More than half of his ninety years have been spent as a Church leader, with eight years of highly prominent government service. The following are scenes from those forty-six years.
Ezra Taft Benson was born into a family line strong in the gospel. He grew up to be a strong leader in his own family, strong in the Church, and strong in the United States government as a cabinet officer of the Eisenhower administration. And at ninety, he is still going strong!
Latter-day Saints throughout the world wish President Benson well this month and continue to pray for him as he reaches his nine-decade milestone on August 4.
President Benson was born on an Idaho farm in 1899, the great-grandson of an early member of the Quorum of the Twelve, whose name he bears. Even as a boy, he exhibited the same spiritual strength and integrity of his grandfathers and father, and the love and commitment to gospel principles of his grandmothers and mother.
There was a boldness about Ezra Taft Benson that distinguished him as a young missionary, then later as U. S. secretary of agriculture. He served eight years in the latter capacity under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and though there were those who disagreed with his policies or positions, no one ever doubted his devotion to God and country.
But his sweet boldness has been most powerfully felt in his Church service. Even before his call to the Quorum of the Twelve in October 1943, it was clear to anyone whose life he touched that Ezra Taft Benson’s first loyalty was to the Lord. Certain of the Source of his calling, he moved forward without fear or reluctance, whatever the assignment.
Today, ever since his ordination as President of the Church on 10 November 1985, President Benson has clearly charted the way for Latter-day Saints worldwide. His has been an unwavering call for members to know and use the Book of Mormon more fully, for each of us to reach out more lovingly and effectively to brothers and sisters inside and outside the Church, and for Latter-day Saints worldwide to live more confidently and fully the truths we know to be divine.
The following photographs give a glimpse into the past forty-six years of President Benson’s life.