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Neal A. Maxwell

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Title: Neal A. Maxwell  
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Subject: David B. Haight, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, James E. Faust, David A. Bednar, Russell M. Nelson
Collection: 1926 Births, 2004 Deaths, 20Th-Century Mormon Missionaries, American General Authorities (Lds Church), American Latter Day Saint Writers, American Mormon Missionaries in Canada, American Theologians, Apostles (Lds Church), Assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Burials at Salt Lake City Cemetery, Cancer Deaths in Utah, Commissioners of Church Education (Lds Church), Deaths from Leukemia, Hinckley–bitner Family, People from Salt Lake City, Utah, Presidents of the Seventy (Lds Church), Regional Representatives of the Twelve, University of Utah Alumni, University of Utah Faculty
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Neal A. Maxwell

Neal A. Maxwell
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
July 23, 1981 (1981-07-23) – July 21, 2004 (2004-07-21)
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
LDS Church Apostle
July 23, 1981 (1981-07-23) – July 21, 2004 (2004-07-21)
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
Reason Gordon B. Hinckley added to First Presidency
at end of term
Dieter F. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar were ordained following the deaths of Maxwell and David B. Haight
Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy
October 1, 1976 (1976-10-01) – July 23, 1981 (1981-07-23)
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
First Quorum of the Seventy
October 1, 1976 (1976-10-01) – July 23, 1981 (1981-07-23)
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 6, 1974 (1974-04-06) – October 1, 1976 (1976-10-01)
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
End reason Position abolished
Personal details
Born Neal Ash Maxwell
(1926-07-06)July 6, 1926
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Died July 21, 2004(2004-07-21) (aged 78)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
Signature of Neal A. Maxwell

Neal Ash Maxwell (July 6, 1926 – July 21, 2004) was an apostle and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1981 until his death.


  • Life 1
  • Death 2
  • Publications 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Maxwell was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Clarence Maxwell and his wife, Emma Ash. Clarence had moved to Salt Lake City from Montana about four years earlier and joined the LDS Church not long after. Neal attended Granite High School.

During World War II, Maxwell served as an infantryman in the United States Army (77th Division), where he saw action on Okinawa. After the war, Maxwell served for two years as an LDS Church missionary in Canada.

While pursuing an undergraduate education at the University of Utah before leaving on his mission, Maxwell met Colleen Hinckley. After Maxwell returned from his mission he resumed courting Colleen and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on Nov. 22, 1950.[1] They are the parents of four children and twenty-four grandchildren.

Maxwell earned bachelors and masters degrees in political science from the University of Utah. From 1952 to 1956, he worked in Washington D.C., first for the US government and then as an assistant to Senator Wallace F. Bennett.

Maxwell was a professor of political science at the University of Utah. He also held many administrative roles at the university. He first joined the university staff as assistant director of public relations in 1956. In 1958 he became Assistant to the President. In 1961 he was secretary to the Board of Trustees, followed by dean of students in 1962, and later vice president for planning and public affairs. In 1967 he became Executive Vice-President of the University of Utah.[2]

From 1959 to 1962, Maxwell served as bishop of Salt Lake City’s University Sixth Ward. He was a member of the General Board of the YMMIA and a member of the Adult Correlation Committee for the next five years.

In 1967, Maxwell was called to be one of the first 69 regional representatives, when that position was created.[3] From 1970 to 1974, he served as the tenth Commissioner of Church Education overseeing the Church Educational System. Under his direction the system received its current name.

Maxwell began serving as an LDS general authority in 1974, when he was called as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In 1976, Maxwell became one of the seven presidents of the seventy, when the calling of Assistant to the Twelve was eliminated.

Maxwell was ordained an apostle by N. Eldon Tanner on July 23, 1981, after Gordon B. Hinckley became a counselor in the First Presidency. He was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 3, 1981.

Among the many assignments Maxwell had as a general authority was to preside over the organization of new stakes of the church. One of the more notable of these was the Aba Nigeria Stake in 1988, with David W. Eka as president, being the first stake in the church staffed entirely by people of African descent.

