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biosdom (David O. McKay ** )

 A biographical overview of the life of David O. McKaythe ninth President of the Church of Jesus Christ

Following is a brief summary of some major events in the life of David O. McKay, the ninth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


  • David O. McKay was born on September 8, 1873 to David McKay and Jennette Evans McKay in Huntsville, Utah.  He was the third child and first son born to this couple.
  • His father served a mission in Britain from 1881 to 1883, leaving his wife to manage the farm and look after their 5 children.
  • David O. McKay received his patriarchal blessing at age 13. It included the following, “…that you may be prepared for a responsible position, for the eye of the Lord is upon thee… It shall be thy lot to sit in council with thy brethren and preside among the people and exhort the saints.”
  • He attended Weber Stake Academy in Ogden, and then accepted the position of principal at the Huntsville School at age 20.
  • He attended the University of Utah and played on the football team there. He graduated from the university in June 1897, being selected to deliver the ‘oration’ speech for his graduating class.
  • He received a call to serve in the British Mission in July of 1897, and left for his mission in August. He served faithfully until his release in August of 1899.
  • In August of 1899, he accepted a teaching position at the Weber Stake Academy.
  • He married Emma Rae Riggs on January 2, 1901 in the Salt Lake Temple. The marriage was performed by apostle John Henry Smith.
  • In 1902, he was appointed principal of the Weber Stake Academy.
  • He was ordained an apostle on April 9, 1906, being 32 years old at the time.
  • He was set-apart as the Assistant General Superintendent of the Sunday School Union in 1906.
  • On November 27, 1918 he was appointed General Superintendent of the Sunday School Union.
  • On May 9, 1919 he was appointed Commissioner of Education for the entire church.
  • From December 4, 1920 to December 24, 1921, he traveled on a world-wide tour of the missions of the Church. He dedicated China for the preaching of the gospel on January 9, 1921.
  • He received an honorary degree of Master of Arts from the Brigham Young University on June 2, 1922.
  • From November 17, 1922 until December 6, 1924 he presided over the European Mission.
  • On October 6, 1934, he was set-apart as 2nd Counselor to President Heber J. Grant.
  • On May 21, 1945, he was set-apart as 2nd Counselor to President George Albert Smith.
  • In 1947 he served as Chairman of the Utah Centennial Commission, presiding over the gala events celebrating the arrival of the Mormon pioneers 100 years earlier.
  • He served for six months as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1950 and 1951.
  • Ordained and set-apart as the President of the Church on April 12, 1951. He chose Stephen L. Richards and J. Reuben Clark to serve as his counselors.
  • During June and July of 1952, he toured all of the European missions.
  • He directed that the Cub Scouting program would be adopted for the younger boys of the Church.
  • He received the Silver Buffalo scouting award in July 1953.
  • From December 1953 to February 1954, he went on a 32,000 mile journey to visit the missions in Britain, South Africa, Central America, and South America.
  • From January 2, 1955 to February 14, 1955, he toured all of the missions of the South Seas.
  • He dedicated the following temples: Swiss (September 11, 1955 at age 82), Los Angeles (March 11, 1956 at age 82), New Zealand (April 20, 1958 at age 84), London (September 7, 1958 at age 84), and Oakland (January 18, 1970 at age 91).
  • President McKay passed away on January 18, 1970.
  • He served almost 64 years as a General Authority, longer than any other of the General Authorities up to that time.
  • Some of his favorite thoughts were, “Every member a missionary”, “Character is higher than intellect”, “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved”, and “No other success can compensate for failure in the home”.

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