The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
is presided over by a Prophet
, who is also considered to be the President of the Church. Since 1830 the Church has been led by 15 different prophets. It's a common teaching among Mormons that every Prophet has a mission, or a specialty. This is a list of the Prophets and a little bit about each of them.
Joseph Smith (1831-1844) - Founded the Church, translated the Book of Mormon, revealed the basis for most of the Church's doctrine.
Brigham Young (1848-1877)* - Held the Church together after Joseph's martyrdom, led the Church away from persecution to Utah, helped the Church to grow and colonize many parts of the US West.
John Taylor (1877-1887) - Released and updated several scriptures, better defined roles of Priesthood, led for two years in exile because of US persecution for the practice of polygamy.
Wilford Woodruff (1887-1898) - Produced the Manifesto which ended polygamy and lead Utah to statehood.
Lorenzo Snow (1898-1901) - By challenging the members to pay a full tithe brought the Church out of it's considerable debt.
Joseph F. Smith (1901-1918) - Helped to change the Church's image from polygamist heretics to civilized Christians.
Heber J. Grant (1918-1945) - Continued to improve the Church's image, pulled the Church through the Great Depression, and created the Church Welfare system.
George Albert Smith (1945-1951) - Sent aid to Europe following WWII, increased the Church's missionary efforts
David O. McKay (1951 - 1970) - Made many changes so that the Church could more fully expand outside of North America, urged civic duty for members, updated missionary efforts.
Joseph Fielding Smith (1970-1972) - Increased missionary work, restructured parts of the Church, defended the Church's Gospel Principles.
Harold B. Lee (1972-1973) - Reaffirmed the power and divine calling of the Prophet.
Spencer W. Kimball (1973-1985) - Best known for extending the Priesthood and Temple admission to members of all races, helped the Church adjust to it's rapid growth.
Ezra Taft Benson (1985-1994) - Championed important aspects of the Church like Family and the Book of Mormon.
Howard W. Hunter (1994-1995) - Made a major effort to have all members receive their Temple Recommend and attend whenever possible.
Gordon B. Hinckley (1995-pres.) - Continued to improve the Church's image and increase it's exposure in the media.
* From 1844-1848 The Church was led by the Apostles.