Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Snapshots of Mormon Life, 1938

Snapshots of Mormon Life, 1938

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 28, 2009

What were we doing in 1938? Come and see —

201st Quorum of 70, Ogden 13th Ward, Utah
Bean project, part of the LDS Security Plan (now Welfare Plan)

Spanish Dancers, El Paso Ward, Texas

Gold and Green Ball
Central States Mission

Cleaning up after an M Men – Golden Gleaner Evening
Pioneer Ward, Utah Stake

Missionaries of the East German Mission


Aaronic Priesthood, 4th Ward, Pioneer Stake (Salt Lake City)


LDS Hawaiian Choir at Honolulu,
visiting Salt Lake City


First Presidency:
Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, David O. McKay

Returned missionaries attending LDS Business College, Salt Lake City


Newly created branch at Fairbanks, Alaska

Windsor Ward, Timpanogos Stake, Utah
Winning Softball Team


Long Beach and Los Angeles Stakes, California
Commemorating Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood


Boy Scouts, Liberty 1st Ward, Salt Lake City

Relief Society Singing Mothers

Primary at Jaragua, Brazil

Oregon District, Northwestern States Mission
Gold and Green Ball Queen and Court

Mission Conference, Dresden, Germany

MIA Banquet, Richmond, Virginia

Deacons of Pella, Idaho, working in Church beet fields

Master M Men, West Jordan Stake, Utah

San Diego Priesthood Quorums Moving Families

Salt Lake City 17th Ward MIA Meeting

Teachers’ Quorum
Mesa 1st Ward, Arizona

Deacons clearing ground to build a new chapel
Gilmer Park, Bonneville Stake (Salt Lake City)

April Conference crowds that couldn’t get into sessions
in either the Tabernacle or Assembly Hall

Hugh B. Brown and Missionaries of the British Mission



  1. we were lookin’ purty good i must say. =)

    Comment by ellen — August 28, 2009 @ 7:51 am

  2. Love the softball uniforms of the Timapanogos Stake! On the other hand, some things never change, like Elders Quorum moving projects…

    Comment by Clark — August 28, 2009 @ 9:11 am

  3. my grandfather and his brothers are likely in the L.A Aaronic Priesthood photo. He would have been 15 at the time. His father was called as bishop of the Firestone Park ward the following year. Any additional info on this particular photo would be welcome.

    (Of the eight grandparents of my wife and I, you’ve managed to find pictures of at least three of them in the last couple of months and none of them lived in Utah. How do you do it?)

    Comment by Clark — August 28, 2009 @ 9:15 am

  4. Yeah, we’re a busy, bright-looking bunch, ellen, aren’t we? :)

    Clark, it’s just fate. Or you’re living right. Something. (I tend to choose pictures outside of Utah when available, just for the “exotic” effect. If you and your wife do have Utah grandparents, you should tell me where so that I stop discriminating against their local status.)

    The Aaronic Priesthood leadership held a church-wide observance in 1938 commemorating the anniversary of the restoration (109th anniversary — not a major milestone, just something they wanted to do, I guess). There are brief reports of activities from all over. The one corresponding to your picture says:

    Long Beach and Los Angeles Stake joined in an outing in Mocking Bird Canyon near Riverside. More than five hundred boys participated. The site was an old Indian Camp ground. A group of Indian boys from Sherman Institute, an Indian school for boys, made the day a real Lamanite celebration. Yakima, Shoshone, navajo, and Hopi Indians participated and in full regalia presented Indian dances and ceremonies.

    A camp fire, a night in the hills, services, and a program of sports made what supervisors report the most successful event of the kind ever held in California.

    All or nearly all of events reported from around the church involved a Lamanite theme. That couldn’t have been coincidence, but at the moment I don’t have information on planning the commemoration that would explain that theme.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 28, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  5. I think I enjoyed this set of photos from the past more than any other I’ve seen at Keepa. The variety of photos is huge and just plain a lot of fun. Each photo has so much to say. Thanks for this!

    Ardis, was there anything special about submitting photos for the year 1938? In other words, were these photos all in one repository, or did you do a search among several sources? And if so, why 1938?

    Comment by Hunter — August 28, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  6. Any more info about the Primary in Brazil? Do you know what state they were in? The church was still pretty limited there in the 1930s (geogpraphically and due to restrictions on the priesthood), but while I was on my mission in 1996-7, I lived with an older sister who would have been in Primary at that time.

    Comment by bekah — August 28, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

  7. Hunter, virtually all of these come from the Improvement Era that year — it’s just a year I picked at random. As with the ward groups, I expect to do a number of similar posts from various years. I loved seeing how the photos changed in the magazines of the ’30s to include action shots and more variety in pose!

    bekah, the state was something like Santa Catharina (I know zilch about Brazilian geography — does that ring a bell, even if I haven’t used the correct spelling of the name? I can look for it again but won’t have time today.)

    Glad you’re liking these!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 28, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

  8. Ok that is funny,
    “Deacons of Pella, Idaho, working in Church beet fields”
    Looking at the picture you can tell the boys are like all deacons so happy to be doing chores…

    Comment by JonW — August 28, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

  9. I like the Aaronic Priesthood, 4th Ward, Pioneer Stake (Salt Lake City) picture. Were those bow ties part of the “Deacon Uniforms” of the time? (There has been Keepa discussion about that.) The photo of the East German mission is interesting. That mission had been created on 1 January 1938 so it was just a few months old (although it was created from the German-Austrian mission). I should go through all my papers at my office to see if I have any information on the mission conference in Dresden. I would guess that most of the children in the Brazil primary were German-speakers since most of the early work done in Brazil was among the German-Brazilians.

    Comment by Steve C. — August 28, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

  10. I noticed a few rebels in the Pioneer Stake 4th Ward boys–a few colored shirts and a few long ties.

    I liked the girl’s winning softball team, too. No long faces there.

    I was born in 1939, so I loved these pictures. I especially liked the returned missionaries attending LDS Business College. They remind me of pictures of my parents and aunts and uncles about the time I was born (hair and clothes).

    Comment by Maurine — August 28, 2009 @ 11:17 pm

  11. I’m not an emotional person, but these pictures filled my heart with tremendous gratitude for my membership in the Church. Thank you.

    Comment by Robert — August 31, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

  12. We’re part of something truly magnificent, aren’t we?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 31, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

  13. Santa Catarina is one state north of where I served my mission, but part of the area of Brazil heavily populated by Europeans (hence all the blond children, a rarity in that country). I was surprised to see what a large group they had.

    Thanks for all the fascinating photos!

    Comment by bekah — August 31, 2009 @ 7:57 pm