A Teenager's Example- James Carl Morrison

Today I want to teach you about my great-grandpa, James Carl Morrison
Carl with his granddaughters.
Carl was born in Louisville, KY in 1908. He was the oldest of eight surviving children. When Carl's nine month old brother died, his mother left the family. Carl ran away soon after, around the age of 17, because home life was so bad. He went to New York and got a job taking care of horses. It was here that he met Mary Cecelia Bowen, whom he married in Westchester, Katonah, New York, in 1934. (You can read more about that here.)

Several years, two daughters and one war later, Carl needed a job. During the second world war, he'd worked for the U.S. Navy making bomber planes. Now that the war was over, he needed to find work elsewhere. He felt pulled to go out west and see what he could find there. So, leaving his wife and two little girls, he headed out for Arizona. He fell in love with it and and upon returning to New York, he told his wife that that's where they were going. They sold many of their belongings and headed out west. He didn't have a job awaiting him there, but my grandma told me that he was inspired by the light of Christ to move there.

Up to this point, Carl had no religion. He said he couldn't find any church he could agree with. He prayed that Heavenly Father would show him the way to the truth.

Eventually, Carl was hired by Harvey Taylor as a groundsman for the Mesa schools. One day he was clipping a large bush or hedge while some kids played ball before school. When the bell rang, the teenagers came over to the bush and formed a circle. He watched them as a girl stepped into the middle of the group and began to pray. He said it was the best prayer he'd ever heard. He knew these kids were LDS (80% of Mesa was at that time) and told his wife later that if the Mormons could raise kids like that, there must be something to them.
In 1951, he was baptized.

Although there were many things that led my great grandfather to the Church, I hope you will remember the impact of a teenager's prayer. Because of those teenagers, kids just like us back in the 1950s, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. So please remember, YOUR example can lead someone to truth, help them feel the love of Jesus Christ in their life, and change the lives of generations forever.


  1. Cool story! I wonder if any of those teens knew they influenced someone in such a profound way that has blessed generations!?! Pretty amazing!

    1. I know! So grateful to those kids (who are now probably in their 80s if they are still living). I can't wait to thank them one day! Thanks for reading. :)

  2. Wow!!!!!! That is so great! You never really know what your choices can do. You may think at the time that it's an insignificant choice but it never is and never will be. Aunt Natalie has a cool book about this called 'The Butterfly Effect'--you should borrow it or ask her where she got it!
    And where do you find all of your detailed stories about your ancestors? They are so clear!

    1. Thanks for reading, Annalee. I think I have heard the Howells talk about that book before- I'll be interested to read it.
      I find most of my stories through my ancestors' autobiographies or through stories I hear from parents and grandparents. Do you remember when I wrote about Norma? She often tells me stories about that side of the family, too. So much fun!


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