Donald G. Godfrey, "Taipei, Taiwan," in In Their Footsteps: Mormon Pioneers of Faith (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2018), 357–388.
Floyd and Clarice Godfrey were the first missionary couple from the LDS Church to serve in the Republic of China. An LDS mission has several meanings. First, the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is inviting all to come to Christ. Second, a mission is a designated geographical, ecclesiastical unit of the Church, somewhat akin to a stake where one has not yet been established. Third, a mission is a call to service, issued to individuals, by the First Presidency of the Church and the Church Missionary Department. Today, missionaries serve eighteen to twenty-four months, depending on age, gender, and assignments. Young men, eighteen years of age and older, serve at their own expense, two years in finding, teaching, and providing community service. Young women, nineteen years of age and older, and retired couples, typically serve eighteen months. Generally, married retired couples are assigned to humanitarian service, public relations, family history, Church visitor centers, mission offices, or basic leadership training.
Calling and Preparation
Floyd and Clarice were called on a leadership training mission. In September 1971, they were visiting their son Lorin and his young family in Lacombe, Alberta. Before they left Cardston, their former bishop and current stake president, Fred Spackman, had asked them about going on a mission for the Church. They wanted time to think it over, but it did not take them long. Ten days later, when President Spackman telephoned them in Lacombe, they told him they would be happy to accept a mission call. Floyd was particularly anxious, as he had always wanted to serve a mission. He felt like he had missed something by not going as a young man, but young men serving missions was not common at that time. His older brother Bert had gone, but Floyd and his younger brothers, Mervin, Joseph, and Douglas, had not. He and Clarice said, “We were not [going to be] sloughing the Lord’s calling.” They had put their own sons on missions at great sacrifice and had quietly assisted other young men of Cardston over the years. Now it was their time.
They began preparing and started the process of serving a mission. They scheduled interviews with their bishop and stake president, and then they submitted their mission papers. Like all missionaries, they waited in anticipation for word of their assignment from Church headquarters. They started preparing their home and fiscal affairs for departure to wherever they were to be called. While they waited, there was much work to do. They wondered what they would they do with their Cardston home while they were in the mission field. They would also need to provide head shots for their passports. They needed their immunizations, some of which made Floyd very sick. Floyd sold his small fishing boat, their family car, and the aging Floyd’s Furniture truck. They shared their daughter’s farm truck as transportation for a few months while they waited. Arrangements were made to rent their home to a lady from Red Deer. And while all of this went on, Christmas was almost upon them.
Where is Taiwan?
On 12 October 1971, they received their call from President Joseph Fielding Smith to serve in the Taiwan Mission. They were to report at the Salt Lake City Mission home on 8 January 1972, after which they would go to the Church College of Hawaii for eight weeks of language training. They were in shock and wondered where Taiwan even was!
They soon learned that Taiwan was a small island off the coast of mainland China. It was about the size of Vancouver Island off the southwest coast of British Columbia. Taiwan was approximately 250 miles long and 90 miles wide, and its population was 15,000,000. By comparison, Vancouver Island was the same length, only 50 miles wide, and had a population of a little more than 759,000 people, with more than half of those people living in the southeastern city of Victoria, BC, the provincial capital. Floyd and Clarice could not imagine they would be headed across the Pacific Ocean to a place so far away. Frightened by the unknown, they declared, “We decided we’d go anyway.” They were filled with anticipation, as they would be the first missionary couple to serve in this distant land.
Preparing for Departure
People full of support, love, and concern began to surround them. Clarice’s sister, Melva Card-Witbeck, who lived in Ottawa, worried about the difficulty of the Chinese language, the presence of the lingering Cold War, and the threat of communism. She also feared for their safety, with them being so close to mainland communist China. Clarice assured her that the Church would evacuate the missionaries in any emergency, and regarding learning the language she responded, “Our 7th Article of Faith says, ‘We believe in the gift of tongues’ . . . and we know this blessing we will surely need.”  Suddenly, they had local speaking engagements in the Magrath and Cardston wards. On the second Sunday in December 1971, they were set apart by President Spackman, and their farewell sacrament meeting took place the day after Christmas on 26 December. After the meeting, a few friends gathered at their home for supper. A little lady from the old Cardston Fifth Ward approached Floyd, saying, “I want you to have this, Bishop.” She sheepishly put a folded bill in his hand. Upon receiving this, Floyd remembered, “You know, she had folded a one-dollar bill about twenty times. It was no bigger than a dime and she put it in the palm of my hand.” She could not afford a gift, but Floyd graciously received this one dollar as a cherished contribution. The overall financial support for their mission came from their retirement savings, which they acquired through help from their children and extended family, as well as from the sale of Floyd’s Furniture.
Tragedies suddenly struck simultaneously that winter as Floyd and Clarice prepared to leave. A fourteen-year-old son of a friend, Olive Greniniger, died in a tragic accident that resulted from children filling balloons with gasoline, one of which ignited when the balloon dropped from the child’s hands. On 12 December, Rulon Harker, Floyd’s brother-in-law, was attacked and murdered by an intruder who had broken into Rulon and Lottie’s home in Magrath. The crazy interloper beat Rulon to death and left Lottie unconscious, thinking she too was dead. Lottie was rushed to the hospital. Floyd and Clarice were informed and left immediately for Magrath. They considered postponing their mission, but Lottie encouraged them to move forward. In one of Clarice’s letters, she wrote, “It is going to be hard to leave Lottie, but she is planning on our going, which makes it a little easier.” They were sixteen days away from their intended departure. Along with all their normal preparations for their own departure, they now had funerals to attend, and their last Christmas in Canada for the next two years was only days ahead. Their house was a flurry of activity, and they were with Lottie every day, up until the moment they left for Salt Lake City.
Amid all of this scurrying, even the weather was uncooperative. There were eight inches of snow, the wind blew, and the temperature was negative twenty degrees Fahrenheit. The Hawaii Missionary Training Center almost sounded like a paradise, and in Taiwan it did not snow, except in the high mountains.
