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Neal A. Maxwell
Full name Neal Ash Maxwell
Born July 6, 1926(1926-07-06)
Place of birth Salt Lake City, Utah
Died July 21, 2004 (aged 78)
Place of death Salt Lake City, Utah
LDS Church Apostle
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
Ordained July 23, 1981 (aged 55)
Ordination reason Gordon B. Hinckley added to First Presidency
End of term July 21, 2004 (aged 78)
End reason Death
Reorganization at end of term Dieter F. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar were ordained following the deaths of Maxwell and David B. Haight
LDS Church General Authority
Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
Start of term April 6, 1974 (aged 47)
End of term October 1, 1976 (aged 50)
End reason Position abolished
First Quorum of the Seventy
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
Start of term October 1, 1976 (aged 50)
End of term July 23, 1981 (aged 55)
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
Start of term October 1, 1976 (aged 50)
End of term July 23, 1981 (aged 55)
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
Start of term July 23, 1981 (aged 55)
End of term July 21, 2004 (aged 78)
End reason Death

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.



In 1967, Maxwell was called to be one of the first 69 regional representatives of the Twelve when that position was created.[1] From 1970 to 1974, he served as the tenth Commissioner of Church Education overseeing the Church Educational System. Maxwell began serving as a general authority of the church 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, following the calling of Gordon B. Hinckley as a counselor in the First Presidency. He was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the church 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 organizing of the Aba Nigeria Stake in 1988 with David W. Eka as president. This was the first stake in the church staffed entirely by people of African descent.

Before serving full time in the Church, Maxwell taught at the University of Utah, where he became Executive Vice-President and also served as a legislative assistant to United States Senator Wallace F. Bennett of Utah.

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 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 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. Commenting on his speaking and writing styles at Maxwell's eulogy, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley said,

I know of no other man who spoke in such an interesting and distinct manner. His genius was the product of diligence. He was a perfectionist determined to exact from every phrase and sentence vivid imagery that brought the gospel to life. Each talk was a masterpiece, each book was a work of art. I think we shall not see one like him again.[1]

Maxwell earned bachelors and masters degrees in political science from the University of Utah and also 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, 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.

Grave marker of Neal A. Maxwell.

As a young man, Maxwell served a two year mission in eastern Canada and later served in the Church in myriad positions, including bishop of Salt Lake City’s University Sixth Ward; a member of the General Board of the YMMIA, the Church’s youth organization; a member of the Adult Correlation Committee; one of the first Regional Representatives of the Twelve; and director of the Church’s Church Educational System.

During World War II he served as an infantryman in the United States Army, where he saw action on Okinawa.

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, such as his 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 his native Salt Lake City, Utah, from leukemia. He was originally diagnosed with leukemia in 1996, eight years before his death. According to President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, Maxwell "accomplished more in these last eight years than most men do in a lifetime."[2] Maxwell was survived by his wife, the former Colleen Hinckley, 4 children, 24 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. The vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve caused by his death was filled by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

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. (1975). Of One Heart: The Glory of the City of Enoch. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87747-604-7.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1981). Notwithstanding My Weakness. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87747-855-4.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1981). Of One Heart: The Glory of the City of Enoch. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87747-298-X.   (republication of ISBN 0-87747-604-7)
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1983). Plain and Precious Things. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87747-979-8.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1984). We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87747-762-0.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1985). Sermons Not Spoken. Bookcraft Publications. ISBN 0-88494-571-5.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1986). But For a Small Moment. Bookcraft Publications. ISBN 0-88494-585-5.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1987). Meek and Lowly. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87579-071-2.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1989). Things as They Really Are. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87579-206-5.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1990). Wonderful Flood of Light. Bookcraft Publications. ISBN 0-88494-728-9.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1991). Men and Women of Christ. Bookcraft Publications. ISBN 0-88494-785-8.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1991). Even as I Am. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87579-499-8.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1992). That Ye May Believe. Bookcraft Publications. ISBN 0-88494-843-9.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1994). Lord, Increase Our Faith. Bookcraft Publications. ISBN 0-88494-919-2.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1997). Women of Faith. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 1-57345-259-9.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1998). All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87579-613-3.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (1998). Lord, Increase Our Faith. Bookcraft Publications. ISBN 1-57008-583-8.   (paperback of ISBN 0-88494-919-2)
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2000). The Collected Works of Neal A. Maxwell. Eagle Gate Publishers. ISBN 1-57345-896-1.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2001). Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book. Bookcraft Publications. ISBN 1-57008-325-8.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2001). The Promise of Discipleship. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 1-57345-983-6.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2002). If Thou Endure It Well. Bookcraft Publications. ISBN 1-57008-233-2.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2002). Not My Will, but Thine. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-88494-672-X.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2002). One More Strain of Praise. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 1-57008-679-6.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2003). The Precious Promise: A Message for Women. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 1-59038-167-X.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2003). Whom the Lord Loveth: The Journey of Discipleship. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 1-59038-206-4.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2004). Moving In His Majesty And Power. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 1-59038-393-1.  
  • Maxwell, Neal A. (2006). The Enoch Letters. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 1-59038-647-7.   (republication of ISBN 0-87747-298-X)



