This biographical sketch, "News of the Church: Elder
Adney Yoshio Komatsu, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve is adapted
from the Ensign on the occasion of Elder Komatsu's call as an Assistant
to the Twelve. It mixes two separate articles. Supplementary material follows
the Ensign article
Elder Adney Y. Komatsu joined the Church when he was
17 years old. He came in contact with the missionaries when he
was invited to play on the Japanese Mission basketball team. Since
that time he has served continuously in leadership positions.
A native of Hawaii, Elder Komatsu joined the army’s
counterintelligence corps in the Pacific and Japan during World War II.
After the war he returned to Japan where he met, baptized, and married
his wife, the former Judy Fujitani. The Komatsus have four children.
Two days after their marriage the Komatsus attended
their new branch for the first time, and there, with out prior notice,
he was called as branch president. He later served on the Honolulu Hawaii
Stake high council and as president of the Northern
Far East Mission. He has also had the privilege of performing ordinances
in the Hawaii Temple.
Elder Komatsu was called as a Regional Representative
of the Twelve in 1970 and has supervised Church activities in Hawaii and
Relating his mother’s sorrow at his rejection of
the Buddhist faith for the gospel of Jesus Christ, Elder Komatsu said that
he “promised her that if she would permit me to be baptized and later found
that through my behavior I had caused her any
embarrassment—or committed some shameful or dishonorable act, then
all she had to do was ask me to stop going to Church, and I would, without
question, obey her will.”
If, however, he were to become a better individual,
he asked for permission to continue to attend because it was “the place
where I [could] gain an education for an eternal life.” He added, “It is
my testimony today that I never had to leave the Church
nor cause my mother any concern about my behavior.”
“Even now, we’re still kind of dazed,” is how Elder Adney
Yoshio Komatsu (pronounced Koh-MAWT-sue) and his wife, Judy, described
their feelings after Elder Komatsu was sustained and set apart as an Assistant
to the Council of the Twelve.
When President [Spencer W.]
Kimball issued the call to Brother Komatsu, they were speechless. “I
said yes, of course,” said Elder Komatsu. “There was no question about
Honoring the confidentiality of the calling, they
waited until Friday night to call their children—sons Jay (23) and Grant
(21) in San Francisco, and daughters Jan (19) and Jill (18) at home in
Honolulu. “They were speechless too,” said Sister Komatsu.
“We went back to our hotel room and just looked at
each other,” said Elder Komatsu. Sister Komatsu wept; they prayed together,
and thus pledged themselves to this calling, the most recent in a long
history of “surprises.”
For instance, they were married in the Hawaii Temple
on Friday, June 2, 1950. That Saturday they gave a private party for their
families, all nonmembers. Elder Komatsu, who shares with Elder Hartman
Rector, Jr., the distinction of being a convert General Authority,
baptized his wife. Wanting her to gain her own testimony of the Church,
Elder Komatsu had never attended her branch. They went to their own Sunday
School, then went to his branch for sacrament meeting. That first Sunday
after their marriage, they went to her branch for sacrament meeting for the first
time. “We kind of sneaked onto the back row,” he said—and heard the branch
members called to sustain him as branch president. He walked up to the
stand, leaving his wife in the audience. Monday, the day they had planned
to begin their honeymoon, he met with his counselors and the branch clerk—“and
no complaints from my wife,” he said. “What a trouper!”
He was 27 years old then. Eleven years later, President
Hugh B. Brown interviewed him and asked him
if he would serve as bishop.
Will your wife sustain you?” President Brown
asked, knowing that Brother Komatsu would have no time to talk to her before
“You don’t have to worry about that,” Brother Komatsu
At the time of his call, Brother Komatsu was the
first bishop of Japanese descent in the Church. Since then he has served
as president of the Northern Far East Mission, the first time a man of
Oriental descent had been called as mission president. He would again be
first from his national background to serve as a Regional Representative
and to become a General Authority.
Through all these changes, increased responsibilities,
and challenges, “our children have been wonderful,” they said. Sometimes
between Sister Komatsu’s work on the Relief Society general board (she
was released October 1975 after 3 1/2 years of service) and his Regional
Representative assignments, the children would be left alone. “It’s pressure
for them,” she said, “but we’ve never had to worry about them.”
She praised her husband’s leadership in the home.
“He’s very patient and very kind and very generous, and he’s always supported
me 100 percent in my callings.”
They felt that if “the Lord’s callings come first
and if we serve wholeheartedly, everything falls into place.”
Among their immediate plans is studying Japanese.
Born of Japanese parents in Hawaii, they learned “rough” Japanese. Elder
Komatsu laughs, “I’m never so embarrassed as when I’m trying to express
myself in Japanese. I communicate, but
now it has to be right. Now I represent the Church.”
[The following material is from the Ensign
November 1993 when Elder Komatsu was granted Emeritus Status.]
The first General Authority of Japanese descent,
Elder Komatsu has served in many positions. He was sustained an Assistant
to the Twelve 4 April 1975 and was sustained a member of the First Quorum
of the Seventy 1 October 1976. A former
temple and mission president, Elder Komatsu most recently has served
as assistant executive director in the Priesthood Department.
Elder Komatsu departed this life February 23, 2011.