President James E. Faust, second counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley, has passed away at age 87.
You can read the news and biographical information from the Deseret News here. We open a thread for you to post your personal experiences, feelings, and memories of someone who has been a prominent part of the lives of most of us as long as we can remember, or at least as long as we have been members of the Church.
My own brief contact with President Faust: In the 1980s, I worked for a man in a small town in central Utah, with whom Pres. Faust had attended law school back in the day. My employer had once been remarkably careless of the feelings of his wife and the respect and protection he owed to her as a husband. He had also long ago left the Church. His friendship with Pres. Faust had never waivered, though, and periodically, Pres. Faust would call him at the office to check up and see how he was treating his wife. My employer told me that himself — otherwise I would have had no way to know what their private conversations concerned — without any trace of resentment that Pres. Faust presumed to interfere in his private affairs. Pres. Faust must have had that rare touch that let him be direct about unpleasant matters without alienating the one at fault.
Please share your comments about Pres. Faust.
My family has learned a lot from what President Faust had to say about happiness, grief, and gardening. As far as we’re concerned, he’s acquitted his stewardship.
He is also the only General Authority I’ve ever written to, though for the life of me I can’t remember what I wrote or why.
He will be missed. I am grateful he ended so strongly. His talk on forgiveness in the last conference is worth reading over and over.
Once, about fifteen years ago, I stood behind him and his wife in the checkout line at a K-Mart. They were there with several grandchildren, buying toys, and were enjoying themselves very much. He was wearing a longsleeved white shirt with a necktie, but he had loosened the tie. It was fun to observe him laughing and joking with his wife and grandkids. That’s how I’ll remember him.
Interesting that for so many of our “giants”, their “best” talk is their last one.
He set my in-laws apart as mission presidents.
My fondest memory of President Faust occurred when he and Elder Richard G. Scott visited an Area Conference at Brigham Young University. This meeting took place in the Marriott Center and the place was packed to a capacity crowd â€“ something that usually happens when the BYU basketball team has a winning season.
He was preceded at the podium by his wife and before she took her seat he put his arm around her and proceeded to tell the story of their courtship. He stated that he did not kiss his wife until they knelt across the altar and were married for time and all eternity. He went on to explain that he had more than made up for the lack of pre-marital lip-lock in the subsequent years of their marriage.
Then President Faust looked at his wife, and with a devilish smile said:
And he proceeded to lay one on her right then and there.
I got the feeling he’d been wanting to do that for many years. I loved his sense of humor – and timing.
That forgiveness talk was something else–I hope it attains status as a Mormon classic because it certainly deserves it. Pres. Faust will be missed.
I met him at my grandfather’s funeral in 1999. I just remember that he had the kindest face I have ever seen. It may seem weird, I guess, that he was smiling so much at a funeral, but I think he just had a permanent smile on his face, and it was so genuine.
My brother and I passed Elder Faust briefly on the sidewalk in downtown SLC….gave us a great
big smile and a handshake….not more than a 10-second encounter but memorable in its own way.
I loved all of his talks. I think my first memory of him was a talk he gave about a little lamb he was given to take care of as a young boy. At one point in the talk, I remember him imitating the bleat of the lamb– and, idiot that I am, I laughed. That night, and for the next couple of days, I laughed at this and bleated out my own imitation of Elder Faust from time to time. But I remembered the talk, and the next conference I looked forward to hearing him again. Very quickly, he became one of my favorites to listen to in General Conference, and I quit laughing at him. (I wish I could say I have entirely stopped laughing inappropriately in Conference, but I’m still working on that.)
I didn’t know him, but I loved him. I’m glad I was alive to sustain him as a prophet, seer, and revelator.
Along with Pres. Kimball, Pres. Faust is the one apostle I think of when I think of a gentle man.
His talk on the topic of Forgiveness was one of the most powerful talks I have heard It has actually motivated me to look within myself and try to change the very bad habit of being judgemental, that I suffer from.
RIP Pres Faust, you will be an inspiration to me for ever.
