Brother R has good business ability for some branches of the work, which
would enable him to serve the office acceptably; but he has not educated and
disciplined himself to be a thorough, efficient manager. Under his charge there
have been grave neglects; a disorderly, disorganized state of things has
existed, which should be promptly corrected. There are many little matters
connected with his work that have not received attention, and as a consequence
there are leaks. Losses and wastes are allowed that might be avoided.
I have passed through the office and have been shown how the angels of God look upon the work done in the various rooms. In some the condition of things is better than in others; but in all there are wrongs that might be remedied. Loss, loss, is seen in many departments. The reckless way that many work results in loss to the office and is an offense to God. It is sad that it should be thus. Jesus has given us lessons in economy. "Gather up the fragments," He says, "that nothing be lost." It would have been better not to undertake so many large enterprises if by this means so many small matters must be left without attention, for the little things are like small
screws that keep the machinery from falling to pieces. The word of God explains duty; it gives the rule of faithful service: "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."
I have been shown that, in addition to the help now in the office, competent men should be employed to assist in the management of the different departments of the work. Men should be employed who have experience in business and who are wise managers. It would have been better years ago to have employed men who were thorough managers,--men who would have taught thoroughness, promptness, and economy,--even if double the wages that has been paid to foremen had been necessary. Brother R is deficient here; he has not a happy way of correcting evils. He undertakes to do this, but very many things are entirely neglected that ought to be reformed at once. The office has lacked a care-taking economist, a thorough businessman. There is three times as much lost as would be required to pay for the very best talent and experience in this work.
Very much is lost for want of a competent person, one who is efficient, apt, and practical, to oversee the different departments of the work. One is needed who is a practical printer and is acquainted with every part of the work. There are some who understand printing, but utterly fail in generalship. Others do the best they can, but they are yet inexperienced and do not understand the publishing work. Their ideas are often narrow. They do not know how to meet the demands of the cause; and, as a consequence, they are unable to estimate the advantages and disadvantages of enlarging their work. They are also liable to misjudge, to make wrong calculations, and to estimate incorrectly. There have been losses in consequence of a failure to make proper estimates and to improve opportunities of pushing the publishing work. In such an institution as this, thousands of dollars may be lost through the calculations of incompetent persons. Brother P had ability in some respects to understand and properly estimate the interests
of the publishing work, but his influence was an injury to the office.
There should be someone to see that the youth, as they enter the office to learn trades, have prompt and proper attention. A man should be employed for this work who is apt to teach, patient, kind, and discerning. If one man is not sufficient for this work, let others be employed. If it is done faithfully it will save to the office the wages of three men. These youth are forming habits that will affect their entire experience. They are, as it were, in a school; and if they are left to pick up their knowledge as best they can, marked defects will be seen all through their future work. The basis of thoroughness, honesty, and integrity must be laid in youth. The formation of correct habits in youth is of the utmost importance. If instead of being trained to obedience to rules and regulations, and to habits of punctuality, thoroughness, neatness, order, and economy, they are allowed to form loose, lax habits, they will be liable to retain these bad habits all though life. They may have talent to make a success in their business, and they should be taught the importance of making a right use of their powers. They should also be taught to be economical, to gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.
Men in responsible positions should undertake no more than they can do thoroughly, promptly, and well; for if they would have those under their care form right habits they must set a right example. A great responsibility rests upon these leading men as to the mould of character that by their principles and their manner of working they are giving to the youth. They should consider that, by the instruction they are giving, both in regard to their work and in the way of religious education, they are helping these youth to form character. Progress is the watchword. The youth should be taught to aim at perfection in whatever branch of labour they undertake. If there are persons at the head of any of the rooms who are not thorough, who are not economists, who are not diligent in the use of their time and careful of their influence, they mould others in
the same way. If these do not change after being admonished, they should be removed and more competent persons secured, even if it is necessary to try again and again. The workers ought to be far more efficient and faithful than they are at the present time.
The first impressions, the first discipline, of these youthful workers should be of the very highest order, for their characters are being moulded for time and for eternity. Let those who have charge of them remember that they have a great and solemn responsibility. Let them mould the plastic clay before it becomes hardened and insensible to impressions; let them train the sapling ere it becomes a gnarled and tangled oak; let them direct the course of the rivulet ere it becomes a swollen river. If they are left to choose their own boardinghouse and their own companions, some will choose those that are good, and others will choose improper associations. If the religious element is not mingled with their education, they will become easy subjects of temptation, and their characters will be liable to become warped and one-sided. The youth who show respect for sacred and holy things learn these lessons under the home roof, before the world has placed upon the soul its mark,--the image of sin, deceit, and dishonesty. Love to God is learned at the family altar, of the father and mother in very babyhood.
The want of a religious influence is sadly felt in the office; there should be greater devotion, more spirituality, more practical religion. Missionary work done here by God-fearing men and women would be attended with the very best results. Brother R's course is not well-pleasing to God. A man in his position should be a man of devotion; he should be among the first in religious matters. His only safety is in maintaining a living connection with God and feeling his dependence upon Him. Without this, he will not do justice to his position, neither will be exert a right influence in the office and over those with whom his business brings him in contact.
I have also seen that there should be a close investigation of the manner of dealing in the office, both with brethren and with unbelievers. Benevolence, purity, truth, and peace are
the fruits that should be seen there. Motives and actions should be closely examined and compared with the law of God; for this law is the only infallible rule by which to regulate the conduct, the only reliable code of honour between man and man.