The following biographical sketch is adapted from
the "News of the Church: Elder Alexander B. Morrison of the First Quorum
of the Seventy" published in the Ensign for May 1987 on the occasion
of Elder Morrison's call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Alexander B. Morrison concerns himself with matters
of life and death. He is a scientist whose heart, mind, and strength are
devoted to curing and eliminating disease and malnutrition. And as a new
member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder
Morrison is equally concerned with spiritual health.
“One of the great passions of my life,” he says,
“is my concern for the poor and neglected and downtrodden.” Trained in
nutrition and pharmacology, Dr. Morrison has directed several international
committees in the World Health Organization, has led groups of Nobel prizewinning
scientists, and is chairman of his department at the University of Guelf
in Canada, where he teaches.
As a public health generalist, his work has had three
dimensions. First, in his academic role at the university, he has attempted
to prepare others to eliminate the diseases that take hundreds of millions
of lives yearly.
Second, as an administrator of public policy regarding
environmental and food safety in his post with the Health Protection Branch
of the Canadian government, he has promoted laws and helped regulate the
use of environmental contaminants.
The third dimension of his work, and perhaps the
one closest to his heart, has been his effort to fight diseases in underdeveloped
countries. In the World Health Organization, he chaired for many years
the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the Special Program
for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. This group works with twenty
countries in the United Nations to eliminate diseases affecting millions.
His international work was recognized in 1984 when
he became the first recipient of the David M. Kennedy International Service
Award from the Kennedy International .Center at Brigham Young University.
Brother Morrison and his wife, the former Shirley
Brooks, joined the Church during college as soon as they discovered that
earth life was for learning and eternally progressing, that the glory of
God is intelligence, and that marriage is eternal. The
branch president at the time was N. Eldon Tanner,
and their Sunday School teacher was Hugh B. Brown.
Since then, Elder Morrison has served as branch president, bishop, and
regional representative. The Morrisons have eight children, two of
whom—Mary and Heather—will go with them to their new assignment.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, 22 December 1930, Dr.
Morrison, fifty-six, is described by those who have worked with him as
a man gifted with human understanding as well as the ability to analyze
technical aspects of health needs. He earned his Ph. D. from Cornell University
in 1956, then nine years later obtained a master’s degree in pharmacology,
to keep him abreast of the developments in drug research for prevention
of diseases. Having been to Africa many times to study the problems there,
he has devoted himself to finding cures to major deadly diseases.
“I carry victims’ faces in my mind as I brush my
teeth and rinse my mouth with water whose purity I take for granted. I
feel jungle heat on my skin as I move through air-conditioned corridors.
I remember what starvation looks like as I sit down to
abundance three times a day.
“Carrying this burden keeps me, on the most fundamental
of all levels, human,” he says with moist eyes and emotion in his voice.
From public health to spiritual health, Elder Alexander
B. Morrison is a man of deep .devotion. As a member of the First Quorum
of the Seventy, his intense interest in the. .physical, emotional, and
spiritual health of his earthly brothers and sisters takes on another dimension.
Elder Morrison served but two years of his five-year
call to the First Quorum of the Seventy before being called
to the Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 1, 1989. There he served another
two years and was called again into the First Quorum on April 6, 1991,
this time with an indefinite appointment.
On October 7, 2000, after many years of faithful
service, Elder Alexander B. Morrison was granted emeritus status and named
an Emeritus Member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.