Charles W. Penrose

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Charles W. Penrose
First Counselor in the First Presidency
March 10, 1921 (1921-03-10) – May 16, 1925 (1925-05-16)
Called by Heber J. Grant
Predecessor Anthon H. Lund
Successor Anthony W. Ivins
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
November 23, 1918 (1918-11-23) – March 10, 1921 (1921-03-10)
Called by Heber J. Grant
Successor Anthony W. Ivins
End reason Called as First Counselor in the First Presidency
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
December 7, 1911 (1911-12-07) – November 19, 1918 (1918-11-19)
Called by Joseph F. Smith
Predecessor John Henry Smith
End reason Death of Joseph F. Smith; dissolution of First Presidency
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
July 7, 1904 (1904-07-07) – December 7, 1911 (1911-12-07)
Called by Joseph F. Smith
End reason Called as Second Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
July 7, 1904 (1904-07-07) – May 16, 1925 (1925-05-16)
Called by Joseph F. Smith
Reason Death of Abraham O. Woodruff
at end of term
No apostles ordained[1]
Personal details
Born Charles William Penrose
(1832-02-04)4 February 1832
London, England, United Kingdom
Died 16 May 1925(1925-05-16) (aged 93)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Cause of death Chronic prostatitis
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37″N 111°51′29″W / 40.777°N 111.858°W / 40.777; -111.858 (Salt Lake City Cemetery)
Nationality English
Spouse Lucetta Stratford
Children 15

Charles William Penrose (February 4, 1832 – May 16, 1925) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1904 to 1911. Penrose was also a member of the First Presidency of the church under church presidents Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant from 1911 until his death.

Penrose was born in London, England; the name "Penrose" is of Cornish origin.[2] It is said that he learned to read the scriptures by the age of four. He was introduced to the church and baptized at the age of eighteen on May 14, 1850 in London. He also met and married his wife Lucetta Stratford there. The couple had fifteen children.[3]

After joining the church, Penrose was called to a mission of seven years, preaching throughout England. In 1861, he emigrated to Utah. After arriving, he was called on yet another mission to England. Upon his return, he settled in Ogden, Utah. There he became involved in newspaper publishing, eventually becoming the editor of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. Penrose was known for his writing, including missionary tracts and for penning lyrics for LDS hymns, including God of Our Fathers, O Ye Mountains High, and Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion.

Penrose served for a time in the Utah Territorial Legislature. In 1880 he introduced a bill, largely at the urging of Emmeline B. Wells, that would have allowed women eligible to serve in all public offices in Utah.[4]

Some claim that Penrose, with the assistance of a few others, wrote the 1890 Manifesto.[citation needed] However, this claim has been refuted. George Reynolds testified in the Smoot Hearings before the U.S. Senate that he, Charles W. Penrose, and John R. Winder edited the manifesto that President Wilford Woodruff delivered, preparing it for publication.

Penrose was a professor of theology at Brigham Young Academy from 1897 to 1899 and again in 1901 and 1902.[5]

Penrose was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and ordained an apostle on July 7, 1904 after the passing of Elder Abraham O. Woodruff. After John Henry Smith (the Second Counselor to President Joseph F. Smith) died, he was called and set apart as Second Counselor in his stead on December 7, 1911. James E. Talmage filled the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve caused by President John Henry Smith's death and Charles W. Penrose's call as Second Counselor. He also served as Second Counselor for President Heber J. Grant when the First Presidency was reorganized on November 23, 1918 after the death of President Joseph F. Smith.


On March 10, 1921, Penrose was set apart as First Counselor in the same presidency to replace President Anthon H. Lund who had died eight days earlier. He served there until his death, four years later in Salt Lake City from chronic prostatitis.[6] He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.


Some of Penrose poems were put to music and became LDS hymns. "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion", originally a militant hymn containing references to trials of Latter-day Saints in the central United States and the threatening United States government (ironically set to the melody for "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean"), became an anthem for Latter-day Saints during the difficulties preceding and during the Utah War of 1857–58.[7]

Some of Penrose's lyrics appear in the current LDS hymnal, including:

  • "God of Our Fathers, We Come Unto Thee"
  • "O Ye Mountains High"
  • "School Thy Feelings"
  • "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion" (with modified lyrics, 1985)


  1. ^ Charles W. Nibley replaced Penrose in the First Presidency, but Nibley was not ordained as an apostle.
  2. ^ White, G. Pawley, A Handbook of Cornish Surnames. (Penrose mentioned by name)
  3. ^ Charles W. Penrose, By Kenneth W. Godfrey (partial)
  4. ^ Carol Cornwall Madsen, An Advocate for Women: The Public Life of Emmeline B. Wells, 1870–1920 (Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah: Brigham Young University Press and Deseret Book, 2006) pp. 186–87.
  5. ^ Wilkinson, Ernest L., ed., Brigham Young University: The First 100 Years. (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1975) p. 586.
  6. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate
  7. ^ Cracroft, in Walker and Dant, pp. 149–50.


External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Anthon H. Lund
First Counselor in the First Presidency
March 10, 1921 – May 16, 1925
Succeeded by
Anthony W. Ivins
Preceded by
John Henry Smith
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
December 7, 1911 – November 19, 1918
November 23, 1918 – March 2, 1921
Preceded by
George Albert Smith
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
July 7, 1904–December 7, 1911
Succeeded by
George F. Richards