Heber J. Grant, the seventh president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was not only a spiritual leader to many Utahns, but touched them in economic, political, and social ways as well. As the first Mormon Church president born in Utah, his life reflected the development of the territory and young state.
He was born in 1856, the only child of Rachael Ridgeway Ivins Grant, the sixth plural wife of Jedediah M. Grant. His father, a counselor to Brigham Young and mayor of Salt Lake City, died when the infant was a week old. As a result, Rachael's influence was dominant, instilling within him her middle-class, Victorian values. She hoped that Heber would be a churchman; he desired a career in business and government service. At sixteen years of age, he ended his formal schooling and began work in Salt Lake City's incipient commercial district. Within several years he had purchased H.R. Mann and Company, the territory's first insurance concern, and had the additional distinction of being appointed by Brigham Young assistant cashier of Zion's Savings Bank. However, shortly before his twenty-fourth birthday, he received his church's call to preside over the Tooele Stake. Two years later, President John Taylor appointed him to the Council of Twelve Apostles.