Rest in peace, Elder Scott

A wonderful, gentle man is dead. Richard G. Scott was 86.

I’m sure you all have some anecdotes that stick out to you about Elder Scott, but here’s what came to my mind: the love he had for his wife, Jeanene.

Elder Scott: First of all, . . . I didn’t lose her. She’s on the other side of the veil. We’ve been sealed in that holy ordinance of the temple, and we’ll be together forever. And at critical times in my life when I need help, I can feel impressions come through the veil in such a real way that often I just [think,] “Thank you, Jeanene.” So there isn’t that loss. The second is that when you get it right the first time, you don’t want to mess it up with a second time. We are so close and love each other so very much that I don’t have any feeling of need to remarry. I recognize that for some men there’s a very strong support they require from a wife, and so they remarry, and I don’t question that for them. Jeanene and I prepared each other in all the ways we could think of for being able to survive well when one of us passed through the veil, and I wish she hadn’t been the first one, but that’s the way it worked out.

More here.

Death could not separate them. Rest in peace, Elder Scott.


  1. I love his comments about not remarrying. I’m sure he received tremendous pressure to remarry after his wife passed away 20 years ago. His rebuke to that pressure–and that’s certainly what his quote in this post looks like–is classic. May he rest in peace.

  2. I felt that with Elder Scott you were never called to repentance, you were gently, lovingly persuaded. I also appreciated his insights into personal revelation. When it comes to revelation, marriage, and many other things, he didn’t just say “do it”. He said, this is how I’ve done it; perhaps it will work for you, too.

  3. Anon for this says:

    I spent several hours with Elder Scott one weekend 30 years ago this fall. He was a kind and gentle man, supportive well beyond anything I deserved. He gave one the sense that for him the veil was very thin.

  4. Elder Scott’s deep, direct sermons focused on forgiveness and grace made me want to repent for many of the sins I’ve committed, as well as for sins I hadn’t even considered. RIP.

  5. Joshua G. H. Smith says:

    My cousin reminded me that Elder Scott does his own translation work for those who speak Spanish. My cousin told me this endeared him to the people of Argentina even today.

    I always admired his ability to follow the camera at Conference, although sometimes when his topic was something I needed work on, it felt like he was following me……

    I was in a meeting with him in October 1999 as I was wrapping up full-time missionary service in the Pacific Northwest. He taught an important lesson that day about recognizing the Spirit, the Lord opening the way, and acting on promptings. He explained that at April General Conference it appeared there would be some extra time in the Sunday Afternoon Session as the speakers and hymns had run faster than rehearsal had predicted. President Monson indicated to President Hinckley that the Choir would perform an extra song (my grandfather spent 12 years in the Choir and confirmed that they have many musical numbers ready to go on seconds notice in these situations), however, President Hinckley told President Monson however that he would need the time. President Hinckley used the extra couple of to give a somewhat longer Conference closing address and to announce the rebuilding of the Nauvoo Temple. Elder Scott told us that the First Presidency was the only group who new that the Nauvoo Temple was to be rebuilt, the Quorum of the Twelve did not yet know about it. He said the First Presidency had not decided how and when to announce it. Elder Scott taught us that day that you never know when the Spirit will prompt you to do something and so you really have to act on every one to find out. He cautioned us against saying, “The Spirit prompted me….”, because sometimes it’s hard to tell. He bore his testimony to us, in a way that I have never seen before or since from an Apostle. He ensured he shook each of our hands and looked us square in the eye. I will always remember that day in South Seattle where while I was on the Lord’s errand, I met with one of the Lord’s special witnesses.

  6. Several years ago my wife ran into Elder Scott in the Seattle Temple (I believe he was on assignment for a stake re-organization) and she said to him “It’s a pleasure to shake your hand.” And his response was “It’s a pleasure to shake your hand, sister.” This response from Elder Scott to my dear wife has endeared him to me ever since!

  7. Such a dear, good man. I loved his talk on personal revelation, and his love for his wife Jeanene raises him even further in my esteem.

  8. Okay, that’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever read. Every woman wants to hear that same thing said about her. And it’s also the first thought I had when I heard about his passing. What a reunion he is having with his sweetheart! My husband and I often have the what will you do after I die talk. Let’s just say that we have different ideas of what kind of time has to pass before the ‘body is cold’ and the dating begins. This one is being forwarded to him. What a sweet man.

  9. Mary Lythgoe Bradford says:

    I felt close to Elder Scott because I knew his wife’s relatives in Arlington, VA–a gentle man who loved beauty in his wife and in art and literature.

  10. I will always remember when he visited our mission in Honduras. He made sure to shake each missionary’s hand and offer words of encouragement. I recall that he gave sermon in Spanish, and that he spoke Spanish better than many of the missionaries in attendance. During his few days in Honduras, he worked much and slept little. He did not want to waste a moment of his limited time with us. As an aside, one of my friends served as his bodyguard on a number of occasions. He will attest that Elder Scott was one of the best, brightest, kindest and hardest working men he ever met.

  11. He had a large pairing of his wife in his office that HE painted (beautifully done)! As I introduced my wife he also introduced his wife to us and spoke of his love for her in the present tense. It was amazing!

