A Vision in Hawaii

After traveling to Hawaii, Elders McKay and Cannon inspected the Church school at Laie and then visited the other islands. Elder Cannon particularly requested they visit Pulehu on Maui where his father, George Q. Cannon, had baptized the first Hawaiian in July 1851. Thirty-four years later, President McKay recalled the events of their visit to Maui.

“So we came up here, and this is where I was [pointing to a spot where a pepper tree had been], and as we looked at an old frame house that stood there then, he said, ‘That is probably the old chapel.’ It seemed to me it was over in the distance. Nothing else was here. We said ‘Well, probably that is the place. We are probably standing on the spot upon which your father, George Q. Cannon, and Judge Napela addressed those people.’ We became very much impressed with the surroundings, association, and spiritual significance of the occasion; as we had also been with the manifestations we had had on our trip to the Orient and thus far in Hawaii. I said, ‘I think we should have a word of prayer.’ . . .

“I offered the prayer. We all had our eyes closed, and it was a very inspirational gathering. As we started to walk away at the conclusion of the prayer, Brother Keola Kailimai took Brother E. Wesley Smith to the side and very earnestly began talking to him in Hawaiian. As we walked along, the rest of us dropped back. They continued walking, and Brother Kailimai very seriously told in Hawaiian what he had seen during the prayer. They stopped right over there [pointing a short distance away] and Brother E. Wesley Smith said, ‘Brother McKay, do you know what Brother Kailimai has told me?’ I answered, ‘No.’ ‘Brother Kailimai said that while you were praying, and we all had our eyes closed, he saw two men who he thought were Hugh J. Cannon and E. Wesley Smith step out of line in front of us and shake hands with someone, and he wondered why Brother Cannon and Brother Smith were shaking hands while we were praying. He opened his eyes and there stood those two men still in line, with their eyes closed just as they had been. He quickly closed his eyes because he knew he had seen a vision.’

“Now Brother Hugh J. Cannon greatly resembled Brother George Q. Cannon, his father. I spoke during the trip of his resemblance. Of course, E. Wesley Smith has the Smith attribute just as President Joseph Fielding Smith has it. Naturally, Brother Keola Kailimai would think that these two men were there. I said, ‘I think it was George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, two former missionaries to Hawaii, whom that spiritual-minded man saw.’

“We walked a few steps farther and I said, ‘Brother Kailimai, I do not understand the significance of your vision, but I do know that the veil between us and those former missionaries was very thin.’ Brother Hugh J. Cannon who was by my side, with tears rolling down his cheeks, said ‘ Brother McKay, there was no veil. ’” 10

10. David O. McKay, Cherished Experiences. Rev. and enl. Compiled by Clare Middlemiss (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976), pp. 115–16.

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A Powerful Missionary Experience of Hugh B. Brown

A young, inexperienced elder from Canada named Hugh B. Brown was laboring in Cambridge in 1904. On his arrival in that city, he saw posters in the train station declaring “Beware of the vile deceivers; the Mormons are returning. Drive them out.” For two days he went from house to house leaving tracts where he could and unsuccessfully attempting to engage Britons in gospel conversations. 18 One Saturday evening, as he later remembered, a knock came on the door.

“The lady of the house answered the door. I heard a voice say, ‘Is there an Elder Brown lives here?’ I thought, ‘Oh, oh, here it is!’

“She said, ‘Why, yes, he’s in the front room. Come in, please.’

“He came in and said, ‘Are you Elder Brown?’

“I was not surprised that he was surprised. I said, ‘Yes, sir.’

“He said, ‘Did you leave this tract at my door?’

“Well, my name and address were on it. Though I was attempting at that time to get ready to practice law, I didn’t know how to answer it. I said, ‘Yes, sir, I did.’

“He said, ‘Last Sunday there were 17 of us heads of families left the Church of England. We went to my home where I have a rather large room. Each of us has a large family, and we filled the large room with men, women and children. We decided that we would pray all through the week that the Lord would send us a new pastor. When I came home tonight I was discouraged, I thought our prayer had not been answered. But when I found this tract under my door, I knew the Lord had answered our prayer. Will you come tomorrow night and be our new pastor?’

“Now, I hadn’t been in the mission field three days. I didn’t know anything about missionary work, and he wanted me to be their pastor. But I was reckless enough to say, ‘Yes, I’ll come.’ And I repented from then till the time of the meeting.

“He left, and took my appetite with him! I called in the lady of the house and told her I didn’t want any tea [supper]. I went up to my room and prepared for bed. I knelt at my bed. My young brothers and sisters, for the first time in my life I talked with God. I told Him of my predicament. I pleaded for His help. I asked Him to guide me. I pleaded that He would take it off my hands. I got up and went to bed and couldn’t sleep and got out and prayed again, and kept that up all night—but I really talked with God.”

