Terence M. Vinson had never heard the word "Mormon" before meeting Latter-day
Saint Kay Anne Carden in the early 1970s. Both were university students working after school at a
fast food restaurant in Sydney, Australia. The pair talked about religion and ultimately came to an
agreement. Each Sunday, they would attend both the church of Terence's youth and a small branch of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One met in a large, beautiful church building; the
other in a small rented space that the few Latter-day Saints in the Sydney branch had been able to
After a while the comparison was no longer necessary. Terence began taking the
missionary discussions. He had many questions. "I thought I needed to know the answers to all the
Then, while attending stake conference, he felt a message as clearly as if it
had been spoken. "I needed to join the Church in order to progress. All the questions I had, and
would have, had answers."
Having received the message, he was baptized the next week. From that time
forward, he knew "what the Lord expected me to do and discovered that all my questions did have
Less than three years later he was called as a bishop. Serving in this capacity
"was a great learning experience. From there I continued to serve in leadership positions."
Ultimately, he would serve in several stake presidencies, as a regional
representative and as an Area Seventy. Those calls prepared him for his current service; he was
sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 6, 2013, and will begin service as first
counselor in the Africa West Area on Aug. 1.
Terence Michael Vinson was born in Sydney, Australia, on March 12, 1951, to
John Laurence and May Therese Armstrong Vinson.
His parents taught him to "be honest and upright and loyal."
The family loved sports; Elder Vinson played cricket and rugby and participated
in a rowing club during his university years.
His father, who worked as a firefighter, sacrificed so his seven children could
get an education.
Elder Vinson received a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics from
Sydney University with a teaching diploma from Sydney Teachers College.
He and Kay were married on May 2, 1974,
in Sydney, and the couple was sealed Aug. 23, 1975, in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, one year after
his baptism; they have six children.
Over the years, Elder Vinson continued his education. He received a financial
planning diploma from Deakin University and a master's degree in applied finance from Macquarie
University. During his career, he was a math teacher, university lecturer and financial adviser, and
directed a financial planning and investment firm.
He also worked to gain a spiritual education. Sister Vinson said when her
husband first joined the Church he enrolled in Institute. "He wanted to catch up," she explained.
Elder Vinson said he had a "strong desire to learn as much as I could. When you
have that desire the Lord continues to teach you things, both by your intellect and especially by the
Sister Vinson said when Elder Vinson first learned about tithing he jumped out of
his seat with joy. "He recognized tithing as a way of saying 'thank you' for what God has given us."
As the oldest of seven children, he grew up in a house where there was little
opportunity to sit and ponder and pray. But as he studied the scriptures he began to feel peace.
Soon he came to know his Savior and his Heavenly Father and began to rely on
the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
The Vinsons dedicated much of their time to Church service.
The family also decided they would "build memories" and took wonderful vacations
as the children were growing up. Today they enjoy family gatherings where they cook pizzas in their
outdoor pizza oven with their 12 grandchildren.
In time the family saw the Church in Australia grow and mature.
When Elder Vinson was baptized there were seven stakes in Australia; today there
are 37. Much of that growth has come with the construction of temples in his nation, he said, noting
they have witnessed a "coming of age" for the Church in Australia.
Sister Vinson said her husband is an optimistic person with a good sense of
humor. "He doesn't take himself too seriously," she said.
Looking back on his life, Elder Vinson said the closer he grew to the Lord, the
more he wanted to serve Him. "I love the Lord and I love my family," he said. "Nothing else really
Elder Vinson continues to serve at this posting.