MY LIFE'S STORY
By Earnest Ludwig Whitehead
(This history courtesy his son, Armand T. Whitehead)
|Earnest Ludwig Whitehead, c. 1929|
I, Earnest Ludwig Whitehead was born the first day of February 1906, in a green-colored house erected by my father at the end of a terminal block on the diagonal street in St. George, Washington County, Utah (USA).
|House built by E. G. Whitehead, 89 W. Diagonal, St. George|
My Father's name was Erastus Goddard Whitehead, the fourth child of Adolphus Rennie Whitehead, and Mary Goddard. My Grandfather Adolphus Rennie Whitehead was born 10 June 1841  in London, England, of Francis Wilby Whitehead, and Elizabeth Jarrold. He had five children by his first wife Mary Goddard, namely, George Frank, Adolphus Rennie, Mary Jane, Erastus Goddard (my father), and Finley Goddard. He married twice: Mary Goddard (my grandmother), and Jane Alexander. My father was born in St. George, Washington County, Utah, 12 November 1869.
My Mother's name is Josephine May Nixon, daughter of James William Nixon, and Johanna Marie Schultz. She was born in St. George, Washington Count, Utah, 30 June 1875. Her father, James William Nixon married three times. He married first, Johanna Marie Schultz (my grandmother); second, he married Hannah Isabel Fawcett; third, he married Zephyr Kelsey. He was born 17 Jan 1836 in Liverpool, England, of William Abraham Nixon, and Bridget Degnan.
Mother's mother or my grandmother, Johanna Marie Schultz, was the daughter of Christian Ludwig Johansen Schultz, and Ane Dinesen. Her parents joined the Church in Honsinge, Denmark, and through persecution sold his property and left Denmark, en route to the Salt Lake Valley. Eight days before landing on the shores of America, he died, leaving his wife and four children to continue the voyage. A short time after landing, the two younger children died, and two months later the mother died also. This left the two older girls, Sidse, 13 and Johanna Marie, eleven. They, in the company of a wagon train of emigrant church members walked the entire distance to the Salt Lake Valley.
|Whitehead Family, c 1908 - Back: Erastus Claude , Rolland Nixon. Front: Fern, Jessco , Earnest Ludwig , Josephine May Nixon Whitehead, LeRoy|
My Father's mother, or my grandmother Whitehead, was the daughter of George Goddard (1815-1899) and Elizabeth Harrison (1817-1903). She was born in Leicester, England, 22 November 1844, and died 15 May 1910.
Shortly after my birth, I was blessed in the West Ward in St. George, St. George Stake, I was baptized at the age of eight by William Perkins in the St. George Temple font. I was confirmed by my Uncle George Frank Whitehead, now President of the St. George Temple, in the West Ward, St. George Stake.
I received my patriarchal blessing at the hands of Presiding Patriarch Hyrum G. Smith in Salt Lake City, 28 May 1927. [Patriarchal blessing in possession of Armand T. Whitehead and Mary Ann W. Overson; available on request.]
|Earnest Whitehead, top row 2nd on left. Mishie Seegmiller's 3rd grade class, St. George, Utah 1916|
As a scholar, my early years were none too successful, nor bright. Because of the circumstances surrounding my youth, due to the success of my father and perseverance of my mother, I was one of the few apparently privileged children in St. George. We owned a store, and that was enough to make me a small-time hero among my associates, for I was the candy wagon to them. I likewise was a very poor marble player, with plenty of marbles to lose and a "sucker" to the more capable players. All combined made me one to be like by all. I know of no one who I counted an enemy at that time. I went through the entire grade school period, and the rest of my life, not having to defend myself against anyone. I was an unusually good-talker-outer, and knew when to leave bad enough alone. It was my success at bluffing that later turned to my disgrace in the eyes of my family. I was retained for a second year in sixth grade. Something that had never happened before to any of mother's children. It was due to the careful interest demonstrated in my behalf by my sixth grade teacher, Milton Moody, that I was retained. I hadn't studied during that year nor the years previously, but he called my bluff, much to my good later in life. "It isn't that you aren't bright enough, Earnest," he explained, "but because you have not learned that it is necessary to do a little study in school." "I am doing this for your own good, because I have confidence that you are much brighter than your record shows." Much to my discredit I took his advice very lightly and remarked that I didn't care.
|Adolphus Rennie Whitehead & Son General Store, run by Erastus Goddard for many years before his death. c. 1905|
I didn't have the opportunity, or misfortune it might have been, to continue my schooling in St. George. Mother felt it best that she move her brood into one of the larger industrial cities of the state, for financial and social reasons. This she did, moving to Provo, Utah in 1920. There much to my happiness I found a group of friends who were all faithful in the Church. One of these boys, Henry Startup, was a particularly brilliant and studious youngster. Through his practical leadership, I began to throw off most of the lethargy that had held me most of my life, and began to find joy and satisfaction in work. Henry and I were in the same grade of school together, and continued so until I moved to Salt Lake City, after my graduation from Provo High School.
|Whitehead home 243 S. 100 W., Provo . The family lived there from 1921-28|
In school in Provo I worked industriously, and it was here that I found my first joy in doing something constructive. I am, however, convinced that it was not the interest in books, and the study that I gave them that developed me, but rather the activity that I found within the school curriculum, and the conscientious actions of my associates. In the eighth grade a fine friend and scholar, Mrs. Emma Wakefield, stimulated within me the desire to read good books, and write. It was here that I received my first compensation for work, and I was honored with the title: "Poet Laureate." It sounds rather romantic, but I suppose that my thoughts did string along the poetic. It was much more simple to sit and think upon that than to write a scholarly treatise upon a literary subject, especially when few had desires toward poetry and many brilliant ones chose the thesis.
Another all-time friend teacher that I met here was Mrs. Maude Beeley Jacob, to my mind the finest example of mother-teacher-student that I have ever met, and who the world has not heard the last of. It was she, who immediately I came within her jurisdiction in Junior High School began to stimulate me in the higher fields of learning, activity. It was under her that I received my first appointment to the staff of the Provonian, our school paper, and later to the editorship of the same in my senior year. It was under her stimulation that I received my first trials at debate, which team I captained in my senior year, having debated for three years. She was always my champion. I got into trouble often because of my eagerness, but she was there to guide me out of it, particularly where it concerned "Principal's Discipline."
I enjoyed the activities of singing and acting, and participated freely in these two branches of the arts to my complete satisfaction. First I sang with the chorus, then minor parts were given to me, and finally I was able to take leads in both opera and drama. I shall never forget these experiences, for they are emplated with much enchantment in my mind. It was through contacts with my school mates and the public that I developed and grew.
Athletically, I was inclined. I enjoyed the sports immensely. I participated in track, tennis, basketball, and football during my high school career. These sports, I feel, did not injure me physically, nor interfere with my scholastic life or other activity. Rather they stimulated my other work, for it provided me with the necessary relaxation and exercise that any student needs. It was during my athletic work that I met and learned to respect highly, a great man, Prof. C.S. Leaf. (I know him now only as McManus the Magician, which term he hid from the public in Provo for good reasons. He at this writing is trainer at the University of Nevada.) Prof. Leaf enjoyed boys and lived for them entirely, fighting their battles, settling their disputes, watching their development as a mother would her child. Every boy loved him, for he wasn't too busy anytime to help do the right thing. It was his straight forward attitude, lacking in conceit and yet full of confidence that gained my admiration.
My first recollection of doing anything out of the ordinary on the athletic field was during the inter-class meet. I was not eligible to compete, but secured permission anyway, and much to my surprise won the javelin throw. It wasn't such a mighty feat, but it gave me confidence that perhaps I could do something in that activity. That year I was not eligible to participate in inter-scholastic competition, and I undoubtedly would have received a serious setback if I had been. But I continued to work with the prospect ahead of me of being better. I begged a javelin from Coach Simmons and much to my mother's and my neighbor's annoyance spaded the next-door lot time and again with my many thousands of jabs and thrusts during the ensuing three years. I never got good, or highly superior in this activity, but did at the climax of my high-school year win the Utah State Track and Field meet Javelin throw in 1926. 158 feet 8 inches, State Record 169 feet.
|Salt Lake City Home, 400 S. 200 E. Earnest's room upper right.|
It was during this same year, 1926, that I was the happiest as a student. Nothing was amiss, except the "Bull-dog and Badger" fight that I conducted on Senior Day. It wasn't my fault if the dignified penmanship teacher Oscar Garrett was chosen to pull the badger. But he was, and I was immediately brought before a tribunal of the school council to make an apology to brother Oscar amid the grins and winks of the Council and Principal. I had plenty to keep me busy and it of course was profitable in experience and development. It was indeed a pleasant day in my life when at award day I was honored with the McAdam Medal for all-round proficiency, both athletically and scholastically. And it was during this same award that I was chosen first alternate to my pal Arthur Hasler for the Mangum Scholarship to the Brigham Young University. During that exercise I was presented with eight awards for services rendered. This of itself shows the interest I manifested in school activities. But my day of disappointment had already dawned. Mother, because of various reasons, moved to Salt Lake. I was the only child at home and so it wasn't such a burden for her to pick up and leave. We lived quite peacefully in Salt Lake for the summer, and I commenced work at the University of Utah in the fall. I mentioned above that I had a lot of bumps to wear off. They weren't conceit bumps, but confidence bumps, and they got quite a jolting immediately. I found that I wasn't associating with just a high school group, but a group of up and coming people who had fought their way, mostly quite successfully through the high school grades, and I was just one of them. I was not pushed nor encouraged to do anything. "If you want to do it, alright we are here to help you, and if you don't want to, you don't have to," was the attitude demonstrated by the professors there. The social life was different there also. I wasn't used to the emphasis of social sex life as it existed on the campus. Girls didn't mean any more to me in high school than did my boy friends, and usually no so much, but here sororities, and fraternities constantly fostered the association of the opposite sex. In athletics I found I was working with a superior group of men, and found I had a very small chance of doing anything very outstanding. In debating a new system of try-out was in vogue. The romance was gone from it, and the thrill of competition. It was an activity enjoyed by those of the legal professions mostly, and they did not encourage anyone more than they had to. Corruption of mind and body seemed to be the best recommendation to this body of men, proudly led by an atheistic professor, who later was dismissed because of his communistic tendencies, and for immoral approaches to some of the lady pupils there. So I failed to interest myself in debate. The music and drama were cut out for those socializing in those arts and anyone else just didn't have the opportunity presented to them.
