70 comments for “President Uchtdorf to First Presidency

  1. Wonderful! Now, we’ll have to give elocution lessons for all those people for whom four consonants in a row present a challenge.

  2. I was listening to the radio stream, and the person sitting next to me said, “Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s Mormon?”

  3. I’m watching the press conference right now and seeing Elder Uchtdorf beaming gives a sense that the new first presidency will move forward with enthusiasm and passion.

    As a side note, the issue of the international church is a major theme of the news conference. It seems like the DesNews reporter had a question about what it meant to an international church to have three white American males as the first presidency but had to rework her question!

  4. Wonderful, that is just perfect! I am so thankful for the orderly transition of leadership in the Church. All is well.

  5. #11 – First one born outside of North America, perhaps?

    John Taylor was from Canada, was he not? And perhaps others, such as mentioned in #12.

  6. Anthon Lund was born in Aalborg, Denmark.

    Charles Nibley was born in Scotland.

    Hugh B. Brown was born in Utah but was also Canadian.

  7. John Taylor was the prophet but was never in the First Presidency as a counselor. He was born in England.

  8. #7:
    You’d think a reporter from the DeseretNews wouldn’t have asked such a dumb question.

    Hey, at least the DesNews didn’t ask Monson to comment on his favorite color and ice cream flavor! How on earth did that reporter get a job?

  9. Very cool, I love anything that adds international flavor to the representatives of the church. Now lets see a new member of the twelve from Asia, Africa or South America.

  10. President Romney was born in Mexico. President Tanner was from Alberta where he had a long career as a politician. Hugh B. Brown was born in Utah but served in the Canadian army and was an attorney in Alberta. Anthon H. Lund was born in Denmark. John R. Winder and George Q. Cannon were from England.

  11. First member of First Presidency born outside U.S.: William Law, born in Ulster and counselor to Joseph Smith Jr. Next was George Q. Cannon, called as counselor to Brigham Young in 1873.
    Last member of First Presidency born outside U.S. (and not to American parents) other than President Uchtdorf: Charles W. Nibley, second counselor to Heber J. Grant from 1925 to 1931.

    Other members of First Presidency born outside U.S.: John Taylor, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund, Charles W. Penrose.

  12. Here’s another bit of trivia. Charles Nibley was the Presiding Bishop until 1925 and then called into the First Presidency where he served until 131. He was never an apostle. Did this happen in any other cases?

  13. How about this: First non-native-English speaker to serve in the First Presidency in the modern era.*

    * – Post-polygamy…

  14. My father had a comment about the “old white men from Utah” leadership “myth” (in his words). His thoughts are that the Apostles spend considerably so much time surveying the entire Church as a whole, that it really doesn’t matter where they are from, that they have a greater perspective and understanding of the global needs of the Church than any non-GA leader, even those who are foreign-born. I.e., an area authority 70 from Europe doesn’t have as great a perspective on the global needs of the Church than L. Tom Perry (his example), because LTP has traveled throughout the Church and has seen everything…

  15. Whew #27! That’s like laboriously taking your ankle and working it over your head to the back of your neck.

  16. I believe it’s safe to say that Dieter Uchtdorf is the first truly international apostle. As noted above, the early “international” leaders all had, in some way or another, a direct connection to the Utah/Mormon/American core. Elder Uchtdorf appears to be the first one who didn’t have any U.S. connection outside of his calling as a general authority (i.e., he wasn’t born in the United States, didn’t immigrate to the country, doesn’t hold dual citizenship, etc. and never had an intention of such).

    Perhaps the easiest distinguisher is to say that he is the first apostle who does not claim English as his native language. I’m certainly open to correction if this is not the case, but the appointment of someone to the Quorum of the Twelve, and now to the First Presidency, who is without any direct American ties seems to be unprecedented.


  17. Of course as queno (28) noted, and as Elder Cook mentioned at the press conference following his appointment to the Twelve, these are by no means just old, white, American men. That’s an ignorant perspective at best.

    (I still stand by my assertion of Elder Uchtdorf being the first truly international apostle.)


  18. [aside]I chuckle at the endeavor to articulate the novelty of Elder Uchtdorf’s appointment — it reminds me of the press releases NASA would put out about new shuttle astronauts: “first ____________ on shuttle a flight.”[/aside]

    Carry on.

  19. Leiwand! When was the last time someone rose this quickly from Seventy to the First Presidency?

  20. How about this way of phrasing Uchtdorf’s first? “Our children and grandchildren live in Germany and are building the kingdom of God in our homeland.” First member of the First Presidency for whose children, grandchildren, and self, the United States is not their homeland.

  21. I was excited to see these calls and felt the spirit as I watched. I thought about how we have come along way to having a prophet who was a combatant in WWII and a Second Counselor from Germany (although youngsters might say “big deal” in the same way that many young people think “big deal” about the gender/religion/race of current Presidential candidates.

