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Nathan Eldon Tanner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

N. Eldon Tanner
N. Eldon Tanner2.jpg
First Counselor in the First Presidency
December 30, 1973 (1973-12-30) – November 27, 1982 (1982-11-27)
ReasonReorganization of First Presidency
First Counselor in the First Presidency
July 7, 1972 (1972-07-07) – December 26, 1973 (1973-12-26)
ReasonReorganization of First Presidency
End reasonDissolution of First Presidency upon the death of Harold B. Lee
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
January 23, 1970 (1970-01-23) – July 2, 1972 (1972-07-02)
ReasonReorganization of First Presidency
End reasonDissolution of First Presidency upon the death of Joseph Fielding Smith
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
October 4, 1963 (1963-10-04) – January 18, 1970 (1970-01-18)
ReasonDeath of Henry D. Moyle
End reasonDissolution of First Presidency upon the death of David O. McKay
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 11, 1962 (1962-10-11) – October 4, 1963 (1963-10-04)
ReasonDeath of George Q. Morris
LDS Church Apostle
October 11, 1962 (1962-10-11) – November 27, 1982 (1982-11-27)
ReasonDeath of George Q. Morris
at end of term
No apostles ordained
Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 8, 1960 (1960-10-08) – October 11, 1962 (1962-10-11)
End reasonCalled to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Cardston
In office
August 22, 1935 – August 5, 1952
PredecessorGeorge Stringam
SuccessorEdgar Hinman
Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly
In office
February 6, 1936 – January 4, 1937
PredecessorGeorge Johnston
SuccessorPeter Dawson
Minister of Lands and Mines
In office
January 5, 1937 – April 1, 1949
PredecessorCharles Ross
PremierWilliam Aberhart and
Ernest Manning
Minister of Forestry, Lands and Wildlife
In office
April 1, 1949 – September 9, 1952
PredecessorIvan Casey
PremierErnest Manning
Minister of Mines and Minerals
In office
April 1, 1949 – September 9, 1952
PredecessorErnest Manning
PremierErnest Manning
Political partySocial Credit
Personal details
Born(1898-05-09)May 9, 1898
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
DiedNovember 27, 1982(1982-11-27) (aged 84)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting placeSalt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37.92″N 111°51′28.8″W / 40.7772000°N 111.858000°W / 40.7772000; -111.858000
OccupationTeacher, Politician, Religious Leader
Sara Isabelle Merrill
(m. 1919)
Children5 daughters

Nathan Eldon Tanner (May 9, 1898 – November 27, 1982) was a politician from Alberta, Canada, and a leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He served in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1935 to 1952 as a member of the Social Credit caucus in government. He served as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from 1936 to 1937 and as a cabinet minister in the governments of William Aberhart and Ernest Manning from 1937 to 1952, in various portfolios related to resource industries.

Early life

Tanner was born on May 9, 1898, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His family emigrated to Canada and had a farmstead in Aetna, south of Cardston, Alberta, where he grew up and attended grade school. He attended high school at Knight Academy in Raymond and received some post-secondary education at Calgary Normal School.[1]

Tanner began his working life at a grocery store and butcher shop. He obtained a job teaching at a small school in Hill Spring in 1919. He met Sara Isabelle Merrill at the school and married her on December 20, 1919[1] and they became the parents of five daughters.[2]

Along with teaching, Tanner also established his own general store, which later also became the local post office, to supplement his family income. The store was successful enough that he left his first teaching job in Hill Spring to run the store full-time.[1]

Tanner eventually became a high school teacher in Cardston. He got his start in politics as a councillor on Cardston Town Council.[1]

Political career

Tanner was drafted to run for a seat to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for the first time in the 1935 general election. He ran as a Social Credit candidate in the electoral district of Cardston and defeated incumbent United Farmers MLA George Stringam.[3]

After the election, and despite his complete lack of parliamentary experience, Tanner was chosen to be Speaker of the Alberta Legislature when the first session of the 8th Alberta Legislative Assembly began. He served in that role until January 5, 1937 when the Premier, William Aberhart, appointed Tanner the Minister of Lands and Mines.[4]

In the 1940 general election, Tanner defeated independent candidate S.H. Nelson in a two-way race.[5]

In the 1944 general election, Tanner won a three-way race.[6]

In the 1948 Alberta general election, Tanner easily won a two-way race over Liberal candidate Briant Stringam to hold his seat.[7]

In 1949, Premier Manning changed Tanner's ministerial portfolio from Lands and Mines to Lands and Forests. Tanner was also appointed Minister of Mines and Minerals. He held both portfolios until his retirement from the Legislature at dissolution in 1952.

Life in the LDS Church

In 1960, Tanner was called as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a full-time LDS Church general authority. In the church, he preferred to be referred to as "N. Eldon Tanner." In 1962, the death of George Q. Morris created a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which Tanner was called to fill in October 1962. He was still the quorum's junior member one year later when he was called into the First Presidency as second counselor to church president David O. McKay. Tanner remained in this position for the presidency of Joseph Fielding Smith (1970–72), and then became first counselor to Smith's successor, Harold B. Lee, and later to Spencer W. Kimball until Tanner's death.

As the First Presidency, Kimball, Tanner, and Marion G. Romney announced the reception of the Revelation on Priesthood in June 1978, which established that being of black African descent would no longer be a barrier to ordination to the church's priesthood. The announcement was canonized as "Official Declaration 2" in the church's Doctrine and Covenants. Tanner formally presented the announcement for acceptance by the church at a general conference in October 1978.[8]

Not long afterward, Tanner's health deteriorated and it became impossible for him to continue the duties of his office. With Kimball and Romney also ailing, the decision was made to add Gordon B. Hinckley as an additional counselor to the First Presidency on July 23, 1981. Tanner remained first counselor until his death on November 27, 1982 at age 84. Due to Hinckley's appointment the prior year, no additional individuals were added to the First Presidency after Tanner's death, nor were there any apostles ordained as a result of his death.


  1. ^ a b c d Hugh B. Brown (November 1972). "President N. Eldon Tanner: A Man of Integrity". Ensign. LDS Church. p. 13.
  2. ^ Flake, Lawrence R. (2001). Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University. pp. 223–28.
  3. ^ "Cardston Official Results 1935 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  4. ^ |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. May 16, 2006. p. 1593.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Cardston Official Results 1940 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  6. ^ "Cardston Official Results 1944 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  7. ^ "Cardston Official Results 1948 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  8. ^ N. Eldon Tanner, "Revelation on Priesthood Accepted, Church Officers Sustained", Ensign, November 1978.


External links

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Harold B. Lee
First Counselor in the First Presidency
July 7, 1972 – December 26, 1973
December 30, 1973 – November 27, 1982
Succeeded by
Marion G. Romney
Preceded by
Hugh B. Brown
Harold B. Lee
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
October 4, 1963 – January 18, 1970
January 23, 1970 – July 2, 1972
Preceded by
Gordon B. Hinckley
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 11, 1962 – October 4, 1963
Succeeded by
Thomas S. Monson
Political offices
Preceded by
George Stringam
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
August 22, 1935–August 5, 1952
Succeeded by
Edgar Hinman
Preceded by
George Johnston
Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly
1936 –1937
Succeeded by
Peter Dawson
This page was last edited on 19 January 2021, at 02:12
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