Elder Eduardo Ayala
Eduardo Ayala expected that the March 29 interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, might mean a call for him and his wife to serve as missionaries somewhere. It came as a shock when President Hinckley called him to be a member of the Seventy.
Elder Ayala, a regional coordinator for the Church Educational System in Santiago, Chile, has made it a practice since his baptism twenty-one years ago never to withhold his service from the Lord in any way. He accepted the new call; only later, when he had time to think about it, did he begin to be awed by the spiritual responsibility that would be his.
He was sustained as a member of the Seventy, along with nine other men, during the afternoon session of general conference on March 31.
Afterward, the Ayalas shared their joy in the calling with their three children. Eldest son Patricio Eduardo, a photographer by profession, is their bishop in Santiago; he was eager to give the news to their ward the next day. Their daughter, Viviana Ester, lives in Japan, where her husband, a computer expert, is employed. Younger son Ricardo Antonio is a computer science major at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Now fifty-two, Eduardo Ayala was born 3 May 1937 in Coronel, Chile, to Magdonio and Maria Aburto Ayala. He married Blanca Ester Espinoza, a native of Rinconada de Laja, Chile, on 7 February 1959.
Elder Ayala says that he owes his Church membership and activity to the patience and support of his wife. Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first came to their door in 1969. Ester was soon ready to be baptized, but Eduardo was not enthusiastic about the missionaries’ message at first. She waited patiently, and when she agreed to a baptismal date six months after the missionaries began teaching them, he was prepared. Eduardo, Ester, and Patricio were baptized on 21 June 1969. Viviana and Ricardo were baptized later when they reached the age of eight.
Sister Ayala “has been my architect,” Elder Ayala says. “I am what you see because of the help of my wife.” He credits her not only with helping him find the gospel but also with helping him shape his own character in ways that make it possible for him to serve the Lord effectively. He notes that the challenges given to him by General Authorities during his years of Church service have been helpful, too; he has always taken pains to meet those challenges, and growth has always been the result.
Eduardo Ayala’s outstanding work in industrial planning for a mining company in Coronel won him a position in Santiago as a planner for three of Chile’s largest enterprises in the early 1970s. It was in Santiago, in 1974, that Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve called him to be a stake president and on the same day issued him the invitation to work in the Church Educational System in Chile. Since then, Elder Ayala has accepted successive calls as president of another stake, as a regional representative, as a temple sealer, as a mission president (in Uruguay), and as a regional representative again.
Sister Ayala says her husband has his own innate qualities that make him an effective leader and servant of the Lord. He communicates well with people and lets them feel his love. “He loves to help them better their lives,” Sister Ayala says. “He doesn’t put any limits on the time it takes him to serve.”
Elder Ayala expresses gratitude for his wife’s constant support and acknowledges the need in handling his new responsibilities to rely on the Lord. He and his wife are eager to serve the Church. “I have no fear in facing this calling, with the Lord for my guide and my wife to help me,” he says.
Elder LeGrand R. Curtis
His relaxed, easy manner makes you immediately comfortable in his presence. Elder LeGrand Raine Curtis is the kind of man who, in his own words, “would rather wear short-sleeved shirts.” Yet, at the same time, there is an intensity, an energy about him, especially when he is talking about the Church. Then his attitude is anything but casual.
The Church has always played a prominent role in Elder Curtis’s life. Born on 22 May 1924 to Alexander and Genevieve Raine Curtis, he came into a family in which Church activity was the norm. “Home night,” family prayer, and weekly church attendance were an intrinsic part of life in the Curtis home in Salt Lake’s Sugarhouse area. “Everyone went to church. I simply have never doubted,” he says.
His faith is manifested in a lifetime of steady, devoted labor in the kingdom. He decided early in life that he would never turn down a call to serve—that he would do whatever the Lord asked him to do. His service began as a branch president while he was in dental school. It continued through years of service as a bishop, stake president, regional representative (twice), member of the Young Men General Presidency, and member of the General Melchizedek Priesthood Committee. Most recently, he has been serving as a stake patriarch and as a temple sealer—two callings he loves because they deal with people and with the Spirit.
When called to serve as president of the Florida Tallahassee Mission twelve years ago, Elder Curtis gave up his thriving orthodontic practice. Now, at age sixty-five, he says, “I’m leaving it again.” But his smile conveys more anticipation than sadness. “I’m extremely humbled by the call. We were in a comfortable rut.”
We. If there is anything Elder Curtis loves to talk about more than the gospel and its effect on people, it is his wife, Patricia Glade Curtis. The two of them became acquainted as students at Irving Junior High in Salt Lake City. Their friendship continued through high school and into their freshman year at the University of Utah, when they had their first date. “We went dancing, and from then on it was just wonderful,” he says.
World War II prevented Elder Curtis from serving a mission. He enrolled in dental school, leaving Patricia behind for a time while he participated in an army program that allowed him to continue his studies. Finally, on 1 June 1944, the two of them were married in the Salt Lake Temple, and she traveled with him thereafter. Kansas City, Missouri; Corpus Christi, Texas; Norfolk, Virginia—wherever they went, they looked up the Church and served.
