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DESERET SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION.
Its Semi-Annual General Conference.
The general semi-annual conference of the Sunday schools of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was held at the Tabernacle Salt Lake City, Sunday evening, Oct. 7, 1900, at 7 o'clock. General Superintendent Geo. Q. Cannon presiding. There were present of the general superintendency, Geo. Q. Cannon and Karl G. Maeser; most of the members of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board, several of the Apostles, and a number of Stake superintendents, ward officers and Sunday school workers. The conference was opened by the Tabernacle choir, conducted by Prof. Evan Stephens, singing, "For the Strength of the Hills We Bless Thee."
We desire whatever may be said this evening by those who shall speak to be said briefly and to the point. There are several subjects that will be brought before the meeting, and we desire to get through with our business so that we can dismiss at the proper time.
It is very gratifying to see such a large congregation here this evening. It is an evidence of the interest that is taken in the great work of training our children in the principles that belong to our religion and of preparing them by proper instruction for the duties of life as Latter-day Saints. We have every reason to be encouraged. Every man and woman that is engaged in
this work throughout the Church has great cause to be encouraged at the results of their labors. The Sunday school work is prospering, and, it is enlisting, as it should do, the energy, the talent and the skill of a great many people who labor in this cause, prompted entirely by motives of love-love for the salvation of their fellows.
I pray that while we are together this evening, we may have the Spirit of God resting upon us, and if there are any here who have any subject that they would like talked about, we would be. glad to get hints from them, or have them come to the stand and mention it, so that the subject, if deemed worthy of attention, may receive some ment from the brethren of the Board. I ask God to bless us in the name of Jesus. Amen.
ELDER JOHN M. MILLS.
My brethren and sisters: As Latterday Saints we are all striving to the same end. Our duty here upon earth is to live in such a way that when we have finished our work here, we may go back into the presence of God. We have various organizations to help us to this end, above all, we have a story to tell that no other people can tell; and unless we are ready and willing to tell that story, we are not doing our duty. We should not be of that class of people that Rousseau spoke of when he said, "Some men live to be a hundred years old who die at their birth." We ought always to be alive to do our duty; and if we do this we shall find that our work will be well accomplished and we shall reach the end we seek.
The aim in a Sunday school is to make Latter-day Saints. If we are going to make Latter-day Saints of the children, we certainly ought to be Latter-day Saints ourselves. Teachers ought to live up to the minor Cuties.
They should not delve into the mysteries. These minor duties form a good foundation for our characters; and if we work harmoniously in this respect, we shall be able to accomplish that which we desire. In our Stake conferences, which are held annually, it is necessary that all officers participate in that work; that representatives be sent from every Sunday school to the annual stake conference, in order that they may get the instructions that are given there, and take them back to the various districts from which they come. But even in this case, not all of the people in the Stake can go to the annual Stake conferences; and for that reason, in some Stakes, particularly in the Sanpete Stake, the Weber Stake, and the Utah Stake of Zion, there have been district conferences appointed, and in these district conferences the same work, largely, is taken up that is taken up in the Stake conferences. In these district conferences more people can be enlisted. All of the people of the district in which the conference is held, can attend, making comparisons and witnessing the exercises. The exercises to be rendered here are the best to be found in all of the schools of the district, and the superintendents, seeing these, may introduce many things which will improve their own schools. And always only the best of the exercises of all the districts ought to be brought before the Saints in the Stake conference, and then the Stake officers, visiting all the district conferences, are enabled to see the work that is done in the various parts of their Stakes better than they can see it in the Stake annual conference; and the members of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board
who visit the district conferences can see the work that is done in these various districts. In the central Stakes the work done in the district conferences has been very effective in rousing people to their duties, and this work would be even more effective in the outlying Stakes, if district conferences were held regularly. The general board would therefore urge the holding of such conferences. We have found in our visits to Stake conferences that in some cases there is a very poor representation from remote sections of the Stake. In some cases people have to come
from fifty to a hundred miles to attend Stake conferences: and there are usually enough people in these remote parts to form good district conferences. Now if we will all be energetic in our work in the Stake conferences, and in the district conferences, and in our ward Sunday schools, we shall see unparalleled improvement in our Sunday school work. If we will live up to the minutest duties, there is no doubt that we will reach the great end in view. But although this is our duty; although we are expected to do all this work; although we are expected to go through this life and perform all our duties, still we have our own free agency. As officers and teachers we can do as we please. We should not stand in the road of the progress of the children placed under our charge. If we can't keep pace with the work of God, we should step aside, and let the great work go on. If we do wrong we shall have to meet the consequences of our wrong doing. If we do right we shall have our reward.
pupils of the whole school, about in the same way as the singing does. It is a means of disciplining, harmonizing, and subduing the restless heterogenious spirits of which a school is composed.
