Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Bruce R. McConkie Bruce R. (Redd) McConkie

1915 - 1985

  • Born 1915 Monticello, Utah
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Mission to Eastern States 1934-1936
  • Married Amelia Smith; nine children
  • Ordained Seventy and called to First Council of the Seventy 1946-1972
  • President of Australia South Mission 1961-1964
  • Ordained Apostle and sustained to the Twelve 1972
  • Died 1985 Salt Lake City, Utah

    The following biograpical sketch is adapted from: "In Memoriam: Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Advocate for Truth,” published in the New Era for June 1985, page 8 following Elder McConkie's death.
    At six feet, five inches, Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve was an impressive figure. His physical stature in some ways matched his striving for eternal truth. A friend and fellow member of the First Council of the Seventy, Elder S. Dilworth Young, once wrote of Elder McConkie: “He is impatient with half truth and intolerant of untruth. The way to righteousness is a clearly marked road of scriptural and revealed truth. He will have nothing else” (Ensign, Jan. 1973, p. 11).

    On April 19, 1985, Elder Bruce R. McConkie passed away in Salt Lake City. He was 69 years old. He had battled against cancer for more than a year, undergoing surgery for colon cancer in January 1984. He subsequently returned full-time to his apostolic duties while continuing chemotherapy treatment. His last public appearance was on April 6, when he addressed the Church’s general conference.

    Elder Bruce R. McConkie had served in the Quorum of the Twelve since 1972. He had also served in the First Council of the Seventy for 26 years prior to his calling to the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder McConkie was the first child born to Oscar W. McConkie and Margaret Vivian Redd. His father practiced law in Monticello, Utah, until Bruce was 12. The family then moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his father studied law for a year. Even though just a deacon, Bruce taught the Book of Mormon in the family Sunday School.

    Following his father’s year of law study, Bruce and his four brothers and a sister returned from Ann Arbor to Salt Lake City with their parents. As youngsters they enjoyed working on the farm in Monticello every summer. Their home life encouraged Bruce to think seriously about the gospel. Mealtime conversations centered on gospel subjects. As the children grew older, their father held weekly family gatherings just to talk.

    At age 19, Bruce served a two-year mission in the Eastern States Mission. After returning home he attended school at the University of Utah, earning his B.A. degree, and later his juris doctor degree. It was while walking to and from school at the university that he developed a habit of study that was of great value to him. He would think of a subject in the gospel such as repentance and would then, in his mind, make up an outline for a sermon on the subject, adding the appropriate scriptures and supporting material. Doing this daily as he walked gave him practice in analysis of doctrinal subjects. This careful organization and logical progression was evident in his sermons.

    While at the university, he met Amelia Smith, daughter of President Joseph Fielding Smith, then a member of the Council of the Twelve. One Saturday night after attending a party at the Smith home, as it neared midnight, he excused himself and departed in time to be at his own home before Sunday. Sister Smith was much impressed by this obedience to parents and principles and told Amelia that this young man would be one to watch.

    Following a courtship the couple were married and had nine children, one dying as an infant. Their children still living are Vivian, Joseph, Stanford, Mary, Mark, Rebecca, Stephen, and Sara Jill. At the time of his death, Elder McConkie had 46 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

    After graduation from law school, Elder McConkie was assistant city attorney in Salt Lake. He served four years in the armed forces during World War II as an intelligence officer, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel, and upon his return became a writer on the editorial staff of the Deseret News. In 1946, at the age of 31, he was called to the First Council of the Seventy. In the council he served as serviceman’s coordinator and managing director of both stake missions and full-time missions.

    Elder McConkie served as president of the Australia South Mission with headquarters in Melbourne from 1961-1964. He also wrote numerous articles, poems, and handbooks. Among his published works are Mormon Doctrine, an encyclopedic work covering more than 1100 gospel subjects; and Doctrines of Salvation, three volumes of the doctrines expounded and explained by President Joseph Fielding Smith. He has also written Doctrinal New Testament Commentary and a multi-volumed series on the life and mission of Christ.

    His testimony, given often in conference sermons in his characteristic booming voice, was a moving testament from one called to bear special witness of Christ. Writing of Jesus Christ, Elder McConkie said:

    “Let it now be written once again—and it is the testimony of all the prophets of all the ages—that he is the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father, the promised Messiah, the Lord God of Israel, our Redeemer and Savior; that he came into the world to manifest the Father, to reveal anew the gospel, to be the great Exemplar, to work out the infinite and eternal atonement;

    “And now let it also be written, both on earth and in heaven, that this disciple … does himself also know of the truth of those things of which the prophets have testified. For these things have been revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit of God, and he therefore testifies that Jesus is Lord of all, the Son of God, through whose name salvation comes” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-73, 1:876).

    Perhaps Elder McConkie's most stirring testimony was delivered in General Conference just days before his death:

    "I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

    "But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.” (Ensign, May 1985, p. 11.)

    Elder McConkie's Father-in-law, President Joseph Fielding Smith (himself no slouch as a theologian) is said to have spoken of Elder McConkie that he was the greatest theologian of his generation in the Church

   On September 22, 2005, Amelia Smith McConkie, Elder McConkie's widow, crossed the veil and joined her beloved husband. We may know of a surety that tears of joy flowed freely at the reunion with her husband and her parents. In mortality she served with him from 1961-1964 when he presided over the Southern Australian Mission. In addition, Sister McConkie was a former stake and ward Relief Society president. Elder and Sister McConkie had nine children. At the time of her death, Sister McConkie had 59 grandchildren and 89 great-grandchildren.

