Milestones in prophet's life

President Ezra Taft Benson's life has been hallmarked by accomplishment and service to his fellowman, his country and to God. Here are some of the highlights of his life up to when he was ordained president of the Church.

1899 - Born Aug. 4, at the family home in Whitney, Idaho, the eldest of 11 children of George T. and Sarah Dunkley Benson.1914 - Began attending Oneida Stake Academy in Preston, Idaho.

1918 - Began attending intermittent quarters, during winter quarter, at Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University) in Logan.

1921 - Ordained an elder on July 13 by his father in the Whitney Ward; departed for the British Mission on July 14; set apart as missionary by Seymour B. Young on July 15; released from mission Nov. 2, 1923.

1925 - Enrolled in fall quarter at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; graduated with bachelor's degree in spring 1926 with a major in animal husbandry and minor in agronomy.

1926 - Married Flora Smith Amussen in Salt Lake Temple on Sept. 10, with his former mission president, Orson F. Whitney, officiating; began studies in the fall at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) at Ames.

1927 - Graduated from Iowa State with a master's degree in agricultural economics June 13, and elected to Gamma Sigma Delta, the agricultural honor society; ordained a seventy on Nov. 27 by Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Council of the Twelve.

1929 - Became Franklin County agricultural agent for the University of Idaho Extension Service in Preston, Idaho, on March 4.

1930 - Accepted position on Oct. 15 as Agricultural Economist and Marketing Specialist in Boise, Idaho, with the Extension Division of the University of Idaho.

1933 - Appointed executive secretary of Idaho Cooperative Council in Boise, serving in that position until 1938; started campaign that made the Idaho potato famous nationwide.

1935 - Ordained high priest on Jan. 13 by Elder Charles A. Callis of the Council of the Twelve, and called as first counselor in the Boise Stake presidency.

1936 - Received fellowship award on Aug. 1, offered by Giannini Foundation for agricultural economics for graduate studies at University of California at Berkeley, where he studied until June 1937.

1938 - Set apart by Elder Melvin J. Ballard as president of the Boise, Idaho, Stake on Nov. 27.

1939 - Moved to Washington D.C., where he began work on April 15 as executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, a federation of 4,600 cooperative groups.

1940 - Set apart as first president of the Washington, D.C., Stake on June 30 by Elders Rudger Clawson and Albert E. Bowen of the Council of the Twelve.

1943 - Ordained an apostle on Oct. 7 by President Heber J. Grant; participated in his first official assignment as a General Authority on Nov. 28 with Elder Stephen L Richards at a stake conference in New York.

1946 - Set apart as president of the European Mission Jan. 28; visited World War II-ravaged areas to coordinate relief efforts for 10 months.

1949 - Elected a member of the National Executive Board, Boy Scouts of America, on May 23, succeeding President George Albert Smith.

1952 - Interviewed by U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower on Nov. 24 in New York City, after which announcement of his appointment as Secretary of Agriculture was made to the press.

1953 - Took oath of office on Jan. 20 as Secretary of Agriculture; first clergyman to serve in the Cabinet in more than 100 years; served until January 1961.

1954 - Featured with his family on CBS television program, "Person to Person" with Edward R. Murrow on Sept. 24.

1957 - Received the Knight of the High Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy, the highest decoration of Italy, on April 10.

1964 - Began service on Jan. 1 for the second time as president of European Mission, with headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

1965 - Named on Sept. 4 to the American Patriot's Hall of Fame.

1971 - Represented the Church Oct. 9-16 at the 2,500th anniversary observance of the founding of the Persian Empire in Tehran. The Church was one of 28 world religions represented.

1973 - Set apart on Dec. 30 as president of the Council of the Twelve, after President Spencer W. Kimball succeeded President Harold B. Lee as president of the Church.

1975 - Was honored in September by having the Ezra Taft Benson Agriculture and Food Institute at BYU named after him.

1978 - Received the award for Distinguished and Meritorious Service from the American Farm Bureau Federation in January.

1985 - Ordained president of the Church on Nov. 10, following the death of President Spencer W. Kimball.

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