Elder Thomas S. Monson
of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The following article appeared in the Improvement Era in November of 1963, shortly after Elder Monson was ordained an apostle.
Leadership opportunities and
responsibilities have come to Elder Thomas Spencer Monson while yet young in
life. At the age of 22 he was named bishop of the Sixth-Seventh Ward of the
Temple View Stake, having previously served as a ward clerk and counselor in
the bishopric. In being chosen an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints at the age of 36, he is one of the youngest appointed to The
Council of The Twelve for many years. His qualities of
leadership are apparent to all who know him: modest, humble, kind, helpful,
able, cheerful, adaptable, and sincere, he epitomizes the true Latter-day
A graduate of
Elder Monson has served in many capacities in the Church in addition to those already mentioned. He was superintendent of his ward YMMIA and played basketball on the ward team. After two years in the
His term as president of the Canadian Mission lasted for three years. During this time he extended his understanding of the gospel, which already was great, came to love peoples of different nationalities and languages, and has grown to a more complete realization that all men are indeed God's children. His recognition of the special blessings that come to those who serve the Lord in the various positions of the Church is also in keeping with an understanding of the gospel. He feels, for example, that a bishop has particular blessings that enable him to direct and counsel the members of his ward, and likewise a stake president has special gifts.
At the time of his call to the apostleship, Elder Monson was serving on the adult correlation committee and the priesthood home teaching committee under the direction of the General Authorities. In these assignments, those who traveled or sat with him in committee meetings came to love Elder Monson, to respect him for his adaptability, and to honor him for his tremendous power.
His conference address, which will appear in the December issue of The Improvement Era, was deeply moving. He asked for the support of the church membership. He said in part: "From the depths of humility and an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, I ask for your prayers in my behalf." He also stressed the necessity for humility to which quality he pledged himself. One of the touching parts of his testimony dealt with an older woman, who, having embraced the gospel in far off Quebec, Canada, said, "President Monson, I may never see the prophet, I may never hear the prophet; but I can obey the prophet." This humble statement of faith could well become the creed of every Latter-day Saint.
Elder Monson, one of six children born to G. Spencer and Gladys Condie Monson, was born
To the thousands of those who have known and loved Elder Monson, this selection is but a verification of their faith in him and his abilities. They respect his qualities as a man as well as a man of God. They recognize him as a devout but not a dour Latter-day Saint. To those who have heard his voice on the telephone or talked to him in person, the very cheer of his greeting--the responsiveness of his conversation--his knowledgeable ways--the added testimony comes that these qualities which they have enjoyed will be extended throughout the Church to the blessing of the Saints and the glorification of our Father which is in heaven. -- Improvement Era, November 1963.