Thousands in Salt Lake City and across the world participated in funeral services Tuesday afternoon for President James E. Faust, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Services were held at the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, broadcast by local media and through the Church satellite system.
The throng of those wishing to pay tribute to the beloved long time church leader overflowed into the Assembly Hall and the Conference Center.
“Though his body was crippled, his mind was sharp,” said Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “His wisdom was deep and profound. It came of long experience in many fields. He brought with him the mind of a lawyer, and the compassion of a church leader. His faith in the truth of the restored gospel was unflagging. There was no doubt in his mind concerning the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. He had no doubt about the validity of the Book of Mormon. His posterity, whom he loved, was his greatest treasure.”
President Thomas S. Monson, 1st Counselor of the First Presidency spoke of President Faust as one “blessed with an insightful mind, a keen intellect and a charitable spirit… there was no chink in his armor; there was no guile in his soul; there was no flaw in his character.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaking to the family, said, “Even as we mourn with you over this immense personal loss, we rejoice in the majesty of your husband’s life and the richness of his legacy to you, and to his children and to the Church.”
Bishop Marcus Faust, a son, spoke on behalf of the family. “Mother always came first in Dad’s life… From the way he spoke with her, to the way he tended to her needs, we always knew our mother was Dad’s one true love.”
He also recalled his father’s words prior to being sustained as a general authority in 1972. “I cannot magnify this new calling unless I first magnify my calling as husband, father and patriarch to our family. I will never be released from this calling.”
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed three numbers including “This is the Christ” to which President Faust himself wrote the words.
A private burial service took place at a local Salt Lake City cemetery following the funeral.
Church members, government and business leaders around the world have expressed condolences to President Faust’s family.
President Faust, 87, was appointed second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 12 March 1995. The First Presidency is the highest presiding body in the government of the Church. In total, he served as a General Authority of the Church for 35 years. He died of “causes incident to age” at his home Friday 10 August, 2007 surrounded by his family.
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 Seventy (other senior leaders in the Church) on 1 October 1976. He was ordained an Apostle exactly two years later on 1 October 1978.
His most recent assignments included 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.
President Faust was born 31 July 1920, in Delta, Utah. 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. 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 2003, 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 five children: James H. Faust, Janna R. Coombs, Marcus G. Faust, Lisa A. Smith, and Robert P. Faust. They have 25 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.