A biographical overview of the life of Heber J. Grant,
the seventh President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ
Following is a brief summary of some major events in the life of Heber J. Grant, who served as the 7th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Heber J. Grant was born on November 22, 1856 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Jedediah Morgan Grant and Rachel Ridgeway Ivins Grant. He was the only child born to these parents, as his father died only 8 days after Heber was born. His father died as a result of severe pneumonia which he contracted while attending to his wife and newborn son during the cold winter nights immediately following the birth of Heber. Jedediah at the time of his death was an apostle and was serving as a counselor to President Brigham Young.
- Eliza R. Snow, through the gift of tongues, prophesied that young Heber would one day be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- On June 2, 1864, Heber was baptized in a wagon box that was set up as an outdoor font in City Creek, Salt Lake City, Utah. He was 7 years and 6 months old when he was baptized.
- As a youth, he was teased unmercifully about being weak, timid, and uncoordinated. He vowed that he would one day play on a championship baseball team. He spent countless hours throwing, running, and practicing. He eventually played on he championship baseball team of the entire Territory of Utah.
- He married Lucy Stringham on November 1, 1877 (age 20) in the newly-completed St. George Temple.
- He was set-apart as the President of the Tooele Stake in October of 1880. He was 23 years and 11 months old when this calling came to him.
- He was ordained an Apostle and became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve on October 16, 1882. He was 25 years and 11 months old.
- He served a mission to the American Indians in 1883 and 1884 (age 26-28).
- In 1897, he nearly died from surgery for appendicitis and a subsequent bout of pneumonia. He was home-bound for almost a year due to this illness.
- From 1901 to 1903, he organized and presided over the Japanese Mission (age 44-46).
- Though not blessed with musical talent, he set a goal to learn and to sing well the hymns of Zion. His persistence paid off, and his tone-deafness was overcome.
- From 1904 to 1906, he presided over the British and European missions (age 47-50).
- On November 23, 1916 he was set-apart as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve (age 60).
- On November 23, 1918 he was sustained as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (age 62). He
chose as his counselors Anthon H. Lund and Charles W. Penrose.
- On November 27, 1919 he dedicated the Hawaiian Temple (age 63).
- On August 26, 1923 he dedicated the Alberta Canada Temple (age 66).
- On October 23, 1927 he dedicated the Arizona Temple (age 70).
- In 1936, he established the Church Welfare Plan.
- He presided over the Church during the very difficult circumstances surrounding both World War I and World War II.
- During the latter part of his presidency, President Grant stressed over and over again the importance of living the Word of Wisdom, of paying an honest tithing, of being thrifty, and of avoiding debt.
- “Never despair!” was one of the guiding principles of his life.
- His favorite saying was, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased.”
- President Grant stated that his keynote speech and idea was simply, “Keep the commandments of God.”
- President Grant died on May 14, 1945 at the age of 88 years and 6 months.
- David O. McKay said this at President Grant’s funeral: “Persevering in accomplishment, sincere, honest, upright in all his dealings, positive in expression, dynamic in action, uncompromising with evil, sympathetic with the unfortunate, magnanimous in the highest degree, faithful to every trust, tender and considerate of loved ones, loyal to friends, to truth, to God – a distinguished leader, he was a worthy exemplar to the Church and to mankind the world over.”