The Next Apostle

Yesterday in Church, someone asked, “So, who will be called as the next Apostle?” I responded with great certitude, “Merrill Bateman.” Of course, I have no idea whether Elder Bateman will become the next Apostle, but former BYU Presidents have a good track record in that regard. Actually, I didn’t find the question all that interesting because I know so few people who are legitimate candidates that the likelihood of my guessing correctly is close to zero. Only when another member of the ward suggested the name of someone I knew — someone not currently a General Authority, but who has reputedly “positioned himself” for such a calling — did I begin to contemplate the selection process.

Let me make a few things clear. First, I believe that Apostles are called of God. Second, the fact that new Apostles tend to be well known to the current Apostles does not diminish my faith in God’s hand. And third, I have no doubt that some people attempt to position themselves for such callings, though I have only limited notions of how one would accomplish that.

One of my earliest experiences with the calling of Apostles in 1984, when Russell M. Nelson and Dallin H. Oaks were called. At the time, I was on a mission in Austria, so my memory of this may be hazy, but I recall this being something of a surprise, given that both were then outside of the upper echelons of the Church hierarchy. And I have heard more than one person opine that these callings were intended as a (subtle?) rebuke to the then-members of the Seventy, who were allegedly busy speculating amongst themselves about succession to the apostleship.

Such behavior, of course, is a big no-no in the Church. Since my first days at a member, I have heard people say that we should not aspire to leadership positions, a topic explored in an entirely original manner by Nate below. Although I have embraced this idea, sometimes with too much enthusiasm, I wonder why this should be the case. In government and industry, leaders are developed and honed through competition. Why not in Church leadership? Does the refusal of the Church to encourage competition according to Gospel standards mean that Church leaders tend to develop ideas about leadership from the world’s standards, perhaps emphasizing efficiency in administration over spirituality?

64 comments for “The Next Apostle

  1. yeah but think about the Nephite judge system. Think about Satan.
    Think about Thomas B. Marsh.

    The Apostles are great men who were chosen by the Lord but not infallible.

    A revelation to Thomas B. Marsh is in the Doctrine and Covenants. He fell because of pride.

    Competition? There is no competition between fellow church members. There is only competition between us and sin.

    If the selection of the Apostles involved competition or any calling in church for that matter from the deacons quorum presidency to the First Presidency it would be like the Roman Catholic Cardinals who elect the next pope and so on.

    There have been pretty corrupt popes.

    I know that Apostles are special witnesses of Christ.

    If the Lord allowed the ministers of Joseph Smith’s day to select the prophet then whom would they choose you think?

    Ask any Apostle or Seventy about competition for a church calling and they would scoff.

    Like President Hinckley said in general Conference in october: I have just as much responsibilty in my own sphere as you do in yours.

    IF the Apostolic selection system were competitive it would create a division among the general church membership just like when Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Joseph Smith III, or Strang, etc did when Joseph Smith died.

    again, think about how there were so many wars fought in the Book of Mormon because of the Nephite Chief Judge selection, which was competitive.

    No Apostle is really my favorite. I’m just glad I know that they are chosen by the Lord and not by weak and mortal men.

  2. If the church followed the world’s standards for leadership, a 14 year old farmboy wouldn’t the the one chosen to bring about the restoration.

  3. Renee, if the selection process currently in place were followed, the restoration would’ve been through an 80 year old farmboy. There are few exceptions to the gerontocracy rule in the modern church.

    This acknowledgement isn’t I believe, inconsistent with my testimony that the Apostles are called of God.

  4. “The selection process” involves the Apostles praying to know the will of God. Although this has, since Brigham Young, always amounted to making the senior Apostle the head of the Church, if one believes in revelation there is no reason the brethren couldn’t pick whoever the Lord wanted. So I’m not sure what Steve means by “the selection process currently in place”. Perhaps just the fact that it always has been the Senior Apostle. But the seniority issue is secondary to the real cause of a man being called to be the prophet, which is the revelation to the Apostles.

    Two points:

    1. Joseph Smith had the First Vision at 14, which kept him out of other churches. But we don’t need to keep our prophets out of church because they are in the right one. The role of Restorer played by Joseph is vastly different than the role of oversight of the Church, done currently by President Hinckley.

