Major events in the Church, 1940-1949

  • November, December 1940: Remainder of missionaries serving in areas affected or threatened by World War II were called home. (Missions in Europe had closed the year before.)

  • April 1942: General conference was closed to the general public and remained so until the end of the war. The First Presidency also closed the Salt Lake Tabernacle and held conference sessions in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square and in the assembly room in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

  • July 1944: Church Committee on Publications organized, chaired by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, then of the Quorum of the Twelve.

  • May 14, 1945: President Heber J. Grant died. President George Albert Smith was set apart as president of the Church May 21, 1945.

  • Sept. 23, 1945: Idaho Falls Temple was dedicated by President Smith.

  • 1945-1946: Missions were reopened in war-torn areas of the world. By 1946, some 3,000 missionaries were in the field. In addition, the Genealogical Society of the Church began microfilming European records. The first microfilming was done in England in 1945 and Scandinavia in 1946.

  • January-December 1946: Then-Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve traveled throughout post-war Europe as president of the European Mission, distributing relief supplies, assessing the health and strength of the Church and preparing for the reopening of missions.

  • 1947: Church reaches 1-million-member mark.

  • Late 1940s: Systematic plans for teaching gospel were developed by Richard L. Anderson in the Northwestern States Mission and Willard A. Aston in the Great Lakes Mission.

  • October 1949: First television broadcast of general conference sessions.

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