    While I think that it is exciting that President Uchtdorf is from Germany, I tend to take his statement at face value: he represents the Lord, not an ethnic group or nationality. As such, I am convinced that whoever would haver been called would have represented the Lord’s will. If the next 100 apostles are all from Peoria or Portugul, it really doesn’t matter.

  22. Besides the international aspect, I am also excited by the contrasting personal styles of these three men. Although I agree w/ #30 that Elder Uchtdorf does often use personal experience and analogies like President Monson does, the two men have very different approaches to speaking. I\’m excited to see how these three very different men work together.

  23. #37- Was Elder Uchtdorf a combatant during the war? I thought he was too young. I believe he and his family were displaced by the war, but I’m sure he ever fought.

  24. What war? The war that began one year before he was born, and ended when he was 5? You be the judge.

  25. But, in fairness, I think you misread #27. Pres. Monson entered the navy sometime in 1945–my hunch is that it was summer, after the German war had ended. And I don’t think Pres. Monson was ever in combat.

  26. #40: You beat me to it. My Grandfather and Widtsoe were on the ship together from Denmark, and Liverpool. I don’t know if either spoke English at that time. Are we counting anyone born in Utah, etc., before statehood, as in the “USA”?

  27. Bob, I should think so. Utah was a territory of the U.S. from the time of the Mexican War (as a practical matter–as a matter of international law, from the time of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo), so those born there (Heber J. Grant and onward) were U.S. citizens by birth.

    Both my paternal grandparents were born in the Territory of Arizona. They were citizens at birth.

  28. Ardis (40), thanks for that addition — not usually a part of the foreign-born discussion. But he too immigrated to the USA/Utah with his family as a young boy. (My Uchtdorf-as-most-international claim still stands.)

    From a slightly different angle, in case anyone here didn’t know, Pres. Monson loves all things German (see his book, “Faith Rewarded”). So it doesn’t surprise me that he chose Elder Uchtdorf as a counselor (it only surprises me how relatively “young” both counselors are). I wonder how close of friends the two men were before Uchtdorf’s apostolic calling — or how much input, if any, Monson had in Uchtdorf’s appointment to the Twelve.

    Does the First Presidency consult about new apostles, or even the rest of the Quorum (esp. the president of the Twelve)? Or is calling new apostles something that is left totally to the President?


  29. Here’s another bit of trivia. Charles Nibley was the Presiding Bishop until 1925 and then called into the First Presidency where he served until 131. He was never an apostle. Did this happen in any other cases?

    WOW. And I thought Pres. Hinkley was long lived!

  30. Of course, Uchtdorf is much more international than being German might suggest. Not unlike the early saints, Uchtdorf was a refugee, a stateless person–having been born a Sudenten German living in the then Czechoslovakia, then forced to move by on-coming war.

  31. The first thing that struck me on watching the announcement is that the next President of the church will become so without ever having served the the First Presidency. The pattern of counselor to president has been broken before (Pres. Hunter, Pres. Kimball) but over time it has held more often than not.

  32. # 42: Yes, I just meant that President Monson was a combatant in the war generall (tho’ not in the European front, generally). Elder Uchtdorf was a small child but has vivid memories from that era.

    49: My understanding is you don’t need to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve to be called to the First Presidency (tho that is the current practice and somewhat solidified tradition).

    According to the Church Almanac, Sidney Rigdon was not ordained an apostle and J. Reuben Clark Jr. was selected a member of the First Presidency and then later ordained an apostle. I haven’t read all of the entries in the Almanac, but I can see that Charles Nibley was another one (as you mentioned). He died in 1931 at the age of 82.

  33. Sorry for the typos…I meant that Presidenty Monson was a combatant in the general war, not in the European theatre.

  34. #40. “John A. Widtsoe — apostle from 1921 to 1954 — was Norwegian.”

    Ja, he vas Norsk. But he died on 29 November 1952.

    BTW, he was born in 1872, immigrated to the US in 1883, and was baptized in 1884 in Utah..

  35. The first thing that struck me on watching the announcement is that the next President of the church will become so without ever having served the the First Presidency.

    Unless Eyring or Uchtdorf pass and BKP is called into the 1P…

  36. “Unless Eyring or Uchtdorf pass and BKP is called into the 1P.”


    Monson – age 80
    Eyring – age 74
    Uchtdorf – age 67

    BKP – age 83

  37. (I’ll try not to flub up on these dates)

    After Pres Packer, you have Elder Perry (85), Elder Nelson (83), Elder Oaks (75), and Elder Ballard (79) none of whom have served in the First Presidency.

