Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Technology in Service of the Gospel, 1926

Technology in Service of the Gospel, 1926

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 14, 2008

In 2008, “technology in the service of the gospel” means websites and satellites and DNA-assisted genealogy.

In 1926, missionaries were no less eager than we are to employ the latest technology in pursuit of perfecting the saints and preaching the gospel:

Elders Var O. Buchanan, Blackfoot, Idaho, and R. Claude Boyce, of Murray, Utah, laboring in Clarksdale, Arizona, have been successful in tracting and re-tracting that city. They have found many friends and quite a large number of investigators, and have been able to hold a number of cottage meetings.

When they finished tracting the town, they began country work among the scattered ranches of Arizona; so scattered, in fact, that it is almost impossible to visit all of them in the usual missionary way – walking – so one of the Saints offered them his car.

After using the car for a week, they had been successful in visiting all the branches within a radius of a hundred miles of Clarksdale. They had wonderful success in reaching many people who had never been visited by “Mormon” eiders before, “and they seemed over-joyed to see us,” they write.

They continue, “The people of the country are surely hospitable. We were able to hold cottage meetings in their homes and dispose of several copies of the Book of Mormon. By modern ways of travel. the gospel is being taken to many who are honest in heart, and who would perhaps not hear it without.”

[“The Work Helped Onward by a Chevrolet,” Improvement Era 30 (1926-27), 279]



  1. When my parents served a mission in New Jersey in the mid-1990s, their mission president seemed convinced that the one thing that would help the work move faster there was to get more cars.

    Plus ça change . . .

    Comment by Mark B. — May 14, 2008 @ 7:51 am

  2. I remember carrying a heavy case around all day that contained a film projector and cassette recorder, in addition to books and pamphlets.

    We showed our investigators a silent filmstrip that was accompanied by sound and voice from the tape. Also, the tape had an audible beep that told us when to advance the film one frame. Now my son passes out DVDs on his mission.

    Comment by Mark IV — May 14, 2008 @ 7:52 am

  3. Ah, the good old days – when a car was technology. My 5-year-old doesn’t even see the internet as technology.

    Comment by Ray — May 14, 2008 @ 8:02 am

  4. My great-great grandpa was a high counselor in his eastern AZ stake. He spent a lot of time on a horse.

    It’s easy to forget how much things have changed.

    Comment by Amy T — May 14, 2008 @ 10:08 am

  5. Hey, Researcher, so was my great-grandfather. Maybe they were the same guy.

    Of course, there was the story about the Sunday morning when the horse, needed for plowing Monday, was a bit lame, so my great-grandfather walked the 20 miles to the next town to fulfill his high council assignment (and, of course, walked the 20 miles back home afterwards).

    Comment by Mark B. — May 14, 2008 @ 12:12 pm

  6. Eastern AZ is a big place. I’m sure between the two (?) stakes there were a lot of high councilmen riding horses during the horse riding period. My family is from the Little Colorado area.

    Comment by Amy T — May 14, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

  7. Mark B., that sounds like the story of the high councilman whose teenage son used the horse for his date on Saturday night and forgot to fill him up with oats when he put him in the stable, so Pa had to walk to church in order to avoid working on the Sabbath …

    If either of you wants me to put you in touch with the other in order to find out whether your eastern AZ great-grandfathers were the same, let me know.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 14, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

  8. My grandfather was born in 1890 in St. Johns, and the family moved to Round Valley about a year later.

    So, although the odds are that our great grandfathers aren’t the same person, they may well have known each other.

    Comment by Mark B. — May 15, 2008 @ 11:34 am

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