Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, October 6, 2017

“We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”


prophets

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 As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a Prophet that leads and guides our church.  Joseph Smith was our first since the restoration, and we continue to believe, even after his death, that there is a need for a Prophet and also that the Lord will provide one for us.  Since that time the Lord has provided 15 men, after Joseph, that have been called to lead this, the Lord's church. 

 For those of us that have grown up in the Church, we sometimes do not appreciate the significance and importance of a living prophet. When one is born on a fruitful farm, one does not appreciate the fact that there are starving people in many places around the world.  For me this held true in my youth, as I never paid much attention to the leaders of the Church.  At that time I couldn't even really tell you who the president was after Spencer W Kimball, until 1987. 

This year was a tough year for me, I was trying to pull myself back together, after many hard times, and even thoughts of ending my life.  But fortunately for I lived in a little town in Iowa, and was a member of the Ames Iowa Ward who succored me and held my hand and taught me all the things that I had either forgotten or never known.  The spirit of this little ward, for me, was like paradise, it was a place of refuge and rest, and learning, filled with love and friendship and it was the beginning of my gospel journey.    

The first branch in Ames, Iowa, was officially organized in 1927.  One of the branch’s first members was a young graduate student who had come to Ames to study agricultural economics and marketing at Iowa State University. His name was Ezra Taft Benson.  (Ames Iowa Rich Heritage Bright Future)  Ames Ward Article LDS.org 




President Benson later reminisced in a 1976 letter to an Ames ward member. "There was a congenial, rich spirit among the members of the little branch. We enjoyed the fellowship, the association, and especially the spirit in those early days in Ames.”  

He and I felt the same about that little ward, it was incredibly special and filled with the spirit, and he loved it so much that when attending a conference held in Cedar Rapids Iowa in 1987 President Benson asked to meet and shake the hand of each member of the Ames ward after his talk; that was the first time I had ever laid eyes on a Prophet of God, and when speaking with him and shaking his hand, I knew....he was for real...

For me this meeting was no coincidence for just a few short months later I buried the first of our three children to die, Julie Elizabeth, who was then 3.  She was with me when I met President Benson and he held and kissed her little hands and I remember the joy on her face, it was different, and after this she was different. For the next few months until she died, she went around asking everyone she met, if they had a family, even total strangers in the grocery store, she say do you have a family?  You need a family its the most important and she would ask if they went to church and proceed to sing Book of Mormon Stories with a missionary spirit.  After she died, for many years since, I have reflected on that meeting and how my daughter changed before my eyes.  She too knew he was a Prophet of God, and through her faith had ministered to me, even as little as she was, and it was because of that meeting with the Prophet and her actions after that I was able to cope and have, even as it was, a mustard seed of faith.  No matter what I had done, no matter where I was, I knew that he was a prophet of God, I had seen it first hand and I could not deny it, I had to somehow find my way back; and thankfully I did.  

In my studies of the prophets personally and especially since studying for this class, I have learned things that are incredible about each of these men.  I have been taken on a journey from grief and despair in loosing Joseph, to seeing that Brigham Young was truly called of God and worked miracles in our behalf, so that we could return to Heavenly Father.  Each man that has been called is special in his own right, and has something significant that touches me and that he has done for the Lord in his work.  Each time I read about their personal lives, their trials, their tribulations, and their faith, I am humbled and renewed in spirt, and overwhelmingly thankful to each of them.  

Many years ago President Hugh B. Brown, counselor to President David O McKay, gave a wonderful talk titled Profile of A Prophet. In this talk he spoke of a time when he was asked to defend his religious beliefs in the same way he would discuss a legal problem and prove that the Lord continues to speak today through a living prophet:

"I should like to be a witness in support of the proposition that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in our day and that this is his Church which was organized under his direction through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I should like to give some reasons for the faith I have and for my allegiance to the Church. Perhaps I can do this more effectively by referring to an interview I had in London, England in 1939, just before the outbreak of the war.

I had met a very prominent English gentleman, a member of the House of Commons, formerly one of the justices of the supreme court of England. In my conversations with this gentleman on various subjects, "vexations of the soul" he called them, we talked about business and law, about politics, international relations, and war, and we frequently discussed religion.

He called me on the phone one day and asked if I would meet him at his office and explain some phases of the gospel. He said, "I think there is going to be a war. If there is, you will have to return to America, and we may not meet again." His statement regarding the imminence of war and the possibility that we would not meet again proved to be prophetic. When I went to his office, he said he was intrigued by some things I had told him. He asked me to prepare a brief on Mormonism and discuss it with him as I would discuss a legal problem. He said, "You have told me that you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. You have said to me that you believe that God the Father and Jesus of Nazareth appeared to Joseph Smith. I cannot understand how a barrister and solicitor from Canada, a man trained in logic and evidence could accept such absurd statements. What you tell me about Joseph Smith seems fantastic, but I wish you would take three days at least to prepare a brief and permit me to examine it and question you on it."

I suggested that we proceed at once to have an Examination for Discovery, which is briefly a meeting of the opposing sides in a lawsuit where the plaintiff and defendant, with their attorneys, meet to examine each other's claims and see whether they can find some area of agreement and thus save the time of the court later on.

I said perhaps we could see whether we had some common ground from which we could discuss my "fantastic ideas." He agreed to that quite readily.  I can only give a condensed and abbreviated synopsis of the three-hour conversation which followed. I began by asking, "May I proceed, sir, on the assumption that you are a Christian?"

