Adam Samuel Bennion was born December 2, 1886 to
Joseph Bennion and Mary Ann Sharp. The Bennions are an old prominent Utah
family descended from two early Utah pioneering brothers, Samuel and John.
Originally settling in Salt Lake City, they gave up their property when
Brigham Young presented them
with a request that their original homestead be used for Church purposes.
They ended up just north of the present Taylorsville, where several generations
later, Elder Adam S. Bennion was born.
Elder Bennion was married to Minerva Richards Young
(AFN: 5ML9-P6) a great granddaughter of President Brigham
Elder Bennion was an intellectual giant and
an educator. He carried on discourse with many others of his day and his
papers are available at the BYU archives.
Elder Bennion was sustained to the Twelve and ordained
an Apostle April 9, 1953 at the age of sixty-six by President David
O. McKay. He succeeeded Elder John
A. Widtsoe, another prominent educator, on the latter's death.
Elder Bennion served honorably until his own death
February 11, 1958 at Salt Lake City, Utah. Though he served with the Twelve
less than five years, the esteem with which he was held by his peers in
that quorum is indicated by the number of times he was quoted in the decade
following his death.
Because of the derth of information publicly available
on Elder Bennion, Grampa Bill contacted Brother Edmund Y. (Ned) Bennion
of Salt Lake City, Utah, Elder Bennion's son. The following is scanned
directly from a biographical sketch graciously provided by Ned. Use of
Caps and spacing is as in the original.
ADAM SAMUEL BENNION 1886 _ 1958
BORN IN TAYLORSVILLE, UTAH, THE SON OF JOS. B. AND MARY ANN
SHARP BENNION. ADAM'S FATHER DIED MAY 25, 1888, LEAVING
MARY ANN TO RAISE AND PROVIDE FOR THE FAMILY OF SEVEN CHILDREN,
THREE OF WHOM DIED IN EARLY CHILDHOOD, LEAVING ADAM AND HIS
THREE SURVIVING SISYERS.
ADAM ATTENDED GRADE SCHOOL IN TAYLORSVILLE AND ENROLLED AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH WHERE HE COMPLETED HIS HIGH SCHOOL YEARS
AND GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY IN 1908 WITH HONORS.
HE BECAME AN ENGLISH TEACHER AT L.D.S. HIGH SCHOOL IN SALT LAKE CITY.
AFTER TEACHING FOR THREE YEARS, HE WAS DETERMINED TO FURTHER
HIS EDUCATION. HE MARRIED A FORMER STUDENT, MINERVA RICHARDS
YOUNG IN THE FALL OF 1911. (MINERVA'S FATHER, BRIG. GENERAL
RICHARD W. YOUNG, WAS A GRANDSON OF BRIGHAM YOUNG.)
ADAM AND HIS NEW BRIDE SPENT ONE YEAR AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
IN NEW YORK WHERE HE OBTAINED HIS MASTER'S DEGREE.
THEY RETURNED TO SALT LAKE IN 1912 WHERE HE BECAME AN ENGLISH
TEACHER AT GRANITE HIGH SCHOOL.
IN 1912 THE L.D.S. CHURCH STARTED A RELIGION CLASS AT GRANITE
CALLED "SEMINARY." DR. BENNION WAS DEEPLY INVOLVED IN
THE FIRST SEMINARY OF THE CHURCH AND THE RESULTING GROWTH OF
IN 1913 HE BECAME THE PRINCIPAL OF GRANITE HIGH SCHOOL.
HE ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO DURING THE SUMMER
OF 1914 STUDYING SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION.
IN 1915 HE BECAME A MEMBER OF THE GENERAL BOARD OF THE
DESERET SUNDAY SCHOOL, SET APART BY DAVID 0. MCKAY.
HE THEN ACCEPTED A POSITION AS AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF
ENGLISH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH. AFTER TWO YEARS AT THE
UNIVERSITY, HE WAS CALLED BY PRES. HEBER J. GRANT TO BE
THE SUPERINTENDANT OF L.D.S. CHURCH SCHOOLS IN 1919.
this did not include the brigham young university, but did
include all other church institutions WHICH WERE MANY IN
IN 1921 - 23 HE RECEIVED A TWO YEAR LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND
OBTAINED HIS DOCTORATE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
IN 1927 HE LEFT THE CHURCH EDUCATION PROGRAM AND BECAME
ASSOCIATED WITH THE UTAH POWER & LIGHT CO. AS DIRECTOR OF
IN 1934 DR. BENNION WAS MADE ASSISTANT TO THE PRES., U P & L CO.
IN 1944 HE WAS URGED BY MANY REPUBLICAN AND CIVIC LEADERS TO
RUN FOR THE U. S. SENATE. MY PERSONAL OPINION IS THAT HE
FINALLY AND SOMEWHAT RELUCTANTLY DID SO. HE RESIGNED FROM THE
POWER CO. AND GAVE IT AN ALL OUT EFFORT, BUT WITH THE WAR WINDING
DOWN AND THE VERY POWERFUL NATIONAL DEMOCRAT LEADERSHIP HE
WAS DEFEATED BY THE DEMOCRAT INCUMBENT, SEN. ELBERT D. THOMAS.
(AGAIN, AND IN MY OPINION ONLY, I THINK THIS WAS ALL FOR THE
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES WERE OFFERED HIM, BUT HE RETURNED TO THE
U P & L CO. AS AN EXECUTIVE VICE PRES.
IN 1947 HE BECAME A DIRECTOR OF THE DENVER & RIO GRANDE RAILROAD,
A POSITION HE HELD UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1958.
IN APRIL 1953 HE WAS CALLED BY PRES. DAVID O. MCKAY TO SERVE
IN THE QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES.
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS APPOINTMENT WAS SHORT LIVED, AS HE PASSED
AWAY AS A RESULT OF A CEREBRAL HEMORRAHAGE FEB. 11, 1958.
IN SUMMARY, DR. BENNION WAS
A DEVOTED MEMBER OF HIS CHURCH
A DEVOTED FATHER AND FAMILY MAN
A WORLD RENOWNED PUBLIC SPEAKER
A WRITER OF MANY CHURCH & BUSINESS BOOKS & ARTICLES
A CHAMPION OF YOUTH, AND A LOVER OF SPORTS
AN INNOVATIVE AND DEDICATED EDUCATOR
AN EXCELLENT BUSINESSMAN, A CHAMPION OF
FREE ENTERPRISE AND THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS
A STAUNCH PATRIOT
A LOVER OF PEOPLE AND A FRIEND TO EVERYONE.
WITH THANKS TO
THESIS BY JOHN A. BRAITHWAITE AUG. 1965
THESIS BY KENNETH G. BELL AUG. 1969
THESIS BY JULIA BRIXEN BERTOCH AUG. 1971
FOR ALL OF THIS INFORMATION.
Grampa Bill expresses his profound appreciation to Brother Edmund Y.
(Ned) Bennion for providing this biographical sketch of his father.