Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » You Have Been Listening to the Sunday Evening Broadcast: Heber J. Grant’s 80th Birthday, 1936

You Have Been Listening to the Sunday Evening Broadcast: Heber J. Grant’s 80th Birthday, 1936

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 03, 2012

Birthday Radio Program, 28 November 1936
Written by Richard L. Evans

Theme: “Sweet is the Work.”

Announcer: As another Sabbath nears its close we pause, thoughtfully, reverently, on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Tonight, departing from our usual custom, we devote this service to honor Heber J. Grant, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on this his eightieth Birthday anniversary. This great and good man, who is esteemed world-wide for his human kindness and noble attributes, has enjoyed such a birthday as few men enjoy at eighty. Tributes, congratulations, messages of goodwill have poured in from near and widely distant points, from America and beyond. Part of the day he has enjoyed with his large and devoted family; this afternoon thousands thronged the Tabernacle to hear him speak: tonight we shall hear his voice before we close this Sabbath evening hour.

Commemorating the eightieth birthday anniversary of President Heber J. Grant, Bertha A. Kleinman of Arizona and Frank W. Asper, Tabernacle Organist, have written the words and music, respectively, of a new hymn, now to be sung by the Temple Singers, under the direction of J. Spencer Cornwall, “Praise for a Prophet.”


Lord, in these days of error and confusion
When in dismay the nations wage abroad,
Lord, when the world is bitter with delusion,
Praise be for Zion and her men of god.

Praise and thanksgiving Lord, and veneration,
For Thee our song, for Thee our gladsome praise,
Guide Thou his steps who leads this dispensation,
Praise for our prophet of these latter days.

Lord in these days when harmony is broken,
when idols fall and standards change and fade,
Praise for the truth a prophet’s lips have spoken,
For wisdom ringing true and unafraid.

Lord, in these days of folly and disaster,
Praise for a prophet’s might of abstinence,
With will supreme to conquer and to master –
Long may he live to serve Thy providence.

Announcer: Eighty years of rich, purposeful living – and for more than fifty-five years President Heber J. Grant has traveled extensively, making friends for his Church in the principal cities of the world and at the village crossroads; he has built industries; he has served his fellowmen; he has preached and lived truth. Son of a widowed mother, living in a pioneer community, while yet in his teens, President Grant laid the foundations for business institutions that have prospered to enjoy greatness today – three score years later. On the occasion of his eightieth birthday the executives of the largest inland western banking organization say of him:

“We join with the friends and associates in paying tribute to him for his life long efforts devoted to the welfare of humanity and extend felicitations and best wishes for his good health and happiness during many years to come.”

One of America’s three largest automobile manufacturers says of him:

“On his eightieth birthday we pay honor to President Heber J. Grant, distinguished leader of the Church of Jesus ‘Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

One of the largest western utilities says of him:

“In many fields of endeavor he has exerted, and continues to exert, distinguished leadership. With the zeal of the true pioneer, he has made notable contributions to the solid and substantial growth of his Church to the business life of his community and to the economic progress of his people.”

One of the nation’s most prominent railroad presidents says of him:

“The Intermountain Empire had its inception when Mormon pioneers reached the shores of Great Salt Lake on July 24, 1847. It is an empire builded by the faith and courage and enterprise of a great people under a brilliant and inspired leadership, splendidly typified in the person of Heber J. Grant.”

The president and owner of one of the west’s great baking industries says of him:

“Not only in ecclesiastic affairs is he a stalwart leader, but in economic activities as well. he has always been an ardent advocate of home industry, believing wholeheartedly in the encouragement and support of local enterprise. In the course of his lifetime he has seen the fruits of such a policy in the splendid growth of our city and state and entire intermountain region.”

The executives of a great oil refining company say of him:

“As a churchman, business man, organizer and administrator, President Heber J. Grant has brought rare qualities of leadership to a host of activities.

