Elder Russell M. Nelson was called as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on July 15, replacing the late Boyd K. Packer.
Typically, the most senior apostle by time served is called to be the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. President Nelson’s service as an apostle began on April 7, 1984, giving the 90-year-old more than 31 years of experience as an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Nelson and Elder Dallin H. Oaks were sustained as apostles in the same April general conference to fill the vacancies left by the deaths of Mark E. Petersen and LeGrand Richards.
Elder Nelson was born in Brigham City, Utah, on Sept. 9, 1924. He made his education and career in medicine. He received his B.S. and M.D. from the University of Utah in 1945 and 1947, respectively. He then completed his surgical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and his Ph.D at the University of Minnesota. His work on the heart-lung machine was instrumental in the performance of the first open-heart surgery at the University of Utah, and he assisted with the operation. Elder Nelson performed successful open heart surgery on then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Spencer W. Kimball. Presdient Kimball would then go on replace President Harold B. Lee as the president of the church.
Elder Nelson has 10 children. He married Dantzel White — the mother of his children — in the Salt Lake Temple on Aug. 31, 1945. She passed away in February 2005. Elder Nelson then married Wendy L. Watson on May 1, 2006.
President Nelson served in the church as a stake president, general president of the Sunday School and regional representative before he was called to be an apostle.