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bioshbl (Harold B. Lee ** )

A biographical overview of the life of Harold B. Lee, the eleventh President of the Church of Jesus Christ

Following is a brief summary of some major events in the life of Harold B. Lee, the eleventh President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


  • Harold Bingham Lee was born on March 28, 1999 in Clifton, Idaho to Samual Marion Lee and Louisa Emeline Bingham Lee.  He was the second of six children and the second son.
  • He developed a love of music early in life, and became adept at playing the piano. He learned to play the cornet and the trombone, and found employment in a local dance orchestra as a teenager.
  • He was educated in local schools near Clifton, at the Oneida Academy in Preston, at the Albion State Normal School in Albion, and finally at the University of Utah.
  • His family led a spartan existence on their Idaho farm. Of his family, President Lee said, “We had everything that  money could not buy!”
  • He began a teaching career at age 17, served as a school principal at age 18, and later served as a principal in two schools in Salt Lake County.
  • At age 21, he was called to serve in the Western States Mission. He served as a missionary from November 11, 1920 to December 18, 1922.  His mission president described him as “an excellent missionary”.
  • He married Fern Lucinda Tanner on November 14, 1923. Fern was a first cousin once-removed of Nathan Eldon Tanner. She had also served as a missionary in the Western States Mission,  and was known as a scripturalist of unusual ability.
  • From 1928 to 1933, he served as manager of Foundation Press, Inc.
  • He was called as a stake president at the age of 31. He presided over the Pioneer Stake from 1930 until 1937. Over one-half of the men in his stake were unemployed. He was inspired to establish a storehouse from which goods and commodities could be distributed to the needy.
  • From 1933 to 1937, he served on the Salt Lake County commission.
  • In 1937, he was appointed as Managing Director of the Church Welfare Program.
  • He was ordained an apostle on April 6, 1941 (age 42).
  • After the untimely death of his first wife, he married Freda Joan Jensen on June 17, 1963.
  • He was set apart as First Counselor in the First Presidency and as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on January 23, 1970. Joseph Fielding Smith was the President of the Church, and N. Eldon Tanner was the other counselor in the First Presidency.
  • He was sustained as the President of the Church on July 7, 1972 and he chose as his counselors N. Eldon Tanner and Marion G. Romney.
  • He died unexpectedly on December 26, 1973 at the age of 74.
  • During the time he served as Church President, the 600th stake was created, the new Church Office Building was dedicated, the various welfare services were consolidated, and the correlation program was strengthened.

Timeline for the life of Harold Bingham Lee

       · 1907 — Baptized
· 1909 — Ordained a Deacon, age 10
· 1913 — Ordained a Teacher, age 13
· 1915 — Ordained a Priest, age 15
· 1917 — Ordained an Elder, age 18
· 1917 — Worked as a school teacher in Albion, Idaho
· 1918 — Served as Principal in a school in Oxford, Idaho
· 1920 — Called to serve in the Western States Mission. After nine months, called as President of Denver District
· 1923 — Married Fern L. Tanner, they became the parents of 2 daughters
· 1923 to 1928 — Served as school principal of two schools in Granite School District, Salt Lake City
· 1929 to 1930 — Served as counselor in the Pioneer Stake Presidency
· 1930 to 1937 — President of the Pioneer Stake.  He established the Bishops’ Storehouse and became involved in producing commodities.  He also        developed the stake budget system.  The Pioneer Stake Gymnasium was erected.
· 1932 — Appointed member of the Salt Lake City Commission (one of 5 members)
· 1936 — Resigned from the Commission to serve as Managing Director of Church Welfare Program
· 1941 — Ordained an apostle during the presidency of Heber J. Grant (age 42)
· 1970 — Sustained as First Counselor to President Joseph Fielding Smith and President of the Quorum of the Twelve
· 1972 — Sustained as President of the Church (age 73)
· 1973 — Died on December 26 at age 74

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