Ezra Taft Benson chronology: Early life, call to Apostleship & WWII Relief Mission

I’ve assembled a lengthy chronology of the life of Ezra Taft Benson — a driven man who lived a very dynamic and interesting life.Ezra Taft Benson

Because of the overall length of the chronology, I’ve separated it into several smaller chronologies, covering specific segments of his life.

Posted chronologies:


— Overview of Early Life chronology —

This segment (August 4, 1899 – April 10, 1952) covers his early life, rise to international farm cooperative leadership, call to the apostleship, his relief mission to post-WWII Europe, and service in the Quorum of the Twelve just before he is called as Secretary of Agriculture.  Also included are major issues dealt with by the Council of Twelve while Benson was in that quorum.

Growing up in a 100% LDS farming community in South Eastern Idaho, he learned to work hard, and was immersed in the religious ideals of his family, church and community.  He proved to be a successful missionary in England under the leadership of two apostles (Orson Whitney followed by David O McKay). He took on leadership roles including one equivalent to that of a Stake President & zone leader. After his mission he continued his relationship with Flora Smith Amussen, and after she served a mission, they married and had six children. Her goal of having twelve children was cut short when she experienced serious health issues while her husband was away on a mission in Europe.

Benson was eventually called into the Quorum of the Twelve. In his lengthy journal entry for that day, he described the “shock” he had the day he was called when visiting the Heber J. Grant home. To him, that day had the “greatest significance,” as he described staring into Heber J. Grant’s eyes while holding his hands. He said it “seem[ed] like a dream.”

When another apostle expressed reservations about going on a mission to post-WWII Europe to aid members of the church — Benson (who had the largest and youngest family of the quorum) was called to leave his family and go to Europe. There, he and his assistant/translator spent a frenzied nine months traveling from country to country, coordinating relief shipments and providing encouragement to saints who had been devastated by the war. This left him profoundly changed, as he heard horrific stories and saw the effects of war, mistreatment and starvation.


— Chronology August 4, 1899 to April 10, 1952 —

— Aug 4, 1899
President Benson was born August 4, 1899, in the small rural community of Whitney, Idaho, the oldest of eleven children born to George Taft Benson, Jr., and Sarah Dunkley. He was named after his great-grandfather, Ezra T. (Taft) Benson, an apostle, who entered the Salt Lake Valley with the first Mormon pioneer company in July 1847. The pioneer Ezra T. was the son of John Benson, Jr., and Chloe Taft of Mendon, Massachusetts. John Benson, Sr., was an officer during the American Revolution. (1)

— 1901, October 10
President Lorenzo Snow died Salt Lake City, age 87. (2)

— 1901, October 17
Joseph F. Smith became President of Church. (2)

— 1907
Ezra Taft Benson was reared on the family farm in Whitney, driving a team of horses at the age of five, milking cows, and thinning sugar beets. He entered grade school at the age of eight. “Be as careful of the books you read as of the company you keep” was the counsel that governed his reading habits. In addition to the scriptures, he read Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress; biographies of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln, and success stories by Horatio Alger. His grandparents gave him a two-volume set by Orison S. Marden, Little Visits with Great Americans (1905), which he devoured.  (1)

— Aug 04, 1907
Ezra Taft Benson is baptized in the Logan River canal. (He is eight years old.)

— 1911
Church adopted Boy Scout program.  (2)


Young Ezra Taft Benson (Intellectual Reserve)


— 1912
Increased responsibility was thrust on him as a youth when his father was called as a missionary to the Northern States Mission, leaving behind his wife and seven children; the eighth was born while he was in the mission field. A spirit of missionary work enveloped the home, and all eleven children eventually served at least one full-time mission.  (1)

— 1914
In 1914, Ezra entered the Church-sponsored Oneida Academy in Preston, Idaho, graduating in 1918. That year as Scoutmaster, he led his Scouts into choral competition and won the Cache Valley chorus championship. Also during that year he enlisted in the military service just before the close of World War I. As a young man, he developed a love for the land and for the Lord, two fundamental influences in his ensuing life. He felt that the basic ingredient for successful farming was intelligent, hard work. To increase his agricultural skills, he took correspondence courses and began attending the Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University).
[His stay at the academy overlapped Harold B. Lee’s stay] (1)

— April 15, 1917
Receives first Patriarchal Blessing: “I would go on a mission ‘to the nations of the earth, crying repentance to a wicked world. …  his life would be preserved on land and sea, that he would raise his voice in testimony and would grow in favor with the Almighty, and that many would rise up and bless his name.”  (3)

— 1918
[Ezra Taft Benson] Called to serve as an assistant Scoutmaster (a leader of young men) in his ward in Whitney.  (4)

— 1918, November 19
President Joseph F. Smith d. Salt Lake City, age 80. (2)

— 1918, November 23
Heber J. Grant became President of Church. (2)

— 1920
[Ezra Taft Benson] Meets Flora Smith Amussen, his future wife.  (4)

— 1921
Attends Utah Agricultural College (now Utah State University) in Logan, Utah.  (4)

— July 13, 1921
Ordained an elder by his father.  (4)

— July 15, 1921, to November 2, 1923
Serves as a full-time missionary in the British Mission.  (4)

— Late March 1922
Missionary Benson reported that the “Town [was] in uproar about Mormons. All of vast assembly voted to have us put out of town.”   (3)

— May 21, 1922
Benson was named Sunderland Branch president. His responsibilities included mediating misunderstandings among members and missionaries, promoting sales of the Church’s British weekly Millennial Star ,supervising local ecclesiastical activities, and maintaining local membership records. He also began wearing eyeglasses about this time.  (3)

— January 23, 1923
New mission president David O McKay called Benson to become the new president of the Newcastle Conference, responsible for the full range of Church-related programs of the entire zone and its branches. Conference president was equivelant to a zone leader and stake president.  (3)

— Dec 24, 1923
Upon returning from his mission to Salt Lake, Benson asked for and received a second patriarchal blessing, this time from the Church’s presiding patriarch, Hyrum Gibbs Smith (1879–1932), to serve as a guidepost for his life’s next stage. “Be true to thy righteous convictions, be humble in thy devotion; shrink not from duty when it’s made known, but keep thy trust in the Lord and thou shalt live even unto a goodly age to fill up the full measure of thy mission and creation.”
He spent on average every month close to twenty hours tracting, twenty-nine hours with investigators, fifty-one hours with members, forty-seven hours in meetings, and 129 hours studying. He performed a total of ten baptisms (about double the missionary average), eleven confirmations, two ordinations to priesthood office, and naming blessings for three children.   (3)

— August 25, 1924, to June 1926
Flora serves a full-time mission in the Hawaiian Islands.  (4)

