Prophet's birthday a typically busy workday

President Howard W. Hunter spent his 87th birthday on Nov. 14 engaged in "a typical day at the office, with lots of work."

He received well wishes on his birthday from his counselors in the First Presidency, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson, and members of the staff in the First Presidency's office.In an interview with the Church News, President Hunter said: "I have a good feeling about birthdays. If everything is in order, if we keep our lives in order, we can feel happiness. If we don't, we will have sadness and will be disappointed with the results of our life. If we've kept close to the Church, close to the gospel and have done the things that we know that the Lord would have us do we can feel a sense of accomplishment.

"The important thing in keeping our lives sorted out is to live the gospel. If we do that, then all other things will fall into place."

Looking at an array of cards and letters sent from throughout the Church, President Hunter said the best thing members of the Church could do to honor him on his birthday would be "to be kinder to one another, to have an appreciation for one another."

He added: "I said on the occasion when we had the press conference

on June 6, the day after being ordained and set apart as president of the ChurchT some of the things that I consider important that I would like to see carried on in the Church. If those things were all respected and followed, I would be happy with the results."

President Hunter said he thinks about the miracle of life, about the opportunity to experience life. "Thinking about those things are important," he said. "We think of the things we would like to see done and accomplished, and the things we know we should do and carry forward. I think that's part of living the gospel. We should give attention to those things. Sometimes, they're the simple things that have great significance in our lives."

President Hunter, in speaking of his health, indicated he felt invigorated. "I feel well," he said, "although not as well as when I was younger." He laughed and paraphrased a statement Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. made when he was 90: "Oh, to be 75 again!"

While President Hunter is 87, the schedule he has kept in the past few months and the itinerary planned for the immediate future are more in keeping with someone many years younger. In October, after presiding over and addressing the semiannual general conference in Salt Lake City, he dedicated the Orlando Florida Temple Oct. 9, and presided over seven dedicatory sessions and addressed four sessions that day and the next. He addressed the Pasadena California Stake conference and attended a reception Oct. 15-16. On Sunday, Nov. 13, he delivered a message at the Genealogical Society of Utah's 100th anniversary. (See page 3.)

A few days after his birthday, he left for Hawaii where he is scheduled to give the presidential charge to BYU-Hawaii's new president, Eric B. Shumway, on Friday, Nov. 18, and participate in other activities in conjunction with the inauguration. (A report will be in the Nov. 26 issue of Church News.) He plans to be in Mexico City Dec. 11 for the creation of the Church's 2,000th stake.

President Hunter was asked in a joking manner if he might be concerned about wearing out those who travel with him. "Well, it is a vigorous schedule," he admitted. "There's no question about that. But if I can keep up the pace, I feel they ought to keep it up, too!"

After spending the day at his office, President Hunter enjoyed a quiet evening with his wife, Inis, and received telephone greetings from members of his family. "A grandson made some comment about a bonfire," President Hunter quipped as mention was made of candles on his birthday cake.

President Hunter was born Nov. 14, 1907, in Boise, Idaho, in the home of his parents John William and Nellie Marie Rasmussen Hunter. He graduated cum laude from Southwestern University Law School in Los Angeles, Calif., with a degree of juris doctor.

He was a leading corporate attorney in Southern California when he was called to the Council of the Twelve in 1959, at the age of 51. He was set apart as president of the Council of the Twelve June 2, 1988, after serving as acting president since Nov. 10, 1985.

He and his first wife, Clara May (Clare) Jeffs Hunter, had three children, two of whom are living. She died in 1983. He married Inis B. Egan in 1990.


Pres. Hunter `pleased and touched' by hundreds of birthday greetings

"I was going to take you fishing on your birthday, but I hear you are a busy man.

"I hope you have a happy birthday. P.S. My goal is to be married in the temple. I am 10 years old."

These messages from young Church members were among hundreds of birthday greetings that poured into President Howard W. Hunter's office from throughout the Church, some arriving weeks before his 87th birthday on Nov. 14.

Most of the cards and letters were from Primary children, young men and young women. The greetings ranged from sophisticated store-bought cards to remembrances made by hand of construction paper, poster board and, in some cases, messages printed on fabric. One group of young women sent birthday greetings inscribed with markers on a pillowcase.

"I am so pleased and touched by the cards, especially those that have been made by hand, and by the thoughts that are expressed in them," President Hunter said. "It seems to me to be a great thing. I don't believe in all the world we would find another situation where little children would pay attention to older persons. Generally, children just seem to ignore that relationship and tend to think it isn't important. But the children of our Church are different. It's a marvelous thing to have the unity, the love, the appreciation that we have in the Church, and to see the things that older persons do for children to give them the right kind of start in life. It's a great thing."

Because of the large volume of mail he received for his birthday, President Hunter is unable to acknowledge each card or letter individually. The Church News was asked to convey his appreciation to all those who sent expressions for his birthday.

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