He spent the next day without breakfast or lunch, walking and worrying that he had to be the religious leader for these people.

“Finally it came to the point where the clock said 6:45. I got up and put on my long Prince Albert coat, my stiff hat which I had acquired in Norwich, took my walking cane (which we always carried in those days), my kid gloves, put a Bible under my arm, and dragged myself down to that building, literally. I just made one track all the way.

“Just as I got to the gate the man came out, the man I had seen the night before. He bowed very politely and said, ‘Come in, Reverend, sir.’ I had never been called that before. I went in and saw the room filled with people, and they all stood up to honor their new pastor, and that scared me to death.

“Then I had come to the point where I began to think what I had to do, and I realized I had to say something about singing. I suggested that we sing ‘O My Father.’ I was met with a blank stare. We sang it—it was a terrible cowboy solo. Then I thought, if I could get these people to turn around and kneel by their chairs, they wouldn’t be looking at me while I prayed. I asked them if they would and they responded readily. They all knelt down and I knelt down, and for the second time in my life I talked with God. All fear left me. I didn’t worry any more. I was turning it over to Him.

“I said to Him, among other things, ‘Father in Heaven, these folks have left the Church of England. They have come here tonight to hear the truth. You know that I am not prepared to give them what they want, but Thou art, O God, the one that can; and if I can be an instrument through whom You speak, very well, but please take over.’

“When we arose most of them were weeping, as was I. Wisely I dispensed with the second hymn, and I started to talk. I talked 45 minutes. I don’t know what I said. I didn’t talk—God spoke through me, as subsequent events proved. And He spoke so powerfully to that group that at the close of that meeting they came and put their arms around me, held my hands. They said, ‘This is what we have been waiting for. Thank God you came.’

“I told you I dragged myself down to that meeting. On my way back home that night I only touched ground once, I was so elated that God had taken off my hands an insuperable task for man.

“Within three months every man, woman and child in that audience was baptized a member of the Church.” 19

19. Father, Are You There?” Brigham Young University fireside address (Provo, 8 Oct. 1967), pp. 13–15.

First Korean Member of the Church

Kim Ho Jik (16 April 1905 – 31 August 1959) was the first Korean convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and was a key figure in opening South Korea to missionary work of the LDS Church. Kim was also vice-minister of education in the administration of South Korean president Syngman Rhee.

Born 16 April 1905 in the province of Pyongan-Pukdo (now part of North Korea), Kim Ho Jik moved south as a teenager to attend school in Suwon, a farm town south of Seoul. He graduated from Suwon Advanced Agricultural and Forestry School in 1924, then earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tohoku University in Japan, graduating in 1930.

Syngman Rhee, president of South Korea, wanted to send him to America to learn more efficient ways of feeding their country’s malnourished population. 2 So Kim Ho Jik made plans to enroll at Cornell University in New York, which had one of the world’s top graduate study programs in nutrition.

A yearning for education was not the only passion that filled his heart as he journeyed to the United States in 1949. Since his youth he had been interested in religion and had investigated several churches.  He studied in a Buddhist monastery. In 1925, he joined a Protestant church and became an elder in that organization.

The sudden death of his third son in 1935 had deepened Kim Ho Jik’s longing for spiritual satisfaction.

Long before he came to America, he believed in the Spirit of God and sought its guidance.

Kim Ho Jik hoped the Spirit would help him find the “true church” in America. 5 While he completed a doctoral degree at Cornell, he attended meetings of various churches in and around Ithaca, New York. But the answer he was seeking lay at his very doorstep.

The Korean educator shared an office with Oliver Wayman, a doctoral candidate in physiology. Like his office companion, Oliver Wayman was older than most of the other graduate students. He also happened to be a Latter-day Saint.

The two men became good friends. Their wide-ranging discussions, however, did not include religion—until one day shortly before Brother Wayman was to leave Cornell, when his Korean friend asked if he had any literature about his church.

“I have never seen you smoke or drink,” Kim Ho Jik told Brother Wayman. “I have never heard you use vulgar language or profane the name of God. You work harder and longer hours than any of the others, but I have never seen you here on Sunday. You are different in so many ways. I wonder if you would tell me why you live as you do?” 6

Brother Wayman gave him a copy of The Articles of Faith by Elder James E. Talmage. Kim Ho Jik read the book within a week. “He told me it was the best book on the gospel he had ever read and that he believed it thoroughly,” 7 Brother Wayman recalls. Given a copy of the Book of Mormon, the Korean read it quickly and reported to his American friend that he believed it to be the word of God. It was, he said, more complete and easier to understand than the Bible. 8

