J. Reuben Clark Jr.: A Man of Uncommon Gifts
April 2011

“J. Reuben Clark Jr.: A Man of Uncommon Gifts,” Liahona, Apr. 2011, 9

Great Lives Remembered

J. Reuben Clark Jr.: A Man of Uncommon Gifts

Joshua Reuben Clark Jr. was born in Grantsville, Utah, on September 1, 1871. Though he had little formal education and was unable to attend high school, his mother had tutored him, and he loved learning. He graduated first in his class from the University of Utah with a bachelor of science degree and went on to receive a law degree from Columbia University law school in New York City.

Brother Clark married Luacine Annetta Savage in the Salt Lake Temple in 1898, and they became the parents of four children.

Armed with his law degree and a brilliant mind, J. Reuben Clark Jr. went on to a distinguished legal and civil service career that culminated in his being named U.S. ambassador to Mexico in 1930. That career ended, however, when Brother Clark was sustained as Second Counselor to President Heber J. Grant in the First Presidency on April 6, 1933. Although he was a high priest at the time, he was not a General Authority. He was ordained an Apostle when he was subsequently sustained as First Counselor to President Grant in October 1934. President Clark went on to serve as a counselor to Presidents George Albert Smith and David O. McKay.

Among his many contributions to the Church, one that stands out is the example of humility he set when David O. McKay became President of the Church. He called President Clark to be his Second Counselor. Because President Clark had been serving as First Counselor in previous First Presidencies, some apparently thought he had been slighted, but President Clark explained: “In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one takes the place to which one is duly called, which place one neither seeks nor declines.”1

President Clark died on October 6, 1961.


  1. J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 154.

The First Presidency in 1945 (from left): J. Reuben Clark Jr., Heber J. Grant, and David O. McKay.

President Clark (left) with Lamont Toronto, mission president.