    "I am."
    "I assume you believe in the Bible—the Old and New Testament?"
    "I do!"
    "Do you believe in prayer?"
    "I do!"
    "You say that my belief that God spoke to a man in this age is fantastic and absurd?"
    "To me it is."
    "Do you believe that God ever did speak to anyone?"
    "Certainly, all through the Bible we have evidence of that."
    "Did he speak to Adam?"
    "Yes."
    "To Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, and on through the prophets?"
    "I believe he spoke to each of them."
    "Do you believe that contact between God and man ceased when Jesus appeared on the earth?"
    "No, such communication reached its climax, its apex at that time."
    "Do you believe that Jesus was the Son of God?"
    "He was."
    "Do you believe, sir, that after Jesus was resurrected a certain lawyer, who was also a tentmaker by the name of Saul of Tarsus, when on his way to Damascus, talked with Jesus of Nazareth, who had been crucified, resurrected, and had ascended into heaven?"
    "I do."
    "Whose voice did Saul hear?"
    "It was the voice of Jesus Christ, for he so introduced himself."
    "Then, my Lord, (that is the way we address judges in the British Commonwealth) my Lord, I am submitting to you in all seriousness that it was standard procedure in Bible times for God to talk to men."
    "I think I will admit that, but it stopped shortly after the first century of the Christian era."
    "Why do you think it stopped?"
    "I can't say."
    "You think that God hasn't spoken since then?"
    "I am sure he hasn't."
    "There must be a reason, can you give me a reason?"
    "I do not know."
    "May I suggest some possible reasons: Perhaps God does not speak to men anymore because he cannot. He has lost the power."
    "He said, "Of course that would be blasphemous."
    "Well, then if you don't accept that, perhaps he doesn't speak to men because he doesn't love us anymore. He is no longer interested in the affairs of men."
    "No," he said, "God loves all men, and he is no respecter of persons."
    "Well, then, if he could speak, and if he loves us, then the only other possible answer as I see it is that we don't need him. We have made such rapid strides in science, we are so well-educated, that we don't need God any more."
    And then he said, and his voice trembled as he thought of impending war, "Mr. Brown, there never was a time in the history of the world when the voice of God was needed as it is needed now. Perhaps you can tell me why he doesn't speak."
    My answer was, "He does speak, he has spoken; but men need faith to hear him."

The judge sat and listened intently, he asked some very pointed and searching questions; and at the end of the period he said, "Mr. Brown, I wonder if your people appreciate the import of your message: do you?" He said, "If what you have told me is true, it is the greatest message that has come to this earth since the angels announced the birth of Christ.


 "This was a judge speaking, a great statesman, an intelligent man. He threw out the challenge, "Do you appreciate the import of what you say?" He added: "I wish it were true. I hope it may be true. God knows it ought to be true. I would to God," he said, and he wept as he said it, "that some man could appear on the earth and authoritatively say, Thus saith the Lord." (The Eternal Quest, p127-134)

Our need for a living prophet

Why do you think we need a living prophet today?

The counsel of the living prophet helps us respond to all the major problems and needs of our day. He gives guidance and direction to the church as a whole and all things run with exquisite persision under his prayerful watch.  



We have had many prophets since the beginning of the Church of Jesus Christ, who do you believe ins the most important? 



President Ezra Taft Benson said: “The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned, is the one who is living in our day and age. This is the prophet who has today’s instructions from God to us today. God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Every generation has need of the ancient scripture plus the current scripture from the living prophet. Therefore, the most crucial reading and pondering which you should do is of the latest inspired words from the Lord’s mouthpiece” (Conference Report, Korea Area Conference 1975, 52)



The roles of our living prophet
The members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are all prophets, seers, and revelators. However, only the President of the Church is authorized to receive revelation for the entire Church and to exercise all the priesthood keys necessary to govern the Church.

What are the roles of our living Prophet?  
The Doctrine and Covenants provides important information about the roles of our living prophet.  

The prophet speaks for the Lord and reveals the Lord’s will. 

1:38; What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same

21:4–5;   Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;  For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

43:2;   For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand.

68:3–4.   And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.   And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation

What are some subjects on which we have received guidance from recent prophets? 
Building strong families, doing temple work, helping new members of the Church, staying out of debt, reading the Book of Mormon, self reliance, food storage, mental illness, religious freedom...

The prophet testifies of Jesus Christ and teaches the gospel.

20:21–26  Wherefore, the Almighty God gave his Only Begotten Son, as it is written in those scriptures which have been given of him.   He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them.
He was crucified, died, and rose again the third day;  And ascended into heaven, to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father;
That as many as would believe and be baptized in his holy name, and endure in faith to the end, should be saved—Not only those who believed after he came in the meridian of time, in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before he came, who believed in the words of the holy prophets, who spake as they were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost, who truly testified of him in all things, should have eternal life,


33 For behold, did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?

How has your testimony of the Savior been strengthened by the words of our living prophet?

The prophet is a seer

What is a seer?  A seer is a prophet upon whom God bestows great power to know the past and the future. He can know of things that are not known or are hidden. He also can have the power to translate ancient records.

We must heed the words of the Prophet

43 And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion.
44 A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive trees;
45 And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
46 Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.
47 And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower?
48 And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves: What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?
49 Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things.
50 And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.
51 And the enemy came by night, and broke down the hedge; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive trees.
52 Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
53 Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and—after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof—built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
54 And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.

In this parable, which commandment did the servants fail to obey? What could have been avoided if the servants had built the tower?

How does this apply to the attention we give the President of the Church?  
The President of the Church can see the enemy “while he is yet afar off” (D&C 101:54).

What dangers have latter-day prophets seen and warned us about?
Debt, pornography, idleness, judgement, sins of omission...

The prophet presides over the Church.

91 And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.

What blessings do we receive because the true Church is always led by a prophet who is chosen and guided by God?  
All things run in order and are the same, no matter where you go to attend church all things are in order.  


22 Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.

