Alma O. Taylor was called to the Japan Mission at age eighteen, and his parents would have been shocked had they known his mission would last nearly nine years. Alma, the eighteen-year-old lad, would return a twenty-seven-year-old man, having served one of the longest continuous missions in Church history.
For eight and a half years (August 1901–January 1910), Alma worked with intense fervor, keeping a detailed journal of his experiences and impressions. Alma's journal recaptures early Mormonism in Japan through the eyes of a young missionary. The body of this book is devoted to making his writings available for the first time to all those interested in the foundational events of the Church in Japan.
Alma's many accomplishments included learning both the spoken and written Japanese word; assisting in the translation of missionary tracts, Church hymns, and the Book of Mormon; serving as president of the Japan Mission from his early to late twenties; opening new proselyting areas throughout Japan; and finding, teaching, converting, and strengthening many of the early Japanese Saints.
Shortly before Alma left his mission, he recorded his feelings about his final year in Japan: "During the year I have had many experiences some the most pleasant in life and some the most bitter that humans are called upon to experience. . . . Great is the debt of gratitude I owe to the Lord for His many blessings.