Bench Strength: Predicting the Next 3 Apostles

Clear President Monson’s calendar.

The recent passing of three apostles means the Church President will likely call three replacements this week, and depending on where they come from, he might just need to call replacements for the replacements as well.
Who will they be? I’m glad you asked.

Today’s guest post is by Ken C, husband to Angela C.

Six years ago, I researched the selection of recent apostles, using the trends I saw to determine who might be under consideration as the next apostle. My sample included all apostles called since Pres. Monson entered in the First Presidency (FP). He wasn’t in charge in most of these situations, but I assumed he was involved to a greater extent in the decision-making process, if not the revelatory process, as he counseled with then Presidents Benson, Hunter and Hinckley.

Since Pres. Monson joined the FP in November 1985, ten apostles have been called to the Quorum of the Twelve (Q12). I reviewed their pre-apostolic resumes to see if I could identify common factors that may have led to their selection, and for what it’s worth, Pres. Monson’s first two selections have fit in perfectly with the other eight.

AGE
The last ten apostles called have all been between 52 and 69 years of age, but we can drill down a little further than that:

  • 6 of the 10 were clustered together in the center, aged between 57 and 63 when called.
  • 2 of the 10 were younger than the norm: Holland (53) and Bednar (52).
  • 2 of the 10 were older than the norm: Wirthlin (69) and Cook (67).
  • Beyond these nine I found that new apostles are seldom called once they reach the age of 70; it has happened only 5 times in the history of the Church, and the most recent, Hugh B. Brown, was over 50 years ago.

Based on recent history, I’ve placed the “target range” for apostolic callings in the late 50s or early 60s. Pres. Monson’s first picks were right in the target range, at ages 63 and 57.

EXPERIENCE
The last 10 apostles came from 3 different pools:

  • 6 of the 10 were called directly from the Presidency of the Seventy (P70), which makes sense organizationally
  • 2 of the 10 served in the First Quorum of Seventy (1Q70), but served in the Presiding Bishopric (PB) rather than the P70.
  • 2 of the 10 were current or former presidents of Church-owned universities. E. Holland had also subsequently served in the 1Q70, but not the P70. E. Bednar had only served as an Area Authority/Area Seventy in addition to his time as president of BYU-Idaho. I found it interesting that these 2 had such different paths to the Q12 because I had already considered them outliers based on their age when called.

Another way to state this is that 9 out of 10 new apostles had served in the 1Q70, plus had spent time in the P70, PB, or as president of a Church university.

Ulisses Soares. No middle initial? Sorry, buddy.

LENGTH OF SERVICE
I was surprised to find little correlation to length of service in the P70 and an apostolic calling, at least for the sample as a whole. Of the 6 who served in the P70, the time they spent there varied widely from 5 weeks (Wirthlin) to 10 years (Christofferson). Others served 2 months, 2 years, 4 years, and 5 years. That may have changed a bit with Pres. Monson, whose first two apostolic callings have been to Presidents of the Seventy who were right at or near the top of seniority within those groups.

More interesting is the correlation between total time served in the 70 (any quorum), PB, as university president, or Assistant to the 12. 9 of the 10 newly called apostles had at least 10 years combined service in these groups. Only Bednar (always the outlier) fell short of this mark.

EDUCATION
Apostles are generally viewed as successful men, but I had never really looked at what that meant for the recent apostles in my sample. Careers were varied, but the vast majority had impressive educational pedigrees. Think Harvard (3 times), Purdue, Yale, Duke, and Stanford, mixed with several educational abbreviations (Ph.D., MBA, J.D.).

It occurred to me that the bar may have been raised from “accomplished” to “educated and accomplished”. This realization caused me to dig a little deeper before making my final predictions.

GLOBAL APOSTLE?
Most members I know would be excited by a non-American apostle, but I doubt that’s a box that Pres. Monson feels he has to check off, affirmative action style. Still, a new apostle from outside the U.S. is exciting, validating the idea of a global Church, and it would bring a new perspective to the Q12. It’s certainly not a data-driven conclusion, but I think it will happen this time, especially with three openings.

Walter F. Gonzalez

For evidence, look no further than the change in the 1Q70 over time. When Spencer W. Kimball first formed it in 1976, nearly 80% of the original members had been born in Utah or Idaho. Now, it’s a very different story:

  • In 1976, 79% of the first quorum of the 70 came from Utah or Idaho.  Today only 37%.
  • In 1976, 13% came from other US states.  Now 19% do.
  • In 1976, 8% were from Europe.  Now 10% are Europeans (not much change).
  • The biggest shift is in membership from other regions of the world.  In 1976, there were no members of the 1Q70 from Latin America, Asia / Pacific or Africa.  Today there are 22% from Latin America, 8% from Asia / Pacific and 5% from Africa.

New apostles primarily come from the pool of Seventies called 10-20 years ago, so it’s easy to see why the shift hasn’t happened yet. It will happen more and more (on a delay) as the Church and 1Q70 become less Utah- and U.S.-centric.

