Elder Robert F. Orton of the Second Quorum of the Seventy has demonstrated that
it is possible to balance the demands of the home, the Church, a career, and public service... not
easy perhaps, but possible. His public service includes a term as Assistant to former United States
Senator Wallace F. Bennett. His Church service includes calls as a Bishop, a counselor in a stake
presidency, and a Mission President, all the while building a sucessful career as an attorney and
rearing a family of six children.
Elder Orton was born August 24, 1936 in Reno, Nevada to H. Frank Orton and
the former Gwen Riggs. He was raised in Panguitch, Utah. While his parents had been married in the
Temple and Robert was Born in the Covenant, his father had slipped into inactivity. Nevertheless
Robert was raised in a Church environment boosted perhaps by the influence of his maternal
grandmother who came to live with the family after her husband died. When Robert was twelve, his
younger brother was born. His father attended Church to witness the baby's blessing. He vowed never
again to have another man tend to what was his responsibility. He determined to return to the
Church. Years of pleading and praying had worked.
In an interview with a reporter from the Ensign, (May 2001, p. 106)
Elder Orton said, "He had always been a good father, but there was now a calmness and sweetness in
our home because of the special relationshp that existed between my father and the rest of the family."
Raised in Utah, Robert was baptized as a child and received the Aaronic
Priesthood as a youth. When he arrived at an age when it was time to consider a mission, he looked
to his maternal grandmother, Mildred Riggs, who after years of teaching by example, further set the
standard by going on a mission of her own while in her late sixties. Young Robert could do no less
and served an honorable mission in France. He reported, "...I said to myself, if Grandma Riggs can
do it, you can do it, and you should do it." He credits his mission with deepening his testimony of
and love for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Among other characteristics of Elder Orton for which he credits his Grandmother
Riggs is a strong sense of self-discipline and daily scripture reading. Much of his scripture study
comes from nocturnal readings when he can't sleep. He says, "When I wake up, instead of lying there
I study the scriptures."
After returning home from his mission, Robert matriculated at Brigham Young
University where he earned a Bachelor's degree. He then attended the University of Utah and was awarded
a degree in law. The law degree, in turn, impelled a career as an attorney for Fabian and Clendenin. He
has also served as director of the Foreign Language League.
Elder Orton enjoys a life long testimony. "I can't remember a time in my life
when I haven't known that God lives." With a testimony that strong and of life time duration, Elder
Orton has received many Church callings. In addition to service as a full-time missionary, he has
served as a bishop’s counselor, Aaronic Priesthood adviser, scoutmaster, stake Young Men president,
high priests group leader, ward mission leader, bishop, stake president's counselor, and the second
mission president of the Romania Bucharest Mission.
Elder Orton married Joy Eveline Dahlberg on June 13, 1963 in the Salt Lake Temple.
To date they have six children and nine grandchildren.
He became a General Authority in April of 2001 when he was ordained a Seventy and
called into the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Orton was released from the Second Quorum on October
6, 2007 at the 177th Semi-annual General Conference of the Church. At the same time, it was announced
that he and his wife have been called to serve as President and Matron of the St. George Utah Temple.
Elder Orton was released as President of the St. George Utah Temple in 2010.