    2. Since we don’t need an unspoiled vessel to carry a new message to the world, there is much to be gained from having prophets who the Lord has prepared for a lifetime to be the prophet. Although not always the case, being a General Authority seems like great preparation for being an Apostle. So it should come as no surprise that, ten years before calling an Apostle, a man is called to be a 70, or in the Presiding Bishopric, or whatever. Probably the right perspective is that the Lord put the person in their place ahead of time, not that the Lord only picks among a list of Seventy handed to Him by the Apostles.

    We all understand this, but perhaps it is worth reiterating as often as the trope about gerontacracy.

  5. Frank, those are old chestnuts you’re stating to explain why our leadership is so old, but those are more justifications than reasons, IMHO. I’m not convinced by the two points you recite, particularly your statement that “we don’t need an unspoiled vessel to carry a new message to the world.” Is our message no longer new? Are we no longer the new kid on the Christian block?

    I appreciate the explanation that over their decades and decades of service, these men have been prepared to lead. I don’t dispute their qualifications or their callings. But I think it would be nice to have some younger leadership.

    As for gerontocracy being a trope, you probably labelled it as such to dismiss it. But it is in fact such a system, and worth considering.

  6. Josh,

    You say:

    “Competition? There is no competition between fellow church members. There is only competition between us and sin.”

    Have you been on a mission? It must not have been a very political one. The amount of competition on mine was both astounding and sad. I have heard from others that this is commonplace. Perhaps my perception of it was altered by witnessing the worst of it first hand from the perspective of the mission office for a year. I was blissfully unaware of it prior to that when I was off in a more rural area with little contact with other missionaries.

    I hope that the same sort of thing doesn’t go on when choosing church-wide leadership. I sincerely doubt that it does. What person with any maturity would want to jockey for a position of greater responsibility in the church? I know that when a new bishop was called in our ward lots of people were actively hoping they didn’t get called, including the person that did get called. However, I have seen people lose perspective over these things in the past and I wouldn’t be amazed if it happens to one degree or another.

    In fact, you document it yourself while at the same time denying it:

    “IF the Apostolic selection system were competitive it would create a division among the general church membership just like when Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Joseph Smith III, or Strang, etc did when Joseph Smith died.”

    Look at all these people that were high up in the church who sacrificed their membership in a desire to lead the church.

  7. Frank, those are old chestnuts you’re stating to explain why our leadership is so old, but those are more justifications than reasons, IMHO. I’m not convinced by the two points you recite, particularly your statement that “we don’t need an unspoiled vessel to carry a new message to the world.” Is our message no longer new? Are we no longer the new kid on the Christian block?

    I appreciate the explanation that over their decades and decades of service, these men have been prepared to lead. I don’t dispute their qualifications or their callings. But I think it would be nice to have some younger leadership.

    As for gerontocracy being a trope, you probably labelled it as such to dismiss it. But it is in fact such a system, and worth considering.

  8. “I appreciate the explanation that over their decades and decades of service, these men have been prepared to lead. I don’t dispute their qualifications or their callings. But I think it would be nice to have some younger leadership.”

    Steven is clearly angling here for a call to the Apostleship. One can, of course, understand why he does it here, rather than at some other blog

  9. Thank goodness Jesus is the actual leader of the church (by revelation). But I’m also grateful that we have wise and experienced leaders.

  10. Steve,

    I called gerontocracy a trope presumably for the same reason you refer to what I said as “old chestnuts”. I suppose we can both agree that “there is nothing new under the sun”.

    You ask if our message is no longer new. It is new in China. It is new to many non-members. But it is very familiar to you , me, and Jeffrey Holland. We have lived with it a long time. It contains many things we have yet to discover, but that is because we have to spend more time pondering. Obviously, such pondering gives an advantage to the older among us.

    Suppose the Apostles called a 24 year old nonmember to be the prophet. We’ll assume that the young man is immediately baptized and given the sealing keys. He then starts reading the Book of Mormon. Here’s your unspoiled vessel. What do you think: Good idea or bad idea? The Lord seems to be saying “Bad idea” by the fact that he hasn’t been going that route. He prefers to start them out inside “the only true and living Church” where thay can learn true principles, and keep learning throughout their life until they are prepared. This simply was no option for Joseph (or any other restorer of the Gospel) because no such Church existed. Note that when there is continuity in priesthood, such training of the incoming prophet does occur.

