Thursday, March 12, 2015

LDS Church Leaders Have Never Been Older

LDS Church Leadership has never been older

The LDS Church is sometimes called a gerontocracy.  (A form of rule where the leaders are significantly older than the adult population).  Since the senior member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles becomes the President of the Church, he is almost always extremely old.

Ages of the Presidents of the Church:
Thomas S. Monson - Age 80 -  (Currently 87)
Gordon B. Hinckley - Age 82 - 97
Howard W. Hunter - Age 86 - 87
Ezra Taft Benson - Age 86 - 94
Spencer W. Kimball - Age 78 - 90
Harold B. Lee - Age 73 - 74
Joseph Fielding Smith - Age 94 - 95
David O. McKay  - Age 77 - 96
George Albert Smith - Age 74 - 81
Heber J. Grant - Age 62 - 88
Joseph F. Smith - Age  62 - 80
Lorenzo Snow - Age 84 - 87
Wilford Woodruff - Age 82 - 91
John Taylor - Age 71 - 78
Brigham Young - Age 46 - 76
Joseph Smith - Age 24 - 38

A man of age has a lifetime of experience to draw on.  Lots of stories and teachings to draw from.  They also tend to be sick more and unfortunately often start to lose their mental abilities.  Steve Benson has written extensively about the last few years that his grandfather Ezra Benson was the prophet.  Leaders would be speaking in General Conference saying the President Benson was guiding the church and Steve would know that his grandfather had significant dementia.

The other difficulty with an aging leadership is the real or perceived lack of empathy with social issues.  If the church leadership would have been in their 30's and 40's would the church have continued to refuse temple blessing to Africans?  Would LGBT men and women have been given greater empathy sooner?  The faithful answer is to say that God is ageless and gives revelation to whomever is in the leadership. That Christ really leads the church.  

Since Pope Benedict resigned the Catholic leadership in 2013, and President Monson has show some signs of aging, the questions have become more frequent on if an LDS President can or should resign.  As the LDS church faces increasing challenges from "outside forces"  effective, vibrant leadership will become more and more essential.  
Predicting who the church president will be
Article about Steve Benson

Ages on March 2015

First Presidency

Thomas S. Monson • 87.53 years

Henry B. Eyring • 81.75 years

Dieter F. Uchtdorf • 74.32 years

Quorum of the Twelve Apostle

Boyd K. Packer • 90.48 years

L. Tom Perry • 92.57 years

Russell M. Nelson • 90.48 years

Dallin H. Oaks • 82.55 years

M. Russell Ballard • 86.40 years

Richard G. Scott • 86.32 years

Robert D. Hales • 82.52 years

Jeffrey R. Holland • 74.25 years

David A. Bednar • 62.71 years

Quentin L. Cook • 74.48 years

D. Todd Christofferson • 70.10 years

Neil L. Andersen • 63.56 years

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