President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, called for a sustaining vote of Elders Ronald A. Rasband, Gary E. Stevenson and Dale G. Renlund to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the Saturday afternoon session of the 185th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The three newly called Apostles have filled the largest vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve since 1906, taking the place of President Boyd K. Packer, Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Richard G. Scott.
“Brothers and sisters, we appreciate your faith and prayers in behalf of the leaders of the Church,” President Eyring said. “We now ask the new members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to take their place on the stand.”
Following the Saturday afternoon session, a press conference was held at Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, where each of the newly called apostles addressed the public for the first time for various media.
“I’m now humbled to be called to the Quorum of the Twelve, and with it, a greater ecclesiastical role,” Elder Stevenson said. “But yet, a responsibility that is very similar in caring for the poor and needy. There is a scriptural charge that says that we succor the weak, we lift up the hands that hang down and we strengthen the feeble knees.”
Elder Renlund said he was stunned and speechless when President Thomas S. Monson called him to be an Apostle of the Lord.
“I think I murmured an acceptance of the calling,” Elder Renlund said. “I was somewhere between apoplectic and catatonic. And I think President Monson sensed that my bones had dissolved, and so he looked at me and he said, ‘God called you; the Lord made it known to me.’”
Elder Rasband said he learned of his new calling when President Monson invited him into his office last Tuesday.
“I was invited to come down and meet with the First Presidency and had the great honor and privilege of receiving this call from a very strong and very loving President Thomas S. Monson, who extended the call personally and used the words with me, ‘Brother Rasband, I want you to know that your call comes from the Lord, Jesus Christ,’” Elder Rasband said.
Elder Stevenson said one of the great blessings and responsibilities of serving in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be the ability to travel the Earth.
“In a way, this would be something for me that I can continue to look forward to is being able to connect with the members of the Church everywhere in the world,” Elder Stevenson said. “It is a global church, and the opportunity to see and feel and associate and testify to the four corners of the world would be one of those things.”
During the press conference, each of the newly called Apostles testified of Jesus Christ and of the restored gospel.
“I do know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world,” Elder Renlund said. “I can witness of his living reality, that he is my Savior and your Savior. I know that that’s true and I trust completely in President Monson’s statement that who he calls, he qualifies.”
Elder Stevenson said there is a charge that comes with being a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.
“That would be Christlike service and Christlike behavior,” Elder Stevenson said. “And so I offer my expression as well, deep feelings of my heart in sustaining the First Presidency, President Thomas S. Monson and in the sacred charge as an Apostle of the Lord.”
Elder Rasband said the greatest joy comes in helping bring others to experience the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
“I think this gives me the opportunity to do that in a bigger scale, in more places and being a witness of Christ in his name in all the world,” Elder Rasband said. “I can’t imagine what this is going to be like. I really have no clue what that will be like, but it’s being able to see the Atonement of Christ work on people throughout the world. It, to me, is the most fascinating thing that I look forward to.”
The newly called Apostles mark the 98th, 99th and 100th members of the Quorum of the Twelve since the Church has been restored. Each gave their first general conference address as members of the Quorum of the Twelve during the Sunday morning session.