“All my life I have been able to hear the whispering
voice of the Spirit saying, ‘Come, follow me,’ and that has led me in my
decisions in life,” said Elder William Rawsel Bradford, president of the
Chile Santiago Mission, and then newly called to be a General
Authority in the Church as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
“I would like to challenge the youth to keep their
lives clean so that the Spirit can dwell in them. If they do that while
young, they will be worthy for mission calls. Then, when they are called,
the channel will be open through which missionary work is done. I have
a great love for missionary work and believe this is the time of harvest.”
Born in Springville, Utah, to Rawsel W. and Mary
Waddoups Bradford on October 25, 1933, Elder Bradford fondly remembered
as a child accompanying his parents to the Temple Bureau Mission in Hawaii
in 1944, where his father presided and where the 12-year-old boy was ordained
a deacon. Later he graduated from Springville, Utah, high school and attended
Brigham Young University. He left school to fill a mission in Japan from
1953 to 1955; and on his return married Mary Ann Bird of Mapleton, Utah,
in the Salt Lake Temple. Inducted into the U.S. Army in 1955, he served
three years, and was servicemen’s group leader in Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
Later the Bradfords moved to Texas to grow citrus
and truck garden crops, and Brother Bradford formed and became president
and general manager of the International Fruit Growers and Shippers, Inc.,
in McAllen, Texas.
Elder Bradford served for eight years as a counselor
in the Texas Mission district presidency, and then as district mission
president. He also served on the mission auxiliary board, as elders quorum
president, and at the time of his call to the mission, as president of McAllen Branch.
The Bradfords had six children, all of whom attended
the international school in Chile.
“I really thought that a call to be mission president
was the ultimate shock that a person could receive, until this call came,”
Elder Bradford commented. “I have a great love for the prophet and the
sure knowledge that Jesus Christ directs the work through him.” Elder and
Sister Bradford continued to preside over the Chile Santiago Mission.
During his long tenure as a General Authority, Elder Bradford served as area president of the Asia, Utah North, South America North, North America Central and Central America areas and most recently as a counselor in the North America Northwest area presidency
At the October 2003 conference, Elder Bradford was honorably released from the First Quorum with a vote of thanks, and granted Emeritus Status.