His alert eyes, the color in his face, and the sureness
of his movements all revealed Ben Banks’s vigorous love of sports and the
out-of-doors. He was a model of physical fitness when, at 57, Elder Benjamin Berry Banks
returned to the United States from Scotland, where he served as
mission president, to attend general conference and to be sustained as
a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
“We love the people of Scotland, and we love the
country itself,” said his wife, the former Susan Kearnes. “It will be hard
to leave and hard to leave the great missionary effort. We have developed
a great love for the missionaries; they have been a true
blessing in our lives. But we love to go where we are called.”
Going where he is called and doing what is asked
are traits characteristic of Elder Banks’s always energetic service.
“Whether in business, in Church service, or with my family,” he smiled,
“I have always felt that I needed to give more than was expected of me
and have left the rest up to the Lord. The results have been blessings
Sister Banks said, “Ben is one of the most generous
and considerate people I’ve ever known. He believes that everything he
has belongs to the Lord, so he feels responsible for sharing anything in
reach. And he does.”
Ben Banks built a thriving lumber business in Salt
Lake City based on the same principle—he tried to give more than people
expected. Two of his sons, Ben, Jr., and Brad, took over when he was called
to full-time Church service.
Besides these two oldest sons, Elder and Sister Banks
had a daughter, Nanette (Amis), and five other sons. All seven sons have gone
on missions in Japan.
Elder Banks was born in Salt Lake City on 4 April
1932. His mother is Chloa Berry Banks; his father, Ben F. Banks, died when
Ben was two years old.
After serving three different times as bishop, Elder
Banks served as a stake president. He was called in 1987 to preside over
the Scotland Edinburgh Mission, from which he was released to assume
his duties in the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Banks, an avid cyclist, shared his enjoyment of sports with his
family. He and Susan always enjoyed skiing together—on both snow and
water—and camping has been a favorite family activity. These activities
and the memories they provide have kept the family very close.
Scripture-centered parenting is another way that
Elder and Sister Banks have kept the family close, Elder Banks believes.
“I have always found that the best advice for Sue and me in teaching our
children is in the scriptures. We have used them consistently. We are so
grateful for the wisdom they offer. And when our children have wanted advice,
the scriptures were always our first resort.”
The Banks children said that standards in their parents’
home were high and demanding; yet they always felt loved and valued. “Though
a busy Church leader, Dad always made time for us,” adds one son.
Another son agrees: “He coached teams, attended special
events, and talked freely with us when we needed him. A good balance was
achieved between our father’s strict, high expectations and our mother’s
tenderness.” To which Elder Banks adds,
“I’ve never heard my wife angry, and never have I heard her speak an
unkind word to or about anyone. Her heart is pure.”
All the Banks children are actively involved in the
Church. “Our gratitude for the joy our family brings us is endless,” said
Elder Banks. “The love we share for our own and for all our Father’s children
makes any service we could ever give the purest
After serving faithfully in the Second Quorum of the
Seventy for three years, Elder Banks was called into the First Quorum of
the Seventy on June 6, 1992 and sustained thereto in the October General
Conference. In 1999 he was called to the Presidency of the Seventy. He
was released from the Presidency and named an Emeritus General Authority in 2002.
Even after all these years of faithful service, the Lord was not through with Elder Banks, After his release from the Seventy, Elder Banks and his wife Susan wrw called as President and Matron of the Jordon River Temple, a three yeat assignment. Following their completion of that calling, effective November 1, 2005, they were again called to work together as Directors of Church Hosting.