David O. McKay

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David O. McKay in 1939.
Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah

David Oman McKay (September 8, 1873January 18, 1970) was an American religious leader and educator who served as the ninth president of w:the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1951 until his death in 1970. Ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1906, McKay was an active general authority for nearly 64 years, longer than anyone else in LDS Church history.


  • An Unsatisfied Appetite for Knowledge Means Progress and Is the State of a Normal Mind
    • Title of Valedictorian address (1897)
  • Prediction of the fall of Russian communism: "Russia enveloped with communism—a new religious freedom must come. God will overrule it, for that people must hear the truth, and truth in simplicity. Truly there is much for the church to do in the coming century."
  • Every member a missionary!
    • Conference Report, Apr. 1959, p. 122.
  • No other success can compensate for failure in the home.
    • Quoted from J. E. McCullough, Home: The Savior of Civilization [1924], 42; Conference Report, Apr. 1935, p. 116.
  • Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give.
    • LDS General Conference Report (April 1950) page 32
  • Next to life we express gratitude for the gift of free agency. When thou didst create man, thou placed within him part of thine omnipotence and bade him choose for himself. Liberty and conscience thus became a sacred part of human nature. Freedom not only to think, but to speak and act is a God-given privilege.
    • Improvement Era (October 1958) pp 718-719
  • Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man.... Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give. It is inherent in the spirit of man. It is a divine gift to every normal being... Everyone has this most precious of all life’s endowments--the gift of free agency--man’s inherited and inalienable right.
    • Improvement Era (February 1962) p. 86
  • The rising sun can dispel the darkness of night, but it cannot banish the blackness of malice, hatred, bigotry, and selfishness from the hearts of humanity. Happiness and peace will come to earth only as the light of love and human compassion enter the souls of men.
    It was for this purpose that Christ, the Son of righteousness, 'with healing in his wings,' came in the Meridian of Time. Through him wickedness shall be overcome, hatred, enmity, strife, poverty, and war abolished. This will be accomplished only by a slow but never-failing process of changing men's mental and spiritual attitude. The ways and habits of the world depend upon the thoughts and soul-convictions of men and women. If, therefore, we would change the world, we must first change people's thoughts. Only to the extent that men desire peace and brotherhood can the world be made better. No peace even though temporarily obtained, will be permanent, whether to individuals or nations, unless it is built upon the solid foundation of eternal principles.
    • LDS General Conference (October 1964)
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