A MISSIONARY EXPERIENCE – August Lenz

August Lenz

In the years 1914 and 1915 I was laboring as a missionary in Germany.

There has always been a law in that country to the effect that everybody must register his name at the nearest Police Office. It seems that much of the work that is done here in the Town or Municipal Office is done there by the Police Department. Any Stranger, be they Foreigners or German born, when travelling in Germany, was required to go to the nearest Office, show his passport, and tell them his business and address; and when he desired to leave again for some other place, he must go again and tell them his new destination and receive a transfer which tells the Police of the new town who and what he is.

No doubt this law has its good points; but it was too bothersome for the strangers, especially for Americans and Canadians who liked to do as they pleased without asking anyone’s permission or consent.

The laws of Germany also allowed religious freedom for everybody; for Germany was the country, where, through Martin Luther, religious freedom was first established.

This freedom did not extend to the Mormon Missionaries, however, for the only information than German Police had about them was that they were after their best looking women to export them to the Mormon harams in America, but since they cannot prosecute them according to the law without evidence – which they did not have – the only way they can protect their women was to banish the missionaries from the country as “Undesirable foreigners”, which did not require any process of law.

For that reason the missionaries, in order to labor in Germany, would secure “Bootleg Lodgings” and stay as long as they were not caught; when caught, they would be fined and sometimes imprisoned, and then were escorted to the train and told never to come back. The Landlords were also fined for failing to report new lodgers. But, or course, the missionaries always paid their fines.

Now I have been in Germany a long time, laboring in three different cities: Mannheim, Herne, in Prussia, where no missionary had ever been able to stay two weeks, and in Hamburg.

In Herne, I have spent six weeks, which was a record, and I am satisfied I could have stayed there indefinitely in spite of one or two narrow escapes, and notwithstanding I could not obtain any lodgings. The Saints were all spied up on, and the outsiders who had harbored missionaries in the past, had been caught before and threatened with more serious punishment if caught again, which is scared them plenty. So I was forced to lodge in the meeting hall, where I slept on two rows of chairs hold together, and with my overcoat for my bedding. This suit of me fine.  I slept good, and dodging the police was a great sport; in fact, after I left there and did not have to dodge then anymore I felt that there was something I was missing. I will here relate an incident felt how I evaded an officer, or rather, what may have been an officer.

The Police Force of Herne was considered to be the most intolerant to ward Mormon Missionaries of any city in Germany. No American Missionary had ever been able to stay there even in two weeks without getting caught, fined, and deported.

The saints here numbered about 60 souls are, including the children, and were presided over by a very efficient President, Brother Krefter.

Herne is not so beautiful a city as are other cities in Germany being situated, as it is, in the center of a coal mining district, not so far from Essen. There were several City Parks, however, which made up for the deficiency of beauty in the rest of the city, easily accessible for everybody; one in particular being more beautiful than the others; and enclosed with a 10 foot high iron fence, that seemed to be closed part of the time.

When I was first sent to Herne I called upon the Branch President, Brother Krefter first, and he warned me the Police would find me quick if I lived in the City; as he gave me the address of a member of the Church who lived in and outlying town called Toutoburgia, an hours walk. Which by the way, was the Battle Field where the Roman Legions suffered the greatest defeat by the Germans under Herman, or Arminius, something like 2000 years ago.

As it turned out, I had not left Brother Krefter’s house more than an hour when a Detective came and asked where the new Mormon missionary was lodged. Brother Krefter gave him evasive answers; but the policeman told him it was no use to hide me, because there was some locate me the same as they had found all the others. He visited in all the other church members, but, of course, they had not been informed about me.

“Bible Class” was held every Wednesday evening, and I attended the same day.  All the saints were there present out of curiosity to see the new missionary the Police man had told them about.  A good way to get out 100% attendance, with the Police obligingly helping.

The door was locked during the exercises, and I sat in the body of the hall instead of on the stand.  One Brother sat at the light switch to turn it off instantly if trouble came. No disturbance was made however.

After the meeting was over the door was unlocked, and Brother Krefter’s daughter was the first to go out; but immediately returned and reported the Police were outside waiting. The light went out at once, and the Brethren, in a body with me in their midst, made a rush for the street, and we then scattered in all directions, some going one way, and some another and in the midst of it all the Police did not know which one to take. I went in the opposite way I had to go, crossed a vacant lot into a back alley, and from there through another vacant lot into another street, where I took a handy Street Car to the outside of town.

