I was awake early this morning in order to watch a special announcement made from the Annex of the Salt Lake Temple. Elder D. Todd Christofferson announced that Russell M. Nelson is the new Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of God and the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This announcement is not a surprise because Elder Nelson’s succession to the position follows a divine pattern established in the early days of the Church. It is just confirmation of what most of us already knew would happen.
The surprise is always who the new president will choose as his counselors. President Nelson chose Dallin H. Oaks as his first counselor and Henry B. Eyring as his second counselor. Since President Oaks (as second in seniority) is also the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, M. Russell Ballard is the Acting President of the Quorum. The new president, counselors, and acting president were sustained and set apart on Sunday, January 14, 2018, in the Salt Lake Temple.
As I read through the announcement posted on the Church’s website, I marveled at the ages of the men that the Lord selected to lead His Church. President Eyring is the youngest of the four men at age 84. He is followed by President Oaks at age 85, President Ballard at age 89, and President Nelson at age 93.
I also marveled at the education and secular experiences of the four men. President Nelson is famous internationally as a heart surgeon and medical researcher. President Oaks served as the president of Brigham Young University and then as a justice for the Utah Supreme Court. I remember when these two men were called as Apostles. I think what touched me most was the fact that they were giving up fame and fortune to serve the Lord as His special witnesses.
President Eyring was the president of Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) before his call to the Twelve. He previously served as first counselor to President Monson. President Ballard was a successful businessman before his call to the Twelve. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor to President Monson, resumed his position in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and has already received assignments that he is “uniquely qualified” to handle.
The new First Presidency and the Acting President of the Twelve definitely qualify as “old, white men,” but I am not concerned about their ages. They each have served for many years and gained valuable experience that will help them succeed in their new callings. It matters not how long they serve. They each appear to be healthy at the present time and could serve for a number of years. However, we all know that they could be called home at any time. Meanwhile, they will be doing whatever the Lord called them to do. I love them and will sustain them in their new positions.