Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2001), xi–xii.
In Apostles and Prophets of the Last Dispensation I have attempted to bring together the basic information on the lives and Church service of the 109 men called to serve as apostles and prophets in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, in addition to providing a convenient reference book, my major objective has been to capture the inspirational highlights in the lives of these great men. When Elder L. Tom Perry became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in April 1974, he recalled in his conference address the teachings of his father concerning the general authorities: “I was reared in a home in which the children were taught great love and respect for the General Authorities of the Church. I remember as I was learning the names of the members of the Council of the Twelve as a Primary graduation requirement, my father spent time and patience to teach me about the lives of each, as well as the required memory work. To this day, I think you can ask me at any time to recite the names of those great men . . . and I can repeat them rapidly and remember events in their lives” (Conference Report, April 1974, 140). As evidenced by the life of Elder Perry, great examples can wield a powerful influence.
Through this book, members of the Church can come to know the apostles and prophets and be inspired and uplifted by their noble examples. Also, the panorama of Church history will unfold in a unique manner as the reader views it through the lives of those the Lord has called to lead his latter-day kingdom.
As I have become acquainted with these men of valor, both living and dead, the Spirit of the Lord has borne witness that they are truly his servants. My hope is that through these pages the reader will also share in the inspiration and power that flows so freely from the lives of these prophets and apostles of the last dispensation.
Among the many who have assisted in various ways with the preparation of this book, I would like to express special gratitude to the following:
My devoted and persistent wife, Elaine McMeen Flake, who, while efficiently filling the roles of wife, mother of eight, grandmother, and part-time religion teacher at BYU, still managed to give indispensable assistance to every phase of this project. Her encouragement and help have made the completion of this book not only possible but enjoyable and inspirational. My respected friends and colleagues in the Department of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, Dr. Larry C. Porter and Dr. Richard O. Cowan, for their encouragement, for reading the manuscript, and for their valuable suggestions. Dr. Kent P. Jackson, Publications Director of the Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University, for his careful editing of the book and for his diligent staff, including Tami Andelin, Rozalyn M. Bird, Adam B. Daniels, Brian Jackson, Peter M. Jasinski, Amy E. Jensen, Brenda B. Johnson, Charlotte A. Pollard, Heidi Poulsen, Jason O. Roberts, H. L. Rogers, Randall Rushforth Rogers, and Robert F. Schwartz.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation to those who have provided the photographs for this publication—to Public Affairs, LDS Church, for the portraits of the living prophets and apostles; to the Deseret News Church Almanac for portraits of many of the deceased Church leaders; to Richard Neitzel Holzapfel for sharing photographs from his collection; to the Utah State Historical Society for the photographs on pages 40, 79, and 343; to the Historical Department, LDS Church, for the vast majority of photographs included in this publication; to William Whittaker for the portrait of Joseph Smith on page 11; to Gerry Avant, Church News, for the photograph on page 146. All photographs used with permission; all rights reserved.
History of the Church Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2d ed., rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957).
Journal of Discourses Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–86).