Thomas S. Monson is the sixteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Thomas was born in Salt Lake City Utah to Spencer and Gladys Monson on August 21, 1927.
Thomas spent most of July and August every year at Vivian Park up Provo Canyon. From this time in the canyon he learned to love fishing, and later moved onto fly fishing.
Thomas attended University of Utah and got his Masters Degree at BYU.
Thomas served in the United States Navy near the end of World War II. During the first three weeks of boot camp, he later jokingly said, “I was convinced my life was in jeopardy. The navy wasn’t trying to train me; it was trying to kill me.” He learned a lot of spiritual lessons during this time of his life.
Thomas met his wife, Frances Beverly Johnson in the late 1940’s at a dance, months later they reconnected and married in the Salt Lake Temple on October 7, 1948. The couple was blessed with three children.
When Thomas met his wife, Frances’s father, he noticed the Monson name and, with tears in his eyes, hugged Tom after the two realized that Tom’s great-uncle Elias had introduced the Johnson family to the gospel in Sweden.(how crazy is that?!)
President Monson was called as a bishop at a very young age. When the stake president recommend Thomas he paused for couple minutes and said, “I was trying to figure out how to explain to [the stake president] why I thought a 22-year-old kid should replace me as bishop.”
At 22, President Monson was given the Temple View Sixth-Seventh Ward, with its 85 widows and the largest demand for welfare services in the Church at the time. At one point there were 87 widows in his ward he would consistently visit.
He went onto be a counselor in a Stake Presidency at 27 years old, and a mission president in Canada at 31!!
He was called sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 4, 1963, and ordained an Apostle on October 10, 1963, at the age of 36, by President David O. McKay. He was the youngest to be called to the Quorum of the Twelve since 1910, when Joseph Fielding Smith was called at age 33.
Jefferey R. Holland said of President Monson, “Tom Monson was so young and energetic when he was called. Not only was he junior in the Quorum but at 36, he was junior in age, he was younger than his brethren by nearly twenty years. From the very beginning of his service he go a lot of assignments and carried a lot of freight which was attribute to how well he was thought of by the brethren and by the Lord.”
In 1966, the doctors of Francis Monson discovered a tumor. She was admitted to the hospital the next day and given a blessing by Herold B Lee, it was one of the most inspired blessings the Monsons had ever heard, and felt a reassurance and peace to the soul. The tumor was benign. Francis reminded the President Monson that in her Patriarchal Blessing it says she will be by his side for “many, many years.”
President Monson lived by the philosophy that he sincerely believed that “people are doing the best that they can, and we can teach them to help them do better.”
President Thomas S. Monson worked closely with the members of the Church behind the Iron Curtain, in post World War II. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said this about President Monson’s work in Germany “The actual blessings he brought to our country and to Europe, are so real and so significant and so singular in their value that I really believe that the Lord had prepared him to be an instrument in changing the history of Germany.”
In 1985 President Monson was called to be a member of the First Presidency as second counselor to Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, then after he was called to first counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley.
After the death of President Hinckley in 2008, Thomas S. Monson was set apart and ordained as the 16th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint on February 3, 2008. He chose President Henry B. Eyring to serve as his First Counselor and Dieter F. Uchtdorf as Second Counselor.
President Monson is known for the age change of the Missionaries. In October 2012 conference President Monson announced the age change the boys could now serve at 18 and the girls at 19.
On May 17, 2013 his wife Frances passed away, she was 85.
President Monson passed away at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 2, 2018. He was 90 years old.
President Monson’s Testimony was written in the Ensign in 2007: “With all my heart and the fervency of my soul,” said President Monson, “I lift up my voice in testimony as a special witness and declare that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father. He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Because He died, all shall live again. ‘Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”’ [Hymns, no. 136]. May the whole world know it and live by that knowledge.”
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Places to Visit:
Vivian Park, Provo Utah
Provo City Center Temple
Salt Lake City Cemetery