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Rudger Clawson

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Title: Rudger Clawson  
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Subject: Anthon H. Lund, Ezra Taft Benson, Spencer W. Kimball, George Albert Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith
Collection: 1857 Births, 1943 Deaths, 19Th-Century Mormon Missionaries, American General Authorities (Lds Church), American Mormon Missionaries in the United States, American People Convicted of Bigamy, American Prisoners and Detainees, Apostles (Lds Church), Burials at Salt Lake City Cemetery, Counselors in the First Presidency (Lds Church), Deaths from Pneumonia, Infectious Disease Deaths in Utah, Lynching Survivors in the United States, People from Salt Lake City, Utah, Presidents of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Lds Church), Prisoners and Detainees of the United States Federal Government, Recipients of American Presidential Pardons
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Rudger Clawson

Rudger Clawson
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
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
Spouse(s) Florence Ann Dinwoody
Lydia Spencer
Pearl Udall
Children 10
Parents Hiram B. Clawson
Margaret Judd
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 1
  • Death 2
  • See also 3
  • Published works 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External resources 7


Clawson and Standing during Mission in Georgia

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

While serving his mission in 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 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 Clawson's defiance and willingness to face the mob. He brought the body of his deceased missionary companion back to Salt Lake City, where a public funeral was held in the Tabernacle. Clawson became somewhat of a celebrity for his bravery that day.

August 1882 was a difficult time for Clawson, as he became 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 $1500 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. Clawson was pardoned in 1887 by President Grover Cleveland mere months before his sentence was 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 church president Lorenzo Snow on October 6, 1901, but Snow died just four days later.

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

That same year, Clawson married Pearl Udall.[2][3][4][5][6]

In 1921, Clawson became the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He served in this position for 22 years, the second-longest tenure for this position in the history of the LDS Church.[7]


Clawson died from pneumonia at the age of 86 in Salt Lake City.[8] 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

See also

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Georgia (U.S. state)

Published works

  • Clawson, Rudger (1993a). Larson, Stan, ed. A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic Diaries of Rudger Clawson. Salt Lake City: Signature Books.  
  • —— (1993b). Larson, Stan, ed. Prisoner for Polygamy: The Memoirs and Letters of Rudger Clawson at the Utah Territorial Penitentiary, 1884-87. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.  


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Clawson 1993b, p. 19
  3. ^ Clawson 1993a, p. x
  4. ^ Hoopes, Roy (February 1990), "My Grandfather, The Mormon Apostle",  
  5. ^
  6. ^,2018
  7. ^ Orson Hyde served in the position for 28 years—from 1847 to 1875.
  8. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate.


  • Hoopes, David S.; Hoopes, Roy (1990). The Making of a Mormon Apostle: A Story of Rudger Clawson. Lanham, Maryland: Madison Books.  
  • Nicholson, John (1886). The Martyrdom of Joseph Standing; or, The Murder of a "Mormon" Missionary: a True Story. Salt Lake City: The Deseret News Company.  

External resources

  • Grampa Bill's GA Pages: Rudger Clawson
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 
Anthon H. Lund
November 23, 1918 – March 17, 1921
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
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