PREDICTIONS
Based on all these criteria, here is my updated list of individuals I see as the most likely candidates for the open spots in the 12. In reality, any of these men could be selected to join the Q12, and there are doubtless others who are well-qualified; these are simply those who best fit the profile that I can construct based on recent trends. My picks are divided into 3 tiers:

Ronald A. Rasband

TIER ONE

  • Ronald A. Rasband. Currently the senior member of the P70, and his age (64) is in the target range, although at the high end. Has served in the 1Q70 over 15 years, 10 of which he’s been in the P70. In his two picks so far, Pres. Monson has shown a leaning toward the senior members of the P70. Maybe it’s just me, but I also feel like Rasband been a little more visible in the media recently.
  • Walter F. González. Currently a member of the 1Q70 (over 14 years) and President of the South America South Area, but was previously in the P70 (5 years). While it’s true that nobody has ever been released from P70 and later called to Q12, only 15 apostles have been called since the 1Q70 was organized in 1976. There’s just enough history to surmise that it could never happen. González was originally in my Tier Two, but I reconsidered when I looked at his age (62) and the four area presidencies in which he’s served.
  • Ulisses Soares. Currently a member of the P70 (3 years), with 10½ years of total service as a GA. That puts him a little on the lighter side compared to the other presidents, but he was also a church employee for years before that. I may be unintentionally giving him extra credit because he’s fairly well regarded in our ward, having visited here for stake conference a few years back when we were living overseas.
  • < Surprise! > This pick harks back to the calling of President Nelson, Elder Oaks, and Elder Bednar. Few of us would have guessed President Kimball’s heart surgeon, a judge, or the youthful former President of BYU-I would be the next apostle, each with exactly zero experience as a GA. While three names from these lists could be called, I rather think that there will be one surprise pick that I could never predict in a million years, whether it’s a Seventy who hasn’t served in P70, someone from an auxiliary presidency, or Pres. Monson’s doctor.

Lynn G Robbins

TIER TWO

  • L. Whitney Clayton
  • Donald L. Hallstrom
  • Richard J. Maynes
  • Craig C. Christensen
  • Lynn G. Robbins

I found it very hard to distinguish between the remaining P70, because each seems to have strengths and weaknesses in regards to the criteria I used. For example, Clayton and Hallstrom are older than the target range, but they have more tenure in the P70 (this hasn’t mattered historically, but may be more important to Pres. Monson). If I had to pick, I might prioritize Christensen and Robbins based on the age range, but it’s a tough call. I also doubt all three vacancies get filled from the P70, so if Rasband and Soares have already been called, for example, I think Pres. Monson will look elsewhere for the third vacancy.

  • Claudio R. M. Costa Like González, Costa is a former P70 who remains in the 1Q70 (21+ years total), serving as an area president. He was in my top tier last time, but now he’s above the target age range at 66 years old. Additionally, when I started looking at the educational background (something I wouldn’t have thought imperative, but which has seemingly been valued recently), his profile only mentions that he “studied marketing” before shifting to his CES career.

Kim B. Clark looking pensive.

TIER THREE

  • Steven E. Snow Another former P70 who remains in the 1Q70 (14+ years total), serving as Church Historian since 2012. The Church was careful to have a lengthy transition between Marlin Jensen and Snow, so I have a hard time believing that Snow will be called to the Q12 without warning unless he has quietly been grooming his successor.
  • Kim B. Clark. Just released as President of BYU-I this year and called to the 1Q70, I had an early eye on him for a Bednar-like run from Rexburg to the Q12. However, he was just named Commissioner of Church Education in August, so he probably stays put. CCEs have historically served for at least three years, but by then Clark will be 69½ years old.

Gerald Causse. Some resemblance to Sam the Eagle.

THE REST

  • Gary E. Stevenson. Currently serving as PB (3½ years), but spent time in the 1Q70 previously. With only one exception in the modern era, Presiding Bishops serve for a long time (11, 13, 9, 1.5, and 7 years), so I don’t expect a change yet. Stevenson is only 60, and could still have another chance after serving 3-5 more years as PB.
  • Gérald Caussé. Currently Bishop Stevenson’s First Counselor (3½ years), and also served in the 1Q70. I also expect him to stay put, but PB counselors have moved more frequently than PBs, so I’m less certain Caussé stays than Stevenson. Caussé is only 52 years old, so I fully expect him to move up this chart in future versions.
  • All three BYU schools have new presidents in the last 18 months, so I didn’t consider Kevin J. Worthen (BYU), Clark Gilbert (BYUI), or John S. Tanner (BYUH).

All others in previous P70s, Presiding Bishopric or presidents of universities are either over age 70 or have been released or given emeritus status.

Is there a dark horse I have missed? Have any of their conference talks or other messages been particularly meaningful to you? Who do you think will fill the empty seats?

Comments

  1. I will gladly give Ulisses Soares my middle initial.

  2. I like this analysis because it looks like something my husband has been studying and tracking on his own just for fun. Remind me to not bet my husband on q12 picks though. I’m putting my money on a Rasband/Clayton/Soares/Causse guess.

