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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]homas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church, has passed away from incidents relative to age. He was 90. Monson had led the Church since 2008, when Gordon B. Hinckley passed away. Lasting nearly 10years, Monson’s was the 10th-longest tenure of any latter-day prophet and president of the Church.
Per the Mormon Newsroom:
To the more than 16 million members of the Church around the world, President Monson was an example of one who followed Jesus Christ.
“He loved the cultures of the world, and deeply respected them. And particularly the faith of the people,” said President Henry B. Eyring, who served as first counselor in the First Presidency.
While he served in important Church leadership positions throughout his life, he also ministered quietly to thousands of individuals in homes, hospitals and care centers. “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved,” President Monson taught.
“When I look at his life, he was a member of the Church everyone could relate to and everyone could feel comfortable in his presence,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency. “At the same time, when he walked with kings, with prime ministers, with presidents, with representatives of nations, it was the same way. They all felt that he was their friend.”
During his presidency Church membership grew from 13 million to more than 16 million members worldwide, and dozens of new temples were announced and dedicated throughout the world.
President Eyring added, “I don’t think it ever was the idea that he thought himself a great temple builder. It was that he saw the blessing of having temples everywhere, and he wanted it for the people.”
Thomas Spencer Monson was born August 21, 1927 in Salt Lake City, Utah and was the second of six children born to G. Spencer Monson and Gladys Condie Monson. He later enrolled in the University of Utah, where he met his wife, Frances. A veteran of the Pacific theater in World War II, like many his age, Monson did not serve a full-time mission for the Church.
At only age 22, he was called to serve as a bishop. His stories of looking after 85 widows are the stuff of legend among the LDS community, and served an illustrative purpose in helping us all find time and energy to serve even when doing so seems beyond our grasp.
His comparatively young call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at age 36 allowed him to serve as a General Authority for over 50 years—much longer than the typical member of the Twelve, who are often called in their 60s. Monson’s accomplishments during his early years with the Twelve ranged from overseeing the organization of the first stake in Tonga to chairing the Scripture Publication Committee and running KSL Newsradio and Bonneville International.
From his initial call to the First Presidency in 1985, Monson has been a fixture of Church leadership. He served in the First Presidency with three different LDS Church presidents: Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, and Gordon B. Hinckley. When President Hinckley passed away in 2008, Monson, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (and not because he was First Counselor in the First Presidency) became the President of the Church, calling Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf as his first and second counselors, respectively.
The Church witnessed a strong pivot toward service and caring for the needy under Monson’s leadership. He amended the then-three-fould mission of the Church—Perfecting the Saints, Redeeming the Dead, and Proclaiming the Gospel—with a fourth mission: Caring for the Poor and Needy. This, coupled with a stronger emphasis on sensible immigration policy and care for refugees played a crucial role in move the Church toward becoming a prominent actor in these areas.
He is survived by his three children, Thomas, Ann, and Clark.