Elder Rudger J Clawson was born 12 March 1857 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States to Hiram Bradley Clawson (1826-1912) and Margaret Gay Judd (1831-1912) and died 21 June 1943 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. He married Emma Christene Stohl (1869-1935) 1852 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. He married Florence Ann Dinwoodey (1864-1947) 1852 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. He married Lydia Elizabeth Spencer (1860-1941) 29 March 1883 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. He married Pearl Udall (1880-1950) 1904 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah.

Rudger Judd Clawson was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1898 until his death in 1943. He also served as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1921 until his death (the second longest tenure of anyone in that position) and as a member of the First Presidency of the LDS Church for five days in 1901 just prior to the death of Lorenzo Snow (1814-1901).

Georgia Mission[]

While serving his mission in Georgia, he faced many challenges, not the least of which was the mounting anti-Mormonism in that sector. On July 21, 1879, Clawson and his missionary companion were standing at Varnell Station, Georgia, when they were surrounded by an angry mob of anti-Mormons. One of the mobbers shot and killed his companion, Joseph Standing. One of the mobbers then turned and pointed to Clawson, and said, "Shoot that man!" Clawson coolly faced the mob and folded his arms. He exclaimed, "Shoot!" The mob soon dispersed in the face of Clawson's defiance and willingness to face the mob. He brought the body of his deceased missionary companion back to Salt Lake City, where a public funeral was held in the Tabernacle. Clawson became somewhat of a celebrity for his bravery that day.

LDS Apostle[]

Clawson was ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 10, 1898. He was asked to serve as second counselor in the First Presidency under church president Lorenzo Snow on October 6, 1901, but Snow died just four days later.

In 1904, the town of Kingsville, Emery County, Utah, was renamed Clawson in his honor after he visited the town to organize a ward.

In 1921, Clawson became the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He served in this position for 22 years, the second-longest tenure for this position in the history of the LDS Church.[8]

Marriage and Family[]

Polygamy Persecution[]

August 1882 was a difficult time for Clawson, as he became the first practicing polygamist to be convicted and serve a sentence after the passage of the Edmunds Act. During the trial, one of his wives refused to testify against him. She was put in prison for contempt of court. Judge Charles S. Zane sentenced Clawson to the maximum possible penalty—he was punished with 3 1⁄2 years in prison and a $1500 fine. For his final words before being sent to prison, Clawson defended his right to practice his religion and challenged the court's ability to enforce a law aimed at destroying a particular establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. His appeal was heard and rejected by the Supreme Court of the United States in Clawson v. United States. Clawson was pardoned in 1887 by President Grover Cleveland mere months before his sentence was to expire.

3rd Marriage : Lydia Spencer[]

4th Marriage: Pearl Udall[]

That same year, 1904, Clawson married Pearl Udall.


Offspring of Elder Rudger J Clawson and Lydia Elizabeth Spencer (1860-1941)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Remus Rudger Clawson (1885-1904)
Margaret Gay Clawson (1890-1986)
Daniel Spencer Clawson (1892-1893)
Vera May Clawson (1894-1897)
Samuel G Clawson (1896-1942)
Lorenzo Snow Clawson (1898-1962)
Marion Clawson (1900-1901)
Lydia Clawson (1903-1980)


Vital Records[]