  3. Internet rumors swirl around Hamula. You think?

  4. Surprise: Clayton Christensen?

  5. October Surprise: Larry Echohawk

  6. Rasband, Clayton, Echohawk

  7. My gut feeling is that it will not be one of the ones the ex-Mormon websites keep mentioning. I have no basis for this feeling, but I feel confident that it won’t be Clayton, Hamula, and Rasband (who are the three that they mention, IIRC). I’d like for it to be Michael John U. Tieh, the Filipino Seventy. He’s been a seventy for almost ten years, and was called young, at age 41 (he’s now 50). He’s also had high callings in the church for a while. Plus, he fulfills the “diversity quota” if there is one, and seems generally charismatic and photogenic for conference talks. He’s a little young, but one could hope, right? Otherwise I think Soares and two American apostles is a safe bet.

  8. In my dream scenario, they would call 1 Spanish or Portuguese speaker, 1 of African descent, 1 of Asian descent. Soares, Sitati, Teh? I’m sure that’s too much to hope for, but I will honestly be more than a little sad if it ends up a whiteout.

  9. All things considered, the chances a woman being called as an apostle have never been better.

  10. Russell M. Nelson’s service as General Sunday School President is probably more noteworthy in this context than who his heart patients were.

    Dallin Oaks was somewhat of a surprise not only because university presidents had not previously been a source of apostles, but also because rumors had circulated that he had been canned as president of BYU because he was on the outs with at least some of the apostles.

    I’m thinking Jon Huntsman, Jr. as a surprise calling, reminiscent of J. Reuben Clark being a prominent, but only semi-active member called directly into the First Presidency. And of course, Harry Reid will be the other surprise calling.

  11. your food allergy is fake says:

    Can we please have an apostle named “Ulisses”?

  12. Surprise Pick: Mitt Romney! The REAL reason he withdrew his name from presidential consideration…
    In an effort to appease those who want a female apostle, they will pick someone with a typically female sounding first name–Whitney Clayton, Kim Clark or Lynn Robbins. This goes back to my theory that the reason the first woman to pray in conference was named Jean Stevens, was that both her first and last name were masculine sounding (male spelling: Gene) so it was a smoother transition.
    In truth, I’m with Jaime–I hope they go multi-cultural. For that reason Soares is top on my list followed by Caussé. Hamula’s grew up speaking Hungarian, I believe. Would love one from Asia, one from Africa, etc. Remember how rogue it was when they called SWKimball and he was NOT from UT or ID? He was all the way from AZ! Would love if the leadership reflected the membership.

  13. After watching Music and the Spoken Word last week, I’m thinking that Lloyd Newell is my “surprise” prediction.

  14. kc, re: androgynous names–made me laugh. :)

    And I’m with you too: ethnic/national diversity would be nice, but I’d settle for just having some men from outside of Utah who aren’t blood relations of any existing leadership. I’m also prepared for disappointment. :(

  15. With the majority of members now being non-Americans, it would be insane not to have all free from outside the US…My bet/hope/wish? 1 black, 1 Latine American, and 1 Asian or European. Enough of Americans apostles….this is no longer an American church. Time to get down from our US cloud.

  16. Does this mean I can stop waiting by the phone?

  17. scw, you can stop waiting by the phone but my elders quorum president probably shouldn’t.

  18. I’ll have this Common Consent blog post open and at the ready come Saturday. Thanks!

  19. Clean Cut,
    If a woman were called, they’d probably rename it the Quorum of the 11 Apostles and Family.

  20. Pete ^ truer words have never been spoken. Dying.

  21. [/Utah logic on]
    Larry EchoHawk is a great guy, but he’s a Democrat and has been photographed with Bill Clinton.
    [/Utah logic off]

    BRM was called so they could keep a closer eye on him. Anyone in the running that’s been called on the carpet recently?

  22. You’re all wrong. . it’s gonna be the 3 Nephites. . they’ve been waiting so they can come in together.

  23. The Other Clark says:

    Julie B. Beck. This is a pick sure to offend the traditionalists and the feminists.

  24. ^ LOL

  25. I’m surprised that this late too the party, I’m the first to mention Tad R. Callister. I think he’s a shoe-in, despite just being called as the General Sunday School President in April 2014.

  26. How about Donald Trump? He’d be great at defending the family… he has, like, 3 of his own. Plus, he could comp our tithing for a year.

  27. You left out a category: shocking.

    With that in mind, here is my shocking pick: Aaron C. Brown.

    I was going to pick Matt Page, but I was constrained by the Spirit to wait on that one.

  28. Surprise Pick: Elder Jairo Mazzagardi

    https://www.lds.org/church/leader/jairo-mazzagardi?lang=eng

  29. From Ken’s comment on W&T (where this is also published): “I almost put Callister in my category The Rest, but I skipped him because he was released as a GA at the end of his stint in the 2Q70, and because he’s so close to 70. I just don’t see it happening, but I probably should have included him just so it didn’t look like I missed him.”