Meetings with Church Authorities
The first leg of their mission was to the Salt Lake City Mission home. Lorin took them to the airport in Calgary, and their son Kenneth picked them up in Salt Lake. Floyd and Clarice spent ten days visiting with Church authorities and getting instructions and counsel. They expressed their concerns to President N. Eldon Tanner about leaving Floyd’s sister, and he assured them that all would be well at home. He encouraged them forward: “Why worry about the language?” he advised. “You are just young people and will have no problems.” President Tanner was seventy-four at the time, and Floyd and Clarice were in their mid-sixties. They knew President Tanner from his years in Cardston and throughout Alberta, so these were warm, loving sessions. They met the Church missionary committee chair, Ned Winder. As they were the first couple in Taiwan, he again offered special instructions on their responsibilities. They knew Winder, too, as he was the Florida Mission president during the time their son Donald served under him. They took time to attend the Ogden Temple, which had just been dedicated, and visited Clarice’s aunts—Zina Card-Brown, Mary Christensen, and Lavinia Shurtliff—along with old friends Jay and Ada Cahoon; all welcomed the visits.
In Salt Lake, family and friends came out en masse to exchange love before they departed for Hawaii on 8 January 1972. Their son Kenneth and his wife, Naone, took them to the airport along with their daughter, Patti. Floyd’s brother Mervin, his wife, Velma, and even his sister Lottie Godfrey-Harker and friends all saw them off. Their goodbyes were sad yet exciting. As all missionaries do, they wanted to walk backwards toward the plane, holding on to one last look at the people they loved, waving good-bye as they approached the aircraft.
Hawaiian Mission Training
The Mission Training Center in Hawaii was the second leg of their journey toward Taiwan. While at the Language Training Center, they studied Mandarin and lived in an apartment near the BYU–Hawaii campus. Putting first things first, Clarice found a place to get her hair done, so all was well. This was the continuance of a lifetime ritual that made her feel comfortable.
Hawaii was a drastic change from the Alberta winter. “This is a land of paradise,” Clarice wrote. At the MTC, a rigorous training schedule consumed their time. After they were up at 6:30 a.m., they ate breakfast, and the first study class began at 7:30 a.m. Their days were full of reading the scriptures in Mandarin, multiple language training classes, lunch hour at 11:30 a.m., and then back to class. Dinner was served at 5:30 p.m., after which they heard gospel lectures and more language training pressed them until the 10 p.m. bedtime. “I thought at times [in my life], I was busy and had a hard time keeping up some days,” Clarice remembered, “but I didn’t know what ‘busy’ meant until we came here.”
Floyd and Clarice had not been in school since they were teenagers, so the scheduled rigors of the missionary training center were a challenge. During their first Friday in class, one of the leaders handed them a written gospel testimony in Mandarin, and told them there was a Chinese testimony meeting on Sunday and everyone was expected to stand and give their testimony in the language of the country where they were headed. To them this was a little like “handing a grade one beginner, a high school paper and saying memorize this,” but the teachers tutored them and “tried to cram it into us.” They were the first senior couple at the mission training center that the Chinese instructors taught. The trainers usually had a primary focus on the young men and women. “Faster, faster and faster” the Chinese words came at them. “How could I learn? I can never remember, my head, it aches,” Floyd cried. Then he remembered one word, “Hau,” meaning “good.” “That’s it!” the instructor said. “My eyes light up. A smile comes to my face.” Their vocabulary grew one word at a time.
As their training progressed, Floyd and Clarice were separated from the two young missionaries also headed for Taiwan. The pressures eased somewhat as they worked at their own pace and focused on conversational Chinese. Their mission records are jam-packed with notebooks and study notes—words in English appearing in parallel columns with Mandarin interpretations, line their notebook pages.
It was a difficult two months, particularly for Clarice, as they struggled to learn the language, but they succeeded. The language came slowly, and by the time they left Hawaii, their vocabulary and their confidence was growing; they were beginning to read, understand, and pronounce the words correctly. Clarice was always timid about expressing herself, even in English, but throughout their mission if Floyd needed a Chinese word, she always had it for him.
Their studies were punctuated with a few visitors and recreational breaks. Floyd’s brother Douglas and his wife, Yolanda, and friends Bryant and Ruby Stringham and Alan and Lorna Van Orman, from Cardston, were holidaying in Hawaii. They enjoyed the Laie Hawaii Temple, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and the sunrise testimony meetings at the beach. They ventured into Honolulu, where they ate Chinese food and went to a Chinese movie. All these activities provided an enjoyable respite from the rigors of study. In the Hawaiian Language Training Center they experienced love unheralded. Their teachers always went the extra mile. The young missionaries inspired them with the desire to continue. “The L. T. M. [Language Training Mission] was a training ground for spirit, body, and mind.”
Arriving in Taiwan
The final leg of their preparations began 11 March as they departed Laie, Hawaii. This time, new friends and associates gathered to see them off at the Honolulu International Airport with more tears at parting. The plane was late leaving Hawaii because of a bomb threat. It had to be searched thoroughly before the passengers were allowed aboard. Finally, the plane was ready for the nine-hour flight to Tokyo, Japan, where there was a layover for the evening. Floyd and Clarice slept well at the Paradise Hotel. They boarded the last plane the next morning at 6:15 a.m. Three hours later they were on the ground in Taiwan!
For a few moments, Floyd and Clarice thought they had landed with arriving royalty on the plane, but no, the airport celebration was for them. A large group of Church members and missionaries gathered for the welcome. There was a large three-by-twenty-foot banner waving, which read, “Welcome Missionaries.” Photos were taken, and Clarice was given a dozen American Beauty roses, warming her heart from the start. She loved roses. The Taiwanese press was even in attendance. Their new mission president, Malan R. Jackson, and his wife, Linda, had orchestrated a warm welcome. After the celebrations ended and the group dispersed, Floyd and Clarice went to the mission home, where they stayed for a few days and prepared for their first assignment in Taichung, the Central Zone in the capital district of the mission.
Clarice found a beauty shop and hair parlor that was within walking distance of their home. When Sister Jackson visited, they went together, and if Clarice looked too much like Phillis Diller, Sister Jackson would comb her hair out for her “with half the population of the village watching the procedure,” including President Jackson, Floyd, and the sister missionaries. By the end of their mission, the beautician had been schooled in the fine arts of Clarice’s hair.