I was at a Priesthood Leadership meeting with my dad in Santa Barbara in the late 80s. Pres Hunter and Faust were there. Both spoke extemporaneously. It was one of the first times I really felt the Spirit, not only in my heart but all around in the room, in a powerful powerful way. After the meeting, my dad and I were walking out of the empty chapel, and Pres Faust came walking up the ailse. We exchanged plesantries, then he gave me the most beautiful smile, and patted me on my tummy. I think, maybe, I was beginning to gain weight for the first time. It was an odd gesture, but somehow, from him, perfectly natural.
I’m taken back by the depth of my own emotion this morning. I love Elder Faust in a personal way that is completely unwarranted for the lack of personal association. For the last few years of my returned activity in the church, he has been luminous for me.
Just looking at President Faust’s face always made me think of “the pure love of Christ.” He radiated it so brightly. I love the portrait of him in the Church Art and History Museum. I made it a point when visiting there with my children going on missions to have them look at that portrait and just marvel at how his face, even in a painting, gave off such a feeling of love. My kids recognized that same quality. He was truly a spiritual giant.
Thank God for men like President Faust.
Wow. What a surprise to read this this morning. But I guess not completely unexpected, he was up in there in years. Men like him will sorely be missed.
It might be too soon, but a new thread will need to be started on who will be the next Apostle.
President Faust served in WWII. Some of the church members and leaders have found God on the battle field and like to tell of their experiences in church. They tend to be the ones who did not have the worst experiences. One thing I liked about President Faust is that when he rarely mentioned them he did not speak glowingly about his war experiences and if you have been there you know what is left unspoken. War is hell and it often is not a spiritually strengthening experience.
This is important to my dad who had horrible WWII experiences. Every time he shows up to church recently the Bishop wants to put him on the schedule to speak in sacrament meeting about his war experiences. The last time he was asked he told the Bishop that he refused to speak about the war because he didn’t want to get thrown in jail. He said he has been trying to just forget about what happened for over 60 years. We may be able to forget about our war experiences but we will not soon forget this kind gentle servant of the Lord.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve quotes this from President Faust:
This idea that there are no gatekeepers (and no church hierarchy) between us and the God of the universe changes everything in life. We as his children have a standing appointment with God all of the time. The simplicity and clarity of this teaching hit me like a ton of bricks when I heard it and affects the way I see reality today.
As cyril said: Thank God for men like President Faust.
President Faust came to speak at an area conference a few years back. I went, hoping for some big call to action from him, but he ended up testifying how much we are loved.
It was what I needed more. I love President Faust.
Nehringk (#13) I always noticed the same in his face, even as he has weathered over the past few years. I have never known another First Presidency and have grown to love, respect and admire these men so much. For me, this is something of an end to an era. A blessing in this is that maybe more people will make an effort to read his words on forgiveness his most recent Ensign address.
I will miss President Faust. I felt close to him due to his mission service in Brazil and his pre-apostle life as an attorney.
A talk he gave to a group of Mormon lawyers (transcript: http://www.jrcls.org/publications/clark_memo/pdf_Clark_Memorandum/CMS03final.pdf) made a definite impression on me. Particularly this:
“The pursuit of justice is a very noble path, but obtaining justice is often very elusive …. In some ways a more noble effort is to resolve differences by being a peacemaker.”
I will never forget his humility and tenderness. Watching him cry through that forgiveness talk was an amazing experience. He’s given several talks about healing, peace, and the atonement that have changed my life.
I appreciated how Elder Faust taught that God loves and guides all His children, both inside and outside of the Church, and taught that God works through other religious faiths and their leaders to impart important truths to them (as opposed to the false notion that all other churches are part of the “Church of the Devil”):
â€œ[W]e claim that Godâ€™s inspiration is not limited to the Latter-day Saints.â€
“The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of Godâ€™s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals. â€¦ We believe that God has given and will give to all peoples sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation.” Elder James E. Faust, â€œCommunion with the Holy Spirit,â€ Ensign, May 1980, 12.
Talk about an inclusive message. I haven’t heard any other Christian leaders acknowledge that Mohammed received light from God.
A couple of Elder Faust’s talks have had profound effects on me. His talk on forgiveness moved me so much that for a while I started almost every day by listening in order to it to remind myself to be emotionally generous and compassionate and to let go of old grudges. His absolute sincerity in that talk has a way of shaking me out of any pettiness I’m indulging every time I hear it. Just a few days ago I recommended it to a non-LDS friend.
