Bro. Cooley was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. After graduation from Dorsey High School, he attended BYU where he received a bachelor of science degree in anthropology and sociology, a meter of science degree in sociology and a doctorate in educational administration. Between his under graduate and graduate degrees he served as a missionary in the Southwest Indian Mission. Throughout his life, he has had many wonderful church callings. He was also employed as a teacher and administrator in the Church Educational System for 35 years until his retirement in 2010. Bro. Cooley was married in 1975 to Elisabeth Wilson in the Los Angeles Temple. They have seven children and fourteen grandchildren.
Bro. Cooley has taught and studied extensively in the standard works of the church. He has also taught classes in the Family Proclamation, Marriage, Doctrines of the Gospel, Church History, and World Religions. For several years he delivered the lecture proper to the Martin Harris