  12. **painting

  13. John Mansfield says:

    A few weeks after his call to the Twelve, Elder Scott accepted the invitation to talk to mechanical engineering students at BYU. In the Madsen recital hall, he spoke as one more senior engineer moved on to management, before a couple hundred of his budding successors. He said something about the challenging design of the cladding of an enriched uranium fuel rod, and he recited some of his hiring interview with Rickover. “”How did you pay for college?’ ‘The [woman’s name I can’t remember] scholarship.’ ‘Who’s she?’ ‘I don’t know.’ It was a good question; I should have known.” He voiced Rickover as antagonistic, and himself as belligerent. Other than that one hour, my only experiences with him were his General Conference talks; that glimpse of the mundane person tasked to carry out an apostolic ministry was a useful gift.

  14. (Recycled comment from Brad’s FB thread…)

    Even at my most faithful I found Elder Scott’s sermons difficult. His delivery was tedious, and I”m easily distracted. But then I read a talk he had given and was startled by how excellent it was. So the next time he spoke, I made it a point to work hard to focus on what he was saying. It was worth the effort.

  15. Ann Porter, for a long time I was also distracted from Elder Scott’s messages by his delivery. Honestly, for many years he wasn’t even on my radar, then I was merely distracted by his low key, low energy tone. But when I really listened I realized that he was a true servant, and a refreshing break from the authoritarian GA mold we see so often.

  16. Heather Arnita says:

    I was taking a teachings of Isaiah class with Ann Madsen at BYU when Jeanne Scott passed away. Professor Madsen told us how Elder Scott asked for her prayers for his next talk in conference. He was memorizing his talk and hoping to be able to get through it. His loyalty and love for his wife has always endeared him to me. I admit getting choked up hearing that he had passed away. I just feel so, so happy for him.

  17. Thank you Elder Scott says:

    My memory of Elder Scott: I met him just once. He came to our Stake Conference a few years ago. Right in the middle of a choir number he stood up, right out of his presiding chair, and started walking. I think for half a second, everyone in the room kind of panicked – “What is he doing? Where is he going?” He hobbled (he seemed to be in pain) and walked a few steps to the farthest (front) corner of the stand, & then he turned around so he could watch the choir sing. He just wanted to see the beautiful faces making the beautiful music.

    I was invited to an hour-long, Q&A meeting (small-ish group of people in a room) previous to this SC session. I didn’t say anything, but there were some pretty pointed, pain-filled questions. Elder Scott seemed transparent – plainly filled with care and concern. I’ll never forget the gay man who asked, “I just want to know if there’s any place for me in this church besides constantly ending up in the Bishop’s office?” Elder Scott invited him to speak privately after the meeting. That was the only question he didn’t answer publicly.

    I told myself to let it go, and not let the non-answer sour my reverence or overpower the good of the whole. I shook his hand on my way out the door. Our eyes met, then his face suddenly brightened with surprise and delight. He beamed. It’s a small thing, but I felt he saw something in me that pleased him. I have since read of many people who speak of this deep gaze Elder Scott gives, like he’s looking right into your soul. His reaction to whatever it was he saw in me felt like a recognition. I felt seen and loved.

  18. “not let the non-answer sour my reverence or overpower the good of the whole.” A invitation for a personal meeting seems like an infinitely more valuable opportunity than the satisfaction of having one’s question answered in front of the rest of the people at the meeting.

  19. “An”

  20. I met Elder Scott very briefly after a single adult fireside he gave in Canada. He had spoken about how he met his wife and the positive influence she had on his life. I told him afterwards how much I appreciated his talk that night and also his talks in general conference. He thanked me and said, “That makes me want to try harder.” He was a truly humble servant of the Lord.

  21. Thank you Elder Scott says:

    at, Absolutely, especially in hindsight — but in the moment, it was a choice I had to deliberate. Another person in the room (on his way out) said to Elder Scott, “We all needed to hear that answer.” I don’t fault that soul either.

  22. I never met Elder Scott, but I always looked forward to his talks at Conference. I enjoyed his gentle, low-key speaking. He will be missed.

  23. I’m lucky that I got to spend some time with Elder Scott in my youth. I was so awkward and eager to impress then (and, if I’m honest, now). My mom had put together a dinner for him and the small troop of GAs and their wives who were traveling with him. I remember my feeling both a little relieved and a little annoyed that my mom put me at the kids’ table (I was almost 15!) and that I wouldn’t be anywhere near Elder Scott.

    After dinner was over, as soon as was polite, he practically bounded over to the kids’ table, and he told jokes and wanted to know if we knew any riddles he hadn’t heard before (and solved all the ones we knew–sharp, that man), and told us some. He spent the rest of the time before his next meeting with us. At the kids’ table.

    I got to see him and speak with him a handful of other times, including once in my early adulthood.

    I’ve grown older, and my relationship with my faith is more complicated now. But Richard G. Scott, an apostle of Jesus Christ? Yep. I believe it.

  24. IDIAT, I think the reason people are impressed that he didn’t remarry is because the perception is (fairly or unfairly) that a widower-ed high-ranking church leader is EXPECTED to remarry, regardless of his personal preference.

  25. Heather Arnita says:

    Honestly, I have a negative opinion about remarriage period. I feel like if you truly love your spouse and believe in eternal marriage there is no reason to get remarried, because you are still married, just apart for a while. I know it is extremely lonely but I don’t see how loneliness is a good reason to get married. I know that my attitude isn’t shared by everyone and I know it can be an emotional topic but that’s my opinion. So there you go.

  26. My comment didn’t survive moderation which is fine. Perhaps someone will post on the substance of the whole remarriage issue another time. I’d like to think I would have appreciated the counsel of Elder Scott whether he was married, widowed or remarried.

  27. Heather–Amen.

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