I also loved a First Presidency message he had in the Ensign a few years ago entitled “Strengthening the Inner Self.”
I didn’t know him personally, but I’ll really miss him.
Pres. Faust is the only person I know who could quote “The Little Engine that Could” in a Gen. Conf. talk. I think that’s what I loved about him the most.
James E. Faust was one of my favorite people. I never met him in person, but I will miss listening to him talk every few months about kindness, forgiveness, love, duty, hard work, and especially the very, very personal moments that he shared in stories about his family (especially about his mother) when he was just a boy during the Depression.
He was a gentleman and a Christian, if there ever was one.
(5) – (Technically speaking, doesn’t everyone who gets married in the temple first kiss their wife/husband over the altar?)
Years ago I was a branch president at the MTC in Provo. Elder Faust was the devotional speaker one week and I was sitting on the stand right behind him. He turned, looked at my name tag, and said, “We have the same initials.” I’d never noticed that. It was a very small gesture, but also a very kind one. He was warm and pleasant as well as deeply spiritual. We will miss him.
Thank you all for your reminders of what a great servant Pres. Faust has been. I have in my notes at home, a favorite quote, but I will paraphrase it here. In a regional PH Leadership session in Ogden, UT in 1989, I believe, he gave us the admonition to not let the manuals and handbooks keep us from seeking the inspiration due us in our callings. Great counsel from a great man.
President Faust attended my aunt’s funeral last October. As you all know he had been confined to a wheelchair for several years. At the conclusion of the service when my father asked the congregation to arise for the recessional of the casket, President Faust unaided, rose with great difficulty to his feet.
I was moved to tears to see him honor my aunt thus.
I have nothing but good memories of President Faust and nothing but good things to say about him. Indeed, if all the leaders (and members, for that matter) of the church were like James Esdras Faust, the gates of hell would shake and crumble. My condolences to his family and friends on their (and our) loss. May he rest in peace.
I’m saddened that I didn’t really have a chance to know him or to miss him as much as some of you. Those are some beautiful things people have said about him. I’m thankful that we have so many ways to record and enjoy the words of our leaders now. I’ll have to go back and listen to or read the things he has said that I have missed.
Also, I’ll be paying more attention to the Apostles we have now.
I posted some thoughts here.
When I was 11 or 12, President Faust came to our stake conference. I got to meet him after the Sunday session. He asked me if I was going to go on a mission. I answered “Yes.” He asked if I had a mission fund to save for my mission. I again answered “Yes.” He then pulled out his wallet and handed me a dollar and said “Good. Add this to your mission fund.”
It’s my understanding that he did that a lot. But I’ve never forgotten. I saved the dollar bill and actually took it to the MTC, bought a Book of Mormon with it, and handed it out when I left for the mission field. Don’t know what happened to the person I gave it to, but I figured it would be a little bit of President Faust’s influence that I passed on.
Another memorable quote from Elder Faust. This one was given to a priesthood meeting at a Stake Conference I attended in Orem. As best I remember it:
“We need less theologians and more Christians among the priesthood holders. Some priesthood holders study and discourse at length about obscure doctrinal topics that have little or no impact on daily living. But when someone needs help in the ward, it’s usually the Relief Society who is there providing the service. As priesthood holders we need to be focusing on providing Christian service.”
He did that with me too! Only it was before stake conference, in Madison, TN in 1978. My father was stake clerk, and my family was in the stake office foyer, waiting for my father, the stake clerk. He gave my brother and me each a dollar – we turned six and four that fall.
After I got off my mission I wrote back to him and reported in. While he wouldn’t take the dollar back to give to someone else (it’s now back in the frame my parents made for it) he did appreciate hearing that I’d completed my mission and that my brother at that point had his call.
Andrew, that is one of the reasons I loved Pres. Faust so much. He was one of the most professionally distinguished men ever to serve as an apostle, but you would have no idea of that in listening to him. There are a few people like that in our stake – HIGHLY successful, very wealthy individuals who are among the most humble people I have ever known. That is SO inspiring, because they, like him, connect in deeply personal ways with the rest of us “little people”.
