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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Elder Dale G. Renlund Celebrates His 67th Birthday Today

Hello again, everyone! I am back with a post in tribute of Elder Dale G. Renlund, who, as noted, is marking his 67th birthday today. Let's get right into all of that. Elder Dale Gunnar Renlund was born to Mats Ake and Marianna Andersson, in Salt Lake City, Utah, on this day in 1952. His parents had emigrated from Finland (Mats) and Sweden (Marianna) respectively in order to be married in the temple. In view of that, Elder Renlund grew up primarily speaking Swedish. The fact that he did not speak English as a primary language gives him a certain degree of international appeal. In his teenage years, Elder Renlund lived with his family in Sweden while his father was a building missionary. Several years later, Elder Renlud returned to Sweden, this time as a full-time missionary. Following his missionary service, Elder Renlund continued his scholastic endeavors at the University of Utah, where he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry and his M. D. Approximately 3 or 4 years after he concluded his missionary service, he met and married his eternal companion, Ruth Lybbert, who was the daughter of another General Authority Seventy, Merlin R. Lybbert. Elder Renlund went on to do a three-year cardiology residency and a three-year fellowship in cardiology, both at Johns Hopkins University, and served as a bishop while he did so.

During that very same period of time, his wife was earning her law degree, and Ruth also gave birth to their only child, a daughter, Ashley. At some point in 1986, Elder Renlund became a professor at the University of Utah. From 1991 to the time of his call as a General Authority Seventy in 2009, he served as the medical director of the Utah Transplantation Affiliated Hospitals Cardiac Transplant Program. In 2000, he was also appointed the director of the Heart Failure Prevention and Treatment Program at Intermountain Health Center headquartered in Salt Lake, while his wife was working as a law partner in the firm of Dewsnup, King and Olsen.

In the Church, in addition to serving as a bishop, Elder Renlund also served locally as ward Sunday School president, high councilman, and as a stake president. From 2000 to 2009, Elder Renlund served as an area seventy. He became a general authority seventy in April 2009, at the same conference in which Elder Neil L. Andersen was sustained as an apostle. The August after his call, Elder Renlund began serving in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency, which was headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. He concluded that service by as the area president from 2011 to 2014.

Just over a year after concluding that service (during which time he served in other general capacities at Church headquarters), he was the third man to be called to fill the three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve in the wake of the passing of President Boyd K. Packer and Elders L. Tom Perry and Richard G. Scot (with his call occurring the same day as that of Elders Ronald A. Rasband and Gary E. Stevenson). Some have claimed (rightfully so, in my opinion) that since Elder Scott was the last of the three to pass away, Elder Renlund, as the last of the three new apostles called, was the one filling the apostolic vacancy occurring from the death of Elder Scott. Others may disagree on that, as is their right, but I think that is a fair statement.

Elder Renlund's apostolic call was significant for a few reasons. The calls of Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund made them the 98th, 99th, and 100th members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called in this dispensation. There have been more men ordained as apostles, but only 102 of those men have officially served in the Quorum of the Twelve. There is another significant aspect of Elder Renlund's call.

As most of you are probably aware, at times in the past where 2 or more apostles have been called, tradition is that they will be called, sustained, and ordained according to their age, from oldest to youngest. That tradition, as has been the case a couple of times before, was slightly adjusted, as Elder Stevenson, almost three years younger than Elder Renlund, was called, sustained, and ordained as the senior apostle to Elder Renlund. That kind of thing is not in any way unprecedented, but it is a significant anomaly to note.

As some of you are also aware, the Church has previously come under fire for a lack of cultural diversity in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. While all apostles from Elder David A. Bednar to Elder Renlund were born within the United States, almost to a man, each has had varying degrees of international experience. In January of this year, we saw President Nelson mention that there would be "more flavors in the mix", and his first apostolic appointees were the first Asian American (Elder Gong) and Latin American (Elder Soares).

But as was observed in this article, Elder Renlund's diverse background certainly qualifies him as having strong international ties and experiences. Elder Renlund had 2 opportunities to speak in General Conference prior to his apostolic call (1 of which occurred six months prior to his first address as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), and gave his 9th talk as an apostle just over a month ago. You can review any of those 11 addresses at your convenience.

I am grateful to have been able to offer this birthday tribute in his honor, and am also grateful for his service. I gladly sustain him and the other 14 apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. I do continue to monitor any and all Church news and temple developments and will keep doing my level best to bring word of those to you all as I receive it. That does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines.

Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.