Episode 72: Bishop Keith B. McMullin on key Christlike leadership principles that bless work, life and family

After decades of business leadership and general Church service, Bishop Keith B. McMullin has learned many principles of successful leadership — skills that are needed now more than ever during this time defined by the pandemic, political tensions, social strife and war.

As the chief executive officer of Deseret Management Corp., an emeritus general authority and former member of the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and former managing director of the Church’s Welfare Services, he understands that following the example of the Savior will strengthen Church, work and family leadership.

Bishop McMullin joins this episode of the Church News podcast to share his experiences and observations on outstanding leadership.

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Bishop Keith B. McMullin: It is important that we find our way through these turbulent times with faith and devotion to God and hearkening to the counsel of His prophet leaders. The first thing that we need to understand about living successfully through the times and seasons that we find ourselves is that we need to deepen our spirituality and understand that we are really in charge of ourselves, and that we are making those decisions as leaders of ourselves, if you will, that will grow us and develop us in the right way, or will lead us down the wrong path. If we hearken to the counsel of the living prophets, who are our spiritual leaders, we find that ample training, ample encouragement, ample instruction has been given for decades on how to cope with the last days. Now we may or may not have heeded it in the past, but it's never too late to heed it. We can begin now.

Sarah Jane Weaver: I'm Sarah Jane Weaver, editor of the Church News — welcome to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sarah Jane Weaver: During this time, when the world is defined by the COVID-19 pandemic and political tensions and strife, there has never been more need for leadership. This episode of the Church News podcast features Bishop Keith B. McMullin, president and chief executive officer of Deseret Management Corporation, and an Emeritus General Authority. Bishop McMullin served in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 to 2012. Prior to this, he served as managing director of the Church's welfare services, Bishop McMullin, thank you so much for joining this episode of the Church News podcast to talk to us about leadership.

Bishop Keith B. McMullin: Thank you, Sarah, for inviting me to participate. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: As we start today, I'm hoping you can just talk to us about some leadership qualities in business generally that are important to you.


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: I've thought about this aspect of leadership, Sarah, and I believe there are a few qualities that I value most highly. I would mention among the top ones in that category, that virtue of integrity. I think integrity is vital to sound and trustworthy leadership. I think it reflects in the attitude of the leader, and it certainly reflects in the responsiveness of those who are being led. There is an element of trust born of integrity that cannot be replaced by any other virtue in my judgment, and while I've seen many leaders in business, and I've seen some who demonstrate that quality to the nth degree, I have also seen how easy it is for the pressures of business to compromise that virtue, and hence compromise the leadership. So, integrity would be the top of my list. 

The second item that I would mention in terms of leadership quality is the ability of the leader to value the people he or she is leading. So often, things become the most important aspect of an enterprise. Those things might be widgets that are being produced or profits at the bottom line. But after all is said and done, it's the people that are of greatest value, have greatest worth to the enterprise, and to see a leader who values the people and is attentive to their needs, is I think, a quality of leadership. That's irreplaceable.

Sarah Jane Weaver: And you come from a background at Ford Motor Company before your Church service, but talk to us about leadership qualities you observed in the Church that may be different from those who observed in business or they may be the same.


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: Well, I think the items that I just mentioned, integrity and valuing the people, are leadership qualities that are to be present and are essential in any aspect of work that one's engaged in. But specifically the differences I noticed in coming from industry into the leadership responsibilities of the Church, I think: In industry, I found that the focus of leadership's purpose was rather narrow and specific, and had a very temporal horizon, if you understand what I mean. It had to do with the things of this world, and what was necessary for that particular enterprise to do during the course of its workdays in order to meet the standards or expectations of those who are stockholders or who were employees or who were union leaders or whatever aspect of leadership might be required. 

What I saw in coming to work at the Church was this: There was an eternal perspective breathed into everything that was done. In other words, the leaders of the Church were not leading in order to accomplish a specific end goal that dominated the purposes of the enterprise. Rather, the enterprise had, as its purpose, the blessing of all human family, and that that perspective, set in a spiritual or an eternal sense, made all the difference in terms of the type of leadership. No longer was the leader bound to one specific goal or objective; but rather, the leader was expected to expand his or her vision to include those things that I have just mentioned. 

The second thing that I noticed in terms of Church leadership is this: The leaders at the Church, specifically the prophets, seers, and revelators, are on the Lord’s errand, and they are His agents doing His business. And their leadership responsibilities are not to carry out their own ideas, but rather to carry out those impressions and revelatory instructions that they receive or that have been received by the prophets who preceded them, and so their whole purpose is different. And hence, we see, when that leadership changes, a continuity that continues in the affairs of the Church, even though the individuals might change. 

