80 years ago today - Sep 16, 1939

[President Heber J. Grant ]
I had a chat with Brother B.S. Hinckley and John A. Widtsoe regarding some matters arranged to be published by the Council of the Twelve, in which it states that the Twelve have the right to nominate the successor to the President of the Church in case of his death. I told them that the Twelve had no such right, and that that would have to be eliminated when the long manuscript of several hundred pages is to be printed. Wilford Woodruff wrote me a letter from St. George to the effect that the day would never come when the President of the Twelve would not succeed to the Presidency of the Church unless he, the President of the Twelve, received a revelation naming somebody else. I asked that that letter be filed among Church papers, handing it to Brother Anthon H. Lund just after the death of President Joseph F. Smith. There was also a statement that Brother Woodruff had announced that the Presidency should be reorganized at once when a President died. If there were ever any such statement made I never heard of it, but I do know that at the death of Brother Woodruff, at the first meeting of the Twelve after his death, on the suggestion of Francis M. Lyman the Presidency was reorganized at once. President Snow requested each of the brethren to express themselves and they all expressed themselves as desiring that the Presidency be organized immediately, and then Brother Snow told us that when he got the telegram telling of the death of Brother Woodruff he dressed himself in his temple robes and went into the celestial room in the temple (He was sleeping in the temple at the time), offered up the signs of the Preisthood (sic), and prayed to the Lord telling him that as He knew, he, Brother Snow, had often prayed that he might be called home to his final reward, in his advanced years, before Brother Woodruff passed on, and now that this burden had come to him he asked the Lord to direct him what to do; and the Lord told him to organize the First Presidency at once, and he was wondering how this could be done, seeing there had been several years before John Taylor had succeeded President Young, and several years elapsed after the death of Brother Taylor before Brother Woodruff succeeded him. And it was very gratifying to him to have all of the brethren express the opinion that the Presidency should be organized at once. All of the brethren expressed themselves as having known that Brother Snow was absolutely entitled to be the President of the Church. Today there is no man living, except myself, who was at this meeting, as when the Presidency was organized Brother Lorenzo Snow chose Rudger Clawson as an apostle, and he is now the President of the Twelve.

[Diary of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

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