The Life of Elder Richard Gordon Scott Group Members: Jonathan Subaitani, Sarah Alice Gerhardt, Brittony Schmitt, Josh Pixton, & Sheena Duff
Elder Richard G. Scott Born November 7, 1928 in Pocatello, Idaho. He is currently 85 years old.
At the age of 5, he moved with his parents to Washington D.C. In his early years, Elder Scott remembers his parents encouraging he and his brothers to explore—”to tinker with mechanical things, discover how they worked, build them, and repair them. His parents even trusted the boys to fix the family car.” This may have been the beginning of his lifetime passion for science. Although he grew up in a home with a non-member father and a less active mother, they taught their children integrity, moral character, and high principles. “One time, as a joke, we put a caboose whistle on the exhaust manifold of that car!”
In high school, Richard G. Scott was a class president. He also played clarinet in the band, and was drum major for the marching band. Some jobs he worked to save money for college were: cutting down trees, washing dishes, and cooking for the Utah Forest Service; spending a summer on an oyster boat off Long Island, and repairing railroad cars for Union Pacific.
Richard G. Scott attended George Washington University in Washington D.C. as a mechanical engineer, and completed post-graduate work in nuclear engineering at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. • Also in college he enjoyed playing clarinet and saxophone in a jazz band. • Later, he received an honorary Doctor of Christian Service degree from Brigham Young University in 2008.
Shortly before Richard G. Scott graduated from George Washington University, he met Jeanene Watkins and they began a courtship. She told him that she only wanted to marry a returned missionary in the temple. Up until that point he had not thought about going on a mission but that motivated him. He saw his Bishop and soon after was on his way to serving a successful, full-time mission in Uruguay. “The Lord placed a bombshell in my little world: Jeanene Watkins.”
On July 16, 1953,two weeks after Elder Scott returned from his mission in Uruguay, and after her return from the Northwestern States Mission he and Jeanene Watkins were married in the Manti Temple.
“There’s a bird feeder in the backyard, and when the family eats out on the patio, there’s always at least one pair of binoculars at the table.” Elder Scott and Jeanene had seven children. They enjoyed time together as a family. Some family interests included: jazz music, collecting and listening to South American folk music, and bird watching. Elder Scott was also a family fix it man around the house as he took care of the plumbing, the electricity, car repairs, etc. He also built a deck for their house and designed and built additional rooms on the other home they lived in.
Elder Scott’s beloved wife, Jeanene, passed away May 15, 1995. They were married for 42 years. He speaks of her often during his talks, especially the closeness he feels to her through the veil. He said, while giving a fireside on September 12, 2010, “What to me has become a vitally important part of remembering the blessings that come from the temple is that I love my wife more each day…my precious wife, Jeanene, even when afflicted with an aggressive terminal disease, consistently found joy in life.” “Our seven children are bound to us by the sacred ordinances of the temple. Now, Jeanene, and two of our children are beyond the veil. They provide a powerful motivation for each remaining member of our family to live so that together we can receive all of the eternal blessings promised in the temple.” “I know that as I continue to live worthily I will have the privilege of being with my beautiful wife, whom I love with all my heart, and with those children who are with her on the other side of the veil, because of the opportunities made possible through the eternal ordinances that were performed in the Manti Temple.”
“Think of the long view of life, not just what's going to happen today or tomorrow. Don't give up what you most want in life for something you think you want now.” Richard G. Scott holding his first grandchild.
From 1953 to 1965 Elder Scott served on the immediate staff of Admiral Hyman Rickover, directing the development of nuclear fuel for a wide variety of naval and land based power plants. It was his first job after his mission working on the design of the nuclear reactor for the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine. Later, he worked as a private consultant for nuclear power companies. The Nautilus Submarine
From 1965 to 1969, Elder Scott presided over the Argentina North Mission in Cordoba, Argentina. • He served in the Stake Presidency of his Stake in Washington D.C. and then served as a regional representative in the Uruguay, Paraguay, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. areas until his call as a Seventy. • Elder Scott was called to be a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 2, 1977. For a year he served as managing director in the Priesthood Department, then as executive administrator in Mexico and Central America. He and his family lived in Mexico City for three of his six years in that assignment. He also served in the Presidency of that Quorum until he was called as an Apostle. • President Ezra Taft Benson—“with tenderness and love and great understanding that I will never forget”, called Richard G. Scott to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. He was sustained an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 1, 1988.
“Our Heavenly Father did not put us on earth to fail but to succeed gloriously.”
