President Russell M. Nelson named as next LDS Church prophet, First Presidency organized

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President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor; President Russell M. Nelson, prophet; and Presient Henry B. Eyring were announced as the new First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday. (Screenshot)

President Russell M. Nelson was officially named the next prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday morning. He called President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring as his first and second counselors in the First Presidency, respectively.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, made the announcement during a live broadcast on Tuesday morning from the annex of the Salt Lake Temple. To choose the next president of the LDS Church, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met in the upper room of the Salt Lake City Temple on Sunday, Jan. 14. Meeting in fasting and prayer, the quorum unanimously voted that President Nelson become the next president of the Church.

“As a participant, I must say it was a sweet, sacred experience in which the Lord’s will was clearly manifest and all were in full accord,” Elder Christofferson said. “This experience, once again, affirmed that Jesus Christ directs His church.”

Following the meeting, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles set apart President Nelson as the prophet.

President Nelson has served at the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since July 15, 2015. He has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since April 7, 1984.

“We are His servants. I declare my devotion to God, our Eternal Father, and to His son, Jesus Christ. I love them and pledge to serve Them and you with every remaining breathe of my life.” — President Russell M. Nelson, LDS Church prophet

During his 34 years of service as an apostle, President Nelson has served under five previous Church presidents.

“I have watched each president receive revelation and respond to that revelation,” President Nelson said. “The Lord always has and always will respect and inspire his prophets. The Lord is at the helm.”

President Nelson addressed the process of choosing a prophet, a role that lands on the most-senior apostle.

“As we go forward together, I invite you to think about the majestic manner in which the Lord governs His church,” President Nelson said. “When a president of the Church passes away, there is no mystery about who is next called to serve in that capacity. There’s no electioneering, no campaigning, but only the quiet workings of a divine plan of succession put in place by the Lord himself. Each day of an apostle’s service is a day of learning and preparing for more responsibility in the future.”

The 93-year-old prophet proclaimed his commitment to serving in the Church for the remainder of his life.

“We are His servants. I declare my devotion to God, our Eternal Father, and to His son, Jesus Christ,” President Nelson said. “I love them and pledge to serve Them and you with every remaining breathe of my life.”

President Oaks, 85, was called as the first counselor in the First Presidency. He has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since May 1984. Prior to his service as an apostle, he was president of Brigham Young University from 1971 to 1980, and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1980 until his resignation in 1984 to accept his calling as an apostle.

“I rejoice in the opportunity to give my full efforts to bear witness of Jesus Christ and to proclaim the truth of his restored gospel,” President Oaks said in his brief statement.

This is President Eyring’s third time serving as a counselor in the First Presidency. President Eyring, 84, served as first counselor in the First Presidency under the former prophet — President Thomas S. Monson, who died on Jan. 2 — since Feb. 3, 2008. He also served under President Gordon B. Hinckley from 2007 to 2008. He was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 1, 1995. Prior to his apostleship, President Eyring was president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, from 1971 to 1977.

“The growth in the number of members that are spread across nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples are visible miracles, but the greater miracle — and the one we’ll accelerate — is the growth in faith in Jesus Christ,” President Eyring said. “The Lord has prepared and chosen President Nelson to lead in that growth. He knows and loves the Lord.”

With President Oaks’ call to serve in the First Presidency, President M. Russell Ballard, 89, becomes the senior-most apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and will serve as the acting president of the quorum. He has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since October 6, 1985.

“The First Presidency will work hand-in-hand with the Twelve to discern the will of the Lord and move His sacred work forward,” President Nelson said.

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Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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