As a Primary boy sitting in sacrament meeting, Lance B. Wickman chose his life’s focus. Above the rostrum shone a lacquered plaque. Inscribed on the plaque—and etched forever on the boy’s mind—were Joshua’s stirring words: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Josh. 24:15).
“Those words penetrated my heart deeply,” says Elder Wickman, newly called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. “In hindsight I see my testimony and love of service in the Church as dating from those days.”
Lance, born 11 November 1940 to Alton C. and Irene Carlson Wickman, grew up in Glendale, California, and enjoyed his ward’s numerous missionary farewells and homecomings, which “cemented in my mind a desire to serve a mission.”
After his mission to England, Lance resumed his studies at University of California at Berkeley and married his “college sweetheart,” Patricia Farr, in the Los Angeles Temple in 1963.
Then for five years he served as an infantry officer, two of them in Vietnam. His dark sense of foreboding before one combat operation was quelled, he says, by the Spirit’s “still, small voice as clear as a bell quoting Prov. 3:5–6: ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; … and he shall direct thy paths.’” That scripture was a cornerstone of his faith after he and his platoon survived a land mine explosion that destroyed the armored vehicle they were riding in. Lance received, among other military decorations, the Bronze Star Medal.
After his military duty, Brother Wickman graduated from Stanford University and began practicing law in Los Angeles. The Wickmans have four sons and one daughter; their second son, Adam, died of a rare illness at age five. They moved to San Diego when the firm Lance worked for opened an office there.
Elder Wickman’s Church service has included calls as bishop, stake president, and regional representative. For devoted service in the Boy Scouts, he received the Silver Beaver Award.
“I have deep gratitude for the ministering of the Holy Ghost,” he says. He knows he can rely on that guidance in this opportunity to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.