Henry M Zollinger and Eliza Annie Stirland Life History Part 2


The missionary program was vital in the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Books are replete with inspiring experiences of those who sacrificed in extreme conditions to meet these callings. The church grew in strength and power as well as those who labored. It is most astonishing how the Lord blessed the families left at home, even though they were not without trials and challenges to their “wits end”. It was not uncommon for husbands to be called and leaving a wife and children. Even so it was with Henry and Eliza and their three small children.

Joseph Campbell Sr. called Henry on his first mission in the spring of 1916. He went to the bishop and asked for an extension to prepare his household which took the rest of the summer. His mission was the Central States where he labored mostly in Dallas, Texas.

“Lyman was 4 years old when Dad left and remembers Dad calling his little family, Ora was 6 years and Ray was around 2 years, and having family prayer and walking down the railroad track (in front of the house) to the railroad station, just one block away, leaving mother with tears streaming down her cheeks.  Dad left mother with 6 cows to milk, feed and take care of, cleaning out the stable and the other chores.” Eliza’s shoulders were broad, her faith strong and she could handle the task- and do it well!

Following are excerpts from letters from Henry:

22 Jan. 1916, Dallas, Texas, “Left by train 10 Jan. 1916, for the Central States Mission. I went straight to Independence and was sent to Kansas. I was frightened to death. The country was different and I had to travel alone. I prayed many times that I could change trains all right and when I go to the large depot, I was so bewildered I did not know what to do, but finally after praying I got on the right train. I met a josephite on the train and we had a real heated discussion, so he got mad at me when I dug at him about his church and he left me. He knew I was green and I really was, but I tried. I got a little mad and come near slapping him in the mouth. Well, I landed in Texas in a city of Dallas. It was about 100,000 people and I went to the office. They told me to go to the hotel and get a room and they would send the Elders to find me. It might take three or four days and I was already so homesick. They came the next day and you can imagine it felt just like two angels dropped from heaven. The weather is so changeable, some days it is hot and it can change so suddenly to cold. The first day we went out and held a street meeting. It was a great experience to me. Well, Mama, (Eliza) I will have to ask you for some money, I have had heavy expenses to get started. Could you send me $10.00?”

And the last letter he wrote from the mission field:

“The conditions these people are in, a large family and no room and dirty, there is no name for it. The house no more than a shell… took rags and poked in the cracks to keep out the cold and wind… not even a rug on the floor and talk about the noise all day … She needs good attention now. We hated to leave them in that condition but our time was limited and there was such a large crowd. The neighbors were glad to sit with them at night. They placed the whole responsibility on us while we were there. Sister Ennis would have nobody else wait on the girl only I when she slept, the first couple of nights. So I got a little experience in Typhoid Fever, and believe me I often thought of the time you had it one winter when you told me about it. It certainly is an awful disease. Well, I am very grateful for the healing powers that has made its appearance in the ministry. I have a bad cold and my fingers and ears are a little sore yet but they are getting better. The children I guess still talk about their Pa, when he is coming home. I have dreamed the last few nights about you at home. The worst of it all is that little Ray would not have anything to do with his Pa. Yours ever & ever, President H. M. Z.”

A terrible flu epidemic swept the nation and Rosetta Zollinger was one of the victims. Henry received word of the death of his mother (Jan. 31, 1918) and was released from his mission. He returned home in time for the funeral (Feb. 7, 1918) which he attended, but he was so ill with typhoid fever that he did not go to the cemetery, but went instead to his bed. It was late spring before he was finally well again.

Henry grew in testimony, knowledge and stature during his missionary labors. He served as president of the branch and leader soon after his arrival.

The Lord knew in calling him to the mission field would prepare him while he was teaching and converting others the Lord would be fine-tuning Elder Zollinger for his mortal mission on this earth. Even the death of his beloved mother was necessary in preserving Henry’s life, as has been stated – His health was in jeopardy as he left the mission field.

Spiritual Experience

“About six miles west of Logan and just north of the Mendon Road I had rented forty acres of meadow hay land, I was moving a hay derrick under an electric power line to my property on the other side of the Mendon Road when the cable on the small end of the long derrick pole came in contact with a live electric wire. As a consequence, I received a shock which threw me to the ground and before the two teams of horses were stopped I was pinned under the frame of the derrick until help came. The boys who were with me were Henry Merchant, a hired man, LeGrande Stirland, a brother-in-law and my two older boys, Lyman and Ray. They all said I was dead. LeGrande took the boys away from the terrible scene while the Merchant boy, went to the nearest house to telephone for a doctor and for help. I lay there about an hour before the Doctors, Eliason and Wallace Budge came. They at once lifted me out from under the derrick and took me to the UtahIdahoHospital in Logan, which is now the L.D.S.Hospital.

“After LeGrande had the children quieted down a little and before the doctors had arrived, he said he saw me breath and then he took my hat to the creek and brought some water and put it on my face and hands. While my body was under the derrick and they thought me dead, I had an experience in the Spirit World which I which to relate.

“My spirit left my body and I could see it lying under the derrick frame and at that moment my guardian angel, my mother who had died in January 1918 and my sister, Annie, who had died in infancy, were beside me. I saw that Annie’s spirit was full grown in statue and also seemed very intelligent. We then visited many of the people whom my father had done the vicarious work for and although some still remained dormant, my mother hoped they would soon obey the gospel. She then warned me to be very careful and keep the faith. She also told me to warn my brothers and sisters to live more closely to the gospel and not let worldly things lead them astray as that was the way the Nephites of old were led away.

“My mother then introduced me to the heads of five generations of my father’s people, all of whom were in the gospel. I noticed that people had their free agency there like we do here and that by gaining knowledge was the only way to progression. My mother informed me that my father would receive another large record of our dead kindred. Also at the death of my father, my brother would have the privilege of being in charge of the records.

“My guide then showed me the spirits of the children that would yet come to my family if we would be faithful. They were full grown but not in the same sphere as those who had lived upon the earth. I could see many of the spirits that had been refused the privilege of having a body. There was much sorrow.

“We then had the privilege of visiting my brothers-in-law who had died. William who had been on a mission in Australia, told me he was presiding over a large mission and was very happy in his labors and to tell his parents and his people not to mourn about him as he was losing nothing but doing much good. We next went to see his older brother John. I found him discussing the gospel to a large congregation, bearing a strong testimony to them. When he got through he told me he was very happy in his labors and had no regrets that he was there and to tell his people not to mourn.

“My guide made known to me that my brother Oliver and two brother-in-laws would go on missions, Christian, not for some time and Byron would be called among the Indians and would perform a wonderful mission among the people.

“Then as we were coming back, I saw a man who had been a Cambelite Minister down in Texas when I was upon my mission there three years ago. He was a great friend to us and had opened his house many times for us to preach in. He had died while I was still in the mission field. He asked me if I could do the work in the temple that was necessary for his salvation. I told him I would and he seemed pleased. I then met a man whom I had never seen before. His wife had come into the church and was baptized after he had died. She spoke to me while I was on my mission in regard to having the work done for him in the temple. As she had already spoken to other Elders about it, I thought it was already done but the man told me it was not yet  done and was anxious that it be taken care of. I told him I would see to it. Then my guide told me that Thomas Stirland would get a record of his dead relations. I then returned to my body and I understood all the time I was away from it that I would return to it as my guide had told me in the beginning.”


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