Elder Benjamin M. Z. Tai’s paternal grandfather was captured, imprisoned, and executed by Japanese forces invading Hong Kong during World War II.
Decades later, Elder Tai met his future wife, Naomi Toma, from Japan, while serving as elders quorum president in his student ward at Brigham Young University. Naomi was serving as Relief Society president.
When Benjamin told his father, emeritus General Authority Elder Kwok Yuen Tai, that he was dating and hoping to marry Naomi, his father expressed no bitterness. In fact, Naomi’s parents, Rikuo and Fumiko Toma, came to Hong Kong to visit Benjamin’s parents. Her parents noted that the gospel of Jesus Christ had made their marriage possible. The couple married in the Salt Lake Temple on December 23, 1995. They are the parents of six children.
“We come from different cultures, but there are threads of common faith and sacrifice,” says Elder Tai. Elder Tai knows that those threads of faith and sacrifice will now connect him with Latter-day Saints across the globe.
Benjamin Ming Zhe Tai was born on May 20, 1972, in Hong Kong to Kwok Yuen and Hui Hua Tai. His father’s employment took the family around the world before they immigrated to Southern California, USA, where Elder Tai spent his teenage years. In their home, his parents displayed a scroll with these words written in Chinese calligraphy: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). This has served as the Tai family motto.
After serving in the Australia Melbourne Mission, Elder Tai earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from BYU in 1996 and a master of business administration degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in 2003. He has worked in Japan and Hong Kong in investment banking and real estate development.
Elder Tai has served as an Area Seventy, district president, counselor in a district presidency, district executive secretary, elders quorum president, branch president, and Sunday School teacher.