Tag Archives: George Q. Cannon

New Release: “Scrap Book of Mormon Literature” vol. 1

Are you pathetically ignorant of early Church pamphlets? Or, getting past pathetic ignorance into more of an ashamed, repentant ignorance, maybe you have thought “Hmmm, based on the importance of pamphlets in early Church history, I wish there was a selection of them that I could read. Ideally it would be chosen by someone early enough in Church history to be close to the pamphlet tradition, but who lived late enough to have a broad selection to choose from. I’d also want the person choosing them to have a boots-on-the-ground perspective on real missionary pamphlet usage and which pamphlets were effective or worth reading. Basically I really wish I could get a mission president in perhaps the early 1900s to select a few dozen pamphlets for me to read, and get them on my Kindle.”

Well, President Ben E. Rich of the Eastern States Mission has got you covered, and the first volume of his Scrap Book of Mormon Literature (first published 1911) is now available on Project Gutenberg. It contains 38 pamphlets by the likes of B. H. Roberts, Orson Pratt, Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Orson Hyde, Charles W. Penrose, John Morgan, etc. etc. Volume 2 has been available for a while too (e-book, post on its contents).

Thanks to Renah Holmes for proofreading this one.

New Release: George Q. Cannon’s “The Life of Joseph Smith, the Prophet”

This biography (e-book link), originally published 1888, was written by First Presidency member and publisher George Q. Cannon, who finished it while imprisoned for polygamy. Best I can figure, from a church perspective this would have been the key biography of Joseph Smith for at least a decade after its publication. The competition might include Edward Tullidge’s Life of Joseph the Prophet or the early versions of History of the Prophet Joseph, by His Mother, but of course Tullidge (a member of the Reorganized Church) hardly would have carried the same implicit church endorsement as Cannon, and Brigham Young was not a fan of the History. Cannon knew Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, and as he served in the First Presidency with Brigham Young, John Taylor, etc. he obviously had access to many other contemporaries with firsthand recollections.

Our e-book is based on the 1907 edition, which originally ran to just over 500 pages. Thanks to David Cramer and Katie Liston for the proofreading.

This is my first book release post in a long time, but there should be about a dozen more like it by the end of the year if I can hold to my schedule–I’m working hard to clear my book post-processing backlog and much of it has already turned into a “needs release post” backlog. My personal life is a lot more conducive to progress now that I’m done with my MBA program and so forth.

Now releasing…all the pamphlets!

Not quite all the pamphlets, but Scrap Book of Mormon Literature vol. 2, now on PG, contains an embarrassment of riches. It includes about 45 selections from authors including:

  • Brigham Young
  • Joseph Fielding Smith
  • Heber J. Grant
  • B. H. Roberts
  • Parley P. Pratt
  • George Q. Cannon
  • Orson Pratt
  • Orson Hyde
  • Orson F. Whitney

Obviously that’s a pretty good cross section from the first century of Church writing, thanks to mission president and compiler Ben E. Rich. He included materials originally published everywhere from the Liverpool to Japan.

And if you’re wondering…you didn’t miss the release of volume 1; it’s just still in progress. Stay tuned. Fortunately the volumes work independently of each other.

New release: Orson Pratt debates polygamy with the Senate Chaplain

This is the all-star game of polygamy debates, folks. Orson Pratt was Brigham Young’s point man for explaining and defending polygamy, and the Rev. Dr. J. P. Newman, Chaplain of the U. S. Senate, sounds like a worthy opponent. In 1870 they publicly debated the question “Does the Bible sanction Polygamy?” for three days, and that debate is reproduced in The Bible and Polygamy, now available free on Project Gutenberg. It also includes discourses on polygamy by George A. Smith, George Q. Cannon, and Pratt himself. It’s thus a cross-section of both Mormon and non-Mormon thought on polygamy in the middle of the pre-Manifesto Utah period. Have a look.

New Release: “The Life of Nephi”

“The age in which we live is one of doubt and unbelief. Skepticism is spreading. All faith in divine things, as taught by the ancient servants of God, is being unsettled,” writes author George Q. Cannon in The Life of Nephi, the ninth book in the Juvenile Instructor Office’s Faith-Promoting Series. This work, written in 1888 and just released as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg, offers a deeply thoughtful look at the life of a central figure in The Book of Mormon. Born circa 615 B.C. in Jerusalem, Nephi was a man of deep faith and devotion to God and his family:

“The Prophet Nephi, whose life we here present, was one of the greatest and most advanced of these teachers of heavenly truths. There have been but few men, so far as we know, who comprehended, and spoke, and wrote about them as plainly as did he. He had a personal knowledge of the doctrines, principles and facts respecting which men now dispute. He has written fully upon them.”

