Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ages of the Apostles

In case you are interested, here are the ages as of the date of this post of the fifteen men serving in the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. They are listed in descending age (not seniority of service).  The last column is their date of birth.

L. Tom Perry 91 August 5, 1922
Russell M. Nelson 89 September 9, 1924
Boyd K. Packer 89 September 10, 1924
Thomas S. Monson 86 August 21, 1927
M. Russell Ballard 85 October 8, 1928
Richard G. Scott 85 November 7, 1928
Dallin H. Oaks 81 August 12, 1932
Robert D. Hales 81 August 24, 1932
Henry B. Eyring 80 May 31, 1933
Quentin L. Cook 73 September 8, 1940
Dieter F. Uchtdorf 73 November 6, 1940
Jeffrey R. Holland 73 December 3, 1940
D.Todd Christofferson 69 January 24, 1945
Neil L. Andersen 62 August 9, 1951
David A. Bednar 61 June 15, 1952

Sunday, March 16, 2014

President Monson’s most quoted scripture and a great tool!

One of my professors at BYU created this very useful website.   

It indexes scriptures from LDS General Conference talks (plus some other Church publications) from 1942-present.  You can look use it 2 ways:
1.       Look up by scripture.  You can look up a scripture and see who has used that particular scripture in General Conference talk.
2.       Look up by speaker. You can look up a speaker and see what scriptures they’ve quoted in their talks.

From this, I gather that President Monson’s most quoted scripture in General Conference is:
D&C 107:99 “let every man learn his duty.” Quoted 16 times

However, if you count this next scripture when it’s either a standalone verse or used with other verses then President Monson has also used it 16 times”

D&C 18:10 “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God”

I did pretty thorough search but you may find something I missed that was higher.  Take a look and use it to look up your favorite scriptures and speakers.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Basic Statistics of the Church

Basic Church numbers:

As of the Church’s most recent report:

15,000,000 members of the Church worldwide
29,104 congregations worldwide
80,000 missionaries
177 different languages Church materials are published in
141 temples

These numbers are expected to be updated in April 2014 General Conference.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Prop 8 in California - Vote Yes

The family is very important to me and to my religion. As such, an important issue regarding all of our families is at stake this election on November 4th. Proposition 8 is on the ballot in California. Voting "Yes" on Prop 8 will add an an amendment to the California Constitution stating: "“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

You might ask the question--'Why is this important to me?" Well, I invite you to take a minute and learn. It is not just about defining the word marriage in a dictionary. There is much more on the line than that. This is setting up to be a showdown between freedom of religion and this new civil "right."

Some possible consequences if Prop 8 does not pass:

-This battle will be taken to other states, even those that already have laws defining marriage. Further, a legal precedence could be set in California that could establish a basis for judges' decision in other states.

-Advocates and government officials in certain states already are challenging the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and only place children in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in Boston has stopped offering adoption services.

-Other advocates of same-sex marriage are suggesting that tax exemptions and benefits be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not embrace same-sex unions.

-Accrediting organizations in some instances are asserting pressure on religious schools and universities to provide married housing for same-sex couples.

-The establishment of same-sex marriage as a civil right will inevitably require mandatory changes in school curricula. When the state says that same-sex unions are equivalent to heterosexual marriages, the curriculum of public schools will have to support this claim. If you don't think this will happen, it already has. Check out this video and this story:

There are many more reasons to vote YES on Prop 8. I invite you to study the issues. If you are in California, I urge you to vote YES on this very important issue. If you are outside out California, you can help my donating to the coalition supported by many churches and denominations. Go to

I believe marriage between a man and woman to be ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Elder M. Russell Ballard - Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Elder Melvin Russell Ballard, Jr. was born on October 8, 1928, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the only boy in a family of four children. He grew up in Salt Lake City, mowing lawns as a young man.

Elder Ballard comes from a strong religious heritage. He is a great-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith, the brother of Church founder Joseph Smith. Elder Ballard’s maternal grandfather was Hyrum Mack Smith who served in the Quorum of the Twelve from 1901-1918. Elder Ballard’s paternal grandfather was Melvin J. Ballard, who served in the Quorum of the Twelve from 1919-1939. Elder Ballard’s great-grandfather was Joseph F. Smith, who served as Church president from 1901-1918.

From 1948-50, Elder Ballard served as a missionary in England. When he returned home he met his future wife, Barbara Bowen, at a dance at the University of Utah. It took some time for him to convince his wife to marry him but they eventually were married on August 28, 1951, in the Salt Lake Temple. They have two sons, five daughters, and forty grandchildren.

Professionally, Elder Ballard was involved in several business enterprises, including automotive, real estate, and investments. He also took over his family’s car dealership, Ballard Motor Company, and managed it for some time. He even experienced a financial failure in one of his ventures in a Edsel dealership, which taught him empathy. He also served briefly in the U.S. Army Reserves. He has also served on many civic communities and boards. He is the author of two books.

Elder Ballard has served in numerous ways in the Church. He has served twice as a Bishop and twice as a high councilor, as well as a priest’s quorum advisor. He served as the Mission President in Toronto, Canada from 1974 to 1976, when he was called as a member of the First Quorum of Seventy. In February 1980, he was called to the Presidency of the Seventy. On October 6, 1985, he was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the age of 56.

