Apostolic info

For some reason, last fall, I was curious and created a table* that included all the Apostles, and the information regarding their ordination and tenure:


I put the 1994 ordination in a separate category as Benson was not active in his administration at this time. Some interesting observations:

  • If all the apostle live to the same age, the succession after President Hinckley would be Elder Monson then Elder Oaks then Holland and then Bednar.
  • President Kimball had the greatest influence over the composure of the Quorum, but one could argue that President Hinckley is close.
  • Elder Monson really has been an Apostle for a long time.
  • Elder Eyring looks quite young for his age.

*Table is current as of the date of the post.


  1. So what is the median age of death for people who have become Prophet? And what’s the age of death if you limit that to the last 40 years? I’m not quite sure what you mean by

    If all the apostle live to the same age


  2. A few weeks ago I did a similar kind of thing for the first 2/3 of the 20th century, mainly focusing on years of tenure.

  3. a random John says:


    Interestingly it doesn’t matter what that age is. Just pick an age (say 100, or 89) and then assume that all apostles live to exactly that age. Of course this isn’t going to happen, or if it did, they’d all live to 72, right? And it is too late for that.

  4. I don’t have the time to look up the mean age of death for prophets in the last 40 years, but it is farily old, JFS and McKay where both around 96 if I remember correctly. I just meant, that the next youngest apostle would be the prophet, assuming that noone older than the prophet was still around.

  5. J. Stapley, you will want to correct the date of Elder Holland’s ordination. It was June 23, not May 23, three weeks after the death of President Benson. Jeff Holland is the sole member of the Hunter class.

    Thanks for putting this up. As you may imagine, I have tables like this, too, and another post coming some day on apostolic mortality.

  6. Aaron Brown says:

    Last fall, I added up the ages of all the post-Restoration Apostles from when they were ordained, multiplied it by the number of times the word “verily” appears in the Book of Mormon, divided the product by the distance, in miles, between Adam-Ondi-Ahman and the Sacred Grove, and then added the number of pages in all 26 volumes of the Journal of Discourses. Guess what I found? You guessed it … the EXACT number of light-years between Earth and Kolob.

    That just can’t be a coincidence. THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!

    Aaron B

  7. Thanks John. It is updated. And yes, we are dorks.

    I have to admit, Jared, that yours is beautiful and replete with great info. I was traveling when you posted and missed it. Thanks for posting the link.

  8. Aaron – No references to “and it came to pass?”

  9. Does your table mention whether any of them are black?

  10. A random John, I realize that it’s pretty arbitrary just choosing any age. But my thinking is that men who become prophet probably have better access to health care, better care in general (for example, they don’t have to worry about where they’ll live, or who’ll drive them places, and better social opportunities, and more reason to live in general than the average ninety year old. That’s even if you don’t believe in any kind of divine intervention here. So I’m thinking that seeing that median age of death is probably the most meaningful date to choose– assuming that it’s meaningful at all.

  11. Last Lemming says:

    I get a mean age of 77.4 and a median of 78.

  12. Last Lemming— is that for all prophets? or just just recent ones? I’m surprised it’s that low. That was age of death?

  13. Last Lemming says:

    Sorry. I was contesting J’s statistics of 81 and 82 under his table. My figures are not for prophets.

  14. Yep, that is correct, Last Lemming. I had an error in my excel cell; and as I didn’t really look that close at those numbers, I fell through. Thanks for the note…I’ll try to update it soon.

  15. I would think that a prophet’s expected life span would be shorter, because the risk for martyrdom is greater.

  16. DKL’s right — you’re in the sniper’s sights the minute the mantle hits your shoulders.

  17. Aaron: Please provide the data that you used in your purported calculations. I’d like to see them, because I believe that they’ll expose to the world that your your “proof” of the church’s truthfullness is nothing more than a ridiculous canard!

  18. I thought I was dorky.

  19. Here are the ages of the presidents at death in the last 40 years:
    Howard W. Hunter 88
    Gordon B. Hinckley 96
    Spencer W. Kimball 90
    David O. MacKay 97
    Ezra T. Benson 95
    Harold B. Lee 74
    Joseph Fielding Smith 96
    Gleaned from the internet, so accuracy is not certain. Some of the info only had birth and death years, not dates,so I may be off a bit on the actual age of death. I know they’re not in order, and GBH doesn’t quite count yet. Someone else can do the math– I was an English major.

  20. Thanks, J. Stapley.

    I look at that table and think about the next 10-20 years. There is going to be some major turnover in the quorum. I think these stats ought to be sobering to Elder Bednar. The next youngest apostles are 12 years older than him.

  21. Jared: I look at that table and think about the next 10-20 years.

    Well, if they’re looking for qualified candidates, I hear that Grant McMurray is available.

  22. a random John says:


    The point is that it doesn’t matter what age you pick. Pick any single number and use it on all of them. Some numbers are low enough to not make much sense. For example, 70 would mean that most of them are already dead and that Uchdorff would be the oldest left, but if you pick any number over 79 it works. Of course things won’t happen that way, but it is a reasonable guess from what little info is in the chart.

  23. Yes Jared (20), It seems the chances of Bednar being prophet eventually are reasonably good.

  24. The ages of death:

    David O. McKay: 96
    Joseph Fielding Smith: 95
    Harold B. Lee: 74
    Spencer W. Kimball: 90
    Ezra Taft Benson: 94
    Howard W. Hunter: 87

    With President Hinckley added in, the average age is 90.3. The average for all church presidents is 83.4.

  25. I am, of course, a nerd, and so I have a table like this as well. Here’s another little thought to kick around. How many Apostles actually become the prophet who were ordained in the 20th century? For example, of the fifteeen men with keys when President Hinckley was ordained the newest Apostle, 7 of them were at one point the prophet.

    McKay, Smith, Lee, Kimball, Benson, Hunter, Hinckley

    Is this a quirk of those years or what we should expect going forward? In which case, about half the current Apostles/FP are at one point going to be prophets?

    On the other hand, I am inclined to think it is at least somewhat unusual.

  26. Three of those prophets were President of the Church for less than three years, so I guess the likelihood of a large number of current apostles becoming the prophet will depend on the quirks of longevity for those who do become the prophet.

  27. Since you’re in the process of fixing errors, Elder Uchtdorf’s surname is misspelled in the table.

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