Utah Stories blog

President Russell M. Nelson gives first address to members as the 17th President of the Church, selects counselors

In his first public address as President of the Church, President Russell M. Nelson spoke to Church members Tuesday morning, Jan. 16, in a live telecast from the Salt Lake Temple waiting room, where he announced that his counselors in the newly reorganized First Presidency are President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor, and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor.

As senior member, President Oaks will hold the title of President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but his service in the First Presidency necessitates the appointment of an Acting President of the Quorum. President M. Russell Ballard, the next in seniority, now has that role.

By way of introduction, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said President Nelson was set apart by the quorum on Sunday, Jan. 14, as the 17th President of the Church, after which the quorum set apart President Oaks and President Eyring. The actions took place in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple.

“Words are inadequate to tell you what it felt like to have my Brethren — Brethren who hold all of the priesthood keys restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith in this dispensation — place their hands upon my head to ordain and set me apart as President of the Church. It was a sacred and humbling experience,” President Nelson told Church membership.

The new Church President recounted that it was then his responsibility to discern whom the Lord had prepared to be his counselors. “How could I choose only two of the 12 other Apostles, each of whom I love so dearly?”

He expressed gratitude to the Lord for answering his prayers and for the willingness of President Oaks and President Eyring to serve with him in the presidency.

“President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has resumed his place in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and has already received major assignments for which he is uniquely qualified,” President Nelson said. “I pay tribute to him and to President Eyring for their magnificent service as counselors to President [Thomas S.] Monson. They have been totally capable, devoted and inspired. We are very grateful for them. Each is willing to serve now where he is needed most.”

The appointment of President Ballard as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve is “consistent with the order of the Church,” President Nelson said. “The First Presidency will work hand-in-hand with the Twelve to discern the will of the Lord and move His sacred work forward.”

At the beginning of his address, President Nelson paid tribute to President Monson. “No words can do justice to the magnitude and magnificence of his life,” he said. “I will forever cherish our friendship with gratitude for what he taught me. Now we must look forward to the future with complete faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, Whose Church this is.”

Read the rest of the story >>



Image credit: R. Scott Lloyd, Deseret News