“I have always had a deep love for the Savior. I grew up reading the Bible and saying my prayers most days,” says Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “When I was 20, my mother opened the door to the missionaries. I won’t ever forget it. We all believed and were baptized.”
Elder Golden was born on 1 June 1952 in Johannesburg, South Africa, to Christoffel and Maria Oosthuizen Golden. As a young man, he completed nine months of military service in 1971. From 1977 to 1979, he served in the Johannesburg South Africa Mission. His studies at the University of South Africa resulted in a degree in political science in 1986 and then a postgraduate honors degree in international politics in 1990.
After his mission, he met his future wife, Diane Norma Hulbert, who had graduated as a registered optometrist. He finished college while she served a mission in Johannesburg. They married on 12 December 1981 and are now the parents of four children, ages 11 to 17.
“Our lives were centered in the Lord right from the beginning,” he says. “There is no question that we delight in sustaining the Lord, the prophet, and the Twelve.”
A successful businessman, Elder Golden has worked in banking and in pharmaceuticals. He was given the opportunity of a promotion and a move to Paris, but chose instead to remain in South Africa. Later he started an optical marketing business.
In June 1996 he began working as an area director for the Church Educational System. “Many of the young people here don’t have parents in the Church,” says Elder Golden, who speaks both English and Afrikaans. “It is through seminaries and institutes that we can teach a gospel culture.”
Elder Golden, who has served as a Young Men president, ward mission leader, bishop, and stake president, has served as an Area Authority Seventy for six years.
“My love for Jesus Christ has been with me since I was a child,” he says. “This new calling is another opportunity for me to serve Him.”