New Seventy Says Favorite Role Is Being a Witness
By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer
One of Elder Timothy John Dyches’s favorite roles in life is to “be a witness” and testify to others to help them come unto Christ. Whether it is serving as a missionary, working in his profession, or just being at home with his own family, he enjoys that charge and tries to help others do the same.
“My mother was a convert to the Church, and of the four boys that she had, each one of us has married converts to the Church,” the newly called Seventy said. “So we have a great admiration for the missionary program in reaching out to invite all to come unto Christ.”
Born on January 15, 1951, in Murray, Utah, to Milo Fredrick and Mary Katherine Dyches, he was the second of seven children. When he was a young deacon, his father sold his pharmacy in Utah and moved the family to Elko, Nevada, to open another pharmacy.
“Moving can be arduous, but it was a good move for us,” Elder Dyches said. “We really had to turn into being each other’s best friends.”
While a young man, Elder Dyches spent a lot of time after school working at his father’s pharmacy. As they worked side by side, his father taught him the importance of hard work—something that would serve him well for the rest of his life. His ability to stay on task at a young age and to help others do the same encouraged his siblings to nickname him “the administrator.”
“Mom would produce a detailed list of every chore that needed to be done before we could go play,” he said. “There was basic need for coordination, and maybe a tiny bit of sibling encouragement, for the list to be accomplished. … I come from a family with a mom and dad that always showed us the right way, and I am ever grateful for them.”
Remembering an experience he had as a young man in Elko preparing to serve a mission, Elder Dyches said, “I went to get my physical to go on my mission, and though the attending physician spent 45 minutes detailing why I shouldn’t serve a mission, I still went and have never regretted serving that mission.” That determination blessed him while serving in the Germany South Mission from 1970 to 1972.
“That hard work I’d grown up with—that was expected by my grandfather Milo T. Dyches and my dad—helped me to rise up to do just that,” he said. “It was a tough mission, but it was a great mission for me. I learned the value of hard work and obedience and not giving up just because things are hard.”
After returning home from his mission, he attended Brigham Young University, where he met his future wife, Jill Dudley, a convert from Glens Falls, New York. She had been introduced to the Church as a teenager when missionaries knocked on her family’s front door.
“We had never felt anything like that before,” Sister Dyches said. “The missionaries came to give us a message. They came and taught us the plan of salvation. That touched my heart deeply, and I started reading the Book of Mormon at a young age. I could not deny these things, especially when [I could] feel it so strong. I love the Book of Mormon.”
It was a few years after her baptism that the couple met while on campus at BYU. Although she declined his first invitation to go out, he later became her math tutor, which led to a five-month courtship before they were married on April 26, 1974, in the Manti Utah Temple. They have three children.
After completing his undergraduate degree in university studies in only three years, Elder Dyches continued his schooling in medicine and, ultimately, in the field of otorhinolaryngology—an ear, nose, and throat specialty—graduating from and completing his residency at Washington University Medical School in Saint Louis, Missouri. He has spent his career as a surgeon in a private practice and was in senior management at a national surgical management company following his most recent mission service.
During those years of medical training, Elder and Sister Dyches moved and each of their three children was born in a different state—one in Arizona, one in Nevada, and one in Missouri. It was also during those years that his family established a great love for reading the scriptures.
While they were living in St. Louis, Elder and Sister Dyches attended a stake conference in which one of the speakers encouraged family scripture study. He recognized a need to improve but found it difficult because of his busy schedule during his medical training.
After a grueling night on call, he came home to his wife, Jill, exclaiming, “Honey, guess what just came in the mail? The Book of Mormon storybooks and tapes!”
Sister Dyches encouraged her husband to read the scriptures with their family, and he quickly came up with reasons why it wasn’t a good night. She responded to him by saying that if “Dad wasn’t going to do it, Mom would.” In that moment, they decided to make the scriptures a priority for their family.
“That was August 13, 1981, and we haven’t missed a night since,” he said. “So our children grew up reading scriptures. Some nights we’d only read one scripture or quote the Articles of Faith—you do the best you can. But it didn’t matter if we were on trains or planes traveling; if that is the time we had to read with our kids, we would do it.”
One of the greatest joys in the lives of Elder and Sister Dyches is to see their own children, now grown, read the scriptures with their children. That love of the scriptures has guided his Church service, especially when he was called to preside over the Oregon Portland Mission from 2008 to 2011. He would often ask his missionaries to share their favorite scripture.
“We wanted them all to be successful master teachers,” he said. “When you have a missionary who humbly and meekly truly knows the scriptures and of whom they testify, it refreshingly passes on to others that they can trust the missionaries with their friends.”
It is through reading the scriptures and relying upon the Spirit that they were really able to work, he said. Elder Dyches said he takes that same formula he tried to teach his missionaries with him as he starts his new assignment in the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
“As we go forward, that is what we will be doing: inviting all to come and sup at His table and answer the door as He knocks, because that is the only way to true happiness and lasting happiness,” he said. “We are willing to do and go wherever He may send us. ... As President Monson has said, ‘When you are on the Lord’s errand you are entitled to the Lord’s help,’ so with that assurance we move forward.”