Born on Nov. 6, 1940, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 2004.
His family became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany in 1947. After joining the German Air Force in 1959, he served six years as a fighter pilot. He married Harriet Reich in 1962 and they have two children.
Elder Uchtdorf currently serves as chairman of the Priesthood and Family Executive Council; previously he served as chairman of the Missionary Executive Council. He has served as a general authority since April 1994.
In honor of his 81st birthday, here are nine quotes from Elder Uchtdorf this year.
1. Acknowledge commonalities
″We, as world citizens, have more in common than we might suppose. That is not only true for us as members of the Church but also as human beings — as children of our Heavenly Father. If all of us would focus more on the divine fact that we are all brothers and sisters and would acknowledge the many positive things that we have in common — including life experiences and dreams we share — it should not be too hard to get along as individuals, communities and nations, regardless of where we live and what our backgrounds or life’s circumstances may be.”
— Devotional for Latter-day Saints in Oklahoma and Kansas, Oct. 17, 2021
2. Daily restoration
“Do you want to change the shape of your life? Change the shape of your day. Do you want to change your day? Change this hour. Change what you think, feel, and do at this very moment. … Minutes and hours well spent are the building blocks of a life well lived. They can inspire goodness, lift us from the captivity of imperfections, and lead us upward to the redemptive path of forgiveness and sanctification.”
— “Daily Restoration,” October 2021 general conference
3. Compassion and empathy
“Christ-like compassion and empathy for our fellow men will change us. They will bring a positive change to the future of the world. … This will bless your communities where you serve and bring Christ’s peace to the nations of the world. … For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love — and of a sound mind.”
4. A God of new beginnings
“Our Heavenly Father is a God of new beginnings. … Every day, every hour, can be a fresh start — an opportunity to renew ourselves in the Holy Spirit and become better at walking as true and faithful disciples of the Savior. His gospel is the good news that we can begin again — we can become new creatures in Christ.”
— BYU Education Week devotional, Aug. 17, 2021
5. Counseling with the Spirit
“Long-standing traditions sometimes are hard to change, so it takes counseling together. It takes the influence of the Spirit to say: ‘Let’s move forward. Are we all united in this? Yes, we are.’ And then we move forward.”
— Inside Church Headquarters series, Church News, July 22, 2021
6. Love, share and invite
“We simply include others in the things we are already doing. You do not have to stop living your normal life. Share what you love about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ. … To love, share and invite is not a passive or casual experience, no, but it is a joyful experience.”
— “Love, Share, Invite” broadcast, June 26, 2021
7. Message to missionaries worldwide
“Trust the Lord, and prepare yourself, whether you’re about to serve on a mission or whether you’re in a mission field, to see that what you’re about to teach or what you’re teaching is what you feel in your heart. That is really what it is. … And if we feel the gospel, and the Church of Jesus Christ is what I love, and I want to share, then I don’t need to be perfect in my words. I don’t need to be perfect in my activities, because the Holy Spirit will prepare me and will give the rest, to reach out to the hearts of the people.”
— Church News podcast, April 27, 2021
8. ‘We need to move back to the future’
“We might have been surprised [by the COVID-19 pandemic], but God was not. All of a sudden, we used technology in a wonderful way which blessed the work. … So we learned that the Lord has provided us with means which open up new dimensions. During the pandemic, we learned quickly, ‘don’t focus on the things you cannot do, focus on the things you can do.’ My only hope is that … when the pandemic hopefully will come to a conclusion … we need to not move back to the old ways. We need to move back to the future.”
— “Back to the Future,” Church News video, April 18, 2021
9. ‘God is among us’
“Suppose Jesus came to your ward, to your branch or to your home today. What would that be like? He would see right into your heart. Outward appearances would lose their importance. He would know you as you are. He would know your heart’s desires. … One look into His eyes and we would never be the same. We would be forever changed. Transformed by the profound realization that, indeed, God is among us.”
— “God among Us,” April 2021 general conference