Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf was born on Nov. 6, 1940, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, and was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in October 2004. He has served as a general authority since April 1994.
His family became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany in 1947. Elder Uchtdorf joined the German Air Force in 1959, earning his wings in both the German and U.S. air forces in Texas and Arizona, and serving six years as a fighter pilot.
He married Harriet Reich in 1962, and they have two children. After leaving the military, Elder Uchtdorf became a commercial pilot for Lufthansa German Airlines in 1965, rising to top levels of management before retiring in 1995.
In honor of his 83rd birthday, here are nine quotes from Elder Uchtdorf in the past year.
1. The temple bridges borders
“[I]n a world with a lot of walls, we need to continue to build bridges. The temple is a beautiful symbol for that peaceful effort, and it will radiate throughout the community here, … and it will spread out all across the world.”
— McAllen Texas Temple dedication, Oct. 8, 2023
2. The road that leads home
“Though choices may have taken you far away from the Savior and His Church, the Master Healer stands at the road that leads home, welcoming you. And we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ seek to follow His example and embrace you as our brothers and sisters, as our friends. We rejoice and celebrate with you.”
3. Unity between missionaries and Church members
“We may have different assignments, but it is not a different work. We all serve one Master, Jesus Christ, and it is all one work — His work.”
— Message at the 2023 Seminar for New Mission Leaders, June 23, 2023
4. ‘I am a disciple of Jesus Christ’
“The great gift is the sacrifice of His Son, the Beloved Savior. It is Jesus Christ who is at the center, and this great gift fills my heart with great gratitude. … I bear witness of Him. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.”
— Meetings at the BYU Jerusalem Center, April 21-22, 2023
5. The core doctrine of Jesus Christ is solid, firm, real
“[Cairo] has changed in many ways. But some things have remained — and so it is in the Church, some things remain, the core doctrine of Jesus Christ. It is more solid and more firm than the Giza pyramids. It is real to us, and we can trust it.”
— Ministry in Egypt, April 15, 2023
6. ‘The Lord loves you’
“My message to all parents is this: The Lord loves you. He is with you. He stands beside you. He is your strength in guiding your children to make righteous choices.”
7. Love, share, invite
“Here is a nation of strength, of goodness, of kindness, of great potential. … I invite you to grow the Church here. Love the people, share with them why you love the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ, and invite them to come and see, come and help, and come and belong.”
— Ministry in India, February 2023
8. ‘God is not your opposition’
“Remember, because He loves you, He does not remove obstacles from your paths. He does not lower standards to make things easier for you. But even as you stumble, struggle or try to resist His help, He does not give up — ever. God is not your opposition. He is your coach. He is your guide. He is your healer. He is your Savior. His self-admitted purpose is to be your teacher and mentor.”
— Devotional at the Weber Institute of religion, Jan. 29, 2023
9. Don’t wait for tomorrow
“Don’t wait for tomorrow to make changes you want to see in your life now. Every day is a new beginning. Turn to Jesus Christ today. Repent today. Seek the spirit more in your life today. Every day is a new opportunity to grow from the past and to create an even better future centered on following Jesus Christ. We need to live so that tomorrow we are happy about our today — which is then our yesterday.”
— This Week on Social, Jan. 1, 2023