Missionaries, as a rule, are dressed in the finest American made suits by which they could be distinguished a long way off, and were easily picked off by the Police. But as for me, I wore German made clothes of the plainest of material and cut; and so escaped their notice. I always left my lodgings early in the morning and did not go back till late at night, and so escaped the notice of the neighbors who might have been curious. In this way I got along most excellently, because the people I did my work among did not know the police would like to make my acquaintance, and there was only one Pastor who ever threatened to have me arrested, and that only for the reason that I was working among his flock, leaving tracts and books. A Book of Mormon I had loaned to one of his members got into his hands, and he let it be known to me that he would like to meet me.

I called upon him, and he received me very courteously and polite. A young boy, hardly twently years old, perhaps could be converted and rescued from the grasp of Satan and the wide open portals of hell, and made into a useful Christian. But that bashful and tongue tied young boy had a way of asking questions that he could not answer at a moment’s notice, and mentioning principles of the gospel of which he had never even heard of. And the less he could answer the more his affability and courteousness disappeared until he jumped up off his seat and yelled: “What’s a young fellow like you, who is not yet dry behind the ears, trying to teach me? Me, who has studied the scriptures all his life and graduated from the University before you was born?” Jerking open the front door he yelled: “Get out before I call the Police!”

Nevertheless, I gained a number of very good friends from among his flock. But one day, after leaving that district, while on my way home, it seemed to me that I had noticed the same man several times, and I wondered if perhaps he was following me. I stopped and looked into a store window, and out of the corner of my eyes saw him do the same far down the street. I walked slowly on and after a time I repeated the performance, which he also did, although he was now on the other side of the street.

It had always been the practice of the police when they spotted a missionary, to follow him home and then arrest him and his landlord also, and I wondered if this was not also something similar. But I was not taking chances.

So to evade him I made for this nearby park of which I referred to above, and I climbed a tree which grew outside of the fence and walk surrounding the Park, climbed out on a limb, and dropped myself down inside the gate on the opposite side; but as I turned the last bend approaching the gate I saw two things at once, one was a large sign which read: “Park closed to the Public; Trespassers will be prosecuted according to law.” And the other thing I saw was a group of workmen standing in the gateway.

They saw me the same time I saw them, and under these conditions I could not very well retreat; so I brazenly walked right up to them as though I owned the property, and politely raising my hat, I said: “Good evening, men, it’s a nice day.” And I edged my way between them.

I proceeded on my way leisurely, but judging by the way they looked and acted, they were undecided as to my authority for me being there, whether I might be a new Officer or Inspector; or merely a trespasser, or whether they should call a Policeman or let me go. After I reached a safe distance I looked back, and there in the gateway the men still stood there as I had left them, they had not moved an inch, still gazing after me.

I lived with the family in Teutoburgia only a short time, because I was afraid I might get them into trouble, and so moved into the Meeting Hall where I made my bed on two rows of chairs as stated before. There I was a burden to no one, which suited me fine. I was young and tough, and I did not even wish for a better bed, and it never cost me a cent, which was a big consideration for me in that time.

But eventually the Mission President, Hyrum Valentyne, and the European President, Apostle Hyrum M Smith came visiting the branches which were in that part of Germany and when someone told them I slept on chairs they thought that was too great a hardship, and they transferred me to the city of Hamburg, where the Police were not so severe, and it would be easier to get accommodations, as there were over seven hundred members there.

I had spent six weeks in Herne, which was a record, and I am satisfied I could have stayed there much longer.

Soon after I became located in Hamburg, the First Great War broke out. War conditions made it necessary to call out of Germany all the Missionaries. The Registration laws were immediately made stricter, and all regulations were tightened up, and crossing the border was now impossible without a Passport. And as it happened, I did not have one. I was under legal age when I went over. And before the Wat anyone could travel anywhere without them. The law required it, but it was never enforced so I could not leave Germany with the others, and I became the only Mormon Missionary actively laboring in all of Germany.

Several, being Germany subjects, were drafted into the Army, and one was in hiding to avoid the drafting, living secretly with the Saints until one of the Members doing Border Guard duty, smuggled him into Holland.

My money was deposited here in Canada, and was sent to me as I needed it. So the Mission President advised me to use the tithing money the Saints paid in and reimburse the church after I got home. But the enemies of the Church sometimes accused the Missionaries of appropriating the tithing money of the Saints as their own pay; and as I did not want them to have that advantage over me, and as I always admired the old missionaries who had the faith to go into a strange country to preach the gospel without purse or script I decided to do the same. But what decided me the most was that commandment in Doctrine and Covenants 84:85 saying: “Let no man among you… from this hour take purse or script, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the Kingdom.”

