- In the Middle East, I “did the Med, Dead, and Red” in one week. (Swam in the Mediterranean Sea, Dead Sea, and Red Sea.)
- I climbed the pyramids in Egypt.
- I stood at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
- I went on an animal safari in Kenya.
- I visited a rose farm in Zimbabwe.
- I speak fluent Cakchiquel (a Mayan language spoken in Guatemala).
- I showered in a torrential rain in Guatemala.
- While snorkeling in Mexico, I got caught in a current and was carried into barracuda who were guarding their territory.
- I slept overnight on a beach on Isla Mujeres.
- I toured ancient ruins at Palenque in Mexico with a team of linguists and anthropologists.
- In Fiji, I took a wave runner to a reef offshore and went scuba diving off the wave runner.
- I stood inside the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem and marveled about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The sign on the door proudly states, “He is not here. He is risen.”
- I was buried in rubble in the Guatemala earthquake in 1976. I was the only American in a town of 25,000 people. 3,200 to 3,500 died in that town that night. For the next two months, I lived in a tent and help people shovel away the debris left from the fallen adobe houses.
- After a missionary companion died in the mission field, I rode with his body in the back of a truck to tell his father. I then helped the mission president and his father prepare his body for burial.
- I earned my Eagle Scout rank at the age of 13.
- I spent a summer in Guatemala with one of my missionary companions translating the Book of Mormon into the Cakchiquel language. I later translated hymns, temple ceremonies, and many other Church resources.
- I spent a summer in Guatemala with BYU linguistics students preparing dictionaries of various Mayan languages.
- I spoke at a devotional for all students at BYU in Rexburg, Idaho.
- I wrote over a dozen books, numerous book translations (in English, Spanish, and Cakchiquel), and thousands of articles in professional magazines, journals, newspapers, and websites.
- I drove a car over 100 mph on the autobahn in Germany.
- I owned eight rental properties at one time. Once in the middle of the night, I had to wade through two feet of water in the living room of one apartment to shut off the water main that had frozen and burst. That night, I decide to sell all the properties.
- One summer, my father and I submitted over 2,000 names for temple ordinances. That was before FamilySearch, when we had to find names on microfiche and type up submittal forms with all the information.
- At the age of 17, I was called as a Genealogy Research Specialist in my ward. (That was when it was unusual for youth to serve in that calling.)
- I was a Staff Sargent in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps in high school and turned down a full scholarship to earn a pilot’s license.
- I have visuospatial dyslexia.
- I had a following of over 100,000 people on LDS365.com and social media.
- I have been on three three-week unlimited mileage airline trips.
- I gained a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ and His Restored Gospel in a green Ford Galaxy 500. Before my mission, during my lunch hours from work, I would sit in the car and eat peanut butter sandwiches and grape soda while reading all four standard works from cover to cover.
- I took a trip-of-a-lifetime with my wife and a hundred seminary and institute teachers to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Italy.
- I was an actor and appeared in movies, a mini-series, television shows, commercials, print advertisements, training films, and on stage.
- I have impersonated Mr. Bean. (See Larry as Mr Bean at Halloween.jpg, Bean-MR1.jpg, and Bean-Mr2.jpg.)
- I stood in the room in the Salt Lake Temple where James E. Talmage wrote the book Jesus the Christ.
Was once pursued by the police to recover drug money. (True.) When on a trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, with one of my college roommates, we found drug money on the beach one morning. It was ten 1,000-peso bills, which at the time was worth US $435. No one was around and we did not know who to return it to. We asked the man at the hotel desk if anyone had reported losing money. Later, the police came after us trying to get the money “to return it to its rightful owners.” We avoided the police the rest of that trip.
When I regained consciousness, I was completely naked, leaning against the wall, lying in a pool of my own blood. (True.) Enough said.
Almost published a personal comment in the Book of Mormon. (True.) After David Frischknecht and I translated the Book of Mormon into Cakchiquel, our typist inserted the phrase (Hey, I have an aunt named Alma!) into the text after the first time she came across the name Alma. At each proofreading, we deleted the phrase, but for some uncanny reason, at each pass it did not get deleted in the electronic database. Even on the final proofs, the phrase was still there—but, fortunately, was deleted just before the book got printed.
I am Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s “buddy.” (True. But he calls a lot of people his “buddy.”) In my assignments as a Church employee, I had the privilege of being in meetings with Elder Holland scores of times. I have talked with him personally on several occasions. On one occasion, I was delivering a report to his office, and as I handed it to his secretary, he heard me through the open door, and said “Larry, buddy, come on in.” He is always warm and friendly. Everyone is his “buddy.”
Do you ever have those times in your life when you think you are weird? I have had times like that, but it turns out that I am not weird.
- When I blew my nose, it honked. My dad also honked when he blew his nose. Turns out it was a deviated septum. And it was genetic. It was like blowing into a trombone. The air passed from one nostril to the other, turned around and came back around in full force and let out a blow—like a trombone.
