LDS church names Monson their new president

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Monday, February 4, 2008

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints named Thomas Spencer Monson their 16th president at a press conference on Monday after being ordained the day before.

Monson, at 80 years old, succeeds Gordon B. Hinckley, who died January 27 and was buried on Saturday.

"Hinckley's passing has affected all of us," Monson said at the press conference held at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. "We shall miss him, yet he has left us with a wonderful legacy."

Monson says he intends to continue Hinckley's legacy, and that he expects "no abrupt changes from the courses [the church] [has] been pursuing."

Monson named Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf the First and Second Counselors, respectively, of the First Presidency, which is the highest governing body of the church.

"I learned quickly in the church that we're not representing a nation or country or ethnic group," said Uchtdorf, a native German. "We are ... representing the Church of Jesus Christ."

The LDS church follows a pattern of succession in choosing a new president. When the president dies, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is handed the position. Boyd K. Packer will now serve as President of the Quorum, after years of serving as the Quorum's acting president.

Monson simultaneously served as both First Counselor and President of the Quorum under Hinckney's administration due to his seniority. He also served as Second Counselor under the previous two presidents of the church. He was first called to be an apostle in 1963 at the age of 36.


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