Home News Russell M. Nelson called to serve as President of the Church

Russell M. Nelson called to serve as President of the Church

President Russell M. Nelson has been called as the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The worldwide announcement came Tuesday morning, Jan. 16, during a live Church broadcast.

Dallin H. Oaks will serve as First Counselor in the First Presidency and Henry B. Eyring will serve as Second Counselor in the First Presidency.

The new president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be President M. Russell Ballard.

President Russell M. Nelson was first called to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 7, 1984. President Nelson was set apart by President Thomas S. Monson as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on July 15, 2015.

Born Sept. 9, 1924, to parents Marion C. and Edna Anderson Nelson, President Russell M. Nelson begins his term as the second oldest Church president at the time of taking office at 93 years old. Joseph Fielding Smith was two months older when he became president of the Church in 1970.

During his most recent BYU-Idaho devotional address in January 2015, President Nelson told students the Lord can accomplish anything, even with unlikely means.

“He has sent you here to be successful and to have joy in your journey in mortality,” President Nelson said during the BYU-Idaho devotional. “He wants each of you to know that ‘with God, nothing shall be impossible.’”

Respected as a world-renowned heart surgeon and medical researcher, President Nelson performed Utah’s first open-heart surgery and went on to perform open-heart surgeries on countless individuals, including former president of the Church, Spencer W. Kimball.

President Nelson graduated from the University of Utah, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1945 and a Doctor of Medicine in 1947.

President Nelson’s career as a medical professional includes serving as a professor of surgical research and as director of the thoracic surgery residency at the University of Utah. He also served as chairman of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at LDS Hospital located in Salt Lake City.

President Nelson and his wife, the former Dantzel White, have 10 children, 57 grandchildren and more than 100 great-grandchildren, according to the Church’s official website. Dantzel passed away in February 2005. In April 2006, President Nelson married Wendy L. Watson.

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