Elder H. Burke Peterson, emeritus LDS general authority, dies at 89

Published: Wednesday, April 17 2013 4:50 p.m. MDT

BOUNTIFUL, UTAH — Elder H. Burke Peterson, emeritus general authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and longtime counselor in the church's Presiding Bishopric, died April 14 in his family home in Bountiful, Utah. He was 89 years old.

Elder Peterson's death came four months after the death of his wife of 65 years, Brookie.

Born in Salt Lake City, Elder Peterson lived most of his life in the Phoenix area, where he worked with the United States Department of Agriculture and co-founded a civil engineering firm, the Engineering Corporation of America. During those years he served in a variety of callings in the LDS Church including bishop, stake president and regional representative.

In April 1972 he was called to serve as first counselor to Bishop Victor L. Brown in the church's Presiding Bishopric. When the Presiding Bishopric was released in 1985, he was called to serve as a member of the church's First Quorum of the Seventy, where he served until 1993, when he was granted emeritus general authority status.

Among his duties while serving as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy was an assignment as president of the church's Jordan River Utah Temple, where his wife Brookie served with him as matron.

Elder Peterson's final general conference address came during the priesthood session of the October 1993 general conference of the church. In it he urged his listeners to stay away from immoral and illicit entertainment. In other general conferences he spoke about adversity, achieving harmony in the home and the power of prayer.

“Listening is an essential part of praying," he said in October 1973. "Answers from the Lord come quietly — ever so quietly. In fact, few hear his answers audibly with their ears. We must be listening so carefully or we will never recognize them. Most answers from the Lord are felt in our heart as a warm comfortable expression, or they may come as thoughts to our mind. They come to those who are prepared and who are patient.”

And in October general conference of 1982 he said, "If our words are not consistent with our actions, they will never be heard above the thunder of our deeds."

Funeral services for Elder Peterson will be held Saturday, April 20, at 11 a.m. MDT at the Bountiful Hills Ward meetinghouse, 1190 E. Bountiful Hills Drive in Bountiful. In lieu of flowers, his family asks for donations to the LDS Missionary Fund.

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