Did the Lord truly love President Clawson or was He playing a trick on His Apostle? Despite serving twenty-one years as President of the Twelve, Rudger's tenure was eclipsed by Heber J. Grant's twenty-seven years as the Prophet and Rudger never sat in the Prophet's chair.
Rudger Clawson was born March 12, 1857 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Hiram Bradley Clawson and Margaret Gay Judd. Raised as a member of the Church, he was called to several leadership positions, most notable of which were the Holy Apostleship on October 10, 1898, Second Counselor to Lorenzo Snow October 6, 1901, and President of the Twelve March 17, 1921.
Meanwhile he found time to marry three times and father eleven children.
Rudger Clawson was the first member of the Church to be prosecuted under the infamous Edmund's Law. His jury was composed of twelve gentiles although Utah at the time was better than nine-to-one Latter-day Saint. Lydia Spencer, one of his wives refused to be sworn and was herself committed to the penitentiary in a scurrilous and ultimately failed attempt to force her to testify. Ultimately he was convicted in an unconstitutional ex post facto application of the law. As a result of his conviction he was subjected to a fine of $500.00 and the extraordinarily harsh sentence of three years and six months to a federal penitentiary for which he had donated $1000.00 to its construction. He was pardoned in 1887 by President Grover Cleveland which cut only four months off his sentence.
Rudger Clawson died June 21, 1943 in Salt Lake City, Utah, well beloved and respected by all while the names of his persecutors lie in the trash heap of history despised by those few who even bother to search them out.