From left, Director of Welfare Services Terry Oakes, Bishop Richard Edgley, Bishop H. David Burton,
From left, Director of Welfare Services Terry Oakes, Bishop Richard Edgley, Bishop H. David Burton, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Bishop Keith McMullin listen during the dedication of the new Bishops' Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City on Jan. 26, 2012. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The other aspect of leadership that I saw that was quite different from the business world is this: In the business world, a new leader comes on board, and he or she is expected to perform according to what the pressures of the business might impose, or the expectations of the owners might be, and so they lead according to their interpretation of those things. In the context of Church leadership, as I've observed the presidents of the Church in particular, I have been fascinated by the fact that prophets always remember prophets. It's not they are now on the stage, and it is their turn, but they are simply carrying on that which the Lord is in charge of, and which He has revealed in the past, and is revealing in the present and will reveal in the future, and they are very much aware, as prophet leaders, of that continuity; and prophets, therefore, always respect those who preceded them, because they understand that they are not the leaders of the Church, the Lord is, and they are on His errand and are to do His bidding, and His divine continuity is essential to success. Therefore, they are His servants in bringing that about.

Sarah Jane Weaver: And the years you spent in the Presiding Bishopric had to be very instructional, as you had this front row seat to the global work of the Church, where today we have almost 17 million members in so many countries who need meetinghouses and materials in so many different languages. What is it like to actually look at leadership from a global perspective?


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: That's a very good question, and one that is unique in many ways to the Church, unique in terms of the scope of the work, global, as you have mentioned, and unique in terms of the purposes of the work, which purposes are the benefits and blessings of the members of the Church. 

First of all, the scope. Fortunately, we have good people working in the Church. They are outstanding leaders, they are devoted to the purposes that they have been entrusted with, and they understand that it is not their business, they are on the Lord's business. And so that makes all the difference in terms of the way they lead, the instructions they follow, and the instructions they give to others. You see a quality of leadership in these leaders that is different than in the leadership that one would see in a more business setting or worldly setting. 

Then, in terms of what they do: The purposes of these leaders is held in common, no matter where you are in the world, because all of those being affected are Heavenly Father's children, and He wants all of them blessed. And they all come with their own divine natures and gifts and abilities, and He is guiding them in their personal lives. And the Church is supplemented in strengthening and helping them in the sacred endeavors that he is urging them to follow in their own souls. And so you see the people who are leading the affairs of the Church, constantly sensitive to, “How is this going to affect the work of the Lord in the lives of His children?” And that brings an entirely different perspective to the work.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, that actually is a really beautiful sentiment, because the basic unit of the Church, as we all know, is the family, and every family in the Church either goes to a ward or a branch and has a bishop or a branch president that looks after their needs. So if you don't mind, let's talk about leadership on the most local levels.


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: Well, on the local level, you've mentioned the bishops. In my judgment, that's where everything comes together. And by that I mean the families and individual members of the Church come in contact with the leader who is representing the institutional Church at that basic level, and that is the bishop. There you see the interaction of human needs and emotions, and the interaction of Church policy and process of the interaction of repentance and faith with the interaction of ordinances and covenants. So, that particular type of leadership focuses on the spiritual and is vitally concerned with the spiritual progress of those who come under the purview of that particular leader's responsibilities. In the Church, we have other leaders who are attending to the physical affairs or the temporal affairs of the Church, the building of temples, the building of meetinghouses, the maintenance of them, the managing of the membership records, so that we know where we are and when we are there, and the handling of contributions that are sacred and used for the Lord's purposes. And those kinds of leadership skills are a bit different, because they're in a different arena and focused on some different purposes within the Lord's church. Having said that, the differences do not change the focus. The focus is always to help bring about Heavenly Father's purposes in the lives of the people. On the one hand, in the counseling, guiding and teaching settings of the local leaders in a ward or branch; and on the other hand, the providing of services and supporting of efforts necessary for sacred worship and the carrying out of people's desires to serve God and build His kingdom, through maintaining the temporal and spiritual affairs of the Church.

Scriptures are read by missionaries in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Sarah Jane Weaver: And we all have a beautiful blueprint for leadership, because we all have the scriptures and we can follow the example of the Savior Jesus Christ, as we strive to be the kind of leader he was. What have you learned about leadership from that example?


