Courtesy of Elder Holland

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland celebrates his 76th birthday on Dec. 3. Elder Holland was born the son of Frank D. and Alice Bentley Holland in 1940. He married Patricia Holland on June 7, 1963. Elder Holland spent his career working for the Church Educational System as an instructor and administrator, including service as LDS Church commissioner of education and dean of the College of Religious Education at Brigham Young University. He also served as the ninth president of BYU in Provo, Utah, from 1980 until his call as a general authority in 1989. He has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1994. The information in this quiz has been compiled from biographical articles and interviews.

Question #1
Courtesy of Elder Holland

Where is Elder Holland originally from?

a. Provo, Utah
b. Salt Lake City, Utah
c. Cedar City, Utah
d. St. George, Utah

Answer
Courtesy of Elder Holland

d. St. George, Utah

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was raised in St. George, Utah. He is remembered by former St. George mayor Karl Brooks as a leader.

“Jeff was in a position to lead his crowd away from church or toward it, and he chose always to go toward it,” Brooks was quoted as saying.

Elder Holland stayed in St. George prior to his mission and graduated from Dixie College in 1963. In 2012, Dixie State College named its new 170,000-square foot commons building after Elder Holland, something he initially opposed to when the idea was proposed.

“I refused and said, 'We are not going to do that,’” Elder Holland said according to a 2012 LDS Church News article. However, upon realizing what the building would stand for, he consented.

"It is a commons building for a common student, with common dreams and a common life and maybe uncommon hope," he said. "I was humbled because no more common student from any more common background with any more common resources ever attended Dixie State than [I]. I thought the least I could do was lend a name to those thousands...of students whose lives were blessed to change because they came here without a cent in their pocket, but with hope in their hearts."
Elder Holland says that if the building could just say “Dixie Student,” that would be and still is his preference.

Question #2
Courtesy of Elder Holland

2. What did Elder Holland plan to pursue as a career prior to serving his mission?

a. A doctor
b. A lawyer
c. A teacher
d. A therapist

Answer
Courtesy of Elder Holland

a. A doctor

Prior to serving a full-time mission, Elder Holland wanted to become a doctor. However, he said that, “I came home from my mission believing that God intended me to be a teacher.”

After receiving his BA in English, Elder Holland had the opportunity to teach part-time at BYU while he earned his master’s degree in religious instruction. When he had completed his MA, Elder Holland was hired by the Church Educational System as an institute teacher in Hayward, California. After teaching for a year in California. Elder Holland became the director of the Seattle Washington institute.

On June 23, 1994, Elder Holland was called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. At the time of his call, his brother, Dennis Holland, said that “all Jeff ever wanted to do was teach the gospel to students in a classroom. … I was always sure that the Lord had the same goal in mind for him, but that the size of the classroom and the number of students were on a much grander scale than he was envisioning.”

Question #3
Courtesy of Elder Holland

Who has Elder Holland said taught him a powerful lesson about priesthood power?

a. An elderly man on his mission
b. His grandfather
c. His deacon’s quorum advisor
d. His home teacher

Answer
Courtesy of Elder Holland

a. An elderly man on his mission

Elder Holland shared a story on lds.org about an elderly member of the church in England. This man made his living by fixing bicycles and would repair the elders’ bikes for free. One rainy night, the man came to the elders’ door to ask them to come and administer to his wife who was ill.

“‘That really touched me,’ Elder Holland said. ‘I was very moved that this 80-year-old man would venture through the heavy East Anglian rain to seek out the spiritual help of two young boys.’ The young Elder Holland and his companion administered to the frail lady, who was slowly dying and in such pain that she had not slept for 48 hours.

"‘It was the first time I had ever done that, being a new missionary of just two weeks,’ he said. ‘I remember leaving the old fellow and his wife up in the room as we went downstairs in their tiny house to put on our raincoats and get ready to go out. And then he came down — this sweet little old man with his soiled, bike-repairing hands — and he dabbed at his eyes and managed to say, through his emotions, ‘She’s sleeping now.’

