Elder Wayne S. Peterson, of the Second Quorum of the Seventy grew up in the Church
and recalls spiritual experiences dating back to his childhood. He was born October 6, 1939 in Ogden
Utah to Rulon P. Peterson and the former Naomi Skeen. Raised in the Church, he received the Aaronic
Priesthood as a youth and it was as a teenager he received one of the defining experiences of his life.
As a member of the Ogden Utah Boys' Chorus and Trumpet Choir, he traveled with
the group to perform in Atlantic City, New Jersey. A highlight of the excursion was a side trip to
Palmyra, New York and a visit to the Joseph Smith homestead. The home is
directly across the road from the Sacred Grove and while in solemn contemplation, young Wayne received
a strong testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the events that occurred
in that holy place. The experience became a cornerstone of his faith.
Wayne grew up on a cattle ranch outside Roy, Utah, Peterson Brothers Herefords.
There he learned to ride horses and do the chores incident to ranch life. From this childhood of
watching his father work grew a love of the outdoors and a strong work ethic. He also learned of
service to others as he watched his father, a stake president, serve the Lord, the Church, and the
community. From watching his mother, he learned of faith and reliance on the Lord.
His parents mettle was tested when they lost Wayne's older brother, Darrell, in
an accident with a train. His mother, especially was tried. She was already suffering from a heart
condition, but in a priesthood blessing she was promised that she would live to raise her children.
Wayne was the youngest and she lived to see the young man reach the age of nineteen.
Shortly ater Wayne was ordained an Elder, he was called to serve in the Australian
Mission. He states that he felt the influence of his departed mother throughout his mission.
Returning home, Elder Peterson re-enrolled in Utah State University, where he had
attended prior to his mission, his original intent being to take over the family business. He played
football while in college and was elected student body president. After graduation with a bachelor's
degree in finance he returned to Utah State University and earned a Masters degree in Business
It was while in
college that he met his future wife, Joan Jensen. They were married July 20, 1962 in the Logan Utah Temple.
The couple was tried as their oldest child, Linda, was born with Spina Bifida. Doctors advised against
having additional children because of the amount of special attention Linda would need. Indeed, Linda
required twenty-seven major surgeries before she was eleven. How did it all turn out? Today Linda is a
college graduate, a returned missionary, taught at the Mission Training Center, and is the mother of two.
The rest of the family? Five more siblings followed Linda into the home that was to have no more
children! At this writing the couple has six children and sixteen grandchildren.
Elder Peterson did indeed run the family business after graduation from college,
but after securing his MBA, the family moved to Salt Lake City so that he could pursue other business
opportunities. Between 1970 and 1985 Elder Peterson was employed by Consolidated Capital Corporation
where he advanced from Vice President of Marketing to President and Chairman of the Board. He served
the community as President of the Deseret Exchange Club.
Then after years of fulfilling Church callings of sucessively greater
responsibility, Gospel Doctrine Teacher, Scoutmaster, High Councilor, Bishop (twice), and Stake
President, Elder Peterson was called to a position that required his career be put on hold. He was
called to serve as the President of the Oakland California Mission between 1985 and 1988.
The return home found Utah in a real-estate depression occasioned by an energy
crisis. Elder Peterson formed his own real estate development company and Sister Peterson secured
employment teaching preschool. The couple sold the house that had been intended to be their retirement
home. Their faith sustained them and his business has since recovered.
In 1995 Elder Peterson was ordained a Seventy and called into the Fifth Quorum
of the Seventy to serve as an Area Authority Seventy for the Utah North Area. Then, his five-year call
over and at a time when he might have looked to more leisure time, in April 2001 Elder Peterson was
called into the Second Quorum of the Seventy, now to serve as a General Authority. Elder Peterson was
released from the Second Quorum on October 6, 2007 at the 177th Semi-annual General Conference of the
Church. At the same time, it was announced that he and his wife have been called to serve as President
and Matron of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple. They served in those callings until being released in 2010.