Marvin J. Ashton

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Marvin J. Ashton, Apostle of the Church
Marvin J. Ashton, Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ, 1971–1994

Marvin Jeremy Ashton (May 6, 1915 – February 25, 1994) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1971 until his death in 1994. [1]

Marvin J. Ashton was born on May 6, 1915, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Marvin O. Ashton (a prominent local leader of the Church of Jesus Christ who later became a general authority of the church), and his wife, Rachel Grace Jeremy.

Ashton was always active in the Boy Scouts of America, earning his Eagle Scout rank as a youth and later serving in national, regional, and local Boy Scout executive positions. He was the recipient of the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope awards. In 1988 he was given the prestigious "Distinguished Eagle" award for his "truly distinguished career." [2]

Ashton believed in physical fitness. Tennis was his great love, which he started playing when he was about 12. His favorite tennis partner was his wife, the former Norma Bernston, whom he married August 22, 1940, in the Salt Lake Temple and by whom he fathered four children. Throughout his life, up until the time his health prevented him from continuing, Elder Ashton somehow, despite his tremendously busy schedule, found time to play tennis a couple of times a week. [3]

Ashton graduated from the University of Utah. His wife also graduated from the University of Utah, where she was valedictorian. Ashton served a mission in Great Britain, where his mission president was Hugh B. Brown.

Professional Life and Church Service

Marvin J. Ashton was a successful businessman before his call as a general authority and afterward served as board member and chairman of several corporations. He served for four years in the Utah State Senate and spearheaded legislation for improvement of juvenile detention facilities. He was the first head of the Church Social Services Department, and found much satisfaction in working with the various facets of the department, including Indian placement, youth guidance, unwed mothers, adoptions, alcoholics, prisoners and those with social and emotional problems. Through his efforts, the Church established a prison program where Latter-day Saint families could meet with prisoners in family home evenings. [4]

Before his call to full-time Church service, Elder Ashton served for 21 years on the YMMIA general board and in the general superintendency, and his responsibilities largely reflected his enthusiasm and enjoyment of athletics and activities. During these years, he supervised and promoted the all-Church athletic program, and was in charge of music, dance, drama, and speech programs.

On December 2, 1971, Elder Ashton was set apart as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, filling the vacancy left by Elder Richard L. Evans. His responsibilities as a member of the Twelve took him to the far reaches of the world.

Elder Ashton passed away February 24, 1994, after a period of dwindling health.

Quotes from Marvin J. Ashton

  • You owe it to yourself to keep fit. No matter how busy or how involved you are, you should have some type of physical program to keep the body in tune.
  • In the kingdom of our Heavenly Father, no one is a "nobody." God help us to realize that one of our greatest responsibilities and privileges is to lift a self-labeled "nobody' to a "somebody."
  • He who invites us to follow will always be out in front of us with His Spirit and influence setting the pace. He has charted and marked the course, opened the gates, and shown the way. He has invited us to come unto Him, and the best time to enjoy His companionship is straightway. We can best get on the course and stay on the course by doing as Jesus did—make a total commitment to do the will of His Father.
  • In times of hurt and discouragement, it may be consoling for all of us to recall that no one can do anything permanently to us that will last for eternity. Only we ourselves can affect our eternal progression.
  • When a mother asked her small child how he fell out of bed, he answered, 'Because I wasn’t in far enough.' Let me just say in passing that it has been my experience that most people who fall out of the Church do so because they were not in far enough.[5]

Books by Marvin J. Ashton

  • (1978) What Is Your Destination?. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87747-719-1.
  • (1982) Ye Are My Friends. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87747-934-8.
  • (1987) Be of Good Cheer. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87579-106-9.
  • (1990) One for the Money. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ISBN 0-87579-417-3.
  • (1991) The Measure of Our Hearts. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87579-564-1.
  • (1998) Classic Talks. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87579-983-3.


  1. Wikipedia:Marvin J. Ashton
  2. Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages:Marvin J. Ashton [1]
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Famous [2]