Taiwan Chapel, Floyd and Clarice, 1973. Courtesy of Godfrey Family Files.
Taichung, Taiwan, Home Central
Their new home was in the city center of Taichung. They lived at Tai Ping Lu #8-1, just three blocks from the elegant historic Taichung Memorial Temple. Their home was small, accessed through a large gate out in the front yard. The gate was closed at night, but otherwise it was generally open. It had one bedroom, a “toilet room” with a tub, a small study, and a front room. Setting up housekeeping was the first challenge. The house needed a serious cleaning. Elders had previously lived in the home, and it took a week with lots of scrubbing to bring it up to Clarice’s standards. The toilet room was scrubbed multiple times by missionaries, and even President Jackson pitched in physical work. Floors were mopped and waxed. The washing machine, all of thirty inches in diameter, was tested, and it worked. They had a wash pan and a wooden washboard if they wanted to wash their clothes by hand as their parents had done. The gas stove was a two-burner, and since Clarice was used to her modern electric, she cooked up “many burnt offerings,” but she learned and no matter how her meals turned out, “the Elders and Sisters were happy to come and share . . . and thought it was a real treat.”
Setting up the household furnishings meant shopping. This, too, was a new experience. They could not just go to a department store or Floyd’s Furniture and order needed furnishings. Instead, “you hunted in dozens of little stores. . . . These are small and dirty and ‘out of our world,’ [but they] will make anything you want.” Furniture was purchased, and slowly it began to feel like home. The Taiwanese were already reaching out and helping them get settled over the months. Their home became a gathering place. Missionaries, local Church people, Church administrative meetings, and their Saturday English class students all congregated at their apartment. Dinners of every kind were served, and the people were always welcome. Food and counseling were dispensed with every visit. Neighborhood little boys liked to come and play ball on their lawn, as they otherwise had only the street. It is likely Floyd played with them from time to time. He loved baseball.
Floyd and Clarice quickly fell in love with the Taiwanese people, who were so different. The Taiwanese people, too, were equally enthralled with the Canadian couple who brought a different culture and a strange language to their island. Floyd and Clarice were different from the Americans the Taiwanese had met at the US military bases on the island. These missionaries lived among the people. The people were all kind and tolerant as love and understanding grew among them.
Floyd and Clarice’s responsibilities in Taichung were ministering to the people in the Taichung Central District. Floyd was set apart as a counselor in the district presidency, working with President Chen Hsiung Huang. Clarice worked directly with their mission president in the women’s organizations and got them properly structured. She trained people in Church procedures and facilitating the work. She even acted as the youth adviser for the girls’ camp in the mountains of Taiwan and loved it. They trained in local branch and regional districts. Floyd likened it to the original establishment of the restored Church in the 1800s. The Lord did not give the Prophet Joseph Smith all his training at once. The task of training, “literally the making of a prophet,” evolved over time. Faith was developed, foundations were established, obedience was taught along with earnest prayer, and a “sensitivity to things spiritual” was learned. Similarly, the Church members and leaders of Taichung were taught “line upon line,” a little at a time.
Taiwanese Missionary Life
Floyd and Clarice’s first real missionary teaching opportunity came while they were interviewing to hire a maid. A young man knocked at the door wanting to know about the Church. It was their first contact, a referral from President Jackson. They talked, and “when they had just about run out of [all the] words” they could remember, the doorbell rang, and it was two elders who took over the teaching. Two weeks into their experience, they hired a lady named Yu Tai Tai, who worked maintaining their home throughout their mission. She cooked, cleaned, and went to the market for them. She did a little laundry, as did Floyd and Clarice, before they decided to send it out. They were settled into their home and settling into their work.
Work started as they began touring the branches in the district. They spoke at the church meetings, as they were a new curiosity to the Taiwanese congregations. Floyd and Clarice’s vocabularies grew as they interacted freely with both the men and women’s organizations, organizing, calling leadership, and training leaders and teachers on how the work of the Church operated. “If they [Taiwanese leaders] would only read their handbook, it would be much easier,” they wrote in their journal. Most times, it took an example and quiet mentoring along with the handbook. There was no lack of things to be accomplished. They were always grateful for the patience of the Taiwanese, along with people from the American military branch at the nearby base, who knew a little more of the language and had access to traditional American food, like hamburger.
Administering to Those in Need
The people and the land were growing on Floyd and Clarice. Friendships and relationships grew as mutual service was extended. Floyd administered to the sick by pronouncing a priesthood blessing upon the heads of the individuals requesting them. A Sister Yen’s son had contracted Yellow Jaundice; his skin and eyes were tinged yellow. Frightened, she asked Floyd if he would administer to her son. She knew Floyd was a high priest, and that gave her the expectation that he had all the experience in the world. Worried about her outlook, Floyd prayed privately for direction. Then, with Clarice and the boy’s mother, they went to the hospital. Her son lay in an old unsanitary Taiwanese army hospital cot. “I put my hands on his head and I promised him to get well.” He did! And he came home from the hospital.
A healthy son positioned Floyd to provide a little marriage counseling with the boy’s parents. The boy’s mother had heart trouble, and stress was interfering with her own health. Floyd counseled her husband, reminding him that much depended upon his actions. A strong-willed husband would only increase the pressure on her health, delaying her recovery. Floyd’s directions strengthened the couple’s relationship, and her health improved dramatically. Sister Yen became a constant in the Godfrey home, always helping Clarice.
On another occasion, a Sister Pan was experiencing difficulty in childbirth. She had been in labor for four days, and her husband called Floyd frantically, “Brother Godfrey, I’ve got to have you come over and give my wife a blessing, they [the hospital] can’t do anything for her.” Floyd went immediately. He and Brother Pan prayed together, and Floyd laid hands on Sister Pan’s head, giving her a special blessing. Two hours later a beautiful baby was born.
