Elder Hans Benjamin Ringger is no stranger to new Church callings. He served as an elders quorum president, a bishop, a stake president, and a regional representative before receiving his new calling as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Born on 2 November 1925, in Zurich, Switzerland, he has been active in the Church all his life. His grandmother, Elizabeth Zoebeli Ringger, joined the Church in 1896, and his parents, Carl Ringger, Jr., and Maria Reif, were also active members. He is the sixth child in a family of ten children. “I always had good examples,” he says of his family. “I feel activity in the Church is the way to learn how the gospel works and to gain a testimony.”
His wife, Helene Susy Zimmer Ringger, is also a third-generation member of the Church. The couple met at a Sylvesterabend (New Year’s Eve) Church dance in 1949. They were married in 1952, and sealed in the Swiss Temple in 1955 after it was completed. They have four children—a son and three daughters.
The call was a surprise to the Ringgers. They were in Salt Lake City to attend the Regional Representatives’ Seminar and had planned to stay for general conference. Thursday night, Brother Ringger received a telephone call asking if he could meet with President Hinckley. Their children were even more unsuspecting. Sister Ringger and her three daughters were sitting together in the Tabernacle during the Saturday morning session of conference. When they heard their father’s name during the sustaining, all three daughters turned to her at once, saying “Was?” (which means “What?” in German).
Elder Ringger, an electrical engineer by profession, received his degree in 1949. Later, his father-in-law, an architect who had helped build the Swiss Temple, suggested that he study architecture. Brother Ringger returned to school, graduating in 1959 with a degree in architecture from the Technical University of Switzerland in Zurich. He feels that a person is never too old to change or learn. “I have had two professions. … I will start my third profession now.”
As a bishop and a stake president he learned much about responsibility and speaks highly of his experiences as a local Church leader, where “it was the great testimonies of the members that meant most in my assignment.”
The Ringgers enjoy skiing, biking, and music. Elder Ringger is the only member of the family who doesn’t play a musical instrument. “He is a good listener,” says Sister Ringger. “I play the radio,” he laughs. They enjoy singing—especially old Church songs that are not sung much in meetings any more.
Elder Ringger also loves to read. Once, when asked in a family home evening to describe her father’s hobbies, daughter Regula said that her father read “only holy things.” He especially likes the scriptures and history. “For me, the scriptures are history,” says Elder Ringger. “To understand people is only possible when you know their background. … When you know why they are how they are, where they are, and what they did in the last centuries, you can understand the people.” He collects first editions of the Book of Mormon in different languages and has a copy in every language except Spanish and Norwegian.
Active in politics and in many professional committees in Switzerland, Elder Ringger says that to be happy, we must go the second mile. “Life is a time to grow—to get experience and to get strength. And you can only get them when you go the second mile. For me, the second mile is a part of the law of consecration. With the law of consecration, we have no limits.”