Missionaries at Home
To a stranger the appointment of so many Elders, at the last October Conference, to travel and preach in the settlements of Utah would appear singular, for he would at once reflect that we had gathered here expressly for the purpose of serving the Lord our God, and that there was no power, outside ourselves, to hinder us in so doing. And that reflection would be true, but back of that is the fact that the human family are prone to neglect their best interests, by suffering their minds and energies to be unduly occupied with the cares and toils immediately connected with this life. Not that they are to be unattended to, for that course would contravene the plan for attaining salvation in a celestial kingdom, since that plan embraces and requires a proper attention, in full times and seasons, to all duties, whether spiritual or temporal, speaking after the usual custom. We say, ‘usual custom,’ because in fact every lawful operation, whether in building, planting, or reaping, or whether legally acting or resting in any time or manner, conduce as directly to our exaltation as do singing, praying, or preaching. But it is the improper and unlawful thoughts, words and actions of men that will stand in the way of their advancing to the channel of real happiness and glory. These occur on account of a failure to carefully listen at all times, and under all circumstances, to the still, small voice of the Spirit, insomuch as to measurably darken the understanding, and that too with a great number who are very good citizens, and tolerably good saints.
The commencement is an evil course, through the cunning of the adversary, is generally made at a very small angle from the straight and narrow path which leadeth unto life, and, unless speedily corrected, the discrepancy proceeds with a rapidly increasing divergence, until lying begins to supplant truthfulness, thieving begins to mingle with upright dealing, the suggestions of the Spirit are more or less disregarded and the understanding becomes darkened.
It may be asked, “do we not have meetings, more or less regularly in the several wards throughout the Territory?” Very likely, but the unclept saying that, “a prophet is not without honor save in his own country,” is as true now as when first spoken, and the people of Utah are probably as fond of variety as the majority of the human family, and most certainly require to have their ‘minds stirred up,’ if for no other reason, at least ‘by way of remembrance.’ To this end the home missionaries are visiting the various settlements, enlivening the lukewarm, teaching the ignorant, encouraging the faint hearted, comforting the despondent, rebuking sin and iniquity and laboring zealously for the Redeemer’s cause and the upbuilding of the kingdom of God on the earth.
The success attending their labors thus far, under the able direction of Elder P.P. Pratt, is indeed cheering and hopeful, and we can but trust that all the estate will co-operate with them, and that great good will be the result in eschewing all evil, and every appearance thereof, and cleaving unto the truth in all things, that the Holy Ghost may richly abound in us and the light of our deeds and example sine forth to the world as a ‘lamp that burneth.’
[Deseret News, 5:292]
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nov. 21, 1855, 1-2]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, July 2006]