As a young missionary in the Language Training Mission (the predecessor to the Missionary Training Center) preparing to go to Hamburg, Germany, Carl Bert Cook struggled to learn German. While he tried to grasp basic vocabulary, members of his district quickly moved on to more complex concepts.
Frustrated by his lack of progress, young Elder Cook sought divine help through a priesthood blessing and prayer. After one particularly heartfelt prayer, Elder Cook remembers receiving a specific answer: the Lord hadn’t called him to master the German language but to serve with all of his heart, mind, and strength.
“I immediately thought, ‘I can do that,’” says Elder Cook, recently called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “‘I can serve with all of my heart, mind, and strength.’ I stood up and felt a sense of relief. All of a sudden, my measuring stick changed from how my companion and district members were doing to how the Lord felt that I was doing.”
Although Elder Cook says that he didn’t necessarily learn the language more quickly after that experience, he no longer felt his previous concerns because he knew that he was doing what the Lord wanted him to do. That lesson, he says, has been important in all of the callings he’s held since, including bishop, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president, president of the New Zealand Auckland Mission, Area Seventy, and now in his current assignment.
Elder Cook earned a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Weber State College and a master’s degree in business administration from Utah State University. He spent his career working in real estate development.
Elder Cook was born in Ogden, Utah, USA, in October 1957 to Ramona Cook Barker and the late Bert E. Cook. He married Lynette Hansen on December 14, 1979, in the Ogden Utah Temple. They are the parents of five children.