FIRST PRESIDENCY — Miscellaneous
QUESTION: Which of our latter-day apostles served the longest in the First Presidency without serving as the President of the Church?
ANSWER: Elder J. Reuben Clark holds the distinction of having served the longest in the First Presidency without serving as President of the Church. Elder Clark served a total of 28 years and 6 months in the First Presidency. He served as First Counselor to Presidents Grant, Smith, and McKay, and he served as Second Counselor to Presidents Grant and McKay.
QUESTION: At one point in our church’s history, we had two apostles serving in the First Presidency who both had sons serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, and each of the two sons later served as President of the Church. Can you name the two fathers and the two sons?
ANSWER: On April 7, 1910, John Henry Smith was sustained as 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency. His 2nd cousin, President Joseph F. Smith, was serving as the President of the Church. Both of these brethren had sons serving in the Quorum of the Twelve. George Albert Smith was the son of John Henry Smith and Joseph Fielding Smith was the son of Joseph F. Smith. Both of these sons later served as President of the Church.
QUESTION: Only twice in this dispensation have the three most-senior apostles served together in the First Presidency. Can you name the two times when this unique situation occurred?
ANSWER: From April 1900 to April 1901, the First Presidency consisted of Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith. These were the three most-senior apostles at that time. This unique situation occurred again when President Howard W. Hunter became President of the Church and called Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson as his counselors. These three were the most-senior apostles at that time. The 1901 situation involved an interesting change of policy. On December 9, 1899, Franklin D. Richards, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, passed away. Upon Elder Richards’ death, the seniority of the members of the First Presidency was as follows: President Lorenzo Snow as most-senior, George Q. Cannon as 2nd-most senior, and Joseph F. Smith as 4th-most senior. Brigham Young, Jr. was now the third-most senior apostle and he began serving as the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve. Brigham Young, Jr. had been ordained an apostle on February 4, 1864 but he did not become a member of the Quorum of 12 until October 9, 1868. Joseph F. Smith had been ordained an apostle on July 1, 1866, and he became a member of the Quorum of Twelve on October 8, 1867. Up until April 5, 1900, seniority in the Quorum of 12 was based upon the date when one was ordained an apostle, rather or not this included membership in the Quorum of Twelve. However, on April 5, 1900, it was announced by President Snow that the seniority in the Quorum of Twelve would be based upon the date that an apostle became a member of the Quorum, not on the date of ordination to the apostleship. Thus, Elder Smith, who was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve before Elder Young, now became the third-most senior apostle, and we now had the three most-senior apostles serving together in the First Presidency.
QUESTION: Which apostles have had a grandfather and then a father serve in the First Presidency?
ANSWER: Three apostles have had a grandfather and then a father serve in the First Presidency. They are [followed by the grandfather and the father] George Albert Smith (George A. Smith, John Henry Smith), Hyrum Mack Smith (Hyrum Smith, Joseph F. Smith), and Joseph Fielding Smith (Hyrum Smith, Joseph F. Smith).
QUESTION: Who is the most-recent high priest (non-apostle) to have served in the First Presidency?
ANSWER: The most recent non-apostle to have served in the First Presidency is Elder Henry Thorpe Beal Isaacson. He served with President David O. McKay. Other high priests (non-apostles) that have served in the First Presidency include Sidney Rigdon, John R. Winder, J. Reuben Clark Jr. (he eventually was ordained an apostle), Frederick G. Williams, William Law, Charles W. Nibley, Jesse Gause, John C. Bennett, Joseph Smith Sr., and John Smith.
QUESTION: Have we ever had a set of brothers (biologic brothers) serve in the First Presidency together?
ANSWER: Twice in church history we have had brothers serving together in the First Presidency. Joseph Smith Sr. and his brother, John Smith, served together as counselors in the First Presidency in 1837 and 1838. Two sons of Brigham Young, John W. Young and Brigham Young Jr., served together in the First Presidency in the 1870’s.
QUESTION: Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who was born in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, was the first brother born outside of the United States to serve in the First Presidency in many years. Can you name the next most-recent First Presidency member that was not born in the United States?
ANSWER: Elder Charles W. Nibley, who was born in Hunterfield, Scotland, was sustained as Second Counselor to President Heber J. Grant on May 28, 1925. Prior to Elder Uchtdorf, he was the most recent First Presidency member not born in the United States. Other brethren who served (all prior to Elder Nibley) in the First Presidency that were born outside of the United States include Charles W. Penrose (London, England), Anthon H. Lund (Aalborg, Denmark), John R. Winder (Biddenham, England), George Q. Cannon (Liverpool, England), and William Law (Tyrone County, Northern Ireland).