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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Updated List of Possible Candidates for the Current Apostolic Vacancy

Hello, everyone! I promised to do this earlier today, and now it's done. This is my revised list of possible candidates for the current apostolic vacancy. Time will tell how likely any of these men might be to be appointed to the apostleship. As always, any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all in all that you do.

Apostles appointed during President Monson’s prophetic tenure have, at the time of their calls, ranged in age from Elder Rasband’s 64.7 years to Elder Andersen’s 57.7 years, having a range of 7 years. After Elder Rasband, the next oldest apostle at the time of his call was Elder Christofferson at 63.3 years, then Elder Renlund at 62.8 years, then Elder Stevenson, who was 60.2 years old, then, of course, Elder Andersen. Of the 14 apostles, they have ranged in age from the oldest apostle, Elder Quentin L. Cook, who was 67.1 years old at the time of his call, to President Monson, who, as we know, was 36.1 years old at the time of his call, which gives us a spread of 31 years between the ages of the two at the time of their call. The average age of the 14 apostles at the time of their calls was 57.98 years. As this data shows, the Church has no end of options in terms of the age of the new apostle. If the Church sticks to the average age at which apostles have been called during President Monson’s presidency, then the new apostle will be no older than 61.7 years. At a quick glance, that would include two members of the Presiding Bishopric (Bishops Causse & Waddell), three members of the Presidency of the Seventy (Craig C. Christensen, Ulisses Soares, & Patrick Kearon), and 39 General Authority Seventies.

The question arises, as it always does, would the Church look to someone internationally born, in the vein of President Uchtdorf, or would they tap someone American born who has international Church service  experience? And would they look to someone with more experience as a General Authority, or someone newer? The most recently called apostle, Elder Renlund, was called in 2009. If we assume that the Church will look for a more-tenured General Authority Seventy within the age range above, who has international experience and is a US citizen, we have the following brethren (Elders Gong and Cook, who are on this list for the reasons explained below, are on there inview of their age, and because their experiences have given them qualifications that would more than compensate for having been called later than 2009.

  1. Elder Gerrit W. Gong: 63.8 years old; called as a GA Seventy in October 2010 and to the Presidency of the Seventy in October 2015 (is currently fifth in seniority in the Quorum, which (which was Elder Uchtdorf’s status at the time of his apostolic call in 2004; well educated; has had a vice presidential role at BYU; born in California; has Asian ancestry (and would thereby have international appeal); served a full-time mission in Taiwan; is married to the daughter or Richard P. Lindsey, who was a GA Seventy; has been a counselor and president of the Church’s Asia area.
  2. Elder Craig C. Christensen: 61.5 years old; called as a GA Seventy in October 2002; is currently the second most senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy (which was Elder Christofferson’s status at the time of his apostolic call in 2008, and before that, the status of Elder Faust at the time of his call to the apostleship in 1978); Elder Christensen was appointed to that presidency in January 2013 and has been the second most senior member of that presidency since August 2017) born in Salt Lake City; served a mission in Santiago Chile; mission president in Mexico City; served for four years as president of the Mexico South Area.
  3. Elder Marcus B. Nash: 60.5 years old; called as a GA Seventy in April 2006; born in Seattle Washington; served a mission in San Salvador El Salvador; helped construct the Seattle Washington Temple; served as a counselor in and then president of the South America Northwest Area.
  4. Elder Kevin W. Pearson: 60.4 years old; called as a GA Seventy in April 2008; born in Salt Lake City; served a mission in Helsinki Finland; has served as a counselor in the Europe East and Pacific Areas; served as president of the Pacific Area.
  5. Elder Paul B. Pieper: 60 years old (birthday was on the 7th of this month); called as a GA Seventy in April 2005; born in Pocatello Idaho; served a mission in Monterrey Mexico; moved to Kazakhstan, where he learned to speak Russian; mission president in St. Petersburg Russia; has served in the Europe East Area Presidency; coordinated Church efforts in the Middle East/Africa North Area; currently serves as a counselor in the Mexico Area Presidency.
  6. Elder Carl B. Cook: 60 years old (birthday was on the 15th of this month); called as a GA Seventy in April 2011; born in Ogden Utah; served a mission in Hamburg Germany; mission president in Auckland New Zealand; has served as a counselor and president of the Church’s Africa Southeast Area. He also made this list because he recently filled an assignment from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that is usually filled by an apostle. It is unclear why that was, but I recall that the First Presidency (consisting of Presidents Hinckley and Monson, after the August 10 death of President Faust), sent Elder Eyring on an assignment usually filled by the First Presidency, and he was called to that Presidency shortly thereafter. Given the nature of the assignment Elder Cook filled, the Church could be looking to do the same thing here as happened with Elder Eyring. That said, I have not been able to ascertain if Carl B. is in any way related to Quentin L., who was called as an apostle 10 years ago.
  7. Elder Michael T. Ringwood: 59.5 years old; called as a GA Seventy in April 2009; born in Provo, Utah; served a mission in South Korea; President Nelson’s son-in-law; mission president in Seoul Korea; has served as a counselor and president of the Asia North Area.

There is always a possibility that the Church could choose an internationally-born apostle in that age range. If that happens, there are a few picks at the top of my list:

  1. Elder Michael John U. Teh: 52.3 years old; called as a GA Seventy in April 2007; born in the Philippines; served a mission in Davao; worked full-time for the Church as a recorder in the Manila Philippines Temple; also worked as a manager in the Church’s Member and Statistical Records Division in the Philippines Area; was a counselor in a mission presidency and an area seventy; served as a counselor in the Philippines Area Presidency both prior to and after his call as a General Authority; served as president of that area from 2011-2013; has served as president of the Taiwan Taichung Mission since last year. After President Hinckley died, I was praying about the apostolic vacancy and felt distinctly that Elder Teh would fill it at that time. Almost 9 years later, there have been four other apostolic vacancies, and despite my feeling that Elder Teh would fill one of them, that has not happened. It could happen this time.
  2. Presiding Bishop Gerald Causse: 54.3 years old; called as a GA Seventy in April 2008, to the Presiding Bishopric in April 2012, and as Presiding Bishop in October 2015; born in Bordeaux, France; stake president for six years (from 2001-2007); area seventy for one year; served in the presidency of the Europe Area. When there were 3 apostolic vacancies to fill in 2015, I thought he might be called, but that didn’t happen.
  3. Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy: turned 59 on October 2; called as a GA Seventy in April 2005 and to the Presidency of the Seventy in January 2013 (is currently third in seniority in that Presidency, which was the status of Elder Neal A. Maxwell at the time of his July 1981 call to the apostleship); born in Brazil; served a mission in Rio de Janeiro Brazil; worked for a time as director of temporal affairs for the Church in Brazil; stake president in Brazil; mission president in Portugal; has served as a counselor and president of the Church’s Brazil South Area; counselor in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency. I thought he would also be called to fill one of the apostolic vacancies in 2015, but that didn’t happen.