Featured Stories

Elder Christophe G. Giraud-Carrier: The Lord’s Hands Are in All Things

Native of France had early plans for life, but learned to trust that the Lord ‘can make of our lives more than we otherwise could’

Elder Christophe G. Giraud-Carrier, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Isabelle Giraud-Carrier, pose for photos at the Church Office building in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 3, 2023. Photo by Scott G Winterton, courtesy of Church News.Copyright 2023 Deseret News Publishing Company.
Download Photo


This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Scott Taylor, Church News

By his mid-teens in his native France, Elder Christophe G. Giraud-Carrier had mapped out his future. In bullet-point terms, the sequence went: higher education, engagement, mission, marriage, family, graduation and career.

He had a future wife not just in mind but informed — and longtime sweetheart Isabelle Mauclair had agreed. Knowing an advanced degree in engineering meant a five-year commitment to a French college program, he hoped to interrupt his education to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, similar to deferments given for mandatory military service in France.

And after graduating, he could easily get an engineering degree in his home country and settle down with a family, a career and Church service in France.

Those plans came to pass, but in different ways, times and places — not according to his timetable and template, but the Lord’s.

Elder Christophe G. Giraud-Carrier was sustained as a new General Authority Seventy on April 1, 2023.
Download Photo

A mission deferment wasn’t granted. Marriage came sooner than anticipated — just two weeks after Elder Giraud-Carrier returned home from his mission. He discovered that he could transfer pre-mission college credits to Brigham Young University. And since jobs in France were scarce for one educated outside of the country, raising a family, changing career paths and serving in the Church came in different countries.

“The mere fact that very few things have happened in the way that we planned from the get-go allowed us both to realize that if we let the Lord do His thing and take us places, then that’s where He wants us to be and that’s where we can serve,” said Elder Giraud-Carrier, called as a new General Authority Seventy at April 2023 general conference.

“It has helped us to learn to trust Him, to trust that He can make of our lives more than we otherwise could.”


A Dedicated Relationship

Both Elder Giraud-Carrier and his wife, Sister Isabelle Giraud-Carrier, come from Latter-day Saint convert parents and Church-pioneering families both in and outside of France. His father was France’s first stake president in 1975, the first mission president of the former Mascarene Islands Mission (a precursor of the South Africa Durban and Madagascar Antananarivo missions), and the first president of the Paris France Temple.

The Paris France Temple.
Download Photo

Sister Giraud-Carrier’s parents lived in Djibouti in Africa soon after they were married, with no other Latter-day Saints within 1,000 miles. She also remembers attending a small branch while living in New Caledonia in the South Pacific and two years of family-only sacrament meetings while in Algeria.

Young Christophe Giraud-Carrier and Isabelle Mauclair were both living in Versailles, outside of Paris, when they first met in the local ward in their early teens. “I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a crush on that girl,” he said.

They kept in contact when his family moved away for 18 months and reconnected in their mid-teens when in the same Paris stake. Just before her family was to move and the two were attending a youth conference together, he told her they should continue the relationship only if they were serious enough about each other to work toward a future marriage, giving her a month to consider and make a decision.

“My mom taught me really well,” Elder Giraud-Carrier recalled. “She said: ‘When you look at a young woman, don’t ever look at her as someone you use and then discard. Look at her as the mother of your children.’”

Isabelle agreed, and they started a long-distance relationship, seeing each other on school holidays and when the two families — longtime friends — were able to meet together. It continued until they decided to formally get engaged about a year before Elder Giraud-Carrier was to serve as a full-time missionary.

In France, Elder Giraud-Carrier explained, an engagement is more than just giving a ring; it’s a family affair with a large meal and festivities. One reason for the pre-mission engagement was the two wanted extended family members who were not members of the Church to understand they were serious about both their relationship and their personal worthiness. For many in France, the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” denote live-in romantic partners.

“We wanted to make sure our family understood this is just not what we do — they kind of knew, but we wanted to make it clear that we were serious,” he said. “We loved each other, but there was no breaking the law of chastity.”

Elder Christophe G. Giraud-Carrier, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Isabelle Giraud-Carrier© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download Photo

Added Sister Giraud-Carrier: “We didn’t want them to call us the same way, because we were not ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ living together. We could say ‘my fiancé,’ or ‘my fiancée,’ and that was more proper and respectful. For our grandparents, it was like, ‘OK, they want to get married, but they’re not living together right now.’”