  30. I know it’s looking past your small sample, but wasn’t Elder Scott a Stake SS President when called to the 12? His recent death could be some impetus to once again look outside the 70.

  31. Joe – I almost put Callister in my category The Rest, but I skipped him because he was released as a Seventy at the end of his stint in the 2Q70, and because he’s so close to 70. I just don’t see it happening, but I probably should have included him just so it didn’t look like I missed him.

  32. Frank – Elder Scott is included in my sample, and he was in the P70 immediately prior to his call to the Q12.

    In fact, if I expanded the sample to add all the apostles called since the 1Q70 existed (1976), you’d find 3 more (Faust, Maxwell & Ballard) who came directly from the P70.

  33. Whenever I hear of Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s name I can’t help but think of Eric Snider’s General Authority Song. “Ronald Rasband, bright and peppy, like a brass band”

  34. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    This is an excellent way to project the calling of a new Apostle. But, I think this might mostly apply to the selection of ONE Apostle – or, to the selection of an Apostle when there is only one opening. With multiple openings (3!), there may be a number of additional considerations. Possibilities: it may be much easier to call someone from outside the US, as there will still be two additional selections; much more likely to have one of the selections be a Surprise!; it may be more likely that someone of advanced age is called, because you’re not blowing the selection on someone who won’t be around very long (an inelegant way to phase that, of course). What I’m trying to say is that the margin for error is much larger with 3 selections than it would be for 1. Therefore, it’s possible for more experimentation, or there may be more room for trying something different with one of the selections, while being conservative with the other 2.

  35. iAlex–me, too!! That song is genius. I think we should have Eric Snider pick the new guys on the basis of what names would be the most fun to play with in a song.

  36. 100% agreed. That’s why I have Elder Surprise in Tier One. I didn’t have that last time when there was only one opening, but this time I expect that someone will be chosen that I couldn’t predict.

  37. My 10,000 : 1 pick – D. Michael Quinn.

    Serious question, though. I recall reading once that when more than one apostle is called during the same conference, their seniority is placed in order of their age at the time of the conference. Can anyone confirm? If this not correct, then there is a marked possibility for a (relatively) young apostle to not only being called, but be placed immediately into the 13th most senior slot – with a few more steps up to likely happen in the next few years.

  38. Seniority is based on the order they are ordained. I think that question came up with Hinckley, but my memory seems to be a bit poorly in this area.

  39. And looking at past history if more than one are called at a time, they are ordained in order of age, like the initial calling of the Quorum of the 12 by the Three Witnesses. The only other time three were called David O. McKay was the youngest and the third to be ordained.

  40. When more than one is called at the same time (callings are not necessarily done at conference, btw), the oldest is ordained first.

  41. That time there were three, while McKay was the youngest, we don’t know if Richards or Whitney were ordained first (as least I don’t, I wasn’t there and have limited research resources)

  42. If we assume that Richards, Whitney, and McKay were ordained in that order, which is the order they appear in seniority in the Church Almanac, then the “age rule” was not followed because Whitney (b. 1855) was older than Richards (b. 1861).

    In addition, while it is not a great example because J. Reuben Clark never actually served in the Quorum of the Twelve, he and Alonzo Hinckley were sustained to the Twelve the same day, with Clark sustained first although he (b. 1871) was just over a year younger than Hinckley (b. 1870).

  43. SO here’s a question. Let’s say someone is called into an opening in the FP without having served as a member of the Q12. Then, when the prophet dies and calls 2 new conselors, said former counselor is not called as one if the new counselors. Does this now former-counselor automatically begin serving in the Q12?

  44. As for the discussion regarding seniority, here’s an interesting tidbit:

    “The new member of the Twelve may be called from one of the Quorums of the Seventy (which are made up of General Authorities who are senior leaders in the Church) or from general Church membership around the world. Seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve is determined by the date an apostle is called rather than by age” (“Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” MormonNewsroom.org).

  45. Including a larger pool gives similar results:

    Since 1953 (starting with Richard L. Evans) all new apostles (27) have been serving General Authorities except: Hunter, Monson, Nelson, Oaks, Bednar. (Interesting that 2 became president of the Church and it seems probable that at least 2 more will). Nelson was a former general Sunday School president. Just because we had a “surprise” recently doesn’t make it likely (probably less so as the church grows in size).

    Since 1976, when the 70 were reorganized, all new apostles who were General Authorities (12) have been current members of the Presidency of the 70 except Hales, Holland, and Eyring.

    Of those called from the Presidency of the Seventy, most were quite senior (1-3) among the 7 presidents, and those more senior were out of the “target age range”:

    –Faust 2 (#1 Richards was 78 years old)
    –Maxwell 3 (#1 FD Richards; #2 Fyans age 63)
    –Ballard 3 (Fyans 67; Asay 59)
    –Wirthlin 7 (had served just over 1 month; note that the vacancy in Quorum arising from death of Pres. Kimball was not filled at the previous conference)
    –Scott 2 (#1 Dean L. Larsen 59)
    –Uchtdorf 5 (Tingey 70 Christofferson 59 Sorensen 71 Didier 69)
    –Cook 5 (served only 3 months before called as apostle) (Tingey 73 Christofferson 62 Andersen 56 Rasband 56)
    –Christofferson 2 (Tingey 74)
    –Andersen 1

    Finally, with regard to age, I would note that among the current presidency of the 70, all are pretty much the same age (63-66) except Christensen and Soares.