Maxwell wrote approximately thirty books concerning religion and authored numerous articles on politics and government for local, professional and national publications. He is well known for his extensive vocabulary and elegant style of speaking and writing. His highly alliterative talks have always presented a great challenge to translators. During one LDS general conference, the translators had categorized each of the talks to be given into five levels of difficulty. All of the talks were assigned to levels one through four, except Maxwell’s. His talk was alone at level five.[4] Commenting on his speaking and writing styles at Maxwell's funeral, church president Gordon B. Hinckley said,

He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Utah; an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Westminster College, Salt Lake City; an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, Utah; an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Utah State University, Logan, Utah; an Honorary Degree from Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho; and an Honorary Degree from Salt Lake Community College.

The University of Utah established the Neal A. Maxwell Presidential Endowed Chair in Political Theory, Public Policy and Public Service in the fall of 1998.

Maxwell's business career included serving as a director of several business firms, including Questar Corporation, Questar Pipeline, and Deseret News Publishing Company. He also was active in public service, including service as chairman of the Utah Constitutional Revision Commission.

Maxwell received the Liberty Bell award from the Utah State Bar in 1967 for public service. In 1973, the Institute of Government Service at Brigham Young University named him Public Administrator of the Year.


Maxwell died in Salt Lake City, from leukemia. He was originally diagnosed with leukemia in 1996, eight years before his death. He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery. According to church president Gordon B. Hinckley, Maxwell "accomplished more in these last eight years than most men do in a lifetime."[5] Maxwell was survived by his wife, the former Colleen Hinckley, 4 children, 24 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. With the death ten days later of fellow apostle David B. Haight, the vacancies created in the Quorum of the Twelve were filled by Dieter F. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar.

The BYU Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts was renamed the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship after Maxwell's death.


  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1969). ...A More Excellent Way: Essays on Leadership for Latter-day Saints.  
  • —— (1970). "For the power is in them..." Mormon Musings. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1973). The Smallest Part. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1974). That My Family Should Partake. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1975). A time to Choose. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1975). Of One Heart: The Glory of the City of Enoch. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1976). Deposition of a Disciple. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1977). Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1978). Things as They Really Are. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1981). Notwithstanding My Weakness. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1983). Plain and Precious Things. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1984). We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1985). Sermons Not Spoken.  
  • —— (1986). But For a Small Moment. Bookcraft Publications.  
  • —— (1987). Meek and Lowly. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1990). Wonderful Flood of Light. Bookcraft Publications.  
  • —— (1991). Men and Women of Christ. Bookcraft Publications.  
  • —— (1991). Even as I Am. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1992). That Ye May Believe. Bookcraft Publications.  
  • —— (1994). Lord, Increase Our Faith. Bookcraft Publications. Republished 1998, ISBN 1-57008-583-8 (paperback)  
  • —— (1997). Women of Faith. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (1998). All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (2000). The Collected Works of Neal A. Maxwell. Eagle Gate Publishers.  
  • —— (2001). Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book. Bookcraft Publications.  
  • —— (2001). The Promise of Discipleship. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (2002). If Thou Endure It Well. Bookcraft Publications.  
  • —— (2002). Not My Will, but Thine. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (2002). One More Strain of Praise. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (2003). The Precious Promise: A Message for Women. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (2003). Whom the Lord Loveth: The Journey of Discipleship. Deseret Book Company.  
  • —— (2004). Moving In His Majesty And Power. Deseret Book Company.  


  1. ^ Moore, Carrie A. (July 23, 2004). "Elder Maxwell dies at 78".  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Hugh B. Brown, Conference Report, October 1967.
  4. ^ "Elder Neal A. Maxwell: A Devoted Life".  
  5. ^ a b Moore, Carrie A. (July 28, 2004). "'We shall not see one like him again'". Deseret News 


  • Mikita, Carole (July 27, 2004). "Funeral Services For Elder Neal A. Maxwell".  
  • "Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve", Ensign, May 1974
  • "Elder Neal A. Maxwell Dies After Long Battle With Leukemia". Newsroom (LDS Church). July 24, 2004 

External links

  • Grampa Bill's G.A. Pages: Neal A. Maxwell
  • Neal A. Maxwell Confluence, online resource of his published works
  • Quotable Gems from Neal A. Maxwell from Famous Quotes.
  • Listen to, How Choice a Seer, October, 2003 LDS General Conference sermon
  • Neal A. Maxwell at Find a Grave
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
James E. Faust
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
July 23, 1981 – July 21, 2004
Succeeded by
Russell M. Nelson
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