Patheos has informal partnerships with several of the established brands in Mormonism as well as the Church itself. (Mayhap you noticed two of our guest writers from SLC last week?) As such, we’re beginning a new long-term series. Each week we’ll feature a select article from one of these partners for publication and discussion on the Mormonism Portal. These articles will appear in the “rotator” at the top of the portal page, and open with an editorial summary, personal meaning, or particularly salient bits to notice. We’ll rotate on a regular basis between these partnerships.
The first pick is already up. It’s an article from Dialogue about the French mission in the late 1950’s, which sent home several missionaries after being excommunicated for various things. The article is long, it’s been broken up into two parts- Part 1, Part 2. It’s significant to me because my own mission president was a greenie and the last companion of the ring-leader and instigator of the problems there. I served in some of the areas mentioned, and heard rumors about this incident, even 50 years later.
This incident also gets an oblique mention in President Hinckley’s biography.
The Hinckleys returned home via Brussels, where they enjoyed half a day at the World’s Fair, and Paris. What awaited them in France was much less pleasant than either England or Belgium had been. Elder Hinckley was assigned by President McKay to meet with a handful of missionaries who had been misled by a clever apostate. He was heartbroken by what he found, as he noted in his journal: “I talked to them at length and gave them my assurance that no good would come of their actions, and that the day would come when they would regret what they were doing. I bore them my testimony of the gospel and tried every way I knew to persuade them to reverse their course, but to no avail. At that point there was little for me to do but make sure they had a way to get home. We felt we owed that to their parents.” His heart was heavy as he and Marjorie boarded the plane for home.
– Go Forward with Faith, 203
The timing is right for this to be the same event. If not, then France got a double whammy of “clever apostates” in a very short period of time. We always heard rumors of things like this in my French mission, but they were always happening, as the stories went, in S. France.
Thanks to Dialogue for this great historical piece.