I lost my interest, and with it my desire for college. I shortly applied for a mission and left the following winter.
I filled my mission for three years, and returned home. I began to work in grocery stores. I lost my head over a girl [Christie Lund Coles who later became one of Utah's most eminent female poets and writers], and became engaged to her. But shortly I commenced to look toward the future and what it held for me with the wages I was getting. I requested my fiancee to postpone our wedding until a later date, which she refused to do. Whereupon, I broke my engagement to her and enrolled once more at the University. This time my headway was better. I was becoming quite apt at grasping the trend of teaching technique. I was headed for a teaching career in the field of social psychology. My marks were considerably above the average, and I studied industrially. But along came my religion with its signposts and warnings, and I discovered if I were to become as proficient in the field of psychology as I should I would have to drop a lot of my religious precepts. It was here first, that I began to lose my faith in school once more. My interest lagged in research and in study, and when I was but fifteen hours from graduating, with the prospects of a fellowship at the University for my Master's Degree, and a follow-up research fellowship at the University of Chicago for my Doctor's Degree, I quit, and I have never felt sorry for my decision. It was useless for me to try to make something of myself that I wasn't going to like, particularly when that something meant my forsaking the principles that I had harbored for the most part of my life, and which I had preached for three years. I knew the Gospel was correct and therefore this other was not always correct, but above all it did not satisfy the inner longing of the deeper joy.
The fact that I had quit school was no indication that I had ceased to be a scholar for my research into the particular fields that interested me, particularly the history of man and the archaeological evidences particularly in the Americas kept my interest for a considerable period. It was stimulated by my interest and desire to compose or write a book upon the History of Man, his movements and influences throughout the world. I advanced sufficiently to finish the first four chapters of this book when I was transferred with the Sewell's United Stores to Reno, Nevada, where due to excessive hours in the store I was forced to give up my labors, and I haven't found the opportunity to finish them.
|Whitehead Family, c 1917 - Back: LeRoy , Erastus Claude , Rolland Nixon. Front: Josephine (mother), Jessco W. Smith, Fern W. Hall, Earnest Ludwig behind Jessco.|
My childhood memories are mixed with the joy of adventure and fear of the law. I am not confessing to any misdemeanor on my part, only as circumstances demanded such. I am recounting a few of those most vivid times when I was "put on the spot" by the law. I remember one instance very plainly. We boys were playing around the theater in St. George. Attached thereto was a candy shop owned by an old widow lady. Like all boys our noses got the best of us, and we began to pry around to see what was what. One of the lads found a crack in the door and the latch that held it shut, but couldn't find the way to get the latch open. I remembered that we had button hooks in our store next door, and proceeded to get one. My friend had no trouble opening the door with it, but I didn't have the chance to witness the accomplishment for Mother called me to fill some errand for her. But the next day Uncle Charley Worthen, the sheriff, was at the store to see me. I knew nothing concerning the end of our adventure, but he told me that there had been five dollars worth of candy taken out of the store, and he wanted to know who took it. I explained, in a boy-like way, that I had nothing to do with it except to get the button hook, and refused to divulge the names of those who were with me. As a result he told me I would have to pay for the candy. Mother consented to pay the bill if I would apologize to the widow. But I don't think the five dollars hurt mother half so much as the apology did me. I did it, though, and the scene was closed.
On another occasion I ran smack into the law, quite harmlessly. We were about eleven years old, three of us, and had gone with our parents to the public dance in the old school auditorium. It wasn't permissible for us to go on the dance floor, but we were admitted to the balcony to look on. We didn't realize that it was after curfew, for the music had drowned that out, but shortly here came Uncle Charley again. (By this time I was quite an experienced outlaw to him). He informed us that it was time we were in bed and told us to go home. He was kind about it, so I guess we didn't take quite as much stock in his seriousness as we should have. At any rate we left the auditorium and sauntered up the street until we came to a friend's house at the Dixie Hotel where a party was in progress. We stopped and talked to him a while when one of the boys, glancing around, saw Uncle Charley coming after us. I immediately commenced to walk up the street and finally almost reached the shadows across the street when he spied me and called me back. "You boys follow me," he said. We did and he took us to the city jail, opened it and ordered us in. He locked the door and went around to the back and started to moan and groan. We knew that voice among millions so it didn't scare us much, but we did a lot of boisterous yelling at the one making the noise. In about an hour he came back and asked us if we had enough, and we in chorus said, "No! We are having lots of fun." He turned on his heel and said, "Okay, you can stay here till morning then." We soon decided that we had better be getting home, so we said that we would like to go home and he dismissed us. It was about midnight when we got home, and our parents were there before us. Questions were asked and answered promptly, but when it was found that we had been in jail, well, enough said is enough. Mother did the rest of the talking that night.
That was about the end of my criminal career in St. George. I have many memories of the old river, and its quicksand and fine rolling dunes; of the hills covered with Indian lore and arrow heads. I remember the window I broke, and the distress I felt when I heard that mother gave my Aunt Esther the three dollars that grandmother had given me at birth for being named Ludwig after her father, for the payment of the glass. It was bad enough, I thought, to have the name Ludwig with three dollars attached to it, but the Ludwig without the three dollars was just too bad to enjoy. In fact I hid that name from the public as best I could until I was twenty seven years old, and in Australia, where I was doing missionary work, before I unfolded it to my friends.
I remember the first and last cigarette (they being one and the same cigarette) very vividly, and how I decided that it wasn't worth the price. How I turned to "Indian tobacco," cedar bark, lady cigars, and coffee, to smoke afterward each in turn was discovered by my mother and the hero was immediately punished for his attempt at manly things.
I remember my childhood very vividly. I recall how I was chore boy, and follow-up man to my older brothers. I was the button on the end of the snake's tail in everything. I had no one to push the jobs of carrying in the wood, raking the yard, pulling weeds, running errands and WEARING OUT MY OLDER BROTHERS' OUTGROWN CLOTHES, and as a result I carried them for a much longer period than any of my predecessors. I recall how I hated to take old Daisy, our cow, to let her browse along the green banks of the ditches in the neighborhood, particularly in the spring when mating time came along, and she would go on her particular rampage all over St. George, first up one street with me after her, then another, until finally we both came home quite meekly, she without any milk to milch, and me without any strength to do it if she had. I find it today a much simpler and cheaper labor to pull the cap off a milk bottle, than to harness old Daisy at milking time. She learned quite early in my life that she could buffalo me and promptly and often carried out her new power by sending me through a hole in the fence, head first, just a stride in front of her. She wouldn't have hurt me if she had caught up, and I knew it too, but that didn't alter the situation any. We were great pals most of the time, and combined with the pig I rode on some of the time, I didn't lack for "friends."
As an older youngster I remember the thrill I had of seeing my first train at Lund, Utah, and of the first glimpse I had of the Nevada State line at Panaca, and of riding for a week on a chassis to Modena with my cousin. I remember on that trip of hearing my first coyote just at dusk when I was walking ahead of the wagon perhaps a hundred yards, and how secure and safe I felt when I had run the intervening distance back to it. These, however, were merely vivid periods of my youth which were to come to an end, for when I was fourteen we moved from St. George to Provo, Utah. Here I had few experiences that I remember with any great force. My life there fell into the regular city routine, and of course I was over the age of high impression. At this period I should have been falling in love and out again methodically, but I didn't. Girls meant a great deal less to me than did my boy friends. As a result I eliminated from my life those highly impressionable joys and sorrows that follow during a boy's pubertal adjustment.
My romance didn't amount to a "hill of beans" until I was home from my mission. Oh yes, I had a flare here and there, the longest lasting nearly six weeks, but I didn't take the job of mate-finding seriously until I was twenty-eight, and then, oh how I fell, and rose and fell again, as rhythmically as a clock. I learned during my mission that it was safest and religiously correct to marry and bring offspring into the world honorably. I proceeded to do just that when I arrived home, or at least the preliminary parts of such, and promptly fell for the first girl that gave me a tumble. This lasted long enough for me to find that I knew that life was not completely prepared for the vicissitudes that I knew would arise later, so I made up my mind that to continue with my college educations was the only thing to do, and that if my fiance wanted me enough she would wait for that time to elapse for our own good. But she didn't and the engagement was broken. I didn't fall for another girl for a year, when I met my first wife Ella Lucille Ipson, whom I loved from the start and married her on the seventh of September, 1933 in the Salt Lake Temple, Brother Joseph Christensen officiating. Upon her death in 1934, I met with serious intentions Verda Marie Cooke, another lovely soul whom I had met on several occasions previously during church services, and to whom I had never been introduced, and married her July 23, 1935 in the Logan Temple, Brother William A. Noble officiating, and my romance has continued ever since.
My church to me has been the most tremendous influence that I could conceive in bringing to me joy and satisfying the longing within me. I attained an early testimony of the truthfulness of the church long before miracles came my way. Our family was a usual type, following the dictates of the authorities and obeying the laws methodically, and as is customary with that class, miracles or signs are not needed to bring forth a faithful pursuit to its teachings. I gained my testimony through ardent labor and constant contact with fine and noble people. One of these people, in particular as a youth impressed me. His name was John W. McAdam of the Provo Sixth Ward. He was a first counselor to the bishop at that time, but since has been found worthy to preside over the ward. He was my Priesthood Advisor and Leader. His words and the manner of his living spelled confidence to me and I responded to it. It was under his influence that I first felt the desire to know my religion thoroughly, and so when occasion presented itself in the Provo Seminary, I filled that desire for knowledge. Here another fine seminary teacher came to my aid, and it was through his fine tutelage that I first gained my desire to fill a mission. From the first year I met Brother Washburn in 1923 until I left for my mission in 1928, I was constantly reading and rehearsing my scriptures in preparation for that event. I filled this preparation for two prime reasons, first, that I wanted to be sure that I knew and wanted to teach Mormonism to the world, and second, if it was true, I didn't want to go unprepared, forcing myself to use vital moments on that mission to educate myself on what I should have learned before.
I was advanced to the roles of priesthood as age justified, being ordained a deacon at the age of fourteen by John W. McAdam, a teacher at the age of fifteen by John W. McAdam in the Provo Sixth Ward, a priest by my Uncle James W. Nixon on January 6, 1924; an elder by Harold [Herald?] R. Clark, January 17, 1926; and a seventy by Rulon S. Wells.
