Elder James E. Faust
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency
This article appeared in the Ensign shortly after Elder Faust was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve (September 1978).
After the Saturday morning session when Elder James E. Faust was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, he was surrounded by Brethren who shook his hand and expressed their joy.
Responding with genuine warmth, Elder Faust still had one pre-eminent thought as he moved toward the area reserved for the wives of General Authorities: “Where’s my wife?” His wife, Ruth Wright, was receiving her own share of embraces and well-wishing. When they finally reached each other, they simply clung together for a moment of mute companionship that said more than words.
“My wife,” says Elder Faust, “is perfect. She’s been supporting, sustaining, constantly helpful. I’m quick to acknowledge that she’s part of me–the best
part. I can’t love anyone in the world as I love her.”
Sister Faust’s support has been evident in his many Church callings, which have accompanied a very busy twenty-three year period as a lawyer and participant in numerous civic projects. Those Church callings have included assignments as a bishop, stake high councilor, stake president, Regional Representative, Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, and a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Before his new calling he was president of the Church’s International Mission, zone advisor for South America, executive director of the Church Curriculum Department, editor of the three monthly magazines, and vice-president and chairman of the executive committee of the Deseret News Publishing Company.
Asked to identify his most memorable Church calling he responds, “I’m grateful for all of the church experiences I’ve had and I’ve needed all of the training I have had. But I remember when President Harold B. Lee, then an apostle, came to my stake once to set our senior high councilor apart in a bishopric. He said, “I don’t
know what’s up and what’s down in the Church. I think I did my best work as an M-Men advisor.’ I agree. I couldn’t single out any one office as being most
When he says “father,” he is including “our daughters-in-love and our sons-in-love” as well as their five children. Their children and their spouses are Jim and Sherry Faust, Janna and Doug Coombs, Marcus and Susan Faust, Lisa and Scott Smith, and Robert Faust.
Elder Faust was born in Delta, Utah, on 31 July 1920 to George A. and Amy Finlinson Faust. The family later moved to Salt Lake Valley where their father was an
attorney and a district court judge.
Elder Faust lettered in both track and football in high school and ran the quarter-mile and the mile relays on his college team at the University of Utah. He served his mission in Brazil, then became an officer in the United States Air Force in 1942. He and his wife were married in the Salt Lake Temple during the war, and he graduated from the University of Utah’s law school in 1948.
As an active member of his profession, he was president of the Utah Bar Association in 1962-63, an advisor to the American Bar Journal, a member of the United States Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Committee for Utah, a member of the Utah State Legislature (1949-51), a member of President Kennedy’s Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Racial Unrest, and is currently serving as a member of Utah’s Constitutional Revision Commission and director of the state Friendshipping Force.
None of these experiences prepared him for the “sweet agony” of his call to the apostleship. “It can’t be fully explained; it can’t be understood; it can’t be fully
comprehended. It’s different from any other experience I’ve had in the world. There was much agonizing and suffering, much sleeplessness and introspection. I
felt so inadequate and so unimportant.
“And yet withal, there comes a sweet assurance and a comfort. And, oh, the comfort in the love and the kindness of the Brethren. You can’t imagine anyone being more solicitous and kind and gracious than they were, especially President Kimball and President Tanner and President Romney. And there was great comfort in the ordination under the hands of President Kimball, his counselors, and the Twelve.”
He added, “I feel so grateful for the upraised hands of the congregation. They were sustaining me more than they knew. Their trust amazes me.”
Elder Faust reaffirmed the testimony he had borne of the Savior before that congregation. “The Doctrine and Covenants describes the spiritual gift of knowing, ‘by the Holy Ghost…that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world’ (42:15). I don’t claim to have understood fully all of the principles of the gospel–there’s much I still don’t understand. It’s been easy for me to believe. I don’t claim anything for myself; it is a gift. But I feel, with a deep sense of blessing, that I can say with the brother of Jared that I know, ‘nothing doubting.’ “