When Elder L. Whitney Clayton, a new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, was a student at the University of Utah and contemplating a full-time mission, an important factor in his decision to serve was the example set by returned missionaries on campus. “It wasn’t so much what they said, although several said things that were helpful,” he recalls. “It was the way they carried themselves, the way they acted. There was something about them that was different from all of the other young men I knew. And it was obvious that the key to it was a mission.”
He was called to the Andes Mission in Peru in 1970, and his experience there helped lay a strong foundation for other Church service. One event that strengthened his testimony occurred during a tour of the mission by Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “When Elder Packer bore his testimony in a missionary meeting in Lima,” says Elder Clayton, “I knew that he knew the gospel is true.”
Elder Clayton was born in Salt Lake City on 24 February 1950 to L. Whitney Clayton Jr. and Elizabeth T. Clayton. He grew up in Whittier, California, received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Utah, and obtained a law degree from the University of the Pacific in California. After working for several law firms, in May 1981 he and a partner opened a firm of their own in Newport Beach.
He married Kathy Ann Kipp on 3 August 1973 in the Salt Lake Temple, and they are the parents of seven children.
Elder Clayton’s previous callings include stake mission president, high priests group leader, branch president, bishop, stake high councilor, mission president’s counselor, regional representative, and Area Authority Seventy.
Grateful for the opportunity to serve that his new calling gives him, Elder Clayton says, “My testimony is the center of my life. It is a tremendous motivator for wanting to do right, for wanting to be of service, for wanting to bless and help people anywhere, any way that we can.”