Help Wanted: Predicting the Next Apostle

Carter Hallchurch, conference, Culture, curiosity, diversity, General Authorities, General Conference, LDS, Leaders, mormon, Mormon, Mormons, President Monson, Priesthood, prophets, religion, service 114 Comments

This Thursday or Friday, someone at the Church Office building will get a phone call and make the long walk to President Monson’s office.  By the time he leaves, he will have traded in his current position for a lifetime calling as an apostle.  We’ll find out Saturday who he is, but why “stand idly, looking on” when we can spend four days speculating?

It’s tough to guess when Pres. Monson has only extended one apostolic calling thus far.  To get past this sample size of one, I expanded the field to include all apostles called since Monson has been in the First Presidency.  He wasn’t in charge in most of these situations, but I assumed he was involved to some extent as he counseled with then Presidents Benson, Hunter and Hinckley.

Since Pres. Monson joined the FP in November 1985, nine apostles have been called to the Quorum of the Twelve (Q12).  I reviewed their pre-apostolic resumes to see if I could identify common factors that may have led to their selection.  Presumably Pres. Monson will use a similar thought process as he considers the next apostle.


It’s tough to draw a compelling histogram with a sample size of 9, but I didn’t let that stop me:

  • 5 of the last 9 apostles were clustered together in the center, aged between 59 and 63 when called.
  • 2 of the 9 were younger than the norm:  Holland (53) and Bednar (52).
  • 2 of the 9 were older than the norm:  Wirthlin (69) and Cook (67)
  • Beyond these nine I found that new apostles are seldom called once they reach the age of 70; it has happened only 5 times in the history of the Church, and the most recent, Hugh B. Brown, was over 50 years ago.

Based on recent history, it appears that the “target range” for apostolic callings is in the late 50s or early 60s.  Pres. Monson’s first pick was right in the target range, age 63 (Christofferson).


The last 9 apostles came from 3 different pools:

  • 5 of the 9 were called directly from the Presidency of the Seventy (P70), which makes sense organizationally.
  • 2 of the 9 served in the First Quorum of Seventy (1Q70), but served in the Presiding Bishopric (PB) rather than the P70.
  • 2 of the 9 were current or former presidents of Church-owned universities.  E. Holland had also subsequently served in the 1Q70, but not the P70.  E. Bednar had only served as an Area Authority/Area Seventy in addition to his time as president of BYU-Idaho.  I found it interesting that these 2 had such different paths to the Q12 because I had already considered them outliers based on their age when called.

Any discussion of potential apostles should obviously begin with the current P70, and possibly consider former members of the P70.  Service in the PB and leading a Church university are also potential paths to the Q12.  True to these patterns, E. Christofferson was serving in the P70 when called one year ago.


I was surprised to find little correlation to length of service in the P70 and an apostolic calling.  Of the 5 who served in the P70, the time they spent there varied widely from 5 weeks (Wirthlin) to 10 years (Christofferson).  Others served 2 months, 2 years, and 5 years.

More interesting is the correlation between total time served in the 70 (any quorum), PB, as university president, or Assistant to the 12.  8 of the 9 newly called apostles had at least 10 years combined service in these groups.  Only Bednar (always the outlier) fell short of this mark.  His combined service in the 5Q70 and Pres. of BYU-Idaho totaled only 9.5 years.


When E. Cook was called in 2007, he and Pres. Eyring (new member of FP) held a press conference.  One of the first questions centered around the calling of yet another American as a high-ranking leader in a global Church.  Apparently they were expecting something different, perhaps because E. Uchtdorf had been called (along with Bednar) to fill one of the last vacancies.

Does the Church worry about apostolic demographics?  Probably not, but a new apostle from a country besides the U.S. is somehow exciting.  It seems to validate the growth of the global Church, and I’m sure it will happen again eventually.


Based on all these criteria, I identified the 9 individuals I see as the most likely candidates for the open spot in the 12.  Any of these men could be selected to join the Q12, and there are doubtless others who are well-qualified.  My picks are divided into 3 tiers:

TIER ONE R. M. Costa. Currently serving in the P70 and his age (60) is about perfect.  Served in the 70 for 15 years, with 20 months of that in the P70.  I gave him bonus points for being Brazilian and his work as a professional diamond cutter (totally irrelevant but more interesting than just another attorney, businessman or Church employee). L. Anderson. Currently serving in the P70, plus he’s on the young end of the target range (57).  He has served in the 70 for 16 years, and he and E. Rasband have the highest tenure in the P70 (nearing 4 years, although this hasn’t necessarily mattered in the past).  Bonus points (from me) for speaking French, Spanish and Portuguese, and I liked his last conference address. E. Jensen.  After 17 years in the 70, he has the odd distinction of being both the junior member of the P70 (8 months tenure) and the senior member of the P70 (67 years old).  That puts him out of the target range, but I can’t shake him specifically because he was just put in the P70.  Years ago, E. Wirthlin was called to the P70 and served only 5 weeks before joining the 12.  More recently, E. Cook spent only 2 months in the P70 before becoming an apostle.  In both cases, the same President who put them in the P70 moved them rapidly into the Q12.  Could Jensen be ticketed for a similar path?  My wife (Sister Hall?) gives him bonus points for looking like Pres. Faust around the eyes.

