President Russell M. Nelson was introduced as the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring were called to serve as first and second counselors, respectively, in the First Presidency.
President M. Russell Ballard is the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Here's a quick look at the new LDS Church president and his counselors.
President Russell M. Nelson
President Russell M. Nelson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Sept. 9, 1924, to Marion C. and Edna Anderson Nelson. He attended medical school at the University of Utah and became an internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher. Prior to becoming a general authority, he performed open heart surgery on President Spencer W. Kimball.
President Nelson was called as Sunday School general president in 1971. He was then called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 7, 1984, and set apart as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by President Thomas S. Monson on July 15, 2015.
President Nelson married Dantzel White in August 1945. They have nine daughters and one son. Both President and Dantzel Nelson were known for their talent for singing, the latter singing as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. President Nelson also has perfect pitch and plays the organ. Dantzel Nelson passed away in February 2005, and President Nelson married Wendy L. Watson in April 2006. President Nelson has 57 grandchildren and more than 100 great-grandchildren, according to LDS.org.
President Dallin H. Oaks
Elder Dallin H. Oaks was born on Aug. 12, 1932, in Provo, Utah, to Dr. Lloyd E. Oaks and Stella H. Oaks. He earned degrees from Brigham Young University and the University of Chicago Law School. Elder Oaks worked as an attorney and has served on several business and educational boards. He was president of BYU from 1971 to 1980 before serving as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court until his calling as an apostle in May 1984.
His late wife, June Dixon Oaks, passed away in 1998. She and Elder Oaks had six children. Elder Oaks married Kristen McMain in the Salt Lake Temple in 2000. According to his biography on LDS.org, Elder Oaks’ life motto is “work first, play later.” In 2013, he was awarded the Canterbury Medal for “courage in the defense of religious liberty” by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
President Henry B. Eyring
President Henry B. Eyring was born in New Jersey in 1933 to award-winning chemist Henry Eyring and Mildred Bennion Eyring. According to President Eyring’s biography, “I Will Lead You Along,” his father offered to pay for his children’s tuition if they studied physics. President Eyring’s education includes a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Utah as well as master of business administration and doctor of business administration degrees from Harvard.
President Eyring left the faculty at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University to serve as president of Ricks College from 1971 to 1977. He went on to serve as church commissioner of education, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric and a member of the Seventy. In April 1995, President Eyring was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was sustained as second counselor in the First Presidency to President Gordon B. Hinckley in October 2007 and was named first counselor in the First Presidency to President Thomas S. Monson the following year.
President Eyring and his wife, Kathleen Johnson Eyring, have four sons and two daughters. During his address at the Vatican in 2014, President Eyring focused on his testimony of family, including the happiness and satisfaction he felt about his then 52 years of marriage. Former President Spencer W. Kimball is President Eyring’s uncle.
President M. Russell Ballard14 comments on this story
Elder M. Russell Ballard was born to Melvin R. and Geraldine Smith Ballard on Oct. 8, 1928, in Salt Lake City. He studied at the University of Utah and worked in investment, automotive sales and real estate. He has been active on several boards and committees for both the church and community. Elder Ballard married Barbara Bowen in August 1951, and they have two sons and five daughters.
As a young man, he served a full-time mission in England, where he was called as a counselor in the mission presidency. He was later called as president of the Canada Toronto Mission in 1974. Elder Ballard was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1976 and served in the Presidency of the Seventy from 1980 to 1985. On Oct. 6, 1985, he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.