“Elder Gerrit W. Gong,” Ensign, May 2018
“This Easter Sabbath, I joyfully sing, ‘Alleluia,’” Elder Gerrit W. Gong said in his first general conference address as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “The song of our risen Savior’s redeeming love celebrates the harmony of covenants … and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
Elder Gong has spent a lifetime rejoicing in that harmony. He knows that the power of our covenants, coupled with the Savior’s Atonement, “enable and ennoble” us. “Together, they sweeten, preserve, sanctify, [and] redeem,” he said.
At a marriage in the temple one day, the power of covenants, coupled with the Atonement, was reflected in the temple mirrors. He imagined the generations of his family stretching across eternity, from his earliest known relative, First Dragon Gong, born AD 837, through 36 generations to his own grandchildren and then on and on in both directions.
“I began to understand my wife and myself as children of our parents and parents to our children, as grandchildren of our grandparents and grandparents to our grandchildren,” he said. “Mortality’s great lessons distill upon our souls as we learn and teach in eternal roles, including child and parent, parent and child.”
Elder Gong had served as a General Authority Seventy since April 2010 and as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since October 2015. He was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on March 31, 2018, which he described as a “sacred call from the Lord that took my breath away.”
From 2011 to 2015, Elder Gong served as a member of the Asia Area Presidency, concluding that service as the Area President. He has served as a full-time missionary in the Taiwan Taipei Mission, high councilor, high priests group leader, stake Sunday School president, seminary teacher, bishop, stake mission president, stake president, and Area Seventy.
Elder Gong earned a bachelor of arts degree in Asian Studies and University Studies from Brigham Young University in 1977. In 1979 he received a master of philosophy degree and in 1981 a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In 1985 he served as special assistant to the undersecretary of state at the U.S. State Department and in 1987 as special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Beijing, China. Beginning in 1989, he served in several positions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He was assistant to the president for planning and assessment at Brigham Young University until April 2010.
Elder Gong’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from China. Elder Gong was born in Redwood City, California, USA, in 1953. He married Susan Lindsay in January 1980, and they are the parents of four children and have three grandchildren.
“Everything worthy and eternal is centered in the living reality of God, our loving Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement, witnessed by the Holy Ghost,” Elder Gong said this conference. “I reverently witness and solemnly testify of the living Christ—He [was] … with us in the beginning, He is with us to the end.”