By Kedrik Hamblin
The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially named Monday at a press conference in Salt Lake City. Thomas S. Monson was named as the President of the church with Henry B. Eyring as first counselor and Dieter F. Uchtdorf as second counselor.
The reorganization of the first presidency came one week following the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley.
Each member of the first Presidency stood to express his thoughts and feelings on the occasion. President Monson thanked the media for the coverage of President Hinckley”s funeral and also expressed gratitude for those that lined the road to the cemetery Saturday. He then expressed his thoughts on the continuation of the church.
“I know [the Lord] will direct our efforts as we serve him,” President Monson said.
President Monson told members of the media and all listening that the church would continue to reach out and continue to work with leaders of other faiths to solve the problems of the world. He expressed his love for his counselors and also the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
There will be no abrupt changes in the course the church has been following, President Monson said. There could be occasional changes in various programs but doctrine won”t change.
Praising the members of the church and expressing gratitude, President Monson singled out the youth of the church.
“They stand as a beacon of goodness in a world of shifting values,” President Monson said.
“I”ve always had good health,” President Monson said. “I”m healthy and well and still do a day”s work and half a night”s too.”
President Monson told media members that members of the church have a responsibility to be active in the community and cooperate with other organizations. He emphasized the family as being the place where youth should be trained to meet the challenges of the world.
President Eyring rose to express thoughts on President Hinckley and his thoughts on his calling.
“I am grateful for President Hinckley, whom I miss, as we all do, “President Eyring said. “I am grateful for this opportunity and President Monson, I pledge to you my total love and support.”
President Henry Bennion Eyring, 74, was born to Henry and Mildred Eyring in New Jersey where his father was a professor at Princeton University. Henry Eyring graduated with a bachelor”s in physics from the University of Utah and then served two years in the Air Force. He served as a district mission for the full two years he was in the Air Force.
He received a master and doctor of business administration from Harvard and went on to work at Stanford as an assistant and an associate professor. President Eyring also served as director of many corporations in various industries. He served as the President of Rick”s College and later served as deputy commissioner and commissioner of Church Education. President Eyring was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1995.
Similarly, Elder Uchtdorf humbly accepted his new calling.
“I know this call came from God,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
President Uchtdorf expressed his love for President Monson and for the Quorum of the Twelve. He asked members for their prayers and their support.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf was born in Czechoslovakia. His family immigrated to East Germany and later to West Germany when he was 11. His family was introduced to the church by his grandmother”s friend while in East Germany.
President Uchtdorf studied business administration, engineering and international management. He was trained as a pilot in the German Air Force and later graduated from Lufthansa Airline Pilot School. He became a professional pilot and later Senior Vice President of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot for Lufthansa Airlines.
He met Harriet Reich in Frankfurt Germany and the two were married in the Bern Switzerland Temple. They have two children.
Later in the conference, members of the media asked the First Presidency questions.
President Monson answered most of the questions as most were directed to him. Questions ranged from his health to his feelings on taking over after President Hinckley.