In Memory of Ralph Taylor Cannon (1915 - 2015) including many others in our Church and a college friend



Ralph Taylor Cannon (1915 - 2015): Obituary


1981 - With Floyd and Edna Stoker on the left

1981 - With pioneer members of KL branch located 3 Jln Mentri Utara7/4, PJ

1982 - With all missionaries serving in Malaysia at the time

1986 - On their return trip to Malaysia

1986 - A fireside meeting with members at the home of my father in Cheras

2004 - Visiting Ralph after his wife Ruth passed away on 23 June 2003 after many years of struggling with Alzheimer's disease. She was 88 years old. Ralph would be 89 in the year we visited him.

2005 - A potential party interested to be married to Ralph but he told me he rather not remarry though that is a common culture in the US.

2006 - Visited Ralph 2 years after our last visit when he was 91 years of age, still living in his apartment alone with children visiting him weekly. Photo from this journal post.

2010 - This visitation to Ralph was after the wedding of Fei in Logan Utah on 29 May of this year. More photos of Ralph on this visit is found in this album here which contains the photos of other friends we had visited on this trip. Ralph at 95 years of age had moved from his apartment to be staying in a nice nursing home facility in Salt Lake City.

2011 - A year later, we were able to have Ralph come to the Salt Lake Temple where Su was married on 18 June on that year shared in this journal post.  Throughout the past years, I could call Ralph on the phone to chat with him and he was always very mentally alert. As he got older closer to being a centurion, his hearing had declined and this was when I lost contact with Ralph as he couldn't hear me on the phone anymore. 

After Geok Lee passed away in 6 Nov 2012, my travels were more confined to being closer to home as the two younger boys still needed a father to be close by. I had not made a trip to Salt Lake City for a while, though I made a short business trip to Lost Angeles in Feb 2013 but I didn't have an opportunity to reunite with Ralph again. Phone contact was no longer possible


2015 - I had a business meeting in Seattle and stopped over in Los Angeles, then in Salt Lake City for a visit with friends and family in August of this year. When in Salt Lake city I met up with Matt Davis, son of Kent and Geri Davis who were parents of an expat Church family in Kuala Lumpur in the early 80s when I had returned home after my education in Australia. Matt came to see me and we went to find Ralph in his nursing home. I had connected to Matt and his family as long ago as the summer of 2005 where his family pic is seen in this post. Below is the post from Facebook to thank Matt for driving me out to look for Ralph.



A lady at the reception counter informed us that Raph had passed away earlier on 25 January. I was about 5 months too late. She passed me a copy of a newspaper cutting with news of his death. I felt sad that I could not have met him earlier but there was the solace to know he is reunited with his wife Ruth finally.



Su and her husband Jay had already moved to Boston and in one of their visits back to Salt Lake City, they went to find the burial ground of Ralph and his wife to send me the photo below:



An account of how this journal post started

22 August 2015 Here I am in Orem Utah in the home of the in-laws of our daughter Su Min, filled with a very fine spirit that inspires me in many ways that I first felt when I first walked into their home in the summer of 2011 on the marriage of our two children.

I'm inspired to add the memories of all the other associates of Brother Ralph Cannon who were from overseas and served as senior couples in Malaysia under the Singapore Mission including that of our Mission President and his wife. 

My writings and researched information will continue from here first with photos of them that I have kept in my personal archives starting with Ruth Brain, the wife of Ralph Cannon :

Ruth Brain Cannon

Ruth Brain Cannon 1914-2003 : Obituary


Joseph Talmage Jones & Vera Jean Jones

Vera Jean Jones 1919-2004: Obituary of her with husband Joseph Talmage Jones 1915-1990 where both were buried in San Gabriel Cemetery in California. J Talmage Jones was the President of the Singapore Mission during the years 1979-82. I was called to as a full-time missionary in the Singapore Mission for two years in 1980-82 under the most extraordinary circumstances with amazing experiences that I had to record everything down as detailed as possible in my spiritual journal that begins here.

Photo Memory with the Vera & Talmage Jones

1983 Dec - In Leeds Southern Utah, north of St. George. Geok Lee received her endownments in the St George Temple arrange by Talmage Jones

At the Salt Lake Temple for the sealing of Chen Kai Kuan from Singapore and his wife Jessie Ho where our sealing for my wife and I would take place a week after on 22nd Dec 19833 arranged by Talmage Jones.

At a location somewhere in BYU Provo to gather students from Singapore primarily and former Mission Presidents who served in the Singapore Mission.


1987 Mar - Kuala Lumpur

 1998 Nov - In LA with Anthony Seow

1998 Nov in LA with Bill Schuetz


2003 Sep Provo Utah nursing home. I had always wondered where our Mission President's wife was after he passed away in 1990. Inspiration led me to text message to Tan Su Kiong in Singapore to ask if he knew. I soon received his response, giving me the exact address of where her nursing home was, in Provo Utah. Emails or social media was not something existing nor prevalent in our society then as the links of this sentence confirms. I had to rely on my real life social connections to find out and I inevitably did, thanks to the well-connected person Tan Su Kiong was who served as the Patriarch for the Singapore Stake in the Church.

This would be my second last visit to see her as she passed away on 9 June 2004 in her sleep after celebrating her 85th birthday the day before with family and friends. The last visit was when I brought Smelie Redd to visit her a couple of weeks later shared in a photo below under the section of my photo memory with Laurel & Smelie Redd

Postdated development - March 2019, the month of an extraordinary number of visitors from overseas to Kuala Lumpur I was glad to meet who happen to be members of our Church. One of them from the city of Coimbatore in India has a link to Talmage Jones explained in this Facebook post where I quoted these words from page 77 of his book, "In the city of Coimbatore we have an excellent family who are members. In their home they assembled a group of fourteen professional people, and we enjoyed a good discussion. Again, a good place to start a branch, if we only had some experienced leadership." 

I was so surprised to meet a member from Coimbatore to call on me in Kuala Lumpur and I loaned the book to him during his long stay in Kuala Lumpur.

This is Johnson from Coimbatore on the eve of returning back to India to do some casual shopping for gifts to family members and friends back home.


