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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."
Prayer was offered by Elder John W. Taylor. The choir and congregation sang, "Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation."
General Secretary Horace S. Ensign called the roll, which was responded to by thirty-two Stakes and the Iosepa colony.
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 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 comment 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
"Know this, that every soul is free,
He'll call, persuade, direct aright-
Freedom and reason make us men; Take these away, what are we then? Mere animals, and just as well
The beasts may think of heaven or hell."
Let us, then, brethren and sisters, be energetic in the great work the Lord has called us to perform through the authorities of the Church, and always be ready to work. I ask that the Lord will bless us in our endeavors, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
ASSISTANT SUPT. KARL G. MAESER.
My dear fellow laborers, among the many features in the Sunday school work, the importance of concert recitation is, in some of our Sunday schools, not sufficiently appreciated, and I have been instructed by President Cannon to lay this matter before this conference.
It is desired by the Sunday School
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 theological, second intermediate, first intermediate and primary, and all have the benefit of the training of that particular feature. Many of our Sunday school superintendents do not appreciate the importance of this feature. A concert recitation has the tendency of photographing, so to speak, the subject on the minds of the scholars, so that they do not forget it. They are carried along with it, but it is not desirable to make the exercise monotonous by a too frequent repetition of the same subject. The Sunday School Union Board have recommended six subjects, to start with: The Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandment, the Articles of Faith, the words by which the bread and the water of the Sacrament are consecrated, the Testimony of the Three Witnesses and the presentation of the Authorities of the Church as published in the Supple
ment to the Leaflets. These are six subjects giving material for six weeks in succession, one subject each Sunday. Then they can all be repeated three or four times without becoming monotonous and wearisome to the pupils. In regard to the Ten Commandments and the Articles of Faith, the Sunday School Board desires that the number of each of the Commandments and of the Articles of Faith should be repeated by the school-the "first" commandment, the "second," the "third," and so also, the "first" article, the "second," and the "third," and on. It would be well if our teachers conducting the concert exercises would first familiarize themselves with the subjects. Do not stand before the class and make mistakes. As long as you cannot trust yourself, keep your card before you; but let the teacher try as soon as he can to stand before the class without a note, a book, or a card, so 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 recitation harmonizes the minds of the
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. Objections have been made by many of our professional teachers to this They think that it is too mechanical. Let it be so. If we should not teach any religious principle to the children until they are capable of understanding it-if that principle should be adopted, there would be a danger of it leading our children away from the Lord. We could not teach them to pray. We should not have the little child, three or four years old, kneeling at its mother's knee, saying its evening prayer. We do, not catechise the child; we do not analyze the meaning of that prayer. We teach the child to repeat it, although it does If we not understand it thoroughly. should wait until the children underwe should not stand all the prayer, teach them to pray, nor teach them anything about God, nor the Ten Com
mandments, nor anything of the Di
vine they are fourteen or fifteen years old, when they would be weaned away and have no taste for Divine things. This is a wrong principle altogether. Teach them from the beginning. I could bear my testimony in regard to these matters, from my own experience. But keep concert recitations up, my fellow teachers, from one Sunday to another. Commence with those six subjects which the Sunday School Union has recommended. Perhaps a passage from the scriptures may be judiciously introduced by the superintendent once in a while. A passage of scripture, a short one, of two or three lines-not morewill occasionally answer for a concert recitation. Make your school familiar with good passages of scripture, with the sayings of wise men, of servants of God. These are the subjects suggested for concert recitation, and the more you practice these, the more good you will find growing out of it.
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 subject, I repeat what I wanted to s
Change the subject from one Sunday to another; otherwise it would be monotonous. One Sunday recite in concert the Lord's Prayer, the following Sunday the Ten Commandments, the next the Articles of Faith, and so on. There are subjects for six Sundays for them, and then take them over again two or three times, in order not to become monotonous. The children will thus be made quite familiar with them. Any superintendent may introduce other subjects, as for instance extracts from the Seron the Mount, verses from standard hymns of the Church, etc.
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.)
ity to appreciate and 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 establishing 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
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 or 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 11. I do not lack the abil
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. 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.
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 school work; and, by the way, the