Elder Spencer Jones admits a mischievous itch prompted him to challenge his fellow deacons to march with him up to the pulpit of the old meetinghouse in Virden, N.M., and share their testimonies. ďLetís all go up. Letís make the bishop faint. Letís all go up and bear our testimonies.Ē This was the challenge young Spencer V. Jones made to his fellow deacons.
"My whole idea was to make the bishop faint," said Elder Jones.
The bishop, indeed, may have been a bit surprised by the deacons quorum ó but it was young Spence who experienced a life-altering moment at that testimony meeting years ago.
"When I bore my testimony I found myself in tears," he said. "Just a month or two before I had sat in the back laughing at the people who were crying because I didn't understand. That's the first time I remember the power of the Spirit in my life.
"When the Spirit talks to us; when the Holy Ghost communicates with our spirit, it's powerful. It's stronger than any other sense."
He has been visited by that same Spirit many times after that ó blessing him in moments of distress and giving him the assurance to fulfill Church assignments such as the call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, to which he was sustained Oct. 5, 2002
"There's no way that I could feel comfortable accepting this call if I didn't have confidence that I could have help from on high, because I can't do it alone," he said.
Elder Jones said he has found comfort in testimonies from the time he was a young boy growing up in Virden, a small New Mexican farming community settled by Church members fleeing the LDS Mexican colonies during the Mexican Revolution in 1912.
"The whole town I grew up in was LDS ó staunch, solid members of the Church," Elder Jones said. "Everybody was an 'aunt' or 'uncle' and everybody took care of everybody else's kids. You couldn't do anything bad if you wanted to. It was a wonderful environment in which to be raised."
Growing up on a farm also instilled a work ethic in Elder Jones that would serve him well in both his professional and ecclesiastical duties.
"Dad taught me how to work," he said, adding his "dream time" is spending an entire day on a horse.
Missionary work was also an integral part of the Jones family for generations. Elder Jones' grandfather lost a wife and a child while serving the first of his two full-time missions. Elder Jones' father, Virgil Jones, also accepted a call to serve. The family's mission legacy continued with Elder Jones himself, who labored as a young man in the Argentine North Mission then returned to South America with his wife, Joyce, years later to preside over the Chile Antofagasta Mission. Their two sons, Jed and Ruston, also served full-time missions.
A native New Mexican, Sister Jones joined the Church when she was 20. She recalls hearing "tidbits" about the faith as a young girl. When she was taught the fullness of the gospel "it wasn't a new concept, it was just something that you recognize and say, 'I believe that.' "
She was a divorced, young mother when she met Spencer Jones at a social at Brigham Young University, where they were both students.
"I thought she was cute, so I asked her to dance," Elder Jones said. They joined some friends that evening at a local diner. Soon a relationship developed and the pair decided to marry in 1968. Now wed for more than 30 years, their affection for one another remains. Elder Jones said his wife is a constant example of gospel living in his life. Sister Jones referred to her husband a "kind, gentle and patient man."
"He's always had a sweet, humble attitude. Because of that the Lord has been able to work with him and mold him. He's willing to learn from anyone," Sister Jones said.
After finishing their studies at BYU, the Joneses moved to Gallup, N.M., to begin their professional lives in furniture retail. The couple said they quickly realized the blessings of paying tithes while honoring the Sabbath when their business began enjoying success.
Elder and Sister Jones also witnessed the blessings that come via Church service. For almost a decade, home was a fluid concept for the couple. After completing their Chilean assignment in 1997, Elder Jones was called to serve as the executive secretary to the Mexico South Area Presidency and then fulfilled an Area Authority Seventy assignment in the Dominican Republic.
They treasured their experiences among the Latin American members.
"The Lord at this time, for some wonderful reason, has opened the windows of heaven over the Spanish-speaking and Latin countries, in general," Elder Jones said.
Their foreign assignments took Elder and Sister Jones away from their children, grandchildren and other relatives. Yet the Lord richly blessed their extended family during the couple's labors.
"You look back and you can see the things Heavenly Father has done to make this service which we have rendered possible," Elder Jones said.
Sister Jones added that she has "loved every single second" of their service among fellow Church members in Chile, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
As a newly called General Authority he looks to the Lord yet again to fortify him in their new responsibility. Sister Jones said they've both felt a stream of emotions since the call was extended.
"There have been a lot more tears in the last little while [from Elder Jones] than I've ever seen from him," Sister Jones said.
"I'm still trying to comprehend the magnitude of the call," Elder Jones said.
Elder Jones continued to serve in
the Second Quorum until October 2, 2010. On that date he was released from the
First Quorum of the Seventy with a vote of appreciation from a grateful