J. Floyd Stoker & Edna Stoker

J. Floyd Stoker 1909-1997: Obituary and wife Edna Stoker 1909-2009 Obituary

Smellie Redd & Laurel D. Redd

Laurel D. Redd with Smellie Redd where I could not find an obituary of either one of them but through my persistence, came across an entire typed written family history of the Redds here. From the entire family history, I have copied and transferred the relevant journal parts from Laurel D. Redd to google docs here in Part 1 and Part 2.

To find the relevant pages of Malaysian history in the huge pdf file of a total of 852 pages, use Ctrl F in the browser to search for relevant pages containing the keywords like Ipoh, Ivan Ho, Doreen, Elder Wu, Sister Woo, Leavitts, David Gessel etc to jump to the page immediately to enjoy written history left behind by Sister Laurel D. Redd

Photo memory with Laurel & Smelie Redd


1983 Dec in their farm home in Grassy Lake near Calgary, Alberta Canada

2003 Sep As I rarely travel to Canada, I never had a chance to visit the Redds again even after Laurel Redd had passed away until I found Smelie Redd in Utah. Through email correspondence with his son William Redd and his son's wife Peggy who were originally living in Grassy Lake Canada where Bro and Sis Redd lived, I received the information that Bro Redd was living with them after they had moved to Utah in a suburb called Riverton.

As in the above photo, I found Smelie Redd, in the center, with the help of my friend Cevin Ormond, on the far left, to go together to find Stephen Brown, on the far right, who was the Elder who first knocked on my door in Australia to share the Gospel with me! Coincidentally, the two parties were staying in the same suburb with my friend Cevin Ormond so I didn't have to travel far to find my long lost friends whom I thought I would never get to see again.

With one old friend Smelie Redd, I connected him to find another mutual friend, Vera Jean Jones, the wife of our Singapore Mission President when we were both missionaries serving in Malaysia in 1981. I could bring him to find her as I had found her a little earlier shared above in my photo memory of Vera and Talmage Jones.


In Memory of Linda Chin
(June 2, 1959--Aug. 28, 2015)

On this particular trip to the US which was a business trip described more in this blog post, my first stop was Los Angeles to visit my daughter Fei and her husband Christoper and also stopped over again as I flew back to Singapore from the same city I first landed in.

Something coincidental happened during my very short stay of a night or two on each trip in LA. Before I left LA for SLC on 18 Aug 2015, Jonathan Chin, the husband of a former student of my university in Australia named Linda Teoh(her family name and both seen in the above photo), called me on the phone. He had the sad news to say that Linda was in critical condition due to cancer! I was shocked as I had only met her during a short trip to LA made only a couple of years earlier on the Chinese Snake New Year of 2013 on 18 Feb in US time but 19 Feb in Singapore as recorded here.  Below are some photos from that visit with my daughter Fei.

I recall at that time, we could not meet Jonathan but he called the home to explain that with the new 'Obamacare' health care law of the US, the hospital where he was working in Loma Linda had become exceedingly busy that he could not come home to join us for dinner.

Over dinner time, Linda shared some further distressing news about her job at the Loma Linda university. She explained that her boss did not believe that a new African-American  senior he hired to be above her was demanding that she, in charge of payment through computer transactions, was asked her to transfer money illegally to him! The boss explained that she misunderstood him and did not understand the African-American culture which he professed to be an expert as he apparently was very experience from working in Africa. As a result, the African-American senior soon pushed her to a corner to work alone, removing all staff that was formerly under her!

The following photos came from that visit to Linda that I did not think would be the last!

She cooked a sumptuous Chinese dinner for us.

We were touched when Linda showed us her photo album to find photos of our young family we had sent out over the years by snail mail to keep in touch with them.

I took the above snapshot of our old family photos from her album with 3 children out of our 6 that we eventually had.

Jonathan on my latest trip to the US in September 2015 mentioned above informed me that she was diagnosed with cancer sometime after my last visit to their Loma Linda home in 2013 with my daughter. Her condition had worsened in 2015 and was critical when he called me from reading about my landing in Los Angeles posted in facebook where I had published my US temp cell phone number.

He asked me to pray for her and I told him I would do it and also put her name in the prayer rolls of our Church temple too in my next city of destination which I did in Seattle.

I landed back in LA on 30 Aug 2015 While on an airport shuttle bus to Santa Monica Boulevard to catch a taxi to my daughter's apartment in LA, my US cell phone rang while I was trying to connect to Uber Taxi. In a frantic voice to Jonathan who spoke to me, I apologized quickly that I was halfway in the middle of an online connection on the phone to reserve a taxi without giving him a chance to speak to me further and said I would call him back. When I finally settled down in my daughter's apartment, I returned the call to Jonathan who informed me that Linda had passed away a couple of days ago.

I later checked Jonathan's facebook timeline to find the above photo of Linda with his comments marked in red that reads, "Linda, my beloved wife (June 2, 1959--Aug. 28, 2015) has rested in the Lord. It's with sadness and grief that we will miss you dearly. Rest in peace my beloved; for you will surely be in our hearts forever".

The above sharing of Linda's passing is included in this post meant for my senior associates in the Church who worked with me during my mission days because her death was known to me while I was in a trip to the US, the journal link given above, when I was inspired to create this post. She was also one of the friends at the University whom I had introduced to the Elders on our Church and was baptized. I had left for my mission and in later years I met her again when she came back from the US with Jonathan as her husband. They would visit me a few times in KL and I also visited them in Loma Linda for a few times when I had time in California.

Post-dated Development :
This part of the post of Linda is appropriately included in an Easter post of March 2016 where her name 'Linda Chin' is included in my memorial list found here.

Rex Kennerley 1943-2016

10 Oct 2016 (The date I was inspired to search for someone in Facebook related to him)






Bro Rex Kennerley on the far right is the person-in-charge of my MTC training in Hamilton, New Zealand in 1980. I met up with him again in my 2nd trip to the US in April 1986. It was quite a coincidence as I was attending General Conference in Salt Lake City and the person sitting beside me was the Stake President from New Zealand whose family name was also Kennerley! Upon asking if he knew the Kennerley I knew in the Hamilton MTC, he said that was his brother who was at the hotel at that time visiting Salt Lake City with him! He invited me to the hotel after the conference and I had a wonderful surprise reunion with Bro Kennerley again. I may not have a camera with me then, as they were not as small as pocket cameras today, to have a photo of that surprise reunion!

