Elder Dean L. Larsen dies at age 92

Elder Dean L. Larsen passed away on Monday morning, Oct. 28, at his home in Provo, Utah. He was 92 years old.

Elder Larsen served as a General Authority Seventy from October 1976 to October 1997. He presided over the Provo Utah Temple from 1998 to 2001.

Prior to his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Larsen served on the Church Priesthood Missionary Committee, on the Sunday School General Board and as a Regional Representative of the Twelve. He served as president of the Texas South Mission with headquarters in San Antonio from 1967 to 1970.

Elder Larsen received his call as a General Authority from President Spencer W. Kimball on Sept. 23, 1976. He served in the Presidency of the Seventy from 1980 to 1993. Elder Larsen had been serving as Church historian and recorder since 1985 when he was released and designated as an emeritus member of the Seventy in 1997.

Elder Dean L. Larsen, right end, stands with Elder M. Russell Ballard, left end, President Howard W. Hunter, and Elders Russell M. Nelson and Joseph B. Wirthlin to watch the cornerstone laying at the dedication of the Las Vegas Temple in 1989.
Elder Dean L. Larsen, right end, stands with Elder M. Russell Ballard, left end, President Howard W. Hunter, and Elders Russell M. Nelson and Joseph B. Wirthlin to watch the cornerstone laying at the dedication of the Las Vegas Temple in 1989. Credit: Church News archives

During his time as a General Authority, Elder Dean L. Larsen gave 11 talks in general conference. He spoke to the brethren in the general priesthood session in 1992 about how the Lord blesses and prospers His people when they keep the commandments.

“As the world continues to ripen in iniquity, our lives of necessity must become increasingly different from the world and its standard. It will be a great challenge for us,” he said. “We must be better than we have ever been before. As we succeed, we have the sure promise of the Lord that he will prosper us in every way necessary for our well-being. That is my faith and my testimony.”

Dean LeRoy Larsen was born on May 24, 1927, in Hyrum, Utah. After serving in the U.S. Navy following World War II, Elder Larsen started school at the University of Utah and played basketball. One year later he transferred to Utah State University, where he graduated. He married Geneal Johnson in 1948 during his college years.

In 1952, Elder Larsen and Geneal moved to Lovell, Wyoming, where he taught high school English. He took over coaching for the basketball team and led the team to its first state championship in basketball. The Larsens then spent time in the cities of Byron and Worland, where Elder Larsen continued to be involved in education. The next stop was Brigham City, Utah.

While teaching seminary at the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Elder Larsen became assistant coordinator for the Indian Seminary Program of the Church in 1961. He then served as executive secretary of the Church’s Indian Committee, which was then chaired by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Following his time as mission president, Elder Larsen taught Institute classes at Weber State College in Ogden. He was then named coordinator of curriculum planning for the Internal Communications Department of the Church in 1972. Elder Larsen became director for the department of instructional materials a year later. In January 1976, he was named editor of the Church magazines and received his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy later that year.

During his first general conference address in October 1976, Elder Larsen said, “I desire with all my heart the sustaining influence of the Lord and the influence of your faith and prayers as I accept this new assignment. I have told the Lord that I am his to use however he sees fit. I have also made that pledge to President Kimball, and I am sustained in that by a loving, faithful wife and a loyal family.”

Elder Larsen was preceded in death by his wife, Geneal, who passed away in January 2016, and a daughter, who passed away in March 1963. He is survived by five of their children, 17 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.