This made a very strong impression upon me, and I decided I had better obey. This, however, was not so courageous as it might seem, because I expected to be among the Saints wherever I went, and they had often invited me to dinner or supper, and these initiations, coming several times a week, had been the means of keeping me in good condition, for I had not the money to buy much fancy food. I had lived mostly on bread and water, and if I felt especially affluent, I would buy a dried and smoked fish, called “Bucklings” which could be bought for one half cent in our money. Luxuries were out of the question, except for a movie show about once a month or even less. Anyone who ever had to get along on ten dollars a month, paying for room, buying all the clothes, books, and Gospel tracts besides paying travelling expenses out of it will realize that I had to be more than a little stingy with my resources. But through all this time nobody ever gave me any money, which was not expected, of course.

I merely mention these facts to show the contrast to how I lived when I trusted in money to be my stay and my staff: to show how changed my condition was after I made up my mind to trust in the Lord for it, and to do His work in His own appointed way. I never told any man I was broke, and I never asked anybody for anything, yet I could not have possibly used all the food that was offered me. I was also offered Theater and Grand Opera tickets, but I had to decline all of these because I was too busy and occupied with my work to make use of them. I never got through before midnight, but mostly much later. For it now became my duty to travel to the branches to reorganize them whenever they were dissolved through military drafts, and to organize Sunday Schools and Relief Societies. I would have to appoint and ordain all the officers in these various organizations, and instruct them in their duties and the keeping of the records. And there were always a flock of children to be blessed, and most of the soldiers going to the wars required me to lay my hands upon their heads and give them a blessing. Beside all of that there were always a lot of investigators who had many questions saved up to be answered. So, all in all, I was kept busy enough to keep out of mischief. But most interesting of all was the fact that I was always supplied with all the money I needed. And never more than I needed every day and never less than I needed.

This had never happened before that anybody gave me money, but now people would come to shake hands with me and leave money in my hand. And I would go to put on my coat and find money in the pockets that somebody had put there secretly. But always just enough, and never too much. And since I travelled a good deal from branch to branch and from city to city I used considerable. Quite remarkable also was the fact that Passports and Identification cards were inspected frequently; I was never required to produce any.

My duties also required that I call and ordain officers and teachers for the organizations in the branches of people I had never seen before. But I would call a testimony meeting, and then I knew everyone’s gifts and abilities and their suitabilities for the various offices. I could even read the thought of their hearts and knew what everyone would do under any given condition. I thought I was using ordinary judgement, yet after it was all over and I was not under spiritual stress any more I marveled about it many times, knowing that I did not have that judgment normally, but had special discernment given me.

The Mission President was still located in Basle, Switzerland, a neutral country during the war. And as the laws in Germany dealing with strangers and registration became more strictly enforced, he became extrememly worried about me and what would become of me if I was caught, and in the war hysteria I might easily be suspected and shot for a spy, and as I was from an enemy country my chances might not be good at all.

He knew I was born in Switzerland, and he tried to obtain citizenship papers for me from there, but he could accomplish nothing at all. So when all else failed he wrote to me and told me of the efforts he had made in my behalf. He said he could not sleep at nights anymore because of it, and he ordered me to see the Swiss Consul about it in Hamburg, and see if he could get the papers for me.

I was having a glorious time and never had a moments worry over anything, and I wanted to stay there for the duration, as I had nothing here to come back to; but the President’s letter was an order and had to be obeyed. Consequently I went to see the Consul and told him my whole story. He asked me if I had any way of proving myself a Swiss subject, but this I could not do. But after talking it over for a while he told me it was absolutely out of the question for me to go on as I was without complying with the law, but to give me any help he had to have some substantial evidence that I really was a Swiss. This I could not do, and so he had no power. But out of the kindness of his heart he offered to help me even by endangering his own position. So he gave me a writing which stated that I had proven myself a Swiss subject, and that my passport was sent for, and he recommended me to the authorities as a good man, asking them to register me on the strength of that in the meanwhile.

“Now,” he said, “be careful and do not get me into trouble by telling them that you have no proof of being a Swiss.”

“But,” I answered, “what can I tell them if they ask me about it and demand to see that proof?”

Said he, “They have no right to ask that, for this writing bears the stamp of the Swiss consulate, and they have not right to question that.”

That sounded well and good, but I had my doubts about it, and as a parting shot he added; “Now be sure and register immediately, these people are on the prod, and they will stand for no fooling.”

But I had experienced no inconveniences, and being young and careless, and I did not take the matter so seriously, and I did not attend to it till the next day.

The following day I went to the nearest Police office from my lodging and presented my letter from the Consul, and applied for registration.

The officer in charge took it for granted that I had just arrived in the City. He looked at the date and straightway exploded, “Didn’t you know that you are supposed to register within six hours when you arrive here?”

I thought I might be wise to go along with his conclusions. I answered “No, how should I know about your laws here?”

