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How A New Mormon Prophet Is Chosen

Intellectual Reserve, Inc
Thomas S. Monson (far left) shakes hands with Russell M. Nelson, the most senior apostle expected to take his place as president of the LDS Church.

Since the beginning of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when a prophet dies, the most senior apostle steps up to fill the vacancy. But, the process is still a bit more complicated than that.

With the death of President Thomas S. Monson the top leadership structure of the church is transformed, temporarily. Monson and his two counselors made up The First Presidency. When the president of the church dies, The First Presidency dissolves into The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the second highest governing body in the church.


As of right now, the apostles, rather than The First Presidency, lead the church. And Russell M. Nelson, the longest serving apostle, leads that quorum. Which means he’s technically in charge, but he’s not yet the president.


Church members need to wait on the official announcement which comes after all the apostles meet together. Then the new president and prophet — those titles are used interchangeably — will choose two new counselors from the apostles and The First Presidency will again take the helm.

The wait has less to do with who will be the prophet and more to do with who he, in this case Nelson, choosing to be at his right and left hand side.

The last time this change occurred it took about a week.

Read more at the Mormon Newsroom here

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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