When the army discontinued its dental study program, he was released to continue his studies. In 1946, after graduating from dental school, he completed his remaining military obligation as a lieutenant and dentist in the navy.
Home life for the Curtises became an extension of the home lives they had known as children: teaching their children the gospel, having home evening and family prayer, supporting one another in callings they never considered sacrifices but, rather, blessings. In time, Elder and Sister Curtis were blessed with eight children: Richard; Glade; LeGrand, Jr.; Candi (Merrell); Terri (Eldredge); Sydney (Lindsley); Brent; and Rebecca (Timmins). All have been married in the temple, the last two by their father. And to this point, they have blessed their parents’ lives with twenty-seven grandchildren.
What will her husband bring to this new calling? Sister Curtis responds: “He has great enthusiasm for the gospel. He loves to see people improve their lives and do better. And he has a great eye for organization.”
Elder Curtis simply says of his new calling, “I am anxious to make whatever contribution I can.”
Elder Clinton L. Cutler
As a young man, Clinton Louis Cutler spent many hours in the company of his ancestors. Through their journals, he learned of their devotion to the gospel and shared their insights. “It made me want to be true to the cause they sacrificed so much for,” he says.
Elder Cutler has followed the example of his forebears. Among other callings, he has been a bishop, a regional representative, and twice a stake president.
He traces his love of the gospel back to his earliest years. “I had wonderful Primary teachers. I had strong advisers and great bishops.”
The scriptures also helped to shape his life. “My mother had a set of children’s Bible stories. As a small boy, I would listen to her read them. The lives of those great biblical heroes inspired me.”
He feels a very special love for the Book of Mormon, too. “It’s the Lord’s text for our times,” he says.
In fact, the Book of Mormon has been the focus of Elder Cutler’s missionary work as a mission president. When asked if Mormons are Christians, he invites his questioner to join him in reading from 3 Nephi. “Afterward I say, ‘That’s the Jesus Christ we worship—the living, the compassionate, the loving. He weeps for us. He prays to the Father for us. Now you judge whether we’re Christians.’”
Clinton Louis Cutler was born on 27 December 1929 to Benjamin Lewis Cutler and Nellie H. Sharp in Salt Lake City, Utah, the first of ten children.
As a young man, Elder Cutler fell in love with basketball. He was an all-state player in high school and played on the freshman team at Utah State University. He later coached many Church teams.
On 18 September 1948, Elder Cutler married Carma Nielsen. “She is the heart of our home and totally unselfish,” he says.
Sister Cutler returns the compliment. “He is so full of integrity. He has always stood for what’s right.”
Elder and Sister Cutler have six children: Connie (Giauque), Cathy (Peterson), Clinton Reed, Clark Nielsen, Carolee (Wright), and Charles Louis.
Elder Cutler worked for more than thirty-two years for Mountain Bell Telephone Company. At his retirement in 1986 he was serving as director of marketing operations.
About a month after Elder Cutler’s retirement he was called to serve as president of the Washington Seattle Mission, where he has served till the present time. He says, “Those missionaries have a place in our hearts like our own children. We worry about them. We pray for them. We lose sleep over them. We’re happy when they’re happy and sad when they’re sad. We have added five or six hundred children to our family.”
Elder Cutler has an unshakable faith in the goodness of people—even those who may not seem to measure up. “Most missionaries are strong and faithful and obedient. But I guess the ones who really linger in my heart are those who have to struggle to find themselves. You counsel with them; you hug them; you teach them; you love them. It’s a joy to see their testimonies finally flower. When they go home, there are tears in their eyes because they don’t want to leave. We have a loving Father, and we’re all struggling to become as he is. It isn’t easy, but his love is infinite. We are never alone.”
Elder Cutler enjoys gardening, but his favorite hobby is his family. “I played basketball the other day with my 15-year-old grandson. He’s now 6′4″, and he trounced his 60-year-old grandfather, but it was fun,” Elder Cutler says.
“We love being together. When we’re at our home in Draper, Utah, five o’clock Sunday afternoon is always family dinner, and anyone who can come does.”
He approaches his new calling humbly but with enthusiasm: “I love to see the gospel change people’s lives.”
Elder Robert K. Dellenbach
It wouldn’t be uncommon to find Elder Robert Kent Dellenbach helping homeless people sort cans as part of a recycling project in Denver. It wouldn’t be uncommon, either, to find him helping scientists and engineers with a high-tech project in the Soviet Union. What would be uncommon would be to find Elder Dellenbach without a smile while he’s working on any project that involves interaction with others.
“I love people,” he says sincerely. “They’re what make me tick.”
Elder Dellenbach, fifty-two, was born on 10 May 1937 in Salt Lake City to Frank and Leona Conshafter Dellenbach and was reared in Clinton, Utah. “I grew up on a farm, and we worked with many different people from many walks of life,” he says. “There were the businessmen, the other farmers, and the migrant workers who came up to help with the fall harvest. We worked together, and we worked hard. I learned to accept and honor their individuality and the differences among us.”
