Friend to Friend

From a personal interview by Janet Peterson with Elder Glen L. Rudd of the First Quorum of the Seventy

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    Elder Glen L. Rudd

    “I had a good time as a youngster,” Elder Glen L. Rudd said. “We had a fine, big shepherd dog. My brothers and I would harness him to our wagon in the summer, and we would let him pull us around the block. In winter we would harness him to a sled, and he would pull us all over the neighborhood. I liked all kinds of sports, especially tennis, and I played basketball as long as I could. Even as a bishop, I played on the ward basketball team.

    “When I was growing up, I had a great bishop, Bishop William F. Perschon of the Fourth Ward, one of the oldest wards in Salt Lake City. My twelfth birthday fell on a Sunday, and Bishop Perschon called me to the stand during sacrament meeting and told the congregation that I had been interviewed and was worthy to be ordained a deacon. After I was sustained, he announced, ‘We’d like to ordain him right now.’ He got a chair, and the stake president, who was there, ordained me a deacon in front of the whole ward!

    “When I was sixteen, Bishop Perschon called me into his office after Sunday School and talked to me for forty-five minutes. He told me things that I needed to know and convinced me that I should change a few things in my life, such as not playing tennis on Sunday. I needed that talk, and it changed my life.

    “He had spent another forty-five minutes that day talking to my friend Arthur Sperry, and ten years later, when I was in that same office as bishop, Arthur was serving as my counselor. He became the bishop when I was released, and he became a mission president and a temple president about the same times that I did. I have counted twenty-nine bishops, eleven mission presidents, and three temple presidents who grew up in the Fourth Ward while Bishop Perschon served there as bishop. Elder Theodore M. Burton, whose life was also influenced positively by Bishop Perschon, grew up in that ward too.”

    Elder Rudd was involved in the welfare work of the Church for many years, and he traces this involvement to his childhood experiences and the good examples that his parents set for him. The second of four boys, he grew up working in his father’s poultry processing plant, which was located right behind their home. “It was during the Depression,” Elder Rudd said, “and just about everybody was poor. We weren’t rich, but we had a steady business. My father was the hardest worker that I ever knew. To him work was a pleasure. He even had a sign in his office that read, ‘Anyone who considers work a pleasure will have a lot of fun in this institution.’

    “Besides having a good sense of humor, Dad cared about people. I remember seeing unemployed men come to his plant and wait for hours, hoping to get a job. He tried to hire one or two extra men every day. I went to him one time and said, ‘That man has been here every day for a week, and he’s hungry.’ I got my dad to hire him. Later in the day I discovered that the man had only potato peelings to eat for lunch. I went into the house and asked my mother to fix him a decent lunch. Then I took it out to him.

    “Another good example my dad set for me was when he called me into his office and asked, ‘Do you know where the bishops’ storehouse is?’ When I nodded, he said, ‘OK, you go with the truck driver.’ We took five big barrels of chickens—about a thousand pounds of them—to the storehouse as a gift to the poor and needy from my father. I’ve never forgotten that day.

    “Dad made donations like that to the storehouse several times. It was the old Pioneer Stake Storehouse, and it became the model storehouse for the Church general welfare program.

    “Another important lesson that my dad taught me was to be totally committed to the Church. He said, ‘Son, you’ll either have to be a hundred percent or zero. You can’t be lukewarm. If you’re going to be active in the Church, you can’t go just when you feel like it; you can’t be hit and miss.’ He insisted on dependability, and I have been active in the Church all my life.

    “My mother was a hard worker too. She did the bookkeeping and bill collecting for Dad’s business, and she served as a Primary teacher and a Primary president. The first recollection I have of the Church is of Primary. I’ve always had a good feeling toward it.

    “When I was about five or six years old, my mother was so ill that the doctors thought that she would die. The patriarch came to our home and blessed her, and she got well. Later she wrote in her journal about how that priesthood blessing saved her from dying. It was a miracle, and miracles do happen. I’ve witnessed several of them, and I know that they happen today as much as they have ever happened in the history of the world.”

    Elder Rudd believes that children should go to church and pay attention to their teachers and leaders. He said, “There’s no substitute for what you can learn in church. The best education that anyone can get is there.” Then he added, “I have been on four mission assignments, and I think that every young boy ought to plan to be a missionary and live worthily so that he can be one. I’ve never known a day when I didn’t know that the Church was true, and I’ve never known a day when I didn’t want to go on a mission.”

    One-year-old Glen sitting on grass

    Glen with his father

    Glen cooking hotcakes as a missionary