The Times of the Prophets


President Gordon B. Hinckley is not the only prophet who has presided over interesting times in the world. All the latter-day prophets have seen the world go through many changes in their lifetimes. We sometimes think of Church history separate from world history or from the other events during those times. This time line of the prophets’ lives not only contains fun and interesting facts, it will help you learn more about the latter-day prophets and the times they lived in. Who was the prophet when the Titanic sank? What was the most popular music when George Albert Smith was prophet? And who was the LDS farm boy who thought up the idea of television? Keep reading to find out.

Joseph Smith (1805–44)

During His Lifetime

1827–29 Translates the Book of Mormon in about 60 working days

1830 Organizes the Church of Christ

1842 Organizes the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo

News

1805 Napoleon is crowned king of Italy

1812–14 Americans and British fight the War of 1812 over freedom of the seas

Inventions

1810 Tin cans are invented. You had to use a hammer and chisel to get them open. Can openers didn’t come along until about 50 years later

Sports

1823 Legend has it that when a player at the Rugby School of England picked up a soccer ball mid-game and ran with it, the idea for rugby was born

Entertainment

1805 Hans Christian Andersen, famous fairy tale writer, is born

1808 Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony premiers in Vienna, Austria

Food and Fashion

Early 1800s Ponytails and powdered wigs for men are going out of style

Brigham Young (1801–77)

During His Lifetime

1844 Becomes the head Apostle of the Church when the Prophet Joseph Smith is martyred

1847 Comes to the Salt Lake Valley with the first party of Saints. A few days after his arrival, he indicates where the Salt Lake Temple will be built

1851 Becomes governor of the Utah Territory

News

1815 Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo

1845 James K. Polk becomes the 11th U.S. President

1854 Crimean War begins

Inventions

Late 1840s Chicle (a kind of tree sap) gave Thomas Adams the idea for modern-day chewing gum. We started getting it stuck in our hair shortly after that

Sports

1855 The first modern game of ice hockey is played in Ontario, Canada

Entertainment

1813 Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is published

Food and Fashion

1842 A gelatin dessert, which later evolved into Jell–O, is patented in LeRoy, New York. Lime flavoring didn’t come along until 1930

John Taylor (1808–87)

During His Lifetime

1836 Is baptized a member of the Church

1842 Becomes the editor for the Times and Seasons, a Church newspaper

1880 Is sustained as the President of the Church. As an Apostle he had helped organize Church branches all over England

News

1861–65 American Civil War

1882 Italy, Austria–Hungary, and Germany form a Triple Alliance

Inventions

1876 Alexander Bell patents the telephone (to the delight of teenage girls everywhere)

1876 Melvil Dewey’s decimal system is introduced (to the delight of librarians everywhere)

Sports

1877 The first Wimbledon tennis championships are held in England. Smashing!

Entertainment

1883 The Metropolitan Opera House opens in New York City

1876 Peter Tchaikovsky composes Swan Lake

Food and Fashion

1865 Beards are popular, as are collars, cravats, and waistcoats, no matter how hot it is

Wilford Woodruff (1807–98)

During His Lifetime

1834 Travels with Zion’s Camp

1889 Is sustained as fourth President of the Church

1890 Receives the revelation ending plural marriage among the Saints

1893 Dedicates the Salt Lake Temple

News

1884 Greenwich mean time is adopted. The International Date Line and 24 time zones are set

Inventions

1879 Light bulbs could start going off over other inventors’ heads because they are finally invented by Thomas Edison

Sports

1891 Basketball is invented by James Naismith

Entertainment

1887 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes his first book featuring Sherlock Holmes

1889 Vincent VanGogh paints his Starry Night

Food and Fashion

1873 Levi Strauss makes jeans out of a new fabric from Genoa, Italy. They become popular with miners and cowboys

Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901)

During His Lifetime

1849 After being ordained an Apostle, he is the Church’s first missionary to Italy

1898 Is sustained as Church President. He emphasizes the importance of paying tithing during his presidency

1901 Dies, having seen Church membership reach almost 300,000

News

1894 Nicholas II begins his reign as Russia’s last czar. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 follows his overthrow

Inventions

1878 The microphone is invented

1898 Put your hands in the air for Edwin Prescott, who patented the roller coaster

Sports

1895 Volleyball is invented in Holyoke, Massachusetts

1896 First modern Olympics are held in Athens, Greece

Entertainment

1897 The first color comic strip, The Katzenjammer Kids, is published in New York

Food and Fashion

1893 The zipper is patented, but it’s not put to practical use until about 1919

Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918)

