Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Victor L. Brown Victor L. (Lee) Brown

1914 - 1996
  • Born 1914 Cardston, Alberta, Canada
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Married Lois Kjar; Salt Lake Temple five children
  • Bishop; Counselor in Stake Presidency
  • Second Counselor to Presiding Bishop 1961-1972
  • Presiding Bishop 1972-1985
  • First Quorum of the Seventy 1985-1989
  • Appointed President of Salt Lake Temple 1985
  • Named Emeritus General Authority 1989
  • Died 1996 Salt Lake City, Utah

    One need only turn to the index of the Doctrine and Covenants to be reminded of the holy calling of the Presiding Bishop, who in company with his counselors holds the keys on earth to the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood, and who is empowered under the direction of the members of the First Presidency (who hold the keys of presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood) to officiate in the administration of the temporal and certain other affairs of the Church.

    One may also reflect on the concerns of the Presiding Bishopric by simply reviewing the many labors of members of one's own ward bishop.

    At the Presiding Bishopric level, the three presiding high priests known as the Presiding Bishopric are primarily responsible for the Aaronic Priesthood-age youth of the Church, as well as the reception and administration of the tithes and offerings of the Saints, care of the poor, and other duties assigned by the First Presidency.

    To this important calling came Bishop Victor L. Brown, the tenth person thus called in this dispensation, who for past ten years served as second counselor to Presiding Bishop John H. Vandenberg.

    Prior to that call in 1961, Bishop Brown lived and worked in the Church in five different areas, which helped make him intensely aware of the different needs and conditions of the wards and branches of the Church. He was born in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, and knew until he was sixteen the lifestyle and customs of the Canadian. Then his family moved to Salt Lake City, where he acquired some of his college and university education.

    In his mid-twenties, he began working for a major American airline and subsequently served in management capacities in Washington, D.C., Denver, and Chicago. During this period he also served as bishop and then counselor in a stake presidency, as well as in numerous other priesthood and auxiliary positions.

    Bishop Brown married Lois Kjar of Salt Lake City, and they are the parents of three sons and two daughters.

    The following interview discusses some of the thoughts of Bishop shortly after his call.

    Q. What are the major assignments of the Presiding Bishopric?

    A. Our first and foremost assignment is the Aaronic Priesthood-age youth of the Church—from twelve to nineteen years of age, both boys and girls. We also have the responsibility for the welfare program of the Church. My counselors and I sit as chairman and vice chairmen of the Welfare Committee of the Church.

    Another major responsibility is the Health Services Corporation of the Church, which includes the Church hospital system. The bishopric also has a mandate from the Lord to receive the tithes and offerings of the members of the Church. We have the responsibility for the statistical analysis of activities of the membership taken from the reports of ward and stake clerks. Presently we are in the process of converting to the computer the three million membership records. There are others, but these are our major responsibilities.

    Q. As you look ahead, in what areas do you hope to give emphasis?

    A. First priority is the youth program of the Church. The whole future of the Church rests on the youth of today. We want to devise and develop programs and activities that will bring the youth closer to the Church and the Church closer to the youth. This is a great challenge. The bishoprics prior to us have also faced this challenge, but as times change, each bishopric has been led to do different things to meet the needs of a new generation. We hope to draw upon all the available resources of the Church during our administration to accomplish this objective.

    That's our goal. We want the gospel to really live in the lives of our youth. With the help of the Lord and the ward and branch leaders, we expect to accomplish it.

    Q. Where do you see your greatest challenge in accomplishing this objective?

    A. One of our greatest challenges is to present the Church in such a light as to make it more enticing, interesting, and challenging than the activities of the world. Our youth are faced with so many serious temptations today, from the drug culture to illicit sex. Unfortunately, much of this behavior is not frowned upon by the world. The gospel of Christ will not modify its position. We need to present our case in such a way as to raise the whole spiritual tone of our youth. Basic to all is our desire to strengthen the family so that parents and youth can love and labor together in joy and happiness.