TIER TWO O. Samuelson.  Has served 14 years in the 70, including a term in the P70 (although not currently) and several years as President of BYU.  He climbs this high on the list (despite being a little older than the apparent target at 67) because of the BYU job.  It worked for Oaks, Holland, Eyring, and Bednar. K. Jensen.  Leading the field as far as GA tenure goes, Jensen has logged 20 years in the 70, including 3 years of past service in the P70.  At 66, he’s a little older than the target, but tenure gets him this high.


Ronald A. Rasband, Steven E. Snow, Walter F. Gonzalez, and L. Whitney Clayton:  The rest of the current P70 are all in their upper 50s but haven’t been around for quite 10 years (9 for Rasband, 8 for the others).  For that reason alone they drop to Tier 3.  More apostles have been called over 65 (see Tier 2) than have been called with less than 10 years of service (as defined above).

Still, they are on the list and could be called.


I briefly considered several others, including Dennis B. Neuenschwander (former P70, 18 yrs in 70, but at 69 years old, less likely), Keith B. McMullin (only member of PB under age 70), and Glenn L. Pace (former PB who at 69 probably won’t reunite with Hales and Eyring as apostles).  Bruce C. Hafen is also a former Ricks/BYU-Idaho president currently in the 1Q70, but not the P70.

All others in previous P70s, Presiding Bishopric or presidents of universities are either over age 70 or have been given emeritus status.

To wrap it all up, I find it interesting that although all of these men have led the third highest quorum in the Church, our interaction with them is fairly limited.  They speak every three or four conferences, and you might see them once in a lifetime at your Stake or Regional Conference, but they aren’t nearly as well known as the 12.  All that will soon change for someone.

Is there a dark horse I have missed?  Have any of their conference talks or other messages been particularly meaningful to you?  Who do you think will fill the empty seat?

Comments 114

  1. I’m kind of sad that Elder Costa appears to be the odds-on favorite — only because I really would love to see it happen and I’m always wrong about these things.

  2. #1 – I disregarded Didier due to age. As I mentioned in the post, only 5 apostles have ever been called over age 70, so I wouldn’t put any money on him. At 73, he’s probably more likely to receive emeritus status this week than be called as an apostle.

    #2 – I wouldn’t say Costa is the odds-on favorite, but based on my method of speculation he’s in the top three. BTW, even being the top guy on my list is by no means a prediction that he will be called. There are no 3-to-1, 2-to-1 or even odds guys out there. I just don’t know enough to guess that conclusively.

    #3 – Arthur, somehow I missed you in my analysis. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

  3. I’d also like to see some colour in the twelve, preferably darker than Costa, just not another lawyer!

    But since it won’t happen I’ll put $0.10 on Costa

    A dark horse? I always thought that Marcos A. Aidukaitis looks like an Apostle, and he’s smart enough to handle PDE’s. Actually I’ll put $20 on him at, what?, about 100:1

    But just in case another typical-white-male-US-lawyer is called, I’ll guess L. Whitney Clayton

    So my trifecta: Costa, Aidukaitis 2nd, Clayton 3rd… -and I’ll put, say $50 🙂

  4. Dark Horses:
    Elder Bruce D. Porter – 1Q70, Executive Director Correlation Dept, 56 years old
    Elder Lance B. Wickman – 1Q70, Church general counsel, 68 years old
    Elder Richard G. Hinckley – 1Q70, Executive Director Missionary Dept, 67 years old
    Rodolfo C. Franco – President Draper Utah South Mountain Stake

  5. #8 Carlos made me imagine Las Vegas (and certainly Wendover given its proximity to SLC) laying odds and taking bets on the next apostle. Just kind of a funny thought.

    #9 These names are certainly possible. Even Arthur (see #3) is possible. I just stuck with those who meet the more recent trend, which is service in some combination of A12, P70, PB, or a University.

  6. These types of speculations always leave inspiration out of the process. They are based on events and relationships and personal influence. Who gets the credit if the “obvious choice” is called? Not the Lord. Not the worthy priesthood leader who sought and received the confirmation of the Spirit. By implication, politics and reason get the credit. I realize this is all in fun, but we all believe in divine inspiration don’t we?

  7. #10 Yeap, Las Vegas gold!

    #11 You’re on the right track there, divine inspiration is how its done -thing is that we will never know who it is until Saturday since any revelation will go to President Monson not any of us here

    ……but I’ll add another $50 for Shayne M. Bowen 🙂

  8. One thing to point out from this article is just how different those called since 1985 have been. There isn’t really any common factors apart from the normal leadership ones, married & can get a visa for US etc, although the last two were lawyers but then two others were educators. And if you include the others, only educators have a majority. I guess being a teacher really is important to the Lord.

    Maybe only the age factor seems to be constant in that they are all over 50, but then since Monson was called at 36 one can’t really say that its a solid new standard the church follows. Maybe there’s a 41yold like Micheal Teh or another area authority in the cross hairs.

  9. I’ve been hoping for Marlin K Jensen for a couple of conferences now. His interviews for the PBS Documentary ‘The Mormons’ were spot on IMO. He handles questions from the press well, and he’s a very likable guy.

