The following biographical sketch is primarily adapted from
the "News of the Church: Elder F. Melvin Hammond of the Second Quorum of
the Seventy" published in the Ensign for May 1989 on the occasion of Elder
Hammond's call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
At the time of his call to the Second Quorum of the
Seventy, F. Melvin Hammond and his wife, Bonnie, were serving as Sunday
School teachers for the seventeen-year-olds in their ward. When they were
called to teach the class, only three or four young people attended consistently.
The rest attended sporadically. But as the weeks went on, class attendance
began to increase—until, finally, twenty-five young people were attending
“Students want to learn the gospel,” said Elder Hammond,
“and they want to know that you love them.”
Loving people and teaching the gospel are two of
the things that Elder Hammond does best. He was born on 19 December 1933
in Blackfoot, Idaho, the second child of Floyd M. and Ruby Hoge Hammond.
His father died when Mel was nine months old, and his mother attended Ricks
College in order to obtain her teaching certificate. When young Mel was
five, his mother married Earl Schofield, and the family moved to a farm
near Ashton, Idaho. Later they bought a cattle ranch in Lima, Montana—where
Mel attended high school, graduating in 1951.
He received a basketball scholarship to Ricks College;
but during his first year there, he was involved in a motorcycle accident
that resulted in numerous injuries and nearly severed his foot. He was
promised in a priesthood blessing that he would run and walk again, and
he did. He also played basketball again.
The accident left him feeling that basketball wasn’t
as important as he had once thought it was. And so he decided to serve
a mission—something he hadn’t planned on. He served in the Spanish-American
mission from 1954 to 1956.
Two months after returning from his mission, on 14
September 1956, Mel married Bonnie Sellers in the Salt Lake Temple. He
then attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. After graduating
from BYU, he taught seminary and institute in Utah and Colorado. He played
baseball and enjoyed other outdoor activities with his seminary students—some
of whom were less-active at the time but later decided to serve missions.
One of Elder Hammond’s strengths as a teacher is
his love of people. “That’s the main thing we have to offer in this calling,”
Sister Hammond says. “We can express love easily, and people need that.
The world needs it. We both have a positive spirit—the Lord has blessed
us with that.”
The Hammonds moved to Rexburg, Idaho, in 1966, where
Mel was appointed professor of religion at Ricks College. Shortly thereafter,
he was also elected to the Idaho State Legislature, where he served for
sixteen years. He served as president of the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission
from 1984 to 1987. He has also served as a bishop, a stake president, and
an executive secretary to a Regional Representative. At the time he was
called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, he was serving as high priests
group leader, in addition to his calling as Sunday School teacher.
The Hammonds have six children—Melanie (Rynearson),
Lezlee (Porter), Stephanie (Weekes), Todd, Lisa, and Natalie. They also
have ten grandchildren.
Elder Hammond enjoys singing and the outdoors—especially
fishing. He recently took a fly-tying course and has been looking forward
to fishing using the flies he had made. “He has all of them in an envelope,
all ready to go,” says Sister Hammond. “But now I think he will be a ‘fisher
of men’ and not a fisher of fish!”
It’s a sacrifice Elder Hammond won’t mind making.
He sees his new calling as an opportunity to do more of what he loves most—teaching
the gospel. “I have a genuine love for the Savior,” he says. “I love to
talk about him and the things he did. And when I teach about him, I feel
that I know him better.”
Elder Hammon served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy
for four years of his five-year calling before being called into the First
Qurum of the Seventy on April 3, 1993. On October 1, 2005, he was honorably released from the First Quorum of the Seventy with a vote of thanks and designated an Emeritus General Authority.