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Meet President Heber J. Grant


President Taylor

Heber Jeddy Grant, born 22 Nov 1856, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Jedediah Morgan Grant and Rachel Ridgeway Ivins. Ordained an Apostle 16 Oct 1882 (age 25) by George Q. Cannon; became president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 23 Nov 1916; ordained and set apart as president of the Church 23 Nov 1918; died 14 may 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Deseret News - 1997-98 Church Almanac .

3 Biographical Accounts Written at Different Times Taken From the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia by A. Jenson, Church Historian in the Years 1917-29, Provided by D. Staples, Kansai Branch, Japan.

Section 1

Andrew Jenson, Vol. 1, p.147-9

Grant, Heber Jeddy, a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles since 1882, is the son of Jedediah M. Grant and Rachel Ridgeway Ivins, and was born Nov. 22, 1856, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His father was a most zealous Elder in the Church, and his mother, who is still living in Salt Lake City, is one of Zion's brightest and noblest heroines. Heber J. is the first of Utah's sons to be honored with the sacred office and calling of an Apostle. He is his mother's only son, but has several brothers and sisters who bear his father's name. There are Jedediah Morgan, Joseph Hyrum, George Smith, Joshua F., and Brigham Frederick; Caroline (who died when sixteen), Margaret (who died and was buried on the plains), Susan Vilate Muir (who died several years ago, leaving ten children), and Henrietta Marshall. Heber J. Grant was baptized June 22, 1864, being then nearly eight years of age. He obtained his business training, as well as his education, by self-effort and sheer force of determination, which quality is the peculiar and leading index to his character and career.

When a child, he attended a school taught by the mother of Matthias F. Cowley; another school in which he gathered his early instruction was that taught by the father and mother of Hon. A. F. Doremus. As a young man, he subsequently attended school in Pres. Young's school house, Eighteenth Ward, and in the Thirteenth Ward, also at the Deseret (now Utah) University; and he was also a pupil of Mary E. and Ida Ione Cook. He was never much of a student, owing to his suffering from severe headaches caused by stigmatism of the eyes, but of which cause he knew nothing until he grew to manhood. When he set his mind to any task, however, there were few indeed who could excel him. One of his main qualities is tenacity. He took little interest in studies unless [p.148] some incident occurred to arouse his determination, and in such case he first resolved, dreaming out his course, then set to work, and never quit until he came out acknowledged victor. Then generally he lost interest again. The goal was reached, and Unless there was fresh incitement, his enthusiasm lagged. That characteristic has grown with him to manhood. He is a better promoter than plodder, a better fighter up the mountain side, than warrior on the level summit. To get the best results from such characters is to postpone achievement, delay the final purpose, cover the path with enlarged obstacles, and add fresh heights to the summit. Many incidents might be related to illustrate this trait in his character, which are inspirational to others who lack energy to try. He was a miserable penman, and his schoolmates made him a laughing-stock, and guyed him over it, until he resolved to excel them all, and vowed he would set copies for the best of them. Then he began to write, and, headache or not, he never quit practice until his vow was fulfilled to the letter; and he is to this day one of the best penmen in the State. He became professor of penmanship in the Deseret University, and won a diploma for the finest penmanship from the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society.

He could not play ball, but he went home and nearly pounded in the gable of his neighbor's barn, practicing throwing and catching until he conquered. He finally played in the "nine" that won the championship of the Territory*"The Red Stockings." Then seeing no profit further; he quit the business. It was the same with marbles and other games. When he was a mere youth, his mother, who was very poor, needed greatly to have her house repaired, and Bishop Edwin D. Woolley and some friends in the Thirteenth Ward, recognizing the necessity of it, asked to do the work for her. He begged his mother not to allow them to do it, and at the same time promised her that when he became a man he would build her a new home. The Bishop heard of this, and remarked that if Sister Grant waited for her boy to build her house, she would never have one. Owing to Heber's ball and marble practices, which the Bishop had observed, he had christened him the laziest boy in the Thirteenth Ward, a regular good-for-nothing. But the Bishop changed his mind later, and became one of Heber's warmest and dearest friends and one of his greatest admirers. The young man never forgot his promise, and one of the reasons, doubtless, was the incentive created by the Bishop's doubting remarks. He determined to show the Bishop! When twenty-one years of age he built his mother a nice home, and invited Bishop Woolley and others to its dedication. The Bishop was reminded of his utterance of years ago, and was asked to dedicate the house, but this, however, was done by Pres. Daniel H. Wells.

