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Elder Scott D. Whiting: Wise decisions prepared him for service

Elder Scott D. Whiting and Sister Jeri Lin Whiting are excited to be focused full-time on doing the

Elder Scott D. Whiting and Sister Jeri Lin Whiting are excited to be focused full-time on doing the Lord's work.

Photo by Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

Making the right decisions in life is what Elder Scott D. Whiting believes helped prepare him later to serve the Lord in various capacities.

Born in April of 1961 to Duane and Beverly Whiting, he grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, the second of six children.

"We were and still are a very close family that enjoyed many family activities together," said Elder Whiting, who was sustained, March 31, during the 182nd Annual General Conference, as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

"My parents were always very supportive of us and encouraged activity in the Church and its youth programs."

Elder Whiting said his first major decision as he approached young adulthood was whether or not to serve a mission. He decided he would.

"I was blessed with the best youth leaders any young man could have — from bishops to Young Men and Scout leaders — I always knew that these men were there for me and that I could turn to them for anything. They remain great examples to me and I love them."

The second great decision for Elder Whiting was how long to serve. At the time of his mission call, he had the choice of serving 18 months or two years.

“My decision to stay and serve an extra six months was profound in preparing me for later service in the Church,” he said.

His full-time mission call was to serve in the Japan Tokyo North Mission, the same place where his future wife, Jeri Olson, served. "Jeri and I served in the same mission," said Elder Whiting. "We didn't meet each other on our mission but at a mutual missionary friend's homecoming one month after I returned from my mission. The common experiences of our mission were an immediate point of attraction, but it was her love of the gospel and desire to serve in the Church that drew me in. She is wonderfully compassionate, spiritual and caring. I knew that she would be a great mother and companion, and I was right!" They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple April 24, 1984.

Completing a bachelor's degree in Japanese at Brigham Young University in 1986, Elder Whiting began law school shortly thereafter and earned a juris doctorate from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1990.

At that point, Elder and Sister Whiting made the big decision to move their young family to Hawaii where they have resided until the present. Living and raising a family in Hawaii has been a great blessing. Elder Whiting said, "The members in Hawaii have adopted us as their own. We don't have family out in Hawaii, and they have taken us in. They have taught us how to love, live and serve."

Sister Whiting's connection to Hawaii goes back to her family history. Her great grandfather was a missionary there and had a hard time when it came time to return to the mainland. In a blessing, he was told he would not return but his posterity would. Sister Whiting's grandfather would serve in the military there, her parents would serve a mission there and Sister Whiting would live 22 years there. "Each generation has returned to Hawaii in fulfillment of that blessing," said Sister Whiting.

An additional major decision Elder Whiting made was when he was called to serve as a bishop by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve. The stake was being reorganized at the time so Elder Ballard was issuing calls. Elder Ballard asked Elder Whiting an important question, "Are you permanent?" After a little clarification, Elder Whiting understood that being "permanent" meant he would be around long enough to fulfill his responsibilities to the Church. Elder Whiting promised the apostle he would.

Later that promise would be tested. As a young associate in a large Honolulu law firm, Elder Whiting was approached by a senior partner and asked if he would move to Tokyo for a year or two in a lawyer-exchange program with a large international trading company. Elder Whiting said, "This exchange was a prerequisite to my firm securing this trading company's lucrative account and would assure me a fast track to partnership in the firm and other benefits." He counseled with his wife about the opportunity and petitioned Heavenly Father. "We both knew that our accepting the calling of bishop and faithfully serving in that calling was more important than career pursuits," said Elder Whiting. "We knew that Heavenly Father would bless us for our decision to serve a full term as bishop and bishop's wife."

Additional calls to serve in Church leadership followed as a stake Young Men president and stake president and Area Seventy. Elder Whiting continued to develop a strong love for service. One of his favorite things to do is visit families who might be struggling with their testimonies.

"My passion is going into the homes of less-active members," said Elder Whiting. "Helping them renew or progress towards covenants is something I love. It's all about the rescue."

With a new adventure before them, Elder and Sister Whiting are excited to serve the Lord full-time. Sister Whiting explained that throughout her marriage and service in the Church, different callings have taken them in different directions. This call will allow them to serve together.

"I am an adventurous person," said Sister Whiting. "I look forward to meeting members of the Church from all over."

Elder Whiting is excited about his special call to serve as a Seventy. Not since his mission has he had the opportunity to focus completely on the Lord's work.

“I am excited about the constant association I will have with my fellow brethren,” said Elder Whiting. “When you put the Lord first, everything else falls into place. Choose what is right and let the consequence follow.” With a bit of humor, he said, “Someone should write a song about that.”

Biographical information

Family: Born April 1, 1961, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Duane L. Whiting and Beverly Bacon. Married Jeri O. Whiting on April 24, 1984, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Five children: Kate (Ammon Birk), Camille, Abigail, Joseph and Emma; one grandchild.

Education: bachelor’s degree in Japanese from Brigham Young University in 1986. J.D. from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1990.

Career: President of Waterhouse Inc. for 10 years.

Community service: Served as a member of the board for BSA Aloha Council and Hawaii Reserve, Inc. Served as an executive advisory board member for the BYU-Hawaii School of business. Served as a little league baseball coach.

Church service: full-time missionary in Tokyo North Mission; home teacher, elders quorum president, high councilor, stake Young Men president, stake president. Prior to current call was serving in the North America West Area as an Area Seventy.

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