Last modified on 13 July 2016, at 01:26

David O. McKay

LDS Prophet David O. McKay

David Oman McKay (September 8, 1873 – January 18, 1970) was a Prophet and ninth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for which he served twenty-years. He is remembered for his contributions to education, participation in civic affairs, emphasis on missionary work and the expansion of the international Church where the first stakes were created outside of the United States. David had an unswerving loyalty to the gospel with a renewed emphasis on the value of family life. He would issue the well-known statement “Every Member a Missionary.”

Early life

David was born in Huntsville, Utah, the third child of David and Jennette Evans McKay, of Scottish ancestry. At age six, his two older sisters died and his father left for missionary work.[1] Young David matured quickly to take on responsibilities of the family farm. He loved riding horses, swimming, and other sports. During summer time, David would deliver the Ogden Standard Examiner to a nearby mining town. He spent much of his time reading and would embark on a career in education which would characterize his life. David enrolled in the Church's Weber Stake Academy and then at the University of Utah. David was member of the University of Utah football team in 1894. He graduated in June 1897 as class president and valedictorian.


David accepted a mission call to Great Britain and like his father before him, was soon appointed to President of the Scottish district. He returned home in the fall of 1899 and in 1901, married his college sweetheart Emma Ray Rigg at the Salt Lake Temple. In 1906, David was serving as the superintendent of the Weber Stake Sunday School, President Joseph F. Smith called him to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for which lasted nearly fifty years. In 1919, he became Church Commissioner of Education. In 1920, several Apostles blessed him before he embarked on a mission to travel around the world. David would urge the Saints to remain in Europe rather than to emigrate to America, promising them that one day the full program of the Church, including sacred temples, would be made available in their homelands. In 1934, President Heber J. Grant chose David to be his Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church and in 1951, he became President of the Church.

Ninth President

David ushered in a new era, the European Church. The first stakes outside North America were organized. During his administration, stakes were created in Australia, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Samoa, Scotland, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, Uruguay, Tonga, Peru, and Japan. In the summer of 1952, he visited nine European countries. In 1955, President McKay dedicated the The Bern Switzerland Temple, the first Euopean temple and many more dedications would follow. He dedicated the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, the Church College of New Zealand and the London England Temple in 1958. In America, he dedicated the Los Angeles California Temple, the Oakland California Temple and the Church College of Hawaii. In 1961, David held the first world seminar for mission presidents where he introduced the plan A Systematic Program for Teaching the Gospel. Also, he authorized ordaining members of the First Council of the Seventy. During most of his presidential administration, he held weekly breakfast meetings with the head of the Salt Lake area Chamber of Commerce and the publisher of the Salt Lake Tribune to share mutual interests in civic affairs. He would denounce communism for its atheistic nature and its threat to the democratic institutions. David made an official statement calling upon Church members everywhere to do their part to see that civil rights for all races. On January 18, 1970, at age ninety-six, he died in Salt Lake City.

Ten Conditions That Can Contribute to a Happy Home

He was vitally concerned with the family and constantly called upon parents to spend time with their children and to train them in all the virtues of good citizenship. President McKay gave the following advice;[2]

1. Ever keep in mind you begin to lay the foundation of a happy home in your pre-marital lives. While in courtship you should learn to be loyal and true to your future husband or wife. Keep yourselves clean and pure. Cherish the highest ideals of chastity and purity. Do not be deceived.

2. Choose your mate by judgment and inspiration, as well as by physical attraction. Intellect and breeding are vital and important in the human family.

3. Approach marriage with the lofty view it merits. Marriage is ordained of God. It is not something to be entered into lightly or to be dissolved at the first difficulty that arises.

4. Remember that the noblest purpose of marriage is procreation. Home is children’s natural nursery. Happiness in the home is enhanced by having children at the fireside.

5. Let the spirit of reverence pervade the home. Have your home such that if the Savior called unexpectedly he could be invited to stay and not feel out of his element. Pray in the home.

6. Let husband or wife never speak in loud tones to each other.

7. Learn the value of self-control. We are never sorry for the word unspoken. Lack of self-control is the greatest source of unhappiness in the home. Children should be taught self-control, self-respect, and respect for others.

8. Fasten home ties by continued companionship. Companionship fosters love. Do everything to cement love for all eternity.

9. Make accessible to children proper literature and music.

10. By example and precept, encourage participation in Church activity.


  • "Every member a missionary!"
  • "As precious as life itself is our heritage of individual freedom, for man's free agency is a God-given gift."
  • "Do your duty, that is best; leave unto the Lord the rest."
  • "Happiness and peace will come to earth only as the light of love and human compassion enter the souls of men. "
  • "Men may yearn for peace, cry for peace, and work for peace, but there will be no peace until they follow the path pointed out by the Living Christ. He is the true light of men's lives."
  • "There is a crying need today to have this truth heralded throughout the land that youth especially may appreciate and hold the freedom of the individual as sacred as did our revolutionary fathers."


  1. David O. McKay Light Planet
  2. David O. McKay