— Fall 1924
Joins his brother Orval in purchasing the family farm in Whitney.  (4)

— About 1924
Enrolled at Brigham Young University, where he was president of the Agriculture Club and Men’s Glee Club and was named the most popular man on campus. He graduated with honors, majoring in animal husbandry with a minor in agronomy.   (1)

— Spring 1926
Graduates from Brigham Young University.  (4)

— September 1926 to June 1927
Attends the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (now the Iowa State University of Science and Technology), graduating with a master’s degree in agricultural economics.  (4)

— Sept 10, 1926
Married Flora Smith Amussen in the Salt Lake Temple on September 10, 1926. She was the youngest child of Carl Christian Amussen, a Danish convert who crossed the plains and became a prominent Utah jeweler, and Barbara McIsaac Smith. Flora attended Utah State Agricultural College, where she served as vice-president of the student body, took the lead in a Shakespearean play, and won the women’s singles tennis championship.
Of his wife, President Benson said, “She had more faith in me than I had in myself”. One Church leader commented that if there were more women in the Church like Sister Benson, there would be more men in the Church like Brother Benson. They became the parents of six children—Reed, Mark, Barbara, Beverly, Bonnie, and Beth.  (1)

— June 13, 1927
Benson received a research scholarship to Iowa State College, where he obtained his master’s degree in agricultural economics on June 13, 1927 and later returned to the family farm, which he and his brother Orval had purchased from their father.  (1)

Ezra Taft Benson on the farm with family (intellectual reserve)

Ezra Taft Benson on the farm with family (intellectual reserve)

— March 4, 1929
Appointed Franklin County agricultural agent. He helped farmers solve their problems by setting up demonstration farms, inviting in specialists, teaching crop rotation, and introducing improved varieties of grains.  (1)

— 1930
In 1930, he was promoted to agricultural economist and marketing specialist for the University of Idaho, with offices in the state capitol in Boise. Traveling throughout Idaho, he encouraged farmers to work cooperatively in producing and marketing their goods. For five years, he served as the executive secretary of the Idaho Cooperative Council.   (1)

— During 1932
By 1932 he was living in Boise, Idaho, and serving as economist/extension specialist, directing the marketing efforts of the University of Idaho’s Extension Division. (5)

— January 1935 to November 1938
Serves as first counselor in the stake presidency of the Boise Stake.  (4)

— 1936
Did additional graduate study at the University of California in Berkeley on a fellowship awarded by the Giannini Foundation for Agricultural Economics.   (1)

— November 1938
Called by the Church in November 1938 to serve as stake president in Boise.   (1)

— April 1939
Became executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The council represented some 4,000 cooperative purchasing and marketing organizations involving almost 1.6 million farmers. Ezra Benson represented cooperatives before committees of Congress and served on a four-man national agriculture advisory committee to President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II.  (1)

— During 1939
The very popular “Prophecy and Modern Times,” by W. Cleon Skousen is published by Deseret Book. Some later editions include a foreward by LDS Apostle Ezra Taft Benson.
Skousen promotes speculative ideas– saying Noah built the ark in North America before floating to the Middle East; that Euphrates, Canaan, & Ethiopia were actually places located in North America; that Salt Lake City will be a wicked city; the earth would become desolate before Mormons migrated to Jackson County Missouri; the constitution would hang by a thread, but saved by the Elders of the church; That the church of the devil will cause most to have a mark in the right hand or foreheads; that no one will be able to buy or sell without that mark; that America will be cut off from the rest of the world by violent seas and that the lost tribes will move towards Missouri, with wicked trying to stop them. (6)

— June 30, 1940
The Church called him as the first president of the Washington, D.C., stake.   (1)

— Jun 23, 1942
[First Presidency Letter to Ezra Taft Benson] Through the General Board of the Relief Society, who reported to the Presiding Bishopric, and they to us, it comes to us tat you have in the Capitol Ward in Washington two colored sisters who apparently are faithful members of the Church.
The report comes to us that prior to a meeting which was to be held between the Relief Societies of the Washington Ward and the Capitol ward, Bishop Brossard of the Washington Ward called up the President of the Relief Society of the Capitol Ward and told her that these two colored sisters should [sic] be permitted to attend the joint meeting. However, it appears that the sisters did attend, presumably because the President of the capitol Ward Relief Society failed to carry out the request made of her by the bishop of the other ward.
We can appreciate that the situation may preset a problem in Washington, but President Clark recalls that in the Catholic churches in Washington at the time he lived there, colored and white communicants used the same church at the same time. He never entered the church to see how the matter was carried out, but he knew that the facts were as stated.
From this fact we are assuming that there is not in Washington any such feeling as exists in the South where the colored people are apparently not permitted by their white brethren and sisters to come into the meeting houses and worship with them. We feel that we cannot refuse baptism to a colored person who is otherwise worthy, and we feel that we cannot refuse to permit these people to come into our meeting houses and worship once we baptize them.
It seems to us that it ought to be possible to work this situation out without causing any feelings on the part of anybody. If the white sisters feel that they can not sit with them or near them, we feel very sure that if the colored sisters were discreetly approached, hey would be happy to sit at one side in the rear or somewhere where they would not wound the sensibilities of the complaining sisters. We will rely upon your tact and discretion to work this out so a not to hurt the feelings on the part of any one.
Of course, probably each one of the sisters who ca afford it, has a colored maid in her house to do the work and to do the cooking for her, and it would seem that under these circumstances they should be willing to let them sit in Church and worship with them. (7)

— May 3, 1943
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] “Received second letter from Pres. J. Reuben Clark requesting I let him know when my wife and I plan to be in Salt Lake. I fear we will not be there together until after the war [i.e., World War II] altho a field trip I am planning for about July 1 may take me thru Salt Lake.”  (8)

— July 16 1943
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] “I had a most pleasant conference with Pres. David O. McKay [second counselor] about various stake matters but particularly about conditions in Wash., D.C., … It was a pleasure to be in his sweet inspiring presence. He is truly a great man. How I wish we had a man at the head of this great country of his stature and character. I am looking forward to dinner with Pres. McKay and family on July 26th at their home on my way east.”  (8)

