Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » What was happening in the Church when you were born?

What was happening in the Church when you were born?

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 09, 2008

… or when your parents married, or on some other date that matters to you? Who were the apostles? What was published in the magazines? How many stakes existed? What lessons were the auxiliaries teaching? What newsworthy events happened?

I’d like to do a few posts about the general state of the Church on 20th century dates that matter to Keepa readers.

If you would like me to focus on a month that is significant to you, please write to me at Keepapitchinin at AOL dot com (note that the blog name ends “inin,” not just “in”) and tell me what 20th century date you care about, and why. The “why” will let me frame the post so that other readers care about that date – give me a hundred words or so about your life or your family history, or how you might use the material I post, something I can quote from (if you prefer, I don’t have to disclose your name or pseudonym). If there is something you’re particularly interested in – the Church in a particular region, or whether BYU was having a winning season – tell me that, too.

If there is a large response, priority will go to those who comment on Keepa from time to time (it’s never too late to start, lurkers!) and those who give me the best “why” material to draw from.



  1. I’ll take a stab at this. My birth year is 1965:

    David O. McKay was Church President.

    The newest Apostle at the time was a young Thomas S. Monson.

    The Church was reemphasizing Family Home Evening.

    The Oakland temple had been dedicated just a few months before (1964).

    The Beatles had arrived in America just a year before (1964)–I had to include that. As a response, in 1965, BYU temporarily banned rock music.

    Church membership was 2,396,000.

    Comment by Steve C. — August 9, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

  2. Some of those are a safe bet, Steve (especially the BYU ban!), but I’m guessing there were only half as many church members — I think I remember when the ticker kicked over to 2 million, which would have had to have come four or five years later. Now I’ll have to look it up to see how (un)reliable a childhood memory could be.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 9, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

  3. Great idea, Ardis. I sent you an e-mail. I won’t embarrass myself by trying to answer the questions. :)

    Comment by Ray — August 9, 2008 @ 7:42 pm

  4. What a great (and generous) idea. I’m not sure anything interesting was happening about the time when I was born, but maybe I can find something out from your offer. I’ll think some more about it and email you.

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — August 9, 2008 @ 9:49 pm

  5. My mother’s mother was born in Pickerington, Ohio in 1893. I’m curious about what was happening in the church then and if she would have ever had a chance to meet any missionaries. I daydream of what my life would have been like had she been the first in our family to join the church, rather than me. If you can easily find out that kind of information, I’d be fascinated to learn it, (and learn how to learn it too). Keepapitchinin is such a cool place!

    Also, if anyone knows where there’s a writeup of family history 101, how to do family research, I’d love to read that too. I’ve been a member for 7 years but after mom told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to do any baptisms for her or her family (or for dad!) I’ve been discouraged and haven’t really pursued my family history work as I should.

    Comment by Tatiana — August 10, 2008 @ 11:56 am

  6. Tatiana, I’ve put your grandmother’s date on the list and will see what I can find, although pre-1900 and outside the mountain west will make it a hit-or-miss thing as far as church records go. Don’t know without looking, though, do we?

    And while there must be lots of places on the net to find beginning genealogy lessons, how about we get a class going here at Keepa? If something in a lesson were puzzling, the problem could be discussed and cleared up via comments. We’ll start with the most basic basics, and gear it toward people starting from scratch who need to get their first four or five generations down, ready for temple ordinances when the time is right.

    I hope you’re serious, Tatiana, because I’m excited about the idea. We’ll start this week — of course, with the nature of the Internet, anybody can join us at any time.

    (Before anybody asks, I do not — cannot — offer to do personal research. That will be up to you. But I can explain research principles and give suggestions and help you figure out how and where to find the answers yourself.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 10, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  7. Ardis:

    I based my Church membership figure on the Church Almanac. I think the ticker crossed 3,000,000 about four or five years later.

    Comment by Steve C. — August 10, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

  8. Wow, Ardis! That’s so good of you to do the family history lessons. I’m very serious. Thanks so much.

    Comment by Tatiana — August 10, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

  9. I second Tatiana’s idea.

    Comment by Mark IV — August 10, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  10. I think posts about how to do family history research would be wonderful.

    Comment by Ray — August 10, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

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