Tuesday, February 5, 2008

An Apostle, not a German

I find it curious that so many are wondering what impact a non-American member of the Presidency will have on the Church. Some laud President Monson on his international savvy. I have only two things to say to that:

First, the Lord called President Uchtdorf, not President Monson. I truly believe that. I've seen enough similar situations to know how that could be possible. If anything, it's the Lord's international savvy, and that is hardly a surprise, is it? The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve are one of the most internationally aware groups of men in the world. That is nothing new.

Secondly, I wonder what sort of impact they expect from a non-American Presidency member. As I've said, they are already about as internationally aware as a group of men can be. Uchtdorf himself strongly underscored that he is an apostle before he is a German. He is there to serve the Lord, not to serve his country. There is a lesson in that, should anyone care to examine it.


  1. Nice post, SilverRain. I substantially agree with your sentiments, but it wouldn't be real blogging if I couldn't find some point on which to disagree. :)

    You assert that the apostles are, "the most internationally aware group of men in the world." I'd reframe that a bit. They may have more love for the breadth of humankind across the world; they may be doing more to help the people of the world; they may be most eager to change the world--but that isn't to say that they understand international issues better than everyone else.

    I was reading in a biography of President Kimball how much they relied on David M. Kennedy (a former US diplomat) to help them understand the cultures and traditions of the peoples they were visiting. The church leaders don't understand every culture of people just because they love them.

    When we understand others, we are in a better position to help them. I think that having "international" leaders like President Uchtdorf is great because it lets the Brethren have a more complete and accurate view of the world they are trying to help. God's inspiration always seems to flow more freely when we have the right catalysts in place. President Uchtdorf might just be such a catalyst.

  2. That's a good point, Bradley. I'm not trying to say that they understand international issues better than everyone else, just that they have a keen awareness of the global nature of their effect. I believe that their hearts are already very much on other nations and that they are already thinking about how they can integrate the global Church.

    My point was more to show that no radical and immediate changes can be expected to take place, simply because President Uchtdorf is part of the First Presidency. He is an apostle foremost. That's not to say that his nationality has no effect on who he is as an apostle - it would be silly to think that he could compartmentalize his heritage - but that he will be primarily focused on how to share the gospel and how to stand as a special witness of Christ long before he will focus on representing his nationality.


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