Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1942, pp. 24-26
I am grateful beyond my power of expression for the faith and prayers of the people and for the blessings of the Lord in my behalf. For two and one-half years I have been gaining a little since I became ill. I have been home since that illness overtook me a little longer than two years, and when people have asked me how I am, I have said, "Better than I was yesterday," and this is really true—I have been gaining a little all the time. To begin with I could not move my left leg or my left arm. The doctors said it was not a paralytic stroke, but it must have been at least a second cousin to it. I could walk upstairs only one step at a time and drag my left leg up. Now, I can walk up and down stairs. I can walk across the floor without scraping my foot on the carpet; I can throw my left leg over my right one with perfect ease, and back again; my improvement is very remarkable considering the condition I was in, and I attribute it to the prayers of the Saints in my behalf. I am grateful to them beyond expression, and I am grateful to the doctors who have so very kindly taken care of me in California and here at home. I am truly appreciative of the interest they have taken in my behalf. I feel almost normal.
I have decided to tell in detail one or two very remarkable things that have happened in my life.
I was made one of the apostles in October, 1882. On the 6th of October, 1882, I met Brother George Teasdale at the south gate of the temple. His face lit up, and he said: "Brother Grant, you and I"—very enthusiastically—and then he commenced coughing and choking, and went on into meeting and did not finish his sentence. It came to me as plainly as though he had said the words: "Are going to be chosen this afternoon to fill the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles."
I went to the meeting and my head swelled, and I thought to myself, "Well, I am going to be one of the apostles," and I was willing to vote for myself, but the conference adjourned without anyone being chosen.
Ten days later I received a telegram saying, "You must be in Salt Lake tomorrow without fail." I was then president of Tooele Stake. The telegram came from my partner, Nephi W. Clayton. When I got to the depot, I said: "Nephi, why on earth are you calling me back here? I had an appointment out in Tooele Stake."
"Never mind," he said; "it was not I who sent for you; it was Brother Lyman. He told me to send the telegram and sign my name to it. He told me to come and meet you and take you to the Prestdent's office. That is all I know."
So I went to the President's office, and there sat Brother Teasdale, and all of the ten Apostles, and the Presidency of the Church, and also Seymour B. Young and the members of the Seven Presidents of the Seventies. And the revelation was read calling Brother Teasedale and myself to the apostleship, and Brother Seymour B. Young to be one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventies.
Brother Teasdale was blessed by President John Taylor, and George Q. Cannon blessed me.
After the meeting I said to Brother Teasdale, "I know what you were going to say to me on the sixth of October when you happened to choke half to death and then went into the meeting."
He said, "Oh, no, you don't."
"Yes, I do," and I repeated it: "You and I are going to be called to the apostleship."
He said, "Well, that is what I was going to say, and then it occurred to me that I had no right to tell it, that I had received a manifestation from the Lord." He said, "Heber, I have suffered the tortures of the damned for ten days, thinking I could not tell the difference between a manifestation from the Lord and one from the devil, that the devil had deceived me."
I said, "I have not suffered like that, but I never prayed so hard in my life for anything as I did that the Lord would forgive me for the egotism of thinking that I was fit to be an apostle, and that I was ready to go into that meeting ten days ago and vote for myself to be an apostle."
I was a very unhappy man from October until February. For the next four months whenever I would bear my testimony of the divinity of the Savior, there seemed to be a voice that would say: "You lie, because you have never seen Him." One of the brethren had made the remark that unless a man had seen the Lamb of God—that was his expression—he was not fit to be an apostle. This feeling that I have mentioned would follow me. I would wake up in the night with the impression: "You do not know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, because you have never seen Him," and the same feeling would come to me when I would preach and bear testimony. It worried me from October until the following February.
I was in Arizona in February, traveling with Brigham Young, Jr., and a number of other brethren, visiting the Navajo Indians and the Moki Indians. Several of our party were riding in "White Tops" and several on horseback. I was in the rear of the party with Brother Lot Smith. He was on a big fine iron-grey horse, and I was on a small mule that I had discovered was the easiest and best riding animal I had ever straddled.
We were going due east when the road changed and went almost north, but there was a trail ahead of us, and I said, "Hold on, Lot; stop."
I said, "Brother Smith, where does this trail lead?"
He said, "It leads to a great gully just a short distance away, and no team can possibly travel over it. We have to make a regular mule shoe of a ride to get to the other side of the gully'"
I said, "Is there any danger from Indians if a man were alone over there?" "None at all."
I said: "I visited the spot yesterday where George A. Smith, Jr., was killed by a Navajo Indian, who asked him for his pistol and then shot him with it, and I feel a little nervous, but if there is no danger I want to be all alone, so you go on with the party and I will take that trail."
I had this feeling that I ought not to testify any more about the Savior and that, really, I was not fit to be an apostle. It seemed overwhelming to me that I should be one. There was a spirit that said: "If you have not seen the Savior, why don't you resign your position?"
As I rode along alone, I seemed to see a council in heaven. The Savior was there; the Prophet Joseph was there; my father and others that I knew were there. In this council it seemed that they decided that a mistake had been made in not filling the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve, and conference had adjourned. The chances were the Brethren would wait another six months, and the way to remedy the situation was to send a revelation naming the men who should fill the vacancies. In this council the Prophet said, "I want to be represented by one of my own in that Council."
A little while before this I had attended the funeral of Brother Snedeker, a counselor in the bishopric of Mill Creek Ward, and Brother Joseph E. Taylor spoke at the services. In his remarks he became very pathetic to think that the Prophet had given his life for the Cause and that he had no representative in the quorums of the Priesthood of the Church. He was followed by Brother Joseph F. Smith, and Brother Smith said: "'We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly' (A of F 1:8), and I believe it is translated correctly when it says that if a man die his brother shall marry his widow and raise up seed to the dead man (Matt. 22:24), and I need to take only two steps from where I am standing now to place my hand on the shoulder of a man who is one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church, who is a son of the Prophet Joseph," and he pointed directly at me.
It made a very profound impression upon me, and I wondered if I should tell the people about it. I had always understood and known that my mother was sealed to the Prophet, and that Brigham Young had told my father that he would not marry my mother to him for eternity, because he had instructions from the Prophet that if anything happened to him before he was married to Rachel Ivins she must be sealed to him for eternity, that she belonged to him.
That is the reason that Father spoke up in this council to which I have referred, and said: "Why not choose the boy who bears my name, who belongs to you, to be one of the apostles?" That inspiration was given to me.
I can truthfully say that from February, 1883, until today I have never had any of that trouble, and I can bear my testimony that I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of the living God; and the evil one does not try to persuade me that I do not know what I am talking about. I have never had one slight impression to the contrary. I have just had real, genuine joy and satisfaction in proclaiming the gospel and bearing my testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the divine calling of Joseph Smith, the prophet.
Now, brethren, I could go on dictating by the hour, there are so many things that have happened in my life that I would like to tell you.
I once more thank the Saints for their faith and for their prayers, and for the strength that I have today in comparison with two and one-half years ago.
May God's blessings be and abide with you, one and all, and all the Saints and all the honest people the world over, is the prayer of my heart, even so. Amen.