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: Well, the Savior, of course, is the penultimate example for all of us to follow in every aspect of life. When it comes to temporal affairs, He cautioned about letting them become the major purpose. Focus is always on the needs that are brought about through faith, repentance, and baptism, and the sacred ordinances that we all understand are important. By the same token, He encouraged us to be kind. He encouraged us to be gentle, He encouraged us to be honest and forthright, encouraged us to work for that which we receive and give an honest day's labor for that which we receive. So we see in the Savior's teachings, the elements of leadership in all aspects of our lives, and I think that the more a leader patterns his life or her life, and lifestyle, and leadership, faculties and capabilities after those set by the Savior, the more successful the leader will be. And the more one drifts from those, the less successful the leader will be.

Sarah Jane Weaver: You know, a few years ago, you blessed my life in a way that you may not know. When you came to Deseret Management Corporation as the leader, you spoke to the staff and recommended that every time we take on a new role, we purchase a new Book of Mormon and read it with that eye, with that perspective in mind. And you know, I did that when I became editor of the Church News, I did that when I became Relief Society President just last month, I did it when I was called to teach six five year olds in my ward’s Primary. And it really is an interesting process to read the Book of Mormon with a very clear role or responsibility in mind. Can you talk more about that?


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: Human beings are bound by certain mortal limitations. We talk a lot about dual tasking, but really, the ability for a human being to focus on multiple things at the same time, in the same way, with the same degree of efficiency, is quite constrained. The great benefit of the Book of Mormon is that it teaches us what we need to be and what we need to do in the context of what we have been entrusted with. And we therefore read the scriptures at home and are typically impressed by our surroundings: The responsibilities of home and family, wife or husband and children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and as we look at the scriptures, we receive what they have to offer, both in terms of instruction and in terms of inspiration in the context of that focus. But to take that focus and translate it into teaching a group of five year olds may not work quite as well. Nevertheless, those scriptures that we use at home, be they electronic, or printed, are all marked up and underlined and otherwise annotated, so as to reflect what we have learned in that particular setting, the home setting. When we move into a setting, such as a teaching responsibility or an administrative responsibility or a new work assignment, to read the Book of Mormon in that context will then not only instruct, but also inspire in the context of those newfound responsibilities. And it's much more edifying, much more enlightening, and much more broadening if we do so. So that's the reason why it is urged upon us. And I have found it to be pivotal in my life, just as you have said, Sarah. Each time I look at the scriptures in the context of the responsibilities that I have placed upon me, or am confronted with, I find added inspiration tailored to the opportunities and challenges that are before me.

Sarah Jane Weaver: And certainly, as we look on all of the leadership opportunities that you have had, and all of the good work you’ve done both in business and the Church, the time while you were head of welfare services, and then when you were serving in the Presiding Bishopric, you had the opportunity to observe many prophets. And I’d like to just break that down and maybe have you share something you learned from each one of those church leaders, and we can go in chronological order and have you start with President Spencer W. Kimball.


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: I became acquainted with President Kimball in a more work setting when I came to work with the Church in 1975, and went into the Church's welfare program, as you've mentioned. I was always deeply touched by his teachings and his leadership style and his vision. What I found in President Kimball was a man of unbounded love for others, irrespective of their circumstances or background. He was always one to reach out and embrace and encourage and lift. He could lift men and women higher than he even stood, but it was because he had a vision of what they could become, and he was most cognizant of the fact that he could build and lift people in the process. 

I also saw, in President Kimball, a need to move things, not just talk about things. Do it was, of course, one of his favorite urgings. But when one went in to visit with him about a particular initiative that might be under consideration and received from the First Presidency the nod to go ahead, and then 30 days later, go back to this First Presidency. Even if this next time was on another subject, he would go back to the previous topic, and ask, “How much progress have you made? How many of those have you built? How many are now operating?” And of course, in that brief period of time, there was very little that could have been done. But nonetheless, he kept the focus on we need to move forward, not just approve and think about. I see that same quality in President Nelson but expressed in a different way. He speaks of it in terms of hastening the work. I think President Kimball was the one who laid, in many ways, that groundwork for the hastening that we are now involved in.

A portrait of President Spencer W. Kimball, 12th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sarah Jane Weaver: Yes, certainly he asked us all to lengthen our strides. Of course, his leadership was followed by President Ezra Taft Benson.