How can we sustain the prophet in his role as President of the Church?  
upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church

Doctrine and Covenants 87
Prophecy and revelation on war.  he Prophet also receives revelation for us in relation to wars and rumors of wars. This revelation, section 87, was given through Joseph Smith in 1832. It foretold the United States Civil War, which began in 1861


1 Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;
2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.
3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.
4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
5 And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.
6 And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;
7 That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.
8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

Heeding the words of our living prophet

What do these verses teach about our responsibility to listen to the prophet? What does the Lord promise us if we obey the prophet’s counsel?

4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

President Harold B. Lee taught: “The only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized [see D&C 21:4–5]. … There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you’ [D&C 21:6]” (Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 152)

How can we learn of the prophet’s inspired counsel?
By studying general conference talks, First Presidency Messages, and other articles in the Church magazines and by listening to letters from the First Presidency that are read in Church meetings.

At the close of a general conference, President Ezra Taft Benson said, “For the next six months, your conference edition of the Ensign should stand next to your standard works and be referred to frequently” (Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 97; or Ensign, May 1988, 84).

While serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Harold B. Lee made a similar statement during general conference. He said that the report of the conference should “be the guide to our walk and talk during the next six months” (Conference Report, Apr. 1946, 68).

The prophet will never lead us astray
We can have complete confidence that the prophet appointed by God will always lead us correctly.
While serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Ezra Taft Benson taught, “Keep your eye on the Prophet, for the Lord will never permit his Prophet to lead this Church astray” (Conference Report, Oct. 1966, 123).

While serving as a counselor in the First Presidency, President Joseph F. Smith taught: “If [the President of the Church] should become unfaithful, God would remove him out of his place. I testify in the name of Israel’s God that he will not suffer the head of the Church, whom he has chosen to stand at the head, to transgress his laws and apostatize; the moment he should take a course that would in time lead to it, God would take him away. Why? Because to suffer a wicked man to occupy that position would be to allow, as it were, the fountain to become corrupted, which is something he will never permit” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 44–45)


Latter-day prophets’ example of Christlike love

 The Presidents of the Church have served others selflessly and with great love, this is an example we that is most important for us to emulate. Each President, has indeed followed in the footsteps of Joseph, they have followed his example in Christlike love and most importantly they have followed his example in listening to the direction of the Lord.  Their examples of discipleship should be our goal.  Each President has had not only his great example, but also many significant contributions to the Church of Jesus Christ.  We are led by the word of God given through His prophet. As we listen to the prophet’s counsel and act on his instructions, we will receive the direction and strength necessary to meet the challenges of our day. Indeed we should and must come listen to a prophets voice.  


The Lord raised up Joseph Smith as an instrument to restore the fullness of the gospel to the earth in the last days.
  • He spoke with God the Father and his son, Jesus Christ.
  • Priesthood powers and keys were restored through him by angelic messengers.
  • The Book of Mormon was translated by him through the power of God.
  • Additional scripture was revealed to him.
  • He laid the foundations for the kingdom of God. The Church grew from a handful of believers to many thousands of stalwart Saints.
  • His life was given as a testimony of all that he lived for.
  • According to John Taylor, "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it." D&C 135:3


Many thought the Church would collapse with the death of Joseph Smith. Such was not to be the case. Under the direction of the Lord, Brigham Young assumed leadership of the Church.
  • He led the Church through the succession crisis and paved the way for the smooth transition of leadership in the future.
  • This was a powerful leader who turned Nauvoo into a factory in preparation for the move west.
  • Like a Joshua or a Moses, Brigham Young guided the single largest migration in the history of the continent.
  • He guided the establishment of a new and better civilization in the Great Basin.
  • He did more to organize the structure of the Church than any other man.
  • He was a man recognized by the world. His statue stands in the Hall of Statues in the U.S. Capitol Building.
  • In 1877:
    • Brigham Young set many of the stakes of Zion in order. Some twenty were organized or reorganized by President Young that summer.
    • He released all the Twelve from presiding over stakes. The Twelve were instructed that their mission had a larger field than a stake of Zion.
    • He set the priesthood in order.  The duties of all priesthood offices were defined from the apostles down to those offices of the Aaronic Priesthood. 
President Young presided over the organization of the Box Elder stake on August 19 and then returned to his home. On August 23rd he was seized with an illness that proved fatal within six days. At the age of 76, on August 29th, President Young died surrounded by his family and friends. The last words he uttered were "Joseph, Joseph, Joseph!"  Wilford Woodruff said at President Young's funeral:  "I do not suppose there was ever a man breathed the breath of life who, in the short space of forty-five years, has done so much towards the establishment of the government and kingdom of God, as our beloved president [Brigham Young]."(Comprehensive History of the Church, 5:516)

With the death of Brigham Young, many once again felt that the Church would not survive.  But as we know this is the Lord's Church not man, and it will forever reign.

John Taylor
John Taylor (LDS.org)

