Elder Bruce D. Porter, 64, who was serving at Church Headquarters as a General Authority Seventy, died on Dec. 28, 2016, at his home.
In making the announcement of Elder Porter’s death, a Church spokesman said:
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy died at his home last evening, surrounded by his family. Elder Porter, age 64, succumbed to a pulmonary infection that developed in recent weeks. Until earlier this month he served as the President of the Europe East Area.
“In early December he was released from that position and assigned to serve at Church headquarters. Our gratitude, thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Susan, and their family. We are profoundly grateful for the valiant service he offered to the very end of his life. He will be greatly missed.”
Elder Porter’s funeral was scheduled for Jan. 5, after press time for the Church News. A report on the service will be published in the issue for the week of Jan. 15; and immediately online at ldschurchnews.com.
In an interview with the Church News when he was called as a General Authority in 1995, Elder Porter said that it was during a family vacation to the coast of Spain that he realized he wanted to consecrate his life to the service of Christ. “I came back a profoundly changed person,” he said. “It was then, more than at any other one time, that I wanted to give my whole life in all dimensions to the Lord. And I understood it was possible to do that not just on Sunday or in Church service, but in all dimensions of life.”
Since that day, he followed through with that resolve. Elder Porter was called to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 2, 1995, then to the First Quorum on April 5, 2003. Since being called as a General Authority, he served in the Salt Lake City Area Presidency, on the Middle East/Africa North Desk, as Executive Director of the Correlation Department, and as President of the Europe East Area. Before that, he served as a bishop, branch president, counselor in a stake presidency, and full-time missionary in the Düsseldorf Germany Mission.
Bruce Douglas Porter was born to Lyle Kay and Wilma Holmes Porter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Sept. 18, 1952, as the eldest of five children. While he was a young man, his family moved to Washington, D.C., for one year. “That move had a big impact on me. It widened my horizons,” he told the Church News. “We had to travel long distances, which resulted in lengthy discussions about the gospel. That experience played a significant role in developing my testimony.”
Elder Porter married Susan Elizabeth Holland in February 1977, and they became the parents of four children. “Early in our dating, I was touched by his commitment to the gospel,” Sister Porter said in an interview with the Church News. “Since that time I have seen that commitment bless my life and the lives of our children.”
Elder Porter earned a bachelor’s degree in history from BYU in 1976, a master’s degree in Russian studies from Harvard University in 1978, and a doctorate in political science, also from Harvard University in 1979.
Prior to his full-time Church service, Elder Porter was a professor of political science at Brigham Young University. Before that, he was the Bradley Senior Research Fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard, and had spent five years as executive director of the Board for International Broadcasting which oversaw two broadcasting stations that penetrated the information blackout in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
“I’ve visited Russia many times in the past few years,” Elder Porter told the Church News in 1995. “I have a great love and admiration for the Russian people, who have suffered so much.”
Later, while serving in the Europe East Area, he participated in a 25th Anniversary Gala Concert celebrating the day the Church was officially registered in Kyiv, Ukraine. “This was a truly milestone event, which is hard for me to praise enough in words,” he said in a Church News article Sept. 22, 2016. “Ukraine is ahead of many countries in regard to freedom of religion. You are blessed to live here and to have the opportunity to believe and worship ‘according to the dictates of [your] own conscience.’ Please remember how blessed you are.”
In his most recent general conference address, “Beautiful Mornings,” given in April 2013, Elder Porter said, “We need not fear the future, nor falter in hope and good cheer, because God is with us.”