Elder Scott, throughout the years, has been doing watercolor paintings that were shown off at Deseret Book for the world to see. Forty years ago, Elder Richard G. Scott became fascinated with a friend's ability to use brushes, watercolor, and paper to create beauty. Something inside of him said, "Try it," but his more rational self responded, "You've never had any artistic ability; all you will do is prove that you can't paint anything." Fortunately, the desire to try persisted. He got a few books on watercolor from the library, bought an inexpensive set of paints and a brush, and on a sheet of ordinary paper tried to paint a tree, then other objects. Later lessons enhanced his understanding and helped him grow, until now, many years later; his experiences with painting have brought great personal satisfaction.
"Creativity can engender a spirit of gratitude for life and for what the Lord has woven into your being. Creativity gives a renewal, a spark of enthusiasm, a zest for life that we all need.” – Elder Scott
Lessons Learned from Richard G. Scott From Elder Scott we learn to always stand up for our beliefs, even when it will cost us. An example of this is: “Before his mission, a professor had tried to dissuade him from going; ‘he would be throwing away a promising career’, the man said. But a few weeks after returning from Uruguay, Richard was invited to be interviewed by Captain (later Admiral) Hyman G. Rickover for a job on a top-secret military project involving nuclear energy. The interview seemed to go miserably. In response to one question, Richard mentioned his mission. “What mission?” Captain Rickover demanded. “And what do I care about your mission?” Richard reacted to that, because his mission had been such a precious time in his life. “Everything I really treasure in life began to unfold because of that mission,” he says. “So I decided to respond vigorously to every question.” Then the captain asked, “What was the last book you read?” “The Book of Mormon,” he responded. And so it went through the rest of the interview. With all hopes extinguished, Richard got up to leave. “Just a minute,” said the Captain. “I’ve been testing you to see if you could stand up for what you believe. This is not going to be an easy project. We need people who can work with confidence.” Richard got the job working on the design of the nuclear reactor for the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine.” --- “I think of the great opportunity he was getting with this interview, he was just off his mission and being offered a top-secret job; not many people can say that. Yet, when his beliefs were questioned, he answered fearlessly, even under the impression that he was ruining his chance. No matter what is at stake, Elder Scott teaches us that if the spirit tells you to testify of truth, you do it!” – BrittonySchmitt “What this experience taught me was that even when under great pressure it is important to always remember that we are all representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ at all times and all places, not just when it’s convenient. Elder Scott did not feel that his beliefs were going to help his chances of getting the position on the project, but despite what he thought, he was true and faithful to who he was and proudly admitted he was a faithful member of the church.” – Josh Pixton
Going the Extra Mile: Example #2 “One summer, Elder Scott applied to the Utah Parks Service and was rejected. Instead of accepting defeat, he travelled across the country to ask for the job in person. Upon arriving, he had only three cents to his name. He asked for a position as desk clerk, bell boy, and dishwasher, all with a negative reply. Desperate for the job and to have a place to stay as well as food to eat, he offered to wash dishes for the next two weeks, and said the man did not have to pay him if the work was not adequate. The man accepted and Elder Scott went to work washing dishes, but during those two weeks he also helped out in the kitchens when he could. After showing that he would go the extra mile, Elder Scott was able to keep the job and by the end of the summer had advanced to number-two cook in the kitchen.” “Through Elder Scott’s example we see that sometimes doing the minimum required of us is not enough; sometimes we must go the extra mile. Elder Scott sacrificed a lot in going to Utah and getting a job on such thin conditions, but he worked hard and was rewarded for his efforts. If we are to follow his example, may we work as hard as he did, and with his strong determination.” – Brittony Schmitt
Specific Teachings that Mean Something to Me… “If you’ve tangled your ordered life into a ball of knots, it has taken time to get it that way. It is unreasonable to expect to unravel it all at once. Start knot by knot, decision by decision, and be sure that while you are untying the knots, you don’t let any more get put there through transgression.” (Elder Richard G. Scott, “Finding the Way Back”, General Conference April 1990.) “I really like the imagery he used in this example. I enjoy crocheting, and I know from personal experience that knots can be very frustrating, especially if you are on a role and then you have to stop to untie a massive knot, let alone several massive knots. Knots halt progression, and you cannot continue normally until they are gone. Elder Scott is drawing a comparison between real knots, and sins or bad habits that might similarly halt progression in our lives. Untying knots (repenting of sins and ceasing bad habits) can be meticulous, and sometimes if you try to yank and pull them out you make them worse or create new ones. Untying knots has to be done with patience, one knot at a time.” – Brittony Schmitt
