After nine months, L. Aldin and Shirley Porter were just settled into their leadership roles in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission. President Porter was interviewing missionaries when there came a telephone call from President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency. Undoubtedly, it concerned mission business, President Porter thought.
Instead, President Hinckley relayed the call to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Porter, fifty-five, was among eight men sustained to that quorum on April 4. He will be released as mission president.
Reflecting on the caliber of men in the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Porter wondered momentarily if his own abilities and strengths could help him rise to the required level. But he humbly accepted the call.
Whatever one’s strengths may be, he comments, “I have great faith that if you accept an assignment in the Church, and move ahead, the Lord makes up the difference.”
“I know this: Sister Porter and I love the Brethren and will follow their counsel.”
Born in Salt Lake City on 30 June 1931, a son of J. Lloyd and Revon Hayward Porter, Aldin Porter grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho. After serving in the West Central States Mission, he married Shirley Palmer of Houston, Texas. They have six children and sixteen grandchildren.
Elder Porter associated with and then replaced Bishop J. Richard Clarke as head of an insurance agency in Idaho before his call as mission president in 1986. Before that, he served the Church as a bishop, stake president, and regional representative. At the time of his call, he was a patriarch in the Meridian Idaho Stake, and he and his wife were serving as a counselor and assistant matron, respectively, in the Boise Temple.
He has spent twenty-nine years in the insurance business. It would be accurate to describe him as “successful,” but Elder and Sister Porter’s concern for their family has always been greater than their concern for his career.
“We have a little farm up in Meridian,” he reflects. Its agricultural products were cattle, hay, grain, and corn. But there was a more important crop. “It raised fine sons and daughters.”
The Porters bought their farm to help teach their children responsibility, the value of work, and reliance on the Lord. It worked well, he says. The children willingly, even eagerly, shouldered their part of the farm responsibilities. Elder Porter praises his wife not only for giving direction to the farm work while he was busy with business and Church responsibilities, but also for her strengths as a mother and as a companion.
“Any parent should have the support we have from our children,” Elder Porter comments. Their four married daughters and two sons have helped strengthen the Porters in their missionary service, as have his two sisters.
Some might think it a sacrifice to be separated from their family, but the blessings of their missionary service—for parents, children, and grandchildren—“have more than compensated” for any effects of the separation, Elder Porter says.
Elder Porter says he is willing to do whatever is necessary to fulfill his calling faithfully. That is typical of him, Sister Porter says. “He’s a devoted Latter-day Saint, and is totally committed.”
What does he hope to contribute to people during his service? The number-one contribution anyone can make to others is to help them build faith and testimony, Elder Porter answers. And this he believes he will be able to do because “I’m certain of the divinity of this work.”