  46. I’m guessing the first session of GC will have the announcements. Is there any history on what session the apostles have been announced to the world? As the Church has developed their “visual” narrative through the years, wouldn’t announcing the names in different conference sessions drive up viewership?

  47. Joe, no, not unless they had also been called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve at some point.

    There are plenty of precedents for this question:

    Neither of Brigham Young’s counselors when he died were members of the Twelve: John Willard Young and Daniel H. Wells. They became “counselors to the Twelve” but not members.

    Joseph Smith’s counselors at his death included Sidney Rigdon and John Smith, neither of whom became a member of the Twelve.

    If you look at extra counselors, Thorpe Isaacson and Alvin Dyer were additional counselors to Pres. McKay but never served in the Twelve, although they both outlived Pres. McKay.

    J. Reuben Clark was also made a member of the Twelve (and then only for seniority purposes) after he had already served in the First Presidency for a year.

  48. Kerry, usually they aren’t announced until the sustaining of officers in the Saturday afternoon session. There’s an exception when a solemn assembly is held to sustain a new president, which usually happens in the Saturday morning session.

  49. The past two were sustained on Saturday morning.

    It’s also worth noting that Elder Rasband doesn’t have a degree.

  50. MCS – I noticed the nebulous wording around Rasband’s education late in the process, but left him in Tier One anyway. I figured that being COO of Huntsman Chemical and 10 years in the P70 possibly offset that.

  51. My money is on Clayton. There’s no way he’s not coming into the 12. He’s been too involved in quorum projects and has been the FP’s shadow for over a year now, even more so than even other apostles.

    If anyone is waiting by the phone, there is no way that these 3 people haven’t already been chosen and interviewed. They may even have been set apart. Our church is not one to scramble. They’ve been prepared for some time now.

    Like Santa’s Elves, here’s what’s happening behind the scenes:

    *the PR department is brushing off the press releases (who are these guys and what’s their story) for Saturday afternoon.
    *The facilities department in the COB is getting 3 offices ready
    *Church real estate is helping them move to a home or apartment in the SL area
    *CS (Church Security) is already assessing the risk and preparing to protect them (setting up security system in their home, interviewing them, background checks, etc.)
    *The husbands and wives have already been to the temple for their second endowments (if they haven’t received it.)
    *Someone from church travel is making sure they are at conference (if they aren’t already there)
    *Somebody it typing their names into the teleprompter to be read. Nothing evades the teleprompter!!!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if at least 2, maybe 3 of them haven’t already been in the Thursday morning temple meetings and are being copied in on memos or e-mails (I’m not sure President Monson is an e-mail guy, so we’ll say ‘memos’). Saturday morning will just be a formality for the rank and file.

    What I find interesting is that if I were looking at a list of say, 50 potential apostles, and I went to God and prayed about which 2 to choose, I think I would have gotten a “thumbs up” about 3 people, not 2, and that would have confused me until recently.

  52. it's a series of tubes says:

    that would have confused me until recently.

    Given that Elder Scott had not been participating in quorum activities for some time due to health, I don’t think it would have been confusing in the slightest.

  53. I don’t know the explanation for Richards’ seniority over Whitney, but I did find a few web pages that noted that as the only exception to the rule. None of them seemed to recognize Clark as another exception, but he was something of an anomaly, having served in the First Presidency for a year or so before being called and ordained an apostle. Maybe the other rule nobody mentions is that if a member of the FP gets called as an apostle, he gets seniority over others called at the same time, regardless of age.

  54. Mortimer – I’m not so sure the new apostles know yet. According to Pres. Hinckley’s biography, his calling was not extended to him until Saturday morning, just a few hours before conference. I’ve heard other stories of calls not being extended until Thursday/Friday, but I can’t remember which apostles or any details. I’ll do some digging later.

  55. According to Elder Cook, he was called to President Hinckley’s office “late Thursday,” just two days before conference.

  56. The Other Clark says:

    In that case, better look over the list of speakers. The three new apostles will almost certainly address the assembled saints, and the only way to vet their remarks is to have them already submitted, thinking they’ll be speaking as 70s, an then spring the announcement that they’ll be speaking as apostles.

    I think Mortimer is probably right that the list of those “in the know” about the new names runs into the dozens.

  57. No, as much as it may make sense for things to be so programmatic, digging into the history behind the callings will reveal that they are not nearly as coordinated as that TOClark.

    We’re still a Church of spontaneity and revelation where last minute callings happen at even the highest level. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s someone who gets the push to craft a talk in less than 24 hours. Especially with Elder Scott’s passing so close to General Conference.

