One need only turn to the index of the Doctrine and
Covenants to be reminded of the holy calling of the Presiding Bishop, who
in company with his counselors holds the keys on earth to the presidency
of the Aaronic Priesthood, and who is empowered under the direction of
the members of the First Presidency (who hold the keys of presidency of
the Melchizedek Priesthood) to officiate in the administration of the temporal
and certain other affairs of the Church.
One may also reflect on the concerns of the Presiding
Bishopric by simply reviewing the many labors of members of one's own ward
At the Presiding Bishopric level, the three presiding
high priests known as the Presiding Bishopric are primarily responsible
for the Aaronic Priesthood-age youth of the Church, as well as the reception
and administration of the tithes and offerings of the
Saints, care of the poor, and other duties assigned by the First Presidency.
To this important calling came Bishop Victor
L. Brown, the tenth person thus called in this dispensation, who for
past ten years served as second counselor to Presiding Bishop John
Prior to that call in 1961, Bishop Brown lived and
worked in the Church in five different areas, which helped make him
intensely aware of the different needs and conditions of the wards and
branches of the Church. He was born in Cardston,
Alberta, Canada, and knew until he was sixteen the lifestyle and customs
of the Canadian. Then his family moved to Salt Lake City, where he acquired
some of his college and university education.
In his mid-twenties, he began working for a major
American airline and subsequently served in management capacities in Washington,
D.C., Denver, and Chicago. During this period he also served as bishop
and then counselor in a stake presidency, as well as in numerous other
priesthood and auxiliary positions.
Bishop Brown married Lois Kjar of Salt Lake City,
and they are the parents of three sons and two daughters.
The following interview discusses some of the thoughts
of Bishop shortly after his call.
Q. What are the major assignments of the Presiding
A. Our first and foremost assignment is the Aaronic
Priesthood-age youth of the Church—from twelve to nineteen years of age,
both boys and girls. We also have the responsibility for the welfare program
of the Church. My counselors and I sit as chairman and vice chairmen of the Welfare Committee of the Church.
Another major responsibility is the Health Services
Corporation of the Church, which includes the Church hospital system. The
bishopric also has a mandate from the Lord to receive the tithes and offerings
of the members of the Church. We have the responsibility for the statistical analysis of activities of the membership taken from the reports of ward and stake clerks. Presently we
are in the process of converting to the computer the three million membership
records. There are others, but these are our major responsibilities.
Q. As you look ahead, in what areas do you hope to
A. First priority is the youth program of the
Church. The whole future of the Church rests on the youth of today. We
want to devise and develop programs and activities that will bring the
youth closer to the Church and the Church closer to the youth. This is
a great challenge. The bishoprics prior to us have also faced this challenge,
but as times change, each bishopric has been led to do different things
to meet the needs of a new generation. We hope to draw upon all the available
resources of the Church during our administration to accomplish this objective.
That's our goal. We want the gospel to really
live in the lives of our youth. With the help of the Lord and the ward
and branch leaders, we expect to accomplish it.
Q. Where do you see your greatest challenge in accomplishing
A. One of our greatest challenges is to present
the Church in such a light as to make it more enticing, interesting, and
challenging than the activities of the world. Our youth are faced with
so many serious temptations today, from the drug culture to illicit sex.
Unfortunately, much of this behavior is not frowned upon by the world.
The gospel of Christ will not modify its position. We need to present our
case in such a way as to raise the whole spiritual tone of our youth. Basic
to all is our desire to strengthen the family so that parents and youth
can love and labor together in joy and happiness.
Q. If you were to talk to parents and youth, what trait would you ask
them to use more in their relationships?
A. Honesty. I’d ask them to be honest with themselves,
honest with the Lord, and honest with their parents or their children.
It's difficult to be honest with the Lord and not be honest in all our
dealings—and to be honest with the Lord, we must be honest with ourselves.
If we're honest with ourselves, we'll be honest and kind to our children—or
our parents—and behave toward them as we would have them behave toward
us. Honesty of heart will keep one close to all the commandments.
Q. What have been the highlights for you of the past
A. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity
of working with Bishop Vandenberg and Bishop [Robert L.] Simpson. In my own assignments, I have appreciated the support Bishop Vandenberg has given me.
We need to give support and strength to one another—parents
to youth, youth to parents, and leaders and teachers to fellow workers.
This is a lesson I’ll never forget.
May I also say that Bishop Vandenberg has given
the Church a sharpness of intellect, an orderliness, a devotion that has
been an inspiration. He is not a man to criticize others. He is a loyal
person, and he teaches those around him to be loyal. What a blessing in
all of our lives if each of us could apply these same traits!
Q. Do you have a special theme that you like to address
A. The theme of caring for others, of being genuinely
interested in the welfare of those around us, I tell the story of a blind
Indian boy who was left on the desert to die when seven years of age; of
how he was found by some tourists; of how he was almost a wild man and
viewed the world as his enemy; of how everyone had given up changing him
so that he could enter society, until he chanced to come into the hands
of a good Latter-day Saint woman and a good Latter-day Saint boy who held
the Aaronic Priesthood. Together they loved and cared and literally changed
that young Indian boy's way of life.
Through the love of two people, a blind Indian
boy was baptized and later received the Melchizedek Priesthood. Today all
the blessings of the gospel are available to him—because someone cared.
On April 6, 1985 Bishop Victor L. Brown was released
as Presiding Bishop and called into the First Quorum of the Seventy with
the assignment to serve as the President of the Salt Lake Temple. The following
is from the May 1985 Ensign.
Elder Victor L. Brown, who had served as Presiding
Bishop since April 1972, has been appointed president of the Salt Lake
Temple, effective 1 June 1985. He succeeds Elder Marion D. Hanks, another
member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who was recently assigned as Executive Director of the Church's Correlation Department.
Elder Brown has served as a General Authority since
1961, when he was called as Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric.
He previously served as a bishop and a counselor in a stake presidency
in Denver, Colorado.
As Presiding Bishop, he had responsibility for seven
major Church departments. He has also served as a director, trustee, or
adviser to several educational, cultural, civic, and business institutions
Elder Brown is a native of Calgary, Alberta. He and
his wife, Lois Kjar Brown, are the parents of three sons and two daughters.
Elder Brown was named a General Authority Emeritus on October 1, 1989.
He died March 26 1996 at Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of eighty-one.
The following appeared in the Ensign for May 1996.
Elder Victor L. Brown Dies at 81
Elder Victor L. Brown, 81, an emeritus General Authority,
died 26 March 1996 of a lingering illness.
Elder Brown was the 10th Presiding Bishop of the
Church and had served as an active General Authority from 1961 until 1989,
when he was given emeritus status. He served more than four years as a
member of the First Quorum of the Seventy after having served 24 years
in the Presiding Bishopric of the Church, 13 of those years as Presiding
Bishop. While a member of the Seventy, he also served for two years as
president of the Salt Lake Temple.
Victor Lee Brown was born 31 July 1914 in Cardston,
Alberta, Canada, to Gerald S. and Maggie Lee Brown. On 13 November 1936
he married Lois Ashton Kjar in the Salt Lake Temple. She preceded him in
death. Elder Brown is survived by his five children.
In 1940 Victor Brown began working as a reservation
agent in Salt Lake City for United Airlines. He later held positions in
Washington, D.C., and Denver, Colorado, and was an executive at the firm’s
Elder Brown later served on the board of directors
of Western Airlines and recently had been honored as a Utah Pioneer of
Funeral services for Elder Brown were held on 30