“Where are you from?” He wanted to know. “From America,” I answered him. I did not want him to know that I came from Canada, an enemy country. And I did not lie to him here either, since Canada is in America, and America is a big place. But it led him to believe I came from the United States, which at that time was still a neutral country.

“But nobody comes from America now,” he said. “But I came over before the war started,” said I.

“And where,” said he, “have you been since then?”

I still did not want to lie to him, and all I could tell him was that I had been in Herne before I came to Hamburg, which was true, even if it was slightly misleading. “If you were in Herne, you must have been registered there, so where is your transfer?”

Well, I had never been registered, and therefore I did not know that I needed a transfer. So I was stumped, but assuming a stupid look, which was quite natural to me, I told him I did not think I needed it anymore and threw it away. “Why,” he said, “you travel around in the world like a Mutton.”

That was my first lie, but I had to tell several more to help that one out.

Proceding with the interrogation, he said: This letter from your Consul states that you proved yourself a Swiss subject, how did you do that?”

“Oh,” I said airily, “by letters, birth certificate, and so forth.”

“Well, let me see them,” he demanded. “I left them home, the Consul said this letter was all I needed to register.”

“No,” he said, “I have to have all the facts concerned, and your passport, and your transfer from Herne in particular. I will give you time to telegraph to Herne and have those papers forwarded immediately. In the meantime, don’t you leave your lodging at any time, we may want you at a moment’s notice. But you can answer some more of these questions…. What are you here for?”

“Visiting, sight seeing…”

“Religion?”

“Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” If I had told him I was a Mormon he would have smelled a rat immediately, but I knew he did not know what that meant. And I did not want to deny my religion.

“Well,” he said, “what religion is that?”

“That is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.”

“Well,” he roared, “I want to know what Church that is.”

I replied I had told him twice, so what more could I do?

Well, he said he wanted to know if that was Catholic or Protestant.

I thought I saw an opportunity to take his mind off a painful subject, as well as a dangerous one, and immediately tried to lead him off on a discussion of religion, and I told him it was neither the one nor the other, but it was the original gospel of Jesus Christ that had now been restored after two thousand years of Apostasy.

But he was not interested, and he said: “Oh, some new damned American sect, I suppose.”

He wanted to know all about my Father and Mother, their birth placed, occupation, and all about them. It seemed he asked me a hundred questions. He finally told me I could go for now, but I must stay at home and be available at all times, and I must telegraph to Herne for my transfer at once.

Well, I was not yet stood up against a stonewall and shot, but the Cat was out of the bag, as the saying goes. The Police knew now that somebody suspicious to watch out for, they had my name and address, and description, and it was only a matter of about three days and they would have me.  Then they would tell me that as a Minister of the Gospel I came all the way from America to tell the people to be truthful, when I, myself, told more lies than any of them. And anything that I did would reflect upon all other Missionaries that would be sent there, and I did not want to bring disgrace upon them of the church. I had broken the law of the land by living there without registering and it was up to me to take the consequences. Anyhow, I would probably be sent to a Concentration Camp till the end of the war, and I probably could do missionary work there, among the Prisoners of War.

So I set my house in order, as the saying goes, I finished out my records, and sent in my reports to Mission Headquarters, packed a suitcase with Books and Tracts and the next day went straight to Police Headquarters and asked to see the Chief of Police, who there is called “Police President.”

I told him whole story, holding back nothing, even told him that I had lied to his subordinate the day before. He was a gray haired man of perhaps sixty five or seventy years of age.

He reached up in a pigeon hole in his desk and pulled down several large sheets of paper covered with writing, and asked if that was the conversation I had with his subordinate. I admitted that it was. My deception was too clumsy. They had sent in a report at once to have me investigated.

“Why,” he asked, “do you Mormons never comply with the law? I have been in this position for twenty years and have handled a lot of you fellows, and there was not one of you who ever registered.”

I considered I was in trouble now anyhow, and it would probably hurt no worse to be hanged for a wolf than to be hanged for a lamb, and there was something on my mind I thought he should know, and I told him that the laws of Germany allowed religious freedom for everybody, and that gave us the right to preach the gospel there without interference from the Police Force. We believed we were sent of God for that purpose and we considered it a great responsibility. The Police were supposed to be guided by the law; but we find that they exceed their authority by arresting, and fining and deporting us contrary to the law. And because they had no lawful charge against them they write in their passports that they are undesirable foreigners, for which they have not the slightest excuse. That makes the Police the real lawbreakers, and to fulfill the mission bound upon us we are forced to live in hiding, and do not register according to the law.

He leaned back in his chair and listened to me as if half amused till I got through. “Say,” he said, “how do you Mormons make your living?”

