The LDS Church now has three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve with the death of Elder Richard G. Scott on Sept. 22. The worldwide Mormon community will be anticipating news about new members of the Twelve during the church’s upcoming General Conference this weekend.
President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, died in July at age 90. Elder L. Tom Perry died in May at age 92, Elder Scott was 86.
The last time the Quorum of the Twelve had this many vacancies was in 1906 after the death of Elder Marriner W. Merrill and the resignations of Elder John W. Taylor and Elder Matthias F. Cowley. Elders George F. Richards, Orson F. Whitney and future President of the Church David O. McKay were ordained apostles in 1906 to fill the void.
“I’m really excited to find out who the new apostles will be,” BYU psychology student and Latter-day Saint Sierra Phillips said. “You really come to love the apostles, and their words offer comfort and inspiration. It really is such a huge decision.”
An apostle is “to be a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world, particularly of His divinity and of His bodily resurrection from the dead,” according to lds.org. The apostles also have a lot of secular responsibilities as they preside over councils that govern the LDS Church, an organization with more than 15 million members.
“Apostles are chosen through inspiration by the President of the Church, sustained by the general membership of the Church and ordained by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by the laying on of hands,” according to lds.org.
New apostles are not necessarily chosen for their extended leadership in the LDS Church. As Mormon Newsroom explains, “The new member of the Twelve may be called from one of the Quorums of the Seventy or from general Church membership around the world.”
With the political community revving up for the 2016 presidential election, the appointment of LDS apostles provides contrast from the public sector, according to the former LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley.
“The procedure is peculiar to the Church as no one is seeking for office, no jockeying for position, no campaigning to promote one’s virtues,” President Hinckley said. “Under the Lord’s plan, those who have responsibility to select officers are governed by one overwriting question, ‘Whom would the Lord have?'”
The last time a new apostle was called was in 2009. Elder Neil L. Andersen joined the Quorum of the Twelve after Joseph B. Wirthlin passed away on December 1, 2008.
The October 2015 General Conference will begin with the general women’s meeting on Sept. 26 and continue with the priesthood session and four general sessions from Oct. 3-4.