One of the dozen men was a tax collector, and several others were fishermen who plied their trade on the waters of Galilee. When they were called to serve, they devoted themselves to being witnesses to the world of the one who called them.
The men who hold that same title today come from a variety of fields, including law, business, medicine, academia and the judiciary. When they were called to serve, they too put aside their respective professions to serve full-time as witnesses of Christ.
They are the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The modern-day Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was organized in 1835 and is an example of the literal restoration to the earth of the church established by Jesus Christ.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest presiding body in the government of the Church. Its members serve under the direction of the First Presidency, a governing unit of three men — the president and two counselors.
In addition to their primary responsibility to be special witnesses of the name of Christ throughout the world, the apostles have heavy administrative responsibilities as they oversee the orderly progress and development of the global Church.
Just as their counterparts in ancient times were sent throughout the world, the apostles today travel the world to strengthen and encourage Church members, to organize new congregations and to conduct the business of the Church. Sometimes this means meeting with national leaders to negotiate permission for the Church to be established in yet another country.
A replacement in the Quorum of the Twelve is called by the President of the Church, who receives inspiration in extending the call. The new member of the Twelve may be called from one of the Quorums of the Seventy (which are made up of General Authorities who are senior leaders in the Church) or from general Church membership around the world. Seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve is determined by the date an apostle is called rather than by age.
The current members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are:
President Boyd K. Packer, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was set apart to this position on 3 February 2008. Previously, he was acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles beginning 5 June 1994. Prior to becoming acting president, he served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, having been ordained an apostle on 9 April 1970. He earlier served for almost nine years as an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
He studied at Weber College and subsequently received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Utah State University. He received a doctorate in educational administration from Brigham Young University.
President Packer was born 10 September 1924 in Brigham City, Utah. He served as a bomber pilot during World War II in the Pacific Theater.
President Packer served as president of the New England Mission. He is the author of a number of books and other published works. He is an artist, particularly of birds. He is married to the former Donna Smith. They are the parents of ten children.
President Packer died peacefully at his home on July 3, 2015, at age 90. To learn more about his life and ministry, visit MormonNewsroom.org.
Elder L. Tom Perry was called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1974, after serving as an assistant to the Twelve since 1972.
Elder Perry’s Church service began with a mission to the Northern States in 1942, after which he served for two years with the Marines in the Pacific. Subsequent Church positions include counselor in a bishopric in Lewiston, Idaho; counselor in a stake presidency in Sacramento, California; high councilor in the New York Stake; and president of the Boston Stake.
He was born August 5, 1922, in Logan, Utah, to Leslie Thomas and Nora Sonne Perry. He received his B.S. degree in finance from Utah State University in 1949 and did graduate work there. His professional career was spent in the retail business, where he served as vice president and treasurer in companies located in Idaho, California, New York and Massachusetts.
On July 18, 1947, he married Virginia Lee of Hyde Park, Utah, in the Logan Temple. She died December 14, 1974. They are the parents of two daughters and a son.
He married Barbara Taylor Dayton on April 28, 1976, in the Salt Lake Temple.
In April 2015, Elder Perry was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Despite early treatments, the cancer spread aggressively to his lungs and beyond. Elder Perry died at his home, surrounded by family on May 30, 2015. He was 92 years old.
To learn more about his service and ministry, visit MormonNewsroom.org.
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 7 April 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 9 September 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.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since May 1984.
He is a native of Provo, Utah (born in 1932). He and his late wife, June Dixon Oaks, are the parents of six children. She died 21 July 1998. On 25 August 2000, he married Kristen M. McMain in the Salt Lake Temple.
Elder Oaks is a graduate of Brigham Young University (1954) and of the University of Chicago Law School (1957). He practiced law and taught law in Chicago. He was president of Brigham Young University from 1971 to 1980 and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1980 until his resignation in 1984 to accept his calling to the apostleship.
He has been an officer or member of the board of many business, educational and charitable organizations. He is the author or co-author of many books and articles on religious and legal subjects.
