Current First Presidency and The Twelve Apostles and The Work They Had Before They Were Called

Just as the apostles of Jesus Christ had their occupations before they were called to be fishers of men, so were the apostles and the first presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were having an occupation before they were called. Peter was a fisherman, Mathew was a tax collector, have you ever wondered the jobs and the professions our leaders had before they were called?


President Russell M. Nelson

Prior to his calling as a member of the quorum of the twelve on April 7, 1984, President Nelson was an internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher. He received his BA and MD degrees from the University of Utah (1945, 1947). His professional work included the positions of research professor of surgery and director of the thoracic surgery residency at the University of Utah, as well as chairman of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.

President Dallin H. Oaks

A graduate of Brigham Young University (1954) and of The University of Chicago Law School (1957), President Oaks was a justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1980 to 1984 before he was called as an Apostle of the church on April 7, 1984. Before that, he practiced law and taught law in Chicago.  He was president of Brigham Young University from 1971 to 1980.


 President Henry B. Eyring

Before his calling into the apostleship, the second counselor in the first presidency was president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, from 1971 to 1977. He was on the faculty at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University from 1962 to 1971. From September 1980 to April 1985, and from September 1992 to January 2005, he served twice as Commissioner of Church Education. He was called as an apostle on April 1, 1995, but continued as commissioner of Church Education.

President M. Russell Ballard

Professionally, President Ballard had an interest in businesses such as automotive, real estate, and investment businesses. He was the top-selling salesman for his father’s Nash car dealership when he left it in the early 1950s to pursue other business interests. In 1956, President Ballard returned and took over the Ballard Motor Company from his father. He also worked with Ford motor company in the late 1950s. He was called as an apostle on October 6, 1985.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland served as the ninth president of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah before he was called as an apostle on April 1, 1989. He is a former Church commissioner of education and dean of the College of Religious Education at BYU.  He served as president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAPICU), on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Presidents Commission.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

From most of his talks since he was called on October 2, 2004, Elder Uchtdorf uses the plane and how it flies to help members of the church understand a principle or two. In 1965 he began working for Lufthansa German Airlines as a pilot. From 1970 until 1996 he flew as captain of the B737, Airbus, DC10, and B747. He served as Chief Pilot B737, head of Lufthansa pilot school in Arizona, head of all cockpit crews, and finally Senior Vice President Flight Operations and Lufthansa Chief Pilot. He was also chairman of the Flight Operations Committee of the International Air Transport Association.

Elder David A. Bednar

Elder Bednar was a professor of business management at Texas Tech University and at the University of Arkansas. He then served as the president of Brigham Young University­-Idaho (formerly Ricks College) from 1997-2004.

Elder Quentin L. Cook

At the time of his call to be a General Authority of the Church on 6 October 2007, he was vice-chairman of Sutter Health System.  He had previously served as president and chief executive officer of a California healthcare system. Prior to that, he was a business lawyer and managing partner of a San Francisco Bay Area law firm.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder Christofferson was called as an apostle of the Church on April 5, 2008, Elder Christofferson was an associate general counsel of NationsBank Corporation (now Bank of America) in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was also a senior vice president and general counsel for Commerce Union Bank of Tennessee in Nashville. From 1975 to 1980, Elder Christofferson practiced law in Washington.

Elder Neil L. Andersen

Elder Andersen was into advertising, healthcare, and real estate development. He graduated from Brigham Young University, where he was a Hinckley Scholar, and earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. He was called into the fold of apostleship on April 4, 2009.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband

Elder Rasband attended the University of Utah. In 1995, Utah Valley University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Business and Commerce. In 1976 he joined Huntsman Container Company as a sales representative, and in 1987, he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of Huntsman Chemical Corporation. His calling as an apostle came on October 3, 2015.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson

Elder Stevenson co-founded an exercise equipment manufacturing company, ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., where he served as president and chief operating officer until 2008. Elder Gary E. Stevenson was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 3, 2015.

Elder Dale G. Renlund

Elder Renlund was a Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah and the Medical Director of the Utah Transplantation Affiliated Hospitals (UTAH) Cardiac Transplant Program. On October 3, 2015, he was called as an apostle.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong

Elder Gong before his calling on March 31, 2018, has served as special assistant to the undersecretary of state at the U.S. State Department and in 1987 as special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Beijing, China. From 1989 he served in several positions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He was an assistant to the president for planning and assessment at Brigham Young University until April 2010.

Elder Ulisses Soares

Elder Soares was an accountant and auditor for multinational corporations in Brazil and the director of temporal affairs in the Church area office in São Paulo, Brazil. 

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