President Heber J. Grant

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 259–61


Introduction

“Heber J. Grant learned early that persistence is a prerequisite to success, and his life became an example of what can be accomplished through such discipline. … His persistence led to early business success and helped prepare him for the ministry he was called to at the age of twenty-six, when he became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. … He became President of the Church just twelve days after the close of the First World War in 1918, and he led the Church through the global depression that followed and the Second World War, dying just six days after the conclusion of the war in Europe in 1945. Amidst all of this turmoil, President Grant directed the growing missionary program, dedicated three temples, presided over the centennial celebration in 1930, and vigorously affirmed and reaffirmed such principles as the law of tithing, the Word of Wisdom, and industry and thrift” (My Kingdom Shall Roll Forth, 85).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • Prophets of God are called by revelation (see “President Heber J. Grant,” Student Study Guide, p. 192, par. 1–4; see also Articles of Faith 1:5).

  • The Church welfare program helps members become self-reliant. It blesses those who give as well as those who receive (see “President Heber J. Grant,” Student Study Guide, pp. 192–93, par. 5–7).

  • Gambling in any form is a sin (see “President Heber J. Grant,” Student Study Guide, pp. 193–94, par. 12).

  • Countries should avoid war. If members of the Church, while obeying their commanders, take the life of an enemy, that does not make them guilty of murder. We must not hate others, even in a war (see “President Heber J. Grant,” Student Study Guide, p. 194, par. 13–22).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 495–534.

Suggestions for Teaching

“President Heber J. Grant,” Student Study Guide, p. 192, par. 1–4. Prophets of God are called by revelation.

(10–15 minutes)

Discuss the following questions:

  • Who chooses each prophet? (The Lord.)

  • How early in a prophet’s life do you think the Lord knows that the man will eventually serve as prophet? (see Jeremiah 1:5; D&C 38:2).

  • In what ways do you think the Lord prepares each prophet?

Invite students to read paragraph 1 of “President Heber J. Grant” in the student study guide (p. 192) and look for how President Grant was prepared to serve as prophet. Have students read paragraphs 2–4 and find some early experiences from President Grant’s life that helped prepare him.

Invite a student to recite the fifth article of faith. Explain that for several months after President Grant was called to be an Apostle, he struggled with feelings of unworthiness. Finally, while meditating alone during a journey on the Navajo Indian Reservation, he received a vision concerning his call. Share President Grant’s account of this experience:

“I seemed to see a Council in Heaven. I seemed to hear the words that were spoken. I listened to the discussion with a great deal of interest. The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles had not been able to agree on two men to fill the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve. There had been a vacancy of one for two years, and a vacancy of two for one year, and the Conference had adjourned without the vacancies being filled. In this Council the Savior was present, my father [President Jedediah M. Grant, who had served in the First Presidency] was there, and the Prophet Joseph Smith was there. They discussed the question that a mistake had been made in not filling those two vacancies and that in all probability it would be another six months before the Quorum would be completed, and they discussed as to whom they wanted to occupy those positions, and decided that the way to remedy the mistake that had been made in not filling these vacancies was to send a revelation. It was given to me that the Prophet Joseph Smith and my father mentioned me and requested that I be called to that position. I sat there and wept for joy. It was given to me that I had done nothing to entitle me to that exalted position, except that I had lived a clean, sweet life. … It was because of their faithful labors that I was called, and not because of anything I had done of myself or any great thing that I had accomplished. It was also given to me that that was all these men, the Prophet and my father, could do for me; from that day it depended upon me and upon me alone as to whether I made a success of my life or a failure” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1941, 5).

Share your testimony that the prophets who lead the Church are called of God by prophecy.

“President Heber J. Grant,” Student Study Guide, pp. 192–93, par. 5–7. The Church welfare program helps members become self-reliant. It blesses those who give as well as those who receive.

(15–20 minutes)

Have a student come to the front of the class, and invite the class to imagine that this student has a broken leg. Wrap the student’s leg with a bandage or splint. Discuss the following questions:

  • Why do doctors use casts or splints to help those with broken bones?

  • What happens to a person’s leg muscle while the person is wearing a cast?

  • After the cast is removed, what does the leg that was in the cast look like compared to the other leg? (It has grown smaller and weaker.)

  • What has to be done to return the leg to full strength?

Give the “broken-legged” student a pair of crutches, a cane, or a walking stick. Ask the class:

  • In what ways do crutches or canes help someone with a broken leg?

  • Why don’t doctors suggest that those with broken legs be carried everywhere by someone else?

Point out that walking is sometimes painful after a cast is removed. Ask: What would happen if someone who had just had a cast removed decided never to walk again?

Read paragraph 5 of “President Heber J. Grant” in the student study guide (pp. 192–93) and look for conditions in the world in the 1930s. Ask:

  • How would the Great Depression have been hard for people?

  • What circumstances cause financial hardship today?

  • Why can it be difficult for families to overcome financial hardship?

  • What did the Lord reveal to President Grant to help those in need?

  • What goals did the First Presidency outline for the welfare program?

  • How could the welfare program be compared to crutches or exercising a broken leg?

  • Why is it important that people work for what they receive?

Have students read paragraphs 6–7. Identify what welfare services are available to Saints where you live. (You could contact a priesthood leader in advance to learn what is available in your area.) Discuss how these services could benefit those in need.

“President Heber J. Grant,” Student Study Guide, pp. 193–94, par. 12. Gambling in any form is a sin.

(10–15 minutes)

Ask students: What does the Church teach about gambling? Have them read paragraph 12 of “President Heber J. Grant” in the student study guide (pp. 193–94), and ask:

  • Why do you think the Church is “unalterably opposed to gambling”?

  • Why is the “getting something for nothing” attitude in opposition to the teachings of the gospel? (see Genesis 3:19; D&C 130:20–21).

  • What can you do to show support for the Church’s stance on gambling?

Have students read the following scriptures and tell how they relate to this topic: Matthew 6:33; 1 Timothy 6:9–10; 2 Nephi 9:28, 30; Jacob 2:17–19; Doctrine and Covenants 117:4.

“President Heber J. Grant,” Student Study Guide, p. 194, par. 13–22. Countries should avoid war. If members of the Church, while obeying their commanders, take the life of an enemy, that does not make them guilty of murder. We must not hate others, even in a war.

(10–15 minutes)

Read the following incident related by Spencer W. Kimball, who later became President of the Church:

“One Christmas during the [First] World War, when no-man’s-land between the trenches was white with snow, the troops in a certain ‘quiet sector’ began to exchange holiday greetings by means of crudely painted signs. A few minutes later, men who spoke German and men who spoke English were climbing from their trenches without guns and meeting on neutral ground to shake hands and exchange souvenirs, unmindful of war. No venom, no meanness, no poisonous hatred between these men at war. Friends they were, not enemies, this Christmas Day. For the moment, blessed forgetfulness erased from their memory the [leaders] who drove them into bloody conflict” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball [1982], 419).

Ask:

  • What does this illustrate about human nature throughout the world?

  • What do you think happened in the trenches of World War I in the days following that Christmas?

  • Do any of you have relatives who have fought in a war? What have they said about it?

  • What questions do you have about the Church’s position on war?

Explain that in 1942 the First Presidency issued a statement to help members of the Church deal with difficult questions on war. Read paragraphs 13–22 of “President Heber J. Grant” in the student study guide (p. 194). Ask:

  • What questions does this statement answer?

  • What comfort does it give?

Discuss this statement, and compare it with Alma 48:7–15; Doctrine and Covenants 98:33–38.