This is Bro Belbin who was the younger instructor, just two of them, at the MTC sitting on the left of the front row. He actually came to KL branch one day in Feb 1996 but he didn't linger longer for me to get his contact so I hope we can reunite again like the missionaries of the Book of Mormon while we are still alive! With the internet, it may be possible and I found this site but the person of age 74 in 1996 would be too old and I don't exactly know what his first name is either!

I had remembered and felt the special spirit of Bro Rex Kennerley for many years since my short training in the New Zealand MTC of 10 days. Something made me search the facebook using his family name, at this time of writing, to connect with his daughter Roseanne Kennerley to obtain the photo below :

It was sad to learn that he had just passed away on 22 February this year of 2016 in Bunbury, Western Australia as it would be wonderful to connect with him again using today's online technology. Guess I have to wait when it is my turn to return back to the Spirit world again for that full reunion!

In order to get more complete information of the date of birth and death of Rex Kennerley, I messaged his daughter Roseanne again who connected me to her Mom who was also in Facebook under the name of Rex N Myrle Kennerley which I understand is a joint account of Rex and his wife Myrle. I made a friend request to connect with Myrle but I guess not everyone, especially of senior age, would be savvy in all the functions of Facebook. I checked her timeline now and then until I found the above photo of his headstone.

Magnified, I could see that he was born on 29 Oct 1943 and passed away on 22 Feb 2016. I could now post this date at the top of this memorial post of his. 

I'm glad however to have found their page to get more complete information of Rex Kennerley and in a way catch up for the many years that we were separated. His name and influence to me remained in my Consciousness for many years since I was a young missionary trained by him for my spiritual mission to serve in my homeland to teach the restored Gospel. I am spiritually fed by this experience to finally connect with a man who greatly touched my life more than he may ever have known.


Ronald Porter Willis & Thora Belle Brown Willis
19 Dec 2016

On this day in the Christmas month of 2016, I received the obituary of a couple who had served in Malaysia as missionaries in 1997-98, Elder and Sister Willis. It reads, "Ronald Porter Willis, 88, and Thora Belle Brown Willis, 84, of Idaho Falls, passed away on July 8, 2015, as the result of a tragic car accident on I-15 near Plymouth, Utah. They will be mourned by friends and family all over the world."

I receive this obituary by connecting with their granddaughter, Emily Ahlin Willis. I came across her due to her familiar 'Willis' family name when she requested to join our Returned Missionaries facebook group a couple of months ago. On inquiry with her, if she was related to the Willis couple I know, she revealed herself to be the granddaughter. I realized later that I didn't have much information about their background nor of their passing and asked if she could find an obituary for me. I got it in the morning and so this post in memory of them is made possible.

One can view the obituary of Ron & Thora Willis by clicking here. 

Photo/Video Memory with Ron & Thora Willis

We've actually been in their home in Idaho during the summer of 2010 after the wedding of our oldest daughter Fei. See the video below :


We see Jay our son-in-law playing the piano in their home. Jay was still courting Su at that time and they were married the following summer too! We were just living across from their home as their son James living across the road from his parents had married our Church member friend Miow-Lin from our Kuala Lumpur branch of the Church. They attended Fei's wedding in Logan Utah and invited us to drive up to Idaho to stay with them.

Here is Sis Willis showing us her photo album of the time during their mission in Malaysia.

We see Bro & Sis Willis in the center of the photo above

In 3 cars we packed some grand children with us to drive to Yellow Stone Park...

... where we could see Bisons roaming freely in the park grounds!

Click the following links to see more photos in Idaho Falls and Yellowstone Park where we had taken some photos of them.


President Thomas Spencer Monson 1927-2018

2 Jan 2018





Photo Memory with President Monson


While setting up an event at the Marriott Hotel in Salt Lake City in September 2008, Patricia Quek spotted President Monson alone having a shoeshine on the chair in the lobby of the hotel. I found him such a gracious and humble man. Surprisingly there was no crowd of people around him nor any security guards. Anyone who didn't know him would not know he is the President of a worldwide church, even a prophet, seer and revelator!

I stayed up on our Saturday morning to watch the funeral service of President Monson at 3am our Malaysian/Singapore date of 13 Jan 2018 :




Passing of Harold De La Mare, President of the Singapore Mission in 1985-88

Coincidentally on Jan 2 of the new year of 2018, I saw the announcement of the passing of our former Mission President in facebook :



Photo Memories

President Delamare and his wife at a District Conference in Malaysia in 1987 where my wife and I had only our 2 daughters while I was serving as the KL branch president from 1984 till 1988.


At the dedication of the KL branch meeting house in 3 Jalan Mentri Utara 7/4 Petaling Jaya in July 1987. Seen on the far right is Malaysia's first District President Ivan B. Ho with his wife Sophia and counselor Rodney How.

A Dec 1987 photo of the Delamares with all the missionaries of the Singapore Mission used for their Christmas greeting card

As I looked at the photo above of the missionary force, the Spirit filled my Consciousness to realize in that photo alone, several of the members have passed away. Most even younger than me. If any of our return missionaries pass on, I would put their photo in our RM Facebook group here.  Suddenly my Consciousness told me I had missed out Jenny Ling in a later Easter post I had made including To Chow Kong shown in the photo below.

Jenny Ling 


To Chow Kong

The interesting thing is that as I was watching the live funeral of President Monson at 3.00am on our Sat Jan 13 and used the time to update all my online information when my good friend and returned missionary Steven Kok messaged me to chat as he does occasionally. He was a great help to assist me to be able to complete the final information I am short of which is the death date of To Chow Kong by quickly giving me the Facebook URL to his wife's account so that I can follow up with her for this information. (She did inform me later in the morning that her husband passed away on 30 Dec 2003.)

