The following is taken from "News of the Church: Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander
of the Seventy" from the Ensign, May 1991, page 97.
“I think we have the ability to dream together, and
to sacrifice to achieve the things we dream of,” reflects Elder Dennis
B. Neuenschwander. That ability to see the end result and to enjoy whatever
activity they have been involved in has been vital for Elder Neuenschwander
and his wife, LeAnn. They will continue to call on those talents as he
fulfills his new assignment as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Born in Salt Lake City 6 October 1939, Dennis was
the second of George Henry and Genevieve Bramwell Neuenschwander’s four
children. His family later moved to Ogden. In 1959, after six months of
active duty in the air force reserves, he accepted a mission call to Finland.
Since there was no Missionary Training Center at the time, missionaries
went through a language course once they arrived in the country. After
eleven months of proselyting, Brother Neuenschwander spent much of the
rest of his mission teaching other elders Finnish.
His interest in language continued when he returned
home. He studied Russian, receiving an associate degree from Weber State
College (1964), a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University (1966),
and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University (1974).
In the meantime, Brother Neuenschwander had met LeAnn
Clement. When his reserve unit was activated during the Cuban Missile Crisis,
he went to be fitted for contact lenses. LeAnn was the optometrist’s assistant.
Married 13 June 1963 in the Salt Lake Temple, the Neuenschwanders have
four sons—Jeffery, Michael, Bradley, and Stephen.
LeAnn Clement Neuenschwander
After graduation, Brother Neuenschwander taught Russian
at the University of Utah and at Brigham Young University, then took a
job with the Church’s Genealogical Department. His family accompanied him
to Frankfurt, Germany, where he began
microfilming projects in eastern Europe. Then he returned to Church
headquarters as manager of the department’s international area of the Acquisitions
During these years, Brother Neuenschwander served
the Church as a Sunday School teacher, ward mission leader, and high councilor.
“He has a great love for people,” says his wife. “He’s quiet but strong.
He accepts challenges and he works hard—no matter what he’s doing.”
In 1987, Brother Neuenschwander was called to preside
over the Austria Vienna East Mission, which included Poland, Czechoslovakia,
Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, and later Egypt, Turkey, and Cyprus. “We used
to joke that other mission presidents had to get permission to leave their
missions,” he says, “but we had to get permission to go into ours.”
In that position, he worked closely with Elder Russell
M. Nelson and Elder Hans B. Ringger to gain
recognition for the Church in eastern-bloc countries, and later to place
missionaries and organize branches. “It’s been incredible to see how the
people have embraced the gospel,” says Elder Neuenschwander. “The decades
of atheism could not eradicate what lies at the deepest part of our souls—the
desire to believe, to serve, to be happy and productive.”
As the Neuenschwanders’ mission drew to a close,
the First Presidency asked them to stay another year and—since four new
missions had been created from theirs—direct the work in Bulgaria, Romania,
and parts of the USSR, as well as continuing to oversee Yugoslavia.
Years of living far from extended family have helped
the Neuenschwanders develop close relationships with each other and with
people from many nations. “Our home has always been open,” says Elder Neuenschwander.
“It’s been a great education for us and our boys. We’ve tried to use our
time and resources on experiences rather than on things.”
At the heart of Elder Neuenschwander’s success is
his conviction of the Savior’s divinity and the gospel’s restoration. “I’ve
seen it expressed magnificently,” he says. “It changes lives, attitudes,
values—all for the best. You can’t be around that kind of
power without appreciating its strength.”
The following is from the Ensign, November, 1994: "Called to
the First Quorum of the Seventy [was] Dennis B. Neuenschwander.. Elder
Neuenschwander had been a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy since
April 1991 and is serving as president of the Europe Area."
The Church News of July 22, 2000 announced that Elder Neuenschwander
has been called to the Presidency of the Seventy replacing Elder Harold
G. Hillam who retains his position in the Quorum. Elder Neuenschwander
was sustained to his new calling on October 7, 2000 in General Conference. Then on April 3, 2004
Elder Neuenschwander was released from the Presidency of the Seventy. He retained his position in The
First Quorum until the General Conference of October 2009 when he was released from the Quorum and
designated an Emeritus General Authority.
Sister LeAnn Clement Neuenschwander, the wife of Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander
of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Friday,
July 13, 2007 after a 10-month battle with cancer.
Sister Neuenschwander, 66, was described by her husband as a woman with a quick
wit, incredible common sense and gentle nature. "LeAnn, wherever she was, made the world a better place
that never aggrandized herself but always lifted others around her," Elder Neuenschwander said.