Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » MormonUSA, 1910

MormonUSA, 1910

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 11, 2008

This is necessarily a long post — treat it like 48 mini-posts, and skip around to glimpse what was happening in the American missions, 1910:


Writes Elder J.M. Swapp, “While I was canvassing a store, one of the clerks was interrupted in his revilings against the ‘Mormons’ by a traveling man who said, ‘Gentlemen, I have been in Salt Lake City – have read their various books, and am here to tell you that they are not the kind of people you think. Instead of being of vicious habits as you suppose, they are kind-hearted, virtuous, and honest people who worship God seven days a week and not Sunday only as we!’”


Brother Henry E. Norton of Central, Arizona, writes an interesting letter. He says he is 84 years old and has gone through most of the stirring scenes of early Church history in Missouri and Illinois. He says he remembers the tragedy at Carthage and the trial following in which he testified against the murderers of the prophet and patriarch. Brother Norton is an enthusiastic friend of Liahona, the Elders’ Journal.


We are sorry to learn of the death of Sister Susan B. Allen. Sister Allen passed suddenly away of heart failure at Rogers, Ark., June 10. She, with her good husband, who died not long since, were always friends to the elders, and were held in high esteem and affection by all who knew them.


The announcement of the death of Sister Violet Tidwell who died June 27, 1910, at Oakland, has cast a gloom over the entire conference. Sister Violet was converted to the gospel in her youth, being the only one of the family to join the faith at this time, but due to her untiring efforts she was successful in bringing her entire family into the Church, all of whom have been advocates of the truth ever since. Her twenty-first birthday, which had been reached only a few days before her death, had been celebrated by her Sunday School children at the Idora Park. The services were held at the Maccabee Temple where consoling words were spoken by President Phillips of the Oakland Branch, Elder Gibbons and President Jos. E. Robinson of the California Mission. The body will be sent to Utah for burial.


Elders Rainey and Campbell at Victor, Colo., last week initiated four new members into the Church by baptism. For this purpose a Baptist minister kindly let them use the font in his church and otherwise showed them every consideration.


Elders Geo. A. Hacking and A.R. Babcock write from New Haven: “We were invited to take charge of the Sunday School in the M.E. Church here in New Haven last Sunday in the absence of the teacher. The Sunday School is one of the largest in the city. Afterwards an elder was asked to take charge of the Epworth League, which he did. There were fifty present.


The elders are all assigned now to their winter fields and though the weather is threatening the work is progressing as it never has before, which is very encouraging to the elders. The saints are doing much by opening their houses for meetings and also inviting friends to attend. Many people who bought books at our meetings in the summer are calling for more and we anticipate a goodly harvest.


June 9, at Jacksonville a farewell social was had in honor of the Hill and Roberts families on the eve of their departure for the West. Refreshments were served by the sisters. Miss Mabel Roberts, who has ably presided at the organ for several years, was presented with a beautiful locket and chain, and Brother Fred Reimer gave her a mat, product of the Bahama Islands. During the past two weeks 22 baptisms have been performed.


In Homer, a man approached Elders Geo. W. Hancock and S.I. Johnson, and on learning that they were “Mormon elders,” took them to the hotel and paid for their lodging while a lawyer gathered a crowd for them to preach to. The next day they held a meeting in front of the court house with a hundred earnest listeners.


Elders Gifford and Criddle are just out from a siege of small-pox. They have been quarantined at Nampa for some time but both have recovered in good condition. All the elders here are now well and are making splendid progress in their work.


At the close of a street meeting, held recently by Elders William Rasmussen and John Lee, a professed Christian minister endeavored to show how the people were being misled through reading the Book of Mormon and listening to the doctrine preached by “Mormon” elders. Upon his declaration: “Just think of it, the Mormons believe God has a wife,” a man from the crowd shouted, “Well, if we have a father in heaven, is it unreasonable to suppose we have a mother too?” The question was vigorously applauded. He made reference to pre-existence as being blasphemous. Whereupon he was asked, “Did Christ exist with the Father before he came to the earth?” to which the reverend answered affirmatively. Continuing the interrogator said, “if Christ existed with the Father, so did we, because He is our Elder Brother.” This so confused the minister that after some floundering about in the effort to extricate himself, he slipped away from the crowd. Next morning the elders called on him and sold a Book of Mormon and left several other doctrinal pamphlets, advising him to learn some of the truths concerning “Mormonism.”


