Monday, January 1st. New Year's Day, 1877. I celebrated in the hay field helping Brother Boysen haul and stack three or four tons of hay.
Tuesday, January 2. Wrote letters to my sister Salina, and Brother C. H. Monson. Wednesday, wrote up my journal and did considerable weeding in Brother Boysen's garden. I am Happy to say he feels better than he did a short time back. He bore a testimony of the truth for the first time that Sunday at our conference. We are having delightful weather.
Thursday, January 4. In the afternoon I walked to Kaiapai. Our mail had arrived. Letters from my wife and son Willie. I am very thankful they are all well. My wife seems to be cast down in her feelings and troubled how to get along. Oh Lord, I pray Thee to comfort her heart and provide for their every want. I do hope Bishop Preston will do as President Young told him in regard to my family, to look after them the same as though they were his own.
Brother McLochlan came down from Southbrook and we had a pleasant evening together. Meeting in the meeting, Brother James Burnett said he expected, judging from the remarks of Brother McLochlan and Brother Steed, that he had learned all that could be learned about the Gospel until he went to Zion. After meeting I spoke to him and told him the Bible contained a great deal more than he understood, as well as the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, and there was no stopping place as long as we enjoyed the Spirit of God. The trouble with Brother James is he is always hunting for the supposed mysteries of the Kingdom. Apparently he wants us to talk about something that neither us nor our hearers can understand. I told him that all he couldn't understand would fill quite a book.
Sunday, January 7th. Brother Steed and I walked 6 miles to Brother James Burnett Jr. at Southbrook where we found Brother McLochlan. Ate dinner and then we four walked to Rangiora to a meeting at Brother Miles's house. There were a few strangers present. I was called on to speak first, felt free. Followed by Brother Steed and Elder McLochlan.
After meeting they begged us to stay a little longer and have a chat. We also sang four hymns.
We bade them goodbye and walked back to Southbrook where we met Brother James Burnett with his horse and cart. Much against our wish they would have us go in the house. Mrs. Burnett, Jr., is bitterly opposed to the truth and she got so hostile that she left the house in disgust. Tea was already on the table, Brother James, Jr., would have us set up, but his father and Brother Steed would not. However, Brother McLochlan and I sat up and ate a little. We left Elder McLochlan and went to Kaiapai. Didn't have my evening meeting.
Tuesday, January 9th. I started to walk to Papanui. It was very hot. When nearly half way a gentleman invited me to ride in his trap. I gladly accepted the offer. Brother John Burnett gave me 2p for postage, etc.
Wednesday, January 10th. Elder McLochlan came down on the morning train and he, Charles and I walked to Christchurch to mail our letters. I wrote to my wife and son Willie and sent another sketch with Christmas pictures. Sister Boysen gave me up.
Thursday, January 11th. According to previous instructions, we all three walked 9 miles to Brother Walker's. It was a delightful day. Brother Walker was off to work but the rest of the family were all glad to see us and gave us a very hearty welcome. They have ten children living, four sons and six daughters, names as follows: John, Henry, Mrs. Prisills, Mrs. _____, Agnes 15, Ellen 12, Elizabeth 10, Fannie 8, Isaac 5, Joseph 2. They had quite a sumptuous dinner, roast leg of mutton, tapioca and plum pudding, and tarts, etc.
After dinner we sang some hymns. Agnes played on the Concertina very nicely. Some of the girls and little Isaac danced very pretty. All the family joined in different games. Brother Walker worked all dinner hour so as to get home early in the evening.
At his request we held meeting. Elder McLochlan spoke at some length on the first principles, followed by Charley.
Next day, January 12th, we calculated to return but they made us stay all day and night. We had a real good time of it, no jar, everything in the house appears so peaceful and such beautiful order, showing good family government worthy of imitation.
Saturday, January 13th, 1877. Sister Walker said she would take us to Christchurch in the trap. The boys, John and Henry gave us 2/6 each. I rode about two miles and then walked to Brother Norris's where I arrived about 1:00 p.m. Sister Norris and children were glad to see me as usual. Brother Norris had gone to town.
