“President James E. Faust (1920–2007)” Friend, Oct. 2007, 4–5
President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, passed away on August 10, 2007. He loved children and once testified to young people: “God knows you and what you can become because He has known you from the beginning when you were His spirit sons and daughters. What you become will depend in large measure upon how you follow righteous principles and do good works” (“Knowing Who You Are,” Friend, July 2004, 2). President Faust is a Christlike man who lived a life of good works, serving his family and the Church.
James Esdras Faust was born on July 31, 1920, in Delta, Utah, to George A. and Amy Finlinson Faust. Friends and family knew him as Jim. As a young man, he enjoyed sports. He lettered in high school football and college track.
His father was busy with his work and Church callings, but President Faust said: “When we were playing football, he’d drop whatever he was doing and be at almost every practice every night. Not just the games—the practices. And he never missed an in-state track meet that any of us was involved in” (“Elder James E. Faust: Sharing His Love for the Lord,” Ensign, Oct. 1986, 7).
Just as his parents cared for him, President Faust cared for his family. Following a mission to Brazil, he married Ruth Wright in the Salt Lake Temple on April 21, 1943. Soon afterwards, the military sent him overseas. He couldn’t see Ruth for a long time, but he wrote her a letter every day. Sometimes the letters took a while to arrive. One day Ruth got about 90 letters all at once!
President and Sister Faust have 5 children, 25 grandchildren, and 28 great-grandchildren. Even though he had many things to do, President Faust loved his family and made them his first priority. When he was called as a General Authority, he said: “With all my heart I want to thank Ruth Wright Faust for letting me share her life and giving me the hope that we can share eternity together. … I want my children to know that I cannot succeed in this calling unless I also succeed as their father” (“To Become One of the Fishers,” Ensign, Jan. 1973, 81).
President Faust worked hard at whatever he did. He graduated from the University of Utah and worked as a lawyer. People trusted him because of his integrity. He also served as a state legislator and was appointed by United States President John F. Kennedy to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.
President Faust made people feel important. He was good at remembering people’s first names. When people talked to him, he paid attention, and when he asked them questions, he listened intently to their answers.
On October 1, 1978, he was ordained an Apostle. He was set apart as Second Counselor in the First Presidency on March 12, 1995. He will be remembered by his family and the Church for his love, wisdom, and faithful life.