Called to Serve

Print Share

    “Some will ask, why has the Church taken such competent men out of public service in their professions when they are doing so much good where they are? I do not know. The Church has not done it. Rather, the Lord has made clear that these are they who should serve as his witnesses.”
    President Gordon B. Hinckley

    Quorum of the Twelve

    Russell M. Nelson, 59, of Salt Lake City, Utah, has been called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. At the time of his call Elder Nelson was serving as a Regional Representative of the Church.

    Russell M. Nelson

    Elder Russell M. Nelson

    A world-renowned heart surgeon, medical researcher, and lecturer, Elder Nelson has served as president of the Society for Vascular Surgery and chairman of the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery for the American Heart Association.

    He received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah. His residency in surgery was at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at the University of Minnesota where he was awarded his PhD in 1954. He also received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Brigham Young University in 1970.

    Elder Nelson’s professional work has included advancement to the positions of research professor of surgery and director of the Thoracic Surgical Residency at the University of Utah, chairman of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, and member and vice-chairman of the board of governors of LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    He has received many honors, including a Citation for International Service from the American Heart Association.

    Elder Nelson is the son of Marion C. Nelson and the late Edna Anderson Nelson. He is married to the former Dantzel White, and they are the parents of nine daughters and one son. They have 22 grandchildren.

    Dallin H. Oaks, 51, has been called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was serving as a Regional Representative at the time of his call.

    Dallin H. Oaks

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks

    Elder Oaks became a justice of the Utah Supreme Court on January 5, 1981, after completing nine years as the eighth president of Brigham Young University.

    A native of Provo, Utah, he graduated with high honors from Brigham Young University in 1954. Upon graduation he attended the University of Chicago Law School, from which he received the Doctor of Law degree cum laude.

    He began his legal career by serving one year as law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States Supreme Court. He then practiced law for three years in Chicago, specializing in corporate litigation.

    In 1961, Elder Oaks became associate professor of law at the University of Chicago. He also served as associate dean for almost a year and acting dean for several months.

    In 1970 he became executive director of the American Bar Foundation, a large professional research organization.

    He has also served as chairman of the board of directors of Public Broadcasting Service and director of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities.

    Elder Oaks is married to the former June Dixon, and they have five children and seven grandchildren.

    First Quorum of the Seventy

    John K. Carmack, 52, of Los Angeles, California, was president of the Idaho Boise Mission. He is married to the former Shirley Fay Allen, and they have five children and one grandson.

    John K. Carmack

    Robert B. Harbertson, 51, of Farmington, Utah, was a Regional Representative. He is married to Norma Creer. They are the parents of five children and have four grandchildren.

    Robert B. Harbertson

    Spencer H. Osborn, 62, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was a counselor in the presidency of the Salt Lake Temple. He is married to Avanelle Richards, and they have seven children and 16 grandchildren.

    Spencer H. Osborn

    Russell C. Taylor, 58, of Denver, Colorado, was a Regional Representative. He is married to Joyce Elaine Mortensen. They are the parents of six children and have nine grandchildren.

    Russell C. Taylor

    Devere Harris, 67, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was the president of the Idaho Falls Temple. He is married to Velda Gibbs. They have five children, 20 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

    Devere Harris

    Philip T. Sonntag, 62, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was a Regional Representative. He is married to Valoy Andreasen and they have three children and 23 grandchildren.

    Philip T. Sonntag

    Young Women

    Ardeth Kapp has been called as general president of the Young Women. She had previously served in a Young Women General Presidency. She is married to Heber B. Kapp, president of the Bountiful Utah Central Stake.

    Ardeth Kapp

    Relief Society

    Barbara Woodhead Winder of Salt Lake City, Utah, has been called as general president of the Relief Society. She and her husband, California San Diego Mission president Richard Winder, are the parents of four children.

    Barbara Woodhead Winder

    Other Conference News

    In the Saturday morning session of April 1984 general conference, President Hinckley made the following announcement:

    “In the case of the Seventy, we are putting into effect the practice long generally followed and accepted in the Church with reference to other offices. Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy are General Authorities in every sense: in calling, in responsibility, in power and authority. Theirs have been permanent appointments, and those presently serving will continue to so serve. However, tenure of appointment is not important insofar as the work is concerned. Calls to serve as bishop, stake president, Regional Representative, mission president, temple president, and president of the auxiliary organizations are for a period of years. The individual is then honorably released and others are afforded the opportunity of service. After much prayerful consideration, we have called six men, mature and tested through long years of service, to become members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to serve for periods of three to five years, just as a mission president or temple president would do, and then to be released with honor and appreciation. While they so serve, they will be General Authorities with every right, power, and authority necessary to function.”

    New Temples Announced

    The First Presidency has also announced plans to build five new temples. They will be built in San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Bogota, Colombia. The San Diego Temple will serve some 50,000 members; the Portland Temple 82,000; the Las Vegas Temple 43,000; the Toronto Temple 56,000; and the Bogota Temple 55,000. With the five new temples, the number either operating, under construction, or in various planning stages is 47.

    Photos by Eldon Linschoten