1973 Benson was set apart as president of the Council of the Twelve
Apostles. He worked to streamline church policies and procedures. Then
when Spencer W. Kimball passed away on 5 November 1985 Ezra Taft Benson
became the thirteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. At eighty-six years of age he became the second oldest man to
succeed to the presidency. He called lapsed Mormons to return to the
fold. In general conference addresses, he counseled church members to
read and study the Book of Mormon. In a humanitarian gesture, he personally
delivered a contribution of ten million dollars to President Ronald
Reagan to be used to procure food for the world's hungry.
Taft Benson, born in a quiet Idaho farm community, spent much of his
life working with the power brokers of the world. Outspoken, courageous,
and committed, he, like the founder of the Latter-day Saint church,
Joseph Smith, had gone from "plowboy to prophet." He died 30 May 1994.
Reed A. Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (1988); Sheri L. Dew,
Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography (1987).