Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Ezra Taft Benson

1899 - 1994
  • Born 1899 Whitney, Idaho
  • Mission to England 1921-23
  • Married Flora Smith Amussen 1926, Salt Lake Temple; six children
  • President of Washington DC Stake 1940-1943
  • Ordained  Apostle and called to the Twelve 1943-1985
  • President of European Mission 1945
  • Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower 1952-60
  • President of the Quorum of the Twelve 1973-1985
  • Thirteenth President of the Church 1985-1994
  • Died 1994 Salt Lake City, Utah

    President Benson was born August 4, 1899, in Whitney, Idaho, the oldest of eleven children born to George Taft Benson, Jr., and Sarah Dunkley. He was named after his great-grandfather, Ezra T. (Taft) Benson, an apostle, who entered the Salt Lake Valley with the first Mormon pioneer company in July 1847. Ezra learned farming at an early age, driving a team of horses at the age of five, milking cows and cultivating the sugar beet crop.

    His father engendered a love of missionary work in his family and left them for a spell to serve his own mission in the Northern States. The Benson kids learned well. Each of the eleven served at least one mission.  Ezra served in England and later as President of the European Mission.

    Ezra pursued his avocation of farming by studying agriculture in college. He graduated with honors from Brigham Young University with a major in animal husbandry and a minor in agronomy. He was President of the Agricultural Club and the Men's Glee Club. He was named the Most Popular Man on Campus.

    Ezra married Flora Smith Amussen in the Salt Lake Temple on September 10, 1926. Of his wife, President Benson said, "She had more faith in me than I had in myself" One Church leader commented that if there were more women in the Church like Sister Benson, there would be more men in the Church like Brother Benson. They became the parents of six children—Reed, Mark, Barbara, Beverly, Bonnie, and Beth.

Ezra Taft Benson and Family

    Ezra received a research scholarship which allowed him to continue his education at Iowa State University where he took his Master's Degree in Agricultural Economics. He then returned to his home in Idaho and purchased the family farm from his father. He became the Agricultural Agent for the county and often helped his neighbors in such areas as crop rotation, using high yield seeds, and irrigation techniques. He was shortly called to the University of Idaho to a position where he could teach farming around the state. In April 1939, he became executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The council represented some 4,000 cooperative purchasing and marketing organizations involving almost 1.6 million farmers. His growing expertise was being utilized on a larger stage. More was yet to come.

    In 1940, he was called as the first President of the newly formed Washington DC Stake and in 1943 to the Holy Apostleship. At the end of World War II, he was called to be President of the European Mission with the twin responsibilities of seeing to the spiritual needs of the saints and bringing much needed supplies to help the devastated continent overcome the ravages of war.

    In 1952 the newly elected president, Dwight David Eisenhower,  requested Ezra to serve as the Secretary of Agriculture for the United States. Ezra was reluctant to mix Church and State but President David O. McKay urged him to accept. He served with honor and integrity for the entire eight years of President Eisenhower's two term. Although there was a firestorm of criticism as he sought to dismantle the bloated bureaucracy that had overseen agriculture during the war, no one ever questioned Secretary Benson's integrity.

    Ezra Taft Benson became an author of note, writing on agricultural techniques, agricultural economics, and his experiences in the Department of Agriculture. Better known are such works as The Red Carpet (1962), Title of Liberty (1964), and An Enemy Hath Done This (1969) in which he warns of a worldwide Gadianton (Click here for a free copy of the Book of Mormon if you are not familiar with the term Gadianton.)  conspiracy to enslave the world.

    Elder Benson became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in December of 1973 with the death of President Harold B. Lee and the elevation of President Spencer W. Kimball.

    Upon the death of President Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson became President of the Church on November 10, 1985, at the age of eighty-six. At that time he delivered a statement reiterating the mission of the Church—to preach the gospel, perfect the Saints, and redeem the dead—and reaffirming that the Church is led by the Lord Jesus Christ. Though many had thought he would be a strict authoritarian President, one of his first acts was to issue a gentle invitation to those who had gone astray to "come back."

    He selected Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson to be his counselors, and as his health failed, the day-to-day governance of the Church largely fell on their shoulders. His administration continued for nine years though his was a silent voice in the last years. There are those who feel (Grampa Bill is one) that his voice was silenced because the Saints failed to heed his warnings and take to heart his counsel.

    Ezra Taft Benson died May 30, 1994 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

   Don L. Searle, “President Ezra Taft Benson Ordained Thirteenth President of the Church,” Ensign, Dec. 1985, p.2
   “President Ezra Taft Benson: A Sure Voice of Faith,” Ensign, July 1994, p.8
   Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, pp.123
   2005 Church Almanac, p.63

Selected Discourses and Writings

Grampa Bill believes this to be the most complete listing available free on the web of Ezra Taft Benson's talks and articles. Please email the Grampa if you note any busted links, errors, or if you are aware of any Ezra Taft Benson talks or articles not listed here but available on the web.

You will note that some are available only as text; some are available only in the MP3 format; while still others are available in both text and MP3.

Talks marked with an asterisk (*) are not (to my knowledge) available anywhere else on the web. As a service, they have been copied onto this web site.
"A Significant Promise and Solemn Warning"*
General Conference Address, October 1944
"Obligations Resting Upon the Church"*
General Conference Address, April 1945
"It Is My Purpose to Provide"*
General Conference Address, October 1945
"God's Directing Hand"*
General Conference Address, April 1947
"The Home: a Divine Institution"*
General Conference Address, October 1947
"The Prophetic Mission of America"*
General Conference Address, April 1948
"Priesthood: A Distinguishing Feature of the True Church"*
General Conference Address, October 1948
"Our Homes-Divinely Ordained"*
General Conference Address, April 1949
"The Church Restored"*
General Conference Address, October 1949
"A Message for the World"
BYU Address, 30 January 1950
"A Miraculous Drama"*
General Conference Address, April 1950
"Impelling Force of the Gospel"*
General Conference Address, October 1950
"Tribute to President Smith"*
General Conference Address, April 1951
"Support For One Another"*
General Conference Address, October 1951
"Practices Which Endanger"
General Conference Address, April 1952
"The Growth of the Church"
BYU Address, 15 April 1952
"The Aftermath of War"*
General Conference Address, October 1952
"The L.D.S. Church and Politics"
BYU Address, 1 December 1952
"A Great Honor and a Privilege"
General Conference Address, April 1953
"Marriage, Home, and Family"*
General Conference Address, October 1953
"Trust in God, and Do the Right"*
General Conference Address, 4 April 1954
"I Love This Nation"
General Conference Address, October 1954
"Responsibilities of Citizenship"
BYU Address, 22 October 1954
"A Worldwide Church"*
General Conference Address, 4 April 1955
"Do What Is Right"*
General Conference Address, 2 October 1955
Elder Benson was in Washington, DC and did not speak in the April 1956 General Conference.
"I Speak of Prayer"
General Conference Address, October 1956
"Pay Thy Debt and Live"
General Conference Address, April 1957
The Semiannual General Conference for October 1957 was cancelled due to an influenza epidemic.
"Time Is On the Side of Truth"*
General Conference Address, 5 April 1958
"Our Heritage of Freedom"
General Conference Address, October 1958
"The Youth of Zion"*
General Conference Address, 5 April 1959
"A Time of Anxiety"*
General Conference Address, 11 October 1959
"A Most Serious World-Wide Threat"
General Conference Address, April 1960
"Sober Words of Warning"*
General Conference Address, 9 October 1960
"It Is Good to be Home"*
General Conference Address, 9 April 1961
"A Four-Fold Hope"
BYU Address, 24 May 1961
"The American Heritage of Freedom--a Plan of God"
General Conference Address, October 1961
"Pay Thy Debt, and Live"
BYU Address, 28 February 1962
"I Thank God For Freedom"
General Conference Address, April 1962
"Human Liberty Is the Mainspring of Human Progress"
General Conference Address, October 1962
"Righteousness Exalteth a Nation"
General Conference Address, April 1963
"Be Not Deceived"*
General Conference Address, 4 October 1963
"A Race Against Time"
BYU Address, !0 December 1963
"The Greatest Event in History"
General Conference Address, April 1964
"Dangers That Threaten the Church Within"*
General Conference Address, 3 October 1964
"It is Not Meet That I Should Command In All Things"
General Conference Address, April 1965
"Hearken, O Ye People"*
General Conference Address, 2 October 1965
"Jesus Increased in Wisdom and Stature"*
General Conference Address, 10 April 1966
"Safety in the Face of Danger"
BYU Address, 10 May 1966
"Protecting Freedon-An Immediate Responsibility"*
General Conference Address, 2 October 1966
"Our Immediate Responsibility"
BYU Address, 25 October 1966
"Duties to Church, Home, and Country"*
General Conference Address, 10 April 1967