    Q. If you were to talk to parents and youth, what trait would you ask them to use more in their relationships?

    A. Honesty. I’d ask them to be honest with themselves, honest with the Lord, and honest with their parents or their children. It's difficult to be honest with the Lord and not be honest in all our dealings—and to be honest with the Lord, we must be honest with ourselves. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll be honest and kind to our children—or our parents—and behave toward them as we would have them behave toward us. Honesty of heart will keep one close to all the commandments.

    Q. What have been the highlights for you of the past ten years?

    A. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity of working with Bishop Vandenberg and Bishop [Robert L.] Simpson. In my own assignments, I have appreciated the support Bishop Vandenberg has given me.

    We need to give support and strength to one another—parents to youth, youth to parents, and leaders and teachers to fellow workers. This is a lesson I’ll never forget.

    May I also say that Bishop Vandenberg has given the Church a sharpness of intellect, an orderliness, a devotion that has been an inspiration. He is not a man to criticize others. He is a loyal person, and he teaches those around him to be loyal. What a blessing in all of our lives if each of us could apply these same traits!

    Q. Do you have a special theme that you like to address yourself to?

    A. The theme of caring for others, of being genuinely interested in the welfare of those around us, I tell the story of a blind Indian boy who was left on the desert to die when seven years of age; of how he was found by some tourists; of how he was almost a wild man and viewed the world as his enemy; of how everyone had given up changing him so that he could enter society, until he chanced to come into the hands of a good Latter-day Saint woman and a good Latter-day Saint boy who held the Aaronic Priesthood. Together they loved and cared and literally changed that young Indian boy's way of life.

    Through the love of two people, a blind Indian boy was baptized and later received the Melchizedek Priesthood. Today all the blessings of the gospel are available to him—because someone cared.

    On April 6, 1985 Bishop Victor L. Brown was released as Presiding Bishop and called into the First Quorum of the Seventy with the assignment to serve as the President of the Salt Lake Temple. The following is from the May 1985 Ensign.

    Elder Victor L. Brown, who had served as Presiding Bishop since April 1972, has been appointed president of the Salt Lake Temple, effective 1 June 1985. He succeeds Elder Marion D. Hanks, another member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who was recently assigned as Executive Director of the Church's Correlation Department.

    Elder Brown has served as a General Authority since 1961, when he was called as Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. He previously served as a bishop and a counselor in a stake presidency in Denver, Colorado.

    As Presiding Bishop, he had responsibility for seven major Church departments. He has also served as a director, trustee, or adviser to several educational, cultural, civic, and business institutions or organizations.

    Elder Brown is a native of Calgary, Alberta. He and his wife, Lois Kjar Brown, are the parents of three sons and two daughters.

Elder Brown was named a General Authority Emeritus on October 1, 1989. He died March 26 1996 at Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of eighty-one. The following appeared in the Ensign for May 1996.

Elder Victor L. Brown Dies at 81

    Elder Victor L. Brown, 81, an emeritus General Authority, died 26 March 1996 of a lingering illness.

    Elder Brown was the 10th Presiding Bishop of the Church and had served as an active General Authority from 1961 until 1989, when he was given emeritus status. He served more than four years as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy after having served 24 years in the Presiding Bishopric of the Church, 13 of those years as Presiding Bishop. While a member of the Seventy, he also served for two years as president of the Salt Lake Temple.

    Victor Lee Brown was born 31 July 1914 in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, to Gerald S. and Maggie Lee Brown. On 13 November 1936 he married Lois Ashton Kjar in the Salt Lake Temple. She preceded him in death. Elder Brown is survived by his five children.

    In 1940 Victor Brown began working as a reservation agent in Salt Lake City for United Airlines. He later held positions in Washington, D.C., and Denver, Colorado, and was an executive at the firm’s Chicago headquarters.

    Elder Brown later served on the board of directors of Western Airlines and recently had been honored as a Utah Pioneer of Flight.

    Funeral services for Elder Brown were held on 30 March 1996.

   Improvement Era, December 1961 and November 1967.)
   "Bishop Victor L. Brown," The Ensign, July 1972, page 14
   "The Sustaining of Church Officers," The Ensign, May 1985
   "Elder Victor L. Brown Dies at 81" The Ensign, May 1996.

Hosted by