Events Surrounding the Life of Wallace F. Toronto

Mary Jane Woodger, "Events Surrounding the Life of Wallace F. Toronto," in Mission President or Spy? The True Story of Wallace F. Toronto, the Czech Mission, and World War II (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2019), x–xi.

September 20, 1848

Guiseppe Taranto arrives in the Salt Lake Valley.

June 14, 1905

Albert Toronto and Etta F. Toronto are married.

December 9, 1907

Wally is born in Salt Lake City, Utah.

October 1928

Begins service as missionary in the German Mission.

June 1929

One of the first elders is transferred to open the Czechoslovakia Mission.

September 15, 1933

Wally marries Martha Sharp in the Salt Lake City Temple.


Wally serves as president of the Czechoslovak Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

September 1938

Evacuates Czechoslovakia with family and missionaries to Switzerland.

November 1938

Calls local leaders to take charge of branches until the missionaries can return.

December 1938

Returns to Czechoslovakia with family and missionaries.

March 15, 1939

Nazis occupy Czechoslovakia.

July 1939

Four missionaries arrested by the Gestapo, held in prison for forty-four days.

August 1939

Wally evacuates again with family and missionaries before outbreak of World War II.

September 1, 1939

World War II begins; Wally calls Josef Roubíček to preside as mission president in his absence.

June 1940

Wally graduates with an MA in sociology from the University of Utah.


Works as director of Red Cross for Utah.


Reopens the Czechoslovak Mission, serving as president.

February 1948

Communist coup in Czechoslovakia; government begins controlling all businesses, industries, churches, and schools.

March 1, 1950

Martha and children leave Czechoslovakia.

March 1950

Last of LDS missionaries are expelled by Communists.

March 30, 1950

Wally leaves Czechoslovakia and heads to Basel, Switzerland.

April 6, 1950

Governmental decree terminates the legal entity of the Church in Czechoslovakia.

May 1950

Wally returns home to Salt Lake City.


Serves on the general board of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association.


Heads the Anti-Cancer Society in Utah.


Travels to Northern Europe and Germany with the general board of the Mutual Improvement Association to hold a series of conventions.

December 1964

President McKay assigns Torontos to visit the Czech Saints as tourists.

January 1965

Wally returns with Martha to Czechoslovakia to aid and counsel Church members.

July 1965

Wally returns for the last time to Czechoslovakia to visit government authorities and attempt to reestablish the mission.


Serves as president of the Utah School Boards Association.

January 10, 1968

Dies in Salt Lake City at age sixty.

November 14, 1985

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints begins formally requesting official recognition in Czechoslovakia.

October–December 1989

“Velvet Revolution” of 1989; Vaclav Havel becomes president of free Czechoslovakia.

February 21, 1990

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is officially recognized by the Czech government.

January 1, 1993

“Velvet Divorce” of clashing governments; Slovakia declares independence from the Czech Republic.