Family, friends, community leaders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the globe paid tribute to Elder Richard G. Scott — "a man of God for all seasons" — during his funeral, held Monday, Sept. 28, in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
“He loved people, he loved his family; he loved his Heavenly Father,” said President Thomas S. Monson of Elder Scott, who died Sept. 22, 2015. He was 86.
Elder Scott — a devoted husband and father, nuclear engineer and a talented artist — served as member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for 27 years.
President Monson presided at the funeral, which was conducted by President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, and broadcast live on television and streamed on LDS.org. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder M. Russell Ballard, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, offered prayers. In addition to President Monson, Elder Scott's son, Michael W. Scott; Elder D. Todd Christofferson; and President Russell M. Nelson also spoke. Music was provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Following are summaries of the funeral addresses:
President Thomas S. Monson
Elder Richard G. Scott was “a man of God for all seasons,” President Thomas S. Monson said of his friend and, for nearly 40 years, his colleague in the high leadership councils of the Church.
“He loved people, he loved his family; he loved his Heavenly Father,” the Church president said, quoting the words of Christ, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).
President Monson said Elder Scott “was blessed with an insightful mind, a keen intellect and a charitable spirit” and that he “was more than capable of handling any task that came his way, and he always did so with complete thoroughness and great skill.”
He said the apostle’s smile opened the hearts of others and that he “was equally at home with the poor and underprivileged as with the rich and famous.” He said that Elder Scott and his wife, Jeanene, “walked hand in hand the pathway of mortality. She was at his side as he fulfilled every calling he received — until she passed away in 1995. Oh, how he missed her! They were true partners in life. They will be partners through all eternity.”
Calling Elder Scott “a gentle soul,” President Monson said, “He taught us lovingly. May we demonstrate in our lives and by our actions the lessons he has indelibly impressed upon us — lessons of courage, lessons of patience, lessons of faith and lessons of devotion. All these things Richard G. Scott taught us both in word and in deed.”
President Monson applied the words of poet Amanda Bradley to Elder Scott: “Someone who takes time to think of other people’s needs, and warm so many hearts with gentle words and thoughtful deeds; someone who’s glad to share, so glad to help and give and care, adds something very special to the world.”
Elder Scott, President Monson said, is no stranger or foreigner where he has gone but is a fellow citizen with the noble brethren with whom he has served. “His record is known in heaven, and there his natural modesty will of necessity yield its treasure trove of good deeds and faithful service.”
President Monson spoke of his visit to the home of Elder Scott the past Tuesday, just prior to his passing, during which he, assisted by the apostle’s son, Michael Scott, blessed him. “I felt our Heavenly Father’s great love for him as I did so,” he said. “I expressed gratitude for his many years of dedicated service, for his willing attitude and for his undeviating faith. I told him we loved him and thanked him for touching our lives for good.”
President Monson concluded, “Richard, our cherished friend, we have loved you here. We will love you there.”
President Henry B. Eyring
While conducting the funeral, President Henry B. Eyring said the General Authorities and general auxiliary presidencies and their families join the First Presidency in expressing their love and heartfelt condolences to the Scott family.
“My heart is tender as I reflect upon the memories I have shared with him over the years,” said President Eyring. “Elder Scott watched over me when I was a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve. He was, for me, ever the good shepherd. “
President Eyring said it was a blessing to come to know Elder Scott’s wife and family.
He said he and Elder Scott shared a love of painting. “We worked together doing watercolors — he the teacher and I the student,” President Eyring said.
“Like each of you, I will miss his kind words and his vibrant faith in Jesus Christ, which touched and lifted us. His wonderful influence lives on and will endure in our hearts. “
President Russell M. Nelson
President Russell M. Nelson recalled several experiences he shared with Elder Scott as the two fulfilled assignments together as Apostles, including a trip to Central America in April 1990.
“I was thrilled when I watched Elder Scott teach missionaries and members in the Spanish language,” President Nelson said. “Not only was he fluent, he was brilliant, filled with animation and excitement as he taught by the Spirit.”
At the time, Elder Scott and Elder Nelson had been authorized to dedicate the countries of El Salvador and Nicaragua which were experiencing civil unrest. “While sounds of gunfire were clearly audible, we dedicated El Salvador on the veranda of a private home,” President Nelson recalled.
Two days later, the two decided to travel to Nicaragua just long enough to dedicate the country. Miraculously, they were able to obtain air transportation, the usual currency exchange and visas were waived, and they were able to obtain entrance to Masaya National Park where Elder Scott dedicated the country in the Spanish language.
Two years later, the two Apostles traveled together to the African continent where they labored in 15 countries in 15 days.
“Elder Scott was tireless in his energy and engaging with the people wherever we went,” President Nelson said. “He consecrated his life to serve all people. Regardless of their nationality, race, or language, he understood the worth of each precious soul that he met. His compassion is legendary. I have watched him teach. I have watched him lift. I have watched him love the people all over the world.”
