“Elder Bruce R. McConkie Dies,” Ensign, May 1985, 88
I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
These words, from a hymn text written by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, are a powerful reminder to the Latter-day Saints of the testimony of this special witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Friday, 19 April 1985, Elder McConkie, 69, died of cancer in Salt Lake Citv. Less than two weeks earlier, he had risen from his sickbed to bear his final testimony of the Savior in general conference:
“I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son.”
Respected as a scholar and teacher of the scriptures, Elder McConkie spoke almost exclusively on doctrinal subjects as a General Authority. His deep, deliberate voice and clear explanations of the gospel were loved throughout the Church.
Born 29 July 1915 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he spent his boyhood on a farm in Utah. After serving a mission in the eastern United States from 1934 to 1936, he earned a law degree from the University of Utah and served as assistant Salt Lake City attorney and city prosecutor. During World War II, he spent four years as a security and intelligence officer, returning to civilian life with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
After working for less than a year on the editorial staff of the Deseret News, he was called to the First Council of Seventy in 1946 at the age of 31. He was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1972. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Missionary Executive Council, the Scriptures Publication Committee, the Organizational Studies Committee, the General Authority Assignment Committee, the Church Board of Education, and the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University.
A prolific writer, Elder McConkie was the author of an encyclopedic work of over 1,100 gospel subjects; a three-volume New Testament commentary; and a six-volume series on the life of Christ. He married Amelia Smith in the Salt Lake Temple on 13 October 1937. They have nine children.
Elder McConkie’s death came as this issue was ready for printing; an account of the funeral proceedings will be printed subsequently.