Church News Article
BY SARAH JANE WEAVER, Church News Staff Writer
Elder L. Edward Brown doesn't remember a time in his life when he
didn't feel deeply about the Savior and the truthfulness of the gospel.
In a Church News interview days after being sustained to the Second
Quorum of the Seventy on April 6, he explained that he is like many in
the Church who learned and accepted the gospel "line upon line."
The former Pocatello, Idaho, mayor, Idaho state legislator and career
Church educator described himself foremost as a son, husband, father of
eight children and grandfather. In fact, many of the lessons he learned
in his life have come through sacred family experiences.
"Our family," Elder Brown said as he looked at his wife, "means as much
to us, outside oflove and commitment for the Master, as anything we
know. As we participated in holy temple marriage experiences with each
of our six children who have married, deep spiritual affirmations have
come to us. Essentially the message has been, 'This is really what it
is all about.' The family is the central focus of God's plan."
Elder and Sister Brown said they have "been deeply moved by many
special and sometimes painful family experiences." Watching
family-especially during hard times-has reaffirmed their already strong
testimony of the gospel.
"About three years ago, one of our daughter's children, a 6-month-old
baby boy, passed away," Elder Brown recalled. "We watched as our
Heavenly Father, through the Spirit, put His arms around our precious
daughter and her husband, comforting and blessing them, assuring them
of a magnificent future rendezvous. We look forward in confidence to
that grand reunion. That is the essence of the Lord's plan of
Describing his wife, Elder Brown said that she is a great mother, which
each of their daughters has been able to follow. "She loves the piano.
So do they. She nurtures and loves her children as a homemaker, and so
do they. She means everything to me and to them."
Elder Brown said his deep appreciation for the nurturing influence of
the women in his life began with his own mother. As a 13-year-old, the
young Edward Brown had to rely on the spiritual strength derived as a
youngster from his mother after she was seriously injured.
"We lived in a small branch in Idaho where my mother was Mrs.
Everything," Elder Brown said. "She was returning home from a stake
Primary meeting with three other ladies and they were involved in a
serious automobile accident. She suffered severe brain damage."
Elder Brown said that his mother was never the same after that. His
father patiently cared for her for more than 40 years until her death
just two years ago. "I am certain the Lord has and will bless my father
for his sustained support and love for my mother over that 40-year
span," he said.
Elder Brown explained that his mother taught him well in his youth and those values remained.
"I will bless her name eternally," he said. "Oh, how important are our
mothers in the early formative years of their children's lives."
Elder Brown called the accident a turning point in his life, for his
family was forced to move to Logan, Utah, where his mother could
receive better care.
There Edward Brown met Carol Ewer-his future wife. "I was out in front
of our home and this girl with beautiful red hair, all tied up in a
magnificent pony tail, rode by on a bicycle," he remembered. "It was
love at first sight for this 15-year-old boy."
After high school graduation, Elder Brown attended Utah State
University in Logan for two years. "In those days, young men were
called into the mission field at 20 years of age," he said, explaining
that in 1957 he was called to serve in the Northern Far East Mission,
which included Japan and Korea.
As a missionary, Elder Brown said he learned a great lesson about the power of the priesthood and priesthood blessings.
"I, along with several other missionaries, contracted infectious
hepatitis, following which, due to my weakened condition, I developed a
serious case of boils. I had as many as a dozen boils at a time."
While Elder Brown was suffering from this health problem, Elder Mark E.
Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve visited Korea. "He interviewed
each of us and learned of my challenging health problems. He laid his
hands upon my head, and in the name of the Master, through the power of
the priesthood, commanded the infection to depart.
"Beginning at the top of my head, I felt this marvelous power go down
through my body and out the tips of my toes. I was able to serve the
remainder of my mission without further health limitations. What a
special lesson was demonstrated to a young missionary that day. I have
not doubted the power of the priesthood from that day to this," Elder
Three months following Elder Brown's release as a missionary, he and
Carol Ewer were married in the Logan Temple on Aug. 3, 1960.
Sister Brown said through the years her husband has approached all his
Church callings-as a bishop, stake president, area authority and
mission president in Korea-with the same devotion he discovered on his
mission. This dedication, she continued, has brought many blessings to
One such example is when Elder Brown served as a mission president.