Now I can go to bed tired but feel accomplished. The Consciousness of the human being is something Science and Religion have been spending a lot of time trying to understand what it is and how it works. Due to experiences such as this one and a whole series of even more surprising situations that I call miracles that have occurred in my life recorded in my journals as a member of our divine Church, I obtained a unique Awareness or Consciousness to better understand the various expects of life. It was possible as I had chronicled my life's experiences of the Body Mind Spirit BMS domains and embarked on a lot of personal research through reading, scanning for past and present information from various sources plus conducting live experiments subconsciously in my own life in search of further truth and light or greater knowledge. From my lifelong study and personal live experiments, an alternate state of OPT Optimal Performance Thinking was discovered and fined tuned for those seeking self-improvement and greater happiness in our increasingly stressful secular world.

What were my experiments and what results did I get? I worked on all the 3 BMS or domains in my life that I had discovered, even changing the areas of focus or goals in my life, just to see if I could still get the consistent optimal results I was seeking for.  These were my "What if..." thoughts which I have shared in this post.

With this cumulated state of consciousness as explained above, I could feel the many people I have come to know in my life and after they have passed away, I felt impressed to create this "In Memory" album for them. 

Here is another Facebook album with several departed friends and family treasured in my memory. This is the magic of technology to augment my mind in remembrance of these souls who once walked, talked and ate with me, even laughed and cried together sometimes, in the varied experiences of our lives.



Rodney How Boon Lok 

8 Apr 2018

I got the news from Susan Ho, another pioneer of our Church in KL/Malaysia just before noon on Monday 9 April. I had never received a WhatsApp message from her before, not surprisingly as being in the older generation, she was not into smart phones etc but I knew that many in Malaysia now, especially the older generation, find WhatsApp much simpler to use as compared to Facebook Messenger where one is connected to the sophisticated Facebook social media platform which requires a bit more technical know-how to administer it.

I only read the message about lunch time. The moment I read the message of Rodney's passing I was in a state of shock as I wasn't aware that he was down with any sickness or disease! My response was to immediately reply to Susan that I was in shock. I must have been as seen below is an error of writing a condolence message to his wife Susie but typed it in a wrong message area that belonged to Susan's WhatsApp account! I had the instinct to send a message to Jackie Ho, another pioneer member of the Church close to Susan who now lives in Washington DC, about the news of Rodney's passing as they were together as pioneers of the early Church in KL in the 70s. To my surprise, Jackie responded that she was in Ipoh Malaysia with her mother!


My shock experience shown in my mistake in sending my message to Susie wrongly in Susan Ho's WhatsApp account!


As a connector or communicator via media, I quickly made the post below in my Facebook timeline so that all who know Rodney How may be aware of his passing.



I added information of the Wake activity that was organized by the family on Monday and Tuesday nights before the funeral on Wednesday.


Later Jonathan How, Rodney's son made a Facebook post of his father's passing explaining what actually happened that Rodney could just pass away quietly with the family while watching television! Read his account below: (The Facebook post of Jonathan was temporarily removed as his Mom informed me that siblings of Rodney wanted to keep the funeral information away from Rodney's old mother for fear of any shock to her that may affect her current frail life. It is possible to keep secret his passing as she is now not staying in Rodney's home as she used to in the past.)


I decided to do a final version of the video of Rodney How for Susie his wife who has no account in Facebook and some of Rodney's peer pioneers in the Church like Jackie Ho, Susan Ho and others connected in WhatsApp only:
Summarizing what I started to write about above, before Rodney's post on his passing, about my Awareness or Consciousness, the following photograph is a good metaphor.

Since I recorded my consciousness in my journals, my network with friends and my experiences with them actually form part of an intricate network of my relationships with a host of people. Records in my journal blogs provide an external resource of memories for my consciousness that links me to many people and information that they share with me. Let me show you how in my journals or chronicles, I've linked them to various people seen in the above photo.

For Anthony Lim, in his passing, I've recorded much of his life starting from this journal. We can see links of Anthony Lim to Rodney How in this part of Anthony's post where the following Rodney How pics are found:
Taken in 1974 (Photo courtesy of Jackie Ho) Supports Anthony's journal that family home evening was held in his home in the 70s.

Taken in 1977 (Photo courtesy of Anthony Lim) Supports the incorporation of the Church in Malaysia where Anthony Lim and Rodney how were the first directors. President Soren F Cox is seen signing on the incorporation document.

Then as early as 1983, on a trip to Salt Lake City Utah for a temple marriage for my wife and I, we met Jackie Ho as per the photo below:

Jackie Ho is seated on the far right. On the left is Cheng Kai Kuan with wife Jessie Ho from Singapore who were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple a week before us.


In another trip to the US with my wife in 2006, we met Jackie Ho again with her mother seen by her side who had moved to live with her in Washington DC. Jackie had in later years sent me many old photos of the early KL group of the Church as the photo below:

We see photos of young Rodney in blue seated in the middle and Susie in red on the far right with Jackie in the middle.

I managed to make arrangements to meet Jackie in the morning of Friday, April 20 in Petaling Jaya who had her aged mother with her whom I had met in the last reunion in Washington DC in 2006. Traveling with her mother made it difficult for her to travel to attend Rodney's funeral while she was up north in Ipoh earlier but I was glad that we could meet again to catch up with each other. She had moved to the US in 1981 and I had met her for the first time in 1980 when I came home to KL in Chinese New Year Feb month before I commenced my mission in August that year.

This is Jackie on the far right on 20 April 1981 in a photo taken by me, already on my mission serving in Kuala Lumpur, at the airport seeing off the Stokers going home at the end of their mission where my mother is seen beside her. 

In our meeting, she shared details that I have forgotten that she met my father and knew him even before meeting him as her boss whom she worked for in those days was a friend of my father! Talking about our Hakka ancestry, she shared that her mother was a Hakka from the same source as me in the District of Meixian near Meizhou city while her father was a Hakka from the coastal area near Xiamen. I had visited these two places during my unforgettable trip to find my ancestral village in Nov 2015 recorded here.


I have a photo of Richard Ang and his family in Provo Utah taken in 2003 in one of my visits ot the US. I knew Richard who was a Malaysian and worked for the Church CES department in Singapore before moving to work for BYU Provo.

