Born March 28, 1899 in Clifton, Idaho.
Died December 26, 1973 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Harold B. Lee was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 8 years old. He served a mission in the western United States from 1920-22, and at age 36 (1935) was called to organize the Church’s welfare program. At age 42, he was called to become one of the Twelve Apostles. At age 62, he became the chairman of Church Correlation, a new program organized by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. At age 70 he was sustained as president of the Quorum of the Twelve, served as a counselor to Joseph Fielding Smith, and was sustained as President of the Church at age 73. He served only 18 months before passing away on December 26, 1973.
Preparation and Calling
Harold B. Lee was called to be a stake president at age 31 in the Pioneer Stake in Salt Lake City. It was located in one of the areas of the city hardest hit by the Great Depression, and his success wth that situation drew the attention of Church and government leaders alike. His organizational abilities led him to have significant responsibilities in establishing the Church’s welfare plan, which has been admired by governments and other organizations the world over, and the Church correlation effort, which coordinates all Church programs and materials.
Interaction with God
When Harold was a small boy, he heard a warning voice as he prepared to explore some broken-down buildings. That voice was as clear as if someone had been standing next to him, although he could see no one there. Later he wrote, “From that time on, I accepted without question the fact that there were processes not known to man by which we can hear voices from the unseen world, by which we can have brought to us the visions of eternity” (“The Way to Eternal Life,” Ensign, Nov. 1971, p. 17). Deep impressions and the quiet whisperings of the Spirit became familiar friends to Harold B. Lee throughout his life and ministry.
With the growth of the Church and the social issues of identity and direction that came with the 1970s, President Lee was instrumental in establishing the structures necessary to deal with issues on an international level. Church correlation established a unified approach for a growing worldwide organization, and efforts such as welfare, health services, social services, agricultural missions, and the establishment of an organization for single adults in the Church demonstrated a deep concern for the individual.
In addition to his organizational skills, Harold B. Lee was known for his devotion to responding immediately to impressions of the Spirit and for seeking to strengthen testimony constantly through daily devotion to scripture study and personal prayer.