Ezra Taft Benson was called to be an apostle in 1943. He and Elder Spencer W. Kimball were sustained, ordained and set apart at the same time. For a short while, their first homes in Salt Lake City were across the street from each other.
Elder Benson later moved to another house nearby where he lived until moving to Washington, D.C., to serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for eight years. Before being sworn into office, Secretary Benson strolled past the Washington and Lincoln monuments reviewing the nation’s history in his mind (see William G. Hartley's essage in "The Presidents of the Church" edited by Leonard J. Arrington, page 434).
In 1965, Elder Benson directed the beginning of missionary work in Italy and opened the work in a number of countries that had not heretofore had missionaries within their borders.Comment on this story
In October 1979, Elder Benson broke ground for a new chapel in Kirtland, Ohio. While there, he declared: “The scourge that was placed upon the people in that prophecy (Doctrine and Covenants 124:83) is being lifted today. … Our prophecy said that yet your children may possess the Kirtland lands, but not until many years shall pass away. Those many years have, I feel, passed away, and now is the time. Now is the time to arise and shine and look forward to great progress in this part of the Lord’s vineyard” (see "Joseph Smith’s Kirtland," by Karl Ricks Anderson, page 247).
Elder Benson presided at the organization of the Kirtland Stake in 1983 and dedicated the refurbished Newel K. Whitney store in 1984 (see "Joseph Smith’s Kirtland," pages 248 and 250). That store, of inestimable historic value, was made available to the church by Lilian Wood, widow of Wilford C. Wood.