Those attitudes are reflected in Elder Dellenbach’s feelings toward the gospel. “It gives comfort to everyone,” he says. “Every person is entitled to the grace of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice and to blessings from the Father.”
Elder Dellenbach and his wife, the former Mary-Jayne Broadbent, have always tried to put the gospel first in their lives. They were married on 17 August 1962 in the Manti Temple and have three sons—Rob, age twenty-seven; David, twenty-five; and Dan, seventeen.
“Family prayer is the bedrock of our family relationship,” says Sister Dellenbach. “We have it both morning and evening. It’s the most stabilizing force in our family life.”
Working together on the garden, the house, and other chores has helped the family stay unified, as has playing together—they enjoy fishing, skiing, and traveling. “And the emphasis that Mary-Jayne (a former schoolteacher) has placed on music and books in our home has also been a great influence,” he says.
After serving a 2 1/2 year mission in West Germany, Elder Dellenbach returned to earn a degree in international relations from the University of Utah and then a master’s degree in business from BYU. He and his family have been on the move ever since.
The Dellenbachs have lived in Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, where Elder Dellenbach served as a business manager and as a vice president and president of local universities. They have also lived in southern California, where Elder Dellenbach worked with the Salk Institute; in Washington, D. C., where Elder Dellenbach was involved with a company that assisted agencies and scientific institutes in the Soviet Union; and in Germany, where Elder and Sister Dellenbach presided first over the Germany Dusseldorf Mission, then over the Germany Munich Mission.
Although Elder Dellenbach has held many Church callings, including bishop, stake president, Sunday School president, and regional representative, he has a special love for the time he spent as a mission president. “In the mission field you deal with such an exciting element,” he says. “You’re working with the young people of the Church, dedicated couples, and new converts. What more could you want?”
He pauses for a moment, then adds: “Actually, we want more missionaries. We need 100 percent of our young men to serve. We need more couples. Opportunities are opening up all over the world, and we need to be ready to share the light of the gospel with others.”
For the past six years, the Dellenbachs have lived in Salt Lake City, where Elder Dellenbach has dealt with a variety of environmental issues.
“In working with people from all echelons of life, I’ve learned that there’s a lot of good in everyone,” says Elder Dellenbach. “We need to keep encouraging that.”
Elder Harold G. Hillam
A trial of his faith came at an early age for Harold G. Hillam. When Harold was eleven, his father was very ill with a cranial tumor. “He was ill and away from home for months,” Elder Hillam says. His mother had to stay with his father in a hospital hundreds of miles away while his two older sisters and he assumed their parents’ duties at their Idaho home. “It was a very trying, uncertain time. It was during this time that I learned we are not alone, that we have to put our faith in the Lord because we can’t control many things.”
Miraculously, his father returned to the family. He later became the city clerk and justice of the peace in St. Anthony, Idaho. It was a miracle Harold did not fail to appreciate.
Harold G. Hillam was born in Sugar City, Idaho, on 1 September 1934 to Gordon and Evelyn Skidmore Hillam. He graduated from high school in St. Anthony and attended Ricks College.
The summer before he received his mission call, Harold worked as a fishing guide in nearby Yellowstone Park, where he met Carol Rasmussen in a sacrament meeting. They corresponded during the two and a half years he served a mission to Brazil. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 5 June 1958.
Both Elder and Sister Hillam attended BYU. Sister Hillam received her degree in education and music, and he was accepted into dental school at Northwestern University in Chicago. While Brother Hillam was in school, Sister Hillam taught elementary school. Upon his graduation, Elder Hillam set up a practice in Idaho Falls, Idaho. After two years, he returned to Northwestern in the orthodontics program. When he received his degree—with honors—the Hillams returned to Idaho Falls.
Elder Hillam served in the bishopric and in the presidency of the Idaho Falls Idaho South Stake before being called as stake president. During the Teton Dam disaster, he coordinated all the Church volunteer efforts during the clean-up and served as Area Welfare leader.
In 1981, Elder Hillam was called to serve as a mission president. Their oldest daughter, Linda, had already received her call to the Portugal Lisbon Mission and was in the Missionary Training Center when her parents received their assignment—to the Portugal mission. Elder Hillam said, “I sent her a telegram and signed it, ‘Your Mission President.’”
Their oldest son, Rodney, left at the same time to serve a mission in Holland, and their third child, Bonnie, later served in the Portugal mission. “During those three years,” says Sister Hillam, “we had five family members serving missions.” The younger children—Glenn, Mark, Ryan, and Jared—attended school in Portugal.
In 1985, the Hillams returned to Idaho Falls and faced the difficulty of starting a practice for the third time.
Elder and Sister Hillam wanted their seven children to learn to work hard and earn money for missions and schooling. So they bought an 80-acre farm in Idaho Falls. Raising and selling sweet corn on their farm has been an ongoing business the children have worked at in high school, passing it down to the younger children as they have left home to serve missions or marry.
The Hillams also enjoy an unusual family hobby: scuba diving.
Elder Hillam has served as a regional representative both in Idaho and in Portugal. He has also served as president of the Teton Peaks Council of the Boy Scouts and has received the Silver Beaver award. He has also served as president of several dental and orthodontic societies.
