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Southern States Mission Leadership Conventions, 1939

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 19, 2014

In the summer of 1939, the Southern States Mission, under the leadership of Mission President Merrill D. Clayson, held a series of leadership conventions for local priesthood and auxiliary officers – this program is for the convention of the two Mississippi districts; I’ve also seen programs for Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, and assume that similar conventions were held throughout the mission. These conventions were roughly like those of today’s leadership sessions of stake conference, but much more elaborate than any I’ve heard of in recent years.

I note with admiration the breadth of topics and training provided and the demonstrations of local talent, and the cooperation of the local community evident in their allowing the local high school to be used. What strikes you as interesting?

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9 Comments »

  1. These days you usually have either have a spiritual meeting, or an evening of entertainment, or an athletic event, but not all three (except perhaps for youth-only events). It seems the church these days is more concerned with letting people get back to their families after a meeting than in striving to provide everything the family might need in a social life.

    It’s quite common for the church in Sweden to hold special events at high schools, and the Stockholm Stake has for years held its conferences in a fairly nice concert hall (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berwaldhallen).

    Comment by Lee C. — March 19, 2014 @ 11:57 am

  2. I think it’s more likely that members have gotten lazy and can’t be bothered with anything more than a short meeting planned at the last minute, where you go to either the chapel or the basketball court (it can no longer be called a cultural hall without air quotes), sit quietly facing forward and listening to someone else speak or perform, then stand around eating refreshments that could kill a diabetic at 20 paces, content to call that passive behavior an “activity.”

    Wait, did I say that out loud?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 19, 2014 @ 12:32 pm

  3. Remarkable program! They had things programmed down to the second, it seems. And yet, parts of the program show some flexibility (e.g., “Instrumental Number” with no title and no indication of who is playing what). It must have been a herculean task to put this whole thing together.

    Oh, and I also enjoyed *seeing* the program — it wouldn’t have been as interesting had you just typed out all the text.

    (Yeah, Ardis, you did say that out loud. Funny, it reminds me of something you said out loud somewhere else . . .)

    Comment by David Y. — March 19, 2014 @ 10:52 pm

  4. So I’m consistent … with five more years of passive “activities” under my belt, I’m even more disgruntled!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 20, 2014 @ 6:36 am

  5. As glad as I am to see artifacts like these, my not-so-inner copy editor is going nuts reading this! I feel the need to break out my red pen! “Seperation?” “Testinony Meeting?” Aargh! I know, first world problems…

    Comment by Chad Too — March 20, 2014 @ 8:13 am

  6. :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 20, 2014 @ 8:52 am

  7. By 1939, the Southern States Mission was much smaller than it was in its heyday (maybe not the right word), having just the states you named: Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, with the addition of South Carolina.

    Since this was before the prevalence of local leadership, I wonder if meetings of this scale were due to the mission leadership at the time (and thus confined to this one mission) or if it was more wide spread in the “mission field”

    Comment by Bruce Crow — March 20, 2014 @ 9:14 am

  8. Good question, Bruce. I haven’t noticed anything elsewhere, but it’s possible that I only noticed this one because of the preserved programs and have overlooked references in letters in other missions. I’ll keep my eyes open.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 20, 2014 @ 9:18 am

  9. While there is still some inequity, at least they have real athletic activities for the women, including soft ball and track events. Yeah, this must have been some undertaking to plan and coordinate.

    Comment by kevinf — March 20, 2014 @ 10:20 am

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