Elder Nephi Pratt

I have rejoiced greatly in the good spirit that has been upon the servants of the Lord, and the Saints during this conference. I have been interested in the words of President Ellsworth, and I am glad to hear concerning the successful methods adopted in the mission over which he presides. The missionary fields are better systematized than they have been in years gone by.

In the Northwestern States mission we have had an average of thirty-one Elders during the year ending December 31, 1907, and we baptized a considerable number more good converts than have been baptized in any year since I have presided over that mission. We have received encouragement and blessings, by the accession of some strong men and women, full of faith, who have come into our mission from Zion. I refer particularly to the Nampa branch, in Idaho. The tithes donated by the Saints in our mission are greater than ever before, to the extent of about $1,230.

We have received many evidences of the divinity of the calling of the Elders. The eyes of the blind have been opened, and sight restored. One individual’s lungs were supposed to be gone, it was thought she was dying, but she was restored by the power of faith. We have been blessed with numerous manifestations of the power and gifts of God.

We have visited more of the middle classes (if we should speak of classes in free America) the last year than at any time previously. I would like to repeat to you some sentiments which were expressed to me by Mr. M—, a passenger agent of a railroad and steamship system. He said to me: "There is one man in your community whose ideal life in his home is the most beautiful I ever witnessed. I would go any time a hundred miles to meet him. I have never seen nobler characters than are his wife and himself and their children. [Now this is the testimony of a Presbyterian.] In my own religious community, where I am acquainted, I have never seen such faithfulness, such devotion, such perfect truth and goodness as I witnessed in that man’s family." This man that he praised is well known to all of you. I won’t tell his name, but I exhort you to emulate his example, and let your light so shine that your righteousness and faithfulness may affect your neighbors.

Goodness in the home is the foundation of Zion’s prosperity. Cultivate cheerfulness at home. There is no man or woman who cultivates the spirit of affection for the members of their households but that is cheerful. Cheerfulness may be cultivated until the gloomy man starts his liver to working so that biliousness will cease and he will become the glory and the sunshine of his own house. His children, instead of wanting to hide when father comes home, because they feel the oppression of a man who treats them tyranically, will look to his coming with joy, and the neighbors, seeing the hands of the children held out to a good father, will say, "how beautiful such home government is." The influence of a kind and affectionate father will diffuse itself through every member of his family, and will attract the honorable who see his home life.

I was conversing with a man who is an ear and eye specialist, when I was availing myself of his services, and he told me that he was passing through the trouble of a divorce suit with his wife in court.

He said to me, "It is reputed of your people that they are the most constant, and most faithful to each other of any people in the world. I feel that if I ever desired to be united to a woman again, after my troubles are over, I would like to get a ‘Mormon’ girl." I answered, "You would have to become a mighty good man if you tried to imitate a ‘Mormon’ as a husband, you would have to become like the Latter-day Saint in principle, to satisfy a ‘Mormon’ girl; in fact you would have to receive the doctrines of Jesus Christ as they are revealed in this age."

Our Elders have been working on splendid lines last winter. We changed our plans, and established a system of missionary work in the great towns, so that we have reached more people and accomplished more than at any other time, in the mission’s experience. Our Elders are healthy, united, industrious, and happy, and they are abler than they have been. Elders of experience are being sent to the field, who are making themselves felt among the people in the states of the northwest. They visit men of influence in financial and governmental affairs, men who are officials of the state and municipalities. There are more men reading the Book of Mormon in our field than ever before. I allude to men outside of the Church. There is still, however, much indifference which we cannot break through. Many are hard-shelled, as it were. Sometimes the Elders are sneered at, and ordered out of the house, or out of the office of a business man; but business men generally treat us better than the common people do.

We have evidence that the power and blessing of our Father is increasing upon the Elders and upon the Saints. When the Saints are liberal in tithes and offerings, to help build up this kingdom, you may know they are in a healthy condition. God bless you here at home, my brethren and sisters. God bless President Smith. My soul echoes the blessings that have been pronounced upon our president by those who have spoken during this conference. The Saints shall prosper, and God will magnify them. He is magnifying you in the earth and there is not a hand that could be raised, and there is not a weapon that could be formed that can stay this work, from this time henceforth and forever. Whatever the conditions may seem, this work has come to stay. God has revealed it to us, and we know it is true. May God bless you, my brethren and sisters, I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.

[Conference Report, Apr. 1908]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


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