There have been several times in Elder Merrill J. Bateman’s life when developments that seemed rather ordinary led to later opportunities for service.
Some years ago, the Batemans were among several families that moved into a small English branch and lived there just long enough to help construct a new building and strengthen the branch through missionary and reactivation work. Earlier in his business career, there was a series of trips to Africa; these experiences proved useful after the revelation on the priesthood in 1978, when he was able to help with Church planning for growth in countries he had visited.
This time, however, the call he received was unmistakably clear.
While his extensive experience in international management could be helpful, he says the most important things he will need are faith in the Lord and commitment to his service. Those things Merrill Bateman offers without reservation.
“He’s an extremely dedicated person in whatever he’s doing,” says his wife, Marilyn.
His dedication to Church service has been lifelong. Since his marriage, he has served on seven high councils in different parts of the world. He has been a bishop, a member of a district presidency, president of a Brigham Young University stake, and president of the Provo Utah Sharon East Stake. He was serving as a regional representative at the time of his call as a General Authority.
A management consultant, he was also president of two different companies. Previously, he had served in several different executive positions for the Mars candy company and as dean of the school of management at BYU. He had taught economics at both BYU and the United States Air Force Academy.
He was born in Lehi, Utah, on 19 June 1936 and grew up largely in American Fork, Utah. He married Marilyn Scholes on 23 March 1959 in the Salt Lake Temple. They have seven children and eleven grandchildren.