    One of the people on the Tier 1 list left me with a fairly negative impression when he visited my Mission in the mid 90’s. I won’t say anymore than that though. to be honest I’d be disappointed if that man were chosen over a rockstar like MK Jensen.

  10. I’m wondering if a Democrat will be called to replace Elder WIrthlin. That would point to Elder Jensen – perhaps, since I’m not familiar with the political leanings of the other candidates.

    Fwiw, I’m also amused by some of the inherent tension in the Bloggernacle within those who long for a Hispanic apostle (as I do) but want more politically liberal apostles (and I’d like more obvious “balance” in that regard). I believe most of the Hispanic GA’s probably are quite conservative politically, but that might be nothing more than an incorrect assumption on my part.

    Carter, can you tell us the political affiliation of the people on your list?

    Finally, as much as I would LOVE to have a non-Caucasian apostle, I do believe in divine guidance in the process – and that is my own bottom line. I have my own personal desires, but I hold to my hope that whoever is called is the right person for the time.

    (Oh, and Arthur, sorry, but you’re not on my list.)

  11. Speculation – “I realize this is all in fun, but we all believe in divine inspiration don’t we?” A couple thoughts on that: 1) whether I believe in it is less relevant than whether Pres. Monson believes in it and his field of vision for inspiration. Last I checked no one cares what I think when it comes to apostolic callings, 2) how much “divine inspiration” are we talking about? This isn’t going to play out like the Price is Right (sorry, Arthur), 3) what about the “divine inspiration” of the sub-callings that help “qualify” these individuals for the apostolic calling? If you believe all callings are inspired, then whom the Lord is going to call, the Lord qualifies (through experience), 4) as we can see from the above list, there are many who could fill an apostolic role and do a decent job.

    Truth be told, we’re already talking about a very reduced playing field of inspiration. For the faithful, whoever is called will be divinely inspired. For the skeptic, you could call a black, non-Mormon, non-English speaking, snake-handling transgendered female with a peg leg and no one will call it divine inspiration. They’ll just say “Wow, Monson’s lost it!”

  12. “For the skeptic, you could call a black, non-Mormon, non-English speaking, snake-handling transgendered female with a peg leg and no one will call it divine inspiration. They’ll just say “Wow, Monson’s lost it!””

    This is awesome.

  13. #11 I do believe in divine inspiration, but I think that there is likely some sort of process that a decision maker starts with when they make a calling. For example, I think President Monson starts with a list and spends time pondering the men on his list, which makes him more prone to receive inspiration on whom to call.

    My former Stake President once explained his process for selecting a new bishop. He started with a list of all Melchizedek Priesthood holders, then added the filter for full-tithe payers, which would take him to 20-40 names depending on the ward. Then he would start to narrow the list from there based on conversations with the exiting bishop and counselors, his own knowledge, and of course, personal prayer, fasting, and inspiration. He studied it out in his own mind under the influence of inspiration. He didn’t ask for a receive a vision telling him who should be the next bishop.

    I tend to think this works similarly, and I don’t think that’s at odds with the principle of inspiration or revelation. I think it’s part of it.

  14. #15 – Ray, I’m not really sure where I’d come up with the political affiliations of any of these men. I did a few Google searches, but came up empty. I’ll look again tonight, but if anyone has any idea, chime in.

  15. I’d vote for non-caucasian, but if not possible I really liked Jensen on the PBS special. I think he might help teach church history in a more accurate manner if given the opportunity. (I’m only basing that on my gut-feeling, nothing else).

  16. Shouldn’t there be an Osmond in this list by now? I mean c’mon, sheer population percentage should put an Osmond in here somewhere 🙂

    Seriously, though, I attended high school with the children of 3-of-the-4 men you list as “The Rest.” Good people all around.

  17. #11 – Speculation:

    For what it is worth, I seem to recall that in Acts Chapter 2 the apostles each cast their lots to fill the vacancy in the Twelve, prompted by Judas’s departure. As far as I can tell, this exercise seems to be sacramentally grounded in scriptural precedent. And in that spirit I say, Game On.

    By the way, there were two points that I really liked in this post. I have nothing to add, but I really liked these points:

    1)”…but why “stand idly, looking on” when we can spend four days speculating?”

    2)”It’s tough to draw a compelling histogram with a sample size of 9, but I didn’t let that stop me:”

  18. #14. Interesting you say that. Many of the apostles were in all kinds of business and social ventures before they were Apostles, and I’ve heard several “before they were an Apostle, they did so and so which really left a bad taste in my mouth” stories. Part of me wants to say that Apostles can be called from all walks of life and all kinds of pasts, but the practical side of me realizes that there’s a certain amount of damage a man can do in his lifetime that would disqualify them (at least in this Information Age) from such a political position as an Apostle.

    And I’m a little disappointed in the lack of confidence of all of you. Let’s see who will be laughing when they call out my name from the stand on Saturday! Some things are going to change around here. Don’t worry, though, I’ll try to forget the lack of faith demonstrated by the individuals in this thread, if I can. Remember, the Lord called an obscure, ignorant boy to restore His Church in the last days, and I’m even obscurer and ignoranter!

    1. Yes, anybody who did heinous things would be disqualified. You know. Like what Alma the Younger did, or what Saul (Paul) did. Even though they didn’t have this information age for the world to see, they did have huge notoriety and were well known. After all, the Lord does really care what the world thinks.

