President Nelson’s 93rd Birthday Is an “Ordinary Day of Work”

Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer

  • 12 September 2017

President Russell M. Nelson and his wife Wendy Nelson speak at RootsTech in Salt Lake City on Saturday, February 11, 2017.   Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred.

Article Highlights

  • President Nelson spent his 93rd birthday on an assignment in New York City.
  • President Nelson enjoyed an accomplished career as a surgeon before his call to be an apostle.

It’s an “ordinary day of work” for President Russell M. Nelson on his 93rd birthday.

On assignment in New York City for the weekend, President Nelson spent the day of September 9—his birthday—with his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, and local priesthood leaders and missionaries.

Of all the things he could be doing on his birthday, he's doing the same thing he's done for more than three decades—ministering to the members of the Church.

“Wendy and I are always inspired when meeting with the missionaries,” President Nelson told the Church News. “They represent their families and their faith. They serve the Lord with zeal and devotion. We are so very grateful for each precious one.”

As the Church’s second-most senior leader, President Nelson has been serving as an apostle since April 7, 1984, and has been a part of the growth of the Church in the latter days. Since July 15, 2015, he has been serving as the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Nelson has acquired many impressive titles in his life—soldier, husband, father, surgeon, scholar, linguist, and musician—that prepared him for his ministry as a special witness of Jesus Christ.

Whether it is his “perfect pitch,” his talent on the piano and organ, or his love of snow skiing, President Nelson is a great example of developing talents.

Prior to becoming an apostle, President Nelson was an internationally renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and medical researcher. Becoming a doctor at age 22, a highlight of his career was his work in developing the heart-lung machine that supported the first open-heart operation on a human being in 1951.

His career included published writings in medical textbooks and other publications, lectures to various audiences all over the world, as well as numerous awards for his work in the medical profession.

In addition to a rigorous academic and medical career, he and his late wife, Sister Dantzel Nelson, are the parents of ten children—nine girls and one boy. Sister Nelson passed away in February 2005. In 2006, President Nelson married Sister Wendy L. Watson.

He served in the United States Army and, in an effort to speak to people in their own languages, over the years he has learned Mandarin, French, Russian and Spanish. President Nelson has been instrumental in bringing the gospel to Eastern Europe—specifically Russia.

Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Photo by Church News.

Elder Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy W. Nelson attend the 2014 Seminar for New Mission Presidents in June. Photo by Gerry Avant.

President Russell M. Nelson, president of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife Wendy exit the Conference Center in Salt Lake City following the Sunday morning session of the LDS Church’s 187th Annual General Conference on Sunday, April 2, 2017. Photo by Scott G Winterton.