Elder Rulon G. Craven, emeritus General Authority Seventy, died on Feb. 6, 2017, in Centerville, Utah, at the age of 92. He served as a General Authority Seventy from 1990 until 1996.
Born to Gerald and Susie Schultz Craven in Murray, Utah, on Nov. 11, 1924, Elder Craven was the oldest of four children. He grew up in Boise, Idaho.
During World War II, young Rulon joined the Merchant Marines. At the time, he did not qualify for regular military service because of his weight — he was 22 pounds below the minimum weight. In an Ensign article from 1991, Elder Craven credits his love for the Book of Mormon to his time in the service.
“While I was in the service, I read the Book of Mormon and fell in love with its truth,” said Elder Craven.
During his two years of service in the military, Elder Craven’s faith continued to grow as he saw his life preserved — something he had been promised in his patriarchal blessing. After serving for two years, Elder Craven returned to Boise, Idaho, where he decided to serve a mission. He was called to serve in New Zealand.
It was after his mission while attending Brigham Young University that he met his future wife, Donna Lunt. They were married on March 23, 1953, in the Mesa Arizona Temple, and are the parents of six children. One of their children, Terie Lee, died at seven weeks old.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in science from BYU, his professional career included 20 years as director of the off-campus housing program and later as administrative assistant for business at Brigham Young University.
Prior to his call to be a General Authority, Elder Craven presided over the New Zealand North Mission from 1967-1970. Other callings included Regional Representative, a member of the Sunday School General Board, stake presidency member and bishop.
In June 1974, the Presiding Bishopric extended a call to him to serve as general director for the Aaronic Priesthood Department. In 1977, President Ezra Taft Benson, then president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, asked him to serve as secretary to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was in that position from 1977-1990.
As a General Authority Seventy he served as second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, second counselor in the North America Central Area presidency, second counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency, president of the Pacific Area, second counselor in the North America Southeast Area, Assistant Executive Director of the Missionary Department and second counselor in the Asia Area.
After his release as a General Authority Seventy, Elder Craven served in the Bountiful Utah Temple presidency, from 1997-1998. In 1998 he was called to serve as president of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple and served in that capacity until 2001.
Described as “organized and methodical,” Elder Craven spent his free time writing; he wrote many books on missionary work, leadership and gospel principles.
Elder Craven is survived by his wife, Donna; five children, 22 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. Funeral services were to be held Friday, Feb. 10, at 11 a.m. in the Centerville Utah Stake Center.