Heber J. Grant

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Heber J. Grant
Heber J Grant.jpg
7th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
November 23, 1918 (1918-11-23)  May 14, 1945 (1945-05-14)
Predecessor Joseph F. Smith
Successor George Albert Smith
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
November 18, 1916 (1916-11-18)  November 23, 1918 (1918-11-23)
Predecessor Francis M. Lyman
Successor Anthon H. Lund
End reasonBecame President of the Church
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 16, 1882 (1882-10-16)  November 23, 1918 (1918-11-23)
Called by John Taylor
End reasonBecame President of the Church
LDS Church Apostle
October 16, 1882 (1882-10-16)  May 14, 1945 (1945-05-14)
Called byJohn Taylor
ReasonReorganization of First Presidency and the death of Orson Pratt [1]
at end of term
Matthew Cowley ordained
Personal details
BornHeber Jeddy Grant
(1856-11-22)November 22, 1856
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States
DiedMay 14, 1945(1945-05-14) (aged 88)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37″N111°51′29″W / 40.777°N 111.858°W / 40.777; -111.858 (Salt Lake City Cemetery)
Spouse(s)Lucy Stringham
Hulda Augusta Winters
Emily Harris Wells
Parents Jedediah M. Grant
Rachel R. Ivins
Heber J. Grant signature.jpg

Heber Jeddy Grant [2] [3] (November 22, 1856 May 14, 1945) was an American religious leader who served as the seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Grant worked as a bookkeeper and a cashier, then was called to be an LDS apostle on October 16, 1882, at age 25. After the death of Joseph F. Smith in late 1918, Grant served as LDS church president until his death.

President of the Church (LDS Church) highest office in the LDS Church

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the President of the Church is the highest office of the church. It was the office held by Joseph Smith, the church's founder. The President of the LDS Church is the church's leader and the head of the First Presidency, the church's highest governing body. Latter-day Saints consider the president of the church to be a "prophet, seer, and revelator" and refer to him as "the Prophet," a title that was originally given to Smith. When the name of the president is used by adherents, it is usually prefaced by the title "President". Russell M. Nelson has been the president since January 14, 2018.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nontrinitarian Christian restorationist church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian, Christian restorationist church that is considered by its members to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 16 million members and 67,000 full-time volunteer missionaries. In 2012, the National Council of Churches ranked the church as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with over 6.5 million members reported by the church, as of January 2018. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.

In the Latter Day Saint movement, an apostle is a "special witness of the name of Jesus Christ who is sent to teach the principles of salvation to others." In many Latter Day Saint churches, an apostle is a priesthood office of high authority within the church hierarchy. In many churches, apostles may be members of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency of the church. In most Latter Day Saint churches, modern-day apostles are considered to have the same status and authority as the Biblical apostles.


The first president born after the exodus to Utah, Grant was also the last LDS Church president to have practiced plural marriage. He had three wives, though by the time he became church president in 1918 only his second wife, Augusta Winters, was still living.

In business, Grant helped develop the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City. In 1884, he served a term as a representative to the Utah Territorial Legislature.

Early life

Grant was born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, the son of Rachel Ridgeway Ivins and Jedediah Morgan Grant. His father was a counselor in the First Presidency to Brigham Young. Rachel Grant was a native of New Jersey, where she had converted to the LDS Church at about 20. Her cousin and later brother-in-law (he married her older sister Anna), Israel Ivins, was the first person baptized a Latter-day Saint in New Jersey. [4]

Salt Lake City State capital city in Utah, United States

Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous municipality of the U.S. state of Utah. With an estimated population of 190,884 in 2014, the city is the core of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a population of 1,153,340. Salt Lake City is further situated within a larger metropolis known as the Salt Lake City–Ogden–Provo Combined Statistical Area, a corridor of contiguous urban and suburban development stretched along a 120-mile (190 km) segment of the Wasatch Front, comprising a population of 2,423,912. It is one of only two major urban areas in the Great Basin.

Utah Territory territory of the USA between 1850-1896

The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Utah, the 45th state.