I've provided photos of all the people in the above photo marked with red arrows. The only person left out is Kim Chong where there are only old photos of her from the past but I never took any when I first met her in PJ in 1980 with her brother Aaron Chong and their parents. I do have information about her brother Aaron who served a mission in Hawaii in 1982-84 as per this names list where he is alphabetically sorted as the first name. Other than that I cannot produce any record or photo from my journals of Kim Chong but clear memories of her amazingly still exist in my brain where I know her parents lived in SS2 area in Petaling Jaya but which street address or specific house number I cannot recall! 

In summary, my online journals do augment my consciousness of people and my experiences with them including information that they may have imparted to me as our physical brain has an amazing capacity to store a lot of information or past memories of our lives even without the computer memory or what is stored in the 'Cloud' today! 

I will now end this post in memory of Rodney How after sharing also of some information of those associated with him in his younger days that I could share using my journals as a resource. 


Dr. Willard Cleon Skousen

Click the above photo to see his obituary and a brief biography or click here.

Dr. Cleon Skousen is someone I've never met in my lifetime but he is added to my 'In Memory' journal due to the early impact on my life by his talk on a cassette tape loaned to me by a missionary not long after I was baptized in Australia in 1979. I was excited to find his talk online when writing my Spiritlane post about my spiritual experiences in KL branch on the topic of atonement found here. 

Listening to the talk again after so many years, it was even more interesting to realize that he was one of the pioneer members to be called to serve in London in 1920s at the age of 17! My 2nd son was still serving in his London mission at the time of my discovery and I shared my experience with him in one of my weekly emails to him. Cleon Skousen was such a great scriptorium to share the fine points about the atonement that many Christians would not be aware of and he had a great sense of humor too sharing his experience as a young missionary in London. Click here to listen to his most lively recording.


14 Sep 2018
Passing of Soren F Cox,  1st President of the Singapore Mission in 1975-78

Click the above photo to see his obituary and a brief biography or click here.

I took the above photo with President and Sis Cox in Provo Utah, seen on the top left. It was in Dec 1983 when my wife and I were there for our temple sealing a year after our civil marriage. The gathering of mainly Singaporeans there with some returned missionaries was also with other former Mission Presidents seen in the front row, namely Talmage Jones on the right and Winfield Q Cannon beside him. 

Singapore Saints able to attend "In Loving Memory of Soren Franklin Cox"

Shauna & See Ba Thee (Malaysia), Dr. Daniel Santhakumar (first Indian branch president and owner of Bombay House & Royal India restaurants), Roy and Priscilla Lau Thong, George & Maureen Baker, Wobee Krishnan, Johnny Tay, Dale & Paul Cox, and July Ellis Jolley

The following is a brief history of the leaders of the different Missions that existed where Malaysia and Singapore were under over the years:

1969-1972 G. Carlos Smith and wife (1st President of South East Asia Mission)
1972-1975 Miller F Shurtleff and wife Alice (2nd President of South East Asia Mission)
1975-78 Soren F Cox and wife Fern (1st President of the Singapore Mission)
1978-80 Winfield Q Cannon, (President of the International Mission that took over temporarily)
1980-82 J Talmage Jones and wife Vera Jean (2nd President of the restored Singapore Mission name with the rest following)
1982-1985 Lionel F Walters and wife Marianne
1985-1988 Harold E Delamare and wife Carolynn
1988-1991 Robert W Houghton and wife Linda
1991-1994 Warren R Jones and wife Becki
1994-1997 Carl D Warren and wife Laura
1997-2000 Nicholas P Collins and wife Susan
2000-2003 Joseph F Boone and wife Alisyn
2003-2006 Gary L Larkins and wife Trudy
2006-2009 Byran Skelton (and wife?)
2009-2012 Terrence Clark and Laraine Clark 
2012-2015 Bradley Mains and Cheri Mains
2015-2018 Stephen Simmons and Elizabeth Simmons
2018-2019 Paul Rowley and Robin Rowley
2020-         Leonard Woo and Rita Woo 

Pioneer members before me who joined the Church in KL and Penang branch had trips to Singapore in the mid-seventies to meet President Cox as per the photo above found in a journal of the KL branch here.

He is seen signing of the incorporation documents of the Church in Malaysia, incorporated on 2 September 1977 with Anthony Lim Teong Keat and Rodney How Boon Lok as local Malaysian directors.

To be continued and edited where necessary...

The Year 2021
This journal started as one in remembrance of those Latter-day Saints who have passed away. In a combined zoom meeting of the district of Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur on 29 Nov 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic period of time, it was announced by the Mission President Leonard Woo that it was in preparation for establishing the first Stake of the Church in Malaysia. 


I am inspired on this date of 10 Jan 2021 to begin to organize the histories of the branches of the two districts to be able to be shared when the Stake is officially created. I will start with the Penang branch and continue to Kuala Lumpur branch following the chronological of branches that started in West Malaysia

Penang branch

The city of Penang sits on an island across the bay from the city of Butterworth.  During the time of British control, the town was known as Georgetown.  As mentioned at the beginning of this narrative, it was the first area of Malaysia to hear the preaching of the Gospel for five days in 1854.  One hundred years later, the next implementation of the Gospel on Malaysian soil occurred in Penang, when Australian LDS military families and other expatriates took up residence.  Meetings were held in their homes.  Penang had the first organized group of the Church and held first conference of the church in Malaysia.  However, by 1978, the Penang group dissolved because most of its Australian and American members had moved from the area.  
As mentioned above, the very first local Malaysian to be baptized into the church in Malaysia was See Bah Thee, of Penang.  An important addendum to his story is that his son, Christopher Thee, will be serving in the Singapore Mission, 2012-2014.  Here is his conversion story that also includes the earliest days of the church in Penang.  The story includes excerpts from an email message, dated 10 Dec 2011, from Peter Ooe Chang Hock to See Bah Thee, commenting on these portions of the conversion story.

