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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Post Written in Honor of President Russell M. Nelson, who is celebrating his 93rd birthday today

Hello again, everyone! The personal ordeal of which I spoke in my last post, combined with a family obligation, have prevented me thus far from keeping my promise to post today in honor of the 93rd birthday of the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church, Russell M. Nelson. Let's get right to discussing that.

Russell Marion Nelson was born on September 9, 1924 (a day before his future predecessor to the Quorum Presidency, Boyd K. Packer) to Marion C. and Edna Anderson Nelson in Salt Lake City Utah.He studied at LDS Business College in his late teenage years and obtained his BA and MD at the University of Utah. He simultaneously trained as a surgeon and did doctoral studies at the University of Utah. He was part of the research team that developed the heart-lung machine that was used in 1951 on the first open-heart operation on a human being. He spent two years on medical duty for the US Army during the Korean War, then underwent another training period in Boston at the prestigious Harvard Medical School's Massachusetts General Hospital.

In 1955, he accepted a teaching opportunity at the University of Utah School of Medicine. where he built his own heart-and-lung machine. Around a year later, he was on duty to perform the first pediatric cardiac operation. In 1960, he performed the first successful operative repair of a tricuspid heart valve. Being worried that a surgical procedure he had been asked to perform was too risky for anyone, he requested and received a blessing from President Spencer W. Kimball, who was one of his patients. That surgery was a success, and he later used the same technique to operate on President Kimball himself while the latter was serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which resulted in the Church being blessed for many additional years by the inspired counsel of President Kimball.

He has served in many positions on different hospital boards and has received several awards for his pioneering work. He likewise had many service opportunities in the Church. He served as a stake president for over six years, during which time, Joseph B. Wirthlin served as his counselor. They would later serve as colleagues in the apostleship. He also served as Sunday School General President and in the now defunct calling of regional representative. With the advice and consent of President Spencer W. Kimball, President Gordon B. Hinckley, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency, called Brother Nelson to serve as a member of the Qourum of the Twelve Apostles in April 1984.

Over the next 31 years, all the apostles that were junior to President Monson but senior to President Nelson passed away. When President Boyd K. Packer died on July 3, 2015, Elder Nelson became the de facto President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was officially set apart in that capacity 12 days later, on Wednesday July 15, 2015.

President Nelson's new assignment provided something we had not seen for several years prior to that: a Quorum President fully able to function as such. In the 2 years between then and now, he has kept a very rigorous traveling schedule. In fact, the Church News article written in  honor of this milestone mentions that he is on assignment this weekend in New York City, most likely for a stake conference. And he shows no signs whatsoever of slowing down. To read that article, click here.

In terms of his family, President Nelson married his first wife, Dantzel, in the Salt Lake Temple. They have nine daughters and one son. President Nelson's initial response to the call is classic. During his first General Conference talk in his new assignment, he referenced that that date had been circled in their calendars for over a decade, marking the day when his only son would be old enough to attend the Priesthood Session with him. That happened, but not quite the way they originally planned it would. Additionally, the new apostle also said that because they had no idea he would be called, their children didn't know either. He had a daughter who was pregnant at the time, and she phoned him to let him know she was so shocked she was going into labor. The new apostle then thanked President Hinckley, saying he deserved credit for "an assist" and that the baby had arrived safely the night before.

President Nelson is not only a great surgeon, he has often stepped up and offered an assist to any apostles who might need it during their own talks. Many of you will recall how, in the midst of an address about charity, the pure love of Christ, that Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin began shaking uncontrollably, In a silent demonstration of what his colleague was talking about, Elder Nelson stood by and supported Elder Wirthlin until he closed his address, then gently helped him back to his seat. And he has helped his other colleagues so much as well.

I have always been impressed and touched by President Nelson's remarks. He has given 69 addresses in General Conference.To review any of those remarkable addresses, click here. He is also rising among the ranks of our other nonagenarian apostles, and he may very well live to become the oldest living apostle, which will happen in just under five years from now.And now, as previously mentioned, he has seen all the apostles senior to him pass away, except President Monson. In view of President Monson stepping back from an active role in Church leadership, I am sure that Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf are handing more responsibility to the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

And in the similar way that President Benson so fully supported President Hinckley as the only active member of the First Presidency, I am likewise certain that President Nelson supports both Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf, who are less senior in the apostleship, but who, with the consent and approval of President Monson, constitute the Quorum of the First Presidency. And I am sure that President Nelson gives the same reply President Benson did in saying in those times: "Brethren, we must be about this NOW!"

I am also sure that no one is praying more fervently than President Nelson that President Monson's life will be extended longer than his own. No man I know who is in his right mind seeks the Church presidency.

Anyways, as I continue to recover from my ordeal earlier today, I am grateful I had this opportunity to post this birthday tribute. I hope President Nelson has had a wonderful day, and I hope he will be around to inspire us for many years to come.

That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord be with you all until my next post. Until then, I wish you all the best.

Brief Personal Update

Hello, everyone! Just wanted to post today with a personal update. I went in for my usual monthly appointment with my neurologist yesterday, and we were able to get many of my concerns addressed. For a variety of reasons, I was late getting to bed last night. I don't remember too much of what happened in the next few hours, but my wife told me that at one point I got up and that within the next few minutes, I was convulsing pretty badly, which soon turned into full-blown seizures. So she called the paramedics. They checked me out here at home, then recommended that we take me to the emergency room. We spent the next several hours there while tests were run, and everything came back looking all right. I was released less than 3 hours after the whole ordeal started, and I have not had any problems since then. So we are sitting quietly at home, and the ordeal has passed. It was troubling in the moment, but I am grateful for two things in particular: the professional and prompt care I received an the people who provided it, and, more than that, especially how clear-headed my wife was throgh the whole ordeal. Just wanted to pass along that update. Prayers would be appreciated at this time, as would any comments. In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless each and everyone one of you until my next post.