Their first talks as apostles: Wise words from 15 great men

Elders Ronald A. Rasband, Gary E. Stevenson and Dale G. Renlund were called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday. (Photo courtesy LDS Church)

Elders Ronald A. Rasband, Gary E. Stevenson and Dale G. Renlund were called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday. (Photo courtesy LDS Church)

Newly called apostles Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Dale G. Renlund gave their first talks as apostles Sunday morning in at the 185th Semiannual General Conference. This marked the first time each of them addressed the Church as apostles (though all have given general conference addresses previously).

In recognition of those iconic messages, here’s a list of the first talks given each of the other members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve after they were called as apostles.

“I Stand at the Door and Knock” by President Thomas S. Monson

Called in October 1963, filling the vacancy left by President Henry D. Moyle

“I know that God lives, my brothers and sisters. There is no question in my mind. I know that this is his work, and I know that the sweetest experience in all this life is to feel his promptings as he directs us in the furtherance of his work. I have felt these promptings as a young bishop, guided to the homes where there was spiritual, or perhaps temporal, want. I felt it again in the mission field as I worked with your sons and your daughters—the missionaries of this great Church who are a living witness and testimony to the world that this work is divine and that we are led by a prophet. …
“My sincere prayer today, President McKay, is that I might always obey you and these, my brethren. I pledge my life, all that I may have. I will strive to the utmost of my ability to be what you would want me to be.”

“Always Remember Him” by President Henry B. Eyring

Called in April 1995, filling the vacancy left by President Howard W. Hunter

“I will keep my covenant to take his name upon me and always remember him. And I will go wherever I am sent to teach of him and offer the ordinances by which we take his name upon us and promise that we will always remember him and keep his commandments.”

“The Opportunity to Testify” by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Called in October 2004, filling the vacancy left by Neal A. Maxwell

“To describe my inner feelings, I would say I am calm as a hurricane, or even better, I am happy and frightened. In one sentence, I need your prayers; I need the Lord.”

“Call to the Holy Apostleship” by President Russell M. Nelson

Called in April 1984, filling the vacancy left by LeGrand Richards

“Saturday of April conference of 1984 has been circled on our calendar for many years, for that date was targeted as the first time in my life that our only son would be old enough to attend general priesthood meeting with me. Last night, that long awaited goal became a reality. Brothers and sisters, little did we know that on that day my name would be presented as a member of the Council of the Twelve.”

“Why Do We Serve?” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Called in April 1984, filling the vacancy left by Mark E. Petersen (Ordained in May 1984, after completing judicial commitments)

“I am thrilled with this calling. Having been ‘called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority,’ I have gladly forsaken my professional activities to spend the rest of my days in the service of the Lord. I will devote my whole heart, might, mind, and strength to the great trusts placed in me, especially to the responsibilities of a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world.”

“In Response to the Call” by Elder M. Russell Ballard

Called in October 1985, filling the vacancy left by Bruce R. McConkie

“I understand the source of the call. I have learned during the past nine and a half years that this is our Heavenly Father’s church. The errands that I have been sent on to act in the name of the Lord enable me to witness to you today that I know, as I know that I stand before you, that Jesus is the Christ, that he lives. He is very close to this work and very close to all of us who are asked to perform the work throughout the earth in his name.”

“The Unique Message of Jesus Christ” by Elder Robert D. Hales

Called in April 1994, filling the vacancy left by Marvin J. Ashton

“Nineteen years ago, after my being set apart by the Quorum of the Twelve in the temple as an assistant to the Twelve Apostles, Elder LeGrand Richards gave me two pieces of wisdom that have come to me over and over in the past fifty-some-odd hours that I have known of this call. First was, “Oh, to be a boy and have your whole life ahead of you.” I was forty-two years of age. I am now sixty-one and am once again a boy. There are men sitting on this stand who have been Apostles and in the First Presidency for half my age.”

