91970_000_002(Adapted from an October 1990 general conference address, See Ensign, November, 1990, pages 41–42.)We Thank thee, O God, for a prophet (Hymns, 1985, no. 19).
A wise man once said, “When a wrong wants righting, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent wants discovering (or, we might add, people need to be urged to read the Book of Mormon), God sends a baby into the world to do it” (See Conference Report, April 1960, page 84).
And so it was that on August 4, 1899, Ezra Taft Benson was born.
Almost 22 years later, in the summer of 1921, Ezra was called on a mission to Great Britain. He studied and worked hard, but wrote in his journal that he was disgusted with his “frail attempt at speaking.”
He was invited to speak at the South Shields Branch on the Apostasy but felt impressed to speak on the Book of Mormon, instead. He later recalled, “I spoke with a freedom I had never experienced. Afterward, I couldn’t recall what I had said, but several nonmembers surrounded me and said, ‘Tonight we received a witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and we are ready for baptism.’ … I knew that the Lord was with me.” (Sheri L. Dew, Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987, page 55.)
Today, thousands have had a spiritual awakening because they are studying and following the teachings of the Book of Mormon as the prophet has asked. Thousands feel that they have received a special personal message from the prophet as he has spoken to Church members of all ages.
Thousands are better people because they have stripped themselves of pride, as counseled by this great prophet.
I bear witness that Ezra Taft Benson was born to be a prophet, has lived so that he could be a prophet, and has been called of God to be a prophet in our day.