President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, passed away this morning, August 10, at the age of 87. President Faust was a man of deep faith, conviction, and love for his Savior, even Jesus Christ. He held the same love for his family and for the Church that he dedicated his life to serving.
Excerpt of the official press release from the LDS Church:
“(President Faust) had previously served four years as an Assistant to the Twelve (the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest presiding body) before being appointed a member of the presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy (other senior leaders in the Church) on 1 October 1976.
His most recent assignments included vice chairman of the Church Board of Education; the board of trustees of Brigham Young University; the Welfare Services Executive Committee; and Deseret Management Corporation.
Bruce Olsen, managing director of Church Public Affairs, said this morning that President Faust’s ‘gentle manner and depth of knowledge, which was an important part of his ministry for nearly 35 years, will be missed.’
‘He was a true Christian who spoke and wrote with wit and wisdom,’ Olsen said. ‘Many members of the Church loved his unique way of teaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ at General Conference.’
Olsen said that Church members around the world are calling to extend to President Faust’s family their heartfelt condolences.
President Faust was born 31 July 1920, in Delta, Utah. He participated as a member of the University of Utah track team in 1938 and ran the quarter-mile and mile relay.
His college career was interrupted first to serve as a missionary for the Church in Brazil and later by World War II, during which he served in the U.S. Army Air Force and was discharged as a first lieutenant. In 1948 he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s and Juris Doctor degree. He began the practice of law in Salt Lake City and continued until his appointment as a general authority of the Church in 1972.
He served as a member of the Utah Legislature from 1949 to 1951, as an advisor to the American Bar Journal, and president of the Utah Bar Association in 1962-1963. He received the Distinguished Lawyer Emeritus Award from the Utah Bar Association in 1995. In August of 1997, he received an Honorary Doctors Degree of Christian Service from Brigham Young University. He was honored as a Distinguished Alumni at the University of Utah in 1999, and was awarded the Honorary Order of the Coif at Brigham Young University in 2000. In 2003, he was given the Marion G. Romney Distinguished Service Award by Brigham Young University Law School, and he was awarded an Honorary Doctors of Law degree by the University of Utah. President John F. Kennedy appointed him to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in 1962.”
President Faust gave many speeches to the body of the Church, speeches that I always found inspiring and uplifting. In this past General Conference of LDS Church in April, Pres. Faust’s talk was the most memorable for me. He spoke on the importance of forgiveness and not holding grudges. In the talk he spoke movingly of the wonderful example of the Amish community near Lancaster, PA. A couple of years ago a traged struck when a deeply troubled young man murdered many of their young women and girls at a small school. It was a heart wrenching and terrible report to hear, yet the response of the Amish was incredible. Rather than call for the criminal’s head and demanding justice, they called for forgiveness and love to be shown the family of the murderer. Their example of forgiveness and love is one that we should all aspire to. President Faust will be missed dearly, but we rejoice in the knowledge that he is resting with the Savior and his Father in Heaven.