Elder Spencer W. Kimball Calls a New Stake Patriarch
Les Dunn and his wife, Annie, get a big surprise from the Apostle at Stake Conference.
On Sunday, April 28, 1963, then Elder Spencer W. Kimball, of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, was presiding at a Stake Conference at the Ogden, Utah Tabernacle. Before the start of the afternoon session Elder Kimball instructed the Stake President and his counselors to look over the audience and see who they would recommend to fill the vacancy for Stake Patriarch. They looked over the audience but didn't get any inspiration on whom to recommend to Elder Kimball. One of the counselors then noticed an elderly gentleman, named Les Dunn, half hidden in the congregation behind another man. The counselor suggested Les to the Stake President, who nodded in approval. The Stake President wrote Les' name on a note, along with his location in the chapel, and passed it along to the apostle. Elder Kimball sent a note back that read, "Have Brother Dunn come up and bear his testimony".
Les, who had been sitting attentively with his wife, Annie,was caught by surprise as he heard the Stake President call him to the podium to bear his testimony. As he rose up he whispered to Annie that he felt like an electric shock hit him on the top of the head and went right through him.
Les stood at the podium and bore his testimony about the powers of the Priesthood. After Les concluded and was reseated with his wife, Elder Kimball spoke. The apostle complimented Les, and then continued on with the same subject and also talked about Patriarchal Blessings. After the meeting, several people approached Les to tell him that they got the impression that he would be the new Patriarch, but Les dismissed them as the thought hadn't even crossed his mind. His wife and he went and had dinner, then went home to relax before the evening session began at 6pm. Meanwhile, Elder Kimball was inquiring the Stake Presidency about Les and Annie.
At ten minutes to 5, Elder Kimball informed the Stake Presidency that he had made a decision on the new Patriarch, and to call Brother and Sister Dunn in for an interview. At 5:30 pm, Les and Annie arrived at the Ogden Tabernacle and Les went into an office to meet with the apostle and Stake President. Elder Kimball talked with him and asked him various questions for about 10 minutes.
Elder Kimball then looked Les in the eye and said: "I am calling you to be a Patriarch". Les, feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the calling, responded wearily, "It is such a responsible position." Elder Kimball just smiled and told Les to get his wife. Les opened the door to go out, but the Stake President volunteered to go get her instead. Les introduced Annie to Elder Kimball and they all sat down. Elder Kimball asked Annie, "Do you think that your husband will make a good Patriarch?" To which she replied, "Oh you bet he will". The apostle then asked, "Do you think that your children will support him in it?" She confirmed that they would. Elder Kimball then excused Les and Annie to go into the chapel for the impending conference, and asked that they not mentioned anything before it was announced.
They went into the chapel and sat down. Their bishop saw them and came over to greet them. As he shook their hands, the bishop whispered into Annie's ear, "I would say you are sitting by our next Patriarch". Annie didn't respond, but couldn't stop herself from grinning. After the opening prayer and hymn, Elder Kimball sustained Les as the new Stake Patriarch, and then told him to take his place on the stand. After the conclusion of the conference Elder Kimball ordained Les to his new Priesthood office.
Journals of Annie Hawkins Mitton Dunn, 1963, Journal #2