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David Musselman enlisted the help of a makeup artist to disguise himself as a worn out vagrant, with the disguise apparently working so well, not even Mr Musselman's family could tell it was him.
The bishop then headed to his church where he hung around outside waiting for his parishioners to arrive to see their reactions.
They were not good.
At least five people asked Mr Musselman to leave the church property, while some gave him money but most were simply indifferent.
"Many actually went out of their way to purposefully ignore me, and they wouldn't even make eye contact," he told the Deseret News.
"I'd approach them and say, 'Happy Thanksgiving.' Many of them I wouldn't ask for any food or any kind of money, and their inability to even acknowledge me being there was very surprising."
Mr Musselman said that the reaction that touched him the most was from children, whose eyes he said showed "they wanted to do more."
But the greatest reaction Mr Musselman got was when he eventually removed his glasses and beard to reveal himself.
"It had a shock value that I did not anticipate," he said.
"I really did not have any idea that the members of my ward would gasp as big as they did."
Ward member Jaimi Larsen was among those surprised it was her bishop. "I started feeling ashamed because I didn't say hello to this man ... He was dirty. He was crippled. He was old. He was mumbling to himself," she said.
Mr Musselman said that his goal was not embarrass his congregation or make them feel ashamed, but rather to remind them to be kind to people from all walks of life not just at the holidays, but all year long