Fashions column there appears the following:
"A very dull old rose velvet looked well in a little dress trimmed
with brown fur and a touch of old gold embroidery. For evening
wear some are rather bright when black and black-and-white are set
on one side, but black and black-and-white models abound.
pale rose taffetas, delicately embroidered in silver, with puffy short
sleeves in white tulle sprinkled with silver, make a youthful dance
dress, and a regular Court dress was in torquoise blue velvet and tulle.
But the black satin, black messeline, black net and black velvet dresses
with jet trimmings, were more frequent. The embroidery at a certain
house is extraordinarily fine and eighteenth century in style. No
coarse woolen embroidery is to be seen, but delicate silk and thread
and silver and gold work on silks, satins, and messelines, and fine
This is England in war, England in distress. It reads like a page from
Ancient Rome, when women were doing their full share to bring a
universal destruction of the Empire. The fashions and follies of the age
suffer little restraint in the presence of calamities which threaten even social
existence. Pleasure will not surrender its indulgences, however grave the
Rivalry. Excessive social pleasures are sources of jealousy, envy and
quarrelsome relations among the young. They do much to destroy the cor-
diality that should exist in social life. They break up young couples in
courtship and bring dissension in the home. They beget a selfish spirit
that is destructive of useful service in all the walks of life. The thought
PROBLEMS OF THE AGE 37
beneath a pleasure loving age is what others do for me, not what service I
may render to others. Pleasure breeds discontent and ingratitude. Social
disruptions and bickerings grow out of it. When sacrifices come, as they
must come to the lives of all, they are borne with impatience and hatreds.
There can be no ultimate satisfaction in a pleasure loving life, which
creates disappointment rather than joy. First comes envy of others, then
hatred of them, and more deadly still, hatred of one's self. Such a life
poisons the soul, warps the judgment, and embitters the hearts of men and
women. It leads to quarrels in the home, and often ends in divorce. What:
is perhaps the most serious result of a life given to pleasure is the destruc-
tion in mature years and in old age of the peace and satisfaction which
advancing years must have if life is to become tolerable. In the end
pleasure strives for social distinction, and the advancing generation finds
itself thrust aside by the new. More and more the devotees of pleasure
learn that the fruits of their efforts and ambition are bitter; their attitude
to life is one of regret and sorrow.
Pleasure and Learning. Disappointment and emptiness teach pleasure
nothing. When excessive it cannot learn, for it is self-absorbed. It enters
into school life and robs the young of that application which they need so
much for their intellectual advancement. It robs boys and girls of their
efficiency, and leaves them the victims of an unreal world. They lose the
power which enables them to resist temptation and it creates habits of
life that often lead to despair.
On the other hand, happiness has a well-founded reason for its exist-
ence. It represents the fruit of right living. It is the reward of truth,
service and devotion. Those who see nothing in their lives for which they
may hope for happiness try worldly pleasures as a substitute. There is no
way of drowning sorrow by a plunge into the whirl of a pleasure loving
age. "Drowning sorrow" is the philosophy of despair. How shall this
world-wide evil that is destroying usefulness and happiness be corrected?
The spirit of duty and responsibility is the antidote for the idolatrous
pleasure of the age. Sometimes our young people are heard to complain
that they have too many organizations in the Church. Night after night
some meeting makes its demands for them. There are home preparations
to absorb their leisure hours. To them duty sometimes grows irksome and
some escape the responsibilities which the Church puts upon all who will
work. To escape responsibility is to court failure. To shirk a duty is to
enter a temptation. A life of responsibility and duty is full of all the
good things which God has in store for his children. A life of pleasure is
full of emptiness. If the temptations of life with the long train of evils
growing out of them are to be withstood, a great effort must be made to
correct the excessive love for pleasure which is a besetting sin of the
"But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above an-
other, wherefore the world lieth in sin" (Doc. and Cov. 49:20).
"And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful
hearts and countenances; not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with
a glad heart and a cheerful countenance * * * * the fulness of the
earth is yours" (Doc. and Cov. 59:15,16).
XVI Financial Respectability
Definition. What is financial respectability? It is demanded and must
be defined. Each has, perhaps, his own interpretation, though he may be
actuated very greatly by public opinion and his social business life. Prac-
tically, it consists of a man's business activities, what he does, and is not
always governed by what his balance would be if he were forced into
liquidation. Appearances, however, he must maintain. Should he have an
auto, should his home life be based upon some good round sum of money
for a residence, and is it necessary to know now much he owes?