He strongly encourages young people to serve missions. “There is no other place in the world,” he says, “that they can learn so much.”
Elder Kenneth Johnson
Two of England’s best-known exports are soccer teams and musical entertainers strumming guitars. And both soccer and music have played their parts in the life of Elder Kenneth Johnson of Norwich, England, newly sustained member of the Seventy. Born on 5 July 1940 in Norwich, to Bertie and Ada Johnson, Kenneth has played soccer for city-league and ward teams and has played guitar in singing groups.
But these interests pale when he talks of his wife, Pamela (Wilson), whom he met at a dance in April 1959. “Pam told me she would never be seriously interested in me because I was not a member of the Church,” he recalls. “But I was impressed enough with Pam that whatever being a Mormon meant had to be good.” With sincere humor, he adds, “And though I was not interested in religion at the time, she gradually drew me toward the Church—services, activities, then discussions. Did I say ‘gradually’? I was baptized August 16—within four months of first hearing about the Church. Pam was quite the district missionary!”
Elder Johnson attributes his spiritual development in the gospel to some fine people. “I am indebted to dear parents, who reared me in such a way that when the truth came, I would recognize it,” he says. “My father was a very humble yet brilliant man. He sang in the Methodist choir, but his religion was not in churches. He was away at war in Italy, but I remember the day everyone said, ‘Dad’s coming home!’ I didn’t quite know what that meant. But I began to shout it, too, and we grew very close.”
“A second great spiritual influence on me has come from my wife and her wonderful parents,” continues Elder Johnson. “Pam has radiated gospel goodness from the first time we met. She is the very embodiment of compassion. Caring for others comes naturally to her—sharing meals, a listening ear, or one of her wonderfully creative lessons.”
He maintains, too, that sports and music got in the way of his being much of a student until Pamela and the gospel appeared. He then gained a vigorous desire to rise to his potential, graduating from Norwich City College and the London Institute of Printing. Then, twenty-six years ago, he left the printing trade and began an insurance brokerage with a partner.
In talking of his wife, Elder Johnson reveals his own humorous nature as well as their rich relationship of equally yoked service. “It’s a good thing we have visitors,” he quips with a smile. “Having visitors means I can always count on getting a bite to eat, since so much of what Pam cooks goes out the door to other people.” The truth is that Elder Johnson is quite capable around the house, and he and Pamela work side-by-side both at the office and at home.
According to Elder Johnson, a third great spiritual influence in his life was a building-missionary supervisor who served in their district just after they were married. “Walt Stewart had such faith that he truly believed in the limitlessness of man’s potential for good. I’ve adopted that view and thank Walt for it.”
Elder Kenneth Johnson has served in branch and district presidencies, then for ten years as stake president—first in Ipswich, then Norwich—until he was called to be a regional representative.
Four years after the Johnsons’ marriage in 1962, their son Kevin was born. The baby had serious complications and required constant care for the first three years of his life. Today, after priesthood blessings and surgery, Kevin is healthy, has filled a mission, and is a counselor in the stake mission presidency.
Elder Johnson “promised the Lord that if His dews of heaven would distill upon my son and preserve him, I would give my life to fulfill His work of love. I gratefully keep that promise.”
Elder Helvécio Martins
On a clear April night in 1972, while stuck in a traffic jam in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Helvécio Martins contemplated his family’s search for truth. He and his wife, Rudá, had investigated many religions, but none seemed to fill their spiritual void. “I conversed with God that night, asking for help,” he says.
Missionaries arrived at their home several nights later and, Rudá observes, “ended up talking to us until very late. We gained a testimony that night.”
The family was baptized on 2 July 1972. According to Elder Martins, “We had found the truth, and nothing would stop us from living it”—not even the fact that their family could not directly enjoy the blessings of the priesthood. But “when the Spirit tells you the gospel is true,” says Helvécio, “how can you deny it?”
Brother Martins began teaching the Gospel Doctrine class in his ward two weeks after his baptism, and Rudá served in the Primary presidency. In 1974, he was called to be public communications coordinator for the North Brazil Region. In 1975 President Spencer W. Kimball announced the construction of the São Paulo Temple.
“Although we didn’t expect to enter it, we worked for the construction of the temple just like other members,” remembers Elder Martins. “It was the house of the Lord, after all.” Sister Martins sold her jewelry to help with fund-raising, and Brother Martins served on the publicity committee.
At the cornerstone-laying ceremony in March 1977, recalls Elder Martins, President Kimball “took hold of my arm and privately told me, ‘Brother, what is necessary for you is faithfulness.’” This counsel strengthened the Martinses’ commitment—faith that had led them to set up a missionary fund for their son, Marcus, whose patriarchal blessing in 1973 said that he would preach the gospel. Elder Martins also recalls that one day as he and Rudá visited the future temple site “we were overcome by the Spirit. We held each other and wept.”
On 9 June 1978, they learned of the revelation that all worthy male members could hold the priesthood. Immediately, they knelt and thanked the Lord. The Martinses were sealed as a family when the São Paulo temple opened, and Marcus served a mission.
