Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Few Minutes in Leeds, Utah, 1939

A Few Minutes in Leeds, Utah, 1939

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 13, 2013

Leeds, Utah, was in the St. George Stake in 1939. As routine as these minutes appear, they can still hold something unexpected — like Church life today, I suppose.

3 September 1939

Minutes of the Leeds Ward Testimony Meeting held Sept 3, 1939. Second Councelor Walter C. Eagar Conducting. Song – O ye Mts High. Prayer by Ross Angell. Song – Guide me to Thee. Sacrament administered by Grant McMullin and Vaughn Cundie assisted by Richard McMullin and John Bushman. Sister Sadie Fuller sustained as second councilor in the Relief Society. Sister Margaret McMullin Bore her Testimony. Bishop Edward McMullin Bore his Testimony. Sister Virginia Bushman Bore her Testimony. Sister Evelyn McMullin bore her Testimony. Brother Ross Angell bore his Testimony. Sister Ethel Sterling bore her Testimony. Song – Secret Prayer. Benediction by John Bushman.

10 September 1939

Minutes of the Leeds Ward Sacrament Meeting held Sept. 10 1939. Second Councelor Walter C. Eagar conducting. Song I’ll serve the Lord while I am young. Prayer by Bro. Willard G. McMullin. Song – As the Dew from Heaven Distilling. Sacrament administered by Elders Floyd McMullin and Vaughn Cundie assisted by John Bushman and Eldon Stirling. Guitar Solo by Ross Angel. Bro Silas Bushman report Stake Conference. Musical selection Vaughn Cundie. Bro. Karl Caldwell talk on Relief Society Magazine. Bishop Edward McMullin Temporal side of Life Song – Angry Words O let them never. Benediction by Eldon Stirling.

17 September 1939

Minutes of the Leeds Ward Sacrament Meeting held Sept 17, 1939. First Councelor Rex Stirling Conducting. Song – For the strength of the Hills. Prayer by Bro. Donald Fuller. Song – Hear us Pray. Sacrament Administered by Elder Lawrence McMullin and Grant McMullin Assisted by Richard McMullin. Bishop Edward McMullin told the members of the Ward that he had ask[ed] for his release as bishop. That when he was called to the bishopric that he knew who is councelors were to be as he saw them in a dream. Brother Wilford McArthur spoke on not keeping men in office to[o] long, that we all have work to do in the Church and all should work in harmony with our bishops. Song by Rhoda Andrus. Brother Orval Hafen spoke on the work of Bishop McMullin and the good work he had done, that Bishops should be leaders of their fellow men. Song by Rhoda Andrus. President W.O. Bentley spoke on missionary work. The way will be opened up so missionaries can fill their missions. Talk on bishops and the selection of Bishops. Gave out slips to have the people wright the name of the man they wanted for their Bishop. Song – Oh it is wonderful. Benediction by Silas A. Bushman.

24 September 1939

Minutes of the Leeds Ward Sacrament meeting held Sept 24, 1939. Bishop Edward McMullin presiding. Song – Sweet Sab[b]ath Day. Prayer by Bro. Karl W. Caldwell. Song – O My Father. Sacrament administered by Elders Donald Fuller and Charles E. Allen assisted by John Bushman and Stewart Allen. Sister Lavinia Fuller spoke on the Book of Mormon. Song by Brother Silas A. Bushman My Task. Brother A.B. Sullivan spoke on Proof we have that God Lives. Song – God be with you. Benediction by Lawrence McMullin


[Bishop Stanley Fuller was sustained on 29 October 1939]



  1. Love the understated intro. I hadn’t realized this way of selecting Bishops occurred so late. Cool!

    Comment by J. Stapley — September 13, 2013 @ 7:31 am

  2. Now, that’s what I call common consent. 😉

    Comment by Bfwebster — September 13, 2013 @ 7:35 am

  3. Yes, an interesting take on common consent. Although it may be the leaders assessing how much of the ward is in touch with the spirit of revelation or not. In most changes of bishop I’ve seen, it’s been fairly obvious who it would be whether by common sense or common revelation. Spiritual confirmation by common consent can come at the sustaining. Even those rare, surprise callings from out in left field can give that shared spirit of revelation at sustaining- at least in my experience.

