Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
David A Bednar David A. Bednar

1952 - living
  • Born 1952, San Leandro, California
  • Baptized as a child, Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • full-time missionary to Germany
  • Married Susan Kae Robinson, Salt Lake Temple 1975; three children
  • Bishop, Counselor to Stake President, Stake President (twice), Regional Representative, Area Authority, Area Authority Seventy
  • Ordained Apostle and set apart to the Twelve 2004-present

   The receding waters of Lake Mead in southern Nevada reveal the foundations of a little Mormon pioneer community. The town — then known as St. Thomas — is long gone. In nearby Logandale are the graves of many of these pioneers who lived out lives of sacrifice and service, and whose descendants today are carrying out that faithful legacy.

   One of those descendants is Elder David A. Bednar. Last June, while on a stake conference assignment as an Area Authority Seventy, he visited the old foundations of St. Thomas, long under water until drought changed the man-made lake's boundaries. Using a map of the old buildings, he walked along what had once been roads and paths. He could see where his great-grandmother once had a home. And he paused before the spot where his mother was likely born.

   "That evening, I stood to speak in the stake center in Logandale, a thousand yards from where my mom and dad are buried," Elder Bednar related. "To stand in the place where my mom probably was born, and then to go to the place where she rests, you know the Lord's course is one eternal round. Here's where, in large measure, I came from, and (here is) my heritage in the Church."
   He related this, and the obvious parallels to foundations, while visiting with the Church News three days after he was sustained Oct. 2 to the Quorum of the Twelve, along with Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf. (Please see Oct. 16, 2004, Church News, for profile of Elder Uchtdorf.) Sitting beside him in the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City was his wife, Susan Kae Robinson Bednar.

   "Overwhelmed" and "excited" were two words he used to describe his feelings on this warm fall afternoon. The slim, athletic 52-year-old spoke of his family and of his faith. And he recalled experiences from his childhood and youth and from the last few years as president of BYU-Idaho that have prepared him for the apostleship.
   "I'm eager to learn, and I'm anxious to travel the world and meet the good Latter-day Saints in every country where the gospel is established and to assist in establishing the gospel where it's not yet gone," said Elder Bednar, who will continue to serve as president of BYU-Idaho for a time.

   Sister Bednar added that her husband has a "sense of humility and a willingness to learn and to be taught, and an excitement about spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. I know he has a love for people. He has extraordinary discernment in judgment and wisdom. I've seen, especially in the last seven years, miracles worked on our campus at BYU-Idaho that have bolstered my faith in the Lord and in him."

   Those miracles of which she speaks concern the transition of Ricks College into BYU-Idaho in a four-year period. "In less than one year we went from having no idea this was coming to a blueprint being reviewed by accrediting agencies," Elder Bednar said.

   A few years before this, he had no idea that he would be leading such a transition. Content as a professor of management in the College of Business Administration at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, he received a telephone call in 1997 that would change the course of his life and that of his family. He was asked to become president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho.

   "When we were invited to go to Rexburg, it was very sudden. We left friends and very pleasant circumstances in terms of the community, our home, our acquaintances, serving in the Church (a stake president twice). We had watched our children grow up with other children. We moved to Rexburg, we did not know a soul, and we started over.

   "As I look back, I think that wrenching change for us individually was a necessary lesson in preparation for the wrenching change of the institution of Ricks College as it began to transition to BYU-Idaho. I'm not sure Susan and I could have stood in front of those Ricks College employees, addressing some of the challenges of the change, if we had not had that personal experience first.

   "That very transition, that very change, and the suddenness of it, is occurring again now," Elder Bednar said, referring to his calling as an apostle.

The ultimate lesson, he said, is that "control is an illusion. Maybe one of the great lessons of a lifetime is to come to the conclusion that we're His, we're not our own. We've been bought with a price. And it's not just a hymn that we sing, 'I'll go where you want me to go.' "

   For Elder and Sister Bednar, that has been a way of life. He was reared in San Leandro, Calif., by an LDS mother and a Catholic father. She was reared in Star Valley, Wyo., the daughter of Kay and Nyla Robinson, pioneer descendants known for a legacy of faith and for quiet community service.

