-- Jul 11, 1901
[Apostle Marriner W. Merrill Diary] Thursday. Salt Lake City, Taylor Block. After Quorum meetings today I went out to Saltair at 2:20 p. m. and returned at 5:20 p. m. President Snow and some of the Twelve went. I went and came in President Snow's private car. (1)
-- Thursday, Jul 11, 1901
[Apostle Rudger Clawson Diary] Salt Lake City. Clear and hot. 10 a.m. Continuation of quarterly conference of Twelve. Present: Apostles Brigham Young, Jno. H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale, Marriner W. Merrill, Matthias F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff, Rudger Clawson, and Reed Smoot, and Heber J. Grant [and Anthon H. Lund]. Song, "See How the Morning Sun." Prayer by Geo. Teasdale. Song, "Prayer Is the Soul's Sincere Desire."
Apostle Jno. H. Smith was the first speaker. Topics treated. Regretted his absence from the first day's meetings, but rejoiced in the spirit of yesterday's gatherings. Spoke of his recent visit to Mexico and said that it was prompted by a change in the minister of the interior. The question had been agitated as to whether the Mormons should not be asked to withdraw from Mexico by reason of a report to the effect that they were not living up to the agreements and conditions imposed upon them. In an interview with the minister [Leandro Fernandez] it was clearly shown that our people had lived up to their obligations. He replied that he was satisfied with our representation and said: "Gentlemen, you need have no concern relative to this matter in the future." We also met the minister of finance [Jose Yves Limantour] and was well received by him. The interview with Pres. [Porfirio] Diaz was very pleasing and satisfactory, and he gave assurance of his friendship for the Latter-day
Saints. Was pleased, he said, with the spirit of the Indians he met in that land.
[John Henry Smith] Had devoted considerable thought during the night to the question of selling beer at Saltair and wondered if we were not inclined to take rather an extreme view of the case--whether, if we cut off the privilege entirely, we were not to some extent invading the rights of the Latter-day Saints. The revelation on the Word of Wisdom speaks of barley for mild drinks [D&C 89:17]. It is a question that demands serious thought. Have we taken an extreme view of the word of God? Where can we strike the limit, where can we reach the spirit of the Word of Wisdom? (Apostle Heber J. Grant asked Apostle Smith if beer that is intoxicating is to be considered a mild drink. The revelation, he said, forbids the use of strong drink.) Apostle Smith continued and said that the German beer was very light and mild and would not intoxicate, though he conceded that the beer of the United States is of a very different character and will cause drunkenness.
Apostle Brigham Young. Topics treated. Said that he believed the temperance movement among our people a proper move-ment. If we give an inch, the people and the world will take advantage of it--and drunkenness is the crying evil of the age. The Word of Wisdom! "Who can cut it off and patch it on for me?" Each must be judge for himself. Many times water, he said, would distress him, while a little Danish beer would bring a feeling of comfort and ease. However, he believed in the Word of Wisdom as we teach it. As to the matter of selling liquor, said that he was simply disgusted with what he saw at Saltair on the occasion of the "old folks" excursion. He came across a lot of old men--members of the church--smoking old pipes and guzzling beer.
He further remarked that there was one man he felt to trust implicitly, as the Lord trusts him, and that man is the President of the church. We must look to him. Was certain the Lord would bring good out of what appeared to be an evil. We ought to be the leaders in everything that is praiseworthy, good, and pure, but it is not always so. I am one with my brethren. If we want a change in some things, we must have faith to effect it. My privilege is to sustain the man God has chosen and not to straighten him. We have a right to pray for him. With all our talk, we are bound to sustain our file leaders, and if things are not just right, we must exercise faith to effect a change.
11 a.m. Presidents Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith came in. Pres. Joseph F. Smith led in a special prayer offered up for and in behalf of Francis M. Lyman, Jr.
Apostle Heber J. Grant at this point spoke briefly and said, in part, that the question of selling beer at Saltair had come up for discussion in the meeting of the general board of the Y.M.M.I.A. yesterday and was brought to the board by Elder Frank Y. Taylor, who had arranged for an excursion to the lake for the Granite Stake, and he was opposed to the sale of beer on that occasion. He felt, and in fact all the members of the board seemed to feel, that this practice was bringing reproach upon the church. Apostle Grant was authorized and instructed to bring the matter to the attention of the Presidency and Twelve. He felt, he said, if we could buy up the contract or liquor privilege that had been already let, and close up the business of selling beer at Saltair, it would be the finest kind of an investment.
Pres. Snow in reply referred to the visit of the gentile ministers sometime ago. He asked them if they had seen or knew of any disorder at Saltair. They answered, no, but they had heard some things. They wanted a promise from us to close the bar. We would make no promise. However, we concluded at the beginning of the season that we would close the bar against whiskey, brandy, and other kindred drinks--and also that no drinks should be sold on Sunday. We did not think it wise to shut down on everything at once. If at the beginning of another season, his brethren wanted the discontinuance of beer selling at Saltair, he would be the first to vote for it, but it could not be done now. Some of the young men of the Mutual [Improvement] Association, he said, had called upon him and objected to the selling of beer on "Granite day." He asked them if they thought the young men and women, who had been taught the Word of Wisdom, would drink beer out there. They answered that they did
not know. The suggestion was then made that they let the matter go and watch for results by way of experiment.
[President Snow] Referred to the Word of Wisdom and said that it was given for the benefit of the church--so far as the saints could receive it. There were many things connected with it--the eating of meat was forbidden, except in times of excessive cold or famine [D&C 89:12-13]. This feature of the revelation was almost wholly disregarded. Thought, sometimes, the elders were perhaps a little too exacting in regard to the Word of Wisdom, but nevertheless was pleased that it should be taught [to] the saints. Was impressed with the idea that in some things at times the young men of the M.I.A. were disposed to be over-righteous in their views and feelings.
The tables were set and the sacrament, as upon former occasions, was partaken of. Apostle Jno. H. Smith blessed the bread and wine.
While at the table Pres. Snow made some remarks relative to the Manifesto. Said that it was one of the greatest sacrifices ever required of the church, but he knew that it was from God. And the door is effectually closed by the action of the authorities and the saints in conference assembled. Some of the brethren are worrying about the matter and feel that they ought to have other wives. Brethren, do not worry; you will lose nothing. Turning to Heber, he said, "There is Brother Heber J. Grant, who is without a son and who consequently feels anxious about it." I want to say to Brother Grant that he will have sons and daughters and his posterity shall become as numerous as the sands upon the seashore or the stars in heaven--the promise made to Abraham is his through faithfulness. Brethren, don't worry about these things, and if you don't happen to secure the means you would like, don't feel disappointed. The Lord will make you rich in due time, and if you are faithful, you
will become Gods in eternity. This I know to be the truth. Benediction by Apostle Brigham Young. (2)
1 - Notes from the Miscellaneous Record Book, 1886-1906: Selected diary notes from the journal books of Marriner Wood Merrill, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
2 - 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, http://bit.ly/rudgerclawson
LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow
Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow
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