Twenty Years Ago Today: David O. McKay’s Heart Petals Revisited

David Oman McKay and Emma Ray Riggs were married January 2, 1901, making them, as David noted, the first couple sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in the twentieth century. As David’s public profile rose with his call as Apostle in 1906 and then as President of the Church in 1951, the McKays became known popularly as the Church’s happiest couple. During their marriage, President McKay wrote poems and other expressions of endearment for Emma Ray. He delivered these “heart petals,” as he called them, from the Tabernacle pulpit and in the Deseret News Church Section on their anniversary, her birthday, holidays, holidays, and other occasions. He publicly wooed his wife and intermittently even said to his audience, “May I give you what I call a ‘heart petal’ as we sit in sacred comunion?” Latter-day Saints identified with their prophet’s charm.

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