John H. Groberg
|John H. Groberg|
|First Quorum of the Seventy|
|April 3, 1976– October 1, 2005|
|Called by||Spencer W. Kimball|
|End reason||Granted general authority emeritus status|
|Presidency of the Seventy|
|April 3, 2004– August 15, 2005|
|Called by||Gordon B. Hinckley|
|End reason||Honorably released|
|Emeritus General Authority|
|October 1, 2005|
|Called by||Gordon B. Hinckley|
|Born||John Holbrook Groberg
June 17, 1934
Sugar City, Idaho, United States
Groberg was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho in 1934 and was reared there after the Great Depression. After a year at Brigham Young University (BYU), and shortly after the Korean War, he served a mission to Tonga.
After much difficulty in getting to Tonga with strikes, visa problems, and problems finding boats, he served briefly in Los Angeles, Samoa, and Fiji while waiting to get to Tonga. When he finally arrived in Tonga, his first assignment was on a remote isolated island called Niuatoputapu, which with neighboring Tafahi, was a place whose contact to the outside world was an occasional telegraph and visiting boat. On this island he suffered mosquitoes, a typhoon, and starvation. He spent nearly a year there. While on Niuatoputapu, Groberg's companion was Feki Po'uha, who would later serve as district president on Niue, while Groberg was president of the church's Tongan Mission, which at that point included Niue.
He then returned to more developed islands and served as a district president supervising smaller congregations called branches. The branches he dealt with lacked unity and morality. He had little contact with his mission president. He nearly drowned when pushed out of a boat during a major storm and suffered exhaustion many times. He was denied an extension so he could take a group of LDS converts to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. He flew home and shortly after married Jean Sabin; together, they have had 11 children.
Groberg received a bachelors degree from BYU and an MBA from Indiana University. He was then involved in real estate in the Idaho Falls area. Groberg also served for five years as a bishop in Idaho Falls.
He later returned to the Tongan islands as the mission president and later as a regional representative. He wrote a book about his mission from his memoirs called In the Eye of the Storm. His missionary experiences in Tonga became the subject of the Disney film The Other Side of Heaven.
In April 1976, he was called to be a general authority of the LDS Church. The changes he saw in Tonga from a missionary to church leader were documented in his book The Fire of Faith. He had other assignments besides Tonga as a general authority. In the mid-1990s he was president of the church's Asia Area, where he was closely connected with the initial sending of Mormon missionaries into Cambodia. He later served as president of the church's Utah South Area, where he was responsible for initiating programs for missionary work among the Latino population there, and attempts to make sure that English-speaking wards home taught the Latino members within their boundaries, even if they attended Spanish-speaking congregations. He also served as president of the North America West Area from 1990 to 1994. In May 1992, Groberg presided over the organization of the San Francisco California East Stake, the first Tongan speaking stake of the church in the United States. The North America West Area encompassed California and Hawaii.
- Groberg, John H. (2001) . The Other Side of Heaven. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. ISBN 978-1-57008-789-9. OCLC 48617254.
- —— (1996). The Fire of Faith. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft. ISBN 978-1-57008-290-0. OCLC 36362029.
- —— (2004). Christmas on the Other Side of Heaven. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. ISBN 978-1-59038-352-0. OCLC 60354108.
- —— (2006). Anytime, Anywhere. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. ISBN 978-1-59038-643-9. OCLC 68623990.
- "The Power of God's Love" from LDS.org
- dust jacket of The Fire of Faith.
- “Elder John H. Groberg of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1976, p. 135