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Y.-Idaho president to stay awhile

But new LDS official says he will be replaced

David Bednar
David Bednar

REXBURG, Idaho — The president of Brigham Young University-Idaho says he won't be leaving the university right away, despite his new appointment to a top Mormon leadership council.

Still, David Bednar said, a new president will eventually be appointed. Bednar was chosen last weekend to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

"My assignment is I am still president of Brigham Young University-Idaho," Bednar said during a press conference Friday. "For the foreseeable future, I will have fewer (new) assignments and keep my duties here until as such time a new president is appointed."

Bednar said he will divide his time between the Rexburg school and Salt Lake City, where he will likely move with his wife, Susan. They have lived in Rexburg for the past seven years.

The church has not set a timeline, he said.

"President (Gordon) Hinckley does not want to move prematurely or too rapidly," he said.

During Bednar's tenure, the 8,500-student, two-year Ricks College evolved into the 11,000-plus-student, four-year BYU-Idaho.

Bednar, 52, was appointed to the quorum along with Dieter F. Uchtdorf of Germany.

The appointment, Bednar said, still feels sudden and stunning.

"A person would never anticipate or even acknowledge that such a thing could happen. It happened with such suddenness, it's difficult to describe," he added.

He said, however, he and his family already have had a taste of the reverence paid to quorum members by those of his faith.

Last week, after Bednar delivered his first conference address, he and his family stopped at Salt Lake City's Temple Square for a family photo.

"When we got across the street, a crowd of people started to gather," he said. "They weren't interested in shaking my hand, but the hand of a member of the quorum."

A father introduced him as a new member of the quorum to his sons and daughters.

"Their mother had a tear on her cheek," he said. "You wonder how it could be you, yet you see the power of the mantle (of the calling) reflected in the eyes of those you meet."