   Elder Bednar's relationship with his father taught him that there are many good people who are not members of the Church. A tool and dye maker, Anthony G. Bednar was a man of order and priority. There was an individual space on the wall of the family garage for every tool his father owned, with the shape of the tool drawn on the wall. "He made wooden furniture for our home, and he had all these metal doodads that he made."

   In fact, when Elder Bednar spoke at general conference the day after he was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve, he was wearing cuff links with tiger's-eye, a semiprecious stone, his father made years ago.

   His dad was also a devoted father. Although he was almost 60 years old when his youngest son was a teenager, he was the receiver for young David Bednar, a high school football quarterback, running pass patterns in the family yard in San Leandro.

His mother, Lavina Whitney Bednar, was "steady," a word he often uses to describe her. She was steady as she reared the three Bednar children in the Church, something fully supported by her husband. And she was steady through the years as she prayed for her husband to be baptized and her family sealed in the temple.

   Elder Bednar, as a young man, also prayed for the same things. He continued to pray while teaching others the gospel in Germany as a full-time missionary. "We had a bit of a tradition for a time. I think I ended every letter that I wrote home from the mission field with, 'Dad, I love you. When are you going to be baptized?' "

   The years passed. Young David Bednar returned from his mission, entered BYU and met a young woman while playing flag football for family home evening. He and Susan Robinson were married March 20, 1975, in the Salt Lake Temple. Three sons have come from their union, and they now also have three granddaughters.

   Finally, in 1979, while studying for his doctorate at Purdue University, he received the phone call for which he had long prayed. It was his dad in California saying. "What are you doing this Saturday? I need you home to baptize me."

   "We always talk about fathers blessing their children and performing the ordinances, and those are wonderful experiences. But I've had the experience of providing all those ordinances for my dad," Elder Bednar said quietly. His mother and father, now deceased, were sealed, along with their children.

   Elder Bednar has tried to carry on with his sons his father's tradition of hands-on fathering. In fact, Sister Bednar laughs when she points out that their home in Arkansas never had trees in the back yard. It was always a football or baseball field for not only their own children but also for the neighborhood children who lined up for football passes from "Mr. Bednar."

   "There are some things that are nice. There are a few things that are absolutely necessary," Elder Bednar said of career accomplishments being lower in priority to family.

And that was never more obvious than when he was serving as a stake president in Arkansas. During one priesthood leadership meeting held on a Saturday, he felt prompted to invite an elders quorum president to go to a championship basketball game in which both had sons playing on opposing teams. A few months later, the other man's son was killed in an accident. At the hospital, the other man hugged Elder Bednar and, in tears, said, "I am so glad that we were able to go to that basketball game."

The newest apostle says life is "one drop of oil added to our spiritual lamp of preparation every day. That's how it works. Susan and I are getting old enough now that we can look back and see that blessing and that pattern. That just seems to be how the Lord works."

   "New president for Ricks College," Church News Archives, May 31, 1997
   "Legacy of family, faith is foundation of life," Church News Archives, October 23, 2004

Selected Discourses and Writings
Grampa Bill believes this to be the most complete listing available free on the web of David A Bednar's talks and articles. Please email the Grampa if you note any busted links, errors, or if you are aware of any David A Bednar talks or articles not listed here but available on the web.

You will note that some are available only as text; some are available only in an audio (ASX, MP3, or WMA) format; while still others are available in both text and audio formats.

