Howard W. Hunter Talk
Sunday March 14, 2010
· Shortest presidential tenure in the history of the church.
· Born Nov. 14, 1907 in Boise, Idaho
· When he was four years old, he was stricken with polio, which affected his back, leaving him such that he was never able to bend forward and touch the ground.
· Father was not LDS and would not let him get baptized until he was 12 years old. When he requested such so that he could receive the priesthood.
· 2nd person to become an eagle scout in the state of Idaho.
· His sister Dorothy said of him: "Howard always wanted to do good and be good. A wonderful brother, he looked out for me. He was kind to our mother and father. Howard loved animals and regularly brought home strays. There was an irrigation ditch by their house and one day several boys in the neighborhood, not members of the Church, were throwing a kitten into the ditch. It would get out, and then they would throw it in again. They did this over and over until they got tired of the game. Howard came by and picked the kitten up, it was lying there almost dead, he brought it home. Mother was afraid it was dead, but they wrapped it in a blanket and they put it near the warm oven and nursed it. IT lived, and they had the cat for years. He was so kind... I have never known my brother to do a wrong thing in my life. (end quote)
· When his LDS ward was split in 1923, they began to meeting in a Jewish Synagogue that was provided free of charge…When the calls were issued to build the Boise LDS Tabernacle, Hunter was the first to pledge money for the building, pledging $25.
· President Hunter loved music; he played the drums, piano, violin, saxophone, clarinet and trumpet. In high school, he formed a band called Hunters Croonaders, which played on cruise ships throughout Asia, after graduation.
· As a young man of 22 President Hunter, received his patriarchal blessing. In it, he was told that he was one "whom the Lord foreknew", who had shown "strong leadership among the hosts of heaven" and that he had been ordained to perform an important work in mortality in bringing to pass the Lord's purposes with relation to His chosen people. He was promised based on his faithfulness, that he would be blessed with intelligence from on high and that he would become a master of worldly skill and a teacher of worldly wisdom as well as a priest of the most high God. He was told that he would use his wisdom and his righteous judgments. (end quote)
· In June of 1928, he met Clara May Jeffs, from SLC. They dated over the next year and by the summer of 1929, they were dating steady. However, at this time President Hunter was contemplating serving a mission so they held off on marriage.
· In 1931, they eventually decided to get married instead. And were married on June 10, 1931 in the SLC temple. At this time, President Hunter gave up his musical career for a stable family life. He felt that marriage and family were the highest Christian goals. Later he would say, "There is no more powerful principle of life to promote love, forbearance, and devotion in the home than that of eternal marriage."
· During the depression, Hunter worked several jobs including work at a citrus factory, shoe sales, a teller for the Bank of Italy, bridge painter, and laundry detergent peddler. In 1934, he secured the position as a title examiner with the LA county flood control district. At this time, he began to study at Southwestern University's law school.
· During his time at school, his first son, William died. His other two sons Richard Hunter and John Hunter were both born before he completed his degree. After school, he continued to become a successful lawyer in California.
· He was called to be the first President of the Pasadena, California stake, where he also served as a bishop. When created this stake numbered as the church's 2000th stake. While president he negotiated the acquisition of land in Jerusalem for the purpose of building the BYU Jerusalem Center, which later he dedicated.
· At this time, President Hunter was also involved in drafting the Proclamation of the Family.
· In 1985 he was called as the acting President of the Quorum of the 12 in recognition of the infirmity of Marion G. Romney. He became full president of the quorum of the 12 in 1988.
· Elder Alma Sonne an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve Apostles said the following when President Hunter was called to the Quorum of the Twelve: "I was delighted to hear that President Hunter had been called to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve. President Hunter has been for many years a leader in Zion. He has been proved, and I say that the Church is very fortunate indeed that calls upon men of his caliber." (end quote)
· The Twelve and those who work with them learned that Elder Hunter weights matters carefully before jumping in with opinions, conclusions, or solutions, undoubtedly a result of his legal training. He listens carefully as others express their opinions and feelings. If consensus isn't reached or anyone in the group still has strong feelings about the matter, he will table it rather than force a vote.
· President Hunter loved to tell stories about Jesus from the Bible; one specifically is when Jesus stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee. He taught us that if we "fix our eyes on Jesus; we too might… remain 'unterrified amid the rising winds of doubt'.
· President Hunter constantly encouraged and emphasized Christ like living and temple attendance.
· He said "Real Christians must understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not just a gospel of belief, it is a plan of action. His gospel is a gospel of imperatives…a call to action." An imperative is more than a request. It is sometimes even a command. The Lord has prepared some wonderful experiences for us with his gospel plan, but he expects us to act, not just to look on as bystanders. (end quote)
· In a latter address he stated, "Merely saying, accepting, and believing are not enough. They are incomplete until that which they imply is translated into dynamic action of daily living. … This, then, is the finest source of personal testimony. We know because we have experienced. We do not have to say "Brother Jones says it's true, and I believe him. We can s, I have lived this principle in my own life, and I know through personal experience that it works." (end quote)
· While serving as president, of the Genealogical society, The Granite Mountain Record Vault was completed and dedicated, its collection of microfilms grew from 400 thousand to 700 thousand rolls. President Hunter helped to shape the destiny of the Society and establish its position as one of the foremost genealogical societies of the world.
· President Monsen recounts the following experience. "The names Howard W. Hunter and Family history are almost synonymous. President Hunter inspired the Saints and imbeds them with a greater desire and determination to seek after their loved ones who had gone beyond the veil and to perform in the temples of the Lord sacred ordinances in their behalf. His ready smile and his pleasant nature have been basic personal hallmarks of his leadership. He has lead by his own personal example, which of course, is the pattern set forth by the Savior of all mankind." (end quote)
· He was a member of the Board of Trustees of BYU and closely involved with the founding of the J. Reuben Clark Law School
· Member of the Board of Trustees of the New World Archaeology Foundation, Chairman of the board of the Polynesian Cultural Center.
