Over the two days of Stake Conference, I had the opportunity to speak to Elder Larry Echo Hawk several times. I was immediately impressed by his humility. If you read about what he has accomplished in his life, he is remarkably humble. He went to law school, was the Attorney General for Idaho, taught at the BYU law school, oversaw BYU’s NCAA participation, and worked in the Obama administration. However even with all that experience, he rarely brought it up.
He is a very quiet/unassuming man. During lunch on Sunday I asked him about his work in the Obama administration and he said that when he was offered the position, he originally wanted to say now. He loved his job and responsibilities at BYU and didn’t want to leave. Whomever it was that offered him the position told him that his country was calling him to service. Elder Echo Hawk’s wife said that you can’t say no to that, but Elder Echo Hawk took about 10 days to finally decide to accept it.
President Eyring is the person who called him to be a General Authority. He found out many months in advance so he had lots of time to work things out. President Eyring told him that they didn’t want the US government mad at them 🙂
Elder Echo Hawk shared some great stores/experiences of learning more about his Pawnee heritage and doing family history research. He is obviously saddened by the way his people were treated long ago, but didn’t seem to harbour any bitter feelings.
I asked if he or his family was part of the Indian Placement Program (or whatever it was called) that the Church was involved with, and he said they were not. I commented about President Kimball’s love of Native Americans, and Elder Echo Hawk said that President Kimball (at that point an Apostle) is the one who performed the sealing for him and his wife.
I have met my fair share of General Authorities in my life, but Elder Echo Hawk certainly had an impact on me. I’m sure part of it was because of the calling I received, but there was just something about him that really impressed me. There is definitely lots there that I can try to emulate.
As a final point, Elder Echo Hawk’s first General Conference address was called “Come unto Me, O Ye House of Israel”. He spoke about the Book of Mormon, and shared a great story of when he was a Marine.