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The Trials of the Newest Apostle Elder Patrick Kearon

The Trials of the Newest Apostle Elder Patrick Kearon

As evidenced by his speeches and General Conference addresses, the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Patrick Kearon, is an immensely compassionate man, but he is also a man who has faced incredible trials in his life.

When he was a teenager, he lost his father, Paddy, in an accident, and just a few years later, he lost his firstborn son, Sean, just 3 weeks after he was born. While trials have the potential of driving people away from God, these trials helped Elder Kearon to develop even more empathy and compassion, and helped him grow closer to Jesus Christ. 

Elder Kearon spoke of the profound sadness he felt due to the loss of his father when he was just nineteen. He said of this experience, “my father,… died in a car ­accident in Arabia when I was nineteen…. In the aftermath of that devastating trauma, I experienced unspeakable grief, desperate loneliness, and an emptiness that felt like it would never leave.” Elder Kearon mentioned that what helped him deal with this tragedy was the service of his family and friends.

“Thankfully, my big brother stepped in to take care of all the practical issues that follow such a loss. He and my sisters led out in watching over our extraordinary mother. In the midst of it all, there were many who extended warm friendship and generous mentoring. Somehow life had to go on for the rest of us, and the love and care of ­others helped enormously.”

Elder Kearon wasn’t yet a member of the church when his father died, (He would later join the church at age twenty six) but he recognized the powerful influence others play in helping their friends and neighbors deal with tragedy in their lives. After joining the church, he would recognize the Lord’s hand in the help he received. 

After joining the church, Elder Kearon married and he and his wife had a beautiful boy. Elder Kearon described how he felt at the birth of his child. “My friends and the missionaries had taught me how much my Heavenly Father loved me, and I knew that in my head, but I didn’t begin to know it in my heart until I became a father myself several years later. It was then that I had my first real glimpse into how our Father feels about us, His children. The concept of infinite love only started to seem possible when I experienced the new and unimaginable love that enveloped me with the birth of our first child.” 

Tragically, after his firstborn son Sean died, Elder Kearon said “I thought I couldn’t ever feel that much love again.” He was heartbroken with the loss of his son, but he and his wife felt that even during this terrible loss, God was helping them deal with the devastating death. He and his wife Jennifer both spoke of God’s divine help guiding them during this difficult time. 

Elder Kearon said, “Numerous things happened along that most tender of journeys, that when we lost him, we knew we had left no stone unturned and no path unexplored in terms of trying to preserve his life, which meant we had no regret.” Sister Kearon then added to his words by saying “Every step of the way in that process, we absolutely knew the Lord was watching over us and providing every tender mercy He possibly could to make that terrible loss as bearable as it could be.”

Elder Kearon has explained that the reason that God is able to provide such tender mercies, like those that they received after their child’s death, was because “the Savior has descended below all things, even what has happened to you… From the depths of His atoning suffering, the Savior imparts hope you thought was lost forever, strength you believed you could never possess and healing you couldn’t imagine was possible.”

patrick kearon

Although Elder Kearon couldn’t imagine feeling the love he felt for his firstborn son ever again, the Savior helped him find that love again. He said that when his daughter was born “I was once again overwhelmed by a love and a wonder I cannot begin to describe. And so it went with the birth of each successive child. At times when our own children have hurt, I believe that I have felt more pain for them than I would have felt for myself. I have also experienced extraordinary joy out of all proportion to what might be considered our children’s insignificant moments, expressions, or triumphs.”

The Savior was able to bring Elder Kearon through the difficult end of his son’s life and help him experience new joy at the beginning of his three daughter’s lives. The Savior was able to help Elder Kearon because Christ experienced all the pain that Elder Kearon experienced. 

Our newest apostle expressed the concept beautifully when he said, “you can have a new beginning and a fresh start. In Gethsemane and on Calvary, Jesus ‘took upon Himself … all of the anguish and suffering ever experienced by you and me,’ and He has overcome it all! With arms outstretched, the savior offers the gift of healing to you. With courage, patience and faithful focus on Him, before too long you can come to fully accept this gift. You can let go of your pain and leave it at His feet.”