— July 26, 1943
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] This day will ever stand out in my mind as the day of greatest significance to me, altho as I write it seems like a dream.  … I called at Pres. [David O.] McKay’s office to find if there was any change in the luncheon [?] dinner appointment at his home. He had understood, thru some mistake, that I was to be there to lunch. He said he’d been calling hotels, R.R. [railroad] stations, etc to locate me and that he had promised Pres. [Heber J.] Grant he’d drive me up to his summer home to see the President.
Pres. McKay stepped out of the office to make a phone call or two and on returning said Pres. Grant wants to see you and will have his car here for you at 5:15 p.m.  At the appointed time (25 minutes later) I returned with Reed [Benson, Ezra’s son] to Bro McKay’s office where his driver drove us to the Beneficial Life to pick up the mgr., Bro.  [George J.] Cannon, and then at his home we called for Sr. [Lucy] Cannon a daughter of Pres Grant.
Then to my surprise they drove Reed and I to Pres. Grant’s summer home … he took my right hand in both of his and as I looked into his kindly, tear filled eyes, he said, “With all my heart I congratulate you and pray God to bless you. You have been chosen as the newest Apostle of the Church.”
The announcement seemed unbelievable and overwhelming. I was stunned and for several minutes could say only, “Oh President Grant that can’t be” which I must have repeated several times before I was able to collect my thots enough to realize what had happened and that it was real and not a dream. He held my hand for a long time as we both shed tears of gratitude. For over 1/2 hour we were alone together, much of the time with our hands clasped warmly together. Tho feeble his mind was clear and alert and I was deeply inpressed with his sweet, kindly, humble spirit as he seemed to look into my soul.
…  Among other things he stated, “The Lord has a way of magnifying men who are called to positions of leadership.” When in my weakness I was able to state that I love the Church, he said, “We know that the Lord wants men who will give everything for His work.”
He told of the action taken in a special meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve 2 weeks before and that the decision regarding me had been enthusiastically una[nim]mous and would be popular with the Church membership.
… With all my heart I pray that I will ever remain true and faithful and at some future day come to be worthy of this sacred trust.  With tear filled eyes the President recalled the devotion of my great-grandfather who was ordained an apostle at Winter Quarters [Iowa] by Brigham Young and came with him to the valleys in 1847. With tear filled eyes he reminded me that Apostle Ezra T. Benson and my other faithful projenetors [progenitors] would rejoice at his appointment of one of their de[s]cendants to the Apostleship.
Continuing he said, “We want you to go right on with your work in Washington [D.C.]. It may be a year and it may be several years. We urged Reed Smoot to remain in the [United States] Senate because we believed he could best serve the Church in the Senate.”
… he then recounted some of his early experiences as a member of the quorum of Twelve.
… He then after I had started to go several times said I should be at the October [general] conference at which time I would be ordained. He then bid me a warm goodbye as both his hands clasped mine and we looked into each others tear dimmed eyes….
I hardly spoke a word as we drove down the canyon. I was still dazed from the shock. After a warm handclasp and pledge of support from Bro.  Cannon he left us to return to the canyon.
Pres. McKay met me at the door with outstretched arms and our persons were pressed together as we pressed our arms around each other. His sweet congratulations and blessing will ever be remembered.
… Retired at 11 p.m. but slept very little but prayed, wept and did much sincere thinking regarding this great thing which has come to me a humble, weak farmer boy.  With heart full of gratitude I pledged my all to the establishment of the Kingdom of God on the earth and plead with the Lord to give me strength to ever be worthy of this high and holy calling in the Church and Priesthood of God.    (8)

— 1943
[Benson had been] invited to join a large cooperative association at nearly double his $25,000- a-year salary, Benson again sought the advice of Church officials. Informed instead that he was being called to join the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (at an annual salary of $6,000), Benson quickly resigned his job and soon relocated his young family to Utah.  (9)

— July 27 1943
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] High point [of the day] was my call to my sweet and faithful wife [Flora] in Bethesda, Md. [Maryland]. When I told her of the appointment she said how wonderful she felt it was and expressed her complete confidence I could measure up. It was reassuring to talk to her. She has always shown more faith in me than I have myself.  We both decided we should plan to attend the Salt Lake [general] conference in October.  (8)

— Oct 1, 1943
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] This of all days is the most significant in my life. I shall never forget it. In the opening session of the 114th Semi-Annual Conference I was sustained as the youngest and junior member of the Quorum of Twelve [Apostles] and called upon to address the great conference of stake and ward officers of the Priesthood.
The Lord richly blessed me altho I was almost overcome with emotion, and my heart is full of gratitude for this great and glorious honor which has come to one of His weak servants, that I found it difficult to speak.
… Before and after the conference we posed as a Quorum for pictures for the papers. We visited with friends and loved ones and received the affectionate hands of our brethren of the General Authorities.
Bro. Kimball and I received some valuable instructions from Pres. George Albert Smith regarding our duties.  Among other things he urged to us to maintain and continue our contacts with people outside the Church in an official and semi-official capacity as an important part of our work as missionaries and special witnesses of the Lord. He encouraged us not to write our talks unless on a radio program which requires a manuscript. In so advising us he stated he was but repeating the admonition of Pres. Grant to give the Spirit an opportunity to operate. He said some of the brethren have somewhat formed the habit of writing their talks and were finding it difficult to do otherwise.
He also urged us to accept assignments cheerfully without making excuses and urged us to ask questions and come frequently for help.
In the evening, we joined with Bros & Srs [Brothers and Sisters] Kimball, David Smith, Pres Idaho Falls Temple, [ElRay L.] Christiansen, Pres Logan Temple, Joseph F. Smith, Patriarch at the lovely home of Bro. & Sr. S[t]ephen L. Richards for a lovely chicken dinner and evening of music, story telling and delightful conversation.  (8)

— Oct. 2 1943
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] This has been another glorious day. Attended a breakfast meeting at 8:00 a.m. for presidents of outlying stakes sponsored by Mark Peterson Mgr [Manager] and other members of Deseret News staff.  Attended three [general] conference sessions at 12–2 and 7 and enjoyed to the full the inspiring sermons and mingling with the brethren. For the first time in my life my right hand is acheing [sic] from the warm handshakes of the brethren.  (8)

— Oct 4 1943
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] “had conferences with Pres. McKay, Harold Lee, Frank Evans et al. I am grateful that Bro. Lee gave me a purview of the coming Thursday meeting in the [Salt Lake] Temple.” (8)

— Oct 4, 1943
[Spencer W. Kimball] “We with the Bensons were dinner guests at 5. PM of the J. Reuben Clarks in their lovely home. Pres Clark had to catch a 6 PM train for Chicago but Sister Clark showed us their silver and other treasures mostly coming from Mexico.” (10)