  19. I guess my suggestions…Richard Edgley and Douglas Callister would be in the over 70 category. I do favor Claudio Costa…he has the “Uchtdorf-esque” hair. Remember the post on nepotism…could it be Thomas L. Monson, or Clark Monson? Or could it be that dark horse, Ann Dibb?

  20. I don’t want to upstage Arthur, but you’ll all be very surprised when the brethren decide this week that it’s time to call a middle-way thinking NOM to serve in the Q12. The reasons are many, but suffice it to say that a broader perspective is now needed for the growing population of cafeteria mormoms. As the brethren frequent this board and even provide input under assumed names, (Like Cowboy) they have been actively compiling a list of potential NOM’s who the Lord can qualify.

    Of course I’m not at liberty to say, but my wife and I will be making a trip to SLC this weekend to meet with some very influential people. Should you not see a NOM called on Saturday, it will only be because said NOM felt compelled to remain in obscurity and forgo the lifetime commitment. (Typical for a NOM)

    A few studies have been conducted and it now seems clear that calling a NOM will drive way approximately 20% of the active members of the church. However, the NOM is projected to reactivate 15% of the non-church attending folks for a net gain of 375,000. I don’t want to prophecy, but in years to come, this decision will be hailed as the most significant change to improve active participation ever.

    The logic here is impeccable, for TBM’s, nothing the church does will ever be enough to make them lose their testimony. For the cafeteria saints, having one of their own in the Q12 will revitalize their spirits and indeed provide hope to all the pickers and choosers in the gospel. In- other- words, the church can’t lose and therefore the call!

    Just thought I’d do a little speculating on my own, hopefully I haven’t let the cat out of the bag to soon!?!?

  21. “Did you everAs the brethren frequent this board and even provide input under assumed names, (Like Cowboy) they have been actively compiling a list of potential NOM’s who the Lord can qualify.”

    Did you ever you read “1984”. Just call me Mr. Charrington, that is “Elder Mr. Charrington”, and perhaps some day with any luck “President Elder Mr. Charrington”.

  22. Doug, if either one of us is called to fill that role, it clearly will be a case of direct, undeniable revelation – since it won’t be the natural will of anyone currently serving in the Q12 or FP. 🙂

  23. “Doug, if either one of us is called to fill that role, it clearly will be a case of direct, undeniable revelation – since it won’t be the natural will of anyone currently serving in the Q12 or FP. “

    Ray- As is happening all too often these days, we’re in complete agreement! ( I think I’m supposed to speak in the afternoon section, wish me luck.)

    Elder Cowboy,

    I’m voting for you to outlive the others brother… Or should I say BIG BROTHER? (Outlive, Outwit, Outplay… Sorry, wrong show)

  24. I love the upbeat humorous tone here, except in the case of those who want to be apostles -brethren repent! otherwise after I’m called on Saturday I’ll make your SP disfellowship you. There!

    And after that I’ll make the church publish the real names of the permabloggers here, and then I’ll make the BYU swim team wear bikini’s, and then………I’d better stop now.

  25. #26. Your loyalty is impressive. I just need to write down your IP address to keep track of you, so I can give you some sort of honorary position in the Quorum of Seventy when I’m elected. In fact, your credit card number would probably be more helpful.

    #27. Doug G. says he’s for hope and change. But I submit that behind his facade of change, it will be four more years of just the same. Vote for me, and I’ll cut Church down to 1.5 hours and tithing down to 5%. I’ve shown my leadership skills time and time again, and that’s change you can count on. Notice how my posts regularly receive at least 5 – 11 comments on average. Isn’t it time for some real change? I’m Arthur, and I approve this message.

  26. “and I’ll cut Church down to 1.5 hours and tithing down to 5%”

    I’m with you now. Where do I mail my donation?

  27. #15 My thoughts as well. I never question the authority behind the selection of new apostles, but boy I’d sure love to see certain things show up in the final candidate.

    #32 Sign me up, too. Revoke the Word of Wisdom and restore polygamy for me alone, and I’ll donate my car to your campaign. 🙂

  28. “Isn’t it time for some real change? I’m Arthur, and I approve this message.”

    Arthur: Only two more days until election, could you use some yard signs?

  29. Arthur – “there’s a certain amount of damage a man can do in his lifetime that would disqualify them (at least in this Information Age) from such a political position as an Apostle.” That’s true. I haven’t yet seen an ex-war criminal apostle or even an ex-Amway salesman for that matter, although one of the twelve had a bio with a lot of what sounded like vague small business/self-employment stuff.

  30. Which is kind of a shame, maybe? I mean, the scriptures are filled with examples of bad guys who turn their lives around and end up being Church leaders or even Apostles. Nowadays we just can’t take chances perhaps, but I think the gritty, real feeling of Paul or the Sons of Helaman teaching doctrine is especially touching.

  31. Ehh… is it bad that I’m not really that intrigued?

    However, I wonder how J. Reuben Clark fits into this analysis of past appointments to the quorum. I’m not so sure that patterns are as fixed as people assume.

  32. Come on, MKJ! Definitely my favorite of those mentioned in the post. And Didier?! Are you crazy?! Every time he speaks, I expect lasers to come out of his eyes and decimate the congregation.

