We said goodbye to almost all of the remainder of our tour group this morning at Heathrow Airport, near London. I’m always amazed at how quickly these trips come to an end, and at how sad it is to bid farewell to people whom, in many cases, we’ve only just begun to come to know. But I remember something quoted by the Ensign, back in the early 1970s, from a cast member at the Hill Cumorah Pageant, with respect to the melancholy feelings that come when the cast of that pageant breaks up at the end of its summer run: “Friends in the Gospel,” this person remarked, “never meet for the last time.” I’ve loved that statement for forty years now; it strikes me as profoundly true.
I hope that, by this point, our friends are safely and comfortably back on North American soil. I also hope that they feel that they’ve been well taken care of.
Here’s a comment — I thought it interesting, and it may perhaps even be obliquely relevant, sort of — that I came across the other day in Peter Fagg’s copy of Charles Mackay’s book The Mormons: or Latter-day Saints. With Memoirs of the Life and Death of Joseph Smith, the “American Mahomet” (London: Office of the National Illustrated Library, 1851), 254. He’s been describing the remarkably well organized Mormon “gathering” or immigration system:
“From my knowledge of the emigration now going on from Liverpool, I can truly say that it would, indeed, be not only conducive to the comfort and health, but would absolutely save the lives of many who now die on shipboard, could the same values for cleanliness, order, &c, be introduced amongst the general class of emigrants who leave this port for America.”
The late Mr. Christopher Hitchens used to repeat, as a mantra, the claim that “religion poisons everything.” Other than it’s being flatly and demonstrably false, there’s little to criticize in his comment.
Posted from York, England