1 of 11
Kenneth Mays
Carlisle, U.K., was where young Elder Ezra Taft Benson was first assigned as a missionary in the British Mission.

As a young man, Ezra Taft Benson served in the British Mission from 1921-1923. His first assignment was at Carlisle, Cumbria. Carlisle is the birthplace of John Aglionby, a translator of the King James Bible.

Elder Benson was called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1943. Following the call issued by President Heber J. Grant, “Ezra and (his son) Reed were driven to President McKay’s home.

On the way, Ezra did not share anything about his experience with President Grant, and Reed did not ask. When they arrived at the McKay home, President McKay told Reed what had transpired. Then Ezra and Reed embraced” (“The Life and Ministry of Ezra Taft Benson,” in "Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson" published in 2014, pages xii–35).

Provided by the Church History Library
President Benson removed his suit coat while addressing the priesthood session in the Tabernacle during the October 1987 general conference.

Immediately following World War II, Elder Benson spent 10 months in war-torn Europe coordinating the distribution of relief supplies and reopening the missions. He marveled at and was sickened by the devastation and human suffering. While he was there, some 92 box cars or 2,000 tons of supplies arrived from church headquarters.

1 comment on this story

His biographer noted that of all he witnessed, “Some things were more frightening. Dachau, where (he) saw the crematorium where 238,000 Jews were exterminated, was one of them. ‘The scenes and statistics given made us shudder to realize how far men will go in evil and sin …’” ("Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography," by Sheri L. Dew, page 212). Elder Benson made reference to those months in Europe throughout his ministry. (Note, for example, his discourse, “Prepare Ye” in the October 1973 general conference.)

For the last two to three decades of President Benson’s life, he lived in a number of residences which are still extant.