Editor’s note: This article was originally published on LDSLiving.com in May 2018 and has been updated for clarity.
How old was the oldest prophet? How old is the oldest Latter-day Saint chapel still in use? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this post celebrating the oldest parts of our Church.
In April 2022 at 97 years, 7 months, and 7 days old, President Russell M. Nelson officially became the oldest prophet, passing President Gordon B. Hinckley.
Oldest Called Prophet
Though President Nelson has lived the longest, President Joseph Fielding Smith became the prophet at age 93, making him the oldest prophet called. He served in that capacity for a short two-and-a-half years, dying only 17 days before his 96th birthday.
Oldest General Relief Society President
Image from Deseret News
Emmeline B. Wells was released from her calling a few short months before she passed away at age 93 after 11 years of service in that calling. She was known for her work with women’s suffrage and for organizing the grain-saving program of the Relief Society that allowed them to donate 200,000 bushels of wheat to the U.S. government during World War I.
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Oldest Participant in the Organization of the Church
Hyrum Smith was 30 years old and the oldest participant when he, his younger brother Joseph, and four others formally organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830.
Oldest Member of the Tabernacle Choir
Image from the Tabernacle Choir blog
According to the Tabernacle Choir blog, before there was an age limit for choir members, 85-year-old George Triplit was a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Born in England, he joined the Church in 1849 and came to Utah almost 20 years later. He became a member of the choir shortly after arriving and sang tenor for 33 years there.
Oldest Continually Used Tabernacle
According to the Deseret News, the Bountiful, Utah, tabernacle was constructed in 1857. Though its construction was interrupted by Johnston’s Army visiting the valley, it was dedicated six years later, in 1863. Though parts of the building and the spire have been renovated, most of its original appearance has been preserved.
Oldest Operating Temple
Image from Wikimedia Commons by Ricardo630
If you’re talking technicalities, you might label the Kirtland Temple as the oldest temple in the Church, but when it comes to a temple that is still used on a regular basis for sacred ordinances, St. George takes the cake! Dedicated on April 6, 1877, the St. George Temple is over 140 years old and was the location of a special revelation from President Wilford Woodruff about the Founding Fathers.
The Preston Branch in England was established in 1837 when the first members were baptized in the River Ribble. In 1979, President Spencer W. Kimball organized the branch into a ward.
Oldest Latter-day Saint Chapel in Europe
The Gadfield Elm chapel, built by the United Brethren in 1836, was given to Wilford Woodruff by the superintendent of the preachers and members of the United Brethren, Elder Thomas Kington. Elder Kington was baptized by Elder Woodruff. The Gadfield Elm chapel quickly became the center of LDS activities there. Today only the walls remain.
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Image from churchofjesuschrist.org
The original Mormonad first appeared in the September 1973 New Era. They were the product of an intern’s suggestion to create gospel-oriented “advertisements” to include in the magazine.
The earliest film produced by the Church was released in 1957. It was a 15-minute short titled Decision and shared the story of a young serviceman faced with a difficult decision about the Word of Wisdom.
Oldest Church Document
A 1982 New Era article reported that the Church acquired a letter from Lucy Mack Smith to her sister-in-law that dated back to January 23, 1829, making it the oldest Latter-day Saint Church document. It includes the story of the lost 116 pages.
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According to the Deseret News, “Although it becomes difficult to know for sure the exact dates a song was written the farther back in history you go, it seems probable that the oldest hymn in the current Latter-day Saint hymnal is ‘The First Noel.’” It likely dates back to the mid-1500s in England.
Did we miss any or do you know of something that’s older than we listed here? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.