After I had finished my first year's work at the University of Utah, being disgusted with the conditions I found there socially and religiously, I requested Bishop Walter E. Eliason of the 9th Ward in Salt Lake, to send me on a mission. I felt that for two reasons this was the best time for me to leave. I have always throughout my life prayed and requested honorable appointments in humility seeking as I did so help and inspiration from on high. In the first place, it was the time ripe for me to leave the university, it being the close of my first year's work at the school, and at this time because of seasonable employment so I had sufficient funds to carry me pretty well through my work -- or so I thought until most of it was taken in transportation to Australia. I wanted to go to my brother's field of labor in Canada, or as alternative, England or some English-speaking country. But when the call came to go to Australia, the last place I ever dreamed of going to, I was dazed, and a little disappointed, but I accepted the call, and commenced to contemplate the ensuing work before me.
|Earnest Whitehead (center), New South Wales, c 1930|
My missionary services to the church were the most effective means to giving me an increased and permanent testimony that I have as yet experienced. My actual contact with the world of religion both from within the church as well as without, convinced me that there was but one true strain of truth and that anything that I did not sincerely believe was the right thing to do, since realizing that many of labors and worries were futile. As a result, I made many friends and some enemies, most of the latter being within my own group of brethren. This situation, I believe, is sincerely the reward of diligence and energy wherever it is found. I do not condemn the brethren for as I have admitted, many of the mistakes I made were made in sincerity, but foolishly and without cause.
My first labor in Australia, upon arriving, was in construction of the new Bankston church, located in a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales. The mission at this time -- January of 1928, was under the Presidency of Charles H. Hyde and his wife. New South Wales was presided over as a district by Elder Wendall L. Cotterell. I worked with my companions on the church for two months when I was called by President Hyde to transfer to Launceston, Tasmania, where I was to preside over that branch. In the meantime, President Cotterell had been released and President Henderson followed him. I arrived in Launceston via boat 10 April 1928. I labored hard here, fighting against inexperience and laxness on the part of the branch. I record here that I was thoroughly unprepared for the assignment, never having had any previous experience in presiding, and as a result, I just did the best that I knew how. Headquarters was twenty-five hundred miles away, and that was a long way, especially by boat, so little contact was had from them. Meeting attendance began to pick up, but there was much discord mostly revolving around the romance of my predecessor and a sister in the branch. It is a custom in the Australian Mission that romance is taboo, and not in keeping with the calling of the elders. However, there are some who wish to break this ruling, and as a result, there is much confusion and bitterness created. I began to find that worries were just a little too much for me, and I began to seek the Lord's guidance. I sought just a little too much, I found out, for I began to seek for a sign as to my worthiness before Him. I knew not that signs were given as a result of testimony, rather than to increase testimony, but I prayed, and I found out that the above was true. This particular evening I was strongly impressed to ask again, which I did very earnestly, and had finished my prayer and had just laid down in bed when an unseen power overcame me gripping me about the chest and abdomen with thongs so powerful that I could not cry out nor breathe. I felt that I must die unless the Lord came to my help, and I prayed as I have never prayed before nor since for a forgiveness of my deed, and a release from the bonds that were slowly but surely snuffing out my life. Upon my request being uttered, the power left me as suddenly as it had come. I laid there thanking God for his lesson, and striving to gain the strength that I had lost. I recognized very surely that I had been asking for something that I had no right to have except it was necessary. It was with joy that I contemplate the mercy of the Lord in teaching me this lesson early in life, for I have not since sought a sign, and I believe that the lesson is sufficient to last me through my life.
I labored in Launceston for two months when on 13 June 1928 I received my appointment as District President of the Tasmanian District, comprising three organized branches, namely, Hobart, headquarters for the district, Launceston, and Glen Huon. The Hobart Branch conducted services at the Glen Huon Branch. We had to travel sixteen miles each week to get there, most of it by foot, and through the most consistent rain storms I have ever seen. Tasmania was a veritable lake most of the time, because of the excessive rainfall during both seasons. I record here Tuesday, 19 June 1928, in my diary, the following concerning my trip to Hobart from Launceston. "... was up at 5:30 this morning and went on the coldest ride I have ever experienced to Epping. It just took three and a half hours to go twenty-eight miles..." I arrived in Hobart at 5:45 that evening having covered a distance of slightly over a hundred miles. I relieved President Halgren as presiding officer in Tasmania on the following day and immediately commenced my labors there.
Although I had previously officiated at Launceston, I found that my new duties were greater than my experience. I do not say that my intelligence was short, for had I known what I know now, the trivial upheavals and indiscretions of both myself and others would not have worried me. I have previously recorded that I took my work seriously and worked hard. I did that here and when I found that several of my brethren consistently broke the Word of Wisdom, and refused to tract as assigned, and in outward ways demonstrated to me that I did not have their support, I almost became a nervous wreck. Combined with the additional labor of the district, and the worry over my apparent inability to handle my brethren judiciously, two of them were suddenly taken seriously ill. Both of these brethren I record here had taken offense to me upon arrival in Hobart, and had refused any kind of support at all. One was taken suddenly ill with appendicitis, and the other two days later fell and broke his ankle in a compound fracture. This left just two of us there to care for the two branches, Glen Huon, and Hobart. Upon alternate weeks Elder Rushton and I would travel to Glen Huon and hold meetings all day, leaving the next morning for Hobart to tract. This was done for a period of five and a half weeks or until the two brethren were able to take their share of the work.
|Elder Whitehead and George Rushton|
Shortly after the recovery of these men, conditions grew worse with us. I was a nervous wreck, and it came to such a point that I refused to go outside at night alone for fear of the dark. It was the greatest good that could have come to me then when President Hyde released me and sent me to South Australia to labor for a while. Here in Adelaide I loved the work as much good harmony, and the saints too, and for six months I was the happiest mortal alive, it seemed to me. But my period of official vacationing was at an end. President Charles H. Hyde, because of illness was released to go home and President Clarence H. Tingey, and Sister Hazel Burton Tingey replaced them. It is much to President Hyde's record that he stayed and served his cause until he could not do more before he notified the authorities in Zion of his condition.
As soon as President Tingey had a chance to look about him, he began to mix up the missionaries as they had never been mixed before. All the brethren were sent away from the Sydney Headquarters, and seven of us were drawn back there. While President Tingey was in Adelaide we had a very serious talk concerning my reputation throughout the mission, and the calling he had sought me out for Branch President of the Bankston Branch. I hid nothing of importance from him concerning my previous labors, particularly in Tasmania, and come to the conclusion that I had been wronged seriously by the decision that had been given concerning my release; and he further stated that as proof of that it had become necessary to draw six brethren back into Sydney for the purpose of supervising their activities during the remainder of their mission, and three of those six were those laboring with me in Tasmania along with Elder Rushton. Two were finally released with releases, but not honorable, and one was dishonorably released. I speak not of this for the purpose of elevating myself as being the one in the right, for I know that always I was not, but it, on the contrary, made me rather sick-hearted to know that perhaps I had done something to them that had caused them to lose the spirit of their calling.
So I went back to Sydney, and Bankston. It was like coming home to see these good people again. I had been gone a little over a year, and during that time had learned a great number of important things concerning the discipline of my own soul and the discipline of others. I had been privileged to witness the hand of the Lord made manifest in my own behalf in Launceston and in behalf of another in Adelaide. I wish to recount this experience for it was implanted firmly on my mind as being an extraordinary occurrence. One evening, as usual on Fridays, we were holding our street meeting in Adelaide, and had just finished when Sister Selby and her daughter came up to us and asked if two of us could go out to her daughter's home to talk to her daughter's husband who was in a serious mental condition. He was threatening to commit suicide, and it had unnerved the two people to such an extent that they came to us for help. Upon entering the house we were met with a series of groans and curses. We were introduced into his bedroom where we saw him lying on a cot, crying bitterly and apparently in terrible mental agony. His wife aroused him from his condition sufficiently to introduce us to him as Elders of the Church who had come to help him. He looked at us through tear dimmed eyes and sobbing said: "Gentlemen, I am glad to see you, for if you can help me rid myself of this terrible condition, I shall thank you all the days of my life. I don't know what it is, but for the last twenty four hours I have lain here tortured beyond my endurance with the panorama of my wickedness. It is as a moving picture always before my face, and if I can't overcome it, there is only one thing left to do kill myself, for I can't go on any longer this way." Elder Johnson, a big six foot three giant stood there transfixed. We had never witnessed anything quite like this before. I wasn't frightened by the situation, but he seemed to be, and never said a word. I went up to the man and sat down beside him, and taking his hand said: "Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?" He said, "I would like to, but what shall I do?" I replied: "Get down on your knees and pray to God for forgiveness of your sins, and mean what you say, for without faith in Him, your words will not be of much value." We proceeded to administer to him, and during the sealing of the anointing, I was moved to say: "... I PROMISE YOU THAT ACCORDING TO YOUR HUMILITY AND FAITH IN GOD, THAT IF YOU WILL REPENT OF YOUR DEEDS, WITHIN TWENTY FOUR HOURS YOU SHALL BE FREED FROM THIS AFFLICTION OF THE MIND, AND GO ABOUT YOUR WORK NORMAL AND HEALTHY IN BOTH MIND AND BODY." The following night, Elder Johnson and I visited the home again. But this time instead of being greeted with sobs and curses, he met us at the door with a broad grin on his face and an outstretched hand. Upon entering, he immediately asked me: "Do you remember what you promised me last night?" I replied, "Yes, I remember, and I also know that it has been fulfilled." He said to me, "As soon as you left last night I prayed, and I prayed earnestly for both a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a forgiveness of my wickedness. I continued to cry unto him for a long period of time until I fell to sleep, but when I woke this morning it was as bad as ever. I prayed again, and continued to pray when suddenly as quickly as it had come upon me, it left me. I felt so well and happy that I arose and went out into the garden to do my work. I am ready for baptism into your church and also my family. Will you do it today?" I replied, "No not today, for we do not baptize that way in our church. We recommend that the convert be capable of standing upon his feet, and knowing the Gospel, as well as just believing it. I am going to give to you literature to read, and when at the end of a period of time, you feel strong enough to live it, and have the same desire within you as you have now, I shall be pleased to come to your home and do it for you." I procured the literature and gave it to him with instructions to read it carefully, and prayerfully. The next day he was leaving to go to the lighthouse island, Althorp, off the coast of Australia where he was a keeper. I have never heard of him nor his family since, for I was transferred shortly away from Adelaide to New South Wales, whether he continued in his search for truth, and was finally converted, successfully, I do not know, but it increased my testimony to know that the Lord had answered our administration and his prayers that night.
