APOSTLES – Chronology and Succession
QUESTION: What is the greatest length of time that has elapsed between the births of two future apostles in this dispensation?
ANSWER: The greatest length of time that has elapsed between the births of two future apostles in this dispensation is 7 years and 3 months. This was the length of time between the births of Elder Henry B. Eyring (May 31, 1933) and Elder Quentin L. Cook (September 8, 1940). The second greatest length of time was 6 years and 0 months, between the births of Elder D. Todd Christofferson (January 24, 1945) and Elder Ronald A. Rasband (February 6, 1951). Click here for more details.
QUESTION: The period of time between the death of one Church President and the setting-apart of the next Church President has been referred to as an ‘apostolic interregnum’. Can you name two brethren in this dispensation that were ordained apostles during apostolic interregnums?
ANSWER: The Prophet Joseph was martyred on June 27, 1844, and Ezra T. Benson was ordained an apostle on July 16, 1846, 17 months before Brigham Young was sustained as the next President of the Church. Brigham Young died on August 29, 1877, and Moses Thatcher was ordained an apostle on April 9, 1879, 18 months before John Taylor was sustained as the next President of the Church. Thus, Elders Benson and Thatcher were ordained during apostolic interregnums. Click here for more details.
QUESTION: What has been the largest age difference between two consecutively-ordained apostles in this dispensation?
ANSWER: Elder Charles W. Penrose was ordained an apostle on July 7, 1904 at the age of 72 years and 5 months. At the time of Elder Penrose’s ordination, Elder George Albert Smith was the next most-senior apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Smith was 34 years and 3 months of age at the time of Elder Penrose’s ordination. The age difference between these two consecutively ordained apostles was 38 years and 2 months, the largest difference in this dispensation thus far. Click here for more details.
QUESTION: Which of our apostles in this dispensation served the shortest period of time in the Quorum of the Twelve?
ANSWER: Alonzo A. Hinckley, President Hinckley’s uncle, served in the Quorum of the Twelve for only 2 years and 2 months. He was ordained an apostle on October 11, 1934 and he passed away on December 22, 1936. John F. Boynton, one of the original Twelve, served for only 2 years and 7 months. Click here for details.
QUESTION: What is the longest period of time that has elapsed without a change being made in Quorum of the Twelve?
ANSWER: The longest time period that has elapsed without a change in the Quorum of the Twelve is 10 years and 2 months. This occurred from March 17, 1921 to May 16, 1931. During this period, Heber J. Grant was the President of the Church and Rudger Clawson was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve. The second longest time period without a change was from April 6, 1995 (Elder Henry B. Eyring sustained) to July 21, 2004 (Elder Neal A. Maxwell passed away). This was a time period of 9 years and 4 months. Click here for more information.
QUESTION: Name some of the times in this dispensation when TWO nonagenarian apostles (between 90 and 100 years of age) served concurrently, the time when THREE nonagenarians served concurrently, and the time when FOUR nonagenarian apostles served together.
ANSWER: The first time that there were TWO nonagenarian apostles serving at the same time was during the service of President David O. McKay and President Joseph Fielding Smith. President McKay turned 90 on September 8, 1963 while serving as President of the Church. President Smith turned 90 on July 19, 1966 while serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve. They served concurrently as nonagenarian apostles until January 18, 1970, when President McKay passed away. They thus were nonagenarians together for 3 years and 6 months. The second time occurred during the service of President Gordon B. Hinckley and Elder David B. Haight. Elder Haight turned 90 on September 2, 1996 and President Hinckley turned 90 on June 23, 2000. They served concurrently as nonagenarians until Elder Haight passed away on July 31, 2004, a period of 4 years and 1 month. The third time also included President Hinckley. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin turned 90 years of age on June 11, 2007. President Hinckley and Elder Wirthlin served together as fellow-nonagenarians from then until President Hinckley’s death on January 27, 2008. The fourth time occurred from September 2014 to May 2015 when Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Russell M. Nelson served together, both being over 90 years old. The fifth time was from September 2014 to July 2015, with Elders Russell M. Nelson and Boyd K. Packer being over 90, their birthdays being within one day of each other. The sixth time was during those same months, with Elders Packer and Perry being over 90 years old. The seventh time occurred in August of 2017 when President Thomas S. Monson turned 90 years old, and Elder Russell M. Nelson, just one month away from his 93rd birthday, was serving in the Quorum of the Twelve. We also had President Nelson and President Oaks serve together in their 90’s. The first occurrence of THREE nonagenarians serving concurrently involved Elders Packer, Perry, and Nelson, from September 2014 to May 2015. The second occurrence was when Elders Nelson, Ballard, and Oaks served concurrently. The circumstance in which FOUR nonagenarian apostles served concurrently occurred on May 31, 2023 when President Henry B. Eyring turned 90 years old. At that time we had President Nelson, President Oaks, President Eyring, and Elder Ballard, all in their 90’s, serving together. This was also the first time that three nonagenarians served together in the First Presidency. Click here for more information on nonagenarian apostles.
QUESTION: We have had several apostles live to the age of 90 and become ‘nonagenarian’ apostles in this dispensation. How many of these nonagenarians can you name?
