LDS Church Has New World Leader

Fijian members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints woke up yesterday to learn they have a new world church leader. He is President Russell M. Nelson, 93,
18 Jan 2018 11:00
LDS Church Has New World Leader
President Russell M. Nelson with his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks (left) and President Henry B. Eyring (right), at a live broadcast Tuesday, January 16, from the annex of the Salt Lake Temple to all members of the Church

Fijian members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints woke up yesterday to learn they have a new world church leader.

He is President Russell M. Nelson, 93, an internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher, who has served extensively in the church.

President Nelson is widely re­spected by church members in Fiji.

Kamoe Varea, President of the Suva Fiji Stake said: “President Russell M Nelson is ready to lead the church and the Lord has pre­pared him for this sacred office by calling him to serve as an apostle for over 34 years and I sustain him with all my heart.”

He becomes the church’s 17th President, filling the position left vacant when President Thomas S Monson died towards the end of last year. He will serve — with President Dallin H. Oaks as First Counsellor and President Henry B. Eyring as Second Counsellor.

President Nelson looks forward to new leadership role

A church’s media statement said President Nelson spoke to members yesterday about “looking forward to the future with complete faith in Jesus Christ, whose Church this is,” saying, “I declare my devo­tion to God our Eternal Father and to His Son, Jesus Christ. I know Them, love Them, and pledge to serve Them—and you—with every remaining breath of my life.”

He was sustained and set apart as president and prophet of the church in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple, Utah.

About President Nelson

Prior to his service as head of the Church, President Nelson served as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from July 15, 2015, until his call as the Church’s leader. He has served as a member of the that quorum since April 7, 1984.

President Nelson received his BA and MD degrees from the Univer­sity of Utah (1945, 1947).

He is a member of honorary scho­lastic societies Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha.

He served his residency in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at the University of Minnesota, where he was awarded his PhD degree in 1954.

He also received honorary degrees of doctor of science from Brigham Young University in 1970, doctor of medical science from Utah State University in 1989, and doctor of humane letters from Snow College in 1994.

President Nelson’s professional work included the positions of re­search professor of surgery and di­rector of the thoracic surgery resi­dency at the University of Utah, as well as chairman of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Author of numerous chapters in medical textbooks and other publi­cations, President Nelson lectured at and visited professionally many organisations throughout the Unit­ed States and other nations prior to his call as a General Authority.

A host of awards and honors have come to him, including the Distin­guished Alumni Award from the University of Utah, the Heart of Gold Award from the American Heart Association, a citation for International Service from the American Heart Association, and the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achieve­ment.

He has also been awarded honor­ary professorships from three uni­versities in the People’s Republic of China.

President Nelson has served as president of the Society for Vascu­lar Surgery, a director of the Amer­ican Board of Thoracic Surgery, chairman of the Council on Cardio­vascular Surgery for the American Heart Association, and president of the Utah State Medical Associa­tion.

He is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in Religion.

President Nelson has held numer­ous positions of responsibility in the Church.

He served as stake president of the Bonneville Stake from 1964 until 1971, when he was called as General President of the Sunday School.

Prior to his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, he served as a region­al representative assigned to the Kearns Utah Region.

He had previously served as re­gional representative for Brigham Young University.

Born September 9, 1924, President Nelson is the son of Marion C. and Edna Anderson Nelson.

He and his wife, the former Dant­zel White, have 10 children, 57 grandchildren, and over 100 great-grandchildren. Dantzel passed away in February 2005.

In April 2006, President Nelson married Wendy L. Watson.


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