Sister Norris, owing to the damp earth floor, had rheumatism in her feet. She can scarcely get about. He returned in the evening just in time for tea, after which we sat up quite late singing, etc.
Sunday, January 14th. Raining, however I started to walk 6 miles to Papanui. Took dinner with brother Mortensen. Held meeting at half past two as usual. No strangers present. We had a good time. All but Sister Nordstrand bore testimony to the truth. Partook of the sacrament, etc. Shortly after I arrived it rained very heavy and continued all night.
January 15th, 1877. Rain, rain. I posted up my journal and studied the Maori Language.
Saturday, January 20, 1877. We have been having a great deal of rain all week. Colored a lot of photos of Maoris for Elder Steed.
Sister Boysen has been very sick for several days, but she is getting better now.
This morning, just before leaving Papanui for this place Kaiapai, Brother Nordstrand ran in to bid me goodbye and gave me a shilling to pay my fare on the cars. I have eaten several meals over there lately.
Charlie says Elders are too common around here and are not appreciated as they ought to be. I told Brother Boysen the other day I didn't think they would be troubled very long in this country with us. It does appear like we are getting burdensome. Boysen asked me how long I was going to stay around, and what would we Elders do if there were no Saints to stay with. I told him we could do as I did on the other Island. "Oh," he says, "That was poor." I told him the Lord would provide for us and where people wouldn't receive us we would leave in a hurry. He, Boysen, manifests a very wicked, greedy spirit, in fact, the spirit of the damned. Well, I hope he will do better and cultivate a spirit of humility.
On my arrival here as usual, I received a hearty welcome from Brother James Burnett's family.
Sunday, January 21. Elder Thomas Steed and I walked to Rangiora and back. We had a good meeting there for the Saints were glad to see us. We had a quite a long chat about the mission and its condition. I told him I earnestly prayed that the Lord would direct and control the affairs of the mission, and if the time was near at hand for us to seal up the law, and bind up the testimony I desired as far as I was concerned, to do it with clean hands and a pure heart.
We didn't have any evening meeting. I am sorry to say there is no order in this branch of the Church in regard to holding meeting which causes a luke warmness, hard to describe, and if they don't have a change here soon the Saints will die out. Oh! what a hard job it is to get the Saints to believe the word of God, and put into practice his commandments.
Sunday, January 28 at Kaiapai. Last Tuesday the 23rd, elder McLochlan received a letter from Elder Isaac Groo stating in brief that we were all released to return home to Zion as soon as we could raise the means to pay our passage. The news filled me with joy and sorrow. Joy to have the privilege of returning home and once more enjoy the society of the Saints of God. And sorrow when I come to realize the awful condition of the inhabitants of these colonies, for they have rejected the testimony of the servants of the Lord, who have labored faithfully to warn them for the space of fifteen months in public and in private. And wherever we have labored we have met with bitter and untiring opposition from the pulpits and the press, in fact, from every quarter. The people are so deeply rooted and blinded and corrupted by the many isms of the day falsely called Christianity that it appears impossible to get them to see the truth as a general thing. I dare not scarcely take stock of the few who have come out and listened to our testimony. I have reference to those called Saints in the colonies with a few honorable exceptions, and they are few indeed. I have been led to marvel many times at the extreme dullness of some, and utter ignorance in regard to the simplest principles of the Gospel, and yet they are so wise in their own estimations, they know more than we, the Elders, can tell them, proving to my mind the necessity of cultivating a meek and humble spirit which will place us in a position to learn the glorious principles of humility and obedience. Through them, and only through them, will we gain everlasting life, or lives in the kingdom of God.
I worked all the week staining and papering two rooms for Brother James Burnett.
Sunday, January 28th at Kaiapai. Brother James Burnett hired a trap for 5 shillings, and Brother Brant accompanied us to Rangiora (Elder Steed and I). We had a pretty good meeting. I was astonished to see Elder James Burnett take the lead and open with prayer and make the opening remarks, and then said, "I shall call Elder F. W. Hurst to preach." I calculated to tell him a little about the order of the Priesthood, but when I got on my feet my mind was led (as there were several strangers present) to speak with considerable freedom on the first principles of the Gospel. I was followed spiritedly by Elder Steed.
