Elder Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
and 16th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The following article appeared in the Improvement Era in November of 1963, shortly after Elder Monson was ordained an apostle.
Leadership opportunities and responsibilities have come to Elder Thomas Spencer Monson while yet young in life. At the age of 22 he was named bishop of the Sixth-Seventh Ward of the Temple View Stake, having previously served as a ward clerk and counselor in the bishopric. In being chosen an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 36, he is one of the youngest appointed to The Council of The Twelve for many years. His qualities of leadership are apparent to all who know him: modest, humble, kind, helpful, able, cheerful, adaptable, and sincere, he epitomizes the true Latter-day Saint.
A graduate of West High School in Salt Lake City, Elder Monson served in the U.S. Navy and later graduated with honors from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1948. His career included the positions of manager of the classified advertising department of the Deseret News, assistant classified advertising manager of the Newspaper Agency Corporation before he was called to be sales manager and later assistant manager of the Deseret News Press, which position he held at the time of his mission call. Following his return from serving as president of the Canadian mission, Elder Monson was appointed manager of Deseret News Press, the commercial printing division of The Deseret News Publishing Company, which position he presently holds.
Elder Monson has served in many capacities in the Church in addition to those already mentioned. He was superintendent of his ward YMMIA and played basketball on the ward team. After two years in the Temple View stake presidency, Elder Monson moved to a new home out of the stake. He was appointed chairman of the Senior Aaronic Priesthood committee in the Valley View Third ward. After his return from the Canadian mission, he served on the Valley View stake high council and then was called to be area missionary supervisor of stake missionary work in nine Salt Lake City stakes. Later he served as a member of the
genealogical conference staff of the Church.
His term as president of the Canadian Mission lasted for three years. During this time he extended his understanding of the gospel, which already was great, came to love peoples of different nationalities and languages, and has grown to a more complete realization that all men are indeed God’s children. His recognition of the special blessings that come to those who serve the Lord in the various positions of the Church is also in keeping with an understanding of the gospel.
He feels, for example, that a bishop has particular blessings that enable him to direct and counsel the members of his ward, and likewise a stake president
has special gifts.
At the time of his call to the apostleship, Elder Monson was serving on the adult correlation committee and the priesthood home teaching committee under the direction of the General Authorities. In these assignments, those who traveled or sat with him in committee meetings came to love Elder Monson, to respect him for his adaptability, and to honor him for his tremendous power.
His conference address, which will appear in the December issue of The Improvement Era, was deeply moving. He asked for the support of the church
membership. He said in part: “From the depths of humility and an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, I ask for your prayers in my behalf.” He also stressed the necessity for humility to which quality he pledged himself. One of the touching parts of his testimony dealt with an older woman, who, having embraced the gospel in far off Quebec, Canada, said, “President Monson, I may never see the prophet, I may never hear the prophet; but I can obey the prophet.” This humble statement of faith could well become the creed of every Latter-day Saint.
Elder Monson, one of six children born to G. Spencer and Gladys Condie Monson, was born August 21, 1927 in Salt Lake City, Utah. On October 7, 1948, he married Frances Beverly Johnson in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of two sons, Thomas Lee, 12; Clark Spencer, 4, born while the Monsons were in the mission field; and one daughter, Ann Frances, 9.
To the thousands of those who have known and loved Elder Monson, this selection is but a verification of their faith in him and his abilities. They respect his qualities as a man as well as a man of God. They recognize him as a devout but not a dour Latter-day Saint. To those who have heard his voice on the telephone or talked to him in person, the very cheer of his greeting–the responsiveness of his conversation–his knowledgeable ways–the added testimony comes that these
qualities which they have enjoyed will be extended throughout the Church to the blessing of the Saints and the glorification of our Father which is in heaven.
— Improvement Era, November 1963.
Our beloved Prophet and President, Thomas Spencer Monson, passed away on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. His passing was due to the natural consequences of old age. He wore out his life in the service of his fellowmen, continually looking for opportunities to build, inspire, lift, and edify all around him.
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