85 years ago today - Nov 4, 1934

[Heber J. Grant]

I confess I cannot make up my mind to appoint the young son of Hyrum G. Smith to become our Presiding Patriarch. I think there is a great deal of comment among the people as to why we cannot decide on a man to fill this position. I have read again what the brethren of the Twelve say in their report on the matter, but my spirit is not free regarding Hyrum G. Smith's son. I really feel in my heart that he is not the right man. I am sure if he were that the Lord would give me the impression in his favor. The impression to me every time that I think of it is that he hardly fills the bill'in fact does not anywhere near do so'and when I ask myself the question, 'Shall I recommend him; we might just as well call him now as wait for the next conference,' the impression to me is, no.

The impression to choose Willard Smith, my son-in-law, so far as his great ability is concerned, his humility, his knowledge, his force of character, is yes, every time I think of it. But on the other hand I am perfectly willing to keep him where he is, because he is working for a great bank. ... and the fact that he is my son-in-law might handicap him if he were called to be the Presiding Patriarch.

Then I go to President Smith's family, and his grandson [i.e., Joseph F. Smith], the son of Hyrum M., is an outstanding young man, a splendid man, very much like his father, the same forceful character as his grandfather, inclined to be a little harsh in his talk sometimes ...

I do feel almost impressed that when you come home next time we must come to a decision about the Presiding Patriarch, the three of us, and tell the quorum of the Twelve what to do. If we finally decide, after prayer and fasting, to appoint Hyrum G. Smith's boy, it will be all well and good, but if not, and we do not decide on someone else instead, in that case I am going to wait until another conference.

[Heber J. Grant, Letter to J. Reuben Clark, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010]

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