Heber J. Grant was the seventh prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS Church. He was known for guiding the LDS Church through some of its toughest times including the Great Depression and World War II.Heber Jeddy Grant was born on November 22, 1856. His father Jedediah died only nine days after his birth. Heber and his mother had very little, but his mother worked hard to provide for him. As a young boy, Heber had the opportunity to meet Brigham Young. From that initial meeting Brigham Young invited the boy (about six at the time) to come visit him whenever he liked. Heber J. Grant said of his friendship with Brigham Young,
I learned not only to respect and venerate him, but to love him with an affection akin to that which I imagine I would have felt for my own father, had I been permitted to know and return a father’s love (Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church, 13th ed., p.218 – 219).
At just fifteen, Heber was ordained to the office of Seventy. Heber finished school at 16 and got a job working for a bank. In 1877 Heber married Lucy Stringham. Heber eventually had ten daughters and two sons; both sons died as children. He was a devoted father, and when he was not home because he was traveling on LDS Church business, he would send letters to each child. When he was 23, he received a call to be a stake president.
In 1882, at only 25, Heber J. Grant was called as an Apostle. He served as an Apostle for 37 years, and as an apostle, he visited communities of Native Americans and worked with LDS Church leaders to call and set apart priesthood holders to labor among them. He also became a member of the general superintendency of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, became a business manager of the Improvement Era magazine (which he helped found), organized and presided over the Japanese Mission, served as president of the British and European Missions, and became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the LDS Church on November 23, 1916.
On November 23, 1918, at 62 years old Heber J. Grant became the President of the LDS Church. The April General Conference for that year had to be postponed because of a worldwide influenza epidemic that killed over 20 million people. The start of President Grant’s presidency was foreshadowing for all the hard times Grant would guide the LDS Church through. President Grant started the welfare program of the Church as a way to combat the devastation of the Great Depression. He also directed the building of three new LDS temples, the opening of 16 new LDS missions, microfilming of family history records, the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s radio program, “Music and the Spoken Word,” and the first General Conference broadcast over radio. Heber J. Grant served for 26 years until his death in 1945.