    You say you’d appreciate some younger leadership. Why? As with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to younger leaders. What do you perceive to be the advantages and disadvantages of younger leaders? Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? If so, why hasn’t the Lord done it?

    I know you believe in the Church and have a testimony, so please don’t take these comments as being an attack. I just don’t understand what unstated argument or belief underlies your stated preferences.

  11. Who has time to worry about learning to spell? I would rather study something interesting and let word processors worry about such things. Life is too short…

  12. Steve,

    Misspelling is Nate’s lovable quirk. We each have one of those. Some may have an unusual prose structure. Some may have a sharp tongue. Some seem to have an unerring ability to turn any discussion into a debate over SSM.

    As for me, I occasionally speak in palindromes.

    Madam, I’m Adam. Well, actually, I’m Adam’s co-blogger. Let’s try that again:

    Reggolbocs Madam, I’m Adam’s co-blogger.

  13. Frank, here’s the issue: if we are going to truly put our stock in the idea that our church leadership is determined by nothing but pure revelation, then justifications for gerontocracy (such as those you provide) are as useless as my wishes for younger leadership. Arguments on either side would be completely fruitless.

    These men are obviously called of God. But there are connections and relationships between all of them that are equally clear and obvious, and should not be ignored. Is it inconsistent to believe in callings by revelation and yet acknowledge the presence of a mechanism for determining church hierarchy? The fact that you were willing to say why you think gerontocracy is a great thing shows that you implictly accept the presence of some kind of mechanism.

    Anyways, why would younger leadership be a good thing? Representation, my friend. I’d like to see some leaders that represent church demographics. I don’t like the idea of a divide between leadership and the people. That’s why I’d like to see more ethnic leadership and more foreign speakers. Plus I think it would be an effective missionary tool…

    But of course those are only concerns in a representative democracy.

  14. Steve,

    If representation were important then wouldn’t the next apostle called come from Mexico and the one after that from Brazil? Then we would live in a representative theocracy!

  15. I’d be remiss if I didn’t link to my groundbreaking post on why having older apostles is actually more representative in an international church (its very reggolbocs).

    While I generally agree with Frank M.’s explanation of why seasoned leadership is now preferable, note that if changing times require radical changes of course in the future the Lord may well call up a younger leadership and accept the price of lack of polish and experience.

  16. I can remember being present (it was probably during my mission, when a visiting GA spent some time with just the missionaries) at a meeting where the question was asked about how new Apostles are selected. Basically, it boiled down to the idea that the members of the Quorum of the Twelve would nominate people that they believed were worthy and capable of the calling, and then votes were taken. So, as I understand it, it’s pretty much a group decision. I’m sure all of those participating in the process pray for inspiration from the Holy Ghost during the process.

    But I think it’s also fair to say that if no one among the members of the Quorum of the Twelve know who you are, you’re not going to become an Apostle.

  17. Steve,

    Like I tried to say before, I provide reasons why gerontocracy is good because I am trying to understand why the Lord does things the way He does. The process is as follows:
    1. What does the Church do?
    2. Under what circumstances would that be the right thing to do?
    3. Do I have reason to believe those circumstances are in force?

    Thus, the Lord has revealed a preference in Apostolic callings for seasoned, older, American men. Why?

    There are connections among Apostles, just as there were connections between Alma and Alma the Younger, or Abraham and Isaac. We might be even more shocked to see the connections that existed before this life. These connections, though, are the result of where God placed people to be born. Thus they are not causes but results. We know, by the way, that priesthood ordination is foreordained (Alma 13). It is the classic causality blunder to make much of those “connections” when the connections are the _result_ of God’s preparation, not the cause of the calling.

    “Is it inconsistent to believe in callings by revelation and yet acknowledge the presence of a mechanism for determining church hierarchy? The fact that you were willing to say why you think gerontocracy is a great thing shows that you implictly accept the presence of some kind of mechanism.”

    I told you what I though the principal mechanism was–revelation. If the Lord wishes to make for the Apostles to get that revelation by putting the next Apostle in a position where they know him already, all the better. I am confused by your second sentence. Hopefully my discussion above clarifies why I made arguments favoring gerontacracy.

