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Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News

President Thomas Spencer Monson will be formally sustained by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a solemn assembly during the faith's two-day 178th Annual General Conference, which begins Saturday.

Though he has been president of the 13 million-member church only since Feb. 4, following the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley on Jan. 27, President Monson has served in the First Presidency since 1985, giving him more than 20 years of experience overseeing the faith's daily operations.

Latter-day Saints have come to know him largely through his story-laced sermons, which emphasize Christian values in real-life encounters with church members in various parts of the world.

He was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1963, at the age of 36, after serving as a mission president in Canada. At age 22, he had been called as bishop of a large, inner-city ward that brought him face to face with the daily challenges encountered by the elderly and the poor.

He and his wife, Frances Beverly Johnson Monson, traveled to Rexburg, Idaho, on Feb. 10 for the dedication of a new LDS temple there, and Latter-day Saints anticipate the opening of a new chapter in church history this weekend when they sustain President Monson as the church's 16th president.

Today's Deseret Morning News and MormonTimes.com carry a number of articles about President Monson, including a profile and a series of outstanding quotes from his conference talks and stories. And don't forget to go to our Mission Reunions section here on Deseretnews.com (see the tab at left) to find out where and when your favorite mission is reuniting!