Elder Larry S. Kacher Shares His Road to Conversion
Contributed By By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
After many promptings during his early adult years, Elder Larry S. Kacher began to recognize a greater power guiding him in his life. At age 19, his sensitivity to the Spirit led him across the globe and back again to find the gospel of Jesus Christ—a decision that has changed his life and made all the difference.
“We can know things and feel things, divine guidance from above that is a special tie to our Heavenly Father, who knows all things and sees all things and at the right time can direct us,” said Elder Kacher, who was sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 5. “He won't tell us everything, but like the Brother of Jared when He didn’t tell him everything to do with the boats, He told him enough to make his decision.”
Born February 12, 1952, to Albert and Elaine Kacher, the second oldest of five children, he grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his three sisters and one brother.
With no immediate school plans after high school, he decided to move to Austria, a place that would allow him to spend time doing one of his favorite hobbies—snow skiing. After being in Europe for a good part of a year, he suddenly had a feeling it was time to “get up and leave.” So he packed his things, took a train to the airport, and headed for home. On his way back to Minnesota, he stopped in Florida to spend some time with his grandparents.
“I was there for a bit, and then I had the same kind of feeling that I should get up and leave,” Elder Kacher remembers. “So I left after being there for a little over a month and headed back to Minnesota.”
He returned to his home state but after only a few days felt again like he needed to leave. This time, he had no idea where he needed to go.
A close childhood friend had decided to move to Utah, where his sister—who had recently joined the Church—lived. Elder Kacher decided he would join his friend and headed to the Rocky Mountains to ski.
“I had been in Austria skiing and having a good time, and the next thing I knew, I found myself in Provo, Utah, living with my friend in an apartment with returned missionaries,” he said. “They were very nice people but very different from what I was at the time. I went to church with them a time or two, and then it was time to go back home.”
He returned home for the summer to work and save money and then returned to Provo in the fall—this time with two more friends. While there, he enrolled at Brigham Young University.
“We decided that if we were going to be there we would follow the rules and that we would participate,” he said. He and his friends joined a family home evening group.
Although he was happy to enroll in school, he and a friend decided that if one of them decided to join the Church, the other would take them back to Minnesota. It wasn’t too long after that both of the friends met with the missionaries, and after being taught and reading the Book of Mormon, they decided to be baptized.
“I was not a great scholar … but was very sensitive to the Spirit,” he said. “I began to recognize the Spirit that had guided me from Austria to Florida to Minnesota to Utah and began to understand what had happened in my life. As the missionaries taught us, I felt it was true. I felt that what they were saying was true. It was just that quiet feeling.”
After he was baptized on January 8, 1972, Elder Kacher—and his two friends who were also baptized—decided to serve missions. Elder Kacher was called to the Tahiti Papeete Mission, where he served from 1973 to 1975. It was there that he learned the importance of hard work and obedience.
“I understood the importance from an early time, from the day I was baptized, of being exactly obedient, and that has always been a great blessing in my life,” he said.
After his mission he returned to BYU, where he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology; later, he earned a master’s degree in organizational behavior. It was during that time that a friend from before his mission introduced him to Pauline Miller, a modern dance major.
Although their backgrounds were very different—she grew up on a farm in small-town Venice, Utah, and had pioneer ancestors, while he grew up in Minnesota and is a convert—the two had the gospel in common and were married in the Manti Utah Temple on October 29, 1976. They are the parents of six children and have 11 grandchildren.
Over the years the Kacher family’s “home base” has been Eden Prairie, Minnesota, but Elder Kacher’s consulting career has included job opportunities in countries around the world. With those jobs also came opportunities in the Church, and no matter where the family has lived, Elder Kacher has been involved in Church service.
Whether it was serving as a branch president while raising their young growing family as they lived in Brussels, Belgium, for a few years; serving as mission president in the Switzerland Geneva Mission from 2000 to 2003; or later, in 2009, taking a job in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where he served as the first Area Seventy in that region of the world, Elder and Sister Kacher have welcomed the moves and recognized the direction of the Spirit guiding their decisions.
“An important thing in our years together is really feeling like the Lord has directed our paths,” Sister Kacher said. “That’s been such an important thing for us to just always pray that Heavenly Father will direct our paths, and He really has. I wouldn’t have had the imagination to come up with the things that we’ve done and experienced and the different places the Lord has directed us to.”
Elder Kacher looks to his new calling in the Seventy as an opportunity to do what he encouraged his missionaries to do: “Work hard and work smart.”
“Because with God, we can do anything,” he said.
Family: Born February 12, 1952, in Mankato, Minnesota, to Albert and Elaine Walsh Kacher; married Pauline Miller on October 29, 1976, in the Manti Utah Temple; six children: Amelia (Tyler Pearce), Benjamin (Bonnie), Ryan (Abby), Joshua, Zachary (Kelsey), Nellie; 11 grandchildren.
Education: Received a bachelor of science degree in psychology in 1976 from Brigham Young University and a master's degree in organizational behavior in 1978, also from BYU.
Employment: Director of Human Resource Development at Honeywell from 1978 to 1986; Kacher & Associates (consulting practice) from 1987 to 2000; principal at Wasatch Mountain Development from 2005 to the present; head of leadership and organization and development at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority from 2009 to 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Community service: Planning commission for the city of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Church service: Former missionary in the Tahiti Papeete Mission from 1973 to 1975, elders quorum president, branch president, bishop, stake president's counselor, president of the Switzerland Geneva Mission from 2000 to 2003, and Area Seventy.