Need more information?

Top Leaderboard

Monday, December 3, 2018

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Celebrates His 78th Birthday Today

Hello again, everyone! I am back in the early morning hours of December 3 as I promised to be, with a post written in honor of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who is celebrating his 78th birthday today. I have previously referenced the fact that Elder Holland is one of my favorites among the current apostles. His General Conference talks always seem to especially be covering topics related to things I am going through personally during any given General Conference weekend.

As I have also mentioned, when he was a young man, Elder Holland, who was born and raised in St. George, was my dad's dad's home teaching companion. I have very vivid memories of my grandfather expressing his wonderment that a boy like that could grow up to be an apostle of the Lord. Many members of the Church may be prone to putting our apostles on pedestals, forgetting about the paths which have taken such men from the circumstances of their births to the point where the Lord sees fit to call them to be His special witnesses.

The difference is in the choices they made which enabled them to be ready, worthy, and able to accept such calls when they have come. But on another level, each of us can do likewise to ensure that we are where the Lord needs us to be and will be ready to do what He needs us to do in any circumstance in which we find ourselves.

I also have another indirect connection to Elder Holland. My mom is a freelance proofreader, and in the early days of her marriage to my dad, she worked on many projects for the Church Educational System. Since that occurred at the time when Elder Holland was the Commissioner of the CES, he was essentially my mom's "boss." And she speaks warmly of the experiences she had working with him. And my dad also reconnected with him a few different times when he (my dad) worked for the Church in Salt Lake.

Personal connections aside, I wanted to share a brief biographical sketch of Elder Holland. Jeffrey Roy Holland was born in St. GeorgeUtah to Frank D. and Alice Bentley Holland on December 3, 1940. He served as a full-time missionary in the British Mission, during which time one of his two mission presidents was Marion D. Hanks, who at that time was serving as a member of the First Council of the Seventy. And one of Elder Holland's missionary companions, Quentin L. Cook, would later become a colleague in the apostleship.

Upon his return from his mission, he married his high school sweetheart, Patricia Terry, in 1963. They are the parents of a daughter and two sons.  Elder Holland attended BYU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in religious education. He went on to earn a doctorate degree in American studies from Yale. He then became a professor at BYU, serving as Dean of the College of Religion.

He served as Commissioner of Church Education from 1976-1980. While serving in that assignment in 1980, he led a search for someone to succeed the current BYU-Provo President, Dallin H. Oaks (who would also become an apostolic colleague in the future). He was surprised when President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was then serving as Second Counselor in the First Presidency, called him one day to note that he (Jeffrey R. Holland) would be the next president of BYU.

Elder Holland has served as a bishop, counselor in a stake presidency, and regional representative. Following the conclusion of his service as the president of BYU-Provo, he was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 1, 1989. After the First Presidency was reorganized following the death of President Ezra Taft Benson, President Howard W. Hunter took immediate action to fill the apostolic vacancy.

In the space of a few short hours on June 23, President Hunter issued a call to the apostleship to Elder Holland, gave him his apostolic charge, set apart and ordained him to that calling,  had him join the other 14 apostles in their weekly meeting at the temple, and arranged a press conference to enable him to take questions from the media. That action was sustained by Church membership during the Solemn Assembly that was held less than three months later.

Elder Holland gave 3 talks prior to his apostolic call (one of which he gave in April 1983 as president of BYU during the Priesthood Session, with his son (a teacher at the time) also speaking during that session, and the other 2 while serving as a General Authority Seventy. And since his call to the apostleship, he has spoken 49 additional times, meaning he has given 52 addresses altogether in General Conference. To review any of these wonderful addresses, click here.

Some of my favorites among those 50 in recent years have been None Were With Him (from the Easter Sunday Morning Session of the April 2009 General Conference); Lord, I Believe (from the Sunday Afternoon Session of the April 2013 General Conference); and Songs Sung and Unsung (from the Saturday Afternoon Session of the April 2017 General Conference).

The last thing I want to mention about Elder Holland is that he is currently the second most-senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the fourth most senior of our 15 current apostles. He is also the fourth-oldest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and is the 7th oldest among all 15 apostles.

Although it is unlikely Elder Holland will ever read this personally, I am grateful for the chance I had to present this post in honor of his birthday today. I joyfully and whole-heartedly sustain each and every one of our 15 current apostles in their callings, and I look forward to seeing the way in which Elder Holland will continue his apostolic ministry in the future.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated,. on any post at any time, as long as such comments remain true to the established guidelines for this blog. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.