Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Topic

One of the dozen men was a tax collector, and several others were fishermen who plied their trade on the waters of Galilee. When they were called to serve, they devoted themselves to being witnesses to the world of the one who called them.

They were the twelve leading disciples or "apostles" chosen by Jesus Christ nearly two millennia ago.

The men who hold that same title today come from a variety of fields, including law, business, medicine, academia and the judiciary. When they were called to serve, they too put aside their respective professions to serve full-time as witnesses of Christ.

They are the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The modern-day Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was organized in 1835 and is an example of the literal restoration to the earth of the church established by Jesus Christ.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest presiding body in the government of the Church. Its members serve under the direction of the First Presidency, a governing unit of three men — the president and two counsellors.

In addition to their primary responsibility to be special witnesses of the name of Christ throughout the world, the apostles have heavy administrative responsibilities as they oversee the orderly progress and development of the global Church.

Just as their counterparts in ancient times were sent throughout the world, the apostles today travel the world to strengthen and encourage Church members, to organize new congregations and to conduct the business of the Church. Sometimes this means meeting with national leaders to negotiate permission for the Church to be established in yet another country.

A replacement in the Quorum of the Twelve is called by the President of the Church, who seeks and receives inspiration in extending the call. The new member of the Twelve may be called from the general authorities who are senior leaders in the Church or from the general Church membership around the world. Seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve is determined by the date an apostle is called rather than by age.

The current members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are:

President M. Russell Ballard

President M. Russell Ballard has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since October 6, 1985, travelling throughout the earth to instruct Church members and direct day-to-day affairs of the worldwide Church. On January 14, 2018, he was sustained and set apart as acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 8, 1928, to Melvin R. and Geraldine Smith Ballard. He attended the University of Utah.

As a young man, he served a mission to England for the Church, where he was a counsellor in the mission presidency. He has also served as a bishop twice.

In 1974, he was called as president of the Canada Toronto Mission, where he was serving when called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April of 1976. As a member of the Seventy, he supervised and trained leaders in his assigned geographic regions. He later served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy from February 1980 to October 1985, overseeing the Church’s Quorums of the Seventy. Much of his ministry has been focused on missionary work.

Prior to his call as a full-time Church leader, Elder Ballard had interests in the automotive, real estate and investment businesses. He has served on many Church and civic committees and boards.

He married Barbara Bowen in the Salt Lake Temple on August 28, 1951. They are the parents of two sons and five daughters.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 23, 1994. At the time of this call, Elder Holland was serving as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to which he had been called on April 1, 1989.

From 1980 until his call as a general authority in 1989, Jeffrey R. Holland served as the ninth president of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is a former Church commissioner of education and dean of the College of Religious Education at BYU.

A student leader and varsity athlete at Dixie High School and Dixie College in his native St. George, Utah, he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in English and religious education, respectively, from Brigham Young University. He obtained master and doctor of philosophy degrees in American studies from Yale University.

Elder Holland was active in professional educational activity prior to his call to full-time Church service. He served as president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAPICU), on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Presidents Commission. For his work in improving understanding between Christians and Jews, he was awarded the Torch of Liberty award by the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'rith. He has served on the governing boards of a number of civic and business-related corporations and has received the Distinguished Eagle Scout award from the Boy Scouts of America. He is the author of eight books, one of which he co-authored with his wife, Patricia.

Elder Holland was born December 3, 1940, to Frank D. and Alice Bentley Holland. In 1963, he married Patricia Terry. They are the parents of three children.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf was called as second counsellor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February 3, 2008. He served in that position until January 2018. He was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church on October 2, 2004. He has served as a general authority since April 1994.

Elder Uchtdorf was born on November 6, 1940, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, to Karl Albert and Hildegard Opelt Uchtdorf. His family became members of the Church in 1947 in Zwickau, Germany. They fled to Frankfurt/Main in 1952, where he received an education in engineering. He joined the German Air Force in 1959 and served for six years as a fighter pilot.

Elder David A. Bednar

David A. Bednar was ordained and set apart as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 7, 2004. Prior to his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Bednar served as an Area Seventy, Area Authority Seventy, regional representative, twice as a stake president and as a bishop.