  33. My guesses are either Glenn Beck or Harry Reid. However, if race is a consideration, either Allan Keyes or Al Sharpton.

  34. I just did a post on this exact topic on my personal blog, and the list inclded Jensen, Costas, and Anderson. It also included
    * Robert C. Oaks, the 3-Star general
    * Bishop H. David Burton, current PB.

    I think one factor not considered by Mr. Hall is the career, skill set, and experience of the various candidates. While it is true that “The Lord seeth not as a man seeth,” even the individual called as ward organist needs to a pre-existing skill set. What does the quorum need? Another lawyer? Another educator? Another businessman? A Spanish-speaker?

    Bottom line: while I would personally love to see a dark-skinned Hispanic, I’d put my money on MK Jensen.

  35. I am really surprised no one has yet mentioned Gladys Knight. Remember, you heard it here first. I understand she will head up the music committee in the 12, and Mack Wilberg is already working on adding some pep to the existing hymnody.

  36. #48 Clark – I did look at the occupations (and even number of children). I just didn’t think there was anything that conclusive. It might have been interesting to talk about, but I didn’t want the post to be any longer. If you don’t mind, post a link to your personal blog. I’d be interested to read your reasoning.

    #41 Cicero – I don’t fault your disinterest. Like I said in the post, we don’t really know these people. I knew their names and I’ve heard them speak in conference 2-3 times each, but I had little facial recognition for them prior to digging through their bios. I just don’t think most of us see/hear them enough to have a ‘favorite’ until they get into the FP & Q12, so I understand not caring that much.

  37. #50 Carter,

    Actually, I think the occupations do have a common denominator: executive/high managerial skills. For example: Uchtdorf, Ballard, Oaks, Scott etc all trained in different professions as young men but later on they all ran something, and something quite large. If we go through all of their bio’s their exec experience stands out, even the lawyers since Cook ran CHS Oaks BYU even Christofferson as general counsel ran a large team of lawyers plus had 10 years exec experience in presidency of the seventy. Nelson ran his own business, as almost all doctors do, and a research department.

    If we detail all the apostles’ biographies none were the simple employee type or just a law partner in some small firm or even a mid-range officer, like a retired army captain, but then who knows what the Lord thinks? Maybe he wants a retired teacher this time around.

  38. I stop speculating over 20 years ago when I tried to come up with my “dream team’ for the 1st Presidency and Q of 12….when I choose Paul Dunn and George P. Lee…… so all I say now is “it wouldn’t be me and it wouldn’t be you….”

  39. CJC – “If we detail all the apostles’ biographies none were the simple employee type or just a law partner in some small firm or even a mid-range officer” With the exception of course of Thomas S. Monson who went from working at DesNews into the Church Office Blg. And there’s one other who was essentially self-employed (don’t have my almanac in front of me right now). Running one’s own small business is vastly different from being a corporate executive. Likewise, being a doctor or an academician is totally different.

  40. #51 I don’t doubt that last nine apostles I reviewed each ran something. I think that’s common among all of them and among the potential apostles. Some ran large businesses, others ran small businesses, some ran Church departments, all have run Stakes and many presided over missions and areas.

    I’m not sure that any one type of leadership trumps another when it comes to the 12. Does a CEO of a big company or a partner in a large law firm always win out? If so, it’s tough to explain Hinckley and Packer (although they date back before the sample I used).

  41. hawkgrrrl, I disagree here about Monson’s bio since he was at exec level at desnews (as general manager). Remember that back in the fifties a GM of a regional newspaper was much more than it is today, now that corporations have overtaken everything. Monson, like all of them, started out small as an ad man while he taught business at UUtah, but then moved on to ‘running something’ very quickly, desnews, and all before 36. The age is key here. Had he not being called so young you may have seen him running the Trib or LA times but off course we’ll never know.

    The self employed could be Ballard? but he was also high income and ‘boss’ in a decent sized auto dealership. Plus the other business interest made him probably the richest apostle called in years (something we can’t really know either!)

    Another ‘self-employed’ was Scott, but after years as a staff level engineer he also moved on to ‘run something’. People may today doubt it since it was just his own consultancy firm but still back in the ’60/70 consultants in nuclear engineering weren’t just average mechanics or Homer Simpson types. They were at the very top of industry (although Elder Scott does look a little bit like Homer today?)

    What I find ironic is when Pt Packer will say: we are just like you, Perry’s a bookkeeper, I’m a school teacher, Ballard a salesman….sure, but all multiplied by several thousands of dollars and all with managerial experience.

  42. #56 “it’s tough to explain Hinckley and Packer”

    Not if one looks closely and puts things into perspective due to the era and what they did etc.

    Hinckley is an excellent example of raw leadership if we look at what he did. Remember that he went straight into church employment after his mission but looking at his job description he was actually the guy who ran those committees and developed the better missionary material, the broadcasting, Temple videos etc etc and then went on to run the missionary department. They called him in church ‘executive secretary’ of committee such and such but he actually did all the managerial work, the general authorities were more like today’s board members or CEO’s. If we compared it to today I’d say, for example, the GA’s were either board/CEO with Hinckley a CFO or CHRM of this large multi-national, as the church was, plus Utah’s (probably) biggest employer.

