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CHIPS FROM "THE BLOCK."
BY ELDER HENRY W. NAISBITT, MISSIONARY WITH THE "BUREAU OF
INFORMATION AND CHURCH LITERATURE."
One pleasant-faced and elderly lady, on her return east from the Los Angeles Presbyterian convention, held last fall, was engaged in conversation with the writer when the following colloquy took place, "Mormonism" being the topic:
"Do you approve of Dr. Thompson's resolution?"
"Oh, dear no!" she answered placidly and smilingly. "Bless your life, I would not hurt you on any consideration." "What, then, would your suggestion be?"
"Oh, I would only like to convert you."
"To what, Madam?" was our prompt reply; and there was silence in heaven for the space of half an hour.
A rather demonstrative lady, who assumed to be the leader of a little party, was quite inquisitive as to the uses of the Temple and its annex.
"So people come here to be married, and buried, too, I suppose?"
“Oh, no, Madam,” we laughingly responded, "persons who are made ready for the latter process in this country are usually taken to the place of burial, they do not come."
The reply was probably abrupt to a lady, but the trio smiled, particularly as the proffered coin was refused.
One visitor, who claimed to be a minister, was indulging in hypercritical remarks anent "Mormon" faith and practice, and using the term salvation, as it were in a flippant sort of way, when the guide, placing a hand upon the shoulder of the visitor, said: "My friend, what does the term salvation mean?"
Like Pilate, when he asked, what is truth? and waited for an answer, so waited the unastonished guide.
A surprised and highly gratified visitor was saying, in response to a guide:
"The grandest argument, in my opinion, that you can present to the prejudiced and the uninformed, is this very block on which we stand. 'It speaks for itself, and it speaks volumes.""
The great question of education is always uppermost in the minds of the Latter-day Saints; and it comes uppermost when pointing out to the visitor the Brigham Young Memorial Hall, as a part of the Church University. It surprises the tourist to find the "Mormons" so strenuously advocating the cause of education, and proving their sincerity by building schools, colleges, universities, etc.; also by a general (if missionary) appreciation of the educational value of travel. In this connection, and as a basis, the Prophet Joseph declared, in a grand aphorism, which ought to be everywhere conspicuous in letters of gold: "No man can be saved in ignorance"-a remark so profound and so far in advance of so-called sectarian dogma and philosophy that the latter can never overtake or comprehend it. Had this been found in socalled sacred writ, it would have been the theme of multitudinous discourse, and would have been held as superior to all ancient and other philosophy, sacred or profane, unless we except the dicta of the Man of Nazareth. Yet this is but the corollary to that other wonderful saying of the great modern seer: "The glory of God is intelligence." Divine thinkers, and true thinkers, look astounded when this is presented as coming from a source everywhere spoken against, and cherished as holy writ by a people almost universally misunderstood.
Speaking of the Tabernacle the other day, it was remarked that if so pronounced an acoustic success had originated in New York, over thirty years ago, it would long ago have been duplicated in every convention city of the Union, but that having originated in unexpected quarters, and from an unrecognized leader,
the truth of the old adage was, as usual, solemnly said that "no good thing can come out of Nazareth."
Speaking of the privacy of the Temple, a genial and worthy minister of the Mother church, quietly said:
"To be sure, to be sure, we have it in all our churches: the confessional seclusion into which no outsider is presumed to enter. Quite right; quite right!"
Speaking on this subject, it was remarked that this apparent exclusiveness was more seeming than real, for the house was truly open to all the world on the same conditions; and for these there were two grand and authoritative precedents. First, God Almighty had decreed that there should be but one way of salvation! Second, that the best and greatest nation of the earth had decreed that but one way of naturalization was possible for the alien. With these long-established, and official precedents for the one way, temple critics must abide.
