[1989 Mormon Historical Association Winner for Best Article]
This very interesting and sensitive article describes in detail the events in 1958 that eventually led to the excommunication of nine missionaries in the French mission and the disaffection of several others. William Tucker, a brilliant and energetic young missionary, became a councelor in the mission presidency. He harbored many doubts, however, about the prophetic calling of President McKay, and his instensive studies of many old Church books led him to begin to believe such doctrines as polygamy and the Adam-God theory. While there was no overt conspiracy, he found kindred spirits among some other missionaries. At the same time Loftin Harvey was having some of the same doubts, even though he was never directly associated with Tucker. The article describes the various doubts and activities of these and other missionaries, and how it was all eventually discovered. At the time of the London Temple dedication, all the French missionaries crossed the channel to attend. Tucker, Harvey, and the others, however, were told to meet with several general authorities. Investigations were held, and eventually a court was held in which the nine were excommunicated. Evenutally four of the nine, including Harvey, returned to the Church. Tucker, on the other hand, joined the LeBaron group in Mexico and became an apostle. Eventually, however, he left that group and became an avowed atheist. Another of the group, Dan Jordon, also became an apostle in the LeBaron group, and later was indicted for the murder of Joel LeBaron. He finally left that movement and was killed by an unknown assailant while on a hunting trip in Utah in the fall of 1987. Mehr's article provides some fasicnating insight into the kind of misunderstanding, impatience, and mistaken judements that can occur in tense situations like this, even among general authorites. It appears that some of the intereviews were conducted with strong-arm tactics, while others demonstrated real love.