We love Jeffrey R. Holland and are blessed to learn from him and see the role of Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled by one so understanding and kind. While you know that he is a fascinating teacher and loved by millions of people, here are 7 things that you perhaps did not know about Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.
1. Not My Will But Thine
Prior to serving a full-time mission, Elder Holland wanted to become a doctor. However, he said that, “I came home from my mission believing that God intended me to be a teacher.”
Elder Holland was hired by the Church Educational System as an institute teacher in Hayward, California. After teaching for a year in California. Elder Holland became the director of the Seattle Washington institute.
His brother, Dennis Holland, said that “all Jeff ever wanted to do was teach the gospel to students in a classroom. … I was always sure that the Lord had the same goal in mind for him, but that the size of the classroom and the number of students were on a much grander scale than he was envisioning.” ¹
2. Blossoming Disciple
Jeffrey R. Holland’s Mission President, Marion D. Hanks, had a profound influence on his life. “President Hanks taught me to love the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon,” Elder Holland said.
Elder Hanks says Jeffrey Holland ‘blossomed into a discipleship, even then centered in Jesus Christ,’ and responded diligently to his mission president’s call to teach from the Book of Mormon. Elder Hanks says that Elder Holland’s love for that book and his ability to teach from it have grown continuously stronger through the years.” ²
3. Dual Threat
Jeffrey R. Holland graduated from Dixie High School. He helped the Flyers capture state high school championships in football and basketball. He began his college education at Dixie College before his mission. After returning from his mission, he served as co-captain of the Dixie basketball team.
4. College Hopping
Holland left Dixie College and transferred to Brigham Young University (BYU) where he graduated with a BA in English. He wrote a thesis on selected changes to the text of the Book of Mormon to complete his MA in Religious Education from BYU, while also teaching religion classes part-time. Holland then attended Yale University and earned a second master’s degree in American Studies, and later a Ph.D in the same subject.
5. Always On Time
Once when he was a youth, she let him go to a party with the understanding that he would be home by ten o’clock. When he looked at the clock later and realized that he had only fifteen minutes to make it home, he ran from one end of St. George to the other. “He never gave me any trouble,” Alice says. “He was always at church, and he always took care of his priesthood duties.”
6. A Family Affair
Elder Holland served in the same mission to which his parents were also called shortly thereafter. “Frank and Alice Holland had been called to the British Mission during their son’s service there. Alice Holland laughs when she recalls that her son claimed to be the only missionary who ever said farewell to his parents at both ends of his mission.”³
7. Dinner Time
Elder Holland’s son Matt says his “fondest memories from childhood are at the dinner table. Every night was a kind of family home evening filled with laughter, compliments, encouragement, interesting conversation, testimony, teaching, and expressions of love. You always knew Dad was happiest when he was at home with his family.”
1 – Deseret News
2 – Deseret News
3 – lds.org