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Naming of new LDS president likely to happen soon

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31 2008 12:26 a.m. MST

On Jan. 21, 1970, mourners wait to file past the body of President David O. McKay, who became LDS Church president in 1951. (Deseret Morning News Archives) On Jan. 21, 1970, mourners wait to file past the body of President David O. McKay, who became LDS Church president in 1951. (Deseret Morning News Archives)
The average time between the passing of an LDS Church president and the naming of his successor has been approximately one week, given the history of the past three church presidents.
If that holds true, a new president could be named by or before Monday. The two counselors in the First Presidency are also usually announced at that time.
The passing Sunday of President Gordon B. Hinckley is the first change in president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in almost 13 years, and the fourth shift in the past 22 1/2 years.
When President Howard W. Hunter died on March 3, 1995, a public viewing was held at the Church Administration Building six days later, on March 7, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. His funeral was the following day, March 8, at noon in the Tabernacle.
His counselors, President Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson, along with a son, Richard A. Hunter, were among the speakers at the funeral service. President Boyd K. Packer, Elder James E. Faust and Jon M. Huntsman Sr., a family friend and former stake president, were the other speakers.
Some 6,000 attended the funeral service in the Tabernacle, with thousands more of overflow in the Assembly Hall.
Brigham Young University also canceled classes during the two hours of President Hunter's funeral.
Holding to long tradition, President Hinckley, a longtime member of the First Presidency and the church's senior apostle, was ordained and set apart as 15th president on Sunday, March 12, 1995, 11 days after President Hunter's passing.
President Hinckley was sustained as the church's new prophet at general conference on April 1, 1995.
President Ezra Taft Benson died on May 30, 1994. His funeral service was five days later on Saturday, June 4, in the Tabernacle. A public viewing was held the day prior, June 3, in the Church Administration Building.
Burial of President Benson took place after an approximately 100-mile cortege from Salt Lake City to the cemetery in Whitney, Idaho.
Howard W. Hunter took over as the church's prophet on June 6, exactly a week after his predecessor's passing.
President Spencer W. Kimball died on Nov. 5, 1985, and President Benson was ordained as the church's 13th president just five days later, on Nov. 10.


E-mail: lynn@desnews.com

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