Union Board that concert recitation be practiced in every Sunday school throughout our Union every Sunday, for five minutes or so, before the different departments disperse for their recitations, that all may be together, the Objections have been made by many theological, second intermediate, first of our professional teachers to this intermediate and primary, and all have concert recitation. They think that it the benefit of the training of that paris too mechanical. Let it be so. If ticular feature. Many of our Sunday we should not teach any religious prinschool superintendents do not appreci- ciple to the children until they are capate the importance of this feature. able of understanding it-if that princoncert recitation has the tendency of ciple should be adopted, there would be photographing, so to speak, the subject a danger of it leading our children on the minds of the scholars, so that away from the Lord. We could not they do not forget it. They are carried teach them to pray. We should not along with it, but it is not desirable have the little child, three or four years to make the exercise monotonous by a old, kneeling at its mother's knee, saytoo frequent repetition of the same sub- ing its evening prayer. We do, not ject. The Sunday School Union Board catechise the child; we do not analyze have recommended six subjects, to start the meaning of that prayer. We teach with: The Lord's Prayer, the Ten Comthe child to repeat it, although it does mandment, the Articles of Faith, the not understand it thoroughly. If we words by which the bread and the water should wait until the children underwe should not of the Sacrament are consecrated, the stand all the prayer, Testimony of the Three Witnesses and teach them to pray, nor teach them anythe presentation of the Authorities of thing about God, nor the Ten Comthe Church as published in the Supple- mandments, nor anything of the Divine ment to the Leaflets. nature, These are six they are fourteen or fifteen years subjects giving material for six weeks old, when they would be weaned in succession, one subject each Sunday. away and Then they can all be repeated three or have no taste for Divine things. This four times without becoming monotonis a wrong principle altogether. Teach ous and wearisome to the pupils. In them from the beginning. I could bear my testimony in regard to these matregard to the Ten Commandments and ters, from my own experience. But the Articles of Faith, the Sunkeep concert recitations up, my fellow day School Board desires that the teachers, from one Sunday to another. number of each of the Commandments Commence with those six subjects and of the Articles of Faith should which the Sunday School Union has be repeated by the school-the "first" recommended. Perhaps a passage from commandment, the "second," the the scriptures may be judiciously in"third," and so also, the "first" article, troduced by the superintendent once in the "second," and the "third," and SO a while. A passage of scripture, a short on. It would be well if our teachers one, of two or three lines-not moreconducting the concert exercises would will occasionally answer for a concert first familiarize themselves with the recitation. Make your school familiar subjects. Do not stand before the class with good passages of scripture, with and make mistakes. As long as you the sayings of wise men, of servants cannot trust yourself, keep your card of God. These are the subjects sugbefore you; but let the teacher try as gested for concert recitation, and the soon as he can to stand before the class more you practice these, the more good without a note, a book, or a card, so you will find growing out of it. that he may set an example to the pupils. That is what we want them to learn and know, we want to first learn and to know ourselves. There is this further benefit to be derived, a concert
A question is asked: "Is it preferable to repeat the same exercise in concert three or four times consecutively, or change the subject each Sunday?" If I have not been perfectly plain on that
Change the subject from one Sunday to ity
love the words, and I am determined to learn to pray to the Lord in the songs of Zion. My determination to learn is such that I have sung some of our hymns 115 times in one day.
I have been appointed tonight to speak on Cottage Sunday schools. I wish to say to the Latter-day Saints that wherever there is opportunity to have cottage Sunday schools, and get our young people to attend, who are not now attending our regular Sunday schools, we want them organized. We want all the young people to have the benefits of attending school. We don't want a single, solitary one of our childthat We understand ren neglected. people who are not of us are estabIt lishing schools in private homes. is said that the Catholics boast that if they can have the children to educate until they are thirteen years of age, they will defy the world to turn them away from Catholicism. If they can make this boast, then if we as fathers
PRESIDENT GEORGE Q. CANNON. and mothers and teachers in the Sabbath
schools do our duty, we can defy the world to turn our little ones away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every missionary who is sent out into the world is instructed by the Apostles that, under no circumstances are they to baptize a man's wife without the consent of her husband, and under no circumstances are they to baptize children without the consent of the parents. We do not send men abroad to steal children from the people of the world; but the missionaries from the world come here, and they say, there is no need of getting after these old hard headed "Mormons," as we can do nothing with them, we will have to work with their children. Let the Latter-day Saints be alive and looking after every one of their children, and then there will be no danger of their being stolen; and one of the best ways is to have these cottage Sunday schools where there is no opportunity for our children to get to the regular Sunday schools. God bless you. Amen. ELDER JOSEPH W. SUMMERHAYS.
APOSTLE HEBER J. GRANT.
I will say that six months ago I tried to sing "O, My Father," and failed. I am going to try again, and if I fail tonight, I will try again each six months from now. (Brother Grant then sang the hymn, "O, My Father," through, with organ accompaniment by Prof. Stephens.)
I think Brother Grant's perserverance in learning to sing is something very admirable. I suppose if some of us who have met with him in council and heard him join with us in singing had been asked if it would be possible for him ever to be able to do what he has done tonight, I think the universal reply would have been in the negative. But he has persevered, and I think it is as good an illustration of the success of perserverance as I ever met with heard of in this Church; and I trust he will continue, for he takes great enjoyment in singing, and he certainly has made very wonderful improvement considering the difficulties he has had to contend with.
APOSTLE HEBER J. GRANT.
It is said in the Book of Doctrine & Covenants, that the Lord delights in the song of the heart, "yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." I love the hymn, "O, My Father." I love the hymns, "Come, come ye Saints," and "We thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet;" and if I lack the ability to sing them
Last Friday evening there was quite an important meeting held in this city. At that meeting there were very many topics discussed in regard to Sunday work and hv the Way the