Born on January 22, 1947, and raised in the Church with the good examples of his
parents, Stephen and Hazel Taylor Ellis, Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the First Quorum of the Seventy grew
up on the family farm in Burley, Idaho, USA, where he learned the importance of hard work—pulling sugar
beets, hauling hay, and herding cattle—and faith.
Growing up on a ranch, Elder Ellis experienced the obligation and learned the ethic
of hard work. He dug potatoes, weeded sugar beets, hauled hay and herded cattle. It was not the only
virtue that would be instilled in him by his parents.
"My parents were active in the Church; we learned the gospel by living it,"
recalled Elder Ellis, who was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy at general conference in
Elder Ellis's father, Stephen, excelled at turning sagebrush-covered wasteland
into productive rangeland near Oakley and Hollister, Idaho. With his wife, Hazel, he also had a knack
for bringing out the potential in their own brood of six boys and one girl, of which Stanley was the
"My dad was always serving," the General Authority recalled. "During my formative
years, he was in the Bishopric. If there was ever service to be done at the Church farm or anywhere, we
were there doing it with him. It was very much an active, involved Church life, because my parents were
actively involved in living the gospel."
The lessons that came with "learning the gospel while living it" included this
understanding: "The Lord will guide us in our lives if we want to be guided."
Elder Ellis served from 1966 to 1968 in the Brazilian Mission, one of only two
missions in the country at that time. At the time of his call to the Second Quorum there were 26, a fact
Elder Ellis knew from having recently served as president of the São Paulo Brazil Mission.
“Our hearts beat Brazil,” said his wife,
Kathryn Kloepfer Ellis.
Elder and Sister Ellis met at Brigham Young University, where he earned a law
degree after graduating from Harvard in governmental studies. They married on June 7, 1969, in the Los
Angeles California Temple.
On raising their nine children, they remarked on how each one is different. “With
this calling too you learn how different the Brethren are,” Elder Ellis says. “And yet together they
are all effective in serving the Lord.”
He says he has been guided and prepared by the Spirit every step of the way and in
every calling for his call to the Seventy. He has served as mission president, stake president, high
councilor, counselor in a bishopric, elders quorum president, and ward Young Men president.
"I always felt like the Lord loved me and that I could pray to Him, that He would
answer our prayers," Elder Ellis mused. "That's something I seem to have always had. In college, I
realized you can't prove that God is there. But I chose to believe. And as I chose to believe and act
on that belief, the witness of the Spirit came."
One test of that understanding came early in his young adulthood. Just before the
time came when he was to go on a mission, he met his future wife, Kathryn Kloepfer, through an in-law
"I liked her, and she liked me," he said. But he would be away for two years and
three months, and she would be attending BYU; the odds of the relationship flourishing into a romance
that would culminate in marriage were not great.
To this day, his voice breaks with emotion when he recounts the story.
"I basically told the Lord: 'I've been called on a mission. I'll give it my best
shot. I met this great lady. I'd like to get to know her when I get back. There's nothing I can do
about that.' So my approach and my prayer was: 'If she's the right one, keep her. And if not, then let
her go.' "
The two corresponded while he was on his mission. Sister Ellis recalled, "Every
time I dated somebody that wanted to be more serious, I prayed. And the answer was always: 'Wait until
he gets home, then find out.' "
After he returned, they married in the Los Angeles California Temple. Despite
suffering four miscarriages, they were blessed with eight children over the next 22 years. Then came
another test of their willingness "to be guided."
Eldest daughter Joy was already on a mission, and the Ellises were returning home
from taking second daughter Kathryn to BYU.
"He said, 'I've had some inspiration for our family,' " recalled Sister Ellis.
"I said, 'Great! What is it?' He said, 'We're supposed to have another baby.' I started laughing, not
out of disrespect, but because he'd been the one who thought eight was enough.' "
Perhaps it was the sort of joyful laughter that Sarah had engaged in when she
learned she was to conceive (see footnote to Genesis 21:6, LDS edition of King James Bible). In any
event, Sister Ellis prayed about the matter and received an affirmative answer. Youngest daughter
Emily was born soon after, and proved to be a delight to the family.
Willingness to be guided has become a family principle. When the father was
called to preside over the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission, there was the necessity to inform the
younger children who would be going along into the mission field. Sister Ellis broached the matter
in scriptural terms, noting that holy writ is full of examples in which Heavenly Father asks people to
do things which, if fulfilled, prove to be a blessing to them and those around them.
"Then I said, 'Heavenly Father wants Daddy to go and be the president of the Sao
Paulo North Mission, and that means He wants us to go there too.' And Rachel, the little girl who was
finishing fifth grade just looked up and said, 'I don't want to go.' "
The two younger ones then expressed the same sentiment. Persuaded to make it a
matter of prayer, they each received a witness that going along was the right thing.
Later, when elder brother Rob expressed hesitancy to go along with his parents
and younger siblings into the mission field for a period of time, Rachel turned to him and said, 'Rob,
we need to do what Heavenly Father wants us to do.' "
Today, those younger children, now young adults, are grateful for that
experience, and the growth that it brought to their testimonies and to their relationship as siblings.
Thus, when the call came to Elder Ellis to be one of the newest General Authorities, they were prepared
for any possible commitment or sacrifice that may be required on their part.
"The 12-year-old said, 'Well, I hope we get to stay in our own house, but if we
have to go elsewhere, I'll go,' " Sister Ellis recounted. "The 16-year-old, too. So they're ready."
After serving in the Second Quorum of the Seventy for six years, Elder Ellis was
released from that quorum, and called into the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 2012. At this
writing, Elder Ellis continues to serve in the First Quorum.