Many Mormons were disappointed to lose Elder Uchtdorf from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nicknamed the “Silver Fox” by his admirers for his charisma, he is also notable for his inspired wisdom and his comforting messages for women. After many members expressed their sadness on social media platforms, Elder Uchtdorf spoke out on Facebook:
In the last couple of days, I have seen countless comments on social media and have heard many questions regarding how I feel now that I am no longer a counselor in the First Presidency. I appreciate your concern for my welfare, but I assure you, I’m just fine.
I love and support the First Presidency, and I am thrilled to again more closely associate with the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Just after being called to the First Presidency in 2008, I delivered a talk in general conference titled “Lift Where You Stand.” During that address, I discussed the importance of seeing every calling we receive—no matter what it is—as an opportunity to strengthen and bless others and become what Heavenly Father wants us to become. I could give that talk again today and the words I shared would be just as relevant.
Just a few days ago, Harriet and I spoke to the young people of the Church and made specific reference to how we cannot connect the dots in our lives looking forward. We can only do so looking backward. In hindsight, each of us will see how the dots connect in our lives on a more elevated, spiritual level.
My friends, let us work together on the task at hand—to help all of God’s children know that He has a plan for them and to let them know they can find true joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I know that God is in charge. HE is at the helm. HE wants us to serve wherever we are in this beautiful worldwide Church. No matter where we are on this planet and to whichever calling we are assigned, let us do our best to serve God and our fellowman.
When apostle Russell M. Nelson became the 17th president and prophet of the Church, he called an announcement session and a press conference to introduce the newly organized First Presidency. He said of Elder Uchtdorf:
Elder Uchtdorf has resumed his place his in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles “and has already received major assignments for which he is uniquely qualified … and where he is needed most.”
Elder Uchtdorf’s new duties were announced Monday, Jan. 22.
His new assignments include chair of the Missionary Executive Council, chair of the Correlation Executive Council and the primary contact for the Europe and Europe East Areas.
As chair of the Missionary Executive Council, he will direct the global operation of all missionary activities of the Church.
The Correlation Executive Council reviews and approves all Church materials and products.
As far as involvement in Europe, Elder Uchtdorf was born in Czechoslovakia and raised in Germany. He served in the German Air Force and was a pilot and then an executive for Lufthansa Airlines. He is uniquely suited among the apostles of the Church to focus on the European Area.