Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Prophet Joseph didn’t Fear

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It is said that the Prophet Joseph did not fear what?
a.                  The Missouri mobs
b.                  Other ministers speaking to his people
c.                   Losing at pulling sticks
d.                  Turning a profit at his little red brick store
Yesterday’s answer:
C   Over 100 new missionaries called to foreign missions
By the summer of 1852, [Edward] Stevenson, [Nathan T.] Porter, and their families had been living in the Salt Lake Valley for over four years. In late August, about two thousand Latter-day Saints gathered at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City to receive counsel from Church leaders. President Brigham Young stated the purpose of the early conference was to conduct “business pertaining to foreign missions, and of giving to the brethren an opportunity to cross the plains before the cold weather.” On Saturday morning, August 28, 1852, First Counselor Heber C. Kimball, Apostles George A. Smith, John Taylor, and Ezra T. Benson, and President Brigham Young gave sermons on the importance of missionary work. They spoke of it as a scared responsibility and mentioned its associated difficulties.
When President Young finished his sermon, Thomas Bullock, clerk of the conference, concluded the session by reading the names of the more than one hundred elders who were assigned to serve missions throughout the world. They were assigned to England, Ireland, Wales, France, Germany, Berlin, Norway, Denmark, Gibraltar, Hindustan (India), Siam (Thailand), China, the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa), Nova Scotia and the British Provinces (Canada), the West Indies, British Guiana, Texas, New Orleans, St. Louis, Iowa, Washington DC., Australia, and the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands. In the years between the 1844 martyrdom of Joseph Smith and this 1852 conference, the highest number of missionaries was seventy-two in 1845, and the average number of missionaries between 1845 and 1851 was about forty-four. The dramatic increase in missionary numbers seems to have been driven by the political revolutions that were upheaving European societies, leading millenarian Mormon leaders to think that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ was nigh, Edward Stevenson and Nathan Porter, the only two men assigned to Gibraltar, were as stunned at their assignment as the other newly called missionaries were at theirs. This conference marked one of the most important moments in Mormon missionary history.

Reid L. Neilson, “Proselyting on the Rock of Gibraltar, 1853-1855,” BYU Studies, Vol. 55, No. 1, 101.

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