Strengths and Weaknesses of Modern Missionaries

Here is an excerpt of a report by a General Authority who toured several LDS missions in the Southern and Eastern United States.

I can justifiably praise the humility, obedience, and on the whole, industry of the missionaries in these missions . . . but when these virtues are named, speaking of the missionaries as a whole, you name the sum of their qualifications for missionary work, and there are serious defects in their “equipment” for the work required of them; among which may be suggested first, the lack of knowledge amounting to almost total ignorance of the current religious thought of the present day, with a consequent lack of ability to make any application of our religion to modern thought, or what is of any immediate interest to people . . . the existence of a “boyish” conception of things . . . . inadequate education . . . not in terms of academic achievement as much as a lack of ability to read with ease the most common books, to speak grammatically, to say nothing of speaking coherently, logically or forcefully . . . there is a serious lack of training in simple “good manners” . . . on the whole, this reveals our deficiencies as a community on which is laid the responsibility of instructing the whole world in . . . moral and religious matters.[1]

Discuss.

———–
[1] Edited for length, a certain harshness, and with some silent summary.

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Presiding Bishopric, IV.

With the revelations of November 1 and 11, 1831 helping to define the role of the bishop,[1] you can see that the road was being paved for more bishops in the Church. As temporal ministers, it was only a matter of time before more were called as Church population increased (when Partridge was called there were about 150 members in Ohio). At first, two population centers developed: Zion (Missouri) and Kirtland (Ohio). Bishop Partridge was a leading voice in governance in Zion. At the end of 1831, another bishop, Newel Kimball Whitney, was called for the Kirtland area (by that time Ohio membership numbered about 1,500) and among other things to work in tandem with Partridge in the United Firm (UF — the Church “corporation” if you will). Partridge, Whitney and their counselors formed an important financial administrative body in the firm. Whitney was relatively well off and his business operations in Kirtland became the heart of the firm there.[2]
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Early National Systems: Millennial Hope, II. William Miller.

Joseph Smith seems wedged in the creases of nineteenth-century Protestant worldviews in any number of ways. From Election to Scripture, to Millennial aspiration, he separated, combined, and “synergized” a vibrant world that respected a deep tie between science, such as it was, and a fractured system of religious beliefs that overlay a diverse and growing marketplace of ideas and economies. Smith interacted, mostly at a distance, with the lights of his day and one of those was William Miller. Shaken from a Deistic picture of God’s interaction with the world by what he, as a eighteen-year-old captain in the war of 1812, saw as divine intervention, Miller began a religious journey of devotion and disappointment. That journey turned out to be a microcosm that portended the larger society’s gradual descent from optimism to a grudging acceptance of lesser purpose.
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Early National Systems: Millennial Hope, I

Many Americans in antebellum times saw their nation as an engine for the bright future of biblical end times. Ranging from Henry Clay’s practical and even semi-realistic “American System”[1] to social engineering designed to hurry Christ’s return to earth, it was characteristic of the age that even non-believers saw the idea as a comfortable metaphor for the destiny of what they considered a political example to the world. Modern Americans seem far from such notions, but there are pockets of American society where those nineteenth-century ideas persuade and guide the minds of dedicated souls, Mormons among them.
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Joseph Smith Papers Newsletter: Number 1.

To have a look at the first newsletter for the JSPP, click through.

Wilford Woodruff: The Way Home. Part 4–My Father’s House

July 19th 1844 I borrowed $10 dollars of Br Bickford of Boston & gave my note for it and $5 dollars of Brother Wingate & gave my note for that. I received $12 dollars from Br John Hardy for 6 Books of T & S & $9 dollars for Books that Br Phelps sold for me. The above money is paid.

Br Reuben Hedlock address in Liverpool is 36 Chapel st. J. Hardy is 91 Commercial st Boston. I had a present of a Coat from sister Jones of Boston.

Br Samuel Dam wished me to send him all the Times and seasons Bound and the covenants & Book of mormon & he will pay the money. He spoke of Bying a lot of me. I spent the night at 57 Temple st.
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Wilford Woodruff: The Way Home. Part 2–Rumors.

13th (Prophet)(Patriarch) We obtained information this morning from quincy as late as June 29th. The Govonor had made Quincy his head Quarters for he could neither trust the people or Melitia in that region of Country. Had made a Proclamation to the citizens of the State, would protect either Party against an attact. The mormons had done all that Could be required of them. Still their appears to be a disposition of the people & troops to try to destroy Nauvoo. The Govonor acknowledges the death of the Prophet and Patriarch to be a wanton murder.
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