    And I can’t fault the McMullins and Cundies for naming their kids well.

    Comment by Grant — September 13, 2013 @ 8:36 am

  4. I like how open the process would be, but wow, a full month of limbo where the ward didn’t really know who the bishop was. Seems strange today, but it would make sure the auxiliaries functioned on their own (or didn’t as the case may be.)
    It’s also interesting that they had the Elder’s blessing the sacrament.

    Comment by seth — September 13, 2013 @ 9:46 am

  5. Here’s the line we’re all talking about, I think:

    “Gave out slips to have the people wright the name of the man they wanted for their Bishop.”

    I think it’s fitting that the title of the song immediately following the line about the slips of paper is “Oh it is wonderful.” Wonderful, indeed!

    Comment by David Y. — September 13, 2013 @ 10:06 am

  6. Interesting way to select a new bishop. (And, for that matter, for an old bishop to request his release.)

    I wonder if we could also right a second name on the paper–of the person we really don’t want to have as bishop!

    Comment by Mark B. — September 13, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

  7. I first thought the surprise would be the guitar solo, but then the bishop asks to be released. And the stake president then hands out ballots? Wow. It just seems so, so…uncorrelated. But then, southern Utah has always been a bit different. My brother-in-law who was born in a central Utah town that shall not be named, heard that the high council in their stake used to meet on weeknights in the back room of a local diner over coffee back in the 1950s.

    Comment by kevinf — September 13, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

  8. Of course, that last statement is totally unverifiable, hearsay, rumor mongering, and just the kind of thing any self respecting historian would want written documentation for, which is likely not forthcoming. I repent for bringing it up.

    Comment by kevinf — September 13, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

  9. Yeah, watch it, kevinf. We might start referring to you as “Cleon.” 😉

    Comment by David Y. — September 13, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

  10. (Splurting diet Pepsi at computer screen) David, will you be my booking agent for the speaking tour?

    Comment by kevinf — September 13, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

  11. It would be interesting to know how long Bishop McMullin had served as bishop of the ward. Now, a bishop serves for an average of five to six years, but I’ve heard of some bishops back at this time serving 10 to 15 years and possibly longer. I’m curious to know what the average service time for a bishop was in 1939 and find it fascinating that Bishop McMullin felt he could ask for his release. The minutes also state that “Brother Wilford McArthur spoke on not keeping men in office to[o] long,” which also makes me wonder what members back in 1939 would have considered “to[o] long”.

    Comment by Chris M. — September 15, 2013 @ 12:06 am

  12. From my experience this is a common practice even in our current LDS culture. Not exactly the calling for ballots from the the pulpit, but the approach of those who will do the calling asking for names to be submitted. I first experienced this as a ward clerk before my mission when we would be asked to submit names for a specific calling during a bishopric, PEC, or ward council meeting. Everyone’s thoughts and names were welcomed. I also experienced this during my mission when our mission president would ask the zone leaders to submit names for new zone leaders or assistants via a written name. Since my mission I’ve seen this approach multiple times, and have read that it has been used at various points to call new members to the Seventy and even the Quorum of the Twelve.

    The notes are unclear of how forthright President W.O. Bentley’s request for names was, but we can induce from his handling out of slips of paper that he was rather solicitous in asking for the names of those the congregation felt best suited for the calling.

    I think it’s a beautiful approach to filling callings and letting the Spirit touch each person individually. Then again, I’m from Alabama, and we’re not known for always doing things correctly down here…

    Comment by Stan — September 17, 2013 @ 11:03 am

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI