Descended from pioneers who were taught and baptized by John Taylor in 1840 on the Isle of Man, and with a maternal grandfather who was a member of the Twelve, Elder Douglas L. Callister of the Second Quorum of the Seventy was raised in a tradition steeped in the Gospel, even if not reared in the heart of Zion.
Douglas L. Callister was born February 17, 1939 in Glendale, California to Reed Eddington Callister and Norinne Ricahrds, a daughter of LeGrand Richards. He was raised in the light of the Gospel and had a strong testimony of the Gospel from early childhood. He was baptized as a child and received the Aaronic Priesthood as a youth. He tells of an incident during his high school days. Toward the end of his senior year, students were assigned to select a subject, prepare a presentation on the matter and be prepared to answer questions and defend their position. Douglas Callister selected "The Book of Mormon and its Origins." Where most students completed their talks in fifteen minutes, Douglas continued for over three class periods... and fielded respectful questions the remainder of the school year.
After graduation, Douglas went to Provo, Utah to attend Brigham Young University. This placed him within easy commuting distance of his grandfather, Elder LeGrand Richards' home in Salt Lake City. He developed the practice of spending his weekends in his grandparents' home. On one occasion, Elder Richards told Douglas to be prepared to travel as Douglas would be his companion in visiting a nearby stake. Elder Richards picked Douglas up at the 'Y,' and the two drove to Spanish Fork where they spent the night with the Stake President. Douglas attended all the leadership meetings with his grandfather and was invited to speak.
On the trip home Elder Richards spoke,: "I don't want you to ever
forget this. This is what grandfathers are supposed to do -- we are supposed to take our
descendants with us when we honor our priesthood and let them see us do that, as we try
to raise another generation in the Church who loves the gospel as much as we do." Douglas has never forgotten his grandfather's words.
Douglas earned a Bachelor's Degree from BYU, and then accepted a call to serve as a missionary in the Swiss-Austria Mission. He met his future wife, Jeanette McKibben, when she took pity on a very shy returned missionary who was standing all alone at a dance to which she had sold him his ticket. A courtship ensued and 1n 1962 he took her to the Los Angeles Temple, there to be sealed for time and all eternity. The couple would have six children and, at the time of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, eleven grandchildren.
After graduation from BYU, Douglas attended law school at the University of Southern California where he earned a Juris Doctor Degree. Still not through with his schooling, Douglas took his young family to Cambridge, Massachusetts and attended Harvard Law School which awarded him the L.L.M (Master of Laws) Degree. Returning to Glendale, he set up a law firm which he would run for a period of thirty-six years until his retirement in 2000, save for one three-year period when he took a sabattical to serve as President of the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission from 1975-1978.
Soon after the family's return to California, Douglas was called as Bishop. One rainy day in 1969 Douglas had gone to the Los Angeles Temple to perform some endowment work. In the midst of the session he was called out and informed that a mud slide had destroyed his home with his wife, seven months pregnant, and two children still inside.
Let Sister Callister pick up the story. "Moments before, I had felt impressed to move the two little children from the area of the home where the destruction primarily took place to the one corner where it did not." The children were safe but Sister Callister was not. She had been swept away and buried in mud and debris up to her chest. She was extracted, bleeding and in labor. She was rushed to the hospital where after a priesthood blessing, the labor ceased. She recovered and their third child was delivered normally two months later.
After serving as Bishop three years, Bishop Callister was called as Stake President
in 1970. Five years later came the call to serve as Mission President. Subsequent calls included Seminary
Teacher, Temple Sealer, Regional Representative, Area Authority and Area Authority Seventy. Elder
Callister was serving as an Area Authority Seventy when the call came that he was to devote his life to
the Lord on a full-time basis as a General Authority serving in the Second Quorum of the Seventy. The
call came in the April 2000 conference and he served honorably until being honorably released in the
October 2009 General Conference.