A biographical overview of the life of David O. McKay,
the ninth President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ
Following is a brief
summary of some major events in the life of David O. McKay, the ninth President
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- David O. McKay was born on September 8, 1873 to David McKay
and Jennette Evans McKay in Huntsville, Utah.
He was the third child and first son born to this couple.
- His father served a mission
from 1881 to 1883, leaving his wife to manage the farm and look after
their 5 children.
- David O. McKay received his
patriarchal blessing at age 13. It included the following, "...that
you may be prepared for a responsible position, for the eye of the Lord is
upon thee... It shall be thy lot to sit in council with thy brethren and
preside among the people and exhort the saints."
- He attended Weber
in Ogden, and then accepted
the position of principal at the Huntsville
School at age 20.
- He attended the University
of Utah and played on the
football team there. He graduated from the university in June 1897, being
selected to deliver the 'oration' speech for his graduating class.
- He received a call to serve
in the British Mission in July of 1897, and left for his mission in
August. He served faithfully until his release in August of 1899.
- In August of 1899, he
accepted a teaching position at the Weber
- He married Emma Rae Riggs on January 2, 1901 in the Salt
The marriage was performed by apostle John Henry
- In 1902, he was appointed
principal of the Weber Stake
- He was ordained an apostle on
April 9, 1906, being 32
years old at the time.
- He was set-apart as the
Assistant General Superintendent of the Sunday School Union in 1906.
- On November 27, 1918 he was appointed General
Superintendent of the Sunday School Union.
- On May 9, 1919 he was appointed Commissioner of
Education for the entire church.
- From December 4, 1920 to December 24, 1921, he traveled on a
world-wide tour of the missions of the Church. He dedicated China
for the preaching of the gospel on January
- He received an honorary
degree of Master of Arts from the Brigham
on June 2, 1922.
- From November 17, 1922 until December 6, 1924 he presided
over the European Mission.
- On October 6, 1934, he was set-apart as 2nd
Counselor to President Heber J. Grant.
- On May 21, 1945, he was set-apart as 2nd
Counselor to President George Albert Smith.
- In 1947 he served as Chairman
of the Utah Centennial Commission, presiding over the gala events
celebrating the arrival of the Mormon pioneers 100 years earlier.
- He served for six months as
the President of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1950 and 1951.
- Ordained and set-apart as the
President of the Church on April
12, 1951. He chose Stephen L. Richards and J. Reuben Clark to
serve as his counselors.
- During June and July of 1952,
he toured all of the European missions.
- He directed that the Cub
Scouting program would be adopted for the younger boys of the Church.
- He received the Silver
Buffalo scouting award in July 1953.
- From December 1953 to
February 1954, he went on a 32,000 mile journey to visit the missions in Britain,
Central America, and South America.
- From January 2, 1955 to February 14, 1955, he toured all of the
missions of the South Seas.
- He dedicated the following
temples: Swiss (September 11, 1955 at age 82), Los
Angeles (March 11, 1956 at age 82), New
Zealand (April 20, 1958 at age 84), London
(September 7, 1958 at age 84), and Oakland
(January 18, 1970 at age 91).
- President McKay passed away
on January 18, 1970.
- He served almost 64 years as
a General Authority, longer than any other of the General Authorities.
- Some of his favorite thoughts
were, "Every member a missionary", "Character is higher
than intellect", "To be trusted is a greater compliment than to
be loved", and "No other success can compensate for failure in
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