January 30, 1884—Wednesday

[After reading in a Baltimore newspaper that Brigham Young Academy had been burned in a fire:]

[…] This may change all my plans—and may cause my very early return for home—for I can scarcely hope for financial aid from the institution in such a crisis. I wrote to Brother Maeser​*​ tonight and asked him for full particulars and instructions. If the institution is to pass through a trying time, it is my duty to hold myself ready to call. 

February 6, 1884—Wednesday

I attended a performance at the Academy of Music tonight. Have been anxious to see the building – but never before have done so. The much famed Modjeska appeared there tonight.

February 9, 1884—Saturday

Indulged again in a recreation. At invitation of Dr. Miller went and hear Booth the actor in his great character in the “Fo[u?]l’s Revenge.”

Worked in the Dissecting Room some time.

February 10, 1884—Sunday

Sunday. Passed quietly. Attended service at the Baptist church during evening.

February 13, 1884—Wednesday

Received letter from Bro. Maeser. He tells me the intention is to rebuild the B. Y. Academy at once. and thus the apparent calamity may turn out for good; for so much the sooner will a suitable building be at the disposal of the institution. He added that the B. Y. A. could not advance me more [?] at present. but – he felt to recommend me staying here if I could <borrow>​†​ the money – as I can easily pay back after I get to work at home.

Well – I shall stay if I can – and I do not fear being able to raise the money – if I feel confident on the story of my expected salary – to be able to repay. I shall still await developments. […]

February 22, 1884

This has been a day of double celebration at the University. It is Washington’s Birthday – and consequently to be observed as holiday; and beside that it is commemoration day of the University. The President Elliott of Harvard College delivered the address. Afternoon was devoted to inspection of the various buildings and departments – and if [in?] the evening a reception was held. Owing to an attack of my well known acquaintance —the headache – I was compelled to remain absent from the evening reception.

The Negro population gathered en masse to witness the Colored Militia parade, and as I sat at the window and saw it pass along the street I saw a great variety of the Negro types. Perhaps I am prejudiced – but to look at a Negro face – selected almost at random – and then to claim that the Black Man is the equal of the White in ability & mind – appears to me a miserable conclusion – contradicted by all appearances.

February 25, 1884

Received from Bro. Tanner a photo of the B. Y. Academy ruins – it is a sad sight – but the mishap will surely soon turn for the best.

March 16, 1884—Sunday

In the course of my studies I have naturally been brought face to face with the alleged atheistic tendency of scientific thought and the conflict usually said to exist between Science and Religion. Now, I have felt in a dilemma—and begin now to fancy I see a way out. I have been unable to see the point of conflict myself:—my belief in a loving God perfectly accords with my reverence for science, and I can see no reason why the evolution of animal bodies cannot be true—as indeed the facts of observation make it difficult to deny—and still the soul of man is of divine origin. The dilemma which has troubled me is this—being unable to perceive the great difficulty of which Scientists, and Theologians, and Scientific-theologians refer—I have feared that my investigation of the subject was highly superficial, for when such great men as most of the writers upon this subject are—find a puzzle, it would be high egotism for me to say I find no puzzle. And the fancied exit which I see has appeared from my reading some of John Stuart Mill’s writings and I feel—that if I had none other idea of a Deity that those men have, viz., that of an unknown being, whose acts as Mill says “contrary to the highest human morality”—I too would hail atheism with delight. I could never believe in such a God as theirs, not though one should rise from the grave to declare Him to me. And just as certainly do I perceive that there can be no antagonism between the true science as revealed and made easy by the Priesthood, and the God whose attributes and passions of love and mercy are also declared by that same Priesthood […]

March 17, 1884—Monday

I have been engaged sometime in the study of the effects of Narcotics upon the system, i.e. studying the same theoretically only. Today I found a gentleman who works in the same Laboratory as I, and who has for 2 years been addicted to the habit of eating Hashish or extract of Cannabis Indica. He was very willing to give me any data from his own experience; and gave me such.

March 18, 1884—Tuesday

My Hashish eating friend gave me further details at odd times today. Three of us in the University have entered upon the study of the Narcotics in use.

March 20, 1884—Thursday

Attended a lecture at the Academy of Music on the Negro and Indian Problem.

March 21, 1884—Friday

The result of our work in research upon Narcotics has been tolerably satisfactory. We utilize my friend referred to above, with his Hashish eating experience—and find four or five others whom he knows have also an experience upon the subject. But the effects experienced by the different ones are so widely different that we can scarcely draw a conclusion. The opium habit is well explained by books, and the bad after effects of the same are sufficiently appalling to keep down experimentation upon the subject. But, the ill effects are reported very low in the Hashish or Hemp administration; and we have concluded to try effect of small dose upon ourselves.