Thanks, everyone, for making me shed tears of joy and helping me appreciate someone who, at the most basic level, simply was a good man.
His best talk in my view is his talk on Forgiveness. This Christian principle is a real blessing in the lives of those who can manage to pull it off. It should be required reading/viewing for all of us from time to time.
He will be missed.
I first met Pres. Faust in Israel. He was there on a visit and his grandson happened to be there studying so my memories of him were of a grandfather happy to see his grandson, taking time to meet a bunch of students and acting interested in us all.
My second experience was before I graduated, my husband and I were able to meet several of the Apostles that were at the commencement ceremony and I count it as one of the highlights of my life.
I am humbled by his service and grateful for his legacy.
Then-Elder Faust came to our Stake conference about 17 or 18 years ago in Yuma, Arizona. After the conference, he took his time to shake hands with all that wanted to meet him. It was my little sister’s birthday (fourth or fifth, I believe), and so my mother took her up to meet him. Elder Faust got down on one knee to talk to her. He wished her a happy birthday and then leaned over and kissed her on one cheek. “That is for your birthday,” he said, then kissed her other cheek, “and that is so you will remember to get married in the Temple.” It was very sweet to see his kindness to her and how he turned it into a teaching moment for all of us.
On the way home, however, my sister seemed rather pensive and upset. My mother saw this and said that it sure was neat that she got to meet Elder Faust. She was still quiet and upset, so my mother asked her what was the matter. At that she burst out into tears and said, “I don\’t want to marry that old man!” After we all laughed at her, we reassured her that that was not what Elder Faust meant.
Years later, my sister did get married in the Temple, and we still laugh at her for that.
When I think of President Faust, I think of the way things could be. He was always so gentle and loving. These traits are sorely missed in our world.
I loved President Faust’s voice. It helped me sense God in small things.
I had a boss a few years ago who remembers as a little girl President Faust as her Stake President. He once spoke to the young women of the Stake. My boss didn\’t remember anything else from the talk except when President Faust predicted that 3 out of 5 of them would either marry a non-member or not marry in the Temple, and pleaded with them to make a commitment not to be counted in the statistic. She remembers looking around at the other girls and thinking to herself, \”I wonder who that will be?\” She then raised her hand and said to me, \”What do you know? I married outside the Church. He was right.\” She went on to tell me that she did not completely regret her decision since she loved her husband, but would give anything to be married in the temple. She said that President Faust was the greatest man she had ever known, and had never come in contact with anyone else like him.
Perhaps we could plausibly echo President Hinckley\’s statement at Neal A. Maxwell\’s funeral and apply it to President Faust: \”I think we shall not see one like him again.\”
I remember when he dedicated \”my\” temple, in Medford, OR. He seemed so frail even then, but had such a wonderful spirit around him. He will be deeply missed.
We in India surely miss Pres. Faust, His talk at the last general conference was touching and edifying. Our deepest condolences to the family members of Pres.faust from the saints of india
My recollection of President Faust comes wholly from the posts above. I did not know him, nor have I ever been in his presence. But from my personal experience in selecting and working with the equivalent of general authorities in enormous, sprawling non-religious organizations I can tell you that any man who is remembered and discussed in these ways was an extraordinary leader and a wonderful credit to the church through which he was called for such senior service. He obviously understood the members of his church of all ages and what makes them tick. Makes me sorry that I never met such a wonderful person who could inspire such followership and memories. Almost any chief executive officer, managing partner, cardinal, or four-star general would love to be remembered in such ways but almost never are — for good reason.
Ardis’s story about President Faust’s calls to check up on that unnamed attorney and his less-than-admirable treatment of his wife brings to mind the correspondence during the late 19th century sent by President Woodruff in SLC to Lot Smith on the Little Colorado River. There Lot Smith had been set apart to preside over the United Order of Enoch settlement. Smith knew horses perhaps unlike any other man in the region (as he had demonstrated vividly during the Utah War much to the regret of the U.S. Army) but his harsh, unyielding leadership style was not always appreciated by his followers or his wives. President Woodruff understood this and dealt with it in a way that resonates with those Faustian phone calls to central Utah a century later.