Elder Bednar was born on June 15, 1952, in Oakland, California. He served as a full-time missionary in southern Germany and then attended Brigham Young University, where he received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. He also received a doctoral degree in organizational behaviour from Purdue University.

After completing his education, Elder Bednar was a professor of business management at Texas Tech University and at the University of Arkansas. He then served as the president of Brigham Young University–Idaho (formerly Ricks College) from 1997 to 2004.

Elder Bednar married Susan Kae Robinson in the Salt Lake Temple on March 20, 1975, and they are the parents of three sons.

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Elder Quentin L. Cook was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 6, 2007. Called as a general authority in April 1996, he served in the Second Quorum, the First Quorum and the Presidency of the Seventy.

As a Seventy, he served in the area presidency in the Philippines, as president of the Pacific Islands and the North America Northwest Areas and as executive director of the Missionary Department.

At the time of his call to be a general authority of the Church, he was vice chairman of Sutter Health System. Previously, he was president and chief executive officer of a California health-care system. Prior to that, he was a business lawyer and managing partner of a San Francisco Bay Area law firm. He has been a board member of several profit and not-for-profit corporations.

He has served the Church as a bishop, stake president and counsellor in the San Francisco California Stake and regional representative and area authority in the North America West Area. As a young man, he was a missionary in the British Mission.

He is a native of Logan, Utah, received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah State University and a doctor of jurisprudence from Stanford University.

He married Mary Gaddie on November 30, 1962. They are the parents of three children.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder D. Todd Christofferson was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 5, 2008. At the time of his call, he was serving in the Presidency of the Seventy.

During his tenure in the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Christofferson had supervisory responsibility for the North America West, Northwest and Southeast Areas of the Church. He also served as executive director of the Family and Church History Department. Earlier, he was president of the Mexico South Area of the Church, residing in Mexico City.

Prior to his call to serve as a full-time general authority of the Church, Elder Christofferson was associate general counsel of NationsBank Corporation (now Bank of America) in Charlotte, North Carolina. Previously, he was senior vice president and general counsel for Commerce Union Bank of Tennessee in Nashville, where he was also active in community affairs and interfaith organizations. From 1975 to 1980, Elder Christofferson practiced law in Washington, D.C., after serving as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica (1972–74).

Born in American Fork, Utah, he graduated from high school in New Jersey; earned his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, where he was an Edwin S. Hinckley Scholar; and earned his law degree from Duke University.

Among other callings, he has served the Church as a regional representative, stake president and bishop. As a young man, he served as a missionary in Argentina.

Elder Christofferson and his wife, Katherine Jacob Christofferson, are parents of five children.

Elder Neil L. Andersen

Elder Neil Linden Andersen was named an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2009.

Elder Andersen was serving as the senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy prior to his calling to the Quorum of the Twelve. He was named a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1993, at age 41. He previously led the work of the Church in southern Brazil and, again as a member of an area presidency, oversaw the Church in western Europe. He has also assisted in supervising the work of the Church in Mexico and Central America. In addition, he supervised Church audiovisual production, including the filming of "The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd" and managed construction of the broadcast facilities in the Conference Center as the executive director of the Church Audiovisual Department. He speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish in addition to his native English.

Prior to his call as a general authority, Elder Andersen served as a mission president in the France Bordeaux Mission and as president of the Tampa Florida Stake.

Elder Andersen was born in Logan, Utah, and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, on a dairy farm, where he remembers doing "typical Idaho farm work, from morning to night.” In high school, he excelled in student government, serving as governor of Idaho Boys State.

He graduated from Brigham Young University, where he was a Hinckley Scholar, and earned a master of business administration from Harvard University. After completing his education, he settled in Tampa, Florida, where his business interests included advertising, real estate development and health care.

Elder Andersen and his wife, Kathy Williams Andersen, are the parents of four children.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband

Elder Ronald A. Rasband was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 3, 2015. He had been serving as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since 2005 and was serving as the senior president of the Presidency of the Seventy when called to the Twelve. Elder Rasband was named a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 1, 2000. He has served as a counsellor in the Europe Central Area presidency, president of the Utah Salt Lake City Area, executive director of the Temple Department; and has supervised the North America West, Northwest and three Utah areas as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.
    
