Dr. Russell M. Nelson named president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
SALT LAKE CITY – After Thomas S. Monson’s passing on Jan. 2, Russell M. Nelson was officially named as the 17th president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often referred to as the Mormons) recently. The new leader of the global faith, which includes more than 16 million members, has named Dallin H. Oaks, 85, and Henry B. Eyring, 84, to serve with him as his first and second counselors in the First Presidency, the Church’s highest governing body.
Nelson, who has nine daughters and one son, discussed the role women in the Church.
“I have a special place in my heart about the women,” he said. “We have women on our councils, we have women administering ordinances in the temple, we have women presidents of the auxiliaries and their counselors. We depend on their voices.”
An internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher, Nelson, age 93, received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah. He completed his residency in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in the mid-1950s, with his specialty as thoracic surgery. On behalf of the church, he has traveled to 133 countries visiting with local leaders, parishioners and communities. He speaks five languages, including self-taught Mandurian Chinese, which he was driven to learn so he could deliver medical speeches without translation. He has also been awarded honorary professorships from three universities in the People’s Republic of China.
Nelson has 57 grandchildren and 116 great-grandchildren. At a recent press conference, he said that he still enjoys skiing with them when he has the chance.
Regional Latter-day Saint President for the Southern New Hampshire area and professor at Harvard Divinity School, David F. Holland said of Nelson, “In my experience, President Nelson has been tirelessly committed to the help and healing of those around him. As a physician and in his spiritual ministry, he has exhibited the same steady care for others. He has always shown himself to be authentic; the public and the private Russell M. Nelson seem to be very much the same. That quality of personal integrity is something I admire a great deal.”
In Greater Peterborough, there are nearly 300 Latter-day Saints members that come from the towns of Peterborough, Jaffrey, Rindge, Milford, Wilton, Antrim and other towns. More than 4,044 members live in southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts as of July 28, 2017.