Sister missionary serves Mormon mission in same area as ancestor

By John Enslen

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, May 18 2014 9:45 p.m. MDT

"The speaker had a good deal to say in regard to faith, repentance and baptism, on which subjects his remarks were unobjectionable, being quite orthodox. The people, he said, there paid the tenth of all they possessed for the support of the church, and yet were exceedingly prosperous.”

Lee had a daughter named Ann Eliza Lee Wixom, who had a daughter named Lillian Lenore Wixom Parsons, who had a son named Leonard Garth Parsons, who had a son named Leonard Dean Parsons, who had a daughter named Jane Parsons. Jane is the third great-granddaughter of Lee and is currently serving part of her 18-month mission in Wetumpka.

Sister Parsons, as she is customarily called while serving her mission, is tracing the steps of her ancestor as she walks (and rides a bicycle) along the same streets that Lee walked. Sister Parsons of Austin, Texas, the state of her ancestor's conversion, is one of more than 85,000 LDS Church members presently serving at their own expense as fulltime missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world. She is assigned to the Alabama Birmingham Mission and has previously labored in the Gadsden and Sylacauga areas.

When asked about her family legacy of missionary service in Wetumpka, she replied: “Wetumpka is a delightful place to me, and I am grateful for the same warm and friendly reception that my ancestor received almost 147 years ago. My companion, Sister Kelsey Waters, and I are enjoying our missionary experience in this special place that has always been dear to the hearts of my extended family members for many generations. I am confident that Elder Lee, my ancestor, would be surprised by the fact that today one out of three missionaries in the church is a female. On the other hand, I actually don't think he would be surprised at all by the fact that the church now has organized congregations in (more than) 150 countries in the world, including a large congregation in Wetumpka, Alabama, where he was the first Mormon missionary to preach.”

John Enslen is the first Mormon elected to a contested judgeship in Alabama, a former missionary to Cambodia, a history consultant for T. C. Christensen and the author of "The Bible and The Book of Mormon, Connecting Links." Email: jeenslen@gmail.com

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