About Edwin Quayle "Ted" Cannon, Jr.
Edwin Quayle "Ted" Cannon, Jr. (May 6, 1918 – April 6, 2005) was a Utah politician and businessman and was a prominent leader and missionary in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Cannon was among the first missionaries in the LDS Church to preach to black people in Africa and was part of the first group missionaries sent to establish official congregations of the LDS Church in West Africa.
Early life, mission, and family
Cannon was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Edwin Q. Cannon, Sr. and Luella Wareing. He was born at his parents' home because of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Cannon's paternal grandfather was George Q. Cannon, a Mormon pioneer and prominent leader in the LDS Church. Cannon was raised in Salt Lake City.
In 1937, Cannon went on a mission for the LDS Church to Nazi Germany. He was president of a branch of the church in Berlin in 1939 when the LDS Church evacuated its missionaries from Europe at the beginning of World War II. Cannon finished his mission in eastern Canada and returned to Utah in 1940.
In 1941, Cannon married Janath Russell in the Salt Lake Temple. They had six children together.
Education, career, and politics
In 1942, Cannon graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and in 1943 graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA degree. After graduating, he managed a Cannon family business, the Salt Lake Stamp Company.
In 1948, Cannon was elected as a Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives for Salt Lake County. He was re-elected in 1956 and 1958 and served three full terms.
LDS Church service
From 1964 to 1971, Cannon was a bishop of the LDS Church in Salt Lake City. From 1971 to 1974, he was the president of the Switzerland Mission of the church.
In 1978, three weeks after the LDS Church announced that it would no longer impose restrictions of black people receiving the priesthood or participating in temple ordinances, Cannon traveled to Africa on behalf of the church with Merrill J. Bateman to assess the prospects for church missionary work and growth in "black Africa". (At the time, Cannon was a counselor to James E. Faust in the church's International Mission, which had jurisdiction over all areas of the world not otherwise part of a mission.) After Bateman and Cannon reported the results of their trip, Cannon and his wife were called and set apart as the first Mormon missionaries to black Africa. They—along with Rendell and Rachel Mabey—preached in Nigeria and Ghana, baptized hundreds of converts, and established 27 branches of the LDS Church in Nigeria and Ghana. The first convert baptized in Africa was Anthony Obinna.
In the late 1980s, Cannon and his wife were the directors of the LDS Church's visitors' centre in Nauvoo, Illinois. For three months in 1989, Cannon was the interim president of the LDS Church's Germany Hamburg Mission; during this time, the regular president of the mission was working on getting Mormon missionaries admitted to East Germany.
After his interim service as mission president, Cannon was the second president of the Frankfurt Germany Temple from 1989 to 1992.
Cannon died at and was buried in Salt Lake City, Utah.