During His Lifetime

1848 Helps his mother cross the plains in a covered wagon

1854 Receives a mission call to Hawaii when only 15

1901 Is sustained as Church President

1918 Receives a vision of the redemption of the dead (see D&C 138)

News

1898 Spanish-American war begins

1912 The Titanic sinks after colliding with an iceberg

Inventions

1899 The simple but effective paper clip is invented

1908 Henry Ford’s Model-T cars start rolling off the assembly line

Sports

1903 First Tour de France bicycle race

Entertainment

1905–15 Lots of “animal dances” start to show up—the fox trot, the bunny hop, the snake dip …

Food and Fashion

1905 Charles Nestle introduces the permanent wave (or “perm,” to make your hair curly) in London

Heber J. Grant (1856–1945)

During His Lifetime

1856 Is born in Salt Lake City, Utah

1882 Is ordained an Apostle at the age of 25

1901–03 Presides over the mission in Japan, before presiding over the British and European missions

1918 Is sustained as seventh Church President. He also becomes the editor of the Improvement Era

News

1914 World War I starts in Europe. It ends in 1918

1918 An influenza pandemic—the worst disease outbreak since the Black Death—kills more than 20 million people worldwide

Inventions

1920 Earle Dickson invents adhesive bandages to cover the cuts of his accident-prone wife

Sports

1911 First Indianapolis 500 race. Gentlemen, start your engines!

Entertainment

1920s Cool cats all over the United States start to dig Jazz music

Food and Fashion

1909 Talk about a sugar rush! In the early 1900s Americans ate about 65 pounds (30 kg) of sugar per person each year! Unfortunately, that number doubles by the end of the century

George Albert Smith (1870–1951)

During His Lifetime

1892 Receives a call to the Southern States Mission. Before that, he worked as a traveling salesman in his youth

1945 Is sustained as Church President. He helps Church members in Europe to recover from World War II. He also builds up the Church’s family history program

1951 Dies after many years of service. He was known for his kindness and was featured in Time magazine in 1947

News

1929 A stock market crash on “Black Tuesday” signals the start of America’s Great Depression

Inventions

1927 Philo T. Farnsworth, an LDS farm boy, patents the television. He invented the idea when he was a teenager

Sports

1930 Uruguay hosts the first World Cup soccer competition

1934 Babe Ruth hits his 700th home run

Entertainment

1935 Swing is fast becoming the popular music among the younger generation

Food and Fashion

1940–42 U.S. begins to ration sugar. Britain also rations food and clothes in war time

David O. McKay (1873–1970)

During His Lifetime

1897 Is called on a mission to Great Britain

1899 Begins teaching at Weber Academy in Ogden, Utah. He loves to teach and always stresses the importance of education

1951 Becomes ninth Church President and emphasizes that every member should be a missionary

News

1941 Pearl Harbor is bombed, bringing the U.S. into World War II, which doesn’t end until 1945

Inventions

1946 Hungry children everywhere are now fed hot food because of Percy Spencer’s invention—the microwave oven

Sports

1947 An English race car driver sets a ground speed record of about 394 mph (634 kph). Today’s ground speed record is more than 700 mph (1,120 kph)

Entertainment

1951 The U.S. has its first color television broadcast

Food and Fashion

Early1940s People all over the U.S. and Canada planted victory gardens to help with war-time food production

Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972)

During His Lifetime

1910 Is ordained an Apostle by his father, Joseph F. Smith

1972 Dies two and a half years after being sustained President of the Church. He is remembered for his great gospel knowledge and the many books he wrote

News

1950–53 Korean War

1957 Laika, a small dog, becomes the first living creature in space when the Soviet Union launches Sputnik II

Inventions

1951 Super glue starts to stick things together

1958 The modem is invented. Do you have mail?

Sports

1958 Bobby Fischer becomes the youngest chess grand master

1959 The first commercial skateboards are sold

Entertainment

1950s Rock n’ Roll isn’t called “oldies” in the 50s. The cha-cha and the stroll are popular dances

Food and Fashion

1950s Poodle skirts, bobby socks, and ponytails are cool

Harold B. Lee (1899–1973)

