Phone call changes lives dramatically

A year ago, Donald D. Salmon, then auditor general of Alberta, planned to retire in 1994 and scale down from his pressure-filled public position.

As scheduled, he completed his eight-year appointment as a provincial legislative officer this year. But instead of finding a lower-stress position in private industry, as many of his predecessors had, he and his wife, Joyce, dramatically changed their lives following a phone call.They were called to full-time missionary service. Pres. Salmon will preside over the Utah Ogden Mission.

The Salmons were among 92 new mission presidents and their wives to attend the annual mission presidents seminar at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, June 21-26.

There, the new leaders and their wives received instruction from General Authorities and training center personnel regarding missionary work. Most of the couples will assume their new duties in missions across the globe about the first of July.

Representative of the new mission presidents, Pres. Salmon is well-seasoned in both Church and professional service. At the time of his calling, he was serving as regional representative and is a former stake president, bishop, bishop's counselor, stake clerk and is a patriarch. He is also a member of the Church Audit Committee.

Sister Salmon is a stake family history consultant, and former ward Primary president, Young Women counselor, Relief Society president's counselor and board member.

The Church has guided Pres. Salmon's life for many years. He explained that as he began his schooling in the 1950s in Edmonton, he was influenced in the choice of career by President N. Eldon Tanner, former first counselor in the First Presidency, who was then branch president in Edmonton.

Pres. Salman said, "I was a young man just out of high school. He sort of was my mentor because of what he'd done in government. His picture still hangs in the legislature because at one time he was Speaker of the House. He's been a really good example to me."

Pres. Salmon has spent most of his career as a public servant, beginning as audit director in 1965, and serving in the auditor general's office as assistant from 1978 to 1986. At that time, following a national competition advertised throughout Canada, he was appointed by the legislature to head the 160-employee department. Most are professionals like himself, and, like him, most are Chartered Accountants, a title corresponding to certified public accountant in the United States.

With the announcement that Pres. Salmon was leaving to serve a mission, he said he's "had great opportunities to see the reaction of people with respect to the Church.

"They were quite fascinated, and it gave me an opportunity to talk about the Church to a number of senior people. In the past they have been mostly quite guarded in talking about religion. But there has been a very open door in the past six months."

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