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Charles W. Penrose

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Title: Charles W. Penrose  
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Subject: John Henry Smith, Anthony W. Ivins, Jedediah M. Grant, Willard Richards, John Willard Young
Collection: 1832 Births, 1925 Deaths, 19Th-Century Mormon Missionaries, American People of Cornish Descent, Apostles (Lds Church), Brigham Young Academy Faculty, Burials at Salt Lake City Cemetery, Converts to Mormonism, Counselors in the First Presidency (Lds Church), Deseret News People, English Emigrants to the United States, English General Authorities (Lds Church), English Hymnwriters, English Latter Day Saint Hymnwriters, English Latter Day Saint Writers, English Latter Day Saints, English Mormon Missionaries, Infectious Disease Deaths in Utah, Members of the Council of Fifty, Members of the Utah Territorial Legislature, Mormon Missionaries in the United Kingdom, Official Historians of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Utah Democrats
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Charles W. Penrose

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
Spouse(s) 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 Bible by the age of four. Penrose was introduced to the LDS Church and baptized at the age of eighteen on May 14, 1850, in London. He also met and married his wife Lucetta Stratford in London. The couple had fifteen children.[3]

After joining the church, Penrose was called to a seven-year mission, preaching throughout England. In 1861, he emigrated to Utah Territory. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he was asked to return to England as a missionary. Upon his return, he settled in Ogden, Utah, where he became involved in newspaper publishing. Eventually, Penrose became the editor of the LDS Church-owned Deseret News in Salt Lake City. Penrose was known for his writing, including missionary tracts and lyrics of Mormon hymns, including "God of Our Fathers", "O Ye Mountains High", and "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion".

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

Some have claimed that Penrose was the chief author of the Smoot Hearings before the U.S. Senate that he, Penrose, and John R. Winder only edited and prepared for publication the text that church president Wilford Woodruff.

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. He was called to fill a vacancy in the quorum caused by the death of Abraham O. Woodruff. On December 7, 1911, Penrose became Second Counselor to Joseph F. Smith in the Presidency of the Church; he replaced John Henry Smith, who died. James E. Talmage filled the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve caused by Penrose's elevation to the First Presidency. After Joseph F. Smith's death in 1918, Penrose was retained as Second Counselor by new church president Heber J. Grant.


On March 10, 1921, Penrose became First Counselor in the First Presidency; he succeeded Anthon H. Lund, who had died eight days earlier. Penrose served in this position 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. Penrose's "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.
  3. ^ Kenneth W. Godfrey, Charles W. Penrose.
  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

  • Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
  • "Priesthood and Presidency", a pamphlet published by Penrose
  • Works by or about Charles W. Penrose in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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
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