The Last Days
I love this great man.
Upon the death of President Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson became President of the Church on November 10, 1985, at the age of eighty-six
After hearing about Church magazines I ordered the Friend magazine for my little adopted son. I believe it was the August issue of the Friend. We read a short article telling about President Benson’s up coming birthday. My son asked if we could send him a birthday card, so, we sent President Benson a birthday card. We were so surprised when a letter from the office of the first presidency arrived from President Besnson thanking us for remembering his natal day, etc. His signature showed signs of a tremor in the hand. The letter is framed. A treasure. I love his prophetic talks and would like to share one.
Ezra Taft Benson talks about The Last Days
Ezra Taft Benson was born in a small farming community in southern Idaho, surrounded by an anxious and worried family. After a difficult delivery, the doctor had little hope for the new baby’s survival. A priesthood blessing from his father and the inspired actions of his grandmothers preserved his life.
“At birth he was in critical condition. The doctor told the family he would try to save the mother, but he held little hope for the child.
“But as President Benson himself explained: ‘The faith of my father, the administrations of the priesthood, and the quick action of my two grandmothers, who placed me first in a pan of cold water and then in a pan of warm water alternately, brought forth a husky yell to the joy of all’” The 11 3/4 pound boy was alive!
“Like most farm boys, I grew up believing that the willingness and ability to work is the basic ingredient of successful farming. Hard, intelligent work is the key. Use it, and your chances for success are good. As an adult, this principle deepened into one of the mainsprings of my life”
“Improve your community by active participation and service. … Do something meaningful in defense of your God-given freedom and liberty.” “We all have a special citizenship responsibility. As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, ‘It is our duty to concentrate all our influence to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound’ [History of the Church, 5:286]. We must elect men to public office with a mandate higher than the ballot box. Yes, read what the Lord has said on this important subject in the ninety-eighth section of the Doctrine and Covenants and then read what He has said regarding our inspired Constitution in the one hundred first section. The days ahead are sobering and challenging and will demand the best within each of us if we are to preserve our freedom”
“Our earliest American fathers came here with a common objective—freedom of worship and liberty of conscience. The Pilgrim Fathers, the Puritans in New England, the Quakers in Pennsylvania, the Catholics in Maryland, the Lutherans in Georgia, and the Huguenots in Virginia, all came seeking God and the enjoyment of God-given, self-evident rights based on eternal principles. Familiar with the sacred scriptures, they believed that liberty is a gift of heaven. … They acknowledged their dependence upon God as they exhibited their humble faith in, and devotion to, Christian principles. …
“In framing that great document [the Constitution of the United States] … , our early leaders called upon a kind Providence. Later the product of the constitutional convention was referred to as our God-inspired Constitution. They had incorporated within its sacred paragraphs eternal principles supported by the holy scriptures with which they were familiar. It was established ‘for the rights and protection of all flesh according to just and holy principles.’ Later the Lord himself declared, ‘I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose’ [D&C 101:80]
“Scientific research has confirmed the inspired record of great nations which have inhabited this land. Each of these nations prospered as long as it yielded obedience to God. They also became great powers. Great material blessings came to them. But they forgot God. The ancient ruins of Central, South, and North America bear silent testimony to their destruction. What of the future of our great nation? The history of men and nations clearly teaches that only that nation is blessed ‘whose God is the Lord’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1944, 128–130, 134).
Benson was an outspoken opponent of communism and socialism.
Having a resolute testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon, he emphasized the importance of it in daily scripture study, missionary efforts, and gospel teaching. His love of freedom, home, and family were also evident in his addresses and counsel to Church members.
“In December1945, Elder Benson was assigned to preside over the European Mission in the aftermath of World War II. Specifically, his commission was to reopen missions throughout Europe and to distribute food, clothing, and bedding to the suffering Saints. “On an almost eleven-month mission of love, Elder Benson traveled more than sixty thousand miles to Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Scandinavia—
often in freezing weather in unheated trains and planes. With typical optimism, he organized the ‘K-Ration Quartet’ with his traveling companions, to sing away the tedious and uncomfortable hours. “Time and time again, when permission to enter war-torn countries or to distribute supplies seemed impossible to obtain, Elder Benson appealed to the Lord to open the way. Barrier after barrier was dissolved, and thousands of tons of Church welfare supplies were sent to the Saints in Europe.
He Was United States Secretary Of Agriculture
In 1952, Elder Benson was astonished to receive a telephone call informing him that U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, a man he had never met, wanted to talk to him about becoming U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
While Elder Benson served as Secretary of Agriculture, he faced many hostile groups who, after hearing him, were convinced that he was an honest man. A number of his critics became his advocates. President Eisenhower recognized that much of his administration’s popularity, especially in the south, was due to his Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson.
As U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson spent eight years in what he called “the cross fire” of national politics. He was one of only two Cabinet members who lasted both terms of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration.
He Received A Presidential Citation
The U.S. Presidential Citizens Medal was presented August 30 1980 for a lifetime of dedicated service to country, community, church and family. The White House announced the award in July. “President Bush is honoring you as one of the most distinguished Americans of your time,,’ Scowcroft told the 90 year old Church leader, who was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1953 to 1960.
The Passing Of A Prophet
President Ezra Taft Benson died of heart failure Monday, 30 May 1994, at the age of ninety-four. He had served as a General Authority for over fifty years. Throughout his life he had faithfully served the Lord, the Church, his family, and country. As a tribute to his lifetime of service, President Ezra Taft Benson received fourteen honorary degrees from American colleges and universities.