— Oct. 7, 1943
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] This day shall ever live in my memory and always I shall be grateful for its blessing.  At 8:30 I met with the Council of Twelve and assistants [to the Twelve]. At 10 a.m. the Twelve and the [Presiding] Patriarch met Pres Grant and McKay in the President’s office.
Too weak to make the trip to the temple we had the minutes of the previous week’s meeting and the President commented on his health and stated he was willing to remain as long as the Lord wished him to altho there were strong ties on the other side.
He then ordained Spencer W. Kimball as apostle. Then he and members of the Council of Twelve and the presiding patriarch placed their hands on my head as I knelt in front of Pres. Grant who was sitting. It was a beautiful ordinance and blessing and many wonderful promises were made.
Pres. Grant talked to us for about an hour largely reminiscing. Out of this and other instructions came the following items as a charge in connection with the new call:
1. In meetings speak your mind freely, but when a decision is made line up and support the policy and uphold the brethren wholeheartedly.
2. Major responsibility is to:
a. Set in order the affairs of the Church in all the world.
b. Preach gospel to world.
c. Perform all ordinances & ceremonies.
3. Give thought and study first to things of the Kingdom.
4. Avoid sin & temptation & set worthy example.
5. Avoid spirit of arrogance, headyness, etc.
6. Be humble, prayerful and kind that the Sprit may dictate.
7. Recognize source of God’s direction to his Church.
8. No work is important enough to keep Council members from Temple.
9. Remember no sacrifice is too great for the Kingdom.
At 11:30 the brethren with Pres. McKay in charge went to the temple, dressed in the clothes of the holy Priesthood, participated in the administration of the sacrament and the prayer circle (true order of prayer) around the alt[a]r. Later whe we changed clothes and returned for a business meeting. At 2:30 we had lunch in the temple.
After conferring with the brethren at the office we joined the Presiding Bishopric, the Kimball’s and Lee’s at dinner in the house of Bp. [Bishop] [LeGrand] Richards.  I am most grateful for the love of the brethren and the prospects of spending the rest of my life in the service of the Lord in His glorious work. I only wish I could start on my new labors immediately. The brethren feel I must satisfy the Ntl [National] Council of Farmer Coops [Cooperatives] and rightly so. It will be a pleasure to get into the Glorious work of our Father.  (8)

— Oct 7, 1943
[George F. Richards diary] At 10:00 A.M. the Twelve met the [First] Presidency in their office in the Church offices building and Pres[ident] [Heber J.] Grant ordained Spencer Kimball and Ezra T. Benson apostles and set them apart members of the quorum of the Twelve. We then repaired to the Temple excepting Pres[ident] Grant & Pres[ident] [J. Reuben] Clark, the latter being out of the State. By request of Pres[ident] [David O.] McKay, I instructed the brethren on the tokens &c. (11)

— Oct 07, 1943
Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson are ordained Apostles, replacing Sylvester Q. Cannon and Rudger Clawson, who had passed away.

— After October 7, 1943
Though he had previously gone by “Taft,” “T,” and “Ezra,” following his calling Benson began going by his full name. He explained that George Albert Smith, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, advised him: “Now, Brother Benson, in order that we not get you and your great-grandfather mixed up in Church records, we suggest in view of the fact that he always signed his name ‘Ezra T.’ that you spell yours out fully, ‘Ezra Taft.’” Benson then states, “So I’ve made that a practice because of the counsel of George Albert Smith, who was my file leader as president of the Twelve.”  (12)

— Nov 11, 1943
[Joseph Fielding Smith] “At 6 p.m. I was engaged with Brother Harold B. Lee and others including officers of the law which resulted in bringing charges against Richard R. Lyman of a most serious nature.” (13)

— Nov 12, 1943
[Quorum of the Twelve] Richard R. Lyman excommunicated. [Ezra Taft Benson, absent from meeting] (14)

— Apr 20, 1944
Mark Edward Petersen is ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, replacing Richard R. Lyman, who had been excommunicated.

— Aug 30, 1944
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] This is a day I shall never forget. Flora [Amussen Benson]7 and I met in the Celestial Room of the [Salt Lake] temple at 12:30 [p.m.] and in line with the recommendation of Pres[ident] [Heber J.] Grant received our second blessings under the hands of Elders Geo[rge] F. Richards and Jos[eph] Fielding Smith of the Council of Twelve. Our hearts swelled to overflowing with gratitude for the Lord’s rich blessings. (11)

— Dec 22, 1944
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] [Had long conference with Bro. Geo[rge] F. Richards re. temple work, temple rulings and the importance of the second or higher blessings. I am very grateful that my faithful and devoted wife and I have recently received these rich blessings. I wish more of the Latter-day Saints could receive these blessings. I feel sure there are hundreds who are worthy. (11)

— 1945
“A sound agriculture is vital to the national economy,” he told Church members in 1945. “Let us not be inclined to run to a paternalistic government for help when every problem arises, but let us attack our problems jointly, and through effective, cooperative effort, solve our problems at home.”  (9)

— May 14, 1945
President Heber J. Grant d. Salt Lake City, age 88. (2)

— May 21, 1945
[Spencer W. Kimball] “Pres. Grant had never been to a meeting in the temple since I had been among the authorities.” [Kimball and Benson had been ordained the same day] (10)

At a special meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple, the First Presidency was reorganized with President George Albert Smith ordained and set apart as the eighth president of the Church. Presidents J. Reuben Clark Jr. and David O. McKay, counselors to President Grant, were called also as counselors to President Smith. (15)

— Oct 11, 1945
[Quorum of the Twelve] Matthew Cowley ordained. (14)

— October 18, 1945
Ranking LDS General Authorities adopted an ambitious program—the first large-scale humanitarian outreach in Mormon history—to initiate overseas shipments of desperately needed food and clothing [following WWII]. They assigned Elders John A. Widtsoe, the Church’s only living Europe-born apostle, and Thomas E. McKay, former European Mission president, to “make contact with all European missions” and to find “ways and means to send food and clothing to those [Saints] in need.”  (16)

— Nov 8, 1945
[Frank Evans] “Brother Ezra T. Benson came to my desk and reported an hour’s interview with President Clark on the subject of Cooperatives, and gave me a very interesting report of the conversation, indicating President Clark’s deep interest in the subject. Brother Benson also advised me that President Clark had suggested that he (Brother Benson) and I formulate a statement designed as a statement of policy of the Church on this subject. The First Presidency would then examine the statement and consider some proper action thereon.” (17)

— November 17, 1945
Because of age related issues, George Albert Smith replaced Widstoe and McKay with Ezra Taft Benson to head the European relief mission. Harold B. Lee remembered, “speculating as to who would be called. One of the first men I eliminated was Elder Benson, who had the largest family as well as the youngest.”  (16)

