Oh Great, Another White, Anglo Apostle—Not What Alma Would Say

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3 new lds apostles called
The three newly called Apostles: (Left to Right) Dale G. Renlund, Gary E. Stevenson, Ronald A. Rasband. Image via Salt Lake Trib.

The nearly universal bloggernacle reaction to the calling of three white men to the holy apostleship has ranged from disappointment to critical. This has been carried over to social media where many of my friends have found others to mold and voice their concerns. I understand the disappointment. I relish the idea of a Latino Apostle especially, mostly due to the time I spent in Costa Rica and Chile as a missionary and an expatriate executive. I had especially poignant experiences with Elder Enrique Falabella and my own mission president, Benigno Pantoja. I could have easily and enthusiastically sustained either or both men had they been called.

Enrique Falabella
Elder Enrique R. Falabella

In spite of my desire to see an Apostle of foreign birth and non-european ancestry, I understand the doctrine taught in Alma 13. Before getting to that, it may be important to contrast the way most people think an Apostle is called and how an Apostle is actually called.

There is general misunderstanding about how revelation is received and especially how specific revelation is received as with the call to the holy apostleship. People who do not understand think that either revelation occurs so fluidly to an apostle or the prophet that it is as though there were a ticker-tape read out of the mind and will of God that, if followed, would allow for no missteps in anything including things as humdrum as the selection of which socks to put on in the morning. Others think that apostles and prophets exclusively use only wisdom from vast experience to gather in counsel and decide courses of action and servant selection much like Nicea. Neither is how the process works, especially when it comes to the selection of an Apostle.

To understand the process, we need to start chronologically. Alma teaches in Alma 13:3:

“And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.”

Thick words drenched in insight and meaning. The point made is that, according to Alma, all of the Apostles from Andrew on were selected well in advance of their entrance into mortality. They are all lined up. There may be things that derail the process due to agency misuse on the part of the one chosen or the mortal caller, but there are others lined up, ready to go when the time is right and they are ready. So I have no doubt in my mind that the first, second and third Latino Apostles have already been chosen, are living on the earth today and are being prepared for the time they are called. This is also true for the first African, Asian and, well, you get the point.

So, President Monson’s role in the selection of three, white, anglo-european Apostles was both very active and very passive. The active part came in the form of seeking the mind and will of God. The passive part was his understanding that he was not doing the choosing, only the calling.

I look forward to the day when the quorum will be led by men of alternate backgrounds beyond the current, yet I do not desire it at the expense of counseling the Lord nor his oracles.

David is a regular contributor at LDS.net. He is the author of the logic book, "Joseph Spider and the Fallacy Farm," father of five and ranks mountain biking and spending time with his wife close to breathing and love when it comes to life essentials.