Nephi’s father Lehi foresees the destruction of Jerusalem, a result of the wickedness of the people. His family is instructed by God to flee into the wilderness to avoid impending destruction, and the family consequently spends years wandering in the wilderness, encountering various calamities and trials of faith. Cannon details the challenges, triumphs, joys, and heartaches seen by Nephi and his family as they seek to act in accordance with the will of God.

While Nephi’s story is familiar to many of the LDS faith, Cannon’s book offers deeper insights on Nephi’s unfailing devotion to his faith. Cannon details the lineage of Nephi and his family and provides detailed context to the age in which Nephi and his family lived. These details become enlightening as we learn that acting on one’s faith had far more life-endangering consequences than in present times, thus demonstrating Nephi’s unwavering character and spiritual strength.

This book will provide historical as well as spiritual insights to both LDS and non-LDS individuals alike and will inspire, strengthen, and lift.

Margaret Willden, one of our summer 2015 BYU editing interns, proofread and produced The Life of Nephi and contributed to this post.

New Release: “Leaves From My Journal” by Wilford Woodruff

This one’s pretty much self-explanatory: it’s an abridgment from Wilford Woodruff’s journals combined with a bit of his commentary, aimed at the youth of the Church. Get it on Project Gutenberg. The original publisher’s preface probably pitches it as well as I could:

Brother Woodruff is a remarkable man. Few men now living, who have followed the quiet and peaceful pursuits of life, have had such an interesting and eventful experience as he has. Few, if any in this age, have spent a more active and useful life. Certainly no man living has been more particular about recording with his own hand, in a daily journal, during half a century, the events of his own career and the things that have come under his observation. His elaborate journal has always been one of the principal sources from which the Church history has been compiled.

Possessed of wonderful energy and determination, and mighty faith, Brother Woodruff has labored long and with great success in the Church. He has ever had a definite object in view—to know the will of the Almighty and to do it. No amount of self-denial has been too great for him to cheerfully endure for the advancement of the cause of God. No labor required of the Saints has been considered by him too onerous to engage in with his own hands.

Satan, knowing the power for good that Brother Woodruff would be, if permitted to live, has often sought to effect his destruction.

The adventures, accidents and hair-breath escapes that he has met with, are scarcely equalled by the record that the former apostle, Paul, has left us of his life.

The power of God has been manifested in a most remarkable manner in preserving Brother Woodruff’s life. Considering the number of bones he has had broken, and the other bodily injuries he has received, it is certainly wonderful that now, at the age of seventy-five years, he is such a sound, well-preserved man. God grant that his health and usefulness may continue for many years to come.

Of course, this volume contains but a small portion of the interesting experience of Brother Woodruff’s life, but very many profitable lessons may be learned from it, and we trust at some future time to be favored with other sketches from his pen.

This book is the third in George Q. Cannon’s “Faith-Promoting Series,” which are relatively short books (originally ~100 pages) composed primarily of biography, missionary histories, etc. and aimed at the youth of the Church. George Q. Cannon’s “My First Mission” (also on PG) was the first in the same series. There are over a dozen books in the series; we hope to produce them all eventually, and one is currently in progress. For all you diehard Wilford Woodruff fans out there, we’re also working on Wilford Woodruff: History of His Life, a biography based extensively on his journals that runs to about 700 pages and ought to be useful for those of us who can’t shell out four grand to buy copies of the journals themselves (which are sadly out-of-print, rare, and still subject to copyright, as they weren’t published until long after his death).

Thanks to Benjamin Keogh and Elissa Nysetvold, two of our volunteers, for proofreading this book.

Project Gutenberg Release: George Q. Cannon’s “My First Mission”

George Q. Cannon’s My First Mission recounts his mission to Hawaii. Think “The Other SIde of Heaven” meets the 1850s, back when Hawaii was often known as the Sandwich Islands. It was intended to be a faith-promoting work targeted at future missionaries, and could be used for the same purpose today. It’s short (easily readable in a Sunday afternoon), the style is relatively light, and it’s quirky and fun. It was digitized by MTP a while back, and we recently (finally) got it posted on Project Gutenberg.

Cannon, born in 1827, was a nephew of John Taylor who lived with him as a teenager and helped publish the “Times and Seasons.” He left on his four-year Hawaiian mission in 1849, was involved in hundreds of baptisms, and translated the Book of Mormon in to Hawaiian. After returning home, he became an apostle at age 33 and eventually served in four First Presidencies. (Wikipedia has a good article on him here.)

The book talks about his whole mission experience, from food and culture to miracles to issues regarding Church and mission organization.  George Q.’s decision to learn the language and work among the Hawaiian natives rather than the less-receptive white population is a major theme. He was working in places where no missionary had previously gone and doing so all but independently , especially after his Mission President decided to leave for the South Pacific; seeing how he operated cut off from higher authority is rather interesting.

Possibly my personal favorite excerpt from the book illustrates Cannon’s general style of writing and its faith-promoting quirkiness: