Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
George Patrick Lee George Patrick Lee

1943 - 2010

  • Born 1943; Towaoc, Colorado.
  • Baptized as a child.
  • Missionary to Navajo Reservation.
  • Married Katherine Hettick; three children.
  • First Quorum of the Seventy 1975-1989.
  • Excommunicated 1989.
  • Died 2010; Provo, Utah.

    George Patrick Lee was the first American Indian to become a General Authority of the Church. He was born in 1943 in Towaoc, Colorado to Mae K. Lee (Asdzaa Lichii) of the Tódích'íi'nii (Bitter Water Clan), and to a Medicine Man, Peter Lee (Hastiin Jaaneez Yee Biye), of the Under the Flat-Roofed House People Clan. One of 17 children from his parents' marriages, Lee was called Ashkii Yazhi (Little Boy), until he was given a sacred name, Ashkii Hoyani (Boy Who is Well Behaved and Good).

    He attended a government boarding school at Shiprock, New Mexico for two years after a trader, assisting the Bureau of Indian Affairs, helped him enroll. Because a religious preference, other than the Native American traditional faith, had to be indicated on the application, Lee’s mother told the trader to write in the name of his religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After completing the second grade at Shiprock, Lee attended school in Aztec, New Mexico, where he was promoted to the fifth grade.

    When he was 12, he became a member in one of the first children’s groups to participate in an official Indian foster placement program sponsored by the Church. He was transported to Orem, Utah where he lived with the Glen and Joan Harker family. Lee remained in their home for seven years, returning to his Navajo family during summer vacations, until he graduated from Orem High School in 1962. He excelled in school, achieving many honors, and became a devout member who later served as a missionary on the Navajo reservation.

    He attended Brigham Young University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree and a Doctorate in Educational Administration, and Utah State University, where he completed a Master’s Program. In Arizona, Lee taught at the Rough Rock Demonstration School and later served as President of the College of Ganado. He received many honors, including a fellowship from the U.S. Office of Education for the 1970-1971 academic year, a Ford Foundation Fellowship Award and the Spencer W. Kimball Lamanite Leadership Award.

    George P. Lee married Katherine Hattick, a Comanche. The couple had three children.

    George's efforts were not limited to academic excellence. He also served long and well in his adopted church. Over the years he was called as a Scoutmaster, a Young Mens President, an Elders Quorum President, a Branch President, a District President, a Counselor to a Mission President and as a Mission President.

    Lee’s achievements culminated in his October 3, 1975 ordination, at the age of 32, as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, a General Authority, by President Spencer W. Kimball. President of the Arizona Holbrook Mission at the time of his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, he continued as Mission President for some time as a General Authority. He would serve some fourteen years as a General Authority.

    On September 1, 1989, however, it was announced that Elder Lee had been excommunicated for “apostasy and other conduct unbecoming a member of the church.” His excommunication was the first of a General Authority to occur in 46 years. According to Elder Lee, the action stemmed from his disagreement with the other church leaders over the role of American Indians in the religion and from other charges he had presented in a 23-page letter to President Ezra Taft Benson, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It is the policy of the Church to respect an individual's right to privacy and not publicize the details of an excommicant's behavior which brought about the disciplinary action. However the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Lee had attempted to molest a minor girl. Lee originally denied the charges but on October 12, 1994, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Lee acknowledged his guilt:

    "A year ago, former Mormon general authority George P. Lee proclaimed he was 'innocent before God' of sexually molesting a 12-year-old neighbor girl.

    "But Tuesday before a 3rd District judge, Lee humbly hung his head and admitted to touching the girl's breasts for sexual gratification....

    "Lee, 51, pleaded guilty to attempted sexual abuse of a child, a third-degree felony...."

    George P. Lee died July 28, 2010 at the Utah Valley Regional Health Center in Provo, Utah after years of battling numerous health issues. He had never returned to the Church.

    The Ensign; November 1975; "News of the Church: Elder George Patrick Lee of the Seventy;" pp.136-137
    The LDS Church News; September 9, 1989; "Disciplinary Action taken Sept. 1 Against General Authority"
    The Salt Lake Tribune; October 12, 1994
    The Salt Lake Tribune; July 30, 2010
    The Salt Lake Tribune; August 3, 2010

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