“I have a deep feeling of reverence for the Brethren,” said Elder Richard G. Scott, newly called to the First Quorum of the Seventy. “I have looked up to them and deeply respect them, and I know that I will continue to look up to them. It is very difficult to realize that this call is to serve with them.”
Elder Scott was born November 7, 1928, in Pocatello, Idaho. At the time of his call, he was serving as Regional Representative to the Capitol, Potomac, and Richmond Regions in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, an area he has called home for forty years. He and his wife, Jeanene Watkins Scott, daughter of the late U.S. Senator Arthur V. Watkins (R-Utah), are the parents of five children: Mary Lee, 22; Kenneth, 14; Linda, 13; Mitchell, 9; and Michael, 6. Mary Lee, currently serving as a missionary in Spain, did not hear of the call immediately, but the other children were phoned in Washington, D.C., shortly after the sustaining vote. Upon hearing of the call, Linda, with characteristic exuberance, dropped the phone and jumped and shouted excitedly.
Elder Scott graduated from George Washington University in 1950 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He left immediately on a thirty-one-month mission to Uruguay. He recalls, “Professors and friends tried to dissuade me from accepting a mission call, counseling that it would severely hamper my budding engineering career. But shortly after my mission, I was selected for the infant Naval Nuclear Program. (The field was top secret and initial training was given by the pioneer scientists at Oakridge, Tennessee.) At a meeting I was sent to direct, I found that one of the professors who had counseled me against going on a mission was in a significantly lesser program position than I. It was a powerful testimony to me of how the Lord blessed me as I put my priorities straight.”
For twelve years, Elder Scott served on Admiral Rickover’s immediate staff with assignments to direct the design, testing, and manufacture of nuclear fuel elements for the Navy nuclear program and the Shippingport Reactor where the first extensive commercial application of nuclear power to private industry occurred.
But Church work has always taken first priority in his life. “When I was very young,” he remembers, “I secretly made a covenant with the Lord that I would devote my best energies to His work. I have repeated that covenant throughout the years, but never dreamed that an experience would ever come where I would be blessed to spend my whole life in His service. It is an overwhelming blessing for which we cannot adequately express our gratitude.”
Elder Scott’s other Church callings include serving several years as president of a quorum of seventy, stake clerk in the Washington D.C. Stake, and in the presidency of that stake. Elder Scott also served for four years (1965–69) as president of the Argentine North Mission with headquarters in Cordoba, an experience that still brings a sparkle to his eyes.
“One of the most edifying experiences of a mission is to see young boys and girls turn into mature, devoted men and women. That period of selfless service allows the Lord to build strength within them which opens vistas of unknown abilities and helps them to develop unrecognized talents as well as to acquire unanticipated knowledge and self-assurance. Another priceless blessing of a mission is the eternal friendship formed with each missionary and member encountered.”
He expressed the gratitude of his entire family for that experience and chuckled, “During the final interview with a missionary, I told him how much he had grown on his mission. He said, ‘You know, President, you have too!’”
Missionaries in their own neighborhood, the Scotts took advantage of the Washington D.C. Temple dedication to have “temple preview meetings” for nonmember friends and neighbors in their home—sometimes two or three times a week. After such a meeting, one couple from Elder Scott’s office located a bishop, asked for the missionary lessons, and were baptized five weeks later. Recently, two choice neighbors joined the Church after Sister Scott took them through the new Washington D.C. Visitors Center.
“We love the Lord and rejoice in the sacred privilege of bearing solid testimony of Him to the world, and of participating in the building of His kingdom for the balance of our lives.”