Which LDS Prophet Served The Longest?

Historical Context and Importance of Prophets in LDS

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also sometimes known as the Mormon Church, was founded in the 19th century. Prophets in this church are more than religious leaders; they are considered God’s messengers, guiding the church through revelations and teachings. Their impact on the church’s trajectory has been profound and enduring. So, which prophet has served the longest?

The Short Answer: Brigham Young 

Brigham Young served as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 29 years and 8 months. He became the President of the Church after the death of Joseph Smith in 1844. Brigham Young’s tenure as President lasted until he died in 1877. The prophet who served the second longest was Heber J. Grant. President Heber J. Grant served as the prophet of the church for 26 years and 5 months.

Each Prophet’s Length of Service 

The table below lists the Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized by the duration of their service as Prophet, starting with those who served the shortest terms (at the top) and concluding with those who served the longest terms (at the bottom).

Prophet Length of Service as Prophet Age at Death
Howard W. Hunter 1 year, 4 months 88
Harold B. Lee 1 year, 5 months 73
Joseph Fielding Smith 2 years, 5 months 95
Lorenzo Snow 3 years, 1 month 87
George Albert Smith 5 years, 10 months 81
Russell M. Nelson 5 years, 5 months 98
John Taylor 6 years, 9 months 78
Ezra Taft Benson 9 years 90
Wilford Woodruff 9 years, 4 months 91
Thomas S. Monson 9 years, 7 months 90
Spencer W. Kimball 12 years 88
Gordon B. Hinckley 13 years 97
Joseph Smith 14 years, 2 months 34
Joseph F. Smith 17 years, 1 month 80
David O. McKay 18 years, 9 months 96
Heber J. Grant 26 years, 5 months 88
Brigham Young 29 years, 8 months 76


Identifying the Longest-Serving Prophet

Upon analyzing the data, it becomes clear that Brigham Young holds the record for the longest-serving prophet in LDS history, with a remarkable tenure of nearly 30 years. Under his leadership, the church underwent significant changes, including a migration to Utah.

Comparison with Other Long-Serving Prophets

While Brigham Young leads in tenure, other prophets like Heber J. Grant and David O. McKay also had impactful and lengthy terms. Grant’s tenure saw the church through the challenges of the Great Depression, while McKay’s era was marked by significant international growth of the church.

The Role of Longevity in Shaping the LDS Church

The lengthy tenures of these prophets have allowed for sustained periods of growth and consolidation within the church. For instance, Brigham Young’s leadership was instrumental in establishing the church in the American West and developing its unique cultural identity.

The legacy of Brigham Young as the longest-serving LDS prophet is a testament to his impactful leadership and the crucial role of prophets in guiding the church through periods of challenge and change. Their legacies continue to influence the LDS Church’s path today.