Thomas S. Monson
Church service: Age 22: Bishop; Age 27: counselor stake presidency; Age 31: president of the Canadian Mission; 1963: Apostle; 1985: second counselor to Pres. Ezra Taft Benson; 1994: second counselor to Pres. Howard W. Hunter; 1995: first counselor to Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley; 2008: president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Employment: President of the Printing Industry of Utah, director of the Printing Industries of America, general manager of Deseret Press upon return from being mission president in Canada, chairman of the Deseret News board of directors for 19 years.
Interesting facts: He once made a Primary teacher cry because he was so disruptive as a boy. He also frequently went behind the Iron Curtain to administer to the Saints in East Germany.
Henry B. Eyring
Church Service: Bishop, member of the Sunday School general board, regional representative; 1985: first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric; 1992: First Quorum of the Seventy; 1995: Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; 2007: second counselor to Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley; 2008: first counselor to Pres. Thomas S. Monson.
Employment: Assistant professor and associate professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, President of Ricks College from 1971 to 1977, deputy commissioner and then commissioner of LDS Church Education System.
Interesting fact: His children still remember well coming home to find their television set with a massive crack in the middle. Their mother said she was “dusting under the TV, and it slipped.”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Church service: Stake President twice; 1994: Second Quorum of the Seventy; 1996: First Quorum of the Seventy; 2002: Presidency of the Seventy; 2004: Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; 2008: second counselor to Pres. Thomas S. Monson.
Employment: German Air Force for six years; 1965: pilot for Lufthansa German Airlines; 1970–1996: airline captain and several executive positions, including head of airline pilot school, director of in-flight services, head of cockpit crews, senior vice president of flight operations and chief pilot of Lufthansa German Airlines. He also served as chair of the Flight Operations Committee of the International Air Transport Association.
Interesting facts: He and his wife, Harriet, are avid bike riders and frequently go on long rides together. In 1973, he negotiated with terrorists who hijacked a plane, and completed his flight mission without incident.
Boyd K. Packer
Church service: President of the New England States Mission; 1961: assistant to the Twelve; 1970: Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; 1994: acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve; 2008: president of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Pilot in the Pacific theater during World War II, supervisor of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion.
Interesting fact: He was stricken with polio at age 5 but didn’t know it was polio until many years later, when he enlisted for service in WWII.
L. Tom Perry
Church service: Counselor in bishoprics and stake presidencies; president of the Boston Stake; 1972: assistant to the Twelve; 1974: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Controller, vice president and treasurer of department store organizations in Idaho, California and Boston.
Interesting fact: His father encouraged him to use the family car when he was young to help him be less shy. His father later regretted this because the car was never available for family use on the weekends.
Russell M. Nelson
Church service: Stake president; regional representative; Sunday School general president; 1984: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Renowned surgeon and medical researcher, president of the Utah Medical Association Society for Vascular Surgery, chair of the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery for the American Heart Association
Interesting fact: During the Korean War, Elder Nelson did several tours that took him to the front lines of battle.
Dallin H. Oaks
Church service: Counselor in stake presidency; regional representative; 1984: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, practiced law in Chicago, professor of law at the University of Chicago, nine years as BYU president, three-and-one-half years as justice of the Utah Supreme Court.
Interesting facts: He wasn’t quite 8 years old when his father died of tuberculosis. He obtained a first-class radiotelephone at age 16, which allowed him to operate a commercial radio station’s transmitter.
M. Russell Ballard
Church service: Counselor to mission president; bishop (twice); president of the Canada Toronto Mission; 1976: First Quorum of the Seventy; 1980: presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy; 1985: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Interests in the automotive, real estate and investment businesses, served on many church and civic committees and boards.
Interesting facts: In college, he was nicknamed “the bishop” by his fraternity because of how well he upheld his standards. He took years to recover from a failed business venture but survived because of his good reputation and integrity.
Richard G. Scott
Church service: Counselor in the Washington, D.C. stake presidency; regional representative; president of Argentina North Mission; 1977: First Quorum of the Seventy; 1983: presidency of the Quorum of the Twelve; 1988: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Worked on the staff of Adm. Hyman Rickover developing military and private nuclear power reactors, consultant to nuclear power industry.
Interesting fact: He and his brothers often tinkered with mechanical things as kids. Their parents even trusted them to fix the car, and they once attached a caboose whistle to the exhaust.