During His Lifetime

1941 Is 42 when ordained an Apostle. The other Apostles call him “the kid” because he is so young

1972 Is sustained as the 11th President of the Church. He emphasizes the home and family. Under his direction, the Church’s correlation program and welfare system are developed

News

1961 Berlin Wall is built to prevent East Germans from fleeing west

1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

Inventions

1963–64 The first prototype for a computer mouse is developed

Sports

1961 Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle make headlines as they hit one home run after another. Maris came out on top with 61 home runs

Entertainment

1960s British musicians invade the American music market

Food and Fashion

1967 More than 5 billion cans of soda are consumed in the U.S. alone

Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)

During His Lifetime

1914 Serves in the Central States Mission

1973 Is sustained as Church President. He is known for encouraging Church members to “lengthen your stride” and to do family history work

1978 Receives revelation that all worthy males can be ordained to the priesthood (see Official Declaration 2)

News

1974 U.S. President Richard Nixon resigns

1973 Energy crisis in England, U.S., and Japan causes cuts in heating and transportation

Inventions

1972 The first video game is invented and marketed to the public

Sports

1975 The first woman to reach the top of Mt. Everest is from Japan

Entertainment

1970s Disco reigns supreme, and teens do dances like the hustle

1973 Sydney Opera House opens

Food and Fashion

1970s Bell bottoms, large floral prints, clogs … need we go on? You could probably just go look at some of your parents’ high school yearbooks

Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)

During His Lifetime

1943 Is ordained an Apostle and sent to Europe to help Church members recover from WW II. He encourages Church members to read the Book of Mormon

1952 Becomes U.S. National Secretary of Agriculture, making the cover of Time magazine

1985 Becomes 13th Church President

News

1981 The space shuttle Columbia is the first to orbit the earth

1986 The world’s worst nuclear disaster happens at Chernobyl, USSR

Inventions

1979 Scott Olson creates modern in-line skates

1988 Doppler radar is refined. Weather is still not predictable

Sports

1984 Viv Richards, of the West Indies, scores the highest-ever innings in a limited-overs international cricket game—189 not out

Entertainment

1980s Rap music and break dancing become popular, and they’re still around

Food and Fashion

1980s Stonewashed jeans are new! Tube socks, leg warmers, argyle sweater vests … Aren’t you glad it’s 2005?

Howard W. Hunter (1907–95)

During His Lifetime

1939 Graduates from law school

1959 Is ordained an Apostle. He oversees the building of the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies

1995 Dies after serving as President of the Church for only nine months. But during that time he pleaded that all Church members be temple worthy, even if they did not have a temple close by

News

1989 The fall of the Berlin wall signals the eventual breakup of the Soviet Union

Inventions

Early1990s The protocol and language for the World Wide Web are created

Sports

1990 Ty Detmer, then quarterback for Brigham Young University, wins the Heisman Memorial Trophy for being the best college football player in America

Entertainment

Early 1990s CDs replace vinyl albums on a large scale

Food and Fashion

1990s Fashionable items include baggy jeans, baby doll dresses, and cargo pants

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910– )

During His Lifetime

1933 Is called to serve a mission to England

1961 Is ordained an Apostle. He served as a counselor to three Church Presidents.

1995 Is sustained as President of the Church. Under his leadership, more than 70 temples have been built. He is known for his tremendous optimism, faith, and sense of humor

News

1997 England turns Hong Kong over to China

2001 Terrorists crash planes into the World Trade Towers in New York City

Inventions

1995 DVDs are invented

Sports

1998 The home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa results in both men breaking Roger Maris’s 1961 record

Entertainment

Late1990s MP3 and other digital music formats become popular with help from the Internet

Food and Fashion

Now you’ve seen today’s fashions, and you only wear the good stuff. And one day your children will look at your yearbooks and laugh too

[photos] Photographs used by permission of Hulton Archive/Getty Images, Utah State Historical Society, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Brigham Young University, and the Church News, all rights reserved, may not be copied; illustrations and photography by Larry Winborg, Jed Clark, Craig Dimond, Scott Greer, Glen Hopkinson, John Luke, Paul Mann, Del Parson, John Telford, Mark Philbrick/BYU, and Val Chadwick Bagley; model of the Model-T Ford courtesy of www.mrshobby.com; model of the Titanic courtesy of Great Salt Lake Whaling Company