125 years ago
President George A. Smith, first counselor in the First Presidency, departed Oct. 15, 1872, on a journey that would eventually take him to Palestine, according to A Comprehensive History of the Church 5:474-475. He was accompanied by a party of prominent members of the Church.
It was the second apostolic mission to dedicate the Holy Land for the return of the Jews; the other was by Elder Orson Hyde in 1840-41.
A letter to President Smith, signed by President Brigham Young and his other counselor, Daniel H. Wells, stated: "When you get to the land of Palestine, we wish you to dedicate and consecrate that land to the Lord, that it may be blessed with fruitfulness, preparatory to the return of the Jews, in fulfillment of prophecy and the accomplishment of the purposes of our Heavenly Father."
President Smith's travels took him through Europe where his activities included a meeting with the president of France. He eventually arrived in the Holy Land in March 1873.
Quote from the past
"It should be the ideal of Latter-day Saints to be at the close of each day one step nearer heaven."
- From an address given by Elder Charles A. Callis of the Quorum of the Twelve during the April 1936 general conference.