    As for surprise callings, one you haven’t considered is Elder Joseph W. Sitati. If we had our first Kenyan US President isn’t it fitting for us to now have our first Kenyan Apostle? Slightly tongue in cheek but he fits many of the right criteria. Although my money is on the first African Apostle to come from Ghana.

  58. TOClark – Interesting thought. I know someone who had the opportunity to cover General Conference a while back, which included receiving advance copies of the talks. While I doubt the talks would mention the call (especially if the speaker himself doesn’t know yet), just a list of speakers could potentially give the right person some insight.

  59. Who would I like to see on the dark horse list? Elder Dale Renlund. Not a lawyer. Not a business person. As a brilliant cardiologist with a wife who is an equally brilliant attorney, they haven’t had a cookie cutter Mormon life. He has the benefit of having been area president in Africa in arguably one of the most difficult areas of the world. Politically, he leans left. He would, IMHO, be interesting. I would love to see an Asian or Latin American apostle. Bishop Causse would be a great choice.

    This is a horrible confession, but I would love to have someone called who has some kind of distinctive personality or unique background. The last few apostles (and lightning will strike me any minute for saying this) have been a blur to me. I can never remember Elder Anderson without being reminded and Elder Cook has blurred into the mass of them for me. A gifted wordsmith like Elder Holland or a dynamic personality like Elder Uchtdorf or a big quivering mass of compassion like Elder Eyring would be a welcome addition.

    Is it too much to hope that they don’t call another lawyer? (Christofferson, Cook, Oaks)

  60. John Mansfield says:

    Elder Oaks began his first conference talk by explaining why he hadn’t spoken six months earlier. “My dear brothers and sisters, because it was not appropriate for me to commence my Church service until I had concluded my judicial duties in state government, I did not speak at the April conference where I was sustained.” Elder Oaks was not set apart until May, three weeks after Elder Nelson. Elder Oaks is younger than Elder Nelson anyway, but it does raise the possibility that an older man who needs to set some outside affairs in order first might be ordained after a younger apostle sustained at the same time.

  61. I could be wrong here, but I don’t think an already-prepared generic 70’s talk would work for a newly-called apostle. I don’t recall new apostles giving a talk on fasting or something, that seemed like they had already prepared. And normally apostles are given a longer time slot. I would guess that the program would likely have a “TBA” slot for the new apostle, and he’s going to be busy Friday writing his address. And I would think it prudent to keep those with advance knowledge to the barest minimum. There’s plenty of time after conference to take care of moving and offices and second anointings and the like.

  62. Newly called apostles usually don’t speak until the Sunday morning session (I checked the last 5 called), and their first talks are usually less topical and more sharing experiences and testimonies. I don’t think that sort of talk would be that big a deal for people who regularly speak (70s or other GAs, former SPs/MPs, etc.) and have at least 2-3 days to prepare.

  63. > SO here’s a question. Let’s say someone is called into an opening in the FP without having served as a member of the Q12. Then, when the prophet dies and calls 2 new conselors, said former counselor is not called as one if the new counselors. Does this now former-counselor automatically begin serving in the Q12?

    See this interesting blog post about John Willard young (Brigham Young’s son) who was ordained an apostle at age 11 (no, that’s not a joke), served in the FP, but then was never a member of the Q12 after BY died.

    http://hartbrad.blogspot.com/2015/09/child-prophet-curious-case-of-john.html?m=1

  64. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the new apostles will open their talk with “I’d like to thank the academy.”

  65. My fave calling story to be an Apostle was George Albert Smith. he was at the fair or Circus or something and he came home and someone who was at the conference told him he’d been called to be in the 12 and he was like no way, you’re crazy-his dad John Henry Smith was already serving and he convinced her he had no prior knowledge of this but more people came congratulating him! I’m paraphrasing of course! Pres. Kimball found out what like 6 months before it was announced.

  66. The Other Clark says:

    Andrew– Counselors called directly to the first presidency that were not previously apostles do not join the Q12 upon the president’s death. (For the most recent example, Alvin Dyer was ordained apostle in 1968 and was called directly to the FP (as 3rd counselor). Upon D.O McKay’s death, he retained the apostleship, but was never a member of the Q12.) Thorpe Isaacson was also in this situation (Assistant to the 12, 1965). Other 20th Century examples include J. Ruben Clark (although he was later called to the Q12 )

  67. The Other Clark says:

    Whizzbang– When GB Hinckley was called to the 12, he was wearing a necktie he considered to be too bold and bright for so serious a calling, and didn’t have enough time to go home and get another one prior to his name being presented. According to family legend, he placed an urgent call to his wife to bring a more subdued tie from his collection to temple square.

