Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » When Keepa Worlds Collide

When Keepa Worlds Collide

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 24, 2013

Once upon a time I wrote: “Have you ever had the experience on Facebook of discovering that two friends whom you know from completely different spheres actually know each other through a connection that doesn’t include you? This happens continually in the past, too – everything is connected to everything else.”

I believe that, wholeheartedly. When we don’t see the connections, it’s only because we don’t know enough, not because the connections aren’t there.

World One

Early in Keepa’s existence, I wrote about wanting to know more about Clifford F.D. Kangas (called “Dee” because his father was also named Clifford), a boy killed as a soldier in Vietnam in 1967. While I had probably seen Dee’s father many times at Church, I remember seeing him only once, on the day of his son’s funeral, as reported in the linked story.

Dee was born 30 March 1947 in Santa Rosa, California, near where his parents, Clifford and Velma, had been married in Stockton in 1943.

World Two

My aunt, Evelyn May Taylor, served as a missionary from 1946 to 1948, in the Northern California Mission. I’ve written about some of her experiences (part one, part two, and part three). Most of her mission time was spent in towns across the Bay from San Francisco: Ukiah, Sebastopol, Novato, Petaluma, and, yes, Santa Rosa.

The Collision

Evelyn was working in Santa Rosa on 12 May 1947. She and her companion spent the day tracting, an activity that she always seemed to enjoy or at least to face cheerfully. “It’s surely funny to see the change come over people after we tell them we’re missionaries. It’s a good before and after act. They start stepping back and gradually begin to close the door. Sometimes they look startled. Of course everyone doesn’t but that’s the way many react.”

And then the world of my Salt Lake Valley childhood of the 1960s collided with the world of my aunt’s California mission of the 1940s:

“When we’d been home about five minutes Bro. Kangas came for us to take us to his house for dinner. He has a grand old jalop[y] of a red truck – he says it won’t fall apart but it sounds like a tinney tin can.”

Evelyn would have found at the Kangas home a six-week-old baby boy, named Dee.




  1. I had a similar experience while I was doing research on Edward Arthur Smith. I was reading Joseph F. Smith’s journals from 1863 in England, looking for more detail about Edward’s adoption. I noticed that Joseph F. had visited with a Senior family in Yorkshire while he was making final arrangements for Edward’s travel to Utah.. Turns out that it was Robert and Sarah Senior, the parents of Charlotte King, wife of Frederick King of the 1873 Little Colorado mission I’ve written about. Charlotte and Frederick are my great-grandparents, and Edward Arthur Smith is my wife’s great-grandfather. Boom! I can only hope that Robert Senior may have fixed some of Joseph F. Smith’s shoes, something Charlotte remembers he frequently did for the missionaries who visited them.

    Comment by kevinf — April 24, 2013 @ 11:05 am

  2. Cool! We’ve grown so big as a Church that it is easy to forget how small we were (and still are).

    Comment by Bruce Crow — April 24, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

  3. This is great.

    Comment by J. Stapley — April 24, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

  4. To my ordered brain, these collisions are one part wonderful, and one part unsettling. I’ve learned to enjoy the connections more as I’ve gotten older.

    Comment by David Y. — April 24, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

  5. “But in Friendship… we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, posting to different regiments, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting – any of these chances might have kept us apart.

    But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,’ can truly say ‘You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.’

    The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others.”

    -C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

    Comment by Bookslinger — April 24, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

  6. … If for no other reason than that we must ascribe to Heavenly Father the decision-making of which pre-mortal spirit gets born to which set of mortal parents and when. And if those decisions are not entirely Heavenly Father’s (perhaps it could also come under the heading of agency of the pre-mortal spirits) then He at least ratifies the “line up” by allowing it to occur.

    Comment by Bookslinger — April 24, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

  7. A similar thing happened to me. My grandfather was a missionary in Brooklyn around 1917. We have never really had much detail on his service.
    Fast forward to last fall. My older sister, in Washing DC, was helping a non-Mormon friend clean out several boxes from her grandmother who had passed away. Inside was a signed postcard/picture of my grandfather that he must have left with her family when she was a child. It had a beautiful little note about their generosity while housing Mormon missionaries in New York City.

    Comment by PJD — April 24, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

  8. LOVE

    Comment by Tod Robbins — April 24, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

  9. kevinf,

    We are doing some shorthand transcription work at the Church History Library and are currently transcribing one of Levi Willard Richards’s missionary journals, which he kept while serving a mission in England in 1868. He mentions a Brother Senior in the South Yorkshire area numerous times. This particular Brother Senior seems to have been very involved in helping the missionaries. I wonder if he could be your relative. We are hoping to have the transcript available online, possibly with some digital images, late this year. Might be interesting for you to check it out when it becomes available.

    Comment by Mandy — April 25, 2013 @ 9:01 am

  10. Mandy,

    That sounds like Robert Senior. I will have to watch for the transcript. The Senior family left England in 1869 to come to Utah, and settled in Santaquin, I believe. Thanks for the heads up!

    Comment by kevinf — April 25, 2013 @ 9:55 am

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