Elder Joseph Rasmussen writes from Ridgeville, saying: “Three of us held a meeting here last night and had a fine time; we talked to about two hundred people. Last Thursday Elder Bullock and I had the privilege of talking to a good audience in a church that was given us for the evening. After meeting we were taken home by one of the trustees of the church and we were well treated.”


Elder U.C. Taylor writes from Bancroft, “Another pleasant experience came at a creamery with the manager. He offered me a drink of butter-milk and asked, ‘Are you a Mormon?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I thought you were at first, but did not know you traveled alone.’ I explained to him how I happened to be alone. He said there were a couple through there last year and that he bought two books from them. During an auto ride in the evening I found he had read the book of Mormon through once and the Cowley twice and was half through the first book again. In answer to my question of his opinion of the books he said, ‘They are the finest books I have ever read, and only a few days ago I told my wife that I believed the Mormon Church was the only one that had any religion about them.’ He desires me to come again and see him as well as write him. He also wished other elders directed to call on him.”


In the course of their tracting at Arkansas City, Kansas, Elder M.M. Wade and companions were met by a young lady, who had been recently in attendance at an institution of higher learning. She was glad to meet the elders and have an opportunity of purchasing their literature, stating that several times during her course at school the “Mormon” question had come up, and had always been treated from the one side only; that no reliable information from the “Mormon” point of view had been brought forward. “Now,” she said, “I shall make a study of this and in the next year’s course shall be pleased to present the other side of the question.”


Annual conference was held at Bradfordsville, Marion county, June 18 and 19, all the elders being present. It was the occasion of the dedication of the house of worship recently erected. Hundreds of members and friends, beside many of the curious, were in attendance. Although the house has a capacity of 200 it would not begin to accommodate the crowd, making it necessary that the services be held in the grove near by. President Chas. A. Callis was present and at both public and priesthood meetings was the principal speaker. The best kind of a dinner was served on the ground between the meetings and great credit is due the sisters and friends who provided it.


Elders Wm. W. Farley and Thomas L. Archibald of the Louisiana Conference have been holding meetings and revisiting saints and friends in Washington and St. Tammany Parishes. At Sun they were very kindly received by the people and were given the privilege of holding meetings in a school house. As the school was giving a picnic and entertainment, through the kindness of the teacher and school directors, the elders were made honored guests of the occasion. Every kindness and courtesy was shown them, which, of course, was duly appreciated.


During the week Elders Jno. G. Gubler and Jno. R. Blackham made a hurried trip to Saco, Biddeford, Oak Ridge and Sanford where they visited with Saints and the elders laboring in Sanford. They report conditions as being very favorable, and in most cases the saints are feeling well in the faith.


Elders Ambrose Call and Lars Jacobson were recently invited to stay over Sunday with a gentleman whom they met in the country. He said he would have his neighbors come in and listen to the elders explain the principle of their religion. After concluding their visit the man drove them to the next town.


The Elders laboring in Boston have again been granted a permit to speak on the historic Boston Common. They were given one of the choice locations, and their meetings are being very well attended.


Elder Ernest W. Irwin writes from Reed City, Michigan, “While tracting in the country near Whitehall, I met a man who was born twelve miles from the Prophet Joseph Smith’s New York home, in the year 1822. He professes an acquaintance with both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and said, ‘I know they were two of the greatest men who have lived. I also know the Book of Mormon was no ‘trumped-up story’ as many would have it.’ After supplying him with literature, and receiving a general invitation for all elders going that way to call, I left my blessings with him and went on my way.”


Brother Lucian P. Mayer died at his home in Aitkin June 9. Word was received by the elders at Minneapolis on the morning of June 9 that Brother Mayer was very ill. Elders Lillywhite and G.M. Webster took the first train out, but arrived on the morning of the 10th, too late to see him alive. Through the kindness of Rev. Richardson, a Methodist minister, the services were held in his church. He had also proffered to deliver the funeral sermon in the event the elders could not be there. He was very kind and courteous to the bereft family. Brother Mayer and wife accepted the Gospel in 1908 and have lived it since. He is survived by his wife and seven small children. Many friends bestowed their sympathy in a substantial and material way, among whom, it is felt should have special mention, is the “Relief corp,” a Methodist organization which is doing a wonderful work of this kind.