"‘I remember vividly going out into that rain and weeping, conscious of a spiritual revelation — a kind of "coming-to-realize-what-I-had" feeling. There were many other considerably more miraculous things that happened throughout my mission,’ Elder Holland admits, ‘but none perhaps that touched me more deeply than this first manifestation which caused me, an average, raised-in-the-Church, seminary-attending boy from southern Utah who had never really been anywhere, to examine my own values, and my own priesthood, and my own faith — and really see that they worked.’”

Question #4
Courtesy of Elder Holland

Who was Elder Holland’s mission president?

a. Bruce R. McConkie
b. Neal A. Maxwell
c. David B. Haight
d. Marion D. Hanks

Answer
Deseret News archive

d. Marion D. Hanks

Elder Holland told the Deseret News that to say Elder Marion D. Hanks had a profound influence on his life would be “a terrible understatement.”

“President Hanks taught me to love the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon,” Elder Holland said.

“As his mission president, Elder Hanks saw some exceptional qualities in young Elder Holland and [early on] made him part of a traveling team of trainers,” wrote Don L. Searle for the Liahona magazine. “Their assignment was to help other missionaries become disciples of Jesus Christ. Elder Hanks says Jeffrey Holland ‘blossomed into a discipleship, even then centered in Jesus Christ,’ and responded diligently to his mission president’s call to teach from the Book of Mormon. Elder Hanks says that Elder Holland’s love for that book and his ability to teach from it have grown continuously stronger through the years.”

Question #5
Deseret News archive

Where did Elder Holland’s parents serve their mission?

a. Australian Mission
b. Northwestern States Mission
c. French Mission
d. British Mission

Answer
Deseret News archive

d. British Mission

An article on lds.org says that, “Frank and Alice Holland were called to the British Mission during their son’s service there. Alice laughs when she recalls that her son claimed to be the only missionary who ever said farewell to his parents at both ends of his mission. They were still serving as missionaries when Jeff and Pat were married in the St. George Temple on 7 June 1963.”

Elder Holland served in the British Mission in the early 1960s. One of his missionary companions was Elder Quentin L. Cook, now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Five decades ago, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder Quentin L. Cook, then missionary companions serving in Great Britain, walked the streets of England and testified of the life, Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Sarah Jane Weaver wrote for the LDS Church News.

In a recent visit to Jerusalem, Elder Holland reflected on his service with Elder Cook. “‘In all my years it was a unique experience to be here with a missionary companion,’ added Elder Holland of the trip Oct. 19 through 29. ‘It was powerful to think of what we were teaching 54 years ago in England, and to realize the reality of that. You wouldn’t need to be at the Garden of Gethsemane or the Garden Tomb to realize [it], but what an experience half a century later for two missionary companions to stand side by side and have this evidence of the Savior’s life, ministry, Atonement and Resurrection give meaning to their missionary and apostolic labors.’”

Question #6
Deseret News archive

From which Ivy League school did Elder Jeffrey R. Holland receive one of his two master’s degrees and his doctorate degree?

a. Harvard
b. Princeton
c. Cornell
d. Yale

Answer
Deseret News archive

d. Yale

In a biographical article on lds.org, it says that after Elder Holland received his BA in English from BYU, he earned his fist master’s degree in religious instruction.

“On completion of his graduate work, he was hired as an institute teacher in the Church Educational System,” the article said. “After a year of teaching institute in Hayward, California, he was appointed director of the Seattle [Washington] institute. Then, knowing that a lifelong career in the field of education would mean a need for more schooling, including a doctoral degree, in 1970 the Hollands moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where he would attend Yale University.”

While attending Yale, Elder Holland received his second master’s degree and his Ph.D. in American Studies.

Question #7
Courtesy of Elder Holland

On what American author’s religious sense did Elder Holland write his dissertation?

a. William Faulkner
b. Mark Twain
c. Herman Melville
d. Nathaniel Hawthorne

Answer
Courtesy of Elder Holland

b. Mark Twain

In an email to the Deseret News, Elder Holland wrote that he concluded his dissertation on Mark Twain’s religious sense at the point when Twain published “Huckleberry Finn.” Elder Holland wrote that Twain became bitter in his later years after several family misfortunes and losing all of his money.

