SALT LAKE CITY - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced its new leadership Tuesday.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announced 93-year-old Pres. Russell M. Nelson as the 17th president and prophet of the LDS church.
He was set apart as president on Jan. 14, 2018.
Pres. Dallin H. Oaks, 85, was announced as First Counselor and Pres. Henry B. Eyring, 84, as Second Counselor in the First Presidency.
Pres. M. Russell Ballard will be the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Prior to his service as head of the Church, President Russell M. Nelson served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since April 7, 1984.
He was president of that quorum from July 15, 2015, until his call as the Church’s leader, according to MormonNewsroom.org.
The LDS church said President Dallin H. Oaks has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since May 1984.
He was president of Brigham Young University from 1971 to 1980 and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1980 until his resignation in 1984 to accept his calling to the apostleship.
According to MormonNewsroom.org, President Henry B. Eyring served as a counselor to President Thomas S. Monson from 2008 to 2018 and to President Gordon B. Hinckley from 2007 to 2008.
The LDS church reports he was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 1, 1995.
Before his full-time Church service, President Eyring was president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, from 1971 to 1977.
He was on the faculty at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University from 1962 to 1971.
The church reports Acting President M. Russell Ballard has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve since October 6, 1985.
It said in 1976 he was called as a General Authority Seventy.
Before his call as a full-time Church leader, President Ballard had interests in automotive, real estate and investment businesses.
After the announcement, President Nelson and his two counselors spoke to the media.
“My hope is that as of today we will help you see the church as we are and what we are determined to become and why,” said President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor, first presidency.
Leaders say they’re optimistic about the future of the church and will continue to spread their message to the world and help those in need – including the LGBTQ community.
“God loves his children and we love them. And there’s a place for everyone who wishes to do so with, regardless of his challenges with us in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” said President Nelson.
When pressed about bringing more women, people of color, and international members into the decision making process, President Nelson said the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Quorums of the Seventy are not a representative assembly of any kind. The leadership of the church is from the local communities.
“We’ll live to see the day when there are other flavors in the mix but we respond because we’ve been called by the Lord. Not one of us asked to be here,” said President Nelson.
President Dallin H. Oaks also commented that he always advises youth to stay away from labeling themselves.
“ It’s dangerous to label themselves as a particular nationality, geographic origin, ethnic circumstance or whatever it might be because the most important thing about us is that we are all children of God,” said Oaks. “We are better suited to relate to one another and avoid a sort of quota system as if God applied his blessings and extended his goodness and his love on the basis of quotas that I think he does not recognize so we shouldn’t.”
Leaders also invited those who strayed away from the church to come back.
President Oaks said the leaders believe in the organization the church has set in place with multiple prophets, seers and revelators and a council system.
“In council, we all in an independent spirit, individually praying for guidance from the Lord, we sit as the Lord’s servants to define doctrine of the church and expectation of the church.”
President Nelson said it’s important for every member to know the difference between what’s doctrine and what’s human. He asked that people not be offended by what may have been said or what may have transpired. “Make sure you are square with your Heavenly Father who loves you and wants you to be happy. The way to happiness is to keep his commandments. Give your leader a little leeway to make mistakes as you hope your leaders will give you a little leeway to profit by your errors.”