On another occasion while I was still in Adelaide we were invited to visit a sister who had been in the church for some time and all of her children, except one, who had married a staunch and bitter catholic. He had refused constantly to permit her and her son to mingle with the Saints for years, but once upon this occasion he had relented his feelings and requested them that they bring us to see him. When we went into the house we found him lying on a couch. He nodded his head and indicated to us to sit down. This we did, and he proceeded to unfold his story to us. He had been bitter toward the Mormons ever since he was a child. He was a staunch Catholic and naturally had been taught to dislike our principles. But a week before he had been riding his motor bike when for no cause at all, it fell from under him and when he awoke he was surrounded by a throng of people. He remembers smelling the odor of leather, and of discovering that it was his shoe lying alongside his head, with his foot in it. It was determined that his leg was completely broken off except a single muscle, just below the knee. Naturally the doctors predicted that he would have to have his leg amputated. This decision was given just previously, and it was in accordance with his desires to save his leg that he had asked to have us come over.
|Elder Whitehead (center) with two converts|
We conversed with him for a considerable amount of time, more to gain his confidence than anything, and discovered that he was quite a humble man over the situation, and was full of faith that the administration that we presented would be of value in his behalf. We did administer to him, and in the promises made to him was that of: "You shall live to walk normally again, and to see your testimony flourish as to the truthfulness of the Church of Christ." All of this was fulfilled literally. When the doctor next examined him, he requested that the doctor attempt a setting of his leg, and to do everything possible before it was finally amputated, if it was found necessary to do so. The doctor admitted the foolhardiness of the attempt but said he would try. The summary of the situation was this: within three months from that time, Tom was walking normally about the streets of Adelaide, and he and his son were baptized into the Church. Although later because of a mishap, his leg was finally taken off, yet the promises that we had given him that night did come to a truthful end in his behalf. He bears a strong testimony of the power of God resting within the Church, and is living a wholesome life within the Church today.
I record here another experience that, although it did not happen to me directly, yet did happen to the brethren a very short time after I left Adelaide. Elder Manwaring had been released from the South Australian District, and Elder Palmer had taken his place. Elder Palmer was a highly sensitive personality, and very susceptible to the emotional part of the service. In fact, it was due to his highly susceptible nature that he finally was released honorably from his work to recuperate at home. The following is of record in the headquarters at Sydney, Australia.
(There were laboring in the South Australian District at this time the following Elders: Elmer S. Palmer, President; Alva E. Jensen, Therice H. Duncan, Deane A. Johnson, and Joseph L. Durfey.)
|Whitehead, Larsen, Pres. Tingey, Manwaring, Harold Francis, Rawlins , c 1931|
"On the night of July 21st at the conclusion of Sunday services a very pronounced manifestation of the power of the Priesthood was given. As the day's activities had continued there had been felt among the brethren an unusual influence; one which was not conducive to a full enjoyment of the Spirit of the Lord. At the conclusion of the evening meeting, District President Palmer called upon Elder Durfey to offer the closing prayer. As he arose in response to that request he was seized with a power which so weakened his system that he could scarcely stand at the pulpit. With considerable efforts he pronounced a brief benediction, at the close of which he immediately left the hall in which the meeting was held and went out on the sidewalk, hoping that he could free himself from the disturbing feelings. As he walked back and forth in a narrow passageway at the side of the church, rather than obtaining relief, the darkness seemed to become more dense. He felt certain that he was possessed of an evil spirit and struggled desperately to call upon the Lord to relieve him of it. He was conscious of the presence of his father, who had been dead some years, walking at his side vainly attempting to assist him in his determination to gain control. Failing in his effort, Elder Durfey entered the home at the rear of the church building. Going upstairs to his bedroom he knelt down and attempted to offer a prayer. After exercising all the power in his being he concluded a few words. Leaving the upper room he again went outside and was leaning against the rear wall when Elder Johnson found him. After explaining his condition to him Elder Johnson assured him that he too had felt this same influence, though apparently to a lesser degree. As they talked together the tension became even more severe. Entering the house they met Elders Palmer, Duncan and Jensen and there discussed with them the unusual conditions, which were now felt by all of them.
In describing developments as they then followed Elder Johnson writes: "We, having previously planned a trip to Gawler to do missionary work, were to call a taxi. Elders Durfey, Palmer, and myself were left in the room by ourselves. There was at this time a loud, dull toned whistle blowing at the freight yards about a mile away, which added to the dismal feeling. During this time the evil power was gaining a stronger hold on our bodies. It became so strong that my whole body was cold and pale and as I looked into Elder Durfey's face I saw that it was pale and twitching, and that he held no power over his chin. Elder Palmer, in seeing the condition said, "Something is going to happen." We all felt the same way and had done so for a week, feeling the condition gradually growing. Elder Palmer then said, turning to Elder Durfey, "Come, we will administer to you, and we went into the room." I was so weak I could hardly stand up, and as I was anointing his head with the holy oil, there was some power trying to hold me from doing it. I stood cold and shaking from head to foot for about a half minute, but at last there was a little new life entered into my body that seemed to loosen my tongue and lips so that I could speak, but my words were broken, and I was so weak I could scarcely finish. All the time I was anointing his head with the oil, my hands seemed to be knocked from off his head and the room was black to my mortal eye. The cold, dull feeling seemed to paralyze my body. It became almost stiff. Elder Palmer and I then, with much courage placed our hands upon his head to seal the anointing and again the bones and nerves of my body began to tremble, and the cold, stunning feeling went through my system as if it were being carried by a high voltage electricity. As Elder Palmer rebuked the evil spirit the first time I felt it leave the head of Elder Durfey, go up through my arms and out of my body; at the same time I heard the door of the room give a dull rumble. The sealing went on for nearly ten minutes, during which three distinct times the evil spirits were rebuked, and three times I felt the terrible overwhelming power let loose of my body, and three times I heard the dull rumble of the door, and I became calm and very quiet, yet I was very weak. Just as he said "Amen" to the sealing of the administration, the dull sound of the whistle stopped.
"We went into the other room, all of us being greatly relieved of that evil influence. We found that the other Elders had returned from calling the taxi. They had entered the house just at the close of the administration, and we explained to them what had taken place while they were gone. At this time while all were seated in the room, Elder Durfey, who had been in the mission field four weeks, arose and said: "For a month I have been asking the Lord in prayer that he would use me as an instrument through whom the power of the Priesthood might be manifest. I know that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
"Elder Johnson continues. "We were all very weak and continued to feel as though we were in some danger, so we decided to have a circle prayer. As we knelt with our arms about each other's shoulders, Elder Palmer offered the most heart touching prayer I have ever listened to in all my life. Never in all my existence did I feel so humble and so in need of God's blessings as I did at that time. Our heads were together in circle prayer and tears were dropping from my eyes, but all the time my heart was centered on God's laws and commandments. Never was I more desirous in knowing what to do as I was then, but strong in the assurance that we knew God would free us from all power of evil. "I was in hope that Elder Palmer would tell us not to go to Gawler. I feared something would happen to us while on our journey; something that might result in the death of one of us. But trusting in the divine care of God we bade good bye to Elders Palmer and Duncan. One hour later found us safely at our destination. I know that it was only by the power of God that our lives were unharmed. I bear testimony to all that may read this that it is true. I know that God hears and answers prayers, and acknowledges the administrations that are performed by the power of the Priesthood; that the divine Priesthood holds the power to rebuke evil spirits. I seal this testimony to all that read it in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour."
(Upon request of President Tingey, of the Mission each of the five brethren, without consulting the others gave a detailed version in writing of all that had been seen and heard and felt and with striking accuracy recounted the circumstances as above stated. A most powerful testimony was contained in each record of the definite knowledge received at that time; that they were contending with evil spirits that were attempting to gain possession of their bodies, and that through the power of the Priesthood of God, they were rebuked and commanded to leave.)
There are other episodes of importance that I could recount here but space prohibits further detail, as far as the Adelaide labor is concerned.
As I have remarked before, I was transferred back to Sydney, New South Wales to labor, and here continued to be blessed with testimony making experiences. Particularly impressed upon my mind today is the testimony I gained through watching the Lord through work bring his people to a unity of the faith. In the Bankston Branch, where I first labored on the Church when I arrived in Australia. I was set apart as Branch President, and given an Elder to work with me who formerly had caused considerable trouble to the Mission Headquarters because of his non cooperation in maintaining discipline throughout the mission. He saw no harm in taking a young lady places although the mission rule said it was taboo. All he did, I credit him, he did openly and without offense in himself to any rule or order. Notwithstanding his own personal views on the matter, he yet was disobeying the authority above him. Elder B... and I made our rounds of the members there in Bankston, and found in the first eight that we visited a profound bitterness existing. We were first greeted with smiles then an outpouring of sorrow and tears, as each in turn told their story, of persecution by others in the branch.
It didn't take us long to discover that a very nasty situation existed here that would take a long time to clear up. We discovered by putting the pieces together that a brother and sister in the branch had been divorced. Both of them in an attempt at being right gathered about himself all those in the branch who sympathized with him or her, and with his recruits had commenced a very disastrous war upon the other group; one group was supporting the wife and the other the husband. The remarks of the brethren were most discouraging to us, and I felt that I was not capable of doing the job as it should be done. We went, therefore, to the Lord in humble prayer that He would give us light in the path we should follow to bring these people to a unity of the faith, and good fellowship again. This He did! The church had been built now for over a year, but nothing had been done to the grounds to improve the looks of it, and being minded that way, I commenced a campaign among the people to get the lawn and flowers planted about it, and paths encircling it. We proved to the Saints that we were more eager than they were about it by putting in heavy labor ourselves. Personally I planted the flowers and lawn, and constructed the lattice work around the base of the church and a heavy one across the lawn separating the front and the back. It looked good when it was done, but the doing of it was the problem. How was it best to commence? Well, here's the story. First we called a mass meeting, and personally invited each of them to come. Without waiting for them to arise and make a remark, I boldly called upon them, forcing as I did so, either a yes or a no. I discovered that they were all in favor of it. Right in that meeting I appointed committees to work. The primary method of raising funds we gave the sisters, and by the way, these eight had been the ring leaders of the fight just previously. I gave them much credit that from that night until I left the mission there was not a word said about the trouble that had been causing so much distress. These sisters, in a month and a half period, collected and presented a bazaar that netted them forty five pounds (about two hundred and twenty five dollars), and above all, brought them into a unity that was solid enough for us to mold into a relief society later on.
