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This audiobook describes some of the experiences that President Cannon had as a missionary in the Hawaiian islands 1850 to 1853.
He states: "When a youth, it was my good fortune to live in the family of President John Taylor. It was my chief delight in those days to listen to him and other Elders relate their experiences as missionaries. Such conversations were very fascinating to me. They made a deep impression upon me. The days of which they spoke were days of poverty when Elders traveled without purse or scrip among strange people who were ignorant of the principles, and too many of them were ready to mob and persecute. They traveled by faith, and were pioneers for the Lord in strange lands, and He was their only reliance. Their missions were rich in instances of His power in their behalf. What I heard strengthened my faith and increased the desire in my heart to be a missionary. No calling was so noble in my eyes as that of a standard-bearer of the gospel.
"The thought which prompts me to publish My First Mission is that perhaps it may have the effect upon some of the youth of Zion that the recitals of faithful Elders had upon me." It is a powerful account of a faithful missionary, as pertinent today as it was in 1879, especially with the explosion of elders and sisters entering the mission field following Thomas S. Monson's landmark announcement of the adjustment of missionary ages in 2012.
This audiobook edition has been specially formatted for your listening pleasure, and for compatibility with the print and eBook editions.
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By Trudy Owens on 04-09-16
The book is interesting enough as a look at early LDS missionary work in Hawaii. Bro Cannon wrote in the style of the times and probably did not want to sound like a braggart. He presents several wonderful descriptions of Hawaiian lifestyle from the building of a house to the making of poi, and the thrashing of some bush in the water which killed the fish but was harmless to humans. This is what the reader wants in this type of book. The other part of what I, at least, wanted was stories of conversions, the great faith of the people, etc. There were far fewer of these than I would have liked. He mentioned a lot of times that "the people received us kindly," "they welcomed us kindly." It would have been nice to have the specifics of this. There are a few stories of dealings with missionaries or pastors of other denominations; these were, again, wonderful and exactly what I expected in this book. Then there were other pale descriptions such as, "the Spirit was strong and about 150 people were baptized." Seems there should have been some more individual stories there. The prose is peaceful, and Cannon presents little lectures on how missionaries should live and interact, but there wasn't the wealth of anecdotes that I thought there would be.
Cannon himself is a marvel of spirituality. He set himself to learn the language and did so rapidly and thoroughly, impressing everyone. He let the Spirit guide him in many instances when they didn't know where to go or what to say. His strength and closeness to God show through his humble self-descriptions, and we are inspired to be more like him. He suffered many deprivations but glosses over these-- the poor food choices, the hunger, the different housing style available, and the difficult transportation. His goal to serve the Lord with all his strength gleams through these simple descriptions. The book is a joy of uplifting encouragement and determination.
After years of listening to books on tape, then on CD, I am now an avid Audible listener, so I have heard the talents of the best narrators. "Reading" has changed over the past many decades, and today we expect narrators to be actors with a repertoire of characterizations as well as the ability to emote the scenes. This book does not require so much of that, but it does need a reader one can listen to. With all the LDS voice talent available these days, I cannot fathom why Tervort was chosen, and then chosen again to read other books as well. His voice is extremely tight and he cuts off the ends of sentences so that sometimes I didn't know what he had said. This is how I sound with strep throat, and I found myself swallowing in painful sympathy. My eyes are tired from wincing for him through the entire book.
Despite my painful listening experience, I am glad to know more about Cannon himself, and the missions to Hawaii in general. I would now like to read about the young Joseph Fielding Smith's mission there as a 15-year-old. It is great to have LDS options here on Audible; they make for nice Sunday and evening listening. I will try other titles, but by other narrators. I hope many more titles will be made available as there is some great inspirational work out there.
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