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: President Benson was a superb administrator. He was a man of great faith, and he knew what he was responsible for as the president of the Church. There was no equivocation. He was a man of love and tenderness. I never experienced anything other than that in his presence, but I also had the feeling that he was very earnest in the responsibilities that rested upon his shoulders, and he wanted things to move forward in accordance with the Lord’s purposes without delay. And so he too, was building on what President Kimball impressed upon me, but he had a different style. He was much more interested in administrative matters and how they were being carried out, and relationships with others. So I learned a great deal, though my time with President Benson was somewhat brief. Nonetheless, it was a very rewarding experience.

President Howard W. Hunter served as President of the Church from 1994-1995. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sarah Jane Weaver: And I think all of us wish we'd had more time with President Howard W. Hunter, who led the Church from late 1994 to 1995. 


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: Indeed, President Hunter was a person who fostered confidence in the midst of calm. He fostered devotion in the spirit of love and kindness, and he fostered an eternal perspective in everything that one did. The temple was paramount in his life, and I think it became paramount in his leadership style, and the manner in which he impressed us with the importance of the word. He always had that eternal perspective in mind, and that was a remarkable thing.

Sarah Jane Weaver: And then comes President Gordon B. Hinckley. I remember the historic conference where he started announcing small temples and I thought, “How will we ever be able to cover all of these at Church News?” And I can’t imagine what you were feeling, thinking, “How are we ever going to build all of these?”

President Gordon B. Hinckley served as President of the Church from 1995-2008. | Intellectual Reserve, Inc.


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: President Hinckley was a remarkable leader. I was responsible, in the bishopric, for the construction and maintenance of temples; and the entire bishopric, of course, was involved in that, but the Presiding Bishop charged me with the duty of focusing on that aspect of the work. So, I was closely engaged with President Hinckley and many different settings. I recall when he had been to the colonies in Mexico, and had returned with the impression that we should expand the building of temples, I was sitting in his office, as were other general authorities, and some staff members. When he related the experience of his recent travel there, and how he felt like it was so far for them to travel from the colonies to Mesa, Arizona, to attend the temple and receive their temple blessings, and he said, “I have been thinking about how we can remedy that,” and then he began to describe what he called a small temple. He talked about its various features, what could be and should be, and what it should not be. He was very careful to distinguish between larger temples and smaller temples. He wanted the cost to be much more modest, and he wanted the temples to be erected much more quickly in order to expedite the blessings that the members of the Church could receive. Oh, and by the way, he also talked about the leadership of small temples and where they could be drawn from and how they could be more local, and a host of other things that he mentioned. I won’t go into those in detail. But as the meeting drew to a close, I had the temerity to ask — I said, “President, do you happen to have a sketch of what you have just outlined?” And he said, “As a matter of fact, I do.” He pulled up in his drawer and pulled out a little sketch on a piece of paper, and that’s, of course, in the Church archives today. But then he said, “I’ve been thinking — we should have 100 temples by the year 2000.” And we all were quite amazed at that goal, but we achieved it under his leadership.

A crowd gathers outside the Monticello Utah Temple on July 26, 1998, the morning of the temple's ded
A crowd gathers outside the Monticello Utah Temple on July 26, 1998, the morning of the temple's dedication. The temple is the first of the smaller temples announced by President Hinckley. | Ravell Call, Deseret News

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and then President Hinckley was followed by President Thomas S. Monson. 


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: President Monson, I have known for many, many years. I worked closely with him from the time that I came to Church employment in the welfare program of the Church, which was near and dear to him, and over which he had some direct responsibilities the entire time. My experiences with President Monson are rich and enduring. I think that I have had a longer tenure of experience with him than any of the prophets, with him as a member of the (Quorum of the) Twelve (Apostles), with him as a counselor in the First Presidency, and then with him as the President of the Church. He did more to knock off my rough edges than any other prophets. He could see them clearly. He was always loyal and kind and thoughtful, but he was also a man who helped you understand where you could improve and where you needed to improve, which I came to love, even though, sometimes, the guidance and encouragement could be a bit uncomfortable. I found that his style was interesting as a leader. In the Church environment, one was often asked as a general authority if correction were needed: “Do you want this direct or do you want it sugar coated?” And I have heard my associates as General Authorities often say, “I would like it direct.” I’m sure that they did express how they would like it, but when under President Monson’s tutelage, I always thought to myself, “I’ll take a little sugar coating with it,” because he was able to make things very clear, not unkind, but very clear, and he was loyal. He was just always attentive and loyal to the needs of those whom he was giving guidance to.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and he certainly cared about the welfare of so many people across the globe.


