Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2001), 555–58.
Born: 3 December 1940, St. George, Utah
First Quorum of the Seventy: 1 April 1989
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: 23 June 1994 (age 53)
Only two weeks into his British mission, nineteen-year-old Jeffrey Holland was deeply moved by a simple experience of faith and priesthood power. In the midst of a heavy rainstorm, one night, an eighty-year-old member of the Church knocked on the elders’ door. The man was a bicycle repairman and always fixed the missionaries’ bikes for free. This night he had ridden a bicycle through the storm to ask a favor of the two young men. His wife was slowly dying and was in so much pain that she had not been able to get to sleep for two full days. The elders went at once and blessed her as the Spirit prompted. This was Elder Holland’s first experience participating in a priesthood blessing. A few minutes later as the missionaries were preparing to go back into the storm and return home, the husband came out of his wife’s room. Elder Holland recalled, “This sweet little old man with his soiled, bike-repairing hands. . . dabbed at his eyes and managed to say, through his emotions, ‘She’s sleeping now.’ I remember vividly going out into that rain and weeping, conscious of a spiritual revelation—a kind of ‘coming-to-realize-what-I-had’ feeling.” 
Born in St. George, Utah, and raised by a convert father and a mother who was a lifelong member, Jeffrey R. Holland had little in his premission years to indicate the heights to which he would ascend in the three decades after. He described himself as “an average raised-in-the-Church, seminary-attending boy from southern Utah who had never really been anywhere.”  He was a friendly boy who loved and excelled in several sports and who fell in love with a Dixie High School cheerleader named Patricia Terry. She waited for him while he served a mission, and then he waited for her while she studied music in New York City for a year. They were married 7 June 1963 in the St. George Temple. Ironically, Elder Holland’s parents missed the wedding because they were serving as missionaries in the same mission where he had served. They had actually served with him for a few weeks before his return. He joked that he was the only missionary who ever said farewell to his parents on both ends of his mission. The Hollands’ life has been full and fast as Brother Holland completed an undergraduate and then a graduate degree at BYU, where he taught part time in the religion department. After graduation, he taught at the Church’s institute of religion in Hayward, California, for a year and then became director of the institute in Seattle, where he also served as bishop.
In 1970 the Hollands, who were now the parents of two children, went back to school—this time to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. There Brother Holland completed a rigorous four-year program in only three years to receive a second master’s and a Ph.D. in American Studies. This feat would have been noteworthy enough, but during those three years, he also taught institute classes at Yale and at the University of Massachusetts and served in two stake presidencies. Sister Holland was Primary president and then Relief Society president. Of those years, Elder Holland said, “I am convinced my experience while I was at Yale was far more for my Church education than my academic training. The Ph.D. was wonderful, and I could not have had a greater experience in graduate school than I had, but I feel the reason I went to Yale was primarily to have that great Church experience.” 
With a Ph.D. from an Ivy League institution, many career possibilities opened up, including postdoctoral work at Yale. But through an answer to prayer, the Hollands “felt compelled to come back to the seminary and institute program of the Church—in many ways the least likely of all our prospects. My professors at Yale thought I was deranged. They couldn’t imagine such a thing.”  Only two months into his new teaching assignment at the University of Utah institute in Salt Lake City, Brother Holland was called as the director of the new churchwide Melchizedek Priesthood Young Adult and Special Interest Program. Shortly after that he was appointed dean of Religious Instruction at BYU, a real challenge for someone who had never even been a full-time faculty member at a university. Less than two years later, Brother Holland’s assignment was once again changed—this time to commissioner of the worldwide Church Educational System, serving three quarters of a million students. Only four years later, while still in his thirties, Elder Holland was stunned to be called by President Spencer W. Kimball to become the president of BYU. While some teachers and administrators at the university have aspired to make BYU the “Harvard of the West,” President Holland said he’d prefer to “see Harvard and Yale fighting ‘to see who can become the BYU of the East!’” 
Among the many accomplishments during his administration were his service as president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities and the establishment of the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. His youthful vision and enthusiasm endeared him to faculty and students alike. Another important factor in that endearment was BYU’s “first lady,” Sister Holland. Sometimes this exemplary couple would stand at the podium together and address the student body. Those occasions were good-naturedly referred to as “The Jeff and Pat Show.”
During those busy years of leading the nation’s largest private university and raising a family that now included a third child, the Hollands held major Church service callings as well—he as a regional representative, and she as a counselor in the Young Women’s general presidency of the Church.
After nine years at the helm of BYU, President Holland was released to accept a call as a general authority of the Church. He was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy on 1 April 1989. As part of this assignment, the family moved to Elder Holland’s beloved British mission field, where he presided over the Europe North Area.
On 23 June 1994, fifty-three-year-old Jeffrey Holland was called by the Lord through President Howard W. Hunter to be an apostle. After being sustained by the Church in the October general conference, he expressed his commitment to the Lord and this sacred call in these words: “I pledge everything I have and everything I know how to give to witnessing and reaffirming the divinity of the Savior’s life and the restoration of his gospel. My greatest joy and my solemn obligation is to testify of Jesus Christ wherever I may go and with whomever I may be for as long as I shall live.” 
 Don Marshall, “Jeffrey R. Holland: A Style All His Own,” Ensign, June 1983, 46.
 Marshall, “Jeffrey R. Holland,” 46.
 Church News, 29 April 1989, 12.
 Marshall, “Jeffrey R. Holland,” 47.
 Marshall, “Jeffrey R. Holland,” 48.
 Don L. Searle, “Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” Ensign, December 1994, 15; see also “Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve,” Ensign, August 1994, 73–74.