ANSWER: The nonagenarians, listed by order of call to the apostleship, are Wilford Woodruff, Charles W. Penrose, David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, J. Reuben Clark Jr., Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Marion G. Romney, LeGrand Richards, Hugh B. Brown, Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, David B. Haight, Joseph B. Wirthlin, L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, Boyd K. Packer, M. Russell Ballard, and Henry B. Eyring. Click here for more information on nonagenarian apostles.
QUESTION: Can you name recent apostles who were called into the apostleship to fill the vacancy created by the passing away of a President of the Church?
ANSWER: Elder Boyd K. Packer filled the vacancy created by the death of President David O. McKay, Elder Bruce R. McConkie filled the vacancy created by the death of his father-in-law President Joseph Fielding Smith, Elder L. Tom Perry filled the vacancy created by the death of President Harold B. Lee, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin filled the vacancy created by the death of President Spencer W. Kimball, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland filled the vacancy created by the death of President Ezra Taft Benson, Elder Henry B. Eyring filled the vacancy created by the death of President Howard W. Hunter, Elder D. Todd Christofferson filled the vacancy created by the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley, and Elder Gerrit W. Gong filled the vacancy created by the death of President Thomas S. Monson. Click here for more information.
QUESTION: Five members of the original Quorum of the Twelve outlived Brigham Young. Can you name these five brethren?
ANSWER: Brigham Young died on August 29, 1877 at age 76 years 3 months. Original members of the Quorum of the Twelve who outlived him were: 1) Orson Hyde who died on November 28, 1878 at age 73 years 10 months 2) Orson Pratt who died on October 3, 1881 at age 70 years 01 month 3) William E. M’Lellin who died on April 24, 1883 at age 77 years 03 months 4) John F. Boynton who died on October 20, 1890 at age 79 years 01 months 5) William B. Smith, the brother of Joseph and Hyrum, who died on November 13, 1894 at age 82 years 10 months. Elders Hyde and Pratt were members of the Quorum of the Twelve at the time of their deaths. The other three men were excommunicants.
QUESTION: Which of the apostles who have served in this dispensation was oldest at the time of his apostolic call?
ANSWER: The oldest brother to be called as an apostle was George Q. Morris. He was 80 years 2 months old at the time of his ordination (birthday: February 20, 1874, apostolic ordination: April 8, 1954). Elder Hugh B. Brown was the second oldest to be called (74 years 6 months) and Elder Charles W. Penrose was the third oldest (72 years 5 months). Click here for more information on this topic.
QUESTION: Since the organization of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in this dispensation, only two apostles have died as the junior member of the Quorum. Can you name these two apostles?
ANSWER: The two apostles who have died as the junior member of the Quorum of the Twelve are Abraham H. Cannon (son of George Q. Cannon) and Alonzo H. Hinckley (President Hinckley’s uncle). Apostle Cannon was ordained an apostle on October 7, 1889 at age 30, and he died on July 19, 1896 at age 37. No new apostles were ordained during the time he served in the Quorum of Twelve. Apostle Hinckley was ordained an apostle on October 11, 1934 at age 64. He died December 22, 1936 at age 66. Click here for details.
QUESTION: Can you name the youngest man called to be an apostle during the following four time periods: 1850 – 1900, 1901 – 1950, 1951 to 2000, and 2001 to present?
ANSWER: The youngest man called to be an apostle from 1850 to 1900 was John W. Young, ordained February 4, 1864 at the age of 19 years 4 months; from 1901 to 1950 was Hyrum Mack Smith, ordained on October 24, 1902 at the age of 29 years 7 months; from 1951 to 2000 was Thomas Spencer Monson, ordained October 10, 1963 at the age of 36 years 2 months, and from 2001 to present is Elder David A. Bednar, ordained October 2, 2004 at the age of 52 years 03 months. Click here for details.
QUESTION: Can you name instances in this dispensation in which apostles who were not serving as President of the Church ordained other brethren to the apostleship?
ANSWER: Four apostles, not serving as president of the Church, who have ordained other men to the apostleship are Heber C. Kimball, George Q. Cannon, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas S. Monson. Elder Kimball ordained Elders George A. Smith, Lorenzo Snow, and Franklin D. Richards to the apostleship. Elder Cannon ordained Elders Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, and Matthias F. Cowley to the apostleship. President Hinckley, while serving as 1st Counselor in the First Presidency, ordained Elder Robert D. Hales to the apostleship. President Monson, while serving as 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency, ordained Elders Joseph B. Wirthlin and Richard G. Scott to the apostleship. There are likely other situations in which this occurred.
QUESTION: How many brethren have been ordained to the apostleship in their teens or twenties? How many of these actually served in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles while in their teens or twenties?
ANSWER: Twenty brethren have been ordained apostles while in their teens or twenties. They are [listed chronologically by date of ordination with the age at the time of their ordination following] Joseph Smith (23), Oliver Cowdery (22), William M’Lellin (29), Parley Parker Pratt (27), Luke S. Johnson (27), William B. Smith (23), Orson Pratt (23), John F. Boynton (23), Lyman E. Johnson (23), George A. Smith (21), Amasa M. Lyman (29), Franklin D. Richards (27), Heber J. Grant (25), John W, Taylor (25), Abraham O. Woodruff (24), and Hyrum Mack Smith (20). Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph A Young, and John W. Young didn’t actually serve in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, so only 16 brethren have served in the Quorum of the Twelve wile in their twenties. George A. Smith, at age 21, is the youngest apostle to have served in the Quorum of the Twelve. Click here for details.