Then we did a bold thing. It was within our powers there by persuasion to convince these two who had been the cause of the fracas to transfer to some other branch. Brother S... moved to Sydney, and Sister S... moved to Newcastle, and the battle was over. That branch grew and prospered like I have never seen one grow before. I hold my labors there in greatest of reverence.
It was not long after this experience that I was transferred to Sydney to assume the position of District President of the New South Wales District. And it was here that I had one of the finest of all my witnesses of the truthfulness of the Gospel. One day I was visiting with the Saints in one of the southern suburbs, and I called upon Sister Street, and her two daughters (twins) who although married lived on either side of their mother. I had hardly made myself known when she said "Come in Elder Whitehead, I have something important to talk to you about." I went in and she immediately told me this story. She had been visiting with one of her daughters with her other daughter about a week previous, and as she sat talking to her children, the girls record, the voice of her son in law, Carl Hueschkel, husband of another daughter, spoke out of her mouth saying, "I want you to have the baptism done for me for I can't go any further without it. Don't tell my wife, for she won't understand." This man had been dead for a little over a year, she told me, and asked me what I thought about it. I noticed there was something unusual about the situation and began to question her. Carl had never joined the Church, nor had his wife, although all the rest of Sister Street's family had been members for a long time. She was quite disinterested, and materially prejudiced about the Church. Carl had never taken any particular interest but had not been openly against it either. So I told Sister Street that the best thing she could do would be to compile his genealogical data and we should send his name in for baptism on the next boat. She was lacking in some important dates, so I inquired of her where I could obtain them and she said that his wife, Mrs. Heuschkel could give them to me, but she reminded me of what Carl had said about his wife not understanding. I told her that on my way back to Sydney I would drop in and see her about it.
When I knocked at the door, it was opened by a rather fine looking woman, but with little life in her face. She looked tired and sick. I then introduced myself to her and told her that I had come to make myself acquainted. I was quite surprised to have her invite me in with the statement: "Please come in, I want to talk to you." I followed her into the house and sat down in a chair she offered me. She commenced to tell me her story. Apparently since the death of her husband, whom she had loved dearly, she had been suffering with endurable oppression, spiritually. She said: "Ever since Carl died it seems that I have had a thousand pound weight on my shoulders which I cannot throw off. I can't be happy, and I can't take any interest in life. Tell me what to do?" I listened patiently and then without any hesitation nor offence to her asked some questions which gave me the information that I had come to get. I did my best to cheer her, but it had little apparent effect. I left and went home and compiled the information on a baptism and endowment sheet and on Dec. 23, 1930 sent it via the S.S. Sonoma to Utah and the temple. Six days later I visited Mrs. Heuschkel again. This time she met me at the door with a big smile on her face and a cheery welcome. I remarked to her how happy she looked and inquired as to the reason for it. She told me "Do you know Elder, six days ago almost as suddenly as it came upon me, the oppression and despondency left me." A thrill started to play up and down my back. "Instead of a feeling like I formerly had, I now feel nothing but relief and happiness." I said to her: "Mrs. Heuschkel, did you know that on Dec. 23rd, exactly six days ago, the information necessary for Carl's baptism had been sent on the Sonoma for baptism in the temple in Utah?" She told me that she did not. I continued, "Mrs. Heuschkel, the spirit of interpretation is upon me, and I am going to give you the answer to your problems of the past year. Since your husband died he has found the truth in the Spirit world. He has discovered that he had missed the truth here, and had not been baptized. He found out also that he could not be baptized there for it was an earthly ordinance. He has been trying to communicate with you, but found you unresponsive to his attempts. Rather than communicating with you, his attempts have merely caused you oppression and sorrow, and confused rather than enlightened you. He found a willing vessel to give his message in your mother, and he delivered it to her. I knew about this before I came to see you, in fact it was because of that I came. Your mother gave me as much as she could, but I lacked some dates to make it complete, and I had come here to you to get them." I told her the experience her mother had, and said, "Now that Carl knows that his work is insured, he hasn't found it necessary to communicate with you, and as a result your life has come back to normal once more."
Upon hearing the testimony that I bore of the work, she began to cry, and said, "Elder Whitehead, if what you have said is true, you have done me a great favor, and if I continue to feel as I feel now, when you get the word back from Salt Lake that Carl has been baptized, you may baptize me and my two children."
I left her with the parting injunction to be prayerful and ask, believing that the Lord would give it to her. In due time I received word from Brother Joseph Christensen, of the Salt Lake Temple that the work had been done for Carl. Mrs. Heuschkel applied for baptism, and I had the pleasure before leaving for home of doing the work for them.
Other vital and interesting experiences were my lot while I yet did my work in the Mission. My time was taken up pretty much with presiding over the district, and editing the Austral Star, the mission newspaper that I was instrumental in starting. This I edited for a year or until I was released in 1930.
After my return home, I secured employment at the Sewell's United Stores (grocery), where I worked intermittently until 1933. Here I worked as a manager until 1931, when I decided to continue my college education. In the meantime I had met and become engaged to a fine girl, but when I made up my mind to continue my education I was given the choice of college or her, and not in bitterness, but in wisdom, I felt that I should continue my education. Our engagement was promptly dissolved. I worked my way in part time employment at the Sewell's stores after school, thus providing sufficiently for my schooling. My history of schooling as recorded above is quite complete and needs no further elaboration here.
|Ella Lucile Ipson Whitehead c. 1933|
After my marriage to Ella Lucille Ipson, we took up our residence in Winnemucca, Nevada. It wasn't such a glamorous place to spend one's honeymoon, but she was a reasonable girl and we got along splendidly, until I decided that if I could make money for someone else, I could make it for myself, without the irritation and constant fear of being relieved of my position. So early in January 1933, I began to build my first place of business at Coney Island, between Sparks and Reno, Nevada. Upon 15 March 1933, I opened for business at that place. All went well for us, and we prospered in our stand. I only had forty dollars when I left Winnemucca, and I paid out of that thirty two for a car payment upon arriving in Reno, leaving just eight dollars. It is to my record of hard labor that the years have continued to mount in gathering about us the pleasantries of life, and to the blessings of my Father, who has poured out upon me and mine, the choicest of the land. I had confidence and a lot of energy and it wasn't long until another stand arose at the corner of fifteenth and B streets in Sparks. Due to the strategic position of this stand, however, the business of the Coney Island place was cut into badly, and after two months of nursing it along, I closed it. The market at fifteenth and B streets was a very successful one. My wife was expecting a child sometime in November, and this was July. It was not to my credit that I permitted the life of Nevada to gradually seep into my activities, but I did, and it gradually crowded out the Spirit of the Lord that had been so much with me for so long. It is odd when a circumstance like the one I mention comes into the life of anyone, for the person involved never realizes that there is anything wrong, and can't see the right. Even so was I. I had no quarrel with my Maker, I was always religious in spirit, and my testimony was just as strong as before, but I permitted the weakness of men to gradually eat out my better judgement, and I fell away from the active participation in the branch. I was running along calmly with a great blow just ahead of me.
|Fruit Stand at 15 B St., Sparks, Nevada.|
|"Whitey's" Market at 1510 B Street, Sparks, Nevada|
|Josephine N. Whitehead and baby, Jane Whitehead, Nov 1935|
|Josephine N. Whitehead and baby, Jane Whitehead, Nov 1935|
We concluded the ceremonies of services conducted at the Ross Burke Mortuary, and left the same night for Salt Lake, with the body. We arrived without any mishap the following morning. We conducted another funeral service in the Tenth Ward Chapel in Salt Lake and interred her body in the City Cemetery. I stayed in Salt Lake for two days more and then came back to Sparks.
During the viewing of the body just prior to the services, Bishop Ipson of Richfield asked to have a circle of prayer about the body. At the conclusion of the prayer Mrs. Ipson stood on her feet, and looking up into her husband's eyes, said: "Oh Dad, I have had a vision of heaven opened to me. I saw Lucille there, and oh, she was so happy. I also saw Earnest's folks standing there too." She was beautifully happy at that time, and I felt that perhaps it had come a turning point that Mother Ipson might from then on enjoy life a little more. She had grieved greatly for her daughter, and although she has the complete custody of her daughter's baby, yet it has not filled the gap left open by Lucille's passing.
Mother left with me for Sparks to take care of little Jane until she was old enough to be moved to Salt Lake. She stayed with me a month, when she left with Jane on the train for Salt Lake. A short time after this, Mother Ipson came to Sparks to visit with me and to check over Lucille's belongings. At this time she presented me a formal writ by which, if I signed, I would relinquish all earthly custody of the baby, both for her maintenance, and rearing. I felt that it was the only thing I could do in justice to this little woman. The baby would have a home that would not be possible if I took her, and besides I owed the mother something, for I had taken her daughter away. The best thing I could do would be to give her custody of this grandchild. We had named the baby previously in the Sparks Branch, Jane Ellacile. Jane was the name her mother wanted her named, and Ellacile was a contraction of Ella Lucille, her mother's nickname by which she was known generally by her friends. I was left alone after Mother's departure with the baby. I don't know now how I endured that winter. I had moved my furniture into a little partitioned room in the market, where I slept. The room was exactly eight by nine feet square. In it I had stored all the linen, household utensils, bedding, etc., and the piano, chesterfield set and radio. I slept on the chesterfield set. I had no particular place to go. I closed my shop at six-thirty, and had either to go to bed or freeze. I couldn't naturally keep warm for it was cold, and I had no heater in the place. I sought out the company of others, and it was during this yearning for companionship that I met and became engaged to Verda Marie Cooke. I have been tongue-lashed considerably, especially by those of my friends in Salt Lake for seeking such solace and companionship. But ever in history has it been the same, no one ever trying to place themselves in the same position as the accused to see what they would do under the same circumstances. I felt perfectly happy and satisfied with the manner in which events were passing. I knew that I had done nothing wrong nor she. So undauntedly we pushed our way forward seeking out those things that were good and that contributed to our happiness.
|Verda Marie Cooke Whitehead, c. 1932|
It was just a week after my return from Salt Lake that the greatest thing of my life happened. To most people it would seem that it was just another job in the Church, but to me it was a calling of such importance that I took it very seriously. I was appointed Branch Representative in the Sparks Branch, in Genealogical Services. It has been that work that has kept me through the past two years a faithful and energetic citizen in the Kingdom of God. Since that memorable occasion, I have been set apart as District Aid to the West Nevada District in Genealogical Service, being responsible for the organization and maintenance of Genealogical committees in Reno, Sparks, Carson, and Fallon Nevada, and Westwood, Portola, and Susanville California. The Sparks Committee was organized in 1934. The Reno Committee was organized nearly two months ago, and are prospering to date. Other committees are now in process of being organized, three of which I expect to see operating before the first of the year, 1937.