With the death of President Young on August 26, 1877, the Quorum of the Twelve again assumed the leadership of the Church, with John Taylor as president of the quorum. The First Presidency was not reorganized until October 10, 1880, with John Taylor ordained President of the Church.
  • In 1880, President Taylor presided over the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the Church.
    • He felt that they ought to do as ancient Israel and do something to relieve those that were oppressed with debt and help the needy. He wanted it to be a time of rejoicing.
    • President Taylor canceled the debts of many who had received money from the Perpetual Emigration Fund. He also requested that the more wealthy Saints cancel the debts of those who were poor. "If you have mortgages upon the homes of your brethren and sisters who are poor, worthy and honest, and who desire to pay you but cannot, free them in whole or in part. Extend to them a jubilee." (Life of John Taylor, pp336-337)
  • March 1882: The Edmunds Bill was signed into law making polygamy illegal.
    • At the October Conference, President Taylor spoke to the Saints about the oppressive measures of the law:  "We do not wish to place ourselves in a state of antagonism, nor to act defiantly, towards this government. We will fulfil the letter, so far as practicable, of that unjust, inhuman, oppressive and unconstitutional law, so far as we can without violating principle; but we cannot sacrifice every principle of human right at the behest of corrupt, unreasoning and unprincipled men; we cannot violate the highest and noblest principles of human nature and make pariahs and outcasts of highminded, virtuous and honorable women, nor sacrifice at the shrine of popular clamor the highest and noblest principles of humanity! We shall abide all constitutional law, as we always have done; but while we are Godfearing and law-abiding, and respect all honorable men and officers, we are no craven serfs, and have not learned to lick the feet of oppressors, nor to bow in base submission to unreasoning clamor. We will contend, inch by inch, legally and constitutionally, for our rights as American citizens, and for the universal rights of universal man." (Journal of Discourses, 23:67)
Persecution then began once again and homes were broken into and ransacked.  Men were fined and hounded beyond the legal limits.  In the south, missionaries were mobbed, beaten, and killed. The persecution was so difficult in Arizona, that President Taylor visited the Saints there and suggested that they establish temporary homes in Mexico. The Mormon colonies of Colonia Juarez, Colonia Dublan, and Colonia Diaz were established.  A similar recommendation was made to the Saints in Cache Valley. Many migrated to Alberta to escape the raids and persecution.

As the persecution continued, many of the General Authorities went underground to escape prosecution and to continue the work of the Church.  President Taylor made his last public address to the Church in the Tabernacle on February 1, 1885. He then went underground.  He died while in hiding at the home of Thomas F. Rouche, at Kaysville, Utah.  He was joined at his bedside by his two counselors, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, both who had also been in hiding. This was the first time the quorum of the First Presidency had been together in over two and a half years. 

Elder B.H. Roberts said of President Taylor:  "His blood was then mingled with the blood of the martyred Prophet and Patriarch [Joseph and Hyrum Smith]. He has stood since then as a living martyr for the truth. But today he occupies the place of a double martyr. President John Taylor has been killed by the cruelty of officials who have, in this territory, misrepresented the government of the United States. There is no room to doubt that if he had been permitted to enjoy the comforts of home, the ministrations of his family, the exercise to which he had been accustomed, but of which he was deprived, he might have lived for many years yet. His blood stains the clothes of men, who with insensate hate have offered rewards for his arrest and have hounded him to the grave. History will yet call their deeds by their right names."(Comprehensive History of the Church, 6:188)

Wilford Woodruff. 

Fourth president of the Church was Born in 1807 in Farmington, Connecticut and as a child was an avid student of the scriptures and often pondered their meaning.  When he heard the gospel from two missionaries in 1832, he quickly recognized the truth and was baptized two days later. 

At the age of 27 he participated in Zion's Camp and filled his first mission in 1834 to the southern states.  In 1856 he became the official Church Historian.  One of the hallmarks of President Woodruff's life was the keeping of extensive journals which became the basis for much of our early Church history.  He recorded 7,000 pages which are now part of the archives in the Church Historian's Office. 

President Woodruff:  "I have never spent any of my time more profitably for the benefit of mankind than in my journal writing." (Encylopedia of Mormonism, p1581)

President Woodruff:  "The devil has sought to take away my life from the day I was born until now, more so even than the lives of other men. I seem to be a marked victim of the adversary. I can find but one reason for this: the devil knew if I got into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I would write the history of that Church and leave on record the works and teachings of the prophets, of the apostles and elders." (Wilford Woodruff, p477)

He issued the Manifesto that ended the practice of plural marriage in the Church.

Journal entry for September 25, 1890:  "I have arrived at a point in the history of my life as the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where I am under the necessity of acting for the temporal salvation of the church. The United States government has taken a stand and passed laws to destroy the Latter-day Saints on the subject of polygamy, or patriarchal order of marriage; and after praying to the Lord and feeling inspired, I have issued the following proclamation which is sustained by my counselors and the twelve apostles." (Comprehensive History of the Church, 6:220)

1894:  The Genealogical Society was organized under President Woodruff's direction. There was confusion about the sealing process which was clarified. Many had been having themselves sealed to prominent Church leaders such as Joseph Smith or Wilford Woodruff himself. 

Taught President Woodruff:  "We want the Latter-day Saints from this time to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers. Have children sealed to their parents, and run this chain through as far as you can get it." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p492)

1896:  The Salt Lake Temple was completed and dedicated and the "fast day" was changed from the first Thursday of the month to the first Sunday of the month. The principle of donating the cost of the two meals missed was re-emphasized at this time.

1897:  President Woodruff turned 90. On the occasion of his birthday, thousands of Saints gathered in the Tabernacle to honor him.

September 2, 1898:  President Woodruff passes away.

Lorenzo Snow

In the period prior to the issuance of the Manifesto, many members neglected to pay their tithing. They felt that the donations, which would then be confiscated by the government, would be used to further the aims of the enemies of the Church. After the Manifesto, as the Church tried to get back on its feet, President Woodruff struggled with the financial condition of the Church. Wrote President Woodruff in 1894: "There is a heavy load resting upon us in church affairs, our debts are very heavy." (Comprehensive History of the Church, 6:351-352) 

In September 1898, President Woodruff died, leaving for his successor, Lorenzo Snow, at the age of 84, the heavy financial burden that rested upon the Church. President Snow continued to struggle with this great difficulty. 

In May 1899, President Snow felt impressed to make a trip to St. George and conduct a conference. He held additional conferences in the settlements as he returned to Salt Lake. He did not know the purpose of the trip, only that he should go. 