Helvécio Martins was born on 27 July 1930 to Honório and Benedicta Martins in Rio de Janeiro. He left school at age twelve to help support his seven brothers and sisters. “I have no regrets about the difficulties of my youth,” he said. “Learning to work hard has been a great asset in my life.”
After he married Rudá Tourinho de Assis on 7 December 1956, Rudá encouraged him to finish his high school equivalency, obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and take graduate classes. Helvécio later became the financial management controller for the largest corporation in Brazil and later was the financial director for a subsidiary company. He also became an assistant professor at Rio de Janeiro State University.
The Martinses have four children: Marcus Helvécio, thirty-one; Marisa Helena, twenty-four; Raphael, fifteen; and Aline, thirteen; and three grandchildren: Flavio, Natalia, and Felipe. “We’re a family that loves to talk and tell stories—especially Helvécio,” says Rudá. “Often we’ll sit for hours talking, with the kids saying, ‘Dad, tell this story, tell that story.’”
Elder Martins has served as a counselor to two stake presidents, as a bishop, and, until June 1990, as president of the Brazil Forteleza Mission. Of his being the first black General Authority, he says, “Rudá and I are somewhat embarrassed [by all the publicity]. But if my calling encourages others and furthers the work, then the publicity is okay. It’s an enormous responsibility, but God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and I confide in him.”
Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen
Commenting on important experiences and lessons that have influenced his life, Elder Lynn Alvin Mickelsen says, “I have learned to understand the law of the harvest. There is a time to plant, a time to irrigate and nurture, and a time to harvest.”
From a very tender age, Elder Mickelsen was tutored at his father’s side on their farm in Idaho Falls. “I learned that there is a time when you must perform,” he says. “And when there is a job to do, you do not stop until it is finished.”
Understanding this principle has blessed Elder Mickelsen and his family in many ways. Their home has been a haven of learning, where all nine children have learned frugality and domestic arts, cultivated gardening skills, and studied the scriptures. Their home has also been a haven for many with special needs.
“They’ve lived and worked and eaten at our table and have shared our home,” says Jeanine Mickelsen. “They are a part of our family.”
Elder Mickelsen’s education began in a little red schoolhouse with eight grades and thirty-four students. After attending Idaho Falls High School, he attended Ricks college, then Brigham Young University, where he received a degree in agricultural economics.
He met his wife, Jeanine (Andersen), in 1957, after returning from a mission in Central America. Speaking of their courtship, Elder Mickelsen says, “I shared my desires for the future and told her that I would someday like to return to Latin America as a missionary. Only two weeks after we were married [in the Idaho Falls Temple on 17 June 1960], she started studying Spanish.”
In 1984, the Mickelsens were called to preside over the Colombia Cali Mission. In addition to his missionary labors, Elder Mickelsen has served as a bishop, a high councilor, a stake president, and a regional representative. Most recently, he has served as Gospel Doctrine teacher in his ward, and he and his wife have served as Spanish-speaking officiators in the Idaho Falls Temple.
“Each calling I’ve had has been a beautiful experience for me,” he says, “because I have been able to share my testimony of the gospel. I have learned that when one serves, one must live what he teaches. That is fundamental preparation for an effective teacher.”
Elder and Sister Mickelsen’s children—Mark, Don, Jean (Karren), Karen (Davis), Lynda (McClellan), Janet (Lightheart), Marilyn, Leanne, and Paul—have been richly blessed by their father’s example and teachings—particularly his teachings from the scriptures. “We read directly from them,” says Jeanine. “Lynn teaches them in a very simple way so we can apply their teachings to our own lives and situations. He loves the scriptures. He loves the doctrine.”
Elder Mickelsen was born 21 July 1935 in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Lloyd P. and Reva Willmore Mickelsen. His father served in many leadership positions, including that of stake president and mission president. Elder Mickelsen’s grandfather also served as a stake president. “My father and grandfather have been great examples for me to follow,” says Elder Mickelsen.
Elder Mickelsen loves to sing, and he is an avid reader, with a great interest in world affairs. He loves to learn. “I spent many extra hours at the university as a student because I love to be around people who know more than I do. I read and study every day. That’s a very important part of my life.”
But his greatest joy comes from his church service. “That is where he finds the sweetness of life,” says Jeanine. Elder Mickelsen says he has grown tremendously from each calling he has had in the Church. “I don’t ask what the assignment will do for me, but how I can help the Church in building up the kingdom.”
Elder J Ballard Washburn
Sitting in a testimony meeting as a little boy in his hometown of Blanding, Utah, J Ballard Washburn heard his stake patriarch explain that the members of the Church in that area were there not just to raise cattle and go about other worldly business, but to take the gospel to the Lamanites. “His comment touched a chord in my heart,” says Elder Washburn.
That chord was to be touched again and again as the little boy grew to manhood, became a foster parent to Lamanite children, and eventually was called to preside over the Arizona Phoenix Mission—a mission that encompasses three Indian reservations and part of a fourth. He had a few months left to complete that mission when he was called as a member of the Seventy.
