“I enjoy leadership and administrative work,” said Elder
Rulon G. Craven, intervied by the Ensign on the occasion of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. “I can remember as a young man praying that I might qualify myself to serve
After a lifetime of Church service, Elder Craven
was still grateful for his opportunities to serve the Lord.
Elder Craven was the oldest of Gerald and Susie Schultz
Craven’s four children. Though born in Murray, Utah, on 11 November 1924,
he grew up in Boise, Idaho. When the United States became involved in World
War II, young Rulon, not able to get into the regular services because
he was twenty-two pounds below the minimum weight, joined the Merchant
“While I was in the service, I read the Book of Mormon
and fell in love with its truth,” says Elder Craven of the beginnings of
his testimony of the gospel. His testimony continued to grow during his
two years of military service, which included participation in the invasion
of the Philippine islands, as he saw his life preserved just as he had
been promised in his patriarchal blessing.
Upon his return to Boise, Rulon talked with his bishop
about serving a mission. He experienced spiritual growth again as he served
in New Zealand among the Maori people, learning the Maori language by reading
the Book of Mormon continually.
After his mission, Rulon attended Brigham Young University,
where he met and married Donna Lunt, daughter of Heaton and Chloe Haws
Lunt of Duncan, Arizona, on 23 March 1953 in the Arizona Temple. Elder and Sister Craven are the parents of six children: four boys—Gerald,
Ronald, Brent, and Dallen; and two girls—RaDawn (Mehr), and Terie Lee,
who died at seven weeks of age.
Upon his graduation from BYU, Brother Craven began
a twenty-year career at Brigham Young University as director of the Off-Campus
Housing Program. He eventually became administrative assistant for business.
His Church leadership service also began during his
years at BYU, where, as a student, Rulon served first in the BYU Branch,
then as the bishop of the BYU married ward, and later as a member of the
BYU Sixth Stake presidency. From 1967 to 1970, the Cravens took their young
family to New Zealand, where Elder Craven served as president of the New
Zealand North Mission (later the New Zealand Auckland Mission). He also
served for many years as a regional representative. In June 1974, the Presiding
Bishopric extended a call to Brother Craven to serve as the director of
the Aaronic Priesthood programs.
In April 1977, President Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, asked Brother Craven to serve as secretary
to the Quorum of the Twelve.
“Working with the Twelve has been a marvelous experience
for me,” said Elder Craven. “It has increased my testimony considerably,
not only of the gospel of Jesus Christ but of living prophets.”
Organized and methodical, Elder Craven, who considered
writing his hobby, is the author of four books on missionary work, leadership,
and gospel principles. He also writes a monthly letter to his children
entitled Eternal Perspective.
Family togetherness is important to the Cravens,
who have always enjoyed discussing the gospel as they gather around the
dining-room table with their children, and now with their children’s spouses
and their fourteen grandchildren. Family home evening has always been a
big part of their lives as they learn, play, and grow together.
General conference weekends were a time of gathering
for the Cravens, who, after the last session, shared a potluck supper, discussed
conference, and set goals based on the direction given by the Brethren.
“Once you’ve made the decision that you’re going
to live the gospel,” said Donna, “you don’t make that decision again on
a daily basis—you just do it every day.”
Elder Craven spoke for his family when he said,
“We love each other, and we love to serve the Lord.”
Elder Craven served his five-year term in the Second
Quorum of the Seventy with distinction and was honorably released with a vote of thanks by a grateful church in General Conference assemblrd on October 5, 1996.