Apostle Grant is pre-eminently a business man, and would doubtless have devoted his days to financial affairs exclusively, if the call to the Apostleship had not changed the trend of his life from its natural course, and awakened in him that less prominent but nevertheless strongly rooted religious feeling that possesses his soul. He entered the business world as a messenger boy in an insurance office. From thence he arose step by step by determined effort and close attention to duty. His efforts to learn banking led to his securing the position of assistant cashier in Zion's Savings Bank and Trust Co., during the absence on a mission of Cashier B. H. Schettler. This position led him to desire the presidency of a bank, which desire was gratified by his becoming the president of the State Bank of Utah, at its organization in 1890, which position he resigned to fill a mission to Japan whither he was called to open the gospel door, leaving Salt Lake City July 24, 1901. He has held other responsible business positions, having been vice-president of the Salt Lake Herald Co., a director of the Provo Woolen Mills Co. and the Deseret National Bank, also a director of the Oregon Lumber Co., and at present he is president of the Home Fire Insurance Co. of Utah, the Salt Lake Theatre Co., the Co-op Wagon & Machine Co., and of the insurance firm of H. J. Grant & Co. He was elected a director in Z. C. M. I. in 1887, and subsequently became chairman of the executive committee of that institution. His business maxims are: Promptness in keeping appointments and in fulfilling promises. He always aimed to give value received to those who employed him, and since he became an [p.149] employer, he has always sought to treat his employees with respect and consideration.

There is an inspiring illustration in his career which shows that a desire, a dream, in a young person, followed by persistent effort, is sure of fruition and fulfillment. His father died when he was nine days old, and the family was left in poor financial circumstances. In fact, Apostle Grant as a boy, was reared in poverty. He was passionately fond of the theatre, and not being able to pay the admission price of twenty-five cents to the third gallery, he secured admission by carrying water into that height. He was soon promoted because of his faithfulness, —aa leading trait in all his work—t, to the second gallery, which gave him great delight and encouragement. The boy dreamer of progress became the principal stockholder in the Salt Lake Theatre, and had the privilege of occupying a box with six chairs, free of charge. One may easily imagine with what satisfaction he gazed up into the third gallery, recalling the episodes of his youth.

Apostle Grant has filled a number of important financial missions for the Church and for the institutions with which he is connected. In the panic of 1890-91, he visited leading eastern and western cities, and obtained several hundred thousand dollars to aid institutions in Utah that were in financial distress. During the succeeding dark days of 1893, he crossed the continent on such missions four times, and succeed marvelously, and by the aid of God as he declares, in securing something over half a million dollars for the Church, and business institutions with which he is connected. He was sent with the promise of Pres. Woodruff that he should succeed; he had implicit faith in the Prophet of God, and that his words would be varied, which they were. When the first Y. M. M. I. A. was organized in the Thirteenth Ward, Salt Lake City, June 10, 1875, Heber J. Grant was chosen as one of the counselors to the president of the association. He held the offices of Elder and Seventy prior to his ordination to a High Priest, in October, 1880, when he became president of the Tooele Stake of Zion, being ordained by Pres. John Taylor. He was ordained an Apostle under the hands of the First Presidency and the Apostles, Oct. 16, 1882, Pres. George Q. Cannon being spokesman. His ecclesiastical missions prior to his mission to Japan were in various Stakes of Zion, in different States and Territories of the Union, and in Mexico. With Apostle Brigham Young and others, he went to Sonora, Mexico, before any of the Saints were located in that country. Their special work was to open up the gospel to the Yaqui Indians, In 1883-84 he, with Apostle Young, visited the Indians of the Navajo nation, and the Moquis, Zuni, and Pappago Indians. While away, they called a number of brethren and set them apart to labor among, these Indians.

