Most members of the Church know that it was President David O. McKay who stated, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home”; but what else do we know of President McKay, or President Joseph Fielding Smith, or President Harold B. Lee? What of the lives of all eleven Presidents in the current dispensation? For instance:
1. Who was the first President to visit or travel outside the United States as President?
2. Which President was born a British subject?
3. Who was the first President to appear on television?
4. Which President pioneered the welfare program as a stake president?
5. Which Presidents served in public office during their lifetimes?
6. Which President served as counselor to four Presidents and then became President himself?
7. Which Presidents served five missions?
According to Brother West, who has provided a 64-question challenge in his book, the answers to the above questions are:
1. Joseph F. Smith (to Europe)
2. John Taylor
3. George Albert Smith (1949)
4. Harold B. Lee
5. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, George Albert Smith, Harold B. Lee
6. Joseph F. Smith
7. Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith
These answers, and those to the other questions Brother West poses, help bring to life the great men who have led the Church to its present prominence. This is a volume that should spark our desire to learn more of these brethren by whose testimonies our own testimonies are strengthened.
“How well I remember,” writes the author, “the Christmas when my eldest daughter, Christi, was five years old. As she and her younger brother, Mark, scrambled over each other to get to the presents, Christi let out a high-pitched squeal, of which only little girls are capable, exclaiming, ‘My dolly!’ Yes, Santa Claus had received her letter, and a talking doll under a tiny stuffed stocking was the evidence.
“My wife and I had mused to ourselves that the plastic doll would be fine entertainment for a little girl. Now as we observed Christi with her new toy, we came to realize that the doll was teaching her to be a good mother.
“Christi pulled the string hanging out of the doll’s back, and her baby said, ‘Please brush my hair.’ Promptly the little mother ran for the brush and groomed her dolly’s hair.
“The baby then said she was sleepy. As the mama tucked her little one into bed, the string was pulled again to hear, ‘I love you.’
“I thought, ‘That little piece of plastic is doing more to guide Christi into practicing desired values than some of the teachers are accomplishing in gospel classes.’ The talking doll asked the role-playing mother to become a ‘doer.’ As a talking teacher, do you lead your students into becoming doers? Are you pulling the right string?”
Helping teachers pull the right string is the aim of Brother Hobbs with this new volume, which is a completely revised and enlarged edition of his earlier Teaching With New Techniques (Deseret Book, 1964).
“In my first book I feel that I may have over-simplified by saying, in effect, that if you follow these rules you will get these results. What I am saying in this new book is, if you follow certain basic principles they will help you in your teaching, whether it be in the home, in Church, or in school,” he states.