“Elder Malcolm S. Jeppsen of the Second Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1989, 96
“Our willingness to do whatever the Lord asks is more important than the Church position we hold,” says Elder Malcolm S. Jeppsen, newly sustained as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. “It isn’t our Church positions that bring exaltation; it is the keeping of the covenants.”
Elder Jeppsen is a physician in family practice in Salt Lake City, where he and his wife, Marian Davis Jeppsen, have lived for thirty-seven years. He feels that family practice has been ideal for him: “All day long I go from room to room seeing my patients, my friends—some who have been with me for thirty years—and taking care of them. I couldn’t have had a better job than that.”
Elder Jeppsen credits his parents, Conrad and Laurine Nielsen Jeppsen, with having had the most profound influence on his life. “I always knew of their devotion to the Lord,” he says. He spent his childhood in Mantua, Utah, where he was born on 1 November 1924.
From the time he was a young boy, Elder Jeppsen wanted to be a doctor. He began his training through the Navy, then graduated from medical school at Baylor University in Houston, Texas, in 1948. Later, he served in the Korean conflict for one year aboard ship as a navy doctor.
“My biggest challenge,” he says, “is to live in the world but to keep the world out of my thinking. I suspect it is that way with a lot of people.” He has served as a bishop, a stake president, a Regional Representative, and, for the past two years, a sealer in the Salt Lake Temple.
In spite of his many commitments, Elder Jeppsen has always found time to be home with his family. Married in the Logan Temple on 21 June 1950, Elder and Sister Jeppsen are the parents of seven children: Julie Ellen, who died four days after birth; Christine (Clark); Robert M.; Kathryn (Eargle); John C.; David D.; and Jerry Yazzie, a foster son from the Indian Placement Program who lived with the Jeppsens from the time he was eight years old.
The Jeppsens credit their success at balancing family, Church callings, and career to careful organization. “I don’t believe our family unity suffered because of Malcolm’s busy schedule,” says Sister Jeppsen. “We have worked at making time for our family to be together, such as at our evening meal. Traveling also provided time when we could all be together.
Music is also an important part of the Jeppsen home. Marian is an accomplished violinist and plays with the Salt Lake Symphony. Christine is a guest organist on Temple Square, where she plays the Tabernacle organ.
For fun, Elder Jeppsen enjoys experimenting with electronics around his home. When the Jeppsen children were teenagers, they could never figure out how their parents always knew exactly what time they came home at night. Then they learned of one of their father’s creations: he had connected the hall light switch to the clock so that when the light was turned off, the clock stopped.
Elder Jeppsen’s testimony has been strongly influenced by his work as a temple sealer. “One of the sweetest experiences I’ve had is to seal for time and all eternity many of the young people I delivered as babies,” he says. “This calling has also allowed me to spend hours in the temple. The veil is very thin in the temple, and the ultimate teacher of truths is the Holy Ghost. Many sweet and wonderful spiritual experiences have come to me in the temple.”
When asked about his new calling, Elder Jeppsen takes Marian’s hand: “We are overwhelmed with this call. It seems to us that there are many people more qualified than I am, but we are honored and happy to accept. We certainly have a knowledge that it has come from God, and we are united in our desire to serve him.”