Marion G. Romney

Marion G. Romney

Marion G. Romney

Before his call to be an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Romney was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Salt Lake City. He had previously worked for the post office.

He also was elected to the Utah state legislature in 1934 as a Democrat. While running for the state legislature he accepted a call as a bishop from his stake president, Bryant S. Hinckley. Due to his election to the state legislature his ordination as a bishop was delayed until after the end of the legislature's term, in April 1935. While in the legislature Romney had been a key figure in writing Utah's Liquor Control Law. After the end of that session of the legislature Romney had resigned from the legislature.

In 1936 Utah Governor Henry H. Blood appointed Romney to fill the vacancy in the legislature he had caused by resigning.

General authority

Romney's 47 years as a general authority of the LDS Church began when he became one of five persons called to fill the new position of an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1941 (the position was abolished in 1976). In 1951, he was advanced to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In 1960 Romney was among those who developed the Home Teaching program.

In 1961 Romney was appointed the area supervisor for the church over Mexico. Although he had lived his first fifteen years in Mexico, it was in the mainly American Mormon Colonies, so he knew very little Spanish. Romney did try to learn more Spanish, an endeavor in which he was assisted by Eduardo Balderas. Romney supervised the church's growth in Mexico for the next eleven years. He oversaw a plan that allowed for the church to build many chapels in Mexico and it was during this time that the first stakes in Mexico made up primariy of Spanish speakers were organized.

Romney became Second Counselor in the First Presidency when Harold B. Lee, with whom he had worked on the Church Welfare program, became Church President in 1972.

Lee's death the following year brought Spencer W. Kimball to the church presidency; who retained Romney and First Counselor Nathan Eldon Tanner in their positions. As Kimball, Tanner, and Romney all became octogenarians and developed health problems, it was decided to add Gordon B. Hinckley as an additional counselor in 1981. Upon Tanner's death in 1982 Romney was named First Counselor and Hinckley Second Counselor, but Romney was fairly inactive in this position. When Kimball died in 1985 press reports indicated Romney had not been seen in public for many months.

Ezra Taft Benson, who had been President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, became the next church President and named Hinckley his First Counselor. Romney, as the next longest serving Apostle after Benson, succeeded as of right to the position of President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. However, "because President Romney’s health [kept] him from taking an active part in Church administration," Howard W. Hunter, who ranked next in seniority, was made Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve (Ensign, Apr. 1986). Romney was never formally set apart to his new position.

Romney died at his home in Salt Lake City from causes incident to age. He was 90 and had been an LDS Church general authority for 47 years. Funeral services were held on May 23, 1988 at the Salt Lake Tabernacle under the direction of Ezra Taft Benson. Romney was buried at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park in Holladay, Utah beside his wife who preceded him in death in 1979.

On Romney's death, the Deseret News Church Almanac remembered him as a "renowned Church Welfare pioneer and Book of Mormon scholar".