While tracting June 8, Elders C.I. Jenkins and Orris Jerman met a man who crossed the plains with ox teams in 1850, en route to California. Being very sick when he reached Salt Lake City he was tenderly cared for by a family of saints and nursed back to health. He remained in that vicinity about four years and declares there are no better people anywhere. The same elders baptized six persons near Nettleton, June 4.


We note the marriage of Sister Cleo McRae, daughter of Elder and Sister Joseph A. McRae, of Independence, Missouri, to William J. Salisbury of Portland, Oregon. The two were made one by the marriage ceremony performed by Elder Archie O. Gardner at the home of the bride Wednesday, August 10. Sister Cleo has been a constant worker in the branch at Independence, and will be missed by all the members and a wide circle of friends outside the church. We wish the two a long and happy life.


Elder H.M. Rollins, writing from Helena, Montana, says: “Our membership is steadily growing here and our meetings are well attended. At our choir practice Tuesday night there were many people present; a crowd also assembled on the sidewalk and fence across the street listening to us.”


Elder F.G. Ellis of the South Dakota company states that he and his companion sought entertainment at the hotel in Dodge, Neb. They were refused a bed but were given supper. A Jew, standing nearby, came up to them and finding out that they were “Mormons,” said, “I live in Salt Lake City, and I know the true worth of your people and the sacrifices they make in doing missionary work. I have met President Smith and most of the apostles, and I told them that if I ever met any elders they would not go hungry or without a bed.” So he paid for their bed and breakfast next morning.


Sister Sarah Winters of Carson Valley is 78 years old. She has been a member of the Church for 50 years, and her testimony of its truth is strong. At Genoa, the oldest settlement in Nevada, an old brother was visited who was also 78 years old. The elders find many people who have in the past joined some of the apostate factions from the Church. These are now disunited and scattered, thus fulfilling the prediction of President Brigham Young that “all they that want to draw away a party from the Church after them, let them do it if they can, but they will not prosper.”

New Hampshire

During a week’s stay in East Jaffrey, Elders John H. Russell and W.F. Butterfield became acquainted with the Baptist minister of that village who, after some conversations with the elders, became desirous of knowing more of Mormonism and invited them to attend his Thursday evening prayer meeting. The elders gladly accepted the invitation and were given an opportunity to explain the supposedly strange doctrines. After the explanation many questions were asked and answered regarding the workings of the “Mormon Church.”

New Jersey

As this is a field where little work has been done hitherto in the country the people are very curious. Elders Gustaveson and Noyes report selling 84 small books in one week. Elder Godfrey reports being arrested on a false charge, but before he left the courtroom he had made many friends and sold a Book of Mormon and some small books to the justice of the peace.

New Mexico

Elder W.H. Lynn, president of the West Colorado Conference, writing from Elida, New Mexico, says: “The Holiness people and another sanctified band were holding open air meetings in this town yesterday afternoon and were creating quite an excitement. As soon as they withdrew, my companion and I stepped out and gave the large crowd a talk on Mormonism, telling them how they could enter into the glory of which had been spoken. After the meeting we were offered the free use of the W.O.W. Hall in which to hold services.

New York

The saints living in New York City and vicinity deem themselves very fortunate in having had a visit from President Joseph F. Smith and Bishop Charles W. Nibley. While President Smith and Bishop Nibley were only in New York City a few days, yet a most excellent meeting was held at the mission house. As many of the saints and friends as could possibly get into the double parlors of the mission house were present. A number of students from Columbia and Yale Universities were also present.

North Carolina

Many baptisms are being performed in the conference. The last report shows one at Charlotte, two at Mt. Airy, five at Goldsboro, and one at Fuquay Springs. Elders J.A. Smith, C.W. Moss and A.R. Hudson are holding numerous and successful cottage and open air meetings in Durham. The death of Sister Betty Homer in Wilson county has just been reported. She was a faithful Latter-day Saint.

North Dakota

Elder Geo. Wilson writes that of late he and company have been holding several successful open-air meetings in North Dakota. After one, which was held in Ellendale, a gentleman asked about some elders who had been there a few years previous. He said that his daughter had been healed through the administration of these elders. “She had been a cripple from birth, not being able to walk. But on the afternoon of the administration she walked across the room and the next day was able to run all around the yard. She has been well ever since, not even having a symptom of her former trouble.” He bore a strong testimony to the power of the Priesthood.


