Elder Keith Reid Edwards of the Second Quorum of the Seventy was born to goodly parents in Boulder City, Nevada, USA, on March 16, 1942. Elder Edwards has served as bishop, stake president, president of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission, and Area Seventy. But when he lists defining moments in his life, they center around family.
Trusting in the Lord is something he not only learned from his parents, Elbert Bird and Mary Reid Edwards, but also from three brothers, one his identical twin. "A brother once described my dad as a mountain. Mom was the faith that moved the mountain," Elder Edwards said with a smile. His dad, he added, "was just a man of integrity."
And that integrity was passed to his sons. Elder Edwards remembers looking up to his oldest brother, Mahlon, who was nine years his senior. Years later, Mahlon Edwards would serve as a counselor to his younger brother in a stake presidency. "Mahlon was his Hyrum," Sister Edwards said.
Speaking of his other brothers, Elder Edwards especially remembers the time second-oldest Arthur sat down with him and his twin, Karl, when they were about 12 years old. "He explained to us in a spiritual way how you respected womanhood and why you respected womanhood. That just had a profound influence on how I looked at womanhood and at the priesthood and combined the two."
"You're a product of a lot of things," Elder Edwards said, speaking of those who have influenced his life. He fondly spoke of R. Owen Gibson, a former bishop in his hometown of Boulder City, Nev. Brother Gibson was also his seminary teacher, high school teacher and school counselor. As a seminary teacher, Brother Gibson, who has since died, had a gift of opening the scriptures to youth.
"He just went into it with a depth that I had not been exposed to," Elder Edwards recalled, emphasizing that scriptures were studied also in the home.
Elder Edwards attended the Church College of Hawaii, served in the Florida Mission from 1961 to 1963, completed his bachelor’s degree in political science at Brigham Young University, then obtained a law degree from the University of Utah, but notwithstanding that educational career, he described his mission in the Florida Mission as the "greatest intense learning period of my life," Elder Edwards added, "I learned my relationship to the Lord and I understood better what my dependence upon the Lord was."
Upon returning home from his mission, he quickly rekindled a relationship with Judith Lee Higgins, whom, as he described it, was a young woman each mother in the ward wanted her son to marry. After he first asked his future wife on a date, his twin brother said, ‘That’s not the kind of girl you just date. That’s the kind of girl you marry.’ And he was right.” That's just what he did on June 20, 1964, in the St. George Temple. From their marriage came seven children and 26 grandchildren.
They spent their early family years in Utah, where she earned a master's degree in nutrition from BYU and he earned a bachelor's degree in political science. He then earned his juris doctorate at the University of Utah in 1969, working for a law firm to support his growing family.
Moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, Elder Edwards secured a spot in a law firm that today bears his name. After 38 years, he retired from the firm to accept full-time service to the Lord as a member of the Second Quorum.
In Las Vegas, the defining event of his life occurred. During Sister Edwards’s seventh and final pregnancy, she became quite ill and couldn’t eat. She could not keep any food down and dropped to some 85 pounds on her petite frame. But after spending two months in bed — and with family fasting and priesthood administrations — she seemed to be doing better. Then at 4 1/2 months she started to hemorrhage. The doctor said they would lose the baby by morning.
"We prayed all night," Elder Edwards recalled with emotion. "The baby didn't come for four and a half more months."
However, he said he didn't know the whole story until some 20 years later on the night before that baby, Deborah, was to be married. As is family tradition, they all gathered for a special family home evening to share memories and for a father's blessing. One by one, a brother and two sisters recalled pleading to the Lord for the life of their baby sister. The oldest son described kneeling in prayer in the family shed.
Such faith, and other defining moments in his life, prepared Elder Edwards for his calling as a new member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, to which he was sustained in April, 2006 General Conference.
Though overwhelmed at first by the calling, the new General Authority said he quickly realized his experiences as a bishop, stake president and president of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission (2000-2003) had taught him a valuable lesson: "As long as I do my part, the Lord can make me anything He wants me to be. It is the Lord's work, and He knows what He is doing."
Of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Edwards says, “I come to
this as a product of generations of good, strong, solid men and women. I just climbed the trail they
blazed for me.”
After serving with distinction and honor, Elder Edwards was granted an honorable
release from the Second Quorum of the Seventy October 2012.