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TALKS TO THE YOUNG MEN-HINTS ON PRESIDING.
BY THE SENIOR EDITOR.
Speaking on “Deference for Sacred Places,” in a recent talk, it was stated that those who preside over religious meetings should insist upon receiving from the audience, and from each individual thereof, that regard and deference which are due to the places and their positions. That these are not always obtained is due to two glaring faults: the thoughtlessness or bad manners of the audience, and the disability of the person presiding. Disability may be the wrong word; it would, perhaps, be better to say ignorance, or a lack of the proper knowledge of the requirements and importance of his own position. It is frequently the case that men who lead, are not good followers; that men who make rules, themselves break them. It was said of Alexander III, Czar of Russia, that he could and did abide by all the laws and regulations that he exacted of his court. This matter of living up to the laws of good order and conduct should be a primal qualification in a presiding officer. In his, more than in any other position, is the old saying applicable: “Rule thyself first; then others.”
So in a presiding officer, let it be an apostle or a seventy, the president of a quorum or of an improvement association, a stake president or the bishop of a ward; compliance with the rules of decorum and good order must first by them be strictly observed before they can reasonably expect results from the people.
If you preside, act as you would have your audience individually deport themselves.
A few of the requirements of presiding officers may be named: officers should be present on time, prompt in opening, agreeable, firm and considerate, orderly and expeditious.
Nothing is so productive of negligence and lack of regard on the part of the people as a tardy officer—as if no person's time were of value but his. Then some officers—and this does not apply alone to presidents of the Mutual Improvement Associations: it embraces bishops and other leading men,-are always tardy with their work. Consultations that should have been held with their counselors days or hours before, are ill-manneredly held on the stand before the waiting congregation. Is it any wonder that there is running in and out, and confusion in endless train? Sometimes, in meeting, these private consultations are deferred until the sacrament is being administered. It would be better to adjourn the meeting until the presiding officer is ready.
Presidents of Mutual Improvement Associations, who are in the habit of holding private conversations before their waiting audiences, may learn how disagreeable such action is to their members, by observing what effect bishop's private council meetings have upon a congregation partaking of the sacrament. The solemnity of the sacred ordinance is crushed beneath the debris of thought and action entirely foreign to its holy purpose. How can such officers ask men and women to pay proper respect to either the ordinance or the place? Advising together is very essential, but presiding officers must learn that in meeting is neither the time nor the place to hold such consultations.
If advising together should not interfere with the prompt opening, neither should a lack of familiarity with the course of procedure be permitted to hinder. When it is time for opening, it is not time to consult with the choir leader, who may have forgotten his music, or his organist, or his hymn book, or his choir. Neither is it then time to consult the janitor about the lights, or the forgotten oil, or the untrimmed lamp, or the dead incandescent. All these things should have been arranged beforehand to insure prompt opening. Add to these and similar arrangements, the possession of an agreeable temper, with a heart full of humility and the spirit of God, a firmness of purpose modified by a considerate feeling of respect for the rights of every person (not forget
ting his own), and a presiding officer can not fail to impress the people with respect for his position.
When such respect has been formed, the solution of the problem of how to prevent noise and confusion, and of how to create and maintain deference for place and position, will have been solved.
In a recent number of the ERA, Elder F. W. Crockett discussed "The Mission and Necessity of the Holy Ghost," and to substantiate a portion of his argument, with the correctness of which there is no controversy, he uses Paul's words, (Hebrews 6: 1.) "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection," etc.
Charles L. Walker, writing from St. George, remarks that this passage, as here quoted, is rather a stumbling block than a faith-promoter to some young men. “It is argued,” says he, “and rightly too: 'How can we leave the principles of Christ and yet obtain salvation, seeing that it takes all the principles of Christ to insure salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of God? For the benefit of some of the young men, I wish to refer to a matter that will throw a gleam of light on the passage referred to, and render it more congenial to the minds of Latter-day Saints who strongly believe in revelation and inspiration, as these proceed from God's servants in authority. I heard the blessed Patriarch Hyrum Smith make the following statement, in Nauvoo, at a meeting. He said, referring to said scripture passage: 'It is a wrong translation, and should read: Having the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection, etc. It will thus be seen that this inspired rendering of the verse by our lamented patriarch sheds a beautiful light on this passage heretofore shrouded in mystery and doubt.”
We give Elder Walker's testimony as above, because it is corroborative of the sentiment of the Prophet Joseph as expressed in what is known as the "inspired translation" of the Bible, in which the verse referred to reads as follows:
Therefore, not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.
While on this point, a word may be profitably said on the method of "translation" adopted by the Prophet Joseph. It should be remembered that rather than a translation it was a revision; but it can scarcely be called a revision either, and ought rather to be named a partial topical explanation of the scriptures. The method adopted was this: The Prophet had a large German Bible upon the margins of which he made the corrections as he was inspired while studying certain topics of the scriptures. One subject at a time was taken, and every reference to that subject was looked over, and where needed, corrected. But only a very small number of all the subjects were ever thus considered. Some most excellent corrections were made, but perhaps there were a dozen or more subjects or principles in certain chapters where one only was corrected. Hence it is that while one topic, as in the chapter referred to in Hebrews, has been explained, and much light thrown upon it, it does not follow and is not true that the Prophet either "revised" or "translated” the whole chapter or considered every subject therein. And this may be said of nearly all the chapters in the scriptures. But he finished whatever subject he took up; and this interpretation must be placed upon the expression, "finished the translation of the scriptures," found in the history of Joseph Smith.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.
As confirming the statement made by President Joseph F. Smith in the November, 1899, number of the ERA, that the orig
inal manuscript of the Book of Mormon was deposited in the southeast corner of the Nauvoo House by the Prophet Joseph, on October 2, 1841, and was never at any time in the possession of David Whitmer, the following evidence will be of interest: J. S. Black, of Hinckley, Millard County, writes to the editor of the ERA:
"With elders Andrew Jenson and Edward Stevenson, I made a trip to the Eastern States, in 1889. We called at Richmond, Missouri, and were shown the manuscript of the Book of Mormon in the possession of the Whitmers. We then went to the State of New York, and called on Mr. Gilbert, at Palmyra, the printer of the first copies of the Book of Mormon. From certain marks which he described, familiar to Brother Jenson, we were satisfied that what we had seen at the Whitmers was the printer's copy. Before leaving Salt Lake City, Apostle F. D. Richards showed us a part of what he said was the original manuscript which had been deposited in the Nauvoo House. Upon our arrival in Nauvoo Mr. L. C. Bidaman, the husband of Emma Smith, gave us the remainder of the manuscript in his possession, of which I have quite a roll. When I returned home, I exhibited my manuscript, so obtained, to Lewis Barney, my brother-in-law, and one of the pioneers, who said: 'I stood near the Prophet Joseph, in Nauvoo, and saw him deposit the manuscript and other articles, and heard him say that it was the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon.'”
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