38 PROBLEMS OF THE AGE
Credits. One thing is certain, however. Our credit system is enlarging
by leaps and bounds. It touches almost every man in business life. The
farmers owe their billions. Also the merchant. All are dependent upon
our banking system and their credit at the bank is of course an important
Financial respectability, however, is setting higher and higher yearly its
social standards. It brings along in its train envy, jealousy, and often
bickerings. National jealousy and rivalry had much to do with the present
war. If such rivalry is dangerous to the nation at large, it is also dangerous
to the individual. Should a panic follow the present period of expansion
and extravagance it would be more ruinous than anything which the world
has ever heretofore experienced. A post-war panic is quite a probability.
It will be a miracle if we escape it, and now while times are good and
money plentiful is a good time to establish ourselves for coming events.
Methods. The problems which today affect us are the methods of
financial gain. The advice of the father to the son, if it ever holds good,
holds good now more than ever: "Get money. Get it honestly, if you can,
but get money." In such an age as we now have it is almost possible to do
business, to launch an enterprise, without capital; and that means, of course,
in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, credit. There are some aspects, how-
ever, of the financial fever from which we are suffering that deeply concern
the Latter-day Saints. It should be stated that the credit system is in itself
dangerous. Men start by borrowing for the needs of their business. Money
at hand then leads them into extravagance. They take bounds and are
unable to recover themselves and there are literally millions throughout the
United States over whose financial head the sword of Damacles hangs.
Psychology of Business. We have also what might be called the psy-
chology of business. This consists of a certain training and a certain in-
stinct by which men are not only able to judge others, but by which they
are able, by their persuasions, to convince. In other words, people are
often literally talked out of their money. People's peculiarities are played
upon. Advantages are taken of their frame of mind and enthusiasm is
promoted by a class who understand the method of its creation. In this
condition of business life exaggerations, if not right down falsehoods, are
growing altogether too common.
A man in Salt Lake City was called into an office some time ago by a
gentleman who had a wonderful invention to show his friend. It was a
railroad signal apparatus which, according to his representation, every
railroad in the country was anxious to get hold of. The agent was very
enthusiastic, pleasing in his demeanor, and convincing in the tones of his
voice. He boldly declared that he would guarantee his friend that inside
of six months he could double his money.
The man from the street was not without some experience. He said he
thought he would take a block of that stock and the agent was then, of
course, anxious to know how many thousand dollars he wanted. He could
have any amount. But his friend said, "I would like to know who the
guarantors are to be, whether they are able to respond to the guarantee
in case your representations do not prove true." Of course, that ended the
effort. The agent's declarations of guarantee were given for psychological
effect. They were not to be taken literally.
Today we have all sorts of promoters, especially in the organization of
corporations. They exploit the people, sell many thousand dollars worth of
stock, and too often it turns out that the whole business was only a psycho-
Mining Exploitations. Perhaps one of the most fertile fields of exploi-
tation is to be found in mining stocks. I quote from Collier's editorials,
edited by Mark Sullivan:
"Have you bought mining stocks? Sell them. Offer them back to
PROBLEMS OF THE AGE 39
the man who sold them. Offer them at the same price. Offer them
at ten per cent less. Offer them at twenty per cent less. This will
accomplish your own disillusionment, and save you money, for you
might have bought more. It will also effect exposure to the person
who sold you the stock. Are you thinking of buying shares in Poodle-
dog Inflated or Hoptoad Jump Along? Don't. And this "don't" is
without qualification of any kind. To women chiefly, wives of hus-
bands of the high wage-earning class, this paragraph is commended.
Not that it is their folly we inveigh against. They are the ones who
know the value of savings, and they may be in time to save a fatuous
husband from an act of inexcusable folly.
"If you are tempted by the full-page advertisements published by
the newspaper partners of mining swindlers, don't! If some acquaint-
ance is urging you to buy shares, he either profits by the sale or is
himself deceived. Daniel Guggenheim is the greatest miner in the
world. He and his six brothers own mines that aggregate a billion
dollars. That family knows more about mines than most of the rest
of the world combined. The other day Mr. Guggenheim uttered a
solemn warning against "the flimsy character of the mining stocks
now finding a ready market." "One in three hundred," he said, "is a
conservative estimate of the proportion of prospects that eventually
fulfil their promise." Within a week after he uttered that warning
Mr. Guggenheim made public announcement that he had himself been
caught. He had bought a famous and widely-talked-of mine; and
when he discovered he had been deceived, he backed out of the trap
at a cash loss of $2,500,000."
Facts that Read Like Fairy Stories. That which gives zest to the
psychology of business is the wonderful stories that agents have about the
marvelous gains of men who have entered into various classes of enterprise.
Some of them read like fairy stories. It is often said that more gold and
silver are expended in the quest for gold and silver mines than is taken
out of them.
As a rule, corporations are not satisfactory unless a man has some
voice in their guidance. The mere love for gain becomes very sordid when
with it there is no intelligent direction of the means by which it is obtained.
