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The First Presidency

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008

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Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

President Thomas S. Monson

President Thomas S. Monson, world leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was ordained and set apart as the 16th President of the Church on Feb. 2, 2008.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
President Thomas S. Monson
President Thomas S. Monson has been on the Lord's errand all his life, from serving as president of his ward's teachers quorum in his teens, to serving as bishop in his early 20s, to presiding over a mission in his early 30s, to becoming a member of the Quorum of the Twelve at age 36.

For the 22 years prior to being set apart as 16th President of the Church on Feb. 3, 2008, President Monson served as counselor to three presidents: second counselor to President Ezra Taft Benson and President Howard W. Hunter and, for nearly 13 years, first counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Five years after his call to the Twelve, he was given a special assignment for the work of the Church in Europe, requiring many visits with members behind the Iron Curtain in the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary. He had a key role in gaining permission from the East German government to build the Freiberg Germany Temple, which was dedicated in 1985, and in advancing the work of the Lord in other eastern European countries that were part of the communist bloc.

His life is associated with benevolence and compassion, serving others with a desire to nourish the weak and strengthen the weary. His role in the Church's welfare program has been characterized by one-on-one service.

He remembers how his father never spoke ill of another, and would leave the room when others spoke disrespectfully or negatively. He often speaks of his mother who taught him compassion by her acts of service to others, particularly those who were hungry or in need.

On one occasion, on a cold winter's night, a knock came at Bishop Monson's door. A German man living in Ogden began to weep as he told how his brother, a faithful member in Germany during World War II, and his family were moving from Germany to an apartment in Bishop Monson's ward. Then-Bishop Monson visited the apartment and found it woefully inadequate. The next morning during a ward welfare committee meeting, he described the challenge. Members offered their skills and services. When the family arrived three weeks later, they found new carpet and paint, adequate lighting and full cupboards. "The father . . . buried his head in my shoulder and repeated the words, 'Mein Bruder, mein Bruder, mein Bruder.' "

Family: Born Aug. 21, 1927, in Salt Lake City to G. Spencer and Gladys Condie Monson; two brothers and three sisters; married Frances Beverly Johnson in the Salt Lake Temple on Oct. 7, 1948; three children: two sons, Tom and Clark; one daughter, Ann Dibb; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Church service: Called at age 22 as bishop of the Sixth-Seventh Ward in Salt Lake City, with some 1,080 members, including about 84 widows; called as counselor in a stake presidency at age 27; called as president of the Canadian Mission at age 31; served on several Church committees, including the Adult Correlation Committee and helped pioneer the home teaching program of the Church; sustained on Oct. 4, 1963, at age 36 to Quorum of the Twelve. As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, he supervised the missions in western America, the South Pacific, Mexico, Central America and Europe. After a number of years and following the policy of rotation, the European missions were transferred to another member of the Twelve; however, Elder Monson retained responsibility for all countries behind the Iron Curtain. He was instrumental in the construction of the Freiberg Germany Temple, served as chairman of the Scriptures Publication Committee and supervised the process which resulted in new editions of the Standard Works of the Church. Called on Nov. 10, 1985, as second counselor to President Ezra Taft Benson; called in 1994 as second counselor to President Howard W. Hunter and in 1995 as first counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley; ordained and set apart on Feb. 3, 2008, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Education: Graduated with honors from the University of Utah in 1948 with a degree in business; received an MBA from Brigham Young University, and received honorary Doctor of Laws degree from BYU, honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Salt Lake Community College, and honorary Doctor of Business from the University of Utah.

Employment: Began working for Deseret News in 1948 as assistant classified advertising manager; shortly thereafter he became classified advertising manager; he became an officer of Newspaper Agency Corporation in 1952, became sales manager of Deseret News Press in 1953, and later became assistant general manager; served as president of the Printing Industry of Utah and later served as a director of the Printing Industries of America; named general manager of Deseret Press upon returning home from serving as a mission president in Canada; chairman of the Deseret News Board of directors for 19 years.

Civic: Has served nearly four decades on the National Executive Board of Boy Scouts of America; received Scouting's Silver Beaver and Silver Buffalo awards and International Scouting's highest award, the Bronze Wolf. In December 1981 President Monson was appointed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to serve on the President's Task Force for Private Sector Initiatives. He served in this capacity until December 1982, when the work of the task force was completed.

Military Service: In 1945-1946, served active duty in U.S. Naval Reserve.

Henry B. Eyring

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Henry B. Eyring

President Henry B. Eyring was set apart Feb. 3, 2008, as first counselor in the First Presidency to President Thomas S. Monson, and sustained April 5, 2008, in the solemn assembly of general conference.

He was sustained Oct. 6, 2007, and set apart Oct. 11, 2007, as second counselor in the First Presidency to President Gordon B. Hinckley.

He was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve April 1, 1995, and ordained an apostle April 6, 1995, at age 61.

He was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy Oct. 3, 1992, and as first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric April 6, 1985.

Before being called as a General Authority he served as a regional representative, member of the Sunday School general board, and bishop.

Born May 31, 1933, in Princeton, N.J., to Henry and Mildred Bennion Eyring.

He received a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Utah, and master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University in business administration. His passion was to teach; he became an assistant professor and associate professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto, Calif.

He served as the president of Ricks College, 1971-77, before being called as Deputy Commissioner, and then Commissioner, of Church Education.

He and his wife, Kathleen Johnson Eyring, are parents of six children and have 25 grandchildren.

President Eyring was reared by parents who valued education. His father was a chemistry professor at Princeton University and his mother had been a professor at the University of Utah and a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin when she met and married her husband.

The Eyring home was a learning laboratory — filled with discussion about "deep, serious things" — where President Eyring learned to cherish religion and appreciate science and to respect others. Once President Eyring asked his father why he asked the gas station attendants questions. "Dad said, 'I never met a man I couldn't learn something from.' "

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was set apart Feb. 3, 2008, as second counselor in the First Presidency to President Thomas S. Monson, and sustained April 5, 2008, in the solemn assembly in general conference.

He was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Oct. 2, 2004, and ordained an apostle Oct. 7, 2004, at age 63.

He was called to the Presidency of the Seventy Aug. 15, 2002, and sustained Oct. 5, 2002.

He was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy April 6, 1996.

He was sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy April 2, 1994.

Prior to being called as a General Authority, he was stake president and stake mission president.

He received his education in engineering, and later studied business administration and international management.

He is a former senior vice president for flight operations and chief pilot for Lufthansa German Airlines.

He was born Nov. 6, 1940, in Ostrava, the former Czechoslovakia, to Karl Albert and Hilde Else Opelt Uchtdorf, and grew up in Germany.

He married Harriet Reich Uchtdorf; they are parents of two children, and have six grandchildren.

His family joined the Church as a result of a missionary-minded, elderly woman who invited his grandmother to Church in East Germany. He was baptized two years after his family, when he turned 8 years old.

Reflecting on his life, he gives full credit to the teachings and the programs of the Church for what has happend to him.

In October 2006 general conference, he said: "Our motives and thoughts ultimately influence our actions. The testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the most powerful motivating force in our lives. Jesus repeatedly emphasized the power of good thoughts and proper motives: 'Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.' "