Another challenge they faced was the traditional religious culture of Taiwan. Sister Pan’s mother was a strict Buddhist. After the priesthood blessing and birth of her son, her mother had come to their home to help her daughter. Sister Pan did not think her mother would even enter the living room with Floyd, a Christian, present. Yet, Floyd wanted to ask if she would kneel in prayer with them. He walked out of the room, over to the mother and asked. She replied, “No, no, no; . . . she wouldn’t come.” Gently, Floyd said, “You believe in the great Buddha and we believe in God, maybe they both will bless [this family], why don’t you come and kneel in prayer [with us].” Finally, the Buddhist grandmother came, and they knelt down together “with we Christians . . . and had a prayer for her daughter and her baby, which was just wonderful.” Immediately, Brother Pan, the new father, wanted a blessing. This is the way it went in their mission. Priesthood blessings provided comfort as well as healing. Members came regularly to their home asking for blessings and advice in their callings. These blessings resulted in miracles produced by love, service, and God’s will.
Floyd and Clarice were leadership training missionaries. Like the proselyting missionaries, they taught new investigators as the opportunity arose. If someone appeared at their door, generally referred by those at the mission home or from their weekly English class, they taught until their Chinese vocabulary ran out, and at that same moment, the missionaries always seemed to miraculously appear. However, they spent the majority of their time in leadership training at all levels from the district presidency to the children’s Primary programs. Floyd was called as a counselor in the Taichung Branch presidency, and Clarice worked directly with the Relief Society, the Young Women, and the children’s programs. They represented the mission president in all of these local activities. They worked with individual leaders, mentoring them in the simplest of Church procedures: district presidency, high council, branch presidencies, and auxiliary organization training. Discouraged leaders soon became enthusiastic participators as Floyd and Clarice made the tasks of administration seem less daunting. More than once they wished the people would read the handbook. Nevertheless, Floyd and Clarice taught by example, walking individuals through their assignments, teaching as they walked side by side.
Floyd and Clarice referred to their Taichung home as “Grand Central Station,” with the hustle and bustle of people constantly coming and going. There schedules primarily consisted of interviews, district presidency meetings, branch presidency meetings, and additional meetings. Sometimes President Jackson and his wife stayed with Floyd and Clarice, just to get away from their own office and relax for a few days. The Jacksons always left more assignments to be done, whether they were training meetings to educate new leaders; interviews for baptism or for leadership callings; releases from callings; or personal counseling interviews for leaders, missionaries, and members. These were all invited conducted to their home. When the weekly English class lost their library room to reconstruction, they also met in Floyd and Clarice’s home.
The Taiwanese people thought highly of Floyd and Clarice. They wanted Floyd’s personal blessings, which he often administered in his home. He ventured out to administer to the sick as needed, and they would come back to his home for more. Counseling sessions for people who had challenges in their lives were regular occurrences, along with missionary and district leadership blessings.
If they were not at a meeting at home, they were in conferences and branch meetings throughout the district. Floyd and Clarice spoke and taught on all such occasions. Their lessons and speeches were of basic scriptural teachings, talks written carefully verbatim in case translation was needed. Lessons often focused on Church procedure and leadership training; the speeches focused more on fundamental doctrines of the restored Church. The challenges were often unique. To convert a Buddhist individual to Christianity meant teaching about Christ. Once Christ was accepted, there came the unique understanding that Christ had a Father in Heaven. Finally, a complete understanding of the Holy Ghost and the nature of the Godhead was needed. A concept many American members of the Church take for granted was very new to the Taiwanese.
Floyd and Clarice loved the Taiwanese people. Was their mission all easy? Of course not. One of the significant challenges was cultural adaptation. Chief among these was the important, sometime serious, tradition of saving face. To be released from a Church position in the American tradition means that a new calling will likely be coming soon. In the Taiwanese culture, a release left an individual feeling they had lost social status. Good Taiwanese members sometimes left the Church after they had been released, simply to save face. Similarly, auditing Church records for tithes, offerings, and building donations were delicate. If an individual felt they were not trusted, they could lose face. It was an issue throughout every aspect of the Church. One mother was ready to let her daughter die after the daughter became pregnant out of wedlock. The daughter told her mother she was pregnant, and to save face, her mother gave her daughter so many sleeping pills that it put the daughter and her unborn baby in great agony, threatening their lives. Her father rushed her to the hospital. Saving face was a part of the culture and acculturation. With each calling Floyd extended, he stressed an eventual release and the likelihood of a new calling. In the Church, it is not where you serve, but how you serve.
The district and branches grew as individuals became involved, one individual, one project, and one family at a time. Floyd and Clarice regularly visited members who had not attended church recently. People were sought out and activated. In doing so, they encouraged them individually, in the gospel, and in marriage and family. They reached out, and people reached back. Floyd and Clarice went into the homes of the humble farmers as well as the affluent business people. They helped clean houses and care for the children as they taught. Boxes of clothing for children and adults were distributed. They helped members find employment, which was not easy because the Buddhist and Catholic employers shunned members after a conversion to the Mormon faith. Individuals and families were always invited to activities. They often held “onto their hearts and their tears” in this most personalized level of service.
Their first Christmas in Taiwan was with the missionaries and young people of the district, filling two hundred bags of candy and cookies for children at the School for the Blind. They had visited the school earlier and were touched as blind children played in an orchestra and performed for them. The school rooms were filled with Braille texts. On the tour, one little boy took Floyd’s hand and felt his wedding ring. The child was curious as to what it was on his hand. He kept feeling, holding onto Floyd’s hand and his heart. The children gave them a bushel basket full of sweet Mandarin oranges as they left, and the youngsters gathered around the bus, applauding. On Christmas Eve, Floyd and Clarice returned with the missionaries and young people from the branch with bags of goodies. Christmas was a beautiful, clear seventy-four degrees Fahrenheit.
Floyd and Clarice’s home was always crowded. Brother Chin Kou Ehen, who owned a local flower shop, kept fresh orchids in their home, and that pleased Clarice. Each time he visited, he brought fresh flowers and potted plants, leaving the inside and outside of their home fresh and beautiful. People loved the Godfreys. Clarice noted that “when we walked in, people seemed to almost change, as all put themselves out to shake hands; . . . we seemed to give them a lift.”
