It was Oct. 13, 1963.
President David O. McKay was at the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Beatles would soon appear on the "Ed Sullivan Show," and President John F. Kennedy would shortly make his fateful trip to Dallas, Texas.
And in the Edgemont 1st Ward in Provo, Utah, a new bishopric was being called. Brother Howard Stutz was sustained as bishop, and sustained as his counselors were Brothers Earl Wright and Shafter Bown. They served together until June 1967.
Now, 45 years later, on Sept. 7, 2008, these three men held a reunion at the home of Bishop Stutz, who was celebrating his 90th birthday.
Although their bodies are older and their hair is now white, the former bishopric still shares the same love for each other and the same devotion to the gospel of Jesus Christ that they exhibited nearly a half-century ago. The old Edgemont 1st Ward has changed completely. What was once farmland and quiet country roads now resembles a bustling city with beautiful homes and thriving retail businesses. The ward in which these men served has been divided and divided and divided again and today encompasses two stakes, but Stutz's home still remains in the heart of the intact Edgemont 1st Ward.
It was a joyous time of remembrance for the former bishopric. Old newsletters were read and former auxiliary presidencies were remembered and praised..
Pictures were shared of ward outings and service projects and Scout camps long since forgotten. Testimonies were borne of miraculous priesthood blessings given to members of the ward and of the promises fulfilled.
The spirit of the evening was reminiscent of the joyful meeting described in the Book of Mormon as Alma met the sons of Mosiah in the wilderness after many years of serving as missionaries. "Therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently that they might know the word of God" (Alma17:2).At the end of the evening, love was expressed and prayers were offered as the former bishop and counselors bid each other farewell. Although they now live miles apart, their service in the church formed a bond among them and their families that will remain strong forever.
Ellen Landeen lives in West Jordan.