My compliments to T&Sers for responding to the question that Ardis asked and resisting the temptation to stray into the very different subject identified by Choro (#15).
Well said, Bill. As I was reading these comments, I reflected on the occassional posts in some blogs about how our Prophets and Apostles are just men and make mistakes, etc. And while I’m sure they (the Prophets and Apostles) would be the first to sustain such a though, I read these comments and it just reinforces the idea that I could consider my life a tremendous success if I can have even a portion of the christ-like temperment of this great man. We were all blessed to have his example as a husband, father, grandfather, and priesthood leader held up for us to witness.
Elder Faust was the only apostle I’ve ever met. I remember shaking his hand after a Stake Conference in California. It seemed that his palm wrapped around mine like a pillow. He had the softest hand that I have ever shaken. I think his handshake matches his gentle personality.
My Testimony has been time and time again boosted, up lifted and strengthened because of the words spoke by this kind, gentle man, even President James E Faust. Forgiveness, love, Family, hardwork, enduring to the end, honesty, I will always be greatful for the blessing of having heard is voice. What a blessing to know this seperation is but for a short time, with love and gratitude, Arohanui to the Whanau, from Papakura, New Zealand.
I didn\’t know President Faust except by his face. He always glowed. That is how I\’ll always remember him.
we love you and we miss you also our prayers go to presidents fausts family thank you for the power of your example love from jerome and debbie. vic australia
#45 – Amen
I will sorely miss the only (?) GA smart and brave enough to publicly declare himself for the less evil of the two dominant political parties.
Echoing Bill’s appreciation in #45, I appreciate everyone’s cooperation in not derailing this tribute with idle speculations and partisan politics. There are outlets for such conversations; this is not one of them. Thank you.
If you have access to KBYU, you might enjoy listening to some of the “best of” talks by Pres. Faust being broadcast today. As I write this, I am listening to his April talk on forgiveness.
Two or three years ago, I was attending the Days of ’47 Rodeo in the then-Delta Center. At the beginning, the announcer stated that “President James Faust of the Church of Latter-day Saints” was there as a special guest. We looked across the arena and saw him–as I remember–in a bolo tie, western shirt and I believe also wearing a cowboy hat–sitting near one of the front rows.
At one point during the rodeo, a hose wielding clown dressed in an ostrich costume pulled a stunt (which I will only describe here as “farm humor”) which ended up spraying water in the direction of where President Faust was sitting.
Since I am usually the prudish one, I thought to myself, “Oh brother”, but a sibling sitting next to me said “look at President Faust!” At that moment President Faust’s face and body had erupted into jolly, sincere laughter. It was like the moment had made his day.
What a man. A man without pretense, guile or hypocrisy. I will miss him.
While I was a student at BYU, I once had one of President Faust’s granddaughters as a roommate. He would call her every so often and once she got off the phone, she’d always tell us that he asked about each of us (all five roommates) by name. I was amazed. Although the Apostles always extend their love and concern to all of us, I had never felt it so directly before. He has such a large heart. Since then, he has been a favorite Apostle of mine, if we’re allowed favorites. I’ll miss him dearly.
He was pure goodness… pure gold.
I always looked forward to President Faust’s talks. Honestly, his talks and President Hinckley’s have been about the only ones I could count on to be great in all the conferences I’ve seen since joining the Church. All conference talks are insightful, to be sure, but no matter what was happening in my life, I was always deeply touched by whatever Pres. Faust had to say. He was a terrific leader and I’ll miss him. RIP, Brother, Elder, and President Faust.
My wife and I had the honor, in 1996, of singing in the choir at one of the dedicatory sessions of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. Elder Faust presided at that session. Upon learning that a couple present had recently suffered their second loss of a child (in a cave-in accident; they had previously lost a daughter in a car-pedestrian accident), he turned his dedicatory sermon into words of counsel and comfort directed to this couple, while also tying into the eternal promises of our temple blessings. Elder Faust just seemed to have an aura about him then, and the following years seemed to bring even greater radiance, and this, I am sure, in spite of much pain and discomfort. I count it one of my greatest privileges as a member of the Church to have stood in the presence of such men as Elder James E. Fuast.