Although I have never met Elder Ballard, I know he is a man of God and servant of the Lord. His associates speak highly of him. President Packer describes him as “teachable.” His wife states he is a “perfectionist”, “hard-driven,” and “extremely organized.” On a lighter note, she says his favorite meal is probably steak and French fries.

Elder Ballard currently has responsibilities over the Missionary Department of the Church. As such, he is making use of new media to share the gospel. Here is one video from YouTube.


Official Background Information from the Church

Article in the Ensign about Elder Ballard.

Additionally, I took a class at BYU on the lives of the Apostles. I relied on some documents from that class.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Biography of Elder Robert D. Hales - Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Elder Robert Dean Hales was born on August 24, 1932 in New York City, New York. He is the youngest of 3 children. He grew up attending Church in Queens. He went to high school in Long Island, where he played baseball. He graduated in 1954 with a degree in communications and business from the University of Utah, where he also played baseball and worked in radio broadcasting. Elder Hales continues to take interest in sports. During one summer while in college, he returned home to New York where he met Mary Elene Crandall. They were married on June 10, 1953 in the Salt Lake temple and have 2 sons.

Following his graduation, Elder Hales served in the US Air Force as a fighter pilot. He then earned an MBA degree from Harvard in 1960. He had a distinguished business career, serving in various executive positions of numerous companies.

He also served actively in the Church, serving 3 times as Branch President, a member of a branch presidency, 3 times as Bishop, a counselor in a Stake Presidency, an Elders Quorum President, a high councilor, an early morning seminary teacher, and a Regional Representative. He was called as an Assistant to the Twelve in April 1975 and as a member of the First Quorum of Seventy in 1976. From 1978-9, he served as Mission President of the London England Mission. He also served as a counselor in the General Sunday School Presidency from 1981-85. From 1985-1994 he served as the Presiding Bishop. On April 2, 1994, he was sustained--at the age of 61--as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Other interesting facts to note: Elder Hales has suffered two heart attacks. He also enjoys playing golf. The motto of his Air Force unit was “Return with Honor”, which Elder Hales thinks about often. As a baseball pitcher, he once threw a no-hitter.

I met Elder Hales about a year ago at a Stake Conference in my hometown. He was very friendly and willing to reach out and talk to people. I could tell he is a man of integrity.


Official Background Information from the Church

Article in the Ensign about Elder Hales.

Story about a fighter pilot that Elder Hales was friends with.

Story about his father shoveling snow to prepare for a visit from an Apostle.

Additionally, I took a class at BYU on the lives of the Apostles. I relied on some documents from that class.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Biography of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Elder Jeffrey Roy Holland was born on December 3, 1940 in St. George, Utah. His father was an Irish immigrant who had formal education only up to the seventh grade. Elder Holland says he had an “idyllic childhood.” In high school, he was actively involved in student leadership and sports. He was on the track, baseball, basketball, and football teams-winning a championship in football and basketball. While growing up in St. George, he worked as a paperboy, a grocery bagger, and an attendant at a service station. He also played basketball at Dixie College before and after his mission.

While in high school, Elder Holland met Patricia Terry who was a cheerleader. They later married on June 7, 1963, in the St. George temple. They have 3 children and 12 grandchildren.

From 1960-62, Elder Holland served a mission to the British Isles, where he served as a missionary companion to Elder Cook, also of the Quorum of the Twelve. Additionally, Elder Holland’s parents served in the same mission at the same time. Elder Holland claimed to be the only missionary who said goodbye to his parents at both the start and end of his mission.

Elder Holland described that mission as “the major spiritual turning point in my life”. It was also when he decided to become a teacher. After getting married, Elder Holland went to BYU, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 1965 and a Master’s Degree in religious instruction in 1966. He taught part-time at BYU as a graduate student. Then he taught at various institutes and seminaries, including Hayward, California, and Seattle, Washington. While in Seattle, he served as Bishop of a singles ward. In 1970, Elder Holland went to Yale and earned a Master’s Degree and PhD in American Studies. During that time he served in the Stake Presidency and Sister Holland served as Relief Society President. Elder Holland described this difficult time period to “crossing the Red Sea.” Later, Elder Holland served in two other Stake Presidencies and as a Regional Representative.

In late 1972, the Hollands returned to Utah. He taught briefly at the Salt Lake Institute, and then was called as director of the Church-wide Melchizedek Priesthood Mutual Improvement Association. In 1974, he was appointed as Dean of Religious Education at BYU. In 1976, he was appointed as Church Commissioner of Education. From 1980-1989, he served as the 9th president of BYU. During part of that time, Sister Holland was a counselor in the general Young Women’s presidency. Elder Holland was also active in the establishment of the BYU Jerusalem Center in Israel.

On April 1, 1989, Elder Holland was called to the First Quorum of Seventy. He was ordained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on June 23, 1994, at the age of 53.

Although I have never met Elder Holland, I feel I know him personally. Perhaps it is because I have read his book "Christ and the New Covenant". Or maybe it is the fact that we share the same first name. One of my personal favorite talks is called “An High Priest of Good Things to Come.”

Official Background Information from the Church

Article in the Ensign about Elder Holland.

Additionally, I took a class at BYU on the lives of the Apostles. I relied on some documents from that class.