Elder Kevin Scott Hamilton describes himself as "the product of a conversion
and a rescue."
The story goes back to his birth in March 1955 in Wenatchee, Wash., to Norman
Russell and Kay Hamilton.
"After I was born, my mother had all these questions about life," related Elder
Hamilton, who was sustained at the general conference in April, 2013 as a member of the Second Quorum
of the Seventy. "She talked to her minister, but didn't receive the answers she was looking for, so
she talked to one of our friends who was a Latter-day Saint, Richard Pratt (a good Mormon name)."
Brother Pratt connected her with missionaries of the Church, and she began to
receive lessons from them.
Meanwhile, her husband let her know he was already a member of the Church. He
was born into an LDS family and baptized, but at the age of 27, had not been active since his early
teens and had not advanced in the priesthood, so the subject of his membership in the Church had
never come up in conversations with his wife.
"So she joined the Church, my dad became active in the Church and shortly after
that, I was sealed to them in the Salt Lake Temple."
Subsequent children - two sisters and two brothers - were all born under the
covenant. The family grew in faithfulness, and by age 19, Elder Hamilton was prepared to serve in the
Switzerland Geneva Mission.
"I was probably as green as anybody," he said, "but going to France and
Switzerland and learning the language and preaching the gospel in that part of the world changed me.
It changed my heart. It created a fire and a burning desire to serve that never left."
While serving, he undertook "an intense quest to read the scriptures and pray
and really come to know for myself."
He added, "I would not say that I had a visitation from heavenly messengers; I
just came to know in the depths of my soul, in a very personal and sure way that Jesus Christ was my
Savior and that this is His Church. Once I understood that and it really became part of me, then
everything else just kind of flowed from that."
Elder Hamilton found a kindred spirit in
Claudia Keysor, and on July 27, 1978, they were married in the Los Angeles California Temple. Six
children have blessed their marriage, all married now with families of their own, except for the
youngest, who is a sophomore at BYU. The Hamiltons have eight grandchildren at this posting.
While rearing the children, Elder and Sister Hamilton endeavored to make of
their home something of a visitors' center for gospel precepts. For years, the entryway has been
regularly stocked with copies of the Book of Mormon, For the Strength of Youth booklets and other
Church literature that is regularly replenished as visitors take them.
"I don't have to say anything, but I notice the stack diminishes," Sister
Hamilton said. And the copies have been handy when family members encounter missionary opportunities.
"They say you can have a silent sermon in your home, and we have had these
little quotes around the house," Sister Hamilton said.
For example, a plaque in the home bears the passage from Joshua 24:15, "Choose
you this day whom ye will serve; ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
The hope is that, whatever family members choose to do on any given day, they
will thereby serve the Lord.
"It has been our family motto," Elder Hamilton affirmed.
It guided them when he was called to preside over the Belgium Brussels
Netherlands Mission from 2003 to 2006.
"We served with marvelous young elders and sisters and senior couples," he
said. Half of our mission was French-speaking, and the other half was Dutch-speaking at the time.
They've reorganized it since; it's not that way today."
He was serving as a stake president when called, and that gave him occasion to
get involved in what has become an abiding interest in community interfaith activities. Members of
some Evangelical Christian organizations at the time had rather negative perceptions of the LDS faith.
"There was a large congregation in our community," Elder Hamilton recounted.
"I picked up the phone one day and reached out to their senior pastor, Larry DeWitt. I said, 'Larry,
you have about the same number of members as I have. We're in the same community. We should be friends.'
"He was a little reluctant, but I persisted, and he invited me to attend their
interfaith prayer breakfast they had monthly. I showed up, the only representative of the Latter-day
"Over the years, Pastor DeWitt and I not only became friends, we became good
friends, dear friends. He introduced me to a number of other faith leaders we normally wouldn't have
Then the mission call came, and President and Sister Hamilton departed for their
three-years' service. When they returned, they joined with a coalition of Catholic and Protestant
groups to work together on community affairs and public issues.
"We had a wonderful outpouring of interaction and support with these different
faith groups who have some of the same values that we do, especially concerning the family," Elder
Hamilton said. "We have so much common ground. And ironically, so much of the negative discussion
about the Church has just kind of quietly died away. You hardly ever hear it anymore."
In bridge building, as in other endeavors Elder Hamilton has seen the wisdom of
relying on the Lord.
"Every time I have been called to do something, I kind of shake my head and
think, 'How could the Lord possibly trust me to do that?' And I have found that, whether the task be
large or small, if we simply just move and start the process, the Lord miraculously opens doors,
provides strength, wisdom and capability that was unknown previously."
It is a knowledge that gave him assurance as he embarked on his calling as a
member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.