Robert D. Hales
Church service: Bishop and branch president; counselor in stake presidency; regional representative; president of England London Mission; first counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency; 1975: assistant to the Twelve; 1976: First Quorum of the Seventy; 1985: presiding bishop; 1994: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Jet fighter pilot in U.S. Air Force, executive with three major national companies.
Interesting fact: He played in the Nokia Champions Challenge celebrity pro-am golf tournament with Steve Poulsen, Cheryl Ladd and Tom Trane.
Jeffrey R. Holland
Church service: Bishop; counselor in stake presidency; regional representative; 1989: First Quorum of the Seventy; 1994: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Dean of College of Religious Education at BYU, BYU president from 1980 to 1989, LDS Church commissioner of education.
Interesting fact: Was companions with Elder Quentin L. Cook during his mission to England.
David A. Bednar
Church Service: Bishop; stake president; regional representative; area Seventy; 2004: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Professor of Business Management at Texas Tech University and University of Arkansas, president of BYU—Idaho form 1997 to 2004.
Interesting facts: He played at quarterback for his high school in California. His father was not a member of the church, but Elder Bednar later baptized, confirmed and ordained him to the priesthood.
Quentin L. Cook
Church service: Bishop; counselor in stake presidency; stake president; regional representative; area authority; 1996: Second Quorum of the Seventy; 1998: First Quorum of the Seventy; 2007: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Managing partner of a law firm and CEO of a California healthcare system
Interesting fact: Served as a companion to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland while on his mission to England.
D. Todd Christofferson
Church service: Bishop; counselor in stake presidency; stake president; regional representative; 1993: First Quorum of the Seventy; 1998: Presidency of the Seventy; 2008: Quorum of the Twelve.
Employment: Law clerk to John J. Sirica, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, practiced law in Washington, D.C., Tennessee and North Carolina, associate general counsel of NationsBank Corp. (Now Bank of America).
Interesting facts: He met his wife at BYU. He was hired as a law clerk to the federal judge who later presided over the Watergate scandal involving former president Nixon.
Neil L. Andersen
Church service: Stake president; president of the France Bordeaux Mission; area authority in Europe and South America for 10 years; 1993: First Quorum of the Seventy; 2005: Presidency of the Seventy; 2009: Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Employment: Business interests in advertising, real estate development and healthcare, all based in Florida.
Interesting fact: He worked on a dairy farm in Idaho for years, milking countless cows every day. He met his wife while running for BYUSA in the early 70s.
General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live lives of sacrifice and dedication to the Lord and his church.
General Authorities are required to give up their careers to serve in the LDS Church. These callings require them to continually make sacrifices and work hard until they die.
“These men are tireless workers; many of them could be retired and golfing in St. George. But instead, they work 60–80 hour weeks,” said Mark Ogletree, associate professor of church history at BYU. “They travel the world with their assignments. … They give up time with their families … and they don’t have much time to relax.”
President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, gave insight into the rigorous travel schedule of the Apostles in the April 2008 general conference.
“I have been in Mexico and Central and South America more than 75 times, in Europe over 50 times, Canada 25 times, the islands of the Pacific 10 times, Asia 10 times, and Africa 4 times; also China twice; to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Dominican Republic, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, and many, many other places around the globe. Others have traveled even more than that,” he said.
President Gordon B. Hinckley gave a speech on BYU campus in September 1983. He said he returned from Santiago, Chile, just the day before and had gotten little sleep. He also said he had spoken to 15 different congregations in the past 10 days. These congregations ranged from Santiago to Detroit.
“Just ahead is the General Conference, for which much preparation is needed. I do not have a speech writer. I have only the opportunity to pray and work,” said President Hinckley in his speech. “When I have concluded today, you may conclude that I should have prayed more and written less.”
The Apostles and prophets must concern themselves for the well-being of every member of the LDS Church, despite their constant traveling.
Ogletree said the General Authorities’ tireless work, their extraordinarily meek and humble attributes, their love for God and their willingness to make whatever sacrifice is needed for the Kingdom of God on the earth are some of the qualities that set them apart from most of the members of the church.
By the end of their lives General Authorities can apply this quote by former church president Spencer W. Kimball:
“My life is like my shoes — to be worn out in service.”