Ten bishops return to ward; tributes, remembrances flow

Tributes and remembrances flowed when 10 of the 12 bishops who have served in the Kearns 13th Ward were reunited Oct. 28.

The 31-year-old ward, originally in the Kearns North Stake and now part of the Kearns Utah East Stake, staged a dinner, open house and program. Also in attendance were four of the six stake presidents who have served during the time the ward has been in existence.Activities were organized by Fred Griffiths, who still lives in the ward and was eighth of the 12 bishops. Griffiths' son, Darlynn, is now bishop.

"This reunionT was all Dad's idea," said Bishop Griffiths. "I have had dealings with almost all of these bishops while growing up, and we have had relationships with many of them outside of Church. One is our family's insurance representative; another is our dentist; one was my seminary teacher; another was my first home teaching companion; another interviewed me prior to receiving the Aaronic Priesthood; and yet another sent me on a mission to South Africa."

Robert B. Harbertson, recently released from the Second Quorum of the Seventy, was called as the first bishop of the ward in 1958. He was 26 years old at the time.

"It was a very precious time in our lives," recalled the former General Authority. "Some of those people are still living here. I really worried because I was so young, but we had a great ward."

Brother Harbertson remembers that when the ward was created, it shared one building with the seven other wards in the stake, although the meetinghouse was the largest in the Church and had two chapels.

"I didn't have an office," he said. "I moved one of my kids out of a bedroom and used that as an office for six months. Then they gave us the high council coat closet for an office. We had the cultural hall twice a quarter for activities. But we had many wonderful experiences with activation and temple attendance through the Senior Aaronic Program. It taught me that it isn't the buildings that build people and bring them unto Christ."