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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Happy 72nd Birthday, Elder Christofferson!

While I have mentioned the upcoming birthdays of various apostles in many posts over the years, I believe that this may be the first time (or if not the first, one of the very few times) that I have done a birthday post for one particular apostle. Haven't done the research to back this up, but I still feel confident in stating that I haven't done it very often, if I have done it at all. If any of you feel like researching these blog archives to see if I have, you are welcome to.

But as to Elder Christofferson, I thought I would throw out some information that I enjoy in considering this milestone. Hopefully this post doesn't bore you because of these details, mostly trivial in nature.

Among other things, I know from study that Elder Christofferson is the 8th most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and among those Twelve, he stands as the 7th oldest. When considering the 15 apostles as a group, Elder Christofferson holds the distinction of being the 11th most senior (still pretty junior) and the 10th in terms of age. Since President Uchtdorf is the one that stands right in the middle in terms of age (being the 8th oldest), of the 7 youngest apostles, he stands at second oldest. (This may differ slightly from information previously reported. For that, I apologize. I will endeavor to correct that in future posts.)

Elder Christofferson's call to the apostleship was very unique. Among those who have been called to the apostleship in the past, his call is distinctly different for several reasons. First, he was one of the very few I know of (President Faust being another) who was called to the apostleship while serving as the second most senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy. Second, his call marked the first time of which I am aware that a former mission president (Elder Richard G. Scott) and one of the missionaries he served with (Elder Christofferson) had served together in the apostleship. That had to be more than a little intimidating for Elder Christofferson. That being said, while I'm sure Elder Scott may have recommended him, I have had my own witness that his call came from the Lord.

Third, he was the very first apostle called by 16th Church President Thomas S. Monson. Fourth, he was one of the few that served for just a year as the junior apostle before Elder Wirthlin's December 2008 death resulted in the call of Elder Neil L. Andersen as the new junior apostle. Speaking of Elder Andersen, that is the next interesting fact: Few people know or remember that Elder Christofferson and Elder Andersen were sustained to serve as General Authority Seventies on the same day. Since such calls are often presented alphabetically, technically, Elder Andersen was senior to Elder Christofferson in terms of their service as General Authority Seventies.

However, Elder Christofferson was made a member of the Presidency of the Seventy in 1998, just over five years after his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, and he served for 10 years in the Presidency of the Seventy before his call to the apostleship. Elder Andersen, on the other hand, was called to the Presidency of the Seventy in 2005 (at the same time as his now-seatmate in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Elder Rasband), and though he (Elder Andersen) only had a four-year tenure in the Presidency of the Seventy, he did serve as the Senior President for just under four months as the Senior President.

It is interesting to consider the paths to apostleship that our different apostles have had. Both Elder Quentin L. Cook and now-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf were still among the junior half of the Presidency of the Seventy when their calls to the apostleship came in 2007 and 2004 respectively. It is interesting to note the time of year that the calls to the apostleship came. Of our 15 current apostles, 6 were called in April (President Nelson, Elder Oaks (though the latter wasn't ordained until May because of his judicial obligations), Elder Hales, President Eyring, Elder Christofferson, and Elder Andersen), 1 was called in June (Elder Holland), and 8 were called in October (President Monson, Elder Ballard, President Uchtdorf, Elder Bednar, Elder Cook, Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Renlund).

But getting back to Elder Christofferson, while this birthday is not strictly a milestone one, I did want to write this birthday tribute. His has been a unique life, and his path to the apostleship has been likewise very unique. To read more about the life of this amazing apostle, click here (Wikipedia article), here (for his profile through among all the Church leaders), here (for a special look into more highlights from his life), here (for some trivia about his life as published in the Deseret News for his birthday last year), here (for his profile on Mormon Newsroom), and here to review any of his conference addresses (1 given in response to his call as a General Authority, 5 as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, and 18 in his almost 9 years as an apostle, for a total of 24.)

I hope that the information in this post has been informative and helpful to you all, and not in any way too much trivia. I do want to end with my testimony that Elder Christofferson's calls over the years have come from the Savior, and with my best wishes that he has had an amazing 72nd birthday. Thanks for reading this. Feel free to comment, if you feel so inspired.