Even as he spoke to the Saints in St. George he said, "My brethren and sisters, we are in your midst because the Lord directed me to come; but the purpose of our coming is not clearly known at the present, but this will be made known to me during our sojourn among you." (Promptings of the Spirit, p126)

During a later session his son reported:  "It was during one of these meetings that my father received the renewed revelation on tithing. I was sitting at a table reporting the proceedings, when all at once father paused in his discourse, complete stillness filled the room. When he commenced to speak again his voice strengthened and the inspiration of God seemed suddenly to come over him, as well as over the entire assembly. Then he revealed to the Latter-day Saints the vision that was before him. God manifested to him there and then the purpose of the call to visit the Saints in the south. He told them that he could see, as he had never realized before, how the law of tithing had been neglected by the people."

President Snow taught in St. George and to the Church:  "The time has now come for every Latter-day Saint, who calculates to be prepared for the future and to hold his feet strong upon a proper foundation, to do the will of the Lord and to pay his tithing in full. That is the word of the Lord to you, and it will be the word of the Lord to every settlement throughout the land of Zion." (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p155) 

This was the turning point for the financial affairs of the Church. We have all been blessed by the tithes given to the Church in the building of chapels, temples, and allowing the work of the Lord to go forth in a powerful way.  Suffering from declining health, President Snow died of pneumonia in the Beehive House, the residence of the President, on October 10, 1901.


Joseph F. Smith.

1901:  October 10 - President Snow died. October 17 - At the regular meeting of the Twelve in the temple, the First Presidency was reorganized with Joseph F. Smith as President. He was age 62. 

President Smith was determined to improve public opinion of the Church and its members during his administration. This was difficult because of grueling interrogation before the U.S. Senate during the Smoot hearings, local editorial attacks from the Salt Lake Tribune, and negative articles in some of the nation's leading magazines.  
  • Important results of President Smith's administration.
    • Conservative fiscal policy that resulted in the Church getting out of debt.
    • Purchase of significant historical sites:  Joseph Smith's birthplace in Vermont, the Smith farm in New York, important sites in Missouri, and the Carthage Jail.
    • The following projects were completed:  the Church Administration Building, the LDS Hospital, a Church visitors bureau, and the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City.
    • He expanded the missionary and educational systems of the Church.
    • The first Home Evening program was established.
He taught extensively on Church doctrines and the principles of priesthood government.  His most significant doctrinal contribution was his "Vision of the Redemption of the Dead," which he received on October 3, 1918, just six weeks prior to his death on November 19. Added to the Doctrine and Covenants in 1981 as Section 138. 

Presiding Bishop Charles W. Nibley said of President Smith:  "As a preacher of righteousness, who could compare with him? He was the greatest that I ever heard-strong, powerful, clear, appealing. It was marvelous how the words of living light and fire flowed from him. He was a born preacher, and yet he did not set himself up to be such. He never thought highly of his own good qualities. Rather, he was simple, plain and unaffected to the last degree; and yet, there was dignity with it all which enabled anyone and everyone to say: 'He is a man among men!'" (Gospel Doctrine, p522)

President Smith taught: "There are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within, and the authorities need to awaken to the fact that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see these, they are flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurity. But the third subject mentioned-personal purity, is perhaps of greater importance than either of the other two. We believe in one standard of morality for men and women. If purity of life is neglected, all other dangers set in upon us like the rivers of waters when the flood gates are opened." (Gospel Doctrine, p313) 

President Smith taught about the importance of home: "There is no substitute for the home. Its foundation is as ancient as the world, and its mission has been ordained of God from the earliest times.... The home then is more than a habitation, it is an institution which stands for stability and love in individuals as well as in nations." (Gospel Doctrine, p300)


Heber J Grant

Heber J. Grant served as president for 26 and 1/2 years, the second longest in Church history.  He repeatedly spoke on the need for charity, duty, honor, service, and word and preached often about living the Word of Wisdom. 

President grant accepted many invitations to speak to non-Mormon groups throughout the United States in the hope of improving the image of the Church.
    • The production of pro-LDS movies such as Union Pacific and Brigham Young were influenced by President Grant.
    • He promoted national tours by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    • He supported the political activity of Apostle and Senator Reed Smoot. His growing national influence brought favorable comment to Utah and the Church. 

President Grant's business experience helped keep the Church financially stable through the depression of the 1930s.  He advised a number of local businesses - Mormon and non-Mormon - and helped them to pull through the difficult times of the depression. 

The Church Security Program (later renamed the Church Welfare Program) was established under his administration. To help get it started, he gave the program his large dry farm in western Utah.

He dedicated three new temples:  Laie, Hawaii (1919), Cardston, Canada (1923), and Mesa, Arizona (1927).

The seminary and institute program was established and there was increased emphasis on Sacrament meeting attendance, temple activity, obedience to the Word of Wisdom, family-history research, and monthly visits by the priesthood to Church members in their homes.

The Assistants to the Twelve were created to help deal with the expansion of the Church and seeking to personalize his presidency, he distributed thousands of books, personally autographing each and sometimes marking passages for emphasis.  In 1940, while traveling in southern California, he suffered a series of strokes that slowed him considerably. He delegated active administration of the Church to his first counselor, J. Reuben Clark, Jr.  President Grant died on May 14, 1945.



George Albert Smith 


With the death of Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith became president of the church on May 21, 1945,  yet has been relatively unknown among contemporary Latter-day Saints . He suffered from serious health problems of which included a heavy load of depression and anxiety.  His efforts to continue in the work and testify of the truthfulness of the Gospel and the realness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the face of his trials is a tremendous lesson for all especially those who like him suffer greatly with mental and physical illness.  

When World War II ended, he helped send supplies to Europe and was also known for his efforts to revitalize missionary work and reopen missions after WWII.   He dedicated the Idaho Falls Temple on September 23, 1945 and Over his lifetime, he traveled approximately a million miles fulfilling church assignments. And was the first church president to visit Mexico while in office. He went there to complete the reconciliation of and return to the church a group of apostates in Mexico known as the "Third Conventionists".

