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LDS Church
President Thomas S. Monson sits in the audience at the Tabernacle on Temple Square moments before he was sustained as a General Authority and invited to the stand on Oct. 4, 1963.

SALT LAKE CITY — President Thomas S. Monson was ordained an LDS apostle 54 years ago today, an anniversary that serves as a reminder of his place in church history.

Only four men have served longer as senior leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All four also became prophet-presidents of the church, as President Monson, 90, did in February 2008.

President David O. McKay served for a total of more than 63 years in the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency, President Heber J. Grant and President Joseph Fielding Smith for more than 62 years and President Wilford Woodruff for 59 years.

President Monson was 36 when he was ordained an apostle, making him the youngest to join the Quorum of the Twelve since 1910.

At the time of his ordination on Oct. 10, 1963, the faith had 12 temples and 2.1 million members.

Today, it has 157 operating temples and 15.9 million members.

All four men who have served longer than President Monson were ordained at even younger ages; President Grant was 25, Presidents McKay and Woodruff were 32, and President Smith was 33.

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President Monson is the 17th LDS apostle to serve into his 90s. The 16th is President Russell M. Nelson, 93, who as the president of the Quorum of the Twelve is first in line to succeed President Monson. President Nelson was ordained an apostle in 1984.

President Monson joined the First Presidency in the following year, in November 1985.

Since then he personally has dedicated or re-dedicated 25 temples. In his nine years as church president, he has announced 44 new temples.

President Monson did not attend any of the six sessions of the faith's 187th Semiannual General Conference this fall due to limitations of advancing age. A church spokesman said in May that President Monson no longer regularly attends meetings at the church offices.