He was under the impression that we were white slavers getting their best looking women for the Mormon Harems in Utah, and getting paid for that.

But I told him that we did not make a living, and we received no kind of pay for anything we did, and that we paid our own way out of our own pockets that some had independent means, and others were supported by their relatives at home. In my own case, I informed him; I had worked hard as a common laborer for three years and saved up enough money to go with. I also explained to him that in our church the poor and the rich had the same chance to obtain heavenly blessings, I told him also that we were supposed to go without purse or script, but that would give the Police too much excuse for their actions, and so we did the next best thing by supplying our own way.

There was something in that that interested him deeply, and he asked if I could prove what I had just said.

Now at this time I had been without purse and script for a long time, but did not see fit to tell him that, but I had an old statement in my purse that said I had money deposited at Mission Headquarters, and that so much was sent to me every month, and books and tracts were all charged against that account. This satisfied him and he began to ask me questions about the gospel. And this soon developed into an extremely spirited Gospel Conversation. He knew his bible like an expert, and because I discussed those things every day I could match everything he knew.

This lasted for perhaps two hours when a Policeman entered and reminded him of some other appointment that he had. So he turned to me and said: “Well, that will be all.”

All this time I was all keyed up to be a blessed martyr, and expected any moment a number of Policemen to rush in and handcuff me, and drag me off to some dark and gloomy prison cell in the best approved movie style; and to be so casually dismissed kind of knocked the wind out of me. I felt like an overinflated balloon that had burst into nothing.

“Well,” I asked, “what are you going to do with me?”

“Oh,” he said in a very kind and fatherly tone of voice: “If I want you again I will let you know.”

Sometime later I received a visitor from a Detective who told me in the politest terms that all he came for was corroboration that I really was a Missionary. It was their duty to make sure of those things, and not that they doubted my word. He said there were thousands of spies in the country and it was the duty of the Police to prevent them from being the means of destroying their soldiers at the front. This made it necessary for them to be severe sometimes, which could not be helped; and although stern, they did not wish to be unkind, although their severity gave the German Police a bad name among foreigners.

Of course, I could easily prove that I was a missionary, and I never heard from them again for quite a while, when I received a note, asking me to see the Police President.

He said that if my case had not been entered into the records, he could have let me off free. But as it was, he was compelled to impose a fine upon me and the very least he could make that fine was three marks, which is seventy five cents in our money, and an equal amount to the Land Lady where I kept a room.

But soon after that, to my regret, the Swiss Consul succeeded in obtaining Swiss Citizen Papers for me which permitted him to give me a Passport to travel with. And as the order from the Church President was for all Missionaries in Germany to come back, that included me, and my time was about up anyway, and I could do nothing to change it.

The Mission President asked me in particular to be sure and not leave any debts behind, to pay them all out of the tithing fund, and send in the account to his office.

It must have surprised him greatly to learn that I did not owe anybody not even his office, because after he returned home he preached about it in conference in the tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

This ended the best time of my life.

 

 

The manifestations of the power of God were very abundant in those days so much so that I did not make a record of them. It seemed a matter of course that the sick were healed and other miraculous things came to pass, not only in my own work, but among the Saints generally. Like for an example the Brother who prayed that he did not have to war and live among a lot of rough and godless companions. When he was on the way to be examined for Physical fitness he felt a great pain in his knee, and the doctor pronounced him unfit for military duty. As soon as he got home he felt fine again and the pain never returned.

But there were a few of my experiences that stand out from the others that I want to write down here.

It was in Mannheim that was my first Mission Field that I made the acquaintance of a middle aged lady while tracting. I told her that I represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a missionary and that I desired to explain the Gospel to her. She immediately invited me into her parlor, and after making me comfortable asked that I explain a dream to her that she had when she was a very young girl. She said that in that dream she was told that the gathering of Ephraim was also her salvation.

She asked her Minister to explain that to her, but he could not. Then she made it a point to ask every Minister of the gospel she could reach ever since then, and now she was asking me.

Now the subject of the gathering had always been of great interest to me, and so I was fairly well prepared to answer it for her.

I explained to her that Abraham, because of his great righteousness became the friend of God, and God made him the Father of all men in all ages of the world who lived the fullness of the gospel. And that all nations would inherit the Priesthood and become a holy Nation, and all other nations would have to receive the ordinances of the gospel through his descendants, and from no one else.

His grandson, Jacob, continued in that covenant, and he raised twelve sons who became the nation of Israel, the chosen people.

In every family the First Born Son was sacred to God and became the spiritual leader of his brothers. That was why they placed so much importance on the rights of the First born in Bible times, like the story of Jacob and Esau.

