Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More From President Benson's Life

This is Flora
So a couple of weeks ago, I shared some insights about President Ezra Taft Benson.  I started writing too much and decided two posts would be here's part 2!

I loved this story that was shared of how President Benson met his wife Flora.
In the fall of 1920, Ezra went to Logan, Utah, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Whitney, to enroll at the Utah Agricultural College (now Utah State University). He was with some friends when a young woman caught his eye. He later recalled:
“We were out near the dairy barns when a young woman—very attractive and beautiful—drove by in her little car on her way to the dairy to get some milk. As the boys waved at her, she waved back. I said, ‘Who is that girl?’ They said ‘That’s Flora Amussen.’
“I told them, ‘You know, I’ve just had the impression I’m going to marry her.’”
Ezra’s friends laughed at his declaration, saying, “She’s too popular for a farm boy.” But he was undeterred. “That makes it all the more interesting,” he replied.
Ezra went on his mission after they started courting, and shortly before returning Flora felt that Ezra needed to finish his education before they got married and settled back on the farm. She later said
“[I] prayed and fasted for the Lord to help me know how I could help him be of greatest service to his fellowmen. It came to me that if the Bishop thought I was worthy, [he would] call me on a mission. The Church came first with Ezra, so I knew he wouldn’t say anything against it.”
So she went on her own mission and Ezra finished his degree.  I just thought that this was an amazing example of a woman who knew that she needed to act on the idea that education was important and support him in this matter.  She turned it over to the Lord, and he helped her find a solution.  This education served him well as he was continually asked and given jobs as agricultural agents. He helped many farmers through the Great Depression and eventually served as the Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight D. Eisenhower while as a Member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. Without that decision early on, he might not have gotten that appointment which served as a great moment for the Church to be heard of by more people.

When he was called as a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, he was naturally very overwhelmed and surprised by the announcement.  In the story that relates this experience, it is said that President Grant told him:

 ‘The Lord has a way of magnifying men who are called to positions of leadership.’
This quote really resonated with me as the men that are called to these positions do not necessarily have the background to lead such a massive organization, but the Lord helps them to have the background and gives them what they need.

I have always been so very impressed when I learned that President Benson served as Secretary of Agriculture. This story impressed me even more because it really shows the missionary opportunities that come from Latter-day Saints that live their faith in prominent positions.
Even in his role as a government leader, Elder Benson was open about his Christian ideals, his testimony of the restored gospel, and his devotion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whenever he conducted a meeting with his associates in the Department of Agriculture, the meeting began with a prayer. He sent President Eisenhower passages from the Book of Mormon that prophesied of the destiny of the United States of America, and the president later said that he had read them “with the greatest of interest.”70 He gave copies of the Book of Mormon to many other world leaders as well.71 In 1954, Edward R. Murrow, a prominent television news reporter in the United States, asked Elder Benson for permission to feature the Benson family on a Friday night program called “Person to Person.” Elder and Sister Benson declined at first, but they later consented after listening to their son Reed, who saw the invitation as a great missionary opportunity. On September 24, 1954, people all over the nation watched a live, unrehearsed family home evening in the Benson home. Mr. Murrow received more fan mail as a result of that program than he had received for any other. People from all over the country and from varied religious backgrounds wrote to thank the Bensons for their shining example.
I felt like I gained two great mottos from reading this section as well:
He repeatedly said, “Remember, Brethren, in this work it is the Spirit that counts.” And he had one standard by which he measured all the quorum’s decisions: he asked, “What is best for the Kingdom?”
The First Presidency when President Benson was prophet

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