By request of a “Mormon” girl in Utah the elders called on a lady in Columbus and learned of the unusual way in which she became interested in the gospel. Belonging to a post card club, she noticed the name of the Western girl, and exchanged several cards before she was informed that her correspondent was a “Mormon.” Doctrinal books followed, a ripe companionship developed, and the Columbus girl is now earnestly investigating the claims made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Elders Robert O. Graham and Albert A. Chadwick, of the Oklahoma Conference, have been visiting among saints in the Copple Settlement, and found them all well. They also initiated four new members into the Church by baptism, one of these being a man who has been investigating the church for ten years. “While at a hotel in the city of Gore waiting for our train, we met a Methodist minister, who was holding a revival meeting in that city. He invited us to attend the meeting that night and to preach to the people. We accepted the invitation, and after we were through preaching, the minister told the people that he was well pleased with our teachings. Afterwards we received a number of invitations from the people to stop over night with them.”


At Portland, Oregon, the 24th of July was celebrated in the usual good style by the elders and saints and many friends. About 300 assembled at Colombia Park where a good time was had. Sunday evening, July 24, President Ballard delivered an excellent address on the “Pioneers and Their Work,” a report of which came out in “The Oregonian,” Monday morning. In Tuesday’s paper there appeared an editorial of half a column calling President Ballard to account for some of his statements. President Ballard wrote an answer to this which appeared in the Sunday’s edition, in which he presented facts to prove his former statements. We believe this has done much good in presenting our views to so many people through the columns of this paper.


Last week in Warren county the elders engaged a Methodist church to hold meetings in, arranging for services at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. As the hall had not been used for some time they cleaned it up and filled the lamps and then notified the people. The afternoon meeting was well attended, probably too well to suit some of the people, and so a minister living about three miles away appeared on the scene and said that he had decided to stop the meeting, ignoring the decision of the trustees and refusing to give any reason for the stand he took. Not desiring to cause any disturbance, the elders gave the church up and secured several dozen chairs from an amusement hall which were placed on the lawn and an open air meeting followed. Many of the people were indignant at the actions of the minister and helped to get a big crowd at the meeting. A splendid spirit was present and all were in sympathy with the speakers.

Rhode Island

Elders G.C. Udall and Jno. N. Smith who are in Westerly, R.I., tell of their call on a minister who treated them very kindly, and said, “I have read some of your doctrine and have seen some of its fruits, for it is a glorious cause.” He said he was going to read further, and accepted with pleasure more literature.

South Carolina

In Gaffney Elders I.H. Wright and Henry Whittaker were confronted by more than twenty men who had come to stone them away, as one of their number afterwards admitted. After conversing a short time the elders were asked to preach, and more than fifty people assembled to hear them. At the close of the services some of the men who came to harm the elders were heard to remark, “That’s not the kind of doctrine we expected to hear,” and “That’s the best sermon I have heard in twenty years.” The ring-leader went home with a Book of Mormon in his pocket.

South Dakota

Elder Ballard and Elder McRae visited the town of Vienna, S.D., where they intended to hold street meetings. They asked, as is customary, for entertainment at one of the hotels, and were assured that they would be given a bed if nothing more. After the meeting the hotel proprietor had changed his mind and wanted them to pay for what they were to receive. They thanked him very much for what he had done and left the hotel, intending to seek entertainment elsewhere. As they stepped outside they met a gentleman to whom they explained the situation. He at once invited them to his home and treated them with the greatest respect. They found out later that he was a Lutheran minister, but nevertheless he was very interested in the message, and when they left he bade them God-speed and gave them a hearty invitation to call again.


Sunday, June 5, Brother J.W. Cobb died at East Lake, Chattanooga, Tenn., of general debility. He was 72 years old and has been a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for more than forty years. President Chas. A. Callis preached the funeral sermon and Elders Noble and Wadsworth and sisters Keddington and Austin of the Mission office, rendered a quartette. Elder Cobb was a good citizen, neighbor and father and was held in high esteem by the many people who know him.


