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Canadian Mormons Extend Best Wishes to President Monson for His 90th Birthday

Canadian Mormons extend their best wishes to Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he celebrates his 90th birthday on August 21.

President Monson spoke often about his experiences while serving as president of the Canadian Mission of the Church (headquartered in Toronto, Ontario) from 1959 to 1962 and the many Church members, friends and missionaries he met while doing so.

President Monson was instrumental in leading the growth of the Church in eastern Canada. He provided constant encouragement, enthusiasm and inspiration for the missionaries who served in the Canadian Mission. It was under his inspired leadership that the first stake in eastern Canada — the Toronto Ontario Stake, also the 300th stake of the Church — was formed in August 1960. He formally opened missionary work to French-speaking people in Quebec by assigning six French-speaking missionaries to Quebec in 1961.

Everett Pallin, President Monson’s counsellor in the mission presidency, says, “[He] was exactly who the Toronto Saints needed to help lead them to becoming a stake. President Monson’s leadership and loyalty was a motivating factor in encouraging local members to build Zion here rather than move to distant locations. President Monson unfolded the vision to us that we could live here in our ‘Garden of Eden’ in Ontario with the full program of the Church.”

Pallin particularly remembers one special experience he had with President Monson: Pallin told President Monson that he had provided a certain family with financial assistance because they were stranded and destitute of funds. President Monson expressed support for Pallin’s actions and stated, “When I stand at the judgment bar of heaven and give an accounting of my actions, if there is any error found in my judgments, I want them to be on the side of mercy and not on the side of justice.”

In 1979 President Monson visited Canada to dedicate the Hamilton Stake Centre. Kenneth Shoesmith, the current bishop of the Hamilton Ward, relates that President Monson was given an outline of the program for the upcoming dedicatory meeting. He looked at it and asked stake president Malcolm Warner who created the program. Upon learning that it was Kenneth Shoesmith, President Monson said, “Kenneth, you get an A!” It wasn’t until afterward that Shoesmith looked at the program and instantly saw an error he hadn’t detected previously. He knew that President Monson must have also seen it but never pointed it out nor made mention of it. This simple incident is indicative of the way President Monson treats others — he builds people up.

Over the years, President Monson’s vision for the growth of the Church in eastern Canada has seen continued fulfillment as Church membership in Ontario and Quebec has grown from 5,000 members in 1960 to over 64,000 members today.

As an advocate for building the Church in Canada, President Monson supported construction of temples across Canada. He participated in the dedication of the Toronto Ontario Temple in August 1990 and the Montreal Quebec Temple in June 2000 and the rededication of the Cardston Alberta Temple in June 1991. He also dedicated the Vancouver British Columbia Temple in May 2010 and the Calgary Alberta Temple in October 2012.

President Monson has taught that “as we enter through the doors of the temple, we leave behind us the distractions and confusion of the world. Inside this sacred sanctuary, we find beauty and order. There is rest for our souls and a respite from the cares of our lives” (“Blessings of the Temple,” April 2015 general conference).

President Monson is loved by steadfast Latter-day Saints whom he has served faithfully across Canada and who wish him a happy 90th birthday.

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