As I have recorded, I met and married Verda Marie Cooke. We had been married ten months when our first child was born. He was a bouncing youngster, a boy. He was born on 19 May 1936. We named him in the Sparks Branch, Armand Toyn. Today he is a healthy youngster, six and a half months old, weighing twenty-seven pounds.
|Armand Toyn Whitehead, Oct 1936|
Throughout my life I have been healthy. I have never contracted any of the serious diseases of man. As a child I fell heir to the measles, whooping cough, scarlet fever, chicken pox, none of them doing more than keeping me indoors during the prescribed quarantine. I thrive on hard work, and enjoy it more than I do the fickle pastimes of life generally. I live very simply on foods simple in structure and not much at a time. I live nicely and without discomfort on two meals a day, avoiding eating a breakfast, and when I sleep I sleep all over. My work here at the store, our home being in the same building, has always been attractive. I have always felt it a relaxation from the general routine of merchandising to do my own carpentry, plumbing, painting, etc. I am willing to confess that were it not for a natural aptitude in this respect, I would not have been able to build my business into what it is today, the lack of money being a natural barrier to it.
In 1937, several important events occurred which changed my life style and residence. Due to a slack time in business, I felt to do something in the matter of writing a book. My first desire was to research and compose a treatise on the History of the World, dating back to the Adamic Period of the World.
I suddenly found myself, however, distracted from the general subject and started on a research of the subject House of Israel both ancient and modern. Simultaneously, with this change of life, my wife and I received several manifestations which I herein describe.
Before leaving the subject of Genealogy, I would like to explain how God's purposes can sometimes be misconstrued by man. The Church, because of complaints, had cut down on the numbers of weekly meetings and as an important part of that cut back, instructions were received by me through President Nathan T. Hurst, that our weekly genealogical functions were to be discontinued as an organization committee, and shortly after that, the Sunday School was assigned the responsibility of teaching the genealogy lessons. The next stake genealogy meeting that was held which was attended by our stake president, I recommended that the committee be immediately disbanded. This was done at that meeting. The following night, I was awakened by a Heavenly Messenger dressed in white who stood by my bedside looking at me very intently. He said nothing and then disappeared. No message was delivered but the following night, I was again awakened by a second personage who was kneeling by my bedside in the attitude of prayer, and the message was given to me through the Spirit that what we had done in dismissing the committee was not according to the will of the Lord. Following this, the personage looked at me and disappeared the same as the night before. Now the following day, I repeated what had occurred to President Hurst. Our mistake was corrected by the re institution of the committee, and our meetings were held on Sunday.
My wife and I also enjoyed composing both words and music for a number of genealogical programs. She composed the music and I the lyrics.
In 1941, the Stake Mission President, Garth Heaton, was called into the armed services of his country, and I was set apart as president of the Reno Stake Mission succeeding him. The Reno Stake was a fruitful mission and there being about a four gentile to one LDS. Because of an aggressive program which involved as high as 69 missionaries preaching the Gospel at one time, we became very successful, and the last two years I presided, 1946 and 1947, our mission was more successful more than any other stake mission in the Church. The year 1947 being the highest of any. 157 convert baptisms were performed. I personally was credited with 74 baptisms, although I did not personally convert that many. It was because of the success we seemingly had, that I found myself rising in pride over our accomplishments. This was climaxed by an event one night when after my wife had retired to her bed and before I had knelt to offer my prayers, I challenged Satan with the words, "Satan we are going to drive you from your favorite campground." (Reno, Nevada) Immediately, my wife cried out, "Daddy, there is someone in this room, and I'm being choked, please give me a blessing." I placed my hands on her head and with the knowledge I had that Satan was about to overpower her. I asked the Lord to help us and with all the power of my Priesthood and the power of my Heavenly Father, I demanded that Satan release her and to leave our home. My wife immediately relaxed but was wet with perspiration and weakness. We thanked God for the Power of the Priesthood through prayer.
About this time, the churches in Reno decided upon a project of serving the city of Reno to ascertain the number of residents of the various church members of that city. When the survey was complete, it was discovered that were over 3700 members of the LDS Church although less than 700 of them were on record in the Reno Branch. About the same time also, the branches became wards. We also discovered that the majority of the people who officiated in the state and local offices were members of the Church but who because of fear of prejudice would not align themselves with the Church. Two events occurred which testified to me of the need for harmony among the officers of the Priesthood. As Mission President, (which I held for 7 years), I was numbered among Seven Presidents of the Seventies Quorum. We planned our outside visits to the wards in the months of October to January. Considerable jealousy and bad feeling crept into our presidency. One day we had made plans to visit the Fallon Branch. The day was cold but the roads were seemingly clear. We were traveling a moderate speed in my car with four passengers. We came to a sharp curve in the road and in attempting to make the curve the car skidded on black ice and completely turned over. An empty gallon gas jug hit me on the forehead dazing me temporarily. The car was badly bent in places but we drove it back to Sparks where be disbanded and decided to try to make the trip the following Sunday. Because of my damaged car, Bro. Irving Schelin offered his car to be used. We hadn't travelled 10 miles before both front tires blew out. When we did get back to Sparks, we decided as a group that something was not right, that the Lord was displeased with the jealousy and bickering which had taken place among us. We met in a very solemn prayer in our home and we rededicated ourselves to follow the pattern of the Lord in our councils. The spirit of our Quorum was lifted up and has since become one of the best quorums in the Church. One of the interesting things that transpired -- while I was General Chairman -- occurred when the stake mutuals complained to the General Authorities that the genealogical committee was taking over the functions of the MIA in the Reno Stake. We had our own chorus of young people and social activities who met weekly in the Sparks Chapel under the direction of Sister Rose Burgess, Sister Delores Brown and several others. We had a splendid chorus of about 40 voices, and we received an appointment from KSL in Salt Lake City to sing over the radio while we were in Salt Lake City getting some Patriarchal Blessings there. Two events of interest: First, we thought that one Stake Patriarch could give the blessings to the whole group, but when we arrived in Salt Lake, I contacted my former mission president Charles H. Hyde, who at that time was supervisor of all the patriarchs in Salt Lake City. He informed me that he had assigned 8 stake patriarchs to give the blessings and it would be done in 2 days.
The second event of interest occurred when Sister Rose Burgess took the group down to the baptismal room to do baptisms for the dead. As they approached the desk of the supervisor for that day, a second group of children from the Ogden Stake were coming out of the baptistry and at the far end of the group was the officiator and a very young man, who when they came to the desk, told of this experience. The officiator said, "When we thought we had finished the 16 names assigned to this boy, we told him to come out of the font but he said, "No, I haven't finished. There is still one more name on that list I must be baptized for." The supervisor said, "No, Son, that is all, come out." The boy replied, "No, there is still one more name." and I replied, "I don't think so, but I will check and after doing so, discovered that the recorder had placed a ditto on the proxy column which led us to believe that we had baptized 2 where we had only baptized one. When the boy had been baptized for this person, he walked from the font up the steps and came over to us, whereupon I asked, "Son, how did you know there was another name on that list?" and he said, "As soon as I entered the font, all the 16 men that were on my list suddenly appeared, standing in the air above the edges of the font, and as soon as I was baptized for one, he would nod his head in thanks for my service, but when you said they were all finished, there was still one man standing there. He looked disappointed and I knew that his work had not been done. As soon as his work was done, he also nodded and disappeared."
Simultaneously, to me being called to the mission presidency, I secured an agency for the sale of LDS books from the First Council of Seventy to be sold through the quorum. I put the books in my store which also acted as a headquarters for missionary service. The volumes of business gradually grew through sales we had at our stake conference in Reno, Nevada and the various missionaries. In 1943, I was notified by the First Council that our business was too great for them to handle and requested that I take it over as a personal project. This experience in selling books for missionary support has carried down to the time of this writing (1975). The history of which will be given in later chapters. In research on my book, The House of Israel, I was aided by a number of individuals which I will briefly mention. As I mentioned previously in this biography, I was first interested in writing a history of the world, but became side tracked by the fascinating story of the Twelve Tribes. A perfunctory history of the beginning of Israel's history, I found to be well written and canonized through the books of the scripture and able commentaries. This part, however, came to a sudden end with the migration of the Ten Tribes into the North Country and with Lehi and Mulech's expedition to the land of America. My interest in the further research of the disbursed tribes was outlined in the parable of Zenos contained in Jacob 5 in the Book of Mormon known as the parable of the tame olive tree. Interpretation of this parable was given in part in the foot notes of my 1925 edition of my triple combination. It was only a start, however, and needed much more revelation for which I prayed. The parable outlines the planting and cultivation of four branches severed from the tame olive tree (Judah) who was the main root thus making five groups located somewhere in the world. The Jews were located in Jerusalem, though the Ten Tribes had gone into the North countries and Lehi and his colonies had gone to America. This comprised only three of the five branches and it became my problem to locate them through research. History books of Western Europe revealed that the first settlers of Western Europe divided into two groups both of which remained in Europe. One in Scandinavia and one in Great Brittany. I used as my basis research of the following categories: First, the route of migration to these places in Europe. Second, their customs and language. Third, were they genealogical record keeping people? Fourth, did they "according to Zenos, "have the legend of the visitation of Christ?" Fifth, do we have successful missionary work among them today, and Sixth, do we trace them to our own families (Ephraim). To all these questions I found the answers to the effect that Great Britain housed the Royal House of Israel described as the poor land by the prophet Zenos and Scandinavia housed the commoner class, the main body of the Ten Tribes in what was described by Zenos, "the poorest spot in all the vineyard."