Jedediah M. Grant American Mormon leader

Jedediah Morgan Grant was a leader and an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was member of the First Council of the Seventy from 1845 to 1854 and served in the First Presidency under church president Brigham Young from 1854 to 1856. He is known for his fiery speeches during the Reformation of 1856, earning the nickname "Brigham's Sledgehammer". Grant is the father of Heber J. Grant, who later served as President of the Church.

Jedediah Grant died when Heber J. Grant was nine days old. After Jedediah's death, Rachel married Jedediah's brother, George Grant, but he fell into alcoholism so she divorced him. Rachel became the dominant influence in Heber's life. She served for many years as president of the 13th Ward Relief Society in downtown Salt Lake City.

Ward (LDS Church) type of LDS church

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a ward is the larger of two types of local congregations, the smaller being a branch. A ward is presided over by a bishop, the equivalent of a pastor in many other Christian denominations. As with all local LDS Church leadership, the bishop is considered lay clergy and as such is not paid. Two counselors serve with the bishop to help with administrative and spiritual duties of the ward and to preside in the absence of the bishop. Together, these three men constitute the bishopric. A branch is presided over by a branch president who may or may not have one or two counselors, depending on the size of the branch. Groups of wards are organized into stakes, while groups of branches are organized into districts.

Relief Society

The Relief Society (RS) is a philanthropic and educational women's organization and an official auxiliary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was founded in 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois, United States, and has approximately 7.1 million members in over 188 countries and territories. The Relief Society is often referred to by the church and others as "one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the world."

He was known for his determination to achieve goals that were seemingly beyond his reach. As a child, he wanted to join the baseball team that would win the Utah territorial championship, but others believed him to be too physically awkward to be successful. In response, he purchased a baseball and practiced throwing the ball for hours against his barn to improve. The team he joined later won the championship. In similar fashion, Grant expressed a desire to be a successful bookkeeper although many of his associates criticized his penmanship. He practiced his writing to the point that he was invited to teach penmanship at one of the local academies.

Penmanship technique of writing with the hand using a writing instrument

Penmanship is the technique of writing with the hand using a writing instrument. Today, this is most commonly done with a pen, or pencil, but throughout history has included many different implements. The various generic and formal historical styles of writing are called "hands" while an individual's style of penmanship is referred to as "handwriting".

There were no free public schools in Salt Lake City when Grant was a child, but his mother kept him enrolled in various others while he was growing up. [5]

Business activities

After working as a bookkeeper in the insurance business in 1877, Grant became an assistant cashier with Zion's Savings Bank and afterwards opened an insurance business with Nephi Clayton. Later, Grant became a partner with D. W. Jennings. [6] :27 He later founded an additional insurance agency in Ogden and, for a time, owned the Ogden Vinegar Works. [5]

In the late 1890s, Grant served as the business manager for the newly-formed official LDS magazine, the Improvement Era . [7]

Grant continued to be involved in business activities after his call as an apostle. He founded many new businesses, including a bank. He was a founder of the Utah Sugar Company and the main founder of the Salt Lake Theatre.

Grant lost a large amount of money in the Panic of 1893 and never recovered from its adverse financial effects. He was also the main person to negotiate new financing to the LDS Church in New York at the time. His efforts kept the church going until Lorenzo Snow's late-1890s call for tithing placed the church in a better financial situation.

Early LDS Church service

Grant was made a block teacher (similar to the modern position of home teacher) when he was still a youth, which was rare at the time. He was ordained a Seventy at 15, which was also rare at the time. [5] [8]

In June 1875, when the first Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA) was organized in the Salt Lake 13th Ward, Grant, then 19, was called to serve as a counselor to Junius F. Wells in its presidency. [5] [9]

At 26, he served a mission to the Native American Indians from 1883 to 1884. [10]

Grant's early church assignments included service on the Church Salary Committee and the Sunday School General Board. Grant was made Second Assistant in the Superintendency of the General YMMIA in 1898. When Joseph F. Smith became president of the church and head of the YMMIA, Grant was made First Assistant, where he served until he became church president. [11]

In 1880, Grant became president of the Tooele Utah Stake, moving there with his wife, Lucy, and their children. Around then, Lucy began to develop health problems.

