Monday, April 12, 2010

A Eulogy of President Joseph Flake Boone

I often think of President Joseph Flake Boone and the time I was privileged to spend with him from 2002-2003. I came up with this little eulogy which I hope provides an apt description of this man and helps many of us to remember more vividly this inspired leader who laboured amongst us.


          I can’t think of any other occasion comparable to it in my life. I doubt there has been anything that has left such an indelible impression upon me. Of all the people I have met from day to day, month to month, and year to year, he stands uppermost like a cedar of Lebanon, a beacon of light over a stormy sea, an ever-filling well of water in a lost and lonely quarter of the desert.

      Meeting President Joseph Flake Boone is like meeting a mountain. I had this gargantuan privilege as an incoming missionary in my twentieth year. After a weary flight across the Pacific and down the edge of South-east Asia, I arrived in the early hours of the morning at Singapore’s Changi airport. As my group cleared the immigration and baggage reclaim, and slowly trudged away, we saw him standing behind the glass double-doors ahead. And what a sight it was. It’s hard to express adequately in words the thought process in the brain and the feelings of the heart upon fixing my gaze on this man at 1:30am. It is fair to say that all tiredness fled in an instant. After transiting through four foreign airports in between three flights I had felt lost in a big wide world. Now for the first time, with my Mission President no longer just a picture in a booklet, but standing in the flesh right before my eyes, I felt as close to home emotionally as I was as far away geographically.

      Despite his large stature, one was drawn to his benign face, his benevolent countenance beaming, evidence of a deeply pious life based upon living principles of truth. His open, square-shaped spectacles sat snugly on his cheekbones giving him an air of intelligence and power. His eyes seemed to search me astutely from behind those glass lenses. I immediately had the impression that those probing eyes were examining my every action, word and thought, and when he smiled with a dancing glint in his pupils, I smiled back. His smile was modest, not extravagant, his lips creasing at the corners but without displaying his teeth. He seemed to smile more with his eyes than his mouth. I could tell he trusted me and I didn’t want to disappoint him.

      His taupe hair was immaculately parted at the side and flowed across the top of his head where it effortlessly swept over and down to the left, allowing his tall forehead, that walking Bible Dictionary, to prop up his moderate crop of hair. His cheeks, which expanded when he smiled, smoothly curled down into a round, pointed chin. His crisp white shirt and conservative tie neatly adorned his broad torso.

      As he offered his huge hand, I extended my considerably smaller one, upon which he grasped it tightly and I felt this man’s momentous power with each firm shake of his robust arm. That was a proper handshake.

      He resembled a stripling warrior, an example of exact obedience. He was like a classic Book of Mormon prophet, large in stature, mighty in spirit, word and deed. He was the closest man I have ever been acquainted with, to the description we love, of Captain Moroni. Throughout my one-year association with him, he was akin to a living Captain Moroni, a plausible panacea whose very presence was a delight to be in, a balm containing both physical and spiritual properties.

      During a number of personal conversations with him he would sit, completely engulfing the chair he was seated on, with one leg crossed over the other, and his enormous books of scripture resting on his knee. I would perch attentively on the edge of my chair, and whilst normally I would feel extremely intimidated and overwhelmed by the sheer size and build of this man had it been anyone else, but all I could feel was awe and respect as brotherly kindness and love oozed from his spirit to mine.

      In many conferences he would speak for hours on end from a bulky stack of papers he had prepared, skipping over some and selecting the information he was moved upon to share. It is unanimous to say that our pencils were blunt after these conferences, but our minds were considerably sharper.

      Many a tear was shed on one of the last occasions we saw President Joseph Flake Boone and his wife before their contract expired and were about to make their way back home to the States. The missionaries serving in Singapore had prepared a special hymn with adapted words to the tune “O Ye Mountains High,” and there was not a dry eye in the chapel that day as we sang with heartfelt gratitude for his great leadership and labour of love. Such was the impact, power and example of this laudable man, that even merely a rare saunter down the street with him in terms of the long journey of life, has left an indissoluble impression upon our hearts.

