- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsSecond Counselor in the First Presidency
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was called as second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February 3, 2008. He was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church on October 2, 2004. He has served as a General Authority since April 1994.
President Uchtdorf was born on November 6, 1940 in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, to Karl Albert and Hildegard Opelt Uchtdorf. In 1947 his family became members of the Church in Zwickau, Germany. They fled to Frankfurt/Main in 1952 where he received an education in engineering. In 1959 he joined the German Air Force and served for six years as a fighter pilot.
In 1965 President Uchtdorf began working for Lufthansa German Airlines as a pilot. From 1970 until 1996 he flew as captain of the B737, Airbus, DC10, and B747. While also working as training and check captain, he received several management responsibilities. These positions included Section Chief Pilot B737, head of Lufthansa pilot school in Arizona, head of all cockpit crews, and finally Senior Vice President Flight Operations and Lufthansa Chief Pilot. He was also chairman of the Flight Operations Committee of the International Air Transport Association.
Dieter Uchtdorf and Harriet Reich married in 1962. They have two children and six grandchildren. With his call as an Apostle, the Uchtdorfs left their homeland and now live permanently in the United States.
Dieter and Harriet Uchtdorf enjoy outdoor activities, cherish the arts, and are happiest when spending time with their children and grandchildren.
As these future physicians embark on a journey to care for and to cure their fellowmen, it reminds me of the Great Healer, who cares very much about us and is the source and hope for our curing in this challenging life. He has given His life to enable our temporal and eternal healing.
Since I had a very personal reason for attending—two of my grandsons are students at this medical school—I shared with them these thoughts:
“Our lives can become demanding and stressful very quickly. Please take care of yourselves. You must care for yourself if you wish to truly be able to care for others. Consider your physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being.
Include God and personal communication with Him in your life. Spirituality, religiosity, caring for your loved ones, and caring for your fellowmen will keep you balanced and provide you with a sure foundation for your life.”
As a young man, I learned that each temple dedication, wherever it may be, is a reason to rededicate our lives again to the Lord. Such a commitment will help us to be temple worthy and to make sure that we have a current temple recommend at all times.
As you attend the temple, the Spirit of the Lord will touch your heart and you will feel closer to Him. It is good to be willing and committed to make sacrifices in our lives as we try our best to visit the house of Lord. Sacrifice really does bring the blessings of heaven.
The temple is literally a house of the Lord and the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness. In the temple we learn how to better serve God and fellowmen.
Yesterday I had the privilege to be the keynote speaker at the first symposium (the full talk will be made available on LDS.org at a later date). I based my address on thoughts Harriet and I had during our recent visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
As we walked through Auschwitz, on the same paths that so many others marched along decades ago, I wondered how anyone could be so heartless to have done something so incomprehensible.
As I pondered this, three distinct insights entered my heart and mind:
First, humans are prone to dislike or hate those we do not really know. This is our human nature. But the more we get to know those who are different from us, the more we learn that perhaps they are not so different from us after all.
Second, we must speak up. We all have a responsibility to speak the truth. To stand for what is right. To lift up our voices in support of that which is good.
Third, divine love is always the answer. If we each learned to genuinely love God and to love our fellowmen as our brothers and sisters, we would have more compassion and the problems of the world could be more easily solved.
It is my hope that we will look past our differences and, instead, see each other with eyes that recognize who we truly are—fellow travelers, brothers and sisters, pilgrims walking the same path that leads to becoming more enlightened and more refined as our Father in Heaven intends us to become.
As I have prepared for this conference, I have felt impressed that each one should ponder again about God's plan for our lives and consider our individual place in this divine plan as His children.
Please, always remember that each one of us matters to Him, wherever we may be.
At this significant historic place we, two natives of Germany, appreciated the cultural diversity and individual differences our Heavenly Father allows His children during their earthly journey.
Nevertheless, we all should also appreciate that we are of the same heavenly “tribe,” as children of our loving Heavenly Father. Our unity of faith, knit together in love for God and our fellowman, will provide for us a divine source of healing in His wings.
Of one thing we can be certain: every person we see — no matter the race, religion, political beliefs, body type, or appearance — is family. #MLKDay
Sometimes people ask me, “What should I do in my life when I am having challenges?” To all who struggle, I say, keep the commandments and trust in the Lord. Please remember the counsel in 2 Nephi 4:4, “Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land.” This is very plain and straightforward doctrine, but it is the pathway to happiness.
If you—especially you youth—live according to the standards in “For the Strength of Youth,” you will always choose the right. You will be worthy to participate in baptisms and confirmations for the dead in the temple. You will be worthy to receive the priesthood, to make temple covenants, to serve a mission, and to live a meaningful life.
While “For the Strength of Youth” is geared toward youth, it shows all of us the path we must take to return to our Savior. It reminds us what we must do outside of the temple to be worthy to partake of the blessings inside the temple.
I encourage youth and adults everywhere to familiarize yourself with the guide “For the Strength of Youth” and follow its inspired standards. Your testimony will grow, and you will feel God’s approval as you live according to His commandments and His plan of happiness. http://bit.ly/1SHsg5N
It was said of our Savior, “He went about doing good,” (Acts 10:38). Don’t wait for an invitation to become the person you were designed to become. As young single adults and children of God, your headline should also be, “they went about doing good.” When your focus is on increasing and demonstrating your love for God and your love for your fellowmen, you will find meaning and happiness in your life.
The next time you feel unhappy, remember where you came from and where you are going. Rather than focus on things that dampen your thoughts with sorrow, choose to focus on those things that fill your soul with hope. You will realize that these things are always connected to serving God and our fellowmen.
The wonderful thing about the gospel is that we have God’s promise that we will have a “happily ever after” far greater than anything we can imagine. If you do your part, your “happily ever after” is guaranteed.
It may not come in the way you expected it. But you will one day look back and realize how all that you did—your obedience, your holding on to faith, your enduring to the end—will be very much worth it. It will be worth it beyond your ability to comprehend.
My dear young friends, God will bless and protect you; His angels will go before you and beside you, and bear you up in times of difficulty.
“I have a profound feeling of gratitude for the many good people who helped during this difficult season of our lives, but also a feeling of sadness for those who looked down on us because we were refugees, poor, and perhaps a little different. As a child you feel it deeply when others treat you as lower class. I think every human mind and heart is easily hurt by name-calling or labeling.
“The Holy Scriptures are filled with examples of refugees, from Abraham to Joseph and from David to Paul. Even Mary and Joseph fled as refugees to Egypt in order to protect their infant son, Jesus, from harm. The Mormon pioneers and early Latter-day Saints left their beloved countries and traveled either by force or by choice to a new land.
“We honor those who reach out to the poor and the needy, to the widow and the orphan, offering hope. We honor those who are not content to watch as others suffer but who lift up those who say, 'I can’t go on.' All of our lives are intertwined. We are all connected. As we help those in distress, our own lives are blessed.”
Wally was a wonderful man who tried his best to live the gospel and teach his children and grandchildren gospel principles. At a basketball game soon after the funeral, an empty chair sat alone in the usual place where Wally sat for so many years. Like Wally, we all have the capacity to be everyday heroes. Real heroes are those who try their best to inspire, uplift, and improve the lives of others, and who seek to love their fellowmen as the Lord loves them.