— Late December 1945
After several turned Benson down (including former European mission presidents), Fredrick Babbel accepted a “call” as an assistant and  translator for Benson. Babbel recalled they did not engage in a lot of conversation. “I never interrupted him at all. I was told before I left that I should never counsel him in any way unless he asked for it. Later on I found out why, because he would consider every matter very seriously. He is an extremely intense individual. I found him to have such a dynamic faith that if a difficult situation arose he believed not in leaving it in the hands of the Lord but in doing everything within his power to help bring it about and then trust that whatever his deficiencies were they would be made up.”  (16)

— 1946-50
Director, Farm Foundation

— Early January 1946
Benson is in D.C. preparing to travel to Europe, obtaining visas for a number of countries including occupied Germany.  (16)

— January 14, 1946
Benson’s mission is publically announced.  (16)

— January 28, 1946
[David O McKay diary] George Albert Smith blesses Elder Benson: “Do not expose yourself unnecessarily to the assaults of the adversary, because he will be anxious to prevent you from doing the work that you are going to do. But remember that if it is necessary to appeal to the Lord and the circumstances justify, you can go to him with full confidence because you will be acting under his direction and under the inspiration of his Spirit and will be given strength to accomplish everything that is necessary to be done.”  (18)

— Early 1946
Benson’s faith in the Lord, administrative skills, and experience in dealing with government helped him accomplish the four-point charge given to him by the First Presidency: “First, to attend to the spiritual affairs of the Church in Europe; second, to work to make available food, clothing, and bedding to our suffering Saints in all parts of Europe; third, to direct the reorganization of the missions of Europe; and, fourth, to prepare for the return of missionaries to those countries”. He was among the first American civilians to administer relief in many of the devastated areas. (1)

— February 4, 1946
Benson arrives in London, meeting Mission President Hugh B. Brown and his wife, Zina. He later recalled “People generally are quite downcast and apprehensive of the future . . . Many people have become quite discouraged.  Helpless indifference has replaced the usually cheerful disposition of some. . . . England has truly felt the effects of this terrible war.”  (16)

— Mid-February 1946
Benson had organized four forty-ton carloads of supplies. They arrived in April with additional carloads following.  (16)

— March 23-24, 1946
(Berlin) “The worst destruction I have witnessed was seen today,” he wrote. “. . . I smelled the odor of decaying human bodies, saw half-starved women paying exorbitant prices anxiously for potato peelings.” “The sisters have been ravished . . .,” he continued. “Some have been beaten and f logged to insensibility, others murdered and still others deported . . .” “Words cannot begin to describe the ruin that has been heaped upon this once proud city,” he told the First Presidency. “Traveling amid such surroundings leaves one with a feeling so appalling that it must be experienced to be understood.” “The job of taking care of our Saints …is over whelming,” he admitted, “and as we contemplate their rehabilitation, it becomes staggering.”  (16)

— April 1, 1846
By the end of his first two months in Europe, Benson had visited all of the Church’s European missions and further helped to coordinate—aided by the Red Cross and other agencies—the receipt, storage, and eventual distribution of the Church’s relief supplies.  (16)

— May 13, 1946
“What we have seen in the last two weeks, only emphasizes the inspiration of the First Presidency in warning the priesthood of the Church regarding the dangers of world [sic] doctrines and practices creeping into the Church and the importance of keeping our practices and procedures simple and plain as the Lord intended. . . .  [T]hank the Lord the war did not extend for a ten-year period! Otherwise I fear we would have found crosses and crowns on every pulpit.”  (19)

— 1940-1945
One member reported that “some of the presiding brethren in the Western German mission …tried to preach national Socialism instead of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  …The Saints were asked to pray for the ‘Fuehrer’ in their meetings and in their homes and regard him as a divinely called man.”  (16)

— July 15, 1946
The First Presidency wrote to Benson: “Europe brewed her own mess of bitter pottage; America did not brew it. This does not mean that we should not have full sympathy for the sufferings endured by the people in Europe, nor that we should not do our utmost to alleviate them, but it does mean, as it seems to us, that we should not approach this problem from the point of view that it is our responsibility, except beyond the broad lines of human and Church brotherhood.”  (16)

Ezra Taft Benson in war-torn Europe

Ezra Taft Benson in war-torn Europe (intellectual reserve)

— Jul 16, 1946
On a hill near Larsmo, Elder Ezra Taft Benson dedicates Finland for the preaching of the gospel.

— Late July, 1946
The First Presidency decided to replace Benson. Reading of the change in a newspaper clipping before receiving official notification, he recorded, “Although it is a surprise, if true—and I had expected to continue for at least another four to six months— . . . I’m sure all will work out for the best as the First Presidency may direct.”  (16)

— Jul 29, 1946
Joseph Fielding Smith of the Quorum of the Twelve writes to Belle S. Spafford, the Relief Society General President, and her counselors: “While the authorities of the Church have ruled that it is permissible, under certain conditions and with the approval of the priesthood, for sisters to wash and anoint other sisters, yet they feel that it is far better for us to follow the plan the Lord has given us and send for the Elders of the Church to come and administer to the sick and afflicted.” This ends the practice of “washings and anointings” for women (usually preparatory to childbirth). A previous Relief Society President wrote of this ordinance, “this beautiful ordinance has always been with the Relief Society, and it is our earnest hope that we may continue to have that privilege, and up to the present time the Presidents of the Church have always allowed it to us.’ (20)

— August 3, 1946
Alma Sonne (Utah banker and assistant to the Twelve) was called to replace Benson on his European relief mission.  (16)

— August 24, 1946
At Mission President Hugh B. Brown’s departure Benson wrote “Pres. Brown has done a good work in England and the people love him. However he is tired and has lost much of his earlier enthusiasm and initiative. The mission is not in good condition. The attitude of the people is one of [illegible] and lack of spirit. They seem to be looking for the easy way and think the Church should see that they get to Zion. It will take much hard and patient work to stir them from their lethargy.”
Several weeks earlier, Benson noted: “The needs of the [British] mission are tremendous and challenging. In fact the condition generally leaves more to be desired than in any mission yet visited.” He was specifically concerned about “the matter of amalgamating branches and selling chapels.”  (16)

— Before Aug 24, 1946
In Hamburg, they found 500 Saints assembled for meetings. Many “were thin, weak and hungry, their clothes threadbare and hanging loos[e]ly from their starved bodies.” “How I wish I could have had baskets full of things—especially food—to give them,” Benson wrote. “If I could have for each of these families the food wasted in the average American home, it would be much more than their total food supply at present.”  (16)

— February – October, 1946
Benson travelled from country to country, seeing poor conditions of the people and saints. “My heart grows heavy and my eyes fill with tears as I picture in my mind’s eyes these scenes of horror and destruction.  …Truly war is hell in all its fury”.
He worked with governments and military leaders to secure permission, reduce redtape, and setup logistics to distribute food and supplies to church members. He often addressed special concerned as they were encountered, and sent regular updates to the first presidency which were often published in the church news.  (16)