In large corporations the ordinary stockholder has nothing to say. He may
be squeezed out in time. Some of these companies are bona fide and have
a pride in promoting the interest of their stockholders. On the other hand,
there is a multitude of them that exploit the public by one means or
another, get control of the stock, take its profits sometimes by enormous
salaries which are paid to its manager and directors. They regulate the
dividends in their own interest. Such are often the dangers of new cor-
porate bodies and it is, of course, always safer to invest in well established
companies. I quote again from Collier's:
"It has been estimated that a man who, in the early nineties, sub
scribed to one share of stock in Mr. James J. Hill's Great Northern
Railway and has kept it ever since, has made in the intervening fifteen
years, in cash dividends and 'privileges', a profit of over nine hundred
per cent. The best that could have been done by a workman on Mr.
Hill's railroad, who put his earnings in a savings bank for the same
period, would be less than one hundred per cent. Mr. Forrest F. Dry-
den, a son of the President of the Prudential Insurance Company,
stated under oath that one of the owners of that company who, in the
late seventies, paid in, in cash, $2,200, had made a profit, twenty-five
years later, of $327,163.60. The rate of profit in this case is 14,800
per cent a rate which must seem colossal to the policy-holder who
has taken advantage of the savings feature of that company and
bought an endowment policy. For the policy-holder has never re-
ceived as much as four per cent."
40 PROBLEMS OF THE AGE
Talents Sacrificed for Financial Gain. The present glamour of financial
standing in the world is leading many of our young people away from
those careers in life which their talents best fit them to pursue. Today very
many of the very best teachers we have in the Church and State are leaving
the school room because of "financial inducement." Our political system
does not repay our highest and best talent. Many of our young men would
make most competent physicians and surgeons, attorneys, agriculturists,
and stock men, and thus benefit the world by reason of their superior pro-
ductive powers. They do not respond to their inborn qualities of life.
The love of money compels them to bury their God-given talents. Again
"Recently a young and successful banker withdrew from his firm
to accept an appointment as an assistant in a department in our oldest
university. The banking career, of course, would have been vastly
more remunerative in money. Moreover, the bank was a family insti-
tution, and there was every inclination of pride and tradition against
leaving it. It strikes us as a fine thing to have done. Possibly we
would all be better off if business in this country were less remunera-
tive as compared with other careers. If business did not offer a re-
ward so vastly greater in money, young men choosing their careers
would feel more free to follow their natural talents toward the arts or
toward other careers. One of the most successful bankers in the
United States would have been a very great musician if he had felt
free to follow his tastes. In spite of the disparity of the money re-
wards, more and more men are realizing that money is not to be
weighed against what President Eliot once called 'the durable satisfac-
tions of life.' Among these durable satisfactions, congeniality of work
is one of the most important."
It is unfortunately true that men have lost much of the spirit of stew-
ardship. They do not hold in trust as those responsible to God for
beneficent use of means at their command, and there are direct tempta-
tions in financial enterprise that are too severe for many to overcome.
Revelations. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, wo be unto him that lieth
to deceive, because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for such are
not exempt from the justice of God" (Doc. and Cov. 10:28).
"And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may
not be deceived, for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth de-
ceiving the nations" (Doc. and Cov. 52:14).
XVII Survival of the Fittest
A Fallacy. Much has been written and said about the survival of the
fittest, as though men were an exact counterpart of nature, even in the
exercise of his free agency. It is doubtful, even in the animal and the
vegetable world, whether it is true that the fittest always survive, because
life is subject to such a variety of conditions that what is the fittest depends
after all upon a multitude of conditions so complex that we cannot say
really that anything living will survive. In the case of man it is really
less true, because man has his locomotion and agency, so that he may
change his conditions and place himself from time to time in such environ-
ments as make for his advantage or disadvantage in the world.
A Simple Example. Some time ago the writer, who has been occupied
in the sheep industry for some time, during a severe storm at the lambing
season, undertook so to place his sheep as to suffer the smallest possible
loss. The older and larger ones were placed where they were compelled to
take the brunt of the storm, in the hope that they had vitality enough to
withstand it. The weaker and younger ones were given a securer place
PROBLEMS OF THE AGE 41
within the sheds, and thus the lambs were prepared at night within for the
storm that was raging without. In the morning the oldest and strongest
had suffered the greatest loss. Among the weakest only one or two died.
The survival here was not a question of the fittest. It was a question of
environment, of human protection. The survival of the fittest presupposes
equalities of opportunities, of environments, of conditions that do not exist
in either animal or human life. And so, if we speak of the survival of the
fittest, we are bound to make so many explanations, so many exceptions,
that the rule becomes practically worthless as a working principle.
Survival of the Fittest in War. There is just now going on in the world
a war of unparalleled human destruction. It is pointed to as an illustra-
tion, as a pitiful evidence that the best in our national life is sacrificed, and
that the world, after the war, will be made up of those less fitted to assume
family, social, and national responsibilities. It is doubtful, even in the case
of war, that the fittest are killed off because the best of our physical man-
hood is called into the conflict.