"They Have All Gone Astray"
General Conference Address, 29 September 1967
"A Time of Crisis"
General Conference Address, April 1968
"The Book of Mormon Warns America"
BYU Address, 21 May 1968
"Let All Americans Arouse Themselves"
General Conference Address, October 1968
"The Proper Role of Government"
BYU Address, 21 October 1968
"The Church Is Not Divided"*
General Conference Address, 4 April 1969
"Put On the Whole Armour of God"
General Conference Address, October 1969
"The American Challenge"
BYU Address, 21 April 1970
"Opportunity and Challenge"
BYU Address, 6 October 1970
"Life Is Eternal"
General Conference Address, April 1971
"Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy"
Ensign, May 1971, p.4
"Satan’s Thrust—Youth"
Ensign, December 1971, p.53
"Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints"
General Conference Address, April 1972
"Listen to a Prophet’s Voice"
General Conference Address, October 1972
"Family Joys"
New Era, The Message, January 1973, p.4
"Watchman, Warn the Wicked"
General Conference Address, April 1973
"People--World Celebration in Iran"
BYU Devotional, 1 May 1973
"This Nation Shall Endure"
BYU Devotional, 4 December 1973
"Missionary Work: A Major Responsibility"
General Conference Address, April 1974
"Prepare Ye"
General Conference Address, October 1974
"Do Not Despair"
General Conference Address, October 1974
"Jesus Christ-Gifts and Expectations"
BYU Devotional, 10 December 1974
"Scouting Builds Men"
New Era, February 1975, p.14
"The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God"
General Conference Address, April 1975
"A Message to the World"
General Conference Address, October 1975
"God's Hand in Our Nation's History"
BYU Devotional, 28 March 1976
"The Constitution—A Glorious Standard"
General Conference Address, April 1976
"A Message to Judah from Joseph"
Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 2 May 1976
"Our Priceless Heritage"
General Conference Address, October 1976
"Receive All Things with Thankfulness"
New Era, The Message, November 1976, P.4
"Ministering to Needs through the Lord’s Storehouse System"
General Conference Address, April 1977
General Conference Address, April 1977
"A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion"
BYU Devotional, 12 April 1977
"A Message to the Rising Generation"
General Conference Address, October 1977
"Because I Live, Ye Shall Live Also"
BYU Fireside, 26 March 1978
"May the Kingdom of God Go Forth"
General Conference Address, April 1978
"America At the Crossroads"
New Era, July 1978, P.36
"Worthy of All Acceptation"
General Conference Address, October 1978
"In His Steps"
BYU Fireside, 4 March 1979
"This Is a Day of Sacrifice"
General Conference Address, April 1979
"Church Government through Councils"
General Conference Address, April 1979
"Your Charge: To Increase in Wisdom and Favor with God and Man"
New Era, September 1979, p.40
"A Witness and a Warning"
Ensign, November 1979, p.31
"Five Marks of the Divinity of Jesus Christ"
U. of Utah LDSSA Fireside, 9 December 1979
"Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet"
BYU Devotional, 26 February 1980
General Conference Remarks, April 1980
"A Marvelous Work and a Wonder"
General Conference Address, April 1980
"Prepare for the Days of Tribulation"
General Conference Address, October 1980
"Great Things Required of Their Fathers"
General Priesthood Meeting, April 1981
"Prepare Yourselves for the Great Day of the Lord"
BYU Fireside, 14 April 1981
"Joseph Smith: Prophet to Our Generation"
General Conference Address, 4 October 1981
"The Honored Place of Woman"
Ensign, November 1981, p.104
"Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus"
General Conference Address, April 1982
"Fundamentals of Enduring Family Relationships"
General Conference Address, October 1982
"A Call to the Priesthood: “Feed My Sheep”"
General Priesthood Meeting, April 1983
"A Principle with a Promise"
General Conference Address, April 1983
"Think on Christ"
BYU Devotional, 1 October 1983
"What Manner of Men Ought We to Be?"
General Priesthood Meeting, October 1983
"Jesus Christ: Our Savior and Redeemer"
General Conference Address, October 1983
"Our Commission to Take the Gospel to All the World"
General Priesthood Meeting, April 1984
"Counsel to the Saints"
General Conference Address, April 1984
"Think on Christ"
Ensign, Apr 1984, p.9
"What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children about the Temple"
Logan Temple Centennial, 17 May 1984
New Era, The Message, July 1984, P.4
"When I Was Called as a Scoutmaster
General Priesthood Meeting, October 1984
"A New Witness for Christ"
General Conference Address, October 1984
"President Kimball’s Vision of Missionary Work"
