Additional Resource

President Thomas S. Monson: Abbreviated Biographical Information

  • Thomas Spencer Monson was born on August 21, 1927 at St. Marks Hospital in Salt Lake City. His parents, G. Spencer and Gladys Condie Monson were of Swedish, English and Scottish ancestry. He has two brothers and three sisters.
  • At President Monson’s birth, there were just over 600,000 Latter-day Saints, most of them living in the American West. Heber J. Grant was president of the Church.
  • Monson grew up on Salt Lake City’s west side in close proximity to much of his extended family including grandparents, aunts and uncles.
  • At age 12, Monson began working part-time with his father at Western Hotel Register Company, a printing firm. This first job would be forerunner to his professional career in the printing industry.
  • As a boy, Monson and his family would spend the summer in a cabin at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. It was there that Monson developed his life-long love of fishing.
  • Monson was a student at West High School, where he excelled in English and History and became president of the Spanish Club and a sergeant in the ROTC.
  • In the fall of 1944, Monson enrolled as a freshman at the University of Utah.
  • On October 6, 1945, Monson left Salt Lake City to pursue basic training in San Diego with the United States Naval Reserve.
  • In 1946, after the end of the war, Monson returned home and continued his education. He graduated with Honors two years later from the University of Utah with a degree in business. Following graduation, Monson began working for the Deseret news as the Assistant Classified Advertising Manager.
  • On October 7, 1948, Monson and Frances Beverly Johnson were married in the Salt Lake Temple.
  • On Sunday, May 7, 1950, at the age of 22, Monson became Bishop of his boyhood ward. With about 1,060 members, the Sixth-Seventh ward was comprised of many elderly people including about 85 widows and the largest welfare load of the Church. Of the ward members, Monson said, “these were good people who never had a great deal of financial means but who loved the Lord and kept His commandments. 
  • While serving as bishop, Monson’s wife Frances gave birth to their son Tom in 1951 and daughter Ann in 1954. Later, Frances delivered their third child Clark in 1959 while Monson was serving as a mission president with his family in Canada.
  • On June 16, 1955, Monson was called to serve as counselor in a Stake Presidency. Monson was not aware of the calling prior to it being announced over the pulpit.
  • In 1953, Monson was named assistant general manager of the Deseret News Press. He served as president of the printing industry in Utah and took an active role in national printing conventions.
  • On February 21, 1959, Monson was called to serve as president of the Canadian Mission and was asked to prepare to leave with his family in just three weeks.
  • Upon completing his mission presidency, Monson returned to Salt Lake City and was named the General Manager of the Deseret Press making him responsible for the largest printing plant west of the Mississippi. During this time, Monson served on many Church committees including the Adult Correlation Committee where he helped pioneer the Home Teaching program of the Church. 
  • On October 3, 1963, Monson was called to be a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles by President David O. McKay.
  • In his first General Conference address as a member of the Council of the Twelve, Monson said, “I know that God lives. There is no question in my mind. I know that this is His work, and I know that the sweetest experience in all this life is to feel His promptings as He directs us in the furtherance of His work.” Following spiritual promptings has held particular importance for Monson as he works to serve others.
  • Beginning in 1965, Monson was assigned to supervise the missions of the South Pacific where he developed a unique love and admiration of the faith of the saints in the region.
  • President Monson was instrumental in the construction of a temple in Freiberg, Germany, behind the Iron Curtain, at a time when such a thing was considered impossible.
  • During his years as a member of the Council of the Twelve, Monson served as chairman of the Scriptures Publications Committee. For many years, Monson supervised the process which eventually resulted in new editions of all four Standard Works of the Church.
  • Monson values community service and has spent nearly three decades on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He received Scouting’s Silver Beaver and Silver Buffalo awards. He is a recipient of the International Scouting’s highest award, the Bronze Wolf.
  • On November 10, 1985, after twenty-two years of service in the Council of the Twelve Apostles, Monson was called by President Ezra Taft Benson to serve as Second Counselor in the First Presidency. In 1994, he was called as Second Counselor to President Howard W Hunter and in 1995, was called as First Counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley.

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