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President Nelson will reach a new milestone in church history

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Thursday is the third anniversary of the start of President Russell M. Nelson’s administration as the prophet-leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ordained him as the church president on a January Sunday in 2018. Two days later, he spoke to the world in a broadcast from the Salt Lake Temple and in a subsequent news conference.

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

The length of that service is history-making in his position.

On Tuesday, President Nelson will surpass one of his former mentors, President David O. McKay, to become the second-oldest prophet in church history. Latter-day Saint prophets and apostles serve to the end of their lives.

Here’s a list of the five longest-living prophets since the church’s Restoration in 1830:

  • President Gordon B. Hinckley: 97 years and 218 days
  • President Russell M. Nelson: 96 years, 133 days (as of next Tuesday)
  • President David O. McKay: 96 years, 132 days
  • President Joseph Fielding Smith: 95 years, 359 days
  • President Ezra Taft Benson: 94 years, 201 days

(Others who served into their 90s: Presidents Wilford Woodruff, Spencer W. Kimball and Thomas S. Monson.)

The profile I wrote of President Nelson at the start of his presidency illustrated how he followed the counsel of prophets during his life, including President McKay. The historic operation he performed on President Kimball was another example of a future prophet following a prophet’s guidance. Read the stories here.

What I’m Reading ...

The Church News published a suite of content on the three-year anniversary of President Nelson’s administration. For a podcast, Sarah Jane Weaver interviewed his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Sister Sheri Dew. One story collected over 39 announcements and changes made during the past 36 months.

Missionaries are giving virtual tours of church history sites.

Check out the trailer for the new movie “Witnesses” about the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon. It is scheduled to be in theaters this summer.

Leaders from different faiths, including a Latter-day Saint, answered the question, “Does God respond to my tears?”

LDS Living published a fun look at the odd reference to the Book of Mormon during a broadcast of a recent American football game.

I watched the 2019 movie “Midway” again recently. That prompted a search about World War II veterans. One site I found listed prominent veterans still living, but it is not kept up to date. It listed Latter-day Saint historian Richard Lloyd Anderson as still living, and he died in 2018.

As of May 2020, on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, some 300,000 of 16 million vets were still living, according to Pew Research Center. About 300 die each day, according to the National World War II Museum.

Behind the Scenes

Late church President Spencer W. Kimball speaks with Brother Russell M. Nelson, who performed life-saving open-heart surgery on President Kimball and now has followed in his footsteps to become president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Nelson family