In 1946 President George Albert Smith spoke of technological improvements that would come and advance the building up of the kingdom of God on earth: “Short-wave broadcasting will continue to improve, and it will not be long until, from this pulpit and other places that will be provided, the servants of the Lord will be able to deliver messages to isolated groups who are so far away they cannot be reached. In that way and other ways, the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord, the only power of God unto salvation in preparation for the celestial kingdom, will be heard in all parts of the world, and many of you who are here will live to see that day” (Conference Report, Oct. 1946, 6).

President George Albert Smith was a man whose love for others had been forged in the very furnace of affliction. He was a man who had committed himself to the Lord through long nights of prayer and years of service to others. He Had Vision and Compassion for the Native Americans and he warned all of the Latter-Day Judgments to come if there was no repentance.  In July 1947 he was Time Magazines Man of the year.  


Some of his teachings included:  The World Is Spiritually Sick, Many Have Fallen Away from a True Belief in God, Falsehood Has Become More Preferred Than Truth, Avoiding Calamity Must Be Done in the Lord’s Way, Only with the Spirit Can Men Design a Successful Peace, The Constitution of the United States Was Inspired by God, We Must Live to Be Worthy of the Blessings We Pray For, Stay on the Lord’s Side of the Line, The Lord Will Fight Our Battles...He died in Salt Lake City, Utah April. 4, 1951.




David O. McKay


was sustained as President of the Church Apr. 9, 1951.  Soon after being called as the prophet, he set out on a tour of missions around the world. He eventually traveled over a million miles, traversing the earth like a modern Paul. Missionary work accelerated as every member was encouraged to be a missionary. Thousands of chapels were built during his presidency. Because he was President of the Church for 19 years, a majority of Church members had known no other prophet than David O. McKay.

President McKay knew the Lord wanted His Saints to grow spiritually. He often spoke of developing our divine nature. He also often spoke of the family and the home. He indelibly impressed upon the minds of the Saints the statement “No other success can compensate for failure in the home” (quoting James Edward McCulloch, in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116). He often proclaimed that next in importance to life itself was the priceless boon of agency and that the Constitution of the United States must be defended.  

Some of his teachings included:  Preaching the Gospel Is a Worldwide Effort, He Envisioned Temples throughout the World, The Saints Should Be Pioneers in a Modern World, Advancement of  Priesthood Correlation, The Home Is Central to the Gospel,The Saints Must Build the Stakes of Zion Where They Live,  Developing Spirituality, He Taught about the Cornerstones of Zion...He died in Salt Lake City, Utah January 18, 1970.

Joseph F Smith 


Was ordained an Apostle by his father, President Joseph F. Smith April. 7, 1910 and became President of the Church January. 23, 1970.  He was the Church Historian  and published Essentials in Church History, in 1922.  He was president of the Genealogical Society and became  president of the Salt Lake Temple (1945–49) then counselor to President David O. McKay (Oct. 29, 1965). As President he presided over the first area conference, in Manchester, England (Aug. 27–29, 1971); he dedicated the Ogden Utah Temple (Jan. 18, 1972); and dedicated the Provo Utah Temple (Feb. 9, 1972)  

He was a was a Latter-day Scholar and defender of the faith, and also like his ancestry enjoyed wholesome humor.  At the age of 93, President Joseph Fielding Smith was the oldest man to become the President of the Church.  Some had supposed that the Lord would choose a younger man. They wondered how President Smith could endure the pressures of administering the affairs of the emerging world Church. However, the vigorous profile of President Smith’s administration left no lingering question in the minds of the Saints with respect to that concern. Two “youthful” counselors were invited to match strides with this prophet—Harold B. Lee, age 72, and N. Eldon Tanner, age 73

Some of his teachings include We Must Prepare for the Lord’s Coming, Christ Will Come in a Day of Great WickednessWe Must Raise the Voice of Warning, The Worldly Ignore the Warnings, The Saints Can Escape Only through Obedience, Everyone Should Live the Gospel, he began a new era of Area Conferences, He Called for Greater Emphasis on Family Home Evening, True and Steady to the End...he died in Salt Lake City, Utah July 2, 1972.




Harold B. Lee

Became President of the Church July 7, 1972; he organized the Jerusalem Branch (Sept. 20, 1972); he presided at the second area conference of the Church, in Mexico City (Aug. 26–28, 1972).  Previously he was managing director of the Church Security Welfare Program and chairman of the Church Correlation Program.  He became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a counselor to President Joseph Fielding Smith (Jan. 23, 1970).

Reporters waited anxiously on July 7, 1972, for their first press conference with Harold B. Lee, newly ordained President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To them he said, “The safety of the church lies in the members keeping the commandments. There is nothing more important that I could say. As they keep the commandments, blessings will come” (quoted in Stephen W. Gibson, “Presidency Meets the Press,” Church News, July 15, 1972, 3)

Prophets of God are not immune to the tests and trials of life. They are prepared in the crucible of adversity and suffering. Harold B. Lee’s life received the polishing and refinement that can come only from the touch of the Master’s hand. Through this process he gained experiences that were for his good and for the good of the Lord’s kingdom. The deaths of loved ones, personal physical suffering, and calls that seemed impossible were but a few of his experiences.

Some of his teachings include Following the Prophet Protects the Sanctity of Our Homes, The Members of the Church Must Prepare Themselves for the Conflict with Evil, Safety Comes from Keeping God’s Commandments, The Church Is a Defense and a Refuge, The Destructive Influences of the World Are Threatening the Family, The Objective of the Church Is to Help the Saints Meet the Problems of the Day...He died in Salt Lake City, Utah December 26, 1973.



