Are You Looking for Faith Promoting Stories?

If you are, Dan Hunter’s Archive Publisher Company is a good place to start. They publish out-of-print, hard-to-find books. Here’s his bio:

Dan Hunter and his wife Janice have been married for 44 years, have five children and fifteen grandchildren. They have homeschooled since 1993. Dan is the author of nine history books which are used across the nation in private schools and home schools. He is a graduate of George Wythe University in Cedar City, Utah in Business and Biblical Studies, and was a private school teacher for ten years. Dan started Living History in 1999 when he started writing his history books. In 2004, Dan and Jan bought Archive Publishers and Wholesome Books, which they run with a lot of help from their children. Wholesome Books is a home school/private school bookstore, and under the Archive Publisher’s name, they re-publish out-of-print LDS and non-LDS books, with 195 titles currently available. To add a little variety to his life, Dan recently retired as a driver’s education instructor after seventeen years.

This is a story about George Q. Cannon from The Faith-Promoting Series

Preface to the second edition of volume 2 “A String of Pearls” – We (The First Presidency) see no reason why the six volumes of the FAITH-PROMOTING SERIES already published, as well as those which may follow, should not be regarded in the future as standard works of the Church, and used for home reading or Sunday school class books when their authors and those of whose history they treat shall have passed to another sphere of action.

#2 A String of Pearls, by George Q. Cannon (1882)

Pages 45-52 (Three anecdotes of Elder Jedediah M. Grant) When on a mission to the State of Virginia, it fell to my lot (T. B. Lewis) to labor in that portion of the State which had been visited some twenty-five or thirty years previous by the late President Jedediah M. Grant. Grant served as a Counselor to Brigham Young [1854-1856]. Before that he was a member of the First Council of the Seventy [1845-1854], and father to Church President Heber J. Grant.

From what I could learn of him then, he certainly was a most remarkable man. He seemed to live fresh in the memories of all classes, and they never grew tired of relating to me many reminiscences connected with his fruitful labors in their midst, and I never became weary of listening to these most interesting narrations. His career there, as elsewhere, was marked with abundant evidences in proof of his claim to be a servant of God, with a divine commission.
Through the power of God existing with him and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, he was not only prepared to propagate the principles of the gospel, as restored but also to meet the powerful enemies of the truth that arrayed themselves against him and the Church, as they were wont to do in the early history of the work.

Thinking the young Latter-day Saints would be interested in a narration of some of these events, I will give them as they were given me, as near as I can recall them after a lapse of ten years.

1. Pages 46-49 (Producing a sermon from a blank text as provided by his detractors.)
In the early part of President Grant’s ministry in that country, he gained quite a reputation as a ready speaker, frequently responding to invitations to preach from such subjects or texts as might be selected at the time of commencing his sermon, by those inviting him.

In time, it became a matter of wonder with many as to how and when he prepared his wonderful sermons. In reply to their queries, he informed them that he never prepared his sermons as other ministers did. He said, “Of course, I read and store my mind with a knowledge of gospel truths, but I never study up a sermon.”

Well, they did not believe he told the truth, for, as they thought, it was impossible for a man to preach such sermons without careful preparation. So, in order to prove it, a number of persons decided to put him to the test and asked him if he would preach at a certain time and place, and from a text selected by them. They proposed to give him the text on his arrival at the place of the meeting, thus giving him no time to prepare. To gratify them, he consented. The place selected was Jeffersonville, the seat of Tazewell County, at that time the home of the late John B. Floyd (who subsequently became Secretary of War [1857-1860] under President James Buchanan). 

The room chosen was in the court house. At the hour appointed the house was packed to its utmost capacity. Mr. Floyd and a number of lawyers and ministers were present and occupied front seats. Elder Grant came in, walked to the stand, and opened the meeting as usual. At the close of the second hymn, a clerk, appointed for the occasion, stepped forward and handed a paper (the text) to Elder Grant. Brother Grant unfolded the paper and found it to be blank. Without any mark of surprise, he held the paper up before the audience and said,

“My friends, I am here today according to agreement, to preach from such a text as these gentlemen might select for me. I have it here in my hand. I don't wish you to become offended at me, for I am under promise to preach from the text selected; and if anyone is to blame, you must blame those who selected it. I knew nothing of what text they would choose, but of all texts, this is my favorite one. You see, the paper is blank.” (at the same time holding it up to view). 

“You sectarians down there believe that out of nothing, God created all things, and now you wish me to create a sermon from nothing, for this paper, is blank. Now, you sectarians believe in a God that has neither body, parts nor passions. Such a God I conceive to be a perfect blank, just as you find my text is. You believe in a church without prophets, apostles, evangelists, etc. Such a church would be a perfect blank, as compared with the church of Christ, and this agrees with my text. You have located your heaven beyond the bounds of time and space. It exists nowhere, and consequently, your heaven is blank, like unto my text.”
Thus he went on until he had torn to pieces all the tenets of faith professed by his hearers, and then he proclaimed the principles of the gospel in great power. He wound up by asking, “Have I stuck to the text, and does that satisfy you?”

As soon as he sat down, Mr. Floyd jumped up and said, “Mr. Grant, if you are not a lawyer, you ought to be one.”

Then, turning to the people, he added, “Gentlemen, you have listened to a wonderful discourse, and with amazement. Now, take a look at Mr. Grant’s clothes. Look at his coat! His elbows are almost out, and his knees are almost through his pants. Let us take up a collection.” As he sat down, another eminent lawyer, Joseph Stras, Esq., still living in “Jeffersonville arose and said: “I am good for one sleeve in a coat and one leg in a pair of pants, for Mr. Grant.”

The presiding elder of the Methodist Church, South, was requested to pass the hat around, but replied that he would not take up a collection for a “Mormon”; preacher.

“Yes, you will!”; said Mr. Floyd. “Pass it around!”, said Mr. Stras, and the cry was taken up and repeated by the audience, until, for the sake of peace, the minister had to yield. He accordingly marched around with a hat in his hand, receiving contributions, which resulted in a collection sufficient to purchase a fine suit of clothes, a horse, saddle, and bridle for Brother Grant.