The Church’s first senior leader from France has kept a close eye on the construction of the Paris Temple in his homeland and is anxious for his fellow countrymen to visit during the public open house to experience the beauty and spirit of the sacred edifice.
Bishop Gérald Caussé was born in Bordeaux, France, and has returned many times to oversee the construction of the temple. “We’ve worked closely with the architects to make the temple a beacon in the area” he said. “The temple is in full harmony with the surrounding area. We want the temple to be not only a blessing for the members but an asset for the whole community.”
Caussé is the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He, along with two counselors, have the responsibility for many of the temporal affairs of the organization. These include the administration of programs to assist the poor and needy and the design, construction and maintenance of places of worship, such as the Paris France Temple.
Recognized for his business skills as well as his religious commitment, Bishop Caussé received a master’s degree in business from ESSEC in 1987. His career was in the food industry, where he worked with several supermarket chains and food distribution companies. At the time he was called to full-time Church leadership, he was the general manager of Pomona, a food distribution company in France.
Bishop Caussé’s service in the Church began early in his life. His parents joined the faith after inviting two Mormon missionaries into their home to teach them the gospel. Their active membership in a small congregation in Bordeaux meant the young Gérald took on leadership responsibilities and participated in Church service in his youth. He followed the example of his father, who was the ecclesiastical leader over the congregation. “When I was a teenager, he would involve me in visiting families in need,” Bishop Caussé said. “Watching him was probably the best learning experience in preparing for priesthood leadership.”
Besides his religious conviction, music plays an important role in Bishop Caussé's life. Playing the piano since age 7, Bishop Caussé became very accomplished and frequently accompanied various musical groups, including a choir where his future wife, Valerie Babin, sang.
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He had known Valerie since age 8, but it wasn’t until years later that romance bloomed. During a break in choir practice, Bishop Caussé says he was sitting at the piano keyboard when his eyes locked on Valerie's. "We both felt something happen," he said. They were married civilly, then drove the next day to the Bern Switzerland Temple to be married for time and all eternity, one of the ordinances performed in all Mormon temples. They have five children who all sing and play the piano, violin or cello.
Over the years, Bishop Caussé held numerous leadership positions in France and Europe before being appointed to the Presiding Bishopric in 2012, which required him to move with his family to Salt Lake City, Utah, in the United States. This was a move he made willingly, following the pattern of other followers of Jesus Christ.
“When Jesus chose His Apostles, several of them were fishermen, and they immediately left their nets and followed Him,” says Bishop Caussé. “I see the Church working today the same. I feel that my calling is from the Lord. I too will follow the Savior.”
But no matter where Bishop Caussé serves around the world, France will always be his home, a place that is now home to a new Temple, “I’ve had many discussions with my wife and we’ve often said to ourselves, ‘Can you believe it is true?’ It is a marvelous thing. It is a once in a lifetime experience for all of us. And also all of the members of the Church in France. So many of them are first generation members of the Church. They were bold. They accepted the Gospel. They knew it was true and that set them apart from people around them. And now these pioneers will come and say, ‘we have done it for our children and our children will be able to come and worship in the temple.’”