This biographical sketch is taken from the Ensign, January
1978; "News of the Church: Elder Alma Sonne Dies"
Elder Alma Sonne of the First Quorum of the Seventy, a man who dedicatedly
bore witness to the pricelessness of faith, died 27 November 1977. He was
The oldest of the General Authorities, he was called
to serve [April 6,] 1941 as one of the first five Assistants to the Twelve.
The surviving member of that group is President Marion
G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. Soon after being
sustained in the May 1941 general conference, Elder Sonne was called as
an adviser to the Church Welfare Plan. He brought to that call his experience
gained in Church service and in business.
Born in Logan, Utah, 5 March 1884, Elder Sonne graduated
from Brigham Young College, Logan, in banking and finance. He entered business
in 1906 as a cashier of the Logan First National Bank and eventually became
president of the bank. In 1968, he helped develop and found the Pioneer
Bank of Logan. He was also a director of the Bear River Mutual Insurance
Company, president of the Utah Bankers Association, chairman of the Utah
State University Board of Trustees, president of the Logan Rotary Club,
and vice-president of the Logan Chamber of Commerce. Through his financial
and community activities he played an important role in the development
of agriculture in northern Utah.
As a young man he filled a full-time mission in Great
Britain from 1910 to 1912. Some thirty-four years later, he returned to
London, England, as a General Authority to serve as president of the European
Prior to his calling as a General
Authority, Elder Sonne served as a counselor in two Logan bishoprics, a
high councilor, and a YMMIA superintendent. He also served as a counselor
in the Cache Utah stake presidency, and later as president of that stake.
In his first address as a General Authority, Elder
Sonne said: “I have spent many hours in the service of our great Church
and I want to testify to you … that the compensation for that service has
been very great. … I accept this responsibility with fear and trembling,
but I have confidence in the promises of God.”
In a conference address the following year he said:
“[The] Christian doctrine is the very cornerstone of freedom, and it is
the mission of this Church to promote it, and to inspire faith in the hearts
of men. In this solemn obligation we must not fail, for faith is the bedrock
of human life, without which the soul of man has no anchorage.”
Then in words that summed up his own life he said,
“May God give us strength and wisdom to walk in the way of righteousness,
that our daily example may be a sermon to our friends, far and near.”
After thirty-five years as an Assistant to the Twelve, Elder Sonne
was among the first five to be sustained to the newly restored First Quorum
of the Seventy on October 1, 1976.
In his many active years as a General Authority,
Elder Sonne did “walk in the way of righteousness” as he fulfilled his
assignments for over three decades to visit the ever-growing stakes of
the Church and provide the Saints with counsel and
Elder Sonne is survived by four sons, a daughter,
two step-children, twenty-two grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren,
and a sister. His first wife, Geneva Ballantyne, died in 1941; and his
second wife, Leona Ballantyne Woolley, whom he
married in 1943, died in 1971.