When Elder James R. Rasband was called to a stake presidency years ago, he felt unprepared. “This has to be a mistake,” he thought.
He felt a similar inadequacy as a 19-year-old entering the Provo Missionary Training Center in preparation for a full-time mission to Seoul, South Korea. “How am I going to do this?” he wondered.
In both cases, the answer was the same: “Stay at it. Joy comes.” Or, in the words of his mother, “The Lord’s fresh out of perfect people. Just go to work.”
Elder Rasband feels some of that hesitancy now as he approaches his new call as a General Authority Seventy, but he knows the answer: “Our Heavenly Father just needs us to go to work and share the healing and joyful message of His Son and of His Son’s atoning sacrifice.”
James Richard Rasband was born in Seattle, Washington, USA, to James E. and Ester Rasband on March 20, 1963. He grew up in Pebble Beach, California, USA, in a home about 200 yards from the ocean’s edge.
Elder Rasband met Mary Diane Williams as a freshman at Brigham Young University. They wrote each other while he studied abroad five months in Israel and then throughout his service in the Korea Seoul Mission. They were married in the Los Angeles California Temple on August 11, 1984. They are the parents of four children.
After returning from his mission, he finished his bachelor’s degree in English and Near Eastern studies at BYU in 1986 and then earned a juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1989. After practicing law for five years in Seattle, he returned to BYU in 1995 to join the faculty of the J. Reuben Clark Law School. He served as dean of the law school from 2009 to 2016, when he became academic vice president of BYU.
Elder Rasband has served as an Area Seventy, stake president, counselor in a stake presidency, high councilor, bishop, and ward Young Men president.