One of Jacob’s sons was sold into slavery into Egypt by his brothers, but he became a great and important man there. And he saved not only the Egyptians from starvation, but his father’s family also.

Now Jacob’s two oldest sons sinned grievously, and Reuben became unworthy of the right of the First born, so Jacob adopted the two younger sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, to take the place of Reuben and Simeon.

Ephraim, though the younger, became the firstborn in Jacob’s family and the leader of the whole nation of Israel. Genesis 48:14-20

Long after, after Solomon died, the nation of Israel divided up and became to nations, called Judah, and Israel. The Jews have been among us all this time, but the nations of Israel is lost to the world, and has disappeared. But there were many individuals who got separated from the main body, and are among all the nations of the earth, unaware of their ancestry.

But God promised to gather together all of Israel again in the last days of the world. Most of the Prophets of the Bible have prophesied about this gathering. To Ezekiel God showed in vision a valley full of thousands of dead men’s bones which were brought together and became living people again, and in the same way would Israel be brought together again and become a great nation.

And in that time there would be  a book that would come from the tribe of Judah, and which is our Bible and there would be another book of Joseph, in the hands of Ephraim, and these two books would be put together to become one book in their hands.

Moses also prophesied that Ephraim would be gathered first and be like the horns of a Unicorn to push together the other tribes of Israel. Deuteronomy 33:13

Now in these last days the Lord has restored the original Gospel that Jesus Christ taught and the Apostles, and of which we had the account in the Bible, and He has given us another sacred record to place with the Bible. They both agree perfectly and build each other up and make one holy book between them. And wherever a descendant of Ephraim is found, the Lord gives him a light and understanding which other people do not have, and they may also recognize the truth; but few do, and they can be adopted in through the principles of the gospel. And it is this tribe which now is gathering, and it actually has the book of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim the same as God told Ephraim so long ago.

And the Lord has appointed places where Ephraim can gather together and become one nation, and there they can be preserved from the terrible judgements that are coming upon the earth in these days.

She later told me that when I told her these things it seemed to her that she had known them before, but had forgotten them; but recognized them again as I told about them.

But as I related them to her, her eyes shone with eagerness to know, and could tell that she believed them all.

And I thought it a good time to tell her of the first principles of the gospel, of faith, repentance, and baptism. But all her life she had been a staunch member of her church, and her old religion was rooted deeply in her, and she opposed me fiercely every step of the way, and finally lost her self-control and ordered me out of the house.

But after a while she cooled off and started to think of things more calmly, and remembered I was the only one who could explain her dream. And thinking of the rest, she belatedly found that I had been right about every point; and she wanted very badly to make amends.

But where could I be found? And had she foolishly thrown away her salvation?

The gospel tracts I had given her would have given her my address, but in her anger she had burned them up. She felt so bad and penitent that she could not eat or sleep. She then prayed continually for the Lord to send me back to her and give her another chance.

Then she had another dream. And in that dream she was preparing dinner, when she looked at the clock. It was ten minutes to ten when the doorbell rang, and it was me.

I had not been offended as she thought. I had often been told off and was pretty well used to it. I made those rounds every week on the same day. And every round I crossed off all the numbers where I was sure my efforts were useless. But I had not given her up at all. I rang the bell, and found another one of her dreams had been fulfilled.

From there on she was fully converted and wanted to be baptized immediately, but I counseled her to wait a while and make perfectly sure and learn more of the gospel, because it was a serious thing to do, and she must expect to meet much opposition from her relations and friends.

I did not have the privilege of baptizing her, because I was transferred just then to another field of labor. But one day there came over me a burning sensation of inexpressible joy and happiness that made me feel that if heaven was anything like that it was worth all the scarified and trouble that a man s=could undergo to get there. I had felt that feeling before, but never to such an extreme degree. I had not done anything unusual, just followed the usual – everyday routine. But soon after I received a letter from this sister, showing that she was baptized at the same time I received that feeling. And it made me feel good to think that when God gave her that dream long before, perhaps, before I was born, that he must have known by whom the answer would be given. And it was a testimony to me that my priesthood was also connected up with the powers of heaven.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

In Hamburg there was a Society of highly educated people, most of whom were professional men and women of Lawyers, Professors, Doctors etc., and they called themselves the “Warheit Ligs”, which could be interpreted as a Society for the study of truth. They met every Wednesday evening to study and question of new discoveries in Science, religion, or politics; in fact, everything that was new and not fully understood. They had about fifty members.

The procedure at their meeting was, first: To discuss problems which had been left over from former meetings, or had been left for analyzing or further substantiation. Then one of their numbers or some outsider with a new idea or theory would explain the new subject, after which followed a period when everyone could ask questions or contest the issue.