Building the Taichung Chapel
One of the highlights of Floyd and Clarice’s mission was the completion of the chapel in Taichung. Work had progressed slowly before their arrival, as it was difficult to raise the funds and coordinate construction. President Jackson was upset at the lack of progress and put Floyd in charge. The needs and finances were assessed. A building fund committee was organized, and Floyd encouraged contributions. The missionaries were already donating, but “this chapel should be built by the people who use it,” he suggested. The Relief Society was asked to furnish the kitchen, and the Sunday School was asked to supply blackboards and visual aids. Communications throughout the district began immediately; funding was developed, and Floyd took an almost daily taxi ride to the chapel, encouraging the contractors in their progress.
Floyd was given permission to hold the first meeting on Sunday, 26 November 1972 because the building was almost complete. The meeting was a central district conference. They rented chairs, carried them into the church, and set them in the chapel. A piano rented for the meeting was picked up immediately after the service. The priesthood was organized, eighty men were called to the Melchizedek Priesthood and sustained as elders, and a counselor in the district presidency and an elders quorum president were called and sustained. The Relief Society, Mutual Improvement Association, and Primary were all completely organized for the first time! It was crowded, but “never has there been a finer spirit in a meeting.” President Jackson attributed the success of the building and branch organization to the work of Elder and Sister Floyd and Clarice Godfrey. The Church in Taiwan was growing!
Ke-Liao Congregation Joins the Church
Taiwan School for the Blind, 1972. Courtesy of Floyd Godfrey Mission Photos.
A rare and memorable experience in the mission field occurred toward the end of the year. On 19 November 1972, President Jackson was invited to the town of Ke-Liao by Wang, a Protestant minister, to speak to his congregation. Wang had felt a need for religion in his village and had, some ten years earlier, founded a new church utilizing the Bible as his guide. He taught the basic elements of Christian brotherhood, baptism by immersion, and tithing. He was now wanting to sell his land and church building to the LDS Church.
The reason quickly became apparent. He knew about the Church because his daughter, just fifteen years old, had been taught the gospel and wanted to be baptized. The young lady had met the Mormon elders on the street of Koashuing where they were passing out invitation cards for a branch open house. The elders noticed the shy youngster as she ran up, grabbed a card, and ran away. She kept coming back, and finally the elders were able to make contact and teach her the gospel. At first, her parents refused to let her be baptized, but she persisted. After several attempts, she was discouraged. The elders suggested the three of them have a special fast with prayers in her behalf. When the girl returned to her parent’s small town, she discovered that her parents had recently committed to baptism and, of course, gave their daughter permission. Her prayer was answered, but that is not the end of the story.
Reverend Wang had been impressed with the lifestyle changes his daughter had made as she associated with the Church. So when other churches expressed an interest in purchasing his property, he wanted The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to take over. He had a congregation of nearly 170 people. In November, President Jackson spoke to the faithful, about eighty in attendance. He taught the fundamentals of the gospel and felt they had been favorably received.
After his first meeting with Reverend Wang, Jackson returned to mission headquarters and immediately contacted Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, recommending to the missionary department that the little church and property be purchased. Several trips were made from Taipei to the village. On 28 March, Jackson received approval and the funds.
On 1 April 1973, at the close of the Protestant Church meeting with eighty of the congregation in attendance, the minister stood and announced, “I am going to be baptized into the Mormon Church this next Saturday. How many of you are coming with me?” Then Wang addressed the group, “We were all baptized this same way, but now I know I had no authority to do the baptizing.” Fifty followed him and were baptized. His daughter was baptized first. A new branch was organized. A teenage girl had set the example. The new missionary couple to serve in this branch were the second couple to come to Taiwan—Jack and Iona Mendenhall, friends of the Godfreys.
The Taiwanese People
Floyd and Clarice saw the Taiwan people as a hustling and bustling culture with motorbikes speeding down the roads, sometimes hauling a family of four all on one bike. Taiwan was a land with high mountains, lush forests, and rolling western plains that were full of rice paddies, water buffalo, and fruit orchards. Cities to the north were industrial and drove the national economy. The Taiwanese were a determined people, hungry for education and always inquiring about other countries. Masses of children crossed the roads walking to the schools, stopping all traffic. They were hardworking students, well-dressed, groomed, and ambitious—all under the watchful eye of their parents. The Chinese from the mainland spoke Mandarin and were usually the business people. The native Taiwanese worked manual labor and lived in both the cities and countryside. Craftsmen carved camphor wood, teak wood, marble, and jade. Using only nimble fingers, a scythe, a sharp knife, and a brush, they passed down the art of carving through centuries. Today these smaller items are sold to the tourists. Carvings adorned all the furniture. They were clever and keen in their business dealings, but the desire was for life and family, not for the accumulation of money. “They bartered more for the pleasure than for the money.”
Rice was the basic food of all Taiwanese. Beautiful rice fields covered the countryside. It was grown everywhere on the mountain terraces, on the plains, and on any vacant lot in the city. Neighborhood gardens reflected neighbors helping neighbors. Water was directed from one garden paddy to another, from neighbor to neighbor, making efficient use of the rain. As rice starts growing, it looks like a blade of grass. As it matures, it can reach two feet in height and looks more like bromegrass or oats. When ripened, it turns brown and is cut by hand and stooked. Neighbors gather, and the harvest is done by hand. Baskets of the grain are carried to the threshing box to extract the seed, which is sacked and carried to the end of the field, where it is picked up and hauled to the mill or the market.
The mountain people lived on any flat spot where a building would fit. They had large families, and the children worked alongside their parents. They planted apple and peach trees on the hillside terraces. Gardens included squash and melons. The yards were full of chickens and the inevitable dog. Water buffalo pulled the plow that cultivated the land. Their homes were small cottages, with low roofs and one main door. In the center of the house was a wood or charcoal fire with a pot hanging above it for cooking. Clothing was scant because of the hot temperatures, but if they got cold, they just added another shirt during the winter. They used a drag shovel or a bamboo pole with heavy shoulder baskets on each end to carry their harvests and crafts to the city markets. The mountain people did the physical work all over the island. They are a proud people, pushed back into the mountains because over the centuries they refused to yield to their conquerors. They worshiped their ancestors, the river, a three-thousand-year-old tree, and the sky.