Born 18 January 1929, J Ballard Washburn served from 1948 to 1950 in the New England Mission under Elder S. Dilworth Young. “I learned from him that you have to give the missionaries experiences that will teach them to love the Savior,” he says. “I’ve tried to do that as a mission president.”
Elder Washburn learned to love the Savior early in life. “As a boy, I worked one summer on a ranch. We couldn’t go into town on the weekends, so I spent the time reading a small, pocket-sized edition of the New Testament. That summer, I felt I got to know the Savior. More particularly, I also felt that he knew me. It was another spiritual moment in my life that helped build my testimony.”
One of ten children, Elder Washburn was a small boy when his father, Alvin, died. “My mother, Wasel Black Washburn, moved the family to Provo, Utah, so that all the children could go to school. She also made sure that we all went to Brigham Young University. After she put us through college, she went to school herself and graduated from BYU.”
As a freshman student, Elder Washburn majored in music, but on his return from his mission, he switched to medicine and became a doctor, but not before marrying Barbara Harries in 1951 in the Salt Lake Temple.
“We met at BYU,” explains Sister Washburn. “I was born in Salt Lake City, but my family moved to Columbus, Ohio. I went to Ohio State University and then transferred to BYU.”
After completing his professional training at the University of Utah Medical School, Elder Washburn set up practice as a family doctor in Page, Arizona. “My profession has helped build my testimony,” he says, “because it’s based on service. Not many professions can offer that opportunity.” Part of that service has included delivering two generations of babies.
The Washburns are familiar with babies. They’ve had ten of their own: two girls—Kay (Pearce) and Rebecca (Rudder); and Mark, Jay, Andrew, James, Richard, David, Daniel, and Joseph. Joseph is in the Missionary Training Center preparing to serve in the Italy Rome Mission. All his brothers and sisters have served missions, the first five overlapping. “We went through a period of seven years before the family was all together again,” says Sister Washburn.
In addition to their own children, the Washburns have had twelve foster Indian children in their home over the years, some for just a few months and some for longer stays.
Being active in Church callings—including counselor in a bishopric, stake president, and regional representative—Elder Washburn still has had time to serve twenty years on a school board. He also enjoys music and basketball.
His life of activity will serve him well. “I think he brings the attributes of hard work and obedience to his new calling,” says Sister Washburn. “He has always been obedient to the Lord and to the Brethren.” That obedience has developed a strong testimony. “I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior,” he says. “He loves us.”
Elder Durrel A. Woolsey
“Follow the Brethren,” says Durrel A. Woolsey, a newly sustained member of the Seventy. “You can’t go wrong if you follow them.” He should know. “Following the Brethren has been the theme of Elder Woolsey’s life.
And “that’s been his constant advice to the missionaries,” says his wife, LaRae. When he received his call to serve in the Seventy, Elder Woolsey was presiding over the Arizona Tempe Mission.
Born on 12 June 1926 in Escalante, Utah, Elder Woolsey is the eldest of four children born to W. Arden and Ruby Riddle Woolsey. Helping care for the livestock and farm as a boy taught Elder Woolsey how to work hard and accept responsibility—now dominant traits in his personality.
At age sixteen, young Durrel moved with his family to Cedar City, Utah, where he finished high school in May 1944 and then joined the U.S. Navy.
“There were several times when I recall seeing kamikaze planes coming right for our ship,” says Elder Woolsey, “and there was no place to go. Fortunately, none of them ever made a direct hit on our ship, but I certainly learned the power of prayer—both my own and that of my family.”
After his service in the navy, Elder Woolsey returned briefly to Cedar City, Utah. He renewed his friendship with high school classmate LaRae Wood, and on 3 August 1946 they were sealed in the St. George Temple. “The greatest treasure in my life is my eternal companion,” says Elder Woolsey.
The Woolseys are the parents of three children: Bruce, Geri (Nielsen), and Gena (Jepsen). A close, cooperative family, the Woolseys love to take family vacations together with their children, children’s spouses, and grandchildren—especially to the ocean.
Elder Woolsey’s church experience has been almost exclusively in leadership positions since his first calling to the branch presidency in Trona, California, at age twenty-four. With few Melchizedek Priesthood holders in the branch, Elder Woolsey often cleaned the meeting area before church, conducted the meeting, led the singing, blessed and passed the sacrament, taught Sunday School, and cleaned the meeting area again after church.
When the family moved to Taft, California, in 1954, Elder Woolsey was called to serve in the bishopric. He remained in that calling for ten years. In 1970, the Woolseys moved to Stockton, California, where Elder Woolsey served on the high council and then in the stake presidency. He was a counselor for eight years and president for another eight before his call as mission president.
Professionally, Elder Woolsey began his career with Standard Oil as a salesman. He became a distributor for the company in 1954. In 1970, he became an independent jobber and established Woolsey Oil Company.
All of these experiences helped prepare Elder Woolsey for his new calling in the Seventy. A natural leader with boundless energy, Elder Woolsey has loved serving in the mission field. “I have really felt the inspiration of the Lord,” says Elder Woolsey. “There are challenges, but the rewards are there, too.”
