Teachings of Presidents
Historical Summary

“Historical Summary,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson (2014), ix–xi

“Historical Summary,” Teachings: Ezra Taft Benson, ix–xi

Historical Summary

The following chronology provides a brief historical framework for the teachings of President Ezra Taft Benson in this book.

August 4, 1899

Born near Whitney, Idaho, to George Taft Benson Jr. and Sara Dunkley Benson.

1912 to 1913

Assumes many responsibilities at home while his father serves a mission in the northern United States.

1914 to 1919

Attends and graduates from Oneida Stake Academy in Preston, Idaho.


Called to serve as an assistant Scoutmaster (a leader of young men) in his ward in Whitney.


Meets Flora Smith Amussen, his future wife.


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

July 13, 1921

Ordained an elder by his father.

July 15, 1921, to November 2, 1923

Serves as a full-time missionary in the British Mission.

August 25, 1924, to June 1926

Flora serves a full-time mission in the Hawaiian Islands.

Fall 1924

Joins his brother Orval in purchasing the family farm in Whitney.

Spring 1926

Graduates from Brigham Young University.

September 10, 1926

Marries Flora in the Salt Lake Temple.

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.

June 1927

Moves back to the family farm in Whitney.


Accepts employment as the county agricultural agent for Franklin County, Idaho. Leaves the farm and moves to nearby Preston, Idaho.

1930 to 1939

Employed as an agricultural economist and specialist with the University of Idaho Extension Division.

January 1935 to November 1938

Serves as first counselor in the stake presidency of the Boise Stake.

November 1938 to March 1939

Serves as president of the Boise Stake.

1939 to 1943

Works as executive secretary for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington, D.C. Lives with his family in Bethesda, Maryland.

June 1940

Called to serve as president of the Washington Stake in Washington, D.C.

July 26, 1943

Called to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

October 7, 1943

Ordained an Apostle and set apart as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by President Heber J. Grant.

January 1946 to December 1946

Serves as president of the European Mission, helping to bring temporal and spiritual relief to Latter-day Saints after the devastation of World War II.

July 16, 1946

Dedicates Finland for the preaching of the gospel.

January 1953 to January 1961

Serves as the United States secretary of agriculture under the leadership of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

January 1964 to September 1965

Serves again as president of the European Mission.

November 10, 1966

Rededicates Italy for the preaching of the gospel.

April 14, 1969

Dedicates Singapore for the preaching of the gospel.

October 26, 1969

Dedicates Indonesia for the preaching of the gospel.

December 30, 1973

Set apart as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

November 10, 1985

Set apart as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

October 24, 1986

Dedicates the Denver Colorado Temple.

August 28, 1987

Dedicates the Frankfurt Germany Temple. (Nine temples were dedicated during his service as President of the Church.)

October 2, 1988

Delivers his final general conference address in person. (After October 1988, his frail physical health prevented him from speaking at general conference. His counselors in the First Presidency read sermons on his behalf or quoted messages he had given in past addresses.)

August 14, 1992

Mourns the death of his wife, Flora.

May 30, 1994

Dies at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, about two months before his 95th birthday.