After the close of the meeting we had a long chat while Brother Steed was outside talking to the strangers, he having got acquainted with them in his travels around these parts.
While chatting with the Saints Brother J. Burnett began ascribing to himself all the honor and glory in relation to the Gospel being preached in Rangiora, Papanui, etc. Says he, "I counseled Brother Steed to come up here and preach," etc., etc., with as much assurance as though he were running the mission and that he was at the top of the heap. I felt like taking him down a notch or two when we were suddenly called into the other room to eat, Brother Steed and I.
However, I talked pretty plain on our way home, but I am sorry to say he manifest a very stubborn spirit. The trouble of it is he can't be taught, his mind is apparently so full of false traditions and ideas there is no room to contain the truth. I told him plainly all the false sectarian notions and ideas had to be rooted out, even if it did hurt, or they would choke the word of God.
He says he wants to get the spirit of gathering more than he ever has done yet, and says he, "I know and I have faith to believe if I don't gather, the Lord can save me and my family."
I told him he could claim no promise, but would be numbered with the disobedient, so much so as those who rejected the testimony of Noah and all the prophets of whom Jesus was the greatest. I earnestly pray that the Lord will open his eyes for both he and his wife have been very kind to the Elders, Sister Fannie in particular.
Please the Lord, I calculate to leave him or any body else without excuse. I feel it my bonded duty to tell the truth at all times, and under all circumstances, whether it be palatable or not, but I desire to be dictated to by the Holy Ghost all the time.
Although we returned early and fully calculated to have a meeting, Brother James was too tired and too sleepy, etc. And that is the way it goes. Nothing makes the mind grow barren or cold sooner than neglecting our duties. It is impossible to be otherwise.
We did not receive our mail until Friday evening.
February 2nd. I received a letter from my wife and Brother E. M. Curtis. Thanks to the Lord, my family are all well, say they had a dull Christmas. Winter was setting in. They were having plenty of snow.
Brother Curtis gave an interesting account of a Christmas Tree they had with the first ward Sunday School at Logan. What a happy time they had.
Sunday, February 4th. We were all calculating to go to Papanui and hold a farewell meeting as Elder McLochlan and Elder Steed reckon to start next Thursday for Utah, the Lord willing. It rained very heavy all day Saturday and Sunday and the floods were up so that the roads were impassable and dangerous. It washed away part of the railroad between here and Papanui. I thought some of walking on foot and alone but it was too dangerous.
Monday the cars could not run nearer than three or four miles from here. Brother Steed returned in the morning and Brother McLochlan and C. C. Hurst in the evening although it was raining heavy and had done most of the day.
I was told that Brother Walker was at the meeting and that my Brother Charley was left in charge of the mission, and that I did not learn until we were retired to bed late Wednesday night. I asked Brother McLochlan what counsel he had to give relative to our labors in the future. He merely stated in reply that Charley was left in charge and had received the necessary instruction. He never made any explanation at all in their deliberations. I have been entirely ignored and left out in the cold and for what reason I cannot imagine.
Let not the reader think for one moment that I find fault in Charlie being placed over me for he is in every way worthy of the position. I have sustained Brother McLochlan with my faith and prayers and work all of the time. I have tried my utmost ever since I have been here on this mission to do as I had wished to be done by. I know that I am far from being perfect and do not feel to justify myself. I know there is a God in Heaven who knows our thoughts and the intent of our heart. Therefore, I asked my Brothers to have charity for me after being alone so long on the other Island. I expect I have acted foolishly and have given away to lightmindedness and joking too much for which I feel to repent, and I have in all humility asked the Lord to show me my follies and weaknesses, and in His tender mercy to grant me wisdom and power to overcome, and if I have ever said or thought anything to hurt the feelings of my brethren I do not know it. I have not the slightest recollection of one instant so far as I am concerned.
When we parted with the brethren on Thursday morning at the station it was with the very best and kindly feelings on my part, and I heartily wish them a prosperous voyage and safe journey home. Ever since they have been gone I have felt like I have lost part of myself.
