On Jan. 14, 2018, President Russell M. Nelson was ordained and set apart as the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Within just a few months of his calling, President Nelson has continued — like all of his predecessors — to lead and guide the worldwide Church through revelation.
Prior to his calling as prophet, President Nelson served in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for 34 years and was the quorum president from 2015 to 2018.
President Nelson has traveled the globe testifying and teaching members of the Church — as well as those who are not members of the Church — as he has served as a special witness of Jesus Christ.
For the week of his 94th birthday (Sept. 9), the Church News has compiled a select list of what members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have said about President Nelson since his ordination as the prophet.
President M. Russell Ballard:
“We are deeply grateful the Lord has called a new prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, to preside over His Church," said President Ballard in April 2018 general conference. "In an orderly way we have now begun a new chapter in our Church history. This is a precious gift from God.
“As we each sustained President Nelson by our uplifted hands, we stood as witnesses before God and acknowledged that he is President Monson’s rightful successor. With our raised hands, we promised to hearken unto his voice as he receives direction from the Lord. …
“I have known our new prophet-president for over 60 years. I have served with him in the Quorum of the Twelve for 33 years, and I am a witness that the hand of the Lord has been preparing him to become our presiding apostle and prophet to administer all the keys of the holy priesthood on the earth. May each one of us completely sustain him and his counselors and follow their direction.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
“I have seen the Lord magnify him and bless him and shape him for this hour,” said Elder Holland in a Church News article from January 2018. “He gave the Lord a wonderful package of raw material to work with, but I have seen the Lord bless him and mold him into becoming the prophet of the Lord that we sustain him to be.”
First and foremost, he said, President Nelson is kind.
“He is a consummate gentleman. He may be the man for whom the word 'gentleman' was created. He is very, very kind.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
“It was a joy to participate in this morning’s announcement of the new First Presidency," said Elder Uchtdorf in January 2018 on social media. "I love and sustain President Russell M. Nelson, President Dallin H. Oaks, and President Henry B. Eyring. I can assure you, the Lord Himself is at the head of His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The Lord has provided a divine plan so that His Church is always led by prophets, seers, and revelators. I embrace the opportunity to associate with my Brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I love them and look forward to serving with them as we — along with you — strive to serve the Lord."
Elder David A. Bednar:
“The resurrected and living Christ directs the affairs of His restored and living Church," Elder Bednar stated on social media. "On Sunday morning in a solemn meeting in the Salt Lake Temple, President Russell M. Nelson was sustained and ordained as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know the Lord has called him to be the prophet at this time. For years, I have been tutored and strengthened by his strong faith and his inspired leadership.
“The heavens are not closed. God speaks — to us individually and to the leaders of His latter-day kingdom on earth. I look forward with great anticipation to the leadership President Nelson will provide. I know that as we follow his counsel, we will better come to know the Savior and will feel true joy in our lives."
Elder Quentin L. Cook
“We have all had the privilege of sustaining President Russell M. Nelson as our prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this conference," Elder Cook stated during April 2018 general conference. "The Twelve, as a group and individually, had a significant spiritual experience when we laid our hands on President Nelson’s head and President Dallin H. Oaks, acting as voice, ordained him and set him apart as president of the Church. I testify that he was foreordained and has been prepared his entire life to be the Lord’s prophet for our day."
Elder D. Todd Christofferson:
In a Church News interview, Elder Christofferson said he enjoys meeting with the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, under the directions of President Nelson, each week in the temple.
"The fellowship in the temple is something I look forward to every week and really keeps the focus on the spiritual ministry even when we are talking about administrative matters."
Elder Neil L. Andersen:
In his April 2018 general conference address entitled "The Prophet of God," Elder Andersen talked about why members of the Church sustain President Nelson as prophet.
“There are many logical reasons to follow President Russell M. Nelson. Even those not of our faith would call him brilliant. He was a medical doctor at age 22, an esteemed cardiac surgeon, and a renowned pioneer in the development of open-heart surgery.
“Most would acknowledge his wisdom and judgment: nine decades of learning about life and death, living unselfishly, loving and teaching God’s children in every corner of the globe, and maturing with the experiences of having 10 children, 57 grandchildren, and 118 great-grandchildren (this last number changes frequently; a great-grandson was born only this past Wednesday).
“Those who know him well would speak of President Nelson facing the difficulties of life with faith and courage. When cancer took the life of his 37-year-old daughter, Emily, leaving a loving husband and five small children, I heard him say, 'I was her father, a medical doctor, and an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, but I had to bow my head and acknowledge, ‘Not my will but thine be done.’”
“Although we admire all of these noble qualities, why do we follow President Nelson? Why do we follow the prophet? Because the Lord Jesus Christ has called him and designated him as His watchman on the tower."
Elder Ronald A. Rasband:
"My beloved brethren of the priesthood, it is with great humility that I stand before you on this historic occasion, under assignment by our dear prophet and president, Russell M. Nelson," said Elder Rasband during the priesthood session of April 2018 general conference. "How I love and sustain this wonderful man of God and our new First Presidency."
Elder Gary E. Stevenson:
During his talk "The Heart of a Prophet," Elder Stevenson spoke on how President Nelson is meant to lead the Church.
“(President Nelson) has been profoundly prepared and specifically tutored by the Lord to lead us at this time. It is a great blessing to now have dear President Russell M. Nelson as our loving and devoted prophet — the 17th President of the Church in this final dispensation.
“I had the privilege of serving in the Quorum of the Twelve with him as my quorum president for just over two years. I have traveled with him and marvel at his energy, as one must move quickly to keep up with his pace! ...
“His outreach is to all, young and old. He seems to know everyone and is particularly gifted at remembering names. All who know him feel that they are his favorite. And so it is with each of us — because of his genuine love and concern for everyone."
Elder Dale G. Renlund:
As recorded in a Church News article posted Sept. 4, Elder Renlund — who was traveling with President Russell M. Nelson in the Dominican Republic at the time — referenced the experience, almost nine months ago, when he and his fellow apostles placed their hands upon the head of Russell M. Nelson and set him apart as the president of the Church.
“I knew President Nelson was God’s prophet on earth," he said. "I know it with all my heart and mind. ... Every time I look at President Nelson my heart leaps for joy.”
Elder Gerrit W. Gong:
"I testify of latter-day prophets, from the Prophet Joseph Smith to our dear President Russell M. Nelson, whom we joyfully sustain," said Elder Gong in his April 2018 general conference address. "As our Primary children sing, 'Follow the prophet; he knows the way.' I witness that, as prophesied in the holy scriptures, including in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 'the Lord’s kingdom [is] once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.'"
Elder Ulisses Soares:
In sharing his testimony about the teachings of living prophets with members at a stake conference in the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Jacarepagua Stake, Elder Soares said in a Church News article, “We can sustain our living prophets today by incorporating their teachings in our lives. They speak the word of the Savior for our day. Please teach your families that protection in these difficult times comes from following their teachings and from obeying the commandments of God. Every commandment has a promise associated with it. I can assure you that we can’t live without these promises in this life, especially in these challenging latter days we are living in.”