Elder M. Russell Ballard is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has been serving as an apostle since 6 October 1985, traveling throughout the earth to instruct Church members and direct day-to-day affairs of the worldwide Church.
He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on 8 October 1928 to Melvin R. and Geraldine Smith Ballard. He attended the University of Utah.
In 1974, he was called as president of the Canada Toronto Mission, where he was serving when called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April of 1976. As a member of the Seventy, he supervised and trained leaders in his assigned geographic regions. He later served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy from February 1980 to October 1985, overseeing the Church’s Quorums of the Seventy. Much of his ministry has been focused on missionary work.
Prior to his call as a full-time Church leader, Elder Ballard had interests in the automotive, real estate and investment businesses. He has served on many Church and civic committees and boards.
He married Barbara Bowen in the Salt Lake Temple on 28 August 1951. They are the parents of two sons and five daughters.
Richard Gordon Scott was sustained an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 1 October 1988. He was called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on 2 April 1977 and served as a member of the Presidency of that Quorum from 1 October 1983 until his present calling.
He was born 7 November 1928 in Pocatello, Idaho, a son of Kenneth Leroy and Mary Whittle Scott. At the age of 5, he moved with his parents to Washington, D.C., where his father served with the Department of Agriculture, later becoming an Assistant Secretary of Agriculture.
He graduated from George Washington University as a mechanical engineer, served a full-time mission to Uruguay, and completed post-graduate work in nuclear engineering at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. From 1953 to 1965 Elder Scott served on the immediate staff of Admiral Hyman Rickover, directing the development of nuclear fuel for a wide variety of naval and land based power plants. Elder Scott received an honorary doctor of Christian service degree from Brigham Young University in 2008.
From 1965 to 1969 he presided over the Argentina North Mission in Cordoba, Argentina. Upon his return, he worked as a private consultant for nuclear power companies.
He served as a regional representative in the Uruguay, Paraguay, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. areas until his call as a Seventy.
Elder Scott loves our Father in Heaven, His Beloved Son, and all of the Father's other children. Elder Scott enjoys a variety of special interests. He has a deep love for the natural beauty of the world.
He is blessed with a gifted wife, Jeanene Watkins, to whom he was sealed 16 July 1953 in the Manti Temple. She passed away 15 May 1995. They are the parents of seven children.
Elder Robert D. Hales was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 2 April 1994.
Elder Hales received his call as a general authority on 4 April 1975. He served as an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and later as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He was presiding bishop of the Church from April 1985 until called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
He was a regional representative for five years prior to his call as a general authority. He earlier served as a branch president, bishop, high councilor and stake president’s counselor. He was president of the England London Mission in the late 1970s and has served as first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency.
Prior to his call to full-time Church service, Elder Hales had a distinguished business career, serving in executive positions with three major national companies.
Elder Hales was born in New York City. He is a graduate of the University of Utah and holds a master of business administration degree from Harvard. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot.
He married Mary Crandall, and they have two sons.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 23 June 1994. At the time of this call, Elder Holland was serving as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to which he had been called on 1 April 1989.
From 1980 until his call as a general authority in 1989, Jeffrey R. Holland served as the ninth president of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is a former Church commissioner of education and dean of the College of Religious Education at BYU.
A student leader and varsity athlete at Dixie High School and Dixie College in his native St. George, Utah, he received his bachelor and master degrees in English and religious education, respectively, from Brigham Young University. He obtained master and doctor of philosophy degrees in American studies from Yale University.
Elder Holland was active in professional educational activity prior to his call to full-time Church service. He served as president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAPICU), on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Presidents Commission. For his work in improving understanding between Christians and Jews he was awarded the Torch of Liberty award by the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'rith. He has served on the governing boards of a number of civic and business related corporations and has received the Distinguished Eagle Scout award from the Boy Scouts of America. He is the author of eight books, one of which he co-authored with his wife, Patricia.
Elder Holland was born 3 December 1940 to Frank D. and Alice Bentley Holland. In 1963, he married Patricia Terry. They are the parents of three children.
