This biograpical sketch is adapted from the
"News of the Church: Elder Robert J. Whetten of the Seventy" in the Ensign
for May 1998.
It was a privilege to grow up immersed in two cultures
and two languages, says Elder Robert Jay Whetten, newly called to the Second
Quorum of the Seventy. Born in the LDS colonies in northern Mexico on 12
April 1943 and educated in Church schools there, he grew up loving Spanish
and English, both the history and culture of Mexico and the U.S.
It was a blessing, then, for him to find a wife,
Raquel López, who was also born in Mexico but grew up largely in
the United States with a similar love of the two languages and cultures.
They were married on 17 December 1966 in the Arizona
Temple and have eight children.
They agreed that they would enjoy living abroad,
so when he finished a master’s degree at Brigham Young University, he accepted
a job with an international banking company. For several years they lived
in various locations in Mexico and South
America. After he left the company, they lived in El Paso, Texas, where
he was involved in consulting, electronics manufacturing, and banking again.
He was president of Norwest bank in El Paso when he was called in 1996
to preside over the Paraguay Asunción Mission.
Both his career moves and Church service (he has
been a bishop, high councilor, and counselor in a stake mission presidency)
have brought opportunities for growth, Elder Whetten says gratefully. This
new calling offers the opportunity to dedicate to the Lord “all that we
have and are.”
His wife is excited about the opportunity to support
and serve with him in his new calling. He says, “We love the Lord, love
the work, and are willing to do all that we’re asked to do in building
“I look back on my life and realize I have been given
experiences and blessings that are special,” Elder Whetten says. He hopes
to draw from them lessons that will benefit those he is called to serve.
“Many of life’s greatest lessons are learned through
prayer,” he says, citing Moroni 7:48: “Pray unto the Father with all energy
of heart, that ye may be filled with love.”
“Life is fleeting,” he explains, so “we should be
diligently involved every day in becoming more Christlike in our service
In October 2006, Elder Whetten was given an honorable release from the Second Quorum and extended a vote of thanks from a grateful Chuch in General Conference assembled.