New Release: “Labors in the Vineyard”

“Labors in the Vineyard,” published in 1884 and just released on PG, is the twelfth book of the Juvenile Instructor Office’s Faith-Promoting Series. The Faith-Promoting Series was designed to teach young Latter-day Saints gospel principles and share experiences of other Latter-day Saints. “Labors in the Vineyard” specifically shares the missionary experiences of six Latter-day Saint elders who went on missions to the eastern states, Arizona, England, Switzerland, and Australia.

Throughout this book one can not only read about interesting missionary experiences, including several where God was able to help and protect the missionaries, but also learn about the thoughts and feelings of the missionaries. Among others, it shares Harrison Burgess’ early life story of living in Kirtland, Ohio and being a part of Zion’s Camp, and discusses C. V. Spencer’s mission to England, after which he testified:

“I am satisfied and paid for the very little and feeble labors that I performed. I returned bright and zealous in the love of the truth. God has never yet forsaken me by His Spirit, and I do not believe that any man will ever be trusted to walk in the footsteps of his Elder Brother, Jesus, as a Savior of a world, or ever be seated with honor on the right hand of His Father, until he has learned to wade through deep and troubled waters, up stream and against the current without earthly props or stays.”

If you enjoy early Latter-day Saint history and reading about different missionary experiences, this book will be a fun, inspiring read.

Shawnee Hawkes, an MTP summer intern from the BYU American Studies program, proofed and produced Labors in the Vineyard and contributed to this post—our thanks to her!

Announcing the Mormon Audiobooks Project

Think the Mormon Texts Project, only for audiobooks–Ben Crowder, the original founder of MTP, is now looking for volunteers interested in working on the Mormon Audiobooks Project. It lives here; see also his announcement here. If you’re interested in volunteering as a reader or proof-listener, want updates, or even think managing such an effort would be up your alley, get in touch with Ben through his site and/or sign up for his mailing list. Should be a great resource for audiobook aficionados.

On our end, the MTP internship program is near its halfway point and has swelled the length of our books-in-progress list to an all-time high. Expect the blog to be pretty quiet for another month or so as intern projects go through HTML production and final checks, after which we should release around a dozen books by the end of August.

New Release: “Jacob Hamblin,” frontiersman & Indian missionary

The title says it all:

JACOB HAMBLIN,

A NARRATIVE OF HIS PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, AS A FRONTIERSMAN, MISSIONARY TO THE INDIANS AND EXPLORER,

DISCLOSING

Interpositions of Providence, Severe Privations, Perilous Situations and Remarkable Escapes.

A convert to the Church during the Nauvoo era, Hamblin’s story is recorded in this the fifth book of the Faith-Promoting Series. Now on Project Gutenberg.

In other news, the MTP internship program kicked off this week! As that consumes resources, the blog may suffer a bit, but rest assured a burst of productivity is under way.

 

Anthon Skanchy

Autobiography of Anthon Skanchy, translated by John A. Widtsoe

Anthon Skanchy (pictured) was the early Norwegian missionary who baptized noted Apostle John A. Widtsoe and his mother into the Church. Skanchy wrote this autobiography in Norwegian, and Widtsoe translated, edited, and published it as Anthon L. Skanchy: A Brief Autobiographical Sketch of the Missionary Labors of a Valiant Soldier for Christ. We’ve recently released it as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg.

Skanchy led an interesting life; he served various missions in his native Norway, and much of the book recounts his mission experiences, including both some remarkable spiritual incidents and some interesting temporal details, such as his employment as a fisherman during parts of his mission. He also worked on the Logan temple and tabernacle and served as a bishop. He eventually took charge of the Scandinavian mission, with a special charge to build mission houses in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Unlike mission homes today that often just house the mission president, these included substantial meeting halls, pictured in the book. It’s a window into an interesting life and, weighing in at 56 pages, a fun Sunday afternoon read. Enjoy.

New Release: “Mother Stories from the Book of Mormon”

President Hinckley was first introduced to the Book of Mormon by his mother reading him this book (source) by William A. Morton, and treasured it in his old age. Weighing in at 158 pages and using simple language, it could make good reading material for small children today as an intermediate between the Book of Mormon picture books and the real thing. And it’s now available as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg. Enjoy.

New Release: “The Hand of Providence” by J. H. Ward

This 1883 book by J. H. Ward is an early Mormon take on world history; it’s now available on Project Gutenberg, complete with more than thirty original illustrations. You may remember J. H. Ward as the author of Gospel Philosophy, a book on science and the gospel that we released and discussed some time ago.

The Church today has a particular understanding of how world history led up to the Restoration; this book shows Ward’s 19th century understanding of that topic, including discussion of Rome, the Middle East, the Reformation, the Americas, etc. I’m not sure to what extent Ward was popularizing existing theories vs. breaking new ground, but either way this is interesting stuff from a historiographical perspective.

“Mormon Settlement in Arizona” by James H. McClintock

This work, by a non-Mormon historian of Arizona, discusses the titular topic and was produced some time ago by Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders. (As longtime readers know, I think very highly of PGDP.) It touches on the Mormon Battalion, pioneer and Forty Years Among the Indians author Daniel W. Jones, noted missionary Jacob Hamblin, and the ancient history of the area, among other things. Give it a look.

The existence of this e-book somehow escaped our notice up until now, but no longer; now it’s on the Available Texts page. On that note, should anyone know of similar works already available on PG or elsewhere, get in touch–we want to get the word out about them.