  68. First, if they don’t call someone who is non-white, it’s going to be ridiculous at this point in church and world history. Next, could we please have an apostle called who is not a lawyer, businessman, doctor, or affiliated with CES? An airline pilot is great, but now how about a mechanic or elementary school teacher or fisherman? (Pretty sure there’s some precedent for that last one somewhere…) In other words, someone who is not upper class? I get the argument that it’s nice if they have something in their savings accounts, and the church needs skilled managers, etc., but really, if we can spend money to spruce up SLC, I think we have the tithing funds to pay a living wage to full-time apostles, right? And wouldn’t it be nice to have a non-corporate type speaking in GC? Maybe he could even wear a blue shirt for a change? One can dream…

  69. BlueCollar, the apostles (and other top level callings) receive stipends for their living expenses.

  70. Okay, I’m going for two youngsters:
    Elder Carl Cook (that elevator ride with Pres. Monson may pay off)
    Bishop Caussé

    And here’s my surprise draft pick:
    Steve Young
    But don’t count out Gifford Nielsen.

  71. Pete: I know. (But I don’t know how *much* it is, do you? Really, the Church ought to publicize such information, but I’m not aware that they do so.) But I have heard people (and I just mean other members, not anyone with any authority on such matters) justify the near-inevitableness of the apostles (and GA’s) being largely of the JD/MBA/MD variety by saying that, because such people tend to be wealthy (plus they are allegedly more likely to be good at leadership, public speaking, etc.), they can afford to serve full-time in the church. My point was just that we could afford more than a mere “stipend” in order to enable people who aren’t already wealthy to serve in higher levels of the church.

    I just get frustrated sometimes because I see so many examples in the scriptures of people who AREN’T of the JD/MBA/MD variety (or whatever the equivalent was at the time) being called into service, and I worry that we don’t see many of the “weak” being called as leaders in Zion.

    (And I hope it’s clear this is nothing against people with advanced degrees–I have two of them myself!–but I do think it’s fair to wonder whether a quorum composed entirely of people coming from one socioeconomic class–or, as others have mentioned, one culture–is really representative of the membership, can really understand problems that some of them face, etc.)

  72. Also, as to the suggestion of Trump for apostle…I’m afraid this would cause too much contention in the Church, since he would immediately start demanding to see Elder Uchtdorf’s birth certificate!

  73. BlueCollar, my stake center hosts regional meetings of stake presidents and other upper level authorities. Judging by the influx of expensive cars in the parking lot on those Sundays, I’d say you have to be pretty well off financially to be called to any of those positions.

    I agree with you; I don’t think that financial success, advanced degrees, and management expertise always translates to being a good minister.

  74. Judging by my law firm alone, a law degree definitely doesn’t predict management or leadership ability. But maybe there needs to be at least a few lawyers in the Q12 to understand their own seniority rules discussed above.

    I’d guess that these days the apostles are probably more executives than ministers, though I have no doubt that their ministry is more important to each of them than their administrative duties. Nonetheless, the church is a complex organization, and correlation guarantees the apostles have a hand in lots of administration. That may explain, but perhaps not completely justify, the prevalence of executive types in general church leadership.

  75. Eric Russell says:

    For any concerned, I have correctly predicted all of the conference speakers this weekend.

    In no particular order, they are:
    1st Presidency and Q12
    Ronald A. Rasband
    Richard J. Maynes
    Gary E. Stevenson
    Stephen W. Owen
    Mary R. Durham
    Neill F. Marriott
    Kim B. Clark
    Allen D. Haynie
    Von G. Keetch
    Hugo Montoya
    Vern P. Stanfill
    Yoon Hwan Choi
    Francisco J. Vinas
    Wild Card – any of Foster, Carlson, Schwitzer, Martino, or Aoyagi.

  76. The Other Clark says:

    Hugo Montoya?? I was hoping to hear a sermon from Inigo Montoya!

  77. I’m a little surprised Deez Nuts is absent from your list.

  78. HCJ. On behalf of the lawyers following this thread, I take offense. I’m waiting by the phone . . .

  79. Angela C – <>

    If only Gordon Jump was still around. He played an apostle once, but I suppose it wasn’t a wide enough release to be considered for an Oscar.

  80. That was supposed to include Angela’s quote from above:
    Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the new apostles will open their talk with “I’d like to thank the academy.”

  81. I am hoping (and praying) for Elder Dale Renlund to be called. He is a cardiologist who has served as an area authority and is now in the First Quorum of the Seventy (and regional presidency in Africa). If you look at his talks from conference, you can see he has a similar approach to Dieter Uchtdorf. He is loving and moderate and just what the quorum of the Twelve needs (in my opinion). If there was ever a choice to reinforce big tent Mormonism, Elder Renlund would be it.

  82. My Official Guessses are:

    Lynn G Robbins. – He’s been especially Helpful to Young Adults as of Late.
    Tad R. Callister – He Wrote “The Infinite atonement” A book that Elder Scott has been known to Recommend. Also He’s Been in the Presidency of the Seventy. If only 1 apostle was being called I’d say it’s unlikely due to his recent call as Sunday School President, but there are 3 being called. Good reason to Shake things up.
    and Michael John U. Teh – I’d agree there’s probably some diversity quotient. He’s pretty young. But I don’t know. I feel there’s something special about him.

  83. BlueCollar, “…but I do think it’s fair to wonder whether a quorum composed entirely of people coming from one socioeconomic class–or, as others have mentioned, one culture–is really representative of the membership, can really understand problems that some of them face, etc.)”