    You favor younger people because of representation. I think to the extent you feel representation matters in determining policy it is the same extent to which you believe policy is not set by God but by men. Assuming you are talking about these men representing people’s views within the Church hierarchy, not representing God to the people. Or am I missing something? Perhaps you are saying you just want people to have different color skin or be different ages merely for the appearance, so that non-members can relate to them. That would seem odd.

    Both aspects (revelation and representation) of policy may be present, but by emphasizing representation, you are implicitly downweighting the relative importance of revelation. Is that correct?

  18. Mark my words — one of these four men will be the next apostle:

    1. H. David Burton

    2. Bruce Hafen

    3. Marlin Jensen

    4. Me (just in case the Bretheren read this blog, and decide to go with a young, unmarried Apostle this time around)

  19. Mark: I thought you were right on when you wrote But I think it’s also fair to say that if no one among the members of the Quorum of the Twelve know who you are, you’re not going to become an Apostle. But I think that we shouldn’t dismiss the idea of true old fashioned direct revelation in which someone unknown to the current Twelve could in theory be chosen directly by the Lord. But barring any such unusual circumstances, I also share the pragmatic view and have absolutely no problem with it. And someone from Mexico or Brazil still could be called, even under the current consensus method.

  20. It might be kind of interesting for the new apostle to be chosen like David was chosen the king of Israel. A complete unknown, etc. But I doubt it will ever happen because of the important role that obedience plays in the Lord’s true church today. It seems to me it would take decades to develop the necessary level of obedience — which is while most apostles are called when they are older.

  21. Oh my. Can you imagine how the comment boards would light up at the Provo Daily Herald if it did end up being Marlin Jensen (D-North Temple)? tee-hee!

  22. Since we have very little evidence that individuals without personal connections to existing Church leaders are called to such positions, I found it heartening when Elders Holland and Oaks were called to work outside of Salt Lake City and North America. It seems to me that the relationships they develop in South America and the Phillipines will extend the edges of the net of relationships and will make a larger pool of more diverse individuals available for consideration.


  23. Glad to hear others are seconding my pick for next apostle (Bruce Hafen), and I just wanted to remind everyone that I was the first to nominate him on T&S… (see the “Elder Maxwell” tribute thread)

  24. “Mormon Wasp” has an interesting post about this topic here.

    It contains excerpts from testimony given by Joseph F. Smith to the Senate during the Smoot hearings. Smith apparently stated that new apostles are chosen by the current quorum, and not by revelation, and not by the church president.

  25. Here is Spencer W. Kimball:

    “Each new apostle in turn is chosen by the Lord and revealed to the then living prophet who ordains him” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1972, p. 29; or Ensign, Jan. 1973, p. 34).

    This statement is quoted in the current Sunday School Curriculum.

    Here is President Hinkcley’s statement in 1984 when two men were called:

    “I want to give you my testimony that they were chosen and called by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. There was much of prayer concerning this matter. There was discussion with President Kimball, the prophet of the Lord in our day, and a clear statement from him, for his is the prerogative in these matters. There was a clear and distinct impression, what I choose to call the whisperings of the Holy Spirit…”

    He goes on to specifically rebuke the idea that men are called because of their “learning and achievement” or because they are “admired near and far” or because of prior Church service. “They were called because the Lord wanted them in this office…”

    Ed’s link to the WASP is fine and all, but recognize that President Smith was trying to explain the earthly hierarchy to a bunch of senators. That just isn’t the forum for nuanced explanation of the gospel. Just reading through the transcript it is clear that it is a pretty shallow discussion where people have difficulty understanding one another. Also note that, nowadays at least, it is the prophet who is in charge of the selection process.

  26. Interesting quotes, Frank.

    Do you think the process has changed over time? Or do you think Smith was being disingenuous for some reason? Or perhaps he was mis-quoted?

  27. Perhaps JFS (in The Wasp citation) meant that JS had only received revelation for the first 12. In other words, successive apostles were chosen by revelation, just not revelation to (deceased) JS. It does seem fairly clear that they are not understanding each other well.

    FWIW, my “vote” is for E. Gerald Lund. I’ve never read any of his fiction, but his article on epistemology and Korihor is one of my favorite Ensign articles. Moreover, he has training in theology, Greek and Hebrew. I think it would raise the bar for the CES.

