President Russell M. NelsonRussell Marion Nelson, the 17th and present president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born on 9 September 1924, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His parents were Marion C. and Edna Anderson Nelson. 

He was sustained and ordained an Apostle in April 1984 and served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for nearly 34 years and was the quorum president from 2015 to 2018. During his time serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he visited 133 countries — dedicating 31 of those countries. He also served as chairman of each of the Church’s three governing committees — the Missionary Executive Council, the Temple and Family History Executive Council, and the Priesthood and Family Executive Council.


Russell Marion Nelson - College GraduateIn addition to his service as an Apostle, President Nelson is known for his long and esteemed medical career. Graduating first in his class from medical school at age 22, he received doctoral degrees from the University of Utah and University of Minnesota. A cardiothoracic surgeon, he helped pioneer the development of the artificial heart-lung machine, a means of supporting a patient’s circulation during open-heart surgery.

Russell Marion Nelson was set apart as the president and prophet of the Church on Sunday, 14 January 2018, in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple. He is the second prophet — the first being Joseph Fielding Smith — to be called as President of the Church while over the age of 90.

President Nelson and wife Sister Wendy NelsonAs of Thursday, 21 April 2022, President Russell M. Nelson is 97 years, seven months, and 13 days old, making him the oldest President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Gordon B. Hinckley, who passed away on 27 January 2008, was 97 years, seven months, and five days old.

President Nelson married his first wife, Dantzel White, in1945. They are the parents of 10 children. Dantzel passed away in 2005, just shy of their 60th wedding anniversary. In 2006, he married Wendy L. Watson.

During an even in 2019, marking his 95th birthday, he shared his testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored Church. He said:

If I have learned anything certain in [my life], it’s that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God. His Church has been restored in these latter-days to prepare the world for His Second Coming. He is the light and life of the world. Only through Him can we reach our divine destiny and eventual exaltation.

Also, during the event, President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency shared insights into the life, ministry, and service of President Nelson. He said:

One of the things that I admire about President Nelson is the way he unifies people of different points of view and different levels of experience and maturity. He just brings differing points of view and different individuals into harmony and does so in a gentle and loving and effective manner.

President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency added:

He has more love for people, I think, than almost anybody I’ve ever been around in my life. He not only loves us; he sees the best in us. … He sees good in people to a degree that’s [really] quite remarkable.

President Nelson’s good friend, Rev. Amos Brown, a Baptist pastor, and NAACP leader commented, “As I lock arms with President Nelson, not as black and white, not as Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Baptist, but as children of God who are about loving everybody whom we have the occasion to minister to.”

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, perhaps said it best when he said, “He [President Nelson] loves people. He likes little people, and he likes old people, and that makes it possible for him to be a prophet to all the people.”



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