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Former Mormom Leader Paul Dunn Dies

January 9, 1998

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Paul H. Dunn, a Mormon leader who was regarded as one of the church’s most inspirational speakers until it was learned that his tales of war heroics and sports feats were fabrications, died Friday of a heart attack. He was 73.

Before his downfall, he wrote books and traveled widely to talk about the Mormon faith, and helped administer church affairs as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Dunn would often use stories from his past to teach moral lessons. But that ended when The Arizona Republic reported that some of his tales had been made up.

Dunn, who served in Okinawa during World War II, had claimed his best friend died in his arms during battle.

But in 1991, the Republic reported that the best friend was alive and living in Odessa, Mo. Confronted with the truth, Dunn said he had loosely based the story on the death of another soldier he had witnessed during a mortar attack. However, the soldier did not die in his arms, he said.

Dunn also claimed that he was once named Most Valuable Player in a military baseball league and that he had signed a contract after high school to play with the St. Louis Cardinals.

In truth, Dunn was not MVP and never played a game for any major league team. The closest he came was playing several practice and exhibition games in 1942 for the Cardinals’ Pocatello, Idaho, farm team.

Dunn issued an apology in the church newspaper, The Church News, in 1991.

After learning of the allegations, the church gave Dunn emeritus general authority status, a largely honorary title. The church said Dunn was being removed from the quorum because of health and age.

In a statement Friday, the church simply referred to Dunn as ``a longtime teacher and advocate of youth (who) served as a mission president and general authority of the church over a period of 34 years.″