Gain Spiritual Intelligence Ricks College Devotional
9 September 1997
Understanding the Importance of Scripture Study Ricks College Devotional
6 January 1998
Inaugural Response Ricks College Inauguration
27 February 1998
Commencement Address Ricks College Graduation
25 April 1998
Teach Them to Understand Ricks College Education Week
4 June 1998
In the Path of Their Duty Ricks College Devotional
1 September 1998
Your Whole Souls as an Offering Unto Him Ricks College Devotional
5 January 1999
Commencement Address Ricks College Graduation
24 April 1999
Understanding is a Wellspring of Life Ricks College Education Week
3 June 1999
Receiving, Recognizing, and Responding to the Promptings of the Holy Ghost Ricks College Devotional
31 August 1999
Ye are the Temple of God Ricks College Devotional
11 January 2000
Come Unto Christ Ricks College Religion Symposium
29 January 2000
Untitled Ricks College Graduation
31 May 2000
I am the Light Which Shineth in the Darkness Ricks College Education Week
1 June 2000
According to Thy Faith Ricks College Devotional
29 August 2000
Turn Ye, Turn Ye Unto the Lord Your God Ricks College Devotional
9 January 2001
For Such a Time as This Ricks College Mother's Weekend
16 March 2001
Note: This is the final commencement of Ricks College prior to its transition to BYU-Idaho as a four-year university.
Ricks College Graduation
28 April 2001
What Is Man, that Thou Art Mindful of Him? Ricks College Education Week
7 June 2001
“Ye Are the Temple of God” Ensign ,September 2001  
Note the date of these remarks. The nation is in shock as President Bednar addresses these comments to a numbed student body and faculty.
BYU-Idaho Devotional
11 September 2001
"...Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept..." BYU-Idaho Devotional
11 September 2001
"In the Strength of the Lord" BYU Devotional, 23 October 2001 MP3
In the Strength of the Lord BYU-Idaho Devotional
8 January 2002
Stand Ye in Holy Places BYU-Idaho Mother's Weekend
22 March 2002
An Anthem and the Light
Note: This is BYU-Idaho's first graduating class after its transition from Rick's College. There are a few of Elder Bednar's remarks that are included in the Audio version that do not appear on the transcript. These seem to be statistics concerning the graduating class.
BYU Idaho Grauation
27 April 2002
Heartfelt and Willing Obedience BYU Idaho Education Week
27 June 2002
"Love Living Your Religion" BYU Idaho Graduation
23 August 2002
Untitled BYU Idaho Faculty Meeting
27 August 2002
I Will Not Remove Mine Integrity From Me BYU Idaho Devotional
10 September 2002
Moral Purity BYU Idaho Devotional
7 January 2003
The Character of Christ BYU Idaho Religious Lecture Series
25 January 2003
No Ordinary Cause BYU Idaho Mother's Weekend
21 March 2003
The Importance of Small and Simple and Ordinary Things BYU Idaho Graduation
26 April 2003
"Arise and Shine Forth" BYU Idaho Education Week
28 June 2003
“Exceedingly Valiant For Courage” BYU Idaho Graduation
22 August 2003
Jacob Spori Building Dedication BYU Idaho Dedicatory
22 August 2003
Steadfast and Immovable BYU Idaho Devotional
9 September 2003
In a State of Happiness BYU Idaho Devotional
6 January 2004
“Your Walk Down Parley Street” BYU Idaho Graduation
24 April 2004
“My Peace I Give Unto You” BYU Idaho Education Week
24 June 2004
"Quick to Observe" BYU Idaho Graduation
20 August 2004
BYU–Idaho: A Disciple Preparation Center BYU Idaho Devotional
31 August 2004
In the Strength of the Lord
Note: This is Elder Bednar's first General Conference address after being called as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is taken largely from a talk by the same name which he delivered to a BYU Devotional three years earlier.
General Conference, October 2004  
Thomas E. Ricks Building Dedication BYU Idaho Dedication
18 February 2005
The Tender Mercies of the Lord General Conference, April 2005  
“Quick to Observe” BYU Devotional, 10 May 2005 MP3
Be Honest New Era ,October 2005  
Becoming a Missionary General Conference, October 2005  
Brigham Young University-Idaho Inaugural Luncheon BYU Idaho Inaugural
11 October 2005
Because We Have Them before Our Eyes New Era ,April 2006  
That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us General Conference, April 2006  
Marriage Is Essential to His Eternal Plan Ensign, June 2006  
And Nothing Shall Offend Them General Conference, October 2006  
The Spirit and Purposes of Gathering BYU Idaho Devotional
31 October 2006
Quick to Observe Ensign, December 2006  
"A Reservoir of Living Water" CES Fireside, BYU
4 February 2007
Ye Must Be Born Again General Conference, April 2007  

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