“Miracles of the Restoration” by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Called in June 1994, filling the vacancy left by Ezra Taft Benson

“My beloved brothers and sisters, this is my first opportunity to stand before you since the events of June 23 altered the course of my life and of my service forever. That was exactly one hundred days ago, and every one of those days I have prayed to be worthy of and equal to this sacred responsibility. Perhaps you can understand the immense personal inadequacy I feel and the deep, often painful examination of my soul I have experienced.”

“In the Strength of the Lord” by Elder David A. Bednar

Called in October 2004, filling the vacancy left by David B. Haight

“My dear brothers and sisters, I am grateful for you. As I see you assembled here in the Conference Center and envision you in meetinghouses all over the earth, I am blessed by your faithfulness and devotion to the Savior. As your arms were raised to the square on Saturday, I felt a sustaining influence flow into my soul that was most remarkable. Few of you know who I am, yet you know from whom the call has come, and you are so willing to sustain and support. I express my thanks to you and pledge my whole soul and all of my energy to this sacred work.”

“Live by Faith and Not by Fear” by Elder Quentin L. Cook

Called in October 2007, filling the vacancy left by James E. Faust

“President Hinckley extended this call to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve late Thursday afternoon. I cannot possibly articulate the kaleidoscope of feelings I have experienced since then. There have been sleepless nights and much prayer. My spirits have been buoyed, however, by the knowledge that President Hinckley is the prophet and that the membership of the Church will be praying for me and my family.”

“Born Again” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Called in April 2008, filling the vacancy left by Gordon B. Hinckley

“Fifteen years ago I stood for the first time at the pulpit in the Tabernacle as a newly sustained Seventy. I was 48 years old. I had thick, dark brown hair. I thought I understood what it meant to feel inadequate. At the end of my five-minute remarks, my shirt was dripping with perspiration. The whole thing was something of an ordeal. However, today, in retrospect, it seems a comparatively pleasant experience.”

“Come unto Him” by Elder Neil L. Andersen

Called in April 2009, filling the vacancy left by Joseph B. Wirthlin

“My dear brothers and sisters across the world, my knees are weak and my emotions close to the surface. I express my love for you and profoundly thank you for your sustaining vote. In so many dimensions, I feel inadequate and humbled.

“I take solace that in one qualification for the holy apostleship where there can be no latitude extended, the Lord has deeply blessed me. I do know with perfect and certain clarity through the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, the Beloved Son of God.”

“I Stand All Amazed” by Ronald A. Rasband

Called in October 2015, filling the vacancy left by L. Tom Perry

“A few days ago I had the great privilege to meet with the First Presidency and receive this call from our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I want to witness to all of you of the strength and love President Monson had as he said to me, ‘This call comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.’ I am overwhelmed and shaken to my very core to consider the import and significance of those words so tenderly spoken by a living prophet.”

“Fullness of Times” by Elder Gary E. Stevenson

Called in October 2015, filling the vacancy left by Boyd K. Packer

“I was called to meet with President Monson, along with his counselors. Moments later, as I walked into the board room, adjacent to his office, I must have looked nervous sitting across the table, as he kindly spoke to calm my nerves. He commented, noting my age, that I seemed quite young, and even looked younger than my age. Then, within a few moments, President Monson described that acting on the will of the Lord, a call to the Quorum of the Twelve was being extended to me.

“And then, before I could even verbalize a tsunami of indescribable emotion, most of which were feelings of inadequacy, President Monson kindly reached out to me, describing how he was called many years ago as an apostle, by President David O. McKay, at which time he too felt inadequate.”

“Through God’s Eyes” by Elder Dale G. Renlund

Called in October 2015, filling the vacancy left by Richard G. Scott

“My call gives ample evidence to the truthfulness of the Lord’s statement early in this dispensation that ‘the fulness of the gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world.’ I am one of those weak and simple.”


Breanna Olaveson worked in the magazine industry before taking her writing from full-time to nap time with the birth of her first daughter. Her work has appeared in the Ensign, Liahona and New Era magazines, as well as Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley BusinessQ, Utah Valley Bride and the Provo Daily Herald. She lives in Utah county with her husband and three children. She blogs at

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