“His career is a brilliant and inspiring example of what can be achieved by hard work and determination under the guidance of right thinking and right living.”

None of the messages quoted above are from men who believe in a religious way as President Grant believes. None of these messages come from members of the Church over which Heber J. Grant presides today. but they come from the hearts of leaders who appreciate leadership, who appreciate rare gifts, who appreciate sterling qualities.

As to his family, as to the man on the street, as to the man in the field, as to his associates in the presiding quorums of the Church, as to the great host of men and women who believe in matters of religion as he believes – they rise to call him blessed! What grater benediction could come to one who though now eighty, has the vigor of youth, the outlook of youth, and an appreciation for youth, blended with the mellowed wisdom that comes with ripened years richly lived.

President Grant’s favorite hymn is next sung by the Temple Singers – A song of the plains, written on the plains by a Mormon Pioneer for the comfort, faith and encouragement of other Mormon Pioneers – “Come, Come, Ye Saints.”


Announcer: It is my pleasure to present the presiding head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on this the eightieth anniversary of his birth. At this season of the year the penetrating signals of Radio Station KSL will undoubtedly take his voice to many far and distant places – to lands beyond the seas where many will be listening with appreciation – President Heber J. Grant.

President Grant: I am going to repeat a part of what I said this afternoon in the Tabernacle, as my remarks were not broadcast. I desire to say to my friends and to the Saints who are listening in tonight that it fell to my lot to be intimately associated and acquainted with Pres. Brigham Young from the time I was a little child, five or six years of age, up to the time when he passed away. I met him only a few days before he died, as he came out of his office, and he expressed a willingness to sign a bond for me, of $25,000, as the Assistant Cashier of Zion’s Savings Bank & Trust Company. He took a ride and returned home in intense pain, with what was then called inflammation of the bowel; I am sure it was appendicitis. In a few days he had passed to the great beyond. he was a man of God, a man of wonderful ability and power.

I was chosen as one of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with George Teasdale, in October, 1882, through a revelation given to Pres. John Taylor. My association with Presidents John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith was now as intimate and perfect as it is possible for the associations of men to be, and I wish to bear testimony that I know, as I know I live, that these men, from Brigham Young to Joseph F. Smith, were men of God, whose one and only overwhelming ambition and desire was to labor for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Personal honor and success financially were secondary considerations with each and all of them.

I was not personally acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith, but I am grateful, beyond expression, that I can bear witness of the fact that from reading the revelations given through him, before and since the organization of the Church, and the prophecies, many of which have been literally fulfilled, I know he was a prophet of God. he told the Saints they should be driven from city to city, from county to county, and from state to state, and finally to the Rocky Mountains; also that the day would come when the whole United States would be arrayed against our people. The Untied States not only sent an army against us but confiscated all of the property of the Church, both real and personal. When I think of the work he accomplished and of the fulfilment of these and other predictions, I am able to say that I know he was a prophet of the true and the living God.

The Prophet Joseph smith crossed the Mississippi River, intending with a chosen body of men to explore the Rocky Mountains for a place of settlement and gathering for the people. About this time he uttered a prophecy “that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction, and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains; that many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors, or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease; and some would live to go and assist in making settlements, and build cities, and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.”

We now have over a thousand wards and branches from Canada to Mexico, with a meeting house in each; several of the Church buildings costing more than $100,000.00 each. And we have become a great people, as predicted.

At the time this prophecy was delivered, one of the foremost statesmen in the Untied States, Daniel Webster, is reported to have made a remarkable statement with reference to the western part of our country, in which Joseph Smith had predicted the Saints would become a mighty people. Said Webster:

“What do we want with this vast, worthless area? This region of savages and wild beasts, of deserts, of shifting sands and whirlwinds of dust, of cactus and prairie dogs? to what use could we ever hope to put these great deserts or those endless mountain ranges, impenetrable and covered to their very base with eternal snow? What can we ever hope to do with the western coast of three thousand miles, rock-bound, cheerless, uninviting, and not a harbor on it? Mr. President, I will never vote one cent from the public treasury to place the Pacific coast one inch nearer Boston than it now is.”