Spencer W. Kimball


Became President of the Church December. 30, 1973.  Previously he was chairman of the Church Indian Committee, wrote The Miracle of Forgiveness, and was set apart as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles July 7, 1972.  

As President he addressed the regional representatives of the Twelve, initiating expanded missionary work (Apr. 4, 1974); he dedicated the Washington D.C. Temple (Nov. 19, 1974).  He dedicated the Church Office Building (July 24, 1975); 15 stakes were created from 5 in Mexico City, Mexico (Nov. 9, 1975); the building of temples in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and Washington state was announced (1975).  Two revelations were added to the Pearl of Great Price (now D&C 137–38; Apr. 3, 1976); Assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles became members of the First Quorum of the Seventy (1976).  Announced the revelation that every faithful man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood (June 8, 1978). New editions of the scriptures, cross-referenced to each other, were printed (1979, 1981).  He dedicated the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden in Jerusalem (Oct. 24, 1979).  Area Presidencies were first called (1984) and a new edition of the hymnbook, with additional hymns of the Restoration, was printed.  

Some of he teachings include Warning Against the Love of Worldly Wealth, He Called for Better-Prepared Missionaries, He Explained the Greatest Reason for Missionary Work, We Should Meet Our Worldwide Missionary Obligation, The Gospel Shall Be Victorious, Miracle of Forgiveness, True Repentance, Every Faithful, Worthy Man in the Church May Receive the Holy Priesthood.  When he died  in Salt Lake City, Utah November. 5, 1985, the church mourned the passing of a giant.  

Ezra Taft Benson
Became President of the Church November 10, 1985, previously some of his accomplishments were that he served as executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington, D.C, reopened missionary work and supervised the distribution of welfare supplies in war-torn Europe; he served as president of the European Mission,  was sworn in as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (Jan. 20, 1953).  He became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles December 30, 1973 and received the George Washington Medal Award from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania May 2, 1978.  

As President Stake seventies quorums were discontinued (Oct. 4, 1986). He dedicated the Frankfurt Germany Temple (Aug. 28, 1987).  The Second Quorum of the Seventy was organized (Apr. 1, 1989); he received the Bronze Wolf, the highest award given by world Scouting (Apr. 1, 1989).  He received the Presidential Citizens Medal from U.S. President George H. W. Bush, naming him “one of the most distinguished Americans of his time” (Aug. 1989); he participated in the dedication of the Portland Oregon Temple (Aug. 19, 1989) and Twenty-nine missions were created (1990).


Time magazine
Time magazine’s “Man of the Year,” April 13, 1953. Secretary Benson was on the cover of several national magazines.



Some of his teachings include Spirituality Is a Key to Keeping Freedom Alive, Love for the Book of Mormon, The Book of Mormon Brings Men to Christ, He Gave a Blessing of Increased Discernment and Understanding, Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon, He Counseled the Youth to Be Clean, He Counseled Single Adult Men to Pursue the Goal of a Celestial Marriage, He Counseled Single Adult Sisters to Keep the Goal of a Celestial Marriage, He Counseled Fathers on Their Eternal Calling, He Counseled Mothers about the Nobility of Their Work, He Warned Against Pride, We Believe in Christ...

President Ezra Taft Benson died of heart failure Monday, May 30, 1994, at the age of 94. He had served as a General Authority for over 50 years. Throughout his life he had faithfully served the Lord, the Church, his family, and country.


Howard W. Hunter

Became President of the Church June 5, 1994.  Previously he was called as Church Historian, became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (June 2, 1988), and dedicated the BYU Jerusalem Center (May 1989).

As President he presided over the creation of the Church’s 2,000th stake—the Mexico City Mexico Contreras Stake (Dec. 11, 1994).  Some of his teachings include: He Taught about True Religion, “All Are Alike unto God”, We Ought to Know the Scriptures, We Should Center Our Lives on Christ, Every Member Should Be Temple Worthy, Seek a Christlike Life.  


President Howard W. Hunter suffered greatly, his medical condition was such that his life truly was a miracle and one can see that the Lord had preserved him for his great purpose.  Though his time as president was brief, he it was none the less powerful and I have personally gained great strength frm his life and mission.  He passed away on March 3, 1995. At President Hunter’s funeral service, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“A majestic tree in the forest has fallen, leaving a place of emptiness. A great and quiet strength has departed from our midst.  “Much has been said about his suffering. I believe that it went on longer and was more sharp and deep than any of us really knew. He developed a high tolerance for pain and did not complain about it. That he lived so long is a miracle in and of itself. His suffering has comforted and mitigated the pain of many others who suffer. They know that he understood the heaviness of their burdens. He reached out to these with a special kind of love.

“Much has been said about his kindness, his thoughtfulness, his courtesy to others. It is all true. He surrendered himself to the pattern of the Lord whom he loved. He was a quiet and thoughtful man. But he also could be aroused to voice strong and wise opinions. …

“Brother Hunter was kind and gentle. But he also could be strong and persuasive in his statements. As has been said, he was trained in the law. He knew how to present a matter. He laid out the various premises in orderly fashion. He moved from these to his conclusion. When he spoke we all listened. His suggestions most often prevailed. But when they were not accepted, he had the flexibility to withdraw his advocacy, to accept the decision of the President of the Church, his prophet, and to thereafter go throughout the Church furthering with conviction the conclusion that was reached and the program determined upon. …

“Howard W. Hunter, prophet, seer, and revelator, had a sure and certain testimony of the living reality of God, our Eternal Father. He voiced with great conviction his witness of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind. He spoke with love for the Prophet Joseph Smith, and for all those who succeeded him in the line of succession until President Hunter’s own time. …
“May God bless his memory to our great good” (“A Prophet Polished and Refined,” Ensign, Apr. 1995, 33–35).


