“President and Sister Benson Celebrate 60th Wedding Anniversary,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 99
On September 10, President and Sister Ezra Taft Benson celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary in Salt Lake City with a family luncheon at the Lion House.
“We’re still in love,” the Bensons affirmed after sixty years together. “We loved each other when we were married, and we still love each other.” President Benson and his wife, Flora Amussen Benson, were married 10 September 1926 in the Salt Lake Temple.
President Benson recalled that he was spending a weekend with his friends in Logan, Utah, when he first saw his future bride. “We were out near the dairy barns when a young woman—very attractive—drove by in her little car on her way to the dairy to get some milk,” he remembered. “As the boys waved at her, she waved back. I said, ‘Who is that girl?’ They said, ‘That’s Flora Amussen.’ I told them, ‘You know, I’ve just had the impression I’m going to marry her’.”
His friends laughed and told him, “She’s too popular for a farm boy.” Young Ezra simply said, “That makes it all the more interesting.”
After a “wonderful courtship,” he was called on a mission to Great Britain. Flora had graduated from Brigham Young College (which offered a high school curriculum from 1909 until it closed in 1926) and would be attending Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University).
“When I came back, we resumed our courting,” President Benson related. “Then, to my great surprise, Flora received a mission call to go to the Hawaiian Islands. I was really pleased to see her have this opportunity to go. She saw it as an opportunity for me to graduate from college.”
Brother Benson graduated from Brigham Young University in 1926, the same year Sister Benson completed her mission. They married when she returned, and the couple moved to Ames, Iowa, where President Benson had been granted a seventy-dollar-a-month scholarship to study agriculture at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University).
After Brother Benson finished his graduate studies and received his master’s degree in 1929, the Bensons moved to an eighty-acre farm near Whitney, Idaho. Brother Benson became a county agricultural agent, an Extension Service economist, and a marketing specialist for the University of Idaho. In 1939, he was appointed executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and moved with his family to Washington, D.C. His call to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1943 took him back to Salt Lake City. Elder Benson returned to Washington in 1953 to serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for the next eight years.
In Washington, both Elder and Sister Benson were known for often forgoing social affairs of state to be with their family. “That was true,” he admitted with a smile. “And even more so with my wife. I saw her turn down many White House invitations because the children needed her at home.
“The greatest blessing of our lives has been our children,” he added. “We set our goal for twelve, but the Lord sent us only six—two sons and four daughters—and they’ve been a delight and a joy.”
He served as stake president in Boise, Idaho, and later became the first president of the Washington D.C. Stake. President Benson was ordained to the Council of the Twelve on 7 October 1943. He was sent to reopen the European Mission in 1946, with the additional assignment to help alleviate postwar suffering there. He was named President of the Council of the Twelve on 30 December 1973 and was ordained and set apart as President of the Church 10 November 1985.
“We’ve had a very happy life together,” President Benson pointed out. “I hope I can always live to be worthy of my eternal companion. She says to the children and grandchildren, ‘I am so thankful for my wonderful husband. He is so kind and thoughtful of me.’ As I hear her say this, I have the prayer in my heart that I can always live to be worthy of this choice daughter of our Heavenly Father, whom he has given to me as my eternal companion.”