A biographical overview of the life of Ezra Taft Benson,
the thirteenth President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ
Following is a brief summary of some major events in the life of Ezra Taft Benson, the thirteenth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Ezra Taft Benson was born in Whitney, Franklin County, Idaho on August 4, 1899. He was the son of Ezra T. Benson and Sarah Dunkley Benson. He was also a great-grandson of the apostle Ezra T. Benson, one of the original pioneers who entered the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young.
- On his birthday in 1907 (age 8), he was baptized in the Logan River Canal near Whitney, Idaho.
- He served a mission to Great Britain from 1921 to 1923 (age 21-24).
- He married Flora Smith Amussen on September 10, 1926 (age 27). Sister Benson died in 1992.
- In 1931 he became the head of the Department of Agriculture Economics and Marketing for the University of Idaho in Boise, Idaho.
- He served in the stake presidency and as the President of the Boise Stake from 1935 to 1939.
- In 1943 he was appointed executive secretary of the National Council of Farmers Cooperatives, necessitating a move to Washington, D.C.
- He served as the first president of the Washington, D.C. Stake
- He was ordained an apostle by Heber J. Grant on October 7, 1943 (age 44).
- He began service as the President of the European Mission in 1946, and was responsible for the distribution of tons of needed supplies to Europeans after World War II.
- He served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1953 to 1961, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- He again served as President of the European Mission from 1964 to 1965.
- He was sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve on December 30, 1973, and served in that capacity for 12 years.
- He was ordained as President of the Church of Jesus Christ on November 10, 1985 (age 86). He chose as his counselors Elders Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson.
- He dedicated the Denver Colorado and Frankfurt Germany temples during his presidency.
- He died on May 30, 1994, having served as President of the Church for over 8 years.
- He was perhaps the Church’s greatest champion of the Book of Mormon. He said, “There is a power in the Book of Mormon that will begin to flow into your lives. This is my prayer, that the Book of Mormon may become the keystone of our lives.”