Harold Bingham Lee

Harold B. Lee, eleventh President of the Church, was born in Clifton, Idaho, on 28 March 1899. In their home, the Lee family had a piano, and Harold grew to love music at an early age. He learned to play both the piano and the organ. Later on, he played the slide trombone in a dance orchestra to earn extra money.

When he was 17, the future prophet became a schoolteacher. And when he was 18, he was asked to be the principal of a four-room school. After teaching for four years, Harold B. Lee was called by Church President Heber J. Grant (1856–1945) to serve in the Western States Mission. When he returned from his mission, he continued his teaching career and later served on the Salt Lake City Commission. After the Great Depression began, he was asked, while serving as a stake president, to establish what is now the Church welfare program.

At age 42, Harold B. Lee was called as an Apostle, and he was ordained President of the Church in 1972. He died a short year and a half later at age 74. Of President Lee, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “He … never blanched from his responsibility as a servant of God in bearing testimony of the truth” (quoted in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2000], xviii).

It Happened in March

26 March 1830: The first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon were printed in Palmyra, New York, by E. B. Grandin at a cost of U.S. $3,000.

18 March 1833: The First Presidency was organized when the Prophet Joseph Smith set apart Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams to be his counselors.

March 1839: While in Liberty Jail, the Prophet Joseph Smith pleaded with the Lord regarding the suffering of the Saints. A portion of his prayer, revelation, and prophecies is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 121, 122, and 123. [D&C 121; D&C 122; D&C 123]

17 March 1842: The Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society. Emma Smith served as its first president.

12 March 1961: The Church’s first non-English-speaking stake was organized in The Hague, Netherlands.

Leadership Tip

Be on time—to class, to meetings, to everything. Or better yet, be a little early. Not only do you set an example, you also give yourself time to ponder, pray, or prepare. It can be difficult to feel the Spirit when you are in a rush, so set a goal to always be on time.

Harold B. Lee at the piano, surrounded by four other Apostles: Mark E. Petersen, Matthew Cowley, Spencer W. Kimball, and Ezra Taft Benson.

Above, from left: photograph of Book of Mormon by Craig Dimond; portraits of Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, and Frederick G. Williams; Joseph in Liberty Jail, by Liz Lemon Swindle; Organization of the Relief Society, by Nadine Barton; photograph of teaching by Matthew Reier, posed by models