The summer before Elder Mark D. Eddy’s senior year of high school, a seminary teacher invited him and other members of their seminary student council to read the Book of Mormon.
He had read this standard work many times with his family, but this was his first time reading it by himself. He decided to pray before and after he read each day. He anticipated a clear testimony would come within a week or two.
More than two months later and somewhere in 3 Nephi, he had yet to receive his spiritual confirmation and was feeling concerned.
Hours before a welcome-back devotional in which he was asked to bear his testimony, young Mark Eddy arrived early to help set up and found a quiet place to read and pray.
“I received that clear and unmistakable feeling that it was true,” he said. “Not only did the answer come just in time for my talk that evening, but the process of receiving it took enough work and lasted just long enough for me to never forget. Going back to that foundational experience has allowed me to always remember and know what I learned that afternoon.”
Mark David Eddy was born in Long Beach, California, on March 30, 1973, to Richard Cleighton Eddy and Mary Louise Savage Eddy. He is the fifth of eight children in a family of four boys and four girls.
The family moved to Orem, Utah, when his father accepted a position at Brigham Young University in 1981. There he was raised in a devout Latter-day Saint family.
“I don’t ever recall a time in my life when I didn’t have a feeling deep in my soul that the gospel is true,” he said.
His early life and faith were shaped by daily family prayer and scripture study. His parents and siblings were key influences and examples. He was also surrounded by good friends, faithful Young Men leaders and bishops.
One of Elder Eddy’s greatest influences is his father, who often couldn’t be with his teenage son in weekly priesthood meetings because he was serving in leadership positions outside the ward.
“That taught me an unspoken lesson that I’ve reflected on many times through the years,” he said. “His quiet example of service and devotion taught me in a lasting way that: ‘This is what we do, this is who we are. We serve. We are willing to devote whatever time we are asked to devote.’ That was instilled in me at a young age. I didn’t recognize it until later on in life, but it has been an important example for me.”
Elder Eddy also came to appreciate his mother’s prayerful relationship with Heavenly Father, which helped her provide wise counsel to her teenage son.
“After so many experiences with my mom’s counsel I began to learn that she was inspired, which made it easier for me to start paying attention and heeding her advice,” Elder Eddy said. “My mom and dad were quite a team in the way they loved and raised us. The gospel meant everything to them.”
A full-time mission was always in Elder Eddy’s plans, and he “served in the perfect mission for me” — the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission under the tutelage of President Mark Jarman and Sister Sylvia Jarman.
A turning point and valuable life lesson came around the 10-month mark of his service as he began to develop ulcers. Medical tests revealed he needed to learn a less-stressful way to be a missionary. Shortly thereafter he was blessed to serve with a companion who would help him discover a new part of the joy of missionary work.
“He was the most humorous, obedient and diligent missionary that you can imagine. He had this ability to see the humorous side of everyday life,” Elder Eddy said. “I learned to laugh, to smile and to experience joy while retaining all of my desire to be a devoted and consecrated missionary.”
“I needed to learn that balance,” he continued. “It was a challenge for me, but what a blessing came out of that challenge. That experience at 20 years old shaped the next 29 years of my life.”
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One of the first people Elder Eddy’s father encouraged him to visit when he returned home was Annette “Annie” Allen. The two met in high school and dated frequently while Mark attended BYU before his mission. They agreed to write to one another as friends while he served his mission, but Mark was hopeful she would still be around when he returned.
“I was absolutely smitten. I was convinced that she was the best person I had ever met,” he said. “If I were lucky enough to convince her that I was worth her time, I knew that life would be good.”
The day he returned home, Elder Eddy was released as a missionary and sat down to a reunion dinner with his family before his father suggested he go visit Annie.
He didn’t need to be nudged twice. He took his little sister — still feeling the need to have “a companion” — and drove to her home, where they enjoyed a delightful visit with Annie and her family. The feelings that existed before his mission returned, and they began dating. After three months they were married.
“I’ve always been grateful for his testimony,” Sister Annie Eddy said. “He’s always tried to do what is right, and I’m grateful for his righteous example to our children. I’m grateful that I married somebody who I know loves me, enjoys spending time with me and wants to be the best father he can.”
Elder Eddy’s involvement with his high school seminary council convinced him to become a seminary teacher. Months before graduation, he was a seminary student teacher with the expectation of full-time employment when he realized the Lord wanted him to do something else.
“I had gone through almost my entire undergraduate college experience without inquiring of the Lord what it was that I was supposed to do because I didn’t believe that He would tell me not to be a seminary teacher,” he said. “Yet I realized there was another path He wanted me to pursue.”
As Elder Eddy considered business school, he received a clear answer that he should attend law school. He hadn’t considered law school and was a little confused but followed the prompting. His J. Reuben Clark Law School experience was greatly influenced by many professors, two of whom became personal “heroes” — Kevin J Worthen, who later became BYU’s president, and Elder James R. Rasband, who was later called to be a General Authority Seventy.
“They were my heroes because they had the wisdom to seek and gain all of the intelligence and the knowledge that a law school education could offer, and yet retain their people-focused commitment to serve and to love others,” Elder Eddy said. “Their examples helped me as a young attorney to remember that as much as arguments might need to be made and briefs might need to be written, it was still all about people. Maintaining a focus on people was a goal of mine when I practiced, partially because of their example.”
Elder and Sister Eddy presided over the Uruguay Montevideo Mission from 2016 to 2019. Along with the blessings of missionary work, their family had several life-changing experiences as they lived in a new country, learned a new language and met people from all over the world.
“It was certainly one of the most challenging things that we had ever done,” Elder Eddy said. “But it was also a time in life when we saw more miracles and received more blessings as a family than ever before.”
For Sister Eddy, serving in Uruguay strengthened her testimony of prayer and heavenly protection. She was also grateful for the missionaries’ influence on her children.
“Our children were able to see firsthand the blessings that come into the lives of missionaries when they are obedient and when they are loving and serving others,” she said. “There’s a joy that comes when you devote yourself to Heavenly Father, and it was a blessing for our children to learn from the example of the missionaries.”
His call as a General Authority Seventy has caused Elder Eddy to reflect on his life, perhaps as never before. He has realized that, across a lifetime of seeking to repent and improve through the love and grace of Jesus Christ, there has always been an encouraging, uplifting and optimistic feeling about that process.
“It’s as if the Savior has said to me: ‘We’re in this for the long haul. I know you have a long way to go, but I’m with you every step. There are no surprises. If you keep moving, I’ll keep lifting,’” he said. “That constant upward pull and encouragement has meant more to me personally than I can find the words to describe. It has meant everything to me, to our marriage, to our parenting, to our service in the Church, and to our relationships with family and friends. The Savior has meant everything.”
Family: Born in Long Beach, California, on March 30, 1973, to Richard Cleighton Eddy and Mary Louise Savage Eddy. He married Annette “Annie” Allen in the Provo Utah Temple on Aug. 13, 1994. They have six children.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University in 1996 and a Juris Doctor from BYU in 2001.
Employment: Worked as an attorney and as a business executive.
Church service: Was serving as an Area Seventy — a member of the 12th Quorum of the Seventy, in the Utah Area — at the time of his call. Served as a young man in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission. Previous callings include counselor in a bishopric, Young Men president, bishop, high councilor, counselor in a stake presidency and president of the Uruguay Montevideo Mission.