On Tuesday, Elder Dale G. Renlund's older brother, Gary Mats Renlund, passed away. On Thursday, Elder Renlund shared a tribute that gives tremendous insight into the influence an older sibling can have in someone’s life.
After sharing a story that illustrates the relationship the two brothers shared from a young age, Elder Renlund wrote,
“Innate or developed, Gary possessed Christlike attributes that motivated me. I always wanted to be like Gary. He was straightforward, open, honest, truthful, transparent, and courageous. I never wanted to disappoint him. Because of him, I made better choices than I otherwise would have. So, he either inspired or haunted me, whether we lived close by or across the world from each other.”
Elder Renlund then shared a thought from a talk his brother gave in church in 2015 before concluding, “If more people had an older brother like Gary, more people would find it easier to have faith in Jesus Christ.”
This is not the first time Elder Renlund has credited Gary’s example with helping him stay on the covenant path. In 2015, following his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Renlund shared that it was his older brother’s example that led him to read the Book of Mormon the first time as an 11-year-old. The mission president where they lived in Sweden had extended an invitation to Aaronic Priesthood holders to read the Book of Mormon, and according to Church News, “although not yet a deacon, young Dale followed his brother’s example and accepted the challenge as well.”
Elder Renlund has posted previously about his brother’s cancer battle. In November 2020, Elder Renlund wrote of the pain and sickness his brother had endured since being diagnosed with cancer six months prior. He then wrote, “During his most recent hospitalization, he was a little despondent. When I asked him how he was doing, his response surprised me. He said, ‘Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to die. I have more I’d like to accomplish. But I can’t wait to thank the Savior in person.’”
Elder Renlund then expressed appreciation for an older brother who helped him focus on his divine elder brother, Jesus Christ.