One of our Church Members had got into a discussion on religion with one of their numbers and told him the Mormon Elders were well versed in religion, more so than the Ministers of the Gospel they were acquainted with; and this brought about an invitation for the Branch President to attend one of their meetings. And this Branch President, Brother Bray, invited me to go along, which I did.

The President of the Ligs was an eminent doctor, and a Swiss, and therefore a countryman of mine. He gave us a very warm welcoming address. He said they had heard nothing but bad about the Mormons, but they were not people who judged anything by appearance or hearsay which might be nothing but slander, but they probed down deep into every question to determine its true value, and that is how they would appraise anything that we had to offer them.

He said they expected us to explain some of the principles of our gospel to them, but would warn us before we ever started that the questioning in the discussion that followed would be very severe and merciless, and if we were not prepared to stand up under it, it would be better not to start at all. He also said that they did not want us to revert to any point we could not answer in the first place and had been disposed of.

We agreed to those conditions, and at my suggestion we decided to take the Articles of Faith in their row. And I was appointed to take the first article the following week.

Then their regular exercise commenced. They discussed some obscure point of the theory of Evolution, which I did not know anything about. I knew Brother Brey was a very smart man, but as he took part in the discussion he astonished me greatly in his knowledge of the subject. He quoted their own books to prove the error of that theory and point out its weaknesses.

The members of the Ligs were equally impressed with him, and it may have been a desire to bolster our esteem that they started discussing some former scientific experiments by which they had photographed prayers, and had determined by scientific means that the spirits of men existed before they were born into this world.

But when Brother Brey explained to them the doctrine of Pre-existence and showed that it had been taught in the Bible thousands of years ago they were almost open mouthed for astonishment.

The following Wednesday it was my turn. I had made no special study or preparation. I discussed the Godhead and personality of God nearly every day with ordinary people that had ordinary ideas; and I never suspected that there were extraordinary people with extraordinary ideas on this or any other religious subjects.

But these people had studied this subject of the personality of God on and off for several years without coming to any definite conclusions. They could detect the existence of intelligence in nature and in the wonders of Astronomy and other sciences which proved there was some sort of an overruling power, but beyond that they could not go. And the religions of the day did nothing but confuse any intelligent conclusions. But they were willing to give me a try.

I spoke for perhaps twenty minutes or half an hour explaining the subject. Then followed the discussion. They had studied this matter from the standpoint of religion, of spiritualism, of philosophy, and theosophy, and brought up the doctrines of transmigration of souls or re-incarnation. And most of them were arguments I never dreamed existed. And they came at me from every side and direction at once like a machine gun barrage.

But once a great patriarch, Brother Henry Hinman, of Cardston, had told me that the Lord would make me powerful in His hands in defending the principles of truth and righteousness, and my enemies would have no power over me to confound me, or to bring me to naught.

And on that same evening that promise was gloriously fulfilled .the powers of my mind were stepped up and greatly increased and I felt intelligence all though me. And a heavenly joy and great glory that can only come by the Holy Ghost filled my heart, and I felt as though I could overcome all the wisdom and learning of the whole world. And having possessed that feeling I can easily understand the spirit that little David possessed when he stood up against the Giant Goliath with nothing but a sling in his hands.

And I answered every question as fast as it was flung at me. And apparently they were the right answers, because they seemed to be satisfied with them.

And here is a point that I hesitate to write about. I remember it because it has caused me to wonder about it many times since then. On that occasion, before he could open his mouth to ask it, I would give him the answer. At that time I took it as a matter of course. Even now a conversation might take some definite turn that would provoke an interest in some definite point. And I may have considered that in the same way. I have tried to remember just how I did feel about it at the time, but the nearest I can come to it is that I never thought about it at all. But when the stress of the events of that time had worn off and I did not have that gift anymore it has caused me profound wonder at the things I had done, and I realized it had been the gift of the Spirit.

The President of the Ligs knew by my accent that I was a Swiss, and as soon as the meeting was dismissed he rushed up to me and put his arms around my shoulders, and he said: “Countryman, I am proud of you, a young man like you to be able to stand up against all these learned Gentlemen, these gray haired gentlemen who have tried their best to confuse you, and you have convinced us. You Mormons must have some good schools over there in America.”

I told him that the Mormons did, but that I had never attended any of them, that I had very little schooling, and that I was a laborer here.

I could tell by his face that was hard for him to believe all at once, but just then he was called away as his wife came and made the same remarks as the President had made. But the Branch President told her that that had not been my own wisdom or power, but that was the power given to all the servants of God engaged in His business.

I would have been glad to have followed up their meetings, but my Passport arrived, and I was informed that all ships would stop sailing on the Ocean because of an intensified submarine action.

