President Howard W. Hunter, who served in the Council of Twelve for nearly 35 years, was ordained and set apart in the Salt Lake Temple on Sunday, June 5, 1994, as the 14th president of the Church.
President Hunter, 86, succeeds President Ezra Taft Benson, who died May 30. President Hunter is the first Church president born in the 20th century. He was born Nov. 14, 1907, in Boise, Idaho.Called to serve as President Hunter's first counselor is President Gordon B. Hinckley, and as second counselor, President Thomas S. Monson. Both had served in the same capacities with President Benson.
President Hinckley was also called and set apart as president of the Council of the Twelve. Elder Boyd K. Packer was called to serve as acting president of the Twelve. (Please see additional stories on members of the First Presidency and the acting president of the Council of the Twelve on pages 4-5.)
Announcement of the reorganization of the First Presidency and the calling of an acting president of the Twelve was made June 6 by Bruce L. Olsen, managing director of Church Public Affairs, to the news media gathered in the Church Administration Building.
Attending the press announcement were the three members of the First Presidency and all members of the Council of the Twelve.
President Hunter, President Hinckley and President Monson sat together at a table, and each made a statement.
In his statement, President Hunter expressed his sorrow at the death of President Benson and described his personal struggle to be equal to "the high and holy calling which now is mine."
He invited "all members of the Church to live with ever-more attention to the life and example of the Lord Jesus Christ," and to "treat each other with more kindness, more courtesy, more humility and patience and forgiveness." He invited those who may have transgressed or been offended to come back, and for members to attend the temple as `frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow.' " (Please see President Hunter's full statement beginning on page 3.)
In his remarks, President Hinckley said: "It is an honor to work in any capacity in this Church, and it will be a special honor and privilege to work with President Hunter, with whom I have been closely associated for the past 33 years. He is a man of great capacity, a man of kind and gracious ways, and of total devotion to the work of the Lord.
"There is much to be done in moving this work across the world, and we will give it our best effort as we work with this, our beloved leader."
President Monson directed his remarks to the new Church leader, saying: "President Hunter, I look forward to the opportunity to serve with you in the presidency as your second counselor. We've been very closely associated for the more than 30 years that I have been in the Twelve.
"I would like one and all to know that you are a man of talent, you are a man of great compassion, and you are a leader whose heart goes out to the hungry, to the homeless, and in the spirit of the Master, your great desire has ever been to lift others upward toward Him. God bless you in your ministry."