“Elder Clate W. Mask Jr. Of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 2003, 126
Elder Clate Wheeler Mask Jr. knows that nothing happens by chance.
As a young boy in El Paso, Texas, Elder Mask was affected by the service of his father, Clate Wheeler Mask Sr., in World War II. It was a trying time—one that changed Elder Mask’s life.
That’s when his mother, Marva Gonzalez Mask, taught him to really pray. His father was not a member of the Church. “Our family prayed my dad would join the Church and come home safely,” he says. “As a little boy praying at my mother’s side, I just knew God was there.”
With his father away, Elder Mask spent many hours with his maternal grandparents. “I would sit at my grandmother’s knee as she told Book of Mormon stories. My grandfather would tell about his mission to Mexico,” Elder Mask recalls. “That set the course of my life.”
His father did join the Church and return safely. From that time, Elder Mask’s testimony was firm.
He eventually served a mission to Central America, and just before coming home he was assigned to write a report on some missionaries he had worked with. “One sister was just tremendous in every way, and I realized she was the kind of person I wanted to marry someday,” Elder Mask says.
Following military service, Elder Mask attended Brigham Young University, and there he became reacquainted with that same sister missionary, Paula Carol Garns. They married in 1965 in the Los Angeles California Temple and reared six children, spending much of their married life in Arizona.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish, Elder Mask went into construction sales in Los Angeles, California, before an unexpected call to teach early-morning seminary led to a 30-year career with the Church Educational System. During that time he served as a mission president, bishop, bishop’s counselor, stake Sunday School president, high councilor, and branch president.
Elder Mask, age 60, was born on 20 August 1942. He knows his new calling as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy will be as life changing as the other not-by-chance events of his life. “Everything that has happened to him has prepared him for this calling,” says Sister Mask.