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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Health of the Brethren

Hello, all. Many will note with surprise that it has been three weeks since I last posted anything. Things have been busy for us. I will provide an update later tonight if time allows, but for sure tomorrow if I don't get to it before then. I wanted to make a few posts first,  the first about the health of the brethren, the second about general conference news and the third about how my general conference predictions turned out. That said, here's the first post!

Many will note with surprise that President Monson, whom I predicted would speak five times during general conference (During the General Women's, Saturday Morning (opening address), Saturday Priesthood, Sunday Morning, and Sunday Afternoon (closing address) only gave his two major addresses during the Priesthood Session and the Sunday Morning Session. This article explains why that was. President Monson is apparently having some health issues. In that same article, it mentions that Elder Scott watched general conference at home due to his health reasons. I didn't read this article until after conference, so I was more than a little concerned about these two good brethren. The article helped put such fears to rest, but it did get me thinking that it was high time I wrote a blog post regarding the health of the brethren.

President Thomas S. Monson is 87. He will be 88 on August 21. He has not missed a general conference since his call as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles almost 52 years ago. The only time he's missed a speaking assignment was one year when he was hospitalized the first weekend in December while a counselor in the First Presidency and was thus unable to fill his assignment to speak at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. He has diabetes, but it is under control and doesn't impede or prevent him from doing his duty.

President Boyd K. Packer is 90. He will be 91 on September 10. He has not missed a general conference since his call as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles almost 45 years ago. He collapsed after a 2011 meetinghouse rededication in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He had a pacemaker installed and had no further health troubles for a while. In October 2009, he began sitting down to deliver his conference talks. In April 2011, he was able to stand to deliver his remarks. In every conference since October 2011, he has been sitting down while speaking. He is wheelchair-bound due to a recurrence of his childhood bout with polio. In all other respects, he is healthy and well.

Elder L. Tom Perry is 92. He will be 93 on August 5. He has not missed a general conference since his call as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about 41 years ago. In a Church News article about his 90th birthday, Elder Perry shared the secret to his longevity: "When my dad turned 60 I was convinced he was ready for the grave; that was old. But when I turned 60, I felt like a kid of 18. When I turned 70, I felt like a kid of 20. When I turned 80, I felt like a kid of 30. Now that I’m 90, I feel like a kid of 40." The article goes on to comment: "He does not joke when asked about the secret of his longevity and youthful outlook. 'I had wonderful parents. I had the gospel. And I have great companions in my marriage. No one can fail if they have that combination,' he said." It is my belief that Elder Perry will live to break Elder David B. Haight's record of oldest living apostle. That will happen on July 5, 2020. Stay tuned for more on that.

Elder Russell M. Nelson is 90. He will be 91 on September 9. He has not missed a general conference since his call as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about 31 years ago. He is in excellent health and will likely be with us many more years to come.

All other apostles are in their 80s (Oaks, Ballard, Scott, Hales, Eyring), 70s (Holland, Uchtdorf, Cook, Christofferson), or 60s (Bednar, Andersen). With the exception of Hales, Scott, and Oaks (who was not attending conference when he was sustained as an apostle because of wrapping up his judicial obligations that took him out of the city and away from Salt Lake until the following month) all of them have been at every general conference since being sustained as either a general authority (Ballard, Holland, Eyring, Uchtdorf, Cook, Christofferson, Andersen) or apostle (Bednar). And all of them could well live into their 90s. It has always interested me to follow the lives of the apostles and to see whom the Lord preserves to lead the Church and whom He calls home for work beyond the veil. I am always saddened when one of these good brethren passes on but excited to see who will next join the apostolic ranks.

I hope this post has been informative and illuminating for you all and not just something boring to be read as a matter of routine. I haven't gotten all that many comments on my posts, so I never know who is reading them. The hour is late, so I'd better get to bed. Tomorrow I will try to post the other posts I meant to post today, including the general update I hope you've all been waiting for. Until I write again, all the best.