I had the opportunity to meet President Faust in person a few times. The first time I met him, I was actually able to sit down with him, his wife and grand daughters for cake and ice cream in his apartment. It was an amazing experience and one that I’ll always remember. The spirit in his home fekt as strong as it is in the temples. He was a very loving man. His love for his wife and grandchildren was great and very apparent.
M.E.’s story (#55) of President Faust’s incredible retention of names and genuine caring for even his granddaughter’s five BYU roommates is the sort of thing that will be told as well as remembered for a long time. This is the sort of important personal touch that distinguishes great (and remembered) leaders from those too-busy ones who wouldn’t even think to make such a gesture. One of my contemporaries still carries around in her purse a tattered little envelope containing a hand-written note that J. Edgar Hoover had sent to her father, an FBI Special Agent stationed in Milwaukee, congratulating him and his wife upon “little Karen’s” birth in 1939. Although in his later years Hoover was widely reviled in the press as a villain of sorts, there were those in the FBI who did (and sometimes still do) remember him as a leader who retained the courtly 19th-century manners and courtesies probably taught by his single-parent mother during the WWI era. (Interesting that it was Hoover who in early 1942 argued most vigorously with FDR AGAINST the internment of Japanese-American citizens while it was Earl Warren, then Attorney General of California, who pushed FOR such an action the hardest.) I’m not drawing a comparison between President Faust and J. Edgar Hoover — just noting that M.E.’s BYU-roommates story rings true with all of the wonderful reasons mentioned above as to why this departed leader of the LDS Church is so beloved.
We from Curacao Netherlands Antilles, an island 200 miles north of Venezuela, extend our sincere condolences to the family of our dear president Faust. The Church has lost a great leader and many a great friend. We never had the opportunity to see him in person, but we were able to follow all this talks and instructions.
One of the most remarkable talks, I have to agree with # 37 was the one on Forgiveness.
We are sure going to miss him. He help us realize how you can lead by example. We know that now he is in a much better place where, we without any doubt know, that he is going to continue his work for the Savior.
I would like to thank all of the non-US Saints who have commented on this thread–it is good to hear your voices.
Mormons for Equality and Social Justice (MESJ) expresses its deep sympathy on the loss of President James E. Faust.
\”James E. Faust lived a life of selfless service to his family, his church, and his community. He will be fondly remembered as an articulate champion of the rights of the under privileged, and a passionate advocate for social justice. President Faust has been, and will always be, a role model to those who strive to live a Christ-like life. We offer our most sincere condolences to President Faust\’s wife and children, and to his extended family.\”
President Faust was a gental giant among men and he has entered a Door that never closes and is now in the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father. His smile seems to always be directed at you. I love him and will truly miss him and I know that I will see him again in the kingdom of God. My thoughts and prayers are with his love ones.
On sabbath morning
At 3rd ward in everett wa we were told the news about brother Faust passing away
Their was a mournful gasp in our congregation but we all knew that he is happy now and wishes he could tell us
all about it.
I found out that this great and well beloved man passed on yesterday, before Sacrament meeting in the Everett 5th ward, and it took a day to sink in. As a convert of a little over two years the First Presidency with Brother James is the only one I know. He has become a beautiful part of the tapestry of my soul, and I am further indebted to Heavenly Father for even glimpsing this beloved man.
We thank the Faust family. We adopted a baby girl from Pres. Faust attorney son one year after the
death of our five year old red head son. She was
placed in our arms at three days old. We traveled to Salt Lake City from Oregon to receive her. At the funeral talks I learned Pres. Faust was a red head in his youth. I have felt his protection as our family raised this beautiful girl. We found comfort over our little son and joy in our adopted daughter.
Thank you for 25 years of legacy from the Faust family.
This past weekend was Stake Conference in Lagos Nigeria. On both Saturday and Sunday the president asked the congregation to stand and have a moment of silence to remember and honor President Faust. I wonder if that happened anywhere else in the church.
God bless President Faust and his family-
I love President Faust, I always looked forward for General conference and especially his talks. My favorite is the one about the little engine \”I think I can\” I have read that several times, never got bored about it, i love telling the story to children I meet. He has fought a good fight!!