David A. Bednar was ordained and set apart as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 7 October 2004. Prior to his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Bednar served as an area seventy, area authority seventy, regional representative, twice as a stake president and as a bishop.
Elder Bednar was born on 15 June 1952 in Oakland, California. He served as a full-time missionary in southern Germany and then attended Brigham Young University, where he received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. He also received a doctoral degree in organizational behavior from Purdue University.
After completing his education, Elder Bednar was a professor of business management at Texas Tech University and at the University of Arkansas. He then served as the president of Brigham Young University–Idaho (formerly Ricks College) from 1997 to 2004.
Elder Bednar married Susan Kae Robinson in the Salt Lake Temple on 20 March 1975, and they are the parents of three sons.
Elder Quentin L. Cook was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 6 October 2007. Called as a general authority in April 1996, he served in the Second Quorum, the First Quorum, and the Presidency of the Seventy.
As a Seventy, he served in the area presidency in the Philippines, as president of the Pacific Islands and the North America Northwest Areas, and as executive director of the Missionary Department.
At the time of his call to be a general authority of the Church, he was vice chairman of Sutter Health System. Previously, he was president and chief executive officer of a California healthcare system. Prior to that, he was a business lawyer and managing partner of a San Francisco Bay Area law firm. He has been a board member of several profit and not-for-profit corporations.
He has served the Church as a bishop, stake president and counselor in the San Francisco California Stake, and regional representative and area authority in the North America West Area. As a young man, he was a missionary in the British Mission.
He is a native of Logan, Utah, received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah State University, and a doctor of jurisprudence from Stanford University.
He married Mary Gaddie on 30 November 1962. They are the parents of three children.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 5 April 2008. At the time of his call, he was serving in the Presidency of the Seventy.
During his tenure in the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Christofferson had supervisory responsibility for the North America West, Northwest and Southeast Areas of the Church. He also served as executive director of the Family and Church History Department. Earlier, he was president of the Mexico South Area of the Church, residing in Mexico City.
Prior to his call to serve as a full-time general authority of the Church, Elder Christofferson was associate general counsel of NationsBank Corporation (now Bank of America) in Charlotte, North Carolina. Previously, he was senior vice president and general counsel for Commerce Union Bank of Tennessee in Nashville, where he was also active in community affairs and interfaith organizations. From 1975 to 1980, Elder Christofferson practiced law in Washington, D.C., after serving as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica (1972-74).
Born in Pleasant Grove, Utah, he graduated from high school in New Jersey, earned his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, where he was an Edwin S. Hinckley Scholar, and earned his law degree from Duke University.
Among other callings, he has served the Church as a regional representative, stake president and bishop. As a young man, he served as a missionary in Argentina.
Elder Christofferson and his wife, Katherine Jacob Christofferson, are parents of five children.
Elder Neil Linden Andersen was named an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 4 April 2009.
Elder Andersen was serving as the senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy prior to his calling to the Quorum of the Twelve. He was named a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1993, at age 41. He previously led the work of the Church in southern Brazil and, again as a member of an area presidency, oversaw the Church in western Europe. He has also assisted in supervising the work of the Church in Mexico and Central America. In addition, he supervised Church audiovisual production, including the filming of The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd and managed construction of the broadcast facilities in the Conference Center as the executive director of the Church Audiovisual Department. He speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish in addition to his native English.
Prior to his call as a general authority, Elder Andersen served as a mission president in the France Bordeaux Mission and as president of the Tampa Florida Stake.
Elder Andersen was born in Logan, Utah, and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, on a dairy farm where he remembers doing "typical Idaho farm work, from morning to night.” In high school, he excelled in student government, serving as governor of Idaho Boys State.
He graduated from Brigham Young University, where he was a Hinckley Scholar, and earned a masters of business administration from Harvard University. After completing his education, he settled in Tampa, Florida, where his business interests included advertising, real estate development and health care.
Elder Andersen and his wife, Kathy Williams Andersen, are the parents of four children.