   "In Memoriam: Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Advocate for Truth,” New Era June 1985, p. 8 (principal source)
   2005 Church Almanac, p. 67
   "Amelia Smith McConkie dies," Church News Oct. 1, 2005

Talks, Treatises, Sermons, and Discourses

Grampa Bill believes this to be the most complete listing available free on the web of Bruce R. McConkies's talks and articles. Please email the Grampa if you note any busted links, errors, or if you are aware of any Bruce R. McConkie talks or articles not listed here but available on the web.

You will note that some are available only as text; some are available only in the MP3 format; while still others are avaible in both text and MP3.

Talks marked with an asterisk (*) are not (to my knowledge) available anywhere else on the web. As a service, they have been copied onto this web site.

"The Keys To the Kingdom" * General Conference Address 4 October 1947  
"Judgment Is the Lord's" * General Conference Address 4 April 1948  
"Doctrine of the Church and Kingdom" * General Conference Address 1 October 1948  
"Priesthood and Keys" * General Conference Address 4 April 1949  
"Message of the Restoration" * General Conference Address 1 October 1949  
"Fundamental Principles of Our Religion" * General Conference Address 9 April 1950  
The Atonement BYU Devotional, 5 May 1953 MP3
Hold Fast to That Which Is Good BYU Devotional, 24 June 1954
Celestial Marriage BYU Devotional, 1 January 1955
Keys of the Kingdom BYU Devotional, 23 April 1957
New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage BYU Devotional, 20 April 1960
Seek the Spirit BYU Devotional, 29 September 1964
Choose An Eternal Companion BYU Devotional, 3 May 1966
How to Get Personal Revelation BYU Devotional, 1 October 1966
Lord, Increase Our Faith BYU Devotional, 31 October 1967
"Making Your Calling & Election Sure" BYU Devotional, 1 January 1969
"Knowest Thou the Condescension of God?" BYU Devotional, 16 December 1969 MP3
"Households of Faith" BYU Devotional, 1 December 1970 MP3
"The Lord’s People Receive Revelation" General Conference Address, April 1971
"How to Worship" BYU Devotional, 20 July 1971 MP3
"How to Worship" General Conference Address, October 1971  
The Lord God of Joseph Smith BYU Devotional, 4 January 1972
How to Get Your Own Plan of Salvation BYU Devotional, 4 January 1972
"The Testimony of Jesus" General Conference Address, April 1972  
"I Know That My Redeemer Lives" General Conference Address, October 1972  
"Agency or Inspiration--Which?" BYU Address, 27 February 1973 MP3
"Upon Judea’s Plains" General Conference Address, April 1973  
"Think on These Things" General Conference Address, October 1973  
"Succession in the Presidency" BYU Devotional, 8 January 1974 MP3
"God Foreordains His Prophets and His People" General Conference Address, April 1974  
"Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith" General Conference Address, October 1974  
"The Ten Commandments of a Peculiar People" BYU Devotional, 28 January 1975 MP3
"Obedience, Consecration, and Sacrifice" General Conference Address, April 1975  
"Once or Twice in a Thousand Years" General Conference Address, October 1975  
"Who Shall Declare His Generation?" BYU Devotional, 2 December 1975 MP3
"Joseph Smith — The Mighty Prophet of the Restoration" General Conference Address, April 1976  
"Jesus Christ and Him Crucified" BYU Fireside, 5 September 1976 MP3
"The Dead Who Die in the Lord", General Conference Address, October 1976  
"Come, Know the Lord Jesus", General Conference Address, April 1977  
"The Ten Blessings of the Priesthood" General Conference Address, October 1977  
"Celestial Marriage" BYU Fireside, 6 November 1977 MP3
"The Morning Breaks; the Shadows Flee" General Conference Address, April 1978  
"All Are Alike Unto God" CES Religious Educators' Symposium, 18 August 1978  
"Joseph Smith: A Revealer of Christ" BYU Fireside, 3 September 1978 MP3
"Thou Shalt Receive Revelation" General Conference Address, October 1978  
"Stand Independent Above All Other Creatures" General Conference Address, April 1979  
"The Mystery of Mormonism" General Conference Address, October 1979  
"The Coming Tests and Trials and Glory" General Conference Address, April 1980  
"The Seven Deadly Heresies" BYU Fireside, 1 June 1980 MP3
"The Lord God of the Restoration" General Conference Address, October 1980  
"The Three Pillars of Eternity" BYU Devotional, 17 February 1981 MP3
"Upon This Rock" General Conference Address, April 1981  
"Our Relationship With The Lord" BYU Devotional - 2 March 1982 MP3
"The Doctrine of the Priesthood" General Conference Address, April 1982  
"The Seven Christs" General Conference Address, October 1982  
"What Think Ye of the Book of Mormon?" General Conference Address, October 1983  
"What Think Ye of Salvation by Grace?" BYU Devotional, 10 January 1984 MP3
"Patterns of Prayer" General Conference Address, April 1984  
"The Caravan Moves On" General Conference Address, October 1984  
"Joseph Smith Translation: The Doctrinal Restoration" BYU Address, 3 November 1984 MP3
"The Mystery of Godliness" BYU Fireside, 6 January 1985 MP3
"The Purifying Power of Gethsemane" ;
Note: Elder McConkie died three days after delivering this address.
General Conference Address, April 1985  

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