    Packer is also a good example. He started out as a bomber pilot and then seminary teacher sure, but soon moved on to supervise different areas and in his twenties he was already “assistant administrator of Church seminaries and institutes”. Plus he was also called young at 37 to be GA. Had he been called at 62 then his career would probably be more like Pt Eyring’s is today.

    Note that I’m not arguing that they have or should be exec’s in fortune500’s but rather that a “common denominator” is that all had upper level management skills. Whether in church, small business or big corporations they all ‘ran something’. This said in the same way that they say in politics that, say a governor, has run something when senators haven’t. If they didn’t have this experience they probably wouldn’t survive within the church’s current corporate culture.

    But then again maybe the Lord has a retired teacher in mind…..ah, no, just heard again its Bishop Burton 🙂

  43. Please not Bishop Burton (repenting)… please not Bishop Burton (repent again)…

    The man has a great soul, from what I have seen, but his talks are aphrodesiacs, or amphetamines, or whatever the things are that put you to sleep.

  44. #58 – I’m not an expert on drugs (how’s that for a disclaimer on a Mormon-themed blog!), but I don’t think either of those examples make one sleepy.

    Hawk, that’s a unique way to phrase it. I’ll remember that.

  45. Gosh, and I thought they picked apostles the same way they picked bishops – Look around for the best woman you can find and then call her husband. Oh well. I wonder what Sister Jensen’s like.

  46. #57 Carlos – I don’t deny that probably all of the apostles have, as you put it, run something big. I just think that doesn’t really work as a predictor because most of the “likely suspects” also have run something big. There might be exceptions. IIRC E. Gonzalez’ bio simply said he was a CES employee, with no hint of a large scope. Andersen’s bio just mentioned several business interests (no mention of large or small), and Costa’s said diamond cutter and finance director.

    You know if Bishop Burton is called we will all want to know how you got the inside scoop, right?

  47. Carter #64,

    Yes, I suppose most GA’s have ‘run’ something, so seriously just about all of them are possible candidates.

    Costa went from jewelery store manager to regional CES director. There, as all CES directors do in SAmerica, he rotated as a ‘local’ mission president. Gonzalez also was a CES director but holds law, economics and a bachelor’s from Indiana (using English obviously) so they may have more confidence in him so he’s a more likely candidate and he was baptized young while Costa joined at 27 (age of baptism is another common denominator). But still the chances I’d say are slim. They have to trust someone enough to manage a (maybe) $500M budget or there abouts for the rest of their lives, so the chances of a Latino are still slim even if many people, including me, would like to see one there. Uchtdorf after all is neither latino nor comes from a nation with a large mormon population. But I guess the Lord certainly knows all his members not just the utah ones 🙂

    If Burton is called I’ll let you know!

  48. Anderson; at least not another lawyer and I’ve liked his talks.

    But still: white-MBA-Harvard-BigBusiness-maintain the status quo……

    Lord seems to not want many big changes? Not his style I guess. Disappointing in a way. Maybe 2010 there’ll be a mormon Obama.

  49. That was fun! You know, Carter, now every time there is a vacancy in the 12, we’re all going to come back here the week before conference, hoping to find your next installment. This could become a fun tradition. (Do you feel a little like Joe Lunardi right now?) I hope you don’t let all of your new fans down! 🙂

  50. I’ll definitely give it a shot next time, and I won’t have to do so much legwork! I’ll also dig into more of the information above, like more in-depth bios/career information and perhaps the age at baptism/conversion that CJC mentioned.

    I maintain that seeing a “global” apostle called would be a little more exciting, but when I listened to recent talks, I really liked Anderson’s addresses and preferred them to some of the others, so I’m happy for that. Hopefully he can handle the pressure of my high expectations.

  51. “I won’t have to do so much legwork!” That 9-person histogram is now a 10-person histogram. Piece of cake now.

  52. Excellent Job Carter- You may have a new career in Las Vegas!
    I think we have met before! Have you ever been to England? I think my daughter has a crush on you!!!

  53. But still: white-MBA-Harvard-BigBusiness-maintain the status quo……
    Lord seems to not want many big changes? Not his style I guess. Disappointing in a way. Maybe 2010 there’ll be a mormon Obama.

    Well we all know that the Lord should run an affirmative action program, and reserve Apostleship slots by color. He *should* be picking people strictly on their color, as you have suggested he should. It’s a good thing He can see deeper than his children’s melanin.

  54. any one hear about how i find the canyon mormon ripped from hill cumourah on his way to utah, a lot of bye standers claim it does not exist, i know better, because jedidia found the grand canyon happy 179. my brea temple didn’t even leave me a note, gone, on sunday morning, so i went to fullerton, they did leave a note come to the other fullerton, so i did

  55. #74 – Thanks James. As for your daughter, I’m taken, as you know. You don’t want to get Sister Hall jealous (and I’m also more than twice your daughter’s age). I do have a single brother, but even he has 10 years on her.

    #81 – I don’t have any insight there, beyond knowing who is oldest and guessing that he MIGHT be next solely based on age (BKP IIRC). I’ll stick to predicting who fills the vacancies vs. predicting the vacancies themselves.

