“Elder Mark E. Petersen Dies,” Ensign, Feb. 1984, 77
Nearly forty years ago, as a 43-year-old newly sustained Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, Elder Mark E. Petersen stood before the April 1944 general conference of the Church and testified of his faith “in the message which [my parents] received in a foreign land, the message which I shall … take great pleasure in declaring … for the remainder of my life.”
Wednesday, 11 January 1984, Elder Petersen, 83, died of cancer in Salt Lake City. His great faith and strong voice of certainty in the gospel of Jesus Christ were known and loved throughout the Church. This great Apostle was a dynamic leader who sincerely shunned the spotlight. He was marked by a gracious manner and boundless energy.
A prolific writer, Elder Petersen was well known for his many missionary pamphlets and tracts, for more than forty books, and for the numerous editorials he wrote for the Church News, part of the Deseret News.
Born 7 November 1900 in Salt Lake City, he was the son of Danish converts to the Church. He served in the Canadian Mission from 1920 to 1922, and married Emma Marr McDonald in the Salt Lake Temple in 1923. They were the parents of two daughters. Sister Petersen died in 1975.
Elder Petersen’s call to the apostleship came while he was general manager of Salt Lake City’s Deseret News. During his service as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Petersen directed the Church’s public information program, oversaw the establishment of numerous visitors’ centers, served on the Military Relations Committee, and was an adviser to the Music Committee, Indian Affairs Committee, and Relief Society. He served as West European Mission president for more than six years. Recently he has served as chairman of the Correlation Committee.
Elder Petersen’s death came as this issue was ready for printing; an account of his life and of the funeral proceedings will be printed subsequently.