On Brother Wayman’s last day at Cornell, he was making the rounds to say good-bye to friends when Kim Ho Jik approached him. Brother Wayman felt impelled to ask the Korean why he had decided to leave his homeland and family to study in the United States. The Korean scholar responded that he needed the new knowledge in nutrition available at Cornell for the benefit of his people. 10

Then, Brother Wayman recalls:

“I bore my testimony … and told him that it was my opinion that the Lord had moved upon him to come to America … in order that he might receive the gospel and take it back to his people in preparation for a great missionary work to be done there. … I informed him … that if he refused to do the work the Lord had for him, … another would be raised up in his place.” 11

Brother Wayman never saw Kim Ho Jik again, but he left New York “sure that the Spirit which touched me when I bore my testimony to him touched him at the same time. ” 12

When the missionary discussions were completed, Brother Kim was not only ready to join the Church, but he wanted to be baptized at the same site as were Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. On 29 July 1951, in the Susquehanna River near the marker commemorating the first baptisms in the restored Church, Seneca Branch President Joseph A. Dye baptized the first Korean Latter-day Saint. As he arose from the water, Brother Kim said he heard a voice saying, “Feed my sheep, feed my sheep.” He later recorded the event in the flyleaf of his scriptures, writing below the date of his baptism: “Words given—Feed my sheep.” 15

Membership History in Korea
Year     Membership
1954     64
1964     1,800
1975     9,000
1983     28,795
1990     59,000
1999     71,166
2008     81,251

Kim returned to Korea in 1952. He was appointed vice minister of education by South Korean president Syngman Rhee. Other positions Kim held after his return to Korea were a professorship at Hongik College, dean of animal husbandry at Konguk University, and the vice chairmanship of the Seoul City Board of Education. Kim also served as president of the National Fisheries College at Pusan. Kim was also a member of the Korean National Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2]

Kim’s children, Kim Tai Whan and Kim Young Sook, were among the first four people baptized into the LDS Church in Korea on August 3, 1952.[4] Kim baptized his other two children, Kim Chun Sook and Kim Shin Hwan on January 3, 1953.[5]

On August 2, 1955, Kim was set apart as the president of the Korean District of the LDS Church by apostle Joseph Fielding Smith. Among those influenced by Kim’s leadership of the church was Han In Sang, who became a general authority of the church.[6] Kim held the position of District President when he died.

In about 1970, Kim’s widow, Pil Kun Park, joined the LDS Church.[5]

Brigham Young Heals Mary Pitt

Brigham Young demonstrated great spiritual and administrative ability in his leadership of the Church in Great Britain. While visiting Wilford Woodruff and the converted United Brethren in the South, he exercised his priesthood power in a healing. Mary Pitt, an invalid for eleven years and the sister of musician William Pitt, requested a blessing. The Pitts had been baptized just the day before. Wilford Woodruff recorded, “We prayed for her and laid hands upon her. Brother Young was mouth, and commanded her to be made whole. She laid down her crutch and never used it after, and the next day she walked three miles.” 13 Mary Pitt was one of the many Saints in England healed through the power of priesthood blessings given by Brigham Young.

13. In Journal of Discourses, 15:344.

Missionary Success of Wilford Woodruff in England

Wilford Woodruff and John Taylor, the first of the Twelve to arrive in England, hastened to Church headquarters in Preston to meet with the mission presidency. There they decided to separate; Elder Taylor returned to Liverpool with Joseph Fielding, and Elder Woodruff traveled south with Theodore Turley to the Staffordshire Potteries, so called because of the industry carried on there.

In the Potteries, Elder Woodruff successfully organized several branches in the small towns of the area and placed Elder Turley in charge of them. In March, Wilford was inspired to go further south to Herefordshire, accompanied by one of his converts, William Benbow. They contacted William’s brother and sister-in-law, John and Jane Benbow, and a group of six hundred people who had formed their own religious society called the United Brethren. Eventually the leader of the group, Thomas Kington, and all but one of the six hundred members accepted the restored gospel and were baptized. Hundreds of others in the vicinity also joined the Church.

Although the work prospered, success did not come without opposition. A local constable was sent to arrest Elder Woodruff for preaching without a license, but instead he was baptized following an inspiring sermon. On another occasion, two clerks sent to discover what Wilford was teaching were both baptized. The clergy in the area finally wrote to the archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, requesting that he use his influence to ban the Mormons from Britain. Recognizing the laws of religious tolerance in the nation, the archbishop counseled the ministers to solve the problem themselves by becoming more dedicated pastors. Instead the clergy preached anti-Mormon sermons and agitated the local press to harass the Latter-day Saints.