— October 24, 1946
Flora had hoped to raise twelve children, but complications following Beth’s birth in mid-1944 resulted in a hysterectomy in late 1946.  “I wanted twelve children, but had to settle for a choice half dozen,” Flora later explained. “If we just would have had twins every time, we would have made it.”  (21)

— November 15, 1946
Alma Sonne arrives in England to replace Benson.  (16)

— December 13, 1846
Benson ends his missing, leaveing Europe for the U.S. During his European relief mission, he traveled 61,236 miles—counting both transatlantic flights—and helped to coordinate the delivery of the equivalent of fifty-one train carloads, weighing some 2,000 tons, of relief supplies.
Confronting the horrors of National Socialism and Stalinist Communism, he developed a deep, abiding hatred of fascism, socialism, and especially communism. For Benson, individual liberty lay at the heart of God’s plan for his children.  The many lessons of that “never-to-be-forgotten year” would remain with Benson throughout his life.  (16)

— During 1946
In the years immediately following World War II, Republicans in Utah, following national patterns, reasserted themselves. Arthur V. Watkins, a Republican moderate, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1946. Other important Republican figures in the post-war period included Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight Eisenhower, and Congressmen William A. Dawson, Henry Aldous Dixon, and Douglas Stringfellow. The latter–considered an up-and-coming party leader, who even attracted national attention–was forced to resign when it became known that he had contrived a heroic war record. (22)

— 1947
Benson subscribed to the anti-Communist rhetoric that marked much of American political discourse during these years. Communism, he said in 1947, “is a total philosophy of life, atheistic and utterly opposed to all we hold dear.”  (9)

— Jan 30, 1947
Minutes of the Council of the Twelve and of the First Presidency: Letter read from President A. Reed Halverson of the New Zealand Mission stating that there has been an instance or two in the mission where men with a trace of Negro blood have been ordained to the Priesthood and are now taking part. He asks whether or not a person who has colored blood in his veins may receive the Priesthood and what should be done about these brethren who have already been ordained.
In discussing this matter it was the sentiment of the Brethren that president Halverson should be informed that no one should be ordained to the Priesthood who is known to have Negro blood in his veins, and that if any one has been so ordained, if it is admitted or otherwise established, he should be instructed not to attempt to use the Priesthood in any other ordinations. (23)

— Mar 7, 1947
[David O. McKay] Benson consults with McKay about suggesting a Mormon appointment to the U.S. Court of Claims. (24)

— Apr 10, 1947
Eldred G. Smith is ordained patriarch to the church, fourteen years after Quorum of Twelve recommended him. His predecessor was released to to homosexual activity. (20)

Henry D. Moyle is ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, replacing Charles A. Callis, who had passed away.

— Jul 29, 1947
Quorum of Twelve letter to general Relief Society presidency states that women should seek blessings of health from priesthood leaders and not from other women. This officially ends more than a century of women’s anointing and sealing blessings of health on other women and sometimes on men. (20)

— Aug 28, 1947
At meeting of the Twelve: “Letter read from Elder John A. Widstoe calling attention to the engagement of a young couple, members of the Church, the sister having one thirty-second of negro blood in her veins. Brother Widstoe raises the question as to whether in such cases the individual having Negro blood might be recommended to the temple for marriage. Brother Widstoe states that he informed the couple of the ruling of the Church in the past that any one having negro blood in his veins cannot receive the Priesthood or go to the temple. Council approved the attitude indicated by Brother Widstoe.” (20)

— Sep 22, 1947
J. Reuben Clark: “I told him [George Albert Smith] that according to a report from Bro. Babbel [Benson’s Relief Misson companion] the Quakers had made perhaps 100 times more [relief] shipments to Europe than we had, with half the church membership; …thought we might wish to be a bit careful about our statements as to the great work we were doing for the Saints in Europe.”  (25)

— Oct 9, 1947
[Spencer W. Kimball] “THURS. Oct 9, 1947′ attended the regular meetings. In the 10 o’clock meeting with the First Presidency and the Council of the 12 the matter of the negro was brought up for discussion again. I think I felt in this meeting the spirit of revelation more pronounced than in any meeting I have attended. The spirit of unity was manifest. All the Brethren seemed to see alike through the sweet spirit throughout the meeting, and I was almost overcome with the delightful experience. The Brethren seemed unified in feeling that we could not withhold the regular gospel blessings from the colored people, and that though we were unable yet to give them the Priesthood, perhaps we should not withhold from the m the other blessings of the gospel which are available to them … [Note: Ezra Taft Benson related the experiences of the Hope family, black members of the Church who were ostracized by their LDS congregation at Cincinnati and were asked by the branch president not to come back. They held their own Sunday services in their home.] (10)

— Oct 9,194[7]
First Presidency and apostles decide to allow faithful African-American Mormons to receive patriarchal blessings, and Patriarch Elder G. Smith blesses black couple for the first time. (26)

— Dec 9, 1947
[David O. Mckay] “4:20 p.m.’Harold B. Lee, Ezra T. Benson, and Marion Romney called at the office’ discussed matters pertaining to the Priesthood work of the Church.” (27)

— Dec 15, 1947
[Frank Evans] “President [George Albert] Smith asked me to reduce the monthly allowance received by him from $500 to $400 so as to make it equal with the lowest received by apostles.” (17)

— 1948
Republican presidential nominee Thomas E. Dewey approached Benson before the election that year about becoming the United States Secretary of Agriculture. (28)

— Apr 16, 1948
[David O. McKay] “Telephone Calls Ezra T. Benson of the Council of the Twelve called-said that he and Mark Petersen are meeting this morning with the heads of the M.I.A. and that he is wondering just what their responsibility is with reference to assisting Executive officers in the selection of board members. …”
“Brother Benson stated that Sister Reeder, the newly appointed President of the Y.M.M.I.A. has the responsibility of selecting an entirely new board, and wondered if she should sit in on the conference this morning. I told Brother Benson I thought it would be alright for her so to do, after which a private conference could be held with Sister Reeder to get some of her suggestions. Brother Benson said that he and Brother Petersen felt that it would be a good thing to have an entirely new board both for the Young Men’s and the Young Women’s Boards. I said the Presidency felt that way especially regarding the Young Women’s Board. Brother Benson then said that he thought Sister Reeder was an excellent choice, that he had heard only good about her, etc. etc.” (24)

