SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KSL.com) — One year older, and wiser too, President Russell M. Nelson — the oldest president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — turned 98 on Friday.
According to a church news release, President Nelson is spending his birthday participating in meetings and other duties at the Church Administration Building on Temple Square.
President Nelson was born on Sept. 9, 1924. He graduated from medical school at 22 years old and had an esteemed career as a cardiothoracic surgeon helping to develop the artificial heart-lung machine. President Nelson raised 10 children with his wife, Dantzel White Nelson, and after her death, married Wendy L. Watson.
He served in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for 34 years before being set apart as the 17th president of the church on Jan. 14, 2018.
President Nelson has led the church through many changes during his over 4½ years as leader, including a move to a two-hour Sunday church meeting schedule with more time for gospel study as a family, emphasizing the use of the full name of the church to focus more on Jesus Christ, changing home and visiting teaching assignments to “ministering” assignments and publishing a new church handbook with multiple policy changes.
Throughout his time leading the church, President Nelson has given lots of advice to its members. He is expected to be speaking again during the church’s upcoming general conference on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, said about President Nelson, “He is an inspired and wise leader and the gentlest and sweetest person you could ever hope to associate with.”
President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, said President Nelson is constantly receiving revelation, and quietly saying what he thinks God wants them to do.
“Every time we walk out of the office, President Oaks and I say, ‘It happened again.’ You’ll just see revelation come. You’ll see him ask for counsel, and then the decision will come and everybody in the room knows it is right and from God,” President Eyring said.
President Nelson became the oldest to ever serve as president of the church in April. Previously, President Gordon B. Hinckley had been the oldest church president. He died on Jan. 27, 2008, at 97 years, 7 months and 5 days old.