- 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 a child, I came to Germany as a refugee. I was four years old and it was in the middle of a world war. We had nothing. We had to rely on the help of others.
In Zwickau, Germany, we found the Church. Even though we were all Germans, we were still refugees. This happens in countries even today—some are refugees in their own country because of war and tragic circumstances.
I remember that some people helped us and others looked down on us. Some thought we were joining the Church only because we expected temporal help. I think that these types of thoughts are possible for everyone. We just have to learn that often there is more behind people than we know. And above all, we are all brothers and sisters in God’s plan.
I pray we can be mindful of the needs of those who cannot help themselves. They may be from other countries, or they may be in our own nations, congregations, neighborhoods, or even families. Always be willing to give Christlike help and support. May we reach out to those in need and help them become self-reliant and able to help themselves.
In reality, most of us use a kind of “seer stone” every day. My mobile phone is like a “seer stone.” I can get the collected knowledge of the world through a few little inputs. I can take a photo or a video with my phone and share it with family on the other side of our planet. I can even translate anything into or from many different languages!
If I can do this with my phone, if human beings can do this with their phones or other devices, who are we to say that God could not help Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration, with his translation work? If it is possible for me to access the knowledge of the world through my phone, who can question that seer stones are impossible for God?
Many religions have objects, places, and events that are sacred to them. We respect the sacred beliefs of other religions and hope to be respected for our own beliefs and what is sacred to us. We should never be arrogant, but rather polite and humble. We still should have a natural confidence, because this is the Church of Jesus Christ.
If man can take the ruins, rubble, and remains of a broken city and rebuild an awe-inspiring structure that rises toward the heavens, how much more capable is our Almighty Father to restore His children who have fallen, struggled, or become lost?
It matters not how completely ruined our lives may seem. It matters not how scarlet our sins, how deep our bitterness, how lonely, abandoned, or broken our hearts may be. Even those who are without hope, who live in despair, who have betrayed trust, surrendered their integrity, or turned away from God can be rebuilt.
To all reading this, I testify that our loving Savior knows you. He knows when you are lost, and He knows where you are. He knows your grief. Your silent pleadings. Your fears. Your tears.
All that matters is that you are His child. And He loves you, His children. Because He loves you, He will find you. I testify that if you will only lift up your heart to Him, He will find you.
I recently had the privilege to meet again two old friends, Grant and Sharol Wilson. They are excellent examples of what it means to give our lives in service to the Lord. They have served proselyting missions in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Germany. They also served three temple missions, in the Bern Switzerland and Washington D.C. Temples.
How grateful we are to missionaries of all ages who choose to dedicate their lives to serving our Heavenly Father’s children, often under challenging circumstances. How grateful we are during this Easter season for the messages of peace and love our missionaries bring to all the world.
The dedication of the Provo City Center Temple took place on Palm Sunday, the day when Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem amid hosanna shouts of the people. The dedication of our temples include the "Hosanna Anthem," praising our Savior, who is leading our Church today.
Soon we will gather worldwide in general conference to continue to praise the Lord and testify of Him. May we all look to Him, as have Brother and Sister Wilson. In this way, we can show our thanks and praise to our Savior, who suffered, died, and was resurrected so that we all may live again.
Later that evening, I was privileged to be in a photo with Brother Halvorsen and Harrison Ford. Our 95-year-old Candy Bomber looked almost the youngest between the Millennium Falcon pilot and me—a former airline captain.
Harriet and I were both sealed to our families in the Swiss Temple as youth. In the 1950s, we European members saw the Swiss Temple as our spiritual powerhouse. We remained in our own countries and sought to build the kingdom of God in Europe. Harriet and I were later married in the Swiss Temple, as were our children.
How wonderful it is that various temples dot Europe now, with two more in Paris and Rome coming soon. When I think of temples across the earth, I remember that temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are places where the Lord may come. They are the most holy of any places of worship on the earth. Only our homes can compare with temples in sacredness.
After a children’s choir sang in one large meeting, the children were invited to return to their families. The parents were asked to stand up so that their kids could find them in the big crowd. I felt impressed that this is something we all need to do for our young people. We as adults, as parents, as grandparents, need to stand up for the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ so that our children can see where to go in this confusing world. We need to live the values and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ so that our youth will see and feel our convictions.
I think I fell in love with her from the first moment I saw her. Unfortunately, this beautiful young woman didn’t seem to feel the same about me. But time passed, and eventually I was married to the woman I had loved ever since I first saw her. The process hadn’t been easy—there were moments of suffering and despair—but finally my happiness was full, and it still is, even more so.
I have learned that in God’s plan of happiness, we are not so much looking for someone perfect but for a person with whom, throughout a lifetime, we can join efforts to create a loving, lasting and more perfect relationship.
To all, married or single, I say: let the pure love of Christ fill your heart. Whatever problems your family, marriage, or relationships face—and whatever you must do to solve them—the beginning and the end of the solution is charity, the pure love of Christ. “Charity never faileth.” It is true for saving marriages! It is true for saving families! #LDSconf
Without service we are a mere shadow of who we are meant to be—both as individuals and as a Church. We are endangering our heritage and promise as children of God. We cannot, we will not be saved without blessing and lifting the poor. No matter the outward appearance of our righteousness, if we look the other way when others are suffering, we cannot be justified.