President Nelson told of a card Elder Scott presented to him after the two returned from an assignment together. On one side of the card was a photo of one of Elder Scott’s beautiful watercolor paintings. On the other side was a handwritten message of love. “I have kept this card on display in my office ever since as a reminder of his loving, personal way of expression,” President Nelson said.
Elder Scott’s teachings, President Nelson noted, have impacted individuals spiritually throughout the world.
“Thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, now Elder Scott is experiencing the joy of moving forward. He is free from the fetters of mortality. He is reaping the rewards of a life well lived. He has qualified for all the blessings that a loving Father in heaven has in store for His faithful children. Elder Scott is reunited with his dear Jeanene, their children, parents, and countless others whom they have loved and served. Elder Scott will continue his Apostolic ministry with His Master. Elder Scott will ‘be received into the kingdom of the Father to go no more out, but to dwell with God eternally in the heavens’ (3 Nephi 28:40).”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and former missionary who served under Elder Scott said he wanted to speak "for the approximately 600 full-time missionaries who served under Richard G. Scott in the North Argentine Mission during his four-year tenure as mission president.” He recounted then-President Scott’s devotion to duty. “He asked us to work hard, but none of us could work harder than he,” said Elder Christofferson. “He called us to study the scriptures, and led the way.”
When then-Elder Spencer W. Kimball toured the mission, President Scott spent an entire night marking his scriptures with what he learned from how Elder Kimball marked his set, he said.
Elder Scott felt it his errand from the Lord to administer the healing balm of Christ’s grace to “the wounded, the overburdened, the weighed-down, the hopeless, those who had sinned and those who had been sinned against,” Elder Christofferson said. Elder Scott loved to teach, encourage and counsel.
Despite their share of trials, including the deaths of two of their children, Elder and Sister Scott were sustained by their faith in Jesus Christ, Elder Christofferson said. “Elder Scott was at his best when teaching and testifying of the infinite reach of the infinite Atonement of Christ, and the joy to be found in turning to God,” he said.
While he trusted his mission president to always do the right thing, Elder Christofferson had only one experience where he might have doubted that commitment. On a trip with then-President Scott, he turned down a narrow road to a winery, then left the car with the missionaries inside to go buy something. “I began to wonder where a missionary goes to report that his president has taken up drinking,” Elder Christofferson said. “He came back with a box of what looked like wine bottles, and with a mischievous smile that betrayed how much he was enjoying our discomfort, told us that this was the best grape juice ever made.”
The example that President and Sister Scott set of “what it means to love and cherish a companion in marriage and to devote one’s best efforts to one’s children” was a constant sermon to their missionaries, Elder Christofferson said.
After her death in 1995, “Elder Scott spoke movingly during those years of her influence in his life, and urged — or rather commanded) us to love and serve our companions with greater and greater devotion. How we rejoice that they are together once more, and not just again, but forever,” he said.
“To sit with my mission president in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the last seven years has been an incomparable blessing to me,” Elder Christofferson said. While he felt his mission president was perfect, as many missionaries do, “as we were together in that circle and in assignments abroad, Elder Scott was always encouraging, quick to express confidence, eager to praise and express his love.”
In recent years and as Elder Christofferson saw him less frequently, “[Elder Scott] seemed to have grown more saintly, more pure,” he said. “I thought of Alma’s question: ‘Can ye look up to God with a pure heart and clean hands? can ye look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?’ Yes, yes he could, and yes, he does” (Alma 5:19).
Michael W. Scott
“Dad excelled at most things in his life because of the choices he made,” Michael W. Scott, Elder Scott’s son, said of his father. “He chose to make things great and they were.”
Brother Scott shared many personal experiences about his father, recognizing the apostle’s great example of faith and devotion.
“When dad was born in Pocatello, Idaho on November 7, 1928, I doubt anyone knew just how great and noble of a spirit he was,” he said. “Dad was born to a father that was not a member of the Church, and to a mother, that although a member, had not been active for many years.”
Elder Scott did not have a “typical Mormon boyhood,” his son said.
“Much of what he learned about the gospel came from my great-grandmother and from Church leaders that sought him out,” Brother Scott said. “His Church participation was limited to whenever someone would come looking for him and take him. I’m sure those leaders had no idea that the young man they were reaching out to would later become an important leader of the Church.”
Perhaps, Elder Scott’s own experience is why he was so good at reaching out to the one — the less active, the lonely, the discouraged, the downtrodden — his son said.
Recognizing life is a time of testing, filled with adversity, Brother Scott spoke of his father’s ability to fill his life with happiness. Whether it was through music, art, or exploring in places off the beaten path, he was able to find joy — even in difficult circumstances.
“He also had a great sense of humor,” he said. “He loved to tell jokes.”
Sharing a few of the “defining moments” of his father’s life, Brother Scott spoke of the loving relationship his father had with his mother, Jeanene.