When he was young, Peter Meurs and his family lived next to a neighbor who ran a “fix anything” shop for farming equipment. Peter and his best friend spent much time in the shop tinkering with farm equipment and building minibikes and go-karts. Peter later studied mechanical engineering at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
While pursuing his studies at age 18, he informed the university that he needed a two-year break to serve a mission for the Church. He was told that he could defer for only one year; deferring longer meant he would lose his place in his program. He decided not to serve.
A short time later, however, he heard President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) proclaim during general conference that every worthy young man should serve a mission (see “Planning for a Full and Abundant Life,” Ensign, May 1974, 87).
“It was like he was speaking to me. It just went straight through me,” Elder Meurs recalls. He decided to serve, after all. One week before he left, he received a letter from the university allowing him to defer for two years.
Peter returned to school after his mission, but his missionary service, he says, was “the best education I’ve had.” The gospel taught him that “helping people be successful is the most important leadership principle.”
After completing his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Elder Meurs worked as project engineer for Esso Australia and was a founding partner of WorleyParsons Limited. He recently served as director of development for Fortescue Metals Group.
Following his mission, he married a woman he calls his best friend, Maxine Evelyn Thatcher, on January 2, 1979, in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. They have four children and nine grandchildren.
Elder Meurs—born on December 21, 1956, in Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia, to Frederik and Lois Jones Meurs—has served in many callings, including as elders quorum president, ward organist, ward and stake Young Men president, public affairs director, branch and district president, bishop, stake president, and Area Seventy.