“When you have a willing heart,” says Sister Woolsey, “you can do anything. Because we are Heavenly Father’s children, each of us has divine potential. There’s nothing like watching young missionaries begin to realize their potential and to keep encouraging them to reach beyond what they can see to what we can see.”
Both Elder and Sister Woolsey have a strong Church heritage. They both acknowledge the fine training they received in their homes. “There’s never been a time in my life when I questioned the Church,” says Elder Woolsey. “I’ve always known it was true. I just think the Lord has been especially good to us.”
New Relief Society General Presidency Called
When Elaine Jack found out that a nonmember acquaintance was struggling through a divorce and an addiction to alcohol, she couldn’t sit back and do nothing. The woman had declined to leave home for several weeks, so Sister Jack spent countless hours sitting with her and calling often to reassure her that someone cared. Later, Sister Jack was her moral support as she went through an alcohol rehabilitation program and returned to work.
“I used to wonder why Elaine spent so much time on a person who seemed to be beyond help,” recalls Sister Jack’s husband, Joe. “But her persistence paid off. She helped turn that woman’s life around.”
People who know Elaine Jack well say that such selflessness is common for her—and that she doesn’t feel her actions are out of the ordinary. “I just love people,” says Sister Jack. “And every day I’m grateful for the influence of good people around me.”
That strength will serve her well as Relief Society general president, to which position she was sustained March 31.
For the past three years, President Jack has served as second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. “That was wonderful,” she says. “It taught me so much. And because I understand the Young Women program, I can see the opportunity we will have to help both organizations become more effective.”
Elaine was born on 22 March 1928 in Cardston, Alberta, to Sterling O. and Lovina Anderson Low. Her Grandfather Anderson, a patriarch and “spiritual giant,” lived just two doors away. “He was a student of the scriptures,” President Jack remembers, “and he was always eager to tell me about them. I wasn’t nearly as eager to listen back then—but I realized what an influence they were in his life.”
Now, she says, “the gospel is the greatest guiding force in my life. That’s partly because of the environment I was raised in. But I’ve also come to know that this is the best way to live. When I say that this is a joyous gospel, I mean it.”
After graduating from high school, Elaine attended the University of Utah, where she studied for two years. During her first year there, she met Joseph E. Jack, who was in his last year of medical school. When Joe moved to New York City for his internship, he wrote Elaine daily. They were married on 16 September 1948 in the Alberta Temple.
The Jacks have four sons—David, Bill, Eric, and Gordon—and six grandchildren. The Jacks have lived in Staten Island, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Mt. Edgecumbe, Alaska; and, for the past thirty-two years, in Salt Lake City. The family enjoys participating in outdoor sports, particularly backpacking (her sons joke that their mother wears army boots), skiing, and golfing. “We love to get together to play,” reports President Jack.
Of her new assignment, President Jack says, “I just keep remembering President Harold B. Lee’s statement: ‘If it’s a job, it can be tedious; but if it’s a calling, it’s a glorious thing.’”
President Jack’s first counselor is Chieko Nishimura Okazaki, a native of Kohala, Hawaii. She was born on 21 October 1926 and joined the Church at age fifteen. As strong Buddhists, her parents, Kanenori and Hatsuko Nishimura, “were disappointed when I was baptized,” Sister Okazaki recalls. “But as they saw the good things the Church did for me, they accepted my membership.”
Sister Okazaki met her husband, Edward Yukio Okazaki, when both were students at the University of Hawaii. They were married on 18 June 1949 on Maui; Brother Okazaki was baptized ten months later. “I didn’t know many LDS boys,” says Sister Okazaki. “And even though I worried a little that Edward wouldn’t join the Church, I thought there was a good chance he would—he was a good man and a strong Christian.” The Okazakis were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in 1951. They have two sons, Kenneth and Robert.
Sister Okazaki holds a bachelor’s degree and a fifth-year degree in education from the University of Hawaii, a master’s degree in education from the University of Northern Colorado, and a degree in educational administration from Colorado State University. She taught elementary school in Hawaii, Salt Lake City, and Denver. While in Denver, she also spent ten years as an elementary school principal.
When Sister Okazaki received her new calling, she was serving on the Primary General Board. She has taught in all the Church auxiliaries, has served in a stake Young Women presidency, as a ward Relief Society president, and as a member of the Young Women General Board. She also served with her husband when he was called to open the Japan-Okinawa Mission from 1968 to 1971.
“The Lord has been good to me,” Sister Okazaki says. “He has given me a lot of direction and guidance in my life. Now I want to do whatever I can to return my thanks to him.”
Sister Jack’s second counselor, Aileen Hales Clyde, was born 18 May 1926 in Springville, Utah, the daughter of G. Ray and Lesley Grooms Hales. She met her husband, Hal M. Clyde, at Springville High School. They were married 2 September 1947 in the Salt Lake Temple. After Sister Clyde graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in English, she and Brother Clyde moved to Salt Lake City, where he attended the University of Utah and majored in civil engineering. Brother and Sister Clyde have three sons—Michael, Kevin, and Jon Courtney.
