“Elder Russell C. Taylor of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1984, 92
Elder Russell C. Taylor was enjoying a meeting with other Regional Representatives on Friday, April 6, when he was called out to see President Gordon B. Hinckley. “I’m chairman of the Denver Temple Committee, and I expected that President Hinckley wanted to talk about that.” Instead, he called Elder Taylor to be one of six new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
“I was overwhelmed! A person never expects that type of thing to happen to him. But a beautiful, confirming spirit let me know it was the will of the Lord.”
Service has long been a hallmark of Elder Taylor’s heritage. Both of his grandfathers were stake patriarchs. His father was called to be a bishop as a young, unmarried man of nineteen. The General Authority issuing the call also gave him a very important instruction: get married. The new bishop accepted the challenge, marrying his childhood sweetheart. They eventually had nine children, including a son they named Russell.
Young Russell Taylor soon proved his willingness to serve. After one and one-half years of college and two and one-half years of military service (during World War II), he had the feeling that a mission had passed him by. But his bishop thought otherwise. “How would you feel about a mission call?” he asked soon after Russell returned home.
“As soon as he said those words,” Elder Taylor recalls, “I had the warmest feeling. And I’ve felt since that that call was the Lord’s way of saying, ‘I want you to prepare your life, and a mission is the way to begin.’”
He had been home from his mission for only three days when he received a telephone call. “This is Sterling W. Sill,” the voice said. “I’ve heard that you’re the kind of young man I want to have working with me. I have two silver dollars on my desk. They will pay for your gas if you will drive up and talk to me.” Elder Sill at that time was the head of the Salt Lake agency for a life insurance company. That drive set Brother Taylor on the path of his insurance career; he eventually became a partner in an insurance business in Denver, Colorado. Last September he resigned to pursue personal business interests.
While working in insurance, Brother Taylor attended Brigham Young University. After graduation—and marriage to Joyce Elaine Mortensen—he lived briefly in Kansas City, Missouri, then moved to Butte, Montana. His Church service continued. In Butte, while serving as a counselor in his branch Sunday School presidency, he was called to be a member of a new stake presidency. He had been married for one and one-half years. Since then he has served nine years as a counselor in stake presidencies, nine years as a stake president in Denver, three years as a mission president, and seven years as a Regional Representative.
“My wife has always helped me and supported me in all I’ve done,” Elder Taylor says. They are the parents of six children and have nine grandchildren. “I don’t know how I would have raised my family without the gospel.
“I don’t recall a time when I didn’t have a testimony,” Elder Taylor says. “But the more I have served, the happier I’ve been and the closer I’ve been to the Lord.”