I first taught the course Teachings of the Living Prophets to university students Fall Semester 1995. Jeanene Scott, Elder Richard G. Scott’s wife, had passed away just a handful of months earlier and his first talk in general conference after her death was the October 1995 conference. He spoke about trials we face when we’ve done nothing wrong. If you knew that he just lost his eternal companion you could more poignantly feel his yearnings and the pain associated with her passing. Then, with very few exceptions, he proceeded to mention Jeanene by name in every general conference talk he gave from that point forward. Why?
Well, what President Monson is to service in his general conference sermons—story after story to illustrate that Christian ministry is most effectively carried out visiting the homes of the lonely, seeking out wayward teenagers at their place of employment, blessing the sick and so forth, Elder Scott was to eternal marriage. Even a casual listener learned that that eternal marriage is the binding and the ideal manifestation of marriage. Furthermore, no matter where your companion may be—he or she is your eternal companion—even if they are on the other side of the veil. He taught that lesson with great clarity.I consistently ask my university students if they are nervous to marry in the temple for time and for all eternity. In response, a high percentage of them openly express fear over the prospect. Generally speaking, their anxieties are wrapped up in one fact: marriages that they have witnessed up close and personal have not been happy or have ended in divorce, or both. In that light, they all knew the name of Elder Scott’s wife and the Scotts served as a beacon of marital happiness and endearing commitment in what is, for many of them, a very dark matrimonial prospect. My students were very grateful for his consistent instruction about marriage just by mentioning one name—Jeanine. I am very grateful as well.