From the Life of President Heber J. Grant


Called to Serve

Adapted from Presidents of the Church (Church Educational System student manual, 1979), 72–74.

As a young man, Heber J. Grant became seriously ill. He feared that he would die.

Heber: Heavenly Father, if I am allowed to live, I promise I’ll be willing to go to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel.

Heber recovered, and in 1901 he was able to keep his promise when President Lorenzo Snow called him as a missionary.

President Snow: You are called to be the first missionary in Japan. It will not be easy, but the Lord has revealed that it is your duty. Will you go?

Heber: Yes, President Snow.

Heber and his companions first needed to get permission to preach in the country. They were interviewed in newspapers and magazines. They gave a good impression, and they were eventually given permission to preach.

Heber served in Japan for two years but saw very few people baptized and never learned the language very well. One day when he was discouraged, he went into the woods to pray.

Heber: If it is Thy will, when my mission in Japan is finished, I would like to serve a mission in Europe.

Three days later, Heber was called home to Utah by President Joseph F. Smith.

President Smith: Welcome home, Elder Grant. But you won’t be here long—your next call is to serve as president of the European Mission.

While in Europe, Heber met King Oscar of Sweden and Norway.

King Oscar: Emigrants from here are happier in Utah than anywhere else in the United States. As long as I am king, your people will have religious freedom here.

Heber J. Grant served as a missionary for five years. When he came home, he didn’t stop preaching the gospel. He traveled to stake conferences and taught Church members about the importance of the Word of Wisdom and many other principles of the gospel.