We quote the following from a letter received from President Pratt, of the South Texas Conference. ‘I am pleased to report our last week’s work at Richards. We held some good meetings at Brother Edgar Cude’s mill, and Monday I baptized six good people, who had been studying the gospel for a year and a half or two years. We enjoyed ourselves very much, indeed, and the spirit of the Lord was with us. We left Tuesday, but before leaving we baptized four more and blessed two babies. We held a fine open air meeting at the water’s edge, where the duties of a person uniting himself with the Church of Christ were carefully gone over. Before leaving two others told us they would be ready for baptism by the time we return.”


Elder C.A. Christiansen of the Pueblo Conference and laboring in Colorado Springs recently met a G.A.R. veteran who visited Salt Lake City during the convention held there last summer. This old gentleman said, “It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a condition due to the industry of the “Mormon” people and the foresight of Brigham Young. This great leader will soon have to be recognized as the Moses of the last days and one of the great men of history.”


On June 5, general meetings were held for the saints and the public at Burlington, and both were quite largely attended, visitors having come from Montreal and various parts of the state. President Rich was the principal speaker on each occasion, and his discourses were thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance. Some who at these meetings heard the gospel for the first time, are now friends to the elders and will be pleased to meet them in their homes. The work in the Green Mountain state is prospering nicely. Up to date there have been twelve baptisms for 1910.


Elders John B. Thatcher and F.C. Prince report six baptisms and six meetings during the week. This makes a total of twelve baptisms for them in their field of labor since the last of August. the elders report meeting many people who have never seen nor heard “Mormons” before but who receive them well and begin an investigation of the gospel. Elders S.I. Johnson and Ezra Poulsen met a young minister of the Church of England who invited them to dinner and purchased two doctrinal books. Elders Wadsworth, Dalton Macfarlane and Myers met with exceptional success in Leesburg, two street meetings were held and much literature distributed, and as a result a number of people are earnestly investigating the Gospel.


The work in this part of the mission is in a very prosperous condition. Elders Allred and Dunn report having visited Tacoma recently, where several well attended hall and cottage meetings were held. Elders Briggs and Butler are meeting with splendid success in Bellingham. The elders at Seattle are keen to observe and anxious to take advantage of their opportunities and are holding meetings in the saw mills, delivering the message of truth to the mill hands as they eat their mid-day meal. Elders Heslop and Nelson have made many warm friends at Everett.

West Virginia

The saints of Logan requested Elders Bateman and Bringhurst to preach at the cemetery the Sunday before Decoration Day in honor of their departed. Seats were arranged and at the appointed time about two hundred people gathered from miles around, several that had never as yet heard a “Mormon” elder. A spirited meeting was held at which the elders spoke upon the “Resurrection” and “Salvation for the Dead.”


Elder H.J. Kotter and companion were eating breakfast at a hotel one morning last week in company with a Baptist minister and a traveling salesman. During the course of the meal the salesman asked the minister what he thought of the doctrine the young men were preaching. “Well,” said he, “they are working under a deception. This Book of Mormon they offer the public is a fraud. it seems strange that no one else than Joseph Smith ever saw the plates.” The salesman continued: “You evidently are not acquainted with the history of the Book. In the literature I obtained at their meeting last night I learned there were eleven others viewed the plates in question.” The minister had finished his meal and asked to be excused.


Elder J.C. Taysom has been honorably released to return to his home in Afton, Wyoming, after having spent twenty-nine months in the field. He has spent his entire time in the state of Colorado, and has made many lasting friends.

No reports were found for Alaska and Hawaii (not yet states, of course), or Washington, D.C.



  1. For this purpose a Baptist minister kindly let them use the font in his church and otherwise showed them every consideration.

    My, how times have changed! (Sorry, that was my first thought when I read the Colorado entry.)

    Comment by Ray — September 11, 2008 @ 6:28 am

  2. I was intrigued with the Kansas entry. The missionaries met a young women who had attended university and had heard only one side of the “Mormon Question.” Does anyone know what the “Mormon Question” was in 1910? Polygamy perhaps?

    BTW: For anyone’s information the town Arkansas City is pronounced Ar-Kansas rather than Ar-Kansaw City. A little local culture.

    Comment by Steve C. — September 11, 2008 @ 7:24 am

  3. I’m wondering what elder Taysom in Afton, WY, would think of the miscreants among his posterity.


    Comment by Mark Brown — September 11, 2008 @ 8:23 am

  4. /snicker/ I’m with you, Mark, and hoped SC might see that!