Not all my experiences were serious, however. One in particular was even funny. In the City of Hamburg there lived a very grand old man, named Brother Eitner. He had been a member of the Church for about fifty years, and he had had some very interesting experiences in that times. And I visited him every chance I had to hear him tell about them, and we got to be very good friends.

He resembled another very grand old man on my acquaintance, both in person and in spirit. I speak of Patriarch Henry Hinman, of Cardston. Both were big, tall men with long beards; which probably made their faces look similar more than if they had been clean shaven. But Brother Eitner was stone blind, and his faithful old wife looked after him. I had just returned from an extended trip to some other branches and took advantage of a fine evening to visit him.

As I entered his room he asked me to take my shoes off. I did so and he asked me to pass them to him. He took them from me, and in the same motion passed them on to the wife and told her to take them around the corner to the shoemaker and have time resoled. And she was gone with them before I could collect my wits. When it dawned on me that I was now shoeless for several days, and the next day was Sunday, with many meetings and much business to attend.

Then he reached under the couch he sat on and pulled out the biggest pair of shoes I had ever seen, and he told me to wear them while mine were getting fixed. I was vividly reminded of a popular song of those days which said: “Herring boxes without topses were the shoes for Clementine.” I do not think I was very vain, as vanity goes among young men. In fact, believe I can truthfully say that I had less than most of them; but I had a secret opinion that my feet were almost as ornamental as they were useful, and wearing those shoes would surely hide that fact from other people.

When I left the old man I went to a picture show to hide till dark, and then followed the back alleys to my lodgings.

Sunday morning I had to attend a teacher’s meeting before the regular Sunday School took up. I wasn’t real early to avoid meeting people on the street. The only suit of clothes I had left was a very stylish one I had bought from a departing Missionary for the last ten dollars I owned. It was American style and stood out among the other men’s clothes like a rose among the daisies. And as the people passed me by they did take notice from my face downward. But I would be past them by the time their eyes reached my shoes, and I did not have the nerve to look around to see if their faces took on a merrier expression.

In church I kept between the benches to hide my feet and never dared to go out in the open, especially when some pretty girls came to shake my hand and tell me how they admired me because I was the only shepherd who did not run away when the wolves approached.

But my real torture came in the evening meeting. There were possibly more than six or more hundred people in that congregation. Sunday night meetings were always very spirited, and there was wonderful music and singing, and therefore always well attended, not only by the Saints, but usually a lot of investigators as well.

There was a platform at eye level of the congregation, where the Presidency sat, and there I had to sit also. The pulpit stood at the center and to one side of it was little table behind which the Presidency sat facing the congregation. Under this table was a strip of narrow carpet.

I quietly lifted this carpet with my feet and leaned it against a table leg and hid my feet behind it. But after a while the President got to moving his feet around and noticed the carpet sticking up and promptly knocked it down. I immediately put it down again, only to have him flatten it out some more. We kept that up all through the exercises. The only relief I had was when I was called on to address the congregation, when I could stand behind the pulpit.

I am a very bad speaker and always cut my speeches short; but his time I really did try to draw it out a long time.

A boy’s vanity probably exaggerated the ridiculousness of the experience and perhaps the people were too polite and kind hearted to notice visibly, but nobody made any snide remarks about my king-size shoes.

Looking back upon this experience from the distance of many years my judgement would be that my embarrassment came mostly from youthful vanity, which is deplorable; yet I am also proud that it never even occurred to me to flunk my responsibility and ask to be excused from attending those meetings.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Most of the German brethren that were called to the War Front came to me for a blessing.

I would lay my hands upon their heads and invoke a blessing and the protection of God upon them.

One young man came to me and told me that he had no wish to take human lives, but he was drafted and could not help himself; and he expected to be entrained for the War Front that same night.

In blessing him I promised him that so long as he lived the gospel and deport himself like a Saint he would be protected from all harm.

To everybody’s surprise he was back in meeting the following Sunday and told of his experience

He said the train he was riding pulled right up to the eastern battle font and they were ordered to attack an enemy position. But that position was stronger than what was expected, and well defended, and ll his comrades around him were fallen and he was all alone. His own uniform was pierced with a number of bullets, but his person was untouched.

But he did not wat to advance all alone, and no orders were given to retreat, so he prayed to the Lord to let him be wounded bad enough to allow him the excuse to stop and lay down. And immediately he received a light flesh wound in the fleshy part of his leg, which would not cripple him any.

Soon after he was sent to the western front; and it was not long after when I heard that he received a wound in his trigger finger which might incapacitate him for a frontline soldier. But I never learned the details as I never saw him again.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

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