    I find it interesting that Pres Uchtdorf is basically starting a new “career” at an age when many people are taking social security and settling into an easy chair to read the newspaper. Reminds me of Pres Hinckley’s comment when Mike Wallace asked about the church being a “gerontocracy.” Pres Hinckley: “Isn’t it wonderful? To have a man of maturity at the head, a man of judgment, who isn’t blown about by every wind of doctrine?”

  38. Ages of other members of the Quorum of the Twelve:

    Joseph B. Wirthlin – age 90
    Richard G. Scott – age 79
    Robert D. Hales – age 75
    Jeffrey R. Holland – age 67
    David A. Bednar – age 55
    Quentin L. Cook – age 67

  39. Last President who never served in the First Presidency? I was going to say Joseph Fielding Smith, but it turns out that he was a 3rd counselor for the last several years of Pres. McKay’s tenure.

    It never really seemed that he was in the First Presidency, though, since the other two counselors (Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner) seemed young and vigorous and capable of doing what was necessary. In addition, although JFS was called as an additional counselor to Pres. McKay, there was no additional apostle called when JFS was called as a 3rd counselor (check the Church Almanac–the last apostle called by Pres. McKay was Pres. Monson, in 1963, and next in seniority to him is Pres. Packer, called in 1970 after the death of Pres. McKay). So, Joseph Fielding Smith retained his position in the 12, and as president of that quorum, even though he had been a counselor to Pres. McKay since October of 1965.

  40. Looking up the last time that none of the First Presidency had served missions as young men, it looks the only other time it has happened since Joseph Smith was 1918-1921 with Heber J. Grant, Anthon Lund, and Charles Penrose.

  41. Which universities did the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve attend and/or graduate from?

    First Presidency:
    President Monson: BS, Business Management, University of Utah; MBA, BYU.

    President Eyring: BS, Physics, University of Utah; MBA, DBA, Harvard Graduate School of Business.

    President Uchtdorf: studied engineering & business administration in Cologne, Germany; international management in Lausanne, Switzerland; pilot’s wings, German Air Force & American Air Force, Big Spring, Texas; fighter pilot training in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Quorum of the Twelve:
    President Packer: BA & MA, Utah State University; Ph.D., Educational Administration, BYU.

    Elder Perry: BS, Finance, Utah State University.

    Elder Nelson: BA & MD, University of Utah; Ph.D., University of Minnesota.

    Elder Oaks: BS, Accounting, BYU; JD, University of Chicago.

    Elder Ballard: attended University of Utah.

    Elder Wirthlin: BS, Business Management, University of Utah.

    Elder Scott: BS, Mechanical Engineering, George Washington University; post-graduate work, nuclear engineering, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

    Elder Hales: BA, University of Utah; MBA, Harvard University.

    Elder Holland: BA, English, BYU; MA, Religious Education, BYU; MS & Ph.D., American Studies, Yale University.

    Elder Bednar: BA, Communications, BYU; MA, Organizational Communications, BYU; Ph.D., Organizational Behavior, Purdue University.

    Elder Cook: BA, Utah State University; JD, Stanford University.

    of the 14, 6 either attended or graduated from the University of Utah. “Go Utes”!

    “HH”: BM, Music History & Literature, University of Utah; MM, Musicology, University of Utah; C. Phil., Historical Musicology, UCLA.

  42. Anthon H. Lund served as a missionary in Denmark before he immigrated to the United States. Henry B. Eyring served as a district missionary when he was going to Harvard, and from what I have read this involved tracting and teaching on a regular basis. It was not exactly a regular mission like we have today, but things change over time.
    President Monson was not a \”combatant\” in any meaningful sense. He never made it past San Diego.
    My understanding is that Elder Uchtdorf\’s family were not Sudenten Germans. I have read his father was an employee of the German Customs Agency. I think when him and his sibblings left their home with their mother they travled to one of his Grandparents homes in Germany itself.
    We must also remember he was twice a refugee, because the family latter fled East Germany for the west due to his fathers political views. This makes Elder Uchtdorf the first member of the First Presidency to have been a resident in a communist country.
    President Lund was in the first presidency from 1901-1921 so he was definantly post-Polygamy. He had immigrated to the United States at age 22, so Elder Uchtdorf is definantly the First Presidency member who spent the most of his adult life outside the United States and Canada. The only person who might even come close is Anthony W. Ivins, who was the president of the Colonial Juarez stake in Mexico, but that put him largely amongst Americans, and he was born in New Jersey and had largely grown up in Utah, so he was as American as Henry B. Eyring.

  43. Well I must say Pres. Utchdorf is pretty amazing! I had the oppritunity to help him at my work just days after he was put into the presidency. It was a wonderful experience and you can just tell he was called of God!! He is so caring and will do amazing in his new calling!

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