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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Elder David A. Bednar Celebrates His 67th Birthday Today

Hello again, everyone! Given that today is June 15, 2019, I wanted to take an opportunity to pay tribute to Elder David A. Bednar, who is marking his 67th birthday today. So let's get in to some details about his life experiences. David Allan Bednar was born on June 15, 1952 in Oakland California to Anthony George and Lavina Whitney Bednar. His mother came from a long line of Latter-day Saint ancestors, but his father was not a member of the Church.

Despite that fact, Anthony Bednar fully supported the rest of his family participating actively in the Church, and he would often step in and participate in meetings and Church activities, including various service projects, whereby he was in essence functioning in the same supportive way as other Church members did, but as someone who was not actually a baptized member thereof.  Young David would often ask Anthony when he would be baptized, to which his father replied that he would do so when he felt it was right.

Elder Bednar served a mission in southern Germany, during which time, then-Elder Boyd K. Packer visited his mission, and was advised that to get through the necessary border security, he would need money. The future President Packer would later recount in General Conference that a young missionary provided him with the money he needed, and later revealed that missionary was Elder Bednar.

Elder Bednar attended BYU-Provo, where he earned a bachelor's degree in communication and a master's in organizational communication. He went on to earn a doctoral degree in organizational behavior from the prestigious Purdue University.

He met Susan Kae Robinson at an activity for young adults. He recounts that they were playing flag football, and that he threw a pass, which she caught. Susan would later note that, incidentally, that was the only time she could remember catching a pass. That experience left a positive impression on both of them, and the two started dating not long afterward. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 20, 1975, and would go on to raise 3 sons together.

One major highlight of Elder Bednar's life came long after his marriage. Anthony called his son one day and asked, "Would you be free on (and he named a date in the near future)? I would like you to come and baptize me." He was able to baptize and confirm his father, and also ordained him to the priesthood.

He spent his vocational career as an educator at several secondary schools. For a four-year period (1980-1984), he was an assistant professor of management at what was then the College of Business Administration at the University of Arkansas. He spent the next two years as an assistant professor at Texas Tech University, after which he returned to Arkansas, where he served first as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, then the Director of the Management Decision-Making Lab.

During this time, he was recognized with numerous awards as being an outstanding educator. He also had a few ecclesiastical responsibilities within the Church at around the same time. He spent several months as a bishop, then went on to serve first as the president of what was then the Fort Smith Arkansas Stake, then as the first president of the newly-established Rogers Arkansas Stake. During the final months of his service as a stake president, he was called to serve as a regional representative.

In 1997, he was among the first men called to be an area seventy. That same year, he was also called by the Church Board of Education serve as president of Ricks College, during which time he led the transition of that college to BYU-Idaho. In October 2004, due to the apostolic vacancies resulting from the July deaths of Elders Neal A. Maxwell and David B. Haight (which occurred 10 days apart), Church President Gordon B. Hinckley announced that the vacancies would be filled by Elders Dieter F. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar.

Interestingly enough, Elder Bednar joined only two other current apostles (now-Presidents Nelson and Oaks) who were called to the apostleship without having previously served as a general authority. At the time of his call to the apostleship, Elder Bednar, who was 52 at that time, was the youngest apostle to have been called since then-Elder Dallin H. Oaks, who was called to the apostleship in 1984 at the age of 51.

Although he immediately commenced his service in the apostleship, he also continued to serve as president of BYU-Idaho for several weeks prior to the appointment of an interim president. Elder Bednar's tenure as an educator has molded how he speaks and ministers as an apostle. One of his hallmarks is to invite the Holy Ghost to bless him and us as we listen to his remarks. In view of his almost-15-year tenure in the apostleship, he has given 30 General Conference addresses, which are always well crafted and insightful, and are well worthy of review by all of us.

He is currently the fourth most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (which, including the current members of the First Presidency, makes him the seventh in apostolic seniority), and is still among the younger apostles, being the fifth-youngest both among the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and all 15 ordained apostles as well. While I have never had the honor to meet him personally, from the moment his apostolic call was first announced and onward since then, I have had a testimony that his apostolic call has been inspired and directed by the Lord, which I reiterate to you all today.

Given his relatively younger age in comparison to both the six apostles senior to him, and four of the eight apostles who are junior to him, I fully believe that, at some point in the future, Elder Bednar may serve as Church President. That, of course, will be up to the Lord’s will and the health and longevity of Presidents Nelson, Oaks, Eyring, and Ballard, and Elders Holland and Uchtdorf. And I want to make it very clear that such a prospect is merely my own personal opinion, and not anything I can attribute to anyone else. As the Lord himself reminds us, he days of each apostle are known, and their years shall not be numbered less.

I hope this post has served as a fitting tribute to this remarkable servant of the Lord. 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 are made in accordance with the established guidelines. 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.