Account of Dedication of the Land of Japan by Heber J. Grant

Journal of Elder Alma O. Taylor, Relief Society Magazine JANUARY, 1921, pg. 199-203

After supper we sat out in the garden together, talking over the future and the problems which it presented. It was a beautiful moonlight evening, and there came a gentle breeze from off the ocean that filled the air with freshness most delightful, as we looked from our elevated position out over the city. Below we could see thousands of flickering lights which burned as if in rivalry to the starry brightness of the sky. Among the quivering branches of the trees the “katy-dids” were singing with buzzing harmony their evening songs, and upon our ears there fell the occasional cry of a blind beggar as he wandered through the streets below in search of alms. In the distance there arose the assuring sound of the night watchman’s signal, which, as he came nearer, grew louder and louder, then died away again as he passed along his beat. As we sat there drinking in the beauty of the surroundings, our hearts were filled with tranquility. Our minds wandered back to the scenes of the past ; and our hopes hastened on to view the events of the future. We thought of home, with its familiar faces, its joj^s, its sorrows, and all its endearing features, but as the longing to be back again amid those scenes crept over us, the path of duty appeared before our eyes. And as we looked along its course, beholding in the distance the glorious future to which it led, the pleasures, joys, and brightness of all that_ we had left behind, faded from before the contemplation of that coming day when our hearts would be made glad in the salvation of the souls of men. Indeed, the happiness of the past became as the darkness of night which flees from the light and glory of the day.

We went to our rooms and poured out our souls to God, expressing the thanks which we felt for his blessings and mercy. To the sweet strain of music, which came from a neighboring house, we dropped off to sleep, and in slumber bade farewell to the month of August, and
welcomed the dawn of September’s morn. (From August 31, Alma O. Taylor’s Journal.)

Outline for a prayer meeting held in the woods near Yokohama, Stmday, September 1, 1901, by Apostle Heber J. Grant and his companion missionaries, Elders Louis A. Kelsch, Horace S. Ensign and Alma O. Taylor. Taken from the journal of Elder Alma O. Taylor:

This being fast day we ate no breakfast, but went out into the woods about eleven o’clock to hold a prayer meeting. After about a twenty minutes’ walk from our rooms, we came to a secluded spot in a small grove situated on the South slope of one of the rolling hills lying to the south of Yokohama, and about mid-way between the foreign residences on the Bluff and the bay.

Sitting down in a circle on the ground, we opened our meeting by singing, “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet.” Brother Grant offered the opening prayer which was followed with another prayer by Brother Kelsch. Sang, “Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation,” after which Brother Ensign continued in prayer, and without changing from our kneeling position our supplication was continued, myself being mouth. The principal features of our prayers were expressions of thanksgiving and praise to God; invocations for strength to perform the duties
that rested upon us as missionaries in this land; and also that the Spirit of God would rest upon Apostle Grant to the extent that he would be able to offer up an acceptable dedicatory prayer: for the main object of our going into the woods was to dedicate this land unto the Lord for the proclamation of the gospel. After the four prayers had been offered up, we sang, “Come, come, ye Saints.” We again knelt in a circle, and Brother Grant offered up the dedicatory prayer.

His tongue was loosed and the Spirit rested mightily upon him ; so much so that we felt the angels of God were near, for our hearts burned within us as the words fell from his lips. I never experienced such a peaceful influence or heard such a powerful prayer before. Every word penetrated into my very bones, and I could have wept for joy. The following is an outline of the prayer, as I remember it :

(A) An appeal unto the Lord to hear the words that would be uttered.

(B) An expression of thanks for the preservation of our lives ; for the testimony of the gospel which we had in our hearts ; and for the great blessing of being considered worthy, in the eyes of the Prophet of the Lord, to go as messengers of life and salvation unto a people who had never heard the gospel.

(C) An entreaty for the forgiveness of our sins.

(D) Dedication of the land for the proclamation of the truth, and for the bringing to pass of the purposes of the Lord concerning the gathering of Israel and the establishment of righteousness upon the earth.

(E) By the power of the Priesthood and in the name of Jesus, Satan was commanded to release his hold upon the minds of the people, and rebuked in his efforts to overcome the work of the Lord in this land.

(F) Words of praise unto God for preserving the people of Japan from the power of the Great and Abominable Church, and that he had blessed the Japanese with sufficient knowledge to see the shallowness of the man-made Christianity which was sought to be introduced among them.

(G) Petitioned the Lord to touch the hearts of the people, that they might know that we were men of virtue, honor, and devotion, and that we had come among them to do them good ; that their minds might be directed into channels of religious thought, and their heart? prepared to recognize the truth when it was declared unto them, being even as sheep, quick to recognize the voice of the shepherd,

(H) Thanks for the talents with which we had been blessed and a dedication of them to the work of the Lord.

(I) A request that we be endowed with every qualification needed in opening up this mission.

(J) A prayer for the Church and the Priesthood.

(K) A personal mention of the goodness of the Lord in preserving the life of Apostle Grant during the severe attack of sickness which he had been called upon to pass through some years ago ; when he was given up to die by nearly all his friends. He felt that the Lord had restored him to come upon this mission.

(L) Thanks for the companions which he had. For the integrity of Brother Kelsch, who had been in the mission field for the past ten years, but was willing to come to this land and continue his labors for the salvation of souls ; for the ready heart of Brother Ensign in responding cherfully to the call to go out and preach the gospel, in spite of the fact that he had but lately returned from a mission to Colorado ; and for his youthful companion, “even Alma,” who in spite of his youth had been favored of the Lord with much intelligence and knowledge, and a love for the truth which caused him to accept joyfully the call to come to this land and devote himself to the spread of truth. He asked his heavenly Father to continue in blessing me with further knowledge and power to use the same in righteousness, that I might become as Alma of old, full of the Spirit, and powerful in the Word of God.

(M) Words of gratitude for the love that we had for each other and the unity which existed among us.

(N) A request that the Three Nephites would visit us and assist us in our work.

(O) Spoke of the righteousness of Lehi and of the great faith of Nephi in doing whatsoever the Lord commanded him. Also spoke of those, who, because of iniquity, had been cut off from among the Nephites and cursed with a dark skin, like unto the Lamanites, the blood of Lehi and Nephi had been transmitted unto the people of this land, many of whom have the features and manners of the American Indians. Asked the Lord that if this were true, that he would not forget the integrity of his servants Lehi and Nephi, and would verify the promises made unto them concerning their descendants in the last days, upon this people, for we felt that they were a worthy nation.

After this dedicatory prayer had been offered up, we sang, “The time is far spent.” Following this. Brother Grant read the prayer offered by Apostle Orson Hyde, when upon the Mt. of Olives, dedicating the land of Palestine for the gathering and future home of the Jews. Brothers Grant, Kelsch, Ensign, and myself, spoke in the order named; expressing the feelings of our hearts, and telling of our love for each other and our earnest desires and determination to labor with all the zeal which we possessed for the success of the work of the Lord in this land. We then sang, “O my Father.” Before dismissing we considered the advisibility of separating into twos and going into the interior of the country. We all seemed favorable to this movement. Closing song, “God moves in a mysterious way.” Benediction was offered by Brother Ensign.

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