A biographical overview of the life of Harold B. Lee,
the eleventh President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ
Following is a brief
summary of some major events in the life of Harold B. Lee, the eleventh
President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Harold Bingham Lee was born
on March 28, 1999 in Clifton,
Idaho to Samual
Marion Lee and Louisa Emeline Bingham Lee. He
was the second of six children and the second son.
- He developed a love of music
early in life, and became adept at playing the piano. He learned to play
the cornet and the trombone, and found employment in a local dance
orchestra as a teenager.
- He was educated in local
schools near Clifton, at the Oneida
Academy in Preston,
at the Albion State
Normal School in Albion,
and finally at the University of
- His family led a spartan existence on their Idaho
farm. Of his family, President Lee said, "We had everything that
money could not buy!"
- He began a teaching career at
age 17, served as a school principal at age 18,
and later served as a principal in two schools in Salt
- At age 21, he was called to
serve in the Western States Mission. He served as a missionary from November 11, 1920 to December 18, 1922. His mission
president described him as "an excellent missionary".
- He married Fern Lucinda
Tanner on November 14, 1923.
Fern was a first cousin once-removed of Nathan Eldon Tanner. She had also
served as a missionary in the Western States Mission, and was known as a scripturalist of unusual ability.
- From 1928 to 1933, he served
as manager of Foundation Press, Inc.
- He was called as a stake
president at the age of 31. He presided over the Pioneer Stake from 1930
until 1937. Over one-half of the men in his stake were unemployed. He was
inspired to establish a storehouse from which goods and commodities could
be distributed to the needy.
- From 1933 to 1937, he served
on the Salt Lake
- In 1937, he was appointed as
Managing Director of the Church Welfare Program.
- He was ordained an apostle on
April 6, 1941 (age 42).
- After the untimely death of
his first wife, he married Freda Joan Jensen on June 17, 1963.
- He was set apart as First
Counselor in the First Presidency and as President of the Quorum of the
Twelve Apostles on January 23,
1970. Joseph Fielding Smith was the President of the Church,
and N. Eldon Tanner was the other counselor in the First Presidency.
- He was sustained as the
President of the Church on July 7,
1972 and he chose as his counselors N. Eldon Tanner and Marion
- He died unexpectedly on December 26, 1973 at the age of
- During the time he served as
Church President, the 600th stake was created, the new Church
was dedicated, the various welfare services were consolidated, and the
correlation program was strengthened.
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