Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Samuel O. Bennion Samuel O. (Otis) Bennion

1874 - 1945
  • Born 1874 Taylorsville, Utah
  • Baptized 1882
  • Received the Aaronic Priesthood as a youth
  • Ordained Elder as a young man
  • Married Charlotte Towler 1898; two children
  • Ordained Seventy 1904
  • Mission to Central States 1904-1906
  • President of Central States Mission 1906-1934
  • First Council of the Seventy 1933-1945
  • Died 1945 Salt Lake City, Utah

    Samuel Otis Bennion, of the First Quorum of the Seventy and President of the Central States Mission, was born June 9, 1874, at Taylorsville, Salt Lake county, Utah, the son of John R. Bennion and Emma Jane Terry.

    He was baptized when about eight years old and was later ordained a Deacon and presided over the quorum of Deacons of which he was a member. In due course of time he was ordained an Elder and later a Seventy.

    In 1898 (August 25th) he married Miss Charlotte Towler of Mill Creek Ward, Salt Lake County, Utah. The couple had two children. President Bennion had received a good education in his younger days and in his early married years provided for his family by sheep ranching and the farming business.

    He was called on a mission to the Central States and left for his field of labor Nov. 9, 1904; after laboring as a traveling Elder for six months, he was chosen to preside over the South Texas conference and acted in that capacity until he was selected as secretary of the Mission, in November, 1905. He held that position until he was appointed president of the Central States Mission in October, 1906. In March, 1907, under the direction of President Joseph F. Smith and counselors, he moved the headquarters of the Mission from Kansas City, Mo., to Independence, Mo., which was the first time the Church had an established residence at Independence since the expulsion of the Saints from that county by the mob in 1833.

    Under the direction of Pres. Bennion the Church built or bought some splendid meeting houses in different parts of the Central States Mission, notably at Independence, where a fine chapel was erected in 1914; a printing plant building was also erected there in 1915 and a good mission home was built in 1917. In addition to this the Church purchased a substantial chapel at St. Louis, Mo., and erected a fine school building and a magnificent meeting house at Kelsey, Texas. Another meeting house has been built at Enoch, Texas, and others in different parts of the mission. President Bennion's mission was a most successful one, and the Central States Mission with headquarters at Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, grew rapidly under his leadership.

     In January, 1931, the Texas Mission was formed out of the states of Texas and Louisiana, which had constituted a part of the Central States Mission. Pres. Bennion remained in the mission field until Jan. 20, 1934. At the April Conference in 1933 he was sustained as one of the First Council of Seventies, and was ordained to that office April 13, 1933, by Pres. Heber J. Grant.

    While Pres. Bennion had charge of the Central States Mission he made it a rule to visit the missionaries from one end of the mission to the other every ninety days, and saw them in their fields of labor, heard their reports, gave them instructions, and as a result saw many thousands of people baptized into the Church. The mission was always self-sustaining financially, and large sums of money were sent to the headquarters of the Church from the tithes of the mission, after the expenses and building programs that were carried on in the mission field itself had been cared for.

    On April 1, 1934, Elder Bennion was appointed general manager and vice president of the Deseret News.

    Elder Bennion continued to serve the Church and his God as a General Authority until his death March 8, 1945 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

   LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 3, p.18
   LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 4, p.326
   Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1

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