Data reporting

How the age of LDS Church leadership has changed over time

January 19, 2018
Clockwise from top left, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Russell Nelson, Thomas Monson and Gordon Hinckley. Photos supplied/Intellectual Reserve Inc.

By SHEILA WANG • Standard-Examiner staff

OGDEN — President Russell M. Nelson, at 93, was the second-oldest apostle to become president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We took a look at how old each former president was when they took the role.

The blue bubble chart below demonstrates in what year each president was called, the age of each president when he was called and the years of their birth and death.

The above chart shows the oldest apostle who became president of the faith was Joseph Fielding Smith, who was just two months older than President Nelson. Smith was called in 1970 and passed away two years later.

The youngest president was Joseph Smith, who was the founder and first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He and five associates formally organized the church at Fayette, New York, on April 6, 1830, when Smith was 24. He was officially named president on Jan. 25, 1832, at age 26.

Examining the second chart, which shows the year each president ascended to the head of the faith, the data show a few generations missed the opportunity to have a president, such as members of the Greatest Generation, who were born between 1910 to 1924.

Likewise, anyone who was born in the two decades between 1976 and 1895, missed out on the opportunity of being president.

As presidents tended to be called at an older age, the length of their service is likely to be shorter, which might eventually shorten the generation gap.

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The graphic below shows the age of ordination and length of service of each president.

This graphic shows the longest-serving president was Brigham Young who was the leader of the faith for 29 years and 8 months.

The shortest-serving president was Howard W. Hunter, who served for a brief nine-month period.

Meanwhile, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — the second-highest governing body in the church — also tend to be called at an older age.

The blue chart below includes the ages of 60 members of the quorum called since the start of 20th Century. Explore the chart to find out how old the apostles were when they were called.

The bar chart presents all 60 members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called since the start of the 20th century, sorted from youngest to oldest at time of ordination.

The members in orange are currently serving in the quorum. Their ages of ordination are relatively older.

Among the 10 current members of the quorum, six were called when they were at least 60 years old.

The chart indicates the oldest apostle when called was George Q. Morries, who started serving at the age of 80.

The youngest apostle was Hyrum M. Smith, who was called at 29.

Contact Reporter Sheila Wang at 801-625-4252 or swang@standard.net. Follow her on Facebook @JournalistSheilaW or on Twitter @SheilaWang7.