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President Russell M. Nelson introduced as 17th LDS president, vows to serve, discusses diversity

SHARE President Russell M. Nelson introduced as 17th LDS president, vows to serve, discusses diversity

SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson started his administration as the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by pledging to serve God and church members "with every remaining breath of my life."

LDS leaders introduced a new First Presidency on Tuesday in a unique live broadcast from the marriage waiting room in the Salt Lake Temple.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve and chairman of the church's public affairs committee said the quorum met Sunday morning in the temple's upper room and voted unanimously to reconstitute the First Presidency, which had dissolved automatically upon the death of the faith's 16th leader, President Thomas S. Monson, on Jan. 2.

The Twelve sustained, ordained and set apart the senior apostle, President Nelson, 93, as the new prophet and president of the church. He selected President Dallin H. Oaks, 85, as his first counselor and President Henry B. Eyring, 84, as his second counselor.

"I declare my devotion to God our Eternal Father, and to his Son, Jesus Christ," President Nelson said. "I know them, love them, and pledge to serve them — and you — with every remaining breath of my life."

At a press conference following the broadcast, the new First Presidency answered questions about diversity among the leadership, the role of women, challenges facing the international church, LGBT issues and the retention of millennials among.

The First Presidency fielded questions as a group, building on each other's ideas and projecting a memorable image of the new partnership between President Nelson, a pioneer in the field of open-heart surgery; President Oaks, a decorated retired law professor and jurist; and President Eyring, a former Stanford Business School professor.

Press conference

During the press conference in the lobby of the Church Office Building, with a painting of Christ and his apostles as a backdrop, President Nelson said the church would continue its worldwide missionary and humanitarian work as well as its emphasis on families and temples.

They encouraged increased partnership between the women and men of the church.