Today, as the 163rd Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens on Temple Square in Salt Lake City [April 1993], few of the faithful will see the humorous side of Elder Oaks, increasingly one of the most high-profile members of the Council of the Twelve.``Some lawyers were so long-winded, they eventually could only see the top of Dallin's head.'' Good thing the bald apostle also is known for retorts.He once told former law clerk Fred Voros: ``The Lord made many heads and those less beautiful he covered with hair.'' Aware that his shiny scalp identifies him, the apostle ``goes around town on personal business wearing a beret,'' says H. The apostle's playful side, however, is matched by a passion for work.

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``He was committed to intellectual exchange,'' says Wesley Johnson, one of the founding editors.

``Though Dallin was a conservative and careful reader, I had the impression that he really believed in this enterprise.'' Then in 1971 at the age of 38, Elder Oaks was drafted to replace Earnest L. During his nine-year tenure at the Mormon flagship university, he pushed for ``quality, consolidation and refinement,'' Vice President Robert K. The library holdings doubled, stricter educational standards were put in place and support mechanisms for women faculty were established.

Elder Oaks even had time to co-author a book on LDS history. After nearly seven years at BYU, Elder Oaks worried that he was becoming ``self-satisfied, stale and closed to new ideas.'' Two years later he stepped down as president and almost immediately was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court in 1980.

Twelve-year-old Dallin got a job sweeping a radio-repair shop and began studying radio engineering. At BYU, he simultaneously pursued an accounting degree and a young woman from Spanish Fork, June Dixon. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren for a year, practiced law in Chicago and finally got a teaching position at the University of Chicago.

``When he was not much bigger than the boy in `Home Alone,' he took a bus by himself to Denver to take the radio-licensing test,'' says Mr. Young Dallin passed the test and worked for years as a radio technician and announcer for KCSU in Provo. One of her family names was ``Call''; he loved to tell people he was ``dating a Call girl.'' ``Dallin became a great student once he got married,'' says Merrill Oaks. After graduating from BYU, Elder Oaks attended law school at the University of Chicago on a three-year, full-tuition scholarship. While in Chicago, the Oaks family expanded to include five children -- three girls and two boys.

In high school, he played tackle on the same team as Le Grand Young, Steve Young's father. When a group of young LDS faculty and graduate students at Stanford University in 1966 began publishing Dialogue, a scholarly magazine for Mormons, they naturally thought of their old friend in Chicago.

Elder Oaks served on the magazine's national advisory board for about four years.

by Peggy Fletcher Stack The Salt Lake Tribune Legend has it LDS apostle Dallin H. ``People think of Dallin as stern because that's his demeanor over the pulpit,'' says his brother, Merrill, an Provo ophthalmologist. Wesley Johnson, who was in the ``Brickers'' social club at Brigham Young University in 1951 with Elder Oaks, says: ``We were always dressing up in funny costumes and pulling pranks on the Tausigs [a rival social group].'' All agree he is a spellbinding raconteur.

Oaks once was involved in a ``bank robbery.'' In the late 1940s, young Oaks and several friends from Brigham Young High School in Provo staged an Al Capone caper as a teen-age prank. ``Dallin was the life of the party in Chicago,'' says Marvin Hill, a BYU historian who was a student at the University of Chicago with Elder Oaks.

With hats pulled low and draped in trench coats, they charged into a Provo bank carrying violin cases. Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham, who served with Elder Oaks on the state high court, says, ``No matter how heated the discussion [among the justices] might have become, Dallin could invariably tell a story that would get everyone laughing.'' Another justice told The Salt Lake Tribune that whenever lawyers droned on with oral arguments, Justice Oaks would begin sliding down in his seat.

He declined to be interviewed for The Salt Lake Tribune conference profile of a general authority, but friends and relatives who have known him during his 61 years were eager to share anecdotes.