Apostle Grant's efforts, both in the business and the religious world, have been largely inspired by his strong love for his mother, whose love for him, he declares, is beyond his ability to tell. In his youth, his principal inspiration for effort came from her. He has strengthened his testimony in the gospel of Christ by exerting himself diligently to faithfully perform the duties imposed upon him. The reading of Smiles' works on "Character," "Self-Help" and "Thrift," in his boyhood, has aided greatly in assisting him to exert his best efforts to succeed. He declares, too, that the articles in the old Wilson and National school readers have had great influence in the formation of his character. He was greatly impressed with the articles, "Never Despair," "Daniel Webster at School," "Behind Time," and the articles on "Early Bible History," and he was profoundly moved with the life of Nephi, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, which he read when a lad of thirteen or fourteen years of age. He admired Nephi's faith, devotion and uncomplaining spirit; and his statements when requested to return to Jerusalem to get the plates, have been guiding stars in his life. (1 Nephi, chapters 3 and 4.) It can not be said, however, that he has been a great reader, but what he has read has been matter that is worth remembering. He has always sought for the gem in his reading, and then tried to put the good therein into the practice of his life. He is fond of poetry and music. Pope's "Essay on Man," and "Essay on Criticism," have pleased him greatly; but the books which he enjoys most are such as inspire the young to success—s such as the works of Samuel Smiles.

He is [p.150] passionately fond of music, and while nature does not seem to have specially intended him for a singer, his determination to learn to sing the songs of Zion is worthy of emulation, and his success in this line is an illustration of the truth that he who tries will conquer. Apostle Grant is a thorough believer in work, and he has little use for boys and girls, men or women, who shirk labor. He has had no opportunity to learn a trade, and he has no profession. His leading aim in life is to discharge acceptably the duties which devolve upon him as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he enjoys that work best which brings him as a minister among the youth of Zion. He is active, energetic, determined; and the obstacle must be great indeed which shall deter him from achieving success in any line that he may set his heart upon. One of his leading traits of character, in fact, is his desire and determination to succeed when he sets out to win. He takes genuine pleasure in laboring to accomplish results, and this is one of the main reasons why he has succeeded.

He was promised in youth in a patriarchal blessing that he would be asked to fill a mission to preach the gospel. He expected that, like Erastus Snow. Joseph F. Smith and others who were ministers at the age of fifteen and sixteen years, he would be thus called at an early age. But years passed, and he was not selected. "Some of my associates," he said to the writer, "were called, and returned home, still I was left, and a spirit constantly followed me whispering that I knew the Patriarch had lied to me, and therefore I ought to renounce my allegiance to the work of God. I finally said to myself, I know the gospel is true, I have had so many testimonies that I can not doubt it; and no matter how many Patriarchs have made statements that are not true, I do not purpose making shipwreck of my faith, and lose eternal salvation because of a mistake on the part of a Patriarch." It was not long after he had so determined that he was called, just before he was twenty-four years of age, to preside over the Tooele Stake of Zion, the youngest Stake president in all the Church. In this call to preside over a Stake of Zion came the fulfillment in very deed of the words of the Patriarch, upon which the young president had so far placed a wrong interpretation. As the truth dawned upon him, he felt that he had conquered doubt by faith in God and in His work.

