My VIP for this week is Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was a spiritual giant with a very tender soul who was loved by many people.
Elder Scott passed away on September 22, 2015, at the age of 86. His funeral was held on Monday, September 28, 2015, in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Thousands of people attended his funeral with 2500 people in the historic Tabernacle, the overflow crowd in the nearby Assembly Hall, and thousands more watching on LDS.org and the Church satellite system. The services were broadcast in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir provided the music for the services. Elder Scott was buried at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park in Salt Lake City.
President Thomas S. Monson presided over the services with President Henry B. Eyring conducting and speaking. President Eyring shared his experience of being taken “under the wing” of Elder Scott as a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve. “He blessed me by letting me come to know and love his wonderful wife and family. We shared a love of painting. We worked together doing watercolors – he the teacher and I the student.”
Other speakers included Michael W. Scott (the son of Elder Scott), President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and former missionary in Argentina under Elder and Sister Scott.
Brother Scott explained that his father was born in Pocatello, Idaho, on November 7, 1928, and did not come from “the typical Mormon boyhood.” His father was not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his mother was not active. “Perhaps one of the reasons that Dad was so good at reaching out to the one – the less active, the lonely, the discouraged, the downtrodden – was because in that early period of his life he was `the one,’ the one being reached out to and rescued.” He said that his father “lived a life filled with happiness and joy.” He was “a musician and an artist,” had a “great sense of humor and loved to tell jokes.”
President Nelson shared an experience of serving on an assignment in Central America with Elder Scott: “I was thrilled when I watched Elder Scott teach missionaries and members in the Spanish language. Not only was he fluent, he was brilliant, filled with animation and excitement as he taught by the Spirit.” He added that Elder Scott “consecrated his life to serve all people. Regardless of their nationality, race or language, he understood the worth of each precious soul that he met.”
Elder Christofferson spoke of serving as a missionary under the direction of then President Scott in the North Argentine Mission: “All of us remember President Scott’s singular devotion to duty. He asked us to work hard, but none of us could work harder than he. He called us to study the scriptures and led the way.” He added, “Elder Scott was at his best when teaching and testifying of the infinite reach of the infinite Atonement of Christ and the joy to be found in turning to God…. To sit with my mission president in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the last seven years has been an incomparable blessing to me.”
Elder Christofferson also spoke of an interview some years ago where Elder Scott shared his special witness that God the Father and Jesus Christ live. “That word `know’ is a very important word for those 15 men who are apostles, not a hope, not a belief, not a wish, but an absolute, confirmed certainty. Our Father in Heaven is real. His Son, Jesus Christ, is real. I know that personally and bear certain witness because I know the Savior.”
President Monson was the concluding speaker and said, “We have had in our midst all these years Richard G. Scott, an honorable man – even a man of God. Richard was blessed with an insightful mind, a keen intellect and a charitable spirit. I am certain that many here today are recipients of the tender and personal care always extended by our beloved Elder Scott.” He continued, “Richard G. Scott was a man of God for all seasons. He loved people; he loved his family; he loved his Heavenly Father… Richard was a gentle soul. He taught us lovingly. May we demonstrate in our lives and by our actions the lessons he has indelibly impressed upon us – lessons of courage, lessons of patience, lessons of faith and lessons of devotion. All these things Richard G. Scott taught us both in word and in deed.”