- For about two years, I thought I was 57. Then one day, my wife said, “you’re not 57—you’re only 56.” So, it turned out that I never got to live being 56. I soon became 57—for the second time—and I missed living 56 altogether.
- When I started getting older, I had to get serious about losing weight. I read up on all kinds of diets. I drank diet shakes. And I ate diet bars like there was no tomorrow. Diet ice cream. I ate everything I could find that said “diet” on it. And the more I ate, the fatter I got. It turns out that with this diet stuff you cannot just eat all you want. So, it turns out that I did not have a weird weight-gaining thing—I just had to back off on what I ate.
- Then I really started working out and one of the things on my bucket list was that I wanted to run and participate in races. I thought a 5k would be fun. But then I realized that there was no way I could run 5,000 miles. That was ridiculous—who can run 5,000 miles? But then I investigated further and discovered that a 5k is only a little over three miles. So, I thought “Anybody could run three miles.” So, I ran a 5k. Well, I signed up for a 5k. Well, I thought about signing up for a 5k.
- Bucket list: Write a dozen books. Check. Participate in politics. Check. (I was a candidate for President of the United States in 2016 but withdrew when Donald Trump ran. More people knew him than knew me.)
- There was a time in my life when I thought I was a superhero. All my life I thought I was a superhero. And I thought that was kind of weird. But then I discovered that I actually was a superhero. (See my suit, my car, another car, and my cape.) I’m not saying that I’m superman; I’m just saying that no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room. I’ve also been confused with Captain America.
- I used to be dork but then I turned out OK.
I’ve never had a formal meeting with a sitting president of United States, but more importantly, I once made a presentation to the First Presidency (Presidents Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, and James E. Faust) on June 11, 2004. It was a proposal for a major upgrade of LDS.org. The presentation was 3.5 minutes and I asked for $3.5 million. Approved.
On scores of occasions, I have attended meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve and have met with many of them one-on-one in their offices. For several years, I attended every meeting of the Priesthood and Family Department Executive Directors’ Meeting (EDM), the Priesthood and Family Executive Council, and the Church Communication Committee EDM. I regularly worked with many General Authorities and General Officers of the Church. I was regularly in committee meetings discussing issues and developing policy recommendations for consideration by the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency.
The following is an entry from my journal, dated March 15, 2006:
In the past 24 hours, I have spoken to or been with nearly every person in the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, Presidency of the Seventy, and Presiding Bishopric. It started Tuesday afternoon (March 14, 2006). I was talking on the phone with Dad as I left the Church Office Building and walked over to the Church Administration Building to pick up something. As I waited for the elevator, it opened, and President Hinckley walked out. I said “Hello, President” and he said, “Cell phone, huh?” President Hinckley had just returned from rededicating the temple in Santiago, Chile. He is amazing. At 95 years old, he had surgery for colon cancer (January 24), spent only a week in the hospital, then six weeks later (March 17), he took a trip to Chile to rededicate a temple. He was thinner by about 20 pounds but looked healthy and well.
The next morning, I attended the Priesthood Executive Committee (PEC) meeting to make a presentation with Elder Jay E. Jensen about Church internet activities. Bishop Burton and Elders Oaks, Holland, and Bednar were there. As I left the meeting, President Faust was standing in the foyer. Then that afternoon, I helped Elder Jensen with the same presentation in the Area Committee meeting, which is made up of the Quorum of the Twelve, the Presidency of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric. They were all in attendance except Elder Scott, Elder Uchtdorf, and Bishop McMullin. It was a very unusual and inspiring 24 hours.
The presentation to the PEC and Area Committee was a brief status report on Country websites and the redesign of LDS.org, then a discussion about answering questions about the Church online. We reviewed how easy it is for people to find misinformation about the Church on the internet, and we reviewed ways to present answers to more questions on Church websites. The Area Committee is a great forum for discussion. Rather than a typical agenda-filled meeting, these meetings are usually discussions on thought-provoking topics where a presentation is made, and the Brethren take time to discuss it. Elder Packer commented that the internet is an area we really need to get our arms around. He said this is has a great potential for good in the Church and we need to pursue it.
The following is my journal entry from September 3, 2011: “I had a brief, but pleasant chat with President Hinckley last night. He was in our neighborhood and walked past my house as I was stringing Christmas lights. He commented to me how he liked Christmas lights and, in fact, had just put a string of lights around the front door of his apartment. He said he wished he had more room for lights and would like to put up more. I said ‘Well, you do put up quite a few lights on Temple Square.’ ‘Yes, I guess I do,’ he said with a chuckle as he walked off down the street. So much for dreams.”
On Memorial Day 2017, we had a BBQ at our house and Jason and I were talking when I got a phone call from Elder D. Todd Christofferson about a presentation I had helped him prepare for a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve. As I left the room to take the call, I said, “Hello, Elder Christofferson.” After I finished the call and returned to the room, Jason said, “You just got a call from an Apostle, didn’t you?” I felt privileged and in awe every time I think about the marvelous opportunities I have had to work with the Brethren weekly on things that are important to the Kingdom.