Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Joseph F. Merrill Joseph F. (Francis) Merrill

1869 - 1952

  • Born 1868 Richmond, Utah
  • Baptized 1877
  • Obtained Aaronic Priesthood as a youth
  • Ordained Elder 1889
  • Ordained Seventy 1898
  • Married Annie Laura Hyde 1898; two children
  • Obtained PhD in Physics 1899
  • Ordained Apostle 1931
  • Died 1952 Salt Lake City, Utah

    Joseph Francis Merrill  was the son of Apostle Marriner W. Merrill and Maria L. Kingsbury, and was born at Richmond, Cache county, Utah, Aug. 24, 1868.

    He was baptized into the Church July 22, 1877. His first ordination to the Priesthood was to the office of a Teacher, and on Sept. 22, 1889, he was ordained an Elder by his father; he received the Priesthood of a Seventy Sept. 23, 1898, under the hands of then Apostle Heber J. Grant.

    Brother Merrill was brought up on his father's farm in Richmond, where he attended the common schools till 1887, when he entered the University of Deseret as a normal student. He graduated from that institution in 1889, and in the fall of the same year he became a student in the University of Michigan, graduating in 1893 with the degree of Bachelor of Science. The summer of 1892 he spent as a student at Cornell University, and in the summer of 1894 he studied at the University of Chicago.

    In 1893-95 he was assistant professor of chemistry and physics in the University of Utah. During 1896-97 he studied physics and electrical engineering, in the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., and in the University of Chicago. After his return to Utah he resumed teaching again in the University of Utah, and is listed as the Dean of the College of Engineering from 1897-1928; but after being elected Fellow in Physics in the Johns Hopkins University he went east once more and further continued his studies, till 1899, when he took the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the Johns Hopkins institution. An abstract of his doctorate thesis was published in the "Physical Review" for Feb. 1899. A later article by Dr. Merrill, embodying the results of original research was published in the same journal for March, 1900, an abstract of which article was also published in the "Physikalische Zeitshrift" of Germany. Doctor Merrill also served as professor of physics and electrical engineering in the University of Utah, and also principal of the State School of Mines, a department in the University. Considering the depth of his attainments, it is obvious that he was a master of multi-tasking and pursued numerous endeavors at the same time.

    During his stay in Michigan, in 1892-93, he acted as presiding Elder of the "Mormon Colony" at Ann Arbor. In November, 1897, Elder Merrill was chosen as first assistant superintendent of the Y. M. M. I. A. of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion.

    He married Annie Laura Hyde, a daughter of Alonzo E. and Annie Taylor Hyde, June 9, 1898, which union was blessed with two children. During 1898-99 Brother Merrill and his wife labored as regularly anointed missionaries in Baltimore. Elder Merrill was looked upon as a conscientious Latter-day Saint and as a scholar of imminent ability.

    Elder Merrill served as a member of the General Board of Y. M. M. I. A. from 1927 to 1933

    He was ordained an Apostle October 8, 1931 by President Heber J. the age of sixty-three. His ordination and placement in the Quorum of the Twelve were occasioned by the death of Elder Orson F. Whitney. One can only imagine the depth of discussions held between himself, and Elders James E. Talmadge, and John A. Widtsoe, contemporaries on the Twelve.

    Elder Joseph F. Merrill died Feb. 3, 1952, at Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p.784
    Laawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, p.457
    2005 Church Almanac,p.66

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