“President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988)” Ensign, Aug. 2010, 72
Great Lives Remembered
President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988)
Marion G. Romney was born in the Latter-day Saint community of Colonia Juárez in Mexico and lived there until he was about 15 years old. A political revolution that began in 1910 forced the Romneys and others to leave everything behind and flee to the United States. “We had a difficult time making a living,” President Romney recalled. “We had to root hog or die.”1 (“Root hog or die” is an American saying that means one must take care of oneself.)
During those difficult years, while living in Oakley, Idaho, Marion’s father and uncle pooled their families’ resources. One month they had just 80 dollars to pay for the needs of 17 people in the two families. Would the Lord understand if they didn’t pay tithing right now? They answered the question by sending young Marion on a cold winter day to deliver the tithing to the bishop. After that, he said, it would never be that hard again to pay tithing.
Marion G. Romney knew both poverty and hard work. He graduated from high school in 1918, attended Ricks College for two years, and then served a mission in Australia. After his mission he married Ida Jensen in the Salt Lake Temple in 1924. While working, he attended Brigham Young University and later passed the bar exam in 1929 in order to practice law.
As a bishop in Salt Lake City during the depths of the Great Depression, he became heavily involved in the development of the Church’s welfare system. Later, as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and then as an Apostle, he continued to help refine and oversee that program.
From 1972 to 1985 he served in the First Presidency as a counselor to President Harold B. Lee and then to President Spencer W. Kimball. President Romney was President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when he passed away at age 90.