  56. This kind of article sickens me! There isn’t a position open yet. There are still lessons to learn from all of our apostles. None of them know when they will depart. It doesn’t matter who you think the next one will be – do you know every male member? Maybe it’s my husband, father, brother. Stop it and have some respect for the office.

  57. Ironic that the “There isn’t a position open yet” post was the day before Elder Perry died.

    I am thinking Elder Rasband is the likeliest pick (like the last two Apostles named,he is Presiding President of the Seventy).

  58. Going by the criteria used above (and a few of my own), here are my predictions in order of likelihood:

    1. Ulisses Soares
    2. Lynn Robbins
    3. Walter Gonzalez
    4. Craig Christensen
    5. Christoffel Golden

  59. I’m surprised that you used raw ages and not something like “percent of life expectancy”. Let’s face it: being 50 in 1915 is different than being 50 in 2015. If you converted all these ages into a percentage of that person’s life expectancy, we’d be closer to comparing apples to apples.

  60. While Christensen would be my second choice behind Rasband,Gonzalez has already been rotated out of the Presidency of the Seventy and sent home to South America,and no former member of the Presidency of the Seventy has ever been made an Apostle (numerous sitting members have,and some members of the Seventy never having served in the Presidency,but never a former member of the Presidency).Soares is younger than any sitting Apostle by enough years that people would see him as a very likely future Church President,and I don’t think they’d be comfortable granting a foreigner that status.

  61. Of the last 15 Apostles called…

    Tenure as General Authority when called: 11-15 years (33%), more than 15 years (20%), less than 5 years (20%), no experience (20%), 5-10 years (7%)

    Age when called: 55-60 years (40%), 60-65 years (27%), younger than 55 (20%), older than 65 (13%)

    Serving when called: Presidency of 70 (60%), Other (20%), 1st Quorum of 70 (13%), Presiding Bishopric (7%)

    I don’t think the 2 new Apostles will both be from the Presidency of the 70, but I think 1 of them will. I think 1 of the new Apostles will be on the older side (> 60) and 1 will be on the younger side (< 60). I think 1 of the new Apostles will be international.

    Loosely considering all these criteria, my predictions are:

    1- Ulisses Soares & David Evans
    2- Lynn Robbins & Erich Kopischke
    3- Ronald Rasband & Christoffel Golden
    4- Craig Christensen & Walter Gonzalez
    5- David Baxter & Anthony Perkins

  62. Why arbitrary pairs,why not mix & match?

    Again,you put Soares in the position of being enough years younger than any sitting apostle to be seen as a very likely future Church President,and I think they would avoid putting a foreigner in that position.

    1. Pairs are not arbitrary, per my criteria above. However, I think the 2 new Apostles will come from this pool of 10 men. I still think Soares is the most likely candidate to be selected. I don’t think the foreigner observation has any relevance. At the very least, Elder Soares could be the junior of the 2 announced in October (similar to Elder Bednar in 2004).

      1. A “one from column A,one from column B” approach could still yield pairs that meet your criteria.You don’t explain why each pair go with each other in particular,just have the column A and column B criteria.

  63. Another factor I hadn’t considered is educational pedigree. All of the last 8 Apostles, and 12 of the last 15, have received either an MBA, a JD, or another doctoral-level degree.

    Having now considered educational pedigree as an additional factor, here is my updated list of most likely candidates.

    1. Ulisses Soares
    2. Craig Christensen
    3. Walter Gonzalez
    4. Lynn Robbins
    5. David Evans
    6. Anthony Perkins
    7. Marcos Aidukaitis
    8. Kevin Pearson
    9. James Hamula
    10. LeGrand Curtis

    As you can see, my list varies frequently and widely. I’m glad the Lord is making this decision. It is nevertheless an interesting exercise to learn about the other General Authorities.

  64. My list of those most likely to be apostles very soon:

    1.) Donald L. Hallstrom
    2.) Ulysses Soares
    3.) Lynn G. Robbins
    4.) Richard J. Maynes
    5.) Walter F. Gonzales
    6.) Patrick Kearon
    7.) L. Whitney Clayon
    8.) Larry J. Echo Hawk
    9.) Joseph W. Sitati
    10.) Shayne M. Bowen

    Of these 10, it is very easy to see Elders Gonzales, Robbins, Hallstrom, Soares, or Maynes as new apostles. Top picks, of these 5 brethren are Elder Gonzales and Elder Hallstrom.

    1. As I’ve said…Gonzalez has been rotated out of the Presidency of the Seventy and sent home to South America…and nobody has ever been made an Apostle after leaving the Presidency of the Seventy.

      1. 2 comments:

        1. Although nobody has ever been called as an Apostle after leaving the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Gonzalez is still in the 1st Quorum of the Seventy and there have been plenty of Apostles called from that Quorum.

        2. There are 14 other non-American General Authorities (see below) who, beginning August 1, will also be “sent home” to preside in areas where they are from. I don’t think we can say they are unlikely to be called because they are now serving near their homes instead of in SLC.