    How about if they’re all the same gender?… I would love to have one of the new apostles start with the name “Señora.”

  84. FYI…Tad Callister is Legrand Richards’ grandson
    My husband’s picks: Steve Young (TA called it first), Dale Murphy and Danny Ainge

  85. Eric Russell says:

    One important correction to my previous predictions: I’m taking Devin Durrant off the bench and putting him in to relieve Stephen W. Owen. Owen will speak in Priesthood session in April. Bishop Stevenson will speak in Priesthood session this Saturday.

    With Gifford Nielsen two years ago and now Durrant speaking in GC, maybe Steve Young gets called to the 12 after all!

  86. Dark horse = Kazuhiko Yamashita

  87. “How about if they’re all the same gender” –> Oh yeah, I completely agree. I think it’s more realistic at this point, however, to hope for e.g. non-white, non-American with a non-upper-class background (indeed, two out of three of those characteristics would be great…or even one…). I don’t think the ordination of women is going to happen before we get a lot more diversity in the upper echelons of leadership (and/or Uchtdorf becomes president), though I’d be delighted if so.

  88. BlueCollar: Sadly, I totally agree. Minority men got the vote before women (in the USA), and I imagine if women are ever ordained, it will only be after *all* men (race, country, socioeconomic ranges) have had a chance to fully participate at every level of leadership. Sigh.

  89. Gary Barton Payne says:

    I can’t help but think there may be a little success envy in some of your comments. I share two thought re this.
    1: I have heard on more than one occasion that “every position above Bishop is just talk “. That is where the true ministry occurs. There, and Visiting Teachers, Home Teachers, and ward officers and teachers.
    2: Not always, but very often, people who don’t achieve exceptional levels of career success fail to do so for lack of commitment, energy, wisdom, good judgment, kindness to others. I notice a very high correlation of “lucky” people with successful people. Did you notice that they don’t pick the production line people to be President of Hewlett Packard, or members of the Board of Directors.
    These men are brilliant, without exception, and they have the most important work on this earth to administer. Not perfect, but certainly the Lord’s choice to administer His kingdom.

  90. Wow. Success envy, seriously? There are so many things wrong and offensive about that I can’t even begin to comment.

  91. Actually, I feel compelled to respond. Can’t stand it when people “grind the faces of the poor,” even in writing.

    First, your comments neglect church history. Joseph Smith was a terrible businessperson, manager, etc. digging for gold didn’t quite work out, if you recall. (I admit Brigham Young would probably have made a great corporate CEO since he was driven and rather ruthless but that’s another matter.). If Joseph’s (and his family’s) poverty was good enough for God then, I can’t imagine He couldn’t inspire the calling of a hard-working, Christlike poor person today.

    Second, your comments about people who don’t have career success lacking qualities such as kindness, ambition, etc. are absurd. (I seriously hope you don’t home teach anyone who is less successful than you…I can’t imagine what you think of them.). So you seriously think that people who lost their jobs in the recession were just lazy? Or people born in poverty who don’t get a chance to get as good an education as others brought that on themselves? Maybe you need to go back and read all those parts of the Book of Mormon that talk about the rich and learned being puffed up in pride?

    Third…oh never mind. Rant over.

  92. There is an old tradition of calling really accomplished men rather than apparatchiks. Therefore, Clayton Christensen, Moroni Bing Turgon and an Asian no one has heard of who is prominent in his home country but just an Area 70 like Christensen and Turgon.

  93. Aussie Mormon says:

    Call an Australian, a New Zealander, and a South African.
    If nothing else it’ll shift the talk from baseball and NFL to interesting sports like cricket and soccer. It might also lead to fisty-cuffs in general conference which would certainly spice things up a bit.

  94. To Blue Collar….. It appears to me, that you are a classic example of “Success Envy”.
    When you start your own church, you can make the rules for selecting leadership. In the mean time, I kinda like the way the Lord has it organized in his church.

  95. I like Causse. He has given some of the most memorable talks outside of the FP and Q12, IMO.

  96. BlueRidgeMormon says:

    Deez Nuts FTW. super funny.

  97. krclayton says:

    I didn’t catch that Pres. Eyring continued as Church Commissioner of Education for 9 years after he joined the Q12. On realizing that, I’d probably bump Kim Clark up to Tier 2 or even Tier 1.

  98. One last minute dark horse – Elder Brent Nielson. He’s managed the response to the devastating hurricane in the Phillipines.

  99. Nice call on Renlund.

  100. So an interesting data point, if the order stays what’s been announced. (Rasband, Stevenson, Renlund). Renlund is older than Stevenson.

  101. So, is anyone as excited I am about Ruth Lybbert (Renlund) being ‘called’ as a Q12 spouse? Her story is pretty unique: http://www.mormonwomen.com/2010/05/12/just-call-me-ruth/

  102. Wow! Great, Ericka.

  103. Erika – thanks! What a great addition.

  104. So it was three more white, well-to-do americans? Two former business executives and one former doctor. Nothing new there.

  105. Elder Renlund is or has been a registered Democrat.