See Bah Thee, First Malaysian to be baptized in Malaysia
 
Early Penang Church members – 1970’s - Thee See Bah on far right


Conversion Story of See Bah Thee:

 “I know my Heavenly Father loves me very much.  I know I was prepared to receive the restored gospel even though I was born to parents who believed in Taoism in a Muslim country.  Even though there were no members of the church in my area of Penang, the Lord provided a way by which I could be introduced to the gospel.  It came in the form of a man, Peter Ooi  Chang Hock.  He was older than me and had been living in Australia when he was converted to the church and baptized.
Comment by Peter Ooi Chang Hock in 2011: “I was baptized in South Perth Church, Perth, Western Australia.  I can't remember the name of the apostle who also played a part in the planning for the establishment of the Church in Malaysia. I met with him in Perth at the Stake meeting. He gave me the contact details of the mission in Singapore. I followed up when I visited Singapore enroute to Penang. We discussed the establishment of the Church in Malaysia. It was a very difficult and challenging mission to set foot in Malaysia. It was the missionary who introduced me to the Church in Singapore. The Church had already been established in Singapore {1969}. It was here in Singapore that I met one of the main Church members. He was then an architect lecturer in Singapore University. His name is Jon Lim. Jon and I were part of the local Church members in Penang. It was Jon Lim who introduced me to the RAAF Church members in Penang. The Church service was established and held in turn at the homes of the Royal Australian Air Force Personnel in Seaview Park, Tanjong Bunga.  The Australian Church members were based in RAAF Butterworth. 
“When I returned to Malaysia from Australia, somehow you have always been in my thoughts and mind as though this mission was implanted on my mind. I think Jon Lim and myself are the first Malaysians from Penang to be the Church members. I think Jon was baptised in Melbourne. He studied at Melbourne University for his Masters in Architecture. He comes from Penang.”]   
 “Peter and I attended the same school, St. Patrick’s High School although Peter was several years older than me.”  
[Comment by Peter Ooi Chang Hock in 2011: “I came to know you during the school days and I don't know how you became attached to me as a very close friend through our association at St. Patrick's School where you were in remove form1? Maybe your faith meeting and becoming my friend was planned and sealed by the Lord from that time on.”]
“Peter joined the church in Australia and when he returned, he brought me a gift.  I thought the gift was going to be something I would like, but instead it was a box full of church literature including a Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Joseph Smith story.  I was disappointed because I thought this was just another church.  I expressed thanks for the gift and put the box of church literature away.
“However, Peter was missionary minded and wanted to share the gospel with others.  Peter asked if I could invite a few friends to my home to be introduced to the gospel.  At that time, my room was part of the family chicken coop so I reorganized my room so that we could meet there.  
“Peter taught us the gospel mostly through the hymns of the church.  Peter would write the words of the hymns on my chalkboard and we would try to follow the melody by listening to Peter sing.  These meetings happened at least 2 or 3 times.  The people that attended these “chicken coop” meetings that later joined the church were myself (See Ba Thee), Henry Joseph, Agnes Joseph and Andrew Ma.
Comment by Peter Ooi Chang Hock in 2011:  “Like Christ who was born in a humble stable, you lived in a humble wooden and thatched dwelling under the canopy of a rubber plantation.  It is the humble origin of yourself where you grew with the teachings of the Church to your current position in the Church.” (The point is that, this is the humble beginning of the history of the establishment of the Church in Malaysia)
“I remember Henry was the person I invited to attend at the meeting in your room of your humble home. I shared the teachings of the Church with you and Henry. The importance of value of family unity, love and ties by sealing your faith in the temple that when you leave this existence you will be reunited in the next world as a family with the Lord God.  (You learned about ) the book of Mormon gospel through hymns, about how the Church was established through Joseph, the new twelve apostles, how we go through the phase of life on Earth, through to be with God, etc.”]
“Peter invited me to accompany him as he tried to find some expat members of the church in Butterworth and Penang.  Eventually we met as members of the church (not a group) in Rudolf and Elizabeth’s Agerbeek home in Seaview Park Tanjong Bunga, Penang.  The people that were there were “Peter Ooi, See Ba Thee, David K. Smith, Sue Smith, Rudolf Agerbeek and Elizabeth Agerbeek and their three children, Dusty Currey and his wife.  (see pictures)  In the picture there is a sign being held by one of the children.  You cannot see what it says but I remember it documented the first time members met other members in Penang. (However many years ago I sent a copy of this photo to the Church Almanac.  It is a Xerox copy and it was readable.  If you really want to know what the sign says, the church almanac has a better copy.)
Comment by Peter Ooi Chang Hock in 2011: “This then followed through with the invitation for you to attend the Church services in Penang. You were immediately accepted as a family member by the Australian Church members in Penang. They really liked you very much.  They called you "TC".”]
“Later on, Peter and the rest of the group (I was not a member yet) organized a Sacrament Meeting in David K. Smith’s home.  I attended the first Sacrament Meeting with Peter.  I do not remember if there was anyone else there other than the three families and Peter.  I did not understand what was Jgoing on.  I did not understand English or the ‘Mormon’ vocabulary very well.   But I do remember the feeling I had.  I felt good about the organization of the church. I felt good about joining the church even before I took the discussions.  I later learned that what I felt was the Spirit. 
 “I began taking discussions taught by members of this group.  They would take turns teaching me.  On July 26, 1971 Peter Ooi baptized me in the Ocean across from Seaview Park, Tanjong Bunga, Penang.  David K. Smith confirmed me after my baptism. 
“Eventually more expat members of the church came to Penang.  The group grew to the point where we had to rent a kindergarten building.  This building was not far away from Seaview Park.  
“With more members of the church, there was more activity for the members.  Because it took me several hours to get to church by bus and ferry, the members invited me to stay in their homes on Saturday night so that I might be able to attend all the meetings.  
“It is in the member homes where I learned the gospel.  I learned about family prayer, blessings on the food, family home evening and how to treat each other.  It is there where I learned what I wanted my family to be like.  
“Eventually, all the members (including Peter) left and returned to their homes abroad.  I was left the only member of the church in the Penang area.  Once or twice I would attend the Kuala Lumpur branch and the Singapore Branch.  I was lonely.
“Soren Cox, then mission president flew into Penang to visit me.  In his hotel room, he encouraged me to serve a mission for the church.  I decided that I would.  In 1978, I was the first missionary from Malaysia who went on a foreign mission.  I served in the Taiwan Kaoshung Mission. 
“In 1980, Douglas R. Dean and his wife who were part of the first group of members in Penang greeted me after my mission.  They had returned to Malaysia again to serve in the Royal Australian Air Force. 
“Right after my mission I was offered a research job by the Genealogy Society of Utah.  I was to identify the number of records available in the Christian Churches and Chinese Family Organization.  Later, I would photograph the records.  Halfway through my research, the Malaysia government ordered me to stop conducting the research.  I had no future plans in my life. 
“Douglas R. Dean knew of my situation.  He told me about BYUH and he took the initiative to apply for me.  He did everything so that I could be accepted to go to college.  As I look back, I know that the Lord has placed certain key people in my life to guide me to the place I am now.  He knew my needs and provided ways by which my needs could be met.   
“I am grateful for the blessings I have received.  I am grateful for my family and for the blessing of the Plan of Salvation and Exaltation.  I am grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for the people who have blessed my life and taught me.  I am eternally grateful for their examples.  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true Church on the earth today.  I know that there is a living prophet to guide me. “  

