Church service is a way of life in the Burton family.
H. David Burton remembers both his father and grandfather serving in the
Church. Also, his great-great-grandfather, Robert Taylor Burton, was a
member of the Presiding Bishopric. Now, newly called
as first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, Bishop Burton is carrying
on the family tradition and following in his great-great-grandfather’s
“There are really only two priorities in my life,”
Bishop Burton explains. “My family and the Church. That pretty much summarizes
everything that goes on in my life.”
H. David Burton, born 25 April 1938 in Salt Lake
City, met his future wife, Barbara Matheson, in eighth grade. They married
in September 1960 after he served in the Southern Australia Mission. They
have five children and six grandchildren.
Bishop Burton graduated from the University of Utah.
He has worked for the state tax commission and for Kennecott Copper. Except
for a short time spent in Michigan while Brother Burton finished a master's
degree, the Burton family has lived in the Salt Lake Valley.
In 1977, Bishop Burton took a job as the Church's
assistant budget officer. A year and a half later, he accepted a job as
secretary to the Presiding Bishopric and has been there ever since.
“My mission was probably the single greatest factor
in strengthening my testimony,” says Bishop Burton. “I was thrust into
a senior companionship role after only eight weeks, and it was one of those
sink-or-swim kind of things. We swam, though just
barely at times.
“It was there that I learned that bearing testimony
is the most important aspect of missionary work. You bear testimony and
let the Spirit convert.”
Bishop Burton has continued to rely on the Spirit
as he has served as Gospel Doctrine teacher, temple sealer, bishop, and
high councilor. The Spirit has also guided him in his work as secretary
to the Presiding Bishopric.
As a stake president, he often counseled his stake
members to stay close to the Spirit and attend the temple. “The temple
is one of the great secrets in keeping marriages together, building testimonies,
and keeping your faith strong,” he says.
The following is also from the Ensign, March 1996, page 74 announcing Bishop
Burton's call as Presiding Bishop of the Church.
"News of the Church: New Presiding Bishop, Counselors Called:
The First Presidency has called Bishop H. David Burton
as Presiding Bishop, replacing former Presiding Bishop Merrill J. Bateman,
who began his term as president of Brigham Young University on 1 January
1996. Called to serve with Bishop Burton are Bishop Richard C. Edgley as
first counselor and Bishop Keith B. McMullin as second counselor.
Bishop Burton and Bishop Edgley had been serving
as first and second counselors, respectively, to Bishop Bateman. Bishop
McMullin was managing director of the Welfare Services Department at the
time of his call.
Bishop Burton, 57, has served in the Presiding Bishopric
since October 1992. Prior to that call, he worked with the Bishopric as
its executive secretary and spent a year as the assistant Church budget
officer. He has also worked for Kennecott Copper and the Utah State Tax
A Salt Lake City native, Bishop Burton attended the
University of Utah, receiving a degree in economics. He earned a master's
degree in business administration from the University of Michigan.
Bishop Burton’s previous Church callings include
bishop, bishop’s counselor, stake president, and stake high councilor.
He served a mission in Australia. He and his wife, Barbara Matheson Burton,
have five children.
Bishop Burton continued to serve with honor and distinction until a grateful
Church, in General Conference assembled, granted him an honorable release
April 2012 and designated him a General Authority Emeritus.
In April, 2013, it was announced that H. David Burton, former Presiding Bishop
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had been appointed to the Utah
Intergenerational Welfare Commission.
Bishop Burton serves as the non-voting member of the commission, which
is otherwise made up of state department heads. The commission is charged to develop policy
recommendations to end intergenerational poverty. It was created under legislation passed by
state lawmakers in 2013.