Rudger Clawson

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Rudger Clawson
Rudgerclawson.gif
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
March 17, 1921 (1921-03-17) – June 21, 1943 (1943-06-21)
Predecessor Anthon H. Lund
Successor George A. Smith
Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
November 23, 1918 (1918-11-23) – March 17, 1921 (1921-03-17)
End reason Became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 10, 1901 (1901-10-10) – June 21, 1943 (1943-06-21)
Successor Reed Smoot
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
October 6, 1901 (1901-10-06) – October 10, 1901 (1901-10-10)
Called by Lorenzo Snow
Predecessor Joseph F. Smith
Successor Anthon H. Lund
End reason Dissolution of First Presidency upon the death of Lorenzo Snow
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 10, 1898 (1898-10-10) – October 6, 1901 (1901-10-06)
Called by Lorenzo Snow
Predecessor Abraham O. Woodruff
End reason Called as Second Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
October 10, 1898 (1898-10-10) – June 21, 1943 (1943-06-21)
Called by Lorenzo Snow
Reason Death of Wilford Woodruff; reorganization of First Presidency
Reorganization
at end of term
Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson were ordained following the deaths of Clawson and Sylvester Q. Cannon
Personal details
Born Rudger Judd Clawson
(1857-03-12)March 12, 1857
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States
Died June 21, 1943(1943-06-21) (aged 86)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37.92″N 111°51′28.8″W / 40.7772000°N 111.858000°W / 40.7772000; -111.858000
Spouse Martha Ann Dinwoody
Pearl Udall
Children 11
Parents Hiram B. Clawson
Margaret Judd
Lydia Spencer
Signature  
Signature of Rudger Clawson

Rudger Judd Clawson (March 12, 1857 – June 21, 1943) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1898 until his death in 1943. He also served as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1921 until his death and as a member of the First Presidency of the LDS Church for five days in 1901.

Biography[edit]

Clawson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory to Hiram Bradley Clawson and Margaret Judd of Canada.

Clawson and Standing during Mission in Georgia

While serving his mission in Georgia, he faced many challenges, not the least of which was the mounting anti-Mormonism in that sector. On July 21, 1879 were standing at Varnell Station, Georgia when they were surrounded by an angry mob of anti-Mormons. One of the mobbers shot and killed his companion, Joseph Standing. One of the mobbers then turned and pointed to Elder Clawson, and said, "Shoot that man!" Clawson coolly faced the mob and folded his arms. He exclaimed, "Shoot!" The mob soon dispersed in the face of young Elder Clawson's defiance and willingness to face the mob. He brought the body of his deceased missionary companion back to Salt Lake City, Utah where a public funeral was held in the Tabernacle. He became somewhat of a celebrity for his bravery that day.

August 1882 was a difficult time for Rudger Clawson. Clawson was the first practicing polygamist to be convicted and serve a sentence after the passage of the Edmunds Act.[1] During the trial, one of his wives refused to testify against him. She was put in prison for contempt of court. Judge Charles S. Zane sentenced Clawson to the maximum possible penalty—he was punished with 312 years in prison and a $1,500 fine. For his final words before being sent to prison, Clawson defended his right to practice his religion and challenged the court's ability to enforce a law aimed at destroying a particular establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. His appeal was heard and rejected by the Supreme Court of the United States in Clawson v. United States. He was pardoned in 1887 by President Grover Cleveland mere months before his sentence was going to expire.

Clawson was ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 10, 1898. He was asked to serve as second counselor in the First Presidency under President Lorenzo Snow on October 6, 1901, but Snow died just four days later.

In 1904, the town of Kingsville, Emery County, Utah renamed themselves to Clawson, Utah in his honor after visiting the town to organize a ward.

That same year, Clawson married Pearl Udall.[2]

Death[edit]

Clawson died from pneumonia at the age of 86 in Salt Lake City, Utah.[3] He had served in the quorum for a total of 45 years. He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Rudger Clawson's grave marker
Clawson family grave marker

Published works[edit]

  • Larson, Stan (Ed.) (1993). A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic Diaries of Rudger Clawson. Signature Books. ISBN 0-941214-96-6. 
  • --- (1993). Prisoner for Polygamy: The Memoirs and Letters of Rudger Clawson at the Utah Territorial Penitentiary, 1884-87. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-01861-3. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Richard S. Van Wagoner (1989, 2d ed.). Mormon Polygamy: A History (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books) p. 119.
  2. ^ [1][2][3][4][5]
  3. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate

References[edit]

  • Hoopes, David S., Hoopes, Roy (1990). The Making of a Mormon Apostle: A Story of Rudger Clawson. Madison Books. ISBN 0-8191-7298-7. 

External resources[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Anthon H. Lund
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
March 17, 1921 – June 21, 1943
Succeeded by
George Albert Smith
New position  Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 
For:
Anthon H. Lund
November 23, 1918 – March 17, 1921
Vacant
Title next held by
Joseph Fielding Smith
Preceded by
Joseph F. Smith
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
October 6, 1901 – October 10, 1901
Succeeded by
Anthon H. Lund
Preceded by
Abraham O. Woodruff
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 10, 1901 – June 21, 1943
October 10, 1898 – October 6, 1901
Succeeded by
Reed Smoot