Despite heavy snowfall along the Wasatch Front the morning of Thursday, Jan. 5, the Bountiful Utah Central Stake Center was full as family and loved ones gathered with Church leaders to celebrate the life and service of Elder Bruce Douglas Porter.
Elder Porter was serving as a General Authority Seventy when he died Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, at the age of 64 from a pulmonary infection. He served for 21 years as a member of that quorum after being called at age 42.
Elder Porter had experienced serious health challenges for more than 25 years including kidney failure, dialysis and transplants. In November, he was admitted to the hospital and died a month later surrounded by his wife and children at his home in Bountiful, Utah.
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the service that was attended by nine members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, four members of the Presidency of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric and many other General Authorities and presiding officers of the Church.
President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, noted that there were more General Authorities there than were ever seen at a funeral. Why? “This is not only a monumental tribute to the Porter family,” President Nelson said, “but it is also because this is the first Thursday of the month. This is our temple day.”
President Nelson explained that the first Thursday of every month is a time for General Authorities to gather in the temple to sing, pray and partake of the sacrament together and, when called upon, to respond to an invitation by President Thomas S. Monson to speak. “In my mind I can picture President Monson calling upon Bruce for such a message,” President Nelson said. “Bruce would not speak very long before his yearnings would veer to his family, his precious family whom he adores.”
President Nelson invited Elder Porter’s family to stay close to their father, husband and grandfather “because he lives. He will be pulling and praying for you from the other side of the veil.”
In addition to expressing feelings of gratitude, love and compassion to Elder Porter’s wife, Sister Susan Holland Porter, and their family, President Nelson thanked Sister Porter for her tender care of her husband. “Without you, Bruce would not have lived as long or accomplished as much as he did. And he truly did what he alone was raised up to do.”
President Nelson said Sister Porter and the Lord were Elder Porter’s “rod and staff when he walked so many times through the valley of the shadow of death. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life. You, Bruce and your family will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”
At the conclusion of his remarks, President Nelson read a letter from the First Presidency addressed to Sister Porter.
The letter noted the quality of Elder Porter’s life and expressed appreciation for his dedicated service in the Church: “Elder Porter blessed many lives as he compassionately ministered to those under his watchful care. His example of devotion as a husband, father and grandfather and servant of the Lord influenced the lives of loved ones and all with whom he came in contact.”
In his remarks, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy described Elder Porter as someone he looked up to “both physically and spiritually.”
Elder Hallstrom recalled that he had frequent correspondence with Elder Porter while he served as president of the Europe East Area. Elder Porter signed every letter, “We carry on with confidence because we know the Lord is in charge.”
In his interactions with Elder Porter in the weeks prior to his passing, Elder Hallstrom said on every occasion Elder Porter assured him, “I am at peace.”
“If Bruce Douglas Porter could stand today and communicate with us physically, he would say, ‘Brothers and sisters, be at peace. Have faith in Jesus Christ. Know that through the difficulties, the challenges, the trials of life, whether they be personal, whether they be political, whether they be part of the unfolding of the Kingdom of God, be at peace. The Lord is in charge.’ ”
Elder Porter’s four children recalled their father’s love, brilliant mind, inspired counsel and patience in suffering. David W. Porter observed that his father had many reasons to grow bitter or despondent, but greeted each day with a “broad, bright smile” and spread love and joy to those around him because he found strength and hope in his belief in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Elder Porter never once asked “Why me?” said daughter Jennifer A. Anderson. Instead, said daughter Lisa J. Brooks, in the face of his various health challenges, “he pressed forward, he exercised patience and faith as he waited for his prayers and ours to be answered. He determined to do what he could.”
Son Christopher J. Porter offered thanks to those gathered. “We feel blessed and sustained by you. We feel so much love coming from you and from the leaders of this Church whom my dad knew and loved.”
Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy conducted the services. Salt Lake Tabernacle organist Clay Christiansen provided the musical accompaniment. Clayton Christensen, a personal friend of Elder Porter’s, offered the invocation and Elder Porter’s sister, Becky Porter Rogers, gave the benediction.
Elder Porter was interred at the Lakeview Memorial Cemetery in Bountiful, Utah.