The Church service of Elder Donald Larry Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy has combined his deep-rooted testimony with a lifelong affinity for the peoples and cultures of the world.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, on July 27, 1949, to James and Betty Jo Lambert Hallstrom, Elder Hallstrom had a childhood rich in multicultural experiences. His friends were from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Samoa, and Tonga. “We all shared different foods and traditions, and we all accepted each other,” he recalls.
At age five he heard President David O. McKay (1873–1970) speak in the Honolulu Stake Tabernacle. “When the congregation sang, ‘Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?’ (“Who’s on the Lord’s Side,” Hymns, no. 260), I wanted to stand up and say, ‘I am! I am on the Lord’s side!’” he says. He later became president of that stake.
After serving in the England Central Mission from 1969 to 1971, Elder Hallstrom attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he met Diane Clifton of Alberta, Canada. They married in the Cardston Alberta Temple on July 22, 1972, and have four children. Elder Hallstrom graduated with a degree in economics and returned to Hawaii, where he was president of a real estate consulting firm.
Called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 2000, Elder Hallstrom has served in Area Presidencies in the Asia North Area and most recently the Asia Area, which includes China, India, and 23 other countries—and half of the earth’s population.
Elder Hallstrom is deeply touched by the pioneering Saints who live in the vast “frontier of the Church,” many making long journeys to the nearest temple.
“I’m continually inspired by the faith and courage of people who rise above earthly culture and accept gospel culture,” he says. “It is remarkable to see people establish the gospel in their own lives and in their own families.”