Elder Giraud-Carrier served in the Canada Montreal Mission, with the two writing every week. He learned his parents were to start their new mission assignment a day before his return. With Church leaders’ blessings, they began a few weeks later, joining the young couple as they married civilly in France and then were sealed in the Bern Switzerland Temple three days later.

The fast-tracked marriage meant Elder Giraud-Carrier received his own wedding announcement in the mail on his mission. “To me, this was no big deal,” he said. “But my companions, on the other hand, freaked out.”

Meanwhile, Sister Giraud-Carrier was doing her own missionary work. As early as age 11 and 12, she had accompanied full-time missionaries, bearing testimony when invited. The marriage timing precluded her from serving a full-time mission, but her father — also her district president — called her as a district missionary.

Lord's Hands in All Things

Soon after marriage, Elder Giraud-Carrier was drafted and served in the air force, eventually teaching computer skills to noncommissioned officers. And because he had expanded his language skills while serving in French-speaking Canada, he was asked to teach English to officers preparing for flight school. His performance and finding favor with commanding officers resulted in extra leave time to spend with Sister Giraud-Carrier late in pregnancy and after the birth of their first child.

The fact that Elder Giraud-Carrier even served a full-time mission represented a sacrifice and commitment to God. An engineering degree in France required a stringent five-year commitment to a college program — but he wanted to pause a year or two in for missionary service. He purposefully selected a second-tier college that he thought might be lenient, but even though he was the top in his class after two years, his deferment request was denied. He left for his mission anyway, uncertain how to resolve it.

On his mission, he learned about Brigham Young University, finding he could transfer his class credits — but not his grades — and pay the tuition rates for Latter-day Saints rather than expensive out-of-state or out-of-country rates charged by other colleges. Attending BYU meant he didn’t have to start anew at another French college but could take advantage of his two years already completed.

The young family of three left for Utah with two suitcases and just enough money to start the first semester. While he studied at BYU and taught at the Provo Missionary Training Center, she learned to adapt with a new child, a new home and a new language.

Three computer science degrees later, Elder Giraud-Carrier found work back in Europe — first in Bristol, England, for seven years, during which time he was called as a bishop, and later in Switzerland. The growing family that eventually numbered eight children returned to Provo, Utah, as he taught computer science at his alma mater for nearly two decades.

“It really doesn’t matter where you’re from, where you were born or what language you speak,” he said. “The gospel is the great unifier, and it has been a great blessing for us to be able to see that and to learn to make home wherever we happen to live.”

Brother Bradley R. Wilcox (First Counselor in the Young Men's General Presidency), and newly sustained member of the Seventy, Christophe G. Giraud-Carrier, give thumbs up to Elder Craig C. Christensen as they mingle together up on the stand on April 1, 2023.
Download Photo

The Giraud-Carriers eventually had the opportunity to return to France and provide Church leadership in their home country, serving as mission president and companion in the France Lyon Mission from 2018 to 2021. One tender mercy is they arrived in France just months after Sister Giraud-Carrier’s father passed away from leukemia, with her widowed mother living in their mission boundaries. That resulted in some tender temple experiences for her family.

“With hindsight, we look back and see that the Lord’s hand was in all of these things,” Elder Giraud-Carrier said. “None of this was planned. We were planning on staying in France, living our lives happily there. I would have gone to a good school and had a good job. Things could have been nice that way. But we’ve had experiences in our life that there is no way we could have had any other way.”

About Elder Christophe G. Giraud-Carrier

Family: Born Christophe Gérard Giraud-Carrier on January 21, 1966, in Lyon, France, to Gérard Séraphin Giraud-Carrier and Annie Reveyron Giraud-Carrier. Married Isabelle Sophie Mauclair on July 16, 1988, in Cholet, France, and sealed July 19, 1988, in the Bern Switzerland Temple. They are the parents of eight children.

Education: Received three degrees in computer science — bachelor’s in 1991, master’s in 1993 and doctorate in 1994 — from Brigham Young University.

Employment: Worked as a senior lecturer for England’s University of Bristol and a senior manager for Switzerland’s ELCA Informatique before his 19 years as a BYU computer science professor.

Church Service: Serving as stake president of the Provo Utah YSA 16th Stake at the time of his call. Previous callings include missionary in the Canada Montreal Mission, bishop, high councilor, stake mission president, ward Young Men president, and president of the France Lyon Mission (2018-21).

Copyright 2023 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.