Mission Presidents’ Conference, 3 April 1985
"Preparing Yourselves for Missionary Service"
General Priesthood Meeting, April 1985
"Our Responsibility to Share the Gospel"
General Conference Address, April 1985
"Worthy Fathers, Worthy Sons"
General Priesthood Meeting, October 1985
"Born of God"
General Conference Address, October 1985
"Spencer W. Kimball: A Star of the First Magnitude"
Spencer W. Kimball Funeral Serrmon, November 1985
"Joy in Christ"
First Presidency Message, March 1986
"A Sacred Responsibility"
Note: This is President Benson's first General Conference Address following the Solemn Assembly in which he was sustained as President of the Church.
General Conference Address, April 1986
"The Power of the Word"
General Priesthood Meeting, April 1986
"To the 'Youth of the Noble Birthright'"
General Conference Address, April 1986
"Cleansing the Inner Vessel"
General Conference Address, April 1986
"He Lives"
New Era, The Message, April 1986, P.4
"To 'the Rising Generation'"
New Era, The Message, June 1986, P.4
"The Constitution--A Heavenly Banner"
BYU Devotional, 16 September 1986
"To the Young Women of the Church"
General Women's Conference, 27 September 1986
"Godly Characteristics of the Master"
General Priesthood Meeting, October 1986
"The Gift of Modern Revelation"
General Conference Address, October 1986
"The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion"
General Conference Address, October 1986
"Do Not Despair"
First Presidency Message, October 1986
"Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus"
First Presidency Message, February 1987
"To the Home Teachers of the Church"
General Priesthood Meeting, April 1987
"The Savior’s Visit to America"
General Conference Address, April 1987
"The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants"
General Conference Address, April 1987
"“Feed My Sheep”"
First Presidency Message, September 1987
"To the Fathers in Israel"
General Priesthood Meeting, October 1987
"Our Divine Constitution"
General Conference Address, October 1987
"Come unto Christ"
General Conference Address, October 1987
"The Law of Chastity"
BYU Devotional, 13 October 1987
"The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God"
First Presidency Message, January 1988
"To the Single Adult Brethren of the Church"
General Priesthood Meeting, April 1988
"The Great Commandment—Love the Lord"
General Conference Address, April 1988
"Come unto Christ, and Be Perfected in Him"
General Conference Address, April 1988
"Seek the Spirit of the Lord"
First Presidency Message, April 1988
"In His Steps"
First Presidency Message, September 1988
"To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church"
General Women's Conference, October 1988
"I Testify"
General Conference Address, October 1988
"Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon"
General Conference Address, October 1988
"Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations"
First Presidency Message, December 1988
"Think on Christ"
First Presidency Message, March 1989
"To the Children of the Church"
General Conference Address, April 1989, p.4
"Beware of Pride"
Ensign, May 1989, p.4
"Of the Most Worth"
New Era, June 1989, p.4
"Born of God"
First Presidency Message, July 1989
"A Mighty Change of Heart"
First Presidency Message, October 1989
"To the Elderly in the Church"
Note: This address was to be President Benson's last General Conference address to the Saints. Though he lived on another four years, never again would he visit with and personally address the Saints in General Conference. Even this talk had to read by President Thomas S. Monson.
General Conference Address, October 1989
"Pray Always"
First Presidency Message, February 1990
"Jesus Christ: Our Savior and Redeemer"
First Presidency Message, June 1990
"Keys to Successful Member-Missionary Work"
First Presidency Message, September 1990
"Strengthen Thy Stakes"
First Presidency Message, January 1991
"Jesus Christ: Our Savior, Our God"
First Presidency Message, April 1991
"Life Is Eternal"
First Presidency Message, August 1991
"All This and the Gospel Too"
New Era, The Message, November 1991, p.4
"The Keystone of Our Religion"
First Presidency Message, January 1992
"The Meaning of Easter"
First Presidency Message, April 1992
"Salvation—A Family Affair"
First Presidency Message, July 1992
"The Heritage of the Servants of the Lord"
First Presidency Message, October 1992
"A Voice of Warning"
First Presidency Message, January 1993
"Because I Live, Ye Shall Live Also"
First Presidency Message, April 1993
"Counsel to the Saints"
First Presidency Message, August 1993
"Keeping Christ in Christmas"
First Presidency Message, December 1993

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