Forty years ago, on April 7, 1984, Russell M. Nelson and Dallin H. Oaks were sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, neither having served previously as a General Authority. Elder Nelson, 59, was a heart surgeon and Elder Oak, 51, was a Utah Supreme Court justice. Both had served as Regional Representatives (a calling similar to Area Seventies today) and both had distinguished themselves in their respective professions in medicine and law.

Although they were ordained in the coming days and weeks as the 85th and 86th Apostles called in this dispensation, their first public comments show in whom they trust and humbly teach us much as to what would transpire over the next 40 years.

Being hired by the Church Educational System in the summer of 1984 as a full-time religious educator, their words have guided me in my career. In his first address, then-Elder Nelson declared: “[My] feelings are blanketed by feelings of faith. …I have implicit faith in the Lord and in His prophets. I have learned not to put question marks but to use exclamation points when calls are issued through inspired channels of priesthood government. … Desired blessings come only by obedience to divine law, and in no other way. My lifetime thus far has been focused on learning those laws. Only as the laws are known, and then obeyed, can the blessings we desire be earned. To this extent, there will be little difference for me in the activities of the past and those of the future. The endless laws of the Lord are the doctrines taught by His Apostles” (“Call to the Holy Apostleship”, April 1984 Gen. Conf.).

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