“Elder Alma Sonne Dies,” Ensign, Jan. 1978, 72
Elder Alma Sonne of the First Quorum of the Seventy, a man who dedicatedly bore witness to the pricelessness of faith, died 27 November 1977. He was 93.
The oldest of the General Authorities, he was called to serve in 1941 as one of the first five Assistants to the Twelve. The surviving member of that group is President Marion G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. Soon after being sustained in the May 1941 general conference, Elder Sonne was called as an adviser to the Church Welfare Plan. He brought to that call his experience gained in Church service and in business.
Born in Logan, Utah, 5 March 1884, Elder Sonne graduated from Brigham Young College, Logan, in banking and finance. He entered business in 1906 as a cashier of the Logan First National Bank and eventually became president of the bank. In 1968, he helped develop and found the Pioneer Bank of Logan. He was also a director of the Bear River Mutual Insurance Company, president of the Utah Bankers Association, chairman of the Utah State University Board of Trustees, president of the Logan Rotary Club, and vice-president of the Logan Chamber of Commerce. Through his financial and community activities he played an important role in the development of agriculture in northern Utah.
As a young man he filled a full-time mission in Great Britain from 1910 to 1912. Some thirty-four years later, he returned to London, England, as a General Authority to serve as president of the European Mission.
Prior to his calling as a General Authority, Elder Sonne served as a counselor in two Logan bishoprics, a high councilor, and a YMMIA superintendent. He also served as a counselor in the Cache Utah stake presidency, and later as president of that stake.
In his first address as a General Authority, Elder Sonne said: “I have spent many hours in the service of our great Church and I want to testify to you … that the compensation for that service has been very great. … I accept this responsibility with fear and trembling, but I have confidence in the promises of God.”
In a conference address the following year he said: “[The] Christian doctrine is the very cornerstone of freedom, and it is the mission of this Church to promote it, and to inspire faith in the hearts of men. In this solemn obligation we must not fail, for faith is the bedrock of human life, without which the soul of man has no anchorage.”
Then in words that summed up his own life he said, “May God give us strength and wisdom to walk in the way of righteousness, that our daily example may be a sermon to our friends, far and near.”
In his many active years as a General Authority, Elder Sonne did “walk in the way of righteousness” as he fulfilled his assignments for over three decades to visit the ever-growing stakes of the Church and provide the Saints with counsel and encouragement.
Elder Sonne is survived by four sons, a daughter, two step-children, twenty-two grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren, and a sister. His first wife, Geneva Ballantyne, died in 1941; and his second wife, Leona Ballantyne Woolley, whom he married in 1943, died in 1971.