Opposition grew as the Church prospered in the area. While preaching in the village of Hawcross, Wilford Woodruff was surrounded by a hostile mob. When some of the villagers requested baptism, Wilford told them that if they had faith enough to be baptized, he had sufficient faith to administer the ordinance, in spite of the threatened physical violence. The small group walked down to a pond and was soon surrounded by a mob armed with stones. Wilford Woodruff reported, “I walked into the water with my mind stayed on God and baptized five persons while they were pelting my body with stones, one of which hit me on the head and came very near knocking me down.” 10

On another occasion the minister in the village of Dymock led a mob of over fifty men in stoning the house where the Saints were holding a prayer meeting. Although such experiences were relatively rare in Britain, they reminded Elder Woodruff that there was strong opposition to the restored gospel.

Through the efforts of Wilford Woodruff and others, some eighteen hundred people were converted in the three-county area of Hereford, Worcester, and Gloucester. Visiting the market town of Ledbury, Elder Woodruff was invited by the Baptist minister to preach to his congregation. Afterward the minister and several of the congregation requested baptism. On another occasion, while he was baptizing, some ministers rode up in a wagon, gratefully accepted baptism, and went on their way rejoicing. Reflecting on this extraordinary period of his life, Wilford Woodruff wrote, “The whole history of this Herefordshire mission shows the importance of listening to the still small voice of the spirit of God, and the revelations of the Holy Ghost. The people were praying for light and truth, and the Lord sent me to them.” 11

11. In Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, p. 118.

A synopsis of Wilford Woodruff’s travels and labors in 1840. 9

Traveled 4,469 miles
Held 230 meetings
Established preaching 53 places
Planted 47 churches
which included 1,500 Saints
28 elders 110 priests
24 teachers 10 deacons
Attended conferences 14
Baptized 336 persons
which included 57 preachers
2 clerks of the Church of England
Assisted in the baptism 86 others
Confirmed 420
Assisted in confirmation 50 others
Ordained 18 elders
97 priests
34 teachers
1 deacon
Blessed 120 children
Administered unto 120 sick persons
Assisted in procuring 1,000 pounds sterling for printing Millennial Star, three thousand copies of Latter-day Saints hymns, and five thousand copies of the Book of Mormon
Assisted in emigrating 200 Saints to America
Wrote 200 letters
Received 112 letters
Mobs came against me 4

An Unseen Helping Hand

Shortly after Joseph Smith settled in Far West, Missouri, in March 1838, he had begun preparing for an expanded missionary effort by the Twelve to Great Britain.

Brigham Young was prepared to leave on 14 September, just shortly after his wife, Mary Ann had given birth to a daughter.

On 18 September, Brigham and Heber decided it was time to start on their appointed mission. Both men were so ill that they had to be helped into a wagon.

Elders Young and Kimball were joined en route by George A. Smith. As they traveled Brigham reached into his trunk and always found just enough money for the next stage coach fare. He thought Heber was replenishing the fund, but later discovered that he had not. The brethren had started their trip with $13.50 in donations, yet they spent more than $87 on coach fares. They had no idea how the additional money had gotten into the trunk “except by some unseen agent from the Heavenly world to forward the promulgation of the Gospel.” 7

7. In Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, p. 77

The Reality of Evil Spirits

On Sunday, 4 June 1837, the Prophet approached Heber C. Kimball in the temple and whispered to him, “Brother Heber, the Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me: ‘Let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my Gospel, and open the door of salvation to that nation.’” Heber was overwhelmed by his call to England because he lacked education and refinement. He prayed almost daily in an upper room of the temple for protection and power that he might fulfill an honorable mission. His family was near poverty, yet he was determined to serve. He said, “I felt that the cause of truth, the Gospel of Christ, outweighed every other consideration.” 18

On the morning of 30 July, the day the first baptisms were to be performed, the missionaries were attacked by Satan and his hosts. Elder Russell came to Elder Kimball, seeking relief from the torment of evil spirits. As Elders Hyde and Kimball laid their hands on him to bless him, Elder Kimball was knocked senseless to the floor by an invisible power. As he regained consciousness, he saw his brethren praying for him.

“[Heber wrote:] ‘I then arose and sat up on the bed, when a vision was opened to our minds, and we could distinctly see the evil spirits, who foamed and gnashed their teeth at us. We gazed upon them about an hour and a half. . . . I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye; and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself, or portray their malice and enmity, would be vain.’ . . .

“Years later, narrating the experience of that awful morning to the Prophet Joseph, Heber asked him . . . whether there was anything wrong with him that he should have such a manifestation.

“‘No, Brother Heber,’ he replied, ‘at that time you were nigh unto the Lord; there was only a veil between you and Him, but you could not see Him. When I heard of it, it gave me great joy, for I then knew that the work of God had taken root in that land. It was this that caused the devil to make a struggle to kill you.’

“. . . ‘The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes.’” 21

21. In Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp. 130–31.