His alert eyes, the color in his face, and the sureness of his movements all reveal Ben Banks’s vigorous love of sports and the out-of-doors. A model of physical fitness at 57, Elder Benjamin Berry Banks recently returned to the United States from Scotland, where he serves as mission president, to attend general conference and to be sustained as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
“We love the people of Scotland, and we love the country itself,” says his wife, the former Susan Kearnes. “It will be hard to leave and hard to leave the great missionary effort. We have developed a great love for the missionaries; they have been a true blessing in our lives. But we love to go where we are called.”
Going where he is called and doing what is asked are traits characteristic of President Banks’s always energetic service. “Whether in business, in Church service, or with my family,” he smiles, “I have always felt that I needed to give more than was expected of me and have left the rest up to the Lord. The results have been blessings beyond measure.”
Sister Banks says, “Ben is one of the most generous and considerate people I’ve ever known. He believes that everything he has belongs to the Lord, so he feels responsible for sharing anything in reach. And he does.”
Ben Banks built a thriving lumber business in Salt Lake City based on the same principle—he tried to give more than people expected. Now two of his sons, Ben, Jr., and Brad, run the business.
Besides these two oldest sons, Elder and Sister Banks have a daughter, Nanette (Amis), and five other sons, David, Marty, Steven, John, and Holger. All seven sons have gone on missions; John is currently serving a mission in Japan. The Bankses have thirteen grandchildren, including seven by their German foster son, Holger.
Elder Banks was born in Salt Lake City on 4 April 1932. His mother is Chloa Berry Banks; his father, Ben F. Banks, died when Ben was two years old.
After serving three different times as bishop, Elder Banks served as a stake president. He was called in 1987 to preside over the Scotland Edinburgh Mission, from which he will be released to assume his duties in the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Banks, an avid cyclist, shares his enjoyment of sports with his family. He and Susan have always enjoyed skiing together—on both snow and water—and camping has been a favorite family activity. These activities and the memories they provide have kept the family very close.
Scripture-centered parenting is another way that Elder and Sister Banks have kept the family close, Elder Banks believes. “I have always found that the best advice for Sue and me in teaching our children is in the scriptures. We have used them consistently. We are so grateful for the wisdom they offer. And when our children have wanted advice, the scriptures were always our first resort.”
The Banks children say that standards in their parents’ home were high and demanding; yet they always felt loved and valued. “Though a busy Church leader, Dad always made time for us,” adds one son.
Another son agrees: “He coached teams, attended special events, and talked freely with us when we needed him. A good balance was achieved between our father’s strict, high expectations and our mother’s tenderness.” To which Elder Banks adds, “I’ve never heard my wife angry, and never have I heard her speak an unkind word to or about anyone. Her heart is pure.”
All the Banks children are actively involved in the Church. “Our gratitude for the joy our family brings us is endless,” says Elder Banks. “The love we share for our own and for all our Father’s children makes any service we could ever give the purest enjoyment.”