SALT LAKE CITY — Thousands of people gathered in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Monday, September 28, 2015, for the funeral of Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Scott died at home on September 22 at the age of 86. He served as an apostle of the Church for 27 years, after serving as a member of the Seventy and in the Presidency of the Seventy.
Approximately 2,500 people filled the historic Tabernacle to capacity for the funeral, while many others attended the services in the overflow seating of the nearby Assembly Hall. Thousands more watched the broadcast live in English, Spanish and Portuguese on LDS.org and on the Church satellite system.
The service, held under the direction of the First Presidency, was attended by general authorities and auxiliary leaders of the Church, as well as community and civic leaders and members of Elder Scott’s family. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jeanene, who passed away 20 years ago, and two children.
Church President Thomas S. Monson presided over the services, which were conducted by President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency.
“My heart is tender as I reflect upon the memories I have shared with him over the years,” said President Eyring. “Elder Scott took me under his wing when I was a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve and watched over me, ever being the good shepherd.”
President Eyring continued, “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.”
Those speaking at the funeral included Elder Scott’s son Michael W. Scott, President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who served as a missionary in Argentina under Elder and Sister Scott.
“When Dad was born in Pocatello, Idaho, on November 7, 1928, I doubt anyone knew just how great and noble of a spirit he was,” said Elder Scott’s son Michael, who said his father did not have “the typical Mormon boyhood” since his father was not a member of the Church and his mother was an inactive member.
“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 explained.
“Dad lived a life filled with happiness and joy. He was a musician and an artist. I have great memories of lying on the living room floor with Dad, listening to jazz music being played from the latest and greatest stereo equipment available,” added Michael Scott, who said his father loved to go exploring, had a great sense of humor and loved to tell jokes.
President Nelson recalled serving with Elder Scott on an assignment in Central America. “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 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,” he said.
“Elder Scott’s teachings have impacted people spiritually throughout the world, including our own family,” reminisced President Nelson. His wife Wendy was inspired to do family history work after hearing Elder Scott’s teachings on the subject in a conference address.
Elder Christofferson remembered his service as a missionary who served under 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.”
“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,” shared Elder Christofferson. “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 recalled an interview several years ago in which Elder Scott spoke of his special witness that God the Father and Jesus Christ live. In the interview, Elder Scott said, “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.”
“We have had in our midst all these years Richard G. Scott, an honorable man — even a man of God,” said President Monson, who offered the concluding message. “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.”
“Richard G. Scott was a man of God for all seasons. He loved people; he loved his family; he loved his Heavenly Father,” he said. “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.”
President Monson visited Elder Scott to give him a blessing with the assistance of Elder Scott’s son Michael on Tuesday before he passed away. “I expressed gratitude for his many years of dedicated service, for his willing attitude [and] for his undeviating faith. I told him we loved him and thanked him for touching our lives for good.”
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir provided the music for the funeral services. Songs included “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” “Jesu, the Very Thought Is Sweet” and “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Elder Scott was laid to rest at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park in Salt Lake City.
Over the past week, condolences have poured in from all over the world via email and on the Church’s social media channels, including Elder Scott’s Facebook page.