Called to Serve

    “Called to Serve,” New Era, Nov. 2004, 12

    Called to Serve

    Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

    Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

    Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during general conference on 2 October 2004. At the time, he was serving as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. Elder Uchtdorf, who turns 64 this month, was first called as a Seventy in April 1994 and before that served in Area Presidencies in the United States and Europe.

    Before being called as a full-time Church leader, Elder Uchtdorf was an airline pilot for Lufthansa German Airlines. During the last seven years of his career at Lufthansa, Elder Uchtdorf was chief pilot and senior vice president of flight operations.

    Born in Czechoslovakia on 6 November 1940, Elder Uchtdorf is a native of Germany. He is one of only a few modern-day Apostles born outside the United States. Elder Uchtdorf was six years old when his family joined the Church in Zwickau, East Germany; he had to wait two years to be baptized.

    Elder Uchtdorf went to school in Germany, where he was educated in engineering. He later studied business administration and international management. He joined the German Air Force and later received his wings in the United States as a jet fighter pilot in 1962.

    He and his wife, Harriet Reich, are the parents of two children and have five grandchildren.

    “Go to our Heavenly Father in prayer; communicate with Him daily. Draw close to Him, and He will draw close to you. Ask about your studies of the scriptures, about your feelings and your questions, and He will answer. He is waiting, He is real, and He is there.”
    —Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Making Choices for Eternity,” Ensign, Oct. 2002, 29.

    Elder David A. Bednar

    Elder David A. Bednar

    Elder David A. Bednar was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the second session of general conference on 2 October 2004. Elder Bednar, 52, had been serving as president of Brigham Young University–Idaho and as an Area Authority Seventy.

    Born in San Leandro, California, Elder Bednar is the youngest of three children. As a youth, he participated in Scouting and played quarterback on his high school football team.

    Elder Bednar served a mission in Germany. After returning home, he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Brigham Young University in organizational communication. He earned a PhD in organizational behavior from Purdue University in 1980.

    Before taking leadership of Ricks College in July 1997 and guiding the school in making the transition to a four-year university as BYU–Idaho, Elder Bednar was an assistant professor at Texas Tech University and a professor of management at the University of Arkansas. He taught courses in communication, organizational behavior, and team management. He twice received the outstanding teacher award in the College of Business Administration and was recognized as an outstanding teacher at the University of Arkansas.

    Elder Bednar says the things he learned in his career prepared him to help build the kingdom of God. “In the process of giving up whatever our profession has been and putting the responsibility to be a witness of the Savior first, then those appropriate skills can be brought back to assist in building the kingdom,” he says.

    Elder Bednar has served as a bishop, stake president, regional representative, and Area Authority Seventy. Elder Bednar and his wife, Susan Robinson Bednar, were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1975 and are the parents of three sons. They also have three grandchildren.

    Commenting on his new calling, Elder Bednar says there are “thousands of men better qualified, more able than I, but I do know from whence the call has come. And so I’m honored to respond. I look forward to serving.”

    “The gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it also is essentially about doing and becoming good. And the Atonement provides help for us … for the entire journey of life—from bad to good to better and to change our very nature.”
    —Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “In the Strength of the Lord,” Brigham Young University Speeches, 2001–2002.

    Photograph by Welden C. Andersen