As a five-year-old boy in Winslow, Arizona, John K. Carmack received a knife as a Christmas present. Somehow he misplaced the knife, and he was heartsick. “So I got down and prayed, and immediately I was able to find it,” he explained. That act of faith left an indelible impression. “I’ve had a testimony of the gospel from the days of my youth,” Elder Carmack said as he rested in his hotel room following the closing session of general conference.
His conversation was interrupted by the phone ringing, as it had been all evening. Friends and relatives, returned missionaries who had served under his direction, acquaintances from the BYU Alumni Association, and partners in his law firm had been telephoning good wishes ever since the Saturday morning announcement that Elder Carmack had been called to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
This time the caller was his 21-year-old son Stan, an engineering student at Stanford University in California. He wanted to know what it was like to speak in the Tabernacle.
“Well,” Elder Carmack replied, “it’s not as bad as arguing a case before the state supreme court. Here nobody throws questions back at you.”
Then he became serious. “What makes it possible to speak,” he said, “is that you feel so much love coming from the audience. You know quite literally that everyone out there is your friend. And I have never experienced more love and support than I have from the General Authorities. My greatest concern is living worthy of and magnifying this calling.”
John K. Carmack, fifty-two, of Los Angeles, California, brings a lifetime of service to his new calling. He has been president of the Idaho Boise Mission since July 1981, a Regional Representative, president of the Los Angeles California Stake, counselor in stake presidencies for seven years, member of the stake high council, member of the Westwood Second Ward bishopric, and a public communications council chairman.
He has also served as chairman of the board of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, president of the Westwood Bar Association, a member of the Los Angeles executive council for the Boy Scouts of America, and was president-elect of the BYU Alumni Association when he received his call as mission president.
He served a West Central States mission from 1951–53, then graduated from BYU in 1955. As leader of the Seoul, Korea, LDS military group, he was there to greet the first two full-time missionaries to arrive in that area. After returning home, he earned a J.D. degree at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is married to Shirley Fay Allen Carmack, who was doing graduate work in nutrition when they met. They have five children.
“We had been planning to return home in July,” Sister Carmack said. “But now the service will continue. The blessings always outweigh the sacrifices.”
“I have a deep and abiding testimony of Jesus the Christ,” Elder Carmack said. “And a long-standing series of personal experiences with the comfort that comes from being close to his work. Through his Church and through his priesthood, we can watch quiet miracles taking place daily throughout the world.”