I desire to read a tribute from Josiah Quincy, who was once Mayor of Boston and knew Washington and other great men of his day. In his book, “figures of the Past,” he says:

“It is by no means improbable that some future textbook for the use of generations yet unborn will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? and it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: ‘Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet.’ And the reply, absurd as it doubtless seems to most men now living, may be an obvious commonplace to their descendants. History deals in surprises and paradoxes quite as startling as this. The man who established a religion in this age of free debate, who was and is today accepted by hundreds of thousands as a direct emissary from the Most High – such a rare human being is not to be disposed of by pelting his memory with unsavory epithets.

Fanatic, imposter, charlatan, he may have been; but these hard names furnish no solution to the problem he presents to us. Fanatics and imposters are living and dying every day, and their memory is buried with them; but the wonderful influence which this founder of a religion exerted and still exerts throws him into relief before us, not as a rogue to be criminated, but as a phenomenon to be explained. The most vital questions Americans are asking each other today have to do with this man and what he has left us … a generation other than mine must deal with these questions. Burning questions they are, which must give a prominent place in the history of the country to that sturdy self-asserter whom I visited at Nauvoo. Joseph Smith, claiming to be an inspired teacher, faced adversity such as few men have been called to meet, enjoyed a brief season of prosperity such as few men have ever attained, and, finally, forty-three days after I saw him, went cheerfully to a martyr’s death. when he surrendered his person to Governor Ford, in order to prevent the shedding of blood, the prophet had a presentiment of what was before him. “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter,” he is reported ot have said, “but I am as calm as a summer’s morning. I have a conscience void of offense and shall die innocent.’

Mr. Quincy continues: “‘A fine-looking man; is what the passer-by would instinctively have murmured upon meeting the remarkable individual who had fashioned the mold which was to shape the feeling of so many thousands of his fellow mortals. But Smith was more than this, and one could not resist the impression that capacity and resource were natural to his stalwart person. I have already mentioned the resemblance he bore to Elisha R. Potter of Rhode Island, whom I met in Washington in 1826. The likeness was not such as would be recognized in a picture, but rather one that would be felt in a grave emergency. Of all men I have met, these two seemed best endowed with that kingly faculty which directs as by intrinsic right the feeble or confused souls who are looking for guidance.

“We then went on to talk of politics. Smith recognized the curse and iniquity of slavery, though he opposed the methods of the abolitionists.; His plan was for the nation to pay for the slaves from the sale of public lands. ‘Congress,’ he said, ‘should be compelled to take this course, by petitions from all parts of the country; but the petitioners must disclaim all alliance with those who would disturb the rights of property recognized by the constitution and which foment insurrection.’ It may be worth while to remark that Smith’s plan was publicly advocated eleven years later by one who has mixed so much practical shrewdness with his lofty philosophy. In 1855, when men’s minds had been moved to their depths on the question of slavery. Ralph Waldo Emerson declared that it should be met in accordance ‘with the interest of the South and with the settled conscience of the North. It is not really a great task, a great fight for this country to accomplish, to buy that property of the planter, as the British nation bought the West Indian slaves.’ He further says that the ‘United States will be brought to give every inch of their public lands for a purpose like this.’ We, who can look back upon the terrible cost of the fratricidal war which put an end to slavery, now say that such a solution of the difficulty would have been worthy a Christian statesman. But if the retired scholar was in advance of his time when he advocated this disposition of the public property in 1855, what shall I say of the political and religious leader who had committed himself, in print, as well as in conversation, to the same course in 1844? If the atmosphere of men;’s opinions were stirred by such a proposition when war clouds were discernible in the sky, was it not a statesman-like word eleven years earlier, when the heavens looked tranquil and beneficent?”