Brother Archibald F. Bennett without charge or excuse and in spite of a busy schedule provided me with pedigrees and histories from the Genealogical Society in Utah of which he was secretary of the Western European Peoples showing descent from the ancient people of our modern prophets and leaders. This combined with already accepted pedigrees in the legends of the visit of Christ in Great Britain and his visit in Scandinavia as the God "Oden." This after much prayer and fasting was revealed to me on numerous occasions during which I enjoyed great ecstasy within the burning of my bosom. I now needed the identification of the Fifth Branch to make it conform to Zenos' prophecy. The only other known identified group was that branch which inhabited the many isles of the Pacific known as Polynesia. I had a partial belief that the story of Captain James Cook unfolded regarding the people of Hawaii and his own personal testimony that he knew he was the object of reverence by the Polynesians as the White God "Lono" returned again. I went again to Brother A.F. Bennett, this time in person in a visit to Salt Lake and he told me of a brother in Idaho who had been for a number of years, the Church's general representative among the Polynesians. I left for home the same day, planning on writing to Brother William H. Cole, but before the letter left, I received two large cartons of material from this good man with instructions to use any or all of it as I chose and when I had researched the contents, I had found the evidence of what I was seeking for -- that the Polynesian people were of the House of Israel -- that they had migrated from the South American continent to Tahiti and Hawaii and from thence for other parts of the Polynesian Archipelago and more important, it revealed the story of Christ's visit to Tahiti which revealed the reason why Captain Cook with his white complexion, his bearded face, and his gentle manner was mistaken for the Messiah. I had completed the research that had covered approximately 14 years, but realizing the crudeness of its composition, I contacted a dear friend and former teacher -- Mrs. Maude Beeley Jacobs -- who volunteered to assist me in the finished copy. After a year of typing and re-writing nine times, the copy was completed and sent to Zions Press in Independence Missouri, who contracted to print the book numbering 608 pages for the sum of $5,100. Within a period of three months, the book was off the press.
In the meantime, we had completed seven years of missionary work in the Reno Stake Mission and having five children and another one coming, we decided to pull up roots and move to Utah (January 1946), where we could supervise the plan of the final writings of my book. Bishop Peter L. Ferguson, a real estate agent, listed our home for sale for $10,000 and had no success. We had three apartments, a grocery store, stock, LDS books, and a small cafe located in a prominent spot on 15th St. in Sparks, Nevada. After 7 months there had been no applicants, and I had decided at the end of November that I should continue on with the stake mission and forget the moving of my family. About the first of December, Bishop Ferguson came to our house and said, "I think I can sell your property," and I replied, "No, I have decided to fill another mission," whereupon he asked, "How much will you take for a quick sale?" I laughingly replied, "$20,000." He wrote it down and said he would see me later. Five days later, we had a check for $20,000, got packing and left on the 3rd of January, 1946, for Utah with 18 inches of snow and 20 degrees below zero, pulling a trailer with 7 of us in the car. Eighteen hours later we arrived in Salt Lake to my mother's home.
Prior to our leaving Sparks and all of our dear friends, our Bishop, Milford J. Piggot and his ward helpers planned a farewell party for us to be held in the cultural hall of our new ward building. It was held New Year's Eve (1945-1946). What a glorious and happy experience we had that evening. It was one we shall never forget as all of our friends and relatives were there to wish us a farewell and to wish us well in our new world in Utah. It was an evening full of love and gratitude for the service we had given the ward and also to our community. We were each presented with lovely leather wallets. As we pulled out of Sparks, the car was quiet and a few tears filled our eyes because of leaving such a wonderful group of people. We had made it comfortable for five children -- we had made a complete bed for them on top of the packed articles we could place in the car. As we looked back upon Sparks, we left much of our hearts and our love there. These dear people giving so much of themselves in our times of trouble and misfortune. In this area we were leaving, I had gained a testimony of the reality of God and through the Priesthood bestowed upon me, I had seen many miracles wrought. Here also I had lost my dear wife Ellacile with whom I had spent less than a year with and had lost an association of our baby girl who lived her infant life in Salt Lake City with her grandparents Mrs. Ella Ipson and prior to that was cared for by my mother Josephine Nixon Whitehead. I was leaving a period of great job and financial progress also, for I had survived the depression and the war, and I was leaving with a substantial profit from the sales of our property. I felt the Lord had given me double what the property was worth.
We travelled for 18 hours through sub-zero cold and snow-packed roads. We arrived at my mother's home on 5th East, Salt Lake City, without accident or trouble. We immediately set about trying to locate a place to live in surrounding areas, and at last found a lovely home in Provo, Utah on Haws Ave. in the Park Ward. Here I became active as a Seventy in the Utah Stake Mission. The important thing that occupied my mind at this time was the publication of my book, "The House of Israel." I spent nearly a year in revamping and publishing the book.
Due to years of selling books in the Reno Stake, I made the suggestion to the 45th Quorum of Seventies that a book project would be a profitable means for securing funds for supporting missionaries. The quorum agreed, and they appointed me acting manager. Plans were laid for the book store, contact was made with Deseret Book Company in Salt Lake City regarding the feasibility of it.
When we organized the book store, there were four stores in Provo selling LDS books -- namely, Heindselman's, J.C. Penney, Standard Supply, and Utah Office Supply. The total wholesale business of these four stores, it was reported by Deseret Books Company to our inquiry, totalled not more than $10,000.00 per year, and it was their opinion that we could not survive as a religious book store. This report discouraged some of the brethren in the quorum, but there were some stalwarts who still supported me in my opinion that a well supplied store could function with success. We sent letters of inquiry to other quorums of Seventies, but with the exception of the 34th Quorum and the 45th Quorum, none of them had any faith in what we were trying to do, suggesting in part that as soon as they found out it would succeed, they would join forces with us, the policy of which we did not agree with.
We had no established place to put the store, but it was suggested we manufacture cinder blocks and build a building within the Park Ward on 4th West and 8th North. My business sense told me it was not the proper location. We then pursued another course and applied for a location through our stake president in the Bishop's Store House on 1st North between University Ave. and 1st West. After this we went forward with the construction of two wooden displays, and thinking we had the consent of the stake presidency, loaded them on a truck and hauled them to the Bishop's Store House. However, we were met at the door by Brother Walter P. Whitehead (no relation) who was the manager of the Store House, and we were told that the president of the stake had received word that no profit making enterprise could operate in the premises listed as non-profit property. There we sat not knowing what to do when the inspiration hit me to take the truck to the Coon Furniture Co. at 150 North University Ave. Brother Irwin Coon, was owner and manager. We explained our dilemma, and he in the goodness of his heart offered us a stall in his store without charge.
In the meantime, the Utah Stake was divided forming the West Utah Stake and the Utah Stake. The two quorums of Seventies were also divided and now comprised the 49th Quorum of Seventies and the 349th Quorum in the Utah Stake and the 372nd and the 34th Quorum in the West Utah Stake. We had a total membership of over 150. It was suggested that the capitalization for the store should be set at $4,000.00, each of the four quorums to contribute $1,000.00. This was agreed to, and the Board of Directors set up with a member representing each quorum. (This goal was never achieved, however, for the total money contributed by the four quorums did not exceed $1,100.00 total). Some of the brethren felt that all we needed was $250.00 to buy stock and equipment for the store, because we were so close to Salt Lake, and we could run up there any time we needed anything. Had it not been for immediate support of attorney Isaac Brockbank of $250.00 and his whole hearted support during the time of his High Council supervision of the Utah Stake Quorums of Seventies, it would have been a long time before success would be apparent. To say the least, it was a very tedious and unprofitable period at the beginning. There would be days on end in which there were no sales of good volume achieved. The Board of Directors voted me a 10% profit as manager on the gross volume of business, needless to say, it was a very low income for the first year, for the store grossed $4800.00 in book sales, and my wages amounted to $480.00 for the entire year. It became apparent day by day as I patiently served, why the Lord had given me $10,000.00 more profit for my property in Nevada than I had expected. With that $10,000 I was able to publish my book and maintain my family over the first six years that was required before the book store began to pay off. During my slow period at the store, I entered into two projects. First, I helped Brother Coon deliver furniture for which he paid me some money. Second, and more important, I compiled my "Mark your Bible Reference," compiled a set of charts and published them entitled "Twenty-Nine Gospel Charts and Maps." I also compiled and arranged a small biography of 72 pages for Sister Rebecca Reed Rasmussen of Mt. Pleasant, Utah, of which we published 500 copies. (First edition of my concise reference of "Book of Mormon Reference," we published 5,000 copies.) I suggested to the Board of Directors that I would give 4,000 of those copies to the Foreign Mission of the Church to help them in their study of the Book of Mormon and help to advertise world-wide the availability of materials for their mission use. This was approved by the board, and they contacted the First Quorum of Seventies who agreed with it heartily and sent us a list of the total number of missionaries in the missions of the World. I wrapped and addressed the bundle of References, and they were shipped out. We had an immediate positive acceptance. Orders began to come in from the mission which necessitated an increase of stock and accommodations which we obtained in a display office building at 47 West 1st North. The Johnson Realty occupied the other half of the building. In the meantime, Heindselman's and J.C. Penney discontinued their line of LDS books, and the Standard Office Supply sold their stock to us for 50 cents on the dollar valuation. This left only the Utah Office Supply as our competition. Our out of town business immediately prospered and grew to such proportions that we sought another location which we secured north of the Provo Post Office at 150 North 1st West. This was a good building, and we purchased it from funds already obtained and a small loan from the First Security Bank. In the meantime, also, my House of Israel had come off the press, and I was sought out nearly every night of the week giving a series of seven lectures on its contents.
The West Utah Stake, when it was divided from the Utah Stake called me to be the First President of the West Utah Stake Mission, which office I held for six years. Some controversy sprang up in American Fork due to the lectures I had given in one of their wards, and I was reported to the Council of the Twelve. An Assistant to the Twelve, Clifford E. Young, had accepted the negative criticism of my book without investigating and notified Mark E. Peterson, a member of the Twelve, wrote to my stake president, J. Earl Lewis, that if he had not read my book, he should do so and then interview me pertaining to it, which he did and in my interview reported he had nothing there to object to. I had written to Apostle Peterson for his suggestion for correcting my book. He made an appointment with me, and we talked about it. I found he was a skilled authority on the doctrines of the Church in the history -- the way he had read it on the subject of my book. We parted company with good feelings between us, and his suggestion was I restrict my discussion of the Ten Tribes in the confines of our churches, he thinking it would eliminate controversy such as happened in American Fork. With permission from him "Go ahead and sell your book. It's a free country." (Dr. Widtsoe reviewed it in the Improvement Era).