The couple, then parents of five children, ages 3 to 10, were called to
Korea just 11 years after Elder Brown returned from his full-time
mission in the same country.
Elder Brown said that people will ask if he was quite young for a
mission president assignment. "I reply," he said with smile, "Yes, I
was way too young when I went out, but I was very old by the conclusion
of that experience."
The Browns count their mission as one of their family's most
significant spiritual experiences. "Our children had 150 big brothers
and sisters," he said. "The missionaries just loved and spoiled them.
The children sat in missionary testimony meetings on occasions too
numerous to count. Oh, how the Lord more than compensated us for the
little bit of sacrifice on our part. We will be ever grateful for that
Both Elder and Sister Brown agreed that the Lord has a marvelous law of compensation, far exceeding any service one can render.
Elder Brown said service in the community, first as a member of the
Pocatello city council, then as Pocatello mayor and a state legislator,
has been extremely valuable to him.
"I have been deeply impressed with the people with whom I have served as an elected official," he said.
Elder Brown said he is concerned at how cynical people are about
government and those who serve there. "The people I associated with,
both at the local and state levels, generally were motivated out of a
desire to serve others," he explained.
Elder Brown said one great lesson he learned in public service is that
there are two sides to every story. "We must hear out the whole of the
matter and learn that some of the best ideas come out of discussion,
debate and counsel among people of diverse opinions, experience and
Elder Brown said "in a busy life," politics actually became his hobby.
But he also likes fishing, camping and reading-especially about the
Church. Elder Brown said his favorite vacation spot is "in the shadows
of the Teton Mountains," at Island Park, Idaho.
He learned to love the outdoors as a young boy, while hunting with his
father. He continued to spend a lot of time in the outdoors while
attending Utah State University.
There, Elder Brown said he "floundered" for a few years, trying to
select a career. Then one of his institute instructors asked if he had
considered teaching seminary. "As soon as he said it, my heart was
touched and I felt impressed that was what I needed to do," Elder Brown
After receiving a bachelor's degree from Utah State in English and
mathematics, Elder Brown began his career in the Church Educational
System. Early in his career, he also qualified for master's and
doctor's degrees in educational administration and supervision from the
University of Kansas.
He described Church education as a "marvelous and most satisfying career."
Through the years, Elder Brown has seen the profound effect that wonderful teachers have had in the lives of students.
"Some years ago I came home late at night, it was after midnight, and I
could see a light coming from under my daughter's door. I thought I'll
open the door and say 'Don't you think it is time to go to bed?' " he
said. "I opened the door and there she was reading the scriptures. I
was humbled and thrilled and I knew that, in part, it was because there
was a good seminary teacher somewhere who was motivating her, along
with her parents, to be into the scriptures on a daily basis. "
That is what he sees as the most significant change in the youth over
the years as a Church educator. "Our youth have become much more
interested in the scriptures, and they are finding that feasting in the
scriptures is most 'satisfying."
Elder Brown said he hopes to continue to promote the importance of
studying and pondering the doctrine as found in the scriptures in his
new calling, with which he is "overwhelmed, but thrilled" to receive.
"There is no question in my mind that the Lord is in charge of the
work. I have a burning witness that this is so," he declared. "I thrill
at the opportunity to bear witness of the Lord, our Savior, to all the
world. The genius of this work is in the capacity that one has to tap
into the power of the Holy Ghost as we lead and make the decisions as
Church leaders, members and parents. I know that with all my heart.
This gives one a great sense of confidence as they respond to the
beckoning of the Spirit as it invites, entices, blesses and
Elder L. Edward Brown
Family: Born June 18, 1937, in Preston, Idaho, to Lowell and Helen Peterson Brown. Married Carol Ewer in the Logan Temple
Education: Bachelor's degree in English and mathematics from Utah State
University, master's and doctor's degrees in educational administration
from University of Kansas.
Employment: Area director for Church Educational System, 1990-1996;
instructor at the Pocatello Idaho Institute of Religion, 1968-1990,
director of institute from 1978-1984. Teacher and coordinator with the
Indian seminary program from 1963-1968.
Church Service: Area authority in the North America Northwest Area;
former stake president, bishop, mission president in Korea (1971-1974)
and full-time missionary in Korea.