, and if unsuccessful, then report to us and we will see what can be done. First, however, honor the local authorities. Always honor the Priesthood, for God has established it in the earth. The weakness