SALT LAKE CITY (KLIX) – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced its new president on Tuesday morning: Russell M. Nelson. He is the 17th man to hold the church’s highest leadership position.

In a broadcast streamed through the church’s internet channels, President Nelson, 93, spoke to church members and announced his counselors: Dallin H. Oaks, 85, and Henry B. Eyring, 84, the latter who served as a counselor under previous church President Thomas S. Monson.

Monson, who served as president since 2008, died on Jan. 2 at the age of 90.

Courtesy, Intellectual Reserve Inc.
Courtesy, Intellectual Reserve Inc.

Nelson said it wasn't necessarily an easy decision to choose his counselors. "I could choose only two?" he said, noitng he loves and respects all of his brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Nelson, a former heart surgeon, was called to the apostleship 34 years ago and in that time served under five previous church presidents. He said he's watched them receive and act on revelation for the church.

Nelson reassured members that the calling to the apostleship is one of service, where members of the quorum gain much experience in their assignments working with people across the globe.

He urged church members to “keep on the covenant path," emphasizing the importance of the temple in the lives of church members. He promised: “Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women and children everywhere.” He said he wants to begin his ministry with the end in mind, mentioning that is why the announcement Tuesday morning was made from the Salt Lake Temple. Explaining, he said: "The end for which each of us strives is to be endowed with power from on high in a house of the Lord."

His counselors also spoke briefly.

Oaks said he pledges his support to President Nelson’s "loving and inspired leadership.”

“This is a great time is history of the church,” Eyring said next. “Prophets in the past have said the best is yet to come.” That is true, he said.  “This is a great time in the history of the church.”

Latter-day Saints, more than 16 million worldwide, believe the church president also is a prophet of God, traditionally called not through a voting process but by ordination after he has become the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

As the senior apostle after President Nelson, Oaks is now president of the Quorum. But because he also is a counselor in the First Presidency, Elder M. Russell Ballard will serve as Acting President of the Twelve.

President Nelson concluded by expressing his love to members of the church, and reaffirming his commitment to serve God and his fellow man.

President Nelson and his counselors addressed members of media later on Tuesday morning. You can view the First Presidency's announcement to church members online.

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