Those of us who have experienced similar losses to those of Elder Kearon, understand that when we lean on the Lord during trials, He is able to help us endure those trials and let go of our pain. Jesus Christ can heal us and help us use our difficult experiences to become more compassionate to our family, friends, and neighbors. 

One reason that Elder Kearon is known for his compassion is because he emulates our Savior, and like our Savior, has passed through adversity and afflictions, so that he can understand how to succor those who stand in need of succor. He is compassionate because the Savior, through his Atonement, has helped him understand compassion and share that compassionate spirit with us all. 

Harry Moises Torres

Friday 5th of January 2024

I am deeply inspired and strongly edified in profound spiritual ways by this mighty new apostle of the lord Christ Jesus. I can feel and sense deep in my soul (where my inner spirit lies) his great testimony of the Son of God as the Redeemer of the World and the Saviour of all Mankind. That he loves God's children on earth and truly feels their pain and suffering and as all of the lord's annointed in ancient and modern times ;called and ordained to the Holy Apostleship of our great redeemer, has suffered many trials in the flesh and been molded and carefully prepared to stand as a special Witness of Christ in all the world! A prophet, seer and revelator and member of the Council of the council. His words have comforted me much and along with the scriptures, that I am reading more regularly and more carefully and prayerfully than ever before ,are giving more strength and power to overcome the challenges I am going through right now trying to settle as a newcomer to Canada! And far from the family! I also have experienced great spiritual challenges many times and felt the buffetings of Satan(as President James E. Faust described) and at other times felt extremely close to the lord and felt his tender love, power and Majesty! I once spoke to a very special apostle of the lord by the name of Richard G. Scott and shook his hand and looked into his eyes as he looked into mine and told him I knew he was an Apostle of the Lord for I truly did and that I would do the Lord's work. He read me like me an open book! of which I have no doubt. And his eyes were the eyes of a prophet of God. Don't ask me how I Know! This was in my country of Nicaragua many years ago. And so is my testimony of the Prophets and Apostles of the Lord. His Seers and Revelators upon the Earth. And his mouthpiece or spokesman, Sole Representative of the the All mighty on Earth today our Beloved Prophet and President of the Church: President Russel M. Nelson. I Know the Lord lives and stands at the head of this church! His Church and Kingdom! In the sweet and sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ Amen!!

Florence Roberts

Friday 29th of December 2023

So often people mistakenly think that our leaders have not experienced trials. How wrong they are. I love to hear personal stories of how our amazing leaders have love and faith in our Saviour. I have been privileged to meet Elder Kearon a few times while he spoke in our stake and he is very down to earth and humble. I was so delighted when he was called as an Apostle and I know he is called of God. His wife is also amazing. May God bless them and their loved ones.

Tom McKnight

Wednesday 27th of December 2023

Wow. So beautifully said. I think I'm going to absolutely love this new Apostle of the Lord! :-)

Linda Griffith

Wednesday 27th of December 2023

I belonged to the Lutheran church, but I was so sure miracles could still happen and wondered why it was not empathized more. I went to catechism and was confirmed and grew to love scriptures and studied them for hours both the old and new testament. I wanted to know truth and by having roommates of other religions, none were LDS members, I could see many other beliefs but none followed everything in the Bible in one church. Various parts of the scriptures were emphasized and followed. I continued searching for truth. When later I met a "Mormon" I knew nothing about that church except they had more than one wife. When my neighbor became a friend, I mentioned her husband came home every night so I asked where his other wives were as it seemed unfair to ignore them. She laughed and said there were no other wives, but would you like to know more. My husband was Episcopalian and did not want to be Lutheran so when we attended the "Mormon church" we talked with the stake missionaries who answered my questions, and I did have a lot, we were both baptized after learning and studying for about five months. It was the best decision we ever made though it hurt the feelings of our parents. We never at any time questioned the truth we had learned for it became a part of us. We were sealed in the temple and since my dear husband died 10 years ago, I have been so comforted by that. My oldest daughter has also died recently and though she was no longer a member she had been sealed to us which helps my sorrow to be less intense.