LDS Church News

Sunday School general presidency: A life impacted, blessed by many strong teachers

By Jason Swensen

LDS Church News

Published: Saturday, June 7 2014 12:05 a.m. MDT

Brother Devin G. Durrant and Sister Julie M. Durrant

Courtesy of the Durrant family

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President Devin G. Durrant, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, knows well the importance of good teachers. He’s had them close by his entire life.

As a boy, young Devin was the beneficiary of skilled teachers, instructors and coaches at school, both at Church and in sports.

Meanwhile, his own father, George Durrant, was a renowned college professor and priesthood leader. His mother, Marilyn, skillfully assumed the role of “teacher” in the Durrant household and helped make the family home a classroom of gospel learning.

“Certainly, they taught through their words, but really, the great teachings that I experienced in the home were by watching them live their lives, how they interacted with other people, how they cared for and loved us as children.”

When President Durrant, 53 — who will be released July 1 as president of the Texas Dallas Mission — was sustained on April 5 to serve in the Sunday School general presidency, it’s certain many Church members flashed back to his glory days in a BYU Cougar basketball jersey.

Sports, of course, have played an important role in his life. He was an All-American at Utah’s Provo High School before enjoying a stellar college career at BYU. He even spent a season competing in the NBA against the world’s top players. But basketball has never defined this lifelong member. Yes, he was a star athlete, but he’s been much more: a missionary, a husband, a father, a grandfather, an author, a businessman, a faithful member and, for the past three years, the president to the elders and sisters serving in the Texas Dallas Mission.

President Durrant said his childhood home played a pivotal role in preparing him for each of those varied roles. He and his wife, Julie Mink Durrant, agree that strong teachers at home are invaluable in preparing future missionaries.

“[Future missionaries] are being well taught by their parents in the home and by their teachers at Church and in excellent seminary and institute programs,” he said. The Sunday School program, he added, allows teachers and students of all ages “to teach in the Savior’s way.”

Sister Durrant said she has witnessed many missionaries who immediately “hit the ground running” in their new callings.

“You can almost always attribute that to the great teaching they had at home,” she said.

In a few weeks, the Durrants will be released from missionary service and return to their Utah home. Brother Durrant can then focus his attention on his calling in the Sunday School general presidency — an assignment he calls both “humbling” and “exciting.”

“This is an opportunity to be involved in teaching and to do it with people [fellow presidency members Tad R. Callister and John S. Tanner] that I have such a deep respect and love for.”

Once again, he will enjoy the unwavering support of his wife.

The Durrants became acquainted when they both were undergraduates at BYU. When Devin left school to serve a mission in Spain, the two kept in contact via mail. “I fell in love with my wife as I read her letters,” he said.

Meanwhile, Julie accepted a mission call of her own to Peru.

“After our missions, we picked up our courtship, dated for a year and were married,” said Sister Durrant.

They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on April 23, 1983, and are the parents of six children and have six grandchildren.

The Durrants worked hard to raise their family in a Christ-centered home.