Lorenzo Snow, Aug 22, 1900

-- Aug 22, 1900
Health of prospective missionaries-- Salt Lake City.

A call for a more stringent check on the physical condition and health of prospective missionaries.

Office of The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Salt Lake City, Utah, August 22nd, 1900.

So many brethren have, of late, been released from the missionary field to return home on account of bodily infirmities that we deem it consistent to ask the Presidents of Stakes and the Bishops that, in future, before they recommend men for missionary labor they will inquire more carefully into their physical condition and general health. Undoubtedly some brethren, in their desire to fill a mission, particularly if these enquiries are delayed until after they have been called, will be very reticent in making answer; but it should be impressed on their minds that the hardships and irregularities of living incidental to missionary work may aggravate their troubles, cause them much suffering, and more or less prevent them from filling the duties of their calling, involving also a speedy return home with its disappointments and expenses. Brethren who are ruptured, afflicted with lameness from any cause, or who suffer from rheumatism or severe or chronic stomach troubles should be excused.

With much respect, we remain,


First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. {1900 August 22-Circular letter, Church Historian's Library,} (1)

-- Aug 23, 1900; Thursday
11 A.M. The Presidency and Apostles met in council meeting in the Temple. There were present: Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith; Elders John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, A[nthon]. H. Lund, M[atthias]. F. Cowley and Rudger Clawson, and Reed Smoot. ...

Elder John Henry Smith reported that he and Elder Anthon H. Lund had visited the saints of Emery [Utah] stake on the question of the water difficulty and that the conflicting brothers had agreed to accept himself, Elder Anthon H. Lund and President Miller as arbitrators, and would petition the court to appoint them so as to give legality to their acts.

He learned that the sisters of that stake were organizing themselves into clubs for educational purposes, and that some jealousy had arisen respecting these organizations. It seemed that Elders Teasdale and [John W.] Taylor had spoken publicly against secret societies, and any organization calculated to draw the people's interest from the Church. A letter had been written to President Miller on the subject of women's clubs, and he did not feel clear in his mind as to how he could answer it. Among the names of those associating themselves with these clubs were members of the Relief Societies.

Remarks were made by Brother Smoot and [Heber J.] Grant, going to show that such organizations were getting quite common, and in fact, one of Brother Grant's wives belonged to such a club, and his daughters belonged to another, the object of them being to develop literary tastes.

President Cannon made a few remarks in which he stated he did not favor such organizations, as they had a tendency to create class distinctions among our people if nothing more.

President Snow remarked that he could not feel to curtail the freedom of the Saints, in fact he felt like giving them the utmost freedom possible as long as it did not do wrong. ...

Letters from President Platte D. Lyman of the European mission were read. In one he states that Elder A. E. Hyde Jr. had borrowed of Sister Sacelia Sohnelle, after winning her affections, the sum of $75., which had been saved by her. This young woman had come to Utah, and had since left here for San Francisco [California], where she now is, under a feeling of disappointment at the treatment she has received from this young missionary.

The other letter contained a report of two missionaries, Elders Walter Romney and David Haigh, who, while doing missionary work in Germany, were constantly subjects of anxiety to the President of the mission because of their indiscretion and unworthiness. About six months ago they were released and went to Geneva [Switzerland] for the purpose of studying the French language and while there they absented themselves from the society and meetings of the Saints and indulged in drinking and gambling, and to all appearances gave themselves up to a life of licentious

pleasure, and from the statements of reliable brethren President Lyman was forced to believe that their conduct had been extremely bad.

This became the subject of considerable talk. President Snow expressed himself in effect that there was something radically wrong in calling elders into the missionary field, and he felt that the system now in vogue would have to be corrected. At present nobody seemed to be responsible for a great many of the brethren who are called, and no one seems to know anything about their private character or their abilities, and the results are that some men go as far as Australia without any religious training or experience. In one instance he had recently learned through the president of that mission that some who landed there had not even read the Bible or Book of Mormon, and had not even prayed in their lives, to say nothing of having a testimony of the divinity of the Gospel. He expressed the opinion that our young men should be sent to college to get a religious training for at least six months, and if this were done they would do more good in eighteen months than they might do afterwards in the mission field for two years without it. ... (2)

1 - Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)
2 - First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes

LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow


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