· His wife Clara died in 1983 and in 1990 he remained to Inis Stanton, while serving as President of the Quorum of the 12. The announcement came as a surprise, while meeting with the 122 he asked if there were any more agenda items to be covered, with no response he said "well ,then if no one else has anything to say, I thought I'd just let you know that I'm going to be married this afternoon. " There were gasps, and then he went on to explain, "In is an old acquaintance from California. I've been visiting with her for some time, and we've decided to get married."
· Both of his sons lived to become lawyers.
· Became the President of the church in 1994 at the age of 86.
· His first statement to the press was as follows "I have shed many tears and have sought my Father in Heaven in earnest prayer with a desire to be equal to the high and holy calling which is now mine. My greatest strength though these past hours and recent days has been my abiding testimony that this is the work of God and not men, that Jesus Christ is the authorized and living head of this church and he leads it in word and deed. I pledge my life, my strength, and the full measure of my soul in serving Him fully…. TO the membership of the Church in every country of the world and to people everywhere I extend my love…I pray that we might treat each other with more kindness, more courtesy, more humility and patience and forgiveness. I invite the members of the Church to establish the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of their membership and the setting for their most sacred covenants. It would be the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church be temple worthy. I would hope that every adult member would be worthy of – and carry- a current temple recommend, even if the proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it. (end quote)
· President Hunter dedicated two temples the Orlando Florida Temple and later the Bountiful Utah Temple shortly before he died. He also commemorated the 150th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith
· President Maxwell said of him, "President Hunter is a meek man. He once refused a job he needed as a young man because it would have meant another individual would have lost his job. This is the same lowly man, when I awakened after a weary and dusty day together with him on assignment in Egypt, he was quietly shining my shoes, a task he had hoped to complete unseen. Meekness scan be present in the daily and ordinary things.
· His messages were always thoughtful and profound, sensitive and comforting for instance in Oct 1983 he gave comfort to struggling parents with "A successful parent is one who has loved, one who has sacrificed, and one who has cared for, taught and ministered to the needs of a child. If you have done all these and your child is still wayward or troublesome or worldly, it could be well that you are, nevertheless, a successful parent"
· Talks: I have included two quotes from his many talks that I feel are of importance to us today.
o In the 1994 Ensign he wrote, "Let us follow the Son of God in all ways and in all walks of life. Let us make him our exemplar and our guide. We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" and then be more courageous to act upon the answer. We must follow Christ, in the best sense of the word. We must be about his work as he was about his Father's. We should try to be like him, even as the Primary children sing, "Try, try,try". To the extent that our mortal powers permit, we should make every effort to become like Christ- the one perfect and sinless example this world has ever seen….We must know Christ better than we know him; we must remember him more often than we remember him, we must serve him more valiantly that we serve him. Then we will drink water springing up unto eternal life and will eat the bread of life. What manner of men and women ought we to be? Even as he is. (Ensign 1994)
o In his talk "In the Footsteps of the Savior"
§ "Gentleness is better than brutality", "Kindness is greater that coercion."
· Famous incidents regarding him, CODY JUDY
o While preparing to speak at a CES fireside at BYU, he was confronted by Cody Judy. Cody threatened him in front of an audience of 16 thousand people, carrying what he claimed to be a bomb. He demanded that Hunter read a 3 page document that detailed God's plan for Jody to lead the church. Hunter refused. The audience spontaneously sang "We Thank Thee, O God, for a prophet." During which students from the audience and then security personnel overtook Judy. After Judy's removal Hunter delivered his prepared remarks, a talk entitled "An Anchor to the Souls of Men". His opening line began "life has a fair number of challenges in it….as demonstrated." He then went on with his message as though nothing had happened.
· President Hunter was the first prophet born in the 20th century.
· He suffered from numerous health infirmities, including broken ribs, heart bypass surgery, bleeding ulcers, kidney failure, and in the end cancer.
· His gentle humor shined through when in conference when speaking from his wheelchair he said, "Forgive me if I remain seated while I present these few remarks. It is not by choice that I speak from a wheelchair. I notice that the rest of you seem to enjoy the conference sitting down, so I will follow your example."
· James E. Faust said of him, "President Hunter is one of the most loving, Christ like men we have ever known. His spiritual depth is so profound as to be unfathomable. Having been under the guiding influence of the Lord Jesus Christ as His special witness for so many years, President Hunter's spirituality has been honed in a remarkable way. It is the wellspring of his whole being. He is quiet about sacred things, humble about sacred things, careful when he speaks about sacred things. He has an inner peace, tranquility, and nobility of soul that is unique among the children of God. His intense suffering on so many occasions has been a "refiner's fire" permitting him to become God's pure vessel and prophet on the earth in this day and time."
· Died March 3, 1995 in SLC, and was succeeded by Gordon B. Hinckley.
Grateful for the opportunity I have had to better get to know President Hunter. I was deeply touched by his comforting messages regarding church membership, temple worthiness, and Christ like behavior. May we all seriously follow his example, ponder his council and through him better understand our Savior. My testimony has been strengthened by his personal association with our Savior. His life and works exemplified his spiritual strengths obtained from knowing and following the guidance of our Father in Heaven.
Bear testimony of the
· restoration of the gospel,
· sustain modern prophet,
· urge for missionary work,
· promise of peace when we daily strive to do keep the covenants we've made with our Heavenly Father.