A Definition of the Fittest. Who can really say what the fittest in life
is? Usually the statement is made from the standpoint of our physical
being. Let us take an example: Two young men entering manhood possess
different physical qualifications at the same age of life. One is powerful,
has known no sickness from his infancy, and in his body the functions of
life are healthy and strong. The other has been somewhat frail; he has
started life handicapped by pain, suffering, and imperfect conditions of his
body. He has, however, been compelled to take care of himself. He has
been cautious in his diet, in his habits, and strong in his moral attitude to
life. There is no question about which of the two the world would con-
sider the fitter. The former may plunge into excesses, may feel contempt
for human weakness, and be indifferent to moral rectitude. But he starts
out with great physical powers. In time they are sure to be undermined.
His life becomes sinful and his "children's teeth are on edge because the
father hath eaten sour grapes." How shall human wisdom determine whiclr
is the fitter of the two when the one that was handicapped at the beginning
leads an exemplary life and makes good what he lacked at the beginning,
and his children perhaps inherit the blessings of a correct living that has
made him in the long race of life the more successful of the two?
Inheritance under the Rule. We take the ground that our birth is not
our beginning. We come into the world with certain inheritances, and
though we come into the world often poorly equipped, yet we come with
a moral inheritance that puts us on the upward grade, and we may ascend
by force of correct living in the physical scale of well-being. The whole
matter, however, is so complex that it is difficult to say who are and who
are not the fittest.
But the theory is bad from the fact that the word is taken to apply to
our physical well-being, coupled with our intellectual attainments. These
two parts of our natures are held up as the most important things in life.
As a matter of fact, they are both highly dependent upon our moral natures.
It may be that our intellectuality will persist for two or three generations
in spite of weakened moral natures, but in the end morality must win over
both the intellectual and the physical life of man.
Bad Effect of the Theory. The theory of the survival of the fittest is an
effect as well as a cause. It is the effect of swollen pride, of the belief of
certain classes of people in the world that the superior advantages which
they enjoy are the result of their superior natures and greater abilities,
whereas they may have been the result largely of environment. The theory
is bad because it is applied chiefly to our physical lives, as though our
physical well-being were the most momentous question of a man's conduct
in the world. It is so easy to undermine our physical lives, to make them
abortive and ruinous not only to ourselves, but to our posterity, that physical
42 PROBLEMS OF THE AGE
values are after all not so important as we too often imagine. A man may
be physically fit today and physically ruined tomorrow, because behind him
and about him there was no moral rectitude to support the physical ad-
vantages which he enjoyed.
The theory is also bad because it permits men to drift; it robs them of
that effort which men in their weakness feel that they must put forward.
The Battle of Life. "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the
strong, but to him that endureth to the end." Such is the teaching of our
religion, which is striving constantly so to fortify man's moral nature as
to make man a self-improved being. Such doctrine presupposes human
weakness and the inclination of human beings to sinful lives. Such a re-
ligion aims to establish character in mind, something that will endure
from one generation to another, something upon which posterity may build
an enduring structure.
The followers of Christ were frequently the blind, the lame, and the
halt. He sarcastically reminds his critics that those who are well have no
need of a physician. Those who had survived, as the fittest, might die in
their own conceit. And what became of those pharisaical people in Christ's
time vrho boasted of their superiority? They passed away, while the fol-
lowers of Christ survived and brought down through their generations to us
something of the character and quality of a Christian life. Which were the
fittest? That is a question of divine judgment. Let us ask our descendants,
our children and our children's children, and their children after them.
We do not stand for ourselves so much as we stand for future generations.
The Calling of the Saints. The calling of the Latter-day Saints is that
of a .chosen people. Their important mission is not simply the physical
advantages of a single generation; their mission is that of procreation, the
duty to give to the world the best in physical manhood and womanhood, not
simply something that shall survive. We are not trusting to our survival;
we are planning for the triumph of that right living that shall give to our
descendants a higher and better life than that which we possess. Survival
is a bad conception of our place in the world. It is growth, progress, all in
the direction of the fulfilment of a mission to be God's chosen people.
XVUIThe New Education
Crumbling of Our Old Educational Systems. Will our modern system
of education be also shot to pieces? While the great guns on the battle-
fields are tearing up the earth in the most terrible manner, the forces behind
them are at work everywhere in our social structure. Great wars make
great changes, and there are ample evidences that new educational demands
will soon be made upon all the nations of the earth. If changes come there
must be a breaking up of our modern system. What is wrong with it will
be revealed in the great emergencies that confront the world today. They
are testing out the fortress of man for new responsibilities. We must think
of education in the making and stability of man, and in his preparedness
for the emergencies and rapid changes that are overtaking the world today.