“No one ever had a better father than I did,” said Elder James E. Faust, recalling with loving remembrance his father, Judge George A. Faust. “Father was a disciplinarian, and mother was a very loving woman who taught us out of the Book of Mormon and the other scriptures. The Book of Mormon was her favorite.”
The Faust home boasted five boys—a basketball team of their own. James was second in that line of Faust brothers. “If mother ever felt any disappointment because she had no girls,” Elder Faust stated, “she never showed it.”
Elder Faust was born in Delta, Utah. Later the family moved to the Cottonwood area of Salt Lake City, which at that time was a rural community and much different from the subdivisions and busy shopping centers found there now.
Speaking about the life-style he enjoyed as a boy, Elder Faust said, “Every year we adopted a lamb to raise, and we had horses and dogs. Father was an avid outdoorsman and a great fisherman. He loved the outdoors, and so did we.”
As Elder Faust grew older, he and his brother would go to their grandfather’s cattle ranch for the summer where they learned additional responsibilities.
“I have been grateful for the influence of my grandmother and my grandfather in my life. I remember my grandmother as a queenly woman. My father could be stern, and my grandparents would remind him that we were just boys.
“As children our entertainment was centered around the Church and its activities. Frequently we would attend ward-sponsored shows held in our meetinghouse.”
Elder Faust also remembers “taking the horse and sleigh up to Butler Hill and sleigh riding during the winter.”
Newell B. Stevenson, a lifelong friend of Elder Faust, recalls that Butler Hill was also the local ski resort. “We used to go skiing there,” he relates. “That was back in the days when we didn’t know what ski boots and ski bindings and all those sorts of things were. We built ourselves a jump, and if you had a little good luck, you made it all the way down to the bottom. Of course, once you got to the bottom of the hill, you had to walk back up. Once Jim (Elder Faust) lost a ski and fell and broke his collarbone.
“We used to swim together a lot during the summer at a cold-water, spring-fed lake near our home. If we could have spent our lives there, we would have. A couple of times we went there in the early spring and dared each other to get into the water. We were so cold we got out in a hurry!”
Other sports also attracted Elder Faust’s interest, especially football and track. His father was his most ardent supporter. In recalling those days, Brother Stevenson said, “I don’t think I ever went to an athletic event that one of those Faust kids was in when their father wasn’t there to support them.
“Even as a boy—but particularly when we got into our teens—Jim was the spiritual leader of our group. We did everything together, and I have to give him a lot of credit for keeping us out of trouble. He wasn’t overbearing, domineering, or falsely pious—he just always did what was right.”
“It is wonderful to be a parent and a grandparent,” Elder Faust declared. He and his wife, Ruth, have five children—three sons and two daughters—and sixteen grandchildren.
Stressing the importance of the influence of parents and grandparents, Elder Faust counseled, “Boys and girls, have confidence in the direction and counsel and advice of your parents and grandparents who love you more than anybody else in the world does. They always have your interest at heart. I have sometimes questioned the advice and direction I received from my parents and grandparents, but I never questioned the fact that they loved me. I learned that they were in a better position to know more about right and wrong than I did from my limited understanding and from my limited experience.”