Cities of Taiwan
Cities were a contrast to the countryside. Floyd describes the Taiwan city streets as always buzzing with action. Mobile street merchants used their bicycles with a box on the back piled high with goods for sale. The merchants resembled the old-fashioned American “Fuller Brush” salesman with dusters and mops of all kinds sticking out of a box. The butcher displayed meat out in the open, on top of the box. The vegetable lady, always clean, slowly walked the street, ringing a bell. People heard the merchant’s bell and came out of their homes. The fish lady moved faster, trotting along with a crossbar over her shoulders, balancing two baskets of fish.
The city businessmen of the island lived in small homes with the amenities of a gas plate for cooking and a small refrigerator. Their homes were furnished with handmade furniture, a couch, and sleeping mats. They owned their own transportation, which was usually a small motor bike. There were shops with the owners inside, creating the items people wanted to buy. The larger shops were perhaps 375-square feet, with items for purchase everywhere. They exercised daily at 6 a.m. for an hour before work in the city park near Floyd and Clarice’s home and were often joined by Floyd. Work days started at 7 a.m. and did not end until 11 p.m. Large metal doors completely covered the front of the store front shops and were all closed at night.
The men and women all worked to support their families. However, on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, the women all get off work. The legend has it that a famous Chinese poet, a government minister, was drowned while out fishing. In his honor, in the springtime on this festival day the women take the day off work, prepare food and wrap it in bamboo leaves, and then take it to the sea where it is placed on the waves to feed the honored man. Missionaries all celebrated along with the people of the nation.
Transportation for the Taiwan missionaries and the people was primarily by bicycle. Everyone owned a bike. The motor bikes were only for those few who could afford them. Taxis were small cars, Datsun or Volkswagen in size, but there were many. Wait a few minutes for an eager driver, and the missionary could get across town for $0.35 ($1.98). The cars were in good running order, and the horns worked exceptionally well. Whichever driver had the loudest horn and the internal fortitude had the right-of-way on any road. There were few traffic lights, even in the city centers. Two kinds of trains moved people all over the island. They ran on an exact schedule. The first trains were comfortable, air conditioned, and carpeted, and depending on the length of the ride, tea or dinner would be served. The second inexpensive train was different: crowded, standing room only, and people, parcels, and chickens all crammed in together. It stopped at almost every crossing. Floyd and Clarice utilized all means of transportation, but they did not own a bike. They walked, took a taxi, or rode the trains.
Trucks were plentiful and used in construction. They were an anomaly created by ingenious workers. The engine was up front and mounted between two wheels. The back wheels were chain driven. The vehicle was controlled by motorcycle-style handlebars. “This little workhorse will haul two tons of gravel, cement,” bamboo poles for scaffolding construction, or whatever is needed. There was a canopy over the driver’s seat to protect him from the rain or the sunshine. The government used the modern four- to six-ton trucks. The common worker modeled anything to fill a need. If a motor-driven vehicle was unavailable, an ox or a cow was hitched to a wagon to pull the load.
The Taiwanese builders are artists at their work. Beautiful modern buildings were found in every city. A building under construction was covered with bamboo scaffolding, the bamboo sometimes five inches in diameter. It always made Floyd stop and stand and look in amazement. The bamboo was tied together using reeds and surrounded the entire building, sometimes as high as five stories. Builders climbed the scaffolding like ants on a tree. They carried rock, brick, tile, tools, and construction supplies in baskets on their shoulders as they worked.
Life’s Time Winds Down
As the end of Floyd and Clarice’s mission approached, in July 1973, they were anxious, and they were sad. “I can’t believe I’m here. This great land far away from home. . . . I can’t believe a small bashful boy of long ago has come this far.” And they had to say goodbye “as we now leave your door.” Thirty to forty people gathered at the train station to see them off. They held up the train as everyone said their personal goodbyes. “It was hard to leave,” and they “cried all the way” from Taichung to Taipei, where another crowd came to the airport in Taipei, and tears poured again.
Home in Canada
Floyd and Clarice were back home in Canada. The adjustment was reversed, as they stepped back into the Canadian culture they had left to serve their mission. It was just as difficult to come home as it was to leave for Taiwan, but they were surrounded by three of their family members, namely “Rob and the girls” (Robert, Marilyn, and Arlene). They visited Kenneth, now in Brigham City, Utah; Lorin in Kitchener, Ontario; and Donald in Tucson, Arizona, during their transition to normalcy. They spoke in the wards and stakes of Southern Alberta. Floyd always sat in the middle of the chapel, singing the hymns in Mandarin Chinese at the top of his lungs. He had no fear or embarrassment. He liked to show off. They were now a new anomaly at home, just as they had been in Taiwan.
Clarice’s health began failing her. Floyd cared for her as long as he could. A friend and family doctor, Alan Van Orman, and family doctor Fred Spackman advised Floyd that the toll of Clarice’s healthcare on him was putting his own life in danger. She passed away just eight years after their mission on 16 December 1980.
Life’s Lonely Travels
Floyd was lonely. He would drive to his daughter Marilyn’s ranch, sometimes twice daily. Upon arrival, he was unsettled and he would drive back home. It was a tough transition made a little easier by more service jobs.
Three months after Clarice’s passing, the Canadian Census Bureau put Floyd to work visiting the ranchers and farmers of Southern Alberta. His time was immediately taken in training and preparation. He attended preparatory classes in Lethbridge, then hired fifteen people who would work with him. The Census Bureau knew Floyd could get into the homes and acquire the data the government was unable to obtain. It was a hectic four months before the census was brought to a close. “I am supposed to be retired . . . [but] I don’t believe a person ever quits, [when] there is always so much to do,” Floyd wrote. The work kept him busy, but there was pressure getting it completed, and not all people were cooperative with the census takers.
Working kept Floyd active. A year later, he was contacted by the Federal Farm Bureau and asked to help them administer a survey on the use of energy in farming. In 1983, he was a member of the Cardston Historical Society and a year later, president of the society. This was a volunteer assignment, but a job he enjoyed as they worked together to establish and open the Cardston Museum. “Why do I accept these jobs?” he asked himself. “I seem to want to be working for our community and church,” was the response to his own question. In his church service, Floyd had taught the high priests group priesthood lessons for twelve years. These jobs kept him active, but it was not long before he started looking around for female companionship.
