President and Sister Ellsworth (1942-49)German Edgar Ellsworth served as president of the Northern States Mission, with headquarters in Chicago, for 17 years, from 1903 to 1920. "An incident of significance to all subsequent missionary activities occurred in June 1907, when German E., as guest of Apostle George Albert Smith, visited New York State for the purpose of purchasing for the Church the Joseph Smith homestead, located near Palmyra. While waiting for the approval of title to the property, German E. frequently walked the three miles from Palmyra to the Sacred Grove (where Joseph Smith had his first vision) and to the Hill Cumorah (from which came the ancient records which were translated into the Book of Mormon). One early morning at sunrise on Cumorah, German E. heard a voice out of heaven which greatly influenced his whole life. The voice said, "Son of German, son of German, push the distribution of the record taken from this hill. It will help bring the world to Christ."
"German E. followed this admonition by injecting enthusiasm and inspiration for the value of the God-given Book of Mormon as a witness for Christ. A picture postcard of the Hill Cumorah with the statement which he heard ("Push the distribution of the record taken from this hill; it will help bring the world to Christ.") was sent to all Northern States missionaries and to all mission presidents around the world. German E. was invited to visit all U.S. missions in order to spark the wider use of the Book of Mormon as a missionary tool. From a few hundred copies shipped to the missions of the Church at that time (printed in Salt Lake City at 37 and a half cents per copy), at his instigation a Chicago edition of 10,000 from new plates was printed at 27 cents per copy. This was followed by a 15,000 copy edition at 24 cents per copy, then many editions of 25,000 at 18 cents per copy over the years which German E. served as mission president, and finally a 100,000 copy edition was printed in Chicago at 12 and a half cents per copy, just prior to his establishing Zion's Printing Company in Independence, Missouri, from which place millions of books and tracts were printed.
The patriarchal blessing given to German E. Ellsworth as a boy said he would take part in the beginning of the establishing of the Center Stake of Zion (in Independence, Missouri). Since he was president of the first corporation the Church had in Missouri, Zion's Printing and Publishing Company, this promise was fulfilled. After he was released as mission president, German E. worked for the U.S. Treasury Department (from 1925 to 1941), and retired at the age of 70. After this he served again as a mission president, this time in Northern California, for 8 more years, during which time he and his wife sparked an enduring campaign of chapel building. In his later years he also did much genealogy and family history, and bore testimony to the importance of this work.
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