See Bah Thee and son Christopher Thee in 2011
Christopher Thee called to serve in Singapore Mission 2012-2014
 
President Jones of the Singapore mission organized the Malaysia District on 24 Feb 1980 and on the following day, February 25th, the Joneses traveled to Penang, a small but important island a short distance off the coast in the Strait of Malacca, and officially organized that branch in the city of Georgetown.   There were fifty active members in KL and twenty in Penang. By July the Penang Branch had grown to forty-two members, half of them from Australia.  During this time the branch met on rented premises until the church finally acquired its own purchased building, a converted home.
According to the account of the history of the Penang Branch, written by Kim Ai Law, Brother Ricky Tjeong was baptized on 21 Aug 1982 and his wife Linda was baptized shortly afterwards, on 28 Nov 1982.  Ricky became the first local Malaysian branch president of the Penang Branch in 1985, and held this calling for three years.  He, Linda and their family were early pioneers of the Church in Penang.  Others early Saints were Thomas Surani, Koay Siew Lee (now residing in Australia), Won Poi Ling, K C Koay and Joyce.  The last three men all served in the Singapore Mission, going straight into the mission field, without the benefit of MTC training.  
In 1987, while he was serving as Branch President, Ricky and Linda Tjeong were out looking for suitable property to purchase for a meetinghouse.  Branch attendance at that time was about 40.  They happened to drive by 16 Scotland Road and saw the property “for sale” sign.  He immediately contacted Roy Tong from Singapore to see the property and Roy flew to Penang and looked at the place.  According to Brother Ricky the interior was unkempt but both felt the building was in good condition… so they immediately bought the property.  
Laura Ong wrote a talk about the experience that the branch had in restoring the house and surrounding grounds.
“Growing in its front yard were tall grass and weeds over towering a man while huge trees covered the grounds at the back. The place looked like “a jungle.”  ….   Renovation works began soon after.  Even though a contractor was hired to do the major renovation works, much of the cleaning and gardening had to be done by the members themselves.  Sister Poi Ling, who had just returned from serving a mission, recalled how early every morning, she and Brother and Sister Tjoeng would be pulling weeds, hoeing in the garden and pulling out the roots of the trees that had been felled.  The original size of the garden then was bigger than it is now and so you can imagine the amount of work and effort these early Penang Saints put into pulling out every single weed.  Many others helped as well, Brother Tom, now residing in Australia and Brother KC Koay, to name a few.  Apart from finding snakes’ skins and lots and lots of termites, Sister Poi Ling also recalled encountering huge rats during the cleaning work so much so that Brother Tjoeng had to bring in his dog, a Doberman, to get rid of the pests.  The dog also served as a watchdog while the building was under renovation. ….  As the months went by however, the main contractor did not meet his end of the agreement and failed to pay his workers.  At this time, there was still much work to be done.  The members with the help of Elder Lik (who had had experience building a reservoir in China) and Elder David Chan now residing in Kuala Lumpur who also had building experience, had to finish up the renovation works.  The members had to also clear up much of the garbage and mess left behind by the workers. …..
“In the meantime, the sisters tried planting flowering plants and other useful plants in the huge garden, such as honeydew and chilly plants.  This building had become their second home, something that they felt very much a part of.  For many years prior to this, the members have had to meet in rented homes. So to finally own this building brought them great joy.”
Nearly 25 years later, in 2011, the Penang Branch still meets in this converted home.  In the early days they did not have air conditioning in the building for meetings.  But the Saints were happy to finally have their own chapel.  The missionaries also lived in the same building, occupying what is now the Relief Society and Priesthood rooms.  President DeLaMare of the Singapore Mission dedicated the building 7 July 1987.     
Most of the missionaries that served in Penang in the early days were from Singapore.  The branch was very small, about 30-40 active members.  They were a happy group.  Activities like Family Home Evenings, Institute class and sports activities were held on a regular basis.  

The Malaysian Saints in 1973 at the first Malaysia District Conference
(Mostly consists of expats from Australia stationed in Penang and KL in the military)

