Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Gene R. Cook Gene R. (Raymond) Cook

1941 - living
  • Born 1941 Lehi, Utah
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Mission to Uruguay-Paraguay
  • Married Janelle Schlink; four children
  • President of Uruguay-Paraguay Mission
  • Regional Representative of the Twelve
  • First Council of the Seventy 1975-1976
  • First Quorum of the Seventy 1976-2007
  • Named General Authority Emeritus 6 October 2007

    Elder Cook was born September 1, 1941 at Lehi, Utah to Clarence H. Cook and Myrl Johnson.

    “I've always felt like a missionary,” said Elder Gene R. Cook, as a member of the First Council of the Seventy.

    Missionary work began for him when he was 12 years old. One night his older brother came home from MIA and told him how his teacher had talked about the importance of testimony and having one of your own. “My brother told me that he wanted to get one, and he began to fast and pray,” says Elder Cook.

    “After witnessing the spiritual experiences in our family and my brother's life during the following week, I knew I wanted to get a testimony too. I began to read the Book of Mormon, and early in First Nephi I began to get those profound spiritual feelings. I read that book many times before being called as a full-time missionary. When you know it's true, you have to share it. I started by working on my young friends in Mesa, Arizona, to help them read the Book of Mormon and gain testimonies.”

    At the age of 17, Elder Cook was so anxious to be a missionary that he was called on a stake mission as junior companion to an older missionary. The next year he was assigned to be the senior companion to a 17-year-old friend whom he tried to teach how to be a missionary.

    After that he served a full-time mission in Uruguay-Paraguay under Elder J. Thomas Fyans. “Elder Fyans gave me training in leadership, and it was a time of much growth and learning,” says Elder Cook. Since then Elder Cook has held many other positions in the Church, including Regional and Mission Representative of the Twelve, counselor in a stake mission presidency, and one of the seven presidents of the quorum of seventy in his stake.

    Elder Cook was graduated from Arizona State University with a Master of Business Administration degree. He worked as an insurance salesman, manager, and field trainer and was a member of the Million Dollar Roundtable his first year in the insurance business. But, despite his success, he began to feel restless and to ask himself what he was really doing with his life. “It just wasn't enough,” he says. After much private contemplation he felt directed to move his family to Utah. Subsequently, he began to work for the Church Personnel Department. “The Lord put what I had learned in the insurance business to good use.”

    Among other callings Elder Cook worked as executive secretary to the Missionary Executive Committee and the First Council of the Seventy.

    When President Spencer W. Kimball interviewed him about serving as a Seventy, he asked, among other questions, if Elder Cook was willing to sacrifice all he has for the rest of his life, even to sacrifice his life, for the gospel. “I was thrilled to be able to answer his questions affirmatively. President Kimball also asked about my wife, Janelle, and if she could answer the same questions. I didn't even need to ask her. She understands the order of the priesthood. She is truly characteristic of great LDS women — totally willing to follow direction and totally trusting of me as her priesthood leader in the decisions we must make. I can't do this alone. You know, even though it's right, it isn't easy for a young wife when you have committed especially your weekends for the rest of your life to your Church assignment.” Elder and Sister Cook had four children: Tray, Travis, Terrel, and Jenny.

    “What led me to this point in my life more than any other thing is that I gained a witness so early,” he said. “When you know it's true, you desire to live it with all your heart and you've just got to share it.”

    Scarcely a year after his call to the First Council of the Seventy with the reorganization of the First Quorum of the Seventy after a dormancy of many years, Elder Cook was called to the First Quorum. Elder Cook was released from the First Quorum and named General Authority Emeritus with a vote of gratitude for services rendered over many long years on Saturday October 6, 2007 at the 177th Semi-annual General Conference.

   "News of the Church: Elder Gene Raymond Cook...," The Ensign, Nov. 1975, p. 134 (Principal source)
   "The Sustaining of Church Officers," The Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 10
   "General conference releases, sustainings," Church News Archives, October 13, 2007
   2005 Church Almanac, p. 32

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