Featherstone was born in Stockton, Tooele County, Utah. He grew up in a home with an abusive alcoholic father. His parents divorced when he was growing up. Because of this background he gained an understanding of the problems in homes and has been a help and champion of youth. Due to his family's economic circumstances, he never had the opportunity to go to college.
Featherstone wanted to go on a mission. However, due to the Korean War and the one-missionary-per-ward policy, he did not get that opportunity. He married Marilyn Miner at 19. Following four years in the Presiding Bishopric, he served as a member of the First Quorom of the Seventy and president of the Texas San Antonio Mission of the church.
1. Emeritus general authorities are individuals who have been released from active duties as general authorities. However, they remain general authorities of the church until their death. Most living emeritus general authorities are former members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. 2. Patriarch emeritus and former Patriarch to the Church; Smith is the oldest living general authority and the only emeritus general authority who was not a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.