Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1972, died April 19, 1985, at his home. He was sixty-nine years of age. Those closest to him were inspired by his wise counsel and delighted by his fine sense of humor. His wife, Amelia Smith McConkie, and eight of their nine children are still living.
Elder McConkie completed a mission for the Church in the eastern United States from 1934 to 1936. In 1946, at the age of thirty-one, he left a legal career when called to serve as a member of the First Council of the Seventy. Previously he had served four years during World War II as a U.S. Army security and intelligence officer. Later as a General Authority, he gave spiritual guidance to thousands of young men in the armed forces as servicemen’s coordinator. From 1961 to 1964 he was president of the Southern Australian Mission.
A student of the scriptures from his youth, Elder McConkie became an energetic and insightful writer and was the author of several challenging books on gospel-related subjects. He studied the life and mission of Jesus Christ and often bore testimony of the reality and divinity of the Savior.
In a voice charged with conviction and emotion at the last April conference, Elder McConkie, as a special witness of Jesus Christ, declared:
“The most important doctrine I can declare, and the most powerful testimony I can bear, is of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. His atonement is the most transcendent event that ever has or ever will occur from creation’s dawn through all the ages of a never-ending eternity.
“I am one of His witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in His hands and in His feet and shall wet His feet with my tears.
“But I shall not know any better then than I know now that He is God’s Almighty Son; that He is our Savior and Redeemer; and that salvation comes in and through His atoning blood and in no other way.”