Of course, such a course is the proper one for the study of the effects of the drug, though I very much disliked the idea of doing such a thing, for as yet I have never known what it is to be narcotized either by tobacco, alcohol, or any drug…

March 22, 1884—Saturday

This being Saturday, was the day I selected to study practically the effects of Hashish. This evening, after work and all was over, I took at 3 doses each an hour after the preceding, 5 grains solid extract Cannabis Indica. At this writing—midnight—5 hours since last dose, I have experienced no effect whatever. The effect is said to be widely different in different people.

March 23, 1884—Sunday

Spent quietly. Have had no result to be noted of my physiological experiment yesterday.

I do not feel inclined to try again till the end of next week—as the realization of the effects of the drug are not desirable on working days.

March 30, 1884—Sunday 

Sunday: Spent quietly. My eyesight has become so weak of late that I am compelled to do as little studying as possible at night and then must substitute lamp for gas light owing to the slight but painful flickering of gas lights I hope to be spared the necessity of wearing glasses.

March 31, 1884—Monday

Passed Examination in the second half of course in General Biology 

April 5, 1884—Saturday

This evening—first opportunity which has presented itself—I attempted my experiment on the effects of Hashish as referred to March 22. Took in all 15 grains. No effects.

April 6, 1884—Sunday

[…] Continued my experiment by taking 20 grains Cannabis Indica and the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way. My fellow experimenters & I concluded I should take no larger dose—but perhaps vary the trial in the future […]

May 4, 1884

Have just returned tonight from service at the Westminster Presbyterian Church. The minister spoke against belief in Darwinism and like most ministers whose remarks I have heard or read upon this subject—showed his ignorance. He spoke much as an ordinary person would— “Darwin. Oh yes—says we come from monkeys” —then condemns. I certainly think ’tis the ministers themselves who have bred the disgust with which most scientific people regard them—because they will dabble with matters from which their ignorance should keep them at a safe distance. The speaker tonight brought out many noble principles, but in spite of his eminence as a preacher—self contradiction and inconsistency were apparent. 

Really, I do not wonder that any scientific man refuses to belong to a church where he is told nothing but “Only believe & you’ll be saved”—“The blood of the Lamb is all powerful”—“take up the cross of Christ” etc. The preachers always talk in metaphors—you can’t bring them down to fact; and anything which will not bear scrutiny when stripped of fine language is to the scientific mind nonsense. Again, Darwin wrote for those who can understand him: some of whom will agree with & others oppose him: but he did not write for ministers who never read beyond other’s opinions of the man.

September 29, 1884

To-night the High Council met for first time since our last quarterly Conference. (August 21) I was ordained as a High Priest, and set apart to act as an alternate in the High Council of the Utah Stake of Zion {{under the hands of Prest. //A O// <David John> assisted by Prest. A. O. Smoot & Pres. Harvey H. Cluff.}}​‡​

June 8, 1885

Went to Salt Lake City by evening train to attend the lecture by Monseignor Capel on Science and Religion.

July 4, 1885

We learned on inquiry that the United States’ flag had been raised on several buildings at half mast, our people not feeling to rejoice on this the birthday of Independence, but rather to mourn for the death of Liberty in our midst. I feel sincerely to say “Amen” to the sentiment so expressed. We have true cause to regard Liberty as dead or dying in Utah; the oppressions and persecutions of late are exceedingly severe. The self-professed loyal citizens of the city chose to regard this act as an insult to the flag, and they tried with their usual feeling vindictiveness to incite a riot.


  1. ​*​
    Karl G. Maeser.
  2. ​†​
    Superlinear insertion written in pencil, in contrast to the dark ink used regularly elsewhere.
  3. ​‡​
    Cf. David John’s journal entry from the same day (Journal Vol. 1, p. 461): “29th Monday. I was in my office, and attended a High Councel of the Stake at 7 PM. At the Councel Chamber in the Court House. Prest A. O. Smoot, set apart Elder Thos. Allman as a high Councellor in the Utah Stake, I was mouth in ordaining Elder Charles D. Glazier a High Priest, and set him apart an Alternate Counselor; Elder H. H. Cluff ordained Elder Samuel Liddiard a High Priest, and set him apart an allternate Counselor. I ordained James Talmage a High Priest, and set him apart an alternate Counselor, Prest. A. O Smoot, set apart Evan Wride an alternate Counsellor, we enjoyed the good spirit while together and adjourned meeting at 10.”
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