(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)
Around 1964, the Quorum of the Twelve began to discuss the possibility of doing away with the priesthood committees and establishing a group of men who could become expert teachers in the priesthood responsibilities previously covered by the four different committees. In August 1967, the priesthood committees were dissolved and the brethren who served on them released, including myself.
After everyone was released, a group of 69 men were called to be regional representatives, and their work began during September 1967. I was still in the mission field at that time, but was aware of the changes because Elder Lee and President Tanner had discussed them with me.
The new regional representatives traveled to Salt Lake to receive special training from the Brethren. The first instruction given to this group of men by Elder Lee was that they were to become as home teach ers to bishops and stake presidents. It was explained that they were not assigned to make policies and decisions, but were to represent the Twelve and implement the training programs initiated by the Brethren. This new assignment and direction was difficult for some men. Elder Lee and President Kimball taught the regional representatives that they were coaches, not quarterbacks. They were to teach and train and allow the stake presidents to do the job of actually running the work of the Lord. They pointed out that the regional representatives were not administrators but were to do everything they could to help the stake and mission presidents do their work in the best possible way.
In March 1970, I had the privilege of going to the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple with Elder Harold B. Lee to be with him while he spoke to the missionaries and answered their questions.
At the conclusion of that meeting, Elder Lee and I went to a room on the fourth floor of the temple where we were able to be alone and discuss the possibility of me leaving my work in the Welfare Department and going back into the poultry business. I had a very good offer given to me to be the general man ager of a new poultry processing business being established in Utah. There were four faithful members of the Church willing to finance this business who had contacted me while I was in the mission and I had them wait until I got home to make a decision. I told Elder Lee I was 51 years of age and this would be the last opportunity I would ever have to get back into a reasonably high-paying position in the world of business. Elder Lee asked me questions about how happy I was with my welfare work. He said they had always treated me well and that I had been used adequately and constantly. He asked many questions, but never did he once attempt to help me make up my mind as to whether I should leave Welfare Square and go back into business. After about 45 minutes of talking man-to-man, almost father-to-son, it became apparent to me that Elder Lee wanted me to stay with the welfare program for the balance of my life. I finally said, "Brother Lee, I know what you would like me to do, but I know you won't tell me so my mind is now made up." We concluded our meeting, and I went home feeling very much at ease and grateful for his remarkable ability to help me think straight.
A few days later, I received a letter signed by Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, and N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency. This letter called me to serve as a regional representative of the Twelve. Elder Lee knew this letter was on the way, but did not even hint to me that a priestl1ood call was coming. I was more pleased than ever that we had our confidential talk up on the fourth floor of the temple.
On April 3, 1970, a meeting was held with all regional representatives. President Joseph Fielding Smith was excused because of other commitments. President Lee stated how alert, keen, alive, and responsive to spiritual things President Smith was. He said that it was a delight for he and President Tanner to observe this.
He then introduced three new regional representatives as follows:
-Arthur Haycock: "I think many of you know Arthur. Arthur is one of our most trusted and effective men we have in our circle. Next to the General Authorities, I suppose there is no one more trusted than Arthur.”
-Barry Knudsen: "Barry was formerly president of the San Diego Stake. President Kimball said last night that he has witnessed great growth in Brother Knudsen since he has served in that capacity.”
-Glen Rudd: "Then we have Glen Rudd. Most of you know Brother Rudd. He has been around the Church for quite a time. He is doing a great work down on Welfare Square. Recently, he was released from presiding over the Florida Mission, and was a bishop in one of the most difficult wards in the Church. As I remember, Glen had as many as ninety widows at one time, and he got his basic training in Welfare the hard way. So he now comes as one of our new regional representatives."