- 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.
In this painting, a pioneer girl is skipping along a bright blue path. She has endured many dark and dreary days, but she has a spring in her step and looks optimistic, happy, and hopeful.
As you walk through life, I hope you will feel a spring in your step as you trust the Lord and continue on your own bright path of discipleship. Faith will lead you to open your eyes to the things Heavenly Father has in store for you. Love for God and His children will continue to brighten your path, even on dark and cloudy days.
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.
President Gilbert has been prepared and qualified by the Lord to preside over this wonderful institution of higher education. He, his wife, and his eight children make up an impressively strong, united, happy, and focused family. For me, they are an authentic LDS family who are living the gospel—and living it joyfully.
As I spoke to BYU–Idaho faculty, staff, and students from all over the world, I counseled them to be grateful. I feel that our gratitude can best be shown by daily living gospel principles, respecting one another, learning and working hard, and building strong individuals and families as described in the plan of happiness. We can also show our gratitude to the Lord by having a current temple recommend and attending the house of the Lord regularly.
The Lord has instructed us to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” Wherever we may be, whatever opportunities are ours, I pray that we will expand our knowledge and our faith.
Hawaii has long been known for its “spirit of aloha,” which is often thought to mean the “breath of life.” I feel that this “breath of life” is the divine love our Heavenly Father so generously grants us.
Laie, its people, and its facilities are a great witness of how our Heavenly Father loves His children and cares for them. Our Father’s love can reenergize our hearts, enrich our lives, comfort our souls, and uplift our spirits. His love is not conditional upon our culture, where we live, what we wear, or how much money we make.
He loves every one of us, at any age or situation in life. He loves us more than our mortal mind can comprehend.
As you reach out to our Heavenly Father, as you pray to Him in the name of Christ, He will answer you and He will guide you. He will help you feel His tremendous love for you.
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.