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: His love for people, and the downtrodden especially, knew no bounds, and it was demonstrated in his life. It was demonstrated in his ministry. It was demonstrated and prevalent in every decision that he made, you can see that he was concerned about the welfare of the soul.

Sarah Jane Weaver: A recent Church News podcast featured Sister Wendy Nelson talking about her husband’s four years as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it showed the depth and the breadth and the speed of his administration. What have you learned from President Nelson?


President Russell M. Nelson | Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Bishop Keith B. McMullin: I have learned from him that minutia should not deter the work, that there are big things that need to be done, and we need to rise to the occasion and see those big things in the perspective that the Lord has, and be responsive to those urgings that come to us from the prophets and to us individually from the Holy Spirit. There is an urgency today that is captured in his counsel to hasten the work, which as I already said, is building upon the prophets who preceded him. There is a perspective about power and authority of the holy priesthood and the blessings of the temple that are underscored in his ministry, and there's a kindness and a love, and an encompassing understanding of how all of the affairs of the Church should and need to work together. And when I say the affairs of the Church, I mean, not solely the institutional affairs, but the family affairs, and the individual's affairs, how they all need to come together in harmony with what the Lord would have his children enjoy. 

And so we see the instructions to learn the gospel at home, supplemented and complemented by what is taught in the church, bringing about that wholesome kind of development and that unique wholeness to the kind of development that is required in this time and season. President Nelson is also a man who values people not because of their ethnicity, or their gender, or their economic background. He sees each and every person as a child of God, and I think has come to his ministry, with that background of tending to the needs of individuals, providing enrichment of perspective so essential to him as the Prophet. How can you work on a person's heart on the one hand, and not feel engaged with the individual's well being on the other? I think he felt all of that in his professional pursuits, and then his apostolic responsibilities. Those were demonstrated over and over again, and now we see them in grand array, as he leads the Church as the Lord's appointed prophet, seer and revelator.

President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints greet the Vargas family at the Hyde Park Visitors Center in London on Thursday, April 12, 2018. The boys are Juan David Vargas Saavedra, right, and Joseph Daniel Vargas Saavedra. | Ravell Call, Deseret News

Sarah Jane Weaver: I think we’ve spoken so much about his ability to minister in the moment. As I was introducing that question about his leadership, I noticed the ease of which I said the full name of the church. That has not always been the case. But the idea that he said, “Let’s use the proper and full name of the Church, and ask everyone to do that.” And that has happened in ways that I don’t think anyone dreamed could have.


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: That is indeed the case. I know that there have been numerous efforts to bring this about, but the time came when it had to be done, and the president of the Church, President Nelson, that was one of his first undertakings, and it has succeeded. The name of the Church is a sermon in and of itself, for those who are attentive to it. The Savior named his church, and asked that those who take upon themselves his name, be bearers of that moniker, that they are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has, I think, brought a renewed perspective of the importance of the kingdom of God on the earth, which the Church is, by definition. It is the kingdom of God on the earth. And we need to be attentive to that God who named it, and who is our Redeemer and Savior, and who leads His church.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and in this time, sort of the end of the last days, there's so many hard things that we face. Certainly, prophets have to do hard things, but all of us in our leadership also have to face hard things. It's easy to lead in good times. How do we step forward and lead in times that are not always good?


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: I think that's a very important question, and the answer deserves probably more time than we are able to give it here today. But I think if we understand that we are our own leaders; that is, Sarah Weaver is the leader of her life, and I am the leader of my life. And if we go just a little step further: You are in charge of your world, and I am in charge of my world. The president of the Church isn’t. The Savior has given us and Heavenly Father have given us the agency, that we are agents and we can act accordingly, and so we have the opportunity, the blessing and the challenge of being in charge of ourselves and and be in charge of our immediate world, whether that world is defined by family or friends, or whatever it happens to be. We are in charge of that. Because we are in charge of it, we can determine it, what happens, no matter the vicissitudes that may surround it. We can't turn back earthquakes, perhaps, but we can be prepared when the earthquake comes, prepared in faith, prepared in spiritual depth, and we can be prepared in physical things. We can follow what we have been counseled to do for many years, and we can be protected and preserved and able to carry on in our world, irrespective of the vicissitudes of life that may beset us. 

So the first thing that we need to understand about living successfully through the times and seasons that we find ourselves is that we need to deepen our spirituality, and understand that we are really in charge of ourselves, and that we are making those decisions as leaders of ourselves, if you will, that will grow us and develop us in the right way, or will lead us down the wrong path. And that's entirely within our scope of responsibility and capability. 

