Mormon Missionary Diaries
About the Collection
Earl Stanley Paul
by Jeffrey S. Hardy
Earl Stanley Paul was born on 14 September 1889 in Rexburg, Madison County, Idaho, to John Robert Paul and Luanna Ardell Hinckley. Earl’s parents frequently taught their children Bible stories and Earl, wanting to “follow the example of Jesus,”1 was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his father in the local swimming hole on his eighth birthday. Earl spent much of his early years assisting his father on their ranch and performing odd jobs, such as logging, to earn money for the family. In the winter months Earl excelled in his studies and in 1912 graduated from Ricks Academy in Rexburg. As a student at the Academy he participated on the debate team and also played extramural basketball and baseball.
That same year Earl received a call to serve a mission to Samoa for the LDS Church. As he “always had a great desire to go on a mission,” Earl accepted this opportunity and left home in December 1912, arriving in Apia, Samoa, on the thirtieth of that month.2 While traveling to his first proselytizing area on the Upolu, Earl learned the meaning of Samoan hospitality: “We visited 8 families…and six of them gave us a meal and the other two would have done so but we refused it.”3 For the next year Earl concentrated on learning the Samoan language and by March 1914 he was proficient enough to translate hymns and write articles for the local newspaper. During this time he also taught English to the native children and preached the gospel.
On 18 March 1914 Earl was chosen to preside over the Upolu Conference, a position that he held for nearly the remainder of his mission. After more than three years as a missionary Earl received his official release on 4 February 1916; however, a new mission president arrived shortly thereafter and asked him to stay an additional six weeks and labor on the island of Tutuila, American Samoa. On the morning of his departure he described looking across the bay at a beautiful sunrise and recorded, “It almost brought tears to my eyes when I thought that it would be the last time.”4 On 4 April 1916 Earl left Samoa bound for the United States.
After returning home Earl joined his family in Ogden, Weber County, Utah, where they had relocated during his absence. At first he taught school in nearby Brigham City, but on 10 May 1918 he enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight the Germans during World War I. After training at Fort Dodge, Iowa, his unit traveled to England, and finally to France just a month before the 11 November 1918 armistice. As a result, Earl did not participate in any combat and received his discharge on 13 February 1919. On 2 April 1920 he married his “queen,” Myrtle L. Wilcox of Cardston, Alberta, Canada; their marriage produced three boys and two girls.5 Earl then engaged in business and found success as a general contractor and city planner. He was a member of the Associated General Contractors of America and served on several committees for Weber College and on the finance committee for Brigham Young University. He also played a prominent role in Weber County business as a member of the Ogden-Weber County Planning Board, Ogden Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club.
In the Church organization Earl served as home missionary from 1931 to 1932, then as bishop of the Ogden 17th Ward until 1940. After this he labored as high councilman for the Mount Ogden Stake, president of the same stake, and chairman of the Northern Utah Church Welfare Region. On 20 February 1951 he was called on a second mission to Samoa, this time as mission president. One of his first decisions as president was to reorganize all of the branches and districts of the church in Samoa and place native Samoans in all of the leadership positions. This freed the missionaries to concentrate on proselytizing, and helped the natives develop leadership and organizational skills. Earl also promoted the welfare system and remarked that upon his release in 1953, the saints were better off than the rest of the islanders. Shortly after returning home in 1953, he was asked by President David O. McKay to briefly return once more to Samoa to negotiate the acquisition of three hundred acres of land for the church on which to build a high school.
In 1961 the Pauls were called on a mission to Hawaii to conduct tours and serve as officiators at the temple at Laie. After two years laboring in this capacity they returned home, but were immediately called on a similar mission to the Arizona temple. Four years later they were released from this assignment but after a couple of years they were asked to officiate in the Ogden temple, a calling that lasted for two years. Earl’s life was indeed one of service both to the Church and to his fellow man. The ninety-nine year-old Earl Stanley Paul passed away from the effects of old age on 17 November 1988.
1 Earl Stanley Paul, “Eternally Yours with Love,” p. 13. MSS 1797, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
2 Ibid., 83.
3 Paul, “Diary, 1912-1914,” 18 January 1913. MSS 1797, LTPSC.
4 Paul, “Diary, 1914-1943,” 4 April 1916. MSS 1797, LTPSC.
5 Ibid., p. 111.
Ancestry World Tree Project. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 17 February 2003 available from http://www.ancestry.com/trees/awt/main.htm.
Paul, Earl Stanley. “Diaries, 1912-1979.” MSS 1797, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah). “Former Planner Earl Paul Dies.” 18 November 1988.