Richard G. Scott

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Richard G. Scott
Photo of Richard G. Scott
Scott in 2007
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 1, 1988 (1988-10-01)
Called by Ezra Taft Benson
LDS Church Apostle
October 6, 1988 (1988-10-06)
Called by Ezra Taft Benson
Reason Death of Marion G. Romney
Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy
October 1, 1983 (1983-10-01) – October 1, 1988 (1988-10-01)
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
First Quorum of the Seventy
April 2, 1977 (1977-04-02) – October 1, 1988 (1988-10-01)
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Personal details
Born Richard Gordon Scott
(1928-11-07) November 7, 1928 (age 86)
Pocatello, Idaho, United States
Education George Washington University
Spouse(s) Jeanene Watkins (d. 1995)
Children 7
Signature of Richard G. Scott

Richard Gordon Scott (born November 7, 1928) is an American nuclear engineer and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Currently, he is the fifth most senior apostle among the ranks of the church.[1]

Background and education[edit]

Scott was born on November 7, 1928, in Pocatello, Idaho, to Kenneth Leroy Scott and Mary Eliza Whittle. When he was five years old, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where his father worked in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.[2] His father was not a member of the LDS Church at the time, and his mother was marginally active, until the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the Eisenhower administration, church apostle Ezra Taft Benson, named Kenneth Scott as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture. Benson's influence led to his father's conversion and the reactivation of his mother. In 1988, as church president, Benson would later appoint Richard G. Scott as an apostle of the church.

Encouraged by his bishop and home teachers, Scott had attended church sporadically at times during his youth but felt out of place. He lacked confidence socially and athletically at school, although he excelled academically, was a class president, played the clarinet in the band, and was a drum major in the marching band.[3]

During his high school summers, Scott worked various jobs to earn money for college. Working on an oyster boat off the coast of Long Island, New York, during one summer, the hardened fishermen mocked him for not drinking alcohol. When a man went overboard and 17-year-old "Scotty" was the only sober man on board, he was sent overboard to look for him.[4] In other summers, Scott cut down trees in Utah for the forest service and repaired railroad cars; he also worked as a dishwasher and assistant cook for a logging company in Utah.[3]

Scott graduated from George Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. At the time, he was dating Jeanene Watkins, the daughter of U.S. Senator from Utah Arthur V. Watkins. When she categorically stated that she would only marry a returned missionary in an LDS temple, Scott's career plans changed and he applied for missionary service. He was called to serve in the Uruguay Montevideo Mission. It was during his missionary service that Scott was able to fill "all the voids of loneliness" he had felt since his youth.[citation needed] Jeanene graduated in sociology and left the day after graduation for a mission to the northwestern United States. After they both completed their missionary service, they married in the Manti Temple on 16 July 1953.[5]

The Scotts had seven children, five of whom reached adulthood. Their first son died after an operation to correct a congenital heart condition. Their second daughter lived only minutes and died six weeks before the death of their first son.[6] Jeanene Watkins Scott died on May 15, 1995, after a short battle with cancer.


A few weeks after returning from Uruguay, Scott was interviewed by Hyman G. Rickover, "father of the nuclear Navy". The interview seemed to go poorly since, when Scott mentioned his recent missionary service, the volatile Captain snapped, "and what do I care about your mission?" When asked what was the last book he read, Scott had to answer truthfully that it was the Book of Mormon. When all seemed lost to Scott, he stood to leave, but Rickover told him to wait, saying that he had only been testing his confidence and whether he would be true to what he believed, since this would be a difficult project. Scott was then offered the job working on the design of the nuclear reactor for the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine of the U.S. Navy. While working for Naval Reactors, Scott reported to Harry Mandil, reactor engineering branch director and became one of Mandil's key reactor material engineers.[7] Scott later completed what was an equivalent to a doctorate in nuclear engineering at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, but due to the classified nature of the work, a formal university degree was not awarded. He also worked on the development of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station—the first commercial land-based nuclear power plant. He worked with Rickover until 1965 when he and his family moved to Córdoba, Argentina when he was called as president of the church's Argentina North Mission. One of his missionaries was D. Todd Christofferson, who would later be called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with Scott.

