SALT LAKE CITY – Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were concerned after watching their leader, Pres. Thomas S. Monson, become weak during his talk at General conference on Sunday morning.
People who spoke with FOX 13 News’ Kelly Keiter say it was a difficult moment to watch but they admire the 88-year-old leader for his ability to pull through.
Monson seemed fine when he started giving his morning remarks.
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” Monson said during his talk.
But toward the end, those watching conference saw Monson weaken before their eyes.
“His holy name, Jesus Christ, even Jesus Christ the Lord, amen,” Monson struggled to say as he bent over the podium.
“He was kind of like leaning down, slowly, towards the end,” LDS Church Member Yissel Manrique said.
Many members say it was a moment that made them realize how much their aging leaders sacrifice for the church.
“They’re doing the best job that anyone could ever do and I would just encourage them to keep going,” Glenn Stapley said.
The average age of top leaders is 77 years old. The senior apostles are required to travel, give talks and attend meetings, many until the day they die.
One popular LDS church blogger posted about the incident on Sunday.
“I have no idea how I would do the things he does at his age,” LDS blogger Greg Trimble wrote about the prophet. “And I can’t imagine how stressful it is around conference weekend and with the task and the responsibility of calling three new apostles and then dealing with the criticism and speculation and all the things that surround those events.”
In his blog, Trimble wrote he is praying for his leader and wishing him strength. So far, his post has received more than 7,300 shares.
One of the youngest apostles, Elder David A. Bednar, spoke Sunday about why the older leaders are so valuable to the church.
“These ordinary men have undergone a most extraordinary developmental process that has sharpened their vision, informed their insight, engendered love for people from all nations and circumstances and affirmed the reality of the restoration,” Bednar said.
Church spokespeople refused to comment or release a statement regarding Monson’s health, but the speculation is Monson is overwhelmed lately by the numerous tasks he’s had to complete with the passing of three elder apostles and the calling and sustaining of new ones.