  28. I’ve always wondered whether the Church thought that drawing lots was a viable mechanism for extending the call as an apostle.

  29. I don’t expect to see him called, but Robert Oaks is a very good man.

    Interesting note. He retired from the Air Force, took a job, was called to the Stake Presidency, his church calling got in the way of his job, so he quit his job.

  30. Ed,

    I would not be surprised if the process has changed in terms of concentrating control to the president. The quote given was really pretty early on in the Church’s history, when things were still in some flux. It wasn’t until President Woodruff that the President was appointed immediately after the death of the last one.

    Further, I think President Smith was perhaps using revelation here to mean something close to canonical scripture. There is no canonized revelation calling later Apostles to the calling. This would be a reasonable definition, though not the one most of us currently employ. It would also avoid having President Smith on the stand having to refuse to discuss sacred experiences he might feel were inappropriate for that forum. It might also be the case that nobody really understood each other very well.

  31. One of the marvels of our system is that there is no minimum or maximum age limit for prophets or apostles. If the Lord wills it, our prophets can be as young as Joseph Smith, Jr. or as elderly as Ezra Taft Benson. Moreover, I don’t think the vessels He inspires are exactly empty – General Authorities are constantly traveling all over the world, so they have numerous opportunities to see for themselves what kind of talent and leadership potential we have in the Church.

  32. We’re studying the words of Heber J. Grant, right? He was called at the age of 27.

    With the church now led by much older DBA’s from Harvard, former Doctor’s PhD/MD’s and and lots of Attorneys how has this resulted in a publication of more canon scripture? – Now that a large percentage of the church speaks spanish and portuguese why not include an hispanic candidate while going through the Acts 1:22-26 process?

  33. I think it was J Golden Kimball who once said apostles are chosen, by “revelation, persperation, and relation”, I could be wrong.

    I would like to think in my mind that the apostles sit in a circle in the temple, and the Lord comes down and annonces who the next apostle will be, but it probably doesn’t happen quite like that. We know that the next Apostle will be called of God. But it is my belief that the process for selecting the next Apostle is much like the process in which a Bishop calls the next Elder’s Quorom president. I’m sure the apostles have a meeting. I’m sure it is talked about in this meeting several names of individuals who might be worthy for such a calling. In the end, the ultimate decision will be handed down by the Lord through President Hinckley.

    I wonder though with all the now Latin-America members if the Lord will call someone from that part of Zion, who knows for sure right?

    Also as a side note, I don’t remember who said this, it was during a talk, but one stake was in the process of choosing a new stake president, and the visiting GA was still undecided who the next president would be even after visiting with all the leadership. The next President was actually a very new, still unknown man that had just moved to the stake.

  34. I’d love to watch the process of choosing a new apostle. Prayer and fasting are, I’m sure, a pre-requisite, but I’m specualting that President Hinckley asks each member of the 12 and 1st Presidency to bring in a “short list”, and to discuss and winnow down into an even shorter list. My guess is that if one name keeps surfacing that would be an indication to President Hinckley and the Brethren to see if that is “the one”. Wonder if they ever reach an impasse, since the decision has to be unanimous?

    I’ve seen Bishops do this on the ward level, and then I’ve seen a Bishop walk into Bishopric meeting and announce who the next [fill in the blank] president will be. I keep hearing the words “study it out in your mind”, and then take the decision to the Lord for a confirming witness. Or maybe President Hinckley is blessed with a revelation and knows who is to be called.

  35. An interesting story regarding revelation in church callings:

    (I hope I get this accurate) My Book of Mormon Professor was called as Stake President and was obviously asked to choose councellors. The name of a man who he had known briefly earlier in life kept popping up in his mind, but he had met this man in an entirely different Stake. He prayed and the name was confirmed in his mind. Well, it turned out that the man had recently moved into the stake and he was available for the calling. He served faithfully.

    I’m sure the brethren follow a similar pattern, and I’d bet they surprise themselves with the names that they (or rather the Spirit) come up with.

  36. Funny, this would come up when our ward newsletter ran the story of President Heber J. Grant and the calling of Melvin J. Ballard, a man he hardly knew when he intended to call Richard W. Young, a respected leader and his lifelong friend.