Other promises, made by the servants of the Lord to him, have been fulfilled, in which he sees added testimony of the interest of the Divine in the affairs of this Church. Thus, when he was blessed by Patriarch John Rowberry, while still acting as president of the Tooele Stake, he was promised that he would be chosen to be one of the leaders of Israel. In his youth, Sister Eliza R. Snow, in the gift of tongues, promised him that he should be one of the leading men in the Church, the interpretation being given by Zina D. Young at the home of the late William C. Staines. His call to the Apostleship is in fulfillment of these inspired sayings, and it has all strengthened his faith. Brother Grant's experience is full of testimonies that God lives and that He answers prayers. When his wife, Lucy Stringham, to whom he was married in St. George, Nov. 1, 1877, died, some years ago, he received a manifestation from the Lord in direct answer to his prayer. His wife was one of the noble daughters of God, a woman of excellent character, sweet disposition, and a judgment in business affairs which was no small factor in Heber's early financial success. While she was dying, her daughter Lucy, then a little over twelve years of age, insisted that the father should administer to the mother and heal her—ssuch was the child's faith. "I sent my children out of the room," he told me, "and pleaded with the Lord to give some special manifestation that in the death of my wife His will would be done. I told Him that I acknowledged His hand in life or in death, in prosperity or in adversity, but that I lacked strength to see my wife die and have it affect the faith of my children in the ordinances of the gospel." Shortly thereafter, his wife died, and when he then called the children into the room, his daughter Lucy, putting her arms around the necks of her younger sisters, and also her little brother, told them not to cry, because the voice of the Lord had told her: "In the death of your mamma, the will of the Lord will be done." As the child knew nothing of the father's prayer, it is evident the answer came [p.151] from God to her in answer thereto, a fact which Brother Grant considers a special manifestation of the Lord's goodness to him, and which he declares he will ever remember with gratitude and thanksgiving. Another incident will suffice. His only son, Heber Stringham, upon whom he had built great hopes, died some time after the death of his mother. Brother Grant is naturally an affectionate man, easily moved to tears, and quite emotional, and yet his son under these conditions, passed away without the father shedding a tear. "There was in my home a very calm, sweet, heavenly influence. Without the supporting influence of the Holy Spirit," he declares, "it would be impossible for me to undergo, almost joyfully, a scene of this kind. I felt almost a heavenly joy, notwithstanding the sorrow which had come into my life." He explained that a dream was the cause of it. "Just a few hours before my son's death, I dreamed his mother came for him, and after a discussion with my mother, I dreamed I had allowed her to take my son, as I felt impressed in my dream that he would be a cripple all his life, should he live, since his trouble was hip disease." In his own life, too, he and his have been assured with faith in the promises of God. Thus, some years ago, when he was operated on for appendicitis, his wife Lucy, who as stated, is dead, visited his home and promised his wife Augusta Winters, to whom he was married May 6, 1884, that he should recover. He felt so impressed himself, and believed that he should live through the ordeal. When, therefore, after the operation the doctors said that blood poison had set in, and he could not live, neither his wife nor himself felt any alarm, but both had a perfect assurance that he should recover and their faith was not in vain. In political life, Apostle Grant has had some experience, having served one term in the council of the Territorial legislature, and several terms in the city council of Salt Lake City as councilman. Apostle Grant is tall and erect in figure, with prominent features which indicate energy and push. His desire to aid others has given him a disposition to feel for his fellows, and there is not a man in Zion with a more loving, helping heart than has Heber J. Grant. He possesses a determination to overcome obstacles and defects that stand in his way to the perfection of his character. When he discovers a fault in himself, he endeavors by persistent and continued effort, such as only few are capable of, to overcome. And thus his life is growing better as the years increase, and will continue until his ideal of perfection, which enlarges with his deeper knowledge, shall be reached.

He has gained the love, respect and confidence of his friends and business associates; and the authorities of the Church impose in him the fullest trust. He is an active worker in the cause of God, and has learned to feel the keenest delight in his labors among the Saints. He loves the youth of Israel, and in his sermons frequently addresses his earnest remarks to them. Associated with the Twelve, and with the general boards of the Sunday Schools and the Improvement Associations, he is constantly among the people, and his counsel and practical advice, in temporal as well as spiritual affairs, are eagerly sought.—EEdward H. Anderson. (See also "Juvenile Instructor," Vol. 35, p. 393.)

Section 2

Painting of President Grant

Andrew Jenson, Vol. 3, p.746

Grant, Heber Jeddy, the seventh President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Continued from Vol. 1:147.) Throughout the thirty-seven years of his service as one of the Council of the Twelve [p.747] Apostles, Elder Heber J. Grant was persistent and untiring in the duties of his special ministry, as his record of travel and visitations among both Stakes and missions demonstrates. Pursuant to action by the First Presidency and the Twelve on Feb. 14, 1901, immediate steps were taken to open a mission in Japan, and Elder Grant was chosen for the work—a work specifically belonging to the Apostleship. As president of the then prospective but now actual and prosperous Japan Mission he left home July 24, 1901, accompanied by three other Elders, bound for the new field. Notwithstanding the difficulties and obstacles incident to such an undertaking as that of introducing the message of the restored Church of Jesus Christ to a non-Christian nation, President Grant was instrumental in opening the door for the preaching of the gospel in the Orient. He returned to Utah in September, 1903, leaving the mission in good condition, as was apparent at that time and as subsequent growth and development confirm.

On Jan. 1, 1904, he succeeded the late Elder Francis M. Lyman as the head of the European Mission, and so remained until Dec. 5, 1906, when he relinquished the office to Elder Charles W. Penrose of the Council of the Twelve, and soon thereafter returned home. A feature of President Grant's administration in the European Mission was his personal and close supervision of the several conferences and branches, in both the British Isles and the continental countries. His long experience in directing the labors of others, in business and Church activities, aided him in keeping missionaries and local workers at their best, and his example of untiring effort was a means of developing efficiency and earnest service in both officers and members. A great sorrow befell him on May 25, 1908, when his beloved wife, Emily Wells Grant, who had accompanied him to Europe, died in Salt Lake City.

