Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Latter-day Saint Images, 1938

Latter-day Saint Images, 1938

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 14, 2008

Here are snapshots of Latter-day Saint branches in 1938. In a few cases, these may have been the last photos before branch families were scattered by the impending war.
Prague, Chechoslovakia


Perth, Australia


Bagai, Haapai, Tonga


Antimony, Utah

Antimony, Utah


Butte, Montana


Fairbanks, Alaska


Waycross, Georgia


Berne, Switzerland



  1. Antimony–that’s a new Utah town to me. Judging by the numbers in the photo, it appears that the Fairbanks branch was in its early years. Nice looking pictures.

    Comment by Justin — September 14, 2008 @ 8:57 pm

  2. Beautiful collection.

    A year or two ago someone in our Relief Society took a picture of all of us after church and shared with several other Relief Societies around the world. The various Relief Societies sent pictures and the collection was shared during an Enrichment Meeting with an international theme.

    Rather a lovely idea, although it must have taken a lot of advanced preparation.

    Comment by Researcher — September 15, 2008 @ 7:10 am

  3. Once again, my thoughts focus on what is about to happen. In just a few short months, Czechoslovakia will be taken over by the Germans. A year later World War II will break out. All the other units pictured will in one way, shape, or form be affected by the great and horrible war. In the case of the Prague branch, it was only a few years old when this picture was taken. I’m sure many of these members were there to greet President H.J. Grant when he toured the mission in 1937. I wonder what the people were thinking around the time the photo was taken–concerned about the storm clouds gathering. In just a few years later, this “church family” was no more. If I’m not mistaking, I think the mission was closed down in the late 1940s or around 1950. A bit sad when you think about it.

    Comment by Steve C. — September 15, 2008 @ 7:25 am

  4. Of course there were LDS Church activities going on in Germany and Eastern Europe during World War II after the American missionaries left. Several people in my ward in Salt Lake City were there during the War. They and their families left in the 1950s. They tell of youth conferences, hometeaching, Sacrament meetings, Sunday School activities, etc. During the War many of the male Church leadership were drafted into the German army and ended up in Russian prison camps. I know a third generation German Mormon who ended up in Italy in an American prison camp, while his wife and baby son experienced the British and American bombings in Germany.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — September 15, 2008 @ 9:32 am

  5. Jeff: That is interesting what you say about eastern Germany after the war. Germany was different than the rest of eastern Europe. The Czech mission that looked so promising before the war lasted only a few more years after the war. There never was a core of LDS in the country that could maintain the Church there like there was in eastern Germany. At war’s end the Soviet zone of Germany had nearly 7,000 members and large branches. Many of these branches were strengthened by refugees from further to the east (areas turned over to Poland and the USSR). Large LDS refugee centers were set up in eastern Germany for those from eastern Europe. It should be noted that a branch, Selbogen, in a section of eastern Germany that was turned over to Poland survived until the 1970s. Just about all the other branches in East Prussia and Silesia did not survive as Church members fled the Red army/Soviet occupation and the Church closed the branches down.

    That was one of the things about the Church in the Third Reich, many of the presiding priesthood officers were drafted into the military and this left gaping holes in branches, districts and even in mission leadership (which since the evacuation in 1939 had been in the hands of local Germans).

    Comment by Steve C. — September 15, 2008 @ 10:31 am

  6. Ardis,

    My brother-in-law’s family roots are in Antimony and Koosharem (another thriving metropolis in central Utah). I copied that picture to our family blog. There’s a chance his mother is a teenager in that picture.

    Thanks again. The war would have also impacted Antimony. My brother-in-law’s father joined the navy, and his mother moved north to work. They were married shortly after the war, but maintained an old home in Koosharem, which is just south of Fish Lake.

    Comment by kevinf — September 15, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  7. Antimony and Koosharem are just south and just north, respectively, of the borders of Piute County where I’ve done so much historical and genealogical work. To mentally locate Antimony and Koosharem, think of those other booming county towns of Marysvale, Junction, Kingston, and Circleville. Oh, wait … :) (Okay, then, think south of Richfield and north of Panguitch. And if that doesn’t work for you, find a map — I’m running out of landmarks.) kevinf, I’ll bet I’ve got some material on your brother-in-law’s family, trivia that they might like, if you’d like to contact me privately to tell me the name.

    Researcher, I love that idea. I suppose it could best be done via a ward’s missionary contacts, but oh the work!

    I’ve been collecting material, including photos, of Selbongen (“Mormonsdorf”) for a post. There’s a good article, “The Branch that Wouldn’t Die,” in the April 1971 Ensign that I’ll supplement with some 1930s-era reports.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 15, 2008 @ 10:58 am

  8. Antimony sounds like something that is not a testimony.

    Bad joke.

    Love these pictures, Ardis. Do you ever just look at these and think, “These are my people.”? I feel such a connection when I get to SEE the faces of Saints from years/decades/centuries past.

    Comment by m&m — September 15, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

  9. All the time, m&m. For me, it’s like looking through the album of family reunion pictures that I’ve inherited. I know even fewer (none, really) of the faces in these pictures, but that doesn’t stop me from poring over them and wondering what they discussed in Sunday School that day, or how long they had been members, and what was their favorite hymn. And I love seeing the same kinds of Sunday reunions being held by Saints all over the world. And I wonder what happened to them, and if any of the babies are still here, old men and women now.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 15, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  10. Ardis, yes! I sometimes, too, imagine what it will be like to meet them. I wonder what reunions will be like for Saints in the next life.

    Comment by m&m — September 16, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

  11. Hey Ardis. I don’t think I’ve ever commented on Keepa, but I couldn’t pass it up when I saw the picture of the Antimony branch. My grandfather was born in Antimony in 1920. I’m sure I have family in that picture, but I can’t see some of the faces well enough to make them out. Maybe I’ll come chat with you in the library if you don’t mind.

    Comment by Meghan — September 18, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

  12. C’mon down, Meghan!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 18, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

  13. My ancestors settled antimony, my 6th great grandfather was Issac riddle who brought cattle to that valley in 1860 and his original house we still own and use for recreation.
    Im sure a number of my ancestors are in that picture

    Comment by Charles — September 17, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  14. Then I’m glad you ran into this post, Charles! That’s one thing I like about the internet — this post has been sitting out there for a year, just waiting for you to go looking for it.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 17, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

  15. Ardis,
    Where did you get the picture of the Butte Montana branche? My grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle, great uncle, and other relatives are in that photo, as well as Jack Weyland and his mother. I’m looking for more info on who the other people are.

    Comment by Michael Wright — September 13, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

  16. All of these pictures are scanned from the 1938 issues of the Instructor. They are used as fillers in the magazine — very occasionally the name of a Sunday School superintendent may be given, but otherwise the names of ward or branch members are never listed. I’m glad you were able to recognize familiar faces!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 14, 2011 @ 5:39 am

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