Grant in his early years as an apostle, c. 1880-89 Heber J. Grant.PNG
Grant in his early years as an apostle, c. 1880–89

In 1882, Grant was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Early in his service in the quorum, he made many trips to Arizona, earning the title "The Arizona Apostle." [5] Grant twice served missions among the Yaqui in Mexico.

In 1901, Grant was sent to Japan to open the church's Japanese Mission. He served as the mission president until 1903, when he returned home but was almost immediately sent to preside over the British and other European missions of the church. He returned from the British mission in 1905.

During the ensuing decade and later, Grant oversaw church education programs, the Genealogical Society of Utah and the Improvement Era.

Church president

Grant succeeded Joseph F. Smith as church president in November 1918. He was not sustained in the position by the general church membership, however, until June 1919 because of the influenza pandemic of 1918, which forced a delay of the church's traditional springtime general conference.

Grant upon becoming church president (late 1918 or early 1919) President Heber J. Grant, 1919.JPG
Grant upon becoming church president (late 1918 or early 1919)

During his tenure as church president, Grant enforced the 1890 Manifesto outlawing plural marriage and gave guidance as the church's social structure evolved away from its early days of plural marriage. In 1927, he authorized the implementation of the church's "Good Neighbor" policy, which was intended to reduce antagonism between Latter-day Saints and the US government. Grant dedicated the first temples outside of Utah since Kirtland. The first was the Hawaii Temple, followed by the Alberta Temple, the first outside the United States, and the Arizona Temple. The church also began the Idaho Falls Temple, which was not completed until after his death.

Also under Grant, the first stakes outside the Intermountain West were organized. The first stake in Los Angeles was organized in the 1920s. Grant still operated on old methods, such as personally asking LeGrand Richards to move to California with the intention of calling him as a stake president there. He also personally negotiated the purchase of the land on which the Los Angeles Temple would be built.

In the 1930s, stakes were organized in New York and Chicago and in the 1940s in Portland, Oregon, and Washington, DC. Grant presided at the dedication of an LDS chapel in Washington, DC, in 1933, which was seen to mark a new phase of nationwide expansion in the church.

In 1935, Grant excommunicated members of the church in Short Creek, Arizona, who refused to sign the loyalty pledge to the church that included a renunciation of plural marriage. That signaled the formal beginning of the Mormon fundamentalist movement, and some of the excommunicated members went on to found the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

One of Grant's greatest legacies as president is the church's welfare program, which he instituted in 1936: "our primary purpose was to set up, insofar as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people help themselves." [12] Grant also placed strong emphasis on the importance of sacrament meeting attendance and oversaw expansion of the seminary program and the creation of the institute of religion.

His administration also emphasized the practice of the LDS health code known as the Word of Wisdom. During the early 1900s, general authorities differed in their observance of the proscription against beer, wine, tobacco, coffee and tea, but among the apostles, Grant was one of the most vocal in opposing such substances. [13] In 1921, Grant's administration made adherence to the health code compulsory for advancement in the priesthood or for entrance to temples. [14] Grant also spoke out in favor of the Utah's Prohibition movement, which occurred around the same time. [15]

Despite being a Democrat [16] Grant was opposed to the election of US President Franklin Roosevelt and wrote a front-page editorial for the Deseret News urging church members not to vote for him during the 1936 election. [15] Grant shared the view of J. Reuben Clark and David O. McKay that the New Deal was socialism, which they all despised. [17] Roosevelt greatly alienated Grant also for opposing Prohibition, another subject.

Roosevelt still won Utah in each of the four presidential elections. Grant regarded that as "one of the most serious conditions that has confronted me since I became President of the Church." [17] Later, when Utah voters agreed by plebiscite to become the 36th state to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, thus completing the process of ratification and repealing prohibition, Grant was devastated. In a general conference, he told the Latter-day Saints, "I have never felt so humiliated in my life over anything as that the State of Utah voted for the repeal of Prohibition." [18]

Under Grant's administration, the position of Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve was created.


Grant died in Salt Lake City, Utah, from cardiac failure as a result of arteriosclerosis. [3] As the final surviving member of the church's Council of Fifty, [19] his death marked the formal end of the organization. He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.


