Decades before his recent call as Sunday School general president, Sunday School had already played a pivotal role in the life of Brother Tad R. Callister.
It was while he was serving as Sunday School president in a student ward at Brigham Young University in 1967 that he became acquainted with his future wife, Kathryn L. Saporiti.
“He asked me to be in charge of coordinating two-and-a-half-minute talks,” said Sister Callister in a recent interview.
“A lot of good things happen when you’re Sunday School president,” Brother Callister added with a chuckle.
One such good thing was their marriage the following year, resulting in a family with two daughters, four sons and 24 grandchildren so far.
The Callisters are members of the Elk Hollow Ward, North Salt Lake Stake.
Born Dec. 17, 1945, in Glendale, Calif., to Reed Eddington and Norinne Callister, he declares he, like Nephi, was born of “goodly parents.”
“My father was my bishop when I grew up,” he said. “My dad used to carry around little 3-by-5 cards and he would memorize vocabulary words and scripture and Shakespeare,” said Brother Callister, who, like his father pursued a legal career.
Meanwhile, Brother Callister gave volunteer service as president of the Verdugo Hills Boy Scout Council in Glendale and as a director of the Hastings Foundation, a non-profit organization assisting in the eradication of tuberculosis and other pulmonary diseases.
Brother Callister’s name is familiar to many in the Church, as he was just released from the Presidency of the Seventy and served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2008. Prior to that, he was an Area Seventy, regional representative, member of a mission presidency, stake president, bishop, stake mission president, member of the California Arcadia Mission presidency, elders quorum president and, as a young man, a missionary in the Eastern Atlantic States Mission. Brother and Sister Callister taught early-morning seminary together in California.
With the announcement of his call, there has been word about upcoming changes in the adult Sunday School curriculum of the Church. “The curriculum is, of course, very important, but it’s not as important as the way people teach,” Brother Callister said. “The most important thing is that we do teach in the Savior’s way, that we teach by the Spirit, that we do teach for conversion. The curriculum is an aid to that. It’s a steppingstone, but it’s not the end.”