    Things happen. Sometimes there is faith to embrace them, sometimes not. President Kimball noted that he thought the Church would never call another Kimball from the experience they had with his uncle …

  37. Heber J. Grant famously called a near-stranger to fill the vacancy he himself had left in the Quorum, despite having firmly planned to call one of his oldest friends. He went to a joint meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve with Richard Young’s name written on a slip of paper, and was surprised to hear himself announce Melvin J. Ballard.

    In his own day, Elder Grant had been called (along with George Teasdale) through a written revelation to John Taylor.

    Much to George Q. Cannon’s surprise and, I suspect, to Lorenzo Snow’s, President Cannon was retained in the First Presidency at the accession of Lorenzo Snow to the presidency of the Church — as one of the results of a visitation by the Savior to President Snow in the Salt Lake Temple.

    Calls to the apostleship and other high leadership positions have come in various ways.

  38. Quote “Wonder if they ever reach an impasse, since the decision has to be unanimous?”
    I am not sure if they have to be unanimous. If you read in Acts 1 they cast lots to see who would be the next apostle. The man who received the most “lots” was given the position. From what I understand it is much the same process today.
    The brethren come up with a short list of name whome they feel would be right for Apostleship. The quorum then debates and discusses those names/people and eventually they “cast lots” vote on whom they feel should fill the vacant position/s. Those name[s] who receive the highest number of votes are then recommended to the Prophet who makes the final decision. I do not think there has to be a consensus only a majority. The Prophet can reject the recommendations of the Quorum and go with somebody else altogether if he so chooses.
    Pretty simple process really and done in the same manner as in the days of old

  39. Why all the controversy and speculation? The Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, has been given the responsibility of choosing the next two Apostles, and that should settle it. Does anyone doubt that he would do it through paryer and revelation? If so, you had better examine your testimonies.

  40. Sorry about the typo. That was supposed to be “‘prayer” and revelation'”.

  41. I have always understood that casting lots was a random process of selection. Distinguishable but similar objects are mixed up in some random process, either by casting them or other means, and they are selected. My mission president did something like this for missionary transfers. He would take cards representing all of the missionaries who were left without companions due to upcoming releases and necessary transfers, and would place them face down on the table, mix them all around and then pick them up one by one and place them on the mission area board, making changes only when the Spirit influenced him to do so.

    In summary, I think that casting lots as described in the New Testament is a different process from nomination and voting. Clearly it appears in the New Testament that certain brethren were previously nominated, but the final choice was left up to the Lord through “random” selection.

  42. I’ll keep my opinion short, since I’m can’t even begin to comprehend all the hows and whys of the process. That said, in the spirit of casting lots, my bet’s on:

    1. Merrill J. Bateman
    2. Carlos H. Amato
    3. Dennis B. Neuenschwander
    4. Jeffrey Max Jones

    But, I’m not a betting man, so it’s anyone’s guess….

  43. This is probably the first time that the Internet has been available to allow large numbers of people to discuss the subject ad infinitum. Well, I guess it could’ve been done in 1994 and 1995 but the Internet was just in its infant and toddler stages then. Hopefully all the speculation is not trivializing the sacredness of the matter. This is not Oscar night.

  44. Since 1978, every apostle except for Russell Nelson has come from one of the following three backgrounds:

    A) Served in the Presiding Bishopric
    B) Served as President of a Church university
    C) Served as a President of the Seventy

    And although Nelson was an exception, he was a close personal friend of several of the Brethren and definitely an “insider.”

    Personally I think experience in these callings serve several purposes. They demonstrate the person’s ability to serve in demanding positions, they develop direct relationships with apostles, and, frankly, they have opportunity to demonstrate their loyality and obedience.