        The 14 others are…
        Elder Wong (Asia)
        Elder Yamashita (Asia North)
        Elder Choi (Asia North)
        Elder Costa (Brazil)
        Elder Mazzagardi (Brazil)
        Elder Aidukaitis (Brazil)
        Elder Alonso (Central America)
        Elder Kearon (Europe)
        Elder Klebingat (Europe East)
        Elder De Hoyos (Mexico)
        Elder Valenzuela (Mexico)
        Elder Haleck (Pacific)
        Elder Uceda (South America Northwest)
        Elder Godoy (South America Northwest)

        1. I think that the decision not to keep them in SLC at this time indicates there is no intention to give them higher jobs in SLC in October.

          1. Well, if I had a pecking order with my top 10 picks for new LDS apostles, starting with #10, they would be Elders:

            10.) Steven E. Snow
            9.) Joseph W. Sitati
            8.) Larry J. Echo Hawk
            7.) Walter F. Gonzales
            6.) Shayne M. Bowen
            5.) L. Whitney Clayton
            4.) Richard J. Maynes
            3.) Lynn G. Robbins
            2.) Donald L. Hallstrom
            1.) Ulysses Soares

            Elders Rasband, Perkins, Paul V. Johnson, and Craig C. Christensen are other possibilities… We will see… 🙂

  65. Thank you, All! I found this site on a Google search and haven’t even made it through 50% of the comments. But, this I know … I have been thoroughly impressed with the article (genius!) and thoroughly entertained (in an educated, pleasant way) with the comments.

    It all comes together from scripture … The glory of God is Intelligence”. I’ll be excited to see who is called and how we all did in our picks (shouldn’t this be some kind of Fantasy League?). I’m also cheering for Arthur (still as the underdog).

    Cheers, All!!!

  66. Pingback: Predicting the Next Apostles: Carter Hall’s 2015 Picks | Wheat and Tares

  67. This is my final list. My 3 picks, in order of seniority, and my Top 25 most likely selections, college football style.

    PICKS: Walter Gonzalez, Craig Christensen, Ulisses Soares

    1. Craig Christensen
    2. Lynn Robbins
    3. Ulisses Soares
    4. Paul Pieper
    5. Walter Gonzalez
    6. Bruce Porter
    7. Richard Maynes
    8. Marcus Nash
    9. Benjamin De Hoyos
    10. Paul Johnson
    11. David Evans
    12. Christoffel Golden Jr.
    13. Shayne Bowen
    14. Ronald Rasband
    15. L. Whitney Clayton
    16. Anthony Perkins
    17. David Baxter
    18. Steven Snow
    19. Donald Hallstrom
    20. Erich Kopischke
    21. Craig Cardon
    22. Claudio Zivic
    23. Claudio Costa
    24. Enrique Falabella
    25. C. Scott Grow

  68. My first pick,Rasband,was the first man named,but I hadn’t seen Stevenson or Renlund coming.(Interesting that Stevenson got ranked ahead of the older Renlund,and gets to stay Presiding Bishop for the moment…the last PB to become Apostle,Hales,was released as PB at once).

  69. Now that the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve are filled, I looked at how likely each Apostle is to be the next Prophet. This takes into account their age, position in seniority, and age/health of more senior Apostles. I have put the other 14 Apostles into 4 Tiers.

    Tier 1: Very Likely (note the University President background)
    Elder Oaks
    Elder Holland
    Elder Bednar
    Elder Stevenson

    Tier 2: Somewhat Likely
    President Nelson
    President Uchtdorf

    Tier 3: Unlikely
    Elder Rasband
    Elder Renlund

    Tier 4: Very Unlikely
    Elder Ballard
    Elder Hales
    President Eyring
    Elder Cook
    Elder Christofferson

    1. Do you really mean likely to be the NEXT Prophet,or to be Prophet at some point?
      Your top tier reads as the best bets to be the next four in order,
      but for Stevenson to be the NEXT,that would mean Nelson,Oaks,Ballard,Hales,
      Holland,Eyring,Uchtdorf,Bednar,Cook,Christoffersen,Andersen,and Rasband would all have to die before Monson.

  70. And now Elder Hales has died,opening a new vacancy to be filled by or in the name of the ailing Monson.
    The Presidency of the Seventy remain key candidates…Clayton & Christensen have been there longest,though Christensen would still be the youngest Apostle if selected…the P70 also include a Brazilian,a Peruvian,an Asian-American,and an Englishman years younger than the rest(born 1961).

  71. As for the next Apostle, here are my top 30 candidates ranked by likelihood, even within tiers. All are General Authority Seventies unless otherwise noted. My criteria to arrive at this list included age, length of service, leadership experience, and (to a much lesser degree) education.

    TIER 1: Soares (P70), Christensen (P70)

    TIER 2: Gong (P70), Robbins (P70), Causse (PB)

    TIER 3: Kearon (P70), Gonzalez, Uceda (P70), Davies (PB), Waddell (PB)

    TIER 4: Aidukaitis, Gavarret, Zeballos, Duncan, Perkins, Pieper, Pearson, Nash, Nielson, Alonso, Bennett, Cook, De Hoyos, Sitati

    TIER 5: Whiting, Curtis Jr., Worthen (BYU), Maynes, Clayton (P70), Snow

    TIER 6: 18 candidates. Unlikely to be selected, but have an outside chance.

    TIER 7: 12 candidates. Very unlikely to be selected.

    TIER 8: 37 candidates (including Henry J Eyring of BYU-Idaho). I would be shocked if anyone from this tier was selected.

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