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True Life Funny Bones from the Mission Field

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 24, 2009

For the life of me, I haven’t been able to figure out how to turn any of the following into posts. But each one made me laugh when I found it, so maybe they’ll tickle you, too.

Why Missionaries Should Always Wear Pajamas to Bed

Elders Wm. R. Andrus and Wesley W. Farrer report a peculiar incident [somewhere in Maine]. One evening after retiring, the good people who had entertained them grew suspicious and sent for the city marshal to come and investigate as to who they were. The marshal and two aides arrived, awaked the elders and asked them to explain who and what they were. The elders sat up in bed and with the marshal, his aides, and the gentleman of the house as their congregation, they explained who they were, how they traveled, and what their message was. After listening for some time, they allowed the elders to remain in bed, where they enjoyed a good night’s rest, after their “successful meeting.”

Liahona: The Elders’ Journal, 24 July 1909

At Least They Weren’t Living on Borrowed Light

From Sweet Springs (West Virginia) Elders C.D. Davis and R.F. Brower report an incident, which shows the narrow, contracted condition some men are in. The elders had been given the use of a church, by the trustees, in which to hold meeting. As soon as the minister heard of it he protested, but the trustee promptly overruled the protest. The Christian (?) gentleman then stated that he would not allow the Mormons the use of the Bible or organ, and again he was told that they did not belong to him. He then said, “Well, I bought the oil in those lamps and I shall take it out.” The elders, little thinking he would do so, went right along with the arrangements for the meeting. However, at the appointed time they went to the church and found that the minister had been as good as his word and had drained the lamps of their oil. This act made friends for the elders, and they have remained in that locality doing a good work.

Liahona: The Elders’ Journal, 24 July 1909

Hospitality

Some people in Bentonville, Ark., treated the elders with watermelons – only the rinds, however, mingled with a few stones. No harm was done.

Liahona: The Elders’ Journal, 21 August 1909

That Bites!

The elders of the southern Indiana conference are in the best of spirits, notwithstanding the excessive heat and attacks of chiggers.

Liahona: The Elders’ Journal, 4 September 1909

Makes No Difference

Elders Wendell B. Cheney and George Price have been laboring in Clay county, North Carolina. Elder Price wrote in the following experience:

“Elder Cheney and I were tracting late one afternoon when a police car skidded up to the curb and two officers ordered us to get in. Puzzled and reluctant, we obeyed, asking why we were being picked up. They refused to answer. Elder Cheney produced his ministerial certificate, which one of the officers took, saying, ‘This is a strange looking document. I’ve never seen one like this before,’ and pocketed it as though it were incriminating evidence. We were taken to the police station and put through an oral third degree and questioned about our work, credentials, and intentions. One of the officers snatched my tracting book and thought for sure the abbreviated notes were a secret code. After twenty minutes we succeeded in convincing them that we were missionaries, not enemy agents, that our purpose was promulgating the Gospel, not espionage. We lost no time from our tracting for it makes no difference to us whether we give our message to housewives or policemen.”

Liahona: the Elders’ Journal, 9 June 1942

A Dog Went Tracting

Once upon a time, in the great city of Atlanta, Georgia, a common, nameless street dog decided to do some missionary work.

On the porch of the mission home he found an L.D.S. song book. He took this book in his mouth, trotted down the street and placed it at the door of a house where a prominent Presbyterian family resided. Returning he secured an “Improvement Era” and took that to a Methodist family. Being a good finisher and thorough in his work, the dog returned a third time to the mission home, laid hold of a copy of the “Liahona” and humbly presented it to a family of the Baptist persuasion. The dog never came back, evidently being satisfied with his work.

And well he might; for these good people read this Mormon literature with keen interest. They brought it back to the mission home, stating that a dog had brought it to their homes. – Charles A. Callis, President, Southern States Mission

Children’s Friend, August 1943

Too Late to Suit the Elders

Elders Chaffin and Yardley had a very unique experience in the country. Having taken refuge from the rain in an old vacant hall, they saw two men cautiously approach the building. One of the men raised a window, the other watching them very closely. The elders greeted them with a pleasant “Good morning” and asked if they were intruding on that property, to which the reply was given, “We are looking for you.” These men were detectives, evidently in search of some offender of the law. The elders write: “After we had showed them our ministers’ certificates, they became rather embarrassed. We jollied them, saying if they had got us last night, it would have pleased us, as we were looking for a free bed, having slept in a barn. A long conversation on religion ensued, and the officers with great interest accepted our free literature and each bought a Book of Mormon.”

Liahona: The Elders’ Journal, 25 July 1916



9 Comments »

  1. Those are great!

    Comment by Tatiana — July 24, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  2. Witty headlines. I wonder if the Hospitality story referrs to the watermelon rind pickles popular in the South?

    Comment by Clark — July 24, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  3. I love the idea of calling the police after hosting the missionaries for an evening. :)

    Comment by Kew — July 24, 2009 @ 9:54 am

  4. “Why Missionaries Should Always Wear Pajamas to Bed”

    I can just hear their mothers asking, “Yes, but were their pajamas clean?!”

    Also, I got a hoot out of the North Carolina episode where the police worried that the missionaries might be guilty of espionage. I experienced similar questions (none from police, though) on my foreign mission, and have heard of plenty of similar stories of missionaries also serving foreign missions. But I’ve never heard of one happening in the United States! That’s just too funny.

    Comment by Hunter — July 24, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  5. Hunter, it was war time. I’ve heard other accounts of similar suspicion here in the States during the two world wars. The mindset was different before widespread radio, then TV, then Internet homogenized the world.

    Comment by Marsha Ward — July 24, 2009 @ 11:59 am

  6. I like the pajamas and the watermelon rind notes. IIRC, Wilford Woodruff cursed Benton County, AK back in 1836.

    Comment by Edje — July 24, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

  7. Thank you, thank you, the headlines are mine, thank you [bowing].

    These stories are like the things that made me sometimes turn to my companion and say that we’d laugh about it all some day. “Some day” sometimes comes!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 24, 2009 @ 12:40 pm

  8. Wilford Woodruff cursed Benton County, AK back in 1836.

    I just knew that Wal-Mart was the spawn of the devil. Now I know why!

    Comment by Mark B. — July 24, 2009 @ 3:06 pm


  9. IIRC, Wilford Woodruff cursed Benton County, AK back in 1836.

    Sadly, it was Benton County, Tennessee. (I live in Tennessee)

    Comment by Bruce Crow — July 27, 2009 @ 7:48 am

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