When Stephen W. Owen was 14 years old, his neighbor hired him to cut the grass in his spacious yard and weed his garden every week. “It took me three days to mow that lawn,” said a smiling Brother Owen, who was sustained on April 4, 2015, as the Young Men general president.
When young Stephen finally finished, his wise employer asked him to join him for a walk though the garden in order to point out a weed or two that had been overlooked.
“He told me that I needed to pull every weed,” he said. “That was my first job and it helped me understand what it meant to be duty-bound.”
Brother Owen would learn lessons that year that went far beyond lawn and garden care. For one, he discovered that satisfaction is found in doing hard things the right way. He also learned the value of mentors.
The neighbor expected only the best from Stephen. “It was like he was saying to me, ‘I know who you can become, and I want to help you.’”
Every young man in the Church, he added, needs such mentors to help him become the best priesthood holder he can be. “I have a lot of empathy for the youth,” he said. “I love them and I know this is a critical time that will set the pattern for the rest of their lives.”
Brother Owen served in the Texas San Antonio Mission and later served as Scoutmaster, ward Young Men president, bishop, high councilor, and stake president.
The Holladay, Utah, native also presided over the California Arcadia Mission from 2005 to 2008, where he served with his wife, Jane Stringham Owen. They were married on December 28, 1979, in the Provo Utah Temple. They have five children.
He was born on March 22, 1958, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Gordon and Carolyn Owen. He graduated from the University of Utah with a finance degree and is the president of Great Harvest Bread Company in Provo, Utah.