It was the word of the prophet of the living God. So every Latter-day Saint will tell you.

I desire to read a few paragraphs from A Vision, given to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and Sidney Rigdon, February 16, 1832; concerning our Savior and the divinity of his mission:

“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all which we give of him: that he lives!

“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God: and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father –

“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God …

“And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us –

“That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness.

“That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him.”

It has been my privilege in the past 54 years to bear my testimony as one of the General Authorities of the Church and now on my eightieth birthday it gives me great joy and satisfaction to proclaim to all my listeners that it has been my great privilege to bear this testimony in England, Ireland, Scotland, wales, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Mexico, in the Hawaiian Islands and in far-off Japan, and to lift up my voice declaring that our Heavenly father and His beloved Son have again spoken from the heavens, that the Gospel of our Redeemer has been restored to the earth and to bear witness that I know that god lives, that I know that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living god and the Redeemer of mankind and that Joseph smith was the instrument in the hands of the Lord in restoring the everlasting Gospel.

My appeal to all members of the Church who possess this same testimony is so to live that other men seeing their good deeds shall be inspired to investigate the Gospel of our Redeemer.

Words fail me in expressing my heartfelt gratitude to God for the radio, which gives me this opportunity of bearing my testimony to all the people of the world of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray the Lord to bless all mankind in these troublous times, that wisdom may be given to men in every land so to live that peace may come to the peoples of the world.

(Hymn: “O, My Father” – Temple Singers.)

Announcer: You have just heard the Mormon Hymn – “O, My Father” sung to the original old English tune which the President so definitely prefers to the later versions and arrangements.

Another hymn, written for this occasion, words by Bertha A. Kleinman, music by Frank Asper, will be presented by the Temple singers, “The Courage to Vindicate.”

(Hymn: “The Courage to Vindicate – Temple Singers.)

If there ever was call for kings to rise
And steady the battle line,
Then you are the monarch elect and wise,
And yours is the right divine.

If there ever was call for cheer and song
to rally the hearts of men,
Then your sis the harmony ringing on
where discord and doubt have been.

If there ever was call for master hands
To shapen the unfulfilled,
When the castles of men lie in the sands
Then yours are the hands that build.

If there ever was call to consecrate
While fallacy rocks the age,
Then your sis the courage to vindicate
And blazon your heritage.

If there ever was call to live for right
Where martyrs of old have died,
Then yours is the challenge of faith and might
That visions the glorified.

Announcer: The membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and uncounted hosts of men and women not of this faith, with sincere affection and earnest admiration, pay respect to the leader of this people on the eightieth anniversary of his birth – Heber J. Grant, Church man, executive, gentleman, friend – lover of youth, patron of all good things, defender of truth and righteousness. This man is a living example of the highest ideals and principles and practices of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – this man exemplifies the living of eternal truth. What could mortal man say more of one who is loved and honored by his people after eighty years of rich, kindly and effective living. the Lord keep and preserve him.



  1. Who were the Temple Singers?

    Comment by KLC — May 3, 2012 @ 9:15 am

  2. The early temples had choirs that sang both for chapel services before endowment sessions, and also as a part of an earlier version of the endowment. I’m guessing this was the SLTemple choir.

    Or maybe I’m over thinking and this was merely a forgotten local ward or private singing group that called themselves The Temple Singers.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 3, 2012 @ 9:19 am

  3. Somewhat connected, but mostly off-topic, here is a story about thefts from the National Archive by the head of the video and audio branch that will break Ardis’ heart.

    Comment by John Mansfield — May 3, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

  4. You are right, John — that breaks my heart. On the other hand, I’m cheered by the “little guy” who broke the case.

    Thanks for that link. It has a real connection to this. Although I don’t think any recordings were made of these broadcasts, so many other precious materials, including sound recordings have been entrusted to the church archivists. I hope that trust is better placed than that in your story.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 3, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

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