Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Larry R. Lawrence Larry R. Lawrence


1947 - living

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  • Born 1947; Cheverly, Maryland.
  • Baptized 1970
  • Married Laurel Stott 1971; Mesa Arizona Temple; Six children.
  • BS in Agricultural Biochemistry, University of Arizona, 1969; Medical Doctorate, University of Arizona, 1973.
  • Career as Ophthalmologist
  • Elders'Quorum President, Bishop. Stake Mission President, High Councilor, Counselor in Stake Presidency, Stake President, Area Seventy.
  • President of the Russia Novosibirsk Mission from 2001-2004
  • Sustained to Second Quorum of the Seventy, May 2010


This article adapted from "True conversion propelled new Seventy," By Marianne Holman, Church News, May 22, 2010

As a young man growing up in Tucson, Ariz., Larry R. Lawrence was the oldest of three brothers in a family that were not members of the Church. He had many friends who would invite him to participate in Church activities, but he always had to decline because of his parents' wishes. Still, he noticed something was different about Latter-day Saints.

"I remember thinking to myself that someday I would look into it more seriously when I had more agency of my own."

For Elder Lawrence, who was sustained as a member of the Seventy during the April 2010 general conference, that day came years later when he was in medical school at the University of Arizona. He got a job working at a lab where one of his co-workers was a Latter-day Saint and another co-worker had a sister who had recently been baptized. As they worked, conversations about the Church frequently came up.

"I remembered the good examples set by my LDS friends," Elder Lawrence said. "I decided that now was the time to learn more."

Determined to make the decision for himself, Elder Lawrence didn't tell anybody he was investigating the Church and started studying on his own.

"I didn't want to let myself be influenced by others, so I decided not to tell anybody. I was going to get all of my material from the public library," he said.

During the time he was studying about the Church, Elder Lawrence received a phone call from a high school friend who was attending college at BYU. Her name was Laurel Stott, and it had been a while since he had seen or heard from her.

"We hadn't talked to each other for a long time," Elder Lawrence said. "Out of nowhere, she called and invited me to come up to Provo. Her timing was perfect; I had plenty of questions and no one to ask."

During his visit, he and Laurel went to Temple Square. There, he was able to learn more about the Church and have many of his questions answered before returning home to Arizona.

"We said goodbye, and I got in the car to drive back to Tucson, but what I had learned while at Temple Square was on my mind," Elder Lawrence said. "As I thought and pondered about things during my drive, I realized one thing was missing from my entire investigation. I was lacking faith.

"So, somewhere around Flagstaff on my way back to Tucson, I made a commitment to be baptized. As soon as I did, I felt the Holy Ghost confirm my decision."

Three weeks later, he was baptized, and a year later, he and Laurel were married in the Mesa Arizona Temple.

As a convert of only five years, Elder Lawrence was called to serve as a bishop. He and his wife were living in Fresno, California, and he was completing his medical residency in ophthalmology. They had three young children at the time and were starting to look for a place to set up a practice after he finished his training. They had scheduled time off for a trip to the Northwest to visit possible opportunities.

One week prior to their departure, the stake presidency visited the Lawrences' home and extended a call for Elder Lawrence to be bishop of their ward.

"I think the Lord's telling you where He wants you to live," the stake president counseled. They accepted the call and stayed in Fresno to raise their family. Their lives were greatly blessed as a result.

Whether called to serve as a bishop, stake president or Area Seventy, Elder Lawrence understood his priesthood duties and always happily accepted. When he was called to preside over one of the largest geographical missions in the world, the Russia Novosibirsk Mission, from 2001-2004, he was completely taken by surprise.

"I didn't serve a mission as a young man and had no foreign language skills," he said. "But the Lord blessed us, and it was a wonderful time in our lives."

Just as important as his callings in the Church, Elder Lawrence recognized the importance of his priesthood leadership within his own family.

"My father-in-law was a great mentor of how to be a good priesthood leader in the home," he said. "Family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening and having family dinner together, those are the keys to building strong, faithful families. Parents can use family dinner as an opportunity to teach their children."

Elder and Sister Lawrence have been assigned to return to Russia where he will serve as the first counselor in the Europe East Area presidency. They are excited to serve together as they approach this new calling to the Seventy. For them, the decision to serve from the beginning of their marriage set the stage for the rest of their lives.

Sister Lawrence explained: "We started out with faith and no money, but we made a decision early on that we would trust in the Lord and start our family anyway. It taught us from the beginning of our marriage that even doing things that are hard - accepting hard responsibilities - the Lord will open the way and not to worry, it will all work out. That was one of the best things we ever did, that foundation of having enough faith to move forward."

Elder Lawrence was sustained to the Second Qyuorum of the Seventy April 3, 2010. He continues to serve at this posting.

Bibliography
"True conversion propelled new Seventy," By Marianne Holman, Church News, May 22, 2010 (Primary source)
"New General Authorities Called," Church News Release, April 3, 2010


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