      I strain to conjure up a more powerful, apt or justifiably fitting tribute to this man of God than that which describes the man he vividly resembles:
      “. . . and this was the faith of President Joseph Flake Boone, and his heart did glory in it . . . in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity. Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto President Joseph Flake Boone, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.” (Alma 48:16-17)

To those of you, who like me, were mighty privileged to serve with President Boone, I would appreciate your comments about this post. Perhaps you have a specific memory of a special time you had with President Boone. Feel free to leave your comments so that we may all reminisce about this great time of our lives.


  1. I didn't serve with him, but I loved him because he was your spiritual father for that year.
    What an incredibly beautiful narrative! I am moved to tears by it.
    Hurrah for President Boone! Hurrah for Israel!

  2. I'm curious now... did you write this because President Boone died or is this just a tribute? Either way, it's very nice but I'm wondering if I'm out of the loop on old mission news!

  3. Yeah...ditto, is this a eulogy because he passed away or something? If so, please email me with more info...

  4. Great post, Duncan. It's always good to reminisce about those times and think of all the things that were learned during those two years. Being back in the "real world" it's always a struggle to keep that same mind set that was developed on your mission so reminders like this are always inspiring.

    I hope all else is well with you and your family. I don't stay in touch as much as I should but I do silently try to keep up with you on Facebook.

    Thank you for posting this. What a perfect way to start my day and week. Tell your mum (proper spelling ;) I said hello.

  5. I just read that President Boone has passed away, how sad. Did you know when you wrote this Duncan? What a fitting tribute.

    Hello Elder Jackson! I still have a picture of Elder Jackson and little Elder Horne on my bedside table from all those years ago. Hope you and your family are well.

  6. Duncan, I just read that President Boone has died. How sad. This is a perfect tribute to him.

    Hello Elder Jackson. I still have a picture of you and little Elder Horne on my bedside table from all those years ago. Hope you and your family are well.

  7. Mum, where did you read he has passed away???

    Elders Solomon and Dozier, this was intended merely as a tribute - as far as I understand, Pres. Boone has not passed away.

  8. On your facebook page!

  9. Yes mum, Malvinder thought that when I said 'eulogy' that it meant President Boone was dead! That's not what I meant. I was just writing a tribute to this living man!

  10. I didn't read it as a death tribute until I saw that comment on your facebook hours later.

    Long live President Boone!

  11. Thank goodness it's not a eulogy! Maybe you'd consider editing the title? =)

    I still haven't had a chance to attend one of the reunions yet, you had me scared!

    Long live Pres & Sis Boone =)

  12. It IS a eulogy!! I am using words of praise to describe Pres. Boone. 'Eulogy' does not have to be associated with death - in this case it is used to write a piece about a living person, which makes it a perfectly apt title. See my post entitled "The Power of Words" for more information. I had thought of changing the title due to all the confusion it has caused, but now that it's been cleared up, I will reassuringly stick with it!

    Long live President Boone!! May he be eulogized by all!!

  13. Phew! While eulogies don't only apply to those who have passed away, most people generally associate the word with death.

    Anyway, loved what you wrote...couldn't have said it better myself.

  14. Thanks Elliott, and Danny. I felt it was the smallest thing I could do to honour President Boone for his great service amongst us.

  15. Strange that I stumbled upon this. He is my Grandfather. I don't know of anyone that is stronger in the church and is just a stand-up man. So amazing that you had the chance to serve with him all those years ago.

    1. Well thanks for taking the time to comment here. As you know from this post, I have the utmost respect and admiration for President Boone. You are one very fortunate person to have this mighty man as your grandfather :)


Thank you for your thoughts, comments and opinions. I'll be responding soon! I will not be publishing anonymous comments so make sure you leave your name with your comment!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...