    My “Sweet 16” list of people most likely to be called as the next apostles would be:

    “A” Group
    H. David Burton, current President Bishop
    Merrill J. Bateman, ex-Pres Bishop, Ex-head BYU
    David Todd Christofferson, President of Seventy
    Earl C. Tingey, ditto
    David E. Sorenson, ditto
    Cecil O. Samuelson, ditto
    Ben B. Banks, ditto
    Dennis Neuenschwander, ditto

    “B” Group
    Charles Didier – from Belgium, chance to be first foreign-born apostle but I moved to “B” list because he isn’t from Wasatch front or pioneer heritage
    Richard C. Edgeley, 1st Coun Prez B
    Keith B. McMullin, 2nd Coun Prez B
    Glenn L. Pace, ex-2nd Coun Prez B, now Seventy, ex-Managing Director of Church Welfare
    Monte Brough, Seventy, ex-Prez of 70
    Marlin Jenson, ditto
    Harold Hillam, ditto
    Bruce Hafen, ex-Prez of Ricks, ex-Provost BYU, now Seventy

    It has been a long time since there was a “surprise” calling of a person from outside of the innermost circles. In the 60s and 70s, nearly all of the selections were from the “Assistants to the Twelve.” I’d say the only surprise, outside of Nelson, since the 50s was Thomas Monson in 1963. Monson had served as president and chairman of the board of Deseret News and on some upper level general committees within the Church – so he wasn’t much of an “outsider” but still didn’t have the upper leadership experience that everyone else, but Nelson, has had for the last 50 years. Even Nelson served as General President of the Sunday School for 8 years.

    The last “outsider,” that is someone who has not served in high level leadership positions in the SLC area, to be selected was Howard W. Hunter.

  45. The first foreign born apostle was John Taylor. Born in England, converted in Canada.

  46. I wondered the same thing, Davis, but I’m guessing from context that it was J. Golden. If not, someone will correct us both.

  47. Sorry, I meant to say that he would be the first foreign-born apostle in our generation. I was familiar with the others. Particularly those that were amongst the large LDS immigrant waves from England.

    I do tend to think of those apostles who were from the “just over the border” polygamous colonies as not being foreign.

    Given that so much of today’s Church exists outside of the USA, one would think that a significant portion of Church leadership will begin to come from outside of the boundaries of the USA. Right now all of the top 15 (make that 13) leaders are American, and if the next tier are the 3 members of the Presiding Bishopric and Presidents of the Seventy, then 9 of those 10 are Americans.

    It is common that movement into leadership positions will lag membership expansion into new areas. Non-USA membership in the Quorums of the Seventies is on the rise. This will eventually flow into the higher leadership positions.

    It will be interesting to see if President Hinckley reaches beyond the traditional apostolic prepreparation positions and boldly selects a “non-traditional” non-American. His only previous selection was very traditional, taking a 62 year old ex-president of Ricks, ex-member of the Presiding Bishopric in Henry Eyring.

    Some interesting choices would include, among others :

    Walter Gonzalez, 51 yr old native of Uruguay and convert. Now a member of the 1st Quorum of 70.

    Christoffel Golden, 52, convert, South African

    Francisco Vinas, 58, convert, born in Spain, raised in South America, ex-professional basketball player, a Seventy for 8 years now.

    Along with others, such as Didier.

    As Church membership is now more than 50% non-USA, I think this would be a good time to add more diversity to the Quorum.

  48. My vote is with Carlos Amado, primarily because his son Carlos was my roommate as an undergrad. . . .

  49. There has been a prophecy that there will be a Japanese member of the twelve, so the day will come. I don’t know if this is the day, maybe. In the near future, look for Elder Kikuchi, Elder Hafen, and Peter Berkhahn ( a German who is very prominent in Europe) to enter the quorum.

  50. I suppose that it would not be advisable to say Ugh! to any of the possibilities, since that would make it difficult for anyone to believe that I could in fact sustain those men if they are called. So, on that issue I’ll bite my lip.

    In the meantime, I’ll be grateful for whoever is called and accepts that awful (in the Kipling “Beneath whose awful hand we hold . . .” sense) responsibility.

  51. The famous quote:

    Being given a calling in the 12 is 50% inspiration and 50% relation :)

    Seriously though, I beleive the Lord would call a specific “unknown” if it was necessary. However we tend to find that there are any number of possible candidates out there that will fill the position just as well as the next man, and therefore the Lord will inspire accordingly. Much the same as with picking an eternal companion :)

    As far as aspiring to callings go.. on my mission it was rife! Though I can honestly say that I never aspired to anything! And I still ended up serving in the office for 5 months and then again later with the president. I think its because I really didnt aspire that that happened. The president could see I was just honest in all my dealings.

  52. All I know is that there are probably two men out there who are really having an unusual week as they anticipate being called this weekend. Assuming that happens of course …

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