Gordon B. Hinckley
President Gordon B. Hinckley


Became President of the Church Mar. 12, 1995.  Previously some of his accomplishments were that he was appointed executive secretary of the Church Radio, Publicity, and Mission Literature Committee (1935), was appointed general secretary of the General Missionary Committee (1951), prepared the temple presentations in non-English languages (1953), was called as a counselor to President Spencer W. Kimball (July 23, 1981), was called as a counselor to President Ezra Taft Benson (Nov. 10, 1985), was called as a counselor to President Howard W. Hunter (June 5, 1994).

As President he read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” at the General Relief Society meeting (Sept. 23, 1995).  He represented the Church on the television news show 60 Minutes (broadcast Apr. 1996); he organized additional Quorums of Seventy (increased to five quorums on Apr. 5, 1997).  He announced that smaller temples would be built throughout the world (Oct. 1997).  He addressed, by satellite, what may have been the largest gathering of missionaries ever convened to that date (Feb. 21, 1999).  The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued the document “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” (Jan. 1, 2000); he dedicated the Palmyra New York Temple (Apr. 6, 2000).  He dedicated the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah (Oct. 8, 2000); he traveled 250,000 miles, visited 58 countries, spoke to 2.2 million members and dedicated 24 temples (2000); he announced the Perpetual Education Fund to assist young Church members worldwide with their education (Apr. 2001).  He dedicated the Nauvoo Illinois Temple (June 27, 2002); he spoke at the first ever Global Leadership Training by satellite broadcast (Jan. 2003)—broadcast in 56 languages and available to 97 percent of priesthood leaders around the world.  He traveled 24,995 miles in a tour of Asia and Africa from July to August 2004, visiting Russia, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, India, Kenya, and Nigeria; he was the first Church President to visit India; his trip culminated with the dedication of the Aba Nigeria Temple.

Some of his teachings include: We Must Remember the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He Affirmed the Fundamental Doctrines of the Church, Likening Them to Four Cornerstones of a Building, He Encouraged Single Church Members to Use Their Talents, He Taught the Importance of motherhood, Selfishness Is a Major Cause of Divorce, Marriage Should Be an Eternal Partnership, We Believe in Christ, He Explained the Need for the Proclamation on the Family, Young Women Should Become Well Educated, The Church Is to Be an Ensign to the Nations, “The Church Is Not Complete without Temples”, Blessings That Come from Temple Worship, Pornography Enslaves, Finding and Retention of Converts.  He died in Salt Lake City, Utah January 27, 2008, he was the longest living President of the Church.

Jesus is my friend. None other has given me so much. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13). He gave His life for me. He opened the way to eternal life. Only a God could do this. I hope that I am deemed worthy of being a friend to Him.- Gordon B Hinkley


Thomas S. Monson
President Thomas S. Monson

Became President of the Church February 3, 2008.  Previously some of his accomplishments were; He was named assistant general manager of the Deseret News Press,  was named general manager of the Deseret Press. During this time he also served on the Adult Correlation Committee.  He served as a member of the National Executive Board of Boy Scouts of America (1969). He continues to serve as a member of this board.  His first book, Pathways to Perfection, was published (1973).  He dedicated the land of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) for the advancement of the work of the Lord (April 27, 1975).  He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the President’s Task Force for Private Sector Initiatives (December 1981).  He, along with other Brethren, met with Erich Honecker, general secretary for the German Democratic Republic, where permission was granted for missionaries to serve in and to serve from that country (October 28, 1988).  He was called as a counselor to President Ezra Taft Benson (November 10, 1985).  He was called as a counselor to President Howard W. Hunter (June 5, 1994).  He was called as a counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley (March 12, 1995).

President Monson is our  current President, some of his work and teachings have included: a change in missionary age—young men eligible at age 18 and young women at age 19 (October 2012), His Ministry has been Characterized by Following the Promptings of the Spirit in Serving the One, Our Homes Are to Be Spiritual as Well as Physical Sanctuaries, Live within Your Means, the Importance of Our Personal Influence, Stay on the Path to Your Eternal Destiny, Counsel on How to Pray, God Directs His Prophet, Attitude of Gratitude, He Raised a Warning Voice about Pornography, God’s Laws Remain Constant, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”

“With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I lift up my voice in testimony as a special witness and declare that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father. He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Because He died, all shall live again. ‘Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!” (“I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” Ensign and Liahona, May 2007, 24–25).

For a complete history of the Love and service of each President please visit "Presidents of the Church"  Presidents of the Church

Resources

Ensign 
Comprehensive History of the Church 
Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow by Eliza R. Snow.
Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by B.H. Roberts
Conference Reports
Encyclopedia of Mormonism edited by Daniel H. Ludlow.
Gospel Doctrine: Selections from The Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith.
Gospel Standards: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Heber J .Grant compiled by Dr. G. Homer Durham.
Journal of Discourses
Life of John Taylor by B.H. Roberts.
Presidents of the Church.
Promptings of the Spirit by Errol R. Fish.
Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley.
The Eternal Quest by Hugh B. Brown.
The Gospel Kingdom: Selections From The Writings and Discourses of John Taylor.
The Heaven's Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio1830-1838 by Milton V. Backman, Jr.
The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow edited by Clyde J. Williams.
Wilford Woodruff, History of His Life and Labors by Matthias F. Cowley.
Our Heritage a Brief History Page 131
Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine 
Against the Odds: The Life of George Albert Smith by
 A Prophet Polished and Refined,” Ensign, Apr. 1995, 33–35
Church News
Ames Iowa Rich Heritage Bright Future Ames Ward LDS.org



The Fall of Adam and Eve

  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...