Taiwan Temple Mission
Floyd’s eyes wandered to the widow ladies of his neighborhood. Friends and family had limitless suggestions as he looked about nervously, like a teenage kid again. In July 1981, Floyd mustered the courage to call Amelia “Olive” Aldrige Crooks (1929–2007) on the phone. Olive’s husband had passed away in 1980, and Floyd had been watching her working in her garden as he mustered his courage. He called and asked her to dinner. She was hesitant and said, “I can’t, I’m picking strawberries, and I have to finish mowing the lawn.” Never one to take “no” for an answer, Floyd suggested he’d be over in twenty minutes to pick her up. Their first date was supper at the Kootney Lodge in Waterton Park. A month later they went for Chinese supper and out to see the movie, “The Fox and the Hound.” Dating continued until September, when Floyd kissed her goodnight and asked her to marry him. Olive was in shock! They both visited their families and by mid-month, “I was on cloud nine.” Olive continued, “Floyd and I drove to Waterton.” It was a quiet civil marriage in the Cardston Alberta Temple on 26 September 1981.
Floyd and Olive traveled extensively. He introduced her to his family, who were now scattered: his son Kenneth in Brigham City, Utah; his daughter Arlene in Spanish Fork, Utah; Lorin in Penticton, British Columbia; and Donald in Tucson, Arizona. Left close to home were his daughter Marilyn in Beazer, Alberta, and his son Robert in Calgary, Alberta. Floyd loved to travel, and he wanted to show his new bride the world. They made several trips to Hawaii.
In Hawaii, Floyd engaged in conversation with friends at the language training mission where he learned that the new Taipei Taiwan Temple needed temple workers. The Taiwan temple had just been dedicated on 17 November 1984. That was the catalyst for the second Taiwan mission. It was a temple mission from 1985 to 1986. On 12 April 1985, he received a letter from the Taiwan Temple president asking if he would come and serve. Floyd was thrilled, but he had to wait for the official calling to make its way through proper Church channels, which tested Floyd’s patience. Olive was nervous about living in such a different land, but Floyd encouraged her. On 3 June 1985, the formal call came from President Spencer W. Kimball. They were temple ordinance workers. Three months later, Floyd was called as a sealer on 9 September 1985, and President Kimball conferred authority on him—meaning he had the authority to perform eternal marriages in the temple.
Within a few months he was called to serve on the high council in the Taipei East Stake. His assignment was as temple representative in the stake, and he worked specifically with the American Branch. He traveled to promote temple participation and was the link for the American Branch to the stake leadership. Like all temples, there were days of quiet and days they worked fourteen hours. They performed all the ordinances for the patrons and were supervisors, in their turn. Olive described Floyd as “one of the big shots” because he had been in Taiwan before. He knew people, the language, and liked to visit.
Floyd and Olive were invited to Taichung in November 1985 to participate in the rededication of the Taichung chapel. A new addition was added to what Floyd had helped build in 1971–73. “It was like a homecoming,” but the city had grown so much he did not recognize his old neighborhood. The home where he and Clarice lived had been replaced by a high-rise apartment complex. It was an emotional experience seeing all the old friends. Floyd was asked to speak at the dedication, and he struggled through tears. “For the first time since I married Olive, I felt like Clarice was beside me,” he said at the rostrum of the chapel. The services were concluded, and they went for a roast beef dinner at the National Hotel. As the orchestra played “Somewhere My Love,” Olive squeezed Floyd’s hand. “I am a happy and content man. . . . Thank you Lord,” he wrote.
“The Night I Wrestled with Satan”
Not all of Floyd and Clarice’s or Floyd and Olive’s mission experiences passed without challenge. There was the intensity of language study, the frustration of looking for the right Chinese word in conversation and for expressing the principles of the gospel. However, even in their trials there was never a moment when they were not loving, serving, and learning. Floyd was particularly determined to conquer disappointments the night he wrestled with Satan.
Floyd and Olive Godfrey at Taiwan Temple, 1983. Courtesy of Floyd Godfrey Mission Photos.
It was 7 January 1987. Olive was in Canada attending her daughter’s wedding. The day before, Floyd had been in meetings with Robert L. Simpson, a former counselor in the Church Presiding Bishopric, an assistant to the Twelve Apostles, and currently a member of the Quorum of the Seventy. Floyd was at a spiritual high as he sat in the temple with them and knelt at the altar. “He is truly a man of God,” Floyd wrote. He was enjoying the spirit of the day, wishing Olive could be with him, and watching, learning, and listening to Simpson.
The next morning, Floyd cooked hot cakes for breakfast and was proud of himself. He cleaned the stove before the ants took it over. He worked through a smoggy day and ended it at a wedding supper for a friend. He wasn’t feeling well. His doctor had told him to rest his eyes and let them recover. He had been having trouble reading and was told not to read for a month to let his eyes recover. This was difficult for a man who had loved reading all of his life and who never stopped studying the Chinese language.
It was night, and Floyd went to bed, trying to sleep. His mind began to fill with “wrong things, bad things,” and “[He] could not sleep.” He tossed and turned, and yet these terrible thoughts kept coming back. At 3 a.m. he got up, trying to reorient his mind. He took a hot bath, but that made no difference. Every time he tried, the thoughts returned. “I was disgusted with myself for letting such awful things come into my mind, but I could not shake the thoughts . . . loaded with all kinds of terrible answers which were full of revenge.”
Suddenly Floyd thought, “I am the master. . . . ‘Satan, by the authority of the priesthood I hold, get out of here.’” He lay back on his bed very tired and went immediately to sleep. He slept “like a baby for the next 5 or 6 hours.” The thoughts were cleared from his mind, and he realized, “I have help if I just ask,” and he did.
From Taiwan to Canada
Floyd’s age and his health began to show toward the end of his second mission in Taiwan. It was painful to walk; laying all that carpet throughout his life, stretching it across the floors of the Cardston Alberta Temple on his knees, and his use of the “knee-kicker” was now taking a toll. He had repeated this in the Taiwan Taipei Temple when the newly installed carpet began to shrink. During a regular temple maintenance closure, he took charge and fixed the problem. He was in the hospital for bronchitis for a few days, given excellent care from doctors he knew, and given priesthood blessings for his well-being. He never complained; he just tried to recover and keep on working.
