April 5, 1895

The general conference of the church opened today. Through University duties, I was unable to attend any meetings but the evening Priesthood Meeting. A very large attendance has marked the exercises of the opening day.

April 6, 1895

Morning: – meeting of the School officers of Utah in the capacity of a Territorial Convention, called by the Commissioner of Schools. In the afternoon I was asked by Prest. Woodruff to address the general conference in the tabernacle, in the subject of the evils of the tobacco habit. I spoke as requested. This habit is growing rapidly among the young: and the dealers in the weed are using every device to catch the youth. At this time of general gathering from all parts of Utah, and adjoining sectors, a great tobacco company has undertaken an extensive scheme of advertizing. The famous electric search light as used at the Columbian Fair has been mounted on the roof of the Hotel Templeton overlooking the temple block: and there by powerful illumination at night, the chosen brand of cigarette is to be advertized. 

In the early evening I attended the organizational meeting of the Utah Natural History Society.

April 7, 1895

General Conference Meetings.

April 13, 1895

Delivered an address before the University Club, Salt Lake City: subject “Geology” illustrated by numerous views.

April 27, 1895

This day will be remembered as the occasion of one of the hardest experiences and one of the heaviest burdens ever sent to us. Our sweet daughter left us this morning early: she died at 3:15 a.m. As she rallied under the influence of administrations and stimulants last evening we were flushed with trustful hope that she would be spared to us; at 1 a.m. today, when I called her mother from bed to nourish the child the baby seemed greatly improved; she gradually weakened however, and when next the mother was aroused, at 3 a.m., the child was evidently nearing the end. Fifteen minutes later the darling little one laid her pretty head upon my shoulder and was gone. The burden is hard to bear: our grief is acute, yet we try to see as indeed we feel the Hand of God in this sorrow as in our joys.

March 12, 1896

They [the Brethern] had learned that my health has been jeopardized and, as they said, my sanity, and life threatened by insomnia and other evidences of nervous disorders. It is true, that overwork or rather worry over my work has affected me in the manner described, and other bodily weaknesses have developed at intervals. Pres[iden]t. George Q. Cannon, speaking in behalf of the First Presidency, told me that it had been reported to them that the moderate use of tobacco would have a good effect upon me. 

This opinion has been expressed to me by some of our foremost physicians, who have on several occasions specifically advised me to smoke, on the ground that my system is particularly responsive to the effect of tobacco. Other physicians in this country and in Europe have told me the same. Of our home men of medicine, I mention here Dr C. F. Wilcox and Dr Jos. Richards, each of whom has taken a great interest in my physical condition inspired it would seem by feelings of friendly regard for their attentions are usually offered voluntarily. I have reason to think that their opinions have by direct or indirect communication reached the ears of the authorities in the church.

Today Pres[ident]. [Wilford] Woodruff, Pres[ident]. Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon, and Pres[ident]. Jos[eph] F. Smith gave me combined counsel to try the effect of moderate smoking; indeed said Pres[ident]. Cannon, ‘We give you this rather as an instruction than as counsel. Apostle Heber J. Grant was present, and expressed his acquiescence. Bro[ther]. George F. Gibbs was also present. This was unusual counsel and to me very surprising. I have long taught the ill effects of the tobacco habit, and have had no thought of becoming addicted to it myself. Nevertheless I have long known that tobacco produces an unusually strong effect upon me, ‘even the odor of tobacco smoke produces a soothing effect upon me; and affects my bowels as does no ordinary pungative, marked by few of the injurious effectswhich follow in my case the use of cathartics. My Father tells me that for many years before and after my birth he was a confirmed smoker, and that his father and grandfather were likewise devoted to the appetite for tobacco. and claim no credit for abstaining from it. I confess here as I plainly confessed to the brethren today that on the eve of my departure for the east last month one of the general church authorities. Elder George Reynolds of the Council of the Seventies having knowledge of the physicians advice and of my then weak state of bodily health I was suffering from loss of sleep etc. came to me with the counsil that I test the effect of tobacco while away; and that I did conscientiously as he advised. To my surprise, I suffered no nausea or other ill effects, and while I took no pleasure in the act of smoking, a good cigar produced a a marvellous quietening of my over-wrought nerves. Of course the brethren, in counseling me as they did today, warned me against contracting the smoking habit to injurious degree. At present I am in good bodily health: my eastern trip has been a source of rest and improvement to me: and I trust I shall not find it advisable a necessary to put into practice the counsel here recorded.

March 13, 1896

Meeting of the Committee referred to under yesterday’s date In the evening, presided at the regular meeting of the Microscopical Society of Utah. Made a short address with practical experiments on Radiant matter, and the new “X ray”, or “Roentgen” photography.

March 14, 1896

Committee meetings on Deseret Museum affairs.

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