With average age of 80, Mormon church has never had older top leaders

The Salt Lake Tribune/March 3, 2015

By Peggy Fletcher Stack

The LDS Church has never had an older First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The average age of the 15 men — who together comprise the faith's top leaders — turned 80 for the first time in the history of the 185-year-old Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

LDS researcher Christian Anderson in Carlsbad, Calif., did the math, drawing on data provided by lds.org.

Here is what the rounded numbers show:

First Presidency

Thomas S. Monson • 87.53 years

Henry B. Eyring • 81.75 years

Dieter F. Uchtdorf • 74.32 years

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Boyd K. Packer • 90.48 years

L. Tom Perry • 92.57 years

Russell M. Nelson • 90.48 years

Dallin H. Oaks • 82.55 years

M. Russell Ballard • 86.40 years

Richard G. Scott • 86.32 years

Robert D. Hales • 82.52 years

Jeffrey R. Holland • 74.25 years

David A. Bednar • 62.71 years

Quentin L. Cook • 74.48 years

D. Todd Christofferson • 70.10 years

Neil L. Andersen • 63.56 years

Other Mormon bloggers have commented on the men's advanced age.

John English, a technical project manager living in Utah, has a proposal for dealing with the aging LDS leadership: Have apostles be named emeritus at age 90.

"Now say they decided to implement this policy this April. Elders Packer, Perry and Nelson would be designated emeritus with a vote of thanks, and there would be three new apostles," English explains on the Modern Mormon Men blog. "Let's say their ages are 60, 53 and 50, and two of them are non-American. Elder Oaks would become president of the [quorum]."

Under this imagined scenario, English speculates that Monson would live, say, another five years.

In April 2020, " Oaks would become the new prophet at age 87," English writes. "Elders Ballard and Scott will have been made emeritus already, and so two younger apostles would have been called before President Oaks makes his first calling. Elder Hales would be president of the [quorum], and then 12 of the 15 brethren would be in their 70s or younger."

LDS leaders already grant emeritus status to members of the Quorum of the Seventy when they reach age 70.

It feels like the LDS Church "is due for some big things in the 21st century," he writes, "and this would be a significant policy change that could help the leadership lead on those very things."

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