Clyde Gustafson was born May 2, 1905 in Sandy Utah to Carl Axel and Anna Caroline Gustafson. Both of Clyde's parents were from Sweden and Clyde spoke the language growing up in his home. Clyde was the third of nine children and the second oldest boy. The family moved to a farm in Treasureton, Idaho when Clyde was eight years old.
Brother Clyde's family was very religious. One night, Clyde had a dream that really scared him. It was so real that it haunted him for several days. In the dream, he saw a large human skeleton climb out of a grave. It grabbed hold of him and started dragging him back into the grave. Clyde fought the gruesome skeleton with all of his strength, but the skeleton was very strong and he wasn't sure that he could win the fight, and the dream ended.
A few days after that when the dream was still on his mind, Brother Clyde told his mother he felt that some time in the future he was going to get sick. If he got sick, he wanted her to promise to go get a man by the name of Lon Ward to come and administer to him so he would get well. Lon Ward was the best Sunday school teacher Clyde ever had because he always carried the Spirit of the Lord with him.
About 10 days later as the family sat down to eat, Anna noticed Brother Clyde was missing. She went to his room and found him sick in bed. When they called the doctor, he diagnosed Brother Clyde's illness as typhoid fever. After several days of being sick and out of desperation, his parents asked the bishop to come and administer to him. But, the sickness had taken a strong hold on him, and he kept getting weaker and weaker. Clyde's brother Arthur said, "I can't stand to go into Clyde's room, that room has a feeling of death." This really scared Brother Clyde's mother. Worried sick, his parents took turns staying by his bedside day and night while Brother Clyde was unconscious for about three weeks. His parents prayed that the Lord's will be done, whichever way it was supposed to be.
After their prayers, Brother Clyde's mother Anna remembered what he had said about his Sunday school teacher Lon Ward administering to him. Clyde's brother went to go get Lon Ward who lived up in the hills. Brother Ward was also an older man and it took a little while for them to get back. He was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of his Sunday school students had that much faith and confidence in him. Brother Ward went and willingly laid his hands on Brother Clyde's head and administered to him. The Spirit of the Lord was there in great abundance. Brother Ward promised Brother Clyde that he would get well. Brother Clyde opened his eyes and sat up in bed and shook hands with Lon Ward. In a few days, he was on the road to recover. Clyde knew that it was with the help of the Lord that he was healed. It made him think more seriously of his life and what the Lord expected of him.
Brother Clyde told the story:
"After I had the bout with typhoid fever and after I got out of that experience I had there. I had grown up in my mind. And I had a desire within myself that I was going to straighten up and make something out of myself. I made a promise to the Lord that I would remain chaste, and I would keep myself clean and be ready for whatever the Lord had for me."
In December of 1924, when Brother Clyde was 19 years old, he was called to go on a mission to Sweden for the LDS Church. He arrived in Stockholm, Sweden three days before Christmas. The mission President there taught Brother Clyde a lot of things he would need to know about Sweden.
While Brother Clyde was traveling around the country preaching to the people, a new man became Mission President that didn't know Brother Clyde. They needed a new Conference President for one of the branches. The Mission President went over the names of the missionaries to pick two men to send there. He saw Brother Clyde had a Swedish name and saw on the record he could speak fluent Swedish. He picked him to be the Conference President and the other man to go with him.
When Brother Clyde went to his new job, the people there had expected Brother Gustafson to be an older man. They were quite surprised to see he was hardly more than a boy. When it came to doing the job, they found that Brother Clyde was up to the job, a man who always carried the Spirit of the Lord.
Sweden was very cold in the wintertime, and many times Brother Clyde had to work out in the cold. He witnessed many faith promoting experiences and knew the Lord was guiding his life. When he had been there two years, it was the end of the time he was supposed to stay. He was very anxious to get back home to all of this friends and family. They were short of missionaries there and the mission president made arrangements for Brother Clyde to stay another year. This was a very difficult time for him. He father's house had burned down, and he was very anxious to go home.
Brother Clyde tells the story:
"I remember particularly how disappointed I was. And I could've crawled under the door ... I walked down the streets in Stockholm. I guess there were tears in my eyes. I was sure homesick and down in the dumps and I wanted to see the land of America....
There happened to be a picture show playing and it was an American film which was quite unusual in the city of Stockholm. And I decided in as much as it was an American film I would go see it. ... The picture that was playing was 'The King of Kings.' ... The movie was all about the life of Christ. And I remember I sat there for two or three hours watching the life of the Savior on the screen. And when it came time to that part in the theater where they was crucifying the Savior, it seemed like I just couldn't sit there any longer.
I knew if the Savior could endure all that they gave him, I could do anything the Lord wanted me to do. I felt so anxious. I just wanted to be up and about my business. I walked out of there before the show ended. I walked up that street back to that office and I felt like I was so filled with the spirit of the Lord that I could've stayed out there for 20 years if it was necessary."
Brother Clyde was the type of man that followed the Lord's direction and went where the Lord wanted him to go.
Brother Clyde continues:
"....You know the Lord knew all about that, he knew I was in no condition to return home. He knew that there was something that he wanted to get into my character before I went home. ... He decided to keep me over there another year to get a lot of plans out of my head. So when I got back here to this country I would be ready for the work of the Lord. "
Brother Clyde returned home from his mission in June of 1927. His parents lived on a farm in Treasureton, Idaho. When Brother Clyde got home, we worked on the farm for his father. During that summer of 1927, he was very restless. He felt like the Lord had a job for him to do, but he didn't know where or what it was. Often times as he was working in the field, he would kneel and pray to the Lord to show him what he wanted him to do. He told his father he was going to leave the farm so his father gave him his blessing to leave once the crops were harvested in the fall.
Having no money and no car, Brother Clyde got out on the highway and decided to hitchhike to where ever the Lord directed him. He caught a ride to Twin Falls, Idaho and was fortunate to get a job in a bean factory. Something didn't feel right about Twin Falls. After he had worked in the bean factory a day and a half, he decided this was not the place the Lord wanted for him. He made up his mind he was going to go out on the highway and catch the first ride either East or West. A car came along and stopped. The driver asked Brother Clyde where he was going. Brother Clyde asked the driver where he was going. The driver answered, "Idaho Falls." Brother Clyde said, "That's where I'm going also."
When he got to Idaho Falls, he felt good and had a strong feeling this was the place he was supposed to be. Jobs were very hard to find. Brother Clyde had not money and no place to stay so he slept in a hay stack. He got a job in a spud house sorting spuds for $1.75 a day and he continued sleeping in the hay stack. He saved almost all his money and saved up about $50.
After the spud season was over he was out of a job, but felt he should stay in Idaho Falls. Before he walked through the town, he had a prayer in his heart that the Lord would cause something to happen so he would not have to go home. S.H. Kress Company was opening a new store and was hiring 20 temporary employees to put out the new stock. He was one of the ones they hired. They were supposed to work only two months. After the two month period, the store laid off all the temporary employees except Brother Clyde. After a short time, Kress Co. made him the Floor walker or manager of his department.
One day as Brother Clyde was checking over the invoices, a stock boy came up and said, "Gus, there's the sweetest little girl that I've every seen working in the toy counter, they just hired her." Brother Clyde said, "What do you know about pretty girls, you better let me take the next basket down and I'll give my opinion." When he took the basket down to the toy counter, he saw that the girl they had just hired was Orlean Kingston. When he saw her, a strong feeling came over him like a voice that said, "This is going to be your wife."
Copyright © Davis County Cooperative Society