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 Legrand Woolley 

Educated and licensed as a medical doctor, Legrand Woolley eventually established a successful medical office in the Medical Arts Building across the street from the Church Office building in downtown Salt Lake City.  In June of 1930, Dr. Woolley diagnosed appendicitis in Musser’s daughter, Helen.  She underwent a successful operation, but Musser was nonplused writing:  “Reject necessity of this operation.  Do not believe in them at all, but at times through wrong living and lack of faith, such occurrences seem to be necessary.  Praise the Lord for the successful way it was done.”[1]  The next month Legrand discovered breast cancer in Mary, one of Musser’s plural wives.[2]  His busy medical practice prevented the level of participation contributed by Barlow and Musser.  However, it appears that he accepted his PRIESTHOOD calling seriously as indicated by several experiences like speaking at J. Leslie Broadbent’s funeral in 1935 and being was arrested for unlawful cohabitation in 1944 along with dozens of other polygamists.[3]

Eight years later Legrand actively participated in leadership crisis that eventually split the Priesthood Council.  He aggressively opposed Musser when he appointed Rulon Allred as his “Second Elder.”  Regardless, with Zitting’s 1954 death, only LeGrand  and Louis Kelsch were left from Lorin Woolley’s 1933 Council of Friends.[4]  Next to them in seniority were men called by John Y. Barlow, first LeRoy Johnson and second Marion Hammon, who were added to the Council in 1941, with Johnson being ordained first.  Reportedly, Leroy approached Legrand Woolley and asked him if he was going to assume the leadership of the fundamentalist “group.”  Legrand was preoccupied with his medical office B to lead the fundamentalists would have required him to abandon his patients.  He conversed with fellow Council member Louis Kelsch who told the doctor, “I wouldn’t have anything to do with it.”[5]  Dr. Woolley maintained his practice until his death 10 December 1965. 

One fundamentalist leader would later claim that Legrand Woolley “was not faithful in his responsibilities to the Priesthood.”[6]  Despite his ordination as a High Priest Apostle, Legrand Woolley’s children remained active in the Church, with his sons serving LDS missions.  Reportedly, when “the burden rested on him to take over the leadership of the [polygamist] group, he had to turn it down because he was so deeply entrenched in the Church.”[7] 


[1]    .  Musser Journals, 7 June 1930.  “Daughter Helen in intense pain since yesterday morning.  After working with her some hours called in Dr. LeGrand Woolley who pronounced it acute appendicitis and urged an immediate operation.  Took her to L.D.S. hospital at 1:30 operation 1:45.  Appendix  in very inflamed condition, about 4_ long.  All appears to be well.”

[2]    .  Musser Journals, 28 July1930.

[3]  Musser, Joseph W. Musser, 13.  It appears that Musser’s biography  may have been in error in that LeGrand was not held nor prosecuted.  However, Dr. Woolley visited the incarcerated polygamists 21 August 1945 and agreed with their signing the “Declaration of Policy” that eventually led to the parole of eleven of the fifteen.  (See Arnold Boss Prison Diaries for date.)

[4]    .  His obituary published in Truth, 20:97-100 (August 1954) failed to mention his calling as a High Priest Apostle or member of the Priesthood Council.  Guy Musser was the editor at that time.

[5]    .  Kelsch, Louis Alma Keslch, 86.

[6]    .  Ormand F. Lavery, discourse given 1 February 1967, Gems 19.

[7]    .  Letter from Raymond Taylor to Samuel W. Taylor dated 28 November 1955.