On Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008, President Thomas S. Monson became the 16th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, making February the five-year anniversary of his presiding over the LDS Church.
In his five years as president of the Church, President Monson has had calculable successes, including an increase in missionary work with the missionary age change announcement on Oct. 6, 2012, and the dedication of 12 temples. He has been serving in Church leadership positions since 1950.
President Monson became a bishop at age 22 in 1950, where he presided over 1,000 members of his ward. During his service as a bishop, he was known for showing great compassion and care to the widows of his ward, of which there were 85. In 1959, President Monson was called to serve as the mission president over the Canadian Mission, a capacity he held until 1962. In 1963, President Monson was called to be an apostle at age 36, becoming the youngest apostle in the Church since Joseph Fielding Smith.
Just one week after President Monson became the president of the Church, he dedicated the Rexburg, Idaho temple on Feb. 10, 2008. He has also dedicated the following temples: Curitiba, Brazil; Panama City, Panama; Twin Falls, Idaho; Draper, Utah; Oquirrh Mountain, Utah; Vancouver, British Colombia; Gila Valley, Arizona; Cebu City, Philippines; Kyiv, Ukraine; Kansas City, Missouri; and Calgary Alberta. He also rededicated the Mexico City, Mexico Temple and the Laie, Hawaii Temple.
President Monson has a love for the temple, and he often reminds members of the blessings of visiting the temple.
“To you who are worthy and able to attend the temple, I would admonish you to go often. The temple is a place where we can find peace. There we receive a renewed dedication to the gospel and a strengthened resolve to keep the commandments,” he said.
President Monson is very mindful of the proximity of members to temples.
“Now 65 percent of Church members live within 100 miles of a temple and 85 percent live within 200 miles. That is a wonderful miracle,” Elder Kenneth Johnson, president of the Australia/New Zealand Area of the Church, said.
“We continue to build temples. We desire that as many members as possible have an opportunity to attend the temple without having to travel inordinate distances,” President Monson said.
For the past 32 years, President Monson has published 12 books. He spent years as a sales and general manager of the Deseret News Press.
President Monson has had five years as prophet, and members of the Church look forward to years to come with such a loving man.