External links

Religious titles
Preceded by
James E. Faust
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
July 23, 1981–July 21, 2004
Succeeded by
Russell M. Nelson


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Neal Ash Maxwell (1926-07-06 – 2004-07-21) Elder Neal A. Maxwell served as a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from July 23, 1981 to July 21, 2004. He served as a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy from 1976 to 1981, and as an Assistant to the Twelve from 1974 to 1976.


  • Indeed, one of the most cruel games anyone can play with self is the "not yet" game—hoping to sin just a bit more before ceasing; to enjoy the praise of the world a little longer before turning away from the applause; to win just once more in the wearying sweepstakes of materialism; to be chaste, but not yet; to be good neighbors, but not now. One can play upon the harp-strings of hesitations and reservations just so long, and then one faces that special moment—a moment when what has been sensed, mutely, suddenly finds voice and cries out with tears, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:24)
    • Why Not Now?, Ensign, Apr. 1974, p. 12 (Ensign)
  • I have on my office wall a wise and useful reminder by Anne Morrow Lindbergh concerning one of the realities of life. She wrote, "My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds." That's good counsel for us all, not as an excuse to forgo duty, but as a sage point about pace and the need for quality in relationships.
    • Deposition of a Disciple, 1976, Deseret Book Co. (Salt Lake City), p. 5
  • The good life is the best preparation for bad times.
    • Wherefore Ye Must Press Forward, 1977, Deseret Book Co. (Salt Lake City), p. 32
  • A few little flowers will spring up briefly in the dry gulley through which torrents of water pass occasionally. But it is steady streams that bring thick and needed crops. In the agriculture of the soul that has to do with nurturing attributes, flash floods are no substitute for regular irrigation."
    • Notwithstanding My Weakness, 1981, Deseret Book Co. (Salt Lake City, Utah), pg. 7
  • Being popular can become narcotic. We can come to crave it and to need the frequent "fixes" brought by the world’s praise and caresses of recognition. A turned head bows much less easily.
    Popularity is dangerous especially because it focuses us on ourselves rather than keeping us attentive to the needs of others. We become preoccupied with self and with being noticed, letting those in real need "pass by" us, and we "notice them not" (Morm. 8:39). It is a sad fact, therefore, that popularity gets in the way of our keeping both of the two great commandments!" (See Matt. 22:36–40.)
    • Popularity and Principle, Ensign, Mar. 1995, p. 12 Ensign
  • Mostly, brothers and sisters, we become the victims of our own wrong desires. Moreover, we live in an age when many simply refuse to feel responsible for themselves. Thus, a crystal-clear understanding of the doctrines pertaining to desire is so vital because of the spreading effluent oozing out of so many unjustified excuses by so many. This is like a sludge which is sweeping society along toward "the gulf of misery and endless wo" (Hel. 5:12). Feeding that same flow is the selfish philosophy of "no fault," which is replacing the meek and apologetic "my fault." We listen with eager ear to hear genuine pleas for forgiveness instead of the ritualistic "Sorry. I hope I can forgive myself."
    • According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts, Ensign, Nov. 1996, p. 21 Ensign

External links

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