    Steve, polygamy would have been the biggest part of the “Mormon Question” in 1910, but our fitness for citizenship was still a big issue — this is just after the Smoot hearings, with all that blather about how church leaders dictated our every political action, and about how the church interfered in making laws and settling land disputes and other purely civil matters. But charges of our bringing in boatloads of young girls from Europe to feed our harems — the strawman endlessly preached against by novelist Winifred Graham and socialite-do-gooder Helen Gould — would have been the biggie in 1910.

    Ray, for a contrast check out Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Virginia. I kept running into so many Christian ministers that I considered doing an all-clergy issue of MormonUSA!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 11, 2008 @ 8:42 am

  5. Yeah, Ardis, there is that. :)

    Comment by Ray — September 11, 2008 @ 8:52 am

  6. The Cudes and the sawmill mentioned in the Texas entry played a prominent role in the early church in that part of Texas (North and Northwest of Houston). IIRC, portions of the family spent time in Mormon colonies in the West and at Kelsey, TX, but came back to southern/eastern Texas.

    A missionary (Elder Brooks) from Jan 1901 records that the missionaries both helped with and observed the building of the Cudes’ sawmill, spent evenings singing and talking, went squirrel hunting, went opossum hunting (“There was more hunt than opossum”), and (seemingly) blessed a baby or two every time they passed through the county. Of course, they also preached and taught.

    Comment by Edje — September 11, 2008 @ 10:00 am

  7. My dad’s Uncle John was the only one of his brothers who served a mission–the family was too poor to support any others. He would have been 22 years old in 1910, so the time is right. I now need to find out if he served in Bellingham, Washington.

    Comment by Mark B. — September 11, 2008 @ 1:09 pm

  8. Mark, I just checked the missionary index. There are a dozen John B’s but I didn’t see one going to the Northwestern States. Still, it’s worth asking family because the index isn’t necessarily complete.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 11, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

  9. Edje, I know you know about the Liahona, but I’ll keep an eye out in other sources for the Cudes and their mill.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 11, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

  10. Thanks Ardis. I’ll do some more digging.

    Comment by Mark B. — September 11, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  11. It’s likely a reference to an Alma Butler (Liahona, Mar. 14, 1911, p. 619).

    Comment by Justin — September 11, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

  12. I had never heard of Central, Arizona, and wondered why an old pioneer would be living there. Upon looking it up, it is a tiny settlement up the highway from Thatcher and Safford in the Gila Valley.

    The Gila Valley is a very distinctive and beautiful location for those who do not mind desert places, with Mt Graham located just south of the towns.

    Very nice collection, once again. Thanks, Ardis, for a snapshot of church and missionary life almost a century ago.

    Comment by Researcher — September 12, 2008 @ 6:58 am

  13. I thought I wrote a comment thanking Justin for, once again, coming up with amazing stuff at the drop of a hat. I wonder if I made some mistake and failed to post it, or if I’m once again stuck in moderation.

    Anyway, thanks Justin, and I’m amazed. Again.

    Comment by Mark B. — September 12, 2008 @ 10:11 am

  14. Nothing caught in moderation, Mark. Aren’t you glad Justin is on our side?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 12, 2008 @ 10:45 am

  15. You’re welcome, Mark.

    Ardis, what’s the missionary index?

    Comment by Justin — September 12, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  16. Since 1861 the church has kept a ledger (replaced in modern years, I suppose, with something more modern, but I haven’t had need to research in recent records) of missionaries who were set apart in SLC — name, date of departure or setting apart, name of mission, and in some cases date of return. At some point, the cards began recording the names of the missionaries’ parents, and one or two other details.

    The missionary index is a huge card file, available on microfilm in the church history library (I don’t know whether it’s available in the FHL or FHCs). The cards are arranged alphabetically. Using the index, you can tell when someone you care about served his mission and where, which makes it possible to turn to the records for that mission and era to learn more.

    I know the missionaries here have been working on an electronic index to missionaries that comes virtually current. That, however, is not now public; I don’t know whether the intention is ever to make it public or whether it’s simply an internal tool. The microfilm seems clumsy now that we’re used to digital tools, but it works well enough.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 12, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

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