“He lost his money two or three times, and had family misfortune,” Elder Holland wrote. “He lost children and he blamed himself for losing the children, so he was pretty bitter in his old age. But I take him from his early years up to the publication of Huck Finn, a period when there was a wonderful, unique religious sense. He was preoccupied with religion. … He thought about and wrote in religious metaphors. And he named his cats Famine, Pestilence, Satan and Sin. He thought the height of confidence was a Christian with four aces. And when he moved to a new city, his first friends were always ministers. Wherever he went, he would seek out a ministerial associate.”

Question #8
Deseret News archive

Which of the LDS Church’s buildings was Elder Holland very influential in constructing?

a. BYU Jerusalem Center
b. Spencer W. Kimball building at BYU-Idaho
c. Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center
d. J. Reuben Clark building at BYU

Answer
Deseret News archive

a. BYU Jerusalem Center

In 1988 while Elder Holland was the president of BYU, he and President Howard W. Hunter, then the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, signed a renewable 49-year lease for the BYU Jerusalem Center. After the lease was signed, then-BYU director of public communication Paul Richards told the Deseret News that Elder Holland felt “like a great load has been lifted from the shoulders of BYU… it’s a great relief after eight years of constant turmoil, effort and anxiety.”

According to the Deseret News article, the first students moved into the center in 1987 while construction was still in progress. Elder Holland told Hugh Hewitt that when the first students were taken to Jerusalem in the late 1960s, they were always looking for a place to house them. Elder Holland explained that they lived anywhere they could, including hotels and a variety of kibbutzim, before finding a piece of property on Mount Scopus. The property was obtained, the center was built and “it’s been prospering ever since,” Elder Holland told the Deseret News.

When then mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, toured the center with Elder Holland, he said it “may well be the most beautiful building built in Jerusalem in the last one hundred years. That’s a bold statement,” Elder Holland told Hewitt.

Question #9
Courtesy of Elder Holland

In which general auxiliary did Patricia Holland serve?

a. General Relief Society presidency
b. General Primary presidency
c. General Young Women presidency

Answer
Courtesy of Elder Holland

c. General Young Women presidency

Sister Patricia Holland was called to serve in the general presidency of the Young Women organization in 1984. She served as a counselor to Sister Ardeth G. Kapp. It was during this time that Elder Holland was frequently travelling to and from Israel for work on the BYU Jerusalem Center. The Hollands still had young children at home and were faced with unique challenges but they remember this period as one that taught them about miracles.

“I think the Lord was trying to teach Pat and Jeff Holland something about miracles. We were overwhelmed with all of the things that you’ve just mentioned, particularly my calling,” Patricia Holland said in an interview with Mormon Channel.

“Now we look back and can honestly say that God is a God of miracles. It was just a time when he sorted parted the red sea in our spiritual souls and in our spiritual minds and helped us to know that God is God. …In Jeff’s case he was asked by President Kimball to manage the university and I was called by President Hinckley to serve in the Young Women’s presidency. We had been called by prophets. We believed that they are called of God and like Nephi, when a calling comes like that, the Lord prepares a way for you to do it and we did it as long as it was needful and as long as it took for us to do what we were asked to do and to learn what we needed to learn.”

Question #10
Deseret News archive

Which area presidency did Elder Holland not serve in?

a. North America West
b. Europe North
c. North America Southeast
d. North America Central

Answer
Deseret News archive

d. North America Central

According to a biographical article on lds.org, Elder Holland served in the area presidencies for the North America West, Europe North and North America Southeast areas while he was serving as a Seventy. Later as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles he presided over the Chile area.

Question #11
Courtesy of Elder Holland

How many grandchildren do Elder and Sister Holland have?

a. 9
b. 11
c. 13
d. 15

Answer
Courtesy of Elder Holland

c. 13

The Hollands are the parents of three children: Matthew, Mary Alice and David. Matthew S. Holland is president of Utah Valley University and father of four. Mary Alice McCann is an author and mother of five. David Frank Holland is a professor at the Harvard Divinity School and father of four.