On his return from Argentina, Scott joined other former Rickover staffers at a private consulting firm specializing in nuclear engineering, working out of Washington, D.C. He worked there until his call to be a general authority of the church in 1977.

LDS Church service[edit]

Scott has served in the LDS Church in many capacities. His ability to speak Spanish has aided him in many assignments. Apart from his 31-month mission to Uruguay, he served as a stake clerk and as a counselor in a stake presidency before he was called to preside over the Argentina North Mission from 1965 to 1969. He served as a regional representative in the Uruguay, Paraguay, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. areas. He was called as a general authority and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1977.[8] In 1983, he was called to the Presidency of the Seventy.[9]

As a seventy, Scott served as managing director of the Genealogical Department and Executive Administrator of the church for Southern Mexico and Central America.[9]

On October 1, 1988, he was called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, filling the vacancy created by the death of quorum president Marion G. Romney.[3] As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Scott is accepted by the church as a prophet, seer, and revelator.

After not speaking in the church's general conference earlier in the month, on April 23, 2015, Scott was hospitalized with gastrointestinal bleeding. The bleeding was brought under control within the next 24 hours, and he was released from the hospital on April 28. The bleeding was later determined to have been caused by an ulcer. The church reported that "Elder Scott, known for his gentle manner and devoted service, has experienced a fading memory incident to age, and is not fully able to participate in meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve at this time. Doctors consider his condition as stable."[10]


Scott is a regular discussant at Church Educational System firesides and at general conferences of the church. In these settings he is known "for delivering compassionate talks ... looking directly into the camera, and pleading for repentance and improvements in the lives of members. He emphasizes the Savior's compassion and willingness to forgive past transgressions, and pleads for members to repent and move on with their lives."[11]

In 2007, Scott wrote Finding Peace, Happiness and Joy, his first book written as an apostle. It carries on many themes from his talks such as repentance and finding happiness through the atonement of Jesus Christ.[12]

Some of the addresses he has delivered in general conferences include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Apostolic seniority is generally understood to include all 15 ordained apostles (including the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). Seniority is determined by date of ordination, not by age or other factors. If two apostles are ordained on the same day, the older of the two is typically ordained first.

    As of July 2015, due to the recent deaths of Boyd K. Packer and L. Tom Perry, there are currently 13 apostles, with two vacancies to be filled at the discretion of the church’s president.

    See Succession to the presidency and Heath, Steven H. (Summer 1987). "Notes on Apostolic Succession" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 20 (2): 44–56. .
  2. ^ "Official Biographies for leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", Newsroom (LDS Church), retrieved 2011-08-31  |chapter= ignored (help)
  3. ^ a b c Gardner, Marvin K. (January 1989), Ensign: 7  Missing or empty |title= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Scott, Richard G. (March 2001), Liahona (LDS Church)  Missing or empty |title= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)
  5. ^ The Eternal Blessings of Marriage, April 2011 General Conference, Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  6. ^ Scott, Richard G (May 2009), Ensign (LDS Church)  Missing or empty |title= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)
  7. ^ Rockwell, Theodore, The Rickover Effect: How One Man Made a Difference, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 1-55750-702-3.
  8. ^ Todd, Jay M. (May 1977), Ensign: 102–103  Missing or empty |title= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)
  9. ^ a b Ensign, November 1983: 90  Missing or empty |title= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)
  10. ^ "Church Issues Update on Health of Leaders", Newsroom (LDS Church), 2015-05-08 
  11. ^ "Richard G. Scott". Retrieved April 7, 2009. [unreliable source?]
  12. ^ Scott, Richard G. (2007), Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy, Deseret Book, ISBN 978-1-57008-752-3, OCLC 74941162 

External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Joseph B. Wirthlin
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 1, 1988 –
Succeeded by
Robert D. Hales