The first real test of my young testimony came when I had to decide between going on a mission and playing basketball,” says Dean Reid Burgess. Brother Burgess had spent his freshman year playing basketball for the College of Southern Utah on scholarship.
It was 1965, the height of the war in Vietnam, and not every young man had the chance to serve a mission because of the United States military draft. But Brother Burgess had the chance and the choice. “It took a lot of prayer and a lot of fasting,” he says. “But I knew serving a mission was a real privilege, so I left school to serve.” While serving in the Brazilian Mission, Brother Burgess solidified his testimony of the restored gospel.
Upon returning home, he completed his education at Brigham Young University in business management and graduated in 1970. Some time later, he met Annette Christensen at a BYU student ward. “She was the Relief Society president, and I was the elders quorum president,” he says. “She was always busy serving in worthwhile and constructive ways.” They began dating and were later married in the Provo Utah Temple on 27 December 1973. They have five children and reside in Sandy, Utah.
Brother Burgess, 57, was born in Alpine, Utah, to Reid and Ethel King Burgess on 24 May 1946. He grew up working in the family-owned mercantile store and on their 20-acre (8-ha) farm. His parents taught him the value of family, hard work, and the principles of the gospel—the same values he has tried to teach his own children.
In 1997 Brother Burgess returned to Brazil, where he served as president of the Brazil Belo Horizonte East Mission. His other Church service includes counselor in stake presidencies, stake Young Men president, bishop, and high councilor; all told, he has served with the youth of the Church for more than 24 years.