“When we settle our minds on becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, we will naturally build good character and the reputation that follows,” said Sister Ruth Renlund, wife of Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sister Renlund, who calls herself a “recovering lawyer,” was the keynote speaker at the J. Reuben Clark Law Society’s annual fireside in Salt Lake City Friday, January 20, 2017.
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She shared several life lessons learned from the law and her father, Merlin R. Lybbert, who was also a lawyer.
Sister Renlund was a civil litigation attorney in Utah before her husband was called as a General Authority of the Church in 2009. Their first assignment took them to Africa for five years, where she said it was the first time in her adult life that she was not employed.
“It took about six months for me to name what had happened to my life. I can only describe it as entering the witness protection program,” she said, explaining that people at home didn’t know where she really was and people in Africa didn’t know she had a past. “I had a new name. I practiced law using my maiden name, Ruth Lybbert; here I was Sister Renlund.”
“The Lord uses all we have learned and experienced to further His work,” added Sister Renlund.
She said the first life lesson her father taught her was to learn to disagree without being disagreeable. “It is possible to treat a person well, be kind even, and still disagree with him. In fact, it is our obligation as disciples of Jesus Christ,” she said.
The second life lesson she learned from her father was to stop digging when you’re in a hole. “My experience is that when I admit a mistake or wrongdoing, the person who is offended or wronged trusts me more,” shared Sister Renlund.
The third life lesson she shared was centered on character. “We must not be one person at home, another person at work and yet another at church. We only have one reputation,” she said.
Sister Renlund continued, “We need to choose to have our actions reflect our religious beliefs. Our personal religious convictions bring strength to the law but also to our homes, to our community and to our Church. We call this integrity.”
The J. Reuben Clark Law Society is a professional association of Mormon attorneys, law students, judges and law professors. The organization has more than 20,000 members around the world.
Previous keynote speakers at the society’s annual fireside include Church Apostles Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Elder Quentin L. Cook and Elder D. Todd Christofferson, as well as other Church leaders.