Following the death of President Francis M. Lyman, Elder Grant, as the senior member of the Council of the Twelve, became the president of that body on Nov. 23, 1916. In January, 1918, he was made chairman of the State committee in charge of the Liberty Loan campaign; and in this, as in other executive activities incident to the World War, he exercised to the full his usual vigor and aggressiveness, and did much to secure for Utah its deserved recognition for loyalty and patriotism, as exhibited by the works that count. Throughout the long years of stress and struggle for prohibition of the liquor traffic, President Grant was a leading and inspiring figure. He was an ardent and efficient worker for the success of the 18th Amendment to the national Constitution, and enjoys the well-earned satisfaction of having seen both state and nationwide prohibition realized.

On Nov. 23, 1918, four days after the death of President Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant became President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by action of the Council of the Apostles. By his choice and nomination, supported by unanimous vote of the [p.748] Council, Anthon H. Lund and Charles W. Penrose were made counselors in the First Presidency, each succeeding himself in the position held under the former administration. Owing to the prevalence of influenza and the consequent ban on large assemblies, the General Conference of the Church, which in usual order would have been held in April, 1919, was deferred until June 1st following, and on that day the First Presidency, constituted as above specified, was sustained by vote of the Church in conference assembled. Among President Grant's natural qualifications for leadership are genius as an organizer and marked capability as a director of men. In the early months of his administration he placed competent presiding officers at the heads of several auxiliary associations, and created a Church Commission on Education, thus lessening the arduous duties of the First Presidency by placing responsibility for detailed operation upon others. Now, in the very prime of his life as gauged by physical, mental and spiritual vigor, he travels much among the Stakes and missions; and no branch or Ward is insignificant in his estimation. Indeed he manifests genuine delight in the opportunity of visiting any small or outlying unit of the Church, which, perhaps, had gone long without the personal ministration of one of the General Authorities. On Nov. 13, 1919, President Grant, accompanied by a small party of other Church officials, left home for the Hawaiian Islands, where, on the 27th day of that month, he officiated in dedicating the newly erected Temple at Laie, and thus inaugurated on the isles of the Pacific the administration of sacred ordinances for the salvation of the dead. The return journey of the little company was completed Dec. 17, 1919. In the "Juvenile Instructor" of January, 1919, appears a symposium of tributes to the character and qualifications of President Grant, written by prominent officers in the Church, who from their long and close association with him were able to speak with assurance; and the "Improvement Era" of the same date contains a valuable contribution on the "Reorganization of the First Presidency." President Grant's gentleness of disposition, combined with unshakable firmness for the right; his sympathy, as shown by works, for those afflicted or in distress, together with his readiness for self-sacrifice whatever the personal deprivation; his unquestionable patriotism for his country and loyal support of its government; his devotion to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to the Church which is the earthly embodiment thereof; the equable union of mercy and justice in his nature; his material support and encouraging patronage of authors, artists, poets, musicians, and others of genius, whose splendid endowments without such aid would possibly languish and die. —t These and many other attributes of true greatness are attested in published encomiums by men who knew him best. No one, believer or skeptic, who has heard President Grant voice his personal testimony of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ as the foreordained Redeemer and Savior of the race, and of the actuality of divine appointment and guidance in the life work of Joseph Smith as verily a Prophet of the Living God, can ever expel from his mind the effect of that soulful avowal. The assurance of reality in the restoration of the gospel in this dispensation, as was of old predicted, is ingrained in the heart, mind and soul of Heber J. Grant. Fearlessly he proclaims that solemn truth to the world. He is verily a living witness for God.

Section 3

Andrew Jenson, Vol. 4, p.682

Grant, Heber Jeddy, one of the directors of the Genealogical Society of Utah from 1909 to 1919, was born Nov. 22, 1856, in Salt Lake City, Utah, a son of Jedediah M. Grant and Rachel Ridgeway Ivins. He became president of the Church Nov. 23, 1918. (Bio. Ency., Vol. 1, p. 147; Vol. 3, p. 746)

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"Obedience is the price, faith is the power, love is the motive, the Spirit is the key, and Christ is the reason." The motto of the Japan Fukuoka Mission can be applied not only to missionary work, but to everyday life. -BYU President Bateman

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