[Apostle Rudger Clawson Diary] Salt Lake City. Clear and cool. 2 p.m. First session of the quarterly conference of the Twelve. Present: Elders Jno. H. Sinith, Geo. Teasdale, Jno. W. Taylor, Marriner W. Merrill, Matthias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff, Rudger Clawson, Reed Smoot, and Hy. M. Smith. Song, "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion." Prayer by Elder Woodruff. Song, "Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice."
Elder Jno. H. Smith made opening remarks and said that he was pleased to meet with the brethren of the quorum, all of whom were present that could be reached. Spoke of the good work being done by Elders Lyman and Grant. He doubted not that they remembered us in their prayers, as we remember them. Conditions in the church are in fairly good shape. Spoke of the feelings of bitterness that have been aroused among the Swedish people of the church. It had been a question in his mind whether it was good policy to encourage a spirit of nationalism among the people of God. It seems to beget a spirit of clannishness, and there is some danger of these various nationalitiesâ"namely, the Danish, Swedes, Germans, and Swissâ"breaking up into factions. It is certainly a matter that should receive careful and serious consideration.
Elder Hy. M. Smith followed. Said that he was in the hands of his brethren to be used as they saw fit in the service of the Lord. Was striving to magnify his calling and desired to do something to benefit the people of God. Felt that many of our young people were being affected by outside influences. Business men of the church in furnishing work should invariably give Latter-day Saints the preference, but this is not always done, for the reason that they are not skilled workmen. Given a chance, in many cases they would acquire the skill. Many of the employees of Z.C.M.I. are non-Mormons, and many of the [Mormon] employees are weak in the faith. Deprecated the spirit of faultfinding against the priesthood, which he has met in the church. Considerable fault had been found with Pres. Smith, his father, because of his remarks at the last conference in reference to lawyers, which remarks were misunderstood. Desired to see the spirit of union among the saints.
Elder Reed Smoot said that he hoped to receive strength and benefit from these meetings. Had talked somewhat with Pres. Smith in regard to the various nationalities among us. A great number of meetings held on national lines had come under his notice in the Utah Stake, and he was not aware of much good resulting therefrom. One effect of keeping up these national lines is to keep a good many from learning the English language. Felt that when the proper time comes they should be discontinued. Suggested that a number of strong Swedish brethren be called to go among the Swedes and work a reformation. He never saw the time, he said, when there was so much indifference among a certain class of our people as now. Many are growing cold. The only way to keep the saints alive in the gospel is to keep them at work. Regretted to see so many enterprises and industries going out of our hands. Felt that the labors of the Twelve were effectual for good. There is a great work to be done in
Zion as well as in the world.
Elder Clawson followed. (His remarks as here recorded were taken down by Elder Cowley.) Spoke of the unions among the saints nationally as tending to clannishhess and detrimental to the spirit of the gospel. He agreed with the views expressed by Elder Smoot that these sectional feelings should be done away, and probably the discontinuance of national organizations would accomplish the desired result. Referred to the condition of the young people, largely bent on pleasure and pastime to the exclusion of the spirit of the gospel. Expressed his views relating to the recent priesthood meeting in the assembly hall of this stake, where the brethren made special reference to the control of our amusements, and thought it would result in great good. Spoke of the extravagant and senseless way in which the 4th of July is celebrated frequently among us. Referred in terms of approval of the recommendations of Prof. [Joshua H.] Paul on this subject at the 18th Ward meeting Sunday night, n
that instead of individual families giving a display of fireworks, donations for this purpose should be given into the hands of a committee appointed by the ward, who would have general charge of the display for the benefit of the people of the ward. In this way much means would be saved and many accidents averted. Brother Clawson said that he thought the attention of this council should be turned very much for a long time in a special effort to improve the youth of Zion. Spoke of the benefits to be derived from meeting with the lesser priesthood and urging them to a performance of their duty. Felt that the quorums of the lesser priesthood were not conducted in a skillful and interesting manner. Made honorable mention of the labors of Counselor Jos. B. Keeler of the Utah Stake presidency in this direction. Felt that the M.I.A. work, in respect to order and system and effective action, had some advantages over the Aaronic Priesthood meetings, because greater attention was
being paid to them. Children should be kept under the control of their parents until they should be sufficiently trained in the spirit of obedience. Said that the practice of self-abuse existed to an alarming extent among the boys in our community who attend the district schools, and also, he doubted not, the church schools. He felt that the boys and girls should be properly instructed in regard to this evil. The matter could be mentioned to good advantage at our priesthood meetings.
Elder Abraham O. Woodruff felt that this question of national lines among our people [was] very important. He had noticed that the saints in the German organization were drifting into a spirit of indifference. The matter needs looking into. The present presiding officers do not have that weight and prestige among the Germans that is essential. Brother [Arnold H.] Schulthess is the most influential man among them. In his judgment these organizations should be discontinued. Brother Woodruff said that he enjoyed the spirit of his labors. Felt interested in all the subjects mentioned by the brethren. Spoke of his labors in Wyoming on the land question. The Latter-day Saints there will control from thirty to fifty thousand acres. Someday he thought our people would be in control of the state. Believed in getting possession of the earth and then holding on to it. There are about 2000 saints in the Big Horn Stake. Spoke of the new Granite Stake house, which will cost between forty
sixty thousand dollars. It will amply meet the demands of the people. The presidency of the stake are making an effort to accomplish this work without calling upon the church for assistance. Cost to date, $15,000. Children, he said, should be under the strict control and authority of parents until they are old enough to be taught and to understand the gospel, after which they will be measurably safe. When discussion is invited in the council, he thought that the brethren should express themselves freely and without restraint, according to the judgment that God gives them.
Adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow. Benediction by Elder Clawson. (1)
-- Jul 16, 1903
President Joseph F. Smith and First Counselor John R. Winder refuse to allow Approved Pattern labels to be used on Z.C.M.I. knitted garments. Garments made by The Salt Lake Knitting Company, of which Joseph F. Smith is president, contain a label saying, "Approved by the Presidency. No knitted garment approved which does not bear this label." Apostle Rudger Clawson records that at the weekly meeting of the First Presidency and Apostles, "There was a little informal talk regarding socialism and the United Order. It was remarked by one of the brethren that the claim is made by many socialists that the acceptance of the doctrines of socialism would lead to the introduction of the United Order. It was asserted by one of the brethren that the socialists have many sympathizers among our people." (2)
1 - Stan Larson (editor), A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic diaries of Rudger Clawson, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1993
2 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
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