‘Mormon Land’: Lawyer to judge to apostle — a look at Dallin Oaks’ life and what he is really like

Biographer Richard Turley talks about the Latter-day Saint leader, a man largely raised by a widowed mother and grandparents who rose to prominence in his legal career, led BYU and served on the Utah Supreme Court before devoting himself full time to his faith.

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the governing First Presidency, speaks at the priesthood session of General Conference on Saturday, April 3, 2021.

His father died when he was 7 years old. Raised by his mother and his maternal grandparents, he committed himself to hard work and diligent scholarship.

He became a star student, earned a degree at one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools and launched a legal career that would see him rise to the Utah Supreme Court with whispers that he someday could land a seat on the country’s highest court.

Then, virtually overnight, Dallin H. Oaks changed his life’s trajectory, trading his career in the law for a commitment to his Lord. He accepted a call to be an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a lifetime appointment in which he now stands as the top counselor to President Russell M. Nelson and next in line to assume leadership of the global faith.

On this week’s show, historian Richard Turley, talks about his recently released biography, “In the Hands of the Lord: The Life of Dallin H. Oaks,” which documents the personal journey of a church leader known for his devotion to religious liberty, his doctrinal dissections and his pointed preaching from the pulpit.

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