Monday, September 28, 2015

Guessing the Next Three Apostles

I've done my pieces on guessing the next apostle after Elder Perry died, and guessing the next two after Pres. Packer died, but now that Elder Scott has died, Pres. Monson will now have the opportunity to call three Apostles at once, something that hasn't happened since Joseph F. Smith did so in 1906.

The decision is up to Pres. Monson, but he will have help/advice/suggestions from his counselors in the First Presidency as well as the other apostles. It's unclear at this point just how far along his dementia is, but you could tell at this weekend's Women's Session of Conference that he has a handler who is on him at all times to walk him where he needs to go.

As we're only a few days away, I'm going to give my best guesses as to who they'll be. I've given my analysis on most of them in previous posts, and here's my participation in a TribTalk interview with the Salt Lake Tribune's Jennifer Napier-Pearce and Peggy Fletcher Stack, Mormon Matters' Dan Wotherspoon, and A Thoughtful Faith's Gina Colvin.



James J. Hamula
1. Ronald A. Rasband - 2/6/51 (64) - He's been in the Presidency of the Seventy the longest. He's a few months older than Neil L. Andersen.
2. James J. Hamula - 11/20/57 (57) - I base this on confirmation from a Reddit user who claims that he works in the Church Office Building, and indeed, Rasband and Hamula are the top two Americans on the list, which coincides from what I've heard from others in the COB.
3. David F. Evans - 8/11/51 (64) - He's been a General Authority for ten years. He's a former stake president, mission president, and his mother was once a counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. His background is law, and he once worked for the prominent Utah firm Durham, Jones & Pinegar.
4. Gary E. Stevenson - 8/5/55 (60) - Current Presiding Bishop.


Larry J. Echo Hawk
5. Larry J. Echo Hawk - 8/2/48 (67) - I'm sensing increased interest in him. He's Native American (Pawnee), and he'd therefore be the first non-white Apostle in LDS history. He's Democrat, and so it would therefore indicate more diversity in the quorum, which has been a model of uniformity as of late.
6. Gerrit W. Gong - 12/23/53 (61) - He's Chinese, so he'd also be the first non-white Apostle in LDS history, should it happen. He's been an employee for the US State Department and worked in the US Embassy in China. He's worked as a professor at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins before working at BYU. He served his mission in Taiwan and has been a bishop and stake president before becoming a Seventy.
7. Michael T. Ringwood - 2/14/58 (57) - He worked at Huntsman Chemical with Rasband, so I think that there's no way both could be called, but if Rasband is not one of the three, I could Ringwood sliding in there. Plus he's Russell M. Nelson's son-in-law, and family relations have rarely hurt a GA's chances of becoming an Apostle.
8. L. Whitney Clayton - 2/24/50 (65) - I get the feeling if it was up to a couple of the senior Apostles, Clayton would be a shoo-in, but I think there's enough red flags against him that he won't be called. But I mention him because he is in such prime position.
9. Kevin R. Duncan - 10/6/60 (54) - He served his mission in Chile and later went back to be a mission president in Chile. He knows adversity; his first wife died in a car accident when they'd only been married for two years, leaving him with a baby to riase by himself. He remarried and became a lawyer. He's one of the youngest Americans in the Seventy.
10. David L. Beck - 4/12/53 (62) - Recently released as Young Men's General President, he has a lot of experience in Brazil. He lived there for a few years as a child while his dad was a mission president there. When he was 19, he was called to serve his mission in Brazil. Later, he would serve as a mission president in Brazil.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention Donald L. Hallstrom, Richard J. Maynes, Craig C. Christensen, and Lynn G. Robbins as possibilities. I'll also keep the names of Steven E. Snow, Tad R. Callister, Shayne M. Bowen, Allen F. Packer, Hugo Montoya, Scott D. Whiting, and Kent F. Richards out there.



I'm less confident in making these guesses, because deep down, I know there's a good chance all three new Apostles could still be American. Nevertheless, I hope at least one is not.

Ulisses Soares
1. Ulisses Soares - 10/2/58 (56) - Brazil - Being part of the Presidency of the Seventy is a big plus for him.
2. Claudio R.M. Costa - 3/25/49 (66) - Brazil - Had a stint in the Presidency of the Seventy, and his talks have had a more conservative bent, which might make him ideal to fit right into the Quorum and continue their uniformity.
3. Walter F. Gonzalez - 11/18/52 (62) - Uruguay - Another who had some years in the Presidency of the Seventy. Raised Catholic, he converted to the LDS church when he was 21. He was a mission president in Ecuador, and he worked for CES in Ecuador.
4. Joseph W. Sitati - 5/16/52 (63) - Kenya - He was the first Black African to become a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, and I could see his milestone-making with this calling. His last General Conference talk on eternal marriage signified he would continue the current trajectory of the Q12.


Edward Dube
5. Edward Dube - 5/12/62 (53) - Zimbabwe - The other Black African in the 1st Quorum of Seventy, I could see his youth and charisma being a good addition to the Q12. With Africa one of the fastest-growing continents for church membership, it'd be a good move.
6. Marcos A. Aidukaitis - 8/30/59 (56) - Brazil - He has a background in mechanical engineering, and he's been key in expanding the church in Brazil, serving as the first stake president for two newly organized stakes. He also served as mission president there. Pres. Monson called him to the 1st Quorum of Seventy his first General Conference as prophet.
7. Gerald Causee - 5/20/63 (52) - France - He was the first GA from France, and if called, he'd only be the fourth Apostle in LDS history where English was not his first language (behind Anthon Lund, John A. Widtsoe, and Dieter F. Uchtdorf).
8. Chi Hong (Sam) Wong - 5/25/62 (53) - China - China is the most populous country in the world, and having someone like him as an Apostle/ambassador would do wonders for future church growth there, should religious restrictions ease up.
9. Michael John U. Teh - 6/25/65 (50) - Philippines - The Philippines is another populous country that has seen significant growth as of late. Teh has been a church employee most of his career before becoming a GA, so he's had a chance to work with many Apostles.
10. Rafael E. Pino - 10/27/55 (59) - Venezuela - He served his mission in Venezuela and was a mission president in Argentina. He's also worked most of his career as a church employee.

Other names I could see them considering are Ian S. Ardern, Benjamin De Hoyos, Yoon Hwan Choi, Carlos A. Godoy, Jorg Klebingat, Jose A. Teixeira, and Juan A. Uceda.

So my final guess for the three: Ronald A. Rasband, James J. Hamula, and Ulisses Soares.


  1. I doubt it will be a foreign name that is difficult to pronounce. It will most likely be a name that the First Presidency can pronounce easy, so it won't make them look stupid.

  2. Good job you were wrong about Elder Hamula