“My parents taught me the gospel well and lovingly,” says Sister Clyde. “And my husband and I have a true partnership marriage. Having those things as a foundation in my life has given me more time and energy to be of help to others.”
Sister Clyde has been a ward Relief Society president, a member of a stake Relief Society board, and a member of the Young Women General Board. She has also worked on ad hoc projects on volunteerism and depression for the Relief Society General Presidency.
Her community service has involved working on the nomination committee for Utah’s appellate courts; chairing the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice; serving on the Board of Regents for the Utah System of Higher Education; and chairing a task force that studied gender bias in Utah courts. “My fundamental interest has become trying to help people believe in their divine uniqueness and feel good about the Lord’s effect in their lives,” she says.
New Young Women Counselor
Two years ago, after thirty-three years as a full-time homemaker, Janette C. Hales became a member of the Utah State House of Representatives and was called to the Primary General Board. Those experiences, along with being a mother to five children, helped prepare her for her calling as second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, replacing Elaine L. Jack, who was called as Relief Society general president.
Born on 7 June 1933 in Springville, Utah, to Thomas L. and Hannah Carrick Callister, Sister Hales was reared in Spanish Fork, Utah. She attended Brigham Young University and then married Robert H. Hales, a young medical student, on 29 June 1955 in the Salt Lake Temple.
Brother Hales’s medical training took the family to many different places. (They finally settled in Provo, Utah.) Along the way, Sister Hales finished college and served in the community and in the Young Women, Primary, and Relief Society.
Brother Hales passed away in March 1988—just four weeks after being diagnosed as having cancer. “I remember someone telling me that things get worse every year when you’re a widow,” says Sister Hales. “Resisting that bleak possibility provided strong motivation to me not to let that happen.”
She was appointed to fill a seat in the House in June 1988, and in November she was elected to it. “I really enjoy a problem-solving process—when people with diverse opinions and backgrounds work together,” she says.
Sister Hales enjoys playing tennis, doing projects in her home, and participating in activities with friends. She also finds joy in spending time with her children: Ann Hales Nevers, Thomas C. Hales, Jane Hales Ricks, and Karen and Mary Hales.
She remembers struggling one night many years ago with some questions while studying the scriptures. “I felt a beautiful, peaceful witness that the gospel is so very true,” she says. Since then, “It’s just been a matter of constantly recommitting.”
David M. Kennedy Released as Special Representative of the First Presidency
David M. Kennedy was released as special representative of the First Presidency on March 31 during the Saturday afternoon session of the Church’s annual general conference.
He had served in the position since 1974.
His assistant, Blaine C. Tueller, was also released.
Now eighty-five, Brother Kennedy says he hopes to cut back on his workload by also easing out of some secular institutional commitments. At the same time, however, he will begin teaching a class in international diplomacy at Brigham Young University.
It has been gratifying during his sixteen years of service to witness Church growth in so many countries, he says. He has been grateful for the opportunity to help open many of those countries to the Church. But “it hasn’t been done alone,” Brother Kennedy acknowledges. “It’s really the Lord who is doing it.”
Before being named special representative of the First Presidency, Brother Kennedy had spent many years in banking and government positions. (See Ensign, June 1986, p. 42.) The experience he gained and the friendships he made in those positions helped him later as he sought to open doors for the Church around the world. He was instrumental in helping the Church achieve legal recognition and gain permission to proselyte or expand its operations in countries from Portugal to Korea.
Before accepting the call to his Church position in 1974, Brother Kennedy had served as United States ambassador-at-large (with cabinet rank) from 1971 to 1973 and as ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from 1972 to 1973. He was secretary of the treasury in the cabinet of President Richard M. Nixon from 1969 to 1971.
From 1946 to 1968, David Kennedy worked for Continental Illinois Bank and Trust Company of Chicago. He became chairman of the bank in 1959 and helped move it into the arena of international business.
Brother Tueller had served as Brother Kennedy’s assistant since 1987. A retired U.S. foreign service officer, Blaine Tueller worked as a diplomatic or consular official in seven different countries, from Ireland to the Philippines.
Update: Church Membership
Church membership passed the seven-million mark in 1989. There were 7,300,000 Latter-day Saints at the end of 1989, up from 5,920,629 at the end of December 1985. That is a 23-percent increase.
Temples Planned in Florida, Utah
The First Presidency has announced plans to build two new temples, one in the Orlando, Florida, area, and the other in Bountiful, Utah, just north of Salt Lake City.
The announcement of the Florida temple came in a letter to General Authorities and to priesthood leaders in the area. No site has yet been selected, nor has a proposed starting date been announced.
Noting the long distances that many Florida members have to travel to the temple in Atlanta, Georgia, the First Presidency wrote, “We have selected Orlando because it is a central location with good highways from all parts of the state.”
The Church had previously announced, in May 1988, that property had been purchased in Bountiful for the possible construction of a temple. “We have now determined to undertake the construction of a temple on this site,” the First Presidency said in a letter read to members in Bountiful during meetings on February 18 this year.
The site for the Bountiful temple is located in the city’s foothills.
With the announcement of the two new temples, the Church now has forty-nine temples in operation, under construction, or in the planning stages.
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