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Morton, Ermel J. (Ermel Joseph), 1914-1992

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1914-1992

Biographical History

Ermel J. Morton (1914-1992) was a Mormon missionary to Tonga, and helped to translate the Book of Mormon into the Tongan language.

Ermel Joseph Morton was born on October 1, 1914, in Mapleton, Utah, to parents Joseph and Belva Hatfield Morton. He graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a BA and MA, then went to Indiana University for his PhD. He served a mission to Tonga in 1936-1939, then became a reporter for the Salt Lake Telegram. He married Lena Gertsch (1911-2008) on March 3, 1944, and together raised five children: Lorraine, Allen Ermel, Marsha Kaye, Richard Wayne, and Annette.

Morton taught at BYU (1944-46) and Ricks College (1946-80). He was the principal at Liahona College in Tonga (1951-57), while serving on the Tongan Board of Education; later serving on the Pacific Board of Education (1957-60). While at Ricks College, he served as the President of the Ricks College Missionary Training Center (1969-76). After he retired, Ermel and Lena Morton served a mission to Seattle, Washington (1983-84). Over the years, Ermel served in the church as High Counselor, temple worker, in the name extraction program, and as a Patriarch.

Morton is best known for his work to translate the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price into Tongan. He also wrote a Tongan grammar book and dictionary. A student of 60 languages, Morton translated missionary discussions in Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Tongan, Niuean, Mandarin Chinese, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. He was also a student of Hebrew and many other languages. He taught Spanish at Ricks.

Morton died on March 23, 1992 in Rexburg, Idaho. He is buried in Mapleton/Springville, Utah.

Citation

Ko e tohi fakamo'oni ki he ongoongolelei 'o sisu kalaisi, 1959: t.p. (Ermel J. Morton)

FamilySearch, 29 June 2010: (Ermel Joseph Morton; b. 1 Oct 1914 in Mapleton, Utah; d. 23 Mar 1992 in Rexburg, Idaho)

UPB files, Sept. 20, 2010 (missionary to Tonga, 1936-1939; principal, Liahona College, 1951-; translator of Book of Mormon into Tongan)

FamilySearch.org, via WWW, April 30, 2014, (Ermel Joseph Morton was born on October 1, 1914, in Mapleton, Utah, to parents Joseph and Belva Hatfield Morton; died on March 23, 1992 in Rexburg, Idaho; buried in Mapleton, Utah)

FindAGrave.com, via WWW, April 30, 2014, (Ermel Joseph Morton was born on October 1, 1914, in Mapleton, Utah, to parents Joseph and Belva Hatfield Morton; married Lena Gertsch (1911-2008) on March 3, 1944; 5 children: Lorraine, Allen Ermel, Marsha Kaye, Richard Wayne, and Annette; died on March 23, 1992 in Rexburg, Idaho; buried in Springville, Utah)

Deseret News, via WWW, April 30, 2014, (Ermel Joseph Morton was born on October 1, 1914, in Mapleton, Utah, to parents Joseph and Belva Hatfield Morton; graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a BA and MA, then went to Indiana University for his PhD; served a mission to Tonga in 1936-1939, then became a reporter for the Salt Lake Telegram; married Lena Gertsch (1911-2008) on March 3, 1944; raised 5 children: Lorraine, Allen Ermel, Marsha Kaye, Richard Wayne, and Annette; taught at BYU (1944-46) and Ricks College (1946-80); was the principal at Liahona College in Tonga (1951-57), while serving on the Tongan Board of Education; later serving on the Pacific Board of Education (1957-60); President of the Ricks College Missionary Training Center (1969-76); served a mission to Seattle, Washington (1983-84); served in the church as High Counselor, temple worker, in the name extraction program, and as a Patriarch; best known for his work to translate the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price into Tongan; also wrote a Tongan grammar book and dictionary; student of 60 languages, Morton translated missionary discussions in Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Tongan, Niuean, Mandarin Chinese, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. He was also a student of Hebrew and many other languages; taught Spanish at Ricks; died on March 23, 1992 in Rexburg, Idaho; buried in Mapleton, Utah)

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Lorraine Morton Ashton collection on Ermel J. Morton

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 6273
Scope and Contents Collection consists of papers relating to the dictionary Ermel J. Morton, a Mormon missionary who went to Tonga, created from English to Tongan and Tongan to English, his accounts of his mission and translating the Book of Mormon, a history of his wife, a catalog of his materials from home, a typed copy of the talks at his funeral and a Tongan grammar book. There is also a book written about the time the family spent in Tonga.

Ermel J. Morton papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7566
Scope and Contents Collection includes the photocopies of journal entries, experiences, memories, and research papers of Ermel J. Morton regarding the Tongan Mission from 1907 to 1967. The manuscript of this compiled history was published in an abridged version for the Golden Jubilee of the Tongan Mission in 1968, however, the manuscript edition in this collection is a complete form. Collection also includes mission journal, letters and other correspondence; includes a telegram instructing him to go ahead with...