NEW PROPHET IS MASTER AT BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
MBA Monson Upon His Throne
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Thomas S. Monson, a leader who became known for his folksy storytelling as he ascended through church ranks, was introduced Monday as the 16th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Monson, 80, succeeds Gordon B. Hinckley, who died last month at age 97. Out of respect for the deceased president, the Mormon church never names a successor until after funeral services. Hinckley was buried Saturday.
The church relies on a pattern of apostolic succession in selecting a new president. Since the early part of the 20th century, the position has always passed to the most-senior member of its Council of Twelve Apostles, the second-tier of church leadership. Monson was formally chosen Sunday.
Monson said he was prepared to follow Hinckley.
"It's not difficult because he blazed the trail," Monson said at a news conference. "I worked with him for so long — 44 years. We knew each other so well. I knew and testify afresh that he was the Lord's prophet."
Monson named as his two top advisers First Counselor Henry B. Eyring, 74, and Second Counselor Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
Latter-day Saints know Monson as a compassionate storyteller whose parables recount the stories of individuals resolving their struggles through faith.
As a senior church leader, Monson has served as an international envoy for the church and supervised the expansion of humanitarian programs. He's also known for forming ecumenical partnership with other faiths.
Monson was named to the Council of Twelve Apostles in October 1963 at the age of 36, after serving as a local church bishop and as director of the church's Canadian missionary activities in Toronto.
He went on to serve as counselor to Hinckley and two previous presidents in the church's highest leadership circle, the First Presidency.
He is the youngest man to hold the presidency since Spencer W. Kimball, who was 78 when named president in 1973. Mormon presidents serve for life.
As president, Monson will shepherd a growing church with 13 million members in 160 countries. Of those, about 5.7 million are in the United States. One-third of church members live in Utah.
Monson, a Navy World War II veteran, is a graduate of the University of Utah and holds a master's degree in business administration from the church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo.
Professionally, he worked for the church's secular businesses, including the Deseret Morning News and the Deseret News Press. He was also the representative who served on the boards of other church-owned businesses, including KSL-TV and Beneficial Life Insurance Co.
He has been married to Frances Beverly Johnson since 1948. The couple has three children. eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
LDS prophet urges "the less active, the offended" to return
Monson extends welcome, pledges his life to church
By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson invited "the less active, the offended, the critical, the transgressor" Sunday to come back and "feast at the table of the Lord and taste again the sweet and satisfying fruits of fellowship with the Saints."
In his first address to the entire 13-million member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the newly sustained 16th "prophet, seer and revelator," Monson echoed sentiments of welcome and inclusion that were hallmarks of his recent predecessors.
He spoke during the Sunday morning session of the church's 178th Annual General Conference, held in the giant Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City and beamed via satellite to Mormon chapels across the globe.
Monson encouraged Mormons to show kindness and respect "for all people everywhere. The world in which we live is filled with diversity. We can and should demonstrate respect toward those whose beliefs differ from ours." (Webmaster Note: Mormons will resort to personal slander when confronted with the truth.)
The new president said he was overwhelmed by church members' symbolic gestures of support offered Saturday. "As your hands were raised toward heaven, my heart was touched. I felt your love and support, as well as your commitment to the Lord," he said.
Monson has enjoyed meeting with Mormons in many nations, he said, and he plans to continue traveling, as the late President Gordon B. Hinckley did.
"I pledge my life, my strength - all that I have to offer - in serving the Lord and in directing the affairs of his church in accordance with his will and by his inspiration," Monson said.
Other speakers on Sunday discussed prayer, finding spiritual light, forgiveness and resurrection, the courage to uphold LDS standards and the role of the apostles. Many reiterated their support for and allegiance to Monson.
"I cannot help but feel that the most important privilege [of this historic conference] has been to witness the settling of the sacred prophetic mantle upon [Monson's] shoulders, almost by the very hands of angels," said Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, in an emotional and unscripted comment. (Webmaster Note: Long-term Mormons lack rational thought.)
In his speech, Holland took on the church's Christian critics who condemn Mormonism for using extra scriptures beyond the Bible, including the Book of Mormon.
"The fact of the matter is that virtually every prophet of the Old and New Testament has added scripture to that received by his predecessors," Holland said. "Continuing revelation does not demean nor discredit existing revelation." (Webmaster Note: Mormon prophets have only two major "prophecies" since 1844. Both helped the church to conform to the morals of the United States and helped to eliminate polygamy in 1890 and racism in 1978 from church practices.)
Apostle M. Russell Ballard focused on the "essential" and "eternal" role of mothers. (Webmaster Note: Mormon women are to mothers and raise children.)
"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother," Ballard said, acknowledging that every situation is different. Some are full-time homemakers, and many others would like to be. Some women work full or part-time. Some work at home; some divide their lives into periods of home and family and work.
What matters, Ballard said, is that "a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."
Quoting New York Times writer Anna Quindlen, Ballard urged young mothers to live in the moment more, enjoying each stage of their children's development. He discouraged over-scheduling children's activities, while encouraging mothers to take time for themselves. He urged husbands to offer to help their wives with the children, even providing a "day away" for her from time to time.
Between the Sunday sessions, the three women named Saturday as new leaders in the church's Young Women's Organization described their approach and priorities regarding the 554,600 Mormon girls between 12 and 18 years old in 170 countries.
When asked how they planned to cope with the fact that as many as 80 percent of the single Mormon women between 18 and 30 are no longer active in the LDS Church, Elaine Dalton, Young Women president, said, "That is the question of the day. . .I don't know that we have all the answers right now." (Webmaster Note: Many women are escaping Mormonism to escape depression.)
Dalton said she and her two counselors plan to "reach out and strengthen those young women. . .to help them understand who they are and the divine mission they have on earth."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Monson's German-born second counselor in the governing First Presidency, represented the international members, many of whom are the only Mormons in their families.
"I claim the legacies of modern-day church pioneers who live in every nation and whose own stories of perseverance, faith, and sacrifice add glorious new verses to the great chorus of the latter-day anthem of the kingdom of God," said Uchtdorf. "We honor and respect sincere souls from all religions, no matter where or when they lived, who loved God, even without having the fullness of the gospel." (Webmaster Note: The Mormon Gospel is not the Christian Gospel.)
- Tribune staffer Jessica Ravitz contributed to this report.
Webmaster note: With the death of Joseph Smith and the excommunication of Sidney Rigdon, control of the Mormon church shifted from the con-artist false prophets to the business manager false prophets led by Brigham Young. The business managers ceased making the numerous false prophecies that were characteristic of the Smith and Rigdon era. Brigham Young gave only one being Doctrine and Covenants section 136 that told the Mormon membership to obey his commandments and how to be organized during the western migration to Utah. Other business manager prophecies were the 1890 declaration that polygamy was no longer allowed and the 1978 declaration that blacks would no longer be discriminated against. The 1890 and 1978 declarations were simply made to keep the Mormon church in step with the accepted morals of the United States of America. The business manager false prophets of the Mormon church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) continue to practice disinformation to the present about Mormon history.
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