The Mormon Church named Russell M. Nelson as their new president yesterday. Nelson is 93-years-old and a former heart surgeon and has been appointed in accordance with a conservative succession plan aimed at keeping the faith alive with minimum setbacks.
Nelson, the 17th president of the religion, was appointed very shortly after former LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, who died January 2nd of this year at 90-years-old. Nelson was chosen following the tradition of making the longest-tenured member of church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the leaders of LDS Church) the new president.
Nelson's two presidential counselors will be Dallin H. Oaks, 85, and Henry B. Eyring, 84, who are both members of the Quorum. Oaks is next in line to become president, and Eyring was a counselor for President Monson during his presidency.
Mormons consider Nelson a "prophet, seer and revelator".
During an address which was broadcast from Salt Lake City to Mormons worldwide, the new president Nelson called on Mormons to stay true to their faith and “keep the covenant path.”
“If you have stepped off the path, may I advise you with all the hope in my heart to please come back,” Nelson beckoned. “Whatever your concerns, whatever your challenges, there’s a place for you in this, the Lord’s church.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has nearly 16 million members worldwide but has been declining in numbers in recent years despite efforts to spread the faith.
Nelson will oversee the faith's religious and business interests, along with his two selected counselors. His record the past couple of years indicates he will make little changes to the faith but continue efforts to gain new converts.