Russell M. Nelson has been called to succeed the late Boyd K. Packer.
Following the death of former President Boyd K. Packer on July 3, 2015, Russell M. Nelson was appointed as the new leader of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints on July 15, 2015. Church President Thomas S. Monson made the calling in accordance with the current practice wherein the most senior member of the Quorum shall serve as its president.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles serves the church as special witnesses of Christ’s name. Additionally, it also has its administrative functions within the organization. In the church, the Quorum is considered as the second highest governing body headed by the president plus two counselors.
Background on Russell M. Nelson
Born on September 9, 1924, Russell M. Nelson was a medical doctor by profession. After completing his B.A. and M.D. degrees at the University of Utah in 1947, he served as a resident surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and was also a recipient of several honorary degrees including those from Brigham Young University, Utah State, and Snow College.
Nelson’s field of expertise is on Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. He served as a professor and Residency director at the University of Utah and as a chairman of LDS Hospital’s Thoracic Surgery Division. He also became a prestigious member or leader of several national organizations such as the Utah State Medical Association, American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular Surgery.
And because of his accomplishments, he has received numerous awards and recognitions both in the U.S. and internationally. He has also written several books, publications, and is a constantly invited as a speaker/lecturer in his field across the U.S.
His first major responsibility in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was his role as the President of the Bonneville Stake where he was appointed as the leader of the Sunday School from 1964 to 1971. After which, he served as the Regional Representative of the church’s Kearns Utah Region. And on April 7, 1984, Nelson became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Russell Nelson was married to Dantzel White and the couple had a family with 10 children. After his wife’s death on 2005, he married Wendy L. Watson the year after.