With three vacancies in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, this is a rare and interesting time for the Church. How are new apostles chosen? Elder Christofferson offers some guidance.
Elder Christofferson said the selection and calling of new apostles to the Quorum of the Twelve is the prerogative of the president of the church.
“President Monson, I don’t know if this always has been the case, but his practice has been to ask each of his counselors and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve to give him names they would recommend for his consideration, not to discuss with each other but just individually, to give him whatever name or names they feel impressed he ought to look at,” he said.
“What process he goes through exactly, I’m not sure. That’s, again, something private he pursues. He then brings back, when he’s reached his decision and had the inspiration he needs, the name or names to the council that we have of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to sustain it. That goes forward to general conference.”
In April 2009, President Monson selected Elder Neil L. Andersen as a new apostle after the December 2008 death of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin.
“I recall this last time around when Elder Neil L. Andersen was called,” Elder Christofferson said. “Before that happened, we were just discussing casually before one of our meetings of the Twelve about the vacancy, and I remember President (Boyd K.) Packer saying, ‘We don’t have to worry, President Monson knows how to get revelation.’
“That’s what it is, a revelatory process in the end. Different prophets may approach it in different ways, but in the end, it’s finding out from the Lord who he wants.”
Elder Christofferson talked about the increased responsibilities that fell on the remaining members of the Twelve with the deaths of their colleagues. Elder L. Tom Perry died May 30, and President Packer, who was president of the quorum, died July 3. Elder Scott had been unable to function in the quorum for months due to health issues.
“This is unusual,” Elder Christofferson said. “We found the last time there were three vacancies at one time was 1906, so it’s not something that comes very often, and I hope it always remains rare. But I see the wisdom in the Lord organizing a Quorum of the Twelve. Sometimes people think that’s a lot, but I can see that’s barely enough.
“It may add a little bit to the load or the responsibility or the assignments of those who are actively functioning for a time, but it’s a brotherhood, and we all pull together, and maybe some things don’t get done or are delayed until later that have lesser priority, but the things that really matter happen and, in the end, we all understand that it’s the Lord’s work, and he really is the one who does it and he lets us help. … Happily we get to be a part of it.”