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Elder Nelson marries BYU professor

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Elder Russell M. Nelson

Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was married in the Salt Lake Temple on Thursday to Wendy Watson, a professor of marriage and family therapy at Brigham Young University.

The announcement came in a press release posted on the LDS Church's Web site Thursday.

Elder Nelson's first wife, Dantzel White Nelson, died Feb. 12, 2005, leaving a family of 10 children, 56 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. In an interview earlier this week with the Deseret Morning News, Elder Nelson spoke of his loneliness since his first wife's death, but gave no hint of his plans to remarry.

The marriage is the first for Watson, originally of Raymond, Alberta, Canada. She is the daughter of the late Leonard David and Laura McLean Watson. In 1970, she earned an R.N. in Calgary, a B.A. in 1973 from the University of Hawaii, an M.Sc. from BYU in 1975 and her Ph.D. from the University of Calgary in 1984.

An author of several books, she served as chairwoman of the BYU Women's Conference for 1999 and 2000. The press release said Watson plans to retire from BYU on May 1.

Ordained an apostle in the LDS Church on April 12, 1984, Elder Nelson received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. A renowned surgeon and medical researcher, Elder Nelson served as the former president of the Society for Vascular Surgery and also as former chairman of the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery for the American Heart Association.

Elder Nelson delivered a sermon on nurturing marriage during the church's general conference last Saturday afternoon. It featured memorable emotion from the church leader as he related a story about a clueless husband who was so absorbed in a video game that he ignored the attentions of his wife.

Observing the scene while on a recent flight, he said the man's inattention made him feel like shouting, "Open your eyes, man! Can't you see? Pay attention! Your wife loves you! She needs you!"