While still in Coon Furniture Company and having much time on my hands I compiled my "Mark your Bible Reference" which was an organized mark your bible system particularly for missionary use as I have used the scriptures in my nine months of missionary work. The Reference was immediately accepted, and it proved to be worthwhile in the presentation and organization on the history of the apostasies and restoration during the Bible period. (Since it's publication in 1950, twelve editions have been published aggregating 120,000 copies which equaled the sale of my Concise Reference on the Book of Mormon.) (My Concise Reference to the Book of Mormon was compiled in the Australian Mission in 1930 while on my mission in response to a request by the First Presidency that scholars of the Church compile a Ready Reference that would be useful in gospel study and presentation.) I submitted a copy to the Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City and later received a letter from President Heber J. Grant which complimented me on the Reference, but that they could not use it because it was specific on the Book of Mormon and not the other scriptures. As soon as I reached Provo in 1947, as I noted above, I published the Reference and has since sold over 120,000 copies. In 1960 I turned the publication and copyright over to the Seventies Mission Book Store to be published and administered by them as a store project. This was true also of my "Mark your Bible Reference."
The Seventies Book Store has acted as a wholesale and retail agent and financier of the books, most of which have been sold directly to the Church Distribution and the Deseret Book Company.
After 1950, book sales began to grow, and I was also Utah Stake Mission President, which combinations of labors required both evening and daytime. To my knowledge, I have scarcely used a day off the six-day work week or had a noon hour while working at the store as manager. The Lord had blessed me with a strong body and great tenacity to responsibility.
Simultaneously with my work at the book store, I used the store as my headquarters for my stake mission work at 47 West 100 North. On one day I was visited by the owner of Suttons Cafe located on Center Street. The owner was Robert Moorefield. After coming into the store, he asked if I was Brother Whitehead which I affirmed. He introduced himself and said this to me: "I own Suttons Cafe, and I need some help. I was told to contact you so that you might help me make a decision regarding my future and my family. I was a P.T. boat commander in the last war. I was living a high life and had a girl in every port. Since being released from the Navy, I have married a beautiful girl, and I have a fine family. Through friends and other influences, I have been encouraged to become active in the church and have my family sealed to me. Because of the life I pursued in the Navy, and since, I feel I am not worthy to be a candidate such as they propose, but this much I promise you, that if you can guarantee that I can take my family to the temple and will have them in the next world, I will be completely changed and live as I should." I remarked to him: "Brother Moorefield, I am in no spiritual position to give you the guarantee that you seek, that would be up to you. As to your sincerity and repentance and the authorization by someone higher in the Church than I, but I know a man in Salt Lake whom I would recommend to you to consult, Apostle Spencer W. Kimball, who in my estimate is as spiritual and sympathetic to sinners as any man I have met or seen." Brother Moorefield remarked, "I know him very well. He comes into my cafe quite often, and I will do what you suggest, in the meantime, however, I would like to have some help in understanding the Gospel so I won't be completely ignorant of what I am to consult him about." Several weeks passed by before the appointment was kept, through which, "Bob" as I came to call him, made daily visits to the book store, during which many intimate discussions of his personal obligations to the Church, to himself and to his family, were given. Bob kept his appointment with Bro. Kimball, and that good man did what I knew he would do. He interviewed him thoroughly and searched his soul and finding there a good spirit was his custom. They knelt in prayer after which Apostle Kimball said, "Bro. Moorefield, I have a spiritual impression that if you will make a turn about in your life and repent, and serve the Lord as you should, that the Lord will bless you and forgive you of your transgression and give your lovely family to you for Eternity."
Being Mission President, and with great enthusiasm in my calling, I suggested to Bob that we could team up and work with some of the business men that he personally was acquainted with who were rather inactive or not members of the Church. We organized cottage meetings in Bob's lovely home to which we invited these friends for Gospel meetings. Through his efforts and friendship, much of the usual objections were overcome before we met in these meetings, and a very delightful year of very worthwhile association has come which was the reason for the repentance and activation of several friends and their wives who attended and the baptism, as I recall it, of nine business men in Provo. The story of Bob continues beyond this, for there was approximately three years after this missionary effort, while travelling to the southern part of the state, Bob was killed in a car accident. I am sure that the promise made by Apostle Kimball will be fulfilled. Another of these business men who attended the meetings, but who went the extra mile, who came in the store almost daily, was Phillip Shane -- who after spending 30 minutes of reading the Book of Mormon, confirmed his testimony of its truth, but Phil, as I called him, had some bad personal habits, mainly tobacco and liquor, would not join the Church nor would he give up his habits. One day while standing by the book rack, he confessed his belief in the Church and remarked that as soon as he could overcome his weakness, he would join the Church. I answered him with great effort and said, "Phil, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to repent of your sins and accept the Church and be baptized." He turned to me with surprise in his eyes, "Do you really mean that?" I replied with all my heart, "Yes," and then he said, "Then I'll do it. Phil joined the Church, I baptized him, and since then he has fulfilled all the covenants required to take his family to their Celestial abode and has been a stalwart Preacher of Righteousness among his friends and associates. He is listed in my memory as one of the great achievements of my mission experiences.
My Stake Mission activity closed in 1955 when at the suggestion of Bruce R. McConkie that the stake mission was lacking in intelligent leadership because our converts were only 35 for the year. I resigned my office in consultation with stake president J. Earl Lewis and consecrated my time and efforts in maturing the Seventies Mission Book Store and other Church activities which I was given.
I remained with the book store until I was 67 years of age during which time several very fine men and women worked with me, notably, -- Emil O. Jones and Erma Baggs, who were outstanding in their service in preparing the store to become financially sound. There were three others who made their entrance into the book store environment, Larry Benson, who trained for one year to take over the management position but decided against it, Richard E. Madsen, (son-in-law), who also trained one year for the manager position, (the position he now holds) and my son Robert P. Whitehead who as of this writing, is the assistant manager. I have raised up a world of intelligent young men and women and friends through our books sales through the Seminaries and Institute for the Church and the over one hundred dealers that have purchased books for retail. Several outstanding men have also been of great help in maturing the book store, notably, Marvin Wallin of Book Craft, William Mortimer of Deseret Book Company, Brother Erickson of ZCMI and later wholesale stationers, Ruben and Emily Clark, who made and provided the zipper covers. I especially commend those business men in Provo, Utah for their generosity and help to the book store even though it meant we would improve in volume sometime to their taking a loss. In 1971, I retired as manager of the book store and worked as assistant manager under Richard Madsen. In 1972 I retired from the book store completely and my son Robert was made the assistant manager to Bro. Madsen. The volume of business has continued to rise under the management of these two fine men who have established a much more efficient service for the book store. As of this writing (1976), the book store has made several thousand dollars contribution to the First Council of Seventy in Salt Lake City for missionary support and the book store has directly supported in part or full time over 500 missionaries whose efforts have resulted in the conversion and baptism of more people that would be required to make several stakes in the Church. What the book store's future lies, only the Lord can know, but this much can be said, it has filled a good mission. In the first place as I have recorded, I was given $10,000.00 more than I anticipated which money was used for its development over the years.
My testimony is that we have been blessed through dedicated effort, family support, by a kind and generous public who help and support never faltered, I give my sincere thanks and love.
I have lived in several homes, the first with my wife Lucille Ipson in Winnemucca, Nevada, and later in Sparks, Nevada, where I had been transferred by the Sewell Company to manage the grocery store. It was here that my wife died in child birth. I lived about six months in a make-shift room in my fruit stand in Sparks, Nevada and lived there until my marriage to my present wife, my Angel Verda, where we took up our new home in an apartment behind our store (1935). We bought a new home in Reno, Nevada and lived there over a year, but it proved unsuccessful to our happiness. In 1947, we sold our property and made plans to move to Utah where we bought a home on Haws Ave. This soon proved too small so we searched for a larger one where we now live. Our first five children were born in Nevada: Armand, Michael, Ray, David, Velma, and Vincent. Ray was born while we resided in our Reno home, and Michael was a home confinement in our Sparks home on 1510 B St. My wife was expecting our 6th child when we moved to Utah. The doctor (Lambert) who lived next door to us in Sparks, Nevada delivered all the babies except Armand.
I filled 16 years of missionary work in the Church: three years in the Australian Mission, seven years as stake mission president in Reno, Nevada and six years as West Utah Stake mission president in Provo, Utah. I was the Ward Genealogical Representative and also the Reno Stake Genealogical Representative. When I moved to Provo, was appointed one of the seven presidents of the 45th Quorum of Seventies. Also in Sparks, Nevada, I held this same position. When we moved into the 11th Ward in Provo, I was made mission president of the West Utah Stake. I have been a teacher in various offices of the Church, Sunday School, Priesthood, Genealogy, which I have held up to my contracting of Parkinson's Disease which has affected my memory, voice and my stability. I have been honored by the West Utah Stake Presidency who consulted with me regarding a position on the Stake High Council. Also by the Provo Temple, who has offered me on several occasions the privilege of working as an Officiator, which callings I felt I could not fill due to my physical condition. I hope that before very long, something will be discovered that will assist me to regain my almost normal strength and ability. I have felt very keenly, my lack of constructive labor in the Church. I have sung in many choirs since I was 17 years old and for the same reasons stated above, was forced to retire.
I am at present Genealogical Secretary for the Sunset 5th Ward of the Provo West Stake for special assignments for the Provo Temple. I presided as High Priest Group Leader in the Sunset 3rd Ward for four years. I was Choir President for a number of years for the choirs under the direction of Orvilla Stevens and my wife Verda. Anagene Mecham was Organist for these choirs for 14 years. I am at the present time, doing about 25 to 30 endowments a month in companionship with my wife who does about 20 endowments. The schedule we have kept in Provo and a lesser effort in the Salt Lake Temple. I have received a retirement fund from the book store of $300.00 per month which was combined with my Social Security and the income from our little house next door, have made us financially secure with enough surplus to put in savings and assist our children who have needed help on various occasions. I am presently Treasurer of the Adolphus Rennie Whitehead Family Organization. Having received this position on July 4, 1975.