It was a privilege to grow up immersed in two cultures and two languages, says Elder Robert Jay Whetten, newly called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Born in the LDS colonies in northern Mexico on 12 April 1943 and educated in Church schools there, he grew up loving Spanish and English, both the history and culture of Mexico and the U.S.
It was a blessing, then, for him to find a wife, Raquel López, who was also born in Mexico but grew up largely in the United States with a similar love of the two languages and cultures. They were married on 17 December 1966 in the Arizona Temple and have eight children.
They agreed that they would enjoy living abroad, so when he finished a master’s degree at Brigham Young University, he accepted a job with an international banking company. For several years they lived in various locations in Mexico and South America. After he left the company, they lived in El Paso, Texas, where he was involved in consulting, electronics manufacturing, and banking again. He was president of Norwest bank in El Paso when he was called in 1996 to preside over the Paraguay Asunción Mission.
Both his career moves and Church service (he has been a bishop, high councilor, and counselor in a stake mission presidency) have brought opportunities for growth, Elder Whetten says gratefully. This new calling offers the opportunity to dedicate to the Lord “all that we have and are.”
His wife is excited about the opportunity to support and serve with him in his new calling. He says, “We love the Lord, love the work, and are willing to do all that we’re asked to do in building the kingdom.”
“I look back on my life and realize I have been given experiences and blessings that are special,” Elder Whetten says. He hopes to draw from them lessons that will benefit those he is called to serve.
“Many of life’s greatest lessons are learned through prayer,” he says, citing Moroni 7:48: “Pray unto the Father with all energy of heart, that ye may be filled with love.”
“Life is fleeting,” he explains, so “we should be diligently involved every day in becoming more Christlike in our service to others.”