Then, of course, if we hearken to the counsel of the living prophets, who are our spiritual leaders, we find that ample training, ample encouragement, ample instruction has been given for decades, on how to cope with the last days. Now, we may or may not have heeded it in the past, but it’s never too late to heed it, we can begin now, and we can prepare ourselves to the extent we possibly can and have the faith that the Lord will magnify those preparations to our blessing. As more difficult times beset us, it is important that we find our way through these turbulent times with faith and devotion to God, and hearkening to the counsel of His prophet-leaders.

Sarah Jane Weaver: And Bishop McMullin, I'm so grateful that you talked about us each being personally responsible for the things that happened to us; and by extension, those people that are part of our lives, our families. We've talked a lot about leadership in the Church and leadership in business. What have you learned about leadership in your home from your family, your wife and your children?


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: I have learned a number of things and many I will not try to expand upon here, but I have learned the importance of listening to my wife. Her counsel is invaluable, because the two of us have the responsibility for this family, and she is as entitled to the inspiration of heaven and the spiritual strength necessary for us to succeed as am I. So, listening to my wife has been something that I have come to understand in a very personal way, and it has been a great blessing. 

Understanding that the needs of children begin with their birth and even before their birth as you parents prepare for that sacred event, but they never stop until the parents are gone to the other side, and then they're on their own here, and perhaps they don't even end there, but that's where my perspective ends. The needs of children continue, but the way in which parents and children interact change, and the ability to change as the children grow older and assume their own responsibilities as leaders of their own families, and then being there to assist and interact with the grandchildren, and those whom your children have married and their family traditions. All of that is a growing experience that we go through, and I have learned that we have to be attentive to those changes, and not assume that the way it was when the children were five is the way it needs to be when they're 35, and when the grandchildren come along not to assume that they should be reared the way we reared our own children, but to trust that if we have done our part with our children, they will receive the revelation and inspiration needful to rear up our grandchildren in light and truth. So, it's a learning experience in leadership that just continues. It never ends.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, this has been a great learning experience today for me to have a few minutes to talk to you about leadership. We end each Church News podcast with the same question, we always give our guests the last word. And so today, I'm hoping that you can conclude for us and answer the question, “What do you know now?” after serving in the Church and leading DMC about leadership, and we hope you'll also show your testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with us.


Bishop Keith B. McMullin: Well, I am 80 plus years old, and those years have brought about the great changes in my life for the better, and pointed out things that I yet need to improve upon going forward. I have learned that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the keeping of His commandments are paramount to happiness, and that anything that compromises those principles and practices will compromise one's happiness, and if one wants to be secure in life, have faith in the Lord and His teachings and act accordingly, and keep His commandments. And he will always sustain us when we do, so that I'm absolutely certain of, because it has been demonstrated to me over and over again. 

I have come to appreciate the worth of the soul, whomever I am around. I don't know that I always demonstrate that as fully as I should, but I do appreciate the fact that each and every man and woman, boy and girl, of whatever background, has a spark of the divine, and is the offspring of Heavenly Parents. I am grateful for that. I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who has made that clear to us. And that relationship, if properly viewed, pushes aside biases and prejudices and intemperance and intolerance, and all of the other things that can so easily beset us, and replaces those less honorable features of our mortal beings with love and kindness and gentleness, long-suffering and patience. If we don't have those virtues incorporated into our being, we're not becoming what Heavenly Father would have us become; and even more importantly, once we have them in our being, then we have the capability to bless others in like manner, and we lose that capability if we don't have those virtues in our own lives. 

Finally, my testimony of the Lord and His work has deepened immensely over the years. I have come to appreciate what it means to have a Savior, to be able to turn to Him when in times of distress, and in times of plenty, to give thanks to God in His holy name, with a great plan of happiness that was established in the world before this one, and to know that Heavenly Father is attentive to the needs of each and every one of His children, irrespective of where they are on the face of the earth or what their circumstances may be. His love is boundless. His attentiveness is ever present. His Holy Son is ministering to them and each and every need that they may have, and the Holy Spirit is sent to them, if they will receive those impressions and act upon them. I know God lives. I know that with every fiber of my being, and I know that His Holy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the life and the light and the hope of the world and is my personal Redeemer, for which I am deeply grateful, and which I share with you, Sarah, and those who may listen, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host, Church News editor Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you have learned something today about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window. Please remember to subscribe to this podcast. And if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others. Thanks to our guests, to my producer, KellieAnn Halvorsen, and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channel or with other news and updates about the Church on

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