Grant's teachings as an apostle were the 2004 course of study in the LDS Church's Sunday Relief Society and Melchizedek priesthood classes.


Grant was the last LDS Church president to practice plural marriage. He married a first time in 1877 and then twice more in 1884. However, by the time he became Church President, only one of his wives, Augusta, was still alive.

Lucy Stringham

Grant married Lucy Stringham (1858–1893) on November 1, 1877. She was a daughter of Briant Stringham, who came to the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young in 1847.

Lucy had been closely associated with Grant essentially from her birth, and they attended Mary Cook's school together. Like Grant, she was a member of the 13th Ward. [5] It was not until Grant broke off his courtship with Emily H. Wells (see below) that he started actively courting Lucy. [6] :32 Lucy was initially reticent to fully accept Grant's advances, seeing herself as just a temporary replacement for Emily, but after he regularly walked her home from church services for several weeks without being invited into the Stringham home, she gave up and invited him in. They married a few months later. [6] :32–33 For a time, Lucy was a school teacher.

Grant felt very close to Lucy. On an early assignment as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in Arizona, he surprised his traveling companion, Brigham Young, Jr., with how many letters he wrote to Lucy. [20]

Lucy and Grant would become the parents of six children. He praised her "business foresight and judgment" and credited her with much of his business success. [21] She died in 1893, after a long illness during which he gave constant, tender devotion to her, as he had throughout their marriage. [2]

Augusta Winters

Grant married Hulda Augusta Winters (1856–1952) on May 26, 1884. She was a school teacher for a time and was described as the ablest school teacher in Utah Territory. [20] In the late 1880s, Augusta took up residence in New York City to try and prevent Grant's arrest on polygamy charges. Augusta bore one daughter. She accompanied Grant to Japan when he was sent to open the Japanese mission in 1901. She would often travel with him when he was president of the church, especially when he went to address non-Mormon audiences. She died in 1952.

Emily H. Wells

Grant married Emily Harris Wells (1857–1908) on May 27, 1884. She was a daughter of Daniel H. Wells.

Emily and Grant were five months apart in age and from Emily's birth she had been Grant's next-door neighbor. They were among the most prominent young orators in Salt Lake society in the 1870s, both connected with the Wasatch Literary Association and Grant was a counselor to Emily's brother in the 13th Ward YMMIA presidency. The marriage of Grant and Emily was expected by all who knew them. However, Emily then announced publicly her opposition to polygamy, which caused a falling out between Grant and Emily. [22] :6

Emily was a full sister of Briant H. Wells, who was a Major General in the United States Army. Another of her brothers, Heber M. Wells, later the first governor of the state of Utah, stayed with her for part of the time of her exile in Manassa.

Emily attended the University of Deseret. For a time, she was a school teacher. In 1883, Grant asked Emily to marry him. Since she had not renounced her dislike for polygamy and he was already married to Lucy, that was in many ways a very daring move on his part, and she initially declined his request. Emily then had a change of heart and she and Grant married on May 27, 1884. Since the Edmunds Act had been enacted in 1882, the situation of Mormon polygamists was far worse than it had been a decade earlier when Emily had first renounced polygamy. To avoid Grant having to go to prison on charges of unlawful cohabitation, Emily went to England to live at the LDS mission home to have her first child. She returned to the United States 16 months later and moved between multiple locations in Utah Territory and Idaho to avoid capture. [22] :7

In 1889, to avoid being forced to testify in pending unlawful cohabitation charges against her husband, Emily went to Manassa, Colorado, where she stayed for a year and a half. Grant accompanied her on the train-ride from Pueblo, Colorado, to Manassa, having been on a different train on the previous part of the journey to avoid arrest. Grant stayed two weeks, setting up for Emily the most comfortable house in the town, and leaving his mother to help Emily. [22] :5 She remained in Manassa until March 1891, when she returned to Salt Lake City.