Saturday, February 10th. It has been trying to clear up today. The last few days I have helped Brother James Burnett at the coalyard, etc.
Sunday, February 11th, 1877. This was a lovely morning. I forgot to state that I wrote to my wife and Brother Curtis and sent the letters per favor of Brother McLochlan. I also gave him money to buy a sketch and send to my folks.
I enjoyed a pleasant walk of 8 or 9 miles to Rangiora. While on my journey many pleasing and happy thoughts passed through my mind, I was truly happy and felt to humble myself before the Lord. I felt like both my labors and myself are accepted and that I was surrounded with good and holy influences. My soul was full of joy unspeakable for which I thanked the Lord. Oh, what a joy and satisfaction to know we are in possession of the words of eternal life. Alas, how few there are who enjoy this inestimable blessing, especially on this dark and benighted land.
At half past two p.m. we held meeting in Rangiora at Mr. Miles's house. As usual there were a few strangers present. We had a good time. I spoke very freely on the divine mission of Joseph Smith, coming forth of the Book of Mormon, etc. After the meeting quite a number of questions were asked concerning original sin, the atonement through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. All regretted the absence of Elder Steed. I should have stated that Elder James Burnett Jr. spoke a short time and bore a true and faithful testimony to the truth of this latter day work.
A Miss Agnes Doak expressed a desire to be baptized, saying she would have been down to Kaiapai for that purpose before Elder Steed left but the continuous rains prevented her. We arranged for me to go to the Ashley and stay with Brother and Sister Stevensen all night, find a suitable place and baptize her on Monday afternoon. Sister Norfolk and James Burnett, Jr. also promised to be over.
I spent a very agreeable evening until after 11:00 conversing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Next morning, after a sound and refreshing sleep, I arose at six o'clock, went down to the river and was extremely fortunate to find a suitable place for baptizing. It was truly a lovely morning but the dew was very heavy and I got very wet feet walking through the grass.
About half past one p.m. Sister Norfolk and children, a little boy and two girls, and Miss Agnes Doak arrived by train and a few minutes after Brother James Burnett, Jr. arrived. A good spirit prevailed and we were all exceedingly happy in getting together.
Sister Norfolk said she had brought her little boy along to get baptized, he being nine years of age. At 3:00 p.m. we all repaired to the water, about half a mile to the back of the house. Sang a hymn, "Jesus, Mighty King Of Zion, Thou Alone Our Guide Shall Be." I then offered up a prayer, we all kneeling on the grass. I then took Miss Agnes Doak down into the water and baptized her, after which I baptized William Thomas Norfolk.
After changing our clothes we returned to the house and Brother James Burnett, Jr. and I laid our hands upon them and confirmed them members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Brother Stevensen and family were so loathe to part with us and kept begging us to stay just a little longer till it got to be nearly sundown before we started. They would not let us go till after tea.
Sister Stevensen and Mary, their little daughter, accompanied us as far as the bridge across the Ashley River. This is a railroad and not a foot bridge and is 3/4 of a mile long. When we got to Rangiora we parted company with Sister Norfolk and children who were at high glee at their day out, and Sister Doak, as she lives at Farnside, near Rangiora. She was born in Ireland, County Down, November 25, 1851. Her father's name is Job, and her mother's Ellen Doak, all of Ireland.
William Thomas Norfolk was born in Rangiora, September 24, 1867. His father, William Norfolk, was drowned when attempting to cross the Waiwaimakanui River about six years ago. Left a wife and six children to mourn his loss.
It was dark before we got to Southbrook. Brother James felt well and came quite a piece down the road past his house, he hating to part with me. When Sister Norfolk bade me goodbye she gave me half a crown piece.
I had a pleasant walk to Kaiapai about 10 o'clock p.m. All were gone to bed except Brother James's son who gave me a kindly welcome. I should have stated that on Sunday morning just as I was starting to Rangiora, Brother James Burnett gave me 5 shillings. By some means or other I have caught a severe cold or sore throat. I should not have returned only Brother James Burnett, Jr. had borrowed 15 pounds to pay Elder McLochlan.