My First Mission by George Q. Cannon

The first chapter of this little work I wrote as a sketch for the perusal of the youthful readers of the Juvenile Instructor. It was written hastily—as were those which followed it—and without any author’s name, or any intention, at the time, of adding any more to it. Afterwards, I concluded to write a series of missionary sketches; but when these were written I did not have any intention of publishing them in their present form. They were penned in a plain, familiar and personal style, for the purpose of securing the interest of young people.

When a youth, it was my good fortune to live in the family of President John Taylor. It was my chief delight in those days, to listen to him and other Elders relate their experience as missionaries. Such conversations were very fascinating to me. They made a deep impression upon me. The days of which they spoke, were the days of poverty, when Elders traveled without purse and scrip, among strange people who were ignorant of our principles, and too many of whom were ready to mob and persecute. They traveled by faith, and were pioneers for the Lord in strange lands, and He was their only reliance. Their missions were rich in instances of His power exhibited in their behalf. What I heard strengthened my faith and increased the desire in my heart to be a missionary. No calling was so noble in my eyes as that of a standard-bearer of the gospel.

The thought which prompts me to publish My First Mission is that perhaps it may have the effect upon some of the youth of Zion that the recitals of faithful Elders had upon me. I hope that this will soon be followed by other little volumes of this, the Faith-Promoting Series. I have thought that the missionary spirit did not burn as brightly in some of our young men as it should—that they did not understand the value of human souls in the sight of the Lord and the precious rewards which He bestows upon those who seek, in the proper way, to save them. And yet there never was greater need of faithful men as missionaries than there is to-day. “The field is white already to harvest,” and there is no limit in the field to the opportunities of those who desire to labor.

If this little work shall have the effect to awaken and strengthen the missionary spirit, if the remembrance of its incidents, shall comfort the hearts and promote the faith of any when they go upon missions, the utmost desire will be gratified of

Preface to the Second Edition

Two-and-a-half years have elapsed since the first edition of My First Mission was published. It was the first work of the kind issued, and the success of the venture, financially, was by no means certain at that time. It is not too much to say now, that our most sanguine expectations in commencing the publication of the Faith-Promoting Series have been more than realized. My First Mission soon became popular; the 6,000 copies of the first edition are all disposed of, and there is a demand for more. Four other volumes of the same series have also been issued, and received with equal favor; indeed, it seems that each volume issued creates a taste for another. We expect very soon to issue the sixth volume of the series and that will be followed by others as fast as our circumstances will permit. The good that has already been accomplished by these books, if we may accept the numerous testimonies we are constantly receiving, cannot be estimated; and yet we feel that the work in this direction has only just commenced.