My beloved brothers and sisters and friends: It has been a sublime and moving experience to participate in sustaining President Lee and his counselors yesterday morning as the new First Presidency of the Church, and I humbly entreat the same spirit to sustain me for these very few moments while I respond.
Since President Lee notified me of my call in the most moving and touching experience of my life last Thursday morning, there have come to me the most solemn broodings that can come to a human soul. I have asked myself a hundred times, Why me?—because it is beyond my understanding that I should be asked to join these great brethren of the General Authorities, all of whom I hold in such great esteem.
I pray that God will have mercy upon me because of my weakness and shortcomings. As long as I remember I have had a personal witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ and of his church, and it has always been easy for me to believe and to testify. I have concluded that if there is one amongst all the General Authorities who is the weakest and the least qualified, then I can fill that position. Also, because I served in Brazil on a mission, I am the only one who speaks Portuguese.
With all my heart I want to thank Ruth Wright Faust for letting me share her life and giving me the hope that we can share eternity together. She is more than a wife and a sweetheart because she has become part of my very being. With all my heart I want my children to know that I cannot succeed in this calling unless I also succeed as their father, and that they will always be paramount in my life.
No man ever had a better father than did I, and I hope that I will always honor his good name. My widowed mother is among you in the television audience, and I am sure that she weeps. Many times in my childhood I have happened upon her on her knees, praying for her five sons, and I wish to tell her that this son continues to need her faith and prayers.
I realize that life for me and mine can never and should never be the same. For twenty-two years and until last Thursday morning I have been a lawyer, and since then I have been trying to repent. Now I shall try to become one of the fishers and help these brethren cast forth and draw in the nets of eternal life. And I should like to say that if anyone has ever been offended by anything I have ever done in my church, professional, or political life, I humbly ask their forgiveness. I mentioned to a friend of mine who knew of this call that those who know me will say, “Surely James Faust was called of the Lord because no one else would have called him.”
I wish President Lee to know that I sustain him, and He whom President Lee represents, with all of my devotion and all of my heart and all of my being. Under his hands I was ordained a bishop, and by him called to the stake presidency, and he has been for me all my adult life a great and beloved teacher and exemplar for all that is noble and good. President Tanner has been like a father to me, ever available, always helpful, kind, considerate, and he knows how much love and respect I have for him.
President Romney, as you know, has special qualities of inspiration and wisdom and has been a special friend and confidant, and my respect and honor for him know no bounds. I would also like to mention the profound influence that President Henry D. Moyle and President Hugh B. Brown have had also on my life. These are and have been truly great men of the earth.
I express appreciation to all the host of people who have blessed my life, those from whom I have learned, my missionary companions, those with whom I served in bishoprics, on high councils, stake presidencies, and my beloved friends, the Regional Representatives of the Twelve.
Now as a humble follower of the divine Master, I bear witness to the divinity of him as the Savior of the world, and of his church as established in these days, now headed by President Harold B. Lee, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.