Emily and Grant were the parents of four daughters and a son. The son, Daniel Wells Grant, died while he was still a child. [6] :31 Emily's last child was born in 1899, when she was 42, the same year Grant pleaded guilty to unlawful cohabitation and paid a $100 fine. [23]

Emily accompanied Grant when he served as mission president in England, bringing her four daughters and two of Lucy's daughters. Because of their daughters' presence, the Grants relocated the mission home to a more respectable part of Liverpool. [24]

Emily developed stomach cancer in 1907, which caused her death in 1908. [25] At the time of her death, she was considered one of the most prominent women in Salt Lake City. [26]


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  1. Grant and George Teasdale were ordained apostles on the same date. After their ordinations, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles again had twelve members.
  2. 1 2 "Historical Summary", Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, Teachings of Presidents of the Church, LDS Church, 2011 [2002], p. xviii, OCLC   54500103
  3. 1 2 "Grant, Heber Jeddy", Utah Division of Archives and Records Services, retrieved 2013-06-19
  4. Walker, Ronald W. (1985), "Rachel R. Grant: The Continuing Legacy of the Feminine Ideal", in Cannon, Donald Q.; Whittaker, David J., Supporting Saints: Life Stories of Nineteenth-Century Mormons, Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, pp. 17–42
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Walker, Ronald W. (1992), "Heber J. Grant", in Ludlow, Daniel H, Encyclopedia of Mormonism , New York: Macmillan Publishing, pp. 564–568, ISBN   0-02-879602-0, OCLC   24502140
  6. 1 2 3 4 Gibbons, Francis M. (1979), Heber J. Grant: Man of Steel, Prophet of God, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ISBN   0877477558, OCLC   4804896
  7. Todd, Jay M. (February 1976), "A Status Report on Church Magazines", Ensign
  8. Seventies were then a local priesthood office considered between that of elder and high priest. There are virtually no cases of the LDS Church ordaining men to the Melchizedek priesthood before 18.
  9. Esplin, Scott C. (2011), "Tying It to the Priesthood: Harold B. Lee's Restructuring of the Young Men Organization", in Whittaker, David J.; Garr, Arnold K., A Firm Foundation: Church Organization and Administration, Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, pp. 463–484
  10. "Heber J. Grant: Seventh President of the Church". Presidents of the Church Student Manual. LDS Church. 2012. pp. 112–29.
  11. LDS Church Almanac, 2010 Edition, p. 144[ full citation needed ]
  12. "Chapter 12: Work and Self-Reliance", Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, Teachings of Presidents of the Church, LDS Church, 2011 [2002], pp. 109–118, OCLC   54500103
  13. Alexander, Thomas G. (2003). "The Word of Wisdom: From Principle to Requirement" (PDF). Dialogue. 14. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  14. Allen and Leonard, p. 524
  15. 1 2 "MORMON CHURCH OPPOSES PLACING MX MISSILE IN UTAH AND NEVADA". New York Times. May 6, 1981. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  16. Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1919, p. 19.
  17. 1 2 Winder, Michael Kent (2007). Presidents and prophets: the story of America's presidents and the LDS church. Covenant Communications.|access-date= requires |url= (help)
  18. "Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1934, p. 129" . Retrieved 17 Sep 2018.
  19. Quinn 1980 , p. 180
  20. 1 2 Walker, Ronald W. (July 1979), "Jedediah and Heber", Ensign
  21. "Richard R. Lyman" (1919), ""President Grant and his Family"", The Young Women's Journal, vol. 30, retrieved 2014-07-23
  22. 1 2 3 Walker, Ronald W. (Spring 1983), "A Mormon 'Widow' in Colorado: The Exile of Emily Wells Grant", Arizona and the West , 25 (1), JSTOR   40169046
  23. Salt Lake Daily Tribune, 1899-09-09.
  24. Walker, Ronald W. (2004), "Heber J. Grant's European Mission, 1903-1906", BYU Studies , Provo, 43 (1): 264
  25. Millennial Star article on the death of Emily Wells Grant
  26. Salt Lake Telegram article on Emily's death Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine .

Further reading

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Joseph F. Smith
President of the Church
November 23, 1918 – May 14, 1945
Succeeded by
George Albert Smith
Preceded by
Francis M. Lyman
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
November 18, 1916 – November 23, 1918
Succeeded by
Anthon H. Lund
Preceded by
George Teasdale
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 16, 1882 – November 23, 1918
Succeeded by
John W. Taylor