Specific Teachings that Mean Something to Me… “A specific teaching of Elder Scotts’ that I really love is from his talk given in the April 2011 General Conference titled, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”. The thing that I love so much about this talk is that you can see how much he loved and cherished his late wife Jeanene. One can easily see that she was more important than anything to him and he goes on in his talk to say, “My precious wife, Jeanene, and two of our children are beyond the veil. They provide a powerful motivation for each remaining member of our family to live so that together we will receive all of the eternal blessings promised in the temple.” The specific teaching that I like is that to have a happy family we need to make our families or future families our top priority. The way that we treat them is so crucial to whether or not we will qualify for the blessings of the spirit in our home. I hope to follow Elder Scott’s example and show my future family the love, kindness, and support that will allow the spirit’s guidance in my home. He taught that men must live to be worthy of the priesthood and use it to lead in family scripture study and family prayer. Lastly, I like how he said his wife Jeanene found her happiness in service to others. I hope that one day I may too have a joyously happy family that together strives to be worthy of eternal blessings.” – Josh Pixton
“Similarly, I too cherished the teachings of Richard G. Scott in his talk in April General Conference 2011 titled: The Eternal Blessings of Marriage.” • “One thing that always impressed me about Richard G. Scott is how much in love with his wife he is so to the point that he didn’t feel the need to remarry. In his conference talk he speaks highly of his wife and their experiences together and times spent on each other while she was here. One of my favorite parts of his talk is when he tells of their notes they would write to each other. He said this, • ‘I learned from my wife the importance of expressions of love. Early in our marriage, often I would open my scriptures to give a message in a meeting, and I would find an affectionate, supportive note Jeanene had slipped into the pages. Sometimes they were so tender that I could hardly talk. Those precious notes from a loving wife were and continue to be a priceless treasure of comfort and inspiration… • ‘I remember one day I took some of those little round paper circles that form when you punch holes in paper, and I wrote on them the numbers 1 to 100. I turned each over and wrote her a message, one word on each circle. Then I scooped them up and put them in an envelope. I thought she would get a good laugh. • ‘When she passed away, I found in her private things how much she appreciated the simple messages that we shared with each other. I noted that she had carefully pasted every one of those circles on a piece of paper. She not only kept my notes to her, but she protected them with plastic coverings as if they were a valuable treasure. There is only one that she didn’t put with the others. It is still behind the glass in our kitchen clock. It reads, “Jeanene, it is time to tell you I love you.” It remains there and reminds me of that exceptional daughter of Father in Heaven.’ • “I love this. To me their relationship as a husband and wife is an ideal example. They made time for each other and served one another unselfishly. This talk he gave has impacted me most in my views of marriage.” –Sheena Duff Teachings of Richard G. Scott that impressed me:
Personal Experiences with Elder Scott… “I’ve never met Elder Scott personally, but my father-in-law shared with me a personal experience he had with Elder Scott. My father-in-law was serving as a Stake President and was attending a Stake President’s seminar with Elder Scott and he said it was a marvelous experience. This was his recollection, ‘We had instruction by Elder Scott to stake presidents at the beginning of an area stake president's seminar held in Bountiful, Utah, September 1992, in essence, he said something that has stayed with me: “Now brethren, I urge you in your note-taking, don't try to write down everything spoken from the pulpit, you can look that up; rather, write down the impressions that come into your mind. That is your own personal revelation from God, your own scriptures, which should guide you in your service to Him as a stake president.” My father-in-law added, ‘Elder Scott was a superb teacher; so very humble and yet so very high-tech with his writable iNotebook that projected onto giant screens. His teachings were crisp clear like a scientist's, and were filled with discussion. The Spirit flowed freely giving incredible recordable impressions to his listeners.’ This experience of recording impressions is applicable to everyone. We should be listening to the still small voice and His counsel to us and begin our own personal recorded scripture. I really liked this teaching from Elder Scott.“ …continued on next slide…
Personal Experience continued… “After my father-in-law’s experience, they received a Christmas card of one of Elder Scott’s watercolors. I’ve included both a picture of the watercolor card and the inscription on the inside.” - John Subaitani
Elder Scott has a constant theme of the importance of revelation and how we can communicate with the Lord and how He communicates with us. He said, “If you want to talk to God, pray. If you want Him to talk to you, read your scriptures.”
“As you trust Him, seek and follow His will, you will receive blessings that your finite mind cannot understand here on earth. Your Father in Heaven and His Holy Son know better than you what brings happiness. They have given you the plan of happiness. As you understand and follow it, happiness will be your blessing. As you willingly obey, receive, and honor the ordinances and covenants of that holy plan, you can have the greatest measure of satisfaction in this life. Yes, even times of overpowering happiness. You will prepare yourself for an eternity of glorious life with your loved ones who qualify for that kingdom.”