— Sep 28, 1948
[David O. McKay] “Just as I was leaving at 10 min. to 5 o’clock to meet Sister McKay, President Smith called me into the First Presidency room where Ezra T. Benson was awaiting to get the decision of the First Presidency as to whether or not he should accept a position with the Government in the Agricultural division. We told Bro. Benson to go ahead with the position, but that it should not interfere with the Thursday meeting.” (24)

— 1949
Future Senator Ralph Harding received a call to serve in the Central States Mission and asks that “favorite General Authority” Ezra Taft Benson set him apart. The two would later publicly disagree over anti-communist tactics. (29)

— Jan 17, 1949
[Joseph Fielding Smith] “Wickedness and the disregard of divine laws is the condition which prevails in our own country. Those who sit in high places are turning from the fundamental and stable principles upon which our government was founded. The trend towards centralized government and the taking away from the people their inborn rights increases. Socialism, which is bordering on communism is getting a death grip on our own country. Radicals dominate in all things and labor union bosses dictate to those in governmental positions and are feared by them. The people have forgotten the Lord and treat with contempt all of his laws. It is with sadness that I record that these conditions have crept in among the members of the Church and what the end will be the Lord knows. It appears that he will have to cut short his work in righteousness and in his anger continue to punish the people for they will not repent notwithstanding all that they have suffered by war and plague during the past quarter of a century.” (13)

— Jan 27, 1949
[George F. Richards] We do not learn if there is any perceptable change in Pres. Geo Albert Smiths condition. We are much in the dark as to the nature of his illness and of its seriousness. (30)

— Feb 5, 1949
First Counselor J. Reuben Clark recommends anti-semitic PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION to Ernest L. Wilkinson, soon to be president of Brigham Young University. In Dec. 1957 Clark makes similar recommendation to Apostle Ezra Taft Benson, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. This may be reason Benson organizes secret surveillance of employees (especially Jews) in U.S. Department of Agriculture.

— May 23, 1949
Was elected a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. (28)

— Jun 22, 1949
[Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Letter to George Albert Smith] The Council of the Twelve was informed several weeks ago that you desired that further consideration be given to the matter of inviting the Patriarch to meet with the First Presidency and the Twelve in the weekly Temple meetings. Obedient to your wishes, the Twelve have devoted parts of several meetings to a discussion of this subject and now submit the report of their deliberations to you.
It is our considered judgment that it would not be wise to reinaugurate a practice, which, in our opinion, does not seem to fully carry out the revealed order in Church government … (31)

— Aug 12, 1949
[Ezra Taft Benson diary] Attended quarterly meeting of the Twelve from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Consideration was given to the sacred matter of second blessings [sometimes called Second Anointings, or Second endowments]. Discussion followed the reading of an important statement prepared and read by Pres. Geo[rge] F. Richards which I responded to wholeheartedly. I was happy when all of the eleven members present (Bro. [Matthew] Cowley was absent) approved of the matter for recommendation to the Twelve. (11)

— Aug 18, 1949
[George F. Richards diary] At the 10:00 A.M. Council meeting of the [First] Presidency and Twelve I read a paper of 5 or 6 pages deploring the neglect on our part in not administering Second blessings as formerly. The paper and other statements made by me in connection therewith were accepted 100%. (11)

— Oct 12, 1949
[David O. McKay] Mark Petersen called’Said Junius Jackson could tell me about Bishop Hunt’s talk (I believe in Chicago) during which Bishop Hunt made the statement that the Catholics here are having such a time with the Mormons because we are ‘running everything’, and that missionary work is extremely difficult and that it is the reason they are appealing for funds. Bro. Petersen said he would call Brother Jackson and have him come in and give me the facts. Said that Bro. Benson on two or three occasions has had incidents regarding Bishop Hunt called to his attention. …
Report on visit with Bishop Duane G. Hunt of the Catholic church October 12, 1949:
President McKay reported that yesterday he accepted an invitation from Bishop Hunt of the Catholic Church to meet him at the Holy Cross Hospital this morning at 10 o’clock. President McKay said that Bishop Hunt greeted him courteously and invited him into his private office at the hospital. President McKay summarized the conference as follows:
[An account of a discussion about several points of contention including a pamphlet published by Catholics that seemed offensive to Mormons and a response by the church, remarks by some Mormons (including the church patriarch) that offended Catholics, etc…] (24)

— 1950
From 1946 to 1950, the LDS Church sent the following aid to Europe: 2,342,000 pounds of wheat and wheat products; 1,114,000 pounds of clothing and bedding; 2,600,000 pounds of canned fruit, vegetables, and milk; 400,000 pounds of canned meat and meat products; and 200,000 pounds of dried beans. These amounts equalled 133 train carloads, weighing 5,320 tons. The value of these items, as well as that of seven carloads of the smaller welfare packages, totaled $1,232,391.
Benson’s role, along with the work of Sonne and others, helped to set the stage for the Church’s present humanitarian-related activities.  (16)

— Mar 16, 1950
[David O. McKay] Immediately after Council meeting I accompanied President Smith into his office, and laying my coat on the back of a chair,’not stopping to go to my own office first’I presented to him the question submitted regarding the advisability or the necessity of adjusting certain inequities in allowances made the General Authorities, this question having been submitted to the Presidency by the Committee of adjustment of salaries of church employees.
I had in mind the allowance paid to each of the members of the Council of the Twelve, of the Assistants to the Twelve, of the First Council of 70, and of the Presiding Bishopric.
President Smith remembered why certain increases had already been made to the following:
George F. Richards
Joseph Fielding Smith
John A. Widtsoe
Ezra T. Benson
Matthew Cowley of the Twelve, and
Levi Edgar Young
Oscar Kirkham
Milton R. Hunter of the Seventies also
Eldred G. Smith, presiding patriarch
We considered the fact that three 10% increases had been made to the Church employees as an emergency allowance in view of the depreciation of the dollar and the continued high price of clothing and other personal necessities. After due consideration, President Smith said: ‘You go right ahead and report back, and suggest to the committee that they consider the entire matter and submit to us their recommendation for an equalizing of the allowances made to General Authorities.’ (24)

— April 25, 1950
Was sealed in marriage to his recently deceased cousin, Eva Amanda Benson (July 6, 1882–August 10, 1946). Eva was the never-married daughter of Benson’s uncle Frank Andrus Benson. Flora had first suggested acting as proxy for Eva, then did so during the vicarious ordinance performed by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith in the Salt Lake Temple. “I have never witnessed a more unselfish act on the part of any person,” Benson recorded, “and I love Flora all the more because of it. The Lord will richly bless her for this act of unselfish love for Eva and me and the Kingdom. Flora is one of the choicest daughters of our Heavenly Father.”  (32)

— Aug 8, 1950
President George F. Richards, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, dies. (33)

