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For week ended January 30, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

McKay Diaries Are Missionary Legacy
Deseret News 30Jan00 A2
By Dennis Lythgoe: Deseret News book editor

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The missionary diaries of LDS Church President David O. McKay have been published by Freethinker Press, providing for the first time a look at an LDS President during his missionary service. The Deseret New's Dennis Lythgoe reviewed the book, "What E're Thou Art Act Well Thy Part: The Missionary Diaries of David O. McKay," the detailed diary of the years 1897 to 1899 when the 24-year-old future LDS Church President served a mission to Scotland.

McKay's daily reminisces include the full range of mission experiences in his day. "McKay spent considerable time blessing the sick, blessing babies, preaching in open-air meetings, knocking on doors in the rain, baptizing converts, performing marriages, conducting funerals, writing poems, consoling widows, nursing sick companions, counseling members, even some who abused spouses or engaged in drunkenness or immorality," writes Lythgoe. Like all missionaries, McKay had both good and bad days.

Lythgoe also recounts two stories about McKay in the article. First, he tells the story reflected in the book's title, which McKay say in an inscription over a door in Scotland while he was on his mission. The inscription became a kind of theme for McKay's life, and he used it regularly in talks until his death in 1970. Later LDS missionaries located the inscribed stone that he saw, and it is now part of the collection of the LDS Church's Museum in Salt Lake City.

The other story tells how McKay nearly perished as he returned home from his mission. The ship he was on actually hit an iceberg, but avoided damage because an alert captain reversed the engines quickly prior to the collision, limiting the damage. The same kind of collision sank the ship Titanic 13 years later, claiming many lives. McKay's ship's captain fulfilled a prophecy given to McKay before he left that he would "go in peace and return in safety."


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See Also:

What E're Thou Art Act Well Thy Part
More about "What E're Thou Art Act Well Thy Part: The Missionary Diaries of David O. McKay" at

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information