- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsQuorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1984 - present
Elder Russell M. Nelson was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 7, 1984.
An internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher, Dr. Nelson received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah (1945, 47). Honorary scholastic societies include Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha. He served his residency in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at the University of Minnesota, where he was awarded his Ph.D. degree in 1954. He also received honorary degrees of Doctor of Science from Brigham Young University in 1970, Doctor of Medical Science from Utah State University in 1989, and Doctor of Humane Letters from Snow College in 1994.
His professional work included the positions of research professor of surgery and director of the Thoracic Surgery Residency at the University of Utah and chairman of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Author of numerous publications and chapters in medical textbooks, Elder Nelson lectured and visited professionally throughout the United States and in many other nations prior to his call as a General Authority. A host of awards and honors have come to him, including the Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Utah; the Heart of Gold Award from the American Heart Association; a citation for International Service from the American Heart Association; and the Golden Plate Award, presented by the American Academy of Achievement. He has been awarded honorary professorships from three universities in the People’s Republic of China.
Dr. Nelson has served as president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, a director of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, chairman of the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery for the American Heart Association, and president of the Utah State Medical Association.
He is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in Religion.
Elder Nelson has held numerous positions of responsibility in the Church. He served as stake president of the Bonneville Stake from 1964 to June 1971, when he was called as general president of the Sunday School. Prior to his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, he was serving as a regional representative assigned to the Kearns Utah Region. He had previously served as regional representative for Brigham Young University.
Born September 9, 1924, Elder Nelson is the son of Marion C. and Edna Anderson Nelson. He and his wife, the former Dantzel White, have ten children. Sister Nelson passed away in February 2005. In April 2006, he married Wendy L. Watson.
- University of UtahM.D., 1947
- University of MinnesotaPh.D., 1954
A Saturday evening cultural program had been prepared for this conference by local youth of the Church. Unfortunately, President and Sister Kimball both became very ill, each with a high fever. After receiving priesthood blessings, they rested at the nearby home of the president of the New Zealand Temple. President Kimball asked his counselor, President N. Eldon Tanner, to preside at the cultural event and to excuse President and Sister Kimball.
Sister Nelson went with President and Sister Tanner and other leaders to the event, while President Kimball’s secretary, Brother D. Arthur Haycock, and I watched over our feverish friends.
While President Kimball was sleeping, I was quietly reading in his room. Suddenly President Kimball was awakened. He asked, “Brother Nelson, what time was this evening’s program to begin?”
“At seven o’clock, President Kimball.”
“What time is it now?”
“It’s almost seven,” I replied.
President Kimball quickly said, “Tell Sister Kimball we are going!”
I checked President Kimball’s temperature. It was normal! I took Sister Kimball’s temperature. It was also normal!
They quickly dressed and got into an automobile. We were driven to the stadium of the Church College of New Zealand. As the car entered the arena, there was a very loud shout that erupted spontaneously. It was most unusual! After we took our seats, I asked Sister Nelson about that sudden sound. She said that when President Tanner began the meeting, he dutifully excused President and Sister Kimball because of illness. Then one of the young New Zealanders was called upon to pray.
With great faith, he gave what Sister Nelson described as a rather lengthy but powerful prayer. He so prayed: “We are 3,000 New Zealand youth. We are assembled here, having prepared for six months to sing and dance for Thy prophet. Wilt Thou heal him and deliver him here!” After the “amen” was pronounced, the car carrying President and Sister Kimball entered the stadium. They were identified immediately, and instantly everyone shouted for joy!
I had witnessed the healing power of the Lord! I had also witnessed revelation as received and responded to by His living prophet!
The Lord made that clear when He said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” You and I do not “vote” on Church leaders at any level. We do, though, have the privilege of sustaining them.
Your life will be a blessed and balanced experience if you first honor your identity and priority.