A group of thirty or more was noticed passing the west end of the Temple. Its grandeur was being dilated upon, and wonder was being expressed as to whether the inner was equal to the outer grandeur. Then the possibilities of admission were discussed, and the terms were in controversy, when the guide obligingly said:
"Ladies and gentlemen, suppose this building was in your city, and it was officially said that no habitual user of intoxicants could enter there. How many would that exclude? Suppose it were said that no user of tobacco in any form could enter, how many would be excluded? Suppose it were further said that no one guilty of any immorality or sexual irregularity would be admitted? that none could find free entrance save he were a good citizen, a good husband, a good father, and a good man generally?"
"There would be but few eligibles in our city," said an eastern gentleman.
"And still fewer on the coast," said a western lady, as the crowd thoughtfully dispersed.
THE PROBABILITY OF JOSEPH SMITH'S STORY.
BY ELDER B. H. ROBERTS.
As for the media of revelation used by the ancient prophets in Israel, and by Joseph Smith in modern times-Urim and Thummim and also the "Seer Stone"-I say again that our scientific skeptics in such things live in the midst of such achievements of man's ingenuity, and in the daily use of such marvelous instruments invented by men for the ascertainment of truth, that men of science ought not to stumble at accepting, at least as possible, and even as probable, the existence of such media. Take for instance the telescope. For ages, men believed that the whole of the universe consisted of sun, moon, earth, and the few fixed stars within the radius of man's unaided vision. Finally, however, a genius converted a handfull of sand into a lens, adjusted it in a tube, and turned it to the heavens when, lo! the frontiers of the universe were pushed back to an infinite distance, and millions of suns heretofore never seen by human eyes were brought within the range of man's vision and consciousness. This first telescope has been improved upon from time to time, until now we have instruments of that kind so large and so perfect that our own planets are brought comparatively near for our inspection, while the number of fixed stars now within the range of our vision, by means of these instruments, is quite generally conceded to be about forty millions.
While viewing the starry heavens by the aid of the telescope, in search of new facts, astronomers beheld at enormous distances from us hazy patches of light, concerning the nature of which they could form no definite idea. An improved telescope, however, at
last resolved some of these mists into groups of separate stars; then it was supposed that all such mists were star groups, and that it only required larger and stronger telescopes to demonstrate the truth of that theory. Meantime, however, another wonderful instrument was invented, the spectroscope, an optical instrument which forms and analyzes the spectra of the rays emitted by bodies or substances. Meantime Fraunhofer made the discovery that the spectrum of an ignited gaseous body is non-continuous, and has interrupting lines. Later, Professor John William Draper discovered that the spectrum of an ignited solid is continuous with no interrupting lines. With these facts established, the spectroscope was turned upon the distant patches of nebulæ and it was discovered that some of them were positively of a gaseous nature and not congeries of stars. Thus was another great truth concerning the universe discovered by means of an instrument invented by
Nor is the end yet. The eye of man, perhaps, is the most wonderful organ known; wonderful in its powers when unaided by instruments of man's invention, but rendered infinitely more powerful and wonderful when aided by telescope and microscope. Indeed, by these instruments new and unthought of worlds are brought to the consciousness of man and his knowledge infinitely extended. Yet wonderful as is this organ of man, and great as are its achievements when aided by the instruments of man's invention, man's ingenuity has produced a more powerful eye than man's! One that can look longer and see farther than the human eye, even when aided by the most powerful telescope; and registers upon its retina truths otherwise unattainable by man. This instrument Camille Flammarion, the French astronomer and writer, calls "The wonderful new Eye of Science." It is merely a lens connected with a photographic apparatus, and of it the Frenchman just named says:
This giant eye is endowed with four considerable advantages over ours; it sees more quickly, farther, longer, and, wonderful faculty, it receives and retains the impress of what it sees. It sees more quickly: in the half-thousandth of a second, it photographs the sun, its spots, its vortexes, its fires, its flaming mountains, and on an imperishable document. It sees farther: Directed towards any point of the heavens on the darkest night, it discerns stars in the depths of infinite space-worlds,