There is a lot to be said for age, consistency, and longevity. And for the Church’s First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, their wisdom, spiritual strength, and collective experience serving together has clearly been a blessing to the Church.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who was recently temporarily excused from all Church assignments and meetings for health reasons, released an essay for Church News praising the First Presidency and commenting on the blessings of age, wisdom, and maturity. As Elder Holland points out, these three men, who have 106 years of service as Apostles between them, have overseen a revamp of Church curriculum, expanded the Church’s outreach to other faiths, pioneered an emphasis on and developed the resources for a home-centered, Church-supported focus for members, established an enhanced and elevated temple experience, and announced a historic number of temple projects around the world.
You can read Elder Holland’s full commentary on Church News.
And why did Elder Holland write such an essay? Earlier this week, President Henry B. Eyring celebrated his 90th birthday, creating a Church history first, and Church News reported on an interesting historical note about the current Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Learn more about those milestones below:
Four Apostles reach age 90
For the first time in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, four of its senior-most leaders have reached the age of 90.
Yesterday, May 31, 2023, President Henry B. Eyring celebrated his 90th birthday, establishing an entirely nonagenarian First Presidency for the first time in Church history. President Dallin H. Oaks celebrated his 90th birthday last August and President Russell M. Nelson will turn a historic 99 years old in September. In 2022, President Nelson also became the longest living Latter-day Apostle and the oldest President of the Church.
The fourth Apostle over the age of 90 is also the second-oldest in the quorum: President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is 94 years old and will turn 95 in October.
Church News has reported that September 10, 2014, was the first time the Church had three Apostles in their 90s. Elder L. Tom Perry was 92 years old when Elder Russell M. Nelson, who was serving in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, turned 90 on September 9, 2014. President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, celebrated his 90th birthday the following day.
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes sixth–longest tenured in Church history
When President Nelson and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, were sustained and set apart to the First Presidency on January 14, 2018, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had two vacancies due to the passing of President Thomas S. Monson and Elder Robert D. Hales.
Then on March 31, 2018, Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares filled those vacancies and were sustained as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
As of June 1, 2023, Church News reports that the 15 Apostles currently serving have worked together for 1,889 days—longer than all but 5 other iterations of the quorum since it was established in 1835. The longest a group of 15 Apostles has served together in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was for over 10 years—from the ordination of Elder John A. Widtsoe in 1921 to the death of Elder Orson F. Whitney in 1931—during the tenure of President Heber J. Grant.