This biographical sketch adapted from: "News of
the Church: Elder James M. Paramore of the First Quorum of the Seventy"
in The Ensign, May 1977, page 101 on the occasion of Elder Paramore's
call to the First Quorum.
“Real joy is giving total commitment to the gospel,”
says Elder James M. Paramore, and quotes one of his favorite scriptures:
“Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of
their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness. For the power
is in them. …” (D&C 58:27-28)
“I’ve seen people turn around on the street to look
after missionaries who had that kind of total commitment—they could feel
it in them. President Kimball has accomplished the work of many lives because
he’s totally committed.”
And he bears testimony from his own life to the joy
of commitment. “I’ve been blessed to accept and understand that every calling
requires a total commitment. I think it’s a gift of the Spirit, a gift
that anyone can have who is willing to pay the price of preparation and
love.” In the more than fifty callings he has had since his mission, he
said, “I’ve had that feeling that
each assignment was the right one and important, and that a total commitment
to those assignments always brings peace, real joy, and personal and spiritual
growth. Even though I graduated from college, the Church has been my education,
and I’m most grateful—most grateful.”
He tells of being released as a bishop and called
as a home teacher. One of the families had a nonmember father, and he remembers
seeing that man baptized. “It was as great a joy as being a bishop—and
that’s what the Lord would have us understand: it really is how you serve
and not where.”
And he has served across a wide range of callings,
always with the support of his family. Born 6 May 1928, he was called to
a bishopric when his oldest child was about a year and a half old, so the
children grew up with Church service and social activities as “a way of
life.” He was counselor in two bishoprics, Provo Sunset Second and Orem
Fourteenth Wards, then served from 1959-63 as bishop of Orem Fourteenth
Ward, and subsequently as a high councilor in the Brigham Young University
Third Stake. He was then called as a member of the general Church Missionary
Committee and served there until he was called to preside over the Franco-Belgium
Mission; His wife, Helen Heslington Paramore, gave birth to their sixth
child, Paul, six weeks after arriving in the mission field. “She had six
children to take care of,” he stressed, “but she attended conferences with
me and the children—week after week, even when she couldn’t understand
the language—supervised the auxiliaries, and learned sufficient French so that she could conduct
the auxiliary meetings required. She was a real inspiration to the people.”
The children also participated, helping the missionaries
with the printing, office work, and gardening. They used to sing as a family,
and Elder Paramore’s duets with his three-year-old daughter, Lisa, were
especially heartwarming for the members.
After they returned, he taught the deacons quorum
in the Orem 29th Ward, and then presided over the Orem Utah Sharon West
Stake until 1972, when he was called to serve as a Regional Representative
of the Twelve. He was serving as a Regional Representative to the Roy Region
in Utah at the time of his calling to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Professionally he worked in the engineering department
at U.S. Steel for nearly eight years, as a seminary teacher, executive
director of the Utah Committee on Children and Youth, and for the Church
in various positions in the Missionary Department, Internal Communications
Department, Office of the Council of Twelve, and the Church Leadership
Training Executive Committee. “Each of these work and Church assignments
has been a blessing and preparation in my life, and I’m grateful for all
the fine people who have trained and helped me,” says Elder Paramore.
The calling was “overwhelming” to his family, he
said, “because of its magnitude.” Sister Paramore had had a premonition
of the calling several weeks earlier but had “driven it out of her mind.”
Elder Paramore himself had had a similar experience earlier: two weeks
before he was called as Executive Secretary to the Council of the Twelve,
he had dreamed of sitting by President Kimball’s side—a dream so vivid
that it woke him, though he dismissed it from his mind. It came again the
same night, and he found it literally fulfilled when he accepted the calling.
“I felt so inadequate—I didn’t have the technical skills necessary for
it—that it was really a blessing that I had received that witness beforehand.”
Those past seven years of weekly contact with the Brethren give added emphasis
to his commitment to serve. And it’s a total commitment.
The following appeared in the August 1987 edition of
the Ensign on page 74.
The First Presidency has announced the calling of
Elder James M. Paramore as a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum
of the Seventy.
Elder James M. Paramore has been a General Authority
since 2 April 1977.
Elder Paramore will replace Elder Jack
H. Goaslind, who is being assigned as Area President for the British
Elder Paramore has served ten years as a member of
the First Quorum of the Seventy. He is currently President of the Utah
North Area and Managing Director of the Curriculum Department.
Prior to his call as a General Authority, he served
as executive secretary to the Quorum of the Twelve. He has also served
as regional representative, as a member of the General Church Missionary
Committee, and as president of the Belgium Brussels Mission.
He has also served as stake president, bishop, and high councilor.
Before entering full-time Church service, Elder Paramore
had worked in the engineering department of a steel-manufacturing company,
as a seminary teacher, and as executive director of the Utah Committee
on Children and Youth.
He was employed by the church in various positions
in the Missionary Department, Internal Communications Department, Office
of the Council of Twelve, and the Church Leadership Training Executive
“Each of these work and Church assignments has been
a blessing and preparation in my life, and I’m grateful for all the fine
people who have trained and helped me,” says Elder Paramore.
A graduate of Brigham Young University, Elder Paramore
and his wife, Helen Heslington Paramore, are parents of six children.
On October 3, 1998, President Paramore was named an
Emeritus General Authority.