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President Monson top octogenarian

President Thomas S. Monson
President Thomas S. Monson
Tom Smart, Deseret News

In addition to guiding more than 13 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas S. Monson now leads Slate.com's annual list of the nation's most powerful octogenarians.

The online current affairs magazine ranked the 82-year-old President Monson No. 1 on its roster of "80 over 80," assembled by Slate in order of power and importance and released this week.

President Monson was ranked ahead of former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and "60 Minutes" personality Andy Rooney.

Slate's bio said President Monson: "As president, is regarded by the world's more than 13 million Mormons as a prophet of God 'in the same way they view Abraham, Moses, Isaiah and the apostles in the day of Jesus Christ.'

"Was at the center of the controversy surrounding the church's support of California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage.

"Since becoming president, has dedicated six new temples and announced nine more."

Actually, the church has announced a total of 14 temples since President Monson became LDS Church president Feb. 2, 2008. But that wasn't the biggest mistake the online magazine made.

Slate initially posted a photo of Elder Neil L. Andersen of the church's Quorum of the Twelve in President Monson's place in a photo gallery of honorees. Elder Andersen, called as an LDS apostle this past April, is 58 years old.

Ranked second behind President Monson was U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 89. Stevens ranked first on the list last year, when President Monson wasn't ranked at all.

Rounding out the top five were Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, 85; journalist/media personality Barbara Walters, 80; and former MIT professor and linguist Noam Chomsky, 80.

Also making the list at No. 49 was Earl Holding, the 82-year-old Salt Lake City native who owns Sinclair Oil (and continues to serve as its president and CEO), Snowbasin ski resort near Ogden and the Grand America and Little America hotels in Salt Lake City.

Slate is 412th in Web popularity in the United States, according to alexa.com. The online magazine was launched in 1995 by Microsoft and now is owned by the Washington Post Co.

Others in the wide-ranging rankings included bodybuilder Jack LaLanne; Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens; Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man and the Hulk; entertainers B.B. King, Tony Bennett and Pete Seeger; activists Maya Angelou and Phyllis Schlafly; evangelist Billy Graham; author Maurice Sendak; football coach Joe Paterno; and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

e-mail: taylor@desnews.com