It is human nature, I suppose, to perceive successes as inspired. But doing so
presumes that we always know the “why” behind the inspiration. In
my own experiences, God has been generous with helping me to see the who, what,
when and how, but has tended to be stingy with providing the why. Faith has
been for me more a matter of trust than of outcomes.
Big 'D'"Your characterization of early British
converts as "uneducated" is incorrect...."______________________________It’s no slur to describe early
British converts as uneducated and it is accurate according to LDS sources
including Brigham Young who was there.England’s northern
manufacturing cities provided the most fruitful mission fields in Liverpool,
Birmingham, and Manchester where my ancestors became converts.
Manchester’s impoverished working class so touched Dickens on a visit
there in 1843 when Mormon proselytizing was at its peak that it provided the
inspiration for his beloved ‘A Christmas Carol’ although he made
London the setting for the story.Mormonism’s early missionary
success among England’s working classes alarmed British clergy causing
anti-Mormon sentiment that sparked attempts to discourage and disrupt Mormon
proselytizing, it being believed that Mormonism exploited the ignorant,
gullible, and superstitious. That was more an attitude of religious and upper
class prejudices than of rational observation but the effect was all the
same.By some estimates, there were more Mormons in England than in
America when the exodus from Nauvoo began.
These critical comments of the early missionaries go far afield. I choose
instead to honor my own English missionary ancestor, Oliver Boardman Huntington.
His mission to England partially covered the years 1846-7. He served in
Clitheroe, on the banks of the river Ribble. During those years, his father
William died at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa. Others of his family were in Western Iowa and
Eastern Nebraska awaiting the trek west. His brother Dimick was inducted into
the Mormon Battalion at that time, and Oliver's wife was in Cambria, New
York, with her parents. Quite a sacrifice for early missionaries to England and
To; Big 'D', “if you studied the totality of his life and
ministry, you could only see a devoted servant of God and his fellow
humans”.Heber C. Kimball. “Do you suppose that God in
person called upon Joseph Smith? God called upon him; but God did not come
himself and call ,but he sent Peter to do it.”(JoD v. 6 p.29).Heber C. Kimball, “Where did the earth come from? From its parent
earths. Journal of Discourses 6:36 .
To Craig Clark:Your characterization of early British converts as
"uneducated" is incorrect. But consider what a member of the "upper
crust", Dickens, had to say about a cohort of 800 emigrants boarding a ship
for sea travel. He was amazed by the amount of letter writing and other refined
activities taking place while they awaited departure. Here are some of his other
comments: "Now, I have seen emigrant ships before this day in
June. And these people are so strikingly different from all other people in like
circumstances whom I have ever seen.""I should have said they were
in their degree, the pick and flower of England.""I think it would
be difficult to find Eight hundred people together anywhere else, and find so
much beauty and so much strength and capacity for work among them.""I went on board their ship to bear testimony against them if they
deserved it, as I fully believed they would; to my great astonishment they did
not deserve it...I [departed], feeling it impossible to deny that, so far, some
remarkable influence had produced a remarkable result, which better known
influences have often missed."
@ Sharrona1st quote: pretty understandable and excuseable, when considered
appropriately in its temporal context. 2nd quote: doubtful he ever said
it. This quote is not found in any of the voluminous records of early church
sermons. It was originally reported in NY newspapers in 1860, in slanderous
anti-Mormon articles. If he did say it, it seems more like a jestful attempt to
get a laugh out of the audience. What he DID say that IS documented in church
records, is "I wish more of our young men would take to themselves wives of
the daughters of Zion and not wait for us old men to take them all; go-ahead
upon the right principle young gentlemen and God bless you forever and ever and
make you fruitful, that we may fill the mountains and then the earth with
righteous inhabitants." I don't think he was the greedy
lecher you make him out to be. In fact, if you studied the totality of his life
and ministry, you could only see a devoted servant of God and his fellow humans.
"....he [Heber Kimball] was painfully conscious of his lack of education and
deeply intimidated at the thought of preaching to, as he viewed them, the much
more cultured and sophisticated English...."______________________________Heber’s anxiety was for
naught. Missionary efforts in England had a negligible impact on the British
upper crust. As in America, Mormon proselytizing had success mainly among
uneducated low income people. Among those working class early converts were my
ancestors which makes the story a meaningful event in my family history.
Gracie - More likely than your scenario, is the scenario that Joseph Smith
thought he could make some money off of the copyright in Canada so he tried.
Joseph Smith thought he could raise some money by opening a bank, so he tried.
God wouldn't send him out on a wild goose chase just for the fun of it
knowing full well that these ventures would fail. That would just be cruel. I
don't agree with you that you have to do anything the prophet says and you
will get the blessings for it. People can use their own minds to determine what
they should and shouldn't be doing. They don't need another person to
tell them, especially when the mormon church advocates personal revelation.
RE: Heber C. Kimball, Some quietly listen to those who speak against the
plurality of wives, and against almost every principle that God has revealed.
Such persons have half-a-dozen devils with them all the time. You might as well
deny 'Mormonism,' and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of
wives. ( J of D, vol. 5, p. 203.)& Heber C. Kimball, Speaking to
a group of departing missionaries... "Brethren, I want you to understand
that it is not to be as it has been heretofore. The brother missionaries have
been in the habit of picking out the prettiest women for themselves before they
get here, and bringing on the ugly ones for us; hereafter you have to bring them
all here before taking any of them, and let us all have a fair shake." The
Lion of the Lord, New York, 1969, pp.129-30.
To Brahmabull: There are various reasons why certain actions taken or proposals
made by prophets of God don't succeed in the here and now, one being to see
whether the people who have covenanted to follow the prophets will actually DO
that when push comes to shove. Sometimes it's more of a proving ground for
LDS people than anything else: proving to ourselves whether we have the courage
to follow through with the life we've chosen to live. Whether a principle
in action succeeds or fails reveals volumes about us that can't be refuted.
Truth about the proposals doesn't change because we might choose to ignore
them. On the other hand those who give their best efforts to live what the Lord
has instructed through his prophets will be blessed regardless of whether
success comes now or later. Arguing the point doesn't change
anything. It only points out what a continually uphill battle it is to do what
we need to do within a society that's aggressively dismissive of sacred
things it doesn't understand.
Even more inspired were the choices of Joseph Smith to open the Kirtland Savings
bank (which failed) and to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon in Canada
(also failed). So then only missions and endeavors that succeed are considered
Because of the faithfulness of these early missionaries, William Wadley, my
great grandfather, listened, prayed and studied, felt the Spirit, and joined the
Church in England and immigrated to Utah. He went back later to England as a
missionary himself. I am so grateful when I read stories like this and be
reminded of my heritage and the blessing and opportunity to live in this great
country of the United States and be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of