Historical Events in the Penang Branch in 1973
“On 18 April 1973 Agnes Caroline Joseph was baptized by Elder Richard L. Webb in the waters of the Malacca Straits in Penang, and was confirmed by Michael I. Conlon.  Sivan s/o Krishnasamy was baptized by Elder Merlin B. Maugham at the same spot and was confirmed by Johannes W. H. Scholte.  Maria Christina Gandara was also baptized by Elder John R. Lawless.  He also confirmed her.
“The first Malaysian Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was held at the Merlin Hotel Conference Room in Penang.  First there was a Priesthood leadership meeting on Saturday night the 28th of July 1973 at 8A Jalan Osman.  Presiding was President M. F. Shurtleff of the South East Asia Mission.  Also attending was President D. Hayward, District President of the Singapore District in the Singapore Mission.
“The actual general conference session was held on 29 July 1973 at the Conference Room of the Merlin Hotel in Penang.  The theme for the conference was “Strengthening the Home”.  There were members from Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur in attendance.  The opening hymn was # 169 “There is Beauty All Around” and Brother Ivan Hoe from Kuala Lumpur gave the invocation.  The first speaker was President David K. Smith, Branch President of the Penang Branch.  He spoke on “Strengthening the Home through observance of the Sabbath Day.”   The Primary children sang, “Like Sunshine in the Morning”.  The second speaker was President D. Hayward.  He spoke on “Strengthening the Home through payment of tithing.”  “Strengthening the Home through the Priesthood” was the subject of the next speaker, Brother Bruce Knudsen of Kuala Lumpur.  The Relief Society rendered the song “When He Comes Again”.  Then Elder Lawless, Singapore District Leader, spoke on “Strengthening the Home through our callings”.  President Shurtleff gave a final spiritual message and closed the conference.  The closing hymn was # 161 “Sing we now at parting”.  The benediction was given by Brother Johannes W. H. Scholte, Penang Branch Clerk.  
“On 12 August 1973 President David K. Smith was released as the Branch President.  He would be going back to Australia on August 21.  Released also were his counselors, Douglas R. Dean and Russell K. Bignell.  At this time Russell K. Bignell was sustained as the Branch President with counselors Douglas R. Dean and Michael I. Conlon.”  (Submitted by Johannes W. H. Scholte, Clerk)
However, by 1978, the Penang group dissolved because most of its Australian and American members had moved from the area.  
President Jones of the Singapore mission organized the Malaysia District on 24 Feb 1980 and on the following day, February 25th, the Joneses traveled to Penang, a small but important island a short distance off the coast in the Strait of Malacca, and officially organized that branch in the city of Georgetown.   There were fifty active members in KL and twenty in Penang. By July the Penang Branch had grown to forty-two members, half of them from Australia.  During this time the branch met on rented premises until the church finally acquired its own purchased building, a converted home.
According to the account of the history of the Penang Branch, written by Kim Ai Law, Brother Ricky Tjeong was baptized on 21 Aug 1982 and his wife Linda was baptized shortly afterwards, on 28 Nov 1982.  Ricky became the first local Malaysian branch president of the Penang Branch in 1985, and held this calling for three years.  He, Linda and their family were early pioneers of the Church in Penang.  Others early Saints were Thomas Surani, Koay Siew Lee (now residing in Australia), Won Poi Ling, K C Koay and Joyce.  The last three men all served in the Singapore Mission, going straight into the mission field, without the benefit of MTC training.  
In 1987, while he was serving as Branch President, Ricky and Linda Tjeong were out looking for suitable property to purchase for a meetinghouse.  Branch attendance at that time was about 40.  They happened to drive by 16 Scotland Road and saw the property “for sale” sign.  He immediately contacted Roy Tong from Singapore to see the property and Roy flew to Penang and looked at the place.  According to Brother Ricky the interior was unkempt but both felt the building was in good condition… so they immediately bought the property.  
Laura Ong wrote a talk about the experience that the branch had in restoring the house and surrounding grounds.
“Growing in its front yard were tall grass and weeds over towering a man while huge trees covered the grounds at the back. The place looked like “a jungle.”  ….   Renovation works began soon after.  “Even though a contractor was hired to do the major renovation works, much of the cleaning and gardening had to be done by the members themselves.  Sister Poi Ling, who had just returned from serving a mission, recalled how early every morning, she and Brother and Sister Tjoeng would be pulling weeds, hoeing in the garden and pulling out the roots of the trees that had been felled.  The original size of the garden then was bigger than it is now and so you can imagine the amount of work and effort these early Penang Saints put into pulling out every single weed.  Many others helped as well, Brother Tom, now residing in Australia and Brother KC Koay, to name a few.  Apart from finding snakes’ skins and lots and lots of termites, Sister Poi Ling also recalled encountering huge rats during the cleaning work so much so that Brother Tjoeng had to bring in his dog, a Doberman, to get rid of the pests.  The dog also served as a watchdog while the building was under renovation. ….  As the months went by however, the main contractor did not meet his end of the agreement and failed to pay his workers.  At this time, there was still much work to be done.  The members with the help of Elder Lik (who had had experience building a reservoir in China) and Elder David Chan now residing in Kuala Lumpur who also had building experience, had to finish up the renovation works.  The members had to also clear up much of the garbage and mess left behind by the workers. …..
“In the meantime, the sisters tried planting flowering plants and other useful plants in the huge garden, such as honeydew and chilly plants.  This building had become their second home, something that they felt very much a part of.  For many years prior to this, the members have had to meet in rented homes. So to finally own this building brought them great joy.”
Nearly 25 years later, in 2011, the Penang Branch still meets in this converted home.  In the early days they did not have air conditioning in the building for meetings.  But the Saints were happy to finally have their own chapel.  The missionaries also lived in the same building, occupying what is now the Relief Society and Priesthood rooms.  President DeLaMare of the Singapore Mission dedicated the building 7 July 1987.     
Most of the missionaries that served in Penang in the early days were from Singapore.  The branch was very small, about 30-40 active members.  They were a happy group.  Activities like Family Home Evenings, Institute class and sports activities were held on a regular basis.  


Date of pic before July 26, 1971
Name of early Australians mentioned with Malaysians Peter Ooi and See Bah Thee
Rudolf and Elizabeth Agerbeek with 3 children (early meeting in their home at Seaview Park Tanjong Bunga, Penang.) 
David K. Smith, Sue Smith
Dusty Currey and his wife.
(Need to match the Aussie names with their faces in the above pic)
Later on, Peter and the rest of the group (I was not a member yet) organized a Sacrament Meeting in David K. Smith’s home.  
On July 26, 1971 Peter Ooi baptized me(See Bah Thee) in the Ocean across from Seaview Park, Tanjong Bunga, Penang. David K. Smith confirmed me after my baptism.
“In 1980, Douglas R. Dean and his wife who were part of the first group of members in Penang greeted me after my mission.  They had returned to Malaysia again to serve in the Royal Australian Air Force.
President Jones of the Singapore mission organized the Malaysia District on 24 Feb 1980 and on the following day, February 25th, the Joneses traveled to Penang, a small but important island a short distance off the coast in the Strait of Malacca, and officially organized that branch in the city of Georgetown.   There were fifty active members in KL and twenty in Penang. By July the Penang Branch had grown to forty-two members, half of them from Australia.  


To be continued...