The “Truth’s Reflex” (1899-1901) Now Digitized

Truth's Reflex Header

The little-known Truth’s Reflex was a short-lived monthly periodical established by Mission President William T. Jack as a mission periodical intended for the Southwestern States Mission (renamed in 1904 to the Central States Mission). It was published out of St. John, Kansas, then the mission’s headquarters. The Truth’s Reflex has now been fully digitized by the Church History Library. It comprised three volumes (although volume 3 had only four issues). The inaugural issue was published January 1899 and the final issue in April 1901.

Andrew Jenson accurately described the dimensions and general content of the Truth’s Reflex in a brief entry included in the Encyclopedic History of the Church:

[The Truth’s Reflex was] as an eight-page magazine (quarto size) with four columns to the page, the reading matter occupying a space 9 by 11 Inches. … Each number contained the Articles of Faith, a list of the standard Church works, articles by prominent Latter-day Saint officials and also excerpts from renowned and inspirational writers throughout the world. [“Truth’s Reflex,” EHC (p. 887)]

william-thomas-jack-1857-FS

William Thomas Jack (1857-1934)

President Jack served as the periodical’s editor at least until his release as the mission president in April 1900 or his departure from the mission field in May 1900 (he remained in the mission for approximately a month after his release to help his successor, James G. Duffin).

President Jack’s creation of the Truth’s Reflex seems to have been inspired by the Southern States Mission’s own short-lived periodical, the Southern Star (1898-1901). After receiving the first issue of the Truth’s Reflex, the editor of the Southern Star even offered its support and commendation:

The Truth’s Reflex, published monthly by the Southwestern States Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has been received. The salutatory says it will represent the interests of the Latter-Day Saints in mission work, designed more especially for the Southwestern States Mission to aid the little band of faithful, zealous Elders in the promulgation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the inhabitants of the several states and territories. The Star welcomes the Reflex among its exchange and wishes it every deserved success. [Southern Star 1, no. 10 (4 February 1899): 77, col. 2]

The Southern Star also quoted the Truth’s Reflex on a few occasions, such as,

Truth’s Reflex. The difference between a Latter Day Saint and a Latter Day Bigot is that the Saint recognizes, accepts and appreciates Truth, wherever he finds it, believing that before perfection is reached he will require all truth; while the modern Bigot closes his eyes and his heart to all truth that conflicts with his preconceived notions. [Southern Star 1, no. 27 (3 June 1899): 211, col. 3]

Link to the digitized issues Truth’s Reflex of all three volumes at the Church History Library website.