Tuesday, Sept. 22, Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, passed away with his family present in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is the third Apostle to die in less than four months — making it the biggest vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1906.
Elder Scott was born in Pocatello, Idaho, in 1928. He worked as a successful nuclear engineer for several years. In 1988, he was sustained as member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During those 27 years of apostleship, Elder Scott visited many places, including BYU-Idaho. Several years ago, he came and spoke specifically to the faculty members.
“Elder Scott told us that he was a nuclear engineer working on the United States Nuclear Navy and he had been there long enough that he could leave at any time and he was in there at the time he was called as a mission president,” said Daris Howard, a faculty member in the Mathematics Department. “He told us that he wasn’t quite sure how his commander would take that, because his commander was a very tough man.”
Howard said Elder Scott went to his commander and told him that he had received a calling to be a mission president. The commander was upset, and he said if Elder Scott accepted the call, he would do everything in his power to block Mormons from advancing in the Navy.
“He went to the Brethren and asked what he should do, and what he taught us that day was something that really stuck with me,” Howard said. “He said the Brethren told him that he was worried about things that weren’t his worry. They were the Lord’s worry.”
Howard said Elder Scott was very concerned how his decision would affect church members.
“Having been through what he has been through, with losing two of his children and his wife, he could relate to people, especially dealing with death, and that always meant a lot to me because he’d been there, he knew what people had experienced,” said Catrina Wylie, an office assistant in Student Records & Registration.
Elder Scott is the third Apostle to pass in less than four months. Elder L. Tom Perry died in May, and President Boyd K. Packer died in June.
“I know that this is part of the Lord’s plan that we get a new Apostle, because we need more spiritual guidance now, and God knows who can help us receive that, and he picks his servants based on our needs,” said Sarah Jones, a sophomore majoring in international studies.
Jason Steiner, a junior studying business management, said the death of the three Apostles was really shocking to him and that he has never seen anything like that before.
“I think the Lord did that because he is reorganizing the Quorum of the Twelve with some younger and fresher leaders to continue fulfilling his work,” Steiner said.
Many students said they have big expectations for general conference, and they are curious to better understand the Lord’s plans for the future of his church.
Asia Conrad, a sophomore studying recreational leadership, said that when she heard about Elder Scott’s death, she was happy for him because of his devotion to his wife during his general conference talks. She said she is sure he is happy to be with his wife.
“The most profound thing I learned as his son is what an ideal marriage should be in watching my parents,” said Michael Scott, son of Elder Scott in an interview with Deseret News. “It’s nothing they ever said, they just lived it.”
Jeanene, Elder Scott’s wife, died in 1995. Since that day, many of his talks have contained experiences and stories about their expressions of love.
“I am confident that when, in our future, I see her again beyond the veil, we will recognize that we have become even more deeply in love,” according to Elder Scott in a talk titled, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage.” “We will appreciate each other even more, having spent this time separated by the veil.”