— Sep 28, 1950
[Henry D. Moyle] “Spent day in Temple with the brethren. Pres. McKay, David O’was sustained as Pres. of the Twelve and Joseph Fielding Smith as acting Pres of the Twelve’a new apostle [i.e., Delbert L. Stapley] was nominated by Pres. [George Albert] Smith and unanimously sustained by the Twelve’a wonderful selection the one most of the twelve had recommended.” (34)

— Jan 30, 1951
[Spencer W. Kimball] “I reached the office at 9:30 to attend a special meeting of The Presidency and the Council of The Twelve, to consider the matter of the missionary work. Inasmuch as there has been great confusion and misunderstanding and opposition on the part of many of the draft boards, it seemed best that we discontinue calling missionaries of draft age for the time being.” (10)

— Feb 14, 1951
[George Albert Smith speaking:] … It has been suggested to me that I go to some other part of the country and try to get better. I have felt that the headquarters of the work of the Lord was here. Most of the financial interests of the Church are controlled from here, and I have thought we ought to have one in charge so that in the event of the sickness of the President they could carry on. If the President is sick, things would go forward any how…
President Clark: I have done all I can and will do all I can to carry on. I have a real affection for you. I have no desire except to help you and help carry on the Lord’s work. (35)

— Mar 22, 1951
[Henry D. Moyle] Spent afternoon helping Alberta prepare for dinner party
Pres Clark & Louise Bro & Sister Delbert Stapley
Spencer W. Kimball
Ezra Taft Benson
Thorpe B. Isaacson & wives attended as did Stanley McAllister of New York. (34)

— Apr 4, 1951
[Quorum of the Twelve] George Albert Smith dies. (14)

— Apr 8, 1951
[David O. McKay] “4:30 p.m.–Special council meeting was held in the Salt Lake Temple.  Presented to the Twelve the names of my counselors–Elder Stephen L. Richards as First Counselor, and Pres. J. Reuben Clark, Jr. as Second Counselor.” (36)

— Jun 7, 1951
First Presidency appoints three apostles to administer second anointings to designated couples. (20)

— Oct 11, 1951
Marion G. Romney is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (33)

— Oct 16,1951
Temple council of First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve Apostles and Patriarch to church decides to allow beer commercials on church-owned KSL television station. (26)

— April 5, 1952
Following a sermon that he sensed might be controversial [“Practices Which Endanger”] he confided to his diary in April 1952: “If I come in for criticism so be it, I spoke only of principles vital to the future of this nation.”  (37)

— Apr 10, 1952
LeGrand Richards is ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, replacing Joseph F. Merrill, who had passed away.


Next segment of the chronology


1 – Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Ezra Taft Benson,” Reed Benson and Sheri Dew, Daniel H. Ludlow (editor), New York: Macmillan, 1992
2 – Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Daniel H. Ludlow (editor), New York: Macmillan, 1992, Appendix 2: A Chronology of Church History
3 – Gary James Bergera, “Ezra Taft Benson’s 1921-23 Mission to England”, Journal of Mormon History 35:4 (Fall 2009)
4 – Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. (2014)
5 – Utah History Encyclopedia: Ezra Taft Benson
6 – “Prophecy and Modern Times,” by W. Cleon Skousen (Deseret Book)
7 – First Presidency, Letter to Ezra Taft Benson, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
8 – Ezra Taft Benson diary as quoted in Gary James Bergera, ‘”This Great Thing Which Has Come to Me a Humble, Weak Farmer Boy”: Ezra Taft Benson’s 1943 Call to the Apostleship’, Mormon Historical Studies (Fall 2008, v.9)
9 – Gary James Bergera, ‘”Rising above Principle”: Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 1’, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2008, v 41)
10 – Spencer W. Kimball Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
11 – George F. Richards diary, Oct. 7, 1943 as quoted in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History
12 – Gary James Bergera, ‘”This Great Thing Which Has Come to Me a Humble, Weak Farmer Boy”: Ezra Taft Benson’s 1943 Call to the Apostleship’, Mormon Historical Studies (Fall 2008, v.9)
13 – Joseph Fielding Smith Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
14 – Wikipedia, Chronology of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (LDS Church), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Quorum_of_the_Twelve_Apostles_(LDS_Church)
15 – Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/58765/Historical-chronology-of-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints.html
16 – Gary James Bergera, “Ezra Taft Benson’s 1946 Mission to Europe” Journal of Mormon History 34:2 (Spring 2008)
17 – Frank Evans Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
18 – McKay diary as cited in Gary James Bergera, “Ezra Taft Benson’s 1946 Mission to Europe” Journal of Mormon History 34:2 (Spring 2008)
19 – Benson to First Presidency as cited in Gary James Bergera, “Ezra Taft Benson’s 1946 Mission to Europe” Journal of Mormon History 34:2 (Spring 2008)
20 – On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
21 – Benson, Diary, October 24, 1946, and April 26, 1950. For context and full citation, see Gary James Bergera, “Weak-Kneed Republicans and Socialist Democrats”: Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 2, Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought, (Winter 2008, vol 41)
22 – Utah History Encyclopedia: Utah Republican Party
23 – Marquardt, H. Michael, Mormon Central: Excerpts From Minutes of the Council of the Twelve and of the First Presidency, 1879-1947 http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/chorg2.htm
24 – David O. McKay Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
25 – Clark Diary, September 22, 1947 as cited in Gary James Bergera, “Ezra Taft Benson’s 1946 Mission to Europe” Journal of Mormon History 34:2 (Spring 2008)
26 – Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Appendix 5, Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1848-1996
27 – David O. Mckay Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
28 – Wikipedia: “Ezra Taft Benson”
29 – Greg Prince, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism
30 – George F. Richards Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
31 – Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Letter to George Albert Smith, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
32 – Ezra Taft Benson, Diary, April 25, 1950. For context and full citation, see Gary James Bergera, “Weak-Kneed Republicans and Socialist Democrats”: Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 2, Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought, (Winter 2008, vol 41)
33 – Wikipedia, 20th Century (Mormonism), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th_century_(Mormonism)
34 – Henry D. Moyle Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
35 – George Albert Smith Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010
36 – McKay, David O., Office Journal
37 – Benson, Diary, April 5, 1952. For context and full cite, see Gary James Bergera, ‘”Rising above Principle”: Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 1’, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2008, v 41)


Next segment of the chronology


Ezra Taft Benson chronology: Early life, call to Apostleship & WWII Relief Mission — 3 Comments

  1. Clair, At the risk of sounding overly self-serving, I think this is great and provides important context in approaching Ezra Taft Benson’s contributions.

  2. Yes Gary. I hope this chronology can make his life more available to those who want to dive into his life. He certainly lived a fascinating life.