The following biographical sketch is adapted from
the "News of the Church: Elder Russell C. Taylor of the First Quorum of
the Seventy" published in the Ensign for May 1984 on the occasion
of Elder Taylor's call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Russell C. Taylor was enjoying a meeting with
other Regional Representatives on Friday, April 6, when he was called out
to see President Gordon B. Hinckley. “I’m chairman
of the Denver Temple Committee, and I expected that President Hinckley
wanted to talk about that.” Instead, he called Elder Taylor to be one of
six new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
“I was overwhelmed! A person never expects that type
of thing to happen to him. But a beautiful, confirming spirit let me know
it was the will of the Lord.”
Service has long been a hallmark of Elder Taylor’s
heritage. Both of his grandfathers were stake patriarchs. His father was
called to be a bishop as a young, unmarried man of nineteen. The General
Authority issuing the call also gave him a very important instruction:
get married. The new bishop accepted the challenge, marrying his childhood
sweetheart. They eventually had nine children, including a son they named
Young Russell Taylor soon proved his willingness
to serve. After one and one-half years of college and two and one-half
years of military service (during World War II), he had the feeling that
a mission had passed him by. But his bishop thought otherwise. “How would
you feel about a mission call?” he asked soon after Russell returned home.
“As soon as he said those words,” Elder Taylor recalls,
“I had the warmest feeling. And I’ve felt since that that call was the
Lord’s way of saying, ‘I want you to prepare your life, and a mission is
the way to begin.’ ”
He had been home from his mission for only three
days when he received a telephone call. “This is Sterling W. Sill,” the voice said. “I’ve heard that you’re the kind of young man I want to have
working with me. I have two silver dollars on my desk. They will pay for
your gas if you will drive up and talk to me.” Elder Sill at that time
was the head of the Salt Lake agency for a life insurance company. That
drive set Brother Taylor on the path of his insurance career; he eventually
became a partner in an insurance business in Denver, Colorado. Last September
he resigned to pursue personal business interests.
While working in insurance, Brother Taylor attended
Brigham Young University. After graduation—and marriage to Joyce Elaine
Mortensen—he lived briefly in Kansas City, Missouri, then moved to Butte,
Montana. His Church service continued. In Butte, while serving as a counselor
in his branch Sunday School presidency, he was called to be a member of
a new stake presidency. He had been married for one and one-half years.
Since then he has served nine years as a counselor in stake presidencies,
nine years as a stake president in Denver, three years as a mission president,
and seven years as a Regional Representative.
“My wife has always helped me and supported me in
all I’ve done,” Elder Taylor says. They are the parents of six children
and have nine grandchildren. “I don’t know how I would have raised my family
without the gospel.
“I don’t recall a time when I didn’t have a testimony,”
Elder Taylor says. “But the more I have served, the happier I’ve been and
the closer I’ve been to the Lord.”
Elder Taylor served in the First Quorum of the Seventy
until April 1, 1989 when he was transferred into the newly created Second
Quorum of the Seventy. He served faithfully in the Second Quorum until
he was honorably released October 1, 1989