Elder Rasband attended the University of Utah. In 1995, Utah Valley University awarded him an honorary doctorate of business and commerce. In 1976 he joined Huntsman Container Company as sales representative, and in 1987, he was appointed president and chief operating officer of Huntsman Chemical Corporation.

When he left Huntsman Chemical Corporation in 1996 to serve as a mission president in New York, he was also serving as a member of the board of directors.

Elder Rasband has held numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Eastern States Mission (1970–1972), Temple Square missionary guide, bishop and member of the Church’s Sesquicentennial Committee. He presided over the New York New York North Mission from 1996 to 1999.

Elder Rasband was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1951. He married Melanie Twitchell in 1973. They are the parents of five children and have 24 grandchildren.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson

Elder Gary E. Stevenson, 56, was named to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 3, 2015. He was serving as the presiding bishop of the Church at the time of his call to the Twelve, a position which he has held since April 2012. He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 2008 and served as president of the Asia North Area. His previous Church service includes full-time missionary in the Japan Fukuoka Mission, high councillor, bishop, stake president’s counsellor, president of the Japan Nagoya Mission and ward Sunday School teacher.

He received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Utah State University. He cofounded Icon Health and Fitness, Inc., where he served as president and chief operating officer until 2008. He was involved in civic activities and served on boards and advisory councils. 

Elder Stevenson was raised in Cache Valley, Utah. He is married to Lesa Jean Higley, and they are the parents of four sons.

Elder Dale G. Renlund

Elder Dale G. Renlund was named to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 3, 2015. He was serving as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy at the time of his call, to which he was called on April 4, 2009. He previously served as president of the Africa Southeast Area.

After receiving B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah, Elder Renlund received further medical and research training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was a professor of medicine at the University of Utah and the medical director of the Utah Transplantation Affiliated Hospitals (UTAH) Cardiac Transplant Program.

Elder Renlund has served in numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in Sweden, stake president, bishop and Area Seventy.

Elder Renlund was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in November 1952. He married Ruth Lybbert in 1977. They are the parents of one daughter.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong

Elder Gerrit W. Gong was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 31, 2018. He had served as a General Authority Seventy from April 3, 2010 until the time of his call to the Twelve. He was named a member of the Presidency of the Seventy on October 6, 2015. From 2011 to 2015, Elder Gong was a member of the Asia Area Presidency, headquartered in Hong Kong, and concluded that service as the Area President.

Elder Gong received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian and university studies from Brigham Young University in 1977. In 1979, he received a Master of Philosophy degree and in 1981 a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In 1985 he served as special assistant to the undersecretary of state at the U.S. State Department and in 1987 as special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Beijing, China. From 1989 he served in several positions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He was assistant to the president for planning and assessment at Brigham Young University until April 2010.

Elder Gong has served in numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Taiwan Taipei Mission, high councilor, high priests group leader, stake Sunday School president, seminary teacher, bishop, stake mission president, stake president and Area Seventy.

Gerrit Walter Gong was born in Redwood City, California on December 23, 1953. He married Susan Lindsay in January 1980. They are the parents of four children and three grandchildren.

Elder Ulisses Soares

Elder Ulisses Soares was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 31, 2018. He had been serving as a General Authority Seventy since April 2, 2005 and was named a member of the Presidency of the Seventy on January 6, 2013. He served previously as a counselor in the Africa Southeast Area, President of the Brazil Area and as a counselor in the Brazil South Area.

Elder Soares received a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting and economics from the São Paulo Pontifical Catholic University, School of Economic Science in 1985 and later received a Master of Business Administration degree. He was an accountant and auditor for multinational corporations in Brazil and director for temporal affairs in the Church area office in São Paulo, Brazil. At the time of his call as a General Authority, he was serving on a special assignment for the Presiding Bishopric of the Church in Salt Lake City.

Elder Soares has served in a number of Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission, elders quorum president, counselor in a bishopric, high councilor, stake executive secretary, regional welfare agent, stake president and president of the Portugal Porto Mission (2000–2003).

Ulisses Soares was born in São Paulo, Brazil, on October 2, 1958. He married Rosana Fernandes in October 1982. They are the parents of three children and three grandchildren.

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