The day Stephen A. and Martha Alice Sears West closed on the purchase of their new house in Logan, Utah, he was interviewed to serve as president of the Texas San Antonio Mission. A call came three days later, and shortly thereafter they left for Texas. The decision to go was an easy one. “Our testimonies and the teachings of the Church have dictated our decisions throughout life,” says Elder West. He was serving as mission president when he received the call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Born in Salt Lake City on 23 March 1935, Stephen returned to Utah after serving a mission to the northwestern states. He then earned a bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah. Meanwhile, Stephen and Martha were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 21 March 1960; they are the parents of three children.
Stephen clerked for a judge and then worked in a Salt Lake City law firm before moving in 1967 to work in Washington, D.C. One year later he joined the Marriott Corporation in Bethesda, Maryland, where in time he became senior vice president and general counsel for Marriott International, Inc. In 1994 Brother West retired, and he and Martha moved to Logan, Utah, just before he was called to serve as mission president.
A former bishop, bishop’s counselor, high councilor, and sealer in the Washington [D.C.] Temple, Elder West says he has appreciated all his opportunities for service but says he particularly learned a great deal while serving as a counselor in the branch presidency of a small central city branch in the District of Columbia. “It was a great experience for us,” he says, still impressed by the “unbelievable faith and strength” of those members.
“Our Texas San Antonio Mission scripture is 3 Nephi 5:13 [3 Ne. 5:13], which says, ‘Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life,’” says Elder West. “I can rarely say that scripture without choking up. I think it says everything about what I want to be and do.”