SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died at his home Friday morning of causes incident to age. He was surrounded by his family.
President Faust, who celebrated his 87th birthday on July 31, had served in the First Presidency since 1995 and as a General Authority of the Church for 35 years. His cheerful demeanor and kindly countenance were an inspiration to all.
In recent years he had sat at the pulpit as he gave addresses in general conference, but despite his failing physical strength his mind was sharp and his counsel was always inspired. In the most recent general conference, he gave a talk on Saturday that reminded Latter-day Saints that the words “disciple” and “discipline” came from the same root, and that as followers of Christ we must have the discipline to “carry the cross daily.”
In the priesthood session on Saturday night, he told the inspirational story of a young boy who was competing with fellow members of his priests quorum to see who could collect the most food for a service project — only to return empty-handed because he came upon a ward member whose cupboards were bare. He reminded young priesthood holders that this act exemplified the meaning of service.
President Faust was appointed second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 12 March 1995.
He had previously served four years as an Assistant to the Twelve (the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest presiding body) before being appointed a member of the presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy (other senior leaders in the Church) on 1 October 1976.
His most recent assignments include vice chairman of the Church Board of Education; the board of trustees of Brigham Young University; the Welfare Services Executive Committee; and Deseret Management Corporation.
A native of Delta, Utah, he was born in 1920. An athlete in his younger years, he participated as a member of the University of Utah track team in 1938 and ran the quarter-mile and mile relay.
His college career was interrupted first to serve as a missionary for the Church in Brazil and later by World War II, during which he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was discharged as a first lieutenant. In 1948 he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s and Juris Doctor degree. He began the practice of law in Salt Lake City and continued until his appointment as a general authority of the Church in 1972.
He served as a member of the Utah Legislature from 1949 to 1951, as an advisor to the American Bar Journal, and president of the Utah Bar Association in 1962-1963. U.S. He received the Distinguished Lawyer Emeritus Award from the Utah Bar Association in 1995. In August of 1997, he received an Honorary Doctors Degree of Christian Service from Brigham Young University.
He was honored as a Distinguished Alumni at the University of Utah in 1999, and was awarded the Honorary Order of the Coif at Brigham Young University in 2000. In 2002, he was given the Marion G. Romney Distinguished Service Award by Brigham Young University Law School, and he was awarded an Honorary Doctors of Law degree by the University of Utah. President John F. Kennedy appointed him to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in 1962.
In 1998 President Faust received a Brazilian national citizenship award — an honor given to only a select few world leaders — and was awarded honorary citizenship of the city of Sao Paulo.
Married to the former Ruth Wright of Salt Lake City, they are the parents of two daughters and three sons. They have 23 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Coverage of President Faust’s funeral, as well as other stories related to President Faust, will appear in Meridian Magazine starting on Monday.
Information for this article came from the LDS Newsroom at lds.org.