Floyd and Olive served almost two years. They were released twenty-one months later on 7 March 1987.
 Floyd and Clarice Godfrey’s mission call letters were not among the family papers. Their “Taiwan Mission” release certificate is dated 10 July 1973, Godfrey Family Papers.
 For more information on missionary work, see Spencer J. Condie, “Missionary, Missionary Life”; Richard O. Cowan, “Missionary Training Centers”; Gerald J. Day, “Mission President”; and Dean B. Cleverly, “Missions,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:910–20.
 Fred Spackman served as bishop of the Cardston Third Ward from 1952 to 1958 and as Alberta Stake president from 1971 to 1980. Floyd refers to him as bishop at the time of their calling because he had once been their bishop, but he was the stake president at this time. Correspondence from Randall P. Spackman to Donald G. Godfrey, 20 December 2014, Godfrey Family Papers.
 Clarice Card-Godfrey to her sister Melva Card-Witbeck, 27 September 1971, Godfrey Family Papers, hereafter cited as the Godfrey/
 Correspondence and Instructions, Missionary Committee and President Kenneth J. Orton, Asian-Pacific Language Training Mission, 12 October 1971, Godfrey Family Papers.
 Floyd and Clarice recorded their mission experiences in the “Missionary Journal of Floyd and Clarice Godfrey,” in letters they sent to their children, in the Godfrey/
 Letter from Clarice Card-Godfrey to Lorin Card Godfrey, 6 January 1972, Godfrey Family Papers. See also G. Homer Durham, N. Eldon Tanner: His Life and Service (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1982), 7–8.
 Mary Christensen and Lavinia Shurtliff were George Card’s stepsisters by Charles Ora Card’s fourth wife, Lavinia Clark Rigby-Card.
 Clarice Card-Godfrey to Lorin Card Godfrey, 22 January 1972. See also Mission Journal, 13 January 1972, 2.
 Floyd Godfrey, “Jun Guo Haw,” in Just Mine (Mesa, AZ: Chrisdon Communication, 1996), 41.
 The Laie Hawaii Temple opened in 1919, and the Polynesian Cultural Center opened in 1963. See Lanier R. Britsch, “Moramona: The Mormons in Hawaii,” in Mormons in the Pacific (Laie, HI: Institute for Polynesian Studies, 1991).
 Draft correspondence from Floyd Godfrey to Stoddard, n.d., from Church College of Hawaii Workbook, Godfrey Family Papers. Full names of individuals are provided where possible, but in keeping with missionary tradition, “Brother and Sister” is what appears, with few full names provided.
 Clarice Godfrey, Missionary Journal, n.d.
 “Brief Story of the Taichung Memorial Temple,” 260, Li Shing Road, Taichung. Tourist pamphlet describing the temple, Godfrey Family Papers.
 “Missionary Journal of Floyd and Clarice Godfrey,” 12–13. See also Clarice Card-Godfrey to Lorin Godfrey, 21 March 1972.
 A district is equivalent to a stake, but under the administration of the mission president. Full names of the Taiwanese people are provided where possible, but they did not always appear in the mission journal, oral histories, notebooks, or correspondence.
 Mission “Note Book,” n.d. There are numerous unidentified study notebooks from Floyd and Clarice’s mission. This reference appears to be from a yellow-covered notebook which contains Floyd Godfrey’s talk drafts on the Restoration of the gospel.
 “Missionary Journal of Floyd and Clarice Godfrey;” 19–20.
 Administering to the sick is a practice dating back to Biblical traditions. See James 5:14–15. Today it is accomplished by anointing the head of the individual with a drop of oil, laying one’s hands on the head, and offering a prayer in his or her behalf. See Nephi K. Kezerian, “Sick, Blessing the,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1308–9.
 Floyd Godfrey, oral history, 1977.
 Clarice Godfrey, Missionary Journal, 30 May 1973.
 Clarice Godfrey, Missionary Journal, 1 December 1972.
 Clarice Godfrey, Missionary Journal, 16 February 1973.
 Assessment from Floyd Godfrey to the mission office, 4 January 1973, Godfrey Family Papers.
 Floyd Godfrey, Missionary Journal, 27 November 1972.
 Clarice Godfrey, Missionary Journal, 9 April 1973.
 Clarice Godfrey, Missionary Journal, 9 April 1973. See also Clarice Card-Godfrey to Lorin Godfrey, 13 April 1973, Godfrey Family Papers.
 Malan R. Jackson, Taiwan Mission President to Taiwan Mission missionaries, 10 April 1973, Godfrey Family Papers. See also Godfrey/
 The camphor tree is a large evergreen from the laurel family. Teak wood is a hardwood that was used in early ship building.
 Floyd Godfrey, Missionary Journal, 4 September 1973.
 See Gerald Carson, The Fuller Brush Man (New York: American Heritage, 1986).
 Floyd Godfrey, “Five Year Diary,” 15 June 1972. See also the journal of Floyd Godfrey, “Taiwan Is,” November 1986, Godfrey Family Papers.
 Floyd Godfrey, Missionary Journal, 5 September 1973.
 Floyd Godfrey, Just Mine, 43–44.
 Journal of Floyd Godfrey, 21 June 1901.
 Journal of Floyd Godfrey, 10 February 1984.
 Journal of Floyd Godfrey, 25 March 1985.
 Journal of Floyd Godfrey, July 1981. See also Floyd Godfrey Family Newsletter, November 1992, 5.
 From Olive’s journal, in Kathy Layton and Don Godfrey, Remembering . . . Amelia “Olive” Aldridge Crooks Godfrey (Mesa, AZ: Chrisdon Communication, 2004), 54.
 Correspondence from Floyd Godfrey, 29 April 1985, Godfrey Family Papers.
 Ordinance card documenting the confirmation, Godfrey Family Papers.
 Journal of Floyd Godfrey, “Taichung,” November 1986.
 Floyd Godfrey, Missionary Journal